DrumBeat: November 24, 2007

Kingdom’s 4th Strategic Oil Storage Facility Set

Saudi Arabia’s fourth strategic petroleum storage facility is now ready in Madinah. Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Majed, governor of the region, will open the facility tomorrow on behalf of Crown Prince Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Strategic Storage Program (SSSP).

...“Any halt in the supply of petroleum will affect economic growth, weaken military machinery and affect civilian facilities such as hospitals, industries and agriculture,” the SSSP chief pointed out. Keeping in mind this strategic importance, the government decided to establish five storage facilities in various parts of the country. “The facility can preserve petroleum for a long period without any changes taking place in either its nature or chemistry. Tests conducted on petroleum stored in the facilities have proved that they are safe.”

The Falling Dollar and Prestige

With soaring oil prices and a weakening dollar, the prestige of the American currency seems to be fading. At a recent OPEC summit, Iranian and Venezuelan leaders suggested pegging the price of oil to the Euro instead of the U.S. dollar.

Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates discusses high oil prices and a weak dollar with Andrea Seabrook.

The Technodevelopmental Quartet

The first of these trends is what I call Resource Descent, which encompasses “Peak Oil” discourse, as well as the diminishing returns of input-infrastructure intensive alternatives to petrochemical energy, as well as input-intensive industrial agriculture, soil depletion (connected to industrial agriculture), fresh water depletion (aquifer depletion and irrigation diversion associated with overurbanization and industrial agriculture, but also problems of pollution and salinization associated with these), and also global warming which is, in my view, best conceived as a problem of atmospheric pollution yielding the depletion of the resource of a life-sustaining atmosphere.

Iran's oil revenues USD 40 billion past eight months - minister

Minister of Petroleum Gholam-Hossein Nozari said Iran's revenues of crude oil exports were USD 40 billion during the past eight months, projecting the digit to climb to USD 60 billion by end of next March.

Vedanta refinery plans hit by new problems

British mining giant Vedanta Resources' plan to operate a US$900 million refinery in eastern India hit a fresh obstacle on Friday when the Supreme Court set new conditions for the project.

Vedanta's battle to mine bauxite to feed the refinery in forests considered sacred by tribals is seen as a test case in India, pitting industrial development against the interests of locals and the environment.

Iraq: Americans Pay US$300 a barrel or More for Mideast Oil

What is the real cost of things?

Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner cited a study this week that estimated a pack of cigarettes actually costs US$222 a pack. The amount includes the economic cost of a reduced lifespan.

So what is the real cost of the Iraq war in terms of oil import prices?

My rough estimate is that the real cost of oil from the Middle East for Americans may total US$300 a barrel or more.

China calls for early warning system to stabilize oil supplies

The MOC ordered local commerce authorities to closely monitor the oil market and set up and improve early warning system to tackle emergency fuel shortages.

The commerce bureaus should urge local refineries to increase and rationally distribute fuel supplies, the MOC said in a notice.

North Sea Surveys Show Potential

Petroleum Geo-Services said yesterday its Multi-Transient EM division had completed surveys in the UK and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea to raise awareness of the capabilities of its technology.

The self-funded project, which costs around £2.5million, identified five prospects. The division focuses on electromagnetic images to detect oil and gas.

China orders curbs on government departments' car use

China's State Council, or cabinet, has ordered all central government bodies to use "economic, energy-saving, environmentally friendly and domestically manufactured" automobiles and ban the private use of official cars.

Is your Christmas tree green enough?

A handful of growers in the top Christmas tree producing state of Oregon want people to consider another factor — how "green" a tree is. They've created a system to help consumers identify trees grown under certain environmental standards.

Leaps of faith drive ever-expanding 'burbs

The house the Schramkas are so eager to move into looks nothing like the squat "cracker boxes" that were the early destinations for postwar families when the migration began. Despite those jarring visual differences, the reasons families cast their fates on the outer edges of development haven't changed in a half-century. They're still looking for more house for the money—no matter how far they have to travel to get it.

"I see no compelling reason for the outward push to stop, short of an energy crisis, and I'm not even convinced that would do it," said Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at Loyola University Chicago. "It didn't stop when Rogers Park was the outer edge in the 1900s. It didn't stop when Rolling Meadows was the outer edge in the 1950s. It didn't stop when Schaumburg was the outer edge in the 1970s.

Fortunes shift as oil prices soar

Millionaires are created in Moscow but French fishermen riot over lost profit as effects ripple around the globe.

What will happen when the cheaper oil runs out?

With oil now flirting with the $100-a-barrel mark, the question arises: Will there always be more oil?

As it turns out, most experts in the field now believe that the world is a long way from running out of oil in the ground. But the ability to extract that oil may be nearing its limit.

There are fundamental problems in relying on oil

Five years ago, oil went for $24 a barrel, gas was around a buck a gallon, and OPEC said that $28 was the top range of their price band for a barrel of oil.

We all know the price of a gallon of gas today — oil is over $90 a barrel, and the OPEC minister from Qatar has said that the market is beyond OPEC's control. In other words, if you think things are crazy now, fasten your seat belts. Of all the energy problems we have faced in the past, this one may be the most difficult.

Northerners eyeing new riches

Oil, gas, gold, uranium. Immense wealth is there for the taking — if we could get it out of there. Global warming can make that happen.

Asia LPG hits record on higher crude prices, drop in stockpiles

Asian liquefied petroleum gas rose to a record on higher crude oil prices and lower stockpiles in Japan as winter heating demand increases.

How expensive grow thy branches

State agricultural officials are predicting a rise in the cost of Christmas trees that could be as great as 20 percent. There are several reasons for the rise, including increased fuel prices, added demand, and a weak dollar that makes trees imported from Canadian farms more expensive.

China in grip of inflation

Economists suspect that prices are likely to climb still higher before the end of the year. The September price controls prevented refiners from passing on higher crude oil prices to consumers. Refiners simply cut their production of gasoline and diesel, leading to long lines at the pump and a new round of complaints.

Chinese authorities had no choice but to relent. They permitted an increase of about 10 percent in the price of gasoline and diesel. And that, manufacturers say, is likely to push up the price of other goods—extending the cycle of rising prices.

UK: Cut fuel duty for the isles, says MP

Yesterday (Friday) Mr Carmichael said unleaded prices had risen by 10p a litre in the past 14 months, and 22p in the past two years.

He wants to persuade the government to cut fuel duty in peripheral areas, following the lead of other EU states such as Portugal, Greece and France.

Dominican Republic: Fuel prices up again

The Industry and Commerce Ministry has raised fuel prices again this week, as a result of the continual increase of international petroleum prices.

Brazil Auction Still Attracts Big Oil, Even After Rule Change

After international oil firms spent months preparing for Brazil's oil and gas block auction next week, they will have contend for a lot less than they had planned.

A big dust-up over 'new' Stegner book

WITH little fanfare, a new book by Wallace Stegner, set in a dry land and exploring natural resources -- an obsession his western fiction explored -- has just been published. In the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Nick Owchar called the book "a great adventure story."

But according to some of the author's inner circle, the book -- written as a work-for-hire job for a group of U.S. oil companies based in Arabia in the 1950s -- should never have seen the light of day.

Help save the planet - insulate your home and seal the leaks

What's the single most important home improvement you can make to help save the planet? Although I usually don't espouse simplistic solutions to complicated problems, the answer in this case is easy, "Reduce your energy losses by maximizing your insulation and sealing your home's air leaks."

Ceres schools get serious about cutting energy bill

School officials are starting a sweeping energy conservation effort that could save the Ceres Unified School District millions of dollars.

The campaign's main focus is educating staff about conservation through behavioral changes.

Heat Pumps best option for EU, experts find

Heat pumps using natural refrigerants emerge as an optimal solution for heating and cooling in a nearing energy crisis, experts at the SHERHPA workshop have found.

Biogas From Manure Fed Into Pipeline

Environmental Power Corporation has completed a facility to convert manure and other agricultural waste into a methane-rich biogas that will be sold as natural gas. The Huckabay Ridge facility in Stephenville, Texas, will employ anaerobic digesters to convert manure into biogas. Bacteria in the oxygen-free digester vessels feed on the wastes, producing a gas consisting mostly of methane and carbon dioxide. Environmental Power then conditions the biogas to natural gas standards and distributes it via a commercial natural gas pipeline.

$100 oil: the terrible truth

As the price of crude oil sets records almost daily, the British government remains stunningly complacent. With the $100 barrel a real and constant threat, the prime minister's website blithely proclaims "the world's oil and gas resources are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the foreseeable future". Officials refuse to define what is meant by "foreseeable", but it is clear they suffer from extreme myopia, or worse.

All the evidence suggests we are rapidly approaching "peak oil", the point when global production goes into terminal decline for geological reasons. The industry consensus is that world output, excluding that from the Opec producers, will peak in about 2010. It is also widely agreed that Opec has grossly exaggerated the size of its reserves, meaning that global output must also peak soon. Since oil provides 95% of all transport energy, as well as vital inputs to modern agriculture, this is likely to provoke a crisis.

Iran oil minister not ruling out hike in output

Iran's oil minister said Saturday that OPEC's number two exporter has not ruled out an increase in output in the face of soaring prices.

"We are studying it and will give our opinion," Gholam Hossein Nozari told reporters at his weekly press briefing when questioned whether Iran would consider increasing its crude output.

"We believe there is enough oil in the market but if statistics and data show there is a need to produce more we are capable of meeting the demand," he said.

Iraq nullifies Kurdish oil deals

Iraq's oil ministry has declared all crude contracts signed by the Kurdish regional authorities with foreign companies null and void, a government official said on Saturday.

"The ministry has nullified all contracts signed by the Kurdistan Regional Government," the official told AFP, asking not to be named. "They will not be recognised."

John Browne on the Future of Energy

First, there is high fossil fuel prices—caused by the coincidence of strong demand and several factors on the supply side, not least a dramatic increase in oil and gas production costs and disciplined OPEC policymaking. Second, there is growing concern about energy security. Fears about short-term supply disruptions and Peak Oil are greatly exaggerated.

But oil and gas resource concentration is real and is leading to geopolitical friction, as some countries use their energy riches as an instrument of foreign policy.

China, Russia to build 10-mln-ton oil refinery in Tianjin

China and Russia have agreed to locate a planned oil refinery capable of processing 10 million tons a year in the northern port city of Tianjin.

China's top oil firm, China National Petroleum Cooperation (CNPC), and Russia's Rosneft, have set up a joint venture in Tianjin to implement the project, which is still subject to approval by the National Development and Reform Commission.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Here's My Tupi's Worth

The world has been fixated by the possibility, now the probability, of oil reaching $100 per barrel in recent weeks. The recent run-up in pricing has been the talk of large sections of the media, and the notion of expensive oil is now widely understood. But the reasons why and what is to be done about it are not.

Fuel prices produce gasps, fumes

A California tourist town's residents are so peeved at the pump that they'll drive miles to fill up more cheaply.

China boom fuels price fear

A Bank of Canada report released yesterday predicts China's economy will continue to expand at a furious pace, suggesting the Asian tiger has an endless appetite for commodities such as oil and metals.

While that is expected to fuel profits in Canada's oil patch and mining sector, ordinary Canadians will be among those paying the price for China's sustained resource demand and the resulting upward pressure on commodity prices, the report said.

Curfew imposed as Iraqi forces launch major offensive in oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk

Authorities imposed a daylong curfew in the northern city of Kirkuk and surrounding areas on Saturday as Iraqi security forces launched a major offensive against militants amid rising violence in the oil-rich area.

Bahrain: Oil output soars

The Minister of Oil and Gas and head of the National Oil and Gas Authority Dr. Abdulhussain bin Ali Mirza yesterday announced that the Kingdom’s oil production from Bahrain field and Abu Safa field had reached more than 50.4 million barrels in the first nine months of 2007, while crude imports had amounted to 61.5 million barrels during the same period.

A big toll on small oil businesses

Increases in fuel oil prices are not only hitting the consumer; they are taking their toll on small, independent oil dealers.

With home heating oil running more than $3 per gallon with no ceiling in sight, the smaller dealers are struggling to keep their businesses solvent.

Shell left red-faced after U-turn on Regal deal

Royal Dutch Shell faced embarrassment last night after withdrawing from a preliminary deal signed on Wednesday to take a majority stake in assets run by oil explorer Regal Petroleum.

It follows a surprise decision by Regal to replace its chief executive and chairman just 24 hours after agreeing with Shell to sell a 51pc stake in gas fields in the Ukraine.

Howard's reign in Australia is over

Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd swept to power in Australian elections Saturday, ending an 11-year conservative era and promising major changes to policies on global warming and his country's role in the Iraq war.

The rich, famous and influential prepare to hear the secret to climate-safe energy

A discovery that could give the world access to vast quantities of energy with minimal damage to the climate will be shown off for the first time at a glittering gathering of the famous, rich and influential next Friday night.

Early climate change victim: Andes water

EL ALTO, Bolivia - Twice a day, Elena Quispe draws water from a spigot on the dusty fringe of this city, fills three grimy plastic containers and pushes them in a rickety wheelbarrow to the adobe home she shares with her husband and eight children.

