DrumBeat: November 9, 2007

Shell's Mars Oil Production Cut In US Gulf - Sources

Output of the largest source of lower-quality crude in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has been partially curtailed, people familiar with the situation say.

Volumes for the Mars crude blend, which is produced on several platforms operated by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, may be down as much as 150,000 barrels a day, said one trader who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Mars production averaged 273,459 barrels a day in September, the most recent month where figures were provided by Shell.

Also: Production halted at Mars platform

Royal Dutch Shell halted production at its Mars platform for repairs last weekend and hasn't been able to resume operations because strong currents are delaying the repair of a valve.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Neo-Liberalism's Ultimate Failure

Peak oil is not the result of geological constraints though of course they play a part. It is not the absence of hydrocarbons on the planet, we still have loads. Peak oil is not the failure of Middle Eastern countries to pump lots of oil. Peak oil is also not the failure of individual consumers like you and me. Peak oil is the failure of the modern economic system we know as “free markets” or “neo-liberalism.”

Valero: Port Arthur refinery at 60 pct of capacity

Independent refiner Valero Energy Corp said Friday crude oil processing rates at its 325,000 barrels per day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery were 185,000 bpd -- 60 percent of capacity -- and were set to increase over the next few days.

BP plans reformer overhaul at L.A. refinery-sources

BP Plc plans a three-week overhaul on a reformer at its 265,000 barrel per day (bpd) Los Angeles-area refinery in Carson, California, beginning as early as Tuesday, according to sources familiar with refinery operations.

North Sea storm shuts Nexen's Buzzard platform

Nexen Inc said on Friday it had temporarily shut production at the Buzzard field in the North Sea after storms damaged the upper section of one of three power generation turbine exhaust stacks.

Nexen said a full examination of the damage to the platform, which produced 177,000 barrels of oil a day in the third quarter, will take place when the weather improves but said it did not expect production to be down "for an extended period".

End Year OECD Oil Stocks Seen Under 5 Year Average - EIA

Commercial oil inventories held by the world's major industrialized countries will fall below their five-year average at the end of 2007, a U.S. government forecast said Tuesday.

Stocks in the major industrialized nations that compromise the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are forecast to be 4.8% below a year ago, the Energy Information Administration said.

EIA projects that OECD commercial oil inventories will be sufficient to meet 50 days of forward demand cover at year-end, down from 53 days a year ago. At the end of the first-quarter 2008, the relative level of stocks will remain at 50 days, also down 53 days at the end of March 2007.

A Crisis to Shatter the Whole World

But if you – an oil producing nation – were concerned that one day soon your wells might run dry, wouldn't you want to get top dollar for the barrels you were selling today? Especially if the very Dollar itself was increasingly losing its value?

Cycles of History, Boom and Bust

When the economic situation changes, when peak oil has its say, when the Middle East crisis cannot be solved, when American politics reduces to a sharp ideological division, when the real estate bubble continues to burst, what will happen? What will the Russians and Chinese do? For thousands of years the world was about war and dominance, the power of oligarchies and the exploitation of peasants. Does anyone believe that the world cannot revert back? Does anyone think that the fall of modern capitalism will result in any other outcome?

Saudi 'showcase' opens OPEC to the world

With oil prices bent on hitting US$100 a barrel as soon as next week, and energy consumers around the world increasingly fretting about where the next oil supplies will come from, cloistered Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, is taking an unusual step: borrowing a page from marketing-savvy Western organizations and putting on a charm offensive on a grand scale.

...Rather than keeping usually arcane discussions about world oil supplies, prices and energy policies behind the scenes, organizers are switching on the spotlight.

United CFO Says Escalating Fuel Prices Could Ground Aircraft

Back in the 'good-old days,' when oil prices were closer to $80 per barrel, United had predicted its 2008 capacity would be relatively flat, with decreases in domestic seats available offset by increases in international travel.

That plan may not work in a $100-per-barrel world, though... and Brace says the answer lies in increased fares, or fewer planes.

Higher costs may up your grocery bill

“It’s hard to transform a raw product into retail food,” said Jim Sartwelle, livestock economist for American Farm Bureau Federation. “When you have only 22 percent of the retail value going back to the farmer, it becomes clear that a larger percent is going toward the amount of energy it takes to process and transport the product.”

Ireland: Police break up gas plant protest

Several hundred police overpowered about 300 protesters who tried to block construction of a natural-gas processing plant in western Ireland. Three protesters were arrested and another was taken to hospital as officers cleared a sit-down protest at the gates of Royal Dutch Shell’s planned refinery in the unpopulated bogland of Bellanaboy, Co Mayo, police said.

Oil Market Is Bubbling Along Nicely

Stripping speculation out of the oil price could see the price of a barrel of oil following the price of a three-bedroom house into a black hole. It is difficult to sell a solar panel or a wind turbine to someone who has seen their heating oil bill halved – even more difficult if their house has been repossessed.

RAND paper finds diesel, hybrid vehicles can provide more societal benefits than gas-powered autos

Cars and light trucks powered by advanced diesel technology or hybrid technology can provide larger societal benefits than traditional gasoline-powered automobiles, according to a RAND Corporation working paper presented today.

The research by RAND, a non-profit research organization, also found that light trucks and cars continuously fueled by a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline – known as E85 – compare unfavorably with the other two alternatives.

Peak oil: We ignore it at our peril

Oil supplies in the world are tightening. Even a small shortage of oil can cause a big tremor in people's lives. Oil is the lifeblood of our society and economy. A reduction in oil supply will push up costs for everything.

Just look how far your dollar goes in the supermarket these days. The cost of oil has already hit your pocketbook. Heating our schools and homes, keeping the lights on in hospitals, and the production and transportation of every product from shoes to medicines has and will continue to cost more. The ugly truth is we either have arrived at or are nearing "peak oil."

Still waiting to cash in on Iraq's oil

Bush officials originally said oil money could help pay for reconstruction. But with production lagging, these funds barely cover the cost of running the government.

Norway seeks land power for offshore fields

Norway's centre-left government pushed ahead on Friday with controversial plans to power some offshore oil and gas platforms by electricity produced on land, in an effort to cut carbon emissions by the oil industry.

David Strahan - Oil: running out for good this time

With the markets hypnotised by the approach of $100-a-barrel oil, analysts are ready to point the finger at all the usual suspects: speculators, the Opec bogeyman, the weak dollar, soaring consumption in China and India and geopolitical tensions.

All play a part - but the real cause is altogether less palatable. The world is running short of oil, and this time it is likely to be permanent.

Jeremy Leggett: Truth in reserve

The world's supplies of oil are running out, experts around the world are agreeing. But is Britain listening?

China seeks 30 pct increase in Saudi oil imports

- China has asked for a 30 percent increase in crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia for 2008 and also aims to raise imports from Iran, partly to feed two new refineries amid steady demand growth, trading sources said on Friday.

The Empty Threat Of $100 Oil

It doesn't even matter overly much if that barrel is selling for $80 rather than $100. The rule of thumb is that every 10% rise in the price of oil cuts global economic growth by a third of a percentage point over the following year. So if oil is at $100 a barrel in 2008 rather than $80, the projected global GDP growth rate of 5.2% would be cut to 4.4%. A hit to growth, yes, but not a plunge into recession.

Even in the 1970s, it took a quadrupling of oil prices (from $3 a barrel to $12) to do that. Adjust for inflation and that would be $50 oil in today's prices. Yet we stand now at the threshold of oil twice as expensive.

After an eight-year bull run in commodity prices, the world has simply gotten used to living with expensive oil.

China says oil price not key to strategic tank fill

Oil prices are not China's main consideration when deciding whether to pump oil into strategic reserve tanks, a senior official said on Friday, even as crude markets restarted a drive towards the $100 watershed. "Oil prices are one of the factors we consider, but they are not the key factor," Wang Siqiang, vice director-general of the country's energy office, said when asked whether record prices had pushed the government to reconsider plans for the reserves.

World economy can live with $100 oil

Oil will breach the $100 barrier, but this will not kill off global economic growth, the head of Germany's Deutsche Bank said at the Reuters Finance Summit.

...But oil at $100 a barrel would not make much difference to cost pressures on the world economy, although it is psychologically significant, he said.

Bodman says government won't tap oil reserve

Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said on Thursday the Bush administration will not change its policy of using the government's oil reserve only for major supply problems and not to curb prices, in spite of record high oil prices and market fears about tight winter supplies.

Bodman also said at an energy conference that the Energy Department's plan to keep about 12 million barrels of crude oil off the market and begin delivering it to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in January won't "materially affect" oil prices.

What About Oil Price? Voter Asks Clinton

Long-term energy plans are fine, the voter said, but with winter coming on what was Hillary Rodham Clinton going to do about rising heating prices?

Oil prices high due to high demand, not Iran: Bush

"Oil prices are going up because the demand for oil outstrips the supply for oil. Oil is going up because developing countries still use a lot of oil," Bush said, speaking at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Canadian village calls for end to oil sand projects

A small aboriginal village downstream from Alberta's massive oil sands plants is calling for a moratorium on new projects in the region after a study found high levels of heavy metals and carcinogens in its fish and drinking water.

Ukraine, Russia Mull Oil Transit Fees

Ukrainian and Russian oil transit monopolies Ukrtransnafta and Transneft will start talks next week on raising transport prices through Ukraine's network, Ukrtransnafta head Ihor Kyryushyn said in an interview published Thursday.

Shell Suggests Developing Yamal Field With Gazprom

British-Dutch oil firm Shell has proposed developing oil and gas reserves in the far northern Yamal Peninsula with Gazprom.

The project, put forward with other Dutch companies, involves the production and transportation of oil, natural gas, gas condensate and liquefied natural gas on the Yamal Peninsula and surrounding Arctic Ocean, Kirill Fyodorov, spokesman for the Industry and Energy Ministry, said by telephone Thursday.

Italians' Pipe Access Blocked

A unit of Italian firms Eni and Enel will fail to start gas production at two Siberian fields from 2008 because Gazprom has denied them access to pipelines, Kommersant said Thursday.

North Sea storm closes oil platforms, Europe's largest port

A storm in the North Sea forced the closure Thursday of oil platforms off the Norwegian coast as well as Europe's largest port as British forecasters warned of the worst swells in 20 years, AFP reports.

Authorities in Rotterdam closed the giant barrier that guards access to the Dutch port for the first time since its construction in the 1990s, shutting off sea traffic until at least 0500 GMT on Friday.

PetroEcuador Asks to Revoke City Oriente Contract

PetroEcuador, the state-owned oil company, said it asked the energy ministry to rescind the contract of the last U.S. oil company operating in Ecuador, saying it has refused to comply with a windfall profit levy.

Unseasonably Higher, Gas Prices Add to Strain on U.S. Consumers

“Usually Americans have more money to spend each holiday season because gasoline prices tend to give up 25 percent of their value after summer,” said Tom Kloza, an analyst with the Oil Price Information Service. “But this year there is a second coming of the gasoline rally that may be the Grinch that stole Christmas.”

Young Daniel Yergin as peak oil activist (book review)

I first learned about Peak Oil several years ago and have spent much time investigating the accuracy of our energy problems. The more you learn the worse it gets. I came across a book at a flea market entitled Energy Future: Report of the Energy Project at the Harvard Business School, edited by Robert Stobaugh and Daniel Yergin. At first I put it back due to Daniel Yergin’s position on Peak Oil. About a year later I returned and found the book still there. I bought it for 50 cents.

Is $100 Oil Cheap?

Twenty years ago, a dozen fields produced a million or more barrels of oil per day. Now there are four, and one of them, Mexico’s Cantarell in the Bay of Campeche, is collapsing. Mexico’s state-owned oil company, PEMEX, projects Cantarell’s output will decline 14% per year from now on. That’s the best-case scenario. 2006 actual production from the aging field actually fell 27%!

If PEMEX’s worst-case forecast comes true, Cantarell will soon break below the million barrel a day, leaving the world with just three million-barrel-a-day fields by the end of this year.

How China is eating the world

China's remarkable economic growth is powering the global economy, but can the world afford to keep on supplying its ever-growing demands for food and raw materials?

Big Oil CEOs Point To Constraints On Supply Growth

Pointing to a variety of political and technological constraints on energy investment, chief executives at two oil giants Thursday highlighted systemic limitations on the growth of the supply of oil, implying that there will be high oil prices for at least the medium term.

Taking the tasty approach

But one day Eric read an article about Peak Oil and Climate Change and became a convert to earth-friendly living.

“It really seemed to make the most sense,” Stephanie said. Even beyond Peak Oil and Climate Change theories, “it came to make sense on its own.”

“After our eyes were opened, we saw a lot we could do, and it’s fun,” Eric said.

Australia: As I see it

The price of oil is volatile: it may well go down again at some stage. But even if it does, we need to keep investing in alternatives, so our children can enjoy what we take for granted.

Hydrogen: The Fuel Of Tomorrow

We are in the throes of peak oil prices, if not fully there yet, we are suffering the same effects where fossil fuel is so much in demand that it, as I write, is US $92 a barrel. We see the effects at the fuel pumps when we fill our cars and in the cost of things that have to be transported from near and far.

Crude realities for 'A Crude Awakening'

Oil is a finite resource, so the more of it the world's energy companies extract, the less will remain. On that, everyone agrees. One day, we will reach the mathematical peak of the world's reserves. When that day will be – or if it has already passed – is a question that continues to divide opinion.

The Energy Question: Who Decides?

Global energy security is the greatest challenge of our time, inextricably interlinked with our economic security and our national security. The exponential growth in demand for energy — for which there is abundant evidence — presents both extraordinary challenges, and offers equally extraordinary economic opportunities.

A multiplicity of converging factors makes it bluntly obvious that a comprehensive global energy system restructuring has begun.

An Energy Crisis Of Our Own Making

As oil climbs toward an unprecedented $100 a barrel, we can only blame ourselves. By falsely demonizing oil in the debate over global warming, we assure an energy-impoverished future.

Tesoro refinery damaged, fuel output cut

Tesoro Corp.'s Oahu refinery was damaged during a thunderstorm early Sunday, reducing its capacity for producing gasoline for Hawaii customers.

Rising cost of oil threatens vulnerable economy

With oil prices advancing so rapidly, the immediate unknown is where they will stop before taking a breather. But the longer-term question may be even tougher to answer: How high can oil prices go before the higher cost of energy tips the U.S. economy into recession?

Rising Demand for Oil Provokes New Energy Crisis

With oil prices approaching the symbolic threshold of $100 a barrel, the world is headed toward its third energy shock in a generation. But today’s surge is fundamentally different from the previous oil crises, with broad and longer-lasting global implications.

Officials talk energy at forum

With oil approaching $100 per barrel, a prediction the price could double within a year grabbed the attention of local officials gathered here to learn how to cope with energy problems.

"We actually do face the possibility of $200 a barrel oil within the next year," author Daniel Lerch told the forum on "climate change and energy" convened by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

They've Got the Power

About 5,500 people, most under the age of 21, traveled from all over the country to the unremarkable suburb of College Park, Md., this past weekend to take part in the largest climate-change conference and rally in U.S. history. At Power Shift 2007, these college and high-school students established in clear terms the major differences between today's young Americans and their political leaders in Washington -- whereas the former can punch high above their weight, their elders are sitting out the fight.

Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming ‘Greatest Scam in History’

It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Global warming doomsayers would radically alter our economy

But just as the advocates of big government are past masters at harnessing Americans' charitable instincts, so does a new generation of bureaucrats and politicians now aim to use Americans' warm feelings about "environmentalism" to consolidate even more power in Washington.

China signals rejection of emission caps

A Chinese official gave the clearest sign yet that Beijing will reject binding caps on greenhouse gas emissions at a global meeting next month, saying Friday developing countries must be allowed to raise emissions to fight poverty.

"Climate change is caused mainly by developed countries," Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui said. "They should have the main responsibility for climate change and to reduce emissions."

Third of Africa coastline at risk from climate change: UN

Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN's Environmental Programme, told reporters at a press conference that the impact of climate change was already clearly in evidence and would become more serious in the coming years.

"By some projections, global warming could affect up to one third of Africa's coastal infrastructure by the end of this century," Steiner said at a press conference in Johannesburg.

"We know that we are on the course of having sea-levels rising from 20 (7.8 inches) to 60 centimetres (23.6 inches) in this century," he said adding that "port facilities, refineries will be affected."

Australia: The major parties' green credentials are off the rails

A fixation with road transport compromises climate change policy.

Chile's San Rafael glacier fast disappearing

Chunks of glacial ice tinkled in whisky glasses as chilled tourists gazed in wonder from their boat at the massive San Rafael glacier and the markers tallying its losing battle against global warming.

"How can we stop this," asked German visitor Herman Kirst, 70, reflecting on the 100 meters (yards) that the glacier has shrunk this year, and every year since Captain Luis Kochifas began ferrying tourists to this spot in 1978.

Contango! Check out the 2014 and 2015 crude light futures. They are finally swinging into contango. Has the market finally acknowledged peak oil or are those contracts slower to drop in price due to low volume?

I don't see it.

According to these figures December 2014 is at $83.91 and December 2015 is at $84.51. Now you may think that because 2015 is higher than 2014 that this means Contango. No, it does not. For it to be Contango then both would have to be higher than current December prices which closed yesterday at $94.46.

The market is still strongly in backwardation.

Ron Patterson

Thank you.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

When the newer long-dated contracts where introduced (for 2013 -2015), that part of the curve was in backwardation.

Somebody did an article on this a while back, noting the switch to the current shape. It's been steepening since.

Now we have contango from 2010 outwards and I do believe there's a good chance it's associated with peak oil.

Low prices way off in the future are measures of uncertainty.

When you can't predtict the price of oil from week to week, then how are you to predict the price five years from now?

Numbers mean nothing.

But basics do. How much oil is out there? How much do we need? How much will we get?

Not enough. Too much. Not enough.

I did inhale.

When you can't predict the price of oil from week to week, then how are you to predict the price five years from now?

Actually, it's often easier to predict long term trends than to nail short-term fluctuations.

Price means a lot. It will determine your life more than anything else.

How much we need is actually very subjective.

China wants 30% more oil!

Right, I'm off to;


Its not our abilities that define us, but our choices.
Albus Dumbledore.

'However, Global Warming, i.e. Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you “believe in.” It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won’t believe a me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.'

Well, that seals it - climate change is a non-event. Because a TV weatherman says so. Of course I'll believe him. Who wouldn't?

As a matter of fact, any aspect of climatic change has nothing to do with climate, that longer term averaging of weather, but merely people who aren't often on TV getting a chance to pollute the ears of the environmentally conscientious (I love that turn of phrase - Prius owner living in a hour drive's from work probably fits that category perfectly, especially if their second car is a Jeep to tow the trailer for the jet ski) - you know, scientists, researchers, people who actually gather data, developing techniques to analyze such data (under peer reveiew from others doing the same thing), and who develop new techniques, sometimes at great cost, sadly, to innocent clams who did nothing much except hang around for centuries.

Among other things I know are true from watching American TV - there is no housing bubble, the U.S. does not torture, and core inflation is the only measure of inflation worthing remembering. And something about how terrorists are ready, at every instant, to strike if the Homeland is not defended with an iron fist - oops, wait, I think the expression is closer to 'eternal vigilance is the price of freedom during eternal war.'

Without TV, I don't know how Americans will actually be able to understand the world around them.

And now should come a blizzard of evidence, local and global, of the climatic change currently going on right now. We could start with the accelerating nonlinear thaw of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the rapidly shrinking Arctic ice cap. And then lead into dozens of local reports of floods and water shortages, broken weather records across the board, and the effects on local ecologies.

Blizzards of evidence may be the only ones we get in this globally-warmed world (at least until the stopping of the thermo-haline conveyor kicks us into a new ice age).

But it depends on what evidence you accept, or look for, and what is conveniently denied because it does not fit the model. Patagonian icefields have fluctuated in size in regular intervals over the past millennia, as reported by(among others) Glasser

suggested a revision of this chronology to include four Holocene advances with maxima at 3600, 2300, 1600–1400 14C years BP and again during the last three centuries (Fig. 4).

If the glaciers are retreating from their Little Ice Age maxima, as they are around the world as it comes out of that period, and this fits into a cycle that is also seen in Alpine glaciers, should this evidence not also be discussed?

