DrumBeat: February 9, 2008

French Petroleum Institute Forecasts 'Easing' of Oil Prices for 2008

The French Petroleum Institute (IFP) has predicted an "easing" of crude oil prices in 2008, or a significant oil decrease in case of economic recession world, after the barrel reached 100 U.S. dollars in early January, according to reports.

Addressing a press conference Thursday, IFP president Olivier Appert said oil production is expected to increase in 2008, "because the organization of petroleum exporting countries (OPEC) will revive production projects which were delayed in 2006 and 2007."

Has Earth entered a new epoch? What geologists think

Geologists wonder if they should add a new epoch to the geological time scale. They call it the Anthropocene – the epoch when, for the first time in Earth's history, humans have become a predominant geophysical force. Naming such a new epoch would also recognize that humans now share responsibility with natural forces for the state of our planet's ecological environment.

EU gas supplies at risk if Ukraine does not settle bill with Russia

Gas supplies to the EU could be at risk again next week after a warning from Russia that it would reduce the supply to Ukraine on Monday unless Kiev settled its debts. The Russian state energy firm Gazprom says Ukraine owes it $1.5bn (£770m) for gas from Russia and central Asia.

Scrapping Gazprom project will delay, but may not kill Quebec LNG venture: analysts

CALGARY - Russian energy monopoly OAO Gazprom's scrapping of a $3.5-billion liquefied natural gas plant in the Baltic Sea will likely delay - but won't outright kill - a regasification plant in Quebec planned by two of Canada's biggest energy companies, Petro-Canada and TransCanada Corp., analysts say.

Indonesia's Pertamina Favored to Take Over Natuna Gas Project

The government will offer the Natuna D-Alpha block project to state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina after talks on renewal of contract of ExxonMobil ended in deadlock.

Mexicans say: Integrate this!

Resentment runs high toward the United States and the role it plays in sensitive questions such as the privatization of Mexico's Mexico's National Petroleum Company.

Venezuela oil minister says Exxon trying to create anxiety

CARACAS (MarketWatch) -- Venezuela's oil minister Rafael Ramirez accused Exxon Mobil Corp. of trying to frighten the nation by securing a court-ordered freeze of more than $12 billion of the state oil company's worldwide assets as part of the legal fight stemming from a nationalization drive last year.

"It was a move designed to create anxiety in the country. If they thought that we would be scared, they were wrong," he said in a televised national address.

Nigeria: Senate Orders Arrest of NNPC Boss

The Senate Committee on Petroleum (upstream sector) yesterday issued a warrant of arrest for the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petro-leum Corporation (NNPC), Engineer Abubakar Yar' Adua for allegedly frustrating the committee while carrying out its oversight functions.

Yar' Adua was also said to have made himself unavailable when the committee visited the corporation's headquarters.

U.S. House Appropriators Press Kempthorne on Oil and Gas Program

House appropriators grilled Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne yesterday over the department's handling of oil and gas development on federal lands, particularly with regards to royalties and oversight.

Members of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee also expressed their reservations yesterday over President Bush's proposed fiscal 2009 budget for the Interior Department, questioning the administration's priorities and charging that several agency activities would be grossly underfunded.

Iran has 90 billion barrels oil reserves in Persian Gulf

The managing director of the National Iranian Continental Shelf Oil Company said on Saturday that Iran's oil reserve in Persian Gulf is estimated at 90 billion barrels.

"With new oil discovery in the region, the reserve may amount to 100 billion barrels," said Mahmoud Zirakchian Zadeh.

Arctic Oil & Gas: 25% of World's Reserves Beneath Arctic Seabed

Arctic Oil & Gas Corp. has provided shareholders with new data and commentary on the Arctic Commons.

Arctic Oil and Gas Corp. and its partners made an international Arctic Commons hydrocarbons claim on May 9th 2006 with the United Nations and the five Arctic countries. This claim is for the exclusive exploitation, development, marketing and extraction rights to the oil and gas resources of the seafloor and subsurface contained within the "Arctic Claims"; an area of the Arctic Ocean that has no country's claims to it; or simply, the open area in between all of the Arctic-bordering countries.

Fuel Prices Increase in Panama

Panama, Feb 8 (Prensa Latina) The combustibles most used by the Panamanian population - gasoline, diesel and propane went up in price again Friday, as per the government's Hydrocarbon General Office that periodically revises prices, but "does not mandate" them for distributors.

The previous readjustment was made before Carnival on February 1, when gasoline price was reduced 19 cents allowing more than 40,000 cars to make trips from the capital to the interior of the country.

Chinese Localities Urged to Strengthen Management of Power Consumption

Beijing (Xinhua) - The State Council's emergency command centre for coal, electricity, fuel, and transportation and disaster relief said on 8 February that many localities have conscientiously carried out the urgent circular of the State Council regarding strengthening electric power management on the demand side and the use of power in an orderly way. Many localities also have carried out the specific arrangements made by the headquarters of ensuring the supply of coal, electricity, fuel, and transportation under the State Council's emergency command centre for coal, electricity, fuel, and transportation and disaster relief. On the basis of their previous work, they have made more efforts to carry out the plans for orderly power consumption to ensure orderly supply of electric power.

Energy Lessons from South Africa

What do you do when you flip the light switch and nothing happens? You call the electric company and complain. But what do you do if the electric company tells you, "We have run out of electricity"?

In Many Communities, It’s Not Easy Going Green

But even in Arlington, county officials are reckoning with the fact that though green is the dream, the shade of civic achievement is closer to olive drab. Constraints on budgets, legal restrictions by states, and people’s unwillingness to change sometimes put brakes on ambitious plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Following Two Paths to the Same Destination: Environmental Doom

Two lavish, cautionary nature documentaries go head to head on Sunday in a fight for the worried viewer. Their messages of ecological doom are similar, but their methods couldn’t be more different.