But the water supply is in peril. El Alto and its sister city of La Paz, the world's highest capital, depend on glaciers for at least a third of their water — more than any other urban sprawl. And those glaciers are rapidly melting because of global warming.

Rich nations fail to honour climate pledge

A group of rich countries including Britain has broken a promise to pay more than a billion dollars to help the developing world cope with the effects of climate change. The group agreed in 2001 to pay $1.2bn (£600m) to help poor and vulnerable countries predict and plan for the effects of global warming, as well as fund flood defences, conservation and thousands of other projects. But new figures show less than £90m of the promised money has been delivered. Britain has so far paid just £10m.

Does anyone have any theories on why global warming is really more "popular" than peak oil? Meaning, almost everyone has heard of global warming, but outside my sphere of influence in my social circles, not many people have heard of peak oil. Thoughts?

I think Al Gore had a lot to do with it.

We need an Al Gore of PO. What's Bill Clinton doing these days?

Laying low so is wife can win. Which means Billy is out...

Really cool map! Thanks!

What Peak Oil-- The rich, famous and influential prepare to hear the secret to climate-safe energy

Al Gore is to be the star turn at a dinner where guests have paid at least £1,000 a head, and some will have parted with £50,000 for their share of the Aberdeen Angus steak and pink champagne, under the high ornate ceilings of London's Royal Courts of Justice. The combined wealth of the diners has been estimated at £100bn. But the most unusual aspect of the evening is not the price of the tickets but the nature of the floor show. In place of professional performers, the guests will be regaled by people who are not always thought of as entertainers, though some think they are all mad. They are inventive British boffins who care about climate change.


Al Gore will probably let us in on the secret for a price.

I'm sure anyone who's willing to invest will be let in on the secret. ;-)

My guess is some kind of nanotech. They said it was "micro-technology."

Jimmy Carter tried and failed as president to wake the world up to Peak Oil, but then gave up. He could have continued after and could have led a Peak Oil movement, but chose the the peace maker route,

Bill Clinton has talked about imminent peak oil. Matt Simmons mentioned that fact in a recent broadcast appearance and I saw Clinton talk about it in a video of a speech at a Southern California University this last spring. It would be political suicide for Hillary to raise it right now, before the MSM acknowledges it, but I am sure they are ready for when it does hit. It probably will be an issue before the 11/08 election.

I've also seen a photograph of Bill carrying a copy of The Party is Over.


Former US President Bill Clinton was reading about peak oil this summer, specifically, Richard Heinberg's book The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies.

This week in the New Yorker, David Remnick profiles Bill Clinton. Here, with Blake Eskin, Remnick discusses the ex-President’s legacy and Hillary Clinton’s political future. Specific excerpt posted below:

You write that Clinton rejected Gerald Ford as a model for the post-Presidency. But is Clinton at all a man of leisure?

He plays a hell of a lot of golf and he’s a voracious reader. His library’s got a lot of books about policy, a lot of history, a lot of Presidential biography, and a lot of books on religion—that’s a sincere interest. His taste in fiction, although I don’t think it’s limited to this, seems to be of a lower brow: he loves thrillers and police novels and stuff like that. I borrowed a book from him that he had just read—“The Party’s Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies,” by Richard Heinberg, not exactly summer reading—and it was full of underlinings and what looked like the most serious undergraduate’s markings, with lots of exclamation points.

Some time ago, Bill Clinton said that when he was president no one told him about Peak Oil. Sure Bill, and you didn't inhale pot either when you were smokin it at university.

Who before the end of Clinton's second term was talking about peak oil besides Colin Campbell and did any of them have access to Clinton's ear? Did any of the people preparing Clinton's briefing notes know of the idea and, if so, did any of them take it seriously? Not likely.

I suspect that, in this case, Clinton was giving an accurate version of events. He's not running for office now, so why would he lie?

Matt Simmons said in one interview that he told both Bush and Clinton about peak oil.

Energy Sectry. Richardson came back from a Middle East trip in Feb/March 2000 with the discovery that there was essentially no spare oil production capacity. I assume he told his boss, but time was short to do much of anything in the remaining months of Clinton's term.

Simmons got this information and passed it to Bush via cousin. He may also have told Clinton as well. Simmons I think (WAG) connected "short term" problem to longer term Hubbert Depletion.

As far as I can piece together, that is the background history.



While Clinton was in office. I remember reading about it back in 2005, but can't find the link. It was an interview with Simmons. (It used to be that only a handful of links turned up when you searched on Matt Simmons' name. Now there are tons.)

Here's a mention in a article archived at EB, though it's not the one I remember:

In the run-up to Bush winning the Presidency in 2000, he hired Simmons to help write and edit his energy plan. Simmons had previously warned Bill Clinton’s administration of impending oil shortages.

This is all very nebulous, nothing firm. Did Simmons warn Clinton about Peak OIL while he was President? An oil shortage, like the one we had in the late 70s and the other one in the 80s, had nothing to do with peak oil.

If Clinton says he was never warned about PEAK OIL during the time of his presidency, we need far more evidence than has been presented here to say he was lying!

And who in the administration was warned of anything? Was it the President himself or someone else in the administration who neglected, for whatever reason, to tell the President?

I find it rather astonishing that people make such serious accusations on such flimsy evidence.

Ron Patterson

Simmons says he did, at least as I recall. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding by a reporter. Someone should ask him. Kunstler did ask him how Bush reacted, but so far as I know, no one has asked him how Clinton reacted.

In any case, it doesn't mean I'm accusing Clinton of lying. He was president of United States. He probably had hundreds, even thousands of people briefing him about various problems while he was in office. Maybe he simply didn't remember.

Remember what Tom Whipple said about politicians. Unless you can give them a solid date, and it's imminent, it's simply not a priority for them. Not because they don't care, but because they have so many other things to worry about.

See my comments below about Clinton and the CIA, if this doesn't clear things up, I don't think I can help you. As for serious allegations about Clinton lying, hmmmmmmmmm most Democrats I know would say he lied/lies often. Maybe read some biographies about Willy Clinton.

Right, Simmons told Clinton about peak oil last spring. But we are talking about during the Clinton administration. What evidence do you, or anyone else have, that Clinton was told about peak oil during the time he was president. That would be very extraordinary because virtually no one was talking about peak oil during the Clinton administration.

Well, there was Colin Campbell, and Jay Hanson, and a couple of others. But I don't think they talked to Clinton.

Ron Patterson

Cjwirth, got a source for that bit of history? To whom did Bill Clinton say that and when? We don't like people to make up crap on this list. When you make such a statement you need to post your source.

I am not saying that Bill did not say that, but you saying that he said it is just not enough.

And what is so strange about no one telling Bill Clinton about that while he was President? Exactly what percentage of people had ever heard of Peak Oil before January of 2001. It was after that date when I first heard about peak oil. I think it was from Jay Hanson when I first heare of peak oil, sometime in the summer of 2001. I would not at all be surprised that no one explained it to Bill before that date.

Ron Patterson

Clinton: not briefed on peak oil

To the best of my knowledge I never had a security briefing which said what some of these very serious but conservative petroleum geologists say, which is they think that either now or before the decade is out that we'll reach peak oil production globally and with the rise of China and India and others coming along unless we can dramatically reduce our oil usage we will run out of recoverable oil within 35 to 50 years.


That was real hard to find.

And what, may I ask, is so shocking about that? No one told me about peak oil during the Clinton administration either.

I believe Clinton when he says no one told him about Peak Oil during his administration. Why would anyone doubt that?

Cynicism can sometimes get so bad it just looks ridiculous. And to cynically say that Clinton was lying when he says no one told him about peak oil is cynicism bordering on the absurd.

Ron Patterson

And to cynically say that Clinton was lying when he says no one told him about peak oil is cynicism bordering on the absurd.

Oh yes! You are so right! Because people never lie, and the history of leaders is filled with truth and helpfulness to the ruled.

You have lifted the veil for all!

I heard about it back in the '70s.

It faded into the background, until fall 2005. Then I watched Rita mow a swath across the GoM and remembered Hubbert.

Darwinian, The CIA, DOD, and the National Security establishment exist mainly to make sure the oil flows. If Bill Clinton did not know about Peak Oil then he wasn't President of the USA. Because they have access to Saudi data, the CIA has the best information on Peak Oil. Oil is what Mideast politics is all about.

Bill Clinton: "The third thing I've learned about climate change, this is very important, is I had -- I was reading a book the other day by a guy just bashing the living hell out of me about saying that he was certain the CIA briefed me once a week on how America was running out of oil and I did nothing serious about it. Of course he ignored what we tried to do and got our brains beat out doing.
But that's not true. To the best of my knowledge, I never had a security briefing which said what
some of these very serious but conservative petroleum geologists say, which is they think that either
now or before the decade's out, we'll reach peak oil production globally and with the rise of China
and India and others coming along, unless we can dramatically reduce our oil usage, we will run out
of recoverable oil within 35 to 50 years." (A Conversation with Bill Clinton, Friday July 7, 2006)
Clinton said "to the best of my knowledge." What nonsense. Of course he knew, the CIA and everybody knew about Peak Oil since 1977 when the National Academy of Science published this report: http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11771
The NAS study pegged the peak in the 1990s. They were right on target, but the global economy slowed considerably in the late 1970s and 1980s. If you look at oil production over this period, you will see that they got the peak right, but production was slowed due to recessions. Peak Oil is old stuff.
I don't include the speech of Rear Admiral Hyman Rickover who identified Peak Oil in 1957: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2724
If all these people knew, so did policy wonk Bill Clinton, but he won't admit it and then face criticism that he did not warn us. I have been warning my students since 1982. If I knew about it, surely Bill Clinton as President of the United States of Steal the World's Oil would know. Finally, the public trashed Jimmy Carter, a student of Rickover, who did try to warn the American public masses are asses. Thus Bill Clinton knew that if he told the public that we're running out, he knew they would say, shut up chump, your job is to get more oil.

The CIA, DOD, and the National Security establishment exist mainly to make sure the oil flows.

But of course, we all know that! The CIA, created in 1949, from the Centeral Intelligence Group that was created by Truman in 1947. Hell even Truman knew about Peak Oil and he created the CIA just to keep the oil flowing. Hell, everybody knows that.

CIA and everybody knew about Peak Oil since 1977....

The NAS study pegged the peak in the 1990s. They were right on target, but the global economy slowed considerably in the late 1970s and 1980s.

It is indeed a pity that this kind of crap pops up on this list from time to time. Most people who post here are responsible and do not exaggerate or engage in such stupid hyperbole or dream up wierd conspiracy theories.

I say again it is a pity that we must put up with this type of crap from time to time. But I suppose it comes with the territory.

Ron Patterson

This is what I said, not what you said I said, "The CIA, DOD, and the National Security establishment exist mainly to make sure the oil flows." Read the NAS report. Everybody knew about Peak Oil, meaning of course everybody who is keeping the flow of oil going. You might due better to read more and deal with others with more information and less emotion.

Here is your 'wierd conspiracy theory' from Wiki...Ron, you should really do what you urge of others...a simple Google search will turn up tons of hits connecting various US government organizations to continuing the flow of ME oil. This is really a no-brainer and yet you call it 'stupid Hyperbole'...I really question your motives because I believe that you are too intelligent to believe what you are posting here at times. Notice that the CIA operation to assinate this democratically elected Iranian prime minister was run by Kermit Roosevelt Jr...No conspiracy here, move along, move along...


Mohammad Mosaddeq (Mossadeq (help·info)) (Persian: محمد مصدق‎ Moḥammad Moṣaddeq, also Mosaddegh or Mossadegh) (19 May 1882 – 5 March 1967) served as the Prime Minister of Iran[1][2] from 1951 to 1953. He was democratically elected to the parliament, and as leader of the nationalists was twice appointed prime minister by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, after a positive vote of inclination by the parliament.[3] Mossadegh was a nationalist and passionately opposed foreign intervention in Iran. He was also the architect of the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, today known as British Petroleum (BP).

He was eventually removed from power on August 19, 1953, by military intervention. The coup d'état was supported and funded by the British and U.S. governments and was led by General Fazlollah Zahedi [4]. The American operation to encourage it was run by CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt, Jr.,[5][6] the grandson of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, and came to be known as Operation Ajax,[5] after its CIA cryptonym, and as the "28 Mordad 1332" coup, after its date on the Iranian calendar.[7] Dr. Mosaddeq was imprisoned for three years and subsequently put under house arrest until his death. He is, in many countries, considered a symbol of anti-imperialism.

a simple Google search will turn up tons of hits connecting various US government organizations to continuing the flow of ME oil.

Which is not what he complained about. What he complained about was:

The CIA, DOD, and the National Security establishment exist mainly to make sure the oil flows.

Your links show that those government groups are interested in continuing the flow of oil. The original claim was that those groups exist mainly to ensure that flow.

That kind of massive overstatement is pretty textbook hyperbole.

