DrumBeat: December 28, 2007

Minister slams Russian grab for Serb oil monopoly

A Russian bid to gain control of Serbia's NIS oil monopoly for 400 million euros ($588.4 million) is indecent and unacceptable as far as the Economy Ministry is concerned, Minister Mladjan Dinkic said on Friday.

Lesson of 2007: Don't take our way of life for granted

Oil reached $98 a barrel by November. Conservatives thought that the market alone might easily correct the problem. Yet they are starting to see in the meantime that petrol-rich, anti-American dictatorships, flush with American cash, won't be so patient with us.

Liberals claim that we won't have to find and burn far more of our own oil and coal, or build nuclear plants. But they are learning that for now that would only make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and the House of Saud even happier.

Canada: Securities regulators enact changes to oil and gas disclosure standard

The Canadian Securities Administrators have enacted changes to the oil and gas industry disclosure standard known as National Instrument 51-101.

The revisions relate to requirements for disclosure of resources and modify annual filing requirements.

Sudan's Central Bank opts for euro

The Central Bank of Sudan will deal only in the euro beginning in 2008 and advised local commercial banks to opt for convertible currencies other than the U.S. dollar.

Oil-rich Kirkuk vote, upheaval delayed

The official Kurdish OK to delay a vote on the future of oil-rich Kirkuk has given Iraq more time to deal with a powder keg of an issue.

Iraqi oil delegation in Iran

-- Iraqi oil officials and business leaders are in Iran for a weeklong dialogue on future cooperation as cross-country oil trade continues.

Iran and Iraq are in the last stages of moving forward on a pipeline sending crude from Iraq to Iranian refineries and potentially a pipeline sending fuel back to Iraq.

EU goes Russian nuclear

After the EU gave its approval for the Russian-Bulgarian agreement on building a nuclear power plant in the small Bulgarian town of Belene on the bank of the Danube, the two countries are in the starting blocks waiting for the main treaty to be signed in late January 2008.

GE Money will finance solar projects

California-based Solar Power Inc. announced GE Money will provide solar financing services.

Yes! Solar Solutions stores, owned by Solar Power Inc., will be able to offer financing for their products and services from GE Money, a unit of General Electric Co., the Roseville, Calif., firm announced Wednesday.

Solar Cell Production Jumps 50 Percent in 2007

Production of photovoltaics (PV) jumped to 3,800 megawatts worldwide in 2007, up an estimated 50 percent over 2006. At the end of the year, according to preliminary data, cumulative global production stood at 12,400 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million U.S. homes. Growing by an impressive average of 48 percent each year since 2002, PV production has been doubling every two years, making it the world’s fastest-growing energy source.

Platts - Top 10 oil industry stories of the year: the results are in

1) Oil soars, reaches close to $100 for WTI: 1,159 points, 53 first place votes.

2) Spare capacity dwindles, supply/demand balance tightens; Peak Oil theory gets more attention: 980 pts, 45 1st place

3) Major oil companies report declining production: 842 pts, 25 1st place

See also The Top Ten: What Was Missing

The trouble with trade

While the United States has long imported oil and other raw materials from the third world, we used to import manufactured goods mainly from other rich countries like Canada, European nations and Japan.

But recently we crossed an important watershed: We now import more manufactured goods from the third world than from other advanced economies. That is, a majority of our industrial trade is now with countries that are much poorer than we are and that pay their workers much lower wages.

Farm groups say energy prices, not ethanol, driving food costs higher

Consumers may have paid a little more for their holiday meals this Christmas, but it’s unlikely farmers should have to shoulder the blame for the higher prices, farm organizations say.

The American Farm Bureau Federation says the traditional holiday meal might cost $4 more this year, but a look at the facts shows it’s more likely energy prices – including the price at the pump – not ethanol prices that are fueling the rise at the grocery store.

World population trends favor farming and farmers

If current population trends continue, our world will face the challenge in the next 10-15 years of feeding another China, or about another one billion people.

Most of that growth will not be in the U.S., but provides an ideal market for U.S. farmers.

Ghana: Petrol Shortage Hits Bolga

Out of about five fuel stations in the municipality, only one was operating in the vicinity of the SSNIT Quarters, as at last Sunday.

Some stations were however seen secretly selling petrol to some motorists who seemed to be special clients, despite the ‘No Petrol’ sign placed at their entrances.

Oil May Fall on Signs Supply Will Rise Next Year, Survey Shows

Crude oil may fall on speculation that U.S. inventories will rise after the start of the new year and on forecasts for warmer weather.

Nine of 17 analysts surveyed, or 53 percent, said oil prices will decline through Jan. 4. Seven of the respondents, or 41 percent, said prices will rise, and one predicted little change. Last week, 47 percent of respondents said oil would hover between $90 and $93 a barrel this week.

Analysis: Iraq oil up end-'07, sketchy '08

Iraq's oil sector ends 2007 on a relatively upbeat note, with production at levels not seen since before the war. But the year had more downs than ups, and sustaining success through next year is far from guaranteed.

Oil Service Business Booming in Russia

High oil prices and European demand for natural gas have transformed Russia's once-sleepy oilfield services sector into a $13 billion business that could become the world's second-largest market by 2011. Two spheres compete for that business, which includes finding and producing both oil and gas: small Russian companies that perform routine drilling and well servicing, and international giants that take the lead on more complex jobs.

Recently, those two worlds have started to collide.

LUKOIL, Gazprom Neft set up exploration venture

Russia's No.2 oil firm LUKOIL and the oil arm of gas export monopoly Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, on Friday set up a joint venture to explore for oil and gas in Russia and abroad.

The firms said in a joint statement the venture will be 51 percent controlled by Gazprom Neft and 49 percent by LUKOIL. It will also produce, transport and sell hydrocarbons.

BLM Environmental Study Advances Oil Shale Plan

The Bureau of Land Management moved ahead with its push for commercial oil shale development, despite congressional concerns about the agency's pace.

BLM released its draft programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for oil shale and tar sands resources on just under 2 million acres of public land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Where it occurs, oil shale development would supersede other uses of public lands, such as recreation or other oil and gas activity.

Nigeria: When'll Shifting Goal Posts for Gas Flare End?

In Iwerekhan community in Ughelli local government council of Delta State, growing food crops remains a very difficult task for the inhabitants, who are mostly farmers. The other occupation that sustained their forebears besides farming, is fishing, but this too, is gone. With their major means of livelihood gone, the community also suffers from routine hardship brought on them by the loss of their shelter when the corrugated iron sheets mostly used on their roofs is worn out by the effects of harsh environment. The community also contends with strange ailments, which have made life rough and meaningless. According to the community leaders spoken to by THISDAY in March this year, their current problems were all brought on them by oil exploration activities with its concomitant gas flares and pollution of the land.

Nigeria: Protesters lock out government workers in Ekiti

According to an eye-witness, they were enraged by the fact that they had spent the Christmas festivities in darkness as their taps were equally dry, while the roads in the area had deteriorated, warning the relevant authorities to do something urgent before the situation got out of control.

South Korea's Current Account Surplus Narrows on Oil

South Korea's current account surplus narrowed in November as high oil prices pushed up the import bill and threatened to slow growth.

Japan prices jump on energy costs, industrial production down

Rising energy costs triggered the biggest jump in Japanese consumer prices in almost a decade while industrial production slumped, the government said Friday, clouding the outlook for the world's No. 2 economy.

The nation's jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 3.8 percent in November, but overall the mixed data cements expectations that the Bank of Japan will keep interest rates unchanged for some time, even as energy-fueled inflation accelerates.

Pakistan: 5 hydel units being installed to overcome energy crisis

Provincial Minister for Irrigation Senator Syed Dilawar Abbas has said that the irrigation and power department will play its due role to overcome energy crisis in the country. He said that initially five hydel power units are being installed at canals with 25 megawatt power generating capacity.

Biofuels hopes hit by high feedstock values and cheap US/Brazil imports

ARABLE farmers looking to the biofuels industry to bolster wheat and rapeseed prices could be in for a disappointment. While European biofuel plants cannot operate at current high feedstock values, the market in Europe is being undercut by shiploads of cheap biodiesel and bioethanol from the US and Brazil.

Iran receives second nuclear fuel shipment

Iran received the second shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia on Friday for a power plant being constructed in the southern Iranian town of Bushehr, the official news agency IRNA reported.

The delivery signaled continued momentum toward beginning operations at the long-delayed 1,000 megawatt light-water reactor, which the Russians are helping to construct and the Iranians say will come online in 2008.

Toyota introducing hybrid pickup

The concept truck, to be shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, features a hybrid drive and Prius styling.

Bill McKibben - Kyoto: 10 years later and we're still at square one

The important political-world reality to know about the 10 years after Kyoto is that we haven't done anything.

Oh, we've passed all kinds of interesting state and local laws, wonderful experiments that have begun to show just how much progress is possible. But in Washington, D.C., nothing. No laws at all. Until last year, when the GOP surrendered control of Congress, even the hearings were a joke, with "witnesses" like novelist/skeptic Michael Crichton.

Bill McKibben - Remember This: 350 Parts Per Million

This month may have been the most important yet in the two-decade history of the fight against global warming. Al Gore got his Nobel in Stockholm; international negotiators made real progress on a treaty in Bali; and in Washington, Congress actually worked up the nerve to raise gas mileage standards for cars.

But what may turn out to be the most crucial development went largely unnoticed. It happened at an academic conclave in San Francisco. A NASA scientist named James Hansen offered a simple, straightforward and mind-blowing bottom line for the planet: 350, as in parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It's a number that may make what happened in Washington and Bali seem quaint and nearly irrelevant. It's the number that may define our future.

Oil prices at month-highs after Bhutto killing

Dealers said Bhutto's killing on Thursday, which plunged the nation into crisis and sparked global condemnation and concern, would have a psychological impact on the market even though the country is not an oil producer.

There would be "very serious impact" as ramifications from the violence in Pakistan -- a key US ally in the "war on terror" -- play out, said Steve Rowles, an analyst with CFC Seymour securities in Hong Kong.

"It's not so much what happens in Pakistan. It's what happens in Afghanistan and everywhere else" in the region, Rowles said.

The Post-Bush Regime: A Prognosis

In order to clear the way for the new show, it seems pretty clear that the new administration will begin with some easy political wins, by rapidly cleaning up some of the obvious messes left by the neocons. Closing down Guantanamo, and declaring that rendition flights have been abandoned, would gain a lot of points at no real cost (secret flights and prisons would undoubtedly continue). Iraq has already been destabilized and prepared for balkanization, and permanent US bases have already been built. Another easy win will be for US troops to withdraw to their bases and the oil fields, for the war to be declared over, and for Iraq to be split up into ethnic provinces, leaving them to squabble among themselves. It can all be portrayed in the media as a ‘victory for peace and democracy’.

What then, can we expect from this new show? What consequences are likely to follow from implementing the kind of policies that Al Gore and the media have been talking about, around climate change, energy independence, etc.? What is our ruling clique really trying to accomplish?

Rosneft sees oil output rising 11 pct in 2008

Russia's state-controlled oil champion Rosneft will raise oil output by 11 percent in 2008 maintaining impressive growth in West Siberia and launching a new major field in East Siberia, it said on Friday.

Alaska judge backs rejection of Point Thomson plan

The state of Alaska acted properly when it rejected as inadequate a development plan for the long-languishing Point Thomson oil and gas field on the North Slope, a state judge ruled on Thursday.

Japan's AOC to end Kuwait oilfield contract

A statement released by AOC Holdings, a Japanese oil explorer and refiner, said that the company will end a services contract at Kuwait's Khafji oil field after 50 years at the site, Gulf News reported.

The agreement to provide training and engineering support ends on January 4, 2008, the Tokyo-based company said. However, AOC's contract to receive about 100,000 barrels a day of Khafji oil will continue until 2023.

Korean yards bag offshore orders

Samsung Heavy Industries has obtained new orders totaling $2.41 billion including a $1.15-billion deal to build two semi-submersible floating drilling rigs for an undisclosed Russian client for delivery in September 2010. In addition African and American clients ordered two oil drilling ships worth $1.26 billion for delivery in May 2011.

Indago Petroleum warns of delays, cost rise at Oman project

Indago Petroleum Ltd said drilling work at the the Hebel Hafit gas prospect in Oman has been slower than planned, leading to a significant rise in project cost.

City initiative on 'peak oil'

EDINBURGH is set to become one of the first UK cities to actively reduce its dependency on oil.

Japan urges China to sway global issues

Japan urged China to use its growing influence to make an impact on key global issues such as climate change during summit talks Friday that reflected the countries' warmer ties.

Ban's Dogged Diplomacy Yields Progress on Climate, UN Overhaul

Ban Ki-moon had left the climate- change conference in Bali, Indonesia, to visit United Nations peacekeepers in East Timor when he received an urgent call to go back. Talks on a new global-warming treaty were deadlocked.

The UN secretary-general returned on Dec. 15 to deliver a message to delegates that their failure would be a ``betrayal of our planet.'' Two hours later, with prodding from other leaders, negotiators worked out a compromise.

RE: Remember This: 350 Parts Per Million

As Bill McKibben points out, if James Hansen is correct, the problem of Climate Change is much bigger than anyone previously thought. I doubt the Earth's population has the will to face it yet.

E. Swanson

I was going to post this up top, but what the heck, it kind of fits here....

The Year in Review: The planet

The sheer scale of what happened hasn't sunk in, it probably hasn't sunk in at all, with most people. They're not looking back on 2007 and talking about it, in the office, in pubs or over dinner. Listen to them: they're talking about Brown taking over from Blair, or David Cameron's prospects, or England failing to qualify for the European football championships. Or they're talking about getting and spending, or love and hate, as they always have. But what happened in September dwarfs all that.

You might compare it, in its implications, to Hitler marching his troops into the previously demilitarised Rhineland, in March 1936 – the clearest possible sign that the world was in for serious trouble. Some people understood the potential consequences of Hitler's move at once, but the world as a whole carried on with business as usual, until three years later the storm burst upon it. And so it seems to be with the ice.

I've been watching the decline in sea-ice for a number of years now. This year's sudden loss of sea-ice, compared with previous years could be just a yearly fluctuation, with next year's sea-ice returning closer to the trend. But, the trend is strongly negative, such that one might expect to see more such instances of decline in extent in future years, as Global Warming is expected to strengthen.

As the loss of sea-ice increases, so will the flow of water and sea-ice between the Arctic Ocean and the Sub-Polar Gyre of the North Atlantic thru the Fram Strait. The Sub-Polar Gyre is where a portion of the Thermohaline Circulation (THC) has been found in years past. Adding the low salinity water and ice from the Arctic to that part of the North Atlantic could cap the THC in this area, preventing sinking there, which would have other impacts on climate, especially on Northern Europe. One other possible outcome could be that the THC location shifts from the North Atlantic into the Arctic, as the sea-ice cycle between maximum and minimum extent causes brine to be rejected, which can also sink. That's the mechanism for the THC that is found around Antarctica, which also has a large variation in sea-ice extent over the yearly cycle. Were this scenario to occur, the inflow of warmer water from the North Atlantic could further hasten the melt of the Arctic sea-ice.