“Crash: A Tale of Two Species” on PBS, an installment of “Nature,” is quiet, personal and specific, a filmmaker’s attempt to show how one tiny thread of the environment is unraveling. “Six Degrees Could Change the World,” on the National Geographic Channel, is bombastic, superficial and alarmist, a cable channel’s attempt to scare the heck out of you and sell you the companion book. That said, it might be the more valuable of the two programs.

The Climate Crisis Hits Your Living Room

It's already .8 degrees Celsius hotter on average than at the start of the industrial revolution, and the pace of warming is accelerating. "The warmer it gets, the faster it gets warmer," explains James Hansen, the NASA scientist who first drew widespread public attention to the threat. What will an increase of six degrees (11 degrees Fahrenheit) mean?

● At a one degree Celsius increase, the Bay of Bengal in Asia faces continual flooding and drought conditions grip the Great Plains of the U.S.

● At two degrees, Greenland's glaciers begin to disappear and so do most coral reefs. The oceans begin to lose their capacity to absorb carbon, heightening the problem.

● At three degrees, the Arctic polar region is ice-free all summer and El Niño weather fluctuations become the norm.

● At four degrees, Bangladesh washes away and Egypt is inundated. New York is under assault from rising seas and super storms. British climate researcher and author Mark Lynas predicts, "We see a planet that is unrecognizable."

● At five degrees, there are 100 million environmental refugees seeking new homes. Social systems begin to break down.

● At six degrees, according to the filmmaker, "It's a doomsday scenario."

Total pulls out of Empty Quarter gas search

France's Total has pulled the plug on its involvement in the South Rub al-Khali (Srak) exploration company although another shareholder, the UK/Dutch Shell Group, says it remains committed to the search for gas in Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter.

Total, which held a 30 per cent stake in the venture, said it would not incur any penalty as the original agreement allowed shareholders to exit the contract if three wells were dry or non-commercial.

Baghdad plans to double oil production

Iraq has revealed plans to more than double oil production within five years in tandem with international oil companies (IOCs).

The ambitious plans come despite the failure of the Iraqi parliament to pass a new oil law. However, Baghdad appears confident that it can move ahead without the new legislation.

Tajik president arrives in Tehran

During his stay, the Tajik president is to confer with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on expansion of mutual cooperation and speeding up implementation of joint projects.

The two sides are to discuss ways of putting an end to energy crisis in Tajikistan.

Pakistan: Plan approved to build Thar power plant

ISLAMABAD: A high-level meeting presided over by President Pervez Musharraf decided on Friday to finalise arrangements for starting work on a 1,000-MW coal-fired power plant at Thar in order to meet the growing electricity shortage.

Crisis Looms as Bitter Cold, Blackouts Hit Tajikistan

With many Tajiks spending what little money they have on fuel to heat their homes, the country is about to face widespread food shortages, says the United Nation's Zlatan Milisic.

"Increased food prices, previous reduced harvests, very, very cold weather, and the energy crisis have all contributed to the fact that the people are not able to cope anymore on their own," he says.

Fuel and Food

Biofuels were revolutionary, and they were going to save us all from the impending doom of an energy crisis and our unfortunate reliance on other countries for oil.

Well, another silver bullet seems to be missing its mark. Biofuels, it turns out — and as many have been saying for a while now — are actually worse when it comes to producing greenhouse gases than conventional fuels. Oops.

A New Consciousness About Global Warming

Early-rising students received a cold shower of dire reality at the keynote speech of Focus the Nation, the student-organized day of educational and collaborative talks on global warming on Thursday, Jan. 31 in Weinstein Auditorium.

Michael Klare, Five College professor of peace & world security studies gave his speech titled "Global Warming: the Human Dimension". The lecture outlined how and why global warming should be considered an urgent issue of national security, instead of an environmental concern.

OPEC could ditch dollars for euros: chief

LONDON (AFP) - OPEC could switch the pricing of oil from dollars into euros within a decade, secretary general Abdullah al-Badri told a weekly magazine.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could adopt the euro to combat the decline of the dollar, Badri told the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), published in London.

"Maybe we can price the oil in the euro. It can be done, but it will take time," he said.

Badri told MEED the change could happen within a decade, the magazine said.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Here Comes the Stag

High energy prices will not go away. Despite the fall in equity markets, despite the turmoil of debt and credit markets, despite the growing numbers of people thrown out of jobs.

Despite the fact that data in the United States has been amazingly weak this week, with stock builds all over the place - including a 7 million barrel crude build and a 10.6 million barrel build in products – the price will not budge.

Peak Oil Concerns Sail Safely Beneath the Radar

SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- When it takes a small university journalism project to uncover what is arguably the most critical challenge ever faced by industrial society you have Denial, with a capital “D.” Even as our civilization approaches the end of its lifeblood, precious few of us realize it.

Iran to privatize $90 bln of energy assets: report

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran plans to privatize 47 firms in its energy sector worth $90 billion and set up a holding company for these assets which it will list on four international exchanges, a National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) executive said.

The plan would see the oil and gas companies put under an umbrella group to attract foreign investment, Hojatollah Ghanimi-Fard, director of international affairs at NIOC told the London-based Middle East Economic Digest (MEED).

Uganda's lucrative coffee threatened by climate change

NSANGI, Uganda (AFP) - The temperature is rising a little too quickly in Uganda -- and coffee farmers are getting worried. Growers say that global warming is damaging production of coffee, Uganda's biggest export.