A choice quote from a speech March 28, 2006 at the London Business School,
Clinton on peak oil and global warming: (Energy Bulletin)

What is true is that the old energy economy is well organized, financed and connected politically. The new energy economy is underfinanced, under organized, entrepreneurial and in need of the type of research and development work that we routinely did when we were trying to sequence the human genome or go into space.

Remember that Clinton was prevented from accomplishing much of anything in the last 6 years of his tenure at the White House. I agree, if Hillary wins the nomination, it'll probably come up during the campaign.

The peak oil movement has a late start, but it is gaining speed fast as measured by the futures market. In 2004, the three-year-out contract had 18,000 open interest. Today the same contract has 60,000 open interest. Long term investors are starting realize the trend.

realist, warming has contunued unabated more or less in the lifetime of most people alive today. warming is sensible(in the thermodynamic sense)
we already had a false peak (shortage) in the 80's. imo people are sceptical that we are depleting the earth's resources. most dont seem to understand the problem. many i talk to just say "there is plenty of oil, the major oil companies are hoarding it" or "there is plenty of oil, everywhere i drive i see idle oil wells". many are just convinced, absolutely convinced, that there is a conspiracy to make gas prices high. there seems to be a common belief in the us of a, at least, that we 'merkuns are entitled to cheap energy. something to do with "providence", i think.

The assumption underlying a lot of these long-term contracts is that the counter-party will be around when you want to cash your chips.

That is not the way the market works. There is no risk of this occurring.

Contracts on NYMEX are settled every single night after the market closes - any risk from the counter party is eliminated by the exchange mechanisms - that is what 'margin' is all about.

I'm wondering if we should put together something like a "Ten basic facts about Oil Futures" primer for folks on TOD. I understand where peoples assumptions come from, but so often they're wrong - and the oil futures market is an area of significant and relevant debate around here.

maybe we discussed that enough already somewhere here:


Hi Jay

re: "I'm wondering if we should put together..."

I vote "yes". Thanks.

Naw, all the above opinions are good but that is not really the reason peak oil has not caught on like global warming has. It all has to do with science.

We have perhaps a thousand scientists or more telling the news media, and anyone else that will listen, that global warming is real and that it is caused by human activity. And of course we have two or three scientist saying it is real but not caused by human activity. It makes for a lively debate and the news media is just eating it up.

Now how many scientists are telling us about peak oil? None that I know of. True, we have a few geologists that are trying to warn us but they are largely discredited by oil company executives telling us there is nothing to worry about. But there is no large scale advertising program, such as global warming has, that is trying to warn us about peak oil.

When science jumps on the bandwagon of peak oil as they have done with global warming, you would see much more peak oil awareness. But that is not likely to happen because the data that predicts is just not convincing enough, especially when it must compete with data from think tanks like CERA. The data that finally convinces everyone will be the data they see in their rear view mirror. But even that data will not be noticed until we are well below peak production.

I once thought that when we reached 1.5 million barrels per day below peak that this would be the trigger. How wrong I was! We reached 1.7 bp/d below peak this past month. So now we just must sit and wait. But I believe it will happen during 2008. A sudden slide in either Russian or Saudi production would do it. A slide in both would make it happen with dramatic suddenness. Or, if non-OPEC production, which has been on a four year plateau, suddenly turns downward.......

Ron Patterson

I wonder. In the end, climate change is not really something you can blame on your political opponents. You can argue that there is no climate change, or that it's just natural variation, but you can't say it's the fault of liberals, conservatives, the French, the Arabs, the president, etc.

Peak oil, though...if there is a drop in Saudi and/or Russian production, peak oil deniers will have plenty of people to blame. They're already warming up. They're blaming big oil, the NOCs, the environmentalists, etc. I have a feeling few will be blaming geology.

Homo saps respond to visual stimuli very well. A photo of Alaskan power poles leaning by a paved road that is buckling, a shot of a Polar Bear swimming, swimming, swimming, with no ice floe respite in sight, photos of houses sinking into the permafrost...These images overwhelm those of homo saps sitting in autos in gas lines (unless the viewer is also the sitter), photos of 'Reg Unleaded $3.40 gal', or a big board tally showing crude nearing $100 per barrel.

Its the 'Bambi Effect'...Besides, on a very deep level homo saps know (or think) that they are responsible for the mother seals that cannot find ice floes to give birth to their cute, white, baby seals...because the H Saps are driving their gas hogs...and the Saps have guilt even if it is on a subconscious level.

I pressed a denier once...pressed her very hard about population control, GW, PO...and was explaining that homo saps should spend their energy in a cooperative effort to find and colonize other worlds (enen though I consider this impossible at this time, it might be better than continual war). She became so angry with me that she turned scarlet and shouted 'Why, so we can f**k up some more planets?'...So, it has been my experience that Saps are aware of the 'problems' but do not wish to discuss them or even think about them...especially PO.

"and was explaining that homo saps should spend their energy in a cooperative effort to find and colonize other worlds (even though I consider this impossible at this time"

Impossible? Not at all! We've just being going at it the wrong way.

Here's the right way: First, we develop the time machine. Then, we travel back in time far enough to get around the distance problem, since, as we know, the universe has been expanding for a while now. Once we've got all the other inhabitable worlds close enough, well, we just hop on over, and then return to the present. Or maybe stay in the past.

Of course, we may have to wait for sufficient demand, which as we know, overcomes all obstacles, small and large.

Leanan :

I wonder. In the end, climate change is not really something you can blame on your political opponents.

Well, us Greens sure as hell can!

Could it be that global warming is readily accepted because it is simply a nice, classifiable problem that can be looked at as something that at first glance can be solved with the proper actions? Meaning that it is readily digestible or "fit for consumption" by the masses. Whereas peak oil, on the other hand, when it's meaning is truly internalized, suggests an inherent flaw in the capitalist perpetual growth system, a problem so endemic to modern industrialized society, that it is simply insoluble to the common person. Something sort of like the quote, "It's impossible to convice a person of something when his salary depends on him not understanding it." or the like. An analogy might be criticising a persons actions. The person could modify behavior and respond to this criticism. However, a critique indicating that his belief system is inherently flawed would be another thing entirely.

Trends are usually extremely advanced before there is a general awareness of them. Climate Change, as a consequence of CO2 emissions was first raised as a problem in the 1920's or 30's. Margaret Thatcher recognised Climate Change as a serious threat in the 80's and alerted the nation to it. Yet, for many , Climate Change has only just come to their attention. Presumably because it is in their face daily and everyone can see it happening.

Oil prices have been rising steadily for years, but only now, after rising from $10 to $100, have people started to take notice. The general populace are really slow at awakening to long established trends and are usually caught completely by surprise when they finally do break into public awareness. Politicians are even slower and governments usually react to trends when they've run their course or its too late.

Hey, I thought geologists were/are real scientists. PO takes much more explanation than GW, and nobody wants to hear that it's all over soon...You know, that bad word -- die off. People shake in their boots thinking about PO, me too....geeeeeeeeeez And then there are many "scientists" going around for years and now too telling everyone not to worry, as solar energy will save the day.
The day is now pretty close and I don't see that I am being saved. Yes, I know the high solar rollers will say that it could have been different if we had developed a solar economy starting in the 1970s. Well, as someone who knows a little about the real world, not the world of illusion, that is baloney.

It could have been.

Compare funding at NREL with the corporate welfare directed at the fossil fuel industries. The ratio is what, three or four orders of magnitude?

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

The day is now pretty close and I don't see that I am being saved.

Neither do I see that you're dying off.

There is no present need for massive energy inputs from non-fossil sources - the fossil ones are still cheap and abundant. Even at $100/bbl, oil just isn't that big of an expense to most nations which are capable of massive solar/wind buildouts.

So one reason you haven't seen enormous amounts of solar/wind is that there hasn't been much (immediate) need. As fossil fuel prices and climate change awareness have both increased, though, we've seen very rapid growth in the installation of renewable energy sources, to the extent that that demand is driving the construction of new factories to increase the production capacity of solar/wind.

Will those be able to ramp up in time to take over from fossil sources as oil, then natural gas, then finally coal peak and decline? Neither of us knows, but what I do know is that applying a standard model for the rate of uptake of a technology suggests that solar and especially wind will be providing a substantial portion of world energy use in the near future, and that the much greater efficiency with which electricity is used (i.e., its much higher exergy per btu) suggests that they may indeed be able to replace the energy lost by declining fossil production.

Seriously, run the numbers yourself - you'll be surprised at quite how non-gloomy the results are. A good place to start is the Ayres paper GliderGuider linked (for exergy/the much greater efficiency of electricity), and the (cited) technology-uptake modelling I did for wind generation (in comments to his prior article). Heck, there's even cites in there that'll correct your misconceptions about the efficiency of electricity transmission and storage.

So if you're not just clinging onto a doom-based belief because you find it weirdly comforting, go check out the numbers - they're much more optimistic than you appear to believe. Doesn't mean the future will be easy, of course, or that dieoff is impossible - human nature makes that a permanent possibility - but it does mean that there are solutions to peak oil using currently-existing technology that are well within our manufacturing capabilities and require little enough social upheaval that they're not only unlikely to meet wide-spread resistance, they're already being adopted.

Pitt, check out Stoneleigh & ilargi's Finance Round-Up; the capital markets are siezing-up. It appears that investors are getting risk aversive; IMO it will become very difficult to finance anything unconventional going forward. Oil and gas are mature technologies and may continue to be able to get financing, new technologies much less so.

Errol in Miami

I checked out the numbers in my head since there is really no way to do it precisely (too many variables). Here is what I get: the EROI for solar is less than 1 when you consider all energy inputs, not just the energy in direct manufacture. Even if it is above 1, the pay back time is prohibitive. Do you really want me to go to the trouble of listing all of the energy inputs, you can do it yourself and you are smart enough to come to the same conclusion.

Your thoughts about scientist involvement are interesting and probably explain things to an extent, but I think the difference in a person's (including a news reporter's) receptivity to GW over PO may include bits of a more simple reality:

Global Warming: I suspect that many people just don't see GW as a major threat, even among those who understand the basic physics of GW. If the summers get hotter, for instance, then the AC will just be cranked up a bit more. Warmer winters simply might mean a lower heating bill to offset the higher costs of summer household cooling. If there's a drought, then water can be pumped or trucked in. A crop failure in one location can be offset by importing successful crops from another region. Etc. etc, etc. And those speculative GW-fed superhurricanes only strike the "other guy" like all the unfortunates in New Orleans (this kind of reasoning is probably applied to other GW effects, too).

Peak Oil: Once one grasps the connection between energy-production growth and economic growth, or even more so the deep and far-reaching systemic response like will likely result from PO, one will quickly realize that PO would hit very close to home in a very tangible, and disturbing, way. Hence, many shy away from the cold reality--including many scientists themselves.

Well, that's my $0.02 anyway.


graywulffe in CVO, OR

Unlike climate change, peak oil has not really impacted people in the same way. Climate change is killing people. A growing drought in the US is scaring citizens. They have to ration water.

The price of gas in my location is at $3.00/per gallon. My driving habits have changed, along with my neighbors. I have cut down my miles-traveled about 1 to 2 thirds. On the weekends, the apartment parking lot, which used to be empty, is full, indicating that the young are partying in their apartments instead of roaming about the city.

This is causing gas inventories to remain stable, somewhat, and causing a headache for the oil people. They are trying everything to get people to travel more but it doesn't seem to be working, at least in the blue-collar segment of our society.

When service oriented businesses start declining, laying people off and disappearing, there will be more clamor for information as to why it is happening.

The price of food is a major consideration to most of us workers. We just don't buy the higher priced items anymore, concentrating instead on the base goods and being creative in our food preparation.

Most of my neighbors don't realize that how they spend their money impacts the economy in a great way. Most of my neighbors don' t realize this fact and attempts to educate them fail. Most are A type personalities, more concerned with their performance within society and less inclined to change their collective environment. We are the herd, upon which the rest of society feeds. Most have little time to educate themselves with the tools of the internet, even though they all have computers

The middle class has more time to make themselves aware but have to deal with the fact that if they reduce their impact on the environment, they will end up in financial ruin and become a regular worker.

My neighbors are more concerned with water rationing than peak oil. As long as they can get to work, they can deal with gas prices by just staying home. Climate change, however is definitely staring us in the eyes, and focusing our attention. Peak oil is a nag in the back of our minds, not too impressive yet.

Collective self-sacrifice is only wrought by impending devastation. That is why more people are concerned with Climate change and not peak oil. But, they can smell something in the wind. When I shop, I see the workers looking hungrily at the shopping carts of the middle class. They sound of crying children in the markets is growing as their parents just say no. They are aware but wrapped up in a blanket of helplessness.

Nice analysis!

Darwinian, You say ***Now how many scientists are telling us about peak oil? None that I know of. True, we have a few geologists that are trying to warn us but they are largely discredited by oil company executives telling us there is nothing to worry about.*** Hmmmmmmmm geologists are scientists and more than a few have been warning us, and there are the Club of Rome/beyond the limits scientists, and the sustainability scientists, and the 300 NAS scientists pf the 1977 report:
and many solar scientists. Why not go through the archives of theoildrum.com and energybulleting.net and research this before you insult people for not doing the work they did. Also, you are out of date, now oil company executives are coming around. Take a look around you before making statements that just show you don't know your stuff. Do a Google search of "Peak Oil" and look how many hits, and think about how many of the writers must be scientists. The people on this site should not need to give you an education, thus wasting their time. You should assume the responsibility of your own education. And when you are wrong, which is often, you should admit and not dig yourself a bigger hole by defending erroneus ideas. The end result of your current path will be that people will ignore you.