"...should this evidence not also be discussed?"
Surely a quote worthy of Ahmadinejad himself.
Those local and minor fluctuations are indeed weighed and discussed ad nauseum by the people doing the real climate work, like NAS. It's a topic not meaningfully illuminated by burnt-out sci-fi authors and the like who'll snap up any factoid that supports a predetermined position.
It's reminiscent the Iranian president's Holocaust denial, or the work of the Tobacco Research Institute. Nobody believes their carp, not for a minute, but if their "debate" can forestall action against their clients, they've succeeded. The goal is no longer to win, but rather to not lose - simply to continue the play as long as possible.

We would be better off if we could discuss ideas related to global warming without fear of being branded as evil for asking a question.

Sure, NASAguy, let's stop referring the old and obvious questions to realclimate.org, and flog that donkey ourselves.

I know I'm no expert on the subject, and apparently that simple truth is not an advantage that I share with others here.

That can be done on various forums (randi's skeptics forum, several general science fora, realclimate blog comment thread).

However, if one just chooses to spam the fallacies that have been shot down by several peer-review papers (like most 'debaters' on the issue choose to do), then one only need to look in the mirror for the reasons on being branded as evil, moron and just plain stupid.

The actual scientific debate about effects, magnitudes, processes, models, forecasts, history, causes, etc. continues as ever in science forums, conferences and papers.

I don't think that has gone anywhere and hopefully never will. That's what science is about.

But wholesale unscientific rebuttal based on cherry picking of evidence is getting really tiresome.

When I see evidence that you are making a bona fide attempt to engage climate scientists re these objections, I'll take you seriously on this stuff.

A guy with your background could advance the debate. Why, instead, do you bring up piecemeal objections with us small fry? Doesn't make sense.

And so, I've wrestled with it, trying to figure it out.

My guess is that you sense the possibility of a serious rupture in our culture's view of the past and present. Instead of celebrating them, we may soon bewail the fossil fuel age and its captains. Even the myth of progress may be scrapped. It's a personal fight.

Grin! Well it is upon this wise. From time to time there are stories that appear at the top of this column that note some feature that is indicative of a changing climate. So being curious I then go away and see if this is the sort of thing that also happened in the past- particularly during the Medieval Warming Period, though now I am also starting to check against the Roman. And in, what was originally a surprise to me, most cases it takes almost no effort to find that yes the conditions indicate that a similar condition occurred during those times. The point of my posting here is that I am quite happy providing the readership with information that gives them a chance to make up their own minds. The existence of "the rest of the story" is something that is rarely indicated in what really is not a debate, and I don't think has been for quite a long time. Evidence that does not conform to the current way of thought is diminished, or denied and I find that unfortunate.

Did CO2 go past 450 ppm during the Medieval and Roman periods - and far beyond - or do you not believe in the precautionary principle?

Note that civilizations fell as a result of past climate change as well. You're promising no worse than that and then accusing Greens of suppressing dissent?


We have changed the composition of the atmosphere. The levels of CO2 and other heat trapping gases are at levels way above anything ever seen in the historical record going back to at least the last ice age.

Now, the CO2 molecule is a pretty simple beast, and the degree to which it traps IR radiation of various wavelengths under various conditions is known to fairly high accuracy.

If you put the relevant numbers into the computer you come up with a very real and large amount of solar heating input. The planet will no doubt deal with this extra solar heating in its own unfathomable way, but respond it will and must.

Whether the response turns up very visibly in the form of melting ice caps, or less visibly as a serious of prolonged droughts, monsoons and hurricanes is probably impossible to predict at the present time. However, since we certainly emitted all that extra industrial CO2 and agricultural methane we are responsible for the changes.

Ah, well you see that is part of the point. If, in fact, the CO2 levels were not as high, and yet the climate conditions did indeed change to provide warmer conditions than currently exist today, then perhaps we are merely moving into another Warm Period. Only after we filter out the conditions that this imposes (which appear to be in many places warmer than today) can we establish what role other forcing events might have.

And in regard to the suppression of dissent, have you noticed the amount of character assassination that seems to appear whenever a dissenting voice is raised. You have only to read some of the comments made here today to see this in practice. It's not exactly debating the science. And I am not suppressing dissent, but the tone of some of the comments surrounding this post would suggest that it should be (but only in the case of folk like myself that raise questions).

Character assassination is a form of ad hominem attack, which thankfully is absent from this thread, as far as I can see.

No, we don't have to treat all posts as valid until specifically refuted. We've wasted enough time on deniers of all stripes; that's not what I read TOD for. The time for proof is past - Now, how are we getting on with ELP? And what are the long-term (multigenerational) implications?

"Hey, they said on the news that the Nasdaq declined over 6% this week, but I don't see how that's possible, because my FXEN went up. See, it's all a scam!"

It's tiresome that you always bring up "the Medieval Warming Period," people always offer rebuttals, and then you scurry away without addressing the replies. It makes it hard to take you seriously when you don't even defend your claims.

What exactly am I supposed to be rebutting ? And I am not making any claims, I am referring to information that is out there for you to read, and providing the references that allow you to do so.

"The point of my posting here is that I am quite happy providing the readership with information that gives them a chance to make up their own minds."

I don't buy it.

But then again, I suppose it's possible to be that naive i.e. to be incredibly blind to the complexities of another field.

Interesting how this illustrates how much of this "debate" takes place. Real facts are presented that show that all is not the way that it is presented to be. And in return there are insults, vague assertions and broad generalizations.

And I am not quite sure what you aren't buying. Perhaps you don't think that I write here to inform folk. If such is your opinion, I would, with respect, suggest (as exemplified by the reporting of the last ASPO's as an example) that the facts deny your opinion.

It all comes down to a single point:

Why not approach climate scientists with your objections and get back to us with a record of the debate?

At least some of these guys are quite accessible.

Why do we have to be shrinking violets about this? Bring it on! Let's see the titans interact! If there really are gaping holes in the case for anthropogenic climate change, we want to know about it.

One thing for sure, nothing is going to be settled via the water-cooler type discussions that happen here. There may be the odd geologist around. But though there are people who know a lot about oil depletion, we have no climate researchers!

It's puzzling that a person like yourself, who purports to know more about climate change than the climate researchers, is willing to settle for 2nd-rate discussion on that issue available here.

Raise your sights, HO. Perhaps you underestimate yourself! Take on the consensus. It's waiting.


So what you are saying is that this readership should only be fed stories that show one side of a debate ? That you don't think that they can be given both sets of information and be allowed to make up their own mind ? Perhaps I give them a little more credit than you do. Most of the time I am not disappointed.

Since this is not a climate debate blog, yes readers will be fed just one side of the debate.

I am *NOT* a climate expert and cannot present the "pro GW" argument adequately. I know of no one else here that is a climate expert.



This is such a bullshit post on so many levels.

No one is "feeding" anybody anything.

You speak as though there is a "debate". There isn't. And that is because the data are clear.

There are not two discrete sets of "information" such that you can give "both sets of information".

There is simply data that anyone can "make up their mind about". If someone has real data, other than "I founded The Weather Channel", let's see it. Real data. Not something that has been addressed, explained, refuted several times before.

No one is denying anyone the chance to present their data.

"Perhaps I give them a little more credit than you do. Most of the time I am not disappointed."

How magnanimous of you.

Them? Who would that be? "Credit"? How could you be or not be disappointed? How do you evaluate that. What a meaningless bunch of word salad.

I can't see one thing in your post that is anything but polemic and trolling.

But that seems to be the trend these days around here.

If you would like to go back to where this post started, you will find that there was a story about the melting of the Patagonian icebergs signifying a further point in climate change. I pointed out that the Patagonian icefields have cycled several times in the past millennia, quoted an expert in the field who had reported it. There is thus a) data set one, that the Patagonian ice is retreating b) data set two, that this has happened at several periods in the past, in cycles that can be associated with recognized Warming Periods.

I would suggest to you that this is real data - being insulting in your response relates to a comment that I made earlier up the thread.

If the view comes from somebody who has demonstrated mastery of the issue and a willingness to engage the consensus experts, it's welcome (as stated above).

Otherwise, we risk wasting our time with sophistry. In fact, we risk being deceived by disingenuous purveyors of the 'other side of the debate'. Big Oil. Big Coal etc.

Are we qualified to arbitrate on climate change? No.

Do we have to have to choose sides as citizens? Yes.

The way you solve this dilemma is by goading the sides to engage one another in the highest quality debate possible.

If you really have a case, Heading Out, we will see you make headway. Kick their asses and you just might be able to win us all over.

Grin, well actually I am. When I first wrote a post commenting about the possible existence of the Medieval Warming Period, the comments dealt largely with my lack of intelligence, and how easily I was fooled. Now at least, vide a recent reply to one of my posts, there is an admission that the Medieval Warming Period existed.

The evolving question is as to whether it was just confined to Northern Europe, which seems to be the prevailing opinion among a number of papers on climate change that I have listened to or read.

Sounds interesting.

Where can we follow your exchange with climate scientists?

I also like this summary of the 'situation'. The author does not claim to be a climate expert:


The irony is that the evidence you present is just like the guy who says "what about this new oil find in Brazil, does that disprove PO?" Wearily we explain that PO is based on more than what happens with a single oil field. The same is true of climate change, you can always find a few examples that don't fit a trend, but climate science is more than that.

You raise an important point about dogma, the general form being "who should I believe?", or as science vs faith. This issue is often argued over, but invariably fails to draw a conclusion.

We know in general that experts are more likely to be correct than someone ignorant of the subject, but being an expert does not automatically make one correct. Very often in fact, experts are wrong. By definition though, an expert is better informed. We then have the problem with competing groups of experts expressing different opinions, how do we identify which is closer to the truth?

The answer I give is that you need to look at the method that was used to come up with the viewpoint. The only method that has proven to be effective in determining the truth so far is the scientific method.

That is why we can say that the view of PO developed by those at TOD and elsewhere is better than the view held by experts such as Yergin, and official bodies such as the EIA. Their methodology is poor. We can make a valid challenge "established opinion", based on a better method.

By the same token, I can be fairly certain that the work of climate science as represented by the IPCC is very likely to be close to correct, and I can be certain that the view of people who are challenging "established opinion" like Michael Crichton - or even your good self - is not likely to be correct.

Challenging the established opinion on PO is reasonable, but challenging the IPCC is foolish, IMO.

It's all down to the method.

But having information on both sides of the argument, you can make that decision. It is when only one side of the information is provided, when one is not told about the facts that contradict the "informed" opinion, that one can be led the wrong way.

You will, I trust, forgive me, if I point out that the whole tone of the argument of those such as yourself is to discourage debate. That, in itself, is informative.

I followed the Climate debate closely for a couple of decades until I reached a decision point over a decade ago. "Damm, we have GOT to do something soon !"

The degree of certainty that humans were warming the planet reached a point where action became imperative. At that point I lost interest in details of further development.

BTW, my "trigger point" was about 25% to 33% certainty that humans were a major (not the only) cause of Global Warming.

Massive economic changes and costs became entirely justified at such a :low: degree of certainty, because further delay only raises the cost and impact when finally "proven".

So any doubts that you might raise are irrelevant to my decision criteria. The international consensus is 90+% certainty, my threshold for reversal of policy is about less than 10% certainty that humans cause GW. I cannot see you reversing consensus opinion to that degree.

Best Hopes for Peak Oil debate,


"the whole tone of the argument of those such as yourself is to discourage debate."

But HO,
I also imagine you are aware that this point quickly flips the other way, too.. because we've been inundated with 'Yeahbut' arguments over ClimateChange, PeakOil, Smoking, Environmental Cleanups, etc.. that start to be argument purely for arguments' sake, or worse, arguments aimed at discouraging any meaningful action to remediate or anticipate real harm. Why prepare when you can argue?

To give it up for John Cleese one more time;
"This calls for immediate discussion!"


Not really, having information does not help if you do not do the right analysis. It usually leads to stupid cherry-picking arguments, much like the case of MWP.

Deniers love to latch onto examples like MWP, much like the way PO deniers latch onto the latest Brazilian oil find. These examples are irrelevant to the overall theory.

Instead of taking on board sensible advice, your "I'm being suppressed" response, indicates to me that you are in deep denial. The reason I am discouraging debate is so that you don't make yourself look an idiot. It does not help the credibility of TOD to have "debate" about AGW.

Perhaps we should also have an "open debate" about Intelligent Design? If people are presented with both sides of the argument, they can make up their own mind, can't they?

But if you insist on playing the fool, it make me seriously wonder whether your judgement of other issues is sound.

Well said.

I have valiantly managed to stay out of this one. There is a meta study out there that covered around a thousand peer reviewed papers on climate change. 75% concluded humans were responsible for green house gases and the associated climate change. The other 25%? They simply chronicled various aspects of change and drew no conclusions as to their source.

Not one piece of peer reviewed science questioned that humans were THE source of the change.

Deniers seize upon this snippet or that, trying to make it mean something it doesn't. I agree we need to crush the life out of this sort of nonsense and equating it to Intelligent Design does frame the "debate" properly.

BTW there is a great website created for people like you

How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic

A few glaciers receding today is not proof of Global Warming, glaciers have grown and receded many times.

This is part of the divide and obfuscate approach to climate denialism and the trick is not to vociferously defend glacial melt as proof of anything as that falls into the trap of promoting one single piece of evidence to a "make the case or break the case" status. Instead, put these findings in context with other similar findings which when viewed as a whole are impossible to ignore.

No one claims that a few melting glaciers is proof of Global Warming. Proof is a mathematical concept. In climate science one needs to look at the balance of evidence and this is just more evidence on one side of that balance. Widespread and rapid retreat of glaciers is merely yet another observation consistent with all the other kinds of "melting" evidence.

If you disagree, discuss it with him, not me.

In a system as large and complex and chaotic as the earth, you are always going to be able to find contradictory evidence for anything that you are trying to prove. Rotating ~24 h/d and orbiting around the sun ~365d/y is just about the only thing that every single molecule on the planet does uniformly and in unison.

(Some wise guy will probably point out that even this isn't strictly speaking true, as there are always molecules that are leaving the earth's atmosphere and escaping into space.)

And of course days are not constant so measuring the the time it takes for a planet to orbit its sun in terms of its rotation about its own axis is a absolutely whacked unit of measure. Try doing it on mercury.

Absolutely, facts should be discussed. And an awareness that whatever framework we construct may be wrong is a necessary part - after all, I did mention peer review among those collecting and analyzing data compared to the decisive life long experience of a TV weatherman.

The debate currently is pretty much centered on only a couple areas of the globe - temperature/precipitation fluctuations in Europe and North America are pretty well established within certain tolerances, for various time frames. Ice cores add another element (pretty useless in the Amazon basin, though) as do seabed cores (pretty worthless in the Gobi, though).

I do realize that have a factually based debate seems to have become impossible, but in part, that is because for the last 30 or so years, we have been clearly following the wrong path - increased CO2 emissions are extremely unlikely to bring about a colder period - there is no support for this in any data over geological time scales.

But we are not interested very much in geologic time scales - even the few centuries between a 'mini' ice age and today seems extremely long term.

This is part of the real problem, especially in the U.S. - people see weather, and then extrapolate the weather to a cause - drought=global warming, mild hurricane season<>global warming. This is pretty stupid, to be honest.

But speaking broadly, those working with data studying climate are getting increasingly concerned at what they are witnessing, in part because even their frightening extrapolations do not match real time satellite data - Greenland's revving glaciers come to mind, along with ever exapanding amounts of ice free Arctic seawater - these are planetary scale feedback loops in action, ones predicted for decades in the future, if they were to occur at all.

Like with peak oil, for climate change, the future is now. And if there is one thing that seems clear about the U.S. - paying their bills is something no one wants to actually comtemplate. Better to whip out the credit card, and maybe take a drive to mall to calm one's nerves, or just watch some more TV.

The science of climate change remains open and is still fairly new, and facts are welcome. Some guy ranting that because he has presented weather information on TV over his life time he knows what he is talking about is about par for the course in a nation where the majority of citizens apparently dismiss the 'theory' of evolution.

Heading Out,

All right, I'll bite. It's fine that the Patagonian icefields are fluctuating and have fluctuated in the past. It's not fine that on average glaciers and ice sheets are losing mass. More than that, they are losing mass more rapidly than any of the proxies have shown in the past. So it's fine for you to trump up your Medieval Warm Period, but its wavelength is something like 500 years. We're changing the climate much more quickly than that right now. How quickly? Well if you don't believe the abundant proxies out there, or the photos of glaciers taken in the past compared to the present, look on this: This guy is about 5k years old. He was buring in an advancing ice sheet. Ötzi is not the only old thing to be found out of glaciers though. Lonnie Thompson has been going around pulling a whole bunch of things out of melting glaciers that are around the same age, with some outliers. We didn't use to pull all this old stuff out of the glaciers, it's likely that they have melted more in this century then at any time since these items were covered up, 5-6k years ago.

I suppose next you'll say that well if the climate were warm then, we'll be fine with it warm now. The only problem: billions of very poor people live near the coasts that didn't live there then. If sea level rises appreciably, and those people start migrating, the costs of dealing with that could make your $100 barrel/oil look like a walk in the park. It's possible we're already paying for it with more damaging chaotic weather, e.g. hurricanes, but it's hard to tell because the hurricane records don't go back so far and the data isn't as good.

Apologies to the other posters who rightly pointed out that this is not a climate change forum, but once in a while I'll respond to climate trolls who whip out their one glacier as proof that the climate isn't changing.

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the war room!

Note to John Coleman:

Climate ≠ Weather. All your vaunted knowledge of highs and lows and prevailing wind and lightning are one sort of science, and climate science is another. They are related, but the difference is a matter of scale.

Much as quantum physics is related to cosmology.

Arrhenius was not wrong, and the IR spectrum of CO2 has not been faked for the last century.

What you hear echoing in the denier editorials above is the fear of redistribution. "Big government" means my taxes go to wrong-colored welfare beasts instead of my neighbor the prison guard or my boss the war profiteer. Every time right-wingers talk about an evil conspiracy against the natural rule of a certain kind of good businessman, the assumption is that out-groups (in the past, Jews, blacks, homosexuals, environmentalists, feminists, hell even abolitionists) are abusing democracy to rig a game that was already properly rigged in favor of bosses whom we should trust as barbarians would trust their tribal chieftains.

Most right-wingers have not had a problem with certain kinds of big government: aristocracies, fascism, juntas, the military-industrial complex, etc. As for the rest, they embrace the maldistribution of power in favor of some private interest that simply takes over the oppressiveness of government without any of its responsibility to the voters: theocracy, plutocracy, corporatism, the KKK. All other alternatives will harm their chieftains and thus themselves.

This one runs deep in America and we won't find a way around it except by mass abandonment of our social order, willing or coerced.

Thank you.

Kirkpatrick Sale-

All empires eventually collapse. Sumerian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Hapsburg, British, Soviet, you name them, they all fell, and most within a few hundred years. The reasons are not really complex. An empire is a kind of state system that makes the same mistakes simply by nature of its structure and inevitably fails because of its size, complexity, territorial reach, stratification, domination, and inequalities...

And yet, it’s also hard to believe that a nation so thoroughly corrupt as this, resting on a social and economic base of intolerably unequal incomes and property, will be able to sustain itself for long. The upsurge in talk about secession after the last election, some of which is deadly serious, indicates that at least a minority is willing to think about drastic steps to “alter or abolish” an empire it finds itself fundamentally at odds with.

...Jared Diamond’s recent book Collapse details the ways societies crumble and suggests that American society, or industrial civilization as a whole, can learn from the failures of the past and avoid such fates. But it will never happen, for a reason Diamond himself explains. As he says, in his analysis of the doomed Norse society of Greenland that collapsed in the early fifteenth century, “The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs over adversity.”

If this is so, and his examples certainly support it, then we can isolate the values that have been responsible for American society’s greatest triumphs and know that we will cling to them no matter what. They are, in one rough mixture, capitalism, individualism, nationalism, technophilia, and humanism (as the dominance of humans over nature). There is no chance, no matter how grave and obvious the threat, that as a society we will abandon those.

Hence no chance to escape the collapse of empire.


The $ is now collapsing v the Yen.

The Japanese are freaked. .5% interest rates are being exposed for the sham that they are.

Watch what happens as the DJIA sinks beneath 13 000.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Not everyone loses when empires collapse. I see a bright future for a lot of people, and even more for the plant and animal ecosystems that have been displaced by industrial processes. But of course, there is bound to be a lot of rough water ahead.