G7 calls for investment to fight climate change

TOKYO (AFP) - Finance chiefs of the Group of Seven rich nations called Saturday for investment in developing countries to help them fight climate change and worked on plans for a World Bank-style fund.

Finance ministers and central bank chiefs, in a joint statement after talks in Tokyo, said they hoped to "scale up investment in developing countries to support them in joining international efforts to address climate change."

I would like to throw this question out to everyone today.. I am visiting various websites concerned with energy efficiences, building sustainable communities, alternative energy sources ect, ect in the state of Iowa.. Not one of the serveral I have visited mentions peak oil or the notion that our future may depend on using less oil..

My question is simply, can they talk and want a sustainable, energy efficient, renewable fuel run communites without talking about peak oil or at least have an little understanding of this phenomena??

Iowa has a first rate education department.

Iowa State should already have the facts at hand.

""The biofuels route is a dead end," Dr. Andrew Boswell, a Green Party councillor in England and author of a recent study on the harmful effects of biofuels, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "They are going to create great damage to the environment and will also produce dramatic social problems in (tropical countries where many crops for biofuels are grown). There basically isn't any way to make them viable."


Just in the US, marginal land is being plowed under.

Added fertilizer automatically increase nitric oxides.

"Both maize and rapeseed are voracious consumers of nitrogen, leading farmers to use large quantities of nitrous oxide fertilizers. But when nitrous oxide is released into the atmosphere, it reflects 300 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does. Paul J. Crutzen, who won the 1995 Nobel prize for chemistry, estimates that biodiesel produced from rapeseed can result in up to 70 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. Corn, the preferred biofuels crop in the US, results in 50 percent more emissions, Crutzen estimates."

Of course they can talk about and want...

Want in one hand...

You answered your own question. I've been visiting sites...

I have visited their website with the intention of finding out whether or not peak oil is being mentioned. SO far not one has mentioned it although I don't believe you can talk about without the other or am I wrong..

I have also email the Director of the Office of Energy Independence for the state of Iowa, Roya Stanley, to ask her if peak oil should be part of the discussion about the future of energy in Iowa.. TO which she reply While we have not addressed peak oil directly, the issue is an underpinning of our efforts to chart our own course... I will hopefully corresponding with her further about this subject..

I attended a Peak Oil Meetup last night (4 in attendance), and in thinking about what kinds of messages might catch the ear of diff't parts of the public, I came up with the thought that Pushing 'Peak OIL' as a concept, might be a lot like 'Pushing a Rope'. The rope may very well need to be moved, but if pushing at one end isn't having the desired effect, how can we pull at another end instead? This is to say that those groups who are working to teach Farming and Gardening and Permaculture are pulling, and they are working on the same rope, but that end of it is not called 'Peak Oil'.

In case this concept is still vague, I guess my own challenge right now is to identify the preparations , skills and assets that I can possibly envision as critical elements of an 'oil-restricted' situation, and look at how to get them going, without necessarily focusing on 'Peak Oil' as the Standard to march under, even if it's part of my thinking while doing so.. In a way, it's like telling people that if they don't eat, they'll starve.. so would you name a restaurant 'Starvation'?

What are the tools that a household will want first thing tomorrow morning to get by if your town is suddenly 'Capetowned'? What does a city NEED to function, and which parts of that (which Silver BB's, that is..) do we already know will help replace the systems now made possible by these gushing rivers of Gas, Diesel and #2 Heating Oil, etc.?

Hope that makes some sense.. I've got a 4yr old vying for attention. Her turn now. Good Hunting!


those groups who are working to teach Farming and Gardening and Permaculture are pulling, and they are working on the same rope, but that end of it is not called 'Peak Oil'.

Peak Oilers are well represented in the current Cumberland County Master Gardener program. Getting in is reasonably competitive; we were selected.

How we feed ourselves without fossil fuels, fertilizers and inputs is explicitly part of the program - clearly front and center in the lead instructor's mind. I'll have to ask him how far that understanding has penetrated into the Ag/Ext services at UMaine.

I do think there is a groundswell - not so much about peak oil as about resource depletion and who profits/who pays more generally - that pits the local activists against the corporate piranhas. If the usual 98% remains uninvolved it will go badly. But the current Maine budget crunch, where every week seems to see revenue projections fall another $100 million, is going to open new possibilities. Not necessarily good ones - think Shock Doctrine.

cfm in Gray, ME


You're obviously not an old fart like me who experinced the environmental movement in the 70s. People wanted to do "the right thing" and peak oil/energy wasn't part of the discussion. Look at the Mother Earth archives from that period or find some old copies of Clear Creek magazine. The ideas that are "new today" often originated from that period.

Heck, I bought my first PV panels over 25 years ago; 10 watt amorphous at $7 a watt, wow what a deal! I had a total of 77 watts after I added a 37 watt cyrtaline panel, a 500 watt square wave inverter and a truck battery.

My area also had a little food co-op and locally grown food for sale. The truck came once a month and people had to preorder.

This was also the period of communes. All the ones in my area failed because of personal issues but the people wanted to live low on energy hog.

So, all in all, I believe people can do the right thing and not talk about peak energy.


Currently there is a big, green bandwagon effect that is making itself felt across the political spectrum.

For some it is driven by GHG and GW, for others its an intuitive sense that our relationship with the earth threatens the entire community of life (of which we are an a member), others are peak oil aware but are too accustomed to the eyes glazing over phenomena, others realize green is "in" and may be profitably politically, socially or economically.