Awareness, or the lack thereof, is probably the biggest reason. I am speaking of both personal cognitive awareness as well as the mass media's appreciation for the issue and the resultant reporting.

The other consideration is that people tend to rally around a cause with greater enthusiasm if they can visualize and observe the effects of the threat, perceive the change to be gradual, and see it as being potentially ameliorative (read: hope). (I believe GW has held up to this criteria to date, although in recent time there has certainly been an acceleration of effect.) There is also considerable uncertainty allied with GW issue in the areas of of cause and effect.

Peak Energy is a different animal - the cause is a geophysical certainty with a known time frame. All you get to argue is the degree of the effect. And the outcome, once you come to a full and honest appraisal of the ramifications, is rather daunting. It is far more difficult to offer up objections and viable solutions to PO than it is for GW.

I have friends, educated individuals (a lawyer, banker, and college professor among them) capable of critical thinking and analysis who will engage me in GW discussions, but will avoid, deflect, or cancel any attempt to address Peak Energy.

Truly amazing.

"Peak Energy is a different animal - the cause is a geophysical certainty with a known time frame. All you get to argue is the degree of the effect. And the outcome, once you come to a full and honest appraisal of the ramifications, is rather daunting. It is far more difficult to offer up objections and viable solutions to PO than it is for GW."

Interesting. The level of difficulty of solutions as a reason for popularity is probably a real factor. I remember reading something a while back on a blog regarding the "order of complexity" of peak oil/peak energy as a problem in relation to other problems that were more logisitical or organizational in nature. I.e. the physical resources and energy to solve the problem just had to be marshaled properly. An example is winning WWII or going to the moon. These problems were essentially a largely "different animals", as you put it, than "solving" peak oil.

Oh yeah, and the "we went to the moon, we can do X" analogy has become so tiresome for me that I'd like to create a new rule of energy crisis argumentation that states that that first person to make a comparison to the Apollo program loses the argument immediately.

Savinar put it succinctly in "Crude Awakening" when he said "well, if he'd (meaning Kennedy) had said, "In ten years our goal is to having people living on Pluto", well, we would obviously had not have achieved that goal." EXactly.

Global warming is much more media friendly. The news media can show pictures of retreating glaciers, dried up fields, damage from floods and hurricanes and blame it all on global warming.

Most of the current alternative energy sources produce electricity rather than power for automobiles. Thus until electric cars become common alternative energy promoters can offer only a solution for global warming. So they include global warming in their promotions rather than peak oil.

More vested interests wanting to keep the money flowing, $50 billion spent on global warming research in the last ten years.

More opportunities for the governments, U.N., newsmedia, lawyers, insurance companies, celebrities, environmentalists and various other busybodies to run others peoples lives. You must do this/can't do that because it will cause global warming so we will create laws, regulations, taxes, or quotas to to keep the evil corporations/unwashed masses in line. Whereas peak oil, you can't burn whats not there regulations or not, spoils the busybodies fun.

Global warming's impact is more emotional. You can feel the weather. People empathize with someone on the news who has lost his house , crop, or family members due to recent weather events. What do those pushing peak oil discuss? Numbers, Hubbert curves/linearizations, formulas, arcane jargon. Anything with potential emotional impact: recessions, social economic collapse etc are somewhere off in the future. Many more people feel rather than think. They aren't interested in having a bunch of numbers thrown at them. The only number related to peak oil that has an impact on the masses is the price of gasoline which can be blamed on the usual suspects.

Just considering the surface, it seems obvious:

GW: UN body with backing of 1000 of the worlds top scientists and 30 years of research. Over 100 years evidence of warming.

PO: handful of scientists, motley crew of internet guys, possibly 2 years since actual peak

Naturally the IPCC are going to get more credibility and publicity.

or were you wondering why weather related crises during the 70s lead to formation of scientific panel to investigate, but oil shocks of the 70s were left to industry and politicians to work out?

I appreciate there is a difference in how these things are handled. GW falls into the province of climate science, so finds a ready pool of credible researchers. PO is generally regarded as a "technical" issue, so is the domain of industry. Economists as we know are really cheerleaders for growth, so they wouldn't look at it. Politicians probably should be aware of it, but only care about getting elected.

Jimmy Carter was a Peak Oiler, but in the 1980 election was rubbed out by cowboy Ronald Reagan who promised a world without limits, as opposed to that wimpy conservation of Jimmy. Obviously other politicians have learned a lesson from ol' Jimmy's honesty with the American public. As the ol' saying goes, the masses are asses.

Jimmy Carter's famous "Sweater Speech"


After going over the points he says;

I am sure each of you will find something you don't like about the specifics of our proposal. It will demand that we make sacrifices and changes in our lives. To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful -- but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs, and to some greater inconveniences for everyone.

But the sacrifices will be gradual, realistic and necessary. Above all, they will be fair. No one will gain an unfair advantage through this plan. No one will be asked to bear an unfair burden. We will monitor the accuracy of data from the oil and natural gas companies, so that we will know their true production, supplies, reserves, and profits.

The citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.

Did anybody ask Carter if he wanted to make an appearance at ASPO?

Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

He should be asked. Maybe we can get him to talk not only about his sweater speech but also his famous speech in which we says the US will consider the Mideast's oil to be a US asset to be defended if anyone even looks at it crossways....

I ment to highlight this section, cause kids, that's where we're at.

The citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.

"If they succeed..."

They DID, now the the burden on us normal folks is going to be "Crushing" .

They made sure he went down, and the party roared for 20 years burning both ends of the candle, Faster/More/Bigger.

Thanks for posting Carter's speech. He called peak oil for "some time in the 1980s". And he had the intelligence resources of a superpower behind him!! Goes to show how difficult the peak oil prediction business is.

This my pet theory:

Global Warming: "Hey kids, don't eat too much cake or you'll suffer from indigestion!!!"

Peak Oil: "Listen, kids, we need to eat less and save it for tomorrow or we won't have any".

Now, as a parent, what would you choose to say? (obviously many of us here would choose the second one, but our patronizing governments and media are the kind of parents that don't want to bring bad news).

Spiritual: "To consume is human; to conserve, divine".

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

Peak oil is an engineering and economics problem as much as a geophysical one, while everybody loves to talk about the weather.

One of Simmons original arguments for the imminence of P.O. is the aging workforce and physical plant. Discussions over capital expenditures and personnel do not ignite the imagination. Collapsing ice sheets on the other hand makes for good Hollywood. Can you imagine a major theatrical film or TV series built on the premises of too many retirees from an oil company? Now try to imagine a movie based on climate out of control.... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319262/

Try explaining a logistics curve to your checker at the supermarket... I dare you. Then mention to them about how warm (or cold, or rainy....) it has been lately. See how far each conversation gets....

It is not difficult, really, to understand why the media latched onto one of them (AGW) and not the other (PO). When oil is discussed you have probably and even chance of the discussion turning to how evil the big oil companies are.

Nice discussion, but thus far it's missing one obvious point.

For most, climate change has been measured in degrees, peak oil in dollars. Both really hit the airwaves and print in the 70's.

If the summer temps had dropped to even a half of their 70's value only 10 years ago, it would be ignored today. People expect oil prices, their barometer, to fluctuate. But the summer temps, or winter lows, keep rising.

Hi waffe7

re:"my sphere of influence in my social circles,"

If your social circles include frequent discussion of "peak", you are a fortunate soul :).

re: "why global warming is really more "popular" than peak oil"

Many reasons. Some of them we might be able to address. For eg., if there was a public letter, signed by the esteemed geologists, scientists and others (names may be mentioned :)- this might draw attention.

In any case, my experience leads me to the conclusion that the concept of "peak" is emotionally more disturbing (no place to move to, for eg.) and also - is, in some ways, more difficult to grasp. People usually have problems with one aspect or the other - (or, often, both).

Most people, for eg., never think about where ("useable", useful) energy comes from, and have no idea at all about the enormous amount of power to be derived from say, a cup of gasoline. And no idea about how to substitute for it, or that substitutes might fall short. Magic is easy to take for granted when it surrounds you.

The concept "peak" (and energy in general) - has several pieces that must all fit together. Whereas "warming" - well, simple - it's getting too warm. We just need to buy "green", or somehow "they" will solve it, by cutting emissions or what not.

Etc. BTW, I also know personally of several otherwise *highly* educated people (scientists) who understand "peak" very well and simply choose to ignore it. Which is interesting, as well. (Oh yeah - and kind of depressing, I guess.) My take on their reaction is that they feel helpless. Or something.

I believe climate change is more "popular" than peak oil for a couple of important reasons:

- There is now broadbased scientific concensus that climate change is real, and happening now. (Less broadbased concensus for peak oil and plenty of seemingly credible people saying it is not an imminent problem.)

- Although peak oil could result in some pretty dreadful economic challenges for a few decades or so, climate change could eventually render our planet virtually uninhabitable (for humans anyway) for many thousands of years.

At any rate, we absolutely need to get off of fossil fuels as soon as possible. As someone else here already once said, peak oil may require us to do this, but regardless, climate change suggests that we should do it ASAP.


Peak oil means a direct threat and few places/ways to 'hide' without sacrafice.

Global warming - Find high land.

Nuclear Power for Future US Navy Cruisers & Destroyers

The House version of the 2008 Armed Services Appropriation hs a requirement that all new large combatant US Navy ships be nuclear powered. Soon the last FF aircraft carrier (the Kitty Hawk) will be retired and the immediate issue is the next class of cruisers to be built.

www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL34179.pdf small pdf warning

Rep. Bartlett is the ranking minority member of the House Armed Service committee and has strongly pushed this.

The Senate version does not have this provision and a conference committee will decide.

The "breakeven price" for nuclear power (ignoring strategic issues) is between $70 and $225/barrel.


At over $3 billion a copy these proposed new cruisers aren't much of a bargain and carry a distinct wiff of pork.

While nuclear power gives ballistic submarines some clear strategic advantages, the benefits of nuclear power for surface vessels is not nearly as obvious. True, a nuclear-powered vessel doesn't have to worry about its fuel supply while on station, but on the down side of that benefit are issues of increased capital cost and complexity.

When it comes to military hardware, one thing that money can't buy is expendability .... the more something costs, the less expendable it is. Which is why a super carrier dares not go anywhere without a cordon of about a dozen also very expensive escort vessels.

Surely the desire to make these new cruisers nuclear powered can't seriously have anything to do with saving energy. For if we really wanted to
save energy (as well as many billions of dollars in capital that could be invested in better things), we wouldn't be building the damn things in the first place.

But our rulers still have this fantasy that we can park one of our 'Death Stars' off the coast of some uncooperative country (e.g., Iran) and intimidate then into doing our bidding. Once the futility of this notion becomes painfully obvious, ti will be an important moment of clarity for the US.

There are two types of navy vessel - submarines and targets.

As usual, the War Nerd sums it up with penetrating insight and pithy humour...... http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=6779&IBLOCK_ID=35&phr...

Regards Chris

It's a cute sound bite, but carries about the same logic as 'Fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here'

How about changing it to 'Wheelbarrows and Targets' .. since even subs ARE still targets, while being perhaps a bit less vulnerable than surface equipment- but it means that the efforts expended to find and target them would be many-fold higher, by pure necessity, while you won't necessarily be targeting the "Ploughshares".. or at the very least, these domestic tools will be so numerous and dispersed that targeting 'one' does nothing to eliminate that particular class of National Security Hardware.

Bob Fiske

The sad point being made is that the Persian Gulf is of creat strategic importance. However, the Persian Gulf is little more of a shooting-gallery should things get out of hand. Aircraft carriers are indefensible against land-based or sea-based Sunbeam missiles The New Pearl Harbor

It would be better to have masses of small, expendible, ships than these large dinosaurs!

I wonder about putting in one small nuke per cruiser (for normal steaming around, say the undersized 32 MW Seawolf sub nuke) and an oil fired plant when extra speed is needed.

If problems develop with the solo nuke, use oil for a while.

I suspect that a single small nuke could replace 90% of the oil used over a lifetime deployment at much lower cost, etc.

And, in extremis (Persian Gulf cut off, no easy resupply of fleet oil) it could remain on station with a max speed of, SWAG, 15 knots.

Just a thought,


Having a dual nuclear power plant with oil-fired backup would greatly increase the complexity and likelihood of problems, more so than if one had just one or the other. (I think the Russians have some of these, but I'm not sure.)

Very analogous, when steam turbines just started being used and there were doubts as to their reliability, there was a brief period in which some warships were built with both turbines and reciprocating steam engines. It turned out to be much more trouble than it was worth and was not repeated. Hybrid systems often give you the worst, rather than the best, of both worlds.