Margaret Mitchell, via Rhett Butler: There is just as much money to be made in the wreck of a civilization as in the building of one.

Yes I am sure you hedged your gambling winnings and have shorted human life.

Good on ya.

You get to pass go and collect....

I think the thing to do is face reality and play the cards you're dealt. It makes no sense to bet wrong out of solidarity with people who are making the wrong choices, even if you feel a great deal of sympathy for those people. Betting right is not being selfish, it's just refusing to be stupid.

Not that I'm knocking it or anything, but betting is a zero-sum game, unlike responsible investing.
Gamblers come to the table with that intention, but what about the billions of people whose environment and welfare are being gambled and speculated and exploited away by their patently corrupt "leaders?" Leaders placed and kept in power by foreign governments that are a revolving door for the directorates of the Carlisles and the Goldman Sachs of the world?
We can pretend all we like that we're not responsible for the rules, that we just play the game. And yet, when I can buy and sell some Paraguyan village's water rights (PHO), am I not speculating with their very lives?
IMO, my physical isolation from the plight of those villagers doesn't insulate me from some responsibility for the consequences of my actions. Especially since I already have way too much of everything, way beyond what is sane or even healthy for one person to have accumulated. I'm devolving into a mere security guard for my possessions!

nelsone, what a wonderful phrase "I'm devolving into a mere security guard for my possessions!" Oh how true, oh how sad!

The rest of the post is also well stated.

James Gervais

I have a humble request. Can we all please refrain from discussing how to profit from the decline that is imminent?

I have read that of the bazillions of dollars that move through Wall Street, less than 25% actually ends up capitalizing business. (sorry no links, I will work on it) Much less goes to capitalizing PRODUCTION.

I would argue that the other 75% which has been SUCKED/LEACHED out of the system to enrich a small percent of the population has to come from somewhere.

It comes from the combined efforts of the masses.

It also comes from the future efforts of the masses.

My 10 year old daughters future has been sucked dry by Gamblers who think they are exceptionally bright, cleaver, smarter than the other guy.

I hate that Soros rational “ if I don’t get that money someone else will”. If I don’t rob that little old lady somebody else will just do it anyway. BS

IMO these gamblers are the most short sighted ignorant f*&#s in the world and their mentality is what has brought humanity down.

Everyone has a right to come to TOD and I understand that it’s as close to “inside info” as you gamblers can get but please stop the ugly chest beating, bragging, rationalizing, and basic displays of GREED. It makes me sick.

Many here on TOD empathize with the less fortunate and expose TPTB for perpetuating the inequities yet it’s cool to talk about cashing in on someones loss. Come on now!

I understand this will rub some of you wrong and I expect to be “Schooled” about the noble art of Trading. I will read all and sundry but I just want explain that I have raised millions in VC for start-ups, held shares in many companies from big to small and do have a better than average understanding of the stock market concept.

I find this ever increasing trader talk obscene in light of what is unfolding in the world.

Things have simply gone too far.

Personally, I'm still interesting in hearing from others what they expect from the markets and how they're investing to prepare for what's coming.

I think it's naive to think that the solution lies exclusively in backyard gardening and self-righteousness.

Me, too. I'm interested in all aspects of peak oil and its consequences. I'd rather have the option to filter information on my own than to have someone else doing it for me.

Can we dispense with the extremism of the "capitalist" versus "self-righteous" poles, please? We all have our limits, and I expect no one to act in ways that are not in their personal self interest.

Simply put: Sanity would seem to dictate that we have to evolve toward longer horizons in our assessment of returns, and of folding back into the equation all those environmental impacts which we've externalized.

ELP is an excellent example of foregoing short-term return in favor of lower long-term risk. But whose risk? My life is done in another thirty years, and I'll be fine, although I expect it to be quite a ride. But that's hardly the point of the DNA game, now, is it?

If we want our children's children to inherit a civilization of any type, we'd better factor that priority into our projected long-term use and misuse of petroleum, phosphorus, and drinking water. And if we choose extermination as our preferred means of demand destruction, we'd best be willing to accept the consequences that such a world will impose on the surviving descendants.

Some rats look for the cheese, some rats look for the holes in the cheese. That's the only difference.

Some rats just look for a large cardboard box behind a dumpster down by the docks of the city.

It is obscene. However, in fairness to those I suspect intend to be the barons of a new Dark Age, we must admit that when things are bad enough, mere survival will be a form of profit. As opposed to the alternative.

Well, while you guys are out saving the world by doing exactly what I don't know, the rest of us plan to live on by adapting, adjusting, and showing enterprise in situations as they evolve.

I don't see much point in going long November pumpkins or trying to corner the market for January Christmas tree futures. There's just no money in it.

I'm just trying to feed my family and the profits on those oil futures is a step in that direction. Those solar panels on my roof didn't pay for themselves. At least not yet.

If oil speculation raises prices - and I'm not clear that it actually does - then it would be a GOOD thing. Oil in the USA is too damn cheap now. Driving up the price is probably one of the most responsible things which could be done. In the absence of a government with the wits or balls slap on a tax on the stuff, three cheers for those who risk their money speculating. Like prostitution, it's a victimless crime.

I'm just sorry I can't afford oil futures.

I very much like that we can talk about how to profit as things change. There I things I need, or at least that I think I need, in order to live in a post peak world, and no one is going to sneak up and hide these items in my garage while I sleep.

Profit good, plunder bad. So making money, even a lot of money, is fine ... its what you do with it that matters.

Choices are limited:
Ignore it.
Talk about it.
Do what you think will best help prepare for it.

REgarding the latter, some will invest in what looks to be in short supply, and these investments will help produce more of what is short (the much maligned hidden hand); this does not guarantee any absolute production, but simply that more will be produced than had the investments not been placed. Others will try their hand at farming, or whatever. Although I have never been a farmer, I suspect it is not as romantic as billed.

Civilizations ultimately crash, and anyway in the long run we are all dead. Nevertheless, most survived the great depression, those that had some money did far better than my grandmother and my grandfather, a driller away most of the time, and their seven surviving children, who had next to nothing. My mother was born in 1925, she had quite a few stories of their family's deprivations in Huntington W VA. The kids all left and most obtained good educations (my grandmother, a teacher, gave them a good start in the small grade school) and, ultimately, a good upper middle class life... through hard work, saving, and planning as best they could for the future.

It is easy to say this time is different, the dollar will be tp... these are all excuses to avoid having to do anything or make any choices.

I am no doubt making mistakes, but I will look back and say that I spent a lot of time and effort doing my best to guide my family through the coming troubles.

Bullish investments:
I am long ard/gpor/oxy/gmxr (us oil E&P's except the last, us ng).
Also long auy (canadian multinational gold), only on account of dollar crash (IMO oil is up because of short supply, gold up because of flight from dollar/us investments; generally not related.)

Bear investments:
bearx/srpix/skf, market, builders, financials respectively.

Hence no chance to escape the collapse of empire.

All this is a bunch of nonsense, trying to wedge one meme (agrarian pre-industrial cultures failing in harsh environments) to make poor predictions of collapse, along with a laundry list of supposed evils that we have no empirical reason to believe are likely to result in this supposed collapse. Its pretty easy to predict that someday it will rain, but that tells us nothing about where society is going.

Industrial civilization has centuries more of turning.

"Industrial civilization has centuries more of turning."

But the issue is finding the energy to turn things. Currently 86% of our energy is derived from fossil fuels. Wake me up when that figure drops below 50% while maintaining our current lifestyle.


"Hence no chance to escape the collapse of empire."

You seem to conflate collapse and disappearance of a society (total) with collapse of empire (partial).

I think you should distinguish between the two. Spain, Protugal, Russia and Britian all had empires. They are all still here.

In time American empire will fall. But we'll still be here and probably doing OK. Not great, but OK.

True, but some Niall Ferguson types would argue that Western Civilization requires a dominant empire to keep the rest of the honkies in line and thus masters of a prosperous global economy. So if there had not been an America around in the 1940s to grab the torch from Britain, not only would Britain have lost its empire, but the Nazis would have begun a new Dark Age. There clearly is not another white empire warming up on the bench to take over from a broken America, so "society" would fail.

My objection to that argument is what constitutes "civilization" or even a "good life". Would a Nazi victory over Britain have actually been comparable to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476? The Nazis were barbaric in their behavior, but not in their administrative talents. Liberty would have regressed, but not technology. The sad story of civilization is that it is mostly composed of successful tyranny. Civilization carries out mass murder all the time - where would the West be without the crimes against Africans and Native Americans, and an endless list of little-known colonial massacres around the world? But skin color acted as a barrier to assure European/American/Israelis that within their own walls security prevailed. Is Hitler thus that different for having mainly murdered white Europeans while the German sub-set lived in some comfort?

It is telling that these "torch of civilization" arguments are sometimes heard from neocons whose own plans for saving us from Islamic or Chinese "barbarism" involve a thousand-year militarized tyranny. Their real message is: most Americans will live in comfort while a few million dissidents are sacrificed and a few billion of the mud races are triaged.

My argument is that, say, a Chinese-dominated world will be about as repressive, but the suffering might be distributed a little more evenly, so I'd call it more genuinely civilized.

As they said in "V for Vendetta",
England prevails.

Empires inevitably decline and collapse, but that doesn't necessarilly mean that the society at the core of the empire goes away. More often than not, it survives in some form, and transforms itself into something else.

The collapse of the USSR didn't leave an empty space where it used to be. Russia and the other constitutents transformed themselves (actually, I should use present tense, as it is still ongoing). For those that survived the collapse, life goes on -- differently, perhaps, but it goes on.

Ditto for the British and French and Portugese and Dutch empires.

Ditto for the Japanese empire, and the Third ("1000 year") Reich.

Ditto for the German (2nd Reich) empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Russian empire, and the Ottoman empire.

Ditto for the Napoleonic empire, the first British empire, the Spanish empire, & the Byzantine empire.

Not to mention various Chinese and Indian empires.

The Aztecs, Maya, and Inca did not go away when their empires collapsed, but their lives did change.

The American empire will surely run its course and come to an end, probably sooner rather than later. The United States as a political entity will certainly not continue to survive unchanged forever, either. The map of North America will eventually be re-drawn. A couple of centuries from now it might look as different from today as today does from a map of two centuries ago. The mix of inhabitants, settlement patterns, linguistic mix, and regional lifestyles of North Americans will be as diverse and different from today 200 years from now as they were 200 years ago. But there will, in all likelihood, still be people inhabiting North America.

You fail to address is that just like wars climate change can also be exploited by the "proper" business elites with the help of the same big gov.

Watch for example what carbon trading has turned into - more or less a giant scam scheme in which certain industries are given off pollution permits for free. What a neat way to boost profits - just become a bigger polluter and you'll get more pork! And of course there is that whole new horde of enterprises that exploit the "carbon offset" loophole.

Another thing to watch is the so called alternative energy. The wind industry for example has turned into a giant and politically well-connected complex, which is bitterly resisting any attempt to reduce the subsidies it is being fed. In US it has only just begun (and it's still modest) but in countries like Germany and Denmark the process has gone well beyond any limits. US of course has the ethanol scam, so you could say that overall things are about equal.

Agreed, and it's no surprise that "more of the same" won't solve our problems with carbon or anything else.
What I find most enraging is the idea of contaminating vast swaths of ocean with piss and dirt to promote algal blooms, and perhaps dead zones in their wake, all to cash in on those offset credits.



"And of course there is that whole new horde of enterprises that exploit the "carbon offset" loophole."

This link may have been previously posted, but Bloomberg has been running a special report on this new business all week.


Middle of page, "Carbon Capitalism"

Mostly a "People" magazine treatment, bio and lifestyle info on the various players.

Well, everything you've just described could be exploited by any industry that requires large concentrations of capital and expertise, thus able to buy lobbyists and intimidate concerned citizens into silence. Like nuclear power.
So the difference between nuclear, wind and solar is that if all subsidies for all alternative energy were cut off tomorrow, I could still buy a windmill on ebay for $500 or some solar panels for a little more. You can't call the people who buy those products part of an evil big government conspiracy. Can you?

The Department of Energy (ex-Atomic Energy Commission) isn't a giant, politically well-connected complex? The nuclear industry hasn't benefitted from military nuclear research from Manhattan to the USS Nautilus? Or from selling depleted uranium to the military to create kiddy tumors in Iraq, or buying cheap nuclear fuel from the stockpiles of the former USSR? Solar and wind have never had deals that cozy.

I'll take the decentralized hippie scam over the military-industrial complex scam for a change. Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Nuke, and Big War, they're all lying us to death.

Look around. How much of the alternative energy we are building, or actually how much of anything in our civilization is "decentralized"? Giant wind turbines are manufactured in big factories in Germany and Denmark, billions of solar cells are made in similar factories in Germany, Japan or China. Large utilities are installing the same wind turbines in plants taking up tens and hundreds of square kilometers... nothing small and down to the average person that I see.

I would challenge you that whether an industry is beneficial to the society or not does not depend on the size of the technology it uses. What is deterministic here is whether you can have the industry under public control or not.

You mentioned nuclear - this is one of the most heavily regulated industries worldwide. It takes forever to get a plant going, it is extremely risky, expensive and time-consuming to meet all safety and licensing requirements etc. Yet still utilities want to build it - because it is a technology that works and eventually they will make money of it delivering electricity, not because of subsidies or mandates.

Comparing it to wind is a funny thing - the reason companies want wind is because of subsidies and government imposed mandates. Initially it was the idea that these will be temporary incentatives to get the technology going but it seem we are going to be left with these temporary subsidies forever. More than that - wind is escaping public control, exploiting its carefully built image of a "green technology". Actually how green is it is questionable - after you count all the FFs that were neccessary to build, transport and maintain them, and add the additional fuel burnt in conventional plants serving as backup to wind farms, the savings are not that much.

I want to repeat again that I am not a priori against wind as it is a low polluting energy source. There are places it can do relatively well and up to a certain point it can be integrated easily in the grid. What I am against is favoring it and putting unreasonable hopes and huge amounts of public money to get such a small return - for example in Germany they are spending more than $3bln. a year on various wind subsidies to get just 7% of their electricity. Meanwhile none of their coal plants has been retired, because they are needed as a backup. Neither good for the environment or for us IMO.

"Being a TV weatherman in San Diego is an outrageous scam," says KUSI NEWS' 6, 10 and 11 PM weathercaster.

The same guy, John Coleman. He's pretty loose with the word 'scam'.

An old, tired, washed-up TV weatherman, still bitter that he worked hard to start up The Weather Channel and had it taken away from him. It's more sad than anything else.

Without TV, I don't know how Americans will actually be able to understand the world around them.

I know a lot of people who would die if they didn't have TV - outside of the work place and shopping at Wal-Mart, it's their entire life. Pretty much all they "know" (or think they know) about the world comes from FOX Noise, supplemented with a little extra "knowledge" from listening to Rash Limbaugh during their daily commute to the McJob.

How will they cope in the future, when their world is turned upside down? They won't.

Funny- their 'world' is not being turned upside down, merely their flawed perspective of the world shared by all of us.

Two remarks;

1 - Belief- Having it both ways...
Para 3 "It [climate science] is not a religion. It is not something you “believe in.” ..."
Para 5 "I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend."

2 - Evidence, even a Theory, something to test?? If this is a "scientist's" objection, I would expect to hear some scientific points made before I can even give it any serious attention. Otherwise we just have to go back to "I Strongly Believe".. I guess the 'Wacko, Eco Scientists only just 'believe'.. when they need to 'strongly believe'.

Bonus Points - Scientific Jargon

"Dastardly" - He said 'Dastardly'
"Manipulated" - again, evidence??

"the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming." - Ok, so make an argument, or were you looking for 'Contradictions'? That's down the hall..


I tried to understand global warming from the ground up by reading the technical ICC reports. It's all just a bunch of tortured curve fits. Sure the glaciers are melting and the globe is heating up but that humans are doing it is doubtful. The change in CO2 as a percentage of the atmosphere is not enough to make a difference. In the previous warming cycles in the vostok ice cores, CO2 percentages went up after the globe warmed so with the best historical data we have, the increase in CO2 was an effect of global warming not a cause.

IMHO, Global warming is a way to get people to do something about peak oil without really telling them about it. There's also a lot of money to be made buying carbon credits from Al Gore's and friends firms along the way.

If global warming is not caused by human activity then why does the rise in CO2 match the rise in fossil fuel use? What is different about the world now compared to the last 400,000 years that has made the CO2 level so high?

Yes humans are raising CO2 levels, but not enough to be the primary causative factor of global warming. Something else is causing global warming, sun cycles, etc.

This is the problem with the global warming arguments. They try to make the debate about all the easy to prove points. The easy to prove points are that temperatures are rising, that Co2 is rising and that humans are the cause of the CO2 rise. The hard to prove point is whether enough CO2 is being created in the atmosphere by humans to have a significant enough effect on global temperatures to be the cause of the warming we are currently experiencing. We are talking movements of 1/100th of a percentage point of the total atmospheric mass.

Try this experiment:

Put a single drop of India ink from a bottle into a glass of water. Stir. Rather murky, eh? The ink molecules represent a minuscule percentage of the total, but they are the only ones which are absorbing the visible light. CO2 has the same effect in the atmosphere with infrared radiation emitted from the earth's surface.

Doesn't that depend on how big the drop is and how small the glass?

Not if you believe in homeopathy.


Yeah well I'm not saying CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas. On Venus where it is 98% of the atmosphere, it has an extreme effect.

From Wikipedia:

Carbon dioxide (CO2) 383 ppmv (0.0383%)

Carbon dioxide 96.5 %

So the question remains. Does our moving the concentration of atmospheric CO2 0.01% have enough effect on the climate to explain the warming we are currently experiencing? Or is it something else, such as solar variations that are causing the warming. There is evidence for this:

Other parts of the solar system show evidence of warming:


Again, all this is isn't an honest mistake. This is a fiercly politicized issue that is being pushed to get the world community to deal with the peak oil crisis without kicking off a world wide last man standing struggle for fossil fuel resources.

If the global public was aware of peak oil, as they are aware of global warming I'd guess that they would severely restrict exports and current field exploitation (in order to conserve more for the future) leading to an early steep crash in worldwide oil production. Global warming propaganda keeps the oil importing economies afloat while creating momentum to conserve energy.

The only difference between Global Warming and Peak Oil in terms of actual effect on policy is CTL and Biofuels. Biofuels are favored if one is only considering global warming policy. CTL is favored if one is only concerned about peak oil.

Yes, the greenhouse effect from the added CO2 is small compared to Venus (or even that from water vapor and pre-industrial CO2 levels on earth), but we are not talking about a large temperature change. It's just that that small change can have large implications for a human society used to a particular set of conditions.

Or is it something else, such as solar variations that are causing the warming.

But such things are easy to measure directly from outside Earth's atmosphere (e.g. put a sensor on a satellite), and they have been. And there have been no recent changes in solar output which can account for the recent warming. Ditto for cosmic rays. Temperature changes on other planets would be a more indirect measurement with much greater uncertainty, and would probably just reflect changes in their "weather".

Coal has environmental problems besides GHG (mountaintop removal and the like). And don't forget that increased CO2 levels has another bad side effect: increasing acidity of the oceans due to dissolved CO2.


I checked the BS about other planets warming.

Neptune is just past it's closest point to the sun in an eccentric orbit. Think July 15th in the Northern Hemisphere fo Earth (solar gain is just past max (June 21) but thermal inertia keeps temperatures climbing).

Your linked article has this "amazing" fact that throws all other climate science into doubt !

In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row ... says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun

And that is IT for hard data in your linked article !

Solar flux has been very accurately measured for almost 50 years from space. No change noted other than the standard 11 year cycle (4+ of those) and those cycles are even.

I hold such psuedo-science and people that promote the destruction of our planet by it's use beneath contempt !


It is my understanding that the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere from fossil fuels can to be determined to a fairly accurate degree because of the differences in CO2 isotopes.

But, as Asebius has pointed out, we on this list are overwhelmingly not climate experts, nor do we have in the TOD editorial staff any climate experts (that I know of).

I, too, deeply resent HO's continual insinuating his 'evidence' cloaked by bald-faced 'innocence' as 'just facts, letting people make up their own minds.'
Definitely BS. TOD would definitely be better without it.

Interesting, you are postulating that the current rise of CO2 is caused by temperature -- not that we are burning fossil fuels? No, I guess all of those cars and coal plants cannot have an effect. No, I guess that all those trees that we have cut down and paved over with black material has no effect.

