DrumBeat: December 15, 2007

Fuel costs take toll on outer-tier suburbs

It's the price of fuel and commuting, and not just the housing market, that's choking the Twin Cities' outer-tier suburbs, East Bethel finance director Bob Sundberg said recently. Unpredictable gas prices and unforgiving stop-and-go roadways have kept potential commuters from moving farther away from Minneapolis and St. Paul, he said.

CEG deal for power won't aid BGE area

Constellation Energy Group said yesterday that it has contracted to buy all of the power from a new gas-fired generator being built in York County, Pa., to help alleviate a looming energy shortage in the Mid-Atlantic power grid.

The project being built by Conectiv Energy will improve overall reliability of the grid, but energy experts said it would do little to lower prices or solve a projected energy shortfall for Baltimore Gas and Electric customers in Central Maryland. A shortage of high-capacity power lines will prevent the area from tapping into the new power source for years to come.

UAE says Gulf revaluations “still an option”

A decision by Gulf Arab countries to keep dollar pegs is final but revaluations are still an option for central bankers in the oil-exporting region, the UAE central bank governor said in remarks published on Saturday.

Kuwait inflation hits 15-year high: official data

Inflation in oil-rich Kuwait hit 7.3 percent in the first nine months of 2007, the highest figure for 15 years, the state KUNA news agency reported, citing official statistics.

The Philippines: Oil Price Hikes Drain Drivers’ Income

The income of jeepney drivers – the Philippines’ so-called “kings of the road” – has plunged miserably since the advent of the Oil Deregulation Law, and more miserably this year owing to the recent wave of oil price hikes.

The Philippines: Carrying the Burden of Oil Price Hikes

Because of the inaction of the Arroyo government, the burden being caused by the oil price increases is being borne by the driver who has already lost almost half of his/her income, and the consuming public who had to cope with the corresponding increases in the prices of basic commodities, services, and utilities. While on the other hand, giant oil companies and financial speculators gain superprofits from these increases.

Scottish Gas warns of price rises next year

Energy companies yesterday gave the clearest signal yet that bills could rise next year, after warning of a "difficult environment" in 2008.

£1.83 petrol will stop us filling up

PETROL prices must reach £1.83 per litre before motorists hang up their car keys and stop driving, according to the RAC.

Resourcefulness aside, Mainers struggle with rising energy costs as aid is overdue

Dolly Jordan of Milbridge turns her furnace down low at night and pulls on extra blankets to help stay warm. Sometimes she has to get up in the night and turn the furnace up to "toast up" the house, but she always turns it back to low before returning to bed.

"That’s the way I keep going through the winter," Jordan said in a telephone interview this week. "But I just feel sorry for the other people."

Jordan’s story is not so different from those of thousands of other Mainers who struggle to conserve fuel and still heat their homes through the winter. They are resourceful and find a way to get by, and besides, there is always someone worse off.

Gas station owners making 'pennies'

Although gas prices are staying near $3 a gallon these days, service station owners aren't making much on the gas they sell, according to a representative for Arizona's petroleum marketers.

"As gas prices go up, retailers actually make less money," said Andrea Martincic, spokeswoman for the Arizona Petroleum Marketers Association, during a visit Friday to Yuma. "Like the consumer, they are hurting too. It's a very hard business for them to be in."

Mexico to Expand Refinery in 2008

Mexico's state-owned oil company plans to complete an expansion of one of its refineries in the second half of next year, part of a plan to reduce gasoline imports, the Energy Department said in a report.

Eye-Popping Chevron '08 Capex Signals Bullish Outlook

While all the oil majors have been raising their capital budgets in recent years, the most dramatic mover has been Chevron Corp. (CVX), which spent $8.3 billion in 2004.

The California company last week announced it would spend $22.9 billion next year, up 15% from this year's level.

Greetings From David Sandalow: Author of "Freedom From Oil"

Over the next few months we will be exploring our addiction to oil as well as the economic, environmental, and national security issues associated with the current energy crisis - all as oil is flirting with reaching the $100 per barrel mark.

Not to worry, we will also discuss solutions for solving this problem, including my vision for ending our dependence on oil. I will also share with you profiles of extraordinary individuals who are doing important work to help bring serious policy dialogue to life - from a commander of U.S. forces in Iraq to the winner of the Indy 500.

Bill Richardson: A New Realism

A fifth trend transforming our world is the increase in global economic interdependence and financial imbalances without the sufficient growth of institutional capacities to manage these realities. Globalization has made every country's economy more vulnerable to resource constraints and financial shocks that originate beyond its borders. A global energy crisis or a sudden collapse of the U.S. dollar could do great damage to the world economy.

Senate OKs amdt to close Enron loophole

"It's past time to put the cop back on the beat in U.S. energy markets to stop price manipulation and excessive speculation," said Senator Levin. "The provisions we are adding to the farm bill will finally close the Enron loophole and stop speculators from using unregulated energy markets to game the system and distort energy prices in ways that hurt consumers. By strengthening market oversight and transparency, our legislation will help put the lid on excessive speculation and restore energy prices based on supply and demand instead of trading distortions."

Home-grown electricity hoping to gain support

“Small wind is poised for pretty significant growth. Technological advances have been made and engineers are hard at work, but it's really the high upfront costs that are the hurdle. People want them they just can't afford them at the moment.”

Don't put taxpayers on the hook for high-risk nuclear power

While we may not agree on the federal government's role in solving our nation's energy crisis, we both agree that the latest attempt by the nuclear industry to secure expensive subsidies on the backs of the taxpayers is a bridge too far.

Open PC Beta for Frontlines: Fuel of War Now Available

Based upon actual locations in Central Asia, Frontlines: Fuel of War takes players on a campaign featuring seven unique theaters of war. In a world ravaged by a global energy crisis, environmental decay, and a new economic depression, the story follows a division of Western Coalition soldiers (The Stray Dogs) through a dark vision of our future. Players assume the role of an elite soldier in the Stray Dogs on an epic crusade against the Red Star Alliance to control the last of the world's oil reserves.

Matt Simmons: Is Our Energy System “Sustainable?”

Certain Facts Are Hard to Ignore:

■ Our energy system is aging.

■ Reservoirs are finite resources. The more one uses, the sooner it is gone.

■ The long value chain from rigs to well-bore casings to pipelines, etc. are all built of steel.

■ Steel corrodes as it ages.

Kentucky: Lawmakers Look at Future Energy Needs

The U.S. must start making decisions now on how it will weather a decline in its share of the world's oil supply, the head of the state's Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) told state lawmakers yesterday.

"What we need to realize is whether peak oil production is here or is coming ... isn't really the question," CAER's Executive Director Rodney Andrews told the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. "The question is that our share of what's available is going to continue to decrease, because the rest of the world is demanding more and is willing to pay for it--more than we ever have."

Venezuela Would Support Brazil's OPEC Membership

Venezuela plans to support Brazil's possible membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Venezuela's oil minister said Thursday.

"We would support it," Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters after a joint event with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

To EJ Hawkins On My 2020 Vision

It cannot be doubted that it is going to take a whole heck of lot of fossil fuel to get us off of fossil fuels. The oil companies are not the problem. Oil and gas molecules are incredibly wonderful and beautiful gifts from mother nature and extracting them is becoming an increasingly difficult technical challenge. We will need those molecules and our oil and gas companies for a good long time, certainly for the rest of this century, if we are to maintain the level of information sophistication that you and I so very much enjoy that it is one of our principle pleasures.

Big Business interests undermine a lifetime of free energy for consumers

A “Lifetime of Free Energy” is possible for each human being on the planet, yet the very idea is being squashed in the name of Corporate Profit by Political puppets.

Low turnout for British fuel duty protests

British hauliers, farmers and motorists threatened more action next year over record petrol and diesel prices after a planned day of protests on Saturday largely fizzled due to a low turnout.

Britain's ruling Labour Party has faced several protests against high fuel taxes, but none has matched the 2000 blockades that caused widespread fuel shortages, paralysed large swathes of the country and nearly brought the government to its knees.

Louisiana pipeline blast kills one

A motorist was killed and another was injured when the Columbia Gulf natural gas pipeline in northeast Louisiana exploded on Friday afternoon near an interstate highway, said a Louisiana State Police spokeswoman.

All three natural gas lines that make up Columbia Gulf Pipeline, which carries natural gas to the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast United States, were shut at the blast site near Delhi, Louisiana, pipeline operator NiSource Inc said in a posting on its Web site.

Energy companies drill more wells from single locations

Technological advances and Americans' hearty appetite for natural gas have given Anadarko Petroleum Corp. the opportunity to break new ground — literally and figuratively — in this remote, rugged region of the Rocky Mountains.

On a cliff several hundred feet above the White River, Texas-based Anadarko is drilling 17 wells from a single location — a dozen more than it's drilled from a single site in the past.

Malaysia's Petronas to build platforms in Turkmenistan: TV report

ASHGABAT (AFP) - Malaysia's national oil company has been cleared to begin building oil platforms and share in pipeline construction in Turkmenistan, local television reported Friday.

Indigenous people describe real perils of global warming

Indigenous people, including Canadian Inuit and Indian leaders, are emerging as some of the top stars of the Bali climate-change conference.

From the Arctic to the South Pacific islands, indigenous people said they are among the first to suffer the worst effects of global warming.

Global warming worry: Accelerating pace of change

I've been spending some time at the the American Geophysical Union conference here, and I've had a recurring thought: When it comes to apocalyptic predictions, geophysicists have the Book of Revelations beat, hands down.

Sometime in the last few years, the idea that global warming is a reality and that it's caused in large measure by people has finally started sinking in. But perhaps because of the remaining skepticism, and more likely because of the fascinating research involved, scientists just can't leave the issue alone.

Defining steps in a global dawning

"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coalmine for climate warming. Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coalmines." The human canaries from the low-lying South Pacific island cluster of Micronesia are trying to get out, but there are limited options for flying. As the sea rises, the people of Micronesia are already moving houses and roads.

"For us this not about politics," a member of the country's delegation to the United Nations climate change conference in Bali, Jackson Soram, said. "It's about survival." So the negotiations under way this week are timely, and they are also too late.

A big chill for global warming

Up to now, this notion of reversing atmosphere warming with a speedy techno-fix has been discussed only on the margins of climate-change forums. The range of methods, such as forcing giant plankton blooms in oceans to suck up carbon dioxide or reflecting sunlight with sulfate crystals, are uncertain, risky, and to many, "acting like God." And the mere talk of using them might deflect the world's focus away from the long-term need to reduce effluents of coal and petroleum.

But with the pace of climate change faster than estimated just a couple years ago – and with the slow pace to curb emissions under the Kyoto treaty and its possible successor – the world needs to start research on hip-pocket ways to "geoengineer" the Earth in a pinch.

Bags Packed for Doomsday

The 'twin tsunamis' of global warming and peak oil could spell TEOTWAWKI - the end of the world as we know it - and already, quietly, some people are getting prepared because they believe we are talking years rather than decades.

Growing Food When The Oil Runs out

Most people in modern industrial society get their food mainly from supermarkets. As a result of declining hydrocarbon resources, however, it is unlikely that such food will always be available. The present world population is nearly 7 billion, but food supplies per capita have been shrinking for years. Food production will have to become more localized, and it will be necessary to reconsider less-advanced forms of technology that might be called "subsistence gardening."

Looking Forward to the End of Civilization

The first hour of the new Will Smith movie I Am Legend offers a fascinating glimpse into post-civilization Manhattan. Not post-apocalyptic, like so many movies since Escape From New York, but post-civilization. Because the film's premise is that everyone was killed by a mutant AIDS vaccine, this plague left the buildings standing. Instead of cliched piles of rubble, we are treated to skyscrapers slowly succumbing to resurgent nature. Deer graze in midtown, and trees start to grow in pavement cracks, slowly undermining a city everyone thought would last forever.

Brazil's Not Peaking

Brazil will become an even bigger exporter in a decade or so than projected and could put pressure on the club of petrotyrants that now has a monopoly on resources. Best of all, it throws doomsday assumptions about oil "peaking" on its head.

Peak Oil Passnotes: On the Cusp

Although there is a huge amount written about the oil market, what is genuinely supporting the price of oil are the fundamentals. There is not enough spare capacity in the world and there has been increasing demand from certain areas, notably the U.S., China and India. This is not the fault of OPEC; it is not the fault of “speculators”; it is not the fault of “terrorists” and Middle Eastern governments. It is structural, it is the onset, however you see it coming - and this column does not think it is geological as such - of a peak in global oil production.

Global warming pact set for 2009 after US backs down

World climate negotiators set a 2009 deadline Saturday for a landmark treaty to fight global warming after two weeks of intense haggling led to a climbdown by an isolated United States.

Global Warming: Melting delusions

You know those little sounds ice cubes make when they crack and melt? The Arctic's ice is sending out a loud roar of warnings about global warming.

Russian oil has peaked says The Oil Czar.

The head of one of Russia's largest oil and gas companies discusses the futility of predicting oil prices……

The Russian oil industry has reached peak production and requires a lot of investment. That means support from the government is required.

Ron Patterson

Following U.S. lead -- it seems like government "investment" is more or less inversely proportional to the production of oil here in the U.S. At some point, the oil becomes beside the point and we see revealed (once again) that the purpose of a government is to enrich a small ruling class, by whatever means is at hand.