What is not sufficiently appreciated is the degree to which nuclear power complicates things. Machinery has to be designed and built to extremely rigorous specs, thereby driving up costs outrageously. There are issues of radioactive shielding and safety. While refueling is infrequent, when it is done, it's a big deal. When there is an accident, you have the makings of a very real radioactive contamination problem.

Now, I am all in favor of building more nuclear power plants for civilian use, and I can see where nuclear power gives submarines certain advantages, but I have a hard time seeing how it gives surface vessels enough advantages to outweigh the drawbacks.

Of course, if each vessel costs several hundred millions dollars more due to nuclear power, that is going to make some defense contractor(s) very happy.

Now, I am all in favor of building more nuclear power plants for civilian use, and I can see where nuclear power gives submarines certain advantages, but I have a hard time seeing how it gives surface vessels enough advantages to outweigh the drawbacks.

Fuel cost for military vessels is rather serious given they'll chew through some 10 times as much as a merchent vessel of the same tonnage, to say nothing of the strategic implications of requiring a steady supply chain. It absolutely makes sense for the largest military ships (aircraft carriers)

I'll freely admit that I don't know the raw economic numbers, but I'm wagering you dont either and if it was simply pork, naval commanding officers wouldn't be pushing for it either and would spend resources enhancing military capacity in other endevours.

'Once the futility of this notion becomes painfully obvious, it will be an important moment of clarity for the US.'

Joule, no American Misadministration will be seen as 'weak on defense'...

I suspect that instead of a 'moment of clarity' there will be a very brief pause, perhaps a nanosecond, before the nukes are launched.

We have made this bed and we will die in it.

I know what you are saying, and down deep I probably agree; but if the painfully obvious becomes sufficiently painful and sufficiently obvious, then perhaps there might be a chance that things will change. I'm not terribly optimistic, though. The power of self-denial knows no bounds.

My understanding is that it takes a fair amount of hydrocarbon energy to mine the uranium, make the nuclear machinery, clean up the mess -- if anyone really cares to do that -- etc. Any guess at how much petroleum an all nuclear navy will save?

I've seen the rough number 6% for the carbon intensity wrt coal of nuclear power plants. But stationary sources, and shipboard power are likley a bit different.

The savings could be greater due to indirect savings, not having to have oil-tenders supplying ships at sea etc. The logistics of getting fuel to where the forces are deployed can be pretty expensive.

Lots. Most of the hydrocarbon energy input in the nuclear fuel cycle is diffusion enrichment run by coal power plants. Diffusion enrichment is largely being replaced by centrifuge enrichment and that can be run by nuclear power plants. Nearly no petroleum at all is used in the nuclear fuel cycle.

It makes sense, assuming the DON is also funded for the long term development and maintenance and refueling and decommissioning of the nuclear power plants.

If you delve into US ship building one will find that there has been a rather long running argument in the Navy about this (expanded use of nuclear power.) The carriers went nuke because they do indeed need great amounts of energy and (what many here may not know) the steam generated by the (required) cooling system of the nuclear power plant is of need on a carrier (for launching.)

Additionally, each ship could become a mobile emergency electricity plant.

The US has been a naval power for quite some time, and while ships are expensive, and continue to be more so as each day passes, IMO they are one of the more logical things upon which to spend tax money. Ships are strategic assets with long lives.

Yes, aircraft carrier catapults require a certain amount of steam for their operation. While the operation of such a catapult requies that a great volume of steam needs to be expanded over a very short period of time, this is simply solved by using a reservoir or 'steam chest'. As such, it hardly matter a wit whether said steam is generated by a fossil fuel heat source or a nuclear fission heat source. Steam is steam.

If I understand correctly, there has been some work in trying to use a powerful electromagnetic drive to replace the steam catapult. Either way, a certain amount of power is required to operate a catapult, and the 200,000+ HP or a supercarrier is more than enough to supply such power, albeit if some of the energy must be stored in a steam chest.

Intelligent remark from Mark Perry, Carpe Diem, why 100$/b is not really a problem.

Perry is right, except that the disposable income at the top has grown while trhat at the bottom has shrunk. On average, he's right, but not as many are average now. At three dollars the economic incentive is there to drill a lot more holes. We seem to have a shortage of drillable holes.

The only reason $100 oil hasn't been a problem yet is because the price of gasoline hasn't caught up to where it should be, which is about $3.75 a gallon.

The lack of energy pass-through has provided a very significant buffer to consumers by maintaining or even raising growth of disposable income. At the same time, it has kept a lid on headline inflation and, by extension, inflation expectations, thus allowing the Fed to reflate by 0.75% over the past six weeks.


According to recent research from Morgan Stanley, the consumption effects of a 10% decline in house prices is the same as that from a $0.70 rise in gasoline prices. So to put it another way, another dollar on the price of gas would have the same impact as a house price decline more than three times as severe as the current one.

I believe Robert Rapier is correct--that we will see these higher (normalized) gasoline prices by next summer.

The price of gasoline will surely be held down for Christmas shopping. But there is no conspiracy. Only a general agreement of what is good for us.

But there is no conspiracy. Only a general agreement of what is good for us.

How is an 'agreement' not a conspiracy?

So when is the price of oil a problem?

If 100 US$/barrel corresponds to about 9% and if 15% is a problem, then when oil is 150 US$/barrel we would be in recession.

If you assume a decline of 4% and a price elasticity of 0.5, then the price of oil would rise 8% per year. So it will double within a decade.

That means: We will be in the unrecoverable peak oil recession before my daughter goes to college.

4% is not that aggressive, and an elasticity of 0.5 is actually the long term elasticity. Short term is more like 0.2.

You do the math.

I did the math. The price of oil has exceeded 30% increases, on average, for the last nine years. And the rate of increase is increasing as time goes by. What makes anyone think that the future holds only single digit increases.

After $100 is broken...$150 won't even be a resistance point in 2008.

Das right boss, and some economist interviewed in the WSJ says the recession starts with oil at $125 to $150. That will be soon in 2008, and that starts the spiral downward. This is it, that's all she wrote folks. We goin down.

After $100 is firmly broken, I agree that we're likely to see a spike up. (I think the exit of speculative longs is currently holding down the price.) Not sure about $150 in 2008, though. It really depends on that decline rate and how much damage the U.S. economic problems do to places like China.

Richard, price relates to supply/demand imbalances differently than you assume. For every 1% deficiency of supply in terms of demand worldwide, we see roughly a 10% increase in price.

So, if we in fact have a decline rate of 4%, without any increase in demand whatsoever from China or from oil-producing nations (and don't forget that extra energy is required for today's increasingly inefficient energy production), we'll see a price increase of roughly 40%. That's what it will take to knock off enough demand to equal the supply that's available.

I can dig up links to studies that show this if you really want me to, but it's Saturday, R!

The key to avoiding economic problems due to declining oil supply is energy efficiency. If we can increase efficiency faster than the decline rate, we can even see continued economic growth.

I'm not saying whether we're likely or unlikely to see sufficient increases in efficiency, just that the likelihood of a sufficient increase in efficiency is key to evaluating what is likely to happen.

What makes you quote a linear relationship between supply shortfall and price? Not that I don't agree, but my memory of supply gluts/shortages would hint at an exponential function.

As soon as the demand destruction gets one sided it's time to either call oil no longer a utility or go to a rationing scheme. Looking up and down my street it still looks like a series of twenty or thirty thousand dollar bets on it being a utility!

Petrosaurus, I've just provided a link below to a significant 2005 study by the Department of Energy. I have other data too, but it would take me some time to put it together in a presentable way. A lot depends on how fast the price rises, how long it stays high, and so on. I agree that a supply shortfall can cause an exponential increase in price (a price spike) over the short term. I was speaking more of an overall price trend.


Actually, the elasticity is an exponential relation. Let me do it here in ascii:

For every x% change in price, you get kx% change in demand, with k the elasticity. I claim the long term elasticity is about 0.5, but the short term elsticity is about .2. So actually k = k(t), but it doesn't really impact the calculations if you concentrate on long term, say 10 years plus.

So dD/D = -k dP/P

That means:

D/D0 = (P/P0)^-k

Now D0 can easily be estimated: it is the demand when the price is P0. Assuming no inflation, that would be an increase of about 2% per year

D0 = D0(t) = D0(0) (1.02)^t

Since Demand and Supply must always meet and Supply will decrease with 4% per year, we can also esimate D:

D = D(t) = S(t) = D0(0) 0.96^t

That should do the trick.

Richard, I feel guilty not giving you a link, so here is a link to a 2005 study by the Department of Energy on the elasticity of U.S. GDP with respect to the price of oil:


As you'll see in the study, a 50% increase in price will be very harmful to the economy if it happens very quickly (as a price "shock") even though it may be less harmful than the same level of price increase in the 70s (they're not sure about that). They estimate between roughly a 1.5% to 2.5% decline in GDP from an oil price that goes up quickly by 50%.

The article also provides information on a lot of studies on demand elasticity, some of which even compare demand elasticity in OECD vs. non-OECD countries. They make the important point that elasticity is not constant--demand will be relatively inelastic over the short-term, but more elastic if high prices continue over a long time.

They show less demand elasticity than my own more recent data shows. But you'll be pretty safe assuming that demand will drop 1% worldwide for every 10-15% price increase, at least over the short term (two years). Demand will continue to come down after that if the high prices remain that high.

How does the government gets it's stuff peer reviewed? I know, your government wouldn't lie, I mean obfuscate, to you, would it? I've had long talks with what I shall call upper tier economists who didn't have a clue about what we're facing here. They mean well, but how do you put a number on panic?

It isn't that every barrel is suddenly going for $98 as of this week. What is Exxon paying itself for the oil it drilled back in '85? Replacement cost? While the current spot price is indicative of the margin, that takes a while to work its way into longer term supply contracts. IF the spot sustains at a hundred it will become a negotiating benchmark and universal measure. I'd submit that at a hundred dollars a barrel you won't see $3 gas for long. A decade ago we had ten dollar a barrel holes still being drilled and a fourteen dollar market. Quite a spread to today.

Sixteen cents a gallon in Caracas isn't reflecting $98 any more than forty cents in Riyadh but the disparity between exporters with NOCs and importers is massive and that is where the demand destruction is going on.

Subtract oil and stir. It WILL be exponential at some point.

I don't disagree about not trusting the gov't. But the DOE study looks at a lot of other studies done by academic types, many of them peer-reviewed, and if you take the time to track them all down you'll find they're overall in close enough agreement for the work as a whole to have predictive value.

I also agree you can't put a number on panic. All of your points are well taken.

I tend to use the studies as a starting point, track how well they match my own data, and try to keep in mind that the price may vary wildly along the trend line. The study is also useful for giving a handle on what prices and shortages will do to our economy. For example, I believe the economic problems we're facing are caused by energy prices much more than sub-prime or the housing bubble, and so are likely to be more severe and longlasting than many economists have predicted. You probably share that view.

Sorry if I get a little abrasive at times, but I take a physicist's approach to money and markets that is a bit more Newtonian. Economics has unavoidable components of physics and psychology - even theology! - that make it both fascinating and frustrating. It will never be a narrow field.

I consider that the economic problems we're facing probably have more to do with time limits on our attempts to avoid reality than current oil prices. Krugman's column in the NYT today pretty much sums it up. Even when I don't agree with him, which is rare, I like his approach to economics. Most of our problems are quite simple; it's our attempts to outrun them that are complex.

Sadly, after a good recession has lowered oil prices somewhat, we will have used up another thirty billion barrels a year thus forcing an 'oilless recovery' - if such a thing is possible. Rather than focus on whether there will be a technical recession, we should be looking at how to engineer a 'smoke free' recovery. That's the big topic. Along with how to keep the coal in the ground.


thanks, I'll read it tomorrow.

As regards oil supplies as anybody heard anything recently about Thai, the new method of EOR which was going to revolutionise extraction of heavy oil. Can't seem to find anything in google under 2 years old.

Here's the most recent article I have seen:


And his company, like many others, is looking for the most cost-efficient ways to operate oilsands projects with a keen interest in new extraction methods such as Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd.'s (TSX:PBG) so-called THAI technology.

There's a good one that use to be free in the globe and mail earlier in the month, but you have pay for it now. But I search for these artcle farily often, and theres usually one or two a month.

This is a link Don sent me earlier this month.

Duvernay sees Petrobank tech juicing output

CALGARY -- Duvernay Oil Corp. has signed up to use pioneering crude oil recovery methods used by Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. in hopes that the technology will fuel a substantial production increase from its heavy oil reservoir in northwest Alberta's Peace River region.

To get more, you have to pay $4.95.

Australia to sign Kyoto & leave Iraq ASAP

New government elected.


Best Hopes for Oz,


Congrats are due to our Aussie friends. A welcome and long overdue change of government. I'm hoping we will soon do the same thing to my own government (US).

Congrats are due to our Aussie friends. A welcome and long overdue change of government. I'm hoping we will soon do the same thing to my own government (US).

Oh, is Labour running a ticket here next year? You didn't think that you'd get a change from the status quo by the two official status quo parties, did you?

This was intriguing:

The Greens were pivotal in the Labor win, recording primary votes of up to 20 per cent in many electorates, which went to Labor candidates.