I believe your comments may be politically motivated. Perhaps you hate all politicians?

Forest fires used to happen without people and matches existing. Dry tinder would pile up and then a lucky lightning bolt would start the thing. But the appearance of people and matches created a new cause for forest fires, worse than all before.

Similarly, in the pre-human past temperature would sometimes get high enough to push up CO2 levels, which would feed back in the form of ocean saturation and permafrost thawing and make it even warmer until species got expunged. A couple of times 90% of species were wiped out. Now we're standing around with our cars like guilty little children with matches.

"Who started this fire?"
"Nature did it!"

I tried to understand global warming from the ground up by reading the technical ICC reports. It's all just a bunch of tortured curve fits.

Well, then you need to try again because you still don't understand it.

The change in CO2 as a percentage of the atmosphere is not enough to make a difference.

What is "enough"? It all depends on the physics behind the relative strength of CO2 as a forcing. It didn't take much CFCs to eat big chunks in the ozone hole.

In the previous warming cycles in the vostok ice cores, CO2 percentages went up after the globe warmed so with the best historical data we have, the increase in CO2 was an effect of global warming not a cause.

Yes, ice core studies show elevated CO2 levels came after the temperature went up, with a time lag. But consider this: CO2 levels are now higher than were measured during those periods, which included some rather wide temperature swings which took a long time to transpire. At the present, we have experience a rapid CO2 increase (with an isotopic signature that is only consistent with FF burning) coincident with a rapid temperature increase. We are in uncharted territory, but one in which the observable is consistent with elevated CO2 causing the warming trend.

If you had read the IPCC (not "ICC") reports you would have noticed that CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas (GHG)causing the problem - there is also methane and several others, most of which are even more potent greenhouse gases than CO2. Most of these are of agricultural origin and correlate with the expansion of cultivated land and growth in livestock herds. Most importantly, the increase in concentrations of GHGs correlate with each other, as well as with global temps. Furthermore, the quality of GHGs to actually cause a greenhouse effect is an empirically testable hypothesis, and has been demonstrated in laboratory experiments. Thus, we have the correlation of multiple GHGs with each other, with global temps, and with human activities, and an explanatory mechanism to account for the correlation. That's not a conspiracy, that's science.

So in the previous post it is absolute that CO2 is the CAUSE, period. In your post it is a bunch of gases, and yes methane is a greater GHG then CO2. So, now should we be fighting CO2 or methane? Oh forgot one, the number 1 GHG by volume and affect, H2O. That deadly gas that is evaporating faster from oceans and land, per the IPCC reports, and holding more heat in the atmosphere. Nobody is saying stop pulling water out of the ground and irrigate, but yet it is a bigger 'problem' then CO2 emissions.


I am willing to accept that it might be cooler without 6 billion + mammal parasites on the planet. I am NOT willing to accept some of the crap that has been spewed as science. NEVER will AGW be proven by scientific method.

NEVER will AGW be proven by scientific method.

Ergo, NOTHING should be done about possible Global Warming, and we should keep driving Hummer and burning coal as the climate "naturally" changes dramatically around us, MANY billions die from famine, rising sea levels, cultural and social collapse and other effects of climate change.

Unlike other areas of scientific endeavor, the consequences of indecision on the issue of Global Warming are beyond devastating !!

BTW, the IPCC report did NOT say "humans cause GW", they said (from memory) there is a greater than 90% probability that humans are the dominant cause of GW.

i.e. No further scientific inquiry is required before policy makers take URGENT action !

Yes, scientific inquiry can continue (perhaps we will find that a natural warming trend is being accelerated by humans by a factor of x2.5) BUT ACTION SHOULD NOT BE DELAYED !

Best Hopes for Questioning NOT slowing action,


I guess you don't really understand the scientific method then, since by definition nothing is ever proved by the scientific method. Thankfully science cares not one iota what you are or are not willing to accept, even if you use CAPS to insist on it.

And by the way, methane is a greater GHG than CO2, 60 times more powerful to be exact, but CO2 is 200 times more abundant than methane in the Earth's atmosphere, so overall has a larger impact:


While water is a GHG, its concentration is dependent solely on temperature. It's called a feedback gas; the higher the temperature, the more water evaporates, exerting its own effect on temperatures.

Water vapour: feedback or forcing?
— gavin @ 7:51 pm
Whenever three or more contrarians are gathered together, one will inevitably claim that water vapour is being unjustly neglected by 'IPCC' scientists. "Why isn't water vapour acknowledged as a greenhouse gas?", "Why does anyone even care about the other greenhouse gases since water vapour is 98% of the effect?", "Why isn't water vapour included in climate models?", "Why isn't included on the forcings bar charts?" etc. Any mainstream scientist present will trot out the standard response that water vapour is indeed an important greenhouse gas, it is included in all climate models, but it is a feedback and not a forcing. From personal experience, I am aware that these distinctions are not clear to many, and so here is a more in-depth response (see also this other attempt).


Yes, water is a GHG, but it reaches equilibrium in a matter of hours to weeks depending on the situation. The carbon dioxide cycle over the last million years or so ran on roughly 100k year cycles.

Trying to say it simpler. I don't hear this bit of AGW denialism all that often. People are more likely to trot out that "The earth was cooling in the 1970s" junk.

Local gas prices just hit $8.08 per US gallon. Diesel is $8.56. [101.9p/litre & 107.9p/litre respectively].

JN2, Aberystwyth, UK


Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Exports of Brent crude, the North Sea's benchmark grade, may decline 17 percent next year, cutting U.K. petroleum revenue as exploration companies turn to more promising regions to boost oil supply.

Brent shipments from the Sullom Voe terminal in Scotland will fall to 108 cargoes of 600,000 barrels next year from 130 in 2007, according to a report prepared for a meeting of the Shetland Islands Council yesterday. Brent's decline is an indicator of U.K. oil output, which has dropped 44 percent since its 1999 peak.

Sullom Voe Shipments

After the decline in Brent shipments in 2008, exports will range from 110 cargoes in 2009 to 107 in 2011, before sinking again to 95 cargoes in 2012, according to the forecasts. That represents a 27 percent decline over five years.

The report, compiled by Sullom Voe Port manager Jim Dickson, is based on data from BP Plc, the operator of the terminal, Dickson said in a telephone interview. Graham MacEwen, a BP spokesman, declined to comment, saying the company does not discuss production figures. Shell spokesman Jack Page was unavailable for immediate comment."

Notice how shipments magically rise (maybe BP should
start calling itself Merlin)in 2009?

And like Tabasco, hurricanes will not stop production.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

Dear JN2,

God, how I love North Wales. I get nostalgic just looking at the name Aberystwyth. There are so many places I miss, it hurts. I wonder if an independent Wales could get by, given it's hydro-electric instalations and it's substantial coal reserves and potential for developing wind and wave power?

Writerman: yes, Wales is a special place. There is a large pumped-hydro plant at Dinorwig, response time is 12 seconds for 1320 MW! Plenty of wind but a lot of NIMBYism re turbines. Best hopes for a renewable-energy powered Wales!

"Homeless Pride" in New Orleans


A few months ago, the Baptist Mission opened a 101 bed annex for long term homeless (6 months or 1 year max). Among the rules, besides "clean & sober", "minimal personal hygiene", "no fighting" was "full time job".

A vision of America's future, or will the larger nation be less humane ?


A friend used to work for Catholic Charities, and they house a lot of working poor. They have jobs, but cannot afford an regular apartment.

My great grandmother ran a boarding house (my great grandfather died young of pneumonia). Boarding houses were zoned out, but I expect they will be back. Urban density is going up, so we either build more urban units, or pack into the ones we have.

Jon Freise
Analyze Not Fantasize -D. Meadows

There are still a lot of rooming houses, mostly serving an illegal immigrant clientelle. In towns like Galveston and Houston the welfare is not enough to live on, so someone with SSI will rent a large substandard house or duplex then rent out rooms for $100 a week or beds for $50-$75 a week to a person with no ID or an old felony conviction that they can't rent an apartment with like burglary or child molesting.

The social conservatives don't really think about the consequences of not giving enough welfare to live on and all the reporting possible with computers on people's records. Even if they are trying to have a job and a modest honest life a lot of these old problems follow people around. Families have fallen apart and they don't take care of their less fortunate members, so they do what they must to get by. There's a woman a couple of blocks away from my house who is in an electric wheelchair. She's renting rooms out to local crack prostitutes for a place to keep clothes and baithe because she has to have enough money to live. The cops are watching her place all the time, and take the working girls downtown from the neighborhood fairly often. I don't know a good solution-don't think there is one. If the city shuts her down the prostitutes won't move, they'll just bathe less often.
There's also an old Mexican lady, maybe on social security, who rents rooms to some young latino men who do construction and work in restaurants. They are very likely documentationally but not employment challenged. Shoot, they're the good neighbors! The worst thing they do is listen to Rancho and Conjuto music loud, but they cut it off at midnight.

I guess the neighborhood is gentrifying, but then I moved in a year ago. Bob Ebersole

When I was kicked out of the house at 18 like all good American families do to their kids, and out on my own so it's ages 18-25, (I left at 25 for the Mainland) I lived in rooming houses. $150 - $190 a month rent, 6 people sharing one fridge and one bathroom, and very strict. One day a week was my cleaning day, no overnight visitors, no visitors after 10, generally you got a talking to if you had your lights on after 10 or 11, etc.

The people living there were me, working/student, students, older students, a "dancer", gal working at McDonalds and probably headed for a manager position (working at micky-d's was too good a job for a white person, I never was able to get in and never saw a white working there) two older ladies who worked for the bakery (Leonard's) a lady on SSI who was a wino (and a real problem) a lady who cleaned houses (white and like myself, had to get the dirty jobs to work) and so on.

The reason we have so many homeless out on the street is the elimination of rooming/boarding houses like this. Some will have looser standards. Some will be regular dens of iniquity. But many are quite respectable and some are downright genteel.

The modern counterpart in most of the US is the place that rents out bedrooms.

Viva the good old fashioned flophouse!

The reason we have so many homeless out on the street is the elimination of rooming/boarding houses like this."

Or...everyone's so isolated and no one really has any close friends (just "acquaintances") that would take them in when they're down, extended family might not take them in because of "how it might look to the neighbors" or something. Without some sort of support it can be about impossible for someone to get back out of the hole.

That's just normal American society. I have a bunch of relatives, all relatively wealthy, who'd call the cops on me or shoot me themselves if they thought they'd get away with it, if I showed up starving at their door. Some are aunts and uncles, some are siblings. That's how American society works now. "All for one and every man for themself" lol.

I agree with Kunstler et al that peak oil will be tough on the suburbs.

But one way some people will get by is to rent out rooms in their oversized houses.

Bonus: rent to a family from Guatemala or other third world place where they still know about subsistence agriculture. Part of the rent can come in the form of fruit and vegetables from the garden (which used to be lawns and driveways).

This could work for awhile, as long as some basic infrastructure (water and sewer especially) could be kept operative.

We shut down the asylums and flophouses and dumped them into the libraries.

"The reason we have so many homeless out on the street is the elimination of rooming/boarding houses like this. Some will have looser standards. Some will be regular dens of iniquity. But many are quite respectable and some are downright genteel.

The modern counterpart in most of the US is the place that rents out bedrooms.

Viva the good old fashioned flophouse!"

Many many homeless people have mental problems. After the exposes of the abuses in the mental institutions of the 1960's and 1970's, we closed the asylums with the idea that the communities would take up the slack. Of course, this happened just as most major cities were going through the financial crisises of the 1970's so there was no money for expensive care for those with mental health problems.

Right now most of them are at the library.

Have you ever noticed the number of homeless people at the library? Usually they are lined up at the door before it opens: especially in the cold of winter and heat of the summer. It's one of those places that won't drive them out, provides entertainment/meaning of existence through reading and learning, and has a bathroom.

In fact, it's so bad that libraries are now training their staff to deal with the different types of conditions.


I think they'll come back much sooner too. My friend who lives in Bergen County, New Jersey, one of the wealthiest counties in the state, who recently separated from her husband has taken in a "boarder" who pays $700 per month. She said she walks with a group of women who have all taken part-time jobs in the last six months to help pay the bills. She said the amount of debt these woman have and their compulsion to spend money is breathtaking.

Oil is at $100 per barrel today and without any "problems" it will increase $100 every year or so. If we have an "interruption" in the Strait of Hormuz or an attack on oil refineries or pipelines in the Mideast, shortages will mean incredibly high prices overnight. Then we will have gasoline and jet fuel shortages and travel will be limited. Someday there will be "temporary" travel interruptions, and someday they will be permanent. Buses and trains won't be able carry 1/10,000 of the travel demand. Oneday we won't be able to get from here to there, or we will fear not being able to get back. No one will announce in advance that you can't get from here to there, but it will happen, and family members will be separated forever. We will only know after it happens. My family members live far away, so I tell them, when I see in November, I will give you a big hug because it may be the last time I see you. It will happen.

Don't know if you are right, but if you are right and you put your money down on it right now you will be able to move all your family members into your very big house.

Thats a good idea if you have family. My father's side of the family will have nothing to do with me or my brother because they did not aprove of my father marrying my mother.

Good American families tend to all hate each other becuase one makes more money or one makes less money or one makes too much money or one makes no money ......

So since the ones making a lot right now tend to be the ones making their dough in the credit "industry" or something, their being left high and dry and impossibly seperated from those who'd still help them out no matter how nasty they've been, will be one of the sweetest aspects of the downfall.

The problem with that is this:

Whose going to pay up to reward you for your "correct

That's what Ambacs collapse is all about.

People are looking at whose on the other side of these hedged positions and finding no one.

Which is why USTreasuries yields are dropping
while the $ is tanking.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

You're right- that is a potential risk.


Leanan, a few days ago, in a Drumbeat if I remember correctly, you showed a snippet on the fact that the price for electricity paid by consumers is higher if they buy from a company on the free market than from a company subject to regulated prices.

That is certainly the case in France.

That may seem obvious now and to some, but it is exactly the opposite of what was touted at the start.

Any ideas on what the original (business) plan was and what in fact happened? Thanks.


Try Jerome's article:

Even CATO libertarians say energy deregulation
does not work



Energy de-regulation is part of the problem that caused the united states to have a piss poor electricl grid(graded d- last time i looked). the other part of the problem is we are starting to run into the time where in some places it might not be worth it at all to maintain the grid. Right now this is in the remote rual area's but it will move closer and closer to the generating sites sooner or later.

From what I think was one of Matt's Best and First interviews. A day or so after the 2003 blackout.

Thanks again to Mike Ruppert and FromTheWilderness.com for those early days of PO reporting.

Behind the Blackout

August 18, 2003

FTW: What did happen?

Simmons: On a large scale what happened was deregulation. Deregulation destroyed excess capacity. Under deregulation, excess capacity was labeled as "massive glut" and removed from the system to cut costs and increase profits. Experience has taught us that weather is the chief culprit in events like this. The system needs to be designed for a 100-year cyclical event of peak demand. If you don't prepare for this, you are asking for a massive blackout. New plants generally aren't built unless they are mandated, and free markets don't make investments that give one percent returns. There was also no investment in new transmission lines.

Underlying all this is the fact that we have no idea how to store electricity. And every aspect of carrying capacity, from generators, to transmission lines, to the lines to and inside your house, has a rated capacity of x. When you exceed x, the lines melt. That's why we have fuse boxes and why power grids shut down. So we have now created a vicious cyclicality that progresses over time.

Another problem was that with deregulation, people thought that they could borrow from their neighbor. New York thought it could borrow from Vermont. Ohio thought that it could borrow from Michigan, etc. That works, but only up to the point where everyone needs to borrow at once and there's no place to go.

A second major reason is that decisions were made in the 1990s that all new generating plants were to be gas fired. We've had a natural gas summit this year and, as you know, I have been talking for some time about the natural gas cliff we are experiencing. Many thought that this winter would be deadly, and I have to say that it's just a miracle that we have replenished our gas stocks going into the cold months. This winter could have been a major disaster. We've seen a price collapse in natural gas to the five to eight dollar range (per thousand cubic feet) and the only reason that happened was throughout almost the entire summer there were only a handful of days when the temperature rose above eighty degrees anywhere. That was miraculous. It allowed us to prepare for the winter but we shouldn't be optimistic. One good hurricane that disrupts production, one blazing heat wave, one freezing winter after that and we're out of solutions.

FTW: And natural gas too?

Simmons: Well, I know you understand it, but people need to understand the concept of peaking and irreversible decline. It's a sharper issue with gas, which doesn't follow a bell curve but tends to fall off a cliff. There will always be oil and gas in the ground, even a million years from now. The question is, will you be a microbe to go down and eat the oil in small pockets at depths no one can afford or is able to drill to? Will you spend hundreds of thousands to drill a gas well that will run dry in a few months? All the big deposits have been found and exploited. There aren't going to be any dramatic new discoveries and the discovery trends have made this abundantly clear.

We are now in a box we should never have gotten into and it has very serious implications. We also see the inevitable issues that follow a major blackout: no water, no sewage, no gasoline. The gasoline issue is very important. Our gasoline stocks are at near all time lows. With the blackout, more than seven hundred thousand barrels per day of refinery capacity were shut down. People were told to boil their water. So what do they do, they go to their electric stove which isn't working. What then?


Read the rest.

I hadn't seen that one, thank you.

The "free market" was an Enron-inspired fiction meaning "lack of regulatory oversight". It was, however, intended to allow utilities to merge up into opaque monopolies that would charge whatever rates they wish, while leaving maintenance of the grid to the public sector.

The only real free market is if you put solar panels on your roof and a battery bank in your garage and get off the grid. That solution has understandably been damned with faint praise by all the various segments of the "iron triangle".

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

The 300 students from Michigan, fresh off a day-long bus ride, included many scores from the Detroit area, who brought with them 80,000 letters destined for the office of Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, urging him to stop stalling and take the climate crisis seriously.

Didn't John just propose a zillion dollar carbon tax? He's the only one who is taking CC seriously.


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

Anybody heard from Daniel Yergin lately? Is he still touting $38 oil? Hiding out under his desk? Just seems kinda quiet over at C.E.R.A.

Last I heard he raised the floor to $65. He has been increasing his price targets faster than anybody.

Somebody ought to start a futures market on Yergin's price targets.

He's featured on the front page article of the NYTimes online today. I don't understand what is stealing the oxygen from the air in that news room.

Rising Demand for Oil Provokes New Energy Crisis


With oil prices approaching the symbolic threshold of $100 a barrel, the world is headed toward its third energy shock in a generation. But today’s surge is fundamentally different from the previous oil crises, with broad and longer-lasting global implications...

“Today’s markets feel like the crowds standing up in the final minutes of a football game shouting: ‘Go! Go! Go!,’” said Daniel Yergin, an oil historian and the chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm. “People seem almost more relaxed about $100 than they were about $60 or $70 oil.”

I find it baffling that the Times is lazy enough to keep using this guy. At least he's not making idiotic predictions any more... now he seems to be sticking to describing the present, which seems a lot more safe when you've been as wrong as he has.

Does anyone actually pay for that kind of lame "consulting?"

OTOH, the average equity analyst quoted in the media is no more reliable than Yergin. Yergin is the rule, not the exception. He shmoozes and promotes and hustles, which is the bottom line. Most readers can't remember what they read yesterday, much less what Yergin predicted for oil prices a year ago. The paper helps by never mentioning his absymal record at price predictions.

Also I'll point out that the majority of polled oil traders are also only right 53% of the time about whether inventories will go up or down in a given week -- that's almost tossing a coin. Given that these guys have basically no idea, it's no surprise that a talking-head like Yergin doesn't either. (Sorry about the lack of a link, for the life of me I can't remember what thread it was posted on -- it was on bloomberg a few weeks ago.)

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the war room!

You'll notice that TPTB are using the "same guys since
2001" across the board.

No amount of "losing ideas" can jettison these yoyo's.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

His dad was a well-known reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Danny Boy is a Yale and Cambridge man! (His degrees are in English and International Relations, not geology or economics.) He wrote "THE" book on oil and won a Pulitzer (tm) prize for it. A Pulitzer (tm) is the gold-standard for journalists.

He knows how to work the media.
Read that again, slowly.

All we need is to have a Yale or Princeton BS, Harvard or Cambridge PhD economist or geologist who has written a Pulitzer-prize winning book on the subject debunk him. Actually, if Jared Diamond, Matt Simmons, and Tony Blair got together, they might be able to pull it off. Except for that little problem of depressing message.