The U.S. experiment is no aberration -- in the early days of the republic almost every white male could be a property owner, and thereby, part of the ruling class. Times have changed, but the story is the same-- lots of non-property owners now, and a lot of them are white (and resentful). Time now for scapegoats.

Fear not, though. The churches will eventually make almost everyone believe that it is God's will, and we will return to the slumber of the Dark Ages.

Giant sails for cargo vessels (I'm sure I saw this last year but here is a new article. A boat is getting launched very soon with the system installed. It will of course be getting some hype but I still love the idea (as if it was new!)



My all time hero (rest his soul) has been there, done that with Alcyone;


Cousteau was indeed a great innovator and advocate for global environmental awareness.

However, his venture into an innovative form of wind propulsion, as manifested in his ship, the Alcyone, was based on an entirely different form of wind technology than these 'kite' type systems reported in the above article. The Alcyone used a patented 'Turbosail', which essentially consisted of a fixed rigid tower of ovoid cross-section. There were slots built into portions of the sides of the tower and a large exhaust fan on the top of the tower, which sucked air into the sides of the tower, thus creating a low-pressure zone and also allowing for better vortex shedding. I recall that the slots could be adjusted to accomodate wind strength and direction, thus allowing the thrust of the sail to be shifted without actually moving it.

Evidently, it was a very efficient 'sail', but for various reasons, I think partly having to do with structural problems (a large fixed tower on a ship in a bad storm is subject to tremendous stresses), it never really caught on. Perhaps with some improvements it could get a second life.

In general, while these modern 'sails' could concievably give merchant ships a nice boost of power and help conserve energy, I doubt they could be all that effective other than in sailing pretty much directly downwind, as a large merchant ship running on both propellers and sail power would not be very conducive to tacking, a practice which would both lengthen the distance travelled and increase the duration of the voyage, the latter being a real no-no in these days of just-in-time inventory.

While the article hasn't got the diagram, I bought the times newspaper this morning and it has the 'lift' diagram achieving propulsion to 50deg either side of the headwind, just as a sailboat can tack.

So it doesn't necessarily need an exact wind. Obviously it will lose efficiency at greater incidences to the wind but power from 260Deg is pretty good.

I imagine trans atlantic it might only get it one way!


The cost of tacking depends on the price of oil. Of course.

The economics of just in time inventory management rests on the rather small advantages in reduced inventory carrying costs. Accordingly, wouldn't a prediction on the time increase / uncertainty involved in tacking as well as an assumption of the costs of increased transit time be required to test your concept?

Years ago I saw a display at the South Street Seaport in New York that indicated that sailing ships survived well into the 20th Century as guano transports for a number of reasons [square rigged experience for ships masters requirements IIRC] but including the time insensitivity of the cargoes ["sh*t happens"? :<)].

Hello R W Reactionary,

Yep, NPK movement just has to happen fast enough to deliver timeliness for synchronization with optimal planting and fertilization cycles. An ocean crossing by sail can take less time than a normal seed-to-harvest cycle. Of course, a ship arriving too late, or not at all, can cause a Liebig minimum disaster.

Evidently, it was a very efficient 'sail', but for various reasons, I think partly having to do with structural problems (a large fixed tower on a ship in a bad storm is subject to tremendous stresses), it never really caught on. Perhaps with some improvements it could get a second life.

I wonder about the possability of lowering the sail down through the Hull (vertically), during a storm, to be used as a kind of ballast, and the hydrostatic (?) pressures placed on them in that configuration.

The GP ship Rainbow Warrior did a pretty successful conversion to sail. When purchased it was a quite inefficient diesel-electric. It was ultimately converted with a single high-efficiency direct-drive engine and sails, and could with reasonable wind make decent cruising speed under sail alone despite not being originally designed for it. Worked well 'til the French blew it up.

Visiting the 'sacred site' on the Auckland Harbour wharf where the Frogs bombed her is spooky, sad, but also liberating in a way that's hard to define. The fact that it affects you so much (as it does) perhaps means that your heart and mind are in the right place.

I haven't visited the site, and don't plan to, though I appreciate your calling it 'sacred'. I suppose if anything should be, that would qualify.

It would affect me even if I had no connection. However, I knew the crewmember who was killed, who lived with our family before the voyage. I also bear some responsibility for that boat being brought to the Pacific.

My heart and mind are far afield of the norms, I'm afraid.

Thanks for your comment....

I saw it this evening on TV leaving from my hometown of Hamburg.

The most idiotic quote I have read all year.

Brazil's Not Peaking

Peak oil advocates claim that the world is running out of oil unless the West gives up its energy-consuming lifestyle. Like global warming and population-bomb Malthusianism, it's essentially junk science because it operates on a static model. Crucially, it leaves out the politics of whether oil companies are allowed to discover or not.

Hell, we all know Brazil is not peaking. Perhaps a dozen other countries are not peaking either. But more than half the world’s countries, with over half the world’s oil production have peaked. But the real reason the above quote pissed me off so wasn’t the author’s opinions on oil, or even global warming, it was calling “population-bomb Malthusianism” junk science. To any person has the brains God gave a billy goat it is obvious that the world is overpopulated. Everything bad that is happening to the earth right now, and there are thousands of environmentally tragic things happening right now, is because of overpopulation. And this crap is posted on CNNMoney.com.

Is this a sample of this a true sample of public opinion? Does the average person in the US, Canada or Europe believe that those who say the world is overpopulated are practicing junk science? Well hell, why do I ask such a rhetorical question? The answer is obviously yes. That is why I am such a frigging doomer. There is no hope, no hope. We are all singing and dancing as we all march blindly into a nightmare.

I am reminded of the words of Lester Brown after giving a speech on all the environmental problems the world is suffering right now. Someone asked him how he copes, realizing the dismal situation the world is in and the even more dismal prospects of the future.

His reply: “Good bourbon.”

Ron Patterson

It's on CNN, but the source is Investor's Business Daily. A wingnut site of the free market persuasion. Just seeing them mention peak oil (as they have been doing with increasing frequency) is notable.

Wow, what if oil-rich Brazil moves further to the Left? Chavez in Venezuela seems willing to get it into OPEC, with its vast restless impoverished masses and their pesky rising expectations. What will Investor's Business Daily say then - invade?

How many OPEC countries have restless, impoverished masses? Perhaps tyrannical governments hold that restlessness in check, but on the whole, OPEC seems like a perfect model in the Investors' Business Daily world.

QED: Unemployment in Saudi Arabia is 30% of men and 90% of women. This, a country that is sitting on the largest pile of money in the world.

Incidentally, I often wonder if there is a connection between rapid growth in a given valuable resource and economic collapse (the boom and bust cycle so well known in the western U.S.) The example I like to point to is the Spanish collapse in the 1500s, here they were pulling in 90% of the world's gold from the native americans and the Americas and yet by the late 1500s the government was in debt, their possessions in portugal and the spanish netherlands gone, inflation rampant, etc., etc. etc. One might consider oil wealth to be a modern equivalent.

They collapsed precisely because they were pulling in all that gold. A vast expansion of the money supply without a corresponding increase in the economy's goods and services leads to rampant inflation followed by a deflationary collapse.

As a dual US Brazilian citizen I guess I'd have to apply for asylum in Scandinavia. However to be honest I think it extremely unlikely that Brazil will be moving leftward in the political spectrum anytime soon, especially if they keep discovering oil.

Invasion is highly unlikely, but "yes", to your unvoiced but implied question -- this would be a true milestone for the proletarians of the world.

At this time, just about all of OPEC is made of various statist governments' national oil companies. Whether they are left leaning [communist / marxist lennist], cronnie socialistic, fascist or monarchies makes not one lick of difference. Some are relatively efficient. Some are not.

Unless Chavez's real plan was to reduce Venezuela's oil production [possible but unstated], he has been a total failure in the oil patch. He replaced the evil foreign oil companies [and many skilled workers] with the untrained, various bumblers and his cronies. I suspect that deep water Brazil which faces staggering technical challenges could not withstand Hugo's sort of enlightened management.

BTW, my belief [sorry no cite as this is based solely on experience with old tired oilfields] is that Chavez's mismanagement has reduced the URR of Venezuela as many of the wells that have fallen into disrepair are probably not worth redrilling / redeveloping to the extent necessary [either based on energy return on energy invested or a straight return on investment], but if they would have been managed / maintained could have operated as energy net positive and economically viable stripper wells for decades.

Just seeing them mention peak oil (as they have been doing with increasing frequency) is notable.

There's another example of this in today's WSJ, in an article discussing how rising inflation is hampering Fed monetary policy. There was a comment from Greenspan who has always been somewhat dismissive of peak oil (not that I care much what he thinks on the subject, but his change of posture is noteworthy).

From the article (my emphasis):

Economists and the Fed have typically judged inflation trends by the core, not the overall, rate; food and energy prices, while highly volatile, don't tend to rise faster or slower than other prices over time.

But Mr. Greenspan said that's no longer the case. "The notion of core pricing is fading in importance as: One, food prices driven by increased long-term demand for meat and milk rise with the growth of China and other developing countries, and as; Two, global oil supply peaks lower and sooner than had been contemplated earlier," he said.

WSJ (paywalled)

Wow. o_O

And it's not paywalled. It's free.

Once again I encourage people to read his chapter on energy in his autobiography. (The chapter title is: The Long-Term Energy Squeeze )

I'm not stumping for Greenspan, here. In my view he is the main author of the current mess. But if you want to get an idea of how things are playing out in the bigwig's heads, go to the source.

George: You are advising people to read the autobiography of a consistent, proven, public liar. It might be a good read, but you need to put it into the proper context.

...a consistent, proven, public liar.

Yeah, but that's pretty much a decent label for every political figure in every democracy that ever existed.

Saw a great PBS documentary on ancient Athens recently. Spin is fundamental to democracy they argued.

The key is to catch these guys at their candid moments. And they do have them.

The closer TPTB get to realising that enregy depletion is going to be a very big problem very soon the shriller the voices in the MSM are going to be trying to smother the idea and pick at every last shred or glimmer of hope that could be used to 'diprove' peak oil theory.

I'm with Geoffrey on his iron tirangle idea the Auto/advertising etc... concieveably pull the media strings (apoligies if I have misunderstood you WT).

Also they have to right no keep the poeple spending otherwise the shit really will hit the fan!

So get out there and just buy that 8mpg GMC Behemoth with integrated toilet and WiFi and free fox news television.


To reply to myself think a lot of people understand that peak oil is esentially the end of growth economics as we know it. They would just not rather tell the sheeple that. better denying it, sticking your head in the ground and let war do the cover-up bit.

peak oil is esentially the end of growth economics as we know it.

*clap* *clap*

While very true, it is also the inconvenient truth for us that understand and acknowledge the peak oil chrisis - when speaking of the coming peak to anyone they tend to immediately label one as a communist, socialist, idiot or something else remotely flattering. I have essentially stopped talking about the economic consequenses of peak oil, and let people do their own thinking after I've explained what the oil buzz is all about.

the past year has been populated with similar stories and there is usually a reference to "energy expert" yergin.

His reply: “Good bourbon.”

waste of time and resource. get prepared (and get out if you can) should be the answer.

Nhw, I agree....somewhat. However I am 69 years old and I hope to be safely dead when TSHTF. Looking at the data, I may still be alive, but just barely.

I have three grown children, all boys, and they all think their old man is a little nuts. My oldest son works in Saudi Arabia and makes really good money. He will not even talk to me on the subject. He could be making preparations but simply refuses to even entertain the idea. My grandchildren, (four grown and two still children), get up and leave the room whenever I bring the subject up.

Lester Brown is an old man, as I am. I don't blame him one iota for coping with the situation with good bourbon.

How do I cope? Good bourbon!

Ron Patterson

You are still too young by today's standard and there could well be better use of the bourbon down the road.

Everything will take its due course once a critical point is passed. For the issues that brought us here, the critical point has long since passed.

there could well be better use of the bourbon down the road.

And that better use is? Bourbon is meant to be drunk and enjoyed.

An alternative to home heating? :)

a wide range of medicinal use and, yes, keeping you body warm or blood circulation going. it can save your life or help you to forget it all.

I have three grown children, all boys, and they all think their old man is a little nuts. My oldest son works in Saudi Arabia and makes really good money. He will not even talk to me on the subject. He could be making preparations but simply refuses to even entertain the idea. My grandchildren, (four grown and two still children), get up and leave the room whenever I bring the subject up.

That's my experience too. Interestingly, I've discovered that the most success I've had discussing this issue has been with people who are older. They seem to be more accepting of my cynicism. This is an interesting phenomenon, and I theorize that it's because we older folks have less to lose since we'll be dead soon anyway. The younger people just don't want to hear that their best-laid plans for the future may go up in a puff of tailpipe emissions smoke. Of course, there's always been the fact that young people like to dismiss their elders as being "senile old farts" who don't know what they're talking about. I guess they don't realize that I would prefer to be wrong, rather than being a forecaster of doom and gloom. Of course, it doesn't help that the president of the USA is of my generation, and he's currently one of the main obstacles in preparing for the coming crisis.


Think of it this way. Remember back in the 1960's when the radicals said "Don't trust anybody past 30"?