My impression of the ACOGCM's used to model this part of the climate question is that they have been weak in the various representations of the THC. Whether this weakness is the cause of the difference between the model results and this summer's unexpected melt is beyond my knowledge.

E. Swanson

And yet the Antarctic ice sheet is growing.

So what?

The Antarctic Ice Cap is slumping, not growing.
So what? So if it keeps slumping, my brother's house will have a beach. He's above the 10 meter line for Greenland so he's not worried that much.
Ditto my sister. She's going to sell in May, after the school year is out. They are moving above the 100 meter line.
If the shelf lifts off the terminal moraine we don't know what's going to happen, but it could happen over the course of a few years, or months, or weeks. How many holes have we drilled in the ice of Antarctica? How fluid is the ice at the bottom? At temperatures near freezing the flow rate is nonlinear. And a house is a thirty year investment. The resale value is what people are thinking about global warming in 2038, not 2008.

Just be sure to be far enough away from shore so that salt water doesn't get into the well.

It was 37 degrees F there last week.

A woman was standing naked on the pebble strewn beach.

You got any evidence to back up that claim?

Do a Google image search on "Nekoharbour Antarctica". Obviously the resulting image is not work safe... and it doesn't appear to be from last week.

Carefull you are poking around in a hill of fire ants.

The interesting thing is about 10 days ago some one had gone in and ajusted the data to provide a plot of less than 16 million.

The artic ice had also been adjusted but was obviously screwed up, but I see now both north and south plots are back to provide what appears to be accurate data plots.

Ants? On Fire? In Antarctica? Well -- there's your problem right there!

I can't stand going thru another conversation this year like the one I had today at another site.

Neo...isn't that worse than clean carbon dioxide?

The Rat
" clean carbon dioxide?"

What's that?


It is transparent and doesn't leave an ugly mess. Trees love the stuff

TR,working real hard to help out

I think you mean clean carbon, as in clean coal tech.
Or maybe CO2 what doesn't absorb IR? Good luck.

No, I mean clean as it is not pollution and even much higher levels will not kill us, but make trees grow.

Time to flee the country. Gonna take my daughter and her guest on a Caribbean cruise. On to Barbados. Arr, buckos..

Happy New Year

Mike da Rat

Math people...I could use a little help.
I've been trying to figure out why America is so far behind the world in understanding GW; best I can figure,

N=M(Tv + B)1/R

where N =# who get it

M = median IQ

Tv = (Ai +Lw)Fv, where Ai = total votes on American Idle, Lw = total lbs lost on the fat show, and Fv =faux viewers

B = % who think the Bible is The science book

R = world rank, scientific literacy (17th)

I'm thinking it may be 1/M; makes a big difference. Please help the poor Rat out.

That's a pretty good analogy.

And the Winner is...?


The trend looks flat to me.

I would not expect, a priori, that all metrics of global ice to retreat uniformly as the earth warms.


Yes, in area. Not in mass according to the data from the GRACE Satellites.

Mass has been decreasing rather dramatically.

NOTE: Sea ice is not the same as ice sheets, ice shelves or
glaciers. The chart says nothing about the growth (or shrinkage) of the Antarctic ice sheets.

Ice sheets are layers of ice that are on land. See "West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)" at Wikipedia or the online Encyclopedia Britannica for information. Ice sheets can be hundreds or even thousands of feet thick.

Ice shelves are layers of ice that flow from land and are anchored at one end on that land but otherwise mostly floating on the ocean. See "Ross Ice Shelf" for example. Ice shelves can be hundreds, or even a few thousand feet thick. The Ross Ice Shelf reaches a thickness of about 3,000 feet in some areas.

Sea ice is ice that forms, spreads and melts on ocean water. This is in contrast to ice shelves, ice sheets and glaciers, all of which form over land. Most sea ice is annual, forming and melting in the same year. Some survives for more than a year, becoming thicker. This happens more readily in the Arctic than the Antarctic. Typical average sea ice thickness in the Arctic is 6 to 9 feet, which it is only 3 to 6 feet in the Antarctic. Multiyear sea ice in both areas can achieve thicknesses of 12 to 15 feet.

At least for the past 30 plus years of detailed records, Antarctic sea ice normally grows in the winter to cover about 18 million square kilometers before shrinking in the summer to only about 3 million square kilometers. Arctic sea ice grows to about 15 million square kilometers before melting back (until recently) to about 7 million square kilometers.

One could probably write a pretty good SciFi thriller around the scenario of the Ross Ice Shelf breaking off from Antarctica, becoming the world's largest iceberg, and causing all sorts of havoc as it drifts around the globe.

Maybe someday it will really happen, too, which is more than can be said for most SciFi thrillers.

Yeah, the Ross Ice Shelf is about 600 miles wide at the widest. It could definitely block some straits or force ocean traffic to reroute around it. It would also probably create its own weather pattern over itself and over nearby waters.

Some really big icebergs have broken off the Ross shelf in the past. B-15 back in 2000 was roughly 180 miles long and 25 miles wide. It ended up grounding itself near Ross Island, where it was a real nuisance to penguins and the handful of ships that visit the science bases on Ross Island each year. Finally broke up into smaller pieces which drifted off.

Linearity and proof of how muich CO2 is needed is precisely not ht epoint. We need just enought o make the slip off of some big ice bargs happen by melt down of water to the base of the ice sheets then it is too late. So the 350 ppm level is likely enough. I have given up on the arctic ice and am now concetrating on the data from Grace satellite. Once the arctic sheet is disspated then Greenland will be going over to break up quickly I presume.

Since you are following it, is there any more recent published Grace data for Antarctica than that linked to above from March 2006? It would be interesting to see what has been happening in the past 18 months since this graph was published:


I don't grok the data flow at the tech sites but here's a forum link maybe they can interpret it.


But seriously I think Grace is the only place to figure aóut what is the net minus on Greenland ice mass so we have to figure out how to get the latest data set and interpret it.

Ice shelves are layers of ice that flow from land and are anchored at one end on that land but otherwise mostly floating on the ocean.

can you provide any reference for this statement - especially the "mostly floating" part?

He is right on this one, nh3 - "ice shelf" is a bit of a contraction, with the full name being "floating ice shelf". Ice that is over land is referred to as "grounded ice". There are some situations where the weight of the ice has pushed rock that was originally above sea level down to the point where it is below sea level. I believe large portions of the land under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are this way.

And when all or part of the ice shelf lets go? Then you've got ice bergs.

He is right on this one

i am not so sure. there is a ground line beneath an ice shelf which could be way beyond the normal coast line and way below normal sea level. my believe that ice shelf can stay in place for a long time is mostly because that the large part of it is grounded on the continental shelf - without that, the ice shelf would break away as ice burger quickly and the ice sheets on land would flow away much faster. i view ice shelves as the "retaining walls" of the ice sheets.

You're right about the ice shelf being a protection for the grounded ice. When the Jakobshavn ice tongue broke up in Greenland the drainage of grounded ice through the area sped up dramatically. It was an ice tongue rather than an ice shelf due to the fact that it was constantly calving on the ocean end and constantly being refreshed on the grounded ice side. The whole structure just went away during 2002/2003. Prior to that its presence moderated ice flows. The shelves serve a similar purpose, but without the dynamic nature of an ice tongue.

"An ice shelf is a thick, floating platform of ice that forms where a glacier or ice sheet flows down to a coastline and onto the ocean surface."

First hit on googling "ice shelf".

Here is a link to Earth and Space Research, an Institute devoted to oceanographic research.

You might also want to check "The Physics of Glaciers," by W. Paterson. It is a principal text for glaciology. It says the following about ice shelves:
"An ice shelf is a body of ice originating as part of the ice sheet that has flowed off the land and is floating on ocean. The zone between ice that is in contact with land (grounded ice) and ice that is supported by water (floating ice) is known as the “grounding zone,” or “grounding line.” Grounded ice can also occur in small areas seaward of the grounding line over locally high points in the bedrock."

In my post I referred to an ice shelf being "anchored" on land. The technical term is obviously "grounded." However, it still remains a fact that an extended part of an ice shelf floats on sea water.

A quick check on Google will locate several papers by scientists researching the marine biota, fresh water flows and ice structure below the Ross Ice Shelf.

Finally, the Britannica Online states that the Ross Ice Shelf is the worlds largest body of floating ice, with an area of roughly 185,000 square miles, about the size of the Yukon Territory in Canada.

Regarding Leanan's post:

This was because the land-based ice-sheets were melting in a "non-linear" way – not just melting at a steady rate, but dynamically breaking up as well...

Will the sea level rise be reflected by a bell curve or more of a hockey stick type of graph? I think either way that a rise of 20 feet will occur mostly by 2050. IMO We certainly won't get a slow linear rise over the next 90 years. The general population is so ignorant or naive about GW happenings. And PO knowledge is even less so.

Thanks to all at TOD and those who post

not just melting at a steady rate, but dynamically breaking up as well...

breaking up on land? any reference?

Google "greenland moulins" for 35,000.
Or try "accelerating glaciers" or...
When something is very well reported some
posters do not see a need for a link. Yes, this
can ruffle feathers.

My admittedly incomplete understanding is that ice doesn't have to melt to raise sea level - floating ice raises it just as effectively as melted ice. So if a major body of ice slides off a continent, or if glacier flow abruptly speeds up, thinning continental ice caps, sea level should rise immediately, even if that ice is floating, unmelted, as part of an ice shelf. In other words, I'd guess hocky stick.

It's Nature's Way of telling you something's wrong


This is rather amazing information. I am very pessimistic that people will make any cuts to CO2 production until there are tangible and painful consequences. Of course, due to the lag time in consequences by the time that happens huge consequences will already be built in to the system.

London Commutting Hell


An interesting note is that the commuter profiled used to drive to work till the congestion charge was added. An alternative future could have stated that someone drove to work until "GWB bombed Iran" or "after the Saudi Arabian Revolution" or until "oil prices climbed to XXX".

London does have an alternative non-oil transportation system. "The Tube" has the smallest loading gauge (cross-section) of any major system in the world. See photo of two London loading gauges, both smaller than, say, Amtrak or most other systems.


Best Hopes,


In Osaka the rail transportation (excepting the Shinkansen and the single monorail line) uses three different sizes, but even the smallest is larger than that!

If they really want to cut down on car traffic, are they willing to spend on some more (hopefully larger sized) surface rail? Are they willing to convert surface roads to rail RoW?

Are they willing to convert surface roads to rail RoW ?

In the central city, subway and streetcars are likely the way to go. IMVHO (NOT an expert on London), the next step (like Paris) is bicycles and higher heights in certain areas for TOD.

Convert some two lane streets to one way, one lane for cars & lorries and two way, two bike lane for bicycles.

Zone the area around some Tube stations for mixed use, higher rise housing.

I wonder what the impact would be to extend the Eurostar/TGV du Grande Bretagne from London to Birmingham ?


Other Cities in the Series

Washington DC


Some interesting statistics on the sidebar of the DC article. One is 8% of US heart attacks are related to traffic congestion.



Auto-Subway-Bicycle combo







Statistics show the farther the commute, the more likely it will be done in a car. Even transit advocates admit the alternative – expanding transit to more remote residential areas – could be contributing to the sprawl it serves.

Global Overview


Whatever the appeal of the car may be, mobility has little to do with it...Rationality alone cannot explain why these commuters are prepared to spend hours and hours getting to and from work. Or why they tolerate the frustration, tedium and stress, not to mention risk

Best Hopes for TOD,


Statistics show the farther the commute, the more likely it will be done in a car. Even transit advocates admit the alternative – expanding transit to more remote residential areas – could be contributing to the sprawl it serves.

I am wondering if expending station parking lots to encourage "park-n-ride", encouraging regional shuttle buses, and encouraging more neighborhood carpooling from homes to stations, and then adding more rolling stock for more frequent runs, might be a more cost-effective solution. It is quite expensive to extend the lines far out. While it is convenient for the nearest station to be closer to the people way out there, the frequency of service is also a consideration. Given the choice between driving sixty minutes all the way in to work vs. driving ten minutes to a close station and then waiting 30 minutes for a train vs. driving 20 minutes to a station and then waiting 5 minutes for a train, I would think that the last option would look most attractive to a lot of people.

"Or why they tolerate the frustration, tedium and stress, not to mention risk"

It's simple. The price of homes in the city is much higher than in the far suburbs. Thus most people who work in the city cannot afford to live in the city. Unless that somehow changes, people will live where they can afford to. Moving more people into the cities will only drive the price to live there higher.

The other aspect is job change. People who change their jobs means a different location from their home. Most people will not sell and move just for a change in job. Kids have their friends there, wife may work in the area, etc. So people will tend to stay put than move. Besides moving is very costly if it's cheeper just to drive to work.

That's the dynamic all right. Out in SoCal, the way it went was, Start driving out from the coast until you could afford it.

Of course people ended up spending something like 5 hours a day in their cars!

And real estate values in outlying areas appear to be falling faster than in closer in locations.

Thus most people who work in the city cannot afford to live in the city.

I generally dispute this. On the flight back home, my seatmate on the first leg was an IT professional who lived in Chicago and did not own a car. He lived 5 blocks away from a Blue Line station in a small apartment for $675/month rent (more expensive closer to the station). He lived a low cost and enjoyable lifestyle and saved his money.


One can live in a city. But can one "live' while spending 20 hours/week commuting to work, extra hours driving to shopping, etc. ?

This is a heavy and on-going cost, although not a direct monetary one.

Moving more people into the cities will only drive the price to live there higher.

Not necessarily so. One way to lower the current price premium for TOD is to dramatically expand the "T" and facilitate (zoning, tax breaks, etc.) the "OD". And lowering the per capita sq m back towards 1950's norms should see a reduction in overall cost of housing.


I agree with Alan about the E&L in ELP.

Note that a new Civic costs about 50¢ per mile to drive (a H2 Hummer is about $1.20). So, 12,000 miles per year = $6,000 in total transportation costs per year. Arranging one's life so that you don't need, or can minimize your use of an (old, small) car will save a lot of money.

If you reduce your living space, you can afford live closer in. Note that a small housing unit should have a lower heating/cooling cost.

Problem is not everyone can do without a car. One of my daughters does not have a vehicle, but everything is in walking distance, and we lend them our car a lot for other things. But that's London, Ont. where they can get away with doing that.

But my other daughter must have a vehicle. She has to get the kids to daycare before driving to the train station, then picks them up again. She works in downtown Toronto, her husband works in the opposite direction north of Toronto (he must drive, no direct transit), so there is no close place for the two for either of them to dump the car.

A lot of people are in this situtation. Very few could move to walking distance to work (especially with our cold winters).

Another example. Canadian Tire in Collingwood, Ont. used to be right in town, beside homes. I'm sure there were people who walked to work. But they needed to expand, and the only avialable land was out of town. Now everyone must drive to get there. They also tore down the old highschool, build turn of century, where the kids could walk to school. Now the new one is south of town and everyone must take the bus or driven.

Things are far to complex to make blanket statements that everyone can just move to walk to work and give up cars.

He lived 5 blocks away from a Blue Line station in a small apartment for $675/month rent (more expensive closer to the station)

He walked till he could afford housing

Best Hopes for Walkable Neighborhoods,


Then how come home and condo prices in Toronto are much higher than in the 905 area (the burbs)? Rent in downtown Toronto is more than the cost of owning a home in the burbs (if you can find one, hence the explosion of basement appartments, barely livable, barely legal, for more than $1,300/m).

Before condos are even built they are completely sold and are far more expensive than surrounding burb home prices.

Example, my daughter's townhome of 900sqr ft was $200K, for the same size townhome in the city is over $400K. Tack that onto a mortgage and it's cheeper to drive into the city than it is to own a home there.

Besides narrow gauge (and thus narrow cars), the Tube suffers from the Anglo habit of doing anything necessary -- including not getting on the damn thing -- to avoid physically touching another rider. This probably reduces the Tube's capacity by 40% compared with Asian subways.

I knew one guy -- big guy, about 6'2" 220 lbs -- who was once able to lift his feet off the floor while riding in a crowded subway in Tokyo. (It's not usually like that.)

As a result, you always hear stories of how "little old ladies are elbowing everyone to get on the train" from Anglo visitors, when actually people are just leaning gently on people in front to let them know "keep moving, more people getting on." This is perfectly normal and polite behavior, but it tends to make Anglo (UK and US) visitors' head explode.

I hope someone is keeping a tidy log of all of these X percent CO2 reduction by year Y policy statements. Assuming the lights stay on and the internet tubes stay pressurized it'll be fun to see what the individuals who make such pronouncements are doing after mother nature proves them to be absolutely and completely wrong.

it'll be fun to see what the individuals who make such pronouncements are doing

They will still have the attitude of - as long as I have food and my lights are on, who cares?

And odds are, they will still have food and the lights will still be on for them, happy to push down others to keep them fed and their lights on.

Kinda puts a damper on the schaudenfrade tho....

and so we seg into our new OECD policy.

Bush and the neocons are out

Gore/Hillary and invisible genocide, see Africa
for details, are in.

"So it is no wonder that the reporters at USA Today didn't notice the deleterious effects of overpopulation on these so-called industrialized nations. As those countries import carrying capacity, they also export environmental degradation and resource depletion. Everything looks fine to most people in the importing nations. For example, while Japanese consumers are helping to strip the world of its remaining forests, the country preserves its own forests and enjoys a forest cover of around 67 percent.

The damage does, however, show up on the evening news as a conflict in some distant, dusty country where forests are being leveled and rivers are being drained. The conflict is usually put down to some ethnic or religious rivalry. Often a quick recap of the last few centuries of history in such places is provided for the sole purpose of proving that "these people have never gotten along."


The Gore-style policies are not just genocidal, they are formidably genocidal. When they start taking massive amounts of land out of food production, and bring about a substantial increase in global food prices, in the face of an already stressed world food situation, they could bring about in a very short time—one bad harvest season—famine on a scale we have never seen before. How serious the outcome will be depends entirely on how aggressively the new administration pursues the Gore-style agenda. They’ve got genocide down to a science, with tunable parameters.

Apparently, having field-tested Holocaust tactics in Sub-Saharan Africa, a decision has been made to go global with the program.


And your favored alternative is...?

Unless the collective "we" make a paradigm/meme
leap to a new level(sounds scifi, eh?

then we have nothing but collapse, which is economizing.

I just don't want to hear it wrapped in flags
and religion(manifest destiny) like we're somehow smarter than yeast, or the poorest 4 1/2 billion
and are somehow removed from the base level of animal(wishing
that San Fran tiger had been tranqed).

We'll be lucky to have colonies on earth in 100 years.

McGowan you say "genocidal" like it's a bad thing...

Sure, one large faction in the US would like to kill off the 3rd world because they're "sinful" or something, but the ruling class of which Gore is a member and with which most of us ally ourselves, need a more "scientific" reason than that.

It's all fun as long as Americans don't get hurt.....

WTF are you talking about. How can Al Gore have a policy anyway? He's a freaking public citizen. He has opinions like you or I.

This anti environment skreed that runs on this site is just plain weird. I personally believed that all the blogs I visit get peppered with folks paid by the oil industry to throw crap like this up. How else to explain it???

What is this right wing, conspiracy theory, crap?

I don't think it's right wing conspiracy. Well, we have some of that, but I suspect most of what you are complaining about is actually extreme leftwinger stuff. Gore and Clinton are too conservative for them. Too much part of the status quo.

That's almost exactly right, Leanan.

IMHO I feel that the political spectrum
cycles or corkscrews so that left is meeting right
meeting left.....

Like Ron Paul. He's got some wacko ideas but I think he
will be shot( my assassination index on who's most likely to
be a threat TPTB) if he gets close to the ring.

Gore's policy never makes it to the macro level.

EROI is never addressed.

And BTW, Gore became part of the problem when he
failed to challenge the FL vote count and let the SCOTUS
remove him.

I don't think Ron Paul will be shot. There are limits to what a president can do (as Jimmy Carter found out). Run as an outsider, and you're likely to find yourself unable to get anything done once you're in office, because you have to deal with Congress.

Besides, big business can buy Ron Paul as easily as anyone else. If Ross Perot had become president, big business was prepared to work with him, and I suspect the same is true for Paul.

This is why we have only two parties, with barely a lick of difference between them. It's an inevitable result of the way our political system is set up, and is what the founding fathers wanted. They wanted change to be difficult.

According to this, he already has been bought:

The quiet campaign against provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may have had something to do with the proposal by Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas, on Thursday to eliminate Section 404 entirely. In a statement, the congressman said the provision "has raised the costs of doing business, thus causing foreign companies to withdraw from American markets and retarding economic growth."

Me personally, while I feel that the libertarians have good hearts, they are far too naive about the corrupting power of money.

The essence of what Ron Paul is on record as stating is not that controversial. SOX 404 as originally interpretted was overkill and those who have examined the issue are generally in agreement that auditors need to use their brains, and spend more time skeptically observing the shenanigans of management rather than documenting a lot of things that will never result in material mistatement of financial positions. The initial effect of SOX was a huge cost [payable to / actually benefiting the big accounting firms] to correct issues that the big firms especially Arthur Anderson [RIP] should have detected in the first place. The PCAOB had already reissued some of its earliest rules to make it clear that even as written perfection isn't the goal.

For any of you who have not already been bored to tears, where this is probably going over the next few years is convergence of international and U.S. auditing standards with those international standards already being much more principles based [a focus on the concept of fair presentation of financial matters and above all audting with an attitude of professional scepticism] than rules based [a la SOX 404.]

If you want to worry about something ... be very worried about derivatives [very few accountants really understand anything beyond the plain vanilla versions and don't understand the risks of those.]

This is starting to turn into a rant, but also remember that SOX did not keep crappy mortgages for being aggregated, insured by firms that had only a tiny percentage of the value of the crappy mortgages being aggregated and these crappy pools sold with AAA ratings.

Oh well.

It is not that easy to police people who pay your mortgage-the best auditing firms can aspire to is to rein in their wildest clients somewhat (Andersen didn't even try to do this).

It cuts both ways.

Changing auditors brings so much scrutiny that it rarely occurs. A corrupt management would be crazy to try it if the goal was to continue in power.

There are limits, but if president, he would be "Commander in Chief". There are very few ways to get around his order of "bring the troops home."

"Which troops, sir?"

"All of them."

This is why we have only two parties, with barely a lick of difference between them. It's an inevitable result of the way our political system is set up, and is what the founding fathers wanted.

Clinton balanced the budget. We actually had a surplus under Clinton. Now we have a defecit of over 200 billion. That is the difference between preserving the economy and destroying it. I would call that more than a lick of difference.

We will never pay off the national debt of over 8 trillion and growing. That is one reason that the dollar is falling. Our currency, largely, but not entirely, due to the Bush deficit, is fading fast.

Ron Patterson

Yeah, but I think Clinton balanced the budget because he couldn't get anything by the GOP Congress. And vice-versa: the Congress couldn't get anything by him. It was a side-benefit of obstructionism, and both parties deserve "credit."

When you compare the two US parties with the political spectrum you see countries with parliamentary systems, it's really striking how "middle of the road" everyone is here.

PG did a post about it awhile back. I'm too lazy to look it up, but it argued that the US system is like a cruise liner. Very stable, but slow to change course. Parliamentary systems, like you find in much of Europe, are like speedboats: highly maneuverable, but more prone to flipping over.

The founding fathers were more worried about flipping over than changing course. Unfortunately, an iceberg now looms ahead.

Oh, I don't think we're middle of the road at all. On the global spectrum, the US is very much right-wing. The Republican party is extreme right, and the Democrats are a center-right party. There is no significant left wing in US politics from a global perspective.

Fortunately, we don't have psychopaths in brown uniforms marching through the streets and burning books and beating up minorities - yet. Other than that, we're pretty far right.

You must be kidding. socially the US is so far left it isn't even funny.

I'm speaking only in terms of the political spectrum.

Socially, the average person from NYC or SF probably would seem pretty far to the left of the average 3rd world mud hut villager. On the other hand, the average person from Stockholm would probably also seem pretty far to the left of the average rural person just about anywhere in "flyover land".

Musahi: Left of what? Mexico?

You've got it exactly. The US is socially
tolerant, liberal, left. Politics is something
else entirely. Economics also somewhat separate
from the social matrix. A bundle of
contradiction. The discussion never stops.

US looks liberal compared with Islamic countries, but as Western democracies go it's socially repressive. I'll use Australia as a counterexample.

The US has 750,000 people in jail for smoking pot, which is largely decriminalized in Oz. There are harsh penalties in some Australian states for trafficing in the stuff, but access is pretty much universal and there is no equivalent to the DEA.

The US has laws against sex workers; in Australia sex work is legal, regulated by industry standards and union awards, and subject to tax.

The US experiences severe racial tensions; except for issues concerning the 2.5% indigenous minority, Australia has almost no concept of race - racism offends the Australian social fundamentals - "mateship" and "a fair go".

The US is dominated by dogmatic religion. Over 1/4 of Australians report no religion on their census forms, almost no one in Australia thinks twice about professions of atheism, and creationism doesn't exist outside mental asylums.

In the US abortion remains a fraught issue; in Australia it is regarded as a natural human right by more than 80% of the population.

The US is deeply homophobic where Australians are broadly accepting of homosexuality. In fact Sydney celebrates the world's largest annual gay festival and it's treated as a fun event for families by all mainstream media.

Of course Australia isn't the most liberal country in the world. Australians look socially intolerant, conservative, and far right compared to the Dutch, who broadcast explicit sex education on childrens' television and celebrate public orgies on a regular basis.

But it's hard to think of any Western democracy that is more socially repressive than the USA - at least that's got me scratching my head. Maybe I didn't understand what you mean here, oldhippie?

Agreed. In the mid 1970's the US was it's most liberal. Since then repression has set in. It was like after Watergate they had to lay low for a few years, but once Reagan was in office, it was time to bring about George Orwell's 1984.


I don't see public pot smoking
anymore. Am painfully aware of the
religious wackos around. Otherwise,
where I live, it's much less
repressive than 70's. Agreed there is a
total divide between public policy
and how people live. In order to live
life Americans I know are becoming
weary and contemptuous of law, of
institutions and social control.

Heck, around here the police are the
ones selling pot.

Clinton also presided over a huge economic expansion thanks to the oil glut and some of the cheapest relative oil prices in history.

Clinton balanced the budget. We actually had a surplus under Clinton. Now we have a defecit of over 200 billion. That is the difference between preserving the economy and destroying it. I would call that more than a lick of difference.

Sorry, but that is incorrect. Please see the link below. The amount of public and intergov't debt rose every month that Clinton was in office.
Run a report from 1993 to 2001 when Bush took office and show me a period where public + intergov't debt decreased.

For the record. Presidents don't make budgets, Congress does. The president only has the ability to veto a budget and to submit spending requests to Congress.

Another critical point, is that during the Clinton years, Federal spending increased every year. It was the tech bubble of the 1990s that dramaticallly increased gov't revenues. Its more realistic to assume, that the private sector "decreased" federal budget deficits, without the assistance of either the Congress or President. For the federal gov't to make an actual contribution to a balanced budget they would need to cut total spending, and that hasn't happend since the Eisenhower and Truman administrations.

A balanced budget is never going to happen, especially that the first wave of Boomers retiring starts in January. From now on, Entitlement outlays will increase at a much fast pace. Sometime between 2012 and 2014, entitlement outlays will exceed SS + Medicare revenues.

An unreasonable analysis (apparently), by including interagency debt.

If the Highway Trust Fund does not spend all it collects in gas taxes, and "invests" the surplus in T-Bills, that is helping balance the debt. Less Gov't spending on highways > balanced budget (even if internally unbalanced).

The Federal Reserve holds a MASSIVE amount of Treasury bills & bonds. They subtract operating expenses and send 99+% of the interest back to the Treasury. No interest debt that need never be paid off is hardly real debt.


The Federal Reserve holds a MASSIVE amount of Treasury bills & bonds. They subtract operating expenses and send 99+% of the interest back to the Treasury

The Federal gov't doesn't hold on to treasury bills, unless they fail to auction them, or if they are trying to manipulate the interest rates. But it doesn't have anything to do with saving tax payers money.

The inter-agency debt, is the money collected from SS and held in gov't employee pension plans. However this money isn't invested, its is spent to fund the general fund. Its like borrowing against your 401K plan to support your lifestyle. If you spend it now you can't use in the future for your retirement. In fact its a liability.

FWIW: Up until 2004, the gov't was still paying the high yield 30 yr bonds it sold during the early 1980s when the interest rates were around 14%. Later when the interest rates drop, the gov't continued to let bond holders collect the full rate, rather then buying them back and issuing new bonds with much lower rates. How many billions could the US gov't saved by simply refinancing them? Its like a home owner getting a 30yr mortgage @ 14% and never refinancing when the rates fell. Dumber than rocks!

The bonds were sold without a refinance option. If they had had a refinance option (callable) they would have carried a substantially higher premium. The bond holders were paid a high price because the government had screwed up it's credit rating almost as much as we've screwed up ours now.
In fact, the government has such a bad credit rating that it mostly sells bonds to itself and pays for them by levying taxes on you that are supposed to be invested for your social security support. That is, they are invested de facto in mortgages on your house to pay you your social security payments.
No kidding.

Most lucid explanation yet.

And what we'll have to do again.

Unfortunately we've been bankrupt since 85
so the terms of/on credit will be higher.

Value received lower.

interagency debt. what is that ? money (taxes)that were taken in for one purpose and wasted on, for example, the search for wmd, or the $ 430 billion interest on the debt(including interagency debt, i presume) ?

Leanan, you conspiracy nut-jober, if you had reread your history you'd SEE that...oh, wait...I just reread our history...you're right:

'Why we're going to construct this new government-thingy, is "to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority"'

James Madison, "Founding Father"

"They wanted change to be difficult."

To William S. Smith Paris, Nov. 13, 1787

"The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty."

As I've stated before, IMHO,the next POTUS will have his/her
face on a dollar bill or the US will fracture.

your article selections are on target.