Greens leader Bob Brown said Greens voters had played an "enormous part" in the Labor win, and predicted the Greens would hold the balance of power in the senate.

The Green climate policy includes a no-new-coal pledge and says, "Australia to be prepared for peak oil without resorting to the heavily greenhouse polluting options of shale oil or coal-to-oil."

The Green transport policy includes these planks:

  • The Commonwealth Government must shift the funding and prioritisation away from roads, towards upgrading and extending the main rail lines and towards assisting state and local governments by funding significant fast mass transit projects, including light and heavy rail, dedicated busways or cycleways.
  • Ensure that AusLink’s Corridor Strategies, which are intended to guide the development of future transport projects, address the issues of oil vulnerability (as recommended by the Senate Inquiry into Australia Future Oil Supplies) and greenhouse gas emission mitigation.
  • Mandatory fuel efficiency standards for the Australian fleet.
  • By 2050, replace 90% of Australia's demand for petrol with renewable energy powered electric vehicles and second generation biofuels.

Hi Laurence,

While the fact that the Green party has increased its vote in an election which demonstrated a major swing to the centre left party is impressive, the Green policy outlook is likely to have only a marginal direct effect on government this term.

The Greens still have no Lower House seats, and have never held any lower house seats, IIRC.

The Greens look to have secured 3 new senate seats this term, to hold a total of 5. The Greens best senate results in the past have been to secure 2 senate seats, which they did in 2001 and 2004. Thus, this years result represents a new peak in Green influence on Australian politics.

While 5 senate positions do not afford a genuine outright balance of power, they will be enough to veto any proposition not supported by the opposition. 32 senate seats appear to be in the hands of the centre-left party that won the election, with 37 senate seats being retained by the outgoing governing party (senate terms are also 2 terms in Aust, with only half the senators turning over each election. This explains the large overhang retained by the outgoing government).

The 5 Green senate votes are relatively well alligned with the 32 centre-left votes, yielding a 37-37 voting split.

The remaining two senators appear to be a better part of the balance of power, and these senators comprise of a left-leaning independent, and a right-leaning minor party senator (called Family First).

So, although the centre-left party has achieved a remarkable swing to form government, and holds a large majority (22 seats; turn-around from a 14 seat deficit) in the lower house, in order to get any proposition through the senate, then:

if they have the support of opposition, it passes...


if they dont have support of opposition, then, in order to pass any piece of legistlation, they must get the support of all Green senators, AND the independent, AND the centre-right alligned minor party senator.

As you can see, it will be a very tricky period for the newly elected government. As far as the Greens are concerned, you can see that any successful legislation needs the support of (at least) the centre-right minor party or one government senator. Thus, any legislation which is characterised as particularly left-leaning is almost certain to be blocked.

It is really very unusual for votes not to break along party lines in Australia, although it does happen occasionally. We are in a situation this term where a single defecting senator from either party may be able to create or derail legislation depending upon the split in the minor senators. It must be an interesting 3 years.

If the Greens are able to increase their primary vote to above 30% in some seats, they may be looking at the possibility of displacing Labor in some lower house seats. However, in order to achieve this, I beleive they'll need to broaden their policy agenda. It will be interesting to see if they can achieve this over the next few years, and become a bona fide third leg of Australian politics.

The example of the rise and fall of the Australian Democrats party (whose last senator exited unreplaced this election) and this rise of the Greens are both examples of the benefits of preference system voting.

Thanks for that summary Dot...
(I have been frustrated trying to get a sensible analysis of the Senate result from the media. The Aus media don't bother explaining the background because everybody knows, and the world media don't bother explaining the background because it's too complicated.)

There has always been a third party in Aus politics : Democratic Labor, then AD, now the Greens. As you note, it's quite a feat to increase support on a swing to the left, and they can only consolidate their position at the next election, picking up labor voters who will necessarily be frustrated on progress...

I disagree somewhat about the benefits of preferential voting. It's true that in a strictly proportional-representation election, the Greens get only one senator this time (Tasmania), but I think that there's a perverse effect : lots of people who put Labor first and Greens second, might think again and vote Green in a strictly proportional poll. And especially, I dislike that Senate system because it's non-transparent : you don't know who's won on election night.

Fat chance. Top of the world per capita CO2 emissions comprises a narrow group.

First, a cloud of ‘arabian’ countries - Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and as runners up or hangers on, marginally less ‘polluting’, the US, Canada, Luxemburg, and Australia.

The differences in magnitude with other countries bear contemplating, they are stupendous; rank order doesn’t tell the story.

From Nation Master. Some of the stats are quite old. It is only indicative.

nation master

on edit, a small correction

"northerners eye new riches" and just yesterday i read on here that during the cretaceous warming cycle, tropical plants extended to the poles. i wonder if the dynosaurs were "eyeing new riches".

Spotted on the "crawl" on CNN this morning:

US Oil Production Peaked in 1970

Pretty astonishing. Unfortunately, I think it was related to the Glenn Beck interview they were plugging. He's already blaming the liberals.

For peaking in '70? Nice. But don't worry, there a bajillion barrels in [insert your protected region here], we just need to drill it.

Vote: who's more annoying, O'Reilly or Beck?

Exactly. If it weren't for those tree-huggers, we'd have drilled ANWR years ago, and the tanks of our SUVs would be full of cheap gas. ;-)

Small op-ed in regional newspaper about peak oil:
Counter argument from the Petroleum Council fellow: oil prices would come down if 85% of the US were not off-limits to exploration.

See, in true 'Yes Men' fashion we should get a TOD member to pose as a 'liberal'(Macrame' vest and all..) and issue a public apology for this on behalf of all liberalism everywhere, and use it to get on the air and make sure the country knows that we wouldn't have peaked until 1972 or 1973.. by adding ANWR, etc to our National God-given Bounty .. before beginning our precipitous decline into Import Dependency..


Vivoleum Forever! Send the damn libs back to Canada and make em' eat Tarsands!


Great film.

Vote: who's more annoying, O'Reilly or Beck?


As in 'Hilton'.

Not the Eiffeltower one.

Beck has about as much substance as Paris Hilton.

Which means that they should finally getting around to reporting global peak oil around 2042. . . If there are still any broadcasters still on the air, or televisions up and running to watch them.

Hello TODers,

From the well-traveled eyes of the UN's topdog, who can summon the best climate research on the planet:

The Verge of Catastrophe

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
November 24, 2007 11:00pm

WE ALL agree. Climate change is real, and we humans are its chief cause. Yet even now, few people fully understand the gravity of the threat or its immediacy.

...At the Chilean research base on King George Island, scientists told me that the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet is at risk. Like Larsen, it is a continuous sheath of floating ice, comprising nearly one-fifth of the continent.

If it broke up, sea levels could rise by 6m. Think of the effect on the coastlines and cities: New York, Mumbai and Shanghai, not to mention small island nations. It may not happen for 100 years – or it could happen in 10. We simply do not know. But when it happens, it could occur quickly, almost overnight.

It sounds like the script of a disaster movie. But this is science, not science-fiction.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

...worries particularly about the Antarctic Peninsula – a finger of land on the northern coast that he designates as one of three global "hot spots", along with Central Asia and Greenland.

Temperatures there are rising 10 times faster than the global average, he has found. Glaciers are visibly retreating. Grasses are taking root in Antarctica's barren soil, including one used on American golf courses. In the summer, it rains rather than snows increasingly often. A decade ago, Dr Casassa was a sceptic on climate change. Today, he fears a calamity.

I am not scaremongering. But I believe we are nearing a tipping point. These are signs. I saw them everywhere I visited

I think we have already reached a tipping point. Something changed in April, things have moved up another gear, and as a consequence we're much closer to abrupt change. I continue to read about inundation, erosion and freak waves (increasing numbers of people are being swept away by the sea). The following is an interesting story:

Adventurer abandons Pacific crossing

Despite the risk of cyclones, the Dutchman believed the currents and winds in the Pacific would steer him towards Australia's east coast.

However, over the last fortnight the winds and currents have forced Tuijn south and even back towards South America, losing an average daily distance of 15km despite hours of rowing.

Michel Schuurman, a member of Tuijn's support crew in The Netherlands, said the weather had been driving the adventurer mad.

"This weather condition is against all models and forecasts that exist of this region," Mr Schuurman said.

Dutch forecasters believe the unusual conditions are a result of the La Nina phenomenon - cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures

Many attempts at records and even races have floundered due to unusual weather recently. To a point, Climate Change will work through existing weather systems, then it will create new ones.

Hello Burgundy,

Thxs for responding. Yep, I like that little article mention of American golf course grass taking hold in Antarctica--I betcha the PGA and real estate developers are going crazy in anticipation of building the first luxury resort and championship golf course in Antarctica.

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

I use the analogy that it isn't like adding wood to the fire but like insulating the house; the biggest difference is out at the walls. Same fire, different thermal slope. Antarctica is out at the walls.

One of the effects of less slope is to reduce mixing and potentially reduce the amount of ocean moisture penetration of the continents. What is happening in the American West is what was predicted thirty years ago and similar to what happened in the last warm period of the 30's. The question isn't whether it's happening but whether it's more or less permanent. The Southeast drought looks to be anomalous and transitory but the West could be in trouble. The 30's went away.

Good 'mixing' conditions imply a fast and reliable jetstream that maintains a fairly straight path; oddball non sinewave type inflections and static standingwave anomalies are typical of poor circulation. Recent jetstream patterns are, well, troubling. Poor circulation and mixing lead to more extreme and anomalous weather.

I tire of hearing pros and cons and nays and yeas from those who lack a basic understanding of climatology. Rather than pronounce upon it, study it. It isn't that complicated and quite fascinating. I'm not sure if we are having much of an effect or if we are just finishing off our emergence from the Little Ice Age of 1700 but it is beginning to look like serious business. While you're getting yourself to the non discretionary side of the economy I'd also recommend sufficient freeboard.

Hi Bob - thanks for picking up on this and posting it. I'm gonna look into what evidence or report he is working with to state:

"If it broke up, sea levels could rise by 6m. ...It may not happen for 100 years – or it could happen in 10. We simply do not know. But when it happens, it could occur quickly, almost overnight."

If anyone knows please drop a link here.

As often the case, Wikipedia seems to be a good place to start.

References to point to the actual detail etc, the key one seems to be: Otto-Bliesner, Bette L.; Marshall, Shawn J. & Overpeck, Jonathan T. et al. (24 March 2006), "Simulating Arctic climate warmth and icefield retreat in the last interglaciation", Science 311 (5768): 1751–1753

[edit: for clarity, below is from Wikipedia, not the research referenced above]

In January 2006, in a UK government-commissioned report, the head of the British Antarctic Survey, Chris Rapley, warned that this huge west Antarctic ice sheet may be starting to disintegrate, an event that could raise sea levels by at least 5 metres (16 ft).

"Parts of the Antarctic ice sheet that rest on bedrock below sea level have begun to discharge ice fast enough to make a significant contribution to sea level rise. ...

Jim Hansen, a senior NASA scientist who is a leading climate adviser to the US government, said the results were deeply worrying. "Once a sheet starts to disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid" he said


However, historical data shows that the last time that Greenland became this warm, the sea level rise generated by meltwater destabilised the Antarctic ice. That means that the models of sea-level rise used to predict an increase of up to 1 m (3 ft) by 2100 may have significantly underestimated its ultimate extent, which could be as great as 6 m (20 ft).


Head for the hills - literally - no valleys okay...

Thanks, Jay. The Science article is about Arctic and Greenland melt (and what your last blockquoted paragraph refers to). This is not the key source, as it seems Ki-moon has the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in mind.

The Hansen quote is also about arctic (Greenland) ice melt. Ignore the Wiki citation for this; here's the source of the quote and more from Hansen's original op-ed (interview?) from 2006 in The Independent. Hansen never defines 'explosively rapid', although uses it twice. He does give one time-scale from 14,000 years ago, 20m sea rise over 400 years.

I'll look at the Chris Rapley presentation at the 2006 AAAS meeting.

*edit* not online. Will email Prof Rapley.

Umm, you need to read my last paragraph again:

However, historical data shows that the last time that Greenland became this warm, the sea level rise generated by meltwater destabilised the Antarctic ice.

This is very much about the southern hemisphere - it is saying that warming in the north will cause sea levels to rise with Greenland melt. That rise will then destabilize the Antarctican sheet, with subsequent considerable consequent rise of several meters.

This is from the times link from Wikipedia

Her colleague, Jonathan Overpeck, of the University of Arizona, said: “This is a real eye-opener set of results. The last time the Arctic was significantly warmer than the present day, the Greenland ice sheet melted back the equivalent of two to three metres (6ft-10ft) of sea level. Contrary to what was previously believed, the research suggests the Antarctic ice sheet also melted substantially, contributing another 6ft to 10ft of sea level rise.”

I haven't managed to find the full text of the research in my brief searches.

NB: It kinda makes sense if you think about it: If the bedrock the West Antarctic ice is sitting on is below sea level, then a rise in sea level would significantly increase the pressure of the seawater trying to squeeze into any fissure between ice and rock, or perhaps raise the height of the ocean above any natural walls holding it back from the below-sea-level bedrock.