Sorry if I got a bit snippy yesterday but my father in-law just bought a new F250 to drive his 20 min. commute, alone, in his 3 piece suit, to his office, from his McVilla in the burbs.

Not that I think the prius will save us but man, hows that for "in your face dude".

I have decided to start spelling my name with only one F.


Doing my part.

Just think of all the energy the world could save if...

Well, look at the "bright" side. When his truck is repossessed and his McVilla is foreclosed, he will be moving in with you.

Sharon Astyk called it the "brother-in-law on the couch" syndrome. This is actually a good reason to have a small garden/farm. You can put the in-laws to work if they want to move in with you.

Anyone read this?

Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series)

Book Description

The decline of cheap oil is inspiring increasing numbers of North Americans to achieve some measure of backyard food self-sufficiency. In hard times, the family can be greatly helped by growing a highly productive food garden, requiring little cash outlay or watering.

This book has been discussed here before, though I haven't read it.

Top shelf read.It gives some real good info on seed companies,and a different outlook on intensive bed cultivation

Thanks for the Reference, WT.

My wife and mom just finished reading

'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle',

Barbara Kingsolver's year of localizing her family's food supply. I'm getting pressed into the reading chair from both sides right now.. and I'm also due to finish Eliot Coleman's

'4-Season Garden',

about keeping fresh garden produce coming in to the larder all year round. (He does this in Maine, as does one of the Oil Awareness Meetup Organizers I met last night)

Bob Fiske

Both good books, Coleman's is an essential reference, Kingsolver more inspirational.

Currently working my way through it. Much more practical approach than more hobby oriented books.
However he still assumes you have a infrastructure available. I'd classify it as "farming for the poor" rather than "farming for post peak".

Still it's probably the best available.

IMHO a minimum library would be:
Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times
The Encyclopedia of country living
Putting food by
Solar Gardening
Four Season harvest.

But if you don't have the tools, seeds, fertilizer and plastic sheets prior to an event you are still S.O.L.

"I'd classify it as "farming for the poor" rather than "farming for post peak"."

post peak and poor might be synonymos.

A couple more I'd recommend:

J. Seymour, The Self-Sufficient Gardener

Hunt & Bortz, High Yield Gardening

A new edition of Seymour is supposed to be coming out any day now. Hunt & Bortz are o.o.p., but you can probably still find a used copy.

Seymour writes mainly from an English perspective, but the English are avid, experienced gardeners. He has some good stuff in there that you don't see in American gardening books.

Seymour gives you the necessary breadth, I see Coleman on the one hand and Hunt & Bortz on the other as providing the necessary two dimensions: stretching out your harvest over twelve months, and bringing in as much harvest as you can. You really need to be thinking about both.

WT...your post got me thinking...many of us have had gardens for awhile and several of us started gardens pretty recently (me, last year). It would be nice with spring around the corner if TOD could pull together a "Building/Maintaining Your Own Garden" article and have the experienced green thumbs help the newbies. I know we've had many posts concerning gardening tips and such, but nothing put together in a more structured article. Home grown food for thought.

Seconded. I am going bonkers trying to figure out how to make 1/4 acre support a family year round in a four season environment... 'cause that's alls I's gots for now. And trying to figure out how to build a comfortable home (meaning off-grid, not necessarily 75 degrees year-round, but maybe between 50 and 80...) for next to nothing. I'm thinking the non-linear nature of things (O, Chaos, Thou dost press upon mine heart, mind and soul...!) is about to get very real for the world.

I am not a happy puppy.


You are possibly going bonkers with the realisation that 0.25 acres is simply not enough - about one hectare (2.4 acres) could be considered the minimum, unless you lived in a highly productive tropical or semi-tropical region. Doesn't matter how much you wish something to be so, if it ain't going to be so ...

Just concentrating on growing potatoes might be your best bet as you get a lot per acre, and hope to swap some for a more varied diet.

At least that is what the Irish peasantry did when they had to make do with tiny plots, although of course we all know what happened there.

I am not enough of a gardener to know, but perhaps cloches and greenhouses would help?

Another alternative where you might be able to barter work for more space might be to strengthen your walls sufficiently to support a roof garden.

Both thickening your walls and making a roof garden would also go some way towards insulating your house and reaching your objectives.

Passivhaus technology makes the house very air-tight, and relies on mechanical extraction to change the small amount of air needed, although an alternative might be to build your greenhouses as conservatories which would improve temperatures in the main house.

I also live on a 1/4 acre small town lot. I've got no illusions about being able to produce all of our own food just on that land. I think that with a few year's effort I could reasonably get up to maybe 50% or so. My first priority is to get the fruit and perennial vegies (asparagus & sunchokes) planted, as those take several years to get into production. I'm also going to beekeeping school right now; bees don't have to depend just on what I'm growing in my yard, so the honey they produce will be a lot of "free" extra calories produced on my land. Rabbits are a couple of years down the line, chickens maybe a couple more years after that - I've got the outbuilding and space for them, but I've got some work to do in reconfiguring it. Much of my yard right now is in shade trees, I'll have to gradually take most of them down (except for the two sugar maples in front, which provide afternoon shade as well as eventually syrup) to make more garden space.

One thing I'm doing to increase my production is to garden in containers on our deck. The deck is the sunniest place on our property right now, and I'm not going to let that sunlight go to waste.

I do also rent two 400 s.f. plots at our local community garden, though, so that gives me quite a bit more land to work with. I grow all of my root vegies there (less likely to be stolen), all of my brassicas (cabbage family), corn (with pole beans on the stalks - even if I lose the corn to animal or human thieves, I'll still have something to harvest), and winter squash; I've got these set up on a four-year rotation.