The idea was that the old folks were so into the old ways of thinking that they couldn't understand what the young folks were trying to say about Vietnam, etc. Well, looking back at events since, anyone born after, say, 1967 would not have had the experience of coping with the first oil shock from OPEC or the second from the Iranian Crisis. All those younger folks have seen nothing like a shortage since about 1981. Even the folks born in 1967 would have been only 14 and not old enough to qualify for a driver's license. Maybe the current situation is the reverse, such that the revised phrase should should read "Don't trust anyone under 40"...

E. Swanson

Hey now! At fourteen, in Iowa, one could be driving a moped. I distinctly recall having to walk a bit when the supply of $0.05 refundable cans dried up - all of the kids were hunting them to pay for gas.

SCT, a child of the summer o' love

I was born near the end of WW II. The big event of my youth was the opportunity to see TV when the first station began to broadcast in our area. The Korean War was a recent memory and the Depression was Ancient History. Of course, my parents experienced all three of these Big Events, which shaped their perspective. By the time of the Vietnam War, my parent's generation was still looking at the World and seeing Hitler and Stalin. And, they had no clue about environmental problems.

I've known about Peak Oil for about 20 years. I still live as though there will be oil out there, even though my intellectual side knows otherwise. I pity the younger adults who will be slapped in the face by reality, once TSHTF.

Time to go to the store to load up on gasoline and food. A frozen pizza and some beer would be great, since the weather appears to be turning toward ice...

E. Swanson

All of us youngsters that get it early are born freaks or outsiders by nature, I suspect. My business contacts are mostly under 50 with no experience of a serious downturn like depression and have no ideological acceptance of the idea of great depression II , PO, etc. wtih the basic idea that if an idea goes against how you earn money then it can't be true, or at least you ignore it as best as possible. Since I don't drink or take drugs only religon and sports and other distractions are left to help stave off a bout of despair or insanity. Mine will be the bridge generation making the really big decisions to save or destroy the world and my kids will grow up mad maxing/permaculturing it into the future as natural as can be.

Well, it would kind of suck to be told by your grandpa, "hey squirt, your life's gonna suck real soon now cause the oil's about to run out. Why? Oh, cause me and my pals used it all ALL OUR LIVES. It was awesome! Woot!"

I'm 35, and I'm enduring eye-rolling from my 65-year-old dad. Just in case anyone was under the impression that this is merely a phenomenon of the young ignoring/dismissing the old.

In fact, in my experience, I have the hardest time talking about peak oil to folks who are older. My 65-ish neighbor can't understand why I'm not brimming with optimism like him- he claims that the world has only gotten better in his lifetime.

I think the ones who "get it" the most are the college students I have contact with. Granted, they are a self-selected group who are choosing to study sustainability in ecovillages. But they are mostly between the ages of 18 and 23, and they desperately want to change things.

That's my experience too. Interestingly, I've discovered that the most success I've had discussing this issue has been with people who are older. They seem to be more accepting of my cynicism. This is an interesting phenomenon, and I theorize that it's because we older folks have less to lose since we'll be dead soon anyway. The younger people just don't want to hear that their best-laid plans for the future may go up in a puff of tailpipe emissions smoke.

BS! In my experience, almost everyone young and old completely dismisses PO. Roughly, there have been an equal number that I have talked with that were both PO aware and thought it would cause significant difficulties. As a point of reference, I first read about PO when I was 22 (now almost 27). I accepted that it would happen immediately on mathematical grounds and have been reading about it since.

However I am 69 years old and I hope to be safely dead when TSHTF.

I think being 'safely dead' is a great concept.

I think moonshine is a dual-purpose solution.

ethanol included? ;-)

Best Hopes for biological consumption of ethanol,


I'll drink to that! I'll make mine Basil Hayden.

His reply: “Good bourbon.”

Yet another claiming ethanol as the solution. . .

As we have discussed over the past months and years, nothing that is currently happening is really a surprise--the prospect of an infinite rate of increase in the consumption of a finite energy resource base never looked promising. And we have been expecting a real estate/financial meltdown.

Having said that, the unfolding reality, especially the excellent periodic financial updates by TOD Canada, are scary as hell. I almost look forward to reading happy face comments by the cornucopians. . .


I read this somewhere and cannot recall the source. It said that from 2005 to 2006 world energy consumption increased the EQUIVALENT of 7 million barrels per day of oil.
That is a scary number. Anyone know if thats true?

It's certainly possible. From fossil fuel + nuclear sources worldwide we use the energy equivalent of about a billion barrels of oil every five days.

What is unsettling is watching what I outlined in the following article unfold in front of our very eyes.

MONDAY, APRIL 02, 2007
The ELP Plan: Economize; Localize & Produce
By: Jeffrey J. Brown

Author Thom Hartmann, in his book, “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight,” described a high tech company that he consulted for that went through several rounds of start up financing, and then collapsed, without ever delivering a real product. At the peak of their activity, that had several employees and lavish office space--until they ran out of capital. His point was that this company was analogous to a large portion of the US economy, which has the appearance of considerable activity and uses vast amounts of energy, but how much of this economic activity delivers essential goods and services?

I have read, and it seems reasonable, that the majority of Americans live off the discretionary income of other Americans. We are therefore facing a wrenching transformation of the US economy--from an economy focused on meeting “wants” to an economy focused on meeting needs--and the jobs of a vast number of Americans are thereby directly threatened in a post-Peak Oil environment.

Interesting stuff. With this credit crunch we are about to find out exactly how much "disposable" income our supersonic consumer can generate when the ATM is runnning dry.

On a different note

This is a link to Dr. Dimitrov's website. I wrote a post on the oildrum some time back about why algae will never solve the oil problem with the help of his work.

From his website

Imperium buys practically every drop of oil U.S. algae startups are producing. So far it has sold just a few hundred gallons of finished fuel.

How does “a few hundred gallons” compare energy-wise with the money "in cash" that has been invested in the field so far?
US$1 weighs approximately 1g and is almost entirely made of cellulose with heating value of 15kJ/g. If we look at the amount of money invested just in GreenFuel Technologies (we don’t have data for the entire industry), it’s $25 million, which in $1 bills would give us 375 GJ of energy. Since a gallon of biodiesel has a heating value of ~0.133GJ, the energy content of the cash is equivalent to that of 2,820 gallons of biodiesel.

The term “cash burn” is something that startups are quite familiar with, it helps them estimate how long they can survive until the next financing. Of course, startups don’t literally “burn” cash, they just spend it. However, if the investors in GreenFuel Technologies had drawn all the money they put in the company in $1 bills, and literally burned them, they would have produced more energy than the entire U.S. biodiesel-from-algae industry has produced to date!!

Ahh yes, "Burn Rate" was the old Silly-con valley term. How fast you would burn through the pile of money your "angel investor" had given you....

I'll mention it yet again .... I'm spending 1/10th what I was 6 months ago.

One. Tenth.

Not everyone can cut down this far, I don't think, but it's not impossible.

And it doesn't have the damndest thing to do with Peak Oil, it has everything to do with the financial collapse. I'd be out driving one of our thirstier vehicles to Sedona and back daily just for kicks if I could. Eating restaurant food, and I like sushi!

Just like every other American I'm spending and consuming and using up all I can, it's just that in a Depression, it's not possible to do that very much.

My latest consumerist high: An old Pyrex measuring cup and a pair of fuzzy house slippers for $1 (for both) at the local thrift store. I'm sippin' hot tea from the cup and wearing the slippers as I type!

You can make your own sushi.

That's true! People are appalled when we tell them that we go to the market, buy fish, make rice, and make sushi. What do they think it's made out of?

The problem is finding sushi grade fish.

The problem is finding sushi grade fish.

Ask around at your local supermarkets (or farmer's markets, if you have 'em) - you may get lucky and find an old-school fishmonger there who knows his fish and is happy to help you out. That's most important for fish like tuna, though - we use frozen salmon from a box, and it works fine.

Super-cheap, too - for ~$70 we had as much as a dozen people could eat, literally hundreds of pieces left over, 90% of the non-meat, non-nori materials left (rice, vinegar, wasabi, sesame, etc.), and had to come up with creative ways to use up all the fish we'd bought. And it's fun to make - we did this as a party; the cheap eats was accidental.

So give it a try. While it can be expensive (lots of types of fish, a friend's $100 only-touches-sushi knife, etc.), it doesn't have to be. $1 from your lasts-for-months fixin's (rice, etc.), $2 of nori, and $2 of imitation crab, and you should have lots of food. If money's a problem, make California rolls or futomaki - they have a higher rice-to-nori/fish ratio, so they're cheaper.

Sushi in Japan is actually rice flavored with vinegar. It doesn't need to involve raw fish at all, and in Hawaii, usually doesn't.

However, people who do like raw fish (sashimi) in Hawaii often catch their own.

You must explain for the haole here the concept of Spam Musubi :-) I was totally, completely horrified when this was delivered to one of the fellows at our table.

 Hawaiian Delicacy

Hey, it's disgusting but mighty tasty. A full week's supply of sodium nitrite in an easy-to glom size. And say, spam, white rice, vinegar, and nori all store well too.

Frankly, it should only be eaten as survival food - and I'm looking forward to it. But it's quite good and filling, y'know, in that disgusting way. When I've made it - and I have, on request - I'll slice the spam thin and fry it in canola oil first to get the lard mostly out, but purists would be apalled at that.

Every 7-11 here sells spam musubi at the cash register, as well as the similar "hot dog" musubi which I find even grosser. I wouldn't eat either from 7-11, but it's pretty dense calories.

They're having the christmas spam sales at all the local stores now. No kidding, there are large sections of the canned foods isle devoted to ten different kinds of spam. This is presumably a holdover from WWII.

And yes, it is easy to make your own sushi. If oahu goes easter-island, I figure I'll be down to making it with geckos after the first 6 months.

WT: RE your comments on the "Wants" economy:

I have long thought that we could easily reduce motor fuel consumption quickly and easily. All we have to do is outlaw the RV type of vehicle, ranging from motor homes to the boats they often drag, and make the Snowbirds either move or stay at home, but of course there is a problem. I don't want to be the guy who has to break the news to either the owner of one of those monstrosities doing the pulling or any of the folks who sell them. Since we have a free market, everybody is able to waste fuel in an unfettered fashion, but this could be easily rectified with respect to those fuel guzzlers. I have to use heavy vehicles in doing oil lease work, but when I see a motor home brought out in the field to house a lone hunter for the short deer hunting season, and the field dressing wasting about a third of the meat, it really makes me furious. But, I get over all that when I fix the lease roads they tore up getting out after a good rain. Like one hunter said, "Yeah I got stuck, but he had a big enough winch to pull myself out. It wasn't a problem."

For the hunter it was a want. For the guy who got the hunter's $100K for the motor home, it was feeding the want. For me, I got left with the need to fix the roads.

All that leaves me with nothing for a witty closing.

Woody, while I understand your point that there are some RVers who waste fuel in an exorbitant way, please don't cast your net so large. I am not a believer in over-indulgence either, but there is another side to the issue.

My wife and I are full-time RVers who live in a fifth-wheel trailer, and occasionally pull it with a Dodge Ram diesel truck to another location. We live in 300 square feet of indoor space, though our front yard is expansive -- right now it is the Cleveland National Forest. We have solar panels and use LED lighting. We use about 40 gallons of water a week. We buy from the local farmer's market and cook with a solar oven when the sun shines bright enough. We can stay on the desert totally off the grid for a week, and we have many friends who live a similar life.

My point is that there are some people who make good use of the tools of this lifestyle to live a life far less intrusive on nature, and they use far less energy than most people who live in stick McMansions and drive gargantuan RVs and SUVs in this country. I believe we serve as a good example of how many more could lead a far less energy intensive life, it is just a mindset.

I do appreciate you and others like you fixing the roads that were torn apart by some overweight bully of an RV. Sometimes we use them to go sit for a few weeks out where it is quiet and peaceful.

Sam Penny
the Prudent RVer
at www.prudentrver.com

Thanks Sam, for helping disabuse me (and others) of another unhelpful stereotype. It's so easy to get self-assured and didactic, when the real story on the ground is ALWAYS more involved, and carries better lessons with it.

Note to self: remember not to dehumanize anyone.

Merry Christmas!
Bob Fiske

"Careful, remember each of these boys has a mother!"
- Joker (?), in 'The Batman Movie'

You know, if RVs were used to maintain a migratory lifestyle it might not be too bad. Move north during the summers, south during the winters, about 1000 miles each way, trading for goods as you go, including the cooking oil you need to run a diesel engine. If you drive slowly, you might need about 150 gallons each year. The trick is to follow the moderate temperatures.

Australia is well-suited to migratory lifestyles too, and many retirees (and others) do it. Being situated entirely between 10°S-40°S, you can follow the seasons and spend every day of the year between 70°F-80°F, with mild nights, and no need for aircon or heating. Only really need to move 2-3 times a year as well.

Actually, Jokuhl, I think it was The Penguin...

SubKommander Dred

"We have solar panels and use LED lighting."

You'd get more lumens per watt with CF lamps then LEDS.



If what you say is true, then what's the advantage of LED's ? Such as in automotive tail lights.

They use less energy than a standard bulb, last a very long time and are much more robust than a fluorescent.

LEDs are superior to compact fluorescents for:

1) Colored Light (see automotive applications except headlights) LEDs put out a pure monochromatic red, amber, etc.

