DrumBeat: October 9, 2007

Japan refiners pay for Iran oil with yen

Japanese oil refiners Cosmo Oil Co. and Japan Energy Corp. have started paying Iran for crude oil imports in yen instead of dollars, company spokesmen said Tuesday.

Iran has been trying to persuade Asian buyers to make payments in non-U.S. currencies to reduce its U.S. dollar holdings, a move that is seen as a response to the dollar's recent weakness and to pressure from Washington to limit Iran's dealings with the U.S. financial system.

How global warming will save us from peak oil

The best reason yet not to be worried about global warming: A more pleasant climate in the Arctic will make it easier for oil and gas companies to extract resources in the formerly harsh north.

That is the most delightful nugget to be mined from a front-page article in Tuesday's New York Times by Jad Mouawad, "A Quest for Energy in the Globe's Remote Places." Here is a reporter for whom the glass is always half full, of fossil fuel.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Entire Landscapes on the Move

The hot breath of global warming has now touched some of the coldest northern regions of world, turning the frozen landscape into mush as temperatures soar 15 degrees C. above normal.

Entire hillsides, sometimes more than a kilometre long, simply let go and slid like a vast green carpet into valleys and rivers on Melville Island in Canada's northwest Arctic region of Nunavut this summer, says Scott Lamoureux of Queens University in Canada and leader of one the of International Polar Year projects.

"The entire landscape is on the move, it was very difficult to find any slopes that were unaltered," said Lamoureux, who led a scientific expedition to the remote and uninhabited island.

The topography and ecology of Melville Island is rapidly being rearranged by climate change.

"Every day it looked different," he told IPS. "This is a permanent change."

Why did Big Oil cave on Hebron?

Clearly, the oil companies, all multinationals, were motivated by the global picture, which has changed a lot in the past 16 months. Mr. Williams's demand for an equity stake -- so small it's a token that gives the province little say over corporate decisions and for which he is paying cash at the market's going price -- is small potatoes next to the nationalization or even expropriation of oil assets that has picked up steam in Venezuela, Ecuador, Russia and now Kazakhstan.

Canadian Natural May Cancel Some Oil-Sands Projects

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., the largest heavy-oil producer in Alberta, said it may cancel oil- sands projects worth as much as C$7 billion ($7.08 billion) if the government boosts royalties.

Peak Oil questions answered in Houston

Andrews and Baldauf say the Conference will present new findings based on recent research conducted by several of the international experts participating in the conference.

"We'll share the hard facts about the Peak Oil issue as our lineup of experts sees them," Andrews said. "And those facts are sobering."

Consider the Costa lack of buses

We'll get public transport because we'll have to. There will be no choice. Sydney, like every other major city, is in a pincer movement whose upper jaw is climate change and whose lower, crushing-and-grinding mandible is peak oil.

Peak oil is the idea not that oil will run out, but that its production will start to decline. Most of us, faced with this possibility, have two immediate but conflicting responses. One is, "I'd better stop driving, now. (And can I grow my own food?)" The other is, "Perhaps I'd better travel everywhere now since there may be no such thing in the future."

Astoria couple throws out lifeboat of ideas to save energy, resources

For Black and Paddon, their October Green Fest is a "test" of the homestead they've developed, "a time to check and see how we're doing," according to the couple, who began the nonprofit Titanic Lifeboat Academy in 2005 for education and research on issues related to peak oil - the uppermost point before global oil production descends into terminal decline. They also hoped their home could become a sort of demonstration center for sustainable lifestyles, systems and technologies.

Brits get hot under the collar about heating bills

Moneysupermarket.com has published new research which reveals that the subject of heating the home often leads to arguments between couples, with cost of bills often the underlying cause.

Steep Price Hikes in Fuel Raises Inflationary Pressures in Greece

Recent steep price increases in wheat, animal feed and fuel oils have created an explosive inflation mix, giving rise to concern on the extent of its future impact on the typical household’s weekly shopping list.

Utah Deputies Told to Watch Mileage

High gas prices are forcing deputies in Utah's third-largest county to watch the odometer.

Officers in Davis County have been told to limit their driving to 75 to 100 miles during a 12-hour shift, through the end of the year, sheriff's Lt. Brad Wilcox said Monday.

Wilcox said the sheriff's department spends more than $25,000 a month on gas. "Our fuel costs are way over budget," he said. "We had a couple months where fuel prices were through the roof."

Home heating bills on the rise

No matter how you heat your house, this year will cost you more than last, according to a government report Tuesday.

Bulging Grocery Bills Fed By Global Forces

The forces behind the rise in food prices - China's economic boom, a growing biofuels industry and a weak U.S. dollar - are global and not letting up anytime soon. Grocery receipts are bulging because the raw ingredients, packaging and fuel that go into the price of foodstuffs cost more than they have in decades.

Rising gas prices force florists to charge more to stay in business

To stay profitable, florists have been forced to charge higher fees for delivery. The same goes for eateries that offer delivery, such as pizza restaurants.

UK: Poor 'pay more' for energy

Poorer householders are being charged more for their energy via prepayment meters, a trade body has said.

City's Boom May Falter Over Costs

New York City's building boom may be brought to a halt by something more mundane than monetary policy or global financial disruptions — it could be as simple as copper, diesel, and steel.

By the end of next year, the Producer Price Index for construction inputs — the price of materials that are used in a construction project plus the cost of diesel fuel — will rise by as much as 8% and continue to do so indefinitely, according to a report released yesterday by the Associated General Contractors of America. This is a drastic change from the previous 12 months, which saw construction inputs inch up just 1.6% for the year ending in August.

UK: Carmakers struggle to balance safety and emissions

The drive to create safer cars has pushed the industry towards making larger, heavier and less aerodynamic vehicles.

"For carmakers, it is proving increasingly difficult to balance these objectives - the need to reduce emissions, improve safety, give customers the comfort features they demand, keep prices down - and all within the constraints of a competitive auto sector," according to the SMMT's report, The Evolution of the Car.

Currency caps Qantas fuel bill

THE high dollar is helping Qantas deal with a sharp rise in oil prices and has meant the cost of jet fuel in Australian dollars has changed little since May.

Documenting ravages of big oil

Imagine one of the most bio-diverse places on earth where there are more tree species than in all of North America. A place named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of its variety of insects, birds, orchids, trees and animals. A place where a people called the Huaorani have lived in harmony with their environment for thousands of years.

The name of this place is Yasuni National Park, in Ecuador's Amazon. Unfortunately, right under the bare feet of the Huaorani is an estimated billion barrels of oil. With crude at $80 a barrel and climbing, a potential jackpot of about $80 billion has drawn the interest of oil companies from around the world.

Kazakhstan maps demands for Eni oil talks next week

Kazakhstan has mapped out a set of demands for an Eni-led consortium developing the huge Kashagan oilfield and will start talks on them next week, its energy minister said on Tuesday.

Risk no longer a dirty word for Shell oil traders

Royal Dutch Shell's high-profile buying spree of Asia's benchmark crudes last month is the clearest signal yet that the major has rediscovered its appetite for trading risk after a five-year hiatus.

Shell hoovered up over 10 million barrels of Dubai and Oman crude, the main benchmarks for Asian refiners, in what appeared to be the market's biggest leveraged trading play in years, drawing flak from Asian refiners still haunted by past squeezes.

Petrobras Close to Purchasing ExxonMobil Refinery in Japan

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras has reached the final phase of talks regarding the purchase of a controlling stake in a 100,000 b/d refinery in Okinawa, Japan.

Petrobras has been said to be seeking to expand its assets in the U.S., Asia and Europe.

BHP's troubled Atlantis field pumps first oil

OIL has finally started to flow from BHP Billiton's giant Atlantis oilfield in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico - one of the company's most important sources of future earnings and production growth - after a string of delays and cost increases.

Kiev agrees debt repayment terms with Gazprom

Gazprom and Ukraine are to sign a deal today spelling out exact terms for repaying $1.3bn (€910m, £640m) in natural gas arrears owed by Kiev, the Russian state-run gas group said, potentially resolving a standoff that has raised fears of shortfalls in gas supplies to Europe.

Midwest utility in $4.6B acid rain settlement

Settling an eight-year legal battle, a major power generator has agreed to spend $4.6 billion to reduce chemical emissions blamed for spreading acid rain across the Northeast.

A mad dash to influence Pa. energy plans

For months, lobbyists for everyone from small-town Pennsylvania farmers to multibillion-dollar oil companies have swarmed the Capitol, jockeying for the best seat at the table to exert influence on Gov. Rendell's alternative energy legislation.

Some are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying to make sure they are heard.

New Zealand: Biofuel change ensures food not taken from hungry

The Green Party has negotiated a very important amendment to the Biofuel Bill tabled in Parliament today to ensure production of the fuel does not impact food supply and the environment.

George Monbiot: In this age of diamond saucepans, only a recession makes sense

Economic growth is a political sedative, snuffing out protest as it drives inequality. It is time we gave it up.

Expert claims NZ too dependent on oil (video)

New Zealand’s dependence on oil has come under criticism from an American oil expert who says New Zealand is among the worst in the world.

American oil commentator Richard Heinberg says that is too much and he is lobbying the Government to take action.

Zambians ration fuel as refinery closure prolonged

Zambia is rationing fuel following a shortage caused by the closure of its sole oil refinery, with long queues of motorists becoming a common feature amid panic buying across the country, officials said on Tuesday.

Zambia shut down its Indeni Oil Refinery on September 1 for 25 days due to crude shortages, energy officials said at the time.

Kenya: Oil Shortage? We Are Not to Blame, Says KRA

Under the programme, marketers were supposed to declare stocks that were accessible to them in the Kenya Pipeline system two months ago. They were also required to reconcile volumes that were being lifted against what had been paid for and released before September 1.

KRA said failure by the marketers to implement these steps was the main cause of the impending shortage that has already started being felt in some areas.

Paraguay Transportation Out of Gas

Paraguay's Department of Public Transportation (SETAMA) announced semiparalization of operations on Monday due to a lack of fuel in the country.

SETAMA Director Julio Davalos warned that in the last 15 days, transportation firms have had just 50 percent of the gas oil needed and so service will be dramatically affected if they fail to receive fuel by the end of the day.

He lamented that State Oil (PETROPAR) failed to notify authorities of the looming shortage so that a more rational use of fuel could have been implemented.

Truckers waiting for shipment of diesel fuel in eastern North Dakota

It's first come, first serve. That's why Wayne Pudil has his tanker truck parked in front of the Magellan pipeline terminal in West Fargo.

The Grand Forks trucker is waiting for a shipment of diesel fuel expected to arrive sometime tonight or early tomorrow.

Diesel fuel added to NDSU FeedList

The North Dakota State University Extension Service has updated its FeedList Web site to include a listing of producers needing diesel fuel and producers with extra diesel fuel to sell.

This is in response to a temporary diesel shortage in some areas of North Dakota.

Stagflation−Proof Yourself with Agriculture, Part II

Which leads to what may be the most compelling evidence behind this agriculture story: weather. Or the lack thereof.

Aside from wheat in recent weeks, as mentioned above, this is perhaps the first time in modern history when the steady rise in agricultural prices has not been due to weather—a crop freeze, drought, flood, etc.—which is what has always been the driver of past price spikes in soft commodities. No, this rise has been slow and steady, the result of all the demand-side pressures listed above, which means agriculture may be in the early stages of a bull market that ends up looking a lot like the ones other raw materials have witnessed in recent years.

Corn ethanol is not alternative fuel

Chevrolet has been advertising its new “ethanol-powered cars,” and according to its Web site: “E85 ethanol fuel is a cleaner — burning mostly renewable fuel source made from mostly U.S. — grown biomaterial, such as corn or other grain products. It helps reduce greenhouse gases and can enhance the nation’s economy and energy independence.”

What Chevrolet and other automakers have overlooked is that the transition to corn from fossil fuels is not an economic or environmental decision but a political one.

Obama Proposes Deep Greenhouse Gas Cuts

Democrat Barack Obama is calling for sharply reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and forcing power companies and other businesses to pay for all of their pollution.

Shell to work on Deer Park, Texas, coker compressor

The maintenance is taking place now as the next scheduled unit shutdown is not until 2012, it said. It gave no details on the impact to operations or production rates.

Aramco adds new price for Mediterranean refineries to ensure parity

The world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, has begun issuing a new price for sales to Mediterranean refiners as it seeks to standardise prices to both north and south Europe, a Saudi Aramco source said yesterday.

Oil to soar above $90 next year says expert

Oil prices will soar above $90 per barrel next year, a Bahraini economist has predicted.

Bahrain Economic Society senior economist Mohammed Habib Ali told the GDN that a combination of the growth of economies such as China and India, continuing global population increases and rising consumption within top oil-producing nations will push the price of crude to record levels next year.

He also said it was time GCC countries used their high surpluses to fund renewable energy projects and begin moves to end fuel subsidies in the region.

"Oil will reach above $90 next year and the problem is not politics or economics as much as it is geology," he said.

Inconvenient Truths

I’d like to spend a few minutes on a topic that Jim frequently covers on his radio program – Peak Oil. It bears mentioning – over-and-over – because too many folks are still caught up in the notion that Peak Oil is something “we all” don’t have to worry about in the here-and-now.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s stop and consider just how wrong the ‘don’t worry be happy crowd’ have been where the current / observable oil market situation is concerned – shall we...

Qatar says oil prices should top 100 dollars

Qatar's energy minister said crude oil prices, which have surged recently to record levels above 80 dollars a barrel, should be more than 100 dollars.

"If we take into account inflation from 1972 to the present day, the real and fair price for oil should be more than 100 dollars," Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said in remarks aired by Al-Jazeera television on Tuesday.

An Interview with Richard Nehring

Richard Nehring, an expert on U.S. and world oil reserves, chaired the Hedberg Conference, which received much attention at the recent ASPO-6 conference. Nehring has been a critical observer of peak oil theory, and has been following discussion at The Oil Drum. He comments: "The main difference between the imminent peakists and the delayed peakists is our view of recovery growth. But growing net production additions is hard."

Foreign Oil Companies Skip Meeting with Ecuador Government

Foreign oil companies Monday skipped a meeting with the Ecuadorean government, which was supposed to kick off negotiations over new contracts.

Ecuador's oil minister, Galo Chiriboga, said he assumed the oil executives were still consulting with parent companies in their home countries.

Ecuador Govt Aims to Rejoin OPEC This Month

Ecuador's government aims to rejoin the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries this month, the country's oil minister, Galo Chiriboga, said Monday.

"We are finishing up administrative, financial and technical aspects but we aim to rejoin OPEC this month," Chiriboga told reporters.

One-third of Venezuela's Estimated Oil Reserves Confirmed

Venezuela on Sunday raised to 100 billion barrels its proven petroleum reserves, out of the more than 300 billion barrels estimated to exist under its land and maritime territory.

The new total was achieved after the latest partial certification of 12.4 billion more barrels in the Orinoco Petroleum Belt in the central portion of the country, the Menpet energy and petroleum ministry announced in a communique.

Is Big Oil Losing The Race For Iraq?

If the war in Iraq was fought on behalf of major international oil companies, consider it lost. The race to gain access to the grand prize of Iraq’s vast energy reserves is actually being won by small risk-takers willing to carve out a profit at great risk, while the majors wait for firm legislation and improved security that may never come.

Treasuries Fueled by Petrodollars From Mideast Funds

The biggest quarterly rally for U.S. government securities in five years is getting an extraordinary boost from the burgeoning reinvestment of petrodollars by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

FTSE ET50- a new clean technology index 09.10.07

With investment in clean technology passing $1.1 billion in the first six months of 2007 the clean technology sector is one of the hottest industry sectors for investors. Following the spectacular crash of Bio Fuels Corporation share price, and it subsequent delisting from AIM in August the sector has been compared to the .com bubble era. However unlike the wilder .com years there are strong underlying factors- such as increased energy prices, peak oil, and climate change motivated legislation that clearly show that while not all the present players may survive the market is set for sustained growth into the future.

Is Australia's auto industry imperilled by ignoring climate change and peak oil?

The fact that Australian-made vehicles continue to lose market share locally came as no surprise to me. My proposition today is that the auto industry in Australia has, with a few exceptions, ignored the threats of climate change and peak oil, and I see no end in sight to this myopia.

Stop your sobbing - Doomsayers like Al Gore and Jared Diamond aren't doing the environment much good. To save the earth, we need to stop blaming and start celebrating ourselves.

Grounded in a tradition of eco-tragedy begun by Carson and motivated by the lack of progress on the ecological crisis, environmental writers have produced a flood of high-profile books that take the tragic narrative of humankind's fall from Nature to new heights: Sir Martin Rees's 2003 "Our Final Hour," Richard Posner's 2004 "Catastrophe," Paul and Anne Ehrlich's 2004 "One with Nineveh," James Kunstler's 2005 "The Long Emergency," James Lovelock's 2006 "The Revenge of Gaia," and Al Gore's 2006 "An Inconvenient Truth," to name just a few.

For the most part, these environmentalist cautionary tales have had the opposite of their intended effect, provoking fatalism, conservatism, and survivalism among readers and the lay public, not the rational embrace of environmental policies. Constantly surprised and angered when people fail to behave as environmentalists would like them to, environment writers complain that the public is irrational, in denial, or just plain foolish. They presume that the failure of the public to heed their warnings says something meaningful about human nature itself, attributing humanity's disregard for Nature to desires like the lust for power and concluding that, in the end, we are all little more than reactive apes, insufficiently evolved to take the long view and understand the complexity and interconnectedness of the natural systems on which we depend.