Whatever we feel about Yergin, that last part of his quote rings true. People do seem more relaxed about $100 oil than they were about $60 or $70 oil (at least they do in the UK).

Anyone remember that final scene from "The Long Good Friday" when Bob Hoskins at first tries to make light of his predicament, but then you see his face gradually drain of expression as the reality of his fate hits him?

Good metaphor for what's to come I feel.

But that is because $100 oil is not much different from $70 when measured in £, and when you already pay $7 a gallon, and 70% of that is tax. Prices have only gone up a few percent at the pumps.


That's a completely valid point, but I was thinking more of the economists and policymakers here who genuinely believed that a rise in the oil price from $30 to $60/$70 would catapult the global economy into recession or worse.

Their thinking now seems to be: "Well, $70 didn't hurt in the least, so how bad can $100 be?"

Consider the following from Greg Ip (whom I think is a fine financial journalist BTW) when he commented on today's trade numbers in a WSJ blog entry:

The bad news is that trade is also contributing to inflation. Import prices jumped 1.8% in October from September and are up 9.6% from the previous year. To be sure, most of that was due to rising oil and natural-gas prices. But even excluding fuels, prices were 0.3% higher from September and up 2.4% from a year earlier.

"But even excluding fuels..." - it's as if energy costs can be dismissed these days.

The effect of $90, $100 oil is cumulative. It drains money that would otherwise stay in the US economy. It will be bad for the economy in the long run even if oil stays at $90.

The article above "Young Daniel Yergin as peak oil activist (book review) " is very interesting.

The story is similar to that of Alan Greenspan, who wrote "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal" including an essay supporting the gold standard.[10]"


I wonder what happened over time to change their views ??? Did they have a change of heart from experience in the "real world" verses their academic beliefs ? It has been reported that Greenspan said he still supports a gold standard but that the rest of the Fed would never have gone for it.

I wonder if Yergin privately still entertains a Peak Now point of view of if he was truly won over by technology etc, to his current point of view.

More likely, he swallowed the notion that the Carter Doctrine made sense -- Oil anywhere is "our" oil, and the unipolar world belongs to the Americans, who must obtain it, all of itat any cost.

At that time, American corporations were dominant in the world, and the American people benefited economically by trailing in their wake. The "free market" which has developed in more recent years has created an international wealthy class which is essentially stateless, and the rest of us, who regardless of country of residence are increasingly pauperized. We are still rich in the USA -- but the handwriting is on the wall-- it is inertia, not fate that has allowed us the perception of perpetual prosperity.

What I found interesting and informative about that review was the fact that Yergin must know and understand the dynamics of peak oil. Until I read that article I thought he probably bought the load of crap that he continually spews across the meme-scape. I know several intelligent and otherwise well-informed people who refuse to examine the weight of the case for, "peak about now", prefering instead to cite "tar sands" and "deep water oil" as sources of economic salvation. I thought Yergin probably fell in this camp. Now I beleive he is much more cynical and diabolical than that because he must know how disingenuous his "information" is. Ah well.

Now I beleive he is much more cynical and diabolical than that because he must know how disingenuous his "information" is. Ah well.

Hmm, profiting from mis-information as a lifeboat strategy.

I think too many posters here are unkind. Yergin using his presumed knowledge [the vastly over-inflated URR's published by OPEC, and a vague optimism about new sources such as Kashagan] made predictions that have turned out to be wrong because OPEC has not been able [and/or willing?] to produce and many of the new projects have not yet been successful. He is not a science type of guy and therefore likely doesn't have the scientist's sceptical mindset.

The sun of reality is finally beginning to dawn for him, I think.

The only justification for vilification would be a reversion towards former positions [there's lots of cheap oil, etc.].

James Gervais

Here is my take on Daniel Yergin's beliefs with respect to oil, based on what I read in the following 2 articles about him.
The first one http://energybulletin.net/36930.html is a brief review of a book which he is the co-editor of, that appeared in 1979. This is when he was 32 years old. The interesting thing to me is this quote of an entry in the book written by his co-editor (Stobaugh), that I suspect reveals beliefs Yergin shared at that time about the future of oil in the USA.

The book only mentions the peak in US production. Never is M.King Hubbert mentioned. At the conclusion of the chapter entitled "After the Peak: The threat of imported Oil", Stobaugh states:

In short, increasing dependence on imported Oil poses a threat to American political and economic interests; that much must now be clear.

... Americans should not delude themselves into thinking that there is some huge hidden reservoir of domestic oil that will free from the heavy costs of imported oil...to the extent that any solution at all exists to the problem posed by the peaking of the U.S. oil production and imports, it will be found in energy sources other than oil.(My emphasis)

This suggests something profound to me: it is possible that Yergin was an Oil Doomer. And probably many people were at that point in time, with the USA having peaked, and great uncertainty regarding the future availability of imported oil, the vast majority of it then being from the M.E.
So if this was actually the case, then when the bottom dropped out of the market in 1986, and during the years following when it became apparent that what may have been his strongly held pessimistic beliefs regarding oil were completely wrong, I hypothesis that he underwent a significant psychological 'flip flop'. Maybe a lot of people rang him up and pointed out how wrong he was. Maybe he was humiliated for a long time. This could have led to him developing beliefs that were the complete opposite of his former ones. Any future suggestions of problems with oil would be met by him with derision, as he now derides that former person with pessimistic beliefs that he once was. Maybe he is now psychologically incapable of having doubts about future supplies of oil. He says "this is the 5th time they are saying we are gonna run out of oil". I suggest that one of those times he was one of them! Is he an ex-doomer who has 'joined the other side of the force'? He can't or doesn't even read anything pessimistic to do with oil, going by the following assessment of his performance in a interview in September 2005, where he is questioned about the DOE commissioned Hirsch Report (Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management, 2005):


.... (A)fter listening to the interview, I got the feeling that not only did he not understand the theory, it's premises, or even its full assertions and facts, but that he hadn't really given it enough gravity to even study it. Perhaps he “wiki'd” it. Further, I got the feeling that he was run on high octane optimism mixed with a small amount of BS.


Red flag number one.
He was COMPLETELY ignorant of the Dept of Energies' commissioned mitigation study in March of this year. The author of the study, Dr. Robert L Hirsch, the coordinator of this study, well, let's just say his energy and technology credentials are stronger than the historian Yergin, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the promise of technology, the fine work in his Pulitzer not withstanding.


This oversight is, in my book, in the kindest terms, a major one. Tom Ashbrook brings forth a question positioning the DOE's study as “in direct opposition to CERA's study” and then quotes a portion of the study from Hirsch: “If recent trends hold, there is little reason to expect that the discovery trend will improve”. Someone so “in touch” with the energy industry should not have missed this, especially since the study itself is a direct challenge. Yergin's response, “I wonder what...I'm not sure what report that is, but I expect there to be a few reports coming out from the U.S. Government, from the geological side, that I think are more confident about the resources.” Does that mean that perhaps he only looks at best case scenarios? Yergin twice said during the interview that he was unfamiliar with it, until Tom Ashbrook brought him up to speed. At that point, I got nervous. He clearly had no idea. This study is one of the most disturbing and authoritative accounts, commissioned by our own DOE no less, to come about.

Perhaps for psychological reasons he can no longer even entertain pessimistic thoughts about the future availability of oil for one second, let alone read something negative like what the old 'wrong' him used to write. Does this describe the version of Yergin that we see today? Could this be one of the reasons why he is the way he is? I no longer see him as a tool, saying what 'they' want to hear him say. I now think that he's just a product of his reactions to his past experiences, as, well, I guess we all are.

To summarize, I suggest that in the late 70's, Yergin was loudly prophesizing a future where the USA would be using less and less oil, was proved wrong when new frontier oil come along in the mid 80's, and for psychological reasons now believes that anyone who forecasts doom for the future of oil production will be proved wrong just as he once was.
I have a bad feeling that he has set himself up to be proved completely wrong once again.

(All of the above is speculation based on little evidence, and the conclusions may be completely wrong. I have written it because he is such a prominent mouthpiece for the anti-Peak Oil establishment and I want to present the idea that his views are not necessarily formulations based on logical rational thought, instead their basis may be emotional and psychological in nature.)

That was sort of my reaction, too. This book is not evidence that Yergin is evilly lying to us. People do change their minds over time, and what happened with oil in the '80s might well lead someone to truly believe that price signals and new technology would always be a solution.

[Oil is going up because developing countries still use a lot of oil," Bush said.]

If it weren't so infuriating, it would really be sad that he still pulls this garbage and the media still bother to report it. The U.S. alone used 20.65 mbpd in Q2 2007 while China used 7.62 mbpd and Europe Non-OECD and Other Non-OECD used 15.66 mbpd. So China and all non-OECD countries used only 10% more than just the U.S., but it's those damn developing countries that use so much oil and cause these prices.

[See http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/ipsr/t24.xls]

IIRC Bush's next sentence was something to the effect that the U.S. uses too much oil too.

You're correct. I saw the full quotation in a different article after I had posted. And it is quite an admission by him that we use too much also and that demand has outstripped supply.

Right-- they "still" use a lot of oil. Does this mean that in the future they won't use a lot of oil?

I thought it was an improvement to hear Bush utter, "Demand is out stripping supply."

He could be trying to sell other reasons - Iran, Speculative Traders, Oil Co manipulation, Islamo Facists...

Is George losing his fastball?

Poking a toe out of the PO closet?

See my post down thread. Bush also said that prices are high because our capacity to replace supplies is dwindling. That was not mentioned in the Reuters article.

Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere:

Brazil announces new oil reserves

The Brazilian government says huge new oil reserves discovered off its coast could turn the country into one of the biggest oil producers in the world.

Petrobras, Brazil's national oil company, says it believes the offshore Tupi field has between 5bn and 8bn barrels of recoverable light oil.

I think this was on the Drumbeat yesterday but nobody commented on its significance (just the geology).

My finger-in-the-air guess was maybe 1 million bpd by 2015 if they're lucky.

Please feel free to provide a better/more worked out estimate.

Brasilian government expects the first drop of oil from that field by 2013.

Our government is always optimist when it comes to energy.

It's definitively good news but:

The Tupi field lies under 2,140 meters (7,060 feet) of water, more than 3,000 meters (almost 10,000 feet) of sand and rocks, and then another 2,000-meter (6,600-foot) thick layer of salt. The company drilled test wells that lie under 2,166 meters (7,100 feet) of water, 286 kilometers (177 miles) south of Rio de Janeiro.


Petrobras has concluded its analysis of the formation tests for the second well (1-RJS-646) in the area referred to as Tupi in Block BM-S-11, located in Santos Basin. Based on its analysis, Petrobras estimates volumes of recoverable light oil and natural gas for Tupi of between 5 and 8 billion barrels. The gravity of the oil is 28 degrees API. Petrobras is the operator in the area and holds a 65% working interest, with the remaining interests held by BG Group (25%) and Petrogal - Galp Energia (10%).

Petrobras has also concluded its regional analysis of the potential of the Pre–Salt areas of the South and Southeast basins in Brazil. Once confirmed, the estimated volumes of recoverable oil and gas of the pre-salt rocks would significantly increase Brazil's petroleum reserves, placing it among a select group of countries with substantial oil and natural gas reserves.

The wells that reached the Pre-Salt and have been tested by Petrobras demonstrated, until now, high productivity for light oil and natural gas. These wells are located in the Espirito Santo, Campos, and Santos basins.

The Pre-Salt rock consists of reservoir that is found under an extensive layer of salt, which extends from the state of Espirito Santo to the state of Santa Catarina. The formation is more than 800 kilometers long and up to 200 kilometers wide, and is located in ultra-deep waters of between 1,500 and 3,000 meters and at a depth between 3,000 and 4,000 meters.


It's not exactly what I call easy oil!

Petrobras could possibly produce 100,000 barrels a day at Tupi by 2010 or 2011, Estrella said.


100 kbpd seems a little bit low from supposedly a 8 Gb field! 100 kbpd generally corresponds to reserves around 0.5 Gb. I suspect the 8 Gb is the resource in place (OOIP) and not the URR.

Note also that they are saying 5-8 Gb BOE so it could be mostly natural gas.

It's interesting and probably coincidental that this good piece of news from Brazil comes just as the MSM are finally starting to take Peak Oil slightly seriously.

As I recall, the reports on Jack 1 and 2 came out in a likewise press flurry.

Congrats to Brazil!and yes,they need all that energy for their people.

Now just for the track record, say they are able to recover 5 Gb (8 Gb) from this field – that’s equal to run the entire crude gluttony raging this planet for 2 months (respectively 3 months) – just in case there are any Party Guy’s or cornucopias loosing their head over this ...
Finds like this will still pop up occasionally, last time in 2000 the Kashagan Field (between 9 – 16 Gb) still suffering under postponements… adding to the reality of an early PO.

Finds like this had better continue to be discovered on a regular basis or there won't be much of a slope on the other side of peak.

Talk about blame game:

EVEN climate change cannot escape the gender wars. Now Swedish men are being blamed for having a disproportionately large impact on global warming.

The finger is squarely pointed at men in "A study on gender equality as a prerequisite for sustainable development" by Gerd Johnsson-Latham of the Swedish Ministry of Sustainable Development. She concludes: "The fact that women travel less than men, measured in person-kilometres per car, plane, boat and motorcycle - means that women cause considerably fewer carbon dioxide emissions than men, and thus considerably less climate change." She notes that 60 per cent of car emissions are created by the 10 per cent of drivers who use roads the most, and that men account for three-quarters of car driving in Sweden.


I am on the fence when it comes to gender issues but i think everyone should realize that just like some men will think they are inheriently better the women, the opposite is true that some woman would be more then happy to get rid of men.

Generally, the women I have met enjoy downtown/ car free living more than men. I do think that cars are far more pleasurable for men than women. Women are into houses and walkable communities. In this way, TOD is somewhat of a chick site.


That is the first post in about 3 years of reading this site that made me laugh. nice job!

The problem with this study that I see is the same as every sociological study, is that correlation is not necessarily causation. Is it that men inherently like to travel more, or are they just more willing to put up with jobs that require it? As someone who travels a fair bit by airplane but not by car, I can tell you that whenever I have to make that reservation, I groan inwardly (or outwardly, depending on the fare and if I'm paying for it) but it's not as if I have very much choice in the matter, either look for a new job or take the plane.

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the war room!

Agreed. I vote we replace TOD's logo with something out of this site.

I was wondering when someone would point out that there seem to be very few women on TOD (with one very notable exception, Leanan).

Perhaps they are all hiding behind rather masculine usernames and macho talk. If so, I am sorry for my impertinence.

We've discussed this before. There are a lot more women here than most people realize.

In the US, the default setting for "human" is white male, and that is what you are assumed to be unless you declare otherwise. IME, a lot of women disguise their gender. You're treated with more respect if you're male. Plus, women online still get hit on a lot, which is tedious if that's not what you're online for.

One of my friends went online with her first name, Carol. She got propositions constantly (until I showed her how to turn off instant messaging). She told one guy she was married with four kids. He replied he was, too, but he was still interested in hooking up. She finally changed her screen name, to "Mack," which is part of her last name and not at all feminine-sounding.

Male or Female it doesn't really matter. from what i have seen they both contribute equally to the problem and have normal human failings(favoring short term over long term) hampering their ability to understand it.

My wife was shocked and scared to find out I often use a female name when posting on forums -- I just think more people pay attention to a woman online.

There are a lot more women here than most people realize.

BTW the German Peakoil site www.peakoil.de is registered to a woman from southern Germany.

A good percentage of usernames are generic. Can't tell if male or female, like mine.

Has anyone read this article today?


Granted initial discoveries never live up to expectations, but could this be the first big discovery since the 60s?

Also - I met someone last night who develops pipe equipment for the oil industry. He stated that there was a recent major discovery in the Gulf of Mexico - bigger than anything we've seen before - in 300 foot water! He wouldn't say who discovered it or anything more. But I believe he's a credible source.

Anyone read of such a discovery? I can't find anything via Google.

It is discussed above. Note that the world uses ~32 billion barrels (of oil and liquids) a year, meaning this discovery still has not made up for the deficit (discovery - production) of just year 2007.

That is the one overwhelmingly important thing I have taken away from the sum total of technical discussions about oil here... our annual use is now so large that even discovering decent size oil fields won't matter much in the long run...

Also - I met someone last night who develops pipe equipment for the oil industry. He stated that there was a recent major discovery in the Gulf of Mexico - bigger than anything we've seen before - in 300 foot water! He wouldn't say who discovered it or anything more. But I believe he's a credible source.

You just met him last night but you believe he is a credible source? Sounds to me like this guy is blowing smoke. After all, "bigger than anything we've seen before" would be really big. That kind of news would be something that would be all over the news. It would be impossible to keep under wraps, especially if you have some guy blabbering about it.

But the Brazilian discovery has been all over the news this morning. I have heard noting about how soon it will come on line or how many barrels per day it will produce. Before anyone gets excited over it we should wait for more details.

Ron Patterson

The two worst possible places for a supergiant find right now are the US and China, because those are the two countries with the biggest stake in Peak denialism, and the two countries that the world most needs responsible leadership from. I can't tell which country would do more damage with another hundred billion barrels to play with while the rest of the world is in decline.

Why do you think that China is in peak denial? I've read articles posted on the website of the National Energy Leading Group (http://www.chinaenergy.gov.cn) that forecast peak around 2010. Even CNPC (whose public arm PetroChina is now the largest company by market value in the world) discusses it in a straight-forward manner (e.g. http://news.cnpc.com.cn/system/2007/10/30/001133260.shtml). Actually, China's neo-mercantilist behavior--and their rejection of the US urging them to "rely on the market" for energy security--makes a lot more sense if you look at it through a peak oil lens.

Their mandarins may be wiser than ours, but their ordinary citizens have worked their asses off for the last 60 years to get a taste of the good life. Even a dictatorship should be scared to pull the rug out from under them. Why else would a regime so obsessed with amassing money mandate a gasoline price subsidy that drains its revenues?

The logical Chinese response to the possession of a huge new field should be to save it for the future and keep burning as much imported oil as possible, to get rid of their rotting dollars. However, that pushes up prices for everybody. The public will complain, "The state should give us the oil it owns, like Venezuela!" Large mobs are not rational about these things, and Chinese consumers are becoming the biggest mob in the world.

My family owns a majority interest in City Oriente (in Ecuador). Looks like we're screwed. Looks like Ecuador is screwed. Once again.

I wrote a piece about it here:

I did inhale.

You're fifty percent right. You're a hundred percent right if the oil still underground doesn't appreciate.

While the original concessions granted by Ecuador did not cost money to acquire (other than the required expenses of exploration and development), City Oriente bought their block in the same way you would buy leases here in the United States, invested money into exploration and production facilities.

If City Oriente had complied with the presidential decree demanding 50% of revenue above benchmark, they would have been unable to pay off loans acquired to do the work. The new 99% decree is a kick in the balls. Worse than nationaliztion. An insult.

What good is a contract when one party can unilaterally, by decree, change parameters of the agreement?

Looks like the indians are giving us a taste of our own medicine (broken treaties).

It was wrong when we did it; it's wrong now.

Only it isn't really the indians breaking the treaty. It's another group of rich guys from developed parts of the country. Chances are good that after the new guys in the suits gain control (and I suspect they will, rather soon), the indians will end up with something akin to another pile of plastic beads.

Prediction: If Petroecuador takes over the fields, Ecuador will see less in profit than they did under the existing contract with City.

The indians will get squat.

I did inhale.

Having experienced Ecuadorans in suits, I'm not about to argue with your assessment. The entitled families of latin America have an entrenched arrogance and sense of separation from the masses that is remarkably blatant. Ecuadoran politics is almost comedically pathetic but there seems to be no place to even start fixing it. Was it Ecuador where the shortest presidency - something like 47 minutes took place before the assasination - occurred?

If Ecuador's capitalist class tries to screw these Indians again, the Indians will soon be decorated not with beads, but with scalps. The goal is anarchism. They see Evo's state socialism as a moderate sellout. And based on the way the Indians marched on foot from city to city, chasing their last pro-American government to death, no army will stop them.

A round of introductions then. Wellhead, meet mudpump. Mudpump, cement slurry. Pump, rinse, repeat.

Then leave.