2) Less than 4 to 5 watt applications (CFs are rarely below 5 watts and I have never seen smaller than 4 watt CF). For night lights, LEDs are hard to beat, as an example,

Oftentimes I turn off the light over my computer and use a USB plug-in gooseneck LED light over the keyboard. 1.5 watts vs. 7 watts.

3) Frequent turn on/off lights. MURDER to CFs, no problem for LEDs. Closet lights might be an example, or refrigerator lights.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


In all cases, LEDs produce more light/lumen than incandescents. Light quality (especially "white" LEDs) is generally inferior to incandescents though.

I like red LEDs for night lights (no0 loss of night vision).


These bike lights come in at around 60 lm/W


Lupime Wilma 12/6. They are like searchlights!
has beam photos too. Absolutely incredible.
At $1200 they are not the chaepest light out there!

By the way my 20% overvolted halogens (bicycle lights)give out 65 lm/w but bulb life is WAY down to around 50Hrs!

I use red LED's for my astronomy when using books/star-maps etc.. for the very reason you state.


I have LED headlights on my bike - probably around 65 lumens/watt, but I only spent about 120$ for last year's model (20 lumens/watt), and then bought some newer LEDs off the web for 20$ and soldered them into place.

In the lab they already have LEDs that get about 120-150 lumens/watt, and I have heard speculation that they think they can get 200 lumens/watt.

Color is something they are working on though. There are "warm white" LEDs that I haven't seen., but for some applications you just don't care.

check this out. They are the same emiiters are on the Lupine, just lower binned. (In a 12v MR16 package that could easily be adapted for bike lights)

Seoul P4's


They claim 270 lumins. I will try. i did some stuff with photoshop to get the luminance values from the histogram using various bulbs/overvols on my own set up. It was a good comparison.


Interesting. Some of the cyclists that I know who use HID lamps could in theory use this in one of their existing fixtures, but many of them would have chosed HID lamps to try and put the maximum number of lumens on the road.

I *think* I am around 450 lumens for my bike light (two 3-watt Cree P5 bulbs), and as far as I am concerned it is more than enough light.

Other folks are already over 1000 (and people they encounter complain about being blinded).

A lot of it has to do with having a good beam pattern so the light you do have isn't wasted.

This is dependent on usage, application and choice of luminaire.

Current mass production leds that are give usable emissive spectrum and are cheap enough to buy and come in wide variety of domestic luminaire applications are not very high in lumen/watt using _current_ lighting fixtures.

The total lighting efficacy is therefor often worse than for the best of fluorescent lights (not cfl).

Sure, nice leds are coming out of the lab and the best Japanese companies have designs that go beyond 150lumen/watt on the horizon.

But fixture, current mass production and lag from lab-to-store is still enough to keep leds - as of now - from being the revolution lighting system they are currently touted as.

Maybe in two years. I'm at least hoping that there'll be a led revolution in five years, esp. now that fixture are being improved for ac.

When talking about LED lights, I have seen figures of 18-24 months to get something from the R&D lab into something in the product catalog. That's what Cree oftentimes quotes when they announce something out of the lab.

A agree, the magic threshold is going to be about where standard flourescent bulbs are, in terms of lumens/watt. Even then though, there are other applications that don't currently use flourescents where LEDs can be used. Examples would include traffic semaphores and "Exit" signs in buildings (our building at work recently retrofitted LED exit lamps over the whole building - they estimated that they would save about 2000$/year by doing this).

A few months back I was at a Green festival, I saw a 60-watt light replacement bulb that used white LEDs, and had a standard Edison fixture. I was told it consumed only 8 watts, which implies a lumens/watt rating of > 100 somewhere. I asked the price, and I was told it was over 100$. This isn't a real product yet, as I suspect the LEDs in there are only available in limited quantities as they work out the manufacturing. The company (http://www.ccrane.com/lights/led-light-bulbs/index.aspx) will probably have such things in their online catalog at some point in the future.

A few months back I was at a Green festival, I saw a 60-watt light replacement bulb that used white LEDs, and had a standard Edison fixture. I was told it consumed only 8 watts, which implies a lumens/watt rating of > 100 somewhere. I asked the price, and I was told it was over 100$. This isn't a real product yet

It's niche, but it's economically viable.

For a fixture that'll be on most of the time (12hr/day), normal bulbs would require 263kWh/yr (and 2.2 bulb replacements @ 1000hrs each), vs. 35kWh for the LEDs. Over 5 years @ $0.10/kWh, that's $142.35 vs. $17.52, which should cover the difference in the purchase price.

At this point, though, just sticking in a CFL bulb is probably cheaper.

LEDs are very efficient when producing monochromatic light, especially when compared to incandescents. Incandescent lights need to be filtered to make colored light, so they aren't very efficient. The fluorescents require a high voltage source for ignition and may not start in cold weather (ie, compact fluorescents are inappropriate for use as signals in vehicles). For indoor white lighting, however, compact fluorescents are pretty good.

I have heard complaints in the past about the color of the light that comes from a CFL. In our kitchen we have 8 overhead fixtures that have a 65-watt spotlight kind of bulb (i.e you can't easily tell what the bulb inside the enclosure really is). I first changed one of them, and asked my girlfriend to guess which one it was that I changed. She guessed wrong about 3 or 4 times before I had to tell her which one was the CFL :-).

Since then I have replaced all of the others.


From a practical point of view, RV lighting usually runs on a 12vdc system, and CFLs are AC devices. But there are several reasons for using LEDs anyway.

I get 20 lumens of white light for 20 milliamps at 12 volts, or 0.24 watts using the newer hybright-3 LED chips (and there are even higher efficiency chips coming out next year).

A comparison:

Incandescent 100W bulb gives 1750 lumens

CFL 23W bulb gives 1500 lumens (Wikipedia reference)

10each W9.RV3H LED lamps @ 2.16W each, 21.6W total, produce 1800 lumens.

Note that all electricity used that does not produce visible light does produce heat, even in the CFL. LEDs are 500% more efficient than incandescents, 125% more efficient than CFLs.

On lifetimes, incandescent bulbs last around 1000 hrs, CFL around 15,000 hrs, LED chips 50,000 to 100,000. The most frequent failure modes we see with LEDs is in the connection solder, but you can kill an LED with over-voltage.

Unfortunately, today's CFL use mercury in their process (I have heard they are working on a different method -- not available yet). LED chips have trace amounts of rare earths, but I have seen no reports that they produce hazardous waste.

I recommend to my friends that live in stick houses to convert to 12vdc lighting and use LEDs. Yes, they are more expensive, but in an energy shortage, it can be a matter of paying up front for more efficiency or doing without at crunch time.

Sam Penny
the Prudent RVer


CFL's are not just AC devices.

Look here:


No - they are AC only - what you are seeing is a device that takes a DC input to run an AC device.

Wow, that must be one small inverter Eric.

Some code cathode converters (like in a laptop) can be driven by piezoelectric effects.


And yes, "we" can make 'em small.

All good reasons..

LEDs are shockproof, FULLY Dimmable, have minimal parts, no glass or enclosed gases, wide temperature tolerance, take up minimal space, emit no inherent RF noise (I think, nothing like a CFL ballast, anyhow) . A lot like most of my points for PV's advantages.

The efficiency numbers often pull from some tests in around 2000, and I think will need to be revisited soon and often, as LED tech is advancing constantly.


LEDs are also handy for all sorts of directional lighting, like desk lamps or downward-firing lights of the hanging sort that might otherwise use halogens. Since they are very small, you can bring them up close to your workspace. Lighting a small area, you can use 3W where you might use 15W-50W of CFL to light the whole room.

The peak oil crisis: the NY Times drops the first shoe
by Tom Whipple

The Times then told its readers some very scary stuff. “Experts say the sharp growth, if it continues, means several of the world’s most important suppliers may need to start importing oil within a decade to power all the new cars, houses and businesses they are buying and creating with their oil wealth.”


I read this somewhere and cannot recall the source. It said that from 2005 to 2006 world energy consumption increased the EQUIVALENT of 7 million barrels per day of oil.

It seems likely - that's the amount it increased the previous year.

EIA figures show world energy consumption in 2005 was 15 quads (15x10^15 btu) over 2004 levels. At 5,800,000btu/bbl (EIA), that's 7Mb/d.

Of that increase, 19% was from oil, 27% was from natural gas, 42% was from coal, 9% was from hydro, and 3% was from renewable+nuclear. Adjusting for exergy (i.e., electricity is about 3x as useful as thermal), about 70% of the increase came from fossil fuels and 30% from other sources (mostly hydro).

42 percent from coal. God help us, we're really not going to save ourselves, are we?

Maybe, maybe not.

Most of this is the Chinese of course. They are build cheap, inefficient, dirty coal plants using outdated designs, and doing it by the hundreds annually. They believe it's the only way to meet the energy demands of industialisation.

As a result they have gone from being a coal exporter to a net importer in the last few years. Exporters such as Indonesia and Australia can't keep up, hence the queue to load off Newcastle.

What will be the result of this? My guess would be that over the next decade they will continue to generate an immense demand for coal, and will set a new record for clouds of black soot over Asia.

Is this a sustainable trend? Not at all. And I'm not talking global warming. I'm talking Peak Coal Exports.
While we apparently have enough coal to meet demand for 160 years at current levels of consumption, the rapid increase in Chinese demand could see us reach a production ceiling in a much shorter timeframe. A large part of the remaining reserves are in North America, and the infrastructure to ship large volumes across the Pacific may never materialise.

It wouldn't suprise me to see the price of coal rise dramaticly by 2020 as we run out of low-hanging fruit, to the point where it no longer makes sense to build any new power plants in China. By this time China will also have a reputation as the world's greatest polluter, and pollution will be one of the biggest issues domestically and amongst it's neighbours.

I can imagine the Party turning to renewable resources on a massive scale simply because they have no other option. Thus providing an enormous market for alternative energy technologies which will be maturing at the time.
Once coal gets priced out, the vast majority of reserves end up staying in the ground.

In other words, things get a whole lot worse, then they break, then things get better. The Chinese manufacture the crisis that allows change. They push it too far.

Conversely, if we restrain consumption, we may end up burning every last tonne of coal over a longer timeframe, as it will be cheap and the impetus to create an alternative never emerges.

Cutting emissions, by itself, just delays by a decade or two the time it takes to reach 700ppm. The thing that really makes the difference is the emergence of a cost-competive alternative, and the actual adoption (not a given) of that alternative on a large scale.

And in order to prompt the massive, rapid adoption of alternatives, you need a train wreck. The Chinese may be creating the conditions for that.

that's an interesting take, conservation promotes pollution ?

absurd, imo

Most of this is the Chinese of course. They are build cheap, inefficient, dirty coal plants using outdated designs, and doing it by the hundreds annually. They believe it's the only way to meet the energy demands of industialisation.

A recent report on Lateline suggested that China is actually retiring almost as much older, inefficient power plants (in terms of output) as it's building new ones, for a net reduction in emissions.

No idea if this is true, as that's the only place I've heard this.


The projected corn harvest for 2008 is 11 billion bushels. Recently ethanol production required 2 billion bushels of corn. The new energy bill would require about three times this amount, or about 6 billion bushels for ethanol production, eliminating all corn exports and requiring about 2 billion bushels of corn imports.

This legislation would likely cause the price of gasoline mixed with ethanol to rise to incredible rates.

Corn exports were once a key source of foreign currency for the United States. This new energy bill seemed to support farmers and the ethanol industry, but it has the potential to destroy the wealth of a nation.

Total U.S. wheat production was about 2.25 billion bushels and is threatened if farmers switch more acres to corn. Already wheat prices have risen with farmers planting corn instead of wheat, soybeans, and other crops.

Trying to switch from gasoline to biofuels may prove to yield large scale losses to a majority of the population.

The Oil Drum has taught me all I know about why to be skeptical about corn ethanol, but just for accounting purposes, can we specify how much imported oil is substituted for by each bushel of US-grown corn? I personally prefer the argument that the ethanol is bad news because of its EROEI and because using it as "Hamburger Helper" to add to our imported gasoline will just extend our energy addiction from crack-head level to angel dust-level. But it's going to be easier to explain to some folks that ethanol will actually hurt America's balance of payments because of the net difference between the dollar value of exported corn versus that of the imported oil.

Farmers react to changes faster than any group or institution in this country. Corn acreage will not be determined until next April. At that time it will depend on the current price of corn, soybeans, wheat, fertilizer, pesticides, diesel, ethanol, the winter snow fall, weather forecasts for the coming season and any changes coming from Washington.

If any one can accurately forecast next years corn acreage or crop harvest they will be either very lucky or wrong.

There are a greater percentage of farmers aware that ethanol is a boondoggle than most any other investor. They like what it has done to the price of corn and will sell to the refiner, but their days of investing in ethanol are fast ending.

If any one can accurately forecast next years corn acreage or crop harvest they will be either very lucky or wrong

I suspect anyone engaged in selling of crop seeds would have a pretty good idea for the short term.

Yes the price provides for a substantial profit after a 100% excess supply is produced. The balance is destroyed at the end of the planting season.

Need I mention that 2008 would be a good time to increase home garden production?

I was going to plant a lot more sweet corn. I am starting to wonder if I shouldn't make some of that flour corn instead?

i grew some flour corn [only by watering due to drought] & just ground some & made cornbread & grits/mush - my wife even liked both a lot. i am practicing the staple/thru the winter crops - beets, sweet potatoes so far. the sweet potatoes were olong & skinny [drought] & the ones at one store similiar.

the normal ones at another store were 1.29-2 + a lb.

The following is a really good Times commentary about the psycology of dealing with Global warming (dont sigh...it's not actaually an ear bashing about GW! for/against) and I really think it hits the nail on the head with the exact same denial/stubbornness that we see when explaining peak oil to someone.



Yesterday's climate change threads start to look a bit like some of the routine pissing contests that happen on usenet newsgroups like sci.physics and others. There, they have lunatics posting vitriolic denials of quantum mechanics, relativity, evolution etc., with stalwart defenders of science posting nasty dismissals and refutations. It seems the firmer the science gets, the more desperate the deniers become. Moderated newsgroups do all right, because nothing gets up without review and the rules are clear. Unmoderated groups about hard science have become nearly useless. I think as the evidence for climate change and peak oil becomes ever more certain, the pressure from deniers will continue to ramp up here. It's going to get more difficult to conduct a civil and meaningful discussion here.

Are you trying to provoke them foolsmmann?

Some humor for Saturday. This is what yesterday's jrWakeUp's ... exchange reminded me of.

Monty Python at their finest with the Arguement Clinic.

I Came here for an argument
(no you didn't, Yes I did...)



I hate to admit it, but I mostly see if I am interested in threads and unless it is something I want to know more about, use the page down to get to the next thread. I haven't tried to sift through any scientific type usegroups. It is enlightening enough to learn here. I do wish that it was less contentious, or that we had a little adult supervision from time to time. Maybe something like ending one of these contentious threads after, say, 100 posts. There is usually not much more to be said after that.

If I had a lot of time, I would be on here all day, but am strained just to read Leanan's links up top, read a few of them, and scan the discussion for something new or enlightening. Like how Brazil's discoveries will end the peak oil craze, at least if they are able to produce Tupi, et al, in seven or eight years. I should add re Tupi: if it can be produced at all.

If I had a lot of time, I would be on here all day, but am strained just to read Leanan's links up top, read a few of them, and scan the discussion for something new or enlightening.

If I had the time, I'd spend all day as well--but as it is, I've only got 1/2 hour, or so, when I can get it. Without doubt TOD is the finest public site on the internet I've encountered--the volunteering of time, expertise, and civility are amazing. I'm of the old-school opinion that good people should be paid for their efforts. If there is hope, it will be because of what is demonstrated here.

I second that!

You're not telling us anything we don't know.


I'm glad you're aware of what you're up against. I hope you also have an effective strategy for coping with it, because I would hate to see the oil drum decay into that kind of bedlam. I think this forum could be more and more useful to people as things unwind, but only if the screwball contingent is kept at bay.

Mark Folsom

It's been much worse in the past. It's kind of a periodic thing. We even shut down the comments for a short while once.

And yes, we have given a lot of thought to the future. Some of it in public.

I love TOD because it is not clogged with stupid comments like most global warming blogs. See the comments to the "Global Warming -- Melting Delusions" article. Just crazy!


While there are PO deniers,I am happy TOD greatly avoids the endless garbage similar to AGW posts about Al Gore's waistline, 30-year old Newsweek stories about coming ice ages and how one snow storm proves AGW doesn't exist.

I just read yesterday's DrumBeat. I was shocked by jrwakefield 's comments.

I revise my comment to "most of the time TOD is not clogged with stupid comments" about AGW...

My concern has been that a global warming denial faction within the Peak Oil movement would suddenly and loudly advocate coal-based technology as the solution to all our real problems, and split my favorite blog down the middle. However, I think the US citizenry is beginning to sense that coal is yet another too-good-to-be-true scam. In Europe they're already more aware because they have to live with the consequences of acid rain. China is still a sucker for coal, but I suspect that global warming denialists are not interested in learning Mandarin in order to get an eager audience.

Now if the fast-crashers are favored by evidence in the near future, the US public might panic and grab at coal. Then China will do even worse. But what good will it do to be a denialist during a fast oil crash? If oil goes to $500/bbl, capitalism, America, technofetishism and growthism will be hanging from nooses in a forest fire.

The US public, as directed by the media, will burn more coal if needed to keep the Air Conditioners on in summer or for elec. heating in any winter days that may remain. All it will need is a little more railroad capacity. Coal could also be burnt at the pit-head. (US 2006 coal mining = 1.16 billion tonnes per year as per EIA, ~4.5 billion tonners per year of CO2)

China is burning coal as fast as they can mine it (the data seems difficult to get but I suspect it is ~2 billion tonnes / year, which is ~8 billion tonners of CO2 / year from coal burning alone). Not likely to increase much from here in spite of vast reservers of fossilized coal, because it is likely that easy to mine coal was mined first (& I am speculating here).

The rest are individually bit players and taken together are probably comparable to the US and China combined. So in between the US (NG, Oil, Coal) and China (Coal, Oil, NG) & the ROW we are sunk anway, even if they reduce it by say 5% a year. However, as we all know, CO2 release from combustion of these fossil fuels is likely to increase.

Batten down the hatches.

Yes, I gave up reading yesterday's drumbeat. I'm not passing judgement on the arguments presented, just that they're futile.

It doesn't matter whether man is causing climate change or whether it is a natural cycle. The crux of the matter is that any change in our environment will cause serious problems because we're already beyond our natural limits and well into overshoot. Even if the climate stayed as it has in the recent past, we'd still be in trouble. The fact that the climate is changing only increases our predicament and business as usual is unacceptable regardless of the reasons behind the changes.

Global finance is melting down, the climate is changing, energy availability is a problem and business as usual is stopping any attempt to mitigate the threat facing us. Governments and businesses cannot execute actions which threaten their own existence and cannot therefore take any meaningful action. It's all down to the individual now to take individual action to maximise their future chances of survival. Cutting as many links to the business as usual economy is a good starting point, which means doing the opposite to what TPTB are telling people to do.

“The state, I call it, where all are poison-drinkers, the good and the bad: the state, where all lose themselves, the good and the bad: the state, where the slow suicide of all – is called ‘life.’”
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 11

Blasts from the past...

After yesterday's too long discussion about global warming, I got to thinking about when it was that I first heard about GW (note that I'm an "old guy," age 55). Actually, I remember exactly. It was in 1970, when I read about it in an "underground newspaper" called "The Los Angeles Free Press", colloquially known as "The Freep." The global warming article was entitled "The Earth is Dying."

Just now I did a Wikipedia search, and discovered that not only do they have an entry for the LAFP, but that the paper was revived in 2005 and can be read online at www.LosAngelesFreePress.com.

Those of you who grew up with The Freep might find the Wikipedia article very interesting:



somehow this was deleted from yesterdays dumbeat
good interview Al Bartlet

It wasn't deleted. It's still there. It just scrolled to the second page. (Once a comment scrolls to page 2, you can't find it by looking on your profile for "comments by".)

So far as I know, nothing was deleted from yesterday's thread, except a couple of accidental duplicate posts.

sorry, I didn't mean to imply some sort of censorship. I didn't realize there was a page two, just a bit slow I guess. : - )

My two cents worth on the AGW debate that dominated all postings on TOD yesterday and is starting off like it will today. Global warming will continue and devastate the environment and cause many species extinction in 50 to 100 years. The deniers will continue to deny for perhaps another 25 years, if there are any people around to deny. At any rate, human nature being what it is, absolutely nothing will be done that will slow global warming one iota.

Peak oil, on the other hand will begin to hit us hard in about 5 years and will begin to devastate the population of the earth in about 10 to 20 years. Many species will go extinct as every animal, wild or domestic, will become food for the starving. We will eat the songbirds out of the trees.

Yet global warming seems to be of far greater concern than peak oil to a lot of people who post here. Many don’t even seem to be concerned with peak oil at all. Let me paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, with a slight modification.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs……
Then perhaps you haven’t heard the news.

People, it is time to panic…. Because of peak oil. If you are still young then you still have time to prepare. Prepare to be a survivor. There will be few survivors. Wouldn’t you like to be among them?

Ron Patterson

"There will be few survivors. Wouldn’t you like to be among them?"


It's been mentioned before here, and pretty self evident fact, that mitigation of both crisis' should take on roughtly the same form - ie reduction of use of hydrocarbons. The main difference being the poeple arn't taking GW seriously enough and government/commerce aren't taking peak oil seriously enough!


mitigation of both crisis' should take on roughtly the same form

In the case of Global Warming - if Humans had access to cheap FF, the cheap FF would be used for GW mitigation - as best as man could.

Global warming will continue and devastate the environment and cause many species extinction in 50 to 100 years. The deniers will continue to deny for perhaps another 25 years, if there are any people around to deny.

What is the science behind the prediction of such time frame? Can statistics and linear extrapolations capture the time domain behavior of a highly nonlinear system? The records in the ice cores show that the abrupt - those cause species extinction - change can happen in less than a decade or even close to one or two years.

there are people out there know how to live a life without FF but few - if any - knows how to handle truly Abrupt - the flip of a switch kind of - CC.

WWW, I gave my suggestion about your post, which Leanan promptly deleted. I will try to be a little more civil this time.

You missed my entire frigging point! The point is that the consequences of peak oil will hit us much sooner and be far more devastating than the consequences of global warming.

There is no science that predicts a flip within the next fifty years just as there is no science that predicts a comet strike of earth within the next fifty years though both could happen.

Yes, there are people who will survive peak oil but it will be a literal hell on earth.

My other very important point, which your postmodernist reply so confidently ignored, was "human nature being what it is, there is absolutely nothing we will do about global warming." That is not to say that there is nothing we could do about it.

I have stated many times before that people do not change their behavior because of any logical argument. If you do not realize that simple fact, then you know nothing about human nature. People, well the vast majority of people anyway, are convinced and change their behavior, only because of events.

When the planet gets hot enough, people will act. Of course by then it will be way too late. People will cut back on fossil fuel use when it becomes so expensive they cannot afford it. And that will be well on the down slope of Hubbert's Peak.

Ron Patterson

Um...I don't think he missed your point.

He's arguing that catastrophic climate change may happen much faster than you think.

FWIW, I think he's right. It's happening a hell of a lot faster than anyone ever predicted, and it seems like the news just gets worse, the more research they do.

I used to think peak oil would be a more immediate problem than climate change. Now I'm not sure. Climate change could devastate food production, whether on a peak oil homestead in the country or today's agribusiness farms.

I'm getting the feeling that the financial crisis, peak oil and climate will feed off each other in a very unpleasant way, creating a larger problem than an one would be in isolation.

As for which will happen first or be worse? Oil is near $100 and the south east is in a nasty drought. Which one is worse will be a very individual assessment.

Bitteroldcoot, you posted the other day that you lived in Huntsville, Al. I was born and raised there and though I now live in Pensacola. Fl., I get back up there every two or three months. All my family, including my wife, still lives there. I would like to get together with you over a beer, or coffee if you are a teetotaler.

I have been peak oil aware since 2001 and in all that time I have never sat down and talked with a single other peak oil aware person. No, not even once and that is frustrating.

I would post this to you personally but your email address is not in your profile. Mine is but here it is anyway.

Ron Patterson


I mentioned this on another thread the other day but I and two other guys (75, 59 and me, 69) get together at a park once a month for a 1 1/2-2 hour brown bag lunch to discuss the economy, peak energy, politics and AGW.

There muust be a few others in such a large area as yours. Heck, there are only about 3,000 people here and we're spread out over 600 square miles of mountains.


Perhaps so Todd, but so far no one in Pensacola or Huntsville has posted me. My email address is in my Oil Drum profile, so all anyone has to do is click on my handle. I guess that there are just not that many peak oil aware people in this area.

Ron Patterson

Todd..let me know when you have your lunches. I can probably find a brown bag.


I've been saying this for some time now. Climate change is the real threat, but we will be unable to mitigate it due to the financial and energy crises. The first crisis is financial and as economics is our main method of organisation, its failure will leave us disorganised. Energy availability will become a crisis as the effects of climate change take hold, further reducing our options on how to tackle it.

In the end, climate change will be freezing us, baking us, flooding us, blowing us away, destroying our harvests and taking away our water. Property and livelihoods will be destroyed and we will neither have the money nor the energy to do anything about it. Every season will bring new victims and these will be added to the growing numbers from previous seasons. Overwhelmed, governments, insurance companies, et al will be helpless as distress spreads and nothing gets repaired fixed or replaced. Systems will collapse.

Most of us will see this in our lifetimes as it has already begun. I've said several times and Darwinian has also just said it, people really should be panicking now. There is very little time left for preparation, if any.

Yeah. But I think my money is on climate change.

$100 oil is causing a lot of suffering in some countries, but is mostly just an inconvenience here. There have been shortages in some parts of the US, but the happy motoring continues, albeit with some griping. Imports keep bailing us out, and despite the financial issues, seem likely to keep bailing us out. We may be addicts buying on credit, but our dealers seem committed to keep supplying us...even if they have to lend us the money. I suspect this will continue a lot longer than many here think. The inertia is incredible in a system this size.

But climate change...there's no escaping it. It will affect everyone. Even those who have carefully planned for peak oil. Alan's beloved electric rail will be underwater. Transition towns may find their permaculture gardens are planned for a climate that no longer exists in their area. Even if you're set up on your own debt-free, solar-powered farm in the boondocks, your carefully saved heirloom seeds will be useless if the climate is not predictable.