If (when) times get really hard and food gets really expensive, another option will be garden share-cropping. By equipping oneself with the necessary tools and supplies now and proceeding up the learning curve, one will be ready when a lot of one's neighbors are hungry and can't afford food, look out at their vast expanse of lawns, but don't have a clue as to what to do. Offering to do it for them in exchange for half the produce is going to look like a pretty good deal for a lot of them. Under that strategy, you got only close the gap to 100% self-sufficiency, you also can have enough of a surplus to be a regular seller at your local farmer's market.

I am not a happy puppy.

If you can't realistically move, store a large amount of white rice. Get some surplus plastic 55-gallon barrels, seal them shut, and bury them. Cheap to do, and will keep for decades. Just a suggestion.

Thanks to all for your comments. I wasn't expecting any, so this is a great surprise. Some great suggestions. The rice one is nice. Sounds like a good emergency store regardless of any/all other choices. Rice is gawdawful expensive here in Korea, ironically enough.

I was, in fact, thinking of greenhouses due to the limited space. I was incorrect: we have almost a half acre. Looking at some of the intensive programs, such as the fellow in the Bay area (sorry, can't locate the link just now... need to tidy them up) who claims 4,000 sq. ft./person is possible. Under those conditions, I can build a small home and have enough land to feed 3 - 4 people. I am also going to look into hydroponics given the high yields, limited space and good rainfall here.

As ever, money and time. And timing. To go from living in an apartment in the city to a sustainable homestead... daunting. I see it as being my only option if I want to ensure, to the highest degree possible, my family's welfare.


I am in the process of reading the book right now. It's a very interesting departure from the double digging, intensive gardening method. Some time ago I had read an article in Mother Earth News about soil fertility with a recipe for organic fertlizer. I clipped it out and lo and behold, it was Steve Solomon's recipe. I have located a local crop service company which will mix and bag the fertilizer for use on our 13 acres of vegetables.

I am also in the middle of The End of Food by Thomas Pawlick. Both he and Solomon are in agreement that the demise of our food supply is directly related to the demise of the soil. As an example, a potato grown conventionally (using nitrogen fertlizer) has lost 100 percent of vitamin A, 57 percent of vitamin C and iron, 28 percent of calcium, 50 percent of riboflavin and 18 percent of thiamine. The story is similar for most fruits and vegetables. Also, it was discovered that vegetables grown with organic fertlizers retain more of their original vitamins and accumulated less nitrate during storage than those grown with inorganic fertlizers. Pawlick sites a book that is next on my list: Plant Vitamins: Agronomic, Physiological, and Nutritional Aspects written by soil scientist Dr. Ahmad Mozafar of the Swiss Federal Institue of Technology.

Last summer my husband and I ate exclusively vegetables and fruit that we had grown organically. And our purchases of meat, eggs, honey and cheese were all from local sources. We found that because of the nutritional density of the food, we were eating far less and felt so much healthier. Even though the raw-milk cheese was $20 a pound, once we ate it we could never go back to buying cheese from the grocery store. And a little slice of that cheese went a long way. Just like I haven't purchased a tomato from the grocery store in more than 10 years. Well, maybe a couple. And we are still eating potatoes, onions and squash from our root celler and tomatoes, corn and herbs from our freezer and lots of dried beans from the garden.

This is why I think that Stuart Staniford is incorrect in his hypothesis that industrial agriculture will continue unabated. As more people begin eating real food grown in real soil, there is no going back. There isn't a way to produce this nutrient rich, wonderful tasting food and that includes vegetables, meat, fruit and dairy products on a large scale.

As more people begin eating real food grown in real soil, there is no going back. There isn't a way to produce this nutrient rich, wonderful tasting food and that includes vegetables, meat, fruit and dairy products on a large scale.

I think you're wrong about that. Sure, some people are willing to grow their own food (or pay for someone else to do it) just because it tastes better. But most people are perfectly willing to sacrifice taste for convenience. They're busy, and the last thing they want to do is cook, let alone grow their food.

However, I think you're right about the soil. This article argues that the lack of minerals in modern farmland is causing mental illness. They've had success treated depression and other disorders with high doses of minerals.

Curiously, the idea for the treatment came from a hog farmer. Apparently, hog farmers know that if a pig starts to act crazy, the cure is mineral supplements.

It reminded of the poster here who said that farmers feed pigs skim milk in order to make them fat; they won't get fat on whole milk. (In the discussion about whether it's eating fat or carbs that makes you fat.) Pigs are omnivores, like humans, and, diet-wise, are probably the best substitute for humans in experiments and such.

But most people are perfectly willing to sacrifice taste for convenience.

or sacrifice taste just to eat.

Been trying out your doomer chops today eh?

Nah his wife just put him on a low carb diet

I think you're wrong about that. Sure, some people are willing to grow their own food (or pay for someone else to do it) just because it tastes better. But most people are perfectly willing to sacrifice taste for convenience. They're busy, and the last thing they want to do is cook, let alone grow their food.

People, in my estimation, are about to get a lot less busy. The thing about the doomsday scenarios is that they are possible, and probable, because things truly are just too complex to remain coherent in the face of multiple singularities and their resulting non-linear results.

IF it is too late to reign in climate change unless there is a massive, coordinated, world-wide response (Hansen), and IF it is too late to mitigate Peak Oil (less than 5-10 years to peak) unless there is a massive, coordinated, world-wide response (Hirsch), AND there actually is no massive, coordinated, world-wide response as is th current case, then how in hell is all hell NOT going to break loose?

Localized use of large farms, yes. Current agribusiness? Maybe not.

Sorry: no links, just my 2c.


If it's climate change that's driving the chaos, then it will affect everyone growing food. Agribusiness, small local farmers, people gardening in their backyards.

This is why I think climate change could turn out to be worst than peak oil. Nothing is worse for a farmer than unpredictable weather.

Weather is always unpredicable except in short periods of 2-3 days. Even then predictions are often wrong. Experienced farmers are dealing with this all the time. I doubt climate change will make much difference and may even make it an easier problem in some areas where weather is especially violent like the Midwest. Right now I have both my corn stoves running plus the backup LP heater. It's 10 below with a wind chill in the area of 30-40 below zero. Global warming sounds pretty good.

Many researchers are predicting that the weather will become more extreme, as we settle into a new climate. Drought, floods, more powerful storms, etc. I don't think any farmer will say that's a good thing.

"Experienced" farmers may find their experience leads them wrong. And people who have carefully saved seeds that grow in their climate may find those seeds no longer grow there.

If we find ourselves with less energy to do the work for us then one logical consequence is that we will have to do more manual labor ourselves. In a nutshell: We will become more busy.

Hi soup,

re: "he will be moving in with you."

And you'll figure out a way to allow him to save face, while he'll realize he's one very lucky man.

re: "father in-law just bought a new F250 to drive his 20 min. commute, alone,"

Not alone for long, though.

HI again, Soup,

Meanwhile, recommend a dose of Chuck Wicks:

last half of "Stealing Cinderella":

"I leaned in towards those pictures to get a better look at one
When I heard a voice behind me say "Now, ain't she something, son?"
I said "Yes, she quite a woman" and he just stared at me
Then I realized that in his eyes she would always be

Playing Cinderella
Riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed and looking for a pillow fight
Running through the sprinkler with a big popsicle grin
Dancing with her dad, looking up at him
In her eyes i'm Prince Charming
But to him i'm just some fella riding in and stealing Cinderella

He slapped me on the shoulder
Then he called her in the room
When she threw her arms around him
That's when I could see it too

She was Playing Cinderella
Riding her first bike
Bouncing on the bed and looking for a pillow fight
Running through the sprinkler with a big popsicle grin
Dancing with her dad, looking up at him
If he gives me a hard time
I can't blame the fella
I'm the one who's stealing Cinderella"

At least, he will have a nice place to live (the F250, that is) when everything goes tits up.

....The homeowners cringing in the media rooms of their 5000-square-foot personal family resorts don't know how long they can stay put microwaving pepperoni hot pockets with the default clock ticking. The mortgage "servicers" don't know how they will persuade interested parties like, say, the Illinois State Cafeteria Workers' Pension Fund (holder of X-amount of mortgage-backed securities underwritten by, say, Merrill Lynch or Deutsche Bank) to foreclose on properties scattered everywhere from Key West to Bainbridge Island -- or if there is actually any legal mechanism known to man that would make it possible to "work out" the sliced-and-diced collateral.....


By some standards, that might be called "modest." Apparently it is now cool to drive your Navistar Class 8 tractor to the Country Club. http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/automotive_news/4248351.html

souperman2/Jef -

Well, how do you measure a carbon footprint and/or the amount of fuel you are responsible for?? I drive an Escalade and my wife drives a gas guzzler Jaguar. We live in a 4,000 square foot house. But, before you kill me, let me explain. We have been married for 41 years and have no children. Graduated high school in 1959, and my 240 classmates probably average 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. So, my wife and I saved the children cost and can afford more than the average. But, now which would you rather have: (1) the over indulgence of 2 people in 2008 or (2) eleven more individuals on earth who live ELP lives, but who in several generations will turn into hundreds of more people on earth? From my perspective, I deserve the "carbon credits" for not having children that I would have been allocated back in 1959 if such a program had been in effect back then.

Since it was your father-in-law, you are married. Do you have any children or do you plan on having any? If so, with the best of intentions, they will still have a far more negative impact on the earth than one F250.

There is a secret plan.

I think the truth, as Daniel Quinn told us when we interviewed him for What A Way To Go, is this: there is a secret plan in place. I t’s a secret plan that we don’t talk about because, well, it’s a secret, and we want to keep the secret. That’s what we’ve been taught to do.

This is the secret plan: we are going to continue on this way until we can’t anymore.

That’s the plan. And that’s what person after person told us when we interviewed them for What A Way To Go. We asked everyone we talked to, “What’s it going to take for people to change?” And what person after person said was, “It’s going to take a catastrophe. It’s going to take a catastrophe before people will wake up.”


You were forced to drink the Kool Aide if you graduated in 1959, after coming of age in the 50's and the time of the man in the grey flannel suit. So no children is a positive, and less impact. You could of been a Dharma Bum, but they numbered below a thousand.
And the Esclade will make nice living quarters, and supply low entropy building materials for the survivors (if any).
I see your point. You have left less of a foot print.

Since demand worldwide is voracious, I am not advocating ELP because it will save energy, I am advocating it so people will be better prepared for much more expensive, and scarce, food and energy supplies. The key point is to assume a 50% drop in income and $8 plus gasoline. Also, it won't be a good idea to advertise wealth.

West ,my grandfather continued raising the food I ate for the majority of my youth,even when it became cheaper to purchase veggies at the store.I was raised to expect a quality of food most people never see,eating out of stores and "mcfood"
ELM can be a improvement to the quality of what one has on their plate if done right We have not pushed the small scale ag the way it will have to be to be effective.
One answer to "downsizeing"your life is to increase your garden size
8$+gas will blow this economy out of the water,as anything not essential will go away.No more 100 mile trips to the beach,20mile trips to the kids dancing class etc.A complete re-structuring will be in order.Many have said that a depression is how all the old structures in a society are replaced with new ones that can withstand the new environment that exist

Whats for sure is the change is coming soon.Here in Oregon,construction has continued at a blistering pace .... Until now.When talking with a small steelfab company I know to be a favorite of contractors I learned the workload for them is dropping to nothing in March this is true with 4 outfits I have spoke with in casual conversation the last week.What has been happening all over the country just came here.

Here in Europe/Sweden we already pay $8+ for a gallon of gas. Hasn't hurt our economy. And we have lower incomes and higher taxes too.

Yes but some idiots in North America commute to work the width of Sweden. Of course even that may not derail the economy, but sitting that long in one's car knowing one is burning eight a gallon buck gas may produce peak dementia and won't that be a scream.


Took a minute or two to figure out a reply and what I figured out was that, if you could quite cleverly figure the way you do, I would rather you would have had one child and then quite as cleverly figured you had some stake in the future of the planet. Go figure, eh?:)

Yes, this is the problem. A lot of people outside the US know we have a "car culture", but they don't understand that the choices we have made - or had made for us (Who killed the electric car, damnit?!) - make those cars largely necessary. For most people, there is no short cut. And this is the crux of the problem. Knowing that and knowing that Americans essentially have no savings are all you need to really know to understand why the US will be damned lucky if the economy doesn't completely collapse.


Well, most people here commute 20-40km (approx 15-30 miles or something) to work. My wife commutes 45km to work and 45km back again. I've had coworkers commuting 100km at 9 USD for a gallon of petrol.

Big deal.

Oil prices have to go much, much, much higher to affect anything. People will complain, but they won't stop.

I figure that the oil price will reach four figures a couple of years downslope peak oil, unless you see goobermint intervention, price controls and rationing before thtat.

And your income level is....? Better yet, disposable income....? Savings? Indebtedness? Are we only having this discussion about the middle and upper middle class? Europe is using about half the energy of the us per capita, right? Are you really trying to say the scales of the problem are equal?

Your anecdotal experiences don't necessarily = a typical American's, do they?


I live in the Uk near cambridge and rent out two rooms to guys who dont want to spend 100 miles a day commuting - and thats like 4 hours driving a day here. Both have family homes but basically stay mon - thursday night.

This arrangement pays my mortgage (90% of it)
The spare rooms are available for family and friends at weekends
The arrangement saves 38000 commuting miles a year 0r 4000 litres of diesel.
My two lodgers basically charge up on sleep in the week so weekends are not simply a recovery period from spending 20-25 hours of the week in high stress commuting.

I suspect as fuel costs rise you will see a big increase in this type of arrangement in the US - Canada.

I agree. A lot of people are doing it already.

I'm cleaning out my spare bedroom now to get ready. ;-)

Here in Europe/Sweden we already pay $8+ for a gallon of gas. Hasn't hurt our economy. And we have lower incomes and higher taxes too.

No, you don't understand ... at the moment both the USA and Europe (and the OECD in general) have been doing fine, we both pay the same for a barrel of imported crude, we just pay taxes on different things. (Actually, how can you be sure that the prices we pay for European fuel hasn't damaged our economies - or is that just what you want to believe/have faith in?)

However, IMO if you start with $8 gasoline and then add all our fuel taxes and duties you will find the price will be just as economically dislocating in Europe as $8 and no taxes is for the USA.

Just to even the score, I would have to ask, how much to you pay yearly for healthcare, property taxes, and education? How much paid time off do you get when having children? I bet when it's all added up, we in the USA probably pay more out of pocket than most in Europe/Sweden.

In fact, and there are no links as this is anecdotal, this is true. I had a neighbor who was of Swedish descent and married to a Swedish national. In attempting to plan their future, they added up all the costs as you have suggested. All the little taxes on your phone bill, sales taxes (over 6% in California at the time), etc. All of them. They looked at services provided. Their conclusion? The US pays the same level of taxes as the Swedish and get far less for it. No health care, for example, which we pay for on top of our taxes.

So, you Europeans keep this in mind when considering what is likely to come in the dear old US of A: The same tax rate, less security, less savings, less disposable income, more debt, more reliance on individual motoring. Ah, as a quick note on motoring: once you do get home after your long commute, can you walk it for most of your shopping, errands, etc? My visits to Ireland and Bulgaria both say, "Yes." Same here in Korea. Most places in the US? Not so much.


Here in Europe/Sweden we already pay $8+ for a gallon of gas.

Thanks for reminding me how worthless the USD has become ..

The real question is wether the cost to you in local
currency seems expensive to the average consumer ..

Otherwise we're just comparing exchange rates ..

Triff ..

jbunt, don't fret about rationalizing your decision to consume larger amounts of petroleum per person-mile driven than required. Since we're all sipping from the same finite resource, what matters is what is used. Personally, since I seriously doubt the USA will do anything at all of substance in time to deal with this issue, it seems as if the best current option is to simply use it up as fast as you can in order to force the global system to finally wake up and deal seriously with this issue. So you, along with the millions of new consumers in China and India and Saudi Arabia etc, are doing the best thing you can with your excessive personal oil consumption to help us towards that goal.

The thing that absolutely astounds me is that even here, I almost never see any mention of the single thing that could immediately cut a significant part of our oil imports: drop the national speed limit to 55 mph. And enforce it. I hadn't really thought about this until talking to my dad about this energy / resources problem we're having, he reminded me of that.