Good work, peace and a happy new year to you,


Are you implying that noting the conservatism and establishmentarianism of Al-Billary reveals one's leftwing extremism?

I think I'm starting to get the 'liberal' media thing.

Face it. To mainstream America, we're all a bunch of extremist cranks.

"How can Al Gore have a policy anyway?"

We all have policies. As well as opinions.

And no one wants Siberian tigers, orangutans,
redwoods, 500 year old Cypress/Tupelo/Gum, and ivory billed woodpeckers more than I.

I don't get the animus some people have about Al Gore. He's an ex-politician trying to do something about climate change. He is definitely "too little, too late", but to accuse him of orchestrated global genocide is beyond absurd. The guy that wrote that Global Research article needs therapy, not readers.

Note how that Intel estimate flew in the face of
everything the neocon/WH was shoveling out?

And do you see impeachment anywhere on the horizon?

The guy responsible for you having to take your shoes
off, and throw your lighter and water bottle away
before boarding a plane was just allowed to escape
by police in Pakistan.

Do you think your habeus corpus rights will be returned,
the Military Commissions Act be rescinded, once
Hillary takes office?

Note how the richest .01% are never to blame for
anything that occurs. They're just minding their own bizness quitely getting bankruptcy laws rescinded,
getting $160 million parachutes from Merril Lynch
for losing $10 billion, investing in Blackwater/prison bonds.

See Sallie Mae and Al Lord/JC FLowers for even more hilarious hijinks of TPTB.

What does any of that have to do with Al Gore?

I am as horrified as you by the things you note in your post. I have become a pretty much full-fledged doomer in recent months, and I've come to believe that the "silver lining" of doom might be that it will shake up the current world order. I do believe TPTB are terrified of what the people will do when energy & food get scarce.

I just don't see how Al Gore becomes the poster child for that stuff. In the spectrum of US politicians, he is clearly better than the large majority on both climate change and constitutional issues. Even at that, he is beyond where the American people are. His main use is that he is able to move the "Overton window" on those issues, slowly dragging the American people in the right direction.

Yes, he is (or was) on of the TPTB. But it has been 15 years since he held an actual position of power. What little influence he has had in the 21st century has been, I think, positive (though probably so weakly positive as to not have a significant impact, at least not yet). So, how US Imperialist policy becomes "Gore policy" is beyond me.

Al Gore is Bhutto.

Note how both will work thru the system, even as the system
is quite open about it's disdain for both.

And even if both were/are "successful, what does that mean after they have made so many compromises to get where they

"So, how US Imperialist policy becomes "Gore policy" is beyond me."

That's what we're here to explain to you.

What was VPOTUS Gore doing when Albright said that 500 000 children's deaths
in Iraq "was worth it?"

When Clinton bombed the aspirin factory in Sudan?

Where were these all encompassing "inconvenient truths" in 1995?

Subborned to the "grow the economy" meme.

It is inherently impossible to grow the economy and not destroy
the planet and yet Gore has nothing to say about this.

Which is why I say Gore never delves into the EROI
of his macro strategy.

And why TPTB don't mind using him as their tool.


He is quite obviously being not entirely serious but rather extremely provocative.

RE: Gore and the rest of us onminimalist answers that don't traet the cause:

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

If the author of that piece can get people to stop for one minute and consider that the stories like yesterday's "10 best news stories of 2007" including stuff like the Volt and not considering increasing consumption and population as basic problems, not just feeding the growing beast as the solution until the cancer cell kills the host then I don't know what will work.

I read Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano" decades ago and they purposely crashed the system(it was a mid 50s book I believe) as automation was taking away the jobs(Sabotage in the original French sense). After a while the engineers and tinkererers got bored and and started tinkeirng and inventing again and of course that would bring them back to the unemployment line.

We are solving the wrong problem, working on the symptom, which is exponential growth. We have to stop the growth, not treat it, appease it, feed it. If you can't change that mind set at TOD, then it is hopeless. Earth and the 3rd world can be written off. If TPTB menaing interested based banking, central banks, the rich who control "The Iron Triangle" MSM,etc. can keep us conned into believing we can manage this by appeasing grwoth then we are done for.

We have to stop the growth, not treat it, appease it, feed it. If you can't change that mind set at TOD, then it is hopeless.

Where did that come from? I would say the concensus at the TOD is that growth is the problem and that tinkering at the edges with efficiency and conservation isn't going to solve the problem.

The Global Research article isn't going to get anyone to think about the problem by accusing Al Gore of genocide. It is simply going to have people dismiss the article as being written by an idiot (and rightly so).

The fact that some of us fail to view Al Gore as the Great Satan doesn't mean we support shock doctrine tactics, the Bush administration, the neocons, endless war, anticonstitutional measures, torture, endless growth and the pillaging of the world, or the genocide of 3rd world peoples. It just means we think he is a well-meaning, if somewhat clueless, guy who has very little influence in the world beyond very slightly changing the terms of public debate about AGW.

I got the impression that the guy menat that thepublic opinion taken on by MSM,etc. had made Gore's points all mainstream.

"If we just change our light bulbs and get a prius everything will be ok."

If he is right that Gore's stance is now common wisdom among allpeople as he is Nobel Peace Prize winner then this failed concept of working around the edges will doom us as it is too little too late.

Like the smoker who switches to "lights" and hopes to avoid
cancer. The article's shock tactic is perhaps taking a risk but what the hell. I think being called crazy and getting attention is better than being ignored as run of the mill and sounding entirely sensible. I mean we are talking about what he said here now. A sensible boring article would have been ignored.

It is a useful tactic.

Actually, I'm hoping that someone is keeping an archive so that there will be a full set of evidence for the Crimes Against Humanity Trials.

The Universe is weighing it to an infintesimal

And I look forward to it.

Karma's a bitch.

Huge hikes in water, sewer rates on tap across USA

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the nation's water and wastewater systems need an investment of up to $1.2 trillion over 20 years. Also, arid states such as Arizona, Texas and Utah, where water costs more to provide, have fast-growing populations.

And check out the comments, railing against rail...

And check out the comments, railing against rail...

Tried reading the comments, but after two pages of the normal drivel about "impeach Bush"-this, "Iraq"-that, and so on... sorry, couldn't take anymore of that.

I assume someone was complaining about tax money going to rail, no? I've got links I'm collecting along those lines... and some of the arguments are good, some not so good. Not all rail projects turn out as well as hoped. If a rail authority is screwing up, why give them more money? Let the money flow to those who know what they are doing.

It remains true of human nature... we want something for nothing. No wonder people complain about rising water bills - tap water for most Americans has been cheap and readily available all their lives. When I grew up I gave no thought to water bills. In my adult life my water bills were among my lowest bills. In Japan my water bill was small, and now back here in the states the water is included in the rent.

Utilities, road maintenance, school maintenance... these are the bane of local governance. They have no glamour, are not featured on TV shows, and Paris Hilton has not (yet) found a way to make a fashion statement about them.

And in the end... who wants to pay taxes?

From my municipality's quarterly newsletter:

"The City has been able to decrease expenditures by reducing costs in two main areas: employee salaries and benefits, and capital improvements and equipment."

But no mention of reducing City Councilor's salaries, nor funds for glossy newsletters.

Errol in Miami

We older readers know about how inflation impacts that. The inflation from Vietnam wiped out most of the bonds used to build water, sewer, road, school, and other infrastructure built during the sixties and fifties.
So when new people came into town and built houses, the systems had to be expanded and the bills shot up to the rate of inflation in the eighties. That's one of the reasons that they made houses so difficult to build and imposed stiff building abatements and fees.
Now it's going to happen all over again as the new developments have bills for bond payments wither in the inflationary winds. Or the hyperinflationary winds.
Buy a house someplace where the systems are already built and paid for, and in good condition, where there isn't much land left to build on. Enjoy low utility rates for a generation.

It's notable how well Musharraf has kept his cool. His prime minister so far says elections will go forward as scheduled. Nawaz Sharif has been the main hothead, but if Musharraf finds a way to lift the judicial ban on Sharif's participation in the election, say in the spirit of reconciliation, that would be a good sign of averting a meltdown in Pakistan.

Steve LeVine, author
The Oil and the Glory

Perhaps a meltdown is not the objective...Maybe just enough political upheaveal to stop investment in and construction of the Iran/Pakistan/India pipeline?


...snip...'ARJUN MAKHIJANI: Even if it worked, it would not be a stable basis, because India would become dependent on the United States for nuclear fuel. The United States does not want India to have a gas pipeline, taking gas from Iran via Pakistan to India.

That's considered to be a peace pipeline, because Pakistan has to settle down some of its restive regions for that pipeline to be safe and secure and for it to work. The United States is very opposed that.

That's one of the things that has excited a lot of the opposition in India, is because of the nuclear deal, the pipeline deal is falling apart, in part because of the nuclear deal. And there's much more energy for India in the pipeline deal with Iran than is in the nuclear deal with the United States.'...snipl...


...snip...'Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh recently visited Tehran and discussed with the Iranian leadership long-term co-operation in the energy sector. "There was no way India could agree to an overland pipeline, unless some fundamentals were addressed," he was quoted as saying.
K. Subrahmanyam, a member of India's National Security Council, is optimistic about the project and cites the example of the Soviet gas pipelines that fed western Europe through Eastern Europe even during the Cold War'...snip...

Imagine a Somalia with an inventory of nukes. That's the nightmare scenario for Pakistan. It could happen, too.

read these comments from people in Pakistan and weep:


It will be very hard to keep the provinces united now.

The key thing in this BBC article for Americans to note: they're talking about SECESSION. This has always been a regional crisis in a fake country. The Pashtuns were too poor and too indoctrinated by the Saudi-backed missionaries who flooded their hills as part of the Reagan-backed war in Afghanistan to articulate their grievances in nationalist-secessionist terms, so it's turned into a jihad in their region. The more secular Sindhs seem to be able to use terms we're familiar with.

It's a fake country, made up of unequal pieces that each in their own right have unjust political and economic systems. It is no surprise that the Army holds it together by constant wars and threats of wars, and wielding the massive foreign aid bribe supplied by Bush. When Obama or Clinton dare to say those truths then we'll be getting somewhere, but instead we will respout the Iraq gibberish.

Of courst, the full, subversive truth is that most of the nations in the world are fake countries, with artifical borders. The island nations like Japan and Iceland might be the only exceptions.

Musharraf is riding the tiger.

Pakistan has been moved up the list to #1
on Shock Doctrine's list.

Note that not one MSM commented on US Troops moving into
Pakistan in January.

Even as DC concedes that Afghanistan is a failure.

BTW-did anyone here see that Frost/Bhutto vid
where at 6:10 Bhutto calmly states that the Pakistani
Interior Minister (?) was acquainted with Omar Sheik
who murdered Osama Bin Laden?

Pakistan has 2-6 days of fuel. Wheat can be little better
than that.

Pakistan has been moved up the list to #1
on Shock Doctrine's list.

Yes, and I think that the USA is ready to lend a helping hand. What Pakistan needs are permanent US military bases, an IMF loan, a tax cut, privatization, and stronger intellectual property laws. The first thing their military must do is arrest people selling pirated DVDs, and force computer shops to sell only licensed copies of Microsoft Windows. If they do that, and if Wal-Mart opens a store in Karachi, all will be well.

Well, really, the first thing they need - and have already gotten - is order to army to shoot dissenters on sight.

Deregulate, privatize and taser. I just completed "Shock Doctrine" last night. Most excellent.

What about that forum at Heritage on "Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices", Sep 13, 2005? The solutions are the same no matter what the disaster, huh? And the piranhas have them ready.

cfm in Gray, ME

what is the comment bout "who murdered Osama Bin Laden"?

I missed that memo as well. Heard whispers about OBL being down. True?


The thing is, I recall that General Musharraf's biography also had comments about the guy who was accused of killing Daniel Pearl actually being a known British agent. It seems that in Pakistan all the top people know there's a snake's nest of government-terrorist alliances. And I mean our government too.

From yesterday's Drum beat I understood that Nawaz Sharif was Saudi Arabia's man. I heard on CNN that Al Quaeda was to blame. So sharif becomes PM in Pakistan.

Will the country not respect him when the general gets older and fades away? Radicals get older and start taking their ideas more seriously to break away with NWF province or Baluchistan or wherever. It seems the idea of Pakistan is over in many people's heads and they want to do their own thing like the Bangladeshis in the 70s. It is a natural process and not a tragedy, or even a civil war worth. I heard that TV conference a few hours back in English with various local languages mixed in by questioning Pakistani jorunalists. English language under the educated classes and Islam holds the country together and their common remembered history of the 1947 break up from India and civil war with Bangladesh. We have 120 million people here in a big area with lots of ethnic groups pulling against one another. The central government is incompetent and corrupt. What does anyone have against a further partition(secualrist educated English speakers western oriented against religious ethnic non-english speaking lcoally rooted peoples?)? Who is holding them together? It seems to me like all the artifical borders in Africa and elesewhere drawn by bureaucrats in England and France and Belgium long ago. If we let the countries split apart like Yugoslavia/Soviet Union with minimal bloodshed this would be better than a civil war as in Bosnia. How mixed are the ethnic groups and how serious do they take one another? Is it like yugoslavia where certain areas like Croatia, Serbia are ethnically pure and a central area like Bosnia is full of mixed marriages where total anarchy is guaranteed? I knowlittle about the mix of ehtnic groupings there but I would guess from what we have seen in Bosnia/FSU that my analysis is about right. Still in FSU Russian remains Lingua Franca and the old industrial structures bind the peoples. Surrender nukes to the largest province as Russia took over in FSU and then stability is no problem. The Al quaeda willbe terminated in return for independence of regions, precondition of no terrorism, otherwise no hold bar war promised from central state.

I mentioned Pakistan jokingly, derisively on 26th Dec. and then this happened on the 27th Dec. I got the shock.

I hope my suggestions today can bring some reasonable discussion back into the picture and reduce fear based conspiracy, WWI type talk. We do not have a web of alliances as in Austro-Hungarian Empire there now, although the Nato-India-China-Russian-Iranian-Saudi spun webs are very complicated holding the mass of clay together that makes up this artifical country. We don't want WWIII to come out of this. That is whay the UN Security Council met immediately in closed session yesterday evening, to avoid misunderstandings.

It looks like Musharraf would like to proceed with the scheduled elections Jan. 5th, and must have his aides trying to arrange a stable political scenario in which that can happen. Nawaz Sharif can decide fast that he's ready to be a uniter and bring the country together. If he doesn't, I think Musharraf will rapidly cut him off at the knees and proceed fully with finding an alternative to Bhutto within her party (her husband Asif Zardari is too divisive actually to replace her, I'd think, but could calm matters down by going public with an appeal for reconciliation). If he can't find someone fast, he'll postpone until March or so.

Musharraf also needs to show he is serious about reining in South Waziristan.

I have serious doubts about a fresh deployment of U.S. troops next month, next year or whatever. That would be monumentally like throwing gasoline on the fire.


Thanks for the very concrete short term analysis with lots of inside details which are less well known. This is helpful. I hope 2008 goes weel there.

Having absorbed along with the rest of the world the post East bloc collapse that comparison came immediately to mind. It might make up the 5-10 year time period in a worst case in Pakistan but no country is the same as any other so any comparison is just a comparison. Of course I would have to read a lot of history and culture/geography to get a feel for the multilayered carpet of what is Pakistan now. Perhaps my ideas are just too naive and like in India with the Punjab, these provinces will never be let go into independence. Southern Asia is just not Europe.


With caveats of course-

I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks-8D

Bhutto was a neo con 4th and 15 hail mary pass that went incomplete.

The neo cons (Bolton to name one) are not Bhutto fans. They are strictly in favor of Musharef. Bhutto was a Condi Rice idea - State Dept attempt to balance Musharref.

Is there any point in having an election when everyone believes they'll be rigged? Sharif isn't a hothead, he's an elected politician, and rigged elections are not in his interest unless he's doing the rigging. I wish our Democrats were as willing to stand up against voter caging and other race-based intimidation strategies by the GOP's local klavens.

Would you ask an American politician to reconcile with a military dictator who fired the Supreme Court for getting in the way of his Army's graft machine? You don't want reconciliation, you want those crazy Moslems muzzled by fake elections until they learn to act white, just like those crazy Moslems in the Palestine and Lebanon. Maybe it's not in the objective interest of anyone to behave the way the United States wants them too. Maybe the interests of the United States are opposed to the interests of everyone else.

The election has already been 'rigged'. The most probable winner has been eliminated. You can't rig it better than that. Whether Pakistan now has elections or not is irrelevant. The country is about to become a battleground with several 'sides', not just two. Seems we play the game of 'country buster', where we look for countries with multiple factions and destroy what was holding them together, then take what we want during the chaos.

Not sure what the official channel is for submitting things for consideration in Drum Beat so I'll post a link here - Stranded Wind has its first story of any substance up this morning, with details about the State of Iowa's Office of Energy Independence and their strategic plan for the state.

SCT, best of luck with your relocalization efforts in Iowa : )

Errol in Miami

I am so lucky to have grown up where I did, although I would have debated you on that as little as twelve months ago.

Iowa had a huge ethanol boom - not a good long term thing, but the meme that renewable is good is set. Iowa is in the middle of a wind boom - a very good thing, and the state government has the wisdom to try and do much more that the bare minimum.

I get a little bit dizzy(and its not just the blond roots) when I think about it - if we dance fast enough getting Stranded Wind set up we're in a position to define that phrase, much in the way "tar sands" is a recognized meme, and to couple that definition with actual instances of it in action.

The EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report just came out. They were expecting a draw of 151 billion cubic feet but got instead a draw of 165 billion cubic feet. The same week last year the draw was 46 billion cubic feet and the five year average shows a draw of 118 billion cubic feet.

This was a bullish report and Natural gas is up slightly on the news, 7 cents to $7.27 right now.

Ron Patterson

Thanks for posting that, Ron.

I wonder what the analysts base their forecasts on. The aggregate forecast underestimated last week's draw by approximately 10%. Is that unusual? I tend to think not.

The point to remember about the current supply-demand balance is that the Upper Midwest, where NG is the default home heating option, is experiencing statistically normal winter weather, in stark contrast to 2006. Below are the degree day counts at four Midwestern cities.

City Dec 07 Actual Dec 07 Normal Dec 06 Actual
Minneapolis 1309 1226 991
Chicago 999 986 882
Milwaukee 1041 1025 896
Madison 1180 1113 957

The difference between 2007-2008 temperatures and those from a year before should increase over the next two to three weeks. Last winter's mild weather extended to about January 13. delaying the annual freezing over of Madison's lakes until January 18-20. This year both lakes were completely frozen over within a week of the average freezeover date.

See http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~sco/lakes/msnicesum.html

Sooner or later the diminished level of NG extraction activity in North America will being to depress inventory levels. But you can't make accurate comparisons between last winter's EIA reports and this winter's reports (thus far) without factoring in the pronounced temperature differences between the two winters.

P.S. 2007 was a great--perhaps even a breakout--year for The Oil Drum, thanks to the fuel for thought generated by the TOD crew and posters. I have no doubt that the supply of high quality discussion and commentary will continue through 2008 as signs of Peak Economy proliferate.

Michael, Madison

RE: The Post Bush Regime: A Prognosis...

Lets play, after reading this op/ed make a mental attempt to rank populations according to their 'redundancy'...Anyone?

...snip...'Thus the pattern of managing die-offs becomes clear. It has been tested satisfactorily in Africa, and we can expect the proven pattern to be employed in future. They pick a population that they consider ‘redundant’, they undertake a program of acquiring that population’s resources, and then to speed up the process of removal they engage in various covert acts of genocide. In this way the world’s population can be whittled down piecemeal, and manageably, as the North gradually requires the utilization of ALL the world’s resources for its own exclusive use. Unfortunately for the North, even that won’t be enough to enable industrial growth to continue. The South is being killed off only that the unsustainable North can continue on its path a wee bit longer'...snip...

The same thought entered my mind.

I think, in the terms of this article, the "redundancy" of a population might best be measured in terms of the mineral content of the land it occupies and/or the ability of that land to grow significant quantities of food/fuel.

Darfur and Zimbabwe for starters?

China is way ahead of the west in this "game" in that it is easier for them to invest equity in return for resources in countries that the west would not touch due to their unsavoury political regimes. The western world prefers to try to acquire resources in these areas through debt.....

Another metric, beyond my means of computing, might be to work out the productive capacity (minerals and crops) of the land in BTU's, and then pro-rate that capacity across the population. The more BTU's per person, the more redundant the population...

Maybe the game should be renamed "How many [insert name of African nation's people] does it take to fill your gas tank?"

Name me a country/ "countries that the west would not touch due to their unsavoury political regimes."

I was thinking more in terms of overt investment. As an example, I believe that investing in Sudan is discouraged quite strongly due to the ongoing situation in Darfur. Myanmar is another case in point (although obviously not an African country).

Notwithtanding, I agree with your point in general, though I think we can agree that the Chinese are far less concerned with democracy and human rights than we are (on the surface, at least).

Yes. A strength of the Chinese. They use SWF.

The US uses it's military.

Systems like this can run a long time. Of course, this is a great way to bleed an empire to death. This is because it is not capitalist, it is very anti-capitalist. The more energy that has to go into floating a corrupt banana republic dictatorship, the more this corrupts both the capital of the empire and the more expensive it gets over time. Resentments build and when the empire doing this suddenly finds themselves in trouble like the British did in WWII, the provinces erupt into rebellion or they passively allow invaders in to attack their masters. This is why such things weaken the home state running these empires.

ElaineSupkis(she's a true Sinophile 8D)

Our Founding Fathers worried about this.

Mike Ruppert has been saying much the same thing about the sacrificing of whole populations for years; I think he termed it "exterminism."

The game includes the usual players out for profit, but it also has as a goal the destruction of the support system for some vulnerable population. Think of the crack cocaine being run into American cities (does the name Gene Hassenfus ring a bell?), and the resulting police-state rules established for "high-crime areas."

Add to that the punishing of savers through the inflation of the dollar, and we have plenty of domestic oppression, without any jackbooted thugs herding us into the Superdome.

Anybody with a functioning cortex can see that the biofuels scam is intended to increase the pressure on the already-hungry masses in Africa and South Asia. And it's working: a few people are making money, while most are getting hungrier.

Ruppert spoke of all of this years ago: Exterminism, drug running, dollar inflation, and the practice later named "Shock Doctrine" by Klein.

I think equatorial and Sub-Saharan Africa are pretty much doomed. Interestingly these locations are the most perspective both for discovery of new oil reserves and for biofuel plantations.

However, I think there is a game changer in the room. Climate change has the potential to affect severely global food production, even without factoring in biofuels. I can imagine TPTB literally writing off Africa, but what would be the impact of food shortages in USA for example? The only feasible plan for such occasion would be that we would have a police state and Gestapo watching us every step of the way. People tend to revolt when they are hungry. However, police states are much more expensive, less productive and harder to maintain than the feel-good democracy show we are currently running - and I don't really think this is the plan. Unless they implant chips in every one of us (which unfortunately is not excluded), TPTB would eventually have to come out with a system that is more sustainable than what we have now. If "they" don't do it, then things will have to get very very bad before they get better. I'm scared even to think how bad they could become, but the Russian or French revolutions should provide some historical guidances.

Yes, the Joker in the deck is global warming and do not believe that TPTB are not aware of it. GW, an event that TPTB cannot buy off, put off, or kill off. After all, someone in high places gave the Pentagon and intell agencies orders to go forward with studies on both PO and GW. Of course other reasons for the studies were named... Like, how these problems would effect our defense posture, economy, etc.

I believe that TPTB are certainly making many contingency plans for themselves when GW strikes with full force. BAU will be toast and they know it.

Petraeus' walled neighborhoods, Army checkpoints and travel prohibited. The same plans work for bird flu as for famine.

cfm in Gray, ME

ABCP committee confirms mystery banker

A committee restructuring this country's $33 billion market for non-bank, asset-backed commercial paper has confirmed its financial adviser, JPMorgan Chase & Co., is the foreign bank that will cover any potential shortfall in a $14 billion backup loan central to its proposed retooling plan.

Citi writedown could top $18 billion U.S.

When Citigroup warned in early November that it was likely to write down its portfolio by $8 billion (U.S.) to $11 billion in the fourth quarter because of exposure to bad loans, investors recoiled at the size of the losses.

Some now say those early estimates appear drastically understated.

Citigroup Inc. could write off as much as $18.7 billion in the fourth quarter, Goldman analysts William Tanona, Betsy Miller and Neil Sanyal said in a note to investors this week. If it does, they say, the bank may be forced to lower its dividend by 40 per cent.

Citi has about $55 billion in exposure to subprime mortgages, about $43 billion of which are collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, that have mortgages underlying them.

More mortgage fun:

Citi and HSBC may be selling assets - report

How they got housing wrong: Experts thought 2007 would bring a real estate recovery - not the worst collapse on record. What does that say about forecasts of a turnaround next year?

They know its coming and they know they're under water on stuff - some of them to the tune of 250% of the assets(is that the right word?) Even if the situation is hopeless they can't come right out and say "Hey, this is hopeless." They have to go and do their fiduciary duty to the best of their ability, so that is what they are doing - going down with the ship, to put it in Titantic terms.

And more...

New-home sales at lowest level in 12 years - The last time housing data was this grim was April 1995

If suburban sprawl is one of our biggest problems, can this really be a bad thing?

(Bad for the construction workers, I realize. But they need to get busy and line up energy conservation retrofit work to tide them over.)

That Bloomberg survey is hilarious....so roughly 50% of the experts think oil prices will drop. And in the past, they have been right roughly 50% of the time...in other words, it's complete guesswork.

Yeah, I love that. Why don't they just invest in a quarter to flip? It would be a lot cheaper! :-D

On bloomberg TV yesterday they had some oil industry expert on to talk about the prospects for the oil price for 2008. His forecast 50/50 that the price would go over $100 by end 2007 (ie next few days) but then he went on to say that a US recession would possibly push the price down to as low as $20 by the end of 2008.

So his "prediction" for 2008 range is anywhere as low as $20 to somewhere over $100. And this all said with a straight face.

If they have already rulled out peak oil as a possibility (usually with an ideological fervor), it becomes very difficult for them to understand why their predictions of lower oil prices aren't panning out.

RE: The Trouble With Trade

But for American workers the story is much less positive. In fact, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that growing U.S. trade with third world countries reduces the real wages of many and perhaps most workers in this country. [snip]

By contrast, trade between countries at very different levels of economic development tends to create large classes of losers as well as winners.

Although the outsourcing of some high-tech jobs to India has made headlines, on balance, highly educated workers in the United States benefit from higher wages and expanded job opportunities because of trade. [snip]

But workers with less formal education either see their jobs shipped overseas or find their wages driven down by the ripple effect as other workers with similar qualifications crowd into their industries and look for employment to replace the jobs they lost to foreign competition. And lower prices at Wal-Mart aren't sufficient compensation.

All this is textbook international economics: Contrary to what people sometimes assert, economic theory says that free trade normally makes a country richer, but it doesn't say that it's normally good for everyone. Still, when the effects of third-world exports on U.S. wages first became an issue in the 1990s, a number of economists - myself included - looked at the data and concluded that any negative effects on American wages were modest.

The trouble is that these effects may no longer be as modest as they were, because imports of manufactured goods from the third world have grown dramatically - from just 2.5 percent of GDP in 1990 to 6 percent in 2006.

Free trade and globalization were sold to the American people with the claim that economic theory dictated that the nation would be better off "in the aggregate". We were sold a bill of goods, because what was NOT said was that it is quite possible for the nation to become better off "in the aggregate", but for the vast majority of that benefit to accrue to only a small minority of the population, while the vast majority became worse off. Not only was it possible, it was very likely and predictable. That, as it turns out, is exactly what happened.

So explain to me again why taxes cannot be raised on these few "winners" to compensate "we the people" who by and large have become the "losers" in this game? After all, it would make no difference "in the aggregate".

You see, the losers are redundant, so there is no need for recompense. That's been a mantra for many centuries now--only the elite are productive and worthy. One only needs to read Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" (1516) to understand how long the truth of this observation (redundant) has existed.

Still the people don't get it. They get the first part, that freeer trade is hurting them. They don't get the second part, that it probably helps in the aggregate, and if balanced by the appropriate level of redistribution it would help most people. Instead the hue and cry is against globalisation. So far the thinktank inspired anti-tax campaign has been successful in shutting down any serious demand for redistribution. The fear should be that we will throw out the baby with the bathwater, and end up seriously restricting trade.

In Europe, where some redistributive taxation has long been considered to be good policy, they have no such problem with run-away protectionist sentiment. I see no sign that our ruling class will see the threat in time.

You are absolutely right. When Robert Reich was labor secretary he made a few weak squeaks about the need to massively retrain America's blue-collar workforce, which he knew was becoming redundant. More conservative voices in the Clinton circle, and Alan Greenspan, seem to have prevailed with an argument that with fast enough growth, even hamburger-flippers would be well paid.

I don't know what Reich's position was on the minimum wage, but raising that would have been a redistributive strategy for the hamburger-flippers too. I would rather have spent the dough on retraining, especially veterans, but how could we have known in 1992 what the right training would be? In 2008, it looks to be how to tie a plow to an ox and how to use Mason jars.

WNC: Because the winners own the puppets who make the laws- one of the advantages of great wealth.

I know that, which means it is time to cut through all of the ideological crap and propaganda and call a spade a spade - or a parasite a parasite.

It never ceases to amaze me how people just don't "@#$%*"!!! get it. Sorry for the rant but I had to spend Christmas eve with my siblings. To them I am the kook who built the log house in the middle of nowhere. They have no plans at all other than filling up those RRSP's (I believe it is a 401k in the states). No doubt they are going to end up at my door holding nothing but their ****s!. Rant off. One problem I would like to discuss and work on is networking. As evidenced with my family there is a very high ratio of people (my estimate 1000:1) who are aware and making plans to the unprepared. One who is aware but not preparing is just as much a liability as the unprepared. Has anyone had any success in establishing mutual support in their community? Alone we are targets, but if we could develop local mutual support networks we could begin to reduce this ratio locally and increase our chances.

I kind of like this idea:

Creating The Modern "EcoHood"

I don't think collapse will be so sudden that everyone will be living lives of lonely isolation, guarding their farms from looters. For at least a couple of generations, people will move closer to the cities - where there's public transportation, where it's walkable, where there's some government assistance. And where there are other people to help you out.

The "Ecohood" idea has several things going for it. The older sections of town are often the ones with the most natural resources. Before the age of oil, people settled where there's water, topsoil, and shelter from the elements. And they didn't scrape the topsoil off and sell it before building, like they do in modern subdivisions. Houses are smaller. Prices tend to be lower, so it's affordable.

Of course, the whole mortgage thing kind of puts a kink in it. OTOH, that could also provide opportunities, for those who are prepared.


I am starting to lean towards the fast collapse model. I don't have alot of faith in the ability of the state to maintain infrastructure and order. I have spent most of my working career in the utility and energy management business. Utility generation and distribution networks are maintenance intensive. They depend on highly trained expensive people, fossil fuels and dwindling material (copper, aluminum, concrete). Over 90% of revenue goes back into it at this time. An economic downturn erodes their revenue faster than their expenses (they just can't shut off a nuke or coal plant). This could be the thread that begins to unravel the whole sweater. I believe that our civility is proportional to the availability of electricity. At present the state can only maintain infrastructure with the continuous infusion of taxpayer dollars. When that is gone they only matter if they have the ability to use force. And history has shown that the it is usually against it's own citizens. I am gambling on the rural areas being the best of a bad lot.

P.S. I would like to express my gratitude for your excellent work as editor. I learn something new every day I am on.

I share your concerns about our infrastructure. But I'd like to think it will be a priority, even if the government has to take it over and run it at a loss. (It will at least provide jobs.)

And when you look at other modern "collapses" - they haven't really been all that fast. Even when the electricity goes out, life goes on, more or less as usual. Only with a lot more griping.

One reason I like the EcoHood idea is those stories that came out of the Argentinian economic collapse. The city was bad, but so was the country. The country in areas where crops had failed was the worst. It sounded like in Argentina, anyway, Kunstler had the right idea: small towns were the place to be.

Of course, what we're facing is probably unprecedented in human history. That is one reason I don't want to be tied down to one place.

Exhibit A:

Relentless North Carolina drought could be devastating in '08

The record-setting drought that has forced the governor to plead for conservation, homeowners to shelve their lawn sprinklers and farmers to drain their ponds for irrigation is only forecast to get worse in the new year.

If the predictions come true, convenience won't be the only casualty.

North Carolina's multibillion dollar agriculture industry is prepping for what may be a devastating year for both crops and livestock, while local governments are eyeing emergency plans — and expensive solutions — for water systems on the brink of crisis.

Even that doomer, Kunstler, didn't expect water to be a problem in the southeast.

It sure amazes the hell out of me. I've been there, and it's always been a very wet place.

Of course the first time I went to Phoenix AZ my experience was that it's a cold, rainy, frigid place so the 2nd time I went I brought a whole extra bag of cold-weather gear.

and 2/3s of Arizona is subject to snow, ice, etc and whole weeks where the weekly high is 30F.....

But this Southeast thing is a large scale event ..... looks like we'll lose another major city.

New Orleans was one thing and the southeast will be quite another. New Orleans was acute, the southeast will be chronic. New Orleans was half a million evacuees, the whole of the southeast is much bigger than just Atlanta which is nine times that size. What troubles New Orleans could have been solved with proper construction, if what troubles the southeast is indeed a long term trend the solution will be less construction and a write off of much of what is there. The United States responded to New Orleans once the army was put in charge, the whole of the southeast would require the standing army we had in 1945 to secure it.

We've not faced a situation like what is brewing in the southeast since the Dust Bowl. We need to reduce the overall amount of homes occupied in the face of peak oil ... but can we do a portion of that by twenty million dispossessed southerns descending on northern climes looking for a place to crash? The whole scenario is a lot more viable when it happens in situ rather than uprooting everyone's social support network at the same time they're losing their homes.


While the situation looks grim right now, weather patterns can change and things will balance themselves out. While its not nearly enough yet, the southeast has been getting more rain in the past month than they had, and there is more in the forecast. Obviously it won't happen overnight, but things will balance out, hell we could see the SE flooding 6 months from now, who knows.

Steve aka TAD

The long term forecasts indicate drought for the region :-( I hope you're right though, as the south east interior dramatically dropping in carrying capacity is one more problem we don't need. I'd long though the coasts would be lost to increased hurricane activity and sea level rise ...

The long term forecasts indicate drought for the region

Not sure what you mean by "long term". 2008? Maybe so. Next 50 years? No, the modeling I've seen calls for us to generally remain unchanged, or even slightly increase in average precipitation.

I do think that greater variability is in our future though, which means that droughts will become more frequent and severe, followed by more severe flooding.

Yeah, I meant the drought is predicted to last through 2008 at the very least. I agree overall that tropical storms will make periodic appearance atop the existing rainfall patterns. That will, of course, be as good as a century of drought for many given the conditions there now - a large portion might need to get up and get out a la the dust bowl of the 1930s.

Do you have any sense of what percentage of annual precipitation is from TD/TS/hurricanes?

All I can tell you is anecdotal. When Frances hit us back in 2004, my community got 18 inches in 24 hrs. Our ave precip for the entire year is 49 inches. Ivan and one other T/S hit us over the next couple of weeks. Needless to say, we ended the year well above normal.

Do you categorically deny growing evidence that past societies have been destroyed by long-term climate changes? It may be unlikely that it will happen to one given society, but it has never been impossible.

The Deep South was never meant to house dense populations. It's always been marginal land. It's gone from tobacco to cotton to peanuts to soybeans to whatever biofuel scam is next without ever creating broad prosperity for its ordinary farmers. It was blighted by poverty until after LBJ's massive infrastructure bribes to end resistance to civil rights. Then it turned around and used those bribes to enable military contracts, union-busting, and suburban blight. Short-term growth strategies hyped by Christian-Right testosterone, with no liberals or ecologists to warn against overshoot.

Antidoomer, sometimes bad things happen to foolish people.

From Plato’s Timaeus

The speaker is an Egyptian priest and the listener is Solon, one of the Seven Wise Men of antiquity.

So this is the reason why among us here oldest traditions still prevail and whenever anything great or glorious or otherwise noteworthy occurs, it is written down and preserved in our temples; whereas among you and other nations that chance to be but recently endowed with the art of writing and civilized needs, at stated turn of years there has recurred like a plague brought down upon you a celestial current, leaving only an unlettered and uncivilized remnant; wherefore you have to begin all over again, like children, without knowledge of what has taken place in older times either in our land or in yours. . . .

Good Grief. You're basing a 2 year drought on the entire farming capacity of the south. Geezus. Look it will rain eventually and crops will grow again in the south. Unless the gulf of mexico disappears, there will always be plentiful moisture in the deep south.

FYI, A avg precip map for the US:


You're both right.

The problem is that, yes, the rains will come,
but like Australia, they'll come at the "wrong" times
and suddenly, with rapid runoff.

After the Arctic has gone ice free we have a new steady state.

The odds of it's being conducive to 5 million people
in Atlanta are not good.

Hurricanes in April?

Hurricane patterns have already changed and we've seen one April storm already.


Do you know where that precipitation comes from? The Amazon. Which has been in drought the last 2 years. One more year of drought there and the trees burn and dieback..

That didn't happen during the dustbowl. If the Amazon burns, all bets are off.

The average American uses 70 gallons of water per day in direct residential use. About 1 gallon is consumed, and another 3-4 gallons go to cooking and dishwashing. Everything else goes to low-value uses like toilets, washing cars, watering lawns, showers, etc.

It would be easy for people in the Southeast to go from 70 gallons to 20 gallons a day. 20 gallons is still plenty for just about everything. There are toilets today that flush on one pint of water -- compared to five gallons for the older flush toilets. You can install one right in place of your present toilet.

This stuff isn't even difficult.

Irrigation is an issue in some places, like Arizona or California, although even there most irrigation water is essentially wasted on flood irrigation of water-intensive, low-value crops like rice and alfalfa.

Nothing in the wet and steamy Southeast should need irrigation. Thus, although crops may fail due to drought, this failure is not due to "water use" per se if you see what I mean.

There are toilets today that flush on one pint of water


a Google search. Reviewed some products, have yet to find any mention of code acceptability.

I just took a course on the Uniform Plumbing Code. The instructor has been a International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials member for about 20 years.

While I personally detest being dictated too, I have found that the code organizations do provide the service of ensuring a product works.

Given your handle, I point out that just cause it's sold on the market doesn't address either issue. Can you point to a one pint product that fits the bill ?

super390: You put a lot of insightful thought in one paragraph. I grew up in Mobile and Panama City in the 40's and 50's and can only add one item, air conditioning. All those condos that line what was once pristine beach will become uninhabitable when the electricity fails.

The weather pattern has changed. North Texas used to get rain in the spring and fall, not much other times. Seems the last couple years it has been raining non-stop year round.(my observation). It may be that we are getting 'their' rain.

Strangely enough, it is raining here in WNC as I read this. We've gotten several good soaking rains just this past week. I think we're doing quite a bit better than the Piedmont, though we're still below average in precipitation.

I'm planning on mulching my garden VERY heavily this next year.

Lake Lanier has risen 2 inches since 5 AM today.


The picture is of Falls Lake (Neuse River) and the primary water supply for Raleigh. Current number of days of premium water left: 96.

Falls Lake when it was built in the late 1970's and early 1980's was built to avoid the water problems that plagued Raleight when it was drawign directly from the Neuse River and was supposed to handle the needs of the city and surrounding area for about 50 years (2030).

As I write this, it's the last days of 2007.

Durham, only 25 miles away has only 36 days of premium water left, although they hope to tap into an abandoned quarry full of water to extend the supply to nearly 65 days.

In the meantime, in Chapel Hill (where I live) we have been on mandatory water restrictions since 2002 and have the highest water rates (and progressively tiered to greater expense) in the state. Number of days left at the average rate for the past 30 days: 221 days.

This bastion of liberalism (Chaple Hill) has done the most for it's conservation of water resources. And we haven't even tapped into our allocation from another Lake in the watershed.

Who would have thunk it?

In Ontario our grid has been "de-regulated", there is is still one major generator (Ontario Power Generation) and over 80 distributors. They are owned by the province and rate payers.

I see lots of reasons for one to believe in either the fast or slow crash scenarios. In the end I lean towards the fast because so many people have no idea what the hell we are talking about and won't until about 5 minutes before it happens. Their inertia is stalling action on GW and PO and by the time they remove their heads from you-know-where it will be too late.

I like your last two points, it's going to be bad everywhere no matter where you are, and on a given day, where you are could be the worst place in the world to be. Also I should plan for possible mobility as well.


Inertia is the reason I lean toward the collapse being slow. The system is huge, and it has a lot of inertia. I think it will probably stumble forward for quite some time before falling.

Even on Easter Island, it took two generations or more between the time they realized their way of life was unsustainable, and the actual collapse. It could be quite a bit longer for us.

And as usual I agree ....just a lot of inertia, a lot of "wiggle" room in what people in the US consume, most would be flabbergasted to learn they could put in 50 miles a day by bicycle day in and day out easily, there's a lot of fallow land, and a lot of dogs and cats and "long pig" to go through.....

Inertia is the reason I lean toward the collapse being slow


You mention Easter Island and slow collapse because of Inertia, and looking back on older collapses.

I wonder what effect Communication will play in the speed of the collapse. Never before in man's history has the timeframe between an event and everyone aware of it has it been this short.

If anything happens, I can get on the internet(yes providing it is up) and find out about it instantly.

What effect do you think this will have in speeding up the collapse? Soviet Union with 70 years of inertia, fell within days and weeks. Someone did something in Poland and the Cechs and Bugarians knew about it very quickly and it fueled on itself.

Maybe all of our infrastructure problems, Muni's Debt problems, just-in-time supply chains, etc will react all at the same time. Something like horizontal drilling does for an oil field. When it goes, it all goes quickly.

One panic and everyone filling up their cars, immediate shortages. It would take weeks/months for that hiccup to work itself out with a "Normal" working supply chain.

What about in a distressed supply chain? Just that one problem would make the crisis bigger and harder to work off. How about a couple geologic problems thrown in. Like having to evacuate some towns in the southeast US, and an earthquake on the west coast or Hurricane?

I don't know, A fast collapse may happen because we are so integrated.

So, what effect does everyone think instantaneous mass communcation will have on a collapse?

I don't think it will have that much effect. Easter Island is so small communication was probably pretty quick.

The "collapse" of the Soviet Union was not much of a collapse. The lights stayed on. Moscow was not deserted.

I suspect that's the kind of collapse we'll have. Catabolic collapse. There will be times where things are moving fast (Greer thinks we may be approaching one of them, thanks in part to the mortgage crisis), but in general, it will short falls to lower levels of complexity, not an overnight collapse into cannibalism and the Stone Age.

Leanne, I think we will see fast collapse but by fast I mean it will take a couple of years. This is because I think you are correct and the momentum of the economy will take some time to run its course. However we are about a year into the financial collapse and it took about six months for the sub-prime mess to make the banks freeze up. It is almost five months since that happened and we are now seeing a growing rate of bail out and assets sell off to raise cash flow. I am not anyone you would take financial advice frfom but with my limited understanding I think the next few months will see more financial buy outs, investments by big US$ holders and then our first bankrupt bank in North America perhaps following the Northern Rock model of being nationalised. I belive this will accelerate into the second half of '08 and we will see the free fall before the years end.
I must say today is a nick point for me. I had been very fervently hoping that the economy would hold for a few more years and deflate slowly allowing for our kids and grand kids to be able to recover with less hardship. After reading 350 ppm and thinking about how we couldnt even implement a pathetic do nothing treaty like Kyoto, I am now hoping for a quick and deep world wide crash this year. It is the only way we have a hope of leaving any sort of livable world to our grand kids, or at least someones grand kids if ours dont make it. Keep up this wonderful work on TOD and I hope someone here gets to fire off the SOS rockets but I think we will all be signing off before the end of the year. A good ELP 2008 to all.

Even on Easter Island, it took two generations or more between the time they realized their way of life was unsustainable, and the actual collapse. It could be quite a bit longer for us.

I think there is a big oversight, comparing us with the people of Easter Island. The Easter Island folks were much more self-sufficient than us. Its very likely that majority of the population was directly involved with food production (agraculture or fishing). Today less than 1% of the population feeds the rest.

We are also much more dependant on multiple systems in the food chain. Even if the Farmers have no trouble cranking out food, but what if the Truckers can't transport the food to the cities. Then there are food processing plants that are dependent on Just-In-Time Delivery (since its not cost effective to store weeks of raw materials). These processing plants are also dependent on reliable electricity, clean water, and sanitation. If any of these other services is off-line, production comes to a halt. Consider even silly stuff like spare parts for equipment. Modern Farming, transportation, processing equipment contains parts made all over the globe (usually with a single source). Today, virtually any placement part can be delivered with in a week or two at the most. What happens when spare parts cannot be obtained or take several months to be delivered? A lot of parts (especially electronic components) are impossible for local folks to make on there own.

We have changed our entire system into a complex JIT (Just In Time) system, and is only as reliable if the entire global system is reliable. If one major system becomes disabled it can cascaded to all joing systems bringing our modern system to a grinding halt.

An example of how fast a system can collapse is the collapse of the Soviet Empire, which collapsed in a matter of a few years. Those last few years were not happy times, for the common folks, that had to wait for hours on lines to grocery stores that were mostly bare.

You could be right that a collapse will take decades to complete, but I doubt it will last that long. The next five to six years will be very critical (especially to the United States). The US is facing a quadruple front: Declining dollar, an economic depression (collapsing housing\asset bubble), ageing population (boomer retirement entitlements), and declining energy & water resources). In each of these fronts we have failed to establish any serious defense. Nothing is being done to address our finances, energy and water depletion. It is if we have tripped but refuse to take any action to brace ourselves for the pending fall.

Just In Time is going to be replaced by Almost In Time and then pretty quickly by Not Delivered At All. One relatively small failure in a supply chain like that - think O rings between booster rockets and fuel tanks - can rapidly spread.

I'm quite sensitive to this sort of thing, as I am often called in to help revamp voice/data networks that are less than reliable. I've been looking with this same eye at the place I live, the stuff I eat, and I do not like what I see. There are many, many places where a single failure or intentional sabotage can cause massive disruption, and what little personal buffer I've put in place won't last all that long.

We simply have to have community efforts first, then regional, and if the national government notices that'll be nice, but I'm not counting on them to do anything that could be characterized as useful - by the time there can be public dialog in the corporate owned mainstream media it'll already be well past the point of no return.


Couldn't agree more I raised these same points before.

I wrote a lot of those JIT systems/data bases.



As in Newton's First Law of Motion, the tendency of a body to remain at speed or remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force?

Problem: 6.6 billion is a very large mass of bodies to be moving forward on a planet that can support about 1 billion without fossilized external energy. There is enormous, massive environmental friction that we must continually push through (read: "we are tragically in overshoot"), yet to solve the problems we have created thus far, we must push through faster than we did before.

The damage of continually pushing through this friction can be seen today in honeybee CCD, strip mining, depleted fisheries, depleting aquifers, wage slavery, the spread of numerous diseases, and melting ice sheets. Ecological, social, and resource problems like these have been acting as friction to our consumptive way of life for millennia, which we have continually solved by pushing through harder.

The system is huge, to be sure. And how many millions of barrels per day of oil are we using to keep that huge system moving forward? Tons of uranium and coal? Mcf of natural gas? Billions of kg of food?

The faster we 6.6 billion try to go, the more friction. The faster we try to go, the more damage we do to the surface we keep traveling on, again the more friction.

But in order to continually go faster, we need to continually expend more energy. More crops, animal domestication, wood, coal, gas, oil, uranium are needed. When we slow down, when we can't expend more energy, the multiple inertial forces of friction will grind us to a halt, and likely also to a pulp.

Mother Nature is a bitch, she always sides with hidden flaws, and her collapse will not be slow or pretty. Inertia is the reason the collapse will be head-spinningly fast, due to environmental friction.

I think the only way to deal with it at this point is to get the hell out of the way of the avalanche that is already beginning. It is too late for us pebbles to call another vote.

The bigger they are, and all that.

And when you look at other modern "collapses" - they haven't really been all that fast. Even when the electricity goes out, life goes on, more or less as usual. Only with a lot more griping.

But the water plant runs on electricity. If the electricity is off long enough the water system fails. No one has water to drink, to bathe or to flush their toilets. The city is not a city with no water.

Most people live in the city or the burbs, not the country. When the electricity goes off all hell breaks loose because there is no food in the supermarket, no way to keep the food fresh and worst of all no water.

There was a time when we could live without electricity. We all had wells, cows to milk, a smokehouse full of meat, canned foods for the winter and a root cellar full of potatoes. No more. We can never go back. There is nowhere to go.

Ron Patterson

I'm assuming the electricity will become intermittent first, before it goes out all together.

As I've mentioned before, I've lived overseas in third world countries. In cities with unreliable electricity, and in the jungle off the grid. You get used to it. People who can afford it buy generators, people who can't, do without. This is happening right now in South Africa, Nigeria, etc. When electricity is intermittent, people learn to fill up their bathtubs whenever there's power. If it's a planned outage, it's announced on the radio and everyone fills up before the lights go out. (They called planned outages "brownouts" and unplanned "blackouts.")

"All hell breaking loose" is, IME, a short-term phenomenon found among people not used to power outages. If the power outages continue, people settle down and adjust.

I'm assuming the electricity will become intermittent first, before it goes out all together.

Even intermittent power losses are very bad. For instance, when the power goes out (even for just a few seconds), entire processing lines much be cleared, cleaned and reset. Any products on the line during the time of the power failure are scraped, because there is no way for the equipment to pick up exactly where it was shut off. Its even worse for manfacturing electronic components. In the semiconductor business, loss of power can resulted in scrapped processing equipment. Some of thier equipment must go through a lengthy shutdown process before the power can be turned off. Virtually everything mass produced in the US has some automation processing.

People who can afford it buy generators, people who can't, do without. This is happening right now in South Africa, Nigeria, etc.

At lot of business in these regions are shutting down because they can't run reliably. Right now South Africa has a shortage of diesel, which is making impossible for them to even operate backup generators. Sooner or later hell will break loose in South Africa unless they are able to address the electrical grid problems they have. Further more, most of South Africa isn't very pleasant and certianly isn't a place I would ever want to be. Finally South Africa industrial base isn't anywhere near as complex as the US. The US is gone the high-tech route in order to make workers more productive and to compete with low oversea wages. In China, you can probably put a pay for a coupe of dozen workers for the wages of one american worker. Low tech, cheap labor, isn't as depend on electricity to manufacture goods. The US can't make anything with electricity.

When the US grid become unreliable it will be the begining of the collapse. If we are lucky, states will begin to start migitation projects on their own and start ignoring washington. Unfortunately I doubt this will happen in time. Its likely already too late.

USA burns as Washington fiddles.

Even intermittent power losses are very bad.

I know that. I've been posting stories about it for years. It's happening right now in Africa, and has been for years.

When the US grid become unreliable it will be the begining of the collapse.

Probably, but what we are arguing is not whether collapse will occur, but how long it will take.

I share your view that the Argentine experience is the one to learn from.
However, there are a few caveats in comparison to the US.
Argentina has a well educated population that has not been unskilled and dumbed down through education and propaganda, and is politically literate having experienced many political models.
Also, low population density, in the "sweet zone" for agriculture, massive hydo resources, etc.
Plus, the physical isolation with emerging progressive governments around them makes South America the place to be, in my opinion.
Plus. Argentina has great trout fishing!

Cheap energy available elsewhere has kept all "collapses" thus far at bay.

The massive power outage in the NE US and SE Canada in 2003 (a) didn't last that long and (b) was surrounded by a world that still had plenty of resources and energy access available.

As cheap energy bleeds out of the entire system, that will no longer be the case. Collapses will cascade and spread like cancer.

Add in war, 6x overshoot along with ecological depletion, mass extinctions, some climate chaos, and disease.

Collapse will take well less than a single generation when it gets started.

Small towns out in the middle of nowhere are the best bet.

Hrm ...small towns in the middle of nowhere did you say? :-)


All these places are too close to Interstate I-90 and:
Estherville, Fairmont, Blue Earth, Spirit Lake, Jackson, Algona, Emmetsburg, and Albert Lea.

I'd pick somewhere at least 50 miles away from the nearest interstate.

You aren't getting further than about fifteen miles from a place like those you name anywhere in rural Iowa. The churches were three miles apart, the schools two, and as cars became more available the smaller towns dried up until we got to the fifteen miles spacing we see today, with an intermediate period of six mile apart towns dying in the 1950s and 1960s.

The place you just described is in outstate Nebraska where the population (and water) is much less than here.

See Nebraska SandHillls


Went to visit a high school classmate out in Minden in the late '70's. My impression is, if you can make it out there post PO, you're more of a man than I am.

This was taken near Alliance - so much for the idea that Nebraska is all corn fields. Yes, that is yucca :-)

Sand Dunes & Yucca, Alliance Nebraska


Many yuccas also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots,

A botanist, I'm not.

I got a lot of faith in both industry, municipialities and state to invest properly for handling global warming and changes in fuel prices etc.

My confidence has grown since I started to work with environmental and farming issues for one of the parties in the ruling right-center alliance. Starting to understand the inside of the Swedish parlamentarian system makes me sure that change is possible, we only need to hasten our pace.

And if a small country can get things done surely it must be possible for those with wastly larger human and economical resources to get things done?

Sounds a lot like the ideas in Superbia by Chiras & Wann. The biggest challenge is getting a critical mass of neighbors that are willing to cooperate together to transform their neighborhood. Our culture is so individualistic, that is really hard to overcome.

I've personally been spending more time with friends who are aware and have made preparations, or are likely to make preparations if things continue to progress as they are. I am wary of becoming friends with someone who is supposedly prepared, just because they are, however. I would prefer to become friends with someone, then later on tackle preparedness. I've found that just because someone shares a similar interest as you doesn't mean that they're going to be a good friend. :)
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)


Good point. There are no doubt posers who will be positioning themselves to take advantage of those who prepare. My problem is that I am batting zero. In 4 years I have not come across anyone who is taking this issue seriously other than meeting the guy who directed The End of Suburbia. I define serious people as those who actually alter their lives in order to prepare; i.e. relocate, stock, retrain etc. My wife and I are doing all three, but all our hard work could be useless unless there are more of us. But you have just given me a good idea. I am going to have a house warming party with my new neighbours this spring and have the End of Suburbia, The Party's Over, The Long Emergency and The End of Oil in the background....Either they will continue to speak to me or hide when I go by :)

Either they will continue to speak to me or hide when I go by :)

Most of them probably won't pay any attention to your "background music". Or they will politely excuse themselves. I've tried to get my neighbors on board and had limited success. One guy is preparing like crazy and one other is at least concerned and may be about to do something. The other three are a lost cause. And I live in a rural area at the end of a dirt road where we could all be growing our own food and have safety in numbers if/when the SHTF.

Do what you can for your family. It's about all you can do. There are no guarantees that any of us are going to survive. I am looking for a rapid descent into chaos over the next five years. Hope I'm wrong of course.

Unfortunately I think you are right. I have done the same and relocated to a rural area in Ontario. We are intermingled with Mennonite and Amish people. Some are friendly and offer a ton of knowledge. They might become the high paid consultants in the post FF era.

My experience is similar; despite a couple of years of gentle but persistent commentary, although my friends still treat me courteously (I'm grateful for that at least), none are making any real changes in how they do things.

So I posted a meeting on Meet-Up for 6 months. Out of a metro area of 3 million, 13 people said they wanted a PO meet-up. Of that 13, one person showed up at the meetings. I guess the other 12 are waiting till TSHTF to start networking : (

Most of my family still live in a rural area and own property outright, so I have them looking for land near them. While I'm not thrilled with the idea of living in the middle of nowhere with no gas, it looks like I'll end up back where I started....

Errol in Miami

I talked with my very politically oriented friend just the other day about peak oil and the credit crunch/housing bubble problems. We've talked about peak oil before, but he never took it very seriously. This time, he just blew me off. I asked if he done any research on the subject, and he said no, that he's not interested in researching garbage like that. He doesn't research deeply the claims that we never landed men on the moon because it's absurd, and likewise he's not going to look deeply into the peak oil thing.

It kind of shocks me that he explicitly equated the two as being equally ridiculous. The signs of at least the possibility of peak oil are right in front of our faces nearly every day. And this is pretty much the only person who will actually engage me on subjects like these.

The unitarian universalist church in my community is having a peak oil seminar in March. They also have groups on green living. I am planning to go one of these Sundays and meet these people because they must be as crazy as the goghgoner. I wonder how many of them only have one ear left?

On a related note, my sister called on Christmas and asked how my bunker was coming while laughing hysterically.


Still chuckling. My sister in law also referred to my place as "the bunker" once. Another good idea too.

Stop worrying about what people think or say, and pay attention instead to what they are doing. If people are doing things that will help adapt themselves and their community to the future reality, does it really matter all that much WHY they are doing so? And what is the value of someone that is spot on in understanding where things are headed, but does nothing about it?

The whole idea of a network is to connect to a bunch of different people with different things to offer, each of which in turn is connected to their own network. A bunch of identical birds flocking together won't do that much for you.

For example, 2008 is my year to get into beekeeping. I'm attending a beekeeping class this winter, put on by our local beekeepers organization. I'll be getting to know a number of beekeepers and thus connecting that network into my network. Some of these people are probably PO aware, some probably are not. So what? Is beekeeping something that does need to be happening a lot at our local level? You bet! So here are a bunch of people that are doing this one thing right, and are thus worthwhile to connect with.

Multiply this many times over in other areas, and you can start to build yourself one very good network.

'Stop worrying about what people think or say'...

WNCO, excellent advice. Too many people, even some that post on TOD, are concerned about what others think. This can lead to 'groupthink', which can cause individuals to 'go-along-to-get-along', which can lead to the mess we see in DC, state, and muni governments and all over the US in the general population. People that think out of the box are often punished for their efforts...And, I am not talking about the numerous 'hair brained schemes' that some people put forward without proper research before hand. I am talking about ernest people that have done their homework and then make sound suggestions...only to be ridiculed out of hand by 'group thinkers'. I have visited a lot of countries and lived in some...The US is the only country I have visited where a majority of the people take pride in their ignorance.

I have adopted a policy to deal with the group thinkers. I dont deal with them. If they are ignorant and want to remain so, that is their perogative. It is possible to find out in a couple of sentences of conversation where a new aquaintance stands on any issue, even to find out if they have considered an issue. If they are ignorant or a bs artist, then I move along to continue conversation with my old friends. 'Why cast down pearls before the swine?'

I found this article fascinating....

Readers react with tips on surviving recession

Very interesting if read with peak oil in mind. There are the people saying it's your duty to spend money. ("Money doesn't disappear, it just changes hands.") There are people blaming the media for talking us into a recession. There are people saying don't owe any money - rent, if you must, but don't owe money. There's someone who recommends buying an old rear-wheel drive beater and maintaining it yourself - the money you save will more than pay for the fuel hit. And at the end, there's a suggestion from an actual peak oiler.

Here's my favorite:

Eat fewer snacks. Snacks are expensive. Eat lots of potatoes...they are cheap and filling.

When I was a kid I used to LOVE a nice cool raw potato on a hot day.....

Potatos are too heavy to carry around. Put a handfull of uncooked rice in the pocket. If you get hungry just swallow some of the rice and wash it down with lots of water. It will not only fill you up, it will swell you up. :)

Dont try this at home kids!

IF you need something hi-calorie to carry, sunflower seeds work well, cooked or raw.

They're the snack food of the working-class whether russian peasants or guys you see at truck stops, s'cuse me gotta spit, p'too!

i'm thankful for the disclaimer !

LOL I confess..... I like to eat for breakfast ..... coffee in copious quantities with dry milk and Quik in, and dry oatmeal. Not the instant, the Old Fashioned. I like the chewing. By gum it's good enough for the horses around here.... lol.

Non-Western peoples used to use all kinds of things for snacks, I'm seriously planning to plant some Coyote Gourd around here and harvest 'em, clean and roast the seeds and try them, and use the gourds for crafts of some type. Could be a decent little cash crop. And munchies. Ant larvae (we all know from childhood how to piss off an ant nest enough to make 'em decide it's time to move and start carrying the larvae out...) and stuff like leaf and fern tips, all kinds of goodies. A light at night with some sort of trapping system could yield a day's protein right there, and most things are better toasted with a bit of salt.... in Mexico various grubs and etc we'd consider pests are a better cash crop for farmers than the corn they feed on.

Honestly though, some grains are good to munch on, a lot of seeds are, sunflower seeds can be grown and are also still very cheap if bought in bulk.

I'm also keen on learning how to nail weaver finches, doves, and starlings, birds there are plenty of, with a good accurate pellet gun. We have a crappy non-accurate BB gun around here now, I plan to change that....

A lot of "snacks" when I was a kid when we were at our poorest where things "not recognized or considered" food by the people around us. Smelt and sweet potato leaves and various odd fruit and odds and ends.....

I'm kinda siding with the fast-crashers and also kinda siding with Leanan about it being a slow crash.... how about a blend of the two? I think birthrate will just utterly crash, among a lot of the types to whom materialism is a deep religion. Hell we had yuppies committing suicide in SoCal because their house payment went up or in one case, because they felt they were at the top of their curve and didn't want to live a life of less and less things as time went on. I shit you all not!

I think we'll have a lot of people just sort of deciding to sit down and die, not because things are that bad, but because things are so *different* from the George Jetson future they were promised. Anyone remember the PBS show Frontier House? One guy was pitching a major freak because he could see his own ribs, news bulletin, on a healthy human, yes, you can see your ribs especially when you inhale. We're the primate answer to a horse, meant to be able to process a lot of air, it's how we're built.

I think you're right on the whole stoppage thing - people don't deal well with change. I instigate it all the time but I still hate when its foisted upon me, especially when I don't see it coming. Many are going to do the whole stunned bunny thing for quite a while, perhaps following along behind anyone who gives the appearance of knowing what to do.

Fleam touches on something not often discussed here. We don't see it in ourselves, but we're total mutants. Less than 1% of the population sees this stuff coming outside of certain government study groups and only some of those who do see are able and/or willing to stir themselves and get active on the problem.

I personally waded through a bunch of situational depression, walking around looking at every single thing around me, touching it, and thinking "this required oil". I don't mean to keep hauling this out into the middle of the largely technical discussion here, but it really seems like someone ought to be doing something to prepare for the mental health side of the coming crash, and I've not heard a peep out of anyone here beyond the occasional recognition that this is needed.

So much to do, so few who are able and willing. We need leadership at all levels, which we have at the local and state level, but the federal layer pretty much defines worthless. Perhaps we will see Cascadia, the New Lakota Nation, the Great Lakes Compact, and the New Vermont Republic backing away from the failing southern portion of the country within the next decade.

More people pissing into the wind results in more people standing around covered in piss...

As I have said more than once...To change human nature is an impossible task. To accomplish a large shift in human behavior, even for a short period like WW2, requires carrots and sticks. Appealing to humans to get out in their communities to bolt wind towers together, or associated tasks, during the short time that they are not at work and without any short term reward, is an exercise in futility. Of course you see the long term pay off but that doesnt mean you can transfer your vision of the future to those that would rather spend their time off fishing or on an outing with their families.

your success in the wind endeavor will depend on the strength of your leadership and your ability to locate enough carrots and sticks and how cleverly you disperse the carrots and sticks before the many. If your venture fails do not blame those that you are attempting to motivate...The buck always stops at the leader.

I sincerely hope you succeed in your wind venture. That said, I am skeptical of any that set themselves up as leaders of a venture without looking ahead, considering the possibility of failure, and being willing to take responsibility if the venture does not thrive...Because if your venture fails it will mean not only the loss of your time and effort but, more importantly, the time and effort of those that you have drawn to your venture...by their belief in you. Something to think about.

For the "we are running out of nuclear fuel" crowd:

Nuclear Waste Could Power Britain


The resulting fuel rods and pellets could then be burned in nuclear reactors over the next few decades. In turn, the waste could be burned in a new generation of power plants called fast breeder reactors.Under this scheme, Britain would be near self-sufficient in nuclear fuel for the rest of the century. 'Studies carried out for the NDA have looked at a range of options for this material and shown that its use in a new generation of nuclear plants has potential viability,' said Bill Hamilton of the NDA. 'However any decision on such a programme is a matter for the government.'

PARKLAND, Fla. - Free hybrid-car parking. Cash rebates for installing solar panels. Low-interest loans for energy-saving home renovations. Money to tear up desert lawns and replace them with drought-resistant landscaping.

Frustrated by what they see as insufficient action by state and federal government, municipalities around the country are offering financial incentives to get people to go green.


Financial incentives cost money. Local governments will be lacking money soon (those that aren't yet). Due to economic downturn.

The federal government can still hand out incentives (in the form of paper money which they can print at will).

Still, it reflects communities taking action themselves. Taking responsibility for issues that the Fed barely offers lip service towards.

This has to happen at the municipal level. I'm not saying the 'cash handout' solution, but whatever muni's can come up with. Make the EPA sweat a little, fer gawd's sake! Show Washington how quickly they are falling behind in the areas that need to be addressed.

Mr. Cow Tipper,

A link for your strandedwind website. :)


Is vertical tower next breakthrough in wind power?

Fuller claims his patent-pending, all-steel design could be built for about $150,000 and pay for itself in four years with electricity savings and payments for supplying energy onto power grids. If it ever is built to a height of 120 feet—about 50 feet higher than the 72-foot tower he is permitted now—he feels it could produce 30,000 to 75,000 kilowatt hours monthly, enough for 30 to 70 homes. Most homes use about 1,000 kWh per month.

The verticals look cool and they do have some serious advantage over the traditional wind turbine which needs a crane to service the generator or gear box. I suspect that the innovations made by Clipper might go a long way towards blunting their market penetration. Instead of one large generator and one large transfer gear the Clipper units have four smaller generators. The transfer load on the gearbox is thusly four smaller contacts and the generators themselves are small enough to go up and down inside the tower itself using a built in hoist.

Someone ought to do a capital and maintenance cost to energy return analysis on those things. Wind power goes up with the cube of speed and wind is steady and stronger when one gets 30m or more above the ground. One Clipper may get all over a much larger plant of ground based verticals both in area required, output, and capital cost.

Verticals sure DO look SERIOUSLY cool! They have a lot to say for themselves technically. I would imagine that birds crashing into them would be a non-issue, and they might be quieter too. They are probably the best bet for integrating into the built environment.

Here in WNC, we have the best wind potential in the whole SE US on our ridgelines, but it is going to be darn near impossible to get a horizontal axis WT erected anywhere around here. On the other hand, I can see these vertical axis WTs being integrated into existing telecom towers. That would be the camel's nose under the tent.

We already know how to build inefficient and uneconomical vertical axis windmills. I invented a new inefficent and un economical one myself. If I ever invent a better one you can be sure I'll patent it.

I've got the book but I'm not yet registered for the wind site selection class next quarter. This being said ...

Bird mortality is pretty much nonsense except at the poorly placed Altamont site in California. We have hundreds of turbines smack in the middle of what amounts to Club Med for migrating arctic waterfowl and we have no problem. There is a small bat mortality issue but I think they're going to deal with that by placing ultrasonic "squealers" on the blades.

The problem with verticals is this - they're far less efficient than the traditional fan on a stick construction. The best wind energy starts when the blade tips don't go lower than 30m and power is a function of swept area. The vertical turbine would have to be huge to get the same swept area and they're always going to be constrained by the first 30m being below the best wind.

My guess is these will become a specialty item - they're probably more resistant to turbulence than the traditional design, they apparently work with lower speed wind, and if they're truly that silent they'll fit in places a "real" wind turbine would not.

Fuller's wind device in the background of the photograph is just another variation of a drag turbine. It's more or less the same as the spinning cups used to measure wind speed. Check out the Savonius Rotor design, such as described in THIS Story from 1974. Nothing new here, really. The drag on one side is greater than that on the other side, thus, there is a torque around the axis of rotation. The speed of the outer most element is limited by the air speed, which means that a large gear ratio is needed to operate a commonly available alternator or generator. One nice aspect is that they don't need over speed control, as their rotation speed is self limiting, a consequence of their low efficiency.

The aerodynamics are poor and the mass is large for the power output. Were such a device built taller, the forces tending to break the axle become very large. There's almost no way to gain thru economies of scale by building larger machines, as there is with the three blade horizontal axis systems, which sweep a large area relative to the blade surface area. There is also the problem with the boundary layer, which is that the wind speed increases with height above the ground, thus there's more power available at a higher elevation above the ground.

They would work in small scale. I once built one made of cardboard about 2 feet tall to advertise a political candidate...

E. Swanson

Fuller's wind device in the background of the photograph is just another variation of a drag turbine.

Good point.

However, when it comes to OPI's (Other People's Inventions -NIHS) I'm not ready to discard everything and poo poo it so quickly.

Fuller (click image on the right to enlarge) seems to have his vertical system braced in a surrounding rectangular frame. Maybe the cups hang from the top rather than than being weight borne from underneath? Maybe that is a concept worthy of playing around with some before discarding the whole thing?

One of my favorite books (although boring to read) is Lateral Thinking.

Even when an idea looks bad, don't throw it away so quickly. Two bad ideas can combine to make a good idea.

IOW, two wrongs can make a right.

FOMALOL...Yeah, and two bad ideas can also = a terrible idea...Google Rube Goldberg for examples...

Sure, the invention will work, that is, produce power. But the design offers no real improvement over the Savonius Rotor, IMHO and would be very difficult to scale up. Also, the comment about wind gusts is correct, but this type of device must turn faster to capture the wind at higher speeds, which it can not do because of inertia, thus it offers little improvement on that side of the problem. The costs will limit the size for these things and I still would find it likely that the plane old Savonius Rotor is cheaper, since it's a much simpler design. BTW, there are small, cheap 3 bladed machines available from China...

E. Swanson

Good point. Thanks.

Christmas at Macy's - nine stores, nine hundred jobs gone.


Well, the flip side is that maybe this will open up niches for 90 new locally-owned independent retailers, who can then create maybe 900 new jobs.

Nine anchors stores in nine malls that won't be replaced. A dead anchor is how it all begins ...

Nine hundred jobs gone. Many will be high school age night shift folks but there will be at least a hundred home foreclosures from this.

I don't think it makes 90 new local stores, I think it drives business to the survivors in town at the cost of increased vehicle miles traveled.

Africa aid wiped out by rising cost of oil

The situation is raising fears that, in spite of the strong growth many African countries have seen in recent years, there could be a repeat of the 1980s’ debt crisis in the developing world that was caused in part by the oil shocks of the 1970s.


Hello TODers,

As most know: I expect 60-75% of our labor force to be converted to localized permaculture. POT is expected to double again:

It’s the agronomy, Stupid.

The global agriculture market is already stretched to the limit. The main problem is there aren’t too many new sources of agricultural land under development. About 90% of farmland is already being utilized.

The only solution is to get more out of each acre and the best way is to optimize output with more fertilizer.

That’s why we’ve seen potash prices, a critical element in making fertilizer, almost double in the past couple of years.

Now, we’re still more than 40% away from the all-time high in potash prices and there’s plenty more to go after that.

It all comes down to basic supply and demand.

For instance, in the United States, the breadbasket of the world, grain production is up 300% in the past 50 years. Over that same period, potash consumption has soared more than 600%.

Farmers require exponentially more potash to just to get an extra bushel of corn, wheat, or barley. It’s the law of diminishing returns and the only solution is more potash.

Overall, potash demand is soaring just to keep food supplies in line with demand growth. Clearly, we’re still at the very beginning of the bull run in potash. And the world’s leading potash producer, Saskatchewan Potash Corporation is continuing to soar.

POT has already climbed more than 300% in the past two years, but the run isn’t over. Over the next couple of years, POT is set to double again.
Notice that many food combines are warning that global grain reserves are setting historic lows despite this recent ag-growth.

The rising NPK prices will force a huge move to organic NPK to try and offset the in-organic cost component.

Lessons From the Oil Patch
Why "the end of cheap food" isn't automatically a good thing
Tom Philpott, Gristmill

Their argument -- one I have made myself -- goes like this: to remain profitable while churning out astonishing amounts of cut-rate fare, the food industry has to shrug off the costs of (in economists' terms, "externalize") all sorts of environmental and social damage. In other words, cheap food requires companies that can exploit labor, animals, and natural resources ruthlessly.
IMO, once we go postPeak with additional ELM blowbacks: we will quickly have to 'internalize' the previous environmental and social damage; it will take a massive effort to try and recoup that which we formerly externalized during the cheap energy upslope.

Our collapsing infrastructure is another blowback:

Huge hikes in water, sewer rates on tap across USA
My hope is that Alan Drake's TOD and my SpiderWebRiding proposal will provide the best energy effective alternative solution to the thousands and thousands of miles of buried spiderwebs that need replacing.

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

As global warming changes the growth zones for trees, a lot of forest is suddenly going to become pasture, one way or another. I'm betting on cow pasture instead of deer pasture.
Vermont isn't going to be covered with trees the way it has been for the last two generations. Most of the Appalachian forest will be cut down and put back into pasture like it's 1907 again, from Georgia to Nova Scotia.
We'll have tree cover ratios that are about the same as India, China, and Europe.

"Appalachian forest will be cut down"

At the risk of sounding anti-environment, I'm not sure that that's such a bad thing. I just drove through Kentucky again (Christmas with the folks), and was thinking, "Wow, what a waste of space".

Wouldn't it be cool if, a thousand years from now, the entire area is terraced with sustainable agriculture? While I suspect that the rice paddy terraces I see in anime might not work so well, surely there's SOMETHING productive that could be done with the land. If only coppicced and managed wood?

(I irritated some Kentucky people by mentioning "Wow, your state is just full of things to burn, what with the coal and the wood).

Seeking Alpha: Ten Predictions for 2008

Energy prices will continue to rise. We should finally see oil hit triple-digits ($100 and more), and a decent recovery of the natural gas market with inventory level declining. Against popular opinion, higher oil prices will neither reduce global demand, nor increase global supply. Alternative energy is more a dream than reality. Oil from tar sands is not only costly, but also faces environmental challenges. Biofuel not only drives corn prices sky high, but also reinforces the public's perception that biofuel takes poor people's basic need for food (corn) away to pay for rich people's gas-guzzling SUVs.

I love new year predictions! =D

MSM analysts are predicting prices between 70 and 115 in 2008 and these are from people who feel a peak oil date of 2005 is absurd-bullish for prices.