Maybe RVs are the answer.

I'm already having a negative permaculture experience. I planted a dozen fruit and nut trees. The erratic weather keeps making them bloom, then a frost kills them. Lost both my pecan trees and got nothing off the rest of them. Right now the warm weather has caused them to set buds in the middle of December.

I think I need a greenhouse.

The argument, Leanan, is a useless one to make. My point is there is nothing we will do about either peak oil or global warming. Behavioral science has taught us that we see what we wish to see and hear what we wish to hear. Sidney J. Harris of the Chicago Sun Times put it this way:

Perhaps the most important advance in the behavioral sciences in our times has been the growing recognition that the perceiver is not just a passive camera taking a picture, but takes an active part in perception. He sees what experience has conditioned him to see. What perceiver then sees what is really there? Nobody of course. Each of us perceives what our past has prepared us to perceive. We select and distinguish, we focus on some objects and relationships and we blur others. We distort objective reality to make it conform to our needs or, our hopes, our fears, our hates, our envies, our affections. Our eyes and brains do not merely register some objective portrait of other persons or groups but our very active scene is warped by what we have been taught to believe, by what we want to believe and by what we need to believe. It is impossible to reason a man out of something he has not been reasoned into. When people have acquired their beliefs on an emotional level they cannot be persuaded out of them on a rational level, no matter how strong the proof or the logic behind it. People will hold onto their emotional beliefs and twist the facts to meet their version of reality.

So prepare to save your own ass because you are not going to save the world. The world will ignore your best arguments and continue its merry way until it is way too late. You might just survive on your homestead but you have damn little chance of surviving otherwise.

Ron Patterson

Not only that, Darwinian, but as Leanan has just posted over at peak oil dot com:

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom...The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.

Shades of old Reg Morrison, eh?

Buh-bye, mitigation.

It's worth quoting him at length:

During the past 200 years our global population has exploded in the same exponential pattern that rodents display during plagues, and if the whole population consumed energy and resources at the same extravagant rate as Americans, Australians, and Western Europeans, our species would need at least four additional (Earth-like) planets to sustain it. Even the present rate of consumption, running at a budget deficit of around 35%, has so altered the flow patterns within Earth’s energy gradient that it has changed the composition of the atmosphere and triggered a mass extinction among our energy competitors—other organisms. As the primary destabilising agent in the biosphere we must therefore expect to undergo precisely the same culling process that curtails exponential growth in all other species.

Reg Morrison, super-doomer (pdf)

For the first five minutes I really thought you meant the Pope said that. Now that woulda been really cool, especially that about humanity as rodents. LOL!

Everybody gets to choose their own version of doom - is it peak oil, or global warming, or overpopulation, or bird flu. My personal favorite is bird flu because for awhile it had more chicken littles running around with their heads cut off than any other (since Y2K). Looks to me that global warming will win though since it is the hardest to prove, so the common man can become an "expert" by reading just a few blogs - no scientific background needed. Humans are so smart that they have not got a consensus on what a molecule of water looks like (look up the controversy yourself). But, we now KNOW what drives the planet. Right.

The link is here.

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.

Somebody call the Irony Police. ;-)

thats been the typical reaction around the net before said threads degrade into religious flame wars.

I've used the "Sixth Sense" analogy*. For most of us, our old way of life is dead, but most of us don't know it and we only see what we want to see.

*Some ghosts don't know they are dead, and they only see what they want to see

You wrongly assume that because people can't be reasoned out of their belief, they will never change their minds.

If that were so than why is our species so good at goading, nagging, advertising, throwing fits, shaming, threatening, ostracizing, bribing, spreading fearful rumors, begging and bitch-slapping (among many other things)???

I find that we are eminently equipped to change minds.

You wrongly assume that because people can't be reasoned out of their belief, they will never change their minds.

George, I don't think I stated that anywhere in anything I have ever written. Of course people change their minds. I have changed my mind hundreds of times. I changed my mind on my brand of toothpaste just last week. But how many Scientific Creationists could you persuade to become an atheist?

The extent one can change his or her mind on anything is totally dependent on the emotional depth in which that opinion is held. Nagging, begging and bribing may change one's mind on what type of car to buy but not one's world view. That includes one's religion, philosophy of life and view as to what kind of world our children will inherit. "Why that world will be better than the one we inherited of course."

Try nagging on that one and see how much success you have.

Ron Patterson

Re: But how many Scientific Creationists could you persuade to become atheist?

I use to be a fundamentalist Christian. It took me until I was 26 years old and in college to finally figure out it was all wrong. That was 40 years ago. I decided I was an atheist. People are born into a religion/worldview that is very difficult to escape, even for those of above average intelligence. Indoctrination works. For average people it's too much to grasp that their whole view of the world is wrong. Once a belief system is established, the mind resists change. I see it here on TOD. The doomers are convinced they have it figured out right and those who see another way are delusional. The anti ethanol crowd ignores all information that contradicts it's beliefs, even when the errors are obvious (to me anyway). Global warming types think that warming will be bad for everyone, when it is obvious to me that there will be many beneficiaries. And so it goes.

There's nothing scientific about Creation (in the Biblical sense). ;)

I would further point out that even abject defeatism like Ron's is employed as a way to change behaviour.

This is how I experienced it: "You, son, will break your mother's heart. It's as sure as I'm standing on two legs. And there's nothing anybody can do about it. It's as if it's already happened. It's horribly sad but it can't be changed. Awful to think about what you are going to do to me!!"

And yet, here we are, many decades later. The old lady's ticker is intact and keeps on ticking.

Darwinian I agree with the quote from the newspaper that you can only pull people over to oyur opinion if you use the emotional argument which is about all I use anyway, comparisons and such as it is all that really works on people's minds and hearts. Create a compelling picture of reality, a new myth, that replaces the old compelling picture or myth. Logic will follow that. I never much held to logical thought anyway, it is too overrated. Emotional ranting is also a total waste. You gotta get in the other guys shoes and turn him 180 degrees. If you can't understand someone you will neve rbe able to help them. Anyway I'm preaching again.

Feel, Felt, Found.

I know how you Feel,
I Felt the same way,
But I found,

This is one of the best sales/persusion techniques.

If you can develop it, work it into the conversation it works well.

Objection: "There's lots of Oil, Saudi Arabia...."

I know how you Feel Joe, I Felt the same way, I mean they have been pumping millions of barrels since.... It would seem they will always have it. But I Found by studying the facts on Saudi Arabia(for instance) that they may well have peaked.

Believe me if you practice this, you will have good results. The first part is to empathesize with them, state their opinion for them, make them Feel like you are on their side. Then, now that you have your arm around their shoulder so to speak, Say, I Felt the same way. State how YOU once believed that way. Now, you turn the corner and say, BUT I FOUND... Now you show them how YOU changed your mind.

After 4 years of Direct Door to Door sales, (along time ago) I know it and other simple techniques work.


More like:

I know you feel Muhammand (Islamic Extremist),
I Felt the same way,
But then I discovered (Christianity, Judaism, etc).

Do you think he will:
A. Kill you dead on the spot
B. Merely beat you inches from your life,
C. Enslave you for being an infidel
D. Envite you over for dinner to have a discussion.

This is the same with energy, nobody wants to believe that they can't consume all the oil their hearts desire. You might as well try to convince a Devoted Muslim to become Jewish. You'll probably have more success than convincing the average western to change or the dangers that decline energy resource will have on the future.

"Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western."
--Blues Brothers

In addition, we are already well past overshoot, Its not possible to feed 6.5 Billion Humans, using Permaculture or maintain true sustainable civilization. The bottom line, is that the Worlds population is going to undergo a major chop, whether your willing to accept that, is irrelivent.

Behavioral science has taught us that we see what we wish to see and hear what we wish to hear.

A finding that applies to you as well. It's interesting to note what you've previously said about the highlights the IEA publishes regarding its oil market report:

"Nothing is more important or interesting that the latest world oil production numbers"

And yet when you posted the "highlights" yesterday, you seemed utterly uninterested in the world oil production number, and instead picked out the following as the point of interest:

"OECD industry stocks fell by 22.4 mb in October"

Why are the latest world oil production numbers suddenly no longer the most important and interesting thing? Surely not because the fact that they set a second consecutive monthly record for production undermines your deeply-held beliefs regarding the inevitability of doom?

Unfortunately, that's what it looks like. In light of that, it very much appears that your insistence that doom is inevitable is nothing more than a profession of your faith in that doom, rather than having been objectively and rationally derived from the available data.

i.e., that you believe it does not make it true. No matter how strong your belief.


(Before anyone responds with a snide "so I guess there's no problem then?", think carefully about what I have and have not said.)

Pitt, since I have been posting on TOD, two years now, I have never encountered a more nonsensical reply to one of my posts. I posted:

"Nothing is more important or interesting that the latest world oil production numbers"

Then I copied and pasted from the IEA's Highlighted from the latest Oil Market Report.

"OECD industry stocks fell by 22.4 mb in October"

And you somehow see a contradiction here? Good God man, just where in the hell do you get off? World production numbers are still the most interesting data to me. I understand that OPEC has increased production. I understand that Saudi has increased production but so far, according to OPEC's own data, over 40,000 bp/d less than they promised.

And, using the latest EIA numbers, September crude oil production was 800,000 bp/d less than the May 2005 production numbers. When the data comes in for October and November, a new record may be set. But so far that has not happened.

But I have stated over and over and over again, that the important thing is that we are on the peak plateau right now! And you know that to be a fact Pitt because you have questioned me on that exact same point.

Pitt, we are at the peak of world production right now and we have been there for three years! Write that down Pitt, so you do not forget it in the future.

Ron Patterson

And you somehow see a contradiction here?

Where did you get the idea I saw a contradiction? What I actually said was that your focus appears to shift based on what data says what you want to hear.

When the total production number confirms your belief that doom is nigh, you push that number as "the most important and interesting". When that number undercuts your belief, you ignore it and pick out the "stocks falling" number, even though it's not interesting at all - stocks are at their 5-year average, and pretty much always fall at this time of year.

I'm not saying there's a contradiction; I'm saying that you're so intent on your belief that you're seeing only the evidence you want to see.

But I have stated over and over and over again, that the important thing is that we are on the peak plateau right now! And you know that to be a fact Pitt because you have questioned me on that exact same point.

I "know that to be a fact" because I've questioned you on it?

If I question something, that doesn't mean I agree with it; indeed, it's more likely that I find it, what's the word, questionable.

we are at the peak of world production right now and we have been there for three years!

Really? Let's check that:

Nov 04: 84.4Mb/d
Nov 07: 86.5Mb/d

0.7Mb/d yearly growth is not much of a plateau.

Unless you're claiming that oil supply won't grow any more. From what I've seen, though, you've been claiming that for quite some time, so I don't see why I should start believing you now.

There is not enough evidence of a peak to state it with the certainty that you do. If it turns out that you're wrong, that oil supply in 2008 is higher than in 2007 (which in turn is virtually guaranteed to be higher than 2006, by IEA numbers), will you re-evaluate the basis by which you make claims? Or will you simply ignore data that doesn't fit your beliefs?

I'm hoping the former, although I note that you're already ignoring several predictions of yours that've proved to be wrong, such as the inability of OPEC to add anything near to their promised 0.5Mb/d.

You're a lot more valuable to people here if you're willing to learn from your mistakes.

It's going to be a tough race to call. I figure peak oil will win the doomathon, unless climate change can pull off a big tipping point sooner than expected (i.e. Greenland's glaciers aren't going to melt, they'll going to slide into the North Atlantic). Either way, either the survivors of peak oil are going to have a tough time dealing with climate change or the survivors of climate change are going to have a tough time dealing with peak oil.

either the survivors of peak oil are going to have a tough time dealing with climate change or the survivors of climate change are going to have a tough time dealing with peak oil.

Peak oil may mitigate the problem for many survivors of climate change.

Which is to say, the non-human ones. For them, climate change without peak oil might be the worst of all worlds.

'I used to think PO would be a more immediate problem than climate change. Now I'm not sure.'

I told you so! :)

I have been saying the same thing since I began posting on TOD...I received a bunch of flack for my comments then...But I still believe that PO will be overwhelmed by the phenomena of GW...And it does not matter a whit what is causing GW...I became so disgusted with the discussion yesterday that I easily found a better use for my time.

There are many tripping points (call them tipping points if you like) along the path to GW that we do not yet have a clue about. By the time we discover them GW will be well under way and no amount of 'cutting back on FF use' will stop more cascading tripping points.

If it makes people feel better that they are attempting to do something to forestall GW then by all means build some electric trains, sequester some CO2, demand that scrubbers be placed on all coal burning plants, buy a $10K electric bike, etc. Personally, I think all that is a waste of time. Read Gaia, and the GW predictions and suggestions of James Lovelock and go party while time remains...do your favorite activity as if there were no tomorrow because soon there might not be a tomorrow that we will recognize or be able to enjoy. What if Lovelock is wrong? Well, wouldnt you rather live a life as if each day were your last than sitting around like a lot of children arguing about why GW is happening?

I agree with you... it is happening faster than anyone forecast even a few short years ago. I tell my children to spend some time looking at pictures of the artic, before it disappears. They say, right Dad, it's like the oil running out. They may not believe it right now, but the seeds are there for them to understand later.