Ethanol isn't sole food price culprit

The cost of food spiked right on cue last year when economists warned that the country's thirst for ethanol would drive up the cost of the grain used to feed livestock for meat, dairy and other foods.

But economists say it isn't all ethanol's fault, and warn that Americans have yet to feel the full force of the corn-based fuel additive on food prices.

Firms 'need clear climate policies'

Fossil fuels are going to remain the main source of power in an increasingly energy-hungry world for decades to come, says James Smith in this week's Green Room. However, he urges governments to urgently provide polices to encourage investment in cleaner technologies.

Clean Coal May Not Be Viable Until 2025, CLP Says

Clean coal technology, involving trapping carbon in waste gases from coal-fired power plants and disposing it underground, may not be commercially viable until 2025, CLP Holdings Ltd.'s Australian unit said.

Carbon-heavy growth 'suicide' for India, says climate expert

High incomes and high carbon dioxide emissions go hand-in-hand all over the world, but the head of the globe's top scientific body on climate change says India can be different.

Expert studies climate change in Arctic

Climate change may make Arctic energy resources easier to reach but it could also make them harder to exploit because of changes to sea ice, a U.S. scientist said ahead of an international oil and ice conference in Alaska.

Scientist: Greenhouse gas levels grave

Strong worldwide economic growth has accelerated the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere to a dangerous threshold scientists had not expected for another decade, according to a leading Australian climate change expert.

Scientist Tim Flannery told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that an upcoming report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will contain new data showing that the level of climate-changing gases in the atmosphere has already reached critical levels.

A new Finance Round-Up has been posted at TOD:Canada. An Energy and Environment Round-Up will follow tomorrow.

With frozen ABCP (asset-backed commercial paper) apparently about to spawn a litigation nightmare in Canada, huge bank writedowns in the US and Europe, bank closures, a lack of interbank lending, large-scale ARM readjustments, exploding credit card debt, a growing surge in foreclosures, and homebuilders further depressing real estate prices by selling off their inventory for whatever they can get, one could be forgiven for wondering why global stock markets seem so unconcerned.

Some aggressive speculators - cushioned by the moral hazard of central bank liquidity injections - may be prepared to throw caution to the wind in overextending the trend, but others are waiting in the wings, well placed, through bets in the derivatives market, to profit from its eventual reversal. In a market at the peak of a mania, where rampant speculation drives volatility for short-term gain, arguably the best place to be is out of the game.

Credit crisis puts law firms in conflict pickle

Contingent liability is a fancy phrase that means that money is being set aside to pay potential damages. Such contingencies do not mean that National Bank would actually be on the hook to pay lawsuit damages or settlements, but rather that, at this juncture, it may be worried enough to set aside some of its profit as a kind of insurance to cover the risk.

Legal contingent liabilities are rare for Canada's banks for the simple reason that the country's handful of chartered banks are so big that lawsuit costs seldom rank as a material financial event. It took seismic events, such as the collapse of Enron Corp. and the U.S. mutual fund trading scandal, to prompt some of the country's banks, most notably Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, to set aside hundreds of millions of dollars a few years ago to cover potential legal liabilities.

The fact that National Bank appears to be contemplating a reserve sends a chilling signal that one of the country's most active sellers of non-bank-issued asset-backed commercial paper fears it may become embroiled in a high-stakes legal slugfest with corporate clients who are now stuck with a share of the more than $30-billion of troubled short-term notes.

Normally the prospect of such a lawsuit rush would excite the hearts of the country's litigation warriors. But there is no litigation fairy in the asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) crisis. Instead, the credit turmoil is shaping into a Hydra-headed monster for major law firms because so many of their clients have become entangled in the credit nightmare.

Thanks for putting this together.

If China is importing 18% more oil,
Who is importing 18% less?

I think there are some clues among the articles posted up top.

Also check out the year over year total petroleum import numbers for the US. We have been meeting product demand by drawing down inventories.

The concluding paragraphs from my Net Export/Crude Oil Inventory article:

My contention is that instead of focusing on crude oil inventories, we need to focus on world net exports, crude oil prices, refinery utilization, product prices and product inventories.

I expect to see crude oil exports trending down, crude oil prices trending up, refinery utilization trending down, product prices trending up, and product inventories trending down.


One feature I think missing from your Export Land Model is that in some cases the amount of crude available for export is negatively correlated with the market price of the crude. Consider I am the king of export land. At the beginning of the year I plan to sell 1 billion barrels at $60 each. I thus create a budget with $40B going to government support, which buys nice things for my citizens. $10B going to the operation of my national oil company; and $10B going to myself for my personal account. Now lets say the actual price averages $80 for the year. Thats $20B extra to spend that we werent planning on. Since I am such a belevelant ruler, I am going to give the people $1B extra in government spending, and give my oil company employees $1B extra in bonuses, and I have $18B to spend on myself. Do you think I am going to spend my time this year sitting in on oil company meetings to devise new exploration strategies, and starting new drilling programs; or do you think i'm going to go shopping for a new yaught and spend the summer cruising? My oil ministers, sure I'd like them to do new exploration, but we have all the revenue we need allready, and they allready have a fat bonus, so we aren't too concerned about new production.
If the price received had gone down, now all of the sudden we would have less revenue to meet our budget, and there would be a big problem on our hands. I might have to cancel some of my spending plans, and you can be sure i would be visiting the oil ministers to insist on getting their production up.
The point is that with a resource controlled by a ruling family or president, they have a fixed amount of money they would like to spend; beyond that they are satisfied and not interested in working very hard to increase production, no matter how badly the rest of the world wants their oil.

Regarding production, I think that the primary factor driving the decline rate is depletion. While I think that private companies are incrementally better than National Oil Company's (NOC's) at producing oil, I don't think that it is material difference.

Consider the fact that Texas and the North Sea have shown decline rates of about -4%/year and -4.5%/year (crude + condensate) respectively since peaking:

Private companies + Virtually no restrictions on drilling + Oil price increase in the years following the peak + Increased drilling = Lower crude oil production.

The function of private companies and NOC's in post peak regions is to slow the rate of decline in production.

So, if NOC's are not investing what they should, I would think that it will probably accelerate the decline rate, but it's just a question of what the decline rate is.

On the consumption side, I expect to see cash flows from export sales increasing, even as export volumes fall, because of rising oil prices--at least initially anyway--probably resulting in increased domestic consumption in exporting countries.


When I was a wee pup in college I was employed writing simulation software. Plant the corn on a certain day, tell it how much rainfall it gets, and how many growing degree days, then check your maturation date and yield. This was given to agronomy students to help them understand the connection between the variables.

The Export Land Model might get a lot more traction if ExportLandModel.com had a nice interface and people could adjust URR, depletion rates, and so forth, then see what the results would be. Do you know anyone who would be willing to set up and code up such a thing, thusly making the model more accessible to mere mortals who don't like digging through graphs and tables with a pencil in hand?


Khebab could look at it after he finishes the net export heavy lifting, although I suspect he will be taking a break after the slides are done.

Its baby stuff in terms of analysis but it only has to get the front page of DailyKos once and a thousand people will come, play, and understand ...

Motivated by your suggestion, I started playing around a little with Excel, trying to create a simulation model. I didn't get very far! Maybe somebody here can get me on track.

I thought what I should do is to create basic supply and demand curves. How about a single supply curve, volume as a function of price. And then two demand curves, one for the internal demand of producers and then another for the demand of non-producers. Of course one could create lots of supply and demand curves, e.g. one for each major global participant.

What ties it all together, of course, is that the equations have to balance. There will be some global price at which the sum of all volumes supplied equals the sum of all volumes consumed.

So that basic equation would get solved for every time step by the simulator. One could then look at the resulting amounts consumed by non-producing nations or whatever other number is of interest.

The first challenge is to get nice shapes for the supply & demand curves.

I think WT's essential point regarding exports is that the elasticity of producers is significantly different than for non-producers. If the price goes up, more profits go into the pockets of producing countries. Surely with the higher prices being paid by non-producers, the producers will be happy to export more petroleum. But if the price goes up by 10%, maybe 7% of that just goes into the pockets of the producer, so the volume they consume goes down only as much as a non-producer's volume would if the price went up 3%.

My instinct is to make the supply-demand curves linear, so then the solutions are just linear too. I'm not sure if this is going to make things interesting enough or not.

The fun thing, of course, is how things change over time. The producing curve(s) should follow the Logistic equation or something similar. Should the elasticity just be some constant???

Then: what about time variation in the demand curves? The simplest thing is just to stick in some time-varying functions that are just assumed. But maybe there should be some real dynamics. E.g. if Qatar can spend an extra zillion dollars this year, maybe building a huge ski resort by the edge of the Persian Gulf, then that will drive up their demand next year - they'll want to be producing the snow for those slopes!

It's a nice little project! Unfortunately I don't know enough Java to be able to make a little applet out of this sort of thing. But if I get a spreadsheet put together, I'd be happy to post it.

I think it is good groundwork to develop an Excel based model and if you'd like to email me I'll take a look at it. Perhaps we can save Khebab some of the footwork by checking and playing with a clumsy version before the time comes to transcribe it into something fun and informative for the masses.

ELM speaks to us, but I think its a little slim for the layman - one has to know the context well to apply it. It would be nice to see a table driven sort of thing that will do scenarios - ie what if the U.S. drops the hammer on Iran? Their production goes out, but so does their gasoline use ... that sort of thing will get another class of interested party digging in and playing around in a way that the current methods of communicating the state of the global oil supply does not.

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So here is a first output from a simple excel simulator. The non-producer starts out bigger than the producer, but the producer has a lower sensitivity to price & so outgrows the non-producer. What is plotted is the consumption of the two players. The non-producer peaks quickly while the non-producer slowly grows and peaks much later.

I would want to determine just what the inputs are first - as a rough guess:

Top ten producers
Top ten consumers
Decline rate by producer
Demand increase by consumer

And then with this I'd want to be able to adjust the parameters and see what happens - do things like "Lets take Cantarell off line for good due to hurricane damage.", "What if the Saudis bring that 900k bpd field back online?", or "What if the U.S. is mental and attacks Iran, ruining their consumption and production?"

It would be nice to have some conclusions that come up based on the numbers - things like predicted price per barrel, number of countries in crisis based on fuel prices, the estimated DOW number, etc.

There would need to be a well organized library - articles on super giant fields, references to producers and what they're up to, and so forth. All of this stuff would all have to cluster neatly around an engaging simulation tool that would quickly permit "what if" play.

That is lots of work to fit the knowledge this site carries into layman's terms and perhaps above ground issues will sweep peak oil discussion into the MSM's daily news of the deeply weird sooner than we'd care to experience the effects.

There are different levels of modeling possible. Let me use planetary posititions as an analogy. Suppose we want to predict the relative positions of mars and jupiter in the night sky.

One way is to put the known eliptical orbits into a spreadsheet. Then the spreadsheet can do a bit of trigonometry to compute angles from coordinates.

The other way is to put Newton's law in, how the force of gravity varies with distance, and let the velocity change depending on the acceleration, and let the ellipses emerge from the simulation.

We have this choice because we can solve, at least for the cimple two-body case, the equations for gravity and acceleration - we know that the solution is the elliptical orbits. If you add in the gravitational attraction between mars and jupiter to make it a three body problem, then the solutions are no longer elliptical, and only the second simulation method can be used. Nobody knows how to solve the three body problem exactly!

The logistic equation itself can be solved, so we have a similar choice here with petroleum production.


So I learn here that the solution is the sigmoid function. The differential equation is the logistic equation - this corresponds to Newton's inverse square law of attraction and the law relating force to acceleration. The sigmoid function is the solution to the logistic equation, just like the ellipse is the solution to the planetary differential equation.

But we can tweak the logistic equation, just like we can tweak the two body planetary system to make a three body planetary system.

The tweak I used for my simulation was to add some price sensitivity to the production equation. The higher the price, the more petroleum is produced. Then I have two consumers who can bid for that petroleum.

So the inputs to my simulation don't include the decline rate of the producer. What goes in the parameters to the differential equations and the initial conditions. E.g. how much recoverable petroleum was there originally and how much has already been produced at the time the simulation is to start. The decline rate is then a result of the simulation - which looks a lot like the usual sigmoid function, of course, but the price ddes vary with time, so it won't be exactly a sigmoid.

Fitting all the parameters to our actual historical reality, that's one nice future challenge. Then of course one can add various external forces or allow parameters to vary over time into the future. It's a spreadsheet! Just a bunch of numbers and formulas! Highly editable!

Also check out the year over year total petroleum import numbers for the US. We have been meeting product demand by drawing down inventories.

If so, that's a sharp change from the end of July, when US total oil stocks (as well as OECD stocks in general) were at the upper end of their 5-year range (IEA, p.29-32).

18% of few barrels is not much.

Worthy of posting I believe, concerning Venezuela's oil industry, pro-China and anti-USA. I had just tagged this onto yesterday's drumbeat when I noticed the new drumbeat for today was up. Thanks.


US Town with 20% to 25% of trips by bicycle

Seven linked web pages about bicycling in Davis California.

I was aware of and very much like a "bike first" traffic signal that gives bicycles a 2.3 to 3 second head start on the green light.


Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


Good on Davis but it probably helps that the place is as flat as a pancake, almost as flat as Amsterdam. A lot of places in the US have more rugged terrain than that, making biking a pursuit for the athletic few. Oh, and most places have something called "winter", something missing from Davis. In "winter", substances called "snow" and "ice" make two-wheelers very hazardous. For some reason, none of these matters plays any significant role in transportation discussions around here.

I have seen quite a few bicycles on the streets of Reykjavik Iceland in the summer, but none in the winter. Using (and making the streets usable for) non-oil transportation for half of the year is certainly better than ALWAYS using a car to get ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE (normality in American Suburbia).

Since the invention of "gears" for bicycle (circa 1910 I think), hills have been far less of a hindrance to bicycling than before. Technology is a WONDERFUL thing ! Portland Oregon has it's share of hills, yet it has the highest % of bicycle commuters in a major US city.

Bicycling can be a path to fitness, and much reduced levels of obesity, diabetes and stroke/heart attack. Without looking, I know that life expectancy in Davis is several years longer than the US average, as is the quality of life.

Besides making polar oil & gas accessible, Global Warming will also make the bicycling season longer as well.

Winter winds are actually a greater hindrance than snow or ice alone to winter bicycling.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


Maybe it is your self-designated role to denigrate all positive bike-related postings with a load of sarcasm, but I live in Boulder, Colorado which has both "winter" and "hills" and (Unbelievable, I know) Boulder still has more than 10% of trips on bikes.

All over northern Europe, plenty of towns have winter, hills, and bicycle mode shares of over 20%.
If you look at http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/BikeWalkPublicHealth_April%206.pdf

You can see that mountainous, wintery Switzerland has over 10% of urban trips by bike (and over 35% by bike/ped).

By comparision, the US has 7% combined bike/ped mode share, while even wintry,mountainous Canada has a 13% bike/ped mode share.

So increasing foot and bike travel is BY FAR, the cheapest, simplest, and most practical way to deal with peak oil. Every day I see low-income workers riding their $100 Walmart Huffy bikes to their jobs. They don't post on the Oil Drum, but they know that riding a bike leaves a lot more of that minimum-wage check for food and shelter, while cars are never-ending money pits.

No one solution works for everyone all the time, but bike/ped travel works for most trips for most people most of the time. When US gas prices reach European levels (not too far in the future) , I think US bike/ped mode shares will start to approach Euro levels, despite the obvious US mis-investments in dysfunctional urban infrastructure.

Hear hear. I just turned my car into the to the repo company today, and yesterday I got a pair of those "solid tubes" for its tires, since the "goat head" thorns are supposed to be really bad around here. I'll be able to drive into town once a week or so using one of the vehicles around here, but the bike may be quite useful and fun to explore this mainly flattish town (chino valley) and it may come in really handy sometime.

Lots of low-income people buzz around every town on bikes. You don't see them because you're not supposed to see them, they're essentially servants. It will seem very jarring when you see middle-class (or ex-middle-class) types on bikes though, because for the first time you'll see those you consider "people" on bikes.

It gets fairly cold here, some snow, occasionally a lot of snow - normal people plan ahead and don't go dashing off to the mall etc during those times. And biking works better in the snow than you'd think.

I meant to say, I have a good older Trek mountain bike I got for $100 and that will be "my own car" for now.

Fleam, appreciate your perspective. Don't know if you're for real, but you sound authentic. Yesterday as I was going into a restaurant in the foothills of the Cascades, there was an older person of indeterminate gender, bundled up, on a bike, going through the trashcan by the door, pulling out the aluminum cans. Slightly blocking the sidewalk, he (or she) apologized, "I'm sorry, sir", which discomfitted me enough to reply, "that's ok. You're alright." And then I blotted it out. One of the invisible people. Until you reminded me. Of all the invisible cyclists I've seen in small towns all over the rural West.

Sidulin, yeah I'm for real. Up until a few months ago was reselling electronic parts and surplus on Ebay, and the car I returned to the repo folks was a Prius. I never expected my business to implode as fast as it did, but I suspect I'm just one kernel in a whole Jiffy-Pop pan full of people whose lives will be imploding financially - failing businesses, real estate refi's, etc.

I know the "bounty" for cans has increased quite a bit lately, I think approximately doubled. I've never tried gathering cans, so I don't know for sure, but I'm not sure if there's all that much money in it. And a lot of competition. I actually am hoping to do a little better than that for myself. Obviously, anything high tech is a loser - there may not be electricity or the internet as we know it in 10 years. I'm kind of banking on my knack for art, and who knows it may be a ticket out of the US if I (a) get good and then (b) do some anti-Neocon cartoons. Oh yeah and (c) am able to physically escape the US - that will be the hardest part.

So I'm not quite one of those bundles of old clothes of indeterminate sex and age going through trash cans, but the mere fact that the working-class often walks or buses or bikes to work makes them invisible - you're not supposed to see them, it's Un-American(tm) to.

If you have Ebay and brokerage skills I would like to hear from you, fleam. There are things that work well when the economy takes a tumble and you sound like you might be a fit for one of my equipment dealer associates ...

gwbush A@T dumbfuck dawt org is a good way to reach me ...

You want Schwalbe tires. German and
stupidly expensive but German-engineered
to never flat. I think they ride
horribly, but much faster, more
comfortable and safer than solid tubes

oldhippie - this is a mountain bike with fat-O tires, it can't possibly be clunkier than the old Schwinn beach cruiser (black of course) with whitewall tires and Mr Tuffies installed, that I used to blow by people on skinny bikes up hills on. Also, the key around here is to not try to break any speed records - on a bike you can go 2x-3x as fast as a brisk walk without really trying.

The "solid tubes" are "made" by Bell, they're actually a sort of foam.

No steep hills here but except for right along Rte. 89 it's all gentle ups and downs. Not too bad.

Lance retired. There's an opening.

Solid tires were, with good reason, abandoned by cyclists in the 1890s when pneumatic tires were invented. Pneumatic tires are more comfortable and offer lower rolling resistance.

The tools needed to fix a flat are lightweight, fixing a flat takes only a few minutes, and Tribulus terrestis is easily avoided once you lean to recognize it.

I used to live in Goathead hell--I recognized Tribulus terrestis (goatheads) but still got many flats until I shifted over to green slime filled tubes. The problem is that the seeds are small, very light and easily windblown.

I grew up biking around towns in New Mexico. Flats? Flats usually meant about a dozen thorns, that you didn't pull out if it was only deflating slow because you'd just pick up more on the way home, and going through LOTS of tubes until I figured out how to pump the green gunk into them without clogging the valves. Even the ones with triple-thick outer surfaces got punctured extremely regularly. When I found solid tires, I was a happy camper.


I recently attended a presentation by the senior transportation planner for Go!Boulder. While the overall percentage of trips may be 10%, I believe the percentage of commuter trips by people who live in Boulder is about 25%. The main problem in Boulder is all the people who commute into Boulder from outside the city. While Boulder has chosen to expand its business base, it has kept the internal population down. I am not suggesting that they should fix the problem by growing the population, I am just saying that the problem they need to tackle are all the commuters from outside the city. The tough challenge, and Go!Boulder is trying to figure this out, is how to get people from outside the city out of their cars.

Btw, Boulder's policy is to build no more roads and no more road expansions to accomodate traffic. If one chooses to use one's car and one doesn't like the congestion, one will simply need to tough it out.

I think Boulder should build park and rides and park and bike around the city at key ingress roads, and figure out a way to get people out of their cars before entering the city. Eco passes are an incentive but people are still addicted to their vehicles. Gradually expand pedestrianization from the Boulder mall, and make car travel so unpleasant and prohibited that people eventually get out of their cars in order to use transit, bike, and walk.

'For some reason..', 'subtances called "Snow" '.. ahem!
A bit snarky, Paul.

Portland Maine has a few decent hills to mount if you're pedalling, which either builds up your legs or your speed, depending which direction you're going.. and you can just get off and walk up the hill, if you really don't feel like working up a lather.. My brother and many others Bike-commute year-round here, with the occasional exception of immediately after a snowfall or during an unbroken Icy spell.

I'd say a much bigger impediment and danger to town/city bike travel is car-behavior, urban design and the driving 'culture' where one lives. Where our fair city has invested in bike trails, you will regularly find joggers, the elderly with walkers, strollers, cyclists- and on snowy days, a few of us on skis.. You can get snow-tires and studded wheels for bikes if you wish, and there are even rigs which turn a bike or trike into a pedal-sled. But mainly, I'd say that if you were willing to bike for 6 to 9 months of the year, you might get a pass for driving or taking the bus during the worst of the weather.


Well, yes, a bit snarky, but so much of the conversation seems to be by and between people who live on the Pacific or Gulf Coast, where nothing ever occurs that I would even dream of calling winter. These are the places where - and I'm not kidding - I've seen people jog in down parkas when it's 45F outside. The perennially benign conditions make for a radically different perspective on transportation, especially in California (and northwestern Europe), where sudden violent thunderstorms are also rare.

In most of North America, bicycles can occupy only a seasonal niche. Even that ignores that they can't quite be relied upon even in summer because of the thunderstorms. So even if exploited more fully, they would be a small silver BB whose effect would be lost in the noise generated by just a few years of population growth. They certainly do not provide a valid excuse to ignore cars and highways, as some would appear to have it, because for a third or a half the year, they are out of use and not a substitute for anything. Even the studded tires from Finland help only modestly. Rubber-tired vehicles are never really safe on icy pavement, and environmentalists have been seeing to it that the streets in many places are not kept ice-free any longer.

"Where our fair city has invested in bike trails, you will regularly find joggers, the elderly with walkers, strollers, cyclists..." Beware, this is likely a problem. When the trail becomes clogged up with pedestrians, it is no longer useful for functional cycling - by functional I mean you aren't just out riding, but you need to get somewhere. In addition, pedestrians resent anything that moves faster than they do - just as cyclists resent cars that move faster than they do - so it may well be only a matter of time before bicycles are banned from those trails for "safety" reasons.

They certainly do not provide a valid excuse to ignore cars and highways, as some would appear to have it, because for a third or a half the year, they are out of use and not a substitute for anything.

If there is anyplace in the US that has chosen to "ignore cars and highways", I have never seen it. However, the opposite, excessive and counter-productive focus on cars and highways to the exclusion of all other transportation modes is ubiquitous.

Humans do not melt and I have ridden/walked through many thunderstorms. I don't find winter cycling nearly as "unsafe" as the heart-attack inducing US pattern of physical inactivity. But if fear makes winter travel on a bicycle unacceptable, there are plenty of trikes and other 3 or 4 wheeled human powered vehicles available. In the Yucatan I watched daily beer deliveries of 20 cases on a human-powered trike that in the US would have been "impossible" without a 20 foot long diesel truck.

It's not the number of wheels. It's the fact that you're sharing the road with 2-ton SUVs that are skidding all over the place. That's why I won't ride in winter.

Cars skidding around is certainly a valid safety concern on a bike. In winter I modify my routes to stay away from traffic, and of course many people do not have that option, but many do. On the slipperiest days I used to use transit (my bike in the bus luggage bay) for the road with high traffic volumes and speeds and then ride the rest of the way on back roads. Cities like Boulder and Davis which have built dedicated bike facilities offer many more opportunities to escape traffic.
It just seems funny to me that people call human-powered transport "unrealistic" when it has been the basic reality for the overwhelming majority of humans. We evolved to transport ourselves and relying on mechanized transport rather than our bodies is a major reason for the obesity and ill-health in the US.
Absent peak oil I still think cultural evolution would eventually give the US urban centers designed for human habitation instead of for rapid motorized transport to some other ugly part of the National Automobile Slum that Kunstler raves about.

I live only 2 miles from the office, and walk when weather permits. (The "alternate routes" are generally worse than the one I usually take, because there are no sidewalks.) I really wanted to go car-free, because I rarely drive more than five miles, and I'm a short walk from a Rent-A-Wreck place for when I would need a car.

But I came to the conclusion that it's not possible right now. It's too dangerous. The weather makes the roads treacherous, and people who drive SUVs think they're bulletproof and drive like idiots. I wouldn't dare go anywhere at night on a bike, because people drive so fast around here. They wouldn't see me until it was too late. And there are areas where I wouldn't feel safe biking even in broad daylight. A couple of my coworkers who tried biking to work, big strapping guys, got mugged. They warned me that commuting on a bike is a risk, because you're too predictable, and they'll ambush you. They're back to driving.

Biker mugging is simply delicious - press for an undercover police patrol in the area and offer prayers to the gods of officer discretion that there will be attempts to resist arrest :-) Behavior like that can't be more than a handful of people and if a few of them fall against the Maglite(tm) the rest will get a clue and find someone else to bother.

All kidding aside, as social disorder becomes more prevalent I think we're going to see biker "crews" riding together for protection ...

Years ago a friend of mine worked at Grant's Guns in Costa Mesa, California. He won a company raffle where the prize was a mountain bike. He rode the bike to work (he lived in garden grove and rode along harbour boulevard) and back on nice days. He also packed a gun. One night some guys in a van skidded to a stop in front of him on a side street and these guys jumped out, saying "nice bike" etc. My friend pulled out his gun, and that was all the kept him from getting the crap beat out of him and losing the bike - probably would have lost his wallet too and could have been killed.

The thing is, over a short distance, a guy running who's got a good sprint can catch a biker trying to take off. So, the "why didn't he take off on his bike?" arguement doesn't work.

The one thing the US needs is to become MORE awash in guns, frankly. Where people are in oversupply, you simply kill off the bad ones, it's simple. In fact we need programs for the poor so they can have affordable guns, the problem with south american banana republics is only the rich (criminals are of the rich there) have them. As gun laws become more restrictive, we're heading towards that instead of back to Colonial America.

And I like the idea of setting a trap for those who mug bike riders, only do it so the muggers become worm food.

100% tax deductible if its magazine compatible with NATO gear, 75% if the ammo fits, and 50% deduction for all others?

I find the AR-15 pattern guns to be whiny little squirts compared to the AK-47 and the Beretta is just too darned big ...

The one thing the US needs is to become MORE awash in guns, frankly. Where people are in oversupply, you simply kill off the bad ones, it's simple. In fact we need programs for the poor so they can have affordable guns, the problem with south american banana republics is only the rich (criminals are of the rich there) have them. As gun laws become more restrictive, we're heading towards that instead of back to Colonial America.

We only have 90 guns for every 100 citizens. What are those other 10 people supposed to do WTHSHTF? Maybe you could start an charity like "Gats for the Ghetto" or "Pieces for the Poor." With a little hard work, and the proper donations, maybe we could get our gun ownership rate up to 95 guns for every 100 people.

NEW YORK - The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released in Geneva recently said. US citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies. About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States, it said.

There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people," it said. India had the world’s second-largest civilian gun arsenal, with an estimated 46 million firearms outside law enforcement and the military, though this represented just four guns per 100 people there. China, ranked third with 40 million privately held guns, had 3 firearms per 100 people. Germany, France, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil and Russia were next in the ranking of country’s overall civilian gun arsenals.

Guns have sporting and self defense uses, but their finest purpose is as an insurance policy regarding the behavior of one's government. We're likely to have an election in 2008. Had we only one gun per ten citizens I think we'd already have an icky dominionist theocracy here.

You have your opinion and while I disagree I would happily pull out the nearest of those guns which I own and join in the effort to ensure that you continue to be able to speak your mind, should any threat arise to the self evident truth that all men(and women) have a right to hold and express their own opinions.


Guns have sporting and self defense uses, but their finest purpose is as an insurance policy regarding the behavior of one's government.

How is this working out? We have 9 guns for every 10 people, but the government seems to regularly (edit SP) thwart the will of the people.

You have your opinion and while I disagree I would happily pull out the nearest of those guns which I own and join in the effort to ensure that you continue to be able to speak your mind, should any threat arise to the self evident truth that all men(and women) have a right to hold and express their own opinions.

You don't know anything about me or my opinion on firearm ownership. I think politically we would find ourselves as allies on most topics, but I'm already too jaded to worry about protecting rights that have long been eroded or trying to push changes in a political system as obviously corrupted as our own is.

Your statement to "happily" pull out the nearest of your guns to protect my freedom of speech rings hollow to me. From what I read of your statements, it sounds as though you are convinced that TS will HTF and are actively preparing for it. With the survival of your own self and your family at stake, why would you care about my right to express my opinion?

I responded to fleam's post with the article on gun ownership to point out the ignorance of his position. There is little to prevent even the poor in this country from acquiring weapons.

Claiming that the solution to overpopulation is to shoot the "bad" people seemed like a pretty ignorant statement. If it comes to the point where were reducing the population through the general use of firearms, it won't matter who is "good", "bad", "right" or "wrong". It will matter more who is quick, organized, has better tactics, and a larger store of ammunition. Not much else will matter at that point.

We only have 90 guns for every 100 citizens. What are those other 10 people supposed to do WTHSHTF?

Grow old enough to fire a gun, I think.

10% of the population too young to fire a gun seems a good guesstimate. Add Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, throw in pacifists and phobias, and you're well above 1 gun per capita.

Problem is many have more than one. Those numbers are just official, I'm sure, I'd triple them. Those physically capable of firing a weapon, but who don't have one, are at grave risk.

"You simply kill off the bad ones" seems risky, doesn't it? The bad ones just might win.

Total numbers of firearms per country is obviously a useless statistic, as long as there's countries that have 350.000 inhabitants, while others have 1.3 billion.

Besides, once gun ownership becomes a life-saving issue on a broad scale, national borders will no longer be all that important, because that's when the law ceases to be what it is today. When it's everyone for himself, you're not going to waste time asking what jurisdiction you're in.

Cause if you do, the bad guys will win.

Bear in mind that the typical US soldier only has one firearm. The typical US cop has oodles. Notice that in that quote above, the numbers for private vs forces-of-disorder were not broken out for US.

cfm in Gray, ME

Leanan -- your concerns about the safety of biking for you in your area sure sound legitimate to me. If you are fearful of biking in your area -- especially under specific circumstances related to traffic, weather, or crime -- then do not do it!

I think that in some instances we over-react to conventional "biking safety" issues as compared to conventional "car safety" issues. however, the issues are very real, and it is good to be aware of specific challenges where you live and to make reasonable choices relative to your own safety.

We need, of course, to work as communities to make biking safer. Just as women should be free to walk anywhere -- day or night -- without fear of harassment or rape, all of us should be able to walk or ride bikes without fear of aggression. The reality is that we live in a violent culture and it is smart to be aware of that.

We need to work at making our world safer for walking and biking. There's going to be more and more of it all the time now.

Bicycles and motorcycles both don't fare well in S Hing t F situations. I'm sure you could dig up plenty of footage of people being yanked off motorcycles and bicycles and beaten/robbed/killed.

Humans do not melt, but they do char. Most cars are still Faraday cages, and can provide considerable (nothing is ever absolutely perfect) protection from lightning.

Most people do not want to arrive wherever they're going mud-spattered and soaked through with dirty water. Most places do not have adequate facilities to cope with that situation. It's not about what people could possibly endure, but about what they're going to tolerate in practice.

The comment about the Yucatan confuses me. They deliver beer while it's snowing in the Yucatan? In any event, most people do not want to be sliding around unprotected or inadequately protected on the ice. That's not about maximum endurance, either, it's about what they're going to put up with.

40,000 deaths per year in cars, 200 deaths per year from lightning, maybe 3 deaths per year from lightning on bicycles...
Bicycles are typically used in urban environments where buildings provide lightning protection...
Good rain gear costs 0.1% of the cost of car.

I agree that most people in the US will choose to impoverish themselves, continuing their auto-dependent lifestyles because they believe any alternative is "impossible". As individuals and as a country, I believe that only economics will overcome our stubborness.
We will continue auto-dependence as long as we can afford to, which will not be very long (look at our current trade and budget deficits). Meanwhile the rest of the world will divert scarce resources to more sustainable and profitable ends.

Only 40,000?

Deaths from Cars. Car emissions kill 30,000 people and car collisions kill 46,000 each year in the U.S. (2) Of these, 25,136 were a result of road departure, 9,213 intersection-related, and 4,749 were pedestrians.


Ten years ago I tried biking to and from work(9miles each way) during the summer.
Every day was a life and death struggle. Terrifying.
Especially the hostile drivers who would yell as they zoomed past.
The odd thing was the route I chose was residential(25mph and 1 and 1/2 lanes each way) but most people don't stop at stop signs.
In the Northern lattitudes the mornings are too dark in Fall so I gave it up.
The very next year, as I was debating biking again, a newly hired coworker was nearly killed biking to work, hit by a pick-up, he wasn't employed long enough for health insurance and it damn near bankrupted his folks.
Biking is always the last option I consider now when travelling.

In most of North America, bicycles can occupy only a seasonal niche.

Nah. Been doing it for years on the 42nd parallel.



Yet somehow I imagine that you're not really interested.

I came to the same conclusion. After I told him about my neighbors biking through the winters in Maine, and he still claimed it was a seasonal niche solution, I shrugged.. oh well. People set up offices with locker-rooms and showers, people learn how to dress for weather, and how to get up and leave home on time. They discover that biking to work actually can be restful and sociable, AND in many situations quicker than driving, cabbing or bussing to the job..

There is still, of course, a massive amount of community redesigning possible that could (should, will) create all sorts of bike access to the far reaches of most cities. I agree with PaulS that the Pedestrian/Bike Interface will become an issue, but there's no reason that it will be insurmountable.. I'd imagine we MIGHT even find out that European(!!) Cities have made some useful strides towards workable Walk/Bike designs. As far as our current trails getting clogged up.. well that should be the worst of our problems! Then we'd have a clear sign for our planners that it's time to build them throughout the cityscape, and even dedicate FULL lanes for Non-Petrol Transport.

I'm the first to admit that Solar and even wind are basically and currently 'Energy Dribblers', and will therefore only really be pretty good BB's in our 'Power Quiver'.. but the Bicycle has the potential to help us in really significant ways; Fuel Demand, Personal Health, Pollution, Use of Space, Use of Materials. Yes, I'm a believer!


PaulS, I think many people do share your misconceptions.

But it is possible to ride bikes, trikes, quads, and velomobiles (fully enclosed human powered vehicles) in all weather.

Here in Minneapolis, MN, I've been doing so on cargo trikes and pedicabs for over 7 years as my main mode of transportation.

Note that there are more bikers here year-round than ever before.

This is a result of necessity for some folks -- the costs of a car and gas outweigh the benefit -- no longer affordable.

This is also the result of increased education, awareness, and responsibility-taking on the part of many folks for the consequences of their own behavior.

Many well-educated and well-off folks are ditching the cars for the commute, and choosing to bike because it is healthy for the planet, the nation, and their own bodies.

We will use more bikes in the future but not in places where they are impossible, perhaps most of this country where it is too hilly; too cold, wet and slippery in winter; too hot dry in the summer, and certainly too distant all year. We are a nation built around the automobile and without the very inexpensive transport the economy revolves around folks will migrate or die. Then when the cities become uninhabitable they will migrate a second time to the farms to be confronted with that age old issue: land ownership and redistribution.

I once visited a major steel plant near the top of Sweden in early December. It was dark and freezing cold. At the end of a shift I was struck by the scores of workers travelling home by bicycle.

As someone who cycles year round in all kinds of weather I would really encourage everyone on the Oil Drum to view cycling as an easy, practical solution for a post-oil society.

The mental and physical health benefits are also immense.

My guess would be the number one reason people commute on bicycles is cost. Maintaining a bicycle is much cheaper then a car. (Not to mention insurance and fuel costs)

I looked this bike over carefully (Trek 8200?) before paying the guy downtown $100 for it - good streight rims, good seat, gears and chain in good shape, I don't expect to need any new parts anytime soon. $40 for the "solid tubes" but the tires on this are newish, so so far I'm $140 in, and I even got a lock with it. $1 for a set of tire levers and $4 for a can of break-free for the chain etc.

this all is less than just the registration for a car.

I knew someone in Sunnyvale who used to get her bikes and tires etc out of dumpsters. She'd mix and match, put on new (new?) tires and tubes etc., and in general spent a bit on bike stuff but not very much. She also weights something like 300 lbs, if there's anyone who's tought on a bike...... but she does it.

In places where bikes are "impossible" people will walk instead. Most of the planet lives this way already. But people's idea of what is "impossible" is radically shaped by their immersion in the US car culture.

My daughter just got back from doing development work in rural Nicaragua. I would estimate the bike/ped mode share there at 98% plus, with just a few private vehicles in the village. I walked for weeks through Nepal in places where cars have never been and will probably never be. Transport was human porters and yaks, through terrain and weather more extreme than anything in the US. Relatively low density agricultural settlements operated fine on human and animal labor.

I don't expect that to happen soon if ever in the US, but the cost-benefit for motorized transport is shifting sharply every day, and eventually the culture will catch up with the economics.

Tommy: There is a running theme on TOD that cars will yield to bicycles (at least partially) because of oil depletion. What is ignored is that in those areas where bicycling or walking is possible, fuel costs to drive a car are negligible. What increasing gasoline prices will hit is the 100 mile round trip commute and the trucking industry. You are not going to be doing that 100 mile commute on a bicycle. If your commute to work every day (by car) is 5 miles, you have other things to worry about rather than gasoline prices and it is quite likely even if gas goes to $6.00 a gallon you are not affected. My point is that there is basically only a tiny fuel cost for your car if your daily commute can be done by bicycle.

But oil prices will affect all the components of car ownership cost. Already, the average US household spends more than $6000 per year on each car. With around $50K average household incomes, dropping back to one car per household is the single easiest way to reduce expenses.

Our family has been living with one car for 3 to 4 drivers for 20 years and investing the savings. At this point I work because I enjoy my work (energy efficiency software) and believe in it. If we had been depreciating 2 new cars every 3 years, I would not have had the investment capital that allowed me to purchase rental properties and make other investments. If reducing car ownership made so much economic sense in the cheap oil days, how much more fiscally advantageous will reducing car dependence be post-peak?

As peak oil starts to bite, the savings will come from not owning cars, not from not driving an expensive, depreciating non-asset. Even the "expensive" gas of 2007 is still only a fraction of the total cost of car ownership.

...even if gas goes to $6.00 a gallon

$6/gallon is N O T the upper boundary.


when gas goes to $6.00 a gallon

Mom keeps asking about my stash in the shed when she gets that crazy urge to mow. Breaking that particular social expectation will be painful :-(

By the time the cost of fuel rises to where most people in larger ethnically mixed US cities park their cars and ride bicycles, security concerns will be so overwhelming as to make the whole discussion moot.

musashi, you may very well be right, but you may very well be wrong.

If security issues get so bad that people are not able to walk or bike in their neighborhoods due to fear of attack, then cars will not be an economically viable option for most people.

Additionally, if you think over the implications of that kind of environment, it is likely that the availability of food, water, medicines, and other basic needs will be destroyed.

I speak as one who bikes -- along with many others -- in an urban area which is largely poor, ethnically and racially mixed, and with a long history of various kinds of crime. (The area has a history of crime, not me....:) )

A biker was killed within three blocks of my home two weeks ago on a night ride to visit a friend. He was a responsible dad of four kids -- two of him are in grade school at my son's school. Being on the board of the Minneapolis Midtown Greenway Coalition, I am keenly aware of violence against bikers and pedestrians.

The key is not to demand more and greater violence. In most cases, the number of perpetrators in a community are few and can be identified and dealt with. Often these people are in trouble for other types of crime as well. Attacks on pedestrians and bikers are not frequent, but one is too many.

We can scare ourselves into hiding, driving cars only, and arming ourselves to the teeth, but none of those things brings liberty or justice.

Solid, committed, ongoing community activism can help.

Again, if we are too frightened to bike or walk in our neighborhoods because of crime then something is fundamentally wrong that will not be addressed by abandoning walking and biking.

We need to address the real problems in our neighborhoods as real citizens, rather than hiding from them.

Like you say, one never knows.

Perhaps you saw the link a few days ago where they stole the groceries from a man that was ran over instead of helping him? It made the papers because it is representative.

It's getting pretty rough and the big problem is that even if just exercising the right to self defense one still has to deal with the paperwork.

IMO if things were to collapse fast it might be better as it would make room for a change, it is the slow irreversible degradation that brings the major problems with it.

I realize that nothing is 0% or 100%, but one has to be pragmatic and go with the odds.
Way I see it the odds of building something with people that pick each other are much better then the odds of building something with people thrown together at random, even if it implies a change of location.

Uh, no. It made the headlines because it was not representative. Man bites dog is a headline. Dog bites man isn't.

What can I tell you, I live two miles away and I bet you don't.

And that is why this made headlines in Boston. Over here it looked like man-bites-dog, because we have our problems, but we live in a part of the country that has a future.

Musahi: IMHO, this (most people parking their cars and riding bicycles) isn't going to happen under any circumstances. A guesstimate: the ave US family has 2 cars each driven 20000 miles a year X 20 mpg = 2000 gals a year. Lots of people in this large city (Toronto) drive their car 6000 miles a year and they don't need to ride bicycles. Double the fuel economy in the future and now the yearly use is 150 gals (same bill at $36/gal). I agree with you that by the time gas prices in the USA hit $36/gallon there will be other more important things to worry about.

The most reasonable thing to do is to look at current societies where annual car costs are greater than average incomes and security issues are very real to guesstimate what would happen in the US under those conditions.

Most large cities in less-developed countries are already experiencing this situation, for example, Nairobi/Katmandu/Delhi, etc. In all these cities, human transportation is primarily ped/bike/transit despite grave security concerns. Don't know what the issue is with "ethnically mixed" and bicycles, but cars do not provide any real security advantage in a city anyway (look at the carbombs and checkpoint shootings in Bagdad,etc.).

cars do not provide any real security advantage

I have a friend who was staying in Nairobi in the early 1990s. He decided to get out - the chaos was spilling out of Somalia. Too many people he knew got killed at stoplights. The carjackers didn't bother asking you to get out of the car. They'd just shoot you through the side window, open the door, drag your body out, and drive away.

At a certain point, a car becomes a liability.

I hear that in Lima, if you drive you really want it to be a total wreck - unless you have a seriously armed convoy to escort you.

I had a college friend that was from Beirut. Even when he was in the states, he was almost physically unable to stop at an intersection if his destination was straight through it. When there was traffic he would want to merge right with the flow and get back on track later rather than stop.
He was a lowrider before it was cool, seat bottomed out and leaned way back to minimize his profile.
All of his driving was styled to avoid a snipers bullet.
Needless to say , me and my buddies usually drove him when we were on the road in the states.
It seems we all may be lowriders in a few years, whether it be a defense against carjackers or snipers. I believe stop signals, when they are working, will often be ignored too.

The thing is though, it is only prudent to plan on the possibility that rationing will be implemented at some point in the future. Just because you might be able to afford the gasoline doesn't mean that you'll be able to get it. Some people will want to preserve what little ration they are entitled to for things other than commuting to work.

As far as the 100 mile folks, their daily commutes are going to become weekly commutes -- if they are lucky enough to hold on to the job and can find a cheap bed near work during the weeknights. Eventually those weekly commutes might have to become monthly commutes, at least until people can arrange to live closer to work on a permanent basis.

I live in E. TN 'in the hills' and wish I could ride my mountain bike without loading it onto my car and hauling it someplace. Sadly the road in front of my house is a two-lane narrow road with deep ditches on either side (it used to rain here a lot) and lots of SUVs. The road right-of-way is wide enough for a 4-lane as there were plans to make it 4-lane by 2000 since abandoned. I wish that that ROW was used for a bike-pedestrian path, but it is not. For me the biggest hinderance to me riding my bike is that, at 65, I have no wish to become a permanent invalid due to an encounter with an automobile. If I get cold I can warm up by pedaling faster; if I fall and scrape my knee it will heal. But getting struck by an automobile would likely put an end to life as I know it.

In circumstances so adverse I would
probably do the same.
More generally most car bike
collisions cause no injury. Sometimes
the bike doesn't even fall. The most
common injuries - scrapes cuts broken
collarbone broken ribs punctured lung
- all heal quickly and pretty

This is a major concern for many people.
I ride a motorcycle and even at 6'6" 290# and armed it is a question in the back of my mind. Considering the attitude of people these days and their lack of financial responsibility the potential cost of medical care in case of an accident makes one think and reduce the most obvious exposure.
IMO this is a major factor in why people drive heavy oversize vehicles.
Most anyone would spend a few extra $ to put their kids in large heavy vehicles to protect them against injury.
This isn't Europe, huge legal and demographic differences.

Regarding snow and ice: cycling in it is indeed for the hardy few. Chicago Bike Winter likes to point out, however, that precipitation is usually not a factor in Chicago winters, and cold & wind can be addressed with proper clothing. Extreme road conditions like blizzards or ice storms are the exception, not the rule. The eight years I lived in Illinois there were only a handful of times that I couldn't ride my bike in to work.

Studded bike tires actually work well, even the cheap ones that I used untill my last bike got stolen some time ago. Before I bought I got the advice that the number of studs was the most important factor to consider. After a couple of winters biking I have yet to fall even once, even when going donw very steep hills covered by a layer of ice, or after heavy snowfall.

Sand and gravel on the pavement in summer is more dangerous in my oppinion, because it is so unexpected. It has caused me to lose control on a moped once, and on a bike several times. Deep snow is actually worse than ice, as long as you are careful the lack of friction isn't a big problem, it's harder to keep in control on snow. It is ofcourse harder work driving around on those big, rough tires than on thinner, smooth tires.

For more on why there aren't going to be a lot of Davis, California's or even Madison, Wisconsin's real soon, go read the SF Chronicle link that cyclelicious cited below. Maybe I was snarky, but I couldn't have made that one up if I tried.

"California was built for the car. Retrofitting it to look like Switzerland will be extremely difficult." I'll say.

"Another problem: an environmental process that can be used to kill projects that neighbors don't want, even though banning growth in an established community can cause it to move to farmland or hillsides on the outskirts instead." Remember, in the public mind, density = crime and declining property values.

Paul. There is no one Public Mind. That is one popularized sentiment, which has rarely matched well with my experiences.

I was always more comfortable in downtown Manhattan than trudging the empty streets of Ritzy Rye, NY or similar spots.

"This house has many Hearts.." Poltergeist


We ought to have a TOD sweepstake for predicting the day oil first hits $100 a barrel. Wisdom of crowds and all that, but it would also be interesting to see the distribution.

How about the "Triple Yergin" Day? That would be $114 a barrel.

I will pick my birthday, 3/23/08. And on that day, we should all toast and take 3 shots of our favorite beverage...

There was a bet between two members at the beginning of the year that oil would hit $100 this year. They locked the money into a pay pal account. I going to say May 2010.

Day is very difficult...likely no one will get it right.

I still stand by my prediction from June that we will see $100 barrel oil before the end of Jan 2008 (due to tightness in supply).

Day makes it interesting and provides for some finessing of the precise date.

Anyway, I take 1st April 2008 - seems appropriate somehow...

Maybe if you can 'bet' on multiple days...frankly, I wouldn't know what to pick(too many variables) other than special days like Thanksgiving day, next memorial day, etc.

I assume that you mean close and not intra-day high ? Which of several markets & crudes ?

Anyway, August 22, 2008 WTI closes above $100.00 for the first time.

Recession will drop crude prices at first, till Cat 3 hurricane seems headed for LA or TX.


I was thinking WTI Crude (to keep the Americans happy even though its no longer the real benchmark, as at http://www.nymex.com/index.aspx) and the intraday price, purely because that's the mark when it will appear all over the news.

Can't find any good ways of automating it so far. If anyone has any pointers...

If the feds do another .5% rate cut at the end of this month, we should see it before the end of the year.

The stock market obviously expects the rate cut. Yet another new record for the dow today.

I've created such a contest. Guess the date that oil hits $100/barrel on the NYMEX, and you score yourself a $100 gift card to Amazon or iTunes, fronted just by little ole me.


Enjoy! Good Luck!

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

This is another Flannery article, from Australia, provided by Matt Mushalik:

Flannery discusses greenhouse gas levels

TONY JONES: Let's start with this IPCC report, due out in November on the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. I gather you've seen the figures and they make for rather sobering reading?

(skips some)

TIM FLANNERY: That's right. We thought we'd be at that threshold within about a decade, we thought we had that much time. But the new data indicates that in about mid 2005 we crossed that threshold. So as of mid 2005, there was about 455 parts per million of what's called carbon dioxide equivalent. And that's a figure that's gathered by taking the potential of all of the 30 greenhouse gases and converting them into carbon dioxide potential, so we call it CO2 equivalent.

This says we passed the turning point from a global warming point of view in 2005!

And all this time I thought we were riding at a still time for change 380. This report, I guess it's true, blows alot out of the water. 450 is Hansen's magic mark, where half the species go extinct if I recall correctly. Though his report specified CO2.

I guess it doesn't matter, as I never really thought we'd stave off coal and peak under 450. It's a new race for the poles.

Peak oil was too slow.

I'm guessing "CO2 equivalent" is not how it's normally been measured and reported in the past. Switching to such a thing now is misleading. Plus, they are most likely not equivalent. One of the big problems with CO2 is that it takes the earth a long time to absorb it back into the oceans or into trees and such. Do these other gases take the same time? Longer? Shorter?

N20 - 120 yrs

CH4 - 20 yrs (IIRC)

CO2 - 500 yrs

This is off the top of my head and for other bits I used the Google.

I know the cycle from 180ppm to 280ppm CO2 has been right around 100k years for the last 650k years - so 1ppm/1k years is the normal rate of CO2 exchange.

CO2 has a certain amount of absorption and methane has something like 23x the effect by volume. We've taken methane from 800ppb to 1,600ppb from 1750 to now. Methane only lasts about ten years in the atmosphere. Do the math on this and atmospheric methane was equivalent to 16ppm CO2 and is now equivalent to 32ppm.

The other two gases of any significance are nitrous oxide and PFCs/CFCs. These together roughly equal the 32 ppm contributed by methane. CFCs and N2O last a century and PFCs are ugly, lasting thousands to tens of thousands of years according to one site I found. Nitrous is a zinger - 200x as effective as CO2, and the chlorine compounds are grim, with multiples in the thousands. CO2 is measured in parts per million, methane in parts per billion, and the CFC/PFC concentrations are parts per trillion, but they all get a sizeable slice in the total warming pie.

This needs to be written up nice and neat - potency of each gas, atmospheric lifespan, and trends from 1750 to present day.

A strong analytical reader would want this detail if they had a deep interest in global atmospheric chemistry. I agree with your concern regarding bringing CO2 equivalence into the mix now - just more fodder for the confuse, delay, and deny crowd.

"I agree with your concern regarding bringing CO2 equivalence into the mix now - just more fodder for the confuse, delay, and deny crowd."

Disagree. CH4 has been talked about and around for awhile. Same with CFC's Yea, they might try to confuse with it, but it'll fall on their heads. Maybe we shouldn't post those pics of the Arctic either.

The whole mess is just spiraling around our necks, and the time is now! It's cascading with a speed no one anticipated, save perhaps Lovelock.

Look at the author-"Australian of the year Prof Tim Flannery". A scientist with a little celebrity clout to boot. Doesn't hurt, though I'm sure they will ridicule his relation to wind energy.

"we can reduce emissions as strongly as we like - unless we can draw some of the standing stock of pollutant out of the air and into the tropical forests, we'll still face unacceptable levels of risk in 40 years time." Strong words. I wish we had a real way of doing it. I don't think his plan of tropical exchanges with the wealthy will go over. But I think this business of calling it good by growing algae in plastic baggies next to electric coal plants is a sham.

Duct tape and baggies, solutions for terrorist attacks and global warming.

I disagree with your disagreement, sir.

I see dumb people, doug, and I often stop to talk to them if time allows. Dumb encompasses two sorts, the ignorant, for whom there is hope, and the truly stupid, for whom there is Faux News.

These people, who are somewhat less hyperinformed that the average TOD reader, are still saying things like "even the scientists don't agree about global warming!" and "yeah, but the earth was cooling in the 1970s!" Adding even one more variable to the CO2 = death for all equation will allow the debate to go on ... well, until some serious nonlinear wrath of Mother Nature kicks the door open and leaves a big, fat, stinky climate change foot holding it open in perpetuity.

I have great confidence in the gullibility of my fellow Americans regarding these matters ...

I guess further response is pointless-I think we both know and understand each other's arguments, and your position is readily confirmed on this board. But I don't believe in withholding information. Nor presenting false or misleading information. And those always seems to bite you in the rear later.

Throughout the Arctic, the picture is being painted in colors that can't be easily erased. Or denied. To me, the problems of currency or oil or despotic government pale.

I find it almost unbelieveable how disconnected so many are. Posting from a cafe with a latte in hand, I imagine... All is intellectual. No real idea how a rainless summer just ruins your whole day, to paraphrase an older saying. How tenuous our situation is. If we were a less "advanced" culture, more intimately connected with at least our food, we'd be sacrificing young virgins everywhere. Maybe that's what's lacking.

I wish for a Reader's Digest version of http://realclimate.org - one that simplifies things for the masses, yet has the punch of the entire scientific community behind it. I recognize I'm an autistic adult with a circumscribed interest in such things - the rest of the world will not care so much, at least not until their hair catches fire in the noonday sun :-)

Zhuangzi(Daoist writings similar to Laotse) on the wisdom of trying to influence politics and world events:


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

Qatar says oil prices should top 100 dollars

Is Quatar already listed on the axis of evil? I think they urgently need to be brought democracy and freedom ..

Re: Oil to soar above $90 next year says expert

Bahrain Economic Society senior economist Mohammed Habib Ali told the GDN that a combination of the growth of economies such as China and India, continuing global population increases and rising consumption within top oil-producing nations will push the price of crude to record levels next year.

"Oil will reach above $90 next year and the problem is not politics or economics as much as it is geology," he said.

"Oil by many estimates has reached its peak and both production and the number of new oilfields found are decreasing - but at the same time world population is growing and is estimated to reach its peak around 2030."

Nice catch, Leanan. Looks like a candidate for helping create TOD:Middle_East.

There was a fascinating article a few weeks ago, published in Saudi Arabia, that talked about their huge energy reserves and the wonderful business opportunities in Saudi Arabia. No mention of oil exports though.

The implication of the article was that if your energy intensive business needed an assured supply of energy, you should relocate to Saudi Arabia.

Those that follow the exportland model of westexas should take a look at this article.

An economist from Bahrain specifically cites five oil exporting countries as being the source of increasing oil demand in a world that has reached peak oil production – with geology being the reason why oil output can not be further increased from here.

The economist also clearly implies that oil should appreciate in value faster than US dollar denominated investment. As much as we would usually like our friends and neighbors to “get” peak oil, if OPEC gets it too, they might decide it’s better to hold on to their existing reserves and save them for their own growing internal demand.

I suppose it's kind of pointless to post updates from The Housing Bubble blog--we could just say that things are incrementally worse this week versus last week, but the visual imagery in this comment was interesting:

The News Post from Maryland. “The executive director of the Frederick County Builders Association said those in the housing field should have been more prepared for the real estate downcycle.”

“‘Housing bubble? It was more like a dirigible filled with hydrogen, an explosion — kaboom,’ Bryan Patchan said, addressing the Frederick County Association of Realtors.”

Bonddad is at it again today over at DailyKos.com with an ARM disaster update.


"The Housing Hindenburg"

... temporary diesel shortage ...

Just when Drum Beat looks to be all gloom and doom this one bit of levity pops up :-)

The one about the Utah cops being forced to limit their driving ended on this note:

Wilcox said the restriction is like a kidney stone — "it will pass."

Or maybe not...

CNBC is cohosting the Republican debate later today. Their question of the day was which of the following four topics would be the most important thing for the next president to focus on:

Government Spending
Health Care
Free Trade

Let's see. What is missing from this list? Anyone? Anyone?

Restoration of our civil liberties?
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I'd like to see Maria ask this:

Gentlemen, it was reported today that the IPCC report due out next month will show that global CO2eq has passed the critical tipping point of 450 ppm, and did so in 2005.

Do you, Mr [X], worry this might undermine economic growth during your term?

{and what she of course is asking How the friggin hell will you prepare the American public and indeed the rest of the world for the global runaway catastrophe that's already beyond control, during your term of office?}

Follow-up Q: Some people suggest oil production and exports may peak during the next presidental term, how...

Hope Maria's listening.

I'm surprised health care is on the list. Perhaps they will debate how many more peasants can lose coverage before they storm the gated communities. Under free market theory the high cost of health care is due to too many people wanting access.

What we need is a leader like Queen Elizabeth I. Her speech to the British forces assembled to fight off an expected invasion by Spanish troops on the approaching Spanish Armada:

My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

Elizabeth I of England - 1588

No Westexas.

You have model of your own already. You just need to find a man or woman as great as this man:


or this:


or this:


or this:


or this:


I could go on….

Always worth a read.

I am sure the Miller Centre won't mind too much for cut n pasting of this man’s speeches.

Actually, I was just looking for a shameless opportunity to plug Queen Elizabeth: The Golden Years. The movie starts Friday.

Our daughter (now 25) never went to Disney World, but before she graduated from high school she had been to Europe four times. After returning from our first trip to England, when she was about 10 years old, she had to give an oral report on an important leader, and she chose QEI, reading an excerpt from the above speech as part of her presentation. It was quite an empowering moment for a 10 year old. We are going to go see the movie this weekend.

There are many experts that would rate QEI's Tilbury Field speech as one of the five or ten greatest speeches ever made in the English language.

Two of my favorite great speeches are:

Sadat's speech to the Israeli Knesset

Bill Moyer's 'Pass it On' speech

Ron Paul just gave the other candidates unmitigated hell over the prospect of attacking Iran, especially without a declaration of war by Congress.

Fred Thompson quote a few minutes ago "there's enough oil out there for the indefinite future"

out there must be the galaxy. Or maybe someone told him about the methane hydrates about to ooze out of the soon-to-be former permafrost.

Naturally this retard is supported by the MSM (unlike Ron Paul).

Maybe it was in his own 'code', and he was just praying that noone would ask him just what he means by 'indefinite future'..

Too bad R. Paul has so many reactionary attitudes along with his alleged anti-war (read: isolationism)stance, and defense of personal liberty (unless you need an abortion).

I can't quite see why people think he's so great.

Find your candidate!


I tried it and came back with Ron Paul.

Ugh. None of them is a match for me.

Vote Cthulhu, why settle for the lesser of two evils? :-P

Ha! You're one tough cookie.
Admittedly it is pretty slim pickings.
Theres always what once was the Natural Law Party.

Ron Paul will tell them what is important. LOL.

Maybe the police should switch to motorcycles, or Toyota Priuses. Hell forbid that they don't have a 350hp (a guess) Police Interceptor. Maybe then they'd figure out to use the radio for police chases instead of the gas pedal.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

The highway patrol in Missouri has recently purchased new Chevy Tahoes to replace some of their Crown Vic cruisers.

That's merely to catch speeders. They see the Vic, they slow down. They see an SUV, they think it's another soccer mom broken down.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

The problem is that the Crown Vic with the police package is one of the very few cars that can stand up to the wear and tear of running non-stop for 12+ hours/day, every day, in all weather & terrain. Even many SUVs aren't up to it.

Another issue: even relatively thin and fit police men and women take up a lot of extra space with their gun belts on. They just need a roomier vehicle than most of us do.

It would be very much preferable, of course, if the automakers would build other, more fuel efficient cars that were up to the job. The automakers know that the police have been begging them for these for years. Nevertheless, year after year, they keep turning out the same gas guzzling crap.

Being a car designer I once asked a Highway patrolman what he thought of the SUV he was driving.
He replied "they couldn't make 'em big enough." because of the horrific crashes he'd responded to.
He said he wanted "plenty of metal around him" and the only vehicle that "held up in crashes" were SUV's.

Apologies if posted previously

"Greenhouse gas emissions hit danger mark"


Pretty Bleak. From the report due November, we've hit the 450 mark. Anyone have Hansens thoughts on this report?

I haven't seen any articles about Hansen since he did that Nobel conference a few days ago. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Must have gone hunting with Cheney

Hello TODers,

A copy of my Oct. 4th posting from the stock POT message board on Yahoo Finance:
FF-time dependency release of NPK energy density

I assume all of you are now regular readers of TheOilDrum.com [TOD], Dieoff.com, EnergyBulletin.net, and LifeAfterTheOilCrash.net.

As Peakoil Outreach percolates into a greater population percentage of awareness, the desire for enriched and bio-vibrant topsoil will start to increase exponentially. This will only further leverage demand for POT's product lines.

Those readers that have carefully studied my earlier postings in this message board, and in the archives of TOD, clearly understand that the basis for modern civilization is dependent upon the continued success of agricultural roots.

The short-term, extractive, and depleting process use of fossil fuel supplies [FF] to mine, beneficiate, and distribute longer-term release NPK and other source elements continues to constantly re-equilibrate a 'market commodity contango' mindset. Decreasing global grain reserves, droughts, biofuel growth, and rising food prices also serve to further leverage NPK fertilizer demand to the benefit of the two controlling consortias of CANPOTEX & URALKALI. POT can only benefit from the Peakoil imperative of collapsing consumer 'wants' to essentail survivor 'needs' [Recall Maslow's Hierarchy].

Optimal timed plant uptake of NPK over the crop lifecycle has been genetically determined by Nature if humans can meet the volume and energy density topsoil requirements above the Liebig Minimums. The time spectrum compression problem arises from the inherently inefficient 'flashfire' one-time use of FFs to the 'gradual geographic release' and greater embedded-energy density of final process NPK.

Thus, ever-decreasing postPeak FF-quantities will make it evermore problematic to ensure time-dependent NPK processing and global distribution to even more time-dependent synchronicity with seasonal planting and crop rotation cycles. This too can only help fuel greater price increases and profitabity for POT.

Hopefully, this brief sketch of the larger FF & biosolar energy context that POT is thermodynamically contrained to operate in can yield further investing insights as Entropy gradually time-constricts the shrinking palette of options as we go postPeak.
After water, nothing is more important than productive topsoil for peaceful mitigation [those with a violence-mindset would argue weapons rank 2nd after water because of the easily higher ERoEI obtainable from using the business end of a gun or arrow]. Of course, this posting generated no replies because of the super-extreme discounting mindset of the day-traders on this message board. They are already waging financial war against each other with their hourly trading executions and the net result can be seen in the faces of the starving children globally. Such is life.

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

Hello Bob,

Glad to see your back. Missed your posts of late.


PS. December corn was down to $3.24 and the grainery was setting the 'basis' at $0.60(down from $0.9x earlier in the month.so that nets out to a far lower price that what many say it is..........Farmers are looking at rapidly increased seed costs per bag(does about 2 1/2 acres), much higher fertilizer costs, and increased land rental costs..yet if the market goes down you can bet the other costs will NOT...and that can be very problematic...around chere we are getting ready to plant soft red winter wheat...soybeans averaged 30 bu/ac(not that good) but corn exceeded expectations..some as high as 200 bu/ac...and the genetics seemed to have fought off most of the drought...

Hello Airdale,

Thxs for responding. Sorry for the late reply, but I had to go to my dentist immediately after posting. I am trying to get my teeth rehabilitated so I can chew 'survival woodbark' in the future.

Unfortunately, during the earlier, and very stressful timeframe of the fairly rapid decline and demise of my father in 2005: My involuntary jaw compression movements during my nightime sleeping hours cracked some of my teeth. For mental distraction while the dentist is busily drilling and grinding away: I imagine oilrig drillbits doing the same to sedimentary layers far below the surface.

Question: Do we give Mother Nature a shot of numbing Novacaine before we drill & mine & extricate for untold miles & volumes, or is she really starting to get pissed off from the pain?

Anyhow, POT is up $9.25 [roughly 9% today]. I hope my numerous NPK postings have had something to do with this rise, but that is probably delusion on my part.

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

My involuntary jaw compression movements during my nightime sleeping hours cracked some of my teeth.

You set off the alarm bells.
Sounds to me that TMJ Disorder is next on the list of misfortune headed your way, Bob.
Be careful if your dentist offers to make a night guard dental appliance for you.
Mine was made by an office of the University of Michigan.
I developed TMJD after wearing the appliance.
An oral maxillofacial surgeon or orthodontist specializing in TMJD is the one to make your appliance for you.
Good luck.

"Hello Bob, glad to see your back."

That's kinda like "Here's your hat. What's your hurry?", isn't it?!

I have a slightly OT question about how savers should handle the dollar collapse and I beg indulgence.

I have a female friend who has a bank account fat enough to purchase a house outright due to her husband's death and my baby brother has several times that due to his wife's death a year ago.

Both are listening a little bit about the dollar's collapse and I think they'd move it all, but I'm not sure where to send them. I would do something like Everbank for a small amount and I plan on this for my payroll but I am uncomfortable giving advice on these larger amounts.

I would like to hear what strategies those of you who have $5,000 or more have used. Neither of these people will be in a big rush to get at the funds - they have jobs, mortgages they chip away at, and they view these nest eggs as rainy day money.

I think oil company stocks make a great inflation hedge. We all know what is going to happen to the price of oil. Mining stocks also are a great hedge against falling dollar and inflation. If they don want to buy individual stocks, condiser an Energy ETF which buys a basket of all the energy companies.

These people are not sophisticated investors - one will make me sleep on the couch and the other will beat me up if anything goes wrong - I was more looking for a way to turn dollars into euros over the next year or so while the dollar does its death spiral ...

Why do they keep mortages if they have the money to repay them? Compound interest is 100% guaranteed loss. You could live for peanuts without one

You keep a mortgage because you write off the interest, obviously, unless they earn enough to be AMT'ed. The money not put into the house goes into oil and fertilizer equities. Both POT and MOS rate a "Yikes!" today, and over the whole past year. And other contributors here have suggested going into PBT and SBR as pretty much guaranteed sources of 9% return.

I see this nonsense about tax right offs all the time. Unless you are paying right at (or less) than the deductible in interest, you're paying out in interest more than the deduction is worth. You are almost always better off not paying interest on loans.

You keep a mortgage because you write off the interest, obviously,

Yes I like sending the bank $7,200 a year so I can avoid sending the Goverment $1800


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

The correct comparison is between the rate at which you can safely invest the money (IE a Savings account, or CDs) and the "mortgage interest tax adjusted" rate at which your fixed mortgage is held.

(To compute the "tax adjusted" rate you subtract the amount of the tax deduction from the actual interest you paid, and recompute the actual interest rate)

Compare that to what you are earning on your savings, and you can determine what is best for you to do.

Note - for anyone that actually has this dilemma - it would probably be best to consult with a qualified financial planner to figure out what is best FOR YOU.


I've never understood the mortgage deduction argument: Although deductible interest is far preferable to non-deductible interest, it's still a dead loss. For example, which of the following situations is preferable?

1. You pay $1000 in interest but don't owe taxes on it; or

2. You have the $1000 but owe taxes on it.

Fortunately, people instinctively understand this. If we didn't, we'd be refinancing our mortgages at higher interest rates in order to increase the interest deduction!

I think you misunderstand. The argument is trivial. You have to have a place to live. Either you buy it or you rent it, those are the usual options in the USA. (In France, another occasional option is en viager.)

If you rent it, you pay the rent out of after-tax income. If you "own" it on an interest-only mortgage, you pay the "rent", excuse me, mortgage, out of before-tax income. For middle class folks the difference is large. So paying "rent" is far preferable to paying rent, yet paying too much of either one remains illogical.

In addition, if you pay "rent", you get to cash out any increase in value if you wish. And the current crash does nothing whatever to alter the long-term trend that housing only goes up; it just brings the price a little closer to the trend. That trend is guaranteed by ever-increasing government regulation (when do they ever repeal a costly rule?), by the fact that they aren't making any more land, and perhaps by increasing cost of certain commodities such as lumber. Perhaps, as alleged by some around here, some exurban property will go down and stay down. But only time will tell, and I would hate to bet against ever-more-expensive regulation and bureaucracy, because most of that problem is very local and it will only get worse under relocalization scenarios.

I think you misunderstand.

If I own $100,000 on a mortgage and I have $100,000 invested somewhere else I would be much better off paying off the mortgage. (alert)But if you want I will send you $1 for every $2 you send me.(end alert)

Let's say you get taxed at 30%. For every $1000 you pay in interest on your mortgage you get to NOT pay the taxman $333.

Makes sense to me


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

If I own $100,000 on a mortgage and I have $100,000 invested somewhere else I would be much better off paying off the mortgage. (alert)But if you want I will send you $1 for every $2 you send me.(end alert)

Let's say you get taxed at 30%. For every $1000 you pay in interest on your mortgage you get to NOT pay the taxman $333.

AND you get to invest that $100,000.

Assuming $6,000/yr "rent" (interest-only mortgage) and 8% return on investment (typical long-term rate), that's $6,000 of mortgage payments + 30%*($8,000 investment return - $6,000 paid interest) = $600 tax payments vs. $8,000 investment returns = $2,400 net profit.

Being able to deduct interest makes a huge difference. And helps explain the housing bubble.

You are right, mortgages don't make sense for your home. To pay 10,000 interest to avoid paying $2,000 taxes is just plain dumb if that is what people are doing. For the most part, wealthy folk don't have mortgages on their homes (unless leveraging for their investment ventures).

Here is where a mortgage comes in. You have $100,000, and can invest it in a commercial venture that earns you 10%. You can get a $900,000 mortgage and leverage your cash and make 10% on the whole thing. So now you are making $100,000 per year rate of return.

The mortgage say is 5% and so $45,000 is paid as interest, plus you get to save 20% or more of that, AND get a depreciation on the $1,000,000 property and collect the $100,000. For the first five years anyway you basically make the whole $100,000 per year and within ten years can own the thing outright. You just turned $100,000 into $1,000,000. Now the last ten years your property probably doubled as well. (Then you are the one building the building and you get to pocket $200,000 up front if you do it right - you make $300,000 the first year and your off on your next project). That is the power of the mortgage.

PLUS you can do a tax free exchange of the real estate if you sell and turn around and buy another property which by the way you can also leverage. $1,000,000 can then turn into $10,000,000.

That's what mortgages are for.


I put a lot of my savings into gold three years ago because I was afraid the war would create a bad case of inflation in the U.S. I figure it will continue to gain value because the government seems not to care about preserving the dollar's value.

Would they look at you weird if you suggested gold?

I guess I was thinking ultraliquid - like having an Everbank card and access to euro denominated savings. I guess gold would be good as well, but I don't know that much about what to do ...

One keeps a mortgage because he had a mortgage the day before and change is hard for him. The other is quite proud of her ability to make it on her own and she has set the insurance aside for ... sentimental reasons? Like I said, not sophisticated.

Seems like Ms. I have enough to pay off the house will do well to let it sit as euros for a year or so, then pay off her house and buy a farm in the country, all for just the price of paying off the house today.

FWIW I think this is a potentially disastrous strategy. Currency speculation is not for the faint-hearted, as currency risk is not an insignificant factor.

The bearish consensus against the dollar is at an extreme, but consensus is derived from looking in the rear-view mirror. When almost everyone is bearish, most will have placed their bets against the dollar already, leaving few to sustain the trend. IMO we should see a sharp reversal of the dollar in comparison with the euro in the not too distant future.

I would also say that carrying debt while failing to protect liquid assets adequately is highly inadvisable, tax benefit or no tax benefit. IMO no one who can afford to be debt-free should be carrying debt. So many people are completely inured to the risk that being in debt can carry, and IMO a very large percentage of them are about to become reacquainted with risk the hard way.

I keep a small amount in GIM, a closed end mutual fund in foreign bonds. They have recently moved completely out of the euro. I see this as semi-secure place to keep semi-liquid funds (when it appreciates too much, too fast, I prefer long term capital gains vs. short term).

Currently a few cents above asset value ( XGIMX is the symbol for yesterday's asset value).

ASIA 47.0%
EUROPE 30.8%
TOTAL 100.0%

Currency speculation is not for the faint-hearted, as currency risk is not an insignificant factor.

I would add that I wonder why anyone would think the Euro is such a safe currency compared to the USD. It went up for a few weeks, but so what?

Looking at the state of the European banks, It's hard to be too confident. See the Finance Round-Up.

The ECB has pledged unlimited funds to keep the banks rolling. That will devalue the Euro. Which in turn is what they are looking for, they feel the Euro is far too strong right now. Not an ideal place to park your assets, tp put it mildly.

They have already pumped far more credit into the market than the Fed, but the intended effect has been AWOL.

Look for them to keep pumping. And look for another place to put money.

I think that the Financial Sense guys pointed out that something like 18 out of 20 of the largest economies in the world are increasing their money supplies by double digit rates.

Yeah, looks like a race for who can inflate their currency the most. Nobody wants to be caught on the wrong side of the dollar. Which is not that strange, given that they all hold large amounts of dollar-denominated assets.

Makes the Chinese resistance to renminbi re-valuing look much less crazy, doesn't it?

Still, the official policy for both Fed and ECB is to fight inflation. Really, boys?

I personally am not especially comfortable doing naked currency speculation; instead, I've put more and more of my funds into an unhedged European stock index, and several single country (Canada, Brazil, Australia) indexes. The thinking is that you get both the currency valuation and the underlying stock runup.

I guess I was thinking ultraliquid - like having an Everbank card and access to euro denominated savings. I guess gold would be good as well, but I don't know that much about what to do ...

One keeps a mortgage because he had a mortgage the day before and change is hard for him. The other is quite proud of her ability to make it on her own and she has set the insurance aside for ... sentimental reasons? Like I said, not sophisticated.

Seems like Ms. I have enough to pay off the house will do well to let it sit as euros for a year or so, then pay off her house and buy a farm in the country, all for just the price of paying off the house today.

Assuming you live in the US, the loonie is a lot better option than the Euro. Many canadian banks also have branches in the US and you can access your money through one of those banks if needed.

If you want to actually make some money, take a look at some canadian banking stocks. Good returns, good dividends, good future prospects for their currency.

That might have been true sixty days ago but its not the case now - there is thirty billion plus in nuclear waste paper up there they thought was negotiable and the banks and large companies stuck with it are lawyering up. They're a step behind us but they're walking the same trail as the U.S. and British banks are.



They're a step behind us but they're walking the same trail as the U.S. and British banks are.

Three German banks have been bailed out already, France's finances are in deep contaminated mud.

Spain has the biggest housing bubble on the planet, 800.000 homes built in 2006, more than UK, France and Germany put together.

Those 4 countries have half the EU population, or 250 million people. All the smaller rest are in equally profound doo-doo, to varying degrees.

Switzerland is not EU, but has been, like Japan, a main source for the carry trade, since it lowered its interest rates as close as it could to the freezing point. Then again, Switzerland will probably survive longer than anyone.

There's more money in the secret accounts there than anywhwre else on the planet, probably all put together. The haves of the world won't let the Swiss collapse, and that means propping up the currency too: the country has to remain orderly.

Canada's ABCP crisis, in which $40 billion remains frozen, has a one-on-one link to EU banks. Tell you one thing: if they bought Canadian worthless scrap, they're heavily sunk into US toxins too.

The last few installments of the TOD:Canada Finance Round-Up are full of articles on the topic.

Short: the Euro is not what it seems.

That might have been true sixty days ago but its not the case now - there is thirty billion plus in nuclear waste paper up there they thought was negotiable and the banks and large companies stuck with it are lawyering up. They're a step behind us but they're walking the same trail as the U.S. and British banks are.

No, that is still the case. The paper they are talking about is illiquid, it is not toxic. There is a HUGE difference between the two. Illiquid paper will eventually work its way through the system, we will see market value for it, and it will once again be liquid.

Pretty much the entire western world has the exact same problem as the Canadians. There are some pretty significant differences there, though.

Canada's resource base is a HUGE one. Here we are on The Oil Drum, a peak oil web site, and you are arguing that the country with massive natural resource reserves, including oil, is a bad long term bet. It boggles the mind.

Canada also has a lot of options that other nations do not have. They can play with their interest rates if they feel it is warranted without crashing their currency.

Another big difference is that unlike in the US and Europe, Canada has not leveraged that paper. The potential losses are essentially limited to that $40 billion. There is no mystery bleed through, and you would be hard pressed to find anybody competent who would be willing to argue that a $40 billion loss to the Canadian economy would be disastrous. In the real world there is no possibility at all that the loss will be $40 billion. $10 billion would be the upper end of real losses there. The value of those securities is not going to drop to zero. That is just foolish.

When you look at a nation and analyze its currency, what you are doing is comparing it to other nations, not to itself. While there is a minor bump coming for the Canadian finance sector, even the worst case scenario is little more than a bad bump in the road.

This is liquidity and valuation issue.

Absolute worst case scenario would be if Canadian banks ended up on the hook to provide liquidity for the entire $140 billion. That is what the Bank of Canada is for. All they have to do is agree to allow the use of ABCPs in medium to long term repo agreements and the whole problem vanishes overnight.

If they wanted to do it in a manner that did not disrupt their currency at all, they could raise their overnight lending rate at the same time.

Those are all grammatically correct sentences and it seems logical ... but the reporting on it says "not good" (deferring to authority, how unlike me) ... and their biggest trading partner is swirling down the drain. My financial product consumer confidence for the loony is low ...

Those are all grammatically correct sentences and it seems logical ... but the reporting on it says "not good" (deferring to authority, how unlike me) ... and their biggest trading partner is swirling down the drain. My financial product consumer confidence for the loony is low ...

You have to ask yourself "not good compared to what??"

Compared to the US and Europe, where they took asset backed securities and leveraged them 10, 20, or even 100 to one and then spun off a trillion dollars worth of derivatives, the Canadian situation is pretty tame.

Canada's biggest problem right now is that their biggest trading partner is swirling down the drain. Ultimately Canada is going to have to diversify their export market which is going to requires some political will since in large part the US kind of views Canada's resources as US property and has always kind of called first dibs on Canada's industrial output.

Finding a new home for their resource exports is a no brainer..the Chinese are falling over themseleves to get into Canada and buy up whatever resources Canada is willing to sell them. Finding a new home for their manufactured goods may be a little trickier and may cause some problems but they are in no way unique. Everybody has the same problem in that regard.

One universal truth when it comes to investment and economics is that if you could actually make a lot of money listening to the talking heads and reading the public domain articles, everybody would already be rich. That is obviously not the case. You have to gather what information is out there and then put it together yourself. Analysts who are actually worth a damn work at fortune 500 companies and pull 7 or 8 figures a year until they retire at 30.

Mish is a good example. I like him. He does a good job of ferreting out all the pertinent information. Sadly he absolutly sucks at drawing a reasonable conclusion based on that information.

Canada's biggest problem right now is that their biggest trading partner is swirling down the drain. Ultimately Canada is going to have to diversify their export market

Some context, from StatsCan's trade data:

  • Exports: US receives 76% (Jul07), down from 84% (Aug05)
  • Imports: US supplies 51%, down from 56%

Roughly 25% of Canadian exports to the US are petroleum or bitumen products (rising), 15% are automotive (falling), metals are about 5% (rising), and other categories are lower.

Diversification! "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is still sound advice.

Au & Ag

Eagles or Maple Leafs.

One shoebox is big enough to hold ALOT of Au.

They should be able to find a place to put it (Not A Safe deposit box) that it would be available when needed.

If you don't have it in your hand when the music stops, you don't have it.

This whole business just stinks. Pay off the house in town? Buy a property in the country? A shoe box with $60k in Au in the house? NOT!

I hate only having a little to spend for prep each week, but thinking about how to handle 100x the amount is giving me a headache.

I don't think any of us will have to worry about having too much money to deal with in the future - a few of us realize this now. Many more will realize this when the Depression really gets under way.

The US PATRIOT act apparently prevents me from getting a bank account, I learned today. So it's strictly coffee-can banking for me!

Fortunately drawing portraits at fairs, swapmeets, etc., does not involve dealing with checks, it's a cash biz and that paper cash may be turned into Au coins as soon as possible. Storekeepers will pay me cash for any art or crafts I sell to them, or I just won't sell to them. Horse stable work around here seems to be paid in cash.

Silver is money. Gold is money. Barter is money. Paper is well.... paper.

I agree.

Treasury claims power to seize gold and silver.

Ya, and the DEA has the power to seize Pot and Drugs.

And during Prohibition you couldn't buy a drink if you want too. They had the right to seize acohol. Right.

Anyone who has physical Gold/Silver shouldn't be too worried about it. I agree with Kunstler that if it is a collapse, they will have a hard time answering the phones.

You will find gold/silver merchants on every other corner.
Legal or not.

I am greatly frustrated by the lack of small increment($250 - $500) silver purchase possibilities. Everyone doing less than whopping bags wants to sell $10 worth of silver for $25 due to numismatic value.

Hrm ... buy $4,000 bag of coins, break up, mark up, and off to Ebay I go? Must investigate this tomorrow, but tonight I have a pear harvest to bring in ...

Silver Eagles or Mapleleaf coins, or just 1 oz rounds or bars... something like $14 a piece these days.

The storekeepers won't be allowed to sell to you unless you are on the approved list. Right now it is a "disapproved" list that your local bank checks - I found that out recently - but it's only a matter of time before it changes over to "approved".

At some point, anonymous cash won't be allowed. OTOH, if the Tainter complexity thing kicks in first, it all falls apart. I find myself hoping for every sort of disaster just to keep life tolerable - the alternative, more growth, is so much worse!

cfm in Gray, ME

I saw someone at my local bank the other day whom I've known around thirty five years. She wouldn't let me open a local account because she couldn't identify me - had to have a social security card.

The Department of Homeland Security is one thing that will need some serious trimming as government revenues fall ...

So show them the card.
You think you are going to get the jobs you applied for without one?

I haven't had to show my card for years ... not even sure where it is.

That's peculiar... Last I heard there were still rules against using a social security card for identification. Then again, a while back I had a problem with a bank not willing to cash a check for me because I only had one state-issue ID, no credit card, and no passport. *shrugs* It's all crazy.

Anonymous Cash
..Of course every action has it's payback; If it was really attempted to do away with plain cash, you'd see a black market and barter economy blossom to fill it's place.

Channeling Jim Kunstler: "The government will barely be able to answer the phones, let alone go into 1984 mode."

Silver is a store of value (if you are able to trade it). Gold is a store of value (if you are able to trade it).

Bartered items have actual utility needed for survival.

Paper is money.

I am having the same dilemma as my savings/earnings are in USD while I planned to invest in Bulgaria which is tied to the euro.

What has not be discussed nearly enough is that real estate in Europe is also in a definite bubble. Prices there have gone up much higher than in US and in some places like UK and Spain have reached ridiculous levels. I almost gave up investing there because it got more expensive than in US and I also expect the bubble to pop the next couple of years.

I'm starting to think that a small, energy-efficient condo in a European-style US city would be the best protective investment within a year or two, when the housing bottoms up. People will always need to have where to live, and the housing tide will sooner or later turn back again.

Gold and silver don't have internal value other than that assigned by peoples perception. I don't think they will be a good inflation hedge.

A "European-style US city" is a bit of
an oxymoron but the closest approaches
would be San Fran, New Orleans, or
Chicago has a Bulgarian community. No
earthquakes or hurricanes.

Thanks :) I liked Chicago, though it's much colder than Atlanta. If I ever embrace the US tradition of moving around more often, this will be the place to go.

Open a forex account. Sell as many dollars as you wish to hedge and buy a basket of other currencies. With the usual 100:1 available leverage, you can then protect the real value of $100,000 with just $1000 in the account though having $5000 to $10,000 in the account would be more prudent.

No one can even begin to give an opinion as every situation is different.

The basic considerations are to really watch tax implications, transaction fees and liquidity, but everything has some risk. For something like 5K I would just keep it as is, the low interest rates do not pay for the risk to put it in a bank.

Larger sums maybe gold if it is logistically possible to do the transactions in person and in cash. Silver has the biggest upside potential but also a lot of risk.
If you trust the system and are willing not to have physical possession, then oil is just as good as gold with a bigger potential upside in the long term.

I would be very much against investing in anything that ties you to a place, the ability to move very quick and flexibility are good things.

For larger amounts - you must diversify! Some oil, some gold, some stocks (or mutual funds), some bonds, some cash, maybe buy an income producing business that you enjoy doing...

With any luck some will make money, some will lose money, and in the end you will maybe beat inflation by 2 or 3%.


Days like the last two are the reason I will never be a day trader of crude oil...WTI is now trading at about $80.50...amazing turnaround without any real explanation from Wall Street.

My personal theory is that the paper trade is trying to be bearish, but physical shortages in the real world are driving the price higher.

However, I consider betting against Daniel Yergin's price predictions to be the only near sure thing in oil markets. And oil traders that paid attention to my Red Alert that I issued back in late June have made some money:

June 28, 2007

To: Interested Parties

From: Jeffrey J. Brown


CNBC just quoted Daniel Yergin as saying that, without the "fear premium," oil prices next year should be down to $60.

Most of you probably recall Daniel Yergin's previous predictions for lower oil prices. Based on prior experience, once Yergin issues a prediction for lower prices, one should expect oil prices to be 100% or more higher than his predicted price, within one to two years of his prediction--think $120 or more within one to two years

WTI spot price on 6/28/07: $69.61

china vs. usa for oil video

downloading it now from Demonoid


utorrent.com for a simple torrent client

Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

Just checked this file. It looks very good. Will watch tonight.

Got an email that the long emergency is on hold at the library for me right now.


Recipient of AA, Alberta Advantage

Annual Planning Association says business as usual at the California chapter's annual meeting:

The threat of global warming pales next to the allure of a backyard sliver of green. Two-hour commutes are tough, but it's even tougher to persuade an older suburb to allow dense new housing downtown.

Its argument: Get real! California is too large and contentious for plannerly visions to make much of a mark.

"It's spectacular delusional hubris to think that good sense will prevail," proclaimed developer John Anderson of Chico. "People feel entitled to their fantasy."

John Anderson knows what he is talking about. Then again, so does Steve Lawton, who argued for the other side. So reasonable people can disagree about the potentials and possibilities. Here is a podcast of the entire debate (67 minutes, 62Mb .mp3).

Leanan - seems like this should be part of Drum Beat today - wind turbine as "eco-bling".


I just thought I would mention how things are evolving in France from a corporate standpoint (N. Sarkozy, our president, runs the country for the interest of the big corporations and nothing else). Total's Thierry Demarest has already acknowlegded peak oil, and Total runs sometimes its commercial about Easter island. GDF ie "gaz de France" who will probably merge with Suez, is running commercials about solar, geothermal and conserving energy. However the houses featured in these films are mainly the big cosy homes in the countryside. On the mainstream media, we have heard yesterdat that our defense minister has signed an autorisation to send drones into the poor suburbs. Like in the Netherlands, we will use some audiorecording devices in public areas to enhance police spying on citizens.

Solar and conserving in the upper class, military high-tech surveillance and repression for the poor, that will be the initial reponse to the peak-oil induced recession in France.

Cargo decline is another sign of slowing economy

The falloff of goods from toys to kitchen tiles flowing into the L.A., Long Beach and other ports stuns observers.

Cargo containers crammed with foreign-made goods that were supposed to set a record in August at major U.S. ports took an unexpected turn, with imports sinking 1.4% in another sign of the slowing of the economy.

Is trade boom over?

Imports of items as diverse as toys and tiles could also be lower in September and October, when retailers will be stocking shelves for the holidays, because shell-shocked shoppers are expected to continue to pull back.

The falloff "reflects the consumer-demand-driven weakness in the U.S. economy," said Paul Bingham, an economist with Global Insight, a research firm that monitors cargo movements for the nation's top retailers.

The slump in oceangoing imports unloaded at the 10 largest U.S. container ports in August was the first drop since Global Insight began its monthly Port Tracker report in 2005. The number stunned some port watchers.

"When I first saw these numbers, I called the researchers and asked them if they had left a column out of the spreadsheet. I thought it was a typo," said Craig Shearman, vice president of the National Retail Federation, which pays Global Insight to conduct the trade research.[..]

"It doesn't appear that there will be any real growth this year," said Don Snyder, director of trade relations for the Port of Long Beach.

Imports of building materials plunged 20% in the second quarter from year-earlier figures, the most recent period for which detailed statistics are available. Furniture imports fell 17%, clothing declined 10% and footwear was down 8%, he said.


From 1997 through 2006, the number of containers handled by the twin ports grew by about 10% a year -- from 6.5 million 20-foot containers to 15.8 million. But through August, the two ports were running less than 1% ahead of last year's record pace of imports and exports.

"It doesn't appear that there will be any real growth this year," said Don Snyder, director of trade relations for the Port of Long Beach.

That's not inflation. That's the actual number of containers coming in.

And they expect it to keep increasing 10% a year.

I doubt they still expect that 10% increase a year.


Furniture imports fell 17%, clothing declined 10% and footwear was down 8%.

If total comtainer numbers have remained the same, are those containers coming in half-empty? Or has something else taken the place of these declining products? Tainted toys?

They were expecting a ramp-up for Christmas, so I imagine the rise was in the usual holiday fare. Toys, electronics, etc.

What, no food?

Check out the conditions in BBC Horizon's "Pandemic" and see if you want your McBirdPatties imported from that area.

Not that you should be eating McAnything. It's no good for you.

Word of advice...buy your Xmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice presents early this year...there may not be any good items left on the shelf come December.

Just imagine - holidays without any useless, overpriced crap to give away! Oh, the HORROR of it all!


Ha...right you are...perhaps this will save us from lead poisoning. My God...and perhaps we will have to "make" presents for each other!!

I just made a simple, little oak Toy for a baby-dedication the other day, showing my 4-year old daughter how I use the Band Saw, and having her help sand and wrap the gift. One Piece of wood. No paint or stain.. just the outline of a pickup truck. Simple 'Outline' toys are very satisfying.. and nice to touch! The Dad gave me an article about how Maine Wooden-toy makers are getting growing orders since the Lead Paint scare recently..

She doesn't get to use the band-saw til she's at least five! But I'm turning an old Treadle Sewing machine into a scroll-saw.. I might help her develop some skills on that.


There ya go...my step-father is a wood carver and has taught me many things over the years. He has also given me many tools and I dabble frequently in wood crafts. Good idea to keep those skills sharp (no pun intended) in this day and age.

20 things we will see less of after peak oil.
During the next five years, the middle class will be spending a greater portion of their income on food and energy and have a lot less money available for the luxuries in life, especially luxuries that are energy and resource intensive. For the last five years many people have been financing their lifestyles with debt, but the easy credit cycle is winding down, so this option will be less available. At the same time there will be a smaller upper class that is super wealthy. These will include owners of energy companies, foreigners, smart investors, and government insiders. This wealthy elite will continue to drive a smaller demand for energy intensive recreation. We may see trends like less total visits to ski resorts with marginal resorts catering to families and the middle class shutting down, but an increased demand for the most extreme skiing experiences such as helicopter skiing in the far reaches of Alaska.
Practical items on this list such as large trucks and private jets are used both for business purposes and by the wealthy. Businesses will be cutting back on everything that uses energy to stay profitable. The middle class will be forced to cut back due to reduced credit and less money available, but the wealthy elite will continue to drive some demand at the very high end.
1. McMansions: lots of energy for heat and AC
2. Exurbs: Long commutes, lack of mass transit, long drive to the store
3. Cows: Consume lots of corn that could be used for methanol or feeding people. Plus cows are damaging to the land and emit lots of methane.
4. Migration Pheonix and Las Vegas: $500 per month air conditioning, water supplies are constrained.
5. International Vacations: 40% of your air ticket goes straight to fuel, this will only be going up. Flying 8000 miles is similar amount of energy per passenger to driving 4000 miles. People will decide to visit a beach or exotic city close to home rather than on the other side of the world.
6. Vacation Homes: Its hard enough to heat and maintain 1 house. Who wants to pay two sets of bills, plus the weekly transportation between the houses.
7. Las Vegas Vacations: flying 3000 miles to a place with no water and air conditioning required everywhere. Just to see flashing lights and spinning wheels. People who cant say no to gambling will stay home and go to the local Indian casino.
8. Golf Courses: lots of land and lots of water. Lots of energy used to maintain the lawns, not to mention the transport energy used in 3000 mile golf vacations. Golf Courses in Phoenix and Las Vegas, need I say more?
9. Power Boats: lots of energy use. More energy if the boat must be taken on a trailer to the lake. Plus the energy of driving yourself to the boat.
10. Off Road Vehicles: see #9
11. Giant SUVs: most people don’t need the space of a Expedition, Tahoe, or Sierra. It uses lots of energy, and will increasingly have a social stigma.
12. Giant Pickups: not needed except for construction workers. Even tradespeople will find they can use a smaller truck.
13. Snow Mobiles: energy for the snowmobile, and LOTS of energy to haul it up to the mountians
14. Skiing: energy for the lifts, for getting to the mountain, for heating the lodge. Less snow available due to global warming. Thus more energy for artificial snow making.
15. RVs: driving your house back and forth across the country?
16. Bottled Water: why make a plastic bottle and ship it 1000s of miles for something that comes out of the tap. If water quality is an issue, a filter on the faucet does the same thing.,
17. Live Sports: The home theater gives a better view, without the parking, traffic, high prices, and long lines.
18. Cruises: Fly 1000s of miles to get to the port, lots of energy for the boat itself, all the food must be carried and refrigerated. And lots of cruise ship employees along for the ride too.
19. Private Jets: lots of jet fuel, there will likely be less use for business and the upper middle class, but some increase by the wealthiest elite.
20. recreational driving: less weekend drives. Shorter drives. Resorts 4 hours from the city will lose out to resorts 1 hour away.

Things we'll see more of ...

Cannondale bicycles (made right here in the U.S. of A.)


Well stocked pantries ...

Well stocked pantry

And storage shelves ... although these look eerily bare to me, as I feel the chill of fall and all of them should be clear full along with the ones next to them.

And these should be stuffed, one with sweetcorn frozen in bags, and the other with a purchased half of a beef and much of a hog we'd raised ourselves.


High mileage compacts with small trailers for when hauling is required - 4x the room of the Jeep and double the fuel efficiency even with the big load on behind it.


and best of all ... kayaks!


Trailers: I can remember life before SUVs. Even pickup trucks were not all that common back then. What did people do when they needed to haul stuff? They used trailers. It seems like it was a lot more common to see a car hauling a trailer back in the 50s and 60s & 70s than it is today.

Sure, but the old body on frame cars towed better then the mid size trucks today. The new cars are made from recycled Korean beer cans and fold in two with a real trailer behind them.

The Versa gets around 30 mpg in the flats at two lane highway speeds and 26 mpg with the trailer behind it packed 7' tall with stuff.

The hitch was $200, the trailer itself $550 - a 4'x7' with a fold down gate meant for moving a single lawn mower.

I think there will be a lot of small hitches for small cars and 1.25" balls sold going forward. The $550 trailer will rent for $10 - $15 a day and if you need to haul something once a month the savings over an SUV or pickup are dramatic. I did the math based on the driving (lots) I was doing and if gas got to $4 I basically had a new car for free on the savings over the Jeep.

Oh, and a plug for the Versa - antivibration shocks - it feels big and solid just like the Altima I used to drive. When I was doing the big commute two 750 mile days back to back were ... not great, but bearable.

21. Jobs: all those things you will see a lot less of need poeple to make them. These people will be unemployed. This in turn will mean these jobless people will buy less, creating more jobless people. This inturn will mean.....

Ron Patterson

Oh yes, that's why we're heading into the Greatest Depression.

My own consumption (shudder - hate that word) has dropped like a rock.

Mexico is experiencing a falloff in remittances from workers in the USA.


The researcher reporting says it's bad enough when combined with reduced oil exports to affect "the ability to govern".

This is the first I've seen of it here, but the remittance problem was obvious - Cantarell floats the government, but remittances float the people. We kick all of the illegals out or Cantarell declines and they're in deep trouble, and they're getting both :-(

David, Small posting Critique,

Hit the Enter Key once and a while.

Make's it much easier to read.


And some additional things that will be fading away:

Upscale restaurants: There will still be a few wealthy people left to patronize a few of these. Increasing security concerns will cause the few that remain open to NOT be open to the general public. They will essentially become invisible to the peonage.

Fast food restaurants: What we will be looking at are massive numbers of people packing their home-made lunches to eat at work, and eating at home for breakfast and supper. The fast food business model is incompatible with this future reality.

Downscale/family restaurants: Same problem as fast food restaurants. More people eating at home, fewer people traveling or hopping in the car to eat out.

Packaged, processed foods: The more highly processed and highly packaged a food item is, the more costly it is compared to basic whole foodstuffs. People are going to be buying cheap whole foods and doing more scratch cooking at home. It may take them a while to learn how, but they can't afford not to,

Imported & off-season foods: Say goodby to springtime grapes from Chile. The farther a foodstuff must travel -- ESPECIALLY by aircraft or refrigerated truck -- the more prohibitively expensive it will become.

Fish: Our ocean fisheries have been badly mismanaged and are dying. Once global warming causes droughts, flooding, and other catastrophes, look for a desparate push to feed the starving masses with anything that can still be caught in the oceans, no matter how unsustainable. "The Tragedy of the Commons."

Pork: It won't totally go away, but will become scarce & expensive for the same reason as for beef. Pigs eat corn, too, and that corn is going to make ethanol instead.

Enough for food, now some other things:

Big box stores, shopping centers, and malls: Their business models depend upon high volumes of customers driving to them and buying lots of discretionary purchases. Instead, people are going to be staying home, and buying only what they absolutely need. If they can't get what they need from local neighborhood stores, they will order it over the internet.

Fashion clothing: There will still be designer haute couture for the wealthy few, of course. This, too, will retreat behind a security perimeter and become largely invisible to the general public (who won't be able to afford anything except a few items of practical clothing that are built to last.)

Mass culture & mass media: This one will be one of the biggest surprises, but it must be. All of our mass culture and mass media are built upon huge numbers of people willing to part with huge amounts of discretionary dollars. When people can only afford the absolute essentials, the cash flow ends. When the cash flow ends, the advertising dollars end also. When the advertising dollars end, so does most of the mass media. Their business models simply can't survive.

Gyms & exercise clubs: When you are having to walk or bicycle everywhere, plus garden and chop wood, and don't have the money for the memberships anyway, then you won't be going to the gym or exercise club any more, and neither will anyone else.

Expensive, non-selective private liberal colleges: It is questionable whether a college education will continue to be all that good a deal for anyone. For the elites, building up their initial contact list will continue to be the main thing that they get for their expensive elite education, and it will continue to be worth it. Community colleges will be a better value than ever for most people, and most state universities won't be a bad deal either, but most of them are going to have to downsize quite a bit. The institutions that really need to worry are the small, private liberal colleges - especially the ones that are not prestigeous enough to be selective enough to attract the elites. They end up costing almost as much as the expensive elite schools, but cannot deliver the valuable contact list that the elites get. Many small liberal arts colleges are probably going to price themselves right out of the market.

There have been many posts pointing up the things that are going to disappear. I am sometimes surprised by the things mentioned, because I hadn't considered them myself, but I have yet to disagree with anything named ... however ...

What about the internet?

SecondLife is free and requires only high speed service. We've already seen a flood of people immersing themselves in the World of Warcraft during good times, so it isn't hard to envision an even bigger cohort of people at a subsistence level enjoying the fruits of building a pleasant, virtual escape.

Bands make money from concerts and without discretionary income that disappears. Labels make money from CD sales and without tours and discretionary income that disappears. The internet remains, a cheap, wide open distribution mechanism for artists. They were starving and/or robbed before, now they can starve, make music, and not benefit any middle men :-) One sees many live performances in Second Life along these lines - people doing it for the joy and enough Linden dollars to keep 512 M^2 of virtual space going.

Ebay is a behemoth and its not going to disappear, although certain segments it supports will simply go up in smoke. Want to buy something not made locally? Ebay search, Buy It Now, and then wait for ground shipping to deliver it. The general store in every town will make a comeback, but the dynamic will be different as the competition will be every scrounger, scrapper, and tinkerer. The heavy, the perishable, and the simple will certainly be local, while the light, the durable, and the complex will come from afar. Intellectual property still matters in a post peak world, but the playing field will change.

Pr0n. *sigh*. It'll get more violent, more demeaning, and a lot less profitable. The whole continuum of art to erotica to sleaze has tipped dramatically towards the dirty end of field and poverty will continue to drive this.

Linux is free and it works on old stuff. Microsoft products are expensive, badly behaved, and they drive hardware consumption. Microsoft goes up in a bright flash and a bang that doesn't involve plutonium, and in the end everyone will have a little green lizard on the lower left corner of their screen in place of a start button. The truly elite will still be running FreeBSD :-) The whole principle behind the Open Source Software movement will infect everything, because its quite often the best way to increase the value of intellectual property.

Virtual communities heavily oriented towards real community survival are already on the grow and a systemic shock will provide a flood of new members. Everyone under a certain age (born post 1970?) will have a clutch of shifting online communities to which they belong, fulfilling training and mentoring roles that unions and trade guilds did before instantaneous long distance data communication. I wish to become an organic gardener ... a hydrologist ... a wind turbine installer ... and all of these progress with the help of an orange and blue icon in my toolbar - no tuition required other than my time and attention.

The psychologist, psychiatrist, and the doctor will remain for the acute and sever but online resources will replace much of their function. This is already happening bit by bit, but a systemtic shock will speed the uptake. My doctor didn't even guess I had Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism, but the internet diagnosed it, recommended a treatment plan, and provided a support group for $0.

Underneath all of these things there is an economy, but a pure information economy. Bruce Sterling, an author whom I love dearly, calls this reputation economics.

Who rules the roost at TheOilDrum.com? Those who founded it and those who contribute. What sway do those dollar things have here once the basic hosting costs are met? Very little in the face of a community who values knowledge and expertise. Reputation economics here are informal. WestTexas has one reputation, I have another, and Party Guy ... well ... y'all know what I mean.

Once a community reaches a certain size it requires a formal reputation economics structure. Ebay has feedback. Slashdot users are judged on how old their UID is and how many well regarded posts they've made. DailyKos users get "mojo" based on how well received their posts are, and there is are informal reputation economics effects that kick in once one contributes at a high enough level in the community.

Of course, these things assume that we, as a society, get knocked down but not knocked out. If the electrons stop moving this is all moot ...

From an energy standpoint, commercial/community cooking is more efficient than home cooking. I suspect "souperman" might have some comments on this. If electricity goes to $10/kWh or is only on for 3h/day, people might want the most efficient food preparation possible.

I can easily imagine McDonald's surviving; the menu would change to biscuits&gravy, mac&cheeze, or McVeggieStew&bun (or whatever is cheap and has calories, but McDonalds will survive. Otherwise useless old people (ex-lawyers, ex-mortgagebrokers, ex-advertising executives) will provide practically free labor.