Once the seawater encroaches below the ice due to northern warming created sea-level rise, the southern ice sheet rapidly breaks apart.

Without seeing the paper, I'm guessing, but it makes a lot of sense in my head.

Other bits I found (my bolding):

at http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/research/past/interglaciation.html

[they] blended computer modeling with paleoclimate records to understand this past interglacial (a warm period between colder glacial periods) and to project what future Arctic warmth will mean for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and sea level.

at http://uanews.org/node/12116

Antarctic melting must have produced the additional sea-level rise, Overpeck concludes. He said the rise in sea level from melting in the Arctic could have destabilized parts of the Antarctic ice sheet.

In the last few years sea level has begun rising more rapidly, Overpeck said. He's concerned, because unlike the Greenland Ice Sheet, the base of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is below sea level. If it starts to melt, it could go fast, he said. Moreover, during the Last Interglaciation, most of the warming was in the Arctic and only in summer. Now the Earth is warming at both poles year round.

"To get rid of Greenland's ice, you have to melt it. In the Antarctic, all you have to do is break up the ice sheet and float it away and that would raise sea level," he said. "It's just like throwing a bunch of ice cubes into a full glass of water and watching the water spill over the top."

I seems to me that if Ban Ki-moon was talking to these folks, nothing he said is really outside what they've been saying, with the exceptions that (1) he obviously got it wrong when he said it WAS floating, rather than WOULD BE floating; and (2) 'almost overnight' is clearly hyperbole.

(1) could as easily be a slip of the tongue which the press were too stupid to pick up on so reported unqueried, and (2) could just as easily be the scientists' hyperbole replayed as his own.

Thanks, Jay, for your links and comments. I'll work my way through these. I had skimmed the Science article, and not found any discussion regarding the Antarctic ice sheet. But it does seem sea rise due to ice sheet at one pole would effect sheet ice stability at the other.

Your final comments are the key ones for me:

Was Ki-moon, his sources, or the media hyping sea rise concerns by saying (a) 'it' could happen in 100 yrs or 10 yrs, and (b) 'it' could happen very fast.

For those aware of PO over the last few years, this may sound very fimiliar. Or are these comments hyperbole?

BTW, the Nov '07 IPCC Summary statement for policymakers is here. You can search the document for antarctic, you'll get 5 occurences. Perhaps the position of the IPCC is best stated on pg 8:

Because understanding of some important effects driving sea level rise is too limited, this report does not assess the likelihood, nor provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise.

Hi totoneila and john macklin...

Now let's see-
... if ONLY that ice sheet broke away and drifted into warmer waters and melted (almost) nothing would happen to the sea level. Why?

• Ice has a density of 0.9167 g/cm³ at 0 °C , USE 0.9
• whereas water has a density of 0.9998 g/cm³ , USE 1.0
• and as we know 1/9 part of a floating ice berg/sheet is above sea level …

From this derives that the ice sheet “just goes flat” and morphs into the sea, after melted.(sea level will actually shrink a little)
The trouble concerning melting ice is the kind making up glaciers on land, eg. Greenland and Antarctica (land portion)

You can test this postulate in taking some ice from your refrigerator and a glass of water, and remember to put a marker on the container just after you add some ice cubes … wait and see ;-)

Hmmm, thanks, Paal. I think we were discussing land ice, or ice sitting on submerged land (the kind with a fast exit into the ocean when released).

Quoted from the article in the above post

"At the Chilean research base on King George Island, scientists told me that the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet is at risk. Like Larsen, it is a continuous sheath of floating ice, comprising nearly one-fifth of the continent"

John Macklin: "Hmmm, thanks, Paal. I think we were discussing land ice, or ice sitting on submerged land (the kind with a fast exit into the ocean when released)."

Its floating ice.

No it's not. Look at jaymax's comments from wiki article:

"Parts of the Antarctic ice sheet that rest on bedrock below sea level have begun to discharge ice fast enough to make a significant contribution to sea level rise. ...

resting on bedrock is not floating in the ocean. Larsen was an ice shelf, not a sheet. Ki-moon misspoke.

OTOH, he may have had in mind the Ross Ice Shelf:

"More importantly, the warmest part of the giant Ross Ice Shelf is in fact only a few degrees too cool in summer presently to undergo the same kind of retreat process [as Larsen]. The Ross Ice Shelf is the main outlet for several major glaciers draining the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains the equivalent of 5 m of sea level rise in its above-sea-level ice.
source: http://nsidc.org/iceshelves/larsenb2002/

Hello TODers,

You are not thinking this thru to the logical conclusion: the breakup of the WAIS allows the rapid flow of land based ice into the water--which can really raise sea-levels. Also the WAIS is much taller than the mere sea water that it displaces--this is what contributes to the 6 meter oceanic rise if it busts up and melts.



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

Also the WAIS is much taller than the mere sea water that it displaces-

You are over reaching, that is physically impossible.

Ice can only contribute to sea level rise if it is resting on bedrock.

I think you're both right.

YES it's resting on bedrock, BUT that bedrock is below sea-level, and so it IS displacing some sea water already, but not nearly as much as it would if it wasn't resting on bedrock, because it IS much taller than the water it's currently displacing.

To raise sea levels, it needs to break into chunks which are light enough to float off the bedrock and into the ocean. The risk is that'll happen quickly if sea-water forces it's way between the bedrock and the ice.

Yes, you are right, an ice sheet that is resting on bedrock that would be otherwise sea bed is called marine ice sheet, and has already contributed to a partial sea level rise.

But when you start talking about the dynamics of break up it is a whole lot more complicated than simple statements of fact can justify. An ice sheet on land flows into a marine ice sheet and then becomes an ice shelf, which can break up and float away. Ice flows depend on various factors including the topography and what is happening below the ice.

For the details of this process and the timescale of breakup I rely on the scientists, I would not attempt amateur theorising. You really have to measure what is going on.

Edit: here is a balanced and well sourced summary Ice Sheets and Rising Seas.

The article mentions glacier lakes. The very rapid sea level rises (mega-floods) that have occurred since the last ice ages are most probably due to huge glacier lakes breaching an ice or land bridge and draining into the ocean. Obviously, water can flow much more rapidly than ice. Conservative scientists tend not to like "catastrophic" events, but evidence for these mega-floods has been found. These sort of floods could easily generate 5m (or more) sea level rises in a decade.

It is fascinating to note that one such flood has been dated to the time that Atlantis was set. I strongly suspect that while Atlantis was fictional, the event that inspired the story was not. There are also plenty of other evidence that early post-ice age civilisations were inundated by mega-floods.

While the WAIS is a definite threat, it is very unlikely to create the rapid sea level like those caused by glacial lakes breaching. Even so, a 1m rise by 2100 would have a significant impact, reason enough to take action.

Thanks for the excellent link.

Mildly informed amateur theorising is good for the brain, and the debate takes one to all sorts of bits of pertinent information, such as the link you provided here, and others further up.

[I wrote a bunch more then deleted it - the essence was waiting for the published science is one thing, but listening for an emerging consensus amongst what the researchers are saying is of value also - potentially MORE value when events and discovery are running ahead of the ability to research those events and discoveries]

Obviously Bob had the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in mind – and a humble guess from my side tell me that 95pluss% of that sheet is the floating kind , rendering no sea rise at all.
For the last 5 % sea/land rim, it may add some …. But 5-6-7 meters NO (!) not possible. Now if this event should result in a scenario so that the inland arctic ice-cap starts to flow to the sea and add more - … is beyond what I discuss here.

The latter would be Global Warming in progressive progress … head for the hills…

John, you are right to question Ban Ki Moons garbled version of reality.

As noted, the increase in sea level will come from ice sheets anchored on rock, not from floating ice shelves. However, it is believed that the ice shelves tend to hold back the flow of non-floating ice, so if they broke the flow might increase.

The quote of "in 10 years" is also nonsense. There is great uncertainty, but the range of 100-1000 years is possible. The IPCC have removed their upper limit on sea level rise, their way of saying "we don't know".

But I think there is a great danger of exaggerating the science with wild statements like these. If officials predict 5m sea-level rise in 10 years, and it doesn't happen, it will give a ready argument for the skeptics and deniers. They will have a field day with that one, and it makes it much more harder to get action for a problem that will have effects over 100s of years.

Alarmist messages about global warming are counter-productive, the head of a leading climate research centre says.

Professor Mike Hulme, of the UK's Tyndall Centre, has been conducting research on people's attitudes to media portrayals of a catastrophic future.

He says strong messages designed to prompt people to change behaviour only seem to generate apathy.

Climate messages are 'off target'

So what do you do or say if you're a leading researcher into global ice-sheet melt, and you think it might be possible to get 5m rise in 10 years.

Do you keep quiet, do you publish and face ridicule, do you scream it loudly, or do you mention it to the UN Sec Gen when he pops around for tea and clear your conscience that way?

I know if that was me and Ban Ki Moon came to visit, I'd probably sleep better at night afterwards.

I'm not saying that any significant researcher does think this, but the messages starting to slip into the media have me wondering what the closest scientists real personal 'worst-case' is.

Remember these folk are trained skeptics, cautioned always that bold claims need bold proof - and they've got no proof, just a bunch of things that they think, having spent years studying the beast, maybe could happen.


The fact that the IPCC will not take a position on this is in itself pretty concerning. I agree if some experts in the field have data or conclusions on sea rise that is contrary to the (conservative) IPCC, these should be vetted and published for broader discussion.

Putting a probability on catastropic sea rise (meters) in the next decade, two decade, three decades, etc would not pin anyone to the actual event. If the probability is low, I'd just like to know if that is < 10^-6 or less than a few percent.

And I think you'll get that in a few years time, once more research is completed - but no scientist is going to publish a figure, even a probability, without some science to back it up.

As evidenced, discovery is moving so fast right now that previously available predictions are being REMOVED rather than enhanced.

They need to somehow get ahead of their discoveries sufficiently to do the meaningful work that'll provide those probabilities as something other than individual, personal educated guesses.

For myself, I would really like each one of those authors to provide their individual, personal educated guesses on those probabilities right now - I'll happily take an average of those experts guesstimates in lieu of trying to interpret the demonstrably not-quite-right second-hand unsourced pronouncements of the UN Sec Gen.

But it's too soon for anything that could be called science - lets just hope that by the time it's not too soon, its not too late.

Agreed. This story will continue. Let's also agree more resources should be put on observations and modeling of the ice shelves snd sheets.

Perhaps those in and around London on Nov 27 at 19:30 can stop at the Natural History Museum for a talk by IPCC lead author/coordinator and BAS team member David Vaughan:

Flood Warning? The Global Impact of the Melting Ice Sheets

"As global temperatures rise, the world's ice sheets and glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate, far exceeding current scientific predictions. What are the implications for us? Are the effects already being felt?"

So what do you do or say if you're a leading researcher into global ice-sheet melt, and you think it might be possible to get 5m rise in 10 years.

To get to be a leading researcher, you must at least publish in peer-reviewed journals, so that's a no-brainer. Science never rests on the word of one scientist, which is just as well, considering some are quite willing to shoot their mouth off, a recent example being James Watson.

If you want to be Michael Crichton or Bob Geldof, take the alternative routes. But you won't be regarded as a leading researcher.

Science is only effective and credible because it has a very careful method, if you try to short circuit the method you get bad science, which is neither effective nor credible.

Bank of America, Capital One, Chase and Discover Caught Actively Working to Undermine Bankruptcy Laws.

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll receive a nasty mark on your credit report for the next decade, but the plus side is that you get to get rid of all of your unsecured debts. [...]

Business Week recently ran a story entitled “Prisoners of Debt” in which they reported that a group of banks, collection agencies and even credit bureaus were working together to undermine bankruptcy law. They found that Capital One, Bank of America, Chase, and Discover were all ignoring existing bankruptcy laws, whether by accident or on purpose, and selling debts illegally to collection agencies so that the collection agencies could go after you and try to collect the bankrupted debt.

I agree with Jeffrey Brown's advice that we should economize in preparation for peak/plateau oil, but not with his oft-repeated instruction:

"Get thee to the non-discretionary part of the economy"

These types of moves are fraught with risk. What is more non-discretionary than heating oil??

But from today's Drumbeat:
A big toll on small oil businesses

Similarly yesterday in Drumbeat comments, others and myself pointed out that in the US and especially in Canada, the Great Depression led to mass-scale bankruptcies and severe rural poverty as farm commodity prices crashed in many areas (but not all).

The question of what to personally do career-wise in response to peak oil is seemingly quite complicated. Maybe if one had to have a rule of thumb, it would be: Save up, Sit tight, Investigate and dabble in emerging opportunities as the economy transitions.

Most of us know a lot about only one particular field: if we jump into a new field that shrinks despite our projections, we risk hardship as newcomers often get cut first. In a recession or depression there is a good chance our old fields would shrink also, and even if reentry is possible, it would result in a poorer job.

SSI vs ELP ? :-)

EDIT: Truth be told, I think the best preparation for the future is likely to learn to be much less materialistic. Tall order.