Speaking of seeds, the film "The Future of Food" opens up another worrisome topic. It's a well-researched and troubling look at another fragile system that we depend on. It's a worthwhile education to watch this film, and be able to understand why GMO foods are dangerous.

Kurt Liebezeit
Portland, OR

After watching it i realized that if neither peak oil or climate change gets us our own tinkering with the pandora's box of nature will.

I'm much more worried about the climate.

There will be plenty of money, and hence activity, to be made in ameliorating effects of peak oil.

After all, aren't we talking about 1995 levels of oil production in 2025 or so? That isn't zero, and there are alternatives for most things other than aircraft.

In developed countries there will be much more reliance on electrical grid and that isn't oil powered.

Climate will affect so much more, and eventually hit much, much harder.

I hadn't read Drum Beat for a week but I know we got into that stuff on HOs contribution a day or two ago and I got to thinking that very independent minded people are the kinds who pioneer opposition to the mainstream sheeple opinion as we do here at TOD but that some people have it in their nature that they do not know when to stop. In other words when PO is the mainstream opinion they will start attacking it or something similar just to be outsiders just as they are now doing to GW, whereas before maybe they could have cared less about the topic. It is a sort of spiteful elitism. Am I right here?

This psychology could explain some of the opposition to GW mainstream opinion despite apparent common sense truth of the topic from otherewise "rational" PO activists with high intellectual quality and an independent antiauthority streak like Wakefield.

Mainers have a term for it called 'Cussedness'

as in,
'He's so darned cussed and contrary, if I heard he'd fallen in the river and drowned, I'd look for the body UPstream!'

I do suspect you are right that there's a trait that makes some number of us inclined to oppose the current 'consensus', maybe just as one of our species' acquired 'checks and balances' to keep a little pressure against the prevailing winds.


Drop the funny accent and you Maine folk could pass as Iowans with folksy wisdom like that :-)

I want to know how much coal we really have left. That will determine whether we should worry about AGW.

Hey, fellow TODers!

I am test-driving a Zap Xebra electric utility truck in the cold weather here in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

So far the little three-wheeler handles well on ice and snow. It weighs 1700 pounds with those batteries positioned low, so that helps.

I find the cab to be more like a tiny cockpit (think aircraft). I have to climb in with care, but have worked that out. Once inside, the cab is comfortable, even in the 0-15 degree (F) weather we've been having.

Speaking of this, if any of you have suggestions on the best treatment for batteries in cold weather, or sites that would help, I'm all ears!

I've been keeping the Zap plugged in even at job sites as go from one client's house to another. I figure that this helps to keep the batteries warm in the extreme cold.

Is it a good idea to try to thaw the batteries just a bit by parking in a warmed garage? I could heat my insulated garage up a little to do so -- good idea, or bad?

It sure is good for my achy body to be able to load up 200+ pounds of tools and equipment on the little Zap rather than pedaling through the ice, snow, and cold with it. I have more energy for the jobs and can get to more places in a day if need be.

I'll still use a cargo trike at times, but the electric vehicle seems good right now.

BTW, it looks like UPS is going to use some Zap vehicles!


Hello Beggar,

Kudos to you! I would mention to the various EV dealers that you have a huge multi-thousand following on TOD and that your final purchase decision is akin to a huge product endorsement. You might be able to get a slight discount, and the promise of fast parts and repair service [if required], by mentioning the future postings you will do on their product that will be read by the massive TOD membership.

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

Thanks, Bob.

Actually the dealer in my area and I have known of each other for some time, and yes, there is some consideration being given for my visibility with the Zap vehicle and logo scooting around neighborhoods where I work.

As time goes by, I'd like to write another article for our local little newspaper (not the Mpls Star & Trib) about the transition from pedaling to electric vehicle.

Additionally, I do intend to keep TOD "posted" as to how things are working out!

wow, so Big Brown has a pilot program using electric vehicles in California...42 vehicles, so not that impressive YET, but still...as a retired UPS'er I'm aware that they have had similar pilot programs using a variety of alternative fuel sources for at least 30 years. Good to know that at least some of our large institutions acknowledge that may be confronted with 'change or die' and at least are going to try to change. Whether or not they will be nimble enough to still be providing door-to-door package delivery in another 25 years is debatable...but I wouldn't bet against it.

Beggar and others...Before you run out and buy a Zap or Zap stock check out their financials...


Earning/Share = $ -0.67 ...yes, minus

Market Cap = $ 50.4 Million

Return on Eq = -947.04 ...yes, minus

Total Shares Out = 57.04 Million

PE = N/A ??? You can do the math :)

Be sure to check out the Zapp Intraday Chart...Resembles a flat line on an ER heart monitor. The 52 week high is $1.46 low $68. Looks like Friday close was $.88...Perhaps someone should take the pulse of Zapp? Do they come with recesitation electrodes?

I would as soon take a flyer on Ford common trading at around $6.90...at least Ford has a name that is recoginized around the world and with a little luck the Chinese might tender an offer that could make a bit of pocket change for us po folk...just sayin'...

Earning/Share = $ -0.67 ...yes, minus

Market Cap = $ 50.4 Million

How is that particularly different from any other startup company?

You wouldn't expect a store to turn a profit immediately, thanks to the cost of renovation/inventory/permits/etc., so this kind of "spend early to earn later" approach shouldn't be that surprising.

According to the Zap website, the Saudis recently purchased a fair-size chunk of Zap stock.

I figure if I get the rig, I can figure out how to keep it running over the years -- if it is possible to get wires, batteries, and that sort of thing. I am a "hands-on" learner myself.

But you are right that it is good to check these things out.

Despite following energy consumption for a long time, I find it difficult to see where it all goes.
From the constellation Energy article.

online by June 2011. It will produce 545 megawatts or roughly enough to power half a million homes.

This will vary with every story about any new power source going online. Since this is gas say power factor is 90%..

So it looks like they say 1Kw of installed energy will power 1 home. But say PA has only about 12 million people, which let us say is roughly 5- 6 million households. They would then need only 6,000 MW installed capacity, but PA has atleast 49,000 MW electric gen capacity.( approx 4kw per person)

I have read elsewhere that home use is 25% . but not sure if it is energy or electricity. Where does the 75% go?

OK throw in the malls, the offices, and industry, but still....where does it go.
Usage in PA is in kwh - 12 million kwh. for all sectors.

Generation is 18 million kwh.sep 07

Nameplate capacity/ summer capacity is 45,000 MW

Hello TODers,

The SE Drought does not appear to be getting better:


The Water War in the courts and governors' offices is also becoming increasingly contentious. I would suggest the SE needs to start examining and planning for dire regional scenarios. IMO, a massive regional Peak Outreach program is called for to help precondition appropriate behavioral changes. The sentiment expressed by this Atlanta author is dangerous:

I gotta tell you this drought brings some real eccentrics into the news. No thanks, I’ll not take 5-gallon showers with water collected from the roof or dry shave or brush without water.

FEMA, following the mandate outlined in its mission statement, needs to jumpstart sequential migration to the Great Lakes or other water-plentiful areas--recall my earlier posting.

I also hope that the SE's scientists and engineers are evaluating my SpiderWebRiding ideas integratively combined with windturbines, windcatcher architecture, and seawater greenhouses to help provide additional SE freshwater and bulk NPK and food movement above dire societal Liebig Minimums to reduce the coming Overshoot violence. For any TOD newbies:


Nothing is more dangerous to a civlization's resiliency than extreme water shortages--Tainterian cascading blowbacks scale rapidly-- radical measures are therefore justified to induce early re-equilibration to provide adequate safety supplies above deadzone deadpools.

I would suggest the SE needs to double, triple, or quadruple water-pricing now to force conservation because I am not sure enough water-tanker rigs exist to provide minimal hand-carried water-jug movement in every neighborhood if things get really bad. My feeble two cents.

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

I wouldn't worry much about that columnist for the AJC. He is just a water-carrier for the far right. Too bad he only carries water in a rhetorical sense and not in a physical sense. A reader had a funny comment:

So you don’t want to bathe in swill? Too bad, Columnist Man, ‘cause starting in three weeks that’s what it will have come down to. That, and brownouts and rationing and evacuations and absurdly exhorbitant energy and water buys and a host of other measures. There’ll be panic, too, and gouging. So stock up on bottled water and purifiers and fair-priced D-cells while you can, because ain’t no way your newspaper is going to tell you this. The disinterested newspaper of record is too interested in letting the Empty Suit twist from the flagpole to give a damn about its readership. No, the DNC-AJC has a good thing going, and they’re not going to mess it up by bringing attention to the severity of the problem. After all, drought is God’s solution to the problem of a Republican interloper in the Governor’s Mansion.

What is interesting is that here in Virginia, we have had lots of rain as of late. The kinds of slow steady rain that tend to soak in rather than the huge thunderstorms where the water runs off right away. About 3-1/2 inches so far this month. And they are calling for more tonight - possibly over an inch, in fact, and according to the Weather Channel, there will be rain over the entire SouthEast.

I believe we are still in drought conditions - the drought map for VA hasn't changed much at all in recent weeks, but these things do all add up.

The only thing that bugs me about the rain is that I don't like riding my bicycle in the rain, but under the circumstances I won't complain very much.

Hello TODers,

I have posted on these following items before, as I have used them both with excellent water-conservation results:

The solar shower quickly gets the water way too hot in the Az summer sunshine--I had to cut it with cooler temp water to safely take a shower:


I would imagine this device would work just as well in the SE. I would hope FEMA has stockpiled millions for SE distribution when the drought and electrical blackouts curtails tapwater pressurization. The societal ability to take and enjoy a brief, but hot shower can do much to forestall violence.

Next link for portable toilets:


The portable toilet can be used in the home for massive watersaving, and to help precondition people for the inevitable move to municipal humanure and composting for organic NPK recovery. Most houses have easily accessible sewer cleanout ports to empty these camping toilets. If high water prices act as the societal stick, these toilets can be issued as the societal carrot. IMO, FEMA issuing these in the SE would be the single greatest water-conservation move, and it might prevent most sewage overflows into people's houses when the sewage pumps cannot be run with electricity.

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

Hello TODers,

Many predict that our govts will be ineffective postPeak; Kunstler says they won't even be able to answer the phone.

The following is a link to my Asphalt Wonderland's Sanitary Sewage Overflows [SSOs] and their current plans:

SSOs tend to occur when certain relatively unusual events happen in combination to cause sewers to overflow, which could back up into homes, businesses or into streets or watercourses.
I saw nothing that outlined a non-FF, no electricity postPeak strategy for sewage handling. Therefore, to avoid the Zimbabwe situation: I think it is important for each neighborhood to identify their sewage runs and valving so that the postPeak network can be shutoff before SSOs occur.

It would be no fun to have a house completely paid for, but unliveable because your neighbors uphill refuse to stop flushing. I am assuming each city has a detailed map for civilian download--I recommend you download your city's copy before you cannot. An active neighborhood community, practising full humanure recycling, should be easily able to close valves and/or pour concrete into the system to divert the flow before a sewage catastrophe.

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

When tapwater pressure goes fire hydrant
pressure goes. Drinking water can be moved
in containers, firefighting water does not work
so well that way. If city water goes to low/no
pressure that is evacuation time.

Welcome to post-Katrina New Orleans.

Several weeks immersion in salt water, 2 of 4 pumps working, ground shifts that cracked lines, more than 2/3rds of the water leaking out (fortunately our water & sewage systems were designed for surge volumes during Mardi Gras). Tanker trucks and helicopter delivery (water from Mississippi River) managed to give minimal fire protection, especially in the flooded areas.

Thank God for the French, who VERY quickly rebuilt 7 fire stations (FEMA has rebuilt just over half of the others to date).

Best Hopes for Atlanta,


Atlanta should have functioning fire stations
but no handy Mississippi or Ponchartrain for
tankers. Also the fuel and the atmosphere are
much drier than NOLA.

We can't know how this one will play out. My
guess is the scenarios being discussed here
would lead to a difficult chaotic evac.

The resources provided by the sensible French
and active citizens such as yourself will be
stretched very thin

To provide Atlanta’s pop 5 million with manual water distribution would be quite a task. 2 gallons per day per person is 10 million gallons or 2000 tanker loads of 5000 gallons. A 21 ton tanker load of water distributed at 4 gallons per minute would require nearly 21 hours. Of course that would require everyone to queue up and remain calm.

This is only for perspective reality is quite another thing.

I gotta tell you this drought brings some real eccentrics into the news. No thanks, I’ll not take 5-gallon showers with water collected from the roof or dry shave or brush without water.

Here in South-East Queensland, we're all being encouraged to use 140L per person, per day, that's how bad it's getting. We're actually doing quite well, with an average use of 130L pppd. Showeres are encouraged to be 4 minutes or less.

These posts about the drought in the South East US it seems drought is only relative. Looking up the NCDC site it seems that all the South East states recieved about 30 inches of rain so far this year. What the South West would give for that. It just seems a management problem.

You mean Georgia should start looking like desert Nevada/Arizona?

With a population density to match?

Will you try to say that again, maybe some other way?

It took me a second, but now I'm really astonished to hear it. Particularly with your Handle.