During one crash, I remember news reports that McDonald's was serving rice with an egg for 10c in one Asian country. Maybe they will serve "McAloo Tika" veggie burgers or "Korroke burgers" instead of meat, but corporations do adapt to change, and their beancounters make sure that they do things that are profitable.

I just received an invitation for "A Conversation on Energy, A Discussion Between Conocophillips and Columbia" (Columbia, MO that is, my city of residence).

This event is being described as follows:

"ConocoPhillips believes it is up to today's energy leaders to set the stage for tomorrows's energy solutions, from alternatives like renewable fuels to traditional sources like oil and gas. That's why we're hosting a Town Hall Meeting in Columbia to discuss energy solutions that are reliable, available and environmentally friendly, and we want to hear from you".

"On Wednesday, October 24, please join ConocoPhillips and the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources ans College of Engineering for a conversation on energy."

Why do they want to hear from me? Do they think someone in the general public is going to come up with an idea to solve all our energy problems? Anyone got a question they would like me to ask? I hope to spend some time to formulate a good question that ties in to peak oil.

The big oil companies have been doing this across the country. Just trying to defuse public anger, I think. They're worried if people get mad enough over the high prices, they'll pass laws raising taxes or reducing subsidies. So they're "reaching out" with these public meetings.

Yes, Leanan, that's exactly what it is. After all, Big Oil, rightly or wrongly, hardly enjoys a very good reputation with the general public.

I would go even one step further and say that this is a well-thought-out and carefully orchestrated campaign to 'get out in front of the issue', to 'frame the debate', and to be 'proactive', or whatever combination of corporate buzzwords you wish to use.

The whole purpose is to convince the general public that Big Oil is part of solution rather than part of the problem. However, the credibility of that posture will become increasingly dubious as we develop a widening disconnect between Big Oil's nice words and Big Oil's deeds.

I mean really: does anyone believe that Connoco Phillips honestly WANTS you to use LESS of its product to save energy and thus correspondingly reduce its quarterly earnings and shareholder value? Isn't this as much of a stretch as GM expecting you to believe that it honestly wants you to buy its smallest, most fuel-efficient, and cheapest cars rather than maxed-out Chevy Suburbans and Cadillac Escalades? The conflict of interest is so odorous, you can smell it upwind a mile away.

Attention must not be paid.

Glancing through the meeting minutes of some of these other Town Hall meetings, I see its not even worth my time....


"A member of the audience asked what ConocoPhillips’ position is on the concept of “peak oil.” Lance explained that while the company recognizes supply is getting tighter, “we believe there are energy resources to produce and develop. Who would have thought 10 years ago that we could drill in 10,000 feet of water?” Lance supported his opinion by stating that the country has massive amounts of oil shale, and said that even though resources are getting more difficult to extract, “we don’t subscribe to the peak oil theory.”"

I like that, an easy line to say "we don't subscribe to the peak oil theory" end of conversation.


"A guest asked about the theory of peak oil since it seems that the U.S. has a problem finding oil and gaining rights to explore in key locations. Frederickson said, “We have developed tremendous technology that allows us to get more oil with less environmental impact.” He said there are many areas onshore and offshore where companies like ConocoPhillips are not allowed to explore. “Peak oil is not an issue, access is the issue,” said Frederickson."


Armed with the understanding of this stock answer, it should be easy to instead start out the question with:

"I have heard that you don't "subscribe" to peak oil theory, so I was wondering if we could first start with an explanation of what "peak oil" really means.

"It doesn't mean the taps run dry over night. It doesn't mean we are all plunged into chaos without warning. What it means is that oil production peaks and then falls off. What it means is that the stuff in the ground is harder to get, of lower quality, and there is continually less available. And before you respond inevitably that technology, such as drilling in 10,000 feet of water, can overcome these hurdles, I will tell everyone up front that this has never been the case thus far with any of the wells, regions or countries that have already peaked. Such as Libya in 69, the US in 1970, Iran and Qatar in 73, Romania in 76, Trinidad in 77, Peru in 81, Egypt in 93, Syria, Algeria, and the United Kingdom in 99, and Argentina, Malaysia, Denmark, Italy, and Norway in 2001, and about 30-plus other countries I could also name.

"Oil is a finite resource. We can't produce what we haven't found, and we've been continually finding less and less of the stuff for over 40 years. We continually use more and more of what we have found. The proof, quite frankly, is in the pudding. Oil production peaked in the US 37 years ago, we produce 30% less now than we did at peak, and we now import 2/3 of all the oil we use. Oil production peaked in the UK 8 years ago, and their production has fallen by nearly 50% of their peak production. Clearly, technology has not yet "saved" us.

"So I would like a clear answer from you, free of jargon and obfuscation that would otherwise confuse all of us here, as to what, exactly, do you not subscribe to, regarding ever-growing consumption of finite resources on a finite planet?

"What part of this statement: "despite all the solutions which technology has provided in the past four decades, we continually use more of a resource that we have been continually finding less of and are now producing less of" do you not agree with?"

Question to Conoco:

If you are sitting on a finite amount of oil and you know that it is past its peak production, is it better to sell as much as you can now or take a chance and wait until the price/barrel skyrockets and then sell it?

A story about another self serving industry study claiming CTL
is cheaper than producing petroleum. Get ready for congress to do for coal producers what they did for corn growers and the ethanol industry.


Re: Stop your sobbing

The article criticizes environmentally concerned scientists for their supposedly negative message - that humanity is apparently unable to plan ahead and change its ways, obviously leading to environmental catastrophe.

At the same time the author obviously agrees this is the case (we are unable to change), he just considers the changes and destructions brought out by humans to be a normal part of nature's operation. So AGW, loss of biodiversity, desertification, tropical rain forest destruction - these are all normal things which have happened many times before, so it should all be OK now, right?

Can anyone confirm if I got his point correctly? Because if I did I find it hard to imagine how this guy sleeps at night. He fails to understand one critical thing:

- environmental issues are NOT about Mother Nature or the Biosphere. I don't worry about her at all in the long run - it survived countless meteorites, ice ages, volcano eruptions etc. It will survive the homo sapiens disaster too. Unless we find a way to run our planet off its orbit into the Sun, we won't be able to kill off every last microorganism on Earth and I truly hope I'm right about this.

- environmental issues are about US, "homo sapiens sapiens". It is a purely egoistical notion. It is in fact us humans who are in danger of disturbing so much the Earth's ecosystem in the blink of an eye on the geological timescale, so that we don't have a place in what comes next. Other species may adapt and thrive but could we do it in a mere 1-200 years? If we do, how will our life look like?

Overall I'm amazed - how can you NOT be worried. What does he suggest? Rejoice?

Yeah, I think you got it right...it made my blood pressure rise, and I did an hour of yoga this morning. Sure, civilizations have collapsed before because they depleted their resources, but apparently these guys don't quite get it, because the difference now is that we're doing it on a planetary scale. It may be hyperbole (but only a little) to suggest that we're destroying the planet...we're destroying most species and ourselves. Yes,yes of course, the "planet" will survive us...but we'll be long gone if we keep this up. F***tards like this (and the gentleman upthread who apparently hates bicycles) will ensure that we'll roast the planet to drive our insane lifestyles.

Sea, no one upthread "hates bicycles".

Until you started cursing, we were just having a slightly snarky but generally civilized conversation about their daunting limitations, limitations to which folks who happen to live on dead-flat terrain with year-round equable weather seem frustratingly oblivious. From December through March, my bike is almost a doorstop, because it's too unsafe to use it for most of the trips I need to make. I do have an off-road trail available, and, lately, it even gets plowed, though still never in a timely manner. But it often doesn't get re-plowed after the wind drifts the snow over it again. And parts of it don't get sanded or salted. So it's still dicey - even studs are largely ineffective on the hard, narrow, high-walled ruts that appear after just one overnight refreeze. In any event, the trail goes to some places where I used to need to go, but not where I currently need to go.

So I don't hate the bike - nor do I imagine that that the others upthread who questioned the safety of winter or nighttime riding hate theirs - and I also have very little sympathy for the fatuous meme around here that in some mysterious way bikes are in any general sense replacements for cars. In very special locations and circumstances, often including a degree of youth and fitness, they are, but that sort of specialism doesn't scale.

As far as lurid hyperbole about roasting the planet goes, it lacks credibility. CO2 levels have been an order of magnitude higher (4000-7000ppm) than anything we seem to be capable of bringing about, and guess what? - complex life is still here. And certain well-informed folks around here seem quite complacent about life in already-hot places like the Big Easy, even over the entire course of the century.

So in a century or three, it may not be a very pretty picture to our eyes, since everybody seems to imprint on the world as it was when they were age 17, and to regard any subsequent departure as the end of all things. But that hardly means everybody will be dead. Indeed, when it eventually starts to cool again, one should expect blind panic. After all, "even one death is one too many": were snow and ice new to us, our own safety agencies would surely lock everyone indoors in winter (except for "trained professionals") regardless of what vehicles we possessed.

I do hope you continue to post, since I certainly don't watch Fox News or any other GW-denying media, and it's certainly interesting to note to what ends people will go to sustain this ridiculous lifestyle of ours. "Very special locations and circumstances," are you actually kidding? Most of the US is temperate most of the time and most people will have to address the issue of how to get around in the near future. Bicycling is cheap and efficient;try denying that. It's certainly true that most modes of transportation other than motorized vehicles have a few limitations, or are you arguing that we can't experience any discomfort or inconvenience as we transition to some other way of getting around? I'm really sorry that snow removal is so slow for you, but that is, well, irrelevant, unless you're saying that most of the country is snowed under for a good part of the year. As for the cursing, if I've offended your delicate sensibilities, that was directed at the authors of the silly article uppost, if you didn't notice. The "frustratingly obvious" point about bicycling (at least where I live) is that you have to take your life in your hands to ride on the roadways, and no, I'm not talking about when it's raining or snowing. My fellow citizens and their "lifestyle choices" and driving habits have taken that option away.

All of this fussing about driving habits is funny. Get your bike, ride for fun, and wait a minute - peak oil will be along directly to sweep the streets clean of annoying ICE powered things.

Oh, better stock up on bike parts, too, come to think of it ... one more thing to add to the list.

I've been wondering what the shelf life is for tubes, tires and patches. Not point in investing if they'll crumble in a few years when they're needed.

The lore is that ozone is what kills them. Keep them away from electric motors (like blowers in furnaces), better yet keep them in sealed bags.

I would think chains/chainrings/rear cogs would be a good thing to hoard if you're in a Kunstlerian mood.

Indeed, when it eventually starts to cool again, one should expect blind panic.

The blind panic will be an unnamed due to being as yet unevolved species running away from advancing glaciers. If all humans died by Christmas and the world suddenly began the uptake of the carbon we've exhumed at the pace it normally does it'll be just over a hundred thousand years before the levels return to what they were in 1750.

The line that has produced homo sapiens changes roughly every one or two thousand generations, so perhaps our descendants five "species generations" removed will be the ones running, but if we really muck things up we might reset the biosphere back to 600M years ago and then the whole place starts over from slime mold and stuff.

It seems to be the point of about half of drumbeat articles - to get your blood boiling over someone's stupidity. I just don't read those articles anymore.

There is nothing wrong with human and nonhuman desires for control over the environment. Indeed, we wouldn't exist were it not for our ancestors' will to control.

Bogus. A little more "success" and we surely will not exist. "Will to control" is far different than "will to adapt".

Bogus as well seems the suggestion by misdirection that Kunstler got the Jung quote wrong. [I've not gone so far as to find it in a printed copy, but google shows that others have.]

Not worth finishing the article.

cfm in Gray, ME

Yawn. More record temperatures set this weekend throughout the New York metropolitan area. Nothing to see here, move along, keep shopping.

0447 PM EDT MON OCT 08 2007

Record high temperature set at Newark: A record high temperature of 89 degrees was set at Newark today. This breaks the old record of 85 set in 1931.

Record high temperature set at Bridgeport: A record high temperature of 89 degrees was set at Bridgeport today. This breaks the old record of 78 set in 1990.

Record high temperature set at Kennedy: A record high temperature of 90 degrees was set at Kennedy today. This breaks the old record of 75 set in 1990.

Record high temperature set at LaGuardia: A record high temperature of 89 degrees was set at LaGuardia today. This breaks the old record of 82 set in 1990.

Record high temperature set at Islip. A record high temperature of 88 degrees was set at Islip today. This breaks the old record of 77 set in 1990.

Record high temperature set at Central Park: A record high temperature of 87 degrees was set at Central Park. This breaks the old record of 86 set in 1931.

Let's take a little wider view of the situation.
From the new NCDC web site (mostly coop sites):

4 October 2007

Number of Record Highest Maximum = 84
Number of Record Highest Minimum = 129
Number of Record Lowest Maximum = 18
Number of Record Lowest Minimum = 2
5 October 2007

Number of Record Highest Maximum = 154
Number of Record Highest Minimum = 309
Number of Record Lowest Maximum = 77
Number of Record Lowest Minimum = 14
6 October 2007

Number of Record Highest Maximum = 233
Number of Record Highest Minimum = 584
Number of Record Lowest Maximum = 113
Number of Record Lowest Minimum = 50
7 October 2007

Number of Record Highest Maximum = 282
Number of Record Highest Minimum = 466
Number of Record Lowest Maximum = 45
Number of Record Lowest Minimum = 30
8 October 2007 - preliminary

Number of Record Highest Maximum = 400
Number of Record Highest Minimum = 324
Number of Record Lowest Maximum = 3
Number of Record Lowest Minimum = 14

I think the record high minimum temperatures are important and are related to high humidity, which keeps the dew point high. There's been no hurricanes in the northern Gulf of Mexico so far this year, one result of which might be lots of thermal energy available to pump moisture into the northward air flows.

E. Swanson

Duplicate post deleted by poster. RP

The EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook is out.
Looking at "production capacity" on the OPEC page, they say Saudi Arabia has 1.35 million barrels per day of spare capacity but no one else has squat.
Spare production capacity is oil they could produce but are not producing.

Country..............Spare Capacity
Algeria...................0.02 - -
Indonesia..............0.00 - -
Iran........................0.01 - -
Kuwait..................0.06 - -
Libya.....................0.01 - -
Nigeria..................0.00 - -
Qatar.....................0.01 - -
Saudi Arabia...........1.35 - -
United Arab Emir..0.02 - -
Venezuela..............0.00 - -
OPEC-10 Total.......1.47 - -
Angola.....................0.00 - -
Iraq.........................0.00 - -
OPEC-12 Total........1.47

Ron Patterson

Is oil price going to hit $100 a barrel?

Maybe a better way of looking at oil prices is in terms of gold rather than dollars in order to see the effects of dollar inflation.


The absolute highest value of oil in terms of gold was in 2005 when you could get only 6 - 1/2 or so barrels per ounce. Since then it doesn't look like the value of oil has increased all that much only getting down to about 8 or so. So the real bidding hasn't started yet except for those who are dealing in dollars.

"We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

An alternative explanation is that poorer bidders don't need to buy gold but need to buy oil. Thus higher price for gold does not reduce the number of buyers who can afford it, neither reduces the number of ounces bought.

For example if I am a farmer in Kenya and if gold goes from $200 to $1000, I would still be buying the same amount of gold as always - 0 oz. But if my fuel bill goes from $200 to $1000 I would be priced out and will have to reduce my oil demand simply because it would be impossible for me to buy it.

The bottom line is that oil can not go up as much and as fast as gold. After certain price heights some countries would go bankrupt and provide a certain demand relief for the rest. This process is already going on...

A clearer picture of the real oil price would be obtained if it is weighted against the dollar index.

FWIW,,I went to Stockcharts.com but couldn't get the chart to cut and paste.
Enter $wtic:$usd ,, I selected the weekly chart for the past 3 years. It shows the price of oil has doubled against the US$ Index in the past 3 years.
The price of oil has declined approx 8% when priced in gold on the same 3 year weekly chart. $wtic:$gold


LS9 Secures $15 Million in Series B Funding

LS9 was the first company to focus on recombinant production of hydrocarbon biofuels. Building upon two years of R&D success, this financing will allow us to continue to attract top talent, begin construction of a pilot facility, commercialize on a massive scale and bring DesignerBiofuels products to market in the next two or three years.

Lots of this stuff floating around but my junk science debunker always goes schwing at the sight of them.

Anything relying on technology that depends on things that A.) can't be verified by others B.) are subtle effects missed by other scientists C.) involve quantum leaps in a particular area without even a hint of how its done D.) are followed by statements about successful fund raising ... well ... those are signs that snake oil could be a major component of the feedstock.

I will be delighted if one of these comes to pass, but not at all surprised if a platoon of them vacuum up a California mansion worth of funds each and then simply fold due to "scaling difficulties".

Shoot - sounds good to me!


"Iran has been trying to persuade Asian buyers to make payments in non-U.S. currencies to reduce its U.S. dollar holdings, a move that is seen as a response to the dollar's recent weakness and to pressure from Washington to limit Iran's dealings with the U.S. financial system."

--With everything the members of this forum know about dollar hegemony with regard to oil I am amazed that the little gem at the very top completely escaped notice.

If anything, Washington is FURIOUS that Iran is divesting itself of dollar holdings because they are managing to achieve what they had threatened when they promised to open the Iran Oil Bourse, only without the Bourse.

Of course this sets the stage for the invasion of Iran.
With the dollar hemorrhaging due to alternate currency for oil sales, our weakened position is a signal to ALL oil countries to follow suit. Will S.A. be the last one holding the bag? I think not.

Please, correct me if I am wrong.