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

The belgian politicians are still as stupid as usual...see this article http://www.lecho.be/actualite/entreprises/energie/article.asp?Id=3363044

For those who are a bit lost in french, they want to put a mecanism which decreases diesel (here used in most cars, trucks and heating) taxation as the diesel price increase to ease the burden on consumers.

OK, so kind of them...but when you see that belgian distillates stocks (http://omrpublic.iea.org/stocks/ct_md_ts.pdf) were below 6 millions of barrels late august (no idea where they are now but probably lower), about half a barrel per inhabitant, shortages are not far. You americans are lucky, your distillates stocks are still very confortable.

By the way, the belgian consumer still have no idea of what is happenig...car number (including big ones) still not decreasing. But I begin to hear people buying heating diesel quantities as small as by 250 liters (66 US gallon) as they cannot afford to pay for larger quantities.

Our politicians should help people to do emergency isolation of their houses before winter really kick in and say clear to automobilists to decrease their use to mandatory driving... But of course the discussions between flemish speaking and french speaking people are so much more important...

hello from Antwerp,

i agree 100% with your post. there is no political will to to tackle the community problems, all i see them doing is throw fuel on the fire (aheum) and play the blame game, i wonder how this government, now over 150 days in the making, will fare when the real problems will arise.

all the people around me do nothing but complain about food prices, cost of electricity and heating. i keep my mouth shut, there is no educating these zombies.

I need a little help. Most of the articles and reports about peak oil talk about peak oil production, or peak all liqids production, with current production in the range of 85 million barrels per day.

Why not include daily production of natural gas (not in liquid form)?

Isn't natural gas a substitute for oil -- at least more important than the more highly touted supposed substitutes like ethanol and biofuels?

Do the transmission/transportation issues with natural gas make it not a real substitute? (But keep in mind that oil also must be piped or transported, so the issues with natural gas are not unique.)

Or is it that there are too many conversion issues (i.e., converting cars, factories, etc. to natural gas)?

As oil continues to go up in price, won't natural gas be more and more considered as a substitute?

If natural gas figures were added to the daily totals of all liquids, what would the approximate total be?

I assume peak gas is an issue just like peak oil. It just seems logical to include natural gas and oil (or all liquids) as one big pool.

I am not acting like I have come up with some big revelation, so if I am off base on my questions, that's fine, let me know. Thanks for any comments, or for directing me to an article about these issues.

And thanks to all the folks on TOD who provide such great information on peak oil and related issues!

Natural gas is used in power plants and in people's home furnaces. Oil is still used in home heating in the Northeast, but not in power plants. In the U.S., roughly 2/3 of oil is used for transport (http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/oil_m...).

T. Boone Pickens has made money selling local governments on the benefits of natural gas as fuel for their bus fleets, and he is now in the process of selling China on the idea of natural gas for transport. (http://www.ngvglobal.com/market-developments/7.html)

I believe the reason there's no big move (sponsored by Boone Pickens or anyone else) toward natural gas for transport in North America is because natural gas is near or past peak in North America. The future resources aren't likely to justify the cost of a mass switch to natural gas for transport.

So, the numbers aren't grouped because the markets are separate. But I agree it's helpful to include natural gas (and coal, nuclear, etc.) when thinking about likely overall energy availability and decline.

that would seem to fit the pattern, after all we have been going from crude oil to all liquids and now from all liquids to all fluids :)

Natural gas is a problem in North America, so it is not really a substitute for oil. We can temporarily have our natural gas storage full, and low prices for that reason, but the long-term trend is toward lower production. We have been supplementing what the US produces with imports from Canada. Now Canadian production is down.

Quite a bit of manufacturing that uses natural gas has gone overseas (like fertilizer production) has gone overseas, because of lower prices. Some folks have hoped that imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) would solve the expected natural gas shortfall in future years, but if one looks into that, one finds that LNG supplies are likely to be very much short.

So we really have a double shortage - both oil and natural gas. In some cases one can be substituted for the other, but much of the time infrastructure changes would be needed. For example, before your car could run on natural gas, it would need to be converted to run on that basis. We would need a whole network of stations selling natural gas as well. All of this would take time and a lot of $$.

Rumors... and they are still rumours... that Congress is considering removing all subsidies for solar and wind, and replacing them with subsidies for-- wait for it-- ethanol.

I've learned from concerned advocates that Democratic congressional leadership is considering stripping the production tax credits for wind and solar, along with the federal renewable portfolio standard, from the conference bill. Losing the RPS and the PTC would mean jettisoning basically every measure that the White House has complained about. Apparently, Reid and Pelosi may have decided that a bill with a Renewable Fuel Standard (i.e., monstrous subsidies for ethanol) and a boost in CAFE standards is enough to secure Democratic bragging rights on energy.

If this happens, it will mean there's bupkis in the energy bill for renewable electricity, imperiling probably billions of dollars in solar and wind contracts that have been written with the expectation that the production tax credits will lower costs to investors and consumers."


One can see the political logic behind this. At a time of $100 oil, its more important to reduce oil prices by increasing the fuel supply with biofuels; we can always deal with Global Warming after we get past this temporary oil price spike.

(Yes, yes, I know that logic has little to do with reality... biofuels won't increase the fuel supply, the spike is not temporary, and waiting to deal with GW will increase the cost.)

I really, really hope these rumors are false. If true, this would be one of the worst energy policies I can imagine.

There might be more to it than a rumour, I had an email in this morning's inbox from Vote Solar eluding to the same thing.

I agree, cutting this would be super bad energy policy...

And FSLR is down over twenty bucks.

Has huge gap to correct for after 30%+ Thursday run after Wed AH news...


See the references to Jared Diamond up-thread. I know it is very disappointing, but you really should not be surprised. As many have said here, there really are many things we could be doing to make the situation much better from a technical point of view (at least to ease the transition somewhat). But we won't, because the problem is not of a technical nature, and neither are the solutions. The entire structure of our society is incapable of dealing with this, and what you see here is just a typical symptom.

If true, this would be one of the worst energy policies I can imagine.

I think you could take it to the bank. I feel like I'm living in Bizarro World. The US has achieved a level of wrongheadedness that is really difficult to comprehend. If there is a good choice, a bad choice, and an "OMFG, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??!!" choice, we'll go for the last one as a matter of course.

If you think it's important then let your representative know-- phone them, email them, etc.

The next paragraph in that gristmill story shows that my state's Senator (Senator Pete Domenici) seems to be in the thick of it:

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is attempting to knife the energy bill by introducing an even more horrible RFS amendment to the farm bill, thereby rendering the energy bill's much improved RFS obsolete and losing crucial support from midwestern Republicans.

Very disappointing, sigh. He's the "Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee" and as far as I've ever been able to tell, he's oblivious to Peak Oil and renewable energy. I generally like him, but his views on energy puzzle me.

So I passed on my concerns (again) this morning.
Maybe if enough do that it will finally register.

A smart trader's model for predicting gasoline prices: http://bp3.blogger.com/_eKH-tiSXFbc/RzQr6Yz0JjI/AAAAAAAABpQ/yxB6FAoI6pU/...

Besides the pretty pic, are there any details on the model itself?

garyp, the formula is on the graph. Look towards the left, in the middle. Very small print.

The formula (from the graph):

GAS = 0.6176 + 0.02593 x Crude + 0.026891 x Crack

So it depends on how much crack the guy smokes?

I did inhale.

Better not inhale that stuff, cowboy...

So its not a predictive model, you have to know the crude price and the crack spread?

Given that the crack number cannot go negative for any duration, that would suggest that it can set a minimum pump price for any given crude price in the future - but that companies looking for more profits might go higher still.

eg using a minimum crack number of $2, the minimum price for
$100 is $3.26
$110 is $3.52
$120 is $3.78
$128 is $3.99
$150 is $4.56
$175 is $5.20
$200 is $5.86

Looks to me as if the higher reaches of the one hundreds will come relatively easily unless someone in the US feels pain at $4 gas.

Interesting... So we might expect $4.00/gal around $130/bbl. I suspect that at least some of the people in the US are already feeling a twinge of pain at $2.50 to $3.00/gal. I know I am.

Here's a graph of my total vehicle miles traveled since 1996:

I used to drive extensively for fun. Note that some years I drove upwards of 45,000 miles... And much of that was for recreation. Lately, my miles driven for a given length of time have been diminishing. This is because I've nearly cut out all essential trips. Earlier this year, I went an entire month without having to fill up... That was a major event in my life. :o)

For me, the prices have cut away my "nonessential" driving. I'm now pretty much only driving when there's a real-life purpose, like work, involved. Note that the upswing after the flat zone is work-related. Recreational cutbacks, for me, mark the first phase of demand destruction. The next phase involves finding ways to reduce essential driving.

Of course, I'm just one data-point among many millions.

Anyway, thanks for doing the calculations. Very informative.


graywulffe in CVO, OR

So we might expect $4.00/gal around $130/bbl.

Right. So if oil is at $130, and gasoline is at $3.20, you want to go long on gasoline (and/or short on oil, depending). It's predictive in that way, garyp.

I too love to drive, graywulffe.

just look at the crack number for that.

A question I still have is why the crack spread is currently so poor. Makes no sense unless someone is playing political games. What's driving it?

Personally, with the collapsing of the dollar and thus the increase in import prices, I think the american poor can't stand sustained prices over $3.50-$4 - thus I expect some plateauing as demand destruction sets in for real in the US. There are millions of barrels per day of demand that can be scrubbed out over a period of years.

I think the american poor can't stand sustained prices over $3.50-$4.

I think you're right.

Funny, my thought is that he's wrong. Of course, every few cents of increase is the straw that breaks the camels back for someone, but I don't see any particular reason believe there will be a big breaking point at $3.50-$4.

Look at it this way. At 12,000 miles a year and 20 mpg the monthly gas cost difference between $3 gas and $4 gas is $50. Yeah, that's a killer for someone, but my guess is most people have something that costs them $50 a month that they'd give up before they'd give up driving. I suspect even the typical American in the 25th percentile of family income probably still has basic cable TV they could drop for $50, for example.

(Now there is a dilemma for an American! Your television or your car?)

Any economy 'adjusts' to the level of income. If people find themselves well off they increase their outgoings, prices rise, until such point as they have little discretionary expenditure.

The US has done this and more, its got used to debt and credit like no other country.

When things get difficult people work their way through easy cost cutting. Extravagances are cut, belts are tightened. However long term commitments are less easy to shake off. Big debts and house loans come first. If not people are left destitute.

The US lower income scale has been hit over the past few years with unrecognised inflation and rises driven by events beyond their control. They have endured current oil prices rises by tightening of belts. However, past a point things have to start changing structurally.

I'd suggest that this lies somewhere around the 3.5-4 dollar a gallon level. The dollar continues to sink, prices continue to rise and the american poor get caught in a double whammy of factual inflation that makes demand destruction real.

Put the point where you will, eventually it hits home in the US as the structural dependence on oil hits hard.

If you want to suggest somewhere else where currency devaluation, a low tax cushion and income inequality combine in one unholy mess - please do so.

This must be what Will Rogers meant when he said that America was the first country to drive to the poorhouse.

My female companion of the moment works at Wal-Mart. The worker bees were all atwitter earlier this week due to gas prices. When it goes up $0.20 no matter what the starting point people notice. When it goes over $3.00 that is a psychological barrier - its half of an hour's pay at minimum wage. Many people around here are in the $8.50/hour range and when it hits $4.00 that will be a very big deal.

People are not going under from this but there are changes. I heard it today at a customer site - the return of a DSL modem and questions about getting dial up running again. People have to be damned hungry to go back to dial up from a 512k DSL line.

We'll see a slow Christmas season this year at the lower end of the pay scale, as energy and food prices eat into overall income. Food prices are changing - 50 pound bags of rice went from $27.99 to $37.99 at the local supermarket recently. That one caught my eye, but I think many other things have gone up as well.

Hi garyp, personally, I think refiners are balancing refined product price against desired (and achievable) throughput versus crude availability and livable inventory levels.

The initial small demand destruction set in around $3.50 to cure the seasonal rush.

Each company wants as much of the market as they can supply. They strive to maximize their own profit, against their competitors. This is a pressure to lower prices below competitors. But then you bump up against the max production you can achieve so you raise your price as high as you can without affecting your throughput. All the while eyeballing your competitor.

As long as you are running flat out you keep raising the price. If demand goes over your capability to produce you MUST keep raising your price, to avoid spot shortages. You note anxiously that your competitor is doing the same thing.

Phew, all make it through the peak usage season with only a few very brief outages, not too shabby for such a tight inventory scenario. (By this I mean terminal storage policies of minimum inventory on hand to supply local markets, a policy that has been de riguere in the business for a couple of decades now. Thank you very much enterprising corporate accountant types, lol.)

But wait, throughput falling drastically now, have to drop the price, oops drop it some more, have to find the right balance point.

Important note... In the past this max production level was predicated on refinery throughput capacity (sic), limitations on how much time you could lock in on product pipelines, crude availability, a myriad of other factors. NOW, it does indeed appear to have become a one game scenario. Crude availability. Period.

A complicated balancing act that I do not envy them for at this point.

They are all doing a bang up job so far it would seem, but there does seem to be a problem looming. We have 3 weeks in a row now of falling inventory levels. Has not taken us to drastically low levels yet. But it does seem to indicate that at least a few of the refiners have taken a chance on burning up existing inventory rather than replace inventory during a possible price spike, hoping to catch up on inventory during the resulting correction. This has the added benefit of lowering pressure on the market place, helping the correction to begin, if it works, hehe. A time-honored tactic.

It looks like it may have created a small problem however. Buyers seem to have stepped in from other quarters, keeping pressure on the price. Closed over $96 today. Oops..

When those refineries start raising buying again to correct inventory it will simply add to the buying pressure that has continued unabated anyway and boom, pop right through that magic $100 level.

Notice that refinery utilization rates remain relatively low, 86% range. There is no cry of 'We need more refineries' at this point. The crack spread has taken it on the chin as refiners attempt to, I know, it's not intuitive, keep throughput up to profitable levels.

It would now seem that there is a very narrow range of throughput that the refiners must work towards. As close to max throughput as they can get, but limited by how much crude they can get at a price they can afford. The price has gotten away from them this time. The spread will have to pick up now, without killing throughput, (argh, they hate that, they would much rather just sell as much as they can) while they catch up a bit on inventory. They at least will have a holiday to help them out.

Conclusion? $3.50 gasoline by a week or so before Thanksgiving. More if it seems that they aren't getting ahead on inventory just a bit. Must keep keep throughput at a sustainable level without killing demand too much, phew. Different times for the oil patch.

Secondary conclusion, farther out- Be prepared to see flabbergasted pundits when unscheduled refinery shutdowns hit. Oh yea, they did already, lol. Ok, AGAIN. It will be interesting to see the reasons touted for the shutdowns. (BP could easily use the sacred 'Safety Concerns' line.) A permanent closing or two within a year and a half or so? Would not be outside the realm of possibility. The majors simply Hate low refinery utilization rates. And here's the perfect setup for a fake 'terrorist attack' (or Iranian, Chinese, Burmese, pick the polarization target of the moment) on a mid-size refinery. Eventually never to be re-opened. Sad, but at this point it would not be beyond belief, sheesh.

Sorry to be so long-winded and yet still incomplete. And pardon me if this kind of stuff has been mentioned this week. I only get here to meander on endlessly and release pent-up frustrations on weekends, lol.

This seems very well thought out and complete, but I'm a novice like many others here. If you're an expert and silently nodding in agreement it would be nice if you could throw in your $0.02 on this one, perhaps expanding definitions, or illuminating some scenario that Relayer didn't cover.

I suspect that at least some of the people in the US are already feeling a twinge of pain at $2.50 to $3.00/gal. I know I am.

I find the people who say "Americans have 'Adjusted" to $3 gas to completely miss what is happenig.

How long can a person take zero degrees in a Tshirt and Shorts?
Probably for a little while.

Hours and Hours? NO. They DIE.

Our ability to "Put Up With" $3 gas is about the same thing. Continuing that analogy, We are starting to get frostbitten Fingers, Toes, Hands and Feet now.

The Edges of Society, ie the poor, less well off.

By next summer we will be entering Hypothermia.

NO, We CANNOT "Take" $3-$5 gas for an extended period of time.

Right. Like I said upthread, it is cumulative. We are right now sinking slowly into the quicksand. $4 gas will only accelerate the sinking process.

Why call it quicksand? There are plenty of people who are happy with less - many of the troubles, at least in the early years, will be people's expectations not being met rather than any genuine "trouble".

Well, I'm certainly happy with less, if 'less' is defined as my partner and me being able to live comfortably on < $1000/mo and bank any surplus.

Folks like Kunstler have gone to great lengths to chronicle the problem in terms of vast infrastructure being dependent on cheap crude. There will be those people who will suffer merely from expectations not being met, then there will be people whose expectations include having a job and a roof over their heads. I expect the latter category is increasing and will increase more as the 'crude distortion' continues.

hope I'm wrong.

I have an irregular income, no savings to speak of, and I live with my mother. This makes me "poor" in the scheme of America today.

I eat three meals every single day. When I do stir myself I charge not less than ten times the average pay rate around here, which means I have leisure time. I transport myself in a magic chariot that moves twenty times faster than my ancestors could walk, allowing me to cover as much as seventy days of hard marching in a single sitting. I am warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and clean every single day. I am entertained with movies and music and books on a moments notice and at little cost. Should I stumble and fall, suffering serious injury or illness the state in which I live will provide me short and long term care at no charge. The libraries of the world open to me twenty four hours a day with a few simple gestures.

I will humbly submit that we mendicants of TOD, this being totoneila, fleam, and myself, need only a proper harem to be living a life better than any prince of the middle ages.

This being said, I must now take myself off to a yoga studio full of skinny, pretty women my age :-)

Uhh, I thought it was only Matt Savinar who got the harem ;->

Yes, Now that I think about it, The Temp/Duration is a good analogy.

A person with Shorts and a TShirt will last how long?

At 50 degrees, X hours
At 40 degrees 1/y X Hours
At 30 degrees 1/z X Hours

at $2.50 a gallon X Months
at $3.00 a gallon 1/y X Months
at $4.00 a gallon 1/z X Months

Of course those at the edge of the huddleing masses will feel the cold/price sooner than those at the center.

Regardless, It is getting Colder Faster.


"a twinge of pain at $2.50 to $3.00/gal". My heart bleeds. I just paid £62 - nearly $130 - for 13 Imperial gallons (just under 60 litres) of diesel.

Wow. Ok, I can genuinely "feel" your pain. :o)

However, since the beginning of 2003, gas prices in the US have gone up about 2.25 times. I believe in the UK, gas prices have only gone up roughly 1.25 times in the same period. The critical difference in pain thresholds may be relativity--prices relative to what they had been in the recent past.


graywulffe in CVO, OR

How many miles / km do you drive during an average day?

That fill up will just about last me until the end of the month. I use a work-hired car for business journeys. As for recent rises, in two years regular gas has gone from about 79p to about £1.02 per litre. So that's just over 25%, but 25% percent of a lot is a lot! In UK, another 2p/litre tax rise is planned for April and I presume if oil stays above $95 there will be more gas price rises to filter through. So maybe around £1.10-1.15 by April, breaking £5 per Imp. gallon.

RE: Weather Channel Founder: 'Global Warming Greatest Scam In History.'

I journeyed to the site 'Icecap' from where this report originated and found that the site claims to be unbiased and unsupported by any vested interests...But, all of their articles are in a similar vein as the one I have extracted below and the one that Leanan posted. Why would such a 'nuteral' site contain only negative comments about GW or CC...whichever you prefer.


‘Global Warming’ as Pathological Science
By James Lewis, American Thinker

There is such a thing as pathological science. Science becomes unhealthy when its only real question --- “what is true?” --- is sabotaged by vested interests, by ideological Commissars, or even by grant-swinging scientists. Today’s Global Warming campaign is endangering real, honest science. Global Warming superstition has become an international power grab, and good science suffers as a result.

Freeman Dyson, one of the great physicists (Princeton University) alive today, put it plainly enough in his autobiography:

“...all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. ... I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. ... They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in.” Read more here.

Interesting comment from Dyson there.