The problem with planning on staying on the discretionary side of the economy is that you run a very high chance of being roadkill, hit by the deflationary auto/housing/finance 18 wheeler and/or the inflationary food/energy 18 wheeler.

I define the "P" part of ELP as becoming, working for, and/or investing in a provider of essential goods and/or services. If nothing else, you could convert an urban lot to a permaculture garden.

You could also continue in your present job, while training to do something different.

I define the "P" part of ELP as becoming, working for, and/or investing in a provider of essential goods and/or services.

The trouble is that in depressions the market for "essential services" crashes too.

Lots of things that seem essential aren't. Usage of them can be substantially reduced.

I think we're all going to have to be very nimble and open to change.

I like to pull this quote out from Darwin every once in awhile because it applies to so much in this day and age, not only for biological evolution, but economic and political as well.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

Thanks for the great quote. I never heard that one.

Unfortunately someone else coined the phrase "survival of the fittest", which really annoyed Darwin because that was not the core of his theory. His theory was all about adaptation, and his book documented this in great detail. This one saying has caused misunderstanding ever since.

Darwinism in a nutshell might be "survival of the most adaptable", which gives quite a different take.

I agree. Even for something as simple as where to live...I haven't seen anything that convinces me that any one option will be better than another. It seems farmers who owned their property outright did all right in the Great Depression; they at least had food and fuel, which others often did not. OTOH, Tainter's studies of past collapses found people gravitated toward the cities in the final decades - for safety reasons, and because that's where the government gave out food and other aid. And then there's that report from Argentina, where someone who lived through the economic collapse there said both the city and the country were bad, for different reasons (and some parts of the country were especially bad, where crops had failed). He thought a small town or suburb was the best choice. (I'm assuming a suburb in Argentina isn't the kind of suburb we have in the US.)

Glenn Beck this morning was laughing at the celebrities who are concerned about global warming. He pulled out a map showing that the coasts, where celebrities live, work, and play, will all be underwater if climate change happens as Al Gore predicts. He asked why they would be living there if they really believed in climate change.

The answer, of course, is that they can afford it. They have mansions all over the place. If, say, Derek Jeter's Florida mansion is underwater, he can stay in his Manhattan penthouse instead. Or buy a farm in upstate New York or near his home town in Michigan. The cost would be pocket change to him.

Most of us don't have that luxury. If we sink everything into a farm in the country, we could end up seriously screwed if it doesn't work out for some reason. Which is why my plan for the future involves maintaining the ability to move at short notice, if necessary.

I agree. Remember when everyone was saying a farm in the Southeast would be a great place to ride things out (in terms of climate--leaving aside political/religious issues, like praying for rain instead of thinking ahead)? How promising does Georgia or Tennessee look now?

Do you ever find yourself rereading Dr. Zhivago or The Good Earth, looking for tips?

I think you can't ignore the political/religious issues at all.

To the contrary, they're absolutely critical.

You are likely to endure illogical and destructive eschatological local responses under stress: grown men with lots of guns mewling like children, waiting for the Jesus Fairy (*) to solve their problems without thinking, self-criticism, or effort.

And, of course, blaming godless liberals for all the problems. (such "liberals" which would surely include non-religious out-of-staters who recently moved in).

And it's absolutely miserable in summer without A/C.

All in all, kind of like Iraq, with football.

If you want to be on the farm, I suggest New York State. With climate change the winters are getting less severe, and you can heat with wood. Air conditioners don't run on wood.

Upper New York has fertile soil and lots of high quality water, which is why it was settled quite early on.

Canada will be the wealthiest significant nation in the world post peak oil and climate catastrophe, and there might be some good trade opportunities.

Be in a regulated utility district powered by hydro or nuclear.

As for myself, I'm useless on the farm unless there's some Bayesian modeling or machine learning algorithms to be done. Which there isn't. I have to take my chances in urban civilization.

(*) The Holy Spirit of Lord Supply-Side Jesus, of course.

NY also has high real estate taxes. If you can't pay the tax you loose your land.


Also they have a high population density and a large aging population that will demand to be taken care of.


The only solution to peak oil seems to be: start out incredibly wealthy, then set yourself up as a feudal lord, complete with personal militia.

Moving on short notice is a key. If the Strait of Hormuz is blocked, it won't be long before gasoline shortages and "temporary" flight cancellations end travel. And worse, if (really when) the power grid goes out, transportation stops immediately without notice. Yikes. As for me, I've researched carefully for 2000 cm rainfall annually and global warming changes and have a nice and very pretty place to go, nice climate too. I'm going in January, far away, with a mutual self-defense and local economy association planned. Looking for associates to join after that. Safety in numbers.

800" annual rainfall? Take scuba gear.

Rains an hour or 2 a day, and then the sun comes out again. No drought history. Rich soil. Few bugs. Sunny, green, average annual temperature 19.2 centigrade.

I'd be interested in hearing where that is... feel free to email me offlist by clicking on my user name if you don't want to post it.

Though you really oughta double-check that 2000 cm of rain number, it's incorrect.

One problem with being in essential services, though, is extra risk that government may step in and ruin you with special regulations and price controls. For example, even now, it's not good to drive a taxi or run a bus company in a city where the government controls the fares. They don't let the fares go up enough to keep up with costs, because it would impact the tourist industry, or people who can't drive, or just people who are pets of the city council for whatever reason. I doubt there's any magic solution, though avoiding being at the brink of cash flow problems with debt service might help.

That happened during the twilight of Rome. People left the farms and came to Rome, because it was easier to get food in the city than on the farms that grew it. Rome taxed farmers to the point that they were abandoning their land. So laws were passed forcing the children of farmers to be farmers, too.

We need to decide if making a profit by moving people is the goal,
or if moving people at a loss for the benefit of society is the goal.
Or maybe there is another model?
It would be great if we could move people, benefit society, and make a profit,
but superstition based economic modes currently embraced by delusional humans make this impossible in most instances.

I am glad to see that some people are starting to realize that the true price of gasoline is not just the price you pay at the pump, but rather the price you pay at the pump plus a certain not-insignificant fraction of the US defense budget.

I submit that if we were not so increasingly dependent upon Middle Eastern oil, then the US defense budget would proabably be smaller by at least (as an absolute minimum) $100 billion. As US citizens, we must then ask: what is that $100 billion+ actually buying us? We've been in Iraq for over four years now, and how much more Iraqi oil have we managed to send to the US?

Looking at it from a cold purely investment point of view (forgetting all the dead, the mained, the displaced, and all the suffering), are we getting a good return on our defense dollar? If not, then is anybody doing anything to cut the defense contractor piggies off from the public feeding trough and diverting that money to where it can actually do the US some good?

The answer, of course, is NO ... no one is doing anything to move things in this direction. Rather, the rulers of the US are continuing to pursue the only real energy policy it recognizes: and that is to try to militarily dominate the Middle East, so as to install puppet governments that will ensure access to US-based oil companies under favorable terms.

It is not going to end well.

I submit that if we were not so increasingly dependent upon Middle Eastern oil, then the US defense budget would proabably be smaller

That is just one small reason I'm for Ron Paul. Along with the other portion of the monetary budget.



No, "we" are NOT getting a good return on OUR investment. However, we all know that there is a small subset of highly connected, influential, rich and powerful people that ARE getting a very good return -- on OUR investment. Heaven forbid that they would put their own money on the line.

BTW, your $100B is way too low of an estimate, probably by something close to one order of magnitude at least.

The true price of gasoline implies that the EROEI is not so good. This shoots down the main argument against ethanol which we hear so often. When calculating ethanol's cost every teeny weensy cost is added in. When calculating the cost of gasoline the monster costs of war, interest on the war debt, war casualties and injuries, the oil depletion allowance, royalty payment in kind and other royalty shenanigans, the strategic oil reserve, the declining dollar due to excessive dependence on foreign oil, and the loss of economic independence are all ignored.

Good point, but for ethanol we'd also have to consider disruptions to food supply and that kind of thing. Also, does the cost of oil necessarily involve war, or was war just the preference of the current crowd in power, in which case it should not be included in the price of oil?

Still, you've made a good point.

You are assuming that the reason the US invaded was to liberate more oil. Greg Palast makes some fairly convincing arguments that the exact opposite was the real goal.

As far as I see it, it was never about more oil, it was about bogarting the oil for future western supply. If we just wanted more oil asap we could have simply rehabilitated Saddam (ala Kaddafi) and sent in the oil majors to invest with our blessing.

Bogarting to me makes the most sense. The US has a veto over Iraqi oil sales with 100,000 US troops sitting on top of it. The Chinese can be locked out. Not to mention the Europeans.

Of course it's turned out to be a colossal clusterf**k. The fact that Iraqi oil has ended up locked in is far more luck than judgement. They wanted control. They haven't got it. They wanted to be able to open the spigots whenever they liked to screw OPEC, and to close them off whenever they liked to screw the Chinese. They haven't got control of the spigots. And, barring a miracle, they never will have.


I think the original scenario was this:

Saddam would definitely sell us all the oil he could, but he invited Russian and French oil companies to do the work and make the profits.

The particular interests of the Houston-oriented mid-size oil exploration and services industry---the Bush & Cheney base---were shut out.

Some truly international oil majors would have eventually gotten into Baathist Iraq after sanctions ended.

But not the fully 100% American companies which rule Texas and Wyoming Republicans.

Removing Saddam and inserting the Bush proconsul would let these people make enormous profits, a portion of which would go back to the specific Bush & Cheney powerbases.

Won't ever. lost cause.

It is not about the oil we get from them, it is about the control over the oil we get from them.

The corporate oligarchy can not afford that there are states which could ruin the US economy by simply turning off the tap. Then again with PO approaching the control over oil flows becomes control over the decision whose economy lives and dies. Those that "live" will prosper in the post-oil era and "save" the rest by selling them the oil-replacement technologies. At least this is the plan IMO.

A food for thought - a country like Nepal consumes as much oil as a medium sized US town. Why then Nepal is suffering fuel shortages, while US stays well supplied? And no, it is not only being able to afford the oil...

hey, i couldnt agree with you more, but imo the reason that model is not likely to change is because it most facilitates the looting of the treasury. yes, we are paying a price above to the pump price, but that price is debt, not real hard earned tax dollars.

Hello TODers,

Are You Ready?

Apparently FEMA is NOT READY, nor even up-to-date! No mention of how they would mitigate an extreme drought on their helpful disaster hints website:

Are You Ready?
An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness (IS-22) is FEMA’s most comprehensive source on individual, family, and community preparedness. The guide has been revised, updated, and enhanced in August 2004 to provide the public with the most current and up-to-date disaster preparedness information available.
I am still hoping to find an official FEMA report on their contingency plans when drought-stricken millions are on the migratory move to areas with plentiful water.

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

Re: Saving The Planet

The writer ot this article states "heat rises", therefore the first concern is attic insulation. Actually heat flows in all directions towards colder surfaces, the dynamic at play in buildings is the stack effect. This is the continuous flow of air in a chimney-like fashion in leaky buildings, drawing air in at the lowest point and exiting at the ceiling level. The first order of business in air-sealing an existing building is to seal the high (ceiling) leaks and the low leaks (basement level). The walls are at a neutral pressure level and would be the last area to address from an air sealing standpoint. Air infiltration can account for nearly 50% of a home's heating load, so air-sealing and insulation in combination provide the optimum results. From an insulation standpoint, the location matters not as long as the surface is exposed to ambient air, the wall insualtion performs the same as ceiling insulation at the same R-value.

Are internal/external vapor barriers effective in air-sealing ?


The two terms we should be talking about are air barrier and vapor barrier. An air barrier impedes the flow of air but is not impervious to the flow of water vapor, a vapor barrier (4 mil or greater poly or like product) is impervious to the flow of water vapor/vapor pressure. Caution must be used when placing any air or vapor barrier, this barrier must be on the warm side. In Minnesota this means the inside (room side) of the wall, in an area where AC predominates the air barrier is on the outside of the wall. In a cold/dry climate I use a poly vapor barrier on the warm side continuously sealed, insulation of your choice with a fiberboard sheathing (joints sealed) and tyvek or other housewrap. This wall will dry to the outside (cold side), a wall has to be able to dry to the inside, the outside, or both, according to the building scientists. I have successfully used poly on the inside along with a high-R sheathing such as styrofoam or Thermax which defies the building science law but if the wall section is virtually air and vapor tight on both sides, this works nicely. Pay particular attention to flashing details, the exterior drainage plane and soil grading and building moisture problems can be avoided.

I've been using a new nanocoating nansulate that block conduction,convection and radiation.My old house was built in 1927 no wall insulation and is a story and a half and it has 5 different attic pockets.Three coats are equal to 60 degree temp block I've went 6 coats two bedrooms upstairs and two down.Curing time is 30-60 days to reach full insulating value but can already tell that the coldest bedroom in the house is not anymore after a month.Also for our 20 degree temps the furnace has cycled as much.

Can you share the name of the insulating paint you used? I need to do my attic.


He did - looks interesting - Nansulate

There's a whole thread about this from October 28: