DrumBeat: January 8, 2008

Matthew Simmons: Another Nail in the Coffin of the Case Against Peak Oil (PDF)

While the views of the petro-optimists are well-documented, they are poorly supported from an analytical viewpoint – and exceedingly misguided.

By contrast, a litany of “best-in-class” facts are now starting to emerge which argue that not only is Peak Oil a real risk, but that the world might have already passed peak crude output in the spring of 2005.

As I have expressed over the past decade, the world’s data on oil production, oil demand and oil inventories is exceedingly imprecise despite years of effort by groups like the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE-EIA) to improve data quality. Notwithstanding the significant limitations of reported energy data, meaningful trends can be gleaned when digging deep into the raw numbers.

Talisman's Ross, Blake Fields Seen Restarting Jan. 13

Talisman Energy Inc., the Canadian oil company with about 30 percent of its reserves in the North Sea, said production from two fields in the region shut by storms last week will probably resume Jan. 13.

Talisman on Jan. 4 halted output of about 25,000 barrels of oil a day from the Ross and Blake fields in the U.K. sector of the North Sea because of strong winds and high waves.

Governor expresses support for oil pipeline and refinery

Governor Rounds supports construction of an oil pipeline through eastern South Dakota and an oil refinery near Elk Point.

The Republican politician announced his support today during the annual State of the State speech to the opening session of the state Legislature.

Rounds says South Dakota needs more fuel, and so does the rest of the nation.

Steel Partners nominates three directors to Rowan board

Steel Partners beneficially owns 10.1 million shares, or about 9.1%, of the outstanding shares of the Houston-based provider of contract drilling services.

The nominees are Warren Lichtenstein, Steel Partners chairman and chief executive officer; John Quicke, former president and chief operating officer of Sequa Corp.; and Robert Kanner, a vice chairman of the advisory board of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA.

Nova Scotia to get tidal energy centre

Nova Scotia is creating a centre to test tidal power projects in the Bay of Fundy.

Premier Rodney MacDonald announced $4.7 million in provincial government funding Tuesday, along with a $3-million interest-free loan from EnCana to set up the centre.

US EIA raises 2008 OPEC output to 32.58 mln bpd

It will be up to OPEC producers to keep pace with rising oil demand in 2008, with non-OPEC supply projected to come in lower than expected, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

In 2008, OPEC-12 producers are expected to pump 32.58 million barrels per day, the EIA said in its monthly oil market report. That's up from the 31.74 mln bpd in the EIA's December 2007 forecast.

"World oil demand will continue to grow faster than oil supply outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2008, leaving OPEC and inventories to offset the upward pressure on prices," the EIA said.

Let’s try to grow more food locally

The Sustainable Business Initiative Task Force offered an optimistic vision in its report to the Eugene City Council last August.

In two pages describing what Eugene could look like in 2020 if the city fulfilled the promise of its 22 recommendations, the task force draws a pleasant picture of a Eugene that has done all the little things to diminish its carbon footprint, achieve zero waste and make a “crystalline” Willamette River the centerpiece of the city’s renaissance.

Huge energy subsidies fuel China steel export - study

Massive government energy subsidies have fueled China's transformation into the world's largest producer and exporter of steel, according to a new study released on Tuesday.

"In 2007, energy subsidies to Chinese steel are estimated at approximately $15.7 billion, showing a 3,800 percent increase since 2000," the study prepared for Alliance for American Manufacturing, a U.S. industry group, said.

ANALYSIS-Gazprom will struggle to gain Nigeria presence

Gazprom will find it hard to become a major player in Nigeria, making it unlikely the Russian gas giant will rival Western oil companies' dominance there, or be able to divert Nigerian gas from European markets.

Analysts warn nonetheless that if, in its quest to forge ahead overseas, Gazprom redirects cash from domestic to foreign investment, gas supplies to Europe may still be at risk.

Nigerian Forcados oil output rising - source

Oil output at Nigeria's Forcados crude oil stream is now around 100,000 barrels per day and is expected to reach 200,000 bpd by April, an industry source said on Tuesday.

The Forcados fields have a capacity of around 380,000 bpd, but were largely shut down by militant attacks in February 2006.

Nigeria: A Dozen Paradoxes of the $100 Per Barrel of Oil

The surging price of oil, from just over $10 a barrel a decade ago to $100 last week alters some orders hitherto considered moral or axiomatic.

It changes the wealth and influence of nations and industries around the world. It has much more implications for producers, as well as importing nations. The following are perceived changes brought about by the unprecedented price regime in the global oil economy.

GM to unveil hydrogen-electric Cadillac model

General Motors Corp. will unveil a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Cadillac crossover concept vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

GM envisions the five-passenger Provoq going 300 miles on a single fill-up of hydrogen, getting 280 miles from hydrogen power and 20 miles from batteries.

Scientist sees few benefits from biofuels

Rising production of biofuels has distorted government budgets, helped to drive up food prices and led to deforestation in south-east Asia, the chief scientist of Defra said on Friday.

"The way we are currently producing biofuels is not the way to go," former World Bank chief scientist Robert Watson said, citing the U.S. ethanol programme and German support for biodiesel as among the least cost effective.

Connecticut delegation wants oil reserves opened

With home heating oil prices surpassing $3.50 a gallon in Bridgeport, Conn., lawmakers are asking the Bush administration for some relief.

In a letter to President Bush, members of Connecticut's congressional delegation asked him to release some of the 2 million barrels of heating oil that the federal government holds in reserve in the Northeast to help drive prices down. They also requested that he pump additional "contingency funds" into the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

R. James Woolsey: Why Is Oil So Pricey? It's a Conspiracy!

As oil prices hit a record $100 per barrel last week, I came into possession of a transcript of a recent conference call of a heretofore unknown organization called the Pedal to the Metal Coalition, or PedMet, which encourages Americans to stay addicted to oil. The participants seemed to be the head of the shadowy group's K Street office, an official at OPEC headquarters, a representative from each OPEC member state and some hangers-on. Their greatest fear is that the United States will become oil-independent -- and they're concerned that the crunchy types' campaign to feed cows grass rather than corn could mean not only a healthier America but one less dependent on OPEC.

I'm making the transcript available in the public interest.

Oil At $100: World Events May Already Be Priced In

Did you notice the scuffle between Iranian and American forces in the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend? Oil traders apparently did not. News that--in the past--would have sent crude futures rocketing higher.

Instead, they greeted the news with a collective yawn and sold took crude down 3 percent on the day, 5 percent from the recent all time high. That makes me wonder how much geopolitical risk is really worth.

Venezuela sees no need for OPEC to hike output

Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Monday there was no need for OPEC to increase oil output and he predicted prices would stay at around $100 per barrel due to high production costs and world economy worries.

UAE blames oil price rise on speculations, geo-political unrest

United Arab Emirates Minister of Energy Mohammed Bin Dha'en Al-Hamili blamed Monday the recent price rise of crude oil on "reasons other than supply and demand."

"The hike oil prices which surged to USD 100 per barrel is brought about by speculative elements, investment funds and a number of geopolitical factors," the minister told reporters here.

Poland wants talks with Russia, Germany on contested pipeline

Poland wants talks with Germany and Russia about a controversial Baltic Sea gas pipeline project steered by Russian giant Gazprom, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in an interview published Monday.

..."We need to demystify the problem. We need to understand why the Russians are holding out for this project under the Baltic, which is three times more expensive than a gas pipeline crossing Poland, and what the conditions would be for changing it," he said.

Canadian oil production edges up; exports soar

Canadian oil production increased slightly in October compared with the year before and exports rose considerably, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

The government agency said Canadian firms produced 13.8 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent hydrocarbons in October 2007, up 0.6% from October 2006. Exports, meanwhile, were up 5.7%, accounting for 65.3% of total production.

AP interview: deputy premier warns of strife over fate of Kirkuk

Iraq's Kurdish deputy prime minister warned Monday that failure to resolve the dispute over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk could result in more strife in the war-ravaged country and accused unnamed parties in the government of preventing a solution.

Kirkuk oil exports unclear, but promising

There are mixed reports on Iraq's resumption of oil exports to Turkey, which were shut down last week because of full storage tanks, not security impediments.

Marshall Adkins: Global GDP Growth Forecasts Are Unobtainable

While other analysts were cheerily predicting that oil prices would drop last fall in keeping with seasonal patterns, Marshall Adkins of Raymond James & Associates in Houston warned that prices would stay unseasonably high, which is exactly what happened.

Adkins’ 2008 prediction is that oil prices will start the year with some modest softening, but that by the second half, prices will start rising sharply to the point where current 2008 global GDP growth forecasts of about 5% will be unobtainable.

Milton Copulos: Rising Refiner Acquisition Costs Will Add to Gas Price Pain

The price oil refiners have to pay for the crude they refine into gasoline and other products is rapidly rising and will significantly add to consumers’ price pain in 2008, according to Milton Copulos, an energy economist who frequently testifies before the U.S. Congress on energy security issues.

Until recently, refiners were partially protected from the rapid rise in crude prices by long-term contracts. But as more and more of these four-to-five-year-long contracts expire, refiners’ acquisition costs are steadily rising – from the $50s a year ago to around $75 a today, with the likelihood of climbing into the $90s in 2008, Copulos told EnergyTechStocks.com.

Venue for Uganda road relay race changed for fuel crisis

The ongoing fuel crisis in the East African country has forced the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) to change the venue of the National Road Relays race from Kibogo to Kampala.

"The transport fares are just unbearable. We have realized many teams may find it difficult making it to Kiboga," UAF official Beatrice Ayikoru was quoted by Daily Monitor on Tuesday as saying.

Zimbabwe's farmers warn of more food shortages

Agritex said the shortage of inputs, such as fuel, seed, fertiliser and chemicals had resulted in lower planting.

Incessant rains, which have been pounding the country since December, had also delayed planting and caused flooding in some parts of the country.

Kenya: Government assures consumers on fuel supplies

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Mr Patrick Nyoike said there were adequate stocks to meet the needs of the domestic and regional market.

He said fuel shortage that had affected the country and spread to Uganda due to the post-election violence is being addressed.

Malawi: Black market fuel takes over supply

UNPRECEDENTED fuel shortage that has hit the country has taken a new twist with the coming in of fuel dealers on the black market who are selling the product above the market price.

Looking for bad news

Corn-based ethanol increasingly is being used as an automobile fuel. It burns cleaner than gasoline and eases America's dangerous reliance on foreign oil.

You would think that might be good news. But no, say the doomsday theorists.

So much corn was being used for ethanol, that less was left for human and animal consumption. And what was left, cost more.

Thus, less-expensive fuel meant food shortages.

But it didn't happen.

UK: Family food bills are set to soar

Bad news comes in threes and after soaring energy prices and petrol at record highs, the food on our tables is set to cost more, too.

Freak weather conditions have caused poor harvests around the world - and that spells steep rises in the price of wheat, vegetables and fruit.

The hikes will be felt in nearly every aisle of the supermarket.

Sugar hits one-year high on funds, biofuel demand

Sugar prices hit a one-year high on Tuesday, supported by heavy buying from investment funds and surging demand from the Brazilian biofuels industry, driven by record $100-a-barrel oil.

Clearly expensive: Methanol shortage pumps up washer fluid price

A spokesman for Methanex, the Vancouver-based company that makes much of the world's supply of methanol, declined to comment on the reason for the shortage. However, in October, Methanex reported methanol producers were closing plants throughout the industry.

At the time the natural gas supply needed to create the methanol was limited because of a hefty export tax from Argentina.

Kurt Cobb: The services we seek

It is now almost de rigueur for any self-respecting peak oil activist engaged in a conversation about energy to announce that the automobile era will soon be over; that cheap air travel and cheap food will soon be a thing of the past; and that life as we know it will generally disappear.

If anybody - most probably someone already in the know - is still listening at that point, the conversation may continue. But just as often those who are out of the peak oil loop will ask to talk about something else, as if the peak oil activist has made some thoughtless remark about one of his listeners lacking an arm. Perhaps a different approach would yield better results.

Experts Weigh in on Whether Honda is Making a Big Mistake by Brushing Off Plug-in Hybrids

ven as General Motors, Toyota and other carmakers rush to bring to market plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, Honda Motor’s president Takeo Fukui has gone on record as saying he sees no value in developing plug-in vehicles (the kind that run on electricity supplied through an ordinary household electrical outlet).

With the world in desperate need of vehicles that reduce the need for gasoline and the foreign oil dependency this perpetuates, is Honda making a critical error that will cost the company its immensely valuable marketing claim to being the world’s most fuel-efficient car company (a claim it now shares with Toyota)?

"No One Needs to Worry": Chavez versus American Primacy

Hugo Chávez is an easy figure to dismiss. His rhetoric often turns many people off and makes him appear to be less intelligent and less capable than he is. But his actions speak louder than his words, and his recent actions in the region present a threat to the United States both in security and in status.

The main threat is not direct, but rather indirect. Chávez is spreading his influence, like roots of a tree, in every direction in South America, and often in barely visible ways. While ostensibly these efforts are to promote a greater regional unity, in effect they limit the influence of the United States, supplanting Washington with Caracas. According to Bradley Thayer, a frequent commentator on American primacy, as allies begin to shift their dependencies away from the United States towards Venezuela or elsewhere, the age of American Primacy is coming to an end.

Argentina Cuts Off Fuel Exports Amid Shortage Reports

The Argentine government cut off fuels exports and called for a pump price rollback Monday amid reports of fuel shortages, government news agency Telam reported, citing unidentified government sources.

The government officials said the export freeze, which follows a sharp increase in export taxes in November, was authorized under a 1974 supply law that requires companies to meet internal demand, Telam reported. The export freeze will remain in effect until supplies at service stations normalize and prices fall back, Telam said.

Turkey expects Iranian gas flow cut to last long

Turkey expects a cut in its natural gas imports from Iran to last a long time while Russia, another key energy provider, is unable to allocate additional supplies, a senior energy ministry official said on Monday.

OPEC Sees A Payday

OPEC assured the West over the weekend that $100-a-barrel oil isn't too high, given global demand. But what it really sees is that with no U.S. drilling ahead, Americans must be perfectly happy with such prices.

Aramco will increase its capacity

Saudi Arabia's largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, has said it plans to expand the capacity of its Ras Tanura refinery to 950,000 barrels per day by 2012 from 550,000 bpd to serve the Kingdom's demand for oil products in both the Eastern and Central provinces, reported Gulf News. In addition, the company is constructing two state-of-the-art 400,000-barrel-per-day deep-conversion refineries in Yanbu and Jubail, with partners ConocoPhillips and Total, as demand for energy surges in the world's second-largest oil producing country.

National and international oil companies: a sum not a balance

National oil companies have become highly knowledgeable and capable. They don't depend on IOCs. But they do want to apply the best technologies and capabilities to meet their challenges and maximise the value of their national resources.

A Green Bulldozer?

South Korea's new president underwent his own personal green revolution when he became mayor of Seoul. In charge of major construction projects at Hyundai for three decades, Lee Myung-bak reversed himself in the new millennium. He made rivers spring from concrete and grass grow where there had once been only cars.

President-elect Lee now has a golden opportunity to accomplish this same trick for South Korea as a whole.

Rising gas prices force attention from consumers

Things get busy for environmental protection advocates at the Natural Resources Defense Council when energy prices hit a certain level.

The phones were pretty dead, for example, when gas was $2.95 per gallon, NRDC’s Julia Bovey said. But when the pump price nosed over $3 a gallon, the lines lit up.

Suddenly, everyone was interested in conserving natural resources and saving money on energy use.

UK: Energy woes before nuclear energy can help

The reasons behind the rise in Britain's domestic power prices are many: declining North Sea reserves, gas prices linked to rising oil prices, a lack of UK storage capacity.

Nuclear debate rises in primary campaign

Nuclear power is not green, say opponents, and it's costly.

Chichester, now on the board of directors of the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League, believes the 30 new reactors will be stalled by lack of funds. There's little investor confidence on Wall Street, he said, and Congress recently voted down $50 billion in federally guaranteed loans to go along with the new power plants.

Ghana Goes Nuclear 2018

GHANA WOULD commission its first nuclear power plant by 2018. Through this event, the possibility of Ghana adopting nuclear power to generate electricity in the country as supplement to the existing source of power generation could be achieved before 2020.

Nuclear energy has been recognized as the least cost option for electricity generation and Ghana is taking steps to explore that prospect.

Could sea power solve the energy crisis?

It may sound like science fiction, but Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is an idea whose time has come. It is based on the work of Jacques-Arsène d'Arsonval, a 19th-century French physicist who thought of using the sea as a giant solar-energy collector.

Melting Ice = Rising Seas? Easy. How Fast? Hard.

Most forecasting is easier and more reliable in the short run than over the long haul. Think of weather prediction. (And history is full of failed long-term forecasts of everything from oil prices to human population trends.)

But for scientists studying the fate of the vast ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica, the situation seems reversed. Their views of sea trends through this century still vary widely, while they agree, almost to a person, that centuries of eroding ice and rising seas are nearly a sure thing in a warming world. The great shifts of sea level and temperature through cycles of ice ages and warm intervals make that clear. I wrote about that consensus last year in covering the reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but also wrote about scientists’ frustrations over trying to convey the importance of a slow-motion disaster.

The Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Growing?

Yes, the Antarctic ice sheet is growing in height in the central region, but making just that one point is very misleading and quite dishonest.

There is an enormous amount of research that has been conducted on the poles and there is much more to the story than just the increase in snow in the middle of the continent. Indeed the coast is where the real action is.

NASA Scientist Explains Threat of Coal

Dr. James E. Hansen has taken on global warming, NASA, and even the White House. The head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City has been very vocal about the effects of greenhouse gases since 1988. The Iowa native was one of the first scientists to publicly testify on human-caused climate change. He's returning to Iowa to testify that the proposed Marshalltown, Iowa coal plant will significantly contribute to global warming.

Wolf at the Door

Matt Simmons, boss man at Houston-based Simmons & Co., which covers energy the way Willie Mays used to cover center field, put out one of his rare personal reports on oil, and it doesn't make for pleasant reading. Matt lays out the case quite persuasively that global production peaked in 2005 at 74,298,000 barrels a day and is now a couple of million below that, while daily consumption has continued to climb and is rapidly approaching 88 million barrels. To fill the gap, he reports, various sources are being tapped, all of which share one quality -- they're not sustainable.

That suggests to him, among many more horrific things, that we'd better get used to $100-a-barrel oil, which he reassuringly reflects "is the equivalent of only 15 cents a cup." Somehow, that doesn't make us feel any better, even if it isn't "social chaos and widespread geopolitical conflict or war," possibilities he also alludes to if we don't get off our butts and do something about finding new energy sources, seriously pushing conservation and weaning ourselves from "a chronic addiction" to fossil fuels.

Nigerian militants prepare big oil attack - sources

Armed groups in Nigeria's oil producing south are building up weapons and supplies for a major attack on an oil facility in the world's eight largest exporter, militant and security sources said on Tuesday.

Ineos to Shut Unit at Grangemouth Refinery Next Mont

Ineos Group Holdings Plc, a closely held chemicals company, will shut a unit that makes gasoline additives at its refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland, for maintenance next month.

Indonesian, Russian companies to build giant oil project

Setdco Oil & Gas of Indonesia ’s Setdco Group has agreed with Primosky Oil & Gas of Russia to build a giant Vladivostok Oil and Gas Complex in Russia at an estimated cost of 18 billion euros (close to 26.5 billion USD).

Iran's gas to be exported to Syria by 2009

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrekar Shirazi and Managing Director of Syrian Gas company Ali Abbas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday for export of Iran's gas o Syria by the end of 2009, it was announced on Tuesday.

Australia: Record oil price sparks call for petrol rationing

AS CRUDE oil sits at record high prices and economists remain concerned about its economic impact, one group has proposed the war-time measure of rationing.

The Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO), a group that lobbies for sustainable transport options, is calling for the return of the petrol allocation system used in Australia during World War II.

Australia: Griffin vows to end secret population push

"The impacts of unsustainable population growth are already being experienced in Division 9 with poor development decisions at the Hyatt Coolum and Bli Bli, retailers at Coolum Beach facing an uncertain economic future, the Kulangoor Bioreactor proposal, the proposed Bridges industrial development on prime agricultural land and the Powerlink project just over the divisional border."

..."On top of these regional issues are the global issues of climate change, peak oil and food security which we must tackle at the local government level, because they are already having major local impacts."

Impacting Unimpaired

Demonstrations against the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) began in the Summer of 2007, but several of the issues raised by anti-SPP organizers invoked déjà vu for many observers: informal agreements, secret talks, plans to do away with layers of national sovereignty in favour of corporate rules of engagement set to supersede labour organizing, environmental regulations or human rights. The laundry list of rule changes sounded a lot like debates of years past--the FTA, MAI, APEC, FTAA and NAFTA.

However, a deeper look at the driving force behind the new acronyms tells a different story, one of a world with new dynamics like peak oil, tar sands and the extreme measures that North American governments are attempting to use in the tar sands to keep an oil-dependent economy going.

Decision on listing polar bear postponed

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Federal officials said Monday that they will need a few more weeks to decide whether polar bears need protection under the Endangered Species Act because of global warming.

The deadline was Wednesday, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it now hopes to provide a recommendation to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in time for a decision by him within the next month.

The department has never declared a species threatened or endangered because of climate change, said Dale Hall, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

"That's why this one has been so taxing and challenging to us," he said.

CNBC - Paulsen just blamed tight supply on those pesky foreign owned oil companies. They are not managing their oil assets appropriately.

Shell CEO wants to open up the US continental shelf.

With luck, private companies can duplicate the success they have had in Texas and the North Sea, where we had virtually unlimited access, managed by private companies with the best available technology. Texas decline rate: -4%/year. North Sea: -4.5%/year (C+C). Which is not to say that we stop finding oil. In fact, I suspect that most of the conventional oil industry is on its way, to some degree, to where I am right now--looking for small missed oil fields. "Small" is a function of the economics of the specific play.

In any case, note the underlying message in the captioned comments; high prices are temporary, continue with the SUV/suburban lifestyle.

BTW, our paper on the top five net oil exporters is up: http://graphoilogy.blogspot.com/2008/01/quantitative-assessment-of-futur...

As I have previously noted, this is a 90%/10% effort, with Khebab doing 90% of the work. Matt Simmons reviewed the final draft and described Khebab's work as "first rate."

Check out the story that Leanan posted uptop: Argentina Cuts Off Fuel Exports Amid Shortage Reports

Great work.

Kind of off-topic, but does anyone know why (generally) the Dutch use so much oil per capita? Having just gotten back from there, it seems hard to believe. Is it because of industry and shipping? It sure isn't from all the cars.


I assume it has to be related to industrial consumption. The above link has production, consumption and net export/net import data for most countries for a four year period. Click on Source at the bottom of the EIA page.

Rotterdam apparently has a lot of refineries. Could it be that crude oil entering Rotterdam is counted as Dutch consumption, and the finished products are not subtracted from that figure at a later phase? (Just speculation..)

Edit: by finished products, I'm talking about refined petroleum products leaving for nearby countries, not consumed in Holland.

Ranked Something like 17th to 20th at 172kg. per $1000 GDP

The Dutch have been increasingly relying on imported oil (Russia, SA, Norway) in the past few years.
good info here (pdf) The electrical consumption has to be fairly high both because of factory production and electrical transportation but a lot of that is gas.
This article somewhat blames shipping to China

Notice too that the price of fuel in the Australia article is about $6.00 a gallon/US. We have a long way to go be before the sheeple git all up in a huff. John

Well done. Between you and Khebab, Nate, and Stuart, you TODers have been on a tear recently.

It's been almost exactly two years since we started beating the net export drum, starting with this article:


Readers will have to judge for themselves how valid our projections are, but It's interesting to see how events have transpired since the first post.

A good article Westexas and Khebab, well done.

However by concentrating on the top 5 'net exporters' you may be giving the wrong impression of how much time we have before the importing nations can no longer import adequate oil for their needs.

According to the EIA, in 2006 there were 42 'net exporters', exporting in total ~45 mbpd, but of these only 8 are 'yet to peak' - and they produced just 8 mbpd between them!

Of the top 5 'net exporters', in total exporting ~24 mbpd in 2006, only UAE is 'yet to peak', but by your graphs they look, between them, to go to zero net exports before 2030 - an outlook of around 20 years!

So, my question would be - when do the other 37 countries go to zero 'net exports'? Best case, that is, not allowing for above ground things like hoarding or OPEC nations that become 'net importers' taking precedence.

The thought occurs to me that some nations may be able to get more than their fair share of declining 'net exports', and continue BAU, because they are politically or economically favoured - no longer a 'free' market.

Hi xeroid,

Excellent questions.

re: "...when do the other 37 countries go to zero 'net exports'? Best case, that is, not allowing for above ground things like hoarding or OPEC nations that become 'net importers' taking precedence."

Jeffrey, can you add this to your "to do" list? And/or, xeroid, could you write this up (as well)?

re: "The thought occurs to me that some nations may be able to get more than their fair share of declining 'net exports', and continue BAU, because they are politically or economically favoured - no longer a 'free' market."

Or, have the means to make "other arrangements", while the market is still technically "free".

Can you expand on your thought here? Who are the "some" and what can you say about them? This would also make a good article (IMVHO).

Congratulations, Jeffrey.

Shortages in Argentina, Australia, and Africa? In my opinion, this is the net effect of energy mercantilism/subsidies from China + peaking world oil supplies + expanded oil demand in export boom countries.

Strange world folks.

In my opinion:

1. Switch cows to grass! We may need those 20 million extra acres for ethanol after all! And we could sure use a few less clogged arteries.
2. Honda had better eat its shorts and go on to produce a PHEV.
3. Watch for thinning sea ice up north first and quietly. If continental Antarctica and Greenland go, it'll happen loudly and we'll be swimming or drowning in it.

My mom always called statements like Paulsen's the "blaming others" whine. It was never "my" fault it was always those "other people" causing my woes. But as we all know, it's human nature to not want to be accountable. John

Here's hoping for a future in which our government officials aren't just shills for big multinational corporations.

PORI, Finland - Technip Offshore Finland who manufactures oil rigs, is to lay off over 600 workers after it failed to get any more orders for the coming year.

So where is this rush in exploration and production caused by the market supply/demand situation and record oil prices?

The Louisiana shipyards underbid them.

Best Hopes for a Cheap Dollar ?


After much lobbying for a peak oil article, HowStuffWorks.com has finally delivered.


The peak oil article is featured on the front page of HowStuffWorks.com and is much better than their last attempt.

I am hoping that this will be the first in a series of similar articles.

Thanks those of you who wrote emails, posted blog responses etc...

Bush convenes Plunge Protection Team

A meeting at the oval office of a group (PPT) that some think doesn't exist.

Bears beware. The New Deal of 2008 is in the works. The US Treasury is about to shower households with rebate cheques to head off a full-blown slump, and save the Bush presidency. On Friday, Mr Bush convened the so-called Plunge Protection Team for its first known meeting in the Oval Office. The black arts unit - officially the President's Working Group on Financial Markets - was created after the 1987 crash.

It appears to have powers to support the markets in a crisis with a host of instruments, mostly by through buying futures contracts on the stock indexes (DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell) and key credit levers. And it has the means to fry "short" traders in the hottest of oils.

OMG, Sounds Like A CONSPIRACY to affect the Market.


It's not a conspiracy...it's right out in the open!

All this speculation is based on this article in the Washington Post where Bush talks about ways to head off a recession. Nowhere in the Post article was the words “plunge protection team” used.

The article in the online blog “Telegraph.co.uk” states:

It (the PP team) appears to have powers to support the markets in a crisis with a host of instruments, mostly by through buying futures contracts on the stock indexes (DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell) and key credit levers. And it has the means to fry "short" traders in the hottest of oils.

The team is led by Treasury chief Hank Paulson, ex-Goldman Sachs, a man with a nose for market psychology, and includes Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and the key exchange regulators.

Notice that the author used the term “It appears” when ascribing powers to the PPT. That is nothing but sheer ignorance and could have only been written by someone with no knowledge of the powers of the Treasury Sectary or the Fed Chief. They have no powers to buy anything and could be impeached if they did so with government funds.

The Washington Post article is all about Bush trying to prevent a recession. The Telegraph online blog says that they plan to do this “through buying futures contracts on the stock indexes (DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell…” This is really stupid. Buying futures contracts will in no way prevent a recession. The stock market follows the economy it does not lead it. The market tries to anticipate what the economy will do. People who feel the economy is healthy will buy stock, people who fear a recession will sell stock. Buying index futures will not keep the economy from declining.

In the Post article Bush discusses how to stimulate the economy and thereby keep us out of a recession. In this endeavor Paulson and Bernanke may be of some help. But they cannot buy index futures.

The Telegraph blog quotes the Washington Post:

What everyone's looking at is what is the fastest way to get money out there ," the official said.

But the Telegraph blog does not say how Bush plans to get money out there. It leads one to believe that they intend to get money out there by buying index futures. Poppycock! The very next paragraph in The Washington Post article tells everyone exactly how the Bush team hopes to do this.

Emergency measures are now clearly on the agenda, apparently consisting of a mix of tax cuts for businesses and bungs for consumers. Fiscal action all too appropriate, regrettably.

The Telegraph blog article, by selectively quoting the Post, then adding its own spin about what the Bush team plans to do is being patently dishonest. I challenge everyone to read the Telegraph blog then The Washington Post article from which it draws its conclusions then render your own opinion.

Ron Patterson

P.S. How do I know this was the Washington Post article which the Telegraph blog distorted. Because every quote in the blog article was taken verbatim from the Post article. In fact that is how I found it. I simply copied and pasted the quotes from the blog article into a News.Google search. But you will notice that the blog does not give you a link to the Post article. Had they done that then their deception would have been revealed.

Notice that the author used the term “It appears” when ascribing powers to the PPT. That is nothing but sheer ignorance and could have only been written by someone with no knowledge of the powers of the Treasury Sectary or the Fed Chief. They have no powers to buy anything and could be impeached if they did so with government funds.

This is not even wrong, as they say. You should stop making such definitive statements about things you apparently have very little grasp of.

No, the government does not invest in equities. It would take a special act of congress to allow the government to invest in equities. It has been discussed as to the Social Security fund but was shot down on every attempt. However it is still being discussed. Government Investment in Equities But the Fed can flood the country with cheap money (interest rates). That is how some PPT believers believe the Fed does it. Few however are so naive as to believe that the Fed actually buys equities.

The Plunge Protection Team is a Myth, or at least it is a myth the way most conspiracy advocates believe.

Is the Federal government manipulating the equity markets? For years, there have been whispers on Wall Street of secret government-backed actions — like stepping in to buy equity index futures to prevent investors from catastrophic plunges.

The conspiracy theory holds that these officials buy S&P 500 index futures through major Wall Street trading desks, with money from the Exchange Stabilization Fund, a $38 billion Treasury Department account to buy currencies on the open market and secret government offshore accounts. Believers say these activities are coordinated out of the Fed's New York branch on Liberty Street in Manhattan, just a block from the NYSE.

True believers — many on the Internet, as might be expected…..

Yes, one would expect that they would be on the internet, as they are here. And it is all pure poppycock!

Ron Patterson

You are making it worse. Just stop!

Google and read about REPO and POMO operations. Ponder the recent "liquidity" injections against questionable (MBS) collateral. Ask yourself - "Is the FED a private bank, and if so, how is it again that they answer to congress? (and by the way, who owns them?)".

So many clues, so little inquisitiveness, so much dogmatic assurance.


Francois, you need to do a little studying on who owns the fed. Start here:

Is the Federal Reserve Bank owned by the United States government or is it owned by private individual stock holders?

Actually, neither of the above. Technically, the Federal Reserve System is -- more or less -- owned by itself. This has given rise to numerous rumors, urban myths and conspiracy theories about how and where the Fed derives its unique powers.

Or here:

You and your fellow conspiracy theory fans should get a grip. Everything in you guys eyes is some giant conspiracy theory, even going so far as saying the government buys stocks and index futures to prevent a stock market crash. This is absurd. It simply does not happen. Get a grip on reality Francois.

Ron Patterson

Ron: You are the one living in fantasy land. In your fantasy land, the Fed is a charitable society existing solely to advance the economy and living standards of the USA. Goldman (the same firm that brags about shorting investments that it is selling to suckers/clients) controls the Treasury because they are tired of the boring old game of making megabucks and feel it is time to give back to the community of sheeple. Sure-sounds reasonable.

I have empathy for you.

The Plunger Protection Team (PPT): This refers to the cabal consisting of among others secretary of the Treasury, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, the chairman of the SEC and the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Officially known as The Working Group on Financial Markets, it was created by Ronald Reagan to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown of October 1987. But no good thing goes uncorrupted.



November 29, 2007 -- AFTER a year and a half of stalling, the US Treasury finally complied with The Post's requests for information about The President's Working Group on Financial Markets - by delivering 177 pages of crap.

In essence, the Treasury's Freedom of Information officials said that the Working Group - affectionately nicknamed the Plunge Protection Team - doesn't keep records of its meetings.

How interesting and convenient!

Included in the 177 pages that the Treasury said responded to our request on the actions of The President's Working Group were 53 pages on which something was redacted - blacked out so that the discussion was unreadable.

Many of those 53 pages contained no words at all - just a big black blob.

Starting in June of 2006 The Post asked for an accounting of the actions of The President's Working Group, which was formed under President Reagan. The Group seems to have the ill-defined task of keeping an eye on the financial markets. We also asked for e-mails related to our request through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Here's a timely article concerning the PPT:

What is the Plunge Protection Team and What Do We Know About It?

Great article, Dragonfly. I've always assumed the PPT (besides the obvious things the Fed can do) worked in close cooperation (i.e. collusion) with the big investment firms like Goldman Sachs & Merrill to coordinate and direct intervention. The Treasury doesn't have the money to throw into an intervention, but GS & ML do. They're all cronies anyway. Poulson is from Goldmans, as are 6 or so of the world's central bank chairmen.

The real consipiracy theory isn't the PPT and intervention in the markets (which seems to me to be pretty straightforward) it is the relationship between Goldman Sachs and the US Treasury & the Fed.

Shar,I am starting to think that goldman-sach,and the rest ,ARE the fed...at a certain point,all of these "masters of the universe "types, these "Davos men" Bilderburger boyos believe themselves the elite,and quite above scrutiny of the lower types...like FBI/police doing fraud investigations.
From what I hear the FBI is hiring fraud investigator types as fast as they can.One can only hope.

The Daily Telegraph is not a blog. It is a conservative daily newspaper which is the best-selling broadsheet in the UK. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Telegraph. The author of the article is the Telegraph's International Business Editor.

P.S. How do I know this was the Washington Post article which the Telegraph blog distorted. Because every quote in the blog article was taken verbatim from the Post article. In fact that is how I found it. I simply copied and pasted the quotes from the blog article into a News.Google search. But you will notice that the blog does not give you a link to the Post article. Had they done that then their deception would have been revealed.

There is no 'deception', Ron. The Daily Telegraph article clearly states that the Washington Post is its reference for some of the information. It says:

a well-briefed report in the Washington Post

However, the Washington Post article you posted doesn't have all the quotes used in the Daily Telegraph article. For example, it doesn't have this quote from the Telegraph:

Mr Paulson reactivated it last year, asking the staff to examine "systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives, and the government's ability to respond to a financial crisis"

However, the Washington Post article you posted doesn't have all the quotes used in the Daily Telegraph article. For example, it doesn't have this quote from the Telegraph:

Mr Paulson reactivated it last year, asking the staff to examine "systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives, and the government's ability to respond to a financial crisis"

You are correct Coilin, the Post article does not contain those words. But the article would lead you to believe that it does. This is deception. However those words, even if they were uttered by Paulson, show nothing but concern that everyone has. The Savings and Loan crisis was brought about by foolish risk and the government responded to that financial crisis by bailing them out. Paulson should be very concerned by hedge fund risk. This has nothing to do with any PPT conspiracy however.

And if you news.google the words "systemic risk posed by hedge funds" you will find those words, in that order, nowhere except the Telegraph article. Perhaps they just made it all up.

Ron Patterson

You are correct Coilin, the Post article does not contain those words. But the article would lead you to believe that it does. This is deception.

You only concluded that the Telegraph got all its information from the Washington Post because you thought the Daily Telegraph was just some blog incapable of doing their own research.

Why would the Daily Telegraph, which is very much part of the mainstream media, strongly conservative, pro-capitalism, pro-Iraq war, etc. choose to deceive its readers on something like this?

And if you news.google the words "systemic risk posed by hedge funds" you will find those words, in that order, nowhere except the Telegraph article. Perhaps they just made it all up.

For someone who claims not to like conspiracy theories, you have a funny way of making them up and believing them when they suit you. I don't know what the exact source of this quote is, but a little bit of googling shows that the US government and Paulson have made very similar statements within the last year, e.g. this quote from Paulson:


And the President's Working Group on Financial Markets – comprised of the Treasury Secretary and the Chairmen of the Federal Reserve Board, the SEC, and the CFTC – continues to review and monitor markets, assess issues related to the performance of derivatives, and study the activities of hedge funds in three broad areas: investor protection, operational risk, and potential for systemic risk.

Coilin, you missed the entire point of my last post. I said this is something Paulson would want to do. That is he would be concerned with hedge funds collapsing and causing a lot of problems for investors. I mentioned the S&L crisis and the great cost to the government when they were bailed out. Of course no one in the government wishes to see another such debacle.

The point is Coilin, the point that you so conviently ignored, is that all this has absolutely nothing to do with any Plunge Protection Team. Nothing in the Washington Post indicated any such PPT meeting took place with the president. The author of that piece, in my opinion, simply made it all up. And one stupid right wing article does not a conspiracy make. A conspiracy theory true, but not an actual conspiracy.

Where is the evidence that any such PPT meeting took place with the President in attendance as the article stated. He quotes the Washington Post but nothing in the article even mentions any PPT. Where is the evidence? One author, writing in Britain, telling us of something that happened in Washington about some Plunge Protection Team meeting with the president, without one shread of evidence or listed source simply takes the cake. It is pure bullcrap!

It is obvious Coilin, that he meant for The Washington Post to be the source. But this is not true. And the fact that the author leads us to believe that The Washington Post is his source is deceptive.

Ron Patterson


As the Daily Telegraph article says in the very first paragraph, the 'Plunge Protection Team' is officially known as the 'Working Group on Financial Markets', and the Washington Post says that on Friday such a group was to meet:


Aides have previously said Bush was considering stimulus proposals, mainly in the form of targeted tax cuts, and the president's comments indicated he may unveil them in coming weeks. He is scheduled to meet today with a working group on financial markets led by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.

The Working Group on Financial Markets exists, is chaired by Paulson, and deals with such things as systemic risk to the financial system: http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/hp272.htm

Here is link to Bush's statement after the WGFM meeting:

Oh, my apologies Coilin. Those sneaky devils don't call it a Plunge Protection Team at all, They call it a "Working Group on Financial Markets". And they fight stock market plunges with things like "targeted tax cuts". Those devils! And they have other plans to stop any stock market plunge. From the Post article:

The White House has already signaled that it plans to offer additional measures to respond to the housing slump and the credit crunch, which have led to foreclosures.

Wow! That should do it.

Ron Patterson

As usual, the truth is no doubt some where in the middle, the details hidden from view, not as a conspiracy but because those in power believe it's either in our, or thier, best interests. Who's to say.

Anyway, Ron, while I'm mostly on your side when it comes to reacting to conspiracy theory believers, you might want to moderate a little. Certainly your initial go at the telegraph journalist seems well wide of the mark. After all, I was on the brink of pointing out that

Where is the evidence that any such PPT meeting took place with the President in attendance

is at whitehouse.gov, and locatable with a quick search.

After all, the link YOU provided on the PPT stated:

If there is a PPT, it may be hiding in plain sight. Following the 1987 crash, ... President Reagan, established the “Working Group on Financial Markets.”

So it seemed sensible to search at wh.gov under it's formal name. And it doesn't seem unreasonable for the Telegraph journalist to have used what seems to be the 'colloquial' term. Also from your link:

Brett Fromson, of the Washington Post ... was the one who wrote the Washington Post story that came up with the PPT name.

Anyway, here's what I figure I know:

1) I don't know the full story about what this group might try and do, or what their mission, formally or informally might be.

2) Neither do the conspiracy theorists

3) No amount of arguing about it on here is going to either affect what anyone believes, or what the Plunge Protection Team (sorry, WGoFM) might decide to do.

Ho hum.

I agree that we do not know what the Working Group on Financial Markets does, but shouldn't we have some transparency to their workings? Who ultimately has control over this group, the President? Where is the oversight?

Good discussion of the PPT:


Listen to the whole thing, but the PPT stuff begins at about 34 min.

Is it possible--90% tax on labor to bail out Wall Street?

They have no powers to buy anything and could be impeached if they did so with government funds.

And we all know that the US govt. never does anything illegal!

Why does it have to be the US Govt?

The alleged PPT is not government buying, but orchestrating significantly large private investors and/or The FED(also private, with NO oversight or audit - just in case some didn't already know that).

With all the public figures in the working group connected to Goldman Sachs, and them being the only institution so far not affected by the economic situation due to shorting the very things they sold to others, there is at the very least the appearance of criminal behavior or treason as well as possible control by foreign intelligence agencies.

There is far more then needed for the Department of Justice to take a real close look at it, even if just to reassure that the appearances are not what they seem to be.

Musashi, DragonFly41, Colin, et al, You are wasting your time. Ron has made a statement that we are conspiracy theorists and that there is no way the US Gov is manipulating the markets, MSM, or are involved in any shenanigans. Period. There are never any conspiracys, 'cause Ron said so, and that is that.

Keep up the good work Ron, and dont be discouraged by a bunch of conspiracy nuts trying to gang up on you. :)

River, did you read this MSNBC article?

The point is I am not the only one who realizes that this silly PPT conspiracy theory has gotten out of hand. That there is a Plunge Protection Team out there manipulating the markets by buying equities and index futures is a conspiracy theory of the fringe element. It has no basis in fact.

Perhaps the only certainty about the PPT conspiracy theory is that it is not going away any time soon. While every rebound by the indices in the face of damning economic fundamentals and market technicals deepens the conviction of PPT believers; not even a market crash will likely convince them otherwise. After all, the market's massive slide from 2000 through 2002 didn't even unwind the theory. Either way, someone should make it into a movie. It might be called Wall Street's Da Vinci Code.

But wait, MSNBC is Big Media! They are all part of this giant conspiracy. Hell, millions are involved in this conspiracy. Well hell, back to the drawing board. ;-)

Ron Patterson

Anything espoused by one of the world's largest industrial manufacturers should be questioned at least a little. What do I mean? Well, NBC/Universal is owned by GE. GE makes an ungodly large amount of things, the LEAST of which is your microwave and lightbulbs in your home.

I would say that has a little to do with CNBC always screaming that "everything is going to be OK" and you should just "hold on, as the market will recover." I watch those Squawk talking heads every morning as I'm getting ready for work. It's amusing.

No, there's not a Bogey Man hiding behind every corner, but at the same time, just because the media says it is so, doesn't make it necessarily so. Spin, baby, spin!

Well...you know really...you could call TOD a "conspiracy" blog since we are more often than not presenting data and ideas that goes counter to the "official" data.

Are we just skirting around the idea that we believe there are officials lying about petro data? Or are we trying to play nice and just say, "You have made mistakes and let us show you the correction to your mistakes"?

So, if this is true, why does Ron hang out at a blog focused on conspiracies?

Are we just skirting around the idea that we believe there are officials lying about petro data?

NO! No one is lying. The EIA actually believes everything it writes. The IEA believes the same thing. Michael Lynch actually believes that prices will fall to the $40 range this year. Yergin and CERA actually believes that oil production will increase for about four decades before it reaches that "undulating plateau".

The world is not lying Dragonfly, everyone, or most everyone, actually believes the propaganda it is spouting.

So, if this is true, why does Ron hang out at a blog focused on conspiracies?

NO, NO, A thousand times NO! If the Oil drum was focused on conspiracies I would leave right now and never post another post. What I am trying to do is get us away from that fringe group that believes everything is some giant conspiracy. It is not! If we go down that road the The Oil Drum is destined for the dustbin, for the place all far fringe groups eventually wind up at.

That is why I am so adamant about fringe issues like the PPT and other conspiracy theories. We do not belong with that fringe. Peak Oil is a geological fact, let us dwell upon that rather than silly conspiracy theories.

But if you are correct, and The Oil Drum is indeed focused on conspiracies, then someone tell me now and I will leave and never return. God I hope not.

Ron Patterson

NO! No one is lying.

Yup. No one, the EIA or oh say Newscorp is lying.


Whatever is said or done by anyone is because they believe it, and would not be effected by their perception of gain or loss by saying some other thing.


There ARE conspiracies. The large majority of conspiracy theories do indeed turn out to be wrong. However, you seem to believe that there are no conspiracies and everyone always acts in good faith. If that's what you believe, it is simply untenable. There ARE conspiracies.

In my opinion, it is entirely appropriate to examine any two events that could be linked to ask if they were deliberately linked. It is entirely appropriate to examine data that doesn't make sense to ask if someone is fudging the data. It is entirely appropriate to ask to see the books when someone is hiding something and to be suspicious when they refuse to let you see them.

The harm done to the world by overlooking big conspiracies is far greater than the negligible-to-nonexistent harm caused by fringe people going on about controlled demolition of the WTC, or some such thing. If the bulk of people were a little more suspicious, the invasion of Iraq would have been a much tougher sell, for example.

Shargash, I have never stated, or believed, that there are no conspiracies. But I can state inequitably that there are no giant conspiracies. That is, there are no conspiracies that require thousands of people ant those thousands must keep the secret. That is absolutely impossible. The chances of the conspiracy being exposed increases exponentially with the number of people being involved.

People who advocate that giant conspiracies are indeed possible usually talk about the Manhattan Project or other such military secrets. These are a different story. Only a very few people knew the destination of the Normandy Landing until the operation was underway. And likewise only a few people knew what the Manhattan Project was all about until the bomb was exploded. And besides, a secret has a much better chance of being kept if you know you face a firing squad if you blab about it.

Super Giant Conspiracies simply do not exist. That is, thousands, or even hundreds of people cannot be required on to keep a secret. It simply cannot be done.

Smaller conspiracies, requiring less than a dozen people to be in on the conspiracy, are commonplace. But any PPT or such would require hundreds to be in on the conspiracy. And as one administration leaves and another takes its place, the cat would be out of the bag. It simply doesn’t happen.

I will not comment on your WTC speculation. I do not believe your stupid enough to believe that the whole thing was a conspiracy cooked up in the White House. If so, then I have wasted my time with this post. People who believe that are not just the fringe, they are the fringe of the fringe. So far out that they can be ignored, and should be ignored.

I am reminded of what someone told me when I was on the debating circuit. I would debate creationist in the public forum. This man told me, “these people are idiots, they should be ignored, not argued with.” The more I thought about it the more I realized the man was right.

So if you believe the WTC was one giant conspiracy, I will not argue with you, I will ignore you.

Ron Patterson

The US and the UK were reading the German codes sporadically until 1943 and almost continuously afterwards.
This was kept secret by tens of thousands of people till 1974. The way it was kept secret was that of those tens of thousands of people, only a few hundred knew what was happening, and the newspapers were persuaded to ignore leaks from those people by threats of criminal prosecution. These threats were successful not just during the war but for a generation afterwards. Indeed, not until the political benefits of reporting the Ultra Secret were greater than the political consequences of admitting it, was the Ultra Secret finally revealed in 1974. Long after the German intelligence services learned of it from the US and the UK.

So, yes, tens of thousands of people can keep a secret.

This is a gross exaggeration. Tens of thousands of people kept the secret? Absurd! Surely Willis, you can do better than that. The Enigma machine codes were caputred but only a handfull of people knew about it.

Tens of thousands? I really do not know why I respond to such absurd posts.

Ron Patterson

There were about thirty thousand people involved with breaking the codes. There was the small group in Britain at Bletchley Park, and the big group in America in Ohio.

Ron: I have no idea who convinced you that people cannot keep secrets when it is advantageous to do so. In fact, almost all really important info is kept secret. Maybe YOU would be blurting out your involvement in such dealings on TOD but nobody else would.

I agree with you about giant conspiracies. I think what is actually going on with these is a commonality of interests. People can and do act in concert to advance their common interests, and they can do so without any formal coordination. It might look like a conspiracy, but it really isn't.

Bingo. This is the rationale behind Peter Dale Scott's theory of "Deep Politics". In his book on the JFK assassination he describes what on the surface looks very much like an enormous conspiracy between politicians, big business, organized crime and the intelligence community. On examination it turns out that there was no such thing, it was just a commonality of interest. Everyone simply understood that to advance their agenda certain things needed to be done.

There are always linkages of one sort or another between the participants in such a situation, but there's absolutely no need for their communications to rise to the level of a formal conspiracy.

Hi Ron, WNC, et al,

re: "It might look like a conspiracy, but it really isn't."

I have an original* theory I call "The Conspiracy Effect".

It's kind of like the theory of evolution.

The outcome appears to have been orchestrated.

And, in a way, it was.

And, in addition, there are many feedback loops...that lead to interesting derivations.

Like "niche-building capability"...and so forth.

*(if I do say so myself :))

Of course, if you have a conspiracy, and it does leak, there's always the probability that the leakers will be generally regarded as conspiracy nuts, and surrounded by confirmed conspiracy nuts, making just about any attempt to work out what might be real, frustratingly futile...

Even the PPT debunking article you linked suggests the possibility of things edging towards the gist of the conspiracy version - I suspect it's often a case of the motivations that are assumed and projected by the observer onto those working somewhat in secret that drive our assumptions about how nefarious or conspiratorial their activities are.

What about small conspiracies? Surely you'll admit that small groups of people can keep big secrets.

Well, I can think of at least one way in which WTC could have been precipitated by a small conspiracy. It didn't need to be executed by a big one, just conceived by a small group and then handed off to others for execution. I lay out one very speculative possibility here: The Saudi Peak - An Hypothesis About the Iraq War. It even references the work done here on the possible peaking of Ghawar...

Hi Ron,

Doesn't your argument depend on the nature of the "it" - the "secret"? Something very specific seems more likely to fall into the category of things one might think about along these lines (the way you are talking here). And WTC was a singular (specific), dramatic event, one might argue.

OTOH, some things, or...I should say...some ideas (and "peak oil"/"finite planetary endowment" appears to be one of them) seem to fall into a category I'd describe as follows: not so much as secrets requiring active suppression, but rather, ignorance and/or lack of understanding that makes even the possession of certain facts essentially equivalent to those facts being unknown.

Or, another way to put it..."meaning comes from context."

Without the context of relevant facts, a lone little fact - (eg. "Peak oil is probably already here") - is lost.

That said...I understand (I think) where you're coming from emotionally. My suggestion (not that you asked, but I'll offer :)) is to put aside the logic of the conspiracy argument, and ask them what it is that this means. To them.


Since you use WWII to support your position it is safe to say the Holocaust meets your conspiracy criteria. It involved millions and was unknown to the majority of the world until after Germany was conquered.

Secondly, please refrain from referring to me as an idiot. If one scientifically accepts the wave-particle duality of light, or the singularity of a black hole as attested to by inference from repeatable observations of nature one accepts an explanation that is not understandable in rationale terms (i.e. light cannot rationally exist simultaneously as wave and particle, yet apparently it does). If one accepts Newtonian calculus and the great benefits it has brought one accepts a world view that an infinite number of points comprise the curvature on the period at the end of this sentence.

Now perhaps you will give a lengthy exposition on the full meaning of infinity and nothingness, I will acknowledge the obvious, perhaps even with a sense of awe at my surroundings, that my understanding is incomplete.

These are what are called mysteries and they are apprehensible by repeatable observations of the Universe. If the Universe then contains that which is not currently rationally comprehensible then it seems a somewhat bizarre position to exclude the possibility of creation for a Universe that is incompletely understood. It is arrogant to go further and exclude the possibility of discussion on such a primary question as the origin of being, ours and the universes. I for one will side with Aristotle and Plato, with millennia of Judao-Christian thought, come to think of it with every major religious and nearly every major philosophical movement, that there is a Creator.

Finally, there is no conflict between evolution and Christianity though certainly a battle of a difference concerning the teleology of evolution. Now don't get angry here, in Christianity, "the meek shall inherit the Earth". Sorry to be snide, I just have found some atheists to be violently intolerant of differing views.

As for the PPT we don't need a conspiracy, just look at the discount window. The discount rate has been cut three times since September. The past two weeks the Feds have loaned 4.5 and 4.9 billion dollars through the discount window - that's a rate approaching a fifth of a trillion a year if it continued. Now, where does the Federal reserve get that money to loan? Are they also perhaps taking on added risk by loaning to banks which made very bad recent investment decisions? I sure hope the PPT or whatever you want to call it is meeting, you don't need a conspiracy theory to figure there's a decent chance the summary of their meeting minutes would read "Oh shit, I hope this turns around". Just ask all the heads of major banks who've "stepped down" in the past twelve months.


Just a note late in the discussion.

re: "Secondly, please refrain from referring to me as an idiot."

Thanks for saying this. Sorry if my reply to Ron seemed to condone his use of pejorative labels.

Also, I liked your example, and also your expression about the mysteries of life.

Right. There are a number of things we know in regard to the PPT thing
1. It was created in response to the 1987 crash to try to fend off future such events
2. Big banks have intervened in the markets before, most notably in 1929 to try an prevent or ameliorate crashes.
3. Big banks and the US govt are so intertwined as to be almost seamless, at least in their economic outlooks and intentions
4. Entities with extremely deep pockets can make money on any number of virtually guaranteed cash flow investments (e.g. the Yen carry trade)

We might deduce from this

The PPT at the very least encourages the big banks to intervene in the markets at critical times using derivative type leverage to stave off 'plunges.'

The Fed may offer some sort of backstopping guarantee that the big banks (almost wrote 'big bang' there :-o) will be 'taken care of' if they suffer losses in this intervention. Then see #4. With a few billion in loans, a big bank could recoup some pretty big losses from a 'plunge protection' that didn't work out. Since 1987 I don't think there has been a comparable crash except for the immediately post 9/11 one that everyone expected and was pretty much pre-choreographed, that is, the banks had a good idea of how bad it would be and when it would recover (see below).

For all we know, the big banks might have never had to take advantage of this 'moral hazard' loan guarantee. The faith that the markets will always rise 'in the long run' is as rock solid a faith in the financial world as the faith in gravity.

For all of this, it is also obvious that this kind of manipulation cannot prevent a long term bear market. Creating a long term bull market happens because of aformentioned faith. However, I am convinced that this type of market manipulation happens all the time, no conspiracies necessary.

ET: The goal of preventing a bear market is just an assumption. Wall Street has a long history of stock manipulation for the benefit of insiders.It is even more fun when it is with the sheeple's money. A wolf doesn't become a shepherd just because you give him a fancy government title.

I'm a bit late in the game, but nevertheless:

"In March 1988, a Working Group on Financial Markets was appointed by the President to consider the major issues raised by numerous studies and their recommendations.11 The members of the Working Group were the senior officials of Treasury, the Federal Reserve, SEC, and CFTC, with the Under Secretary for Finance of the Treasury serving as Chairman. The Working Group made conclusions and recommendations in the areas of circuit breakers, clearance and settlement, margin payments, contingency planning, capital adequacy, and trade processing systems."

Source: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO/GGD-97-96

I see no jurdisdiction or authority to buy or sell assets in any of the books I've read (searched through amazon books inside search as well as *.gov archives).

Anybody else have official information about otherwise?

"The stock market follows the economy it does not lead it. The market tries to anticipate what the economy will do. People who feel the economy is healthy will buy stock, people who fear a recession will sell stock. Buying index futures will not keep the economy from declining."

True, but it can help mitigate or delay an economic recession and have a psychological impact. Trillions of dollars of stock market paper wealth being wiped out quickly would have more negative impact than it would if it were spread out over months. Investors who short stocks or stock futures will be more hesitant to do so when a sudden tide of money pours in (and they have to cover their shorts).

Besides, the cornerstone of the Bush Administration ideology is that it refuses to learn anything from the events of the Great Depression - where fatcats tried to prop up stocks to lead the economy. So why shouldn't it try again?

But...but...Bernanke is a Great Depression scholar...isn't he?

Right on, Ron.


As much as you are presenting yourself as an expert on the PPT or Working Group, there are quite credible people who have come to accept the reality of quasi-governmental intervention in our capital markets. Here's a couple of links: look here and here.

Isn't finance now a TOD topic non grata? Why is it being brought up now? Goodness gracious, did the TOD PTB forget to announce finance is not a part of the mission statement (for those willful enough to not read it) and can no longer be addressed? Stop defiling TOD at once. You infidel.

That is simply untrue. I'm not sure where Stoneleigh got this idea, but no such decision has been made.

I know where I got it from.

This is not the place to detail issues between our staff so I will not. We have an amazing band of smart, well intentioned volunteers that are trying to do the right thing. We are an energy site, and the juxtaposition of a world denominated in dollars and a world needing energy is not more keenly seen than in the arena of finance. We certainly intend to do analysis and research on the links between energy and finance going forward as resources and time permits. In fact, that is what my phd thesis is about. But we will never be a go-to finance site. We don't have the credentials.


If you've got a different take on the proceedings, please enlighten me. Otherwise please explain why the "dabbling duo" feel compelled to hit the road jack.

I honestly haven't a clue. You probably know more about it than me. However, if I had to guess, I would say it sounds more like a personal problem with Ilargi than a problem with the topic of finance.

More recently, Nate said finance is on-topic.

And I am in charge of the DrumBeats, which have a looser format than the rest of the site, and I say finance is definitely on-topic for the DrumBeats. Please stop telling people it's not permitted, because it is.

Here's what I said over at TOD:Canada (comment copied and pasted):

Actually it's not as simple as whether finance should be at TOD or not, but it wouldn't be appropriate to debate the internal complicating factors in public. All I would say on that topic is that what we do here isn't a one person job, so if only one person were left to do it, the quality of coverage would suffer and the amount of time required would become prohibitive. Because ilargi and I work well together, it makes sense to us to continue our collaboration where we can.

On the issue of finance, which is an appropriate topic for readership debate IMO, it's not that finance has been deemed off topic at TOD per se, but that frequent financial coverage without reference to energy is not what TOD wants to be about. The focus of TOD is on original analytical work, which we have occasionally done here, but relatively infrequently. With a small staff at TOD:C, analytical posts on a wide range of topics would take so much time that posts would be few and far between. Instead we chose to focus on news compilations in order to provide regular, up-to-date coverage of a wide range of issues affecting Canada and the world, believing that to be the best use of our available time and energy.

Over time we came to focus more and more on finance as we watched the credit crunch develop. We both feel that the short term timeframe and potentially enormous impact of the credit crunch is poised to rewrite much of the peak oil debate in the relatively near future, as well as undermine (perhaps fatally) the assumptions upon which people's lives have been based. As such we felt it deserved much of our attention - not to the exclusion of all else, as we're both very much big picture people for whom context is vital - but considerable attention, given that we are contemplating a vital life-support system under threat.

We have been attempting shed light on something we feel to be a critical issue, the importance of which is being badly underestimated by almost everyone, largely because its complexity makes it inaccessible to most people. Our intention has been to raise awareness and to make the issue accessible to the TOD readership by gathering the most up to date and informative analysis we could find. In doing so, however, we moved away from the existing TOD model. TOD would like the focus to remain firmly on energy and for the format to be primarily original analytical work. As ilargi and I wish to continue doing what we do now, we need to set up another space in which to do it. When we have done so, we will let our readers know where to find us.

Please do let us know where to find your information. It has been my experience that the financial summaries overlap with peak oil and some of its consequences. I enjoy your work and the comments.

Here, here!! I second that. I hope the TOD staff will provide a link somewhere off TOD to wherever Stoneleigh and company end up.

Thirds !

This is craziness. I have sent links to the Financial Round-up to more people than I have sent links to all other energy related TOD postings put together. That sounds kind of bad, right? But it gets people coming to the TOD site ! Seriously...I have converted three people to TOD readers with the their work alone.

Man, I'm pissed.

Holy Cow!
And here I am thinkin' Money IS Energy.
Damn publik skool edjumakation.

I like TOD:Canada being somewhat finance focused - and it makes sense to me being that way.

Canadians are the primary energy supplier to the biggest energy consumer in the world. They trade the bulk of their energy and it's finance that gives the best snapshot of that relationship rather than the patterns of Canadian consumption.

Finance and Canadian finance in particular are crucial to truely understanding the implications of PO as it relates to 25% of global consumption. It also doesn't hurt that Canadian finance and accounting principles are of 1st world order.

I don't want to overstate Canada's importance in all of this but at the moment Canada is like the KSA of the North and I imagine if there was TOD:KSA, the exchange rate, US fiscal policy and the US economy would be pretty important topics.

I second that...Couldn't have said it better.

Everything is connected to everything else. We have built disciplinary and categorical constructs to try to make some sense of our world, but they are just constructs. The world does not always respect our constructs, sometimes reality can be quite messy.

Does oil and energy have financial implications? You bet!

Does finance and economics have implications for energy and oil? You bet!

I do think the proper emphasis here on TOD wrt finance and economics should be mainly those overlaps and crossovers and interdisciplinary things that don't necessarilly respect our neat boundaries.

Folks, calm down.

We are NOT getting rid of energy related financial posts, not in the drumbeats, and not overall. Stoneleigh is an important and well-loved member of this team.

The problem is the format of some of the recent financial posts had gotten quite polemic, and also gotten away from any contextual relationship with our mission. We are an energy site, first and foremost, and that context is the vein in which our stories should be framed. Second, TOD:C is supposed to be primarily about the Canadian energy context, lately it has been rather narrow in focus. And that's ok (and I was supportive of the finance part of it, as long as it remained related to the energy context).

It is not Stoneleigh's fault that she wants to follow her interests in finance, and we are completely ok in letting her follow those interests and conduct research and analysis about the relationship between finance and energy, in fact, we have encouraged her to continue in exactly that vein here at The Oil Drum.

Most of us are scientists, engaging in scientific discourse. Ergo, we endeavor to use neutral and conditional language to describe what would be to some as quite emotional events; some of the posts from TOD:C lately prompted complaints about their format, which in turn hurt our credibility.

Therefore, it makes sense for us and is consistent with what we're doing here to put these changes into effect; we are trying to conduct less emotional/polemic, and therefore more credible, research.

Remember, we are are a team of volunteers trying to get this message to the highest levels, but also encourage public debate, and we are CONSTANTLY walking the line of being intellectually honest and couching the language in terms that will not turn off the policy makers, lobbyists, local politicians, etc., etc.

It is not an easy thing to do, I assure you.

We want to have an impact on the energy discourse; and we believe we are having one. Our formula seems to work. (one exception is, of course, the recent energy bill *laugh*).

If you don't like the choices we are making, I'm sorry. But understand, this is not just from me, this is the result of many discussions.

Have those engaged in the discussions look at the posts above. Science? Or radical politics?

The economic posts were more like the drumbeats then like the key posts, and the individual posts were certainly more respectful and less rambling on average.

It is your site and you are most certainly entitled to do as you wish with it, even if you are not willing to admit that the economic reality would force solutions to PO that don't quite match the staff's views.

The economic reality is "A inconvenient truth" in this context.

Actually, many of us have been writing for some time now, worrying that the credit crisis would lead to a misleading signal of 'plenty' in the oil markets via lower prices. This will impact spending, financing for new projects, etc. A big drop in demand (while welcome in the long run), might be coming at a bad time for Peak Oil awareness if it happens this year.

That's right Nate. Just because we don't want it to become the main focus of our site doesn't mean we don't think it is important...that's what I said above, if you read the comment.

However, there's a lot of sites that are focused on financial meltdowns. Mish, etc. Do they talk about energy a lot? Not really.

Our bailiwick is energy...and there's a lot of things related to energy, folks. Finance is ONE of them, and yes, it is proximate, and we're going to keep discussing it.

Therefore, it makes sense for us and is consistent with what we're doing here to put these changes into effect; we are trying to conduct less emotional/polemic, and therefore more credible, research.

Prof. Goose, maybe it would help if we knew what changes are being put into effect? It's very confusing to those of us on the outside. Greyzone may be off-base in his comments to Gail's post today, but it isn't clear what's wrong with what he said. You seem to be saying "we aren't making changes" and "we are making changes" in the same breath. So what are the changes? Were "Finance Round-ups" shown the door or not?

Prof. Goose, maybe it would help if we knew what changes are being put into effect? It's very confusing to those of us on the outside. Greyzone may be off-base in his comments to Gail's post today, but it isn't clear what's wrong with what he said. You seem to be saying "we aren't making changes" and "we are making changes" in the same breath. So what are the changes? Were "Finance Round-ups" shown the door or not?

I am hesitant to discuss straight personnel matters publicly, other than to say that Stoneleigh is indeed an important, if not vital, member of this staff; she has been asked to continue to write energy-based financial related research posts here at The Oil Drum.

We have asked that the format of those posts become less polemic and more research-based. (In fact, heck, there's nothing wrong with a finance drumbeat (with no speculative commentary a la Leanan) now and again.) However, we need research on a) the Canadian energy context, and b) we need more research and less speculative (or at least research-based empirically-backed) polemic if we are to maintain credibility.

How a side show like the Canada site would become the main focus on The Oil Drum is beyond me. I have watched that site for some time, there would be periodic flurries of activity followed by long periods of inactivity. Sorry Prof I don't buy yours as a good reason. Anyway, if out of some illogical strangeness the Canada finance portion overwhelmed the relevance of peaking energy, there would have to be a needful reason for that to occur and thats pretty impossible don't you agree?

As far as financial sites, if they handled energy issues as well as The Oil Drum I would be there and would not stray.

A big drop in demand (while welcome in the long run), might be coming at a bad time for Peak Oil awareness if it happens this year.

Hmmm ... looks like from this quote Nate will carry the flag well, eh! Give him a lump of sugar besides that pat on the head, okay? Too bad about ilargi, don't know what he will do now, he doesn't look to be suitable MSM material does he, much too straight from the hip.

True, but now the economic side is moving very rapidly and the targets change daily. This is perhaps what caused the impression that the economic posts were over emphasized.

The pursuit of truth needs to consider all the directly related elements. If all the immediate developments happen to be temporarily in one area, so be it.

In the past it has been weather when the rapid developments were in that area, it may be geopolitics tomorrow for all we know.

In the longer term it is all a integral part of the big picture as it relates to PO.

the weather comparison isn't very apt. those only lasted for four or five days tops, save Katrina...and I think we would all agree that Katrina's presence on the American landscape is still being felt.

I guess my point is this: we'll cover it, not to worry; and I really hope it's with Stoneleigh and Gail and Nate at the helm.

I sort-of feel the dilemma you're in. Stoneleigh and Ilargi are clearly putting in huge amounts of hard work. On the other hand, whilst the Drumbeats are primarily about things happening (shortages, new technology, infrastructure attacks, etc), unfortunately by its very nature most finance reporting is about what financial writers think will happen, which are thus more susceptible to polemic and personal bias. I guess the only question is whether being on a different site will further loosen the drawing of connections between finance and energy so that it becomes much more like other finance sites.

Note: I'm not trying to disparage anyone's hard work in the above, I'm just pointing out I can see Prof Goose's point for balance.

Prof. Goose, I really enjoy TOD and especially Drum Beat and TOD Canada. Thank you and Leanan, Ilagri, Stonehinge, and the entire staff for making this site available.
I do not have a crystal ball but have been an observer of world affairs and the foreign policies of nations for many years. Long ago I made the observation on Drum Beat that PO would be effected by above ground factors much more than it would be by geology. Nothing has happened to change my mind. To the contrary, many things have happened to reinforce my opinion. PO will continue to be effected by the world economy, GW, and moves on the geo-political chess board. WTs ELM, as fine a tool as it is, will continue to be skewed by above ground factors. Whether TOD decides to allow discussion of all events effecting PO is a matter for the staff to decide, but I would caution that to neglect any events that effect PO will be to the detriment of the TOD site. PO will not occur in isolation from 'other factors', no matter the hopes of those that PO would play out in such a predictable fashion.

Thanks for letting me have my say and please keep fighting the good fight.

a few comments prof goose ;

finance in the mind of most people is disconnected from energy, so many articles will be very important but not make the connection. nate has been helpful on this of recent for me but the mainstream will not likely get it until it is way too late.finance is hardly a science.

emotion communicated; where fitting with facts is how one communicates. not scientist's strong suite. civility is necessary ; but with difficult issues needs breadth; & of course work to be maintained.

thanks so much for your work & this site.

I thought your financial summaries were great, and they certainly didn't strike me as inappropriate. Yes, please let us know where your new site will be.

Just to put in my two cent on what appears to be the falling out with the ilargi and Stoneleigh team . It is undoubtedly to late to ask them back but.........

As time progresses I am beginning to come to the conclusion that peakoil will never be acknowledged as the root cause that it is.

I believe what we are starting to see, is a gestalt of peak fossil fuel, a faltering green revolution, climate change and a collapsing financial house of card. All will feed on each other. The complexities of how they interact are to much to go into in this post. Nor am I an expert on any of these fields. But how do you build CTL plants or do deep water drilling, if financial chaos has dried up all the credit? Who cares about peak oil if you can't afford groceries?

Perhaps it is time to acknowledged how interdependent they all are and factor that into the oil drum mission.

ilargi's and Stoneleigh's work could easily be relegated to the Canada site without affecting the thrust of the main site.

PS:I always like their stuff.

I would like to suggest that finacial links (Financial Round-Up) on TOD:Canada be accepted as are AGW links on Drumbeat; an important factor that will interact with PO in complex ways, becoming more clear as time passes.

Errol in Miami

Geez, I was wondering when the two of you would be putting another digest together. It's ironic, my big question for Stuart in his fermenting food post was whether he had left out economic/finance problems as having the potential to put the brakes on ethanol expansion. He replied that he's not sure this recession will be bad enough to slow the expansion. However, there still remains the question of financing to build those ethanol plants, which is kind of the point of the finance posts on TOD:C. At some point, a slow down in business lending is going to affect ethanol plant lending as well. I thought when I read his response, "I wonder if Stoneleigh and Ilargi will find an article covering ethanol plant construction loans soon."

In my book, there is a tremendous balancing act going on at the fed between the inflationary effects of energy prices and recessionary effects of the credit crunch. As far as I can tell, a severe recession is about the only thing in the near term that could lower oil prices. It was pretty helpful to have a good finance round-up at the same site as the best energy round-up on the web. I could see both sides of the teeter-totter myself to try to figure out how things will turn out. I'll miss your posts.

I'm another reader eager to see your next finance round-up. Please post location for any move prominantly on TOD:Canada. Thanks for all your hard work!

Any chance of working something out with Genesis?

musashi, did TOD editors post anything on the main site that Genesis was playing on Stoneleighs channel? I think the item that precipitated this bit of a kafuffle to be in ilargi's comment complaining that there was a refusal to link that Genesis article to the main site.

Ilargi's comment:

My suggestion is to take a democratic vote as to whether Stoneleigh and ilargi continue on that quiet little Canadian portion of TOD, to keep us all informed on a timely basis on finance, at least during these financially eventful times. (now that is what I would consider a Neverending Story:)

It's not up to you or me to decide. They have made their decision.

Well, that's a relief!

Weather is going crazy up here in WI:

According to data from the National Weather Service, since 1844, Wisconsin previously had only one recorded tornado in January, in 1967.

The twisters were part of an odd series of weather phenomena in southeast Wisconsin. Temperatures in Milwaukee soared to a record 63 degrees, far above the previous high of 47 in 1965 and 2003.

In Madison, temperatures reached a record high of 50, three degrees higher than the previous high in 2003.

"That is exceptional warmth, " said meteorologist Chris Franks of the National Weather Service. "It does surprise me, but in the Midwest in the winter you do get these fluctuations. "

The warm weather led to flood warnings in Green, Kenosha and Racine counties, he said.

Also it makes it hard to plan for the future in 10 or 20 years when we don't even think about what could happen 10 or 20 seconds ahead:

More than 100 vehicles involved in I-90 pileups; two dead, 50 injured...
...State Patrol Lt. Lauri Steeber said the vehicles — some driving too fast and following too closely — began to slam on their brakes. "Then a semi came through and struck the stopped vehicles," Steeber said. "It had a domino effect. One of my sergeants described it as a war scene."
...The Madison area was fogged in all day, with visibility of one-eighth of a mile or less when the pileup started, said Chris Franks, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan. The snow on the ground combined with a warm wind to create the fog, which was expected to linger through this morning, Franks said.
...The crash scene was a chaotic mess of cars scattered in all directions — including one SUV on its side in a ditch and several jack-knifed semitrailers — with numerous emergency vehicles at the site. Ed Werner, 38, of Monona, said he was returning from Janesville and saw a Trailblazer on top of a Mustang. "I think people were going a little too fast," he said.

Just a few record highs and a couple of tornados. It's the usual January Thaw, as the weather shifts from Winter to Spring.

Daily high and low records from the U.S. HCN may be found here:

Number of Record Highest Maximum = 189
Number of Record Highest Minimum = 261
Number of Record Lowest Maximum = 1
Number of Record Lowest Minimum = 0

No worries, keep moving, keep moving! Gotta grow that economy!

E. Swanson

This is a great piece of data to share with my GWD friends here at work. Can you tell me how to reproduce these results you generated from the NOAA site? Thanks


The NOAA NCDC site allows one to pick a specific date, then extract the extremes which occurred on that date for the U.S. One must have JAVA script enabled for the query program to function.

The data I posted was for 7 January 2008, but, since it was early in the day, there will likely be some changes later the following day, which would be this evening. Just now, the number of highest maximum temperatures is listed as 194 and the highest minimum is listed as 267.

The reporting stations include the cooperative network as well as the NOAA first order sites, which are usually at airports. the network includes Hawaii and Alaska, in addition to the Lower 48 States.

E. Swanson

Tell me about it.

Flood warning in effect after heavy rains

With the rain expected to continue throughout the day, the National Weather Service predicted up to 5 inches of new precipitation by noon across northern Illinois, northwest Indiana and southern Wisconsin.
A tornado watch went into effect at 2:35 p.m., and winds reached dangerous speeds. Lightning ended bike rides and playground visits in the city and suburbs, while darkening skies in parts of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin introduced a storm so severe it derailed a freight train, forced an elementary school's lockdown and sent people fleeing for cover.

Dealing with 'extreme' weather

The National Weather Service in Lincoln confirmed two tornadoes touched down briefly Monday evening as a line of violent thunderstorms rolled through central Illinois.
"They do happen, but it's rare to have them this far north," Huettl said of the two tornadoes. "It's like spring weather in the dead of winter."

Cleanup begins after wild weather rips through Illinois

An elderly woman was killed near Strafford in Greene County and a 53-year-old woman was killed in a rural area north of Marshfield in Webster County.

In McHenry County in northern Illinois, about 500 people fled their homes after a suspected tornado knocked over rail cars carrying hazardous materials.

Several homes were destroyed in Poplar Grove, Illinois, where authorities rescued motorists trapped by downed, live power lines. Crews searched damaged structures to make sure no one was trapped. Three people suffered minor injuries.

50 ºF and thunderstorms in late December in north central Illinois. Then it got down below 0 ºF. Then 60 ºF, thunderstorms, and tornadoes in January. Temperature forecasts on weather.yahoo have been off by 5, 10, 15, and 20 degrees for the same day as the forecast, indicating to me that short-term weather models are already failing, drastically.

Climate change deniers can eat my shorts.

I wonder how much this will screw up the local ecology. I already found 5 box elder bugs and 2 Asian lady beetles, those damned Japanese beetles that look like ladybugs. I shouldn't see any until the middle of March.

If it weren't for the still-unfolding credit collapse, I'd be wondering if climate change was going to swallow us before peak oil.

The front that moved through Illinois was very slow moving, which is why there are such large rainfall totals. I was watching the front on Intellicast late afternoon yesterday monitoring it’s activity (as a fisherman, ex-motorcyclist, and horticulturalist I’ve always been a weather nut) to see when the rain would hit my south central Illinois county . Very warm weather - in the upper sixties. Before I went to bed at 10:00pm I looked at it again and it had barely moved, a diagonal line from St. Louis to Chicago, and was still about 100 miles from my location. The storms moved through about 3:00am and it is still currently raining. Really weird stuff. I expect this pattern to appear in spring, not now. Hopefully the pattern that happened last year, warm December/January, then a cold snap, followed by a very warm period and capped off with a late hard frost won’t repeat. I’m starting to think that late flowering varieties of fruit trees and bushes are the way to go.

"Climate change deniers can eat my shorts."

It's always hard to apply specific events to climate change, but I notice much of New England may see 60 degrees today.

Locally, we're opposite, in the midst of snow storm after snow storm, and with plowing our road, I wonder where to put it all. I'm between a cut slope and a fence, always dicey in high snow times.

And it means very sporadic internet connection for me-satellite transmission poor to lost much of the time.

My main concern is precip for this summer-we're looking better, and so is CA. That situation, prior to the last week's storms in the Sierra's, is very troubling. Due to continuing drought, ag is facing up to 20% or more reductions in their water allotments. That situation will be compounded this year as the first time court mandated decisions on the smelt fishery take effect. Here's hoping for more Sierra snow.

I noticed the other day WT-west texas-posted a link for Russian grain export curtailment. China has done same, as in this link from a week or so ago-(not sure if these have been discussed-)


The 20% Chinese wheat export tax will especially impact the Pacific rim. To paraphrase the old Chinese saying, it will be an interesting summer.

It's always hard to apply specific events to climate change

Funny, that's pretty much what Tim Flannery said in a recent interview. He went on to comment that a warmer planet means a more energetic atmosphere. He then observed that a more energetic atmosphere means we're more likely to see both more extreme weather and more extra seasonal weather. I appreciated his observations that while climate models couldn't predict the weather, the weather extremes we've seen are supported by the models.

"his observations that while climate models couldn't predict the weather, the weather extremes we've seen are supported by the models."


Climate change models suggest wetter winter and especially spring in much of the west, and a very dry fall and summer. Thus far, that is basically the case.

Warm in New Hampshire? Good news for Obama.

Who says weather fluctuations don't matter?

There were earthworms on my driveway this morning (1/8) in Walworth County, WI near Geneva Lake. Never before seen in January and typically found only after heavy spring/summer rains.

Bush Begins Preparations For Nation's Final Year

As his last term in office winds to a close, President Bush has directed White House aids and Cabinet staff to begin preparing for 2008, the nation's 232nd and final year in existence.

"My fellow Americans, it has been an honor to be your last president," said Bush during a televised address Tuesday, assuring citizens he would do everything possible over the next few months to promote a smooth transition into utter oblivion. "I want you all to know that I do not intend to let what precious little time we have left go to waste. That's why I ask all citizens to pull together and follow me, so we can accomplish everything we've ever wanted to before it all crumbles around us in a terrible belch of smoke and ash."

Ok, it's The Onion, but they were pretty on the money in 2001.

LOL! Sometimes, it's uncanny how accurate their spoofs are. That first Bush one was right on the money. So was that "Yankees sign every player in baseball" one. A lot of people forwarded that one to me when they signed A-Rod.

"R. James Woolsey: Why Is Oil So Pricey? It's a Conspiracy!"

Woolsey accused Saddam of being behind the Anthrax
attacks on CNN.

The Anthrax strain came from Ft Detrick.

The Anthrax Case has never been solved.

U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases Ft. Detrick, Maryland. Home. USAMRIID - Collage of USAMRIID workers. Dear Colleague, ...

Thanks mcgowanmc for reminding us.

THAT, THAT EVENT is the most UNTALKED ABOUT, the most UNDERSTUDIED, the most UNREPORTED by those crack "news" reporting agencies that we have working against for us.

AMES strain, Ft. Detrick, US Army.

Name a WMD that shut down parts of a Gov agency for months, Killed American Citzens, and and NO FOLLOW UP in the press.

That was the one that should have been researched.

Woolsey, Former Head of the CIA, Saddam, right.

There was a lot of follow-up. Remember Steven Hatfill?

There's been a lot of ink spilled on this story. Much less these days, but that's natural. The events are now seven years in the past. And the story doesn't have an ending.

My guess is that the FBI, etc., think Hatfill is the guilty party. But they can't prove it.

Hatfield was a patsy. Someone to harrass and never bring to trial. They knew they would never bring him to trial, but he served his purpose.

Your recollections of the incident, and who was responsible are the EXACT outcome they wanted.

"Ya, I remember something on that, I think they had the guy, Hatfield wasn't it?

I researched it right after it happened, read hundreds of news articles and anything else I could find.

VERY inlightening. google 'anthrax zack'

a tidbit.

I've kept up with story, too. I found this convincing:

The Message In the Anthrax (PDF)

After fingering Joe Klein for Primary Colors and helping snare the alleged Atlanta Olympics bomber, the author, a professor of English at Vassar, was asked to analyze the 2001 anthrax letters. Frustrated with the F.B.I.’s anthrax task force, he unseals his investigation of a most intriguing–and disturbing–suspect

I noticed that the most effective attack, the one that was not cleaned up due to the amount of weapon used, was the one on the National Enquirer headquarters in Florida.
Kind of convenient if you wanted to shut down their library of scandalous reports and photographs. Which is what happened, now that I mention it. It was still closed, last I heard.
I wonder if the new owners, the ones that bought up all the other scandal sheets in America, have reopened it yet so they can get access to all those phoned in and mailed in rumors and photographs and tape recordings?

It's all digital, these days. They could probably access the data remotely, if necessary.

IIRC, the man who died was a Photoshop artist. One of those guys who adds horns to devil babies and aliens to the photos of the presidential candidates.

So are the Woolsey transcripts scripted?

I mean have you read them?

Un-effing believable!

Iron Triangle

So are the Woolsey transcripts scripted?

They were, but the scripts were written in disappearing ink :)

How dare Chavez, Nigeria, and Iran oppose the Imperial North American Vacuum cleaners? Bow down and pay tribute to the great and powerful neo-cons!

From the Jacksonville Times-Union article above:

So much corn was being used for ethanol, that less was left for human and animal consumption. And what was left, cost more.

Thus, less-expensive fuel meant food shortages.

But it didn't happen.

Here's hoping for a future in which our media is more than just shills for corporations.

This is yet another example of a MSM article extolling the virtues of the free market while leaving out most of the salient facts. Yes, the rise in price in corn caused more corn to be planted. And yes, the price of corn came down. But it is still higher than it was. And the extra corn planting came at the expense of other food crops like wheat, which have also soared in price. The net effect is that world food reserves are at the lowest in a generation, and the boom in ethanol is just getting started. One would think that even an idiot could see the trends and worry that food shortages could result.

But we haven't had a food shortage yet, so everything is OK and proof the free market works. Well, the free market worked in Ireland too in the 19th century. Ireland remained a food exporter throughout the potato famine. It is just that the free market had priced food out of the reach of Irish peasants, which is why they were so dependent on potatos in the first place. When the potato crop failed, the invisible hand just raised its middle finger to the Irish peasants and went on collecting profits, while the British government refused to do anything because they didn't want to interfere with the free market.

When the potato crop failed, the invisible hand just raised its middle finger to the Irish peasants and went on collecting profits...

I just love that quote. Why did I not think of that? However I will not forget it and plan on using it in the future.

The invisible hand of the market raises its middle finger in a gesture telling the world's poor exactly where to go.

Thanks a million Shargash.

Ron Patterson

Do you guys have a better idea than the free market? If I remember, the famine had more than just economic causes.

Ireland is doing pretty good with the free market today.

It is important to distinguish between the basic principles of capitalism (e.g. law of supply & demand), which are valid pretty much at all times and places, and "free-market capitalism", which is a faith-based political religion.

Adam Smith believed that governments should intervene when necessary to soften the red tooth & claw of capitalism. The British had turned the basic ideas of Smith into a political religion, and that religion has propagated to contemporary times. Especially in recent years, it has become more fundamentalist and fanatic and increasingly divorced from reality.

One of the more interesting phenomena in the world right now is the way the communist Chinese are interpreting capitalism. I believe that a variety of systems can succeed economically (European socialism, like in Ireland today, for example). The important thing is to understand the economic fundamentals a la Adam Smith and not get carried away with quasi-religious faith in free markets. That was one of the problems with the Irish famine. The British government had so much faith that free markets would take care of the problem that they stood by and watched while many thousands starved to death. Considering the impending implosion of runaway free-market capitalism of the US, a search for something that works better in the long run than unregulated, unrestrained free markets is really essential.

Free markets work, just not always in a nice way. The British government's faith was validated,that is, they had faith that the problem would go away, i.e. the Irish, both to the great beyond and places like the United States.

What the British did was worse than that. The British governor, who believed that capitalism was the work of God, explicitly stated that he desired the destruction of lazy Irish culture, made possible by the potato. So his early unwillingness to act against the famine was culture war by a capitalist fanatic. You know, like Paul Bremer as occupation ruler of Iraq (350,000 excess deaths in first 18 months of occupation, mostly due to non-chronic disease).

Ireland's population was reduced by 75% from death & emigration; the survivors were logically the ones most amenable to British capitalist values, leading to Ireland's current success. Social Darwinism. We are now up to 1 million dead, 2 million emigrated in Iraq, so we've got a long task ahead of us, but I believe we have the will to carry out this holy cause.

yep, Ireland doing just great withOUT a completely "free market"

hell John, even you as a VISITOR to the emerald isle would be covered! (if you were from Europe)

"All persons resident in the Ireland are entitled to receive health care through the public health care system, which is managed by the Health Service Executive and funded by general taxation. A person may be required to pay for certain health care received; this depends on income, age, illness or disability. All child health and maternity services are provided free of charge as is emergency care.

Everyone living in the country, and visitors to Ireland who hold a European Health Insurance Card, are entitled to free maintenance and treatment in public beds in Health Service Executive and voluntary hospitals. Out-patient services are also provided for free. However some people may have to pay hospital charges."

I believe in socialized medicine, thank you.

Most of the time were there is great suffering it is because governments did not let the market for various economic, social and political reasons.

Ok Mr. “free market”. Yesterday on the “Fermenting the Food Supply Thread” you made the comment “if we electrified most of our transportation and didn't touch anything else we could cut our oil usage by 50%!” and that you did not see the doom. Let’s assume your statement is true, that creating all these electric vehicles will reduce oil usage by 50%. So how do we do this, by passing regulations requiring manufacturers to design and construct such vehicles, or let the “market” provide them? Given that peak is here, or at the very least coming down the pike pretty soon, will the market act soon enough to save the day? Ask the dead Irish from the potato famine, and their answer would be no. The market is slow to react in crisis. For free market types to maintain their true believer status there is a need to ignore inconvenient facts like casualties and human nature. The rational consumer is a myth. Just look at all of the “status” purchases made in the market today. For instance, do people buy SUV’s for utility? For the most part out of status and popularity, and use the supposed “safety“ of these vehicles as justification. I used to subscribe to your mindset back when I was a member of the Federalist Society. Fortunately it is impossible to maintain such a mindset when looking at reality and the facts, and I’ve since healed of the mental affliction.

Yeah, it sure did. Blight is bad news. Killed my crop here in Surrey one year. Tomatoes and potatoes. Having said that, while the "free market" owned and operated by the English gentry continued to export to the "mainland," the peasant Irish continued to die. There was enough agricultural output to prevent famine, but the English landowners preferred the large profits associated with the export of wheat and beef and dairy to England to the survival of the Irish peasantry. Funny, maybe the famine was caused by economics after all, eh?

Had Ireland had been a sovereign state, rather than the equivalent of today’s Iraq, do you really think the very food its people needed to survive would have been exported? In the same way farmers set aside a portion of their grain crop to feed their draft animals English land owners allowed their “draft animals” to use marginal land to crop potatoes. When the blight took hold these very same “draft animals” were faced with death or migration. And the English gentry cared not one whit. No matter how many died there was a never ending bounty of Irish peasants to take the place of the dead.

As for your witless assertion "Ireland is doing pretty good with the free market today," I can only say wait until the very same property bubble bursting in the US becomes obvious in Ireland. Ireland has sold its soul to the devil in the form of tax breaks and so on to lure international firms to the country. What happens as these advantages dry up and firms keep moving east, to the former lands of communism to take advantage of even cheaper labour and even more "wild west" operating conditions? Oh yeah, what about electricity? Ireland is the last stop in that long road from Russia to “Europe.” Where does the megawatt come from then, eh?

Does the world need any more glib idiots? Just say NO. Your children, real and imagined, will be proud.

There is some good background material on the potato famine, with some harrowing eye-witness accounts at: http://multitext.ucc.ie/d/Famine

As for Ireland's energy supply, didn't you hear we are building a power cable to the UK ;-)

Off-Topic...DrChaos, Could I get you to send me your email to sailsunfurled@gmail.com? I have a few questions about Ireland. Just looking for some local information about Ireland.



I haven't fully read about the potato famine, but I can be pretty sure that it was more than just economics that caused it. I don't know if you can compare such a catastrophic loss of crops to anything like peak oil.

how many went to capitalist America and survived?

"I can only say wait until the very same property bubble bursting in the US becomes obvious in Ireland."

boom and bust dynamics are inherent to capitalist economies and is an actually form of strength.

Had Ireland had been a sovereign state, rather than the equivalent of today’s Iraq, do you really think the very food its people needed to survive would have been exported?

Food may not have been exported, but it's unknown whether that would have been a temporary fix. see zimbabwe.

John, the Irish came to America in the 1840s, when slavery (stolen labor) and land theft (from Indians and Mexicans) were in high gear. The Irish were eager to participate, but is that what capitalism means? As it was, they remained near the bottom of the white social hierarchy (which isn't supposed to exist in a free market) until maybe the 1890-1932 period, the era when Al Smith turned the Irish-dominated Democratic political machine into a leftward force. It took generations for most of them to get treated as equals.

yes, it wasn't pure capitalism but same difference. some Irish also didn't want the slaves freed because they'd have more competition for jobs and drive down wages. there are a lot of reasons why the Irish were at the bottome of the ladder and many of them should have had anything to do with markets.

I don't why I must defend everything bad with markets just because I believe in markets. it would be better if you guys just asked me what I believed first instead of assuming I believe something.
I don't care if markets aren't supposed to create a hierarchy.

As it was, they remained near the bottom of the white social hierarchy (which isn't supposed to exist in a free market) until maybe the 1890-1932 period,

Remember "Blazing Saddles" ?

The speech ending with
"... Alright, we'll take the niggers and the chinks... but not the Irish! ".

(At time marker 0:15 seconds)

Screw that, the corporations are all headed to India and China, or will be conquered by them.

Ireland also burns cheap peat, which apparently is even nastier than coal.

And even if you're a sovereign state, you might be ordered to export your crops these days.

John15 really doesn't seem to accept the idea that some private property owners, under certain financial circumstances, would rationally want us dead than alive. Weren't the bounties issued on the California Indians and the native Tasmanians, resulting in utter extinction, good for business? They were a security cost, and since the whites had destroyed their way of life they were a burden on the economy.

What free market? Alan Greenspan says it's not free so who are you to argue with him?

Oh, your espousing religion! Your religion! Well, Alan just poked a hole in that balloon, didn't he?

Do you guys have a better idea than the free market?

I've issued this challenge before and no one has man-ed up and delivered.

Show me a free market. A live one, not some caged beast, but a live one.

Lets see if you can, or if this 'free market' you speak of is nothing but your fever dream.

There probably is one somewhere but it's an ecosystem around a thermal vent on the ocean floor, and wouldn't be recognized as such by humans.

I note how the person who talked about 'free markets' lacked the skill/knowledge to back up his position.

Ah, but if I had a nickel for every "free market" argument I've heard...

Ethanol isn't a motor fuel. It is a political extortion weapon with several functions.

One such function is to raise the price of both fuel and food in order to destroy demand and "convince" some to facilitate the transport of our oil.

Never mind the subsidies to special interests and job security & raises for lobbyists.

As the legislative season opens, some of us here in Vermont are trying to get Peak Oil on the state's agenda. Educating the legislators is a tall order, and what to suggest they actually do is another one. Are these thoughts useful?

Looks pretty good to me. My wife an I had a dream of moving to VT and "raising goats." Anything you can do to make the state better, is perfectly okay by me.

Some excerpts to clarify what the linked article is about:

Policy Principles for an Effective Response:

Look at the broad picture. Peak Oil is not just a liquid fuels problem, ...

Peak oil is not a temporary emergency. ...

Avoid getting further into debt, ...

Keep the rest of the world in mind, especially neighboring states. ...

Keep in mind the other issues affecting us at the same time, especially climate change. ...

Seek actions that do not require large public resource outlay. ...

Do not try to extend the status quo. ...

Think beyond "behind the wheel." Efforts to maintain the personal automobile as the main form of transportation are unlikely to succeed. ...

Invite innovation. Do not pick winners ...

Remove laws and regulations that stand in the way of doing the right thing. ...

Tax bads not goods. I.e., set up the tax structure to discourage consumption of scarce resources (such as fossil fuels), and encourage beneficial activities (such as job creation).

Maintain essential (and relevant) infrastructure. ...

Establish Universal Health Care. ...

"tax bads not goods"

I have made a similar suggestion to state officials and energy providers. Put in place an "increasing block rate structure" where those who use more pay a higher rate, this is how you promote conservation and discourage waste.

Is there really a CT Peak Oil caucus in their legislature that uses language like this?

(we do) not use the word 'solution' when talking about responses to peak oil production and it's implications to our society. Solution implies that things can be arranged somehow to maintain the status quo, business as usual.

The legislature here in Maine is completely captured by the corpos. It's little pay, so it tends to get filled with business/developer class that can afford to "serve". We'd be better off if they never met in session. Virtually every "solution" they propose makes things worse. Unless, of course, you happen to be a big corporation or law firm hired by same. Plantation mentality.

There is zero chance in Maine for anything useful to come out of the state legislature or administration. Except maybe using them as a foil: I'm toying with idea of producing my own State of the State address and pushing it out to the cable systems. People are angry, all over the state, and the business/piranha class just keeps piling it on, cutting services and issuing themselves more tax breaks - even to point of refunding income taxes of workers to business owners so they can be competitive.

Peak Oil means the business class gets to sell a whole new fleet of cars, more appliances, more home construction. Tax credits for PV systems: who benefits?

A couple of years back VT did a study on how long it would take to feed themselves - figured they could do it in a year. There have to be people organized around that. I'm putting my effort here in Maine into networking the environmental, food security, economic justice and peace & justice groups under the five horsemen (climate change, economic inequality, toxic planet, cancerous growth and resource depletion). The legislature, of course, doesn't seem to fall in line sensibly on any of those issues, but focuses on how much more of the resource base it can chew up and how to channel those profits. Regionalization - but you Vermonters know enough about that!

cfm in Gray, ME

"People are angry all over the state ... "

From Network (1976):

I want you to get mad!

I don't want you to protest, I don't want you to write to your Congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression, and the inflation, and the Russians, and the crime in the streets.

All I know is that first, you've got to get mad!

You've gotta say, 'I'm a human being, god dammit! My life has value!'"

Maybe some people are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

I went to my Iowa precinct caucus last week and ended up as the delegate to represent Bill Richardson at the county convention in March. I would like to get a recognition of peak oil into the platform of the Democrats for 2008. I spoke on the issue at the caucus and it may be why a few folks came over to the Richardson group to give us enough people to get one delegate for the next level. FWIW Obama got 5 delegates and Edwards got 2. I was surprised that Hillary couldn't muster enough support to even get one delegate.
What I am asking for are suggestions on wording a peak oil platform statement. How would you introduce the concept?

Hello Thomas,

My suggestion is to initially stay away from using the term "Peak Oil." Most people won't take you seriously. I still get the glazed-over look whenever I let it slip.

Try saying "natural resource depletion" or something of that sort. After all, the effects of the depletion of copper & coal will be just as serious in the near future. If people adapt that initial position you might be able to slip in "peak oil" in conversations, get a feel for how open people are to the idea, then go from there.

Good Luck!

I would frame it in terms of constrained supply, rising prices, and particularly national security, by lowering our involvement with and presence in other countries since we simply won't need to be there. I think the national security argument would be a good selling point for oil conservation and even switching to electrified transport. But we better get moving. It's going to be bad enough as it is, given that peak is either recently passed or almost on top of us. Either way, we're not going to get the 20 years the Hirsh report cited as necessary to avoid serious problems.


Switchgrass shows promise for ethanol production: study

A five year trial of the native North American prairie grass on farmland in the Midwestern United States revealed that the crop produces 540 percent more renewable energy than energy consumed in its production. Previous estimates, based on small scale research plots, suggested the grass would yield a net energy production of about 343 percent. Net energy production is considered an important measure of sustainability.

Here is what I wrote when someone posted this on my blog. Note that the 540% is a calculated number, not a demonstrated one. And they are relying on some very questionable (flat-out wrong, IMO) assumptions:

How did they calculate it? What were their presumed conversions? What was the presumed ethanol concentration in the final product? What was the energy requirement to dispose of the wet waste? How much energy to transport the switchgrass?

My guess is that buried in these assumptions are sticky little issues that will cause that 5.4 calculation to drop to less than 1.0. After all, if you take the highest demonstrated cellulosic ethanol yields, it would take as many BTUs to separate out the ethanol as the ethanol contains. So, they are making some assumptions on technological advancements that may never happen.

Of course, instead of making ethanol, the grasses could simply be dried and burned in place of coal to make electricity or to run other ethanol production now supplied by natural gas. There was a study not too long ago in which the biomass production of mixed prairie grasses was compared with that of a monoculture of switchgrass and the mixed grasses were reported to be much more efficient.

Here's a link to another article with more details about the research.

There's a link to the report from the NAS (PDF warning).

E. Swanson

And I can't argue with that approach. This is what I would do with switchgrass.

And as I pointed out in my post yesterday what farmer can afford to take a field out of grain production for the two years needed to establish switchgrass, eliminate an extra crop gained from crop rotation, and wait for the establishment of new refineries to have a market for his crop? Corn was an existing crop, no switchover (hey, a pun) was needed.

I think some abandoned subdivisions will be opening up soon.

They probably have switchgrass on them as we write.

I wonder about switchgrass and many of the other alternative plants for biofuel production when they make claims about not needing fertilizer and being able to grow on ground that won't grow regular crops.
Can they really grow these crops and cut off almost all the top growth year after year after year without having to put anything back into the soil? How often do they have to rip up the fields and replant them as the perennials slowly die off. (I know you can only get about 5 years out of alfalfa before having to replant)
From a farmers perspective ( I do own and live on a farm - retired) I have a whole lot of questions that would have to be answered before I signed on.
One crop I have not seen discussed (or cussed?) is cane sorghum. It used to be regularly grown in Southern Minnesota to be added to the corn being put into a silo. The high sugar content helped preserve the corn and added taste appeal for the livestock to eat more. They also use it to make a syrup like maple syrup (sorghum syrup!) that is really great on hotcakes. At one time a number of years ago there were efforts by the local vo-tec (now a "Technical College") to develop a machine to harvest and crush the cane to maximise the syrup production for ethanol production (Direct fermentation of the syrup with no mashing cycle like corn).
A Google serch on "cane sorghum" will give lots of information. My guess is that it would produce more ethanol per acre than corn and the residue after extracting the syrup could be used for process heat in an ethanol plant? Just like sugar cane, only it grows fine way up in the Midwest USA. I haven't really dug into it to see what kind of yields they currently get, so don't know for sure if it would be compeditive with corn in both dollars per acre for the farmer and gallons of ethanol per acre for the processor??
I'd still rather put the syrup on my hotcakes (GBG).

The native grasses live forever with proper management and only get better with time. My 15 year experience with a restored prairie polyculture has taught me much about the vitality of the native plants and their interconnection. A good restoration will have the proper grasses to forbes ratio with a good number of legumes for nitrogen like Leadplant and the Prairie Clovers.

This type of planting may have a future as an energy source, I like the idea of pelletizing the dormant native grass to be used as heating fuel. I can tell you from my own experience doing maintainance burns, this stuff burns hot!

I've been researching PO very hard over the past year. I wrote a brief essay recently. I'd like all you guys to try and poke holes in my version. I'm only interested in the truth. Thanks!

I have studied Peak oil intensely from every angle. From the geology, wells, production technology, oil field distribution, type, flow rates, water cuts, histories of every kind, gold, central banks, fractional reserve, inflation, geopolitics, military and empire history, overshoot theory, alternative fuels, natural gas liquids, tar sands, car technology, economic systems development, you name it. This is my passion.

The event is expected to land between 2004 and 2010. According to my most respected and uncorrupted analysts. Matt Simmons is one of my most respected figures. I believe Peak Oil to be now, 2007/2008. I have chosen this date based on field data combined with economic data.

I believe there will be a supply and demand imbalance this year that will pressure oil upwards. Oil production will continue its slow decline based on my study of current producing fields, new projects and declining large mature oil fields such as the US, North Sea, Russia, Mexico. Not to mention 3/4 of the current mature producing countries around the globe are literally in decline. The vital excess capacity the world has had since the discovery of oil and its controlled distribution has just evaporated.

Saudi Arabia is lying about their oil reserves, I believe them to be at a plateau entering decline very soon. That's why their information is hidden. I believe OPEC to be just about out of surplus capacity. The long term OPEC production estimates are complete fiction based on a country by country well analysis. This was reinforced on Dec 5 2007, despite a looming clear downturn and record prices. OPEC is also a greedy corrupt cartel judging by its history and purpose (to maximize profits and oil revenue for member countries/elites). Their regular rhetoric and official statements offer further proof.

Number 1 producer, Russia's fields are very old and the best fields are teetering or in current decline. The supply picture looks weak everywhere. Literally everywhere. Every continent has a poor production situation. Demand is insatiable. Demand will be stronger than the declining supply. This will be driven by developing nations. Demand will also result from the nature of our fractional reserve expansionary economic system, given a boost by current central bank liquidity as well as oil's demand inelasticity.

The customary panic will ensue. In addition to hoarding by all players, from producer to consumer all the way through. Under reported shortages have already started in poorer countries as the west has gotten its oil supplies unimpeded. This is one of the first very obvious signs of demand and supply imbalance.

The US dollar will decline. This is happening for many reasons. Increased domestic debt of every type, massive trade imbalance, the declining status of being the sole reserve currency and exclusive pricing of oil in US dollars (vital for propping up the lopsided strength of the US dollar). This is currently unfolding.

The most important reason, the US dollar is a fiat currency operating in a fractional reserve central bank system. This means that it will 100% collapse as EVERY fiat currency has throughout history. It has to, because the issuance of debt is the only way to pay off the debt that was issued to convert the dollar into money in the first place. That's also inflation by the way. Inflation always accompanies the collapse of a currency. Debt grows exponentially until the system can't handle it anymore. The exponential equation at play. At the end, the currency is flooded with more currency (this is happening now). Rapid inflation occurs. Commodities go up. Gold (real money) goes up. Wealth is shifted in a structured way.

Inflation, a falling US Dollar (the currency used to price oil), peak and declining production, demand growth (also growing exponentially). There are also the effects of geopolitical instability, natural disasters, both of which are absolutely guaranteed to occur in the near future. Oil is a commodity that is irreplaceable, huge, undervalued, vulnerable, and declining.

Before the currency collapses I will convert our portfolio (that is growing exponentially and on margin) to gold. Not futures, physical gold. I realize this is unconventional. But I don't read from conventional sources. I believe our mass media to be totally corrupted. I am also suspicious of financial systems. The consistently poor analysis and poor predictions seem to me to be a result of corruption as opposed to incompetence. At worst it is manipulation. I don't believe their projections or recommendations. (the crowd is invariably behind the curve) In fact, their analysis may be useful contrarian clues.

I conservatively estimate Oil to finish between $150-200 by the end of this year.

Predicting oil prices is tricky. You've got factors pulling in opposite directions. A serious recession or depression in the USA and elsewhere will reduce oil demand, and send prices lower. But the declining US dollar will send prices higher. A decline in production capabilities will also send prices higher. If the entire world economy doesn't decline, but rather only that of the USA, then demand may continue to increase (albeit at a slower rate) in developing countries such as China and India.

As for big new oil discoveries just waiting to be made - I doubt it, and think it's mostly wishful thinking.

For the above reasons, I hesitate to make price predictions. But I agree with your basic premise - we are heading into an energy constrained future. I pity the younger generation.

Do not forget a drop in demand via a reduction in overall population.

A nice global pandemic would collapse prices across the board.

I would be very clear about differentiating:

1) predictions made by others (geologists) about rates of oil depletion


2) predictions made by anyone about any of these based on (1):
* inflation/deflation
* societal collapse
* grid collapses
* political changes
* cannibalism
* naked people flying into space (sorry I threw that in :-)

Category (1) predictions cause enough debate as it is, and they are at least based on some modeling and experience. Category (2) predictions are based on a person's world view, and in my opinion are a major source of "STFU" responses by random people when trying to explain Peak Oil.

I usually attempt just to explain the phenomenon of Peak Oil and then show some connections between energy and society. I let people make their own conclusions based on their world view.

Just a thought,

I have been warning my close group of friends that this $2500 car is going to be the straw that will break the oil camel's back. I believe I read that only 24 out of 1000 people in China own a car. What is the population of China? What about India? For $2500, you can forget about luxuries like emission controls.


the party won't be over until every bit of good stuff is consumed and everything is turned into a pile of junk and waste. such is the world.

Shaun: That's not the only straw- the Yuan is dramatically undervalued-it is currently at 7.26-so that car is 18000 Yuan. When the Yuan hits 5.00 that will be like a $1700 new car for Chinese.

How big is the fuel tank?

Presumably they would run long enough to burn at least their original fill.

i bet if the claim turns out to be real and there is a market for the car, the Chinese will produce a cheaper and perhaps better one in no time.

Tata Motors has stated that their goal is to go from the 50 million middle class Indians now to eventually providing cars for 580 million middle class Indians in the next two decades.

Straw that breaks the camel's back? How about the iron anvil?

Ah. Those are the numbers I'm looking for. The local newspaper is interviewing me regarding my obsession with energy and having numbers like that is helpful. Of course I will need sources, but I can scrounge those up. I need to get this all together on a cheat sheet so I can rattle them all off. I can't wait to drop the Peak Oil bombshell on the poor folks in southern Wisconsin who haven't heard of it yet. I'll post the newspaper article once it is printed.

Here's your reference, courtesy of the Washington Post.

On “Huge energy subsidies fuel China export”

China has a system of ‘state capitalism’, of ‘savage capitalism’, or ‘bureaucratic capitalism’, it is hard to put a name to it.

Entrepreneurs are dependent on the Communist party, for credit, licenses, permits, ownership, land occupation. Since the early 2000’s entrepreneurs and business ppl have been given the opportunity of some representation, in the peoples party, collective, etc. They are economically, so to speak, somewhat free, but politically muzzled, though their position papers have impact; only in so far as the Gvmt. takes them into account.

They are under control, and cannot emerge as a ‘class’ in marxist terms, that is a bourgeoisie that might challenge the power of the present State. They are dependent on the ‘cadres’ with whom they are in cahoots. (Therefore much of the repression, couched in cultural terms, etc.) That is not new for China, historically, it was much the same in many past centuries. Economic decisions are taken centrally, that is it.

China provides a good example for countering the idea that a ‘free market’ promotes ‘democracy’ - the semi religious blah that the US uses as a mantra for control or rapine. (Yugoslavia, Iraq, Africa, etc.) The US also subsidizes much of the economy, it looks different on the surface.

That is how I read it. From FAR away.

The EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy outlook is out.

They have WTI Crude oil averaging $87.21 per barrel in 2008 and $81.67 per barrel in 2009.

They have Non-Opec all liquids increasing by .86 mb/d in 2008 and another 1.55 mb/d in 2009.

They have OPEC, Crude Only, increasing by 1.67 mb/d in 2008 and down by .74 mb/d in 2009.

One wonders how they arrive at these numbers.

Ron Patterson

One wonders how they arrive at these numbers.

Ron, we can always ask. Doug McIntyre is now doing the STEO, and I know him. He is the same guy who did This Week in Petroleum for a long time, but is now working on STEO.

Would you do that for us Robert? Actually they list each country and what they think they will produce in the future. And they seem to be very liberal in their projections. That is, they seem to be on the high side on every country. I don't think all their projections will be as great as they think.

But their oil price projection is really strange. They have it down to the penny. Down from where we are right now but up for 2008 over 2007 then down again for 2009.

No one, in my opinion can accurately predict oil prices. There are just too many factors that can affect the price. Not just supply and demand but geopolitical events as well as the possibility of a recession. Anyway......

Ron Patterson

Ron, I am traveling at the moment, but will try to do so when I get back.

Despite my advice, my idiot neighbor just traded in his Honda CR-V (small-sized SUV) or a Honda Pilot (large-sized SUV). EPA rating for the CR-V is 24mpg, while the Pilot is rated 16mpg. He said wanted "more room" even though he has no kids and commutes to school solo. Considering his desperate financial circumstances (drowning in debt) and the now crushing car payments he just signed up for, perhaps he was thinking that with the roomy interior he can live in his SUV. It's almost big enough.

The new commuting lifestyle will be to drive to work on a monday, then live out of your SUV till friday and drive home for the weekend

Don't laugh to hard at that idea. I planted that bug in the ear of several long distance commuters awhile back. Now they are giving it serious thought.

No living out of the car, but sleeping overnight at the office,(we have a very flexible supervisor) or just sleeping over at a friend who lives nearby.

I know people who do that already. Live in a motel room during the week, go home to the family on weekends.

If gas prices keep rising, I'm going to have to clean out the spare bedroom. I'll probably be able to rent it out. ;-)

The final resting place of all those RVs is now in sight: Company parking lots

Actually, there is a campground on base, and another outside the west gate.

I live in Silicon Valley and my plant manager was already living in a camper in the parking lot fifteen years ago. People use what are called commuter rooms. They sleep in them, shower at the YMCA, eat in restaurants, and vist their family on weekends.
You people have no idea what a house in a decent school district costs around here. No idea.


This was pushed under the carpet pretty quick. A combination of factors putting beer up to £4 a pint.

Rising barley and hops prices
Rising cost of energy at brewery
Rising cost of diesel for transport
Increase in scrap metal price hence folks nicking the beer barrels

Energy, Economy & Environment are going nuts

£4 a pint?! Ouch. We're still only playing about $4 a pint or half of that. Then again, American beer is probably only worth half as much.

Is anyone keeping the totoneila canon, perhaps in linked form? I need a juicy Bob Shaw quote with earth marines, spider web riding, NPK concerns, and the like, but Teh G00gle is teasing me with little tidbits.

Here is an interesting 16 minute discussion by environmental scientist David Keith about geo-engineering. Keith presents a compelling argument that geo-engineering will be carried out at some time by some country because it is a relatively cheap fix and it will become imperative to save large cities/ports worldwide. David has a quick mind, thinks out of the box, and sprinkles a bit of humor into this talk, making it interesting. Disclaimer: This talk is well worth watching but I am not an advocate of geo-engineering. BTW, if you dont want to watch the talk it is available in print format.

Talks David Keith: A surprising idea for "solving" climate change


nothing new in there. and it is doubtful if that will ever lead to anything good. OTOH, you might be interested in checking out a proposal (pdf!) for solving both the PO and CC problems.

NH3 - dirty fertilizer, clean fuel

OPEC learned long ago to restrict supply to keep prices high. It does not take a PhD in Economics to figure that one out. Now OPEC may start to sell oil in Euros instead of U.S. dollars. This may not have much of an effect on the world markets, but it could mean a whole lot to the U.S.

OPEC learned long ago to restrict supply to keep prices high. It does not take a PhD in Economics to figure that

Because of a persistent inability to sell all of our oil--even our light/sweet oil--the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) has mandated a series of cutbacks in Texas oil production, at the rate of about -4%/year for about 35 years now.

I suspect that the Saudis will continue to implement a similar series of voluntary cutbacks in oil production (we shall see what happens in 2008).

In any case, in the article linked at the top of the thread, we illustrate how Saudi Arabia appears to be following the RRC's lead in implementing voluntary cutbacks in oil production:

Your graph is a classic example from "How To Lie With Statistics". Well done ;)

This graph is an updated version of the graph that we showed in the following article (using production data through 2005):


All we did was add in the 2006 and 2007 to date data.

So, where is the misrepresentation?

If Texas oil production had been declining at 4% a year since 1971 it would now be -100%.

Ah, the classic "inverse Bartlett". We not only don't understand the exponential function, we don't understand the negative exponential function either...

does "exponential" imply positive and growth?

Exponential is a fixed rate of change, up or down. A hyperbolic decline shows a decelerating decline rate with time. Most oil reservoirs are modeled using some combination of exponential or hyperbolic declines. The Rule of 72 is related to exponential rates of change. You can just round it off to 70. A 5%/year rate of increase in oil consumption would double consumption in about 14 years. A 5%/year decline rate in production would cut production in half in about 14 years.

So, if we started with an exporting country producing 10 mbpd and consuming 2 mbpd (exporting 8 mbpd), that showed a -5%/year production decline rate and a +5%/year increase in consumption, their net exports in 14 years would be 5 mbpd - 4 mbpd = 1 mbpd.

Net oil export declines show an accelerating decline rate with time, which approximates a linear decline--an approximately fixed volume per year.

Using the above example, the initial volumetric decline in net exports would be about 600,000 bpd, on track to approach about one mbpd in net exports in about 14 years, from 8 mbpd.

WT, where is your sense of humor? ;-) i was having some fun with GG.

You are right GG. A decline of 4% per year does not mean 4% from the peak but 4% from the previous year's production. Few people understand this yet it is so simple. Production can never go negative, in fact if it continues forever with a decline of 4% per year it can never reach zero. But of course after only a few thousand years (perhaps less as I haven't done the math), you might be down to slicking 4% off of one molecule of oil off each year.

Ron Patterson

The operative word is innumerate.


100 - 4 = 96
96 - 3.84 = 92.16
92.16 - 3.69 = 88.47

See where that's going? A 4% decline year over year is only applied to the year before not the original year.

Sorry. New to this game. Previous postings gave the idea that oil depletion was at a compound rate i.e. the law of 72 and all that. The way you give it is a half life scenario. Any mathamatitians on the site? By the way in a previous post WestTexas gave the North Sea the same rate of depletion as Texas. If this is so how come Texas is still producing 36 years after peak while the North Sea looks like producing virtually nothing by 2020, 21 years after peak.

Do not confuse decline and depletion. Depletion starts as soon as you draw the first barrel from the well. Depletion is the act of removing the resource (in this case oil) whereas decline is decline in production, which may be for physical reasons such as geology or for political reasons. I suspect that WT was citing decline, not depletion.

I'm not sure where it enters the equation...

You can drop a jack pump onto a nearly depleted well in Texas, and let it strip what it can for as long as it makes economic sense. North sea? Not so easy.

Assuming you weren't just trying to be snarky: when people talk about a 4%/year decline, they mean that each year's output is 4% less than the previous year's output, not 4% of the starting year's output. Thus, the 4% is calculated on an amount that decreases every year, so the amount of the decline also decreases. A 4% decline can essentially go on forever. It is just that 1,000 years from now, the amount being produced will be very, very small.

Wrong. 0.96^(2008-1971) = 0.96^(37) ~ 0.221. So it would mean a 78% decline from production in 1971.

Hello TODers,

I am not a farmer, but I would think that with the rapidly rising prices of NPK: a soil test is very cheap compared to wasting excess fertilizer. I think Greenpeace is way off track here.

TORONTO - Greenpeace is calling for a tax on fertilizer as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions it says are caused by agriculture.
I think Greenpeace would be better served by advocating for a tax on SUVs, tourist travel, and McMansions, with the money directed into Peak Outreach [which includes voluntary population controls & Alan Drake's EOT], the sequential building and enlargement of biosolar habitats, urban humanure and composting, strategic reserves of bicycles and wheelbarrows, and moving 60-75% of North America labor force to relocalized permaculture before it is too late. I would also like to see Greenpeace lobby Google, and other search engines, for the rapid unveiling of the unlucky button.

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

'and moving 60-75% of North American labor to relocalized permaculture before it is too late.'

Bob, in my memory both Mao and Pol Pot attempted what you are advocating...It did not turn out well.

Hello River,

Thxs for responding. I counter your post with WWII Victory Gardens. I think you will see a lots of people gardening long before they willingly pay fifty bucks for a long-distance grapefruit, beefsteak tomato, head of lettuce, or a few carrots.

IMO, the highest and best use of glass and clear plastics will eventually be seen in their application for passive solar only, greenhouses, and seedling beds, not in stained glass in churches, bottled drinking water, or the typical window housing. Small doors are cheaper, better insulation, and allow a faster exit in case of fire. Small solardomes do a better job of room illumination than a typical window.

What worries me is when millions of new gardeners start using and hoarding large amounts of non-organic NPK--that is why I earlier urged the national building of Victory Compost Pits first, then organic Victory Gardens. One step at a time. My earlier posts calling for legislation to massively stockpile NPK had many advantages: another reason is so urban gardeners don't outbid the conventional farmer for NPK. Alas, this idea seems to have gone nowhere.

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

We have vast amounts of saved compost in landfills. Those banana peels have not rotted in the anoxic atmosphere of a landfill. The pages of the newspapers are still legible.
If we wanted we could recycle most of it. Lots of paper, wood, glass, iron, copper, aluminum, compost, plastic, etc.

You seem to be veering off course, mate. There is a hell of a lot of degrees between 'victory gardens' and 'relocating 65-70% of the population to work in permaculture.' I suggest you check your heading and return to your course.

BTW, lets not forget that the Nazis relocated a lot of people against their will for 'forced labor'...That is not a road we want to go down and I find it not the least bit humorous, even in the hair-brained schemes catagory.

That said, I am not naieve and realize that our heavily modified laws and re-interpreted constitution will allow our government to do as they will with people. But, lets not encourage the gov to carry out such measures by discussing them here and giving some in power the impression that they are more palatable because they are being discussed on the internet or, specifically, on TOD. Thank you.

Hello River,

Thxs for responding. Your Quote: "There is a hell of a lot of degrees between 'victory gardens' and 'relocating 65-70% of the population to work in permaculture.'"

My point precisely. It will not happen overnight, nor should it; it will be the gradual postPeak response of a hopefully Peak Outreached society going from mostly 'wants' to providing real needs.

Some possible postPeak degrees of new careers:

part-time gardener--full time gardener--master gardener--teacher of master gardening. same for livestock.

building community solar showers, humanure collection, and laundry facilites--designing the facilities-- managing the facilities so all wastes are recycled and output water is potable. supervise shutdown of typical water and sewage systems.

student composter--part time composter--full time composter--master composter--teacher of master composting. expertise on soils, PH, worms, soil biovitality, NPK, soil purification of heavy metals, etc --MulchMaster Extraordinaire.

Another whole set of careers related to Alan Drake's EOT & TOD.

student recycler-- part-time recycler--full time recycler--master recycler. skill sets in careful disassembly of McMansions, SUVs, and other non-justifiable items to fashion into TOD structures, bicycles, wheelbarrows, canoes, canal locks, pedestrian bridges, spiderwebriding equipment, etc. emphasis on eliminating planned obsolescence as in present products. example: you only need to buy one razor blade for your entire life--you resharpen instead pitching into trash. a bearing race is more valuable than gold.

The list goes on & on...use your imagination..I think most of us will not be in cubicles, the tourism industry, or basking away in tanning booths once the cheap energy is gone. Most efforts will be to provide sufficient food surpluses so some job specialization is possible. At a minimum: I don't think anyone wants to go back to medieval surgery and dentistry. Beats senseless machete' mospits by a long shot, IMO.

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

During WW II, the Swiss drafted the able bodied civilian population to work the fields on weekends (except in the winter). They would either take the tram to te end of the line and walk/bicycle a few km to their assigned field or take an electric train to a rural stop and do likewise.

This extra work force was used for labor intensive crops like potatoes, grapes, etc.


Alan, you need not feel compelled to lecture me about the history of WW2. I have made the study of Europe a hobby or avocation for my entire life.

You missed my point just as Bob did, or you purposely avoided addressing my point...in either case you both quickly retreated to positions that were off Bobs original post of 'moving 65-70% of the population to locations where they could practice permaculture.' Bob grasped at 'Victory Gardens' while you quickly pointed to the Swiss 'drafting able bodied men to work in the fields during WW2.'

If you know anything about the organization of the Swiss military then you know that all Swiss men spend a great deal of time participating in the 'active reserves.' Swiss men take their uniforms and weapons home with them and are always on call at a moments notice. For the Swiss military to call up able bodied men to work in the fields is not a big deal. But, 'to relocate 65-70% of a population to work in permaculture' smacks of the hair brained schemes of Pol Pot, Mao and other lunatics. If you feel that forced relocation of a huge segment of our population to field work is a good idea then I must tell you that you have placed yourself in some very bad ideological company.

I was giving an example of a democracy, with consent of the governed, deploying the civilian population for food production in an emergency. Tyranny not required was my point.

They typically were back at home in their own beds at night (per verbal descriptions some did spend Saturday night at some farmers house. One Swiss I know mentioned that his older teenage brother would sometimes stay over night, and tried to chase the farmer's daughter).

And the agricultural work crews were mainly non-military civilian population. Women (without children), older men, teenagers from a conversation with the Swiss Military Attache in DC (he was also the Colonel in charge of dissolving the Swiss Bicycle Regiments, which ran into a LOT of resistance).

What oil the Swiss had in storage went largely to the military for training till shortly after D-Day, when they decided that the risk of invasion had abated. Thus the agricultural work crews traveled on non-oil transportation.


Lets keep in mind that for every one person who posts here there are a dozen lurkers (Hi, lurkers!) who like these little tidbits. Not everyone develops a circumscribed interest in energy and the knowledge that the Swiss succeeded in such a dramatic cut in oil consumption and a description of the methods involved are useful.

I personally happen to read all of what Mr. totoneila Sir writes, admittedly with grains of salt close at hand, and then I go out and try to do something about it. Alan is at the other end of the spectrum - hard & cold facts aimed at getting real world problems solved and solved quickly. Alan's schemes get the same treatment from me - look around, see if I can make it fit here, and then go at it.

We're in a time of great and sudden change. People are going to start consulting this site looking for answers ... and as ugly as things will become there are things that can be done from the level of your own back yard clear up to your whole state, and after the 2008 election I expect we'll be able to do things on a country wide scale. I think the big question for all of us is what we can do to assist this ... and being mindful that we're writing for the silent masses when we're talking to each other is a good first step.


Mr. totoneila Sir,

I recently spoke with the program director for the wind to ammonia research program at University of Minnesota Morris. He suggested something similar ... only with an exemption for fertilizer produced in a renewable fashion. This would satisfy the desire to reduce SUV driving - the roads would be jammed with wind turbine blades and bases as they race to install sites ...

Do you ever provide interviews? I am doing a series this week that consists of hands on, building stuff kind of guys, but next week I am doing furturist views ... and I would very much like to hear from you. sct at stranded wind dot org.


Anyone got thoughts on using compresed air as a storage mechanism to assist distributed CHP units?

You could feed a diesel engine with the compressed air acting as the turbo charger, or feed a small turbine with compressed air to save the compressor doing the work. The system can charge up on compressed air from off peak electricity or wind power, then provide peak power and heat which can be stored or used for a batch process.

That is essentially the plan a group of Iowa utilities are building. Surplus power from wing farms will be used to compress air which will be stored in a deep aquifer. During times of peak demand the air will be heated with nat gas to drive a turbine. It is believed this will triple the amount of kwh per unit of nat gas.

A lot of people may have a vague notion that oil is a finite resource and that we may run out of our supply of it some day. I think that most of those people take the Alfred E. Neumann approach to dealing with that idea...."what, me worry?". Of course, there are a few people that actually believe that oil fields replenish themselves, as if this is earth's renewable bounty. When you run into one of those true believers, do not bother them with facts...it will do no good.

That's a great paper by Simmons; only gripe is that the title at a cursory glance seems to suggest the opposite of what the paper's about. Another Nail in Yergin's Coffin might do the job better...

Also curious about Al-Husseini's graphs in the appendix; Matt says they're his most optimistic projections; I assume he had some less optimistic ones as well? They really stand out against the EWG stuff, which are cliffs you could go pearl diving off of.

I had no problem with the title of the paper, "Another Nail in the Coffin of the Case Against Peak Oil". Now if it had said "Another Nail in the Coffin of the case for Peak Oil" then I would have been upset.

A side note: The market was down today for the eighth straight day. The Dow closed at 12,589 down 238 points on the day. Damn PPT guys are falling down on the job. Perhaps we need some more targetd tax cuts. ;-)

All kidding aside I believe we are headed for a serious recession. This will likely cause oil prices to fall. The S&P 500 is now trading below its 20 month moving average. This, the talking heads on CNBC tell us, is the signal for a bear market.

Ron Patterson

Thank God for those CNBC guys - what would you know if it was not for them? :)


India new car sales for the month of November 2007 were reported to have grown 16.4% YOY.


Tata, a large Indian auto firm, reported a plan to build a car for $2500.


A surge in auto sales in China, India, Russia, OPEC and non-OPEC oil exporting nations may lead to more competitive pricing of oil as more people attempt to access gas station pumps.

Gasoline is yet cheaper than French champagne.

few days ago i was calling HP tech support and someone in New Deli was on the other end. while waiting for some order processing to go through, i asked her about the car ownership in India. She first told me that her impression was that 50% of families in New Deli own at least one car then retracted on her estimate. she then told me that the banks there are providing interest free loans on car purchasing for anyone can afford a 10% down payment.


Well there goes the "gulf of tonoko" theory.

"Recordings Show Persian Gulf Incident"

Oh, so you are now an expert on military videos and can tell a provocative act from a non-provocative act? You've seen dozens of other Persian Gulf naval encounters and you know that this one is different? Please explain where you got your deep military knowledge.

Hello Greyzone,

Another video here:


I just wanted to say the Iranians were super-dumb and/or suicidal to get this close with their dinky speedboats. Don't know the Naval rules of engagement in the narrow straits, but these US Captains have big brass balls to let these guys get this close--If I was the captain: I would be telling my guys to open fire at 1,000 yards-- no way in hell would I allow an enemy ship to get that close.

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

My point to theantidoomer, Bob, is simply that neither he nor I have any idea of what constitutes "normal" engagements between Iranian and US forces in the Persian Gulf.

Years ago, on the West German/East German border (yes, before reunification) there were lots of incidents that a new soldier would flinch at with a worrying eye... until his supervisor assured him that was normal and that a really provocative act would look even worse.

So I look at that videos and they are a single snapshot. I, as a former soldier, have no gauge by which to judge whether that video is extreme or not extreme. In other words, as a military observer who has been in similar situations on dry land, I recognize that I lack sufficient data to declare whether that video constitutes an aggressive act or not. Yet theantidoomer is buying the Bush story... hook, line, and sinker! And demanding that the rest of us accept it because he posts it and declares that it is so.

Sorry, but between the US having been caught in multiple lies in the entire Iraq/Iran fiasco and Bush's stated desire to not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapon status, I am very leery of any sudden pronouncement from the Bush administration that an act was "hostile".

Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't but neither you nor I are qualified to make that judgement. And neither is theantidoomer.

USS Nimitz (CVN-68 ) departed San Diego on Monday April 2, 2007 for the Persian gulf.

Where will the Nimitz be on April 2, 2008?

1 Back in San Diego
2 Cruising
3 On the bottom
4 Vaporized


The footage on the news looked more like Miami Vice then anything else.

Who is provoking whom?

See this article:


Imagine that Iran invades Canada under false pretenses, then sends a huge naval force to patrol the US coastline and maybe nudge as close in to our waters as possible.

Imagine that Iran sends Special Forces and covert ops into the USA to stir up violent conflict and to map out targets for a massive airstrike.

Suppose that the VP of Iran flies onto one of the aircraft carriers and makes a speech threatening an air strike against us our nuclear power plants?

Suppose that this same VP asserts the right for Iran to have all kinds of nuclear weapons all over the globe, while demanding that the USA have no nuclear weapons -- not even a nuclear power industry? The message is explicit: "submit...or else!"

Who is being threatened and provoked in this scenario, Iran or the USA?

Whoa, is it true that we could use ammonia (NH3) as a fuel storage medium and/or liquid fuel medium???

Ammonia was used during World War II fuel shortages to power buses in Belgium and used in engine and solar energy applications prior to 1900. Liquid ammonia was used as the fuel of the rocket airplane, the X-15. Although not as powerful as other fuels, it left no soot in the reusable rocket engine and its density approximately matches that for the oxidizer, liquid oxygen, which simplified the aircraft's design. Ammonia is proposed as a practical, clean (CO2-free), alternative to fossil fuel for internal combustion engines.[19] In 1981 a Canadian company converted a 1981 Chevrolet Impala to operate using ammonia as fuel.[20][21] Ammonia is marketed as a low-emission fuel.[22]

So let me get this straight:
1. We use off-peak excess renewable energy (wind, PV, concentrated PV, concentrated solar thermal, solar chimney, hydro, tidal, wave, geothermal, etc.) to initiate water electrolysis into oxygen and hydrogen (using stainless steel terminals and using electrolytes to speed it up, of course...in which case using sea-water straight out of the sea would be preferable, no?)
2. We combine the hydrogen with atmospheric nitrogen through the Haber-Bosch process to produce NH3.
3. We end up with what I would call a "lifeboat" amount of non-battery energy storage capacity and liquid fuel--not enough to continue BAU, and not as cheaply as we used to get fossil fuels, but orders of magnitude better than biofuels and enough of a lifeboat to save civilization as we know it and eventually help society bounce back to develop the entire world into an industrial (yet "ecotech," non-conspicuous-consumption, non-exponential-population-growth) society worldwide by 2100.

Eh? I mean, putting aside human psychology/sociology/political concerns FOR NOW (I know that's a big given), is this at least possible?

Comradez, where have you been hiding all this time? in a cave? or you were simply ignoring me while i was shamelessly - for too many times i am afraid - self promoting NH3 as a clean, practical and renewable fuel? ;-)

i haven't checked the wiki entry for a while since i wrote the first cut last year. the last few references there may have have been added by someone with political (in Canada) and commercial motives. but what you got are essentially right.

now since you have discovered this, you may enjoy more to go to this site:

plenty for you to read and bring yourself up to speed.

you may also want to check out SCT's stranded wind site. he is turning the idea into real actions.

Silly goose! Not only is it theoretically possible, we actually have companies that do it now :-)


Wow, this is awesome, thanks for the heads up, SCT and nh3! I went on the stranded wind website, and that stuff is fascinating! I'm actually from Missouri, and my home town (Springfield) just recently had a several-year-long struggle with the coal lobby. Basically, we needed more capacity, and we had several competing proposals. Our "public" utility was dead-set on a new coal plant from the get-go, even though much public opinion was against it. So they put a proposal up on the ballot for something like $600 million+ funding for a new coal plant, and it failed. They tried it again about 2 years later, and it failed. Meanwhile campus and community groups were campaigning for a wind proposal that would spend about $200 million to install a lesser amount of wind capacity in the area. They had locations plotted out and everything. City Utilities tried to argue that that plan wouldn't be feasible judging from a pilot turbine they had installed a few years ago---except this turbine was an obsolete design with a measly 30 meter height, installed in one of the worst wind profile places in the area---pretty much designed to fail. So they never even put the wind option up on the ballot. They finally put the coal option on the ballot again (this time with the costs being even higher because the shipping rates for Wyoming coal on the Burlington Northern railroad have been going up, and because of inflation in general...I heard this new plant was gonna cost like $1 billion as per latest estimates!!!), and this time the coal plant was narrowly approved (I wouldn't put it past them to have engaged in some vote rigging---in fact this was the first election where they started using optical scanning machines where the paper ballots went into the machine, never to be seen again). And of course southwest Missouri has tons of farmers, so if we had been able to frame the wind proposal in terms of agricultural independence via fertilizer production, maybe that would have helped.

Wind site selection is an interesting business. You want a ridge top with a nice, gentle rise and a smooth fall off to the rear - like an airplane wing top. You can't have too much crud in the field in front of the turbine as everything stuck in the air flow has a wake to it. Get around those obstacles and you still need to know if you have proper wind - there are sites where the average speed is 8.0M/s that get promptly built and there are sites with 8.0M/s average wind that will never get built - the latter because its a mix of windless days and turbulent, fast crud you can't use.

I have the book for the site placement class taught at Iowa Lakes Community College and I've been picking it over at night, reading the parts I can grasp without digging too much in my very rusty trig & calculus skill set.

So maybe you had a good site and maybe not ... if they didn't have towers up with anemometers and all that jazz it wasn't properly evaluated.

Hah! If I remember right, the pilot wind turbine was right next to a highway cloverleaf. There was a Waffle House about 200 ft. from it. It was a completely useless (or worse than useless) token grandstanding project used to proclaim, "Look how much we're trying to do renewable energy!" And I don't really remember, but I doubt that they made an honest effort to put all the necessary instrumentation up with it.

If the Waffle House was to the side, rather than to the front or the rear, based on prevailing winds, it may have still been OK, especially if the turbine was on a very tall tower.

The instruments go up at least a year before a decision is made, and preferably a couple of years worth. You need to know diurnal and seasonal variations in wind speed, gusts, etc.

Matt Simmon's up top repeats his famous (infamous) cup-o-crude argument that an eight ounce cup of crude at 15 cents is cheaper than anything else of real value. It's nice to know that corn at 4 cents for eight ounces has no real value. Why does he oppose ethanol if corn has no value? Could it be that at the margin ethanol holds the price of gasoline down so that refiners can not make their accustomed profits due to high priced crude that has to be imported? When crude is imported the gain goes to the seller. All that is left is the refining gain which is small by comparison. IOC'S increasing reliance on imports means that their profits will be squeezed if they can not raise prices on product. Ethanol currently helps hold gasoline prices down temporarily due to the ethanol glut. That's a big motive for an oil man to oppose ethanol.

I think he is right with his other arguments though. It's good people like him speak out about Peak Oil. I guess I just wish he was perfect like me. Sarcasm off.

Looks like Mike Ruppert has a new blog:

Act 2: From the Wilderness' Peak Oil Blog

And New Hampshire is proving more exciting than most expected. Hillary started out with a substantial lead, but Obama's catching up. Looks like it's going to be a close one.

Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary. Boy, did the pollsters screw up. Obama was supposed to win by double digits. The Bradley effect? The Clinton machine?

Maybe. But at least part of it was that the economy was the big issue in NH. More so than expected. (CNN called it a "sleeper issue.") People who were worried about the economy went for Clinton in a big way.

I have a feeling the economy is going to be an even bigger factor by election time. Candidates may be wise to remember James Carville's advice: "It's the economy, stupid."

How do they come to the conclusion that a continuation of Bush policy will fix anything? Other then to put some small change in the pockets of minorities to buy their vote?

What about explaining the illegal Chinese campaign contributions to the people who have lost their jobs to China?

People may be remembering Bill Clinton's era with nostalgia.

Also, Hillary talked about economic issues. Edwards did, too, but he's a southerner, and his schtick doesn't play well in the northeast. Obama appealed to people who are tired of partisanship and want to "bring the country together." Apparently, people were more interested in bread and butter issues than "that vision thing."

Curiously, Hillary appealed to very liberal and moderate voters. Obama took the "somewhat liberal" voters.

Leanan, thanks for the link and most excellent news that Mike is back up and running. Mike had some serious health issues and I hope they are behind him.

I see nothing in that blog really substantially related to Mike Ruppert. The blog is composed by Jenna Orkin. Now I admit to not having read every single comment so maybe Ruppert says something in the comments? But so far as I can see, Ruppert is not substantially involved in that blog.

Many respected engineers have been trying for years to bring a compressed air car to market, believing strongly that compressed air can power a viable "zero pollution" car. Now the first commercial compressed air car is on the verge of production and beginning to attract a lot of attention, and with a recently signed partnership with Tata, India's largest automotive manufacturer, the prospects of very cost-effective mass production are now a distinct possibility. The MiniC.A.T is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fibreglass. The heart of the electronic and communication system on the car is a computer offering an array of information reports that extends well beyond the speed of the vehicle, and is built to integrate with external systems and almost anything you could dream of, starting with voice recognition, internet connectivity, GSM telephone connectivity, a GPS guidance system, fleet management systems, emergency systems, and of course every form of digital entertainment. The engine is fascinating, as is and the revolutionary electrical system that uses just one cable and so is the vehicle's wireless control system. Microcontrollers are used in every device in the car, so one tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, indicators etc


The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0 - 15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.

We studied English literature in college. And then law. A total waste of time, in our opinion. Psychology, sociology…the list of phony disciplines is the list of what modern universities offer - along with new 'disciplines' such as Africana and Gender Studies, Alternative Sexuality, and other folderol. Unless you're studying the sciences, time in university could be better spent on a chain gang.

Still, the education industry has the entire country bamboozled. It puts out a velvet cord, as in a cheap nightclub, and insists that you have to pass through a rigorous selection process to get in. You'd think it would be the other way around. If a student is willing to spend $150,000, you'd think the university would have to stand in line to get the loot.

Bill Bonner
The Daily Reckoning
Tuesday January 8, 2008


Ha! As an English prof, you'd think I'd be offended by that.


What do I teach for texts in my writing classes? Darwin, Gould, Dawkins.

And Deffeyes, and Bartlett.

What do I do in my lit class? Debunk biblical literalism.

Everyone needs to learn to write, dude. I slip in these pills in the meanwhile.

Russian foreign auto sales surging to 64% YOY (Oct. 2007):


The tremendous growth in auto sales in Russia has resulted in a decline in Russian oil exports while Russian oil production was yet increasing. Some observers have stated the Russian oil industry is close to peak production.

There is no recession in the Russian economy visible in the auto sales report.

Oil importing nations were using excess oil inventory in the abscence of increased exports.

Heard this snippet from someone on NPR interviewing a Chinese entrepreneur the other day.

20 years ago we were all poor and everyone was dreaming of getting a bicycle.
10 years ago we were all dreaming of getting a motorcycle.
5 years ago we were dreaming of getting a car.
Now we want our own corporate jets.

Good luck with all that!