Yes.. it's relative.. but Apples are only distantly related to Oranges. What you need to relate their water situation to is not a desert region, but their own region in a 'Typified' year. The vegetation and water tables are the overriding 'management system', not to say that many planners in the SE haven't apparently dropped the ball with the development schemes.. but they are getting kicked in the head by this situation.. it's not like they could be as comfortable as Tempe' if they just 'handled things better'..

I have to imagine it just came out wrong..


I live in the Atlanta area, and you are right, we still get a lot of rain.

Our problem is that we and our vegetation are geared to use more.

If I remember correctly, about half of our water is used by power plants. We are also are sharing water with Alabama and Florida, and also they have power plants.

Irrigation is another big user of water. I don't see a lot of crops around here, but when I do, it seems like they are irrigated. Traveling south in the state you see quite a bit of irrigation also. It may be with the warmer temperatures, more water is needed. Also, if there has been a history of having enough water, people plant crops that need lots of water.

People like nice green lawns, and until the rules were changed, watered quite a bit.

One vegetation is mostly trees, and they are accustomed to more water. Some trees are looking like they won't make it.

about half of our water is used by power plants.

are the power plants hydro or thermal? what is the total output of these power plants?

Power plants do not use much water, and what is used goes for evaporation, but they must have a flow rate sufficient for cooling.

The use in the system is water extracted and then used in such a fashion that it evaporates or ends up as ground water rather than returning to the watershed system.

I found some good quotes int hearticles Leanan posted:


The United States must also be the leader, not the laggard, in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We must embrace the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and then go well beyond it. We must lead the world with a man-on-the-moon effort to improve energy efficiency and to commercialize clean, alternative technologies. We must implement an ambitious national cap-and-trade system to cut our fossil fuel consumption dramatically and negotiate an equally ambitious and binding global agreement to get others, most urgently China and India, to follow us into a sustainable-energy future. I have developed these ideas in detail in my energy plan, which environmental groups agree is the most ambitious plan presented by any presidential candidate.

Yes of course this is politically impossible because we have left it so late, and by politically impossible I do of course mean economically impossible. And by economically impossible I do of course mean that most of the monied elite will fight such a vision with all of their usual vigour, and the inexpertise of their bought and paid for Ph.D's. This latter group, and their ilk in the media, having on their conscience the denial of the link between tobacco smoke and cancer, fossil fuels and climate change, and geology and peak energy. Because of the fact that their denial is courting our annihilation, and is therefore the very definition of nihilistic, I here today coin the following term for them all: 'The Denihilists' (Jeff Berg TM ;-)

We need to look at the simplicity and logics of the problem. The solution is not to have a large behemoth of a corporation control the flow of energy, but to give energy consumption to individuals (identified as "consumers" in capitalist society) in the context of their communities via self contained transducer units. Converting wind and solar energy into electric energy, where the system is built into each household. That is the solution. Large grid power stations are social ecologically outdated dinosaurs.

Today and in the immediate future, energy costs will soar due to the limited availability and large demand for oil. Fossil fuels drive the World economy, as well as the energy market. Demand has risen exponentially while supplies have begun to dry up. The fact that new reserves have not been found should sound alarm bells for most people. Add the thought of peak oil and the picture becomes much clearer.

Great Stuff there.

Schwarzenegger Will 'Declare Fiscal Emergency' In Weeks

Schwarzenegger made the announcement Friday after meeting with lawmakers and interest groups this week to tell them California's budget deficit is worse -- far worse -- than economists predicted just a few weeks ago.

The shortfall is not $10 billion, but more than $14 billion -- a 40 percent jump that would put it in orbit with some of the state's worst fiscal crisis, those who have met with him said

Guess that housing crash is putting a choker hold on the tax revenue, Arnie?

Florida next.

Florida is already in a choke hold but the politicians (a large number were formerly in real estate) are as busy as cats in a sandbox. We recently received notice that our water/sewage bill will increase 5 1/2% next year and there will be more 'user fees' because of large tax shortfalls...Lots of shoes to drop yet.

Meanwhile, upstairs on the Hill..

"Congress approves stopgap funds to avert shutdown"

"By the time the budget bill reaches Bush's desk, it could include as much as $70 billion more for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and without Iraq troop withdrawal timetables many Democrats insisted on all year.

Pelosi said she had miscalculated in thinking Republicans would begin abandoning the nearly five-year-old Iraq war. But party liberals have long complained that their leaders should take a stronger stand against the war, an issue they think gave them their majorities in the House and Senate in last November's elections."

Call to relax Basel banking rules

The regulations meant that banks forced to take off-balance sheet assets from troubled structured investment vehicles on to their books had little choice but either to raise money from abroad or cut back dramatically on their spending, he said.

He warned that, if London's money markets remained frozen and the authorities retain the strict Basel regulations, the full scale of the eventual credit crunch and economic slump could be "disastrous".

Presumably, the Basel rules were put in place to maintain capital and therefore solvency. Removing them would therefore allow banks to reduce capital and increase the risk of insolvency. Considering the current economic environment, that sounds like suicide.

Hello TODers,

Sounds like some Chem. Engs. could make a fortune by developing a cheap process to remove cadium and other toxic heavy metals from mined phosphates:

But he yesterday warned that a national cadmium strategy should be developed "to mitigate future risks" – including the fact that some farmland would be classed as contaminated if it were subdivided for homes.

The main medical risk for excessive levels of cadmium absorbed through food is thought to be stomach ailments and kidney damage, though some overseas studies have tentatively linked high cadmium levels with breast cancer.
If parents are already upset over lead paint in toys, the prospect of pumping a lifetime of toxic metals into their youngsters could be a huge international issue soon. I bet the Health & Life Insurance Companies are already jacking up premiums faster than I can hunt & peck on my keyboard.

The mothers cry as their babies die....

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

Cadmium is a resource if you can corral it - makes nice electrodes for electrolysis. Probably not the best thing to use give all of the advances, but it isn't a throw away material.

"Cad-plated" screws and bolts and fasteners are common in military electronics and stuff, industrial too, I think the only sector that doesn't use them is household goods, they'll zinc plate stuff or paint it or chrome plate it.

That and artists' colors (paints, watercolors) are the two big sources of cadmium normal people are likely to be in close contact with.

My point about the rain in the South East US is that even in extreme drought their rainfall figures were about the same as the Northern US and average for most of England. They should be able to manage with that. Besides to read most of the postings on it you would think that Georgia has become Arizona.

Where did you hear the drought-stricken areas were getting 30" of rain? Here's a quote from the drought report:

Many locations in the Southeast are on pace to have the all-time driest year on record, with many stations having histories back to the 1880 time period. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is currently 30.37 inches below normal precipitation for the year.

The absolute amount of rain isn't the only factor. Soil type and evaporation play a huge role, as does the type of vegegation. There are parts of the Pacific Northwest that get less than 20" of rain a year and do fine, because it is cool and overcast so much of the year. When it is sunny and hot, and you have poor soil, much of the moisture from rain is lost. Wells in rural North Carolina are going dry. That's not a management problem (though what is happening around Atlanta certainly has management as a large part of the problem).

I spent ages 14 to 21 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Normal rainfall is about 53.57 inches (& 0.6 inches of snow, I guessed 55 inches, another source said 54.99"), so -30.37 inches leaves about 23.2 inches of rain. Hardly desert conditions, but a change.


Just a short update report Alan; I was talking to a fellow working on the signal lights for the U.P. RR today while in town and he told me they would finish the last segment of the double track on the section between El Paso, and Tucson By the end of Feb. I mentioned that I thought that it was D.T. all the way to L.A. and he said that there were some short segments between Tucson and S.D. That's when I remembered that S.D was the terminal point. Anyway he said they would be working on them after they finished this segment here. One of the fellows working on the signals mentioned that when it was finished that they would be running over a hundred trains a day through here, the fellow who I think was the forman said he didn't think it was that high, more like 80 or 90. even at 80 trains a day, that's going to be a lot of horn blowing going on in town. Glad I live out here in the country. -:)

the old hermit

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

Thanks ! :-)

And this line has minimal coal, and LOTS of containers I believe.

Also a single track spur from Tuscon to Phoenix.

More than 100 trains/day will be required to replace I-10 truck traffic. And you will likely see them.

Increasing grade separation should be a good next step for this line. At the halfway double track mark, average train speeds had increased by 60% (from memory). Close to doubling when finished I suspect.

Best Hopes for increased railroad capacity and speeds.


Around here, in D4 country, an old farmer's saying is that in the summer, you aren't ever more than a week away from drought. Summer temps often get above body temp here!

Go here


Set to conus, Year to date, normal, observed.

Hello TODers,

Inputs, impact, income

So what is the forecast for future fertilizer costs?

Fertilizer-related expenses will continue increasing for the foreseeable future. Supplies of nitrogen, phosphates and potash will remain tight as world-wide demand for these fertilizers remains strong, according to the Fertilizer Institute.
We could be entering an recession [depression?] picture where FFs go down some in price due to financial blowbacks, but food prices just keep rising and rising. Recall the many earlier TODer posts where some NPK is already severely allocated or Unobtainium in some areas.

I wonder if the NPK supply chain is already so tight that if lots of suburban people suddenly started inorganic gardening that this effect would lead to drastically lower industrial farming harvest yields?

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

Has anyone noticed that pork is becoming much more expensive and at times, totally gone?

I went to order some baby-back ribs tonight from a local BBQ and they no longer serve them. Also, pork chops at the grocery store are much more pricey than just 6 months ago. I am guessing this is related to cost of corn due to ethanol production which in turn makes pigs expensive since they feed on corn unless someone else has a different theory.

Maybe pigs really can fly? :)

Actually, this is interesting.

It seems that the baby-back ribs sold in the US have been imported from one of the Scandenavian countries. Look it up. Try to prove I'm a liar, just to keep things honest around here, I don't even trust myself so why should you?


With a worthless US dollar, it may not be possible to import them into the US any more,

Start raising pigs, if you can.

Spoken like a man who has never been nude to the waist on a -20F Iowa night with his arms in icy water up to the pits holding a part on the inside of a tank while someone else turned a wrench from the other side.

That was twenty six years ago and I still kick that water tank every time I walk by it, just to make sure its dead. My father is five years gone and its now safe to admit that the leaking that got it retired later that winter was not entirely corrosion :-)


Moral: Don't raise pigs in a tank full of freezing water.

An energy bill to make 10 percent of the nation's fuel from renewable sources is expected to increase ethanol usage seven times, three times as much ethanol from grain and a new category cellulosic ethanol for the remainder. Since cellulosic ethanol was very expensive, it has not been produced commercially. This measure is cost prohibitive, a cash burner. If corn prices doubled when two billion bushels of corn were taken and made into ethanol, what will happen to food prices if four billion more bushels of corn will be taken for ethanol production? Such a law might require massive imports of corn in a world hungry for grain. The energy bill does not solve the problem of excessive energy use and it creates a scenario that might lead to a worldwide great depression. FDR wrote about the great depression of the 30's, "...a third of the nation are hungry."

If corn prices doubled when two billion bushels of corn were taken and made into ethanol, what will happen to food prices if four billion more bushels of corn will be taken for ethanol production?

Yeah. But more importantly, there are them votes to be won in Iowa.

It's a wonderful life. Isn't it?

It seems that the baby-back ribs sold in the US have been imported from one of the Scandenavian countries. Look it up. Try to prove I'm a liar, just to keep things honest around here, I don't even trust myself so why should you?

"U.S. pork exports are forecast to achieve a historic high of just over 1.4 million tons in 2007."

The problem appears to be high feed prices pressuring producers.

With a worthless US dollar, it may not be possible to import them into the US any more

Don't be silly. The US imported $2T of stuff this year; why would pork be any different?

More importantly, how would it be any different? I can still exchange dollars for euros and renminbi, so basically any pork in the world can be bought for enough US$. A small drop in exchange rate doesn't make imports impossible to obtain, just more expensive.

Not in NYC or NJ.

Perhaps the readers here on Apocalypse-Beat might be interested in today's Bloggingheads installment ("Science Saturday") with Peter Ward of UofW, talking about mass extinctions:


Of note is Dr. Ward's discussion of how the science of extinctions has moved on from impacts to basalt flows, but the popular media have yet to catch up.

From "Peak Oil Passnotes: On the Cusp"

"For regular readers of this column, you will realise that this is the start of an explanation as to why we predicted crude oil would be $66.60 at Christmas. But - as well as begging the readers’ forgiveness - when these events fail to repeat, we can be sure something new is afoot."

That something new is:

1. The regular draw down in price for this time of year isn't happening.
2. According to the article current high prices are structural in nature -- not speculative.
3. If crude oil prices do not retreat significantly at this time of year it is a clear indication that at least the run up to peak oil is nigh.
4. Consequences include recession coupled with high inflation and high oil prices -- stagflation.

According to the article continued high oil prices in the face of a global economic downturn is a clear indication of peak oil.

Seems a growing number of analysts are finally waking up. Hopefully it's not too late.

Best wishes to all concerned.


No More Solar & Wind Tax Breaks… Thanks Congress

If you were to substitute a variety such as Monty’s Surprise in place of a ’supermarket’ commercial variety, you would receive 3.4 times the amount of phenolics in the skin and 5.9 times the amount in the flesh. Hence one Monty’s Surprise apple a day would be comparable to eating at least four modern apples...... 10. At the very least, future breeding programmes for new varieties of food plants should include as a pre-eminent selection criteria, the levels of health-promoting beneficial compounds in the varieties selected.