I just saw Sean Penn's 'Into the Wild' last night (great!), and having been TV-less for some 5 years, didn't know it was based on the Krakauer book.. I was wondering during the film if this story was a loose retelling of a great book, 'The Starship and the Canoe', about Freeman Dyson and his son George, and their diverged worldviews, where Dyson, a renouned futurist was designing an Interplanetary (interstellar?) Spaceship that was to be propelled by an ongoing series of nuclear blasts behind it, while his son was living in a Treehouse in the pacific Northwest, exploring the waterways in an ongoing series of self-built, traditional kayaks. http://www.amazon.com/Starship-Canoe-Kenneth-Brower/dp/0060910305
(buy a copy used for .46 .. plus 3.99 shipping!!)

Something dancing in the back of my mind about the occasional insanity of science, Mary Shelley, and 'Absolute Power Corrupting, Absolutely!'..


ps, really good 'Possum-living' movie, with shades also of 'Never Cry Wolf'

Freeman Dyson is certainly still alive, very charming in person and an inspirational person to meet or see speaking. I believe he's now emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Studies.

But his previous accomplishments don't guarantee anything, least of all social intelligence. Shockley and Watson are evidence of that.

In any case Dyson's ignorance and tendency to reject political limits to technology are being used against him, and it's painful seeing him used as a tool. He's a frail old man now.

For one thing it's an absurd reduction to claim that climate science can be seen as slavish attention to models. Paleoclimatology anyone? But this is already a level of consideration deeper than you will find on a denier website that uses a frail old man as a tool.

BTW: The spaceship was "Orion" retold in the fascinating book "Project Orion" by none other than George Dyson. And thanks for the movie recommendation :-)

Good to know about George's book.

It's important to point out that Freeman doesn't seem to be vilified in 'The Starship...', like some Generation Gap stories might have done, but it simply looks at the different assumptions made by generations developing in a quickly changing age.


'No Angels, No Devils'

I'm not sure if this qualifies as humor or irony, but take a moment to peruse this short list of Ridiculously Expensive Stuff over at Marketwatch.

I actually get frustrated with all forms of lazy journalism, though this being "humor" might get a pass. The San Jose Mercury article yesterday, as an example, I found quite weak, and the headline inexcusable.


...Ridiculously Expensive Stuff...


Another goofy Drumbeat story:

You get home from work and have your dinner. Then you go to your garage and refuel the car or motorcycle from your own little manufacturing plant which is the size of a large refrigerator? What do you refuel it with? Hydrogen, of course, made from water and electricity that you have in abundance on the premises. I know that there are other considerations, one being that hydrogen is highly inflammable as petrol is, but these can be overcome because we human beings are damned clever, well most of us anyway.
For an informative explanation of this liquid gas that is going to save the planet, go to: www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/IntermediateHydrogen.html

Clearly, the Brits are a lot more clever than anyone, if they can make this work. As usual, the question comes down to "where do you get the electricity?" And increasingly, "where do you get the water?"

On New Guinea, the natives waited for cargo for decades after the end of World War II.

'Clearly the Brits are a lot more clever than anyone, if they can make this work'...

In the world of motorcycles there is an old joke that goes 'Why do the Brits drink warm beer?'...'Because Lucas makes their refrigerators.' Of course, this joke refers to the fact that the electrical systems on Triumphs and other Brit bikes had very dicey electrical systems that were constantly failing.

Reflecting on my dear old Cortinas.

"Lucas - Prince of Darkness."

I used to work, in 1974, for Lucas/CAV - in their long-range planning department. We were trying to work out how to persuade America to switch to diesel-engined cars and trucks.

It seemed so obvious at the time!

The people who invented sudden darkness.

Lehman Brothers' (LEH 55.27, -0.84) Chief Global Bond Strategist sees the "deepest correction" ever in structured finance and the current market is in "recession-risk denial". The Chief Bond Strategist also expressed the opinion that the U.S. credit crisis is now worse than the one caused by Long-Term Capital Management.

Long-Term Capital Management was a hedge fund that had massive losses in 1998. It is said to have nearly brought down the financial system due to its extreme leveraging.


Hello Jmygann,

What would be interesting to know is if most stocks start crashing due to this credit crisis and Peak Everything, what stocks would go through the roof as trillions of dollars, yen, yuan, francs, etc, are shifted into biosolar mission-critical investing?

Has Peak Outreach grown significantly enough among Wall Street traders, major pension fund managers, and other investors to start creating a tidal wave of Richard Rainwater-types rushing to buy farms, PV & solar hot water panels, Eco-Tech housing, stockpiling fertilizers & seeds, etc, etc, and investing in the companies making these items?

I read yesterday that a Wal-Mart Walton heir is the largest investor in First Solar [stock symbol: FSLR]--> is this multi-billionaire doing a Richard Rainwater-type biosolar mission-critical financial & lifestyle shift? How many other wealthy individuals are also moving this direction, and how quickly could this shift rapidly go super-exponential as astute Peak investors rush to the biosolar lifeboats?

This heir has purposely chosen not to invest in factories making pointless salad shooters, suntanning equipment, video games, or buying a NASCAR franchise or sports team. I think that is very indicative of the changing investment mindset among the financial topdogs.

My speculative hunch is these wealthy individuals wouldn't flinch at all writing a ten million dollar check [if required], to have their houses instantly off-grid with generators, fuel tanks, PV-setups, wells, etc, if an extended area blackout suddenly turns on their mental Peak lightbulb. Of course, that would also instantly outprice most others from the market for these goods, but it would help leapfrog rapid growth for these in-demand products.

Like we see occuring in Zimbabwe and elsewhere: the wealthy are positioning themselves to be the last to setoff on the march towards Olduvai Gorge. The incredible investment shift into the 'real value' of commodities, and the companies best positioned to take advantage of leveraging change with these depleting resources should do very well as the paradigm shift gets underway.

IMO, the incredible rise and ongoing volativity in biosolar-positioned companies is mentally difficult to deal with unless one can keep a clear mental picture of this long-term fundamental trend as we go postPeak. It will be very interesting to see how decreasing FF-MPP, and its related cascading blowbacks, will impede the shift to biosolar-MPP.

My speculation is that much more Peak Outreach combined with wise Asimov's Foundation planning and execution can best achieve this transition with the optimal speed, best attainable levels of habitat protection, and the minimal levels of total anarchic violence. I believe much violence and societal Liebig Minimum blowbacks will still occur to reduce our global headcount, but if it is loosely structured to occur within specific geo-frameworks and timeframes to help support the sequential building and enlargements of biosolar habitats, then the bottleneck squeeze is optimized.

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


You know, if you lived closer to 'Frisco, we'd really have to go out for a beer.

My speculative hunch is these wealthy individuals wouldn't flinch at all writing a ten million dollar check [if required], to have their houses instantly off-grid with generators, fuel tanks, PV-setups, wells, etc, if an extended area blackout suddenly turns on their mental Peak lightbulb.

Yes, and they probably already have. Not for the McMansions in the suburbs, though, but for their hideaways that are hours from any city, invisible from the road and that hardly anyone even knows about.

Tontoneila...Amy Goodman had Naomi Klein on Democracy Now again recently...see link below. Naomi brought up the fact that many wealthy individuals have joined or purchased 'special protection' in case of national emergencies, shortages, etc. These 'insurance' organizations offer all sorts of services such as pick up and delivery of endangered members to secure locations where there are stockpiles of food, water, housing, medical facilities, etc. Your question about what 'Rainwaters' of the world are doing for protection brought the broadcast to mind.

Naomi also said that the wealthy in California had purchased special 'fire protection'...The privitazed fire depts sprayed their homes with fire retardant and stood by with water while unprotected homes next door burned to the ground. Costs for these services/insurance start at $19k per year and range upwards to the sky. Some demand an initial payment of $50K to join.


You know things are getting bad when you see reports like this on Reuters rather than FinancialSense:

"Alarmingly high" risk of systemic shock seen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors may not be prepared for the real possibility of a further downturn in the financial sector, and the risk of a systemic shock to the system is "alarmingly high," analysts at Morgan Stanley said on Friday in a report.

"Over the past several weeks, we have worked ourselves into a full-fledged bearish lather," analysts, including Greg Peters, said in a report.

"At the root of our near-term negativity is the alarmingly high potential for a systemic shock, as well as concerns on the financial system and economic environment due to the derailment of the securitization process," they said.

Bush is so concerned about his legacy, at least in the long term, it would be ironic if he is known as both the modern day Hoover and Nixon all in one.

I just updated my gasoline records spreadsheet. Here are the prices that I've paid since June of 1996 (I posted an earlier graph like this about a year ago):

The upward-climbing "buzz-saw" has, of course, continued.


graywulffe in CVO, OR

Looks like the standard deviation is going up also.

Jon Freise
Analyze Not Fantasize -D. Meadows

Yep. Standard deviation of gasoline price for some specific years:

2000 = 0.071
2003 = 0.073
2006 = 0.241


graywulffe in CVO, OR

Interesting. The STDev jumped drastically just after the conventional peak in 2005. A predicted symptom. I wonder what a longer history of the STDev would show? I need to go dig around the EIA site a bit for gasoline prices.

Jon Freise
Analyze Not Fantasize -D. Meadows

The Boiling Frog Syndrome

I have stated, many times in the past, that when the world became aware of the fact that Middle East Reserves have been vastly overstated and OPEC is actually in decline, that this news would hit the financial markets like a bombshell. Well, perhaps I was wrong.

The news is hitting, but not like a bombshell. It is trickling in bit by bit. And it seems to be arriving so gradual that like the boiling frog, no one seems to notice.

From the link Leanan posted above Oil: running out for good this time.

Opec has promised to raise production by 500,000 barrels per day from this month but many doubt they can increase their capacity much further, because experts believe the cartel has comprehensively overstated its reserves since the mid-Eighties. Just last week Sadad al-Huseini, who until recently was the head of production at Saudi Aramco, said that the world's 'proved' reserves had been falsely inflated by 300bn barrels.

Now some believe this and some do not. But every day, little by little, more and more people are becoming aware of this obvious fact. Slowly, slowly the fact of vastly overstated reserves by OPEC, and their limited ability to produce much more oil, is sinking into the consciousness of the financial world.

However I still believe it will have the same effect. Oil prices will go so high that the economy is affected. The stock market will crash, but a very slow crash, dropping perhaps a couple of hundred points per week, on average.

Perhaps, but then perhaps I am wrong…..again. Perhaps one day in January of next year, when OPEC’s increased production is about half of what they promised, all hell will break loose.

Ron Patterson

And it seems to be arriving so gradual that like the boiling frog, no one seems to notice.

In defence of frogs:

Boiling Frog myth

In deference to the exploded myth, I wonder if Bob Shaw has considered changing his tagline to "Are frogs really smarter than humans?"

All manner of studid things progress to become major problems because they grow slowly over time. It all ties in to the Roscoe Bartlett quote about the tragedy the human failure to understand exponential functions. Which I suppose brings us back to Bob's tagline referncing the classic example of yeast.

Oh well.

All manner of studid things progress to become major problems because they grow slowly over time.

Out of interest, do you have any examples? We could spare our maligned frog.

I think the yeast example is also misleading, but let's not go into that ;)

US involvement in Indochina - starting during the Japanese invasion (OSS working with Ho and friends) and ending with a helicopter on the roof of the embassy?

1. Finding out your girlfriend is "slightly pregnant"....

2. Letting US rail infrastructure decay. Within the past decade a lot of track was pulled up. Now demand for rail transport (at least for coal) is going through the roof.

3. The 1980-2000 decades where ave. vehicle fuel economy fell

4. Building lots and lots of natural gas fired power plants...

I think the market will break out based mainly on market forces with peak oil providing the effectively undiscovered reason. Right now for example it seems that we have developed a strong floor of around 95 a barrel. Later in the year when the speculators realize they will effectively never get stuck having to take delivery then the market price zooms. Real oil buyers will provide a relentlessly increasing floor prices.

Markets can be dump slow manipulated and misguided but the mechanism is capable of discovering the truth eventually.

And prices are set on the margin.

So I think your right and I think that by this summer the market has to respond to peak oil now its just a matter of when.

As others here have said as well, I think the reality of the situation will not truly be apparent to most people until shortages occur or at least seriously threaten. In other words, until there are consequences that can't be explained away.


Re the Reuters article above on Bush's statement that oil prices are high due to high demand, the article from Reuters conveniently left out the rest of Bush's answer which was that the capacity to replace reserves was dwindling.

This is what I posted yesterday in the drumbeat:

Interesting question and answer during a George Bush interview by a European journalist yesterday. Sounds like Bush is a "peak oiler."

Question: "Mr. President, with oil approaching $100 a barrel, are you concerned that your hard words for Iran on its nuclear program are helping drive up oil prices, which can end up hurting the U.S. economy?"

Bush: "No. I believe oil prices are going up because the demand for oil outstrips the supply for oil. Oil is going up because developing countries still use a lot of oil. Oil is going up because we use too much oil, and the capacity to replace reserves is dwindling. That's why the price of oil is going up."


There's a problem with that link. Leanan posted Reuters story upthread. The official text is http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/11/20071107-5.html

The WaPo blog is here. What a pitch for the rest or any of the MSM to pick up on. Anyone out there? Knock, knock.

Here's the quote I will use in presentations:

"Oil is going up because we use too much oil, and the capacity to replace reserves is dwindling."

-George W. Bush, Nov 7, 2007

Thanks for fixing the link. I just copied it from my post yesterday. Yes, you would think that this quote would be debated on CNBC at the very least, but ....... silence.

That should be added to the Rotation of Quotes in the Upper Right corner, along with his 2001 quote that we were running out of oil.

Best Hopes for Truth,


In furtherance to the inference that President Bush is a peak oiler, let me lay out some of the chronology of publicly accessible quotes and information:

February-March 2000: Energy Secretary Bill Richardson visited most of the OPEC countries, with exception of Iraq, Iran and Libya. According to Matthew Simmons, who advised Energy Department Director of Policy Melanie Kenderdine before the trip, the upshot was the finding that OPEC spare capacity had evaporated. This information he then conveyed to a cousin of George W. Bush at a social event. Thus began his role in advising the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign on energy issues.

From Julian Darley's February 2003 interview with Simmons:

To make a long story short, I got a call the next morning from this guy on the campaign strategy team, and he said, "I understand that you have some concerns about energy. What are they?" About an hour later, he said, "Do you have anything you can send me to read," and I said, "How much do you like reading?" ...

I got quizzed one day by one very senior [person] who called and, effectively, said, "I don't want to be rude, but let me ask you very bluntly, and very honestly. Is there anyway you're, basically, putting an extra spin on this just to get our attention, because you have gotten our attention." ...

The only significant change between what he put forward as a candidate that I could see was a subtle, but very important tilt away from reliance on natural gas to a need to embrace more seriously, nuclear. Of course, the media made a big to-do over it, "some[one] must have got to him in the nuclear business." No, he was looking at the same thing I was; the decline curve in natural gas. We just had a drilling boom and it wasn't working, so, therefore, it was absolutely clear that we had problems in natural gas that we didn't even vaguely comprehend. ...

I've, basically, only briefly shaken hands with Vice President Cheney, and I haven't seen President Bush very often, but the few times I have, he's a very serious guy, he is a unbelievably quick study, and he clearly understands a lot about energy and takes it very seriously.

Simmons goes on to describe the flavor of a half-hour meeting he had with President Bush on April 2, 2001. He then summarizes his perception of the Administration's understanding of the energy situation:

I was going to be testifying at a Senate Energy hearing the next day, and he said what are you going to say, and I said, "Boy, you have some complicated things to deal with, what can people like us do to help you?" He looked as me and said, "Matt, you continue to speak out, loudly and honestly, about how serious our energy problems are. You have no axe to grind and it really helps." ...

They actually, for some weird reason, believe like I do, that energy is the glue that [makes our economy work and if we don’t watch it we’re going to have some unbelievable problems]. [truncated in original transcript]

Source: “Matt Simmons speaks about President Bush and Iraq” http://globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/212
Unfortunately, the corrections, in brackets, are from memory. But having listened to the DVD many times, I think they are substantially accurate.

Since Simmons says he outlined for Bush what he planned to tell the Senate the following day, it's relevant to consider his testimony:

We are now in the early stages of the most serious energy crisis this country has ever faced. It will become more serious over time and if we do not correct the severe energy problems we now face, America’s economic future is grim. As the energy crisis unfolds, it could
become the most critical threat to our economy since World War II.

Source: Matthew Simmons, “Impediments to the development of U.S. energy reserves” testimony to Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, April 3, 2001

Then we have the Presiden't comment in May 2001, already well-known among peak oilers:

But what people need to hear, loud and clear, is that we're running out of energy in America. And it is so important for this nation to improve its infrastructure so we can not only deliver supplies, but we need to go find new supply....

This nation is confronted with a major problem. And this administration is going to be honest with the American people about the nature of the problem and we're going to come up with some solutions. And it's going to take a lot of political will for people to buck some of the trends that somehow believe -- who believe that without finding additional supplies of energy, this nation is going to be okay.

Source: “Remarks by the President, Secretary of Energy Abraham and Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz After Energy Advisors Meeting” May 3, 2001

Another key point in the chronology was the formation of the US-UK Energy Dialogue in April 2002, apparently at Blair's instigation according to David Strahan, at the summit meeting in Crawford, Texas, at which the two leader's evidently also agreed to attack Iraq. Blair must have been aware of what was happening to North Sea production, and the consequences of the fuel-price protests of September 2000 in Britain, in which the country virtually ground to a halt within the space of about a week and Labor fell behind in the polls, could hardly have failed to have impressed him, Strahan argues. See David Strahan, “Why Iraq was all about Peak Oil” June 26, 2007

By April 2005, Bush was telling CNN's Ron Insana:

President Bush: Listen, we're all going to have to diversify away from hydrocarbons over time, Ron.

Insana: Right.

President Bush: I mean, we're just going to have to change our habits. And that's one of the reasons why I funded the hydrogen-powered automobile initiative, fully recognizing that, you know, with the decade we're going to have to think about how to drive different -- you know, power, power our automobiles. It's a -- the hydrocarbon society will still be with us, but it can't be with us to the extent it is today.

Source: “Bush: 'I'm worried about gasoline prices'” April 19, 2005

On April 27, 2005, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett told Global Public Media that

The President the today said that the demand for oil was exceeding the ability to supply oil. That is kind of a layman’s definition of peak oil, that’s where we are.

Source: http://globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/402

And here are Bush's own words:

Yet, the most important thing we can do today is to address the fundamental problem of our energy situation. That's the most important thing we can do. And the fundamental problem is this: Our supply of energy is not growing fast enough to meet the demands of our growing economy....

The global demand for energy is growing faster than the growing supply.

Source: President Bush, remarks at National Small Business Conference, Washington, DC, April 27, 2005

Bartlett went on to discuss peak oil with Bush on June 28, 2005:

This afternoon, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett enjoyed an extensive discussion about peak oil with President George W. Bush at the White House. Congressman Bartlett declined to discuss or characterize any of his private conversation with the President, but said that he was very happy about the meeting.

Source: “Congressman Bartlett discusses peak oil with President Bush”

Then we had the "addicted to oil" SOTU in 2006. Former Commerce Secretary Don Evans made it clear that Bush's comments were about peak oil - well maybe not so clear to the clueless commentators including David Gergen who went on to discuss Evans' remarks in the immediately following segment of the program. Anyway, here's some of what Evans said on Hardball with Chris Matthews, on February 2, 2006:

Evans: The president knows the energy industry extraordinarily well and he knows that we cannot continue in the direction that we‘ve been on for the last four decades or five decades....

Matthews: I'm accepting your argument right now, your statement that this call for energy independence by the president is not because we have to rely on oil from the unstable Middle East. It has to do with our needs for economic growth. Is that your bottom line?

EVANS: Chris, that is my bottom line. The world is producing oil, the Middle East, every country at its full capacity and it's very unlikely that we're going to be able to see supply in the world grow from the levels where we are right now. There's a debate about that. I'm one that falls in the camp that says it's going to be very, very hard to do that.

Don Evans, Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC February 2, 2006

We can compare the specific reference to Middle East supplies with at least two other sources. First, David Strahan:

As I report in The Last Oil Shock, the international oil consultancy PFC Energy briefed Dick Cheney in 2005 that on a more realistic assessment of OPEC’s reserves, its production could peak by 2015. That would tip global output into terminal decline, almost certainly bringing soaring oil prices, deep recession and worse.
Source: Strahan, “Why Iraq was all about Peak Oil” June 26, 2007

Then we have this regarding Cheney's May 2006 trip to Central Asia:

"We're in a race with China and so far we're losing," an administration source familiar with Mr. Cheney's trip said....