The fact that this, which is probably the easiest and quickest way to actually start working on the problem now, in real time, is barely even discussed on TOD, let alone the media at large, demonstrates to me fairly conclusively that nobody is willing yet to actually ask the spoiled American consumer to sacrifice anything at all. That goes for a draft to restore the military, paying taxes to pay government bills, like the war in Iraq, etc, instead of the 400 billion + deficits of the 2008/9 budgets submitted by Bush, as well as oil questions.

Nothing will change here until people are forced to start to sacrifice, all this talk of having your cake and eating it too is absurd, simply another manifestation of spoiled kids who don't want to start using their fair share of things.

I think I'll use the reality of a modification of the national speed limit as the indicator of when this country actually starts to do something real to work towards resolving its energy issues. When the political awareness and strength is there to do that simple step, maybe other steps will start to become more probable. Not even Matt Simmons is mentioning this trivially simple option in his recent suggestions.

The first step, after all, is admitting you have a problem. Then you look to cut consumption, and the speed limit is the lowest hanging fruit there is, all that's required is updating a law, then changing some traffic speed limit signs. Then you can start to work on the more long term solutions while you give yourself as a nation some breathing room re oil consumption.

I rented a Prius recently, and its mileage is almost ludicrous at normal interstate freeway speeds of greater than 70mph, and starts to return to a sane level at 55-60. You can't overcome the laws of physics and air resistance etc by wishful thinking.

Unfortunately, dropping the speed limit doesn't really save much gas. The DOT did a study, and found the 55mph speed limit dropped gas consumption less than 1%.

Part of the reason is probably that people ignore the speed limit. It's easy to say "Enforce it," but actually doing it is a different story.

Then there's the fact that the dropoff point for SUVs, minivans, and trucks (all very popular these days) is more like 40mph.

During WWII, they had a 35mph speed limit in order to conserve gas. Somehow, I can't see us going back to that.

I'm going to have to take the DOT study with a grain of salt.

When gas is in the 3 to 10 dollar range, or rationing is being enforce, 55 will make a big difference. Peoples mindset about speeding will change.

My tests show
55 mph = 52 mpg
65 mph = 42 mpg


Besides, I've been repeatably told to shut up, when results I produced at work didn't meet the political reality at the time.

Like I said, a big reason is probably that people automatically drive faster than the speed limit. What are your results at 65mph vs. 75mph?

The road I used to do my test has a speed limit of 65. I wasn't willing to risk a ticket to test at 75 mph.

Terrain, weather conditions, traffic and gas quality have a significant effect on the results, however on a different interstate I got about 41 mpg at 75 mph.

Note: This is for a 2005 corolla with 29000 mile, original tires and an automatic transmission.

Well, that would certainly explain it. IME, most people go 10mph faster than the speed limit. So 65 vs. 75 is probably a more realistic comparison, and there's not much difference there.

IME drivers on a limited access highways, servicing a megalopolis, tend to ignore speed limits entirely and drive as fast as they can without loosing control of their vehicle.

When gasoline shortages occurred last time, people obeyed the speed limit because it was such a hassle to find a station with gas and wait in line.

IMHO longterm shortages/high prices will cause an attitude adjustment, but only after an outburst of anger/denial.

But that's the thing: I don't think they really did obey the speed limit. Some did, sure, but most didn't. There's a reason radar detectors were invented after the 55 mph speed limit was passed. The energy crisis gave us the Fuzzbuster.

That's not the reality I remember, but economic and oil supply conditions were different throughout the country. I have a friend who grew up in Michigan and doesn't recall any shortages. (On the other hand he also didn't notice that the river had risen and drove his truck into the water.)

Plus the 55 limit lasted much longer than the actual crisis.


According to this article "the first Fuzzbuster was introduced in 1968", prior to the crisis.

Yes, that was a big reason for the problems: the distribution was very uneven. Some places never had a problem, others had people camping out overnight just to get gas.

A major crop of potholes around Chicago has the Happy Motoring public observing speed limits, or even going slower. Events like two blown front tires together with a cracked transmission housing slow speed significantly. (I was not the driver on that one but was in the car. And that car was below speed limit.) Potholes get repaired in the spring, in theory, but with all local governments stretched to the limit I can see gravel coming soon. Drive safely.

So I'm not the only one who noticed this, that's a relief. I felt like I was driving an obstacle course.

Just like hunger clusters into famine, small blackouts cluster into large blackouts, potholes also cluster into deep, yawning chasms.

My tests show
55 mph = 52 mpg
65 mph = 42 mpg

OK let’s run a road trip on these numbers. Ten hours of actual driving, just to start with a round number.

650 miles. 10 hours. 15.5 gallons.

Now try 55. 11.8 hours. 12.5 gallons.

So you save 3 gallons and lose 1.8 hours. At US$3/gallon, you’ve saved a whopping $5/hour. Woo-hoo. At $8/gallon you’ve saved $13.33/hour. That's very slightly more interesting, but without importance if it's a business trip. Not that it matters, we aren’t at $8 yet.

The big catch is that if the cost of the 3 gallons is a huge problem at whatever price, you really can’t afford the trip in the first place. After all, your total cost is on the order of $300 at customary mileage rates near 50 cents; more like $360 if gas got to $8. Oh, and if the extra hours kick you over the threshold of needing a motel room, then 55 is a big-time loser at any gas price where you'd still be driving.

I have a feeling that even $10 gas won’t slow a lot of people down much, though it might induce them to get smaller cars next time. 55 was just empty moralizing of the sort beloved by Jimmy Carter, who meant well but wielded zero persuasive power. Europeans who visited us in the 1970s thought we were schlubs for wasting so much time crawling so slowly around such a huge country, and they were right. I commend the motorways of Europe, with their 120 