They said Mr. Cheney's visit to Central Asia was based on the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Middle East oil supplies will become increasingly precarious after 2008.

Source: Insight Magazine

A month earlier(April 8, 2006), Condoleezza Rice had testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that

We do have to do something about the energy problem. I can tell you that nothing has really taken me aback more as Secretary of State than the way that the politics of energy is, I will use the word 'warping', diplomacy around the world.... We have simply got to do something about the warping now of diplomatic efforts by the all-out rush for energy supply.

Source: http://www.energybulletin.net/14876.html and links.

In his opening statement introducing Rice's testimony, then-Chairman Richard Lugar referred, as he has done on several previous occassions, to the need to "prepare for declining global fossil fuel reserves" [sic]. Furthermore, Rice has reportedly been in "regular contact" with Sir David Manning, considered Blair's "chief foreign policy adviser" and Britain's "real foreign secretary" in the lead-up to Iraq, and lately Ambassador to Washington. A few weeks earlier, Manning had gone on record regarding the urgency of Peak Oil, saying "As resources contract, oil-hungry economies will compete for dwindling supplies of hydrocarbons." See http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/EnergyJune2006.htm

For my own views on all this, evidently, the Bush Administration has correctly perceived a very serious threat to business-as-usual, due to energy scarcity. They also evidently don't have any good ideas about what to do about it, so they invade the Middle East and Central Asia after oil which may or may not be there, in search of "security and diversity" of supply, supplemented by visions of technofix, opening up more "drilling country," dreams of huge increases in ethanol and tar sands production, etc. Similar policies have served corporate capitalism well in the past, even if they have occasionally threatened survival; now even the former goal seems hopelessly delusional - though that's nothing to cheer about, given the likely human consequences of civilizational collapse.

On the last mentioned delusion, see: “U.S. Urges ‘fivefold expansion' in Alberta oilsands production” January 18, 2007 http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/01/17/oil-sands.html

Finally it may be noted that most of the presidential hopefulls must be well-aware of Peak Oil, though they too seem hopelessly superficial as far as what needs to be said or done. Simmons has mentioned (I think in one of his interviews with Jim Puplava) specifically briefing Romney, Giuliani, and Richardson on the subject. Clinton's husband is on record on Peak Oil, and Biden remarked to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan that

"It seems to me your view is one that's shared by most of us up here [in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee], that we're really reaching an oil peak here, and it seems to me that it's the end of cheap oil."
Linked at http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/senate/senate11sh109.html(June 7, 2006, italics added)

Steve, thanks for a masterful summary of the timeline for government knowledge. It chimes with my belief that around 2000-2001 every government basically knew their were supply problems on the horizon (coincidently it was around then that I began to realise).

All actions since then need to be viewed through that lens - people know, understand and take action. There are lots of those actions you can pull apart, but lets just concentrate on one - the failure of the US government to institute real fuel efficiency measures.

If you are facing a downturn in supply then doing something about waste should be a obvious act. But it hasn't been done. You could say that plan A,B & C were to grab and hold middle east producers - but that was obviously a risky plan. So why no measures?

My guess is both political (push it out beyond Bush's term) and practical. If you have a very inefficient transport fleet then small increases in efficiency won't do much against a swift decline rate. The alternative is surgery to remove the consumption all together. I'd suggest the plan is to curtail large parts of the driving, and remove those vehicles from the fleet.


Not sure, but not being able to afford to drive is always a favourite. Higher fuel costs, road pricing, etc. could drive down usage significantly. Public transport would be expanded to allow them to get to work but overall it should be possible to cut 50m vehicles relatively quickly with little government action needed (and therefore no blame). As such, keeping poor efficiency vehicles on the road makes it easier and swifter for high oil prices to eventually remove them.

So the suggestion is the policy reason why poor fuel economy vehicles are still the order of the day is because there is a recognition that there is no way from here (large population of gas guzzlers beloved by populous) to there (large population of small euro style cars) and so the aim is to physically stop driving to match supply and demand in future - probably via cost.

If right then there should be investment in public transport , bus companies etc. by those in the know. Anyone care to check?

The quickest and biggest action that could cut gasoline consumption would be for massive numbers of solo commuters to start carpooling. That can achieve results much faster than improvements in fleet mpg, and can probably even achieve better results than speed limit reductions. It can certainly be implemented much faster than additions to mass transit capacity.

Getting a bicycle for "some trips" is as quick, even if it is more "unAmerican". Renters (>half the population) moving closer to work is another quick response.


Gary, thanks for your thoughts. I know of no evidence for a plan to curtail driving, or for smart money betting on Greyhound and Amtrak. I think they did take measures. They probably believed, or at least hoped, that Iraq had the potential to substantially increase its oil production, and indeed the quotation from Lawrence Lindsay in one of the comments to David Strahan's article supports that. Though they could hardly have been ignorant of the sane voices either. Namely the 2000 UN expert report on Iraq's oil industry, noting that production practices under sanctions had already resulted in "permanent loss of huge reserves of oil" from Iraq's oldest and largest fields, or Matt Simmons' skeptical views, or Bob Ebel's tempered assessment. Don't know how they assessed the risks, but perhaps the picture was something like this: Yes, there may be questions about whether the oil is really there, but the contingency plans all say If ever a problem with Middle East supplies, Invade. So they went with the contingency plans.

I think that more than even getting through their term of office, they're there to keep the system functioning without significant change. Yes, they perceive the threat to business-as-usual, but departing from business-as-usual to address the problem is not an option. It's very clear from their words, and those of others in policy circles, that they place their hopes in various miracles of technology. Listen to James Woolsey's testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (November 17, 2005) for one example of thinking that I think is rather typical.

Steve, I have been thinking about what the President said this week about the demand exceeding supply and you have compiled it all here. Thanks for the timeline. I can’t help but think that the Feds are just letting PO run its course as there are no real mitigation efforts that can change our lifestyles without a huge disconnect. Each month that goes by I prepare slowly and continue with my ELP plan

Great effort in putting that together Steve!

One can go even further back in public statements of this pair (Bush-Cheney). The 1999 statements by Cheney while on the campaign trail.

And then we have an actual action that is very telling. They actually get into office! Obvious that the powers behind the throne see what is coming, even way back then. How else could a pair of evil oil men get into power?

It would be wonderful if someone could put this EXCELLENT summary in a more prominent spot.

Skip, thanks for the recommendation. A few of the quotes from the post are included in a more extensive compilation I've been assembling for two years. As I do think the latter document is very revealing both for the quotes, and in some of my observations in the notes, I've been looking for a home for it. It's in PDF format. Don't have a website of my own, and I haven't found the time to put it into html. But if anyone wants it, they can contact me at sathearn at msn dot com, with "Who's talking PO compilation" in the subject line.

Fromthepriesthole, I tend to agree with you that there are no real mitigation plans at any level of government other than hope and reflex.

Relayer, of course, my post wasn't meant to be comprehensive, and I could have reviewed the Baker Institute/CFR report of April 2001, Bush's speeches in fall 2000, etc., but I haven't. Certainly what Cheney said in 1999 was significant, as you say.

Actually Cheney wasn't on the campaign trail in 1999, though I'm not familiar with the precise circumstances, or the date, when Bush took him on board. Maybe he wasn't actually in the picture yet when Simmons spoke to Bush's cousin. One wonder's if the Bush circle's growing awareness of the energy problem was a factor in the decision to bring Cheney's gang on board.

I need to note a couple corrections for the two block quotes from Julian Darley's February 2003 interview with Matt Simmons. Tonight I had the chance to listen to the original.

In the first, the quote should read "I got quizzed one day by one of the very senior people..."

The second should read as follows:

I was going to be testifying at a Senate Energy hearing the next day, and he said "what are you going to say?" And I just gave him a summary. And towards the end of this half hour, I said, "Boy, you have some complicated things to deal with, what can people like us do to help you?" He looked at me and said, "Matt, you continue to speak out, loudly and honestly, about how serious our energy problems are. You have no axe to grind and it really helps." ...

They actually, for some weird reason, believe like I do, that energy is the glue that makes our society work, and if we don't watch it we're going to have some unbelievable problems.

Source: "Matt Simmons speaks about President Bush and Iraq" http://globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/212 Italicized modifications reflect original audio from the DVD, Matt Simmons: Energy Banker, Post Carbon Institute, 2004

The "IceCap" thing is unbelievable. Denial is denial, usually. But this is mad delusion. None of the details matter, it is simple that this guy can't deal with the data.

The history of course is anything other that a collusion between government and science, as Hansen had to deal with people like Sununu falsifying his text and keeping his name on it, since the very beginning (I remember the flap about that in the AGU newsletter at the time).


Greetings. I am a first-time poster, long-time lurker here. I wanted to make an observation on one common point and see if it sounds reasonable to others here.

Today and at other times the oil price goes high, we tend to see a lot of articles of the form, "The US/European/World economy is resilient in the face of high oil prices". And on one level that makes sense. Adjusted for GDP, an oil price today of nearly $100/barrel is not nearly as burdensome as $40/barrel in the early 1980's.

However, I am reminded of the parable of the rich man and food dependency. A man who has recently had a major job promotion might argue that he is less dependent on food today than he was before, since he spends a smaller portion of his income on food. He might argue that his bottom line will be resilient to higher food prices, which is true. However, all of us, no matter how wealthy we might be, will starve if food is not available at any price.

And that is more or less what peak oil implies: less oil will be available for the world economy no matter how much we might be willing to pay for it. The damage will be significant, and it won't matter how large the world GDP might be.

Of course, price must reflect this fact. If it is indeed true that we can take $100 oil without serious damage, then the price will go to $150. And if we can take $150 oil without serious damage, the price will go to $200. And so on.

Does this sound like a reasonable counterargument to the common argument we hear from economists?

Greetings pepper2000.

I think your argument may not be too effective because it requires the listener to understand that energy may become scarce and unobtainable at all, when in fact they're not even able to understand the reasons for high price yet. I think you'll need to wait until western economies show more evidence that they can not handle the price levels before you can point out what the next logical step is going to be.


Thanks for your comment. I'm not as concerned about the argument being effective in convincing people; I just want to know if it is reasonable.

One problem that I foresee is that, even as peak oil becomes obvious in the form of production being 5+ mbd off the peak, it might not be obvious to the public or even the financial community that the oil shortage is to blame for financial problems. Blame might be placed at other things, such as dollar crash, the latest war or terrorist incident, etc. And it is true that our economic fortunes do depend on things other that the oil supply, so these alternative explanations will not be without merit.

But I do think it is obvious that if oil production goes down and alternatives don't come up quickly enough, the world economy will take a major hit. Due to factors such as falling dollar and the export land model, the US will lose oil imports and hence the US economy will take a major hit as well.


This site discussed the concept of "demand Destruction" with respect to oil and fuel starting at least 2 years ago and there is no consensus on what will happen.

My personal opinion is that nothing will change until there are physical scarcities (stations with no gas for a day or so) because people can buy on credit today and figure out how to pay it off tomorrow.

Again in my opinion, price will not work as well in 2007 as in 1977 when people mostly paid cash. No cash in your pocket you don't buy expensive gas. Today people will go into debt (for months) filling the tank as long their credit is not cut off. Therefore it takes much longer for price to feedback to reduce consumption, leaving only lack of fuel to reduce consumption ("Demand Destruction").

It seems to me that if Americans are more willing to go into debt to purchase gasoline, then the price will go higher than it would otherwise. The same phenomenon can be observed with higher education, medical care, and the housing bubble: the availability of loans/subsidies jacks up prices. But it doesn't matter whether we are willing to go into debt if the physical gasoline isn't there.

I should be careful not to be too confident in saying what will happen, because none of us really knows.

pepper2000, interesting comment you have here. I'm glad I scrolled down to it, it made me think.

You talk about how GDP is impacted by high oil prices. But what is GDP made up of?
Do we employ people in making and selling tobacco, thus increasing GDP? Do increasing consumption of tobacco lead to increasing consumption of medical services, thus increasing GDP?
I believe it was Keynes who said that governments should, if necessary, employ people to bury money under soil so other people could be employed digging them up. Anything to avoid unemployment!

My point is that a lot of the economic activity we have today, doesn't necessarily increase happiness. Would the world really be such a bad place if we didn't build so many SUVs? And perhaps the people who were no longer building SUVs could just as happily be employed building energy production infrastructure?

Anyway, I'm not sure my reply is relevant to your post, they were just my thoughts when I read it.
Hope it's worth your while.

Sounds like a reasonable argument to me. Also, point out that a greater proportion of our economy is dependent on a given amount of oil than ever before.

BTW, if I have gained 10% in weight since last year, and since my heart remains the same size, am I 10% less dependent on my heart beating?

Hydrogen: The Fuel Of Tomorrow


When TS really HTF:

Iraq's new crisis: Moms, dads abandoning kids

The plight of Iraq's children is nearing epidemic proportions, he said, with mothers and fathers abandoning their children "because they're becoming a liability." The parents don't do it out of convenience, they do it out of desperation.

"When you become so desperate, you tend to just throw everything up and go," Hakki said.

When parents are abandoning their children, what else remains to be lost before complete societal breakdown? Are we now waiting for reports of cannibalism?

Hmm, American parents have been abandoning their kids, in some cases selling them into sex slavery on the internet etc for a while now, Americans my age or younger probably grew up to the same continuing refrain that they're a burden, parents can hardly wait until they're 18 to get rid of them etc. that I grew up with.

Cannibalism has been glorified in the US in movies and in some cases, in practice, for a while now too.

So, what's being said is, Iraqui society is now so fucked up it's becoming like American society.

That really is truly horrible.

Americans with mental or drug problems do horrible things on the parenting front, but in Iraq we're talking about people who were normal, healthy, loving parents simply going out for groceries and never coming back.

Did I see 70% of the displaced in Iraq are children? Why aren't there a line of Christian families here willing to take them in?

SCT - but I am describing the behavior of Americans who are considered normal.

Mentally ill or druggie Americans act much worse.

I would disagree. The definition of normal does not include abandoning one's children or selling them. Are you saying that working poor are just walking away from children because they can't make it? Where? When?

Hell my Mom damn near sold me to some friends - I decided not to go with it, the situation was starting to creep me out....

Stories come up periodically where someone's caught pimping out their toddler or worse, generally internet-mediated which makes it easier these days but they're only catching a fraction of the cases.

Dad did a pretty good job of just leaving, and I remember many hungry nights when he was supposed to show up - we hadn't seen him for months but he was supposed to show up with some money *this* time - the only consistancy was he never did....


Other kids around us had it worse, (some had it better too) we knew more than one bunch of kids that were having sex with each other at 12 and younger. Kids with weird little scars - now I think it's cig burns, thinking about it.

This was happening in the 70s in my case, of course it's a lot worse now.

Yeah, working poor, fully Americanized working poor, are walking away from their kids emotionally, financially, and if they can get away with it, physically.

But "middle class" people are doing these things too - our society rewards this behavior.


Your sad story is just one more illustration of how it is all too easy to become a parent, and so very hard to be a good parent.

Emotionally, I agree. When people have kids and put them in daycare within 3 months of being born in order for both parents to go back to work - that's abandonment, IMO. But I live in a fairly upper-middle class suburb, so that is what I see.

Are we so sure these are all cases of willful abandonment, or are many of them cases of the parents being kidnapped or murdered? The latter is all too familiar a story over there, and I'm sure that terrible numbers of kids are left orphans, often never knowing what happened to their parents.

It's nice to see the two Democratic politicians aware of Peak Oil. We need a lot more of them.

If we have peaked in oil production, or when we do peak in oil production, how long will the cornucopians and optimists be able to keep up their faith-based arguments?

I know that when I talk about Peak Oil there is a small percentage of people who are aware of it and believe it is here or close. The rest have one of two arguments - they either say that people have been saying we would run out of oil for years (wrong then, wrong now), or they say there's plenty of oil out there (pointing to protected off-shore American land, Jack2, and "mysteriously capped wells during the Carter administration").

The "it's been said before" folks can probably accept that their argument is wrong fairly easily. But what will the "there's plenty of oil out there" folks do? I have a feeling that whoever is President as oil prices soar is going to have a lot of angry voters on there hands.

From todays top--link We ignore it at our peril

Mexico's national oil company has informed the United States that the field is in terminal decline and will not be able to export by about 2012. That's very bad news for us. Cantarell supplies about 12 percent of all U.S.

Implicit in that, comes that Mexico will turn IMPORTER -
How are mexican political leaders brains wired ? Maximum export for 4 more years and then "sudden-death"..
No wonder they have turmoils and guerrillas !

CNN just ran a story about illegal mortgage fees. I'd heard about this, but I never realized it was so widespread. The researcher they interviewed said 50% of people who were behind in their mortgages were being charged deceptive or outright illegal fees, and many of the biggest names in the banking industry were the perpetrators. There's no way for a customer to avoid them. Fees to send an e-mail, fees to send a fax, fees to drive by the house monthly to make sure it's still occupied, fees of thousands of dollars just listed as "other."

They interviewed one woman whose mortgage company was charging her for insurance payments but not crediting her account with them. She is now in bankruptcy, fighting to prove she made the payments and didn't owe the fees. She kept excellent records, and is still having a tough time. Lawyers say arguing cases like these is like hitting a brick wall, and even bankruptcy judges are increasingly alarmed.

The CNN reporter pointed out the reason they are doing this: there's no more money to made from new mortgages, so they are trying to profit from existing ones. They are doing the same thing they did with credit cards: making money off the fees, because the interest isn't enough. As with credit cards, it's the customers on the edge of default that are the most profitable, and the aim is to keep them paying, but without driving them over the edge or letting them get out of the hole.

Tanta puts more meat on the bones.

Leanan there are all kinds of things going on like "zombie" debts that have been forgiven through BK being sold - even though they don't legally exist! - and people hassled for them, all kinds of stuff.

I figure it will take a few years for the backlash to really build up.

Agreed the CC co's want you to keep paying for the rest of your life, ideally feeding yourself on something like $100 a month and feeding them thousands, monthly. Until you drop dead - then I guess they try to collect from your kids or something.

The solution is the kind of revolution that got headed off in the 1930s. FDR was a cop-out.

I have a credit card write off with my ex wife's sticky finger prints on it from 1992 that was purchased by a junk debt collector. Doesn't show on the credit rating and I made a "Bozo" entry in my cell phone so I recognize 'em on site. I bet there will be an endless supply of that going forward.

A fee to see if the house is still occupied? That is illegal? And they're pushing it?

This is a sure sign that those institutions are all going mammary glands up in Q1 & Q2 2008.

Article from the New York Times....

A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom to Bust

...that would make Kunstler glow!

It attributes the loss of buyer interest in a suburb of St. Louis to higher gas prices.

For the price of a longer commute to work, buyers got new homes that promised to go up in value as development continued around them. By last May Mr. Haupt owned 65 lots and had a contract to buy 20 more, for about $650,000.

Then gasoline prices spiked, and the longer commute became a deal-breaker.

So because of this and other bad deals, Mr. Haupt, who used to have assets of several million lost it all, including his wife. On the upside, he found Jesus!

Gas costs expected to follow oil price

...several Houston drivers, who stopped to gas up at a Fuel Depot station in the Heights, said they weren't happy about the recent uptick.

"It's ridiculous," said Julio Montes, 42, as he filled up his 1989 Ford F-150 pickup. "I'd understand if it was summer and people were driving more, but this doesn't make sense."

Frances Parales had trouble believing the higher prices were simply the result of supply and demand, as oil companies have explained.

"I don't think it's fair because I think there's a lot of gas and a lot of oil," said the 71-year-old retiree, as she put $10 worth in her Ford Ranger pickup. "It's all about the dollar."

Kara Babcock, 27, a kindergarten teacher, said she's also tried to cut back on nonessential driving, but still feels the sting of higher prices.

In the past, she said, she paid about $13 to fill up her 1999 Chevy Cavalier. On Friday, the bill came to $36.39. The higher cost is cutting deep into what she said is already a lean budget, as a single person living on her salary.

"If I had known this," Babcock said, "I wouldn't have been a teacher."

"I don't think it's fair because I think there's a lot of gas and a lot of oil..." <--- how do u respond to that??

In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

Royal Dutch Shell halted production at its Mars platform for repairs last weekend and hasn't been able to resume operations because strong currents are delaying the repair of a valve.

A cautionary note: those who haven't slept well - like me - should beware of quickly skimming articles and comments lest they blend together and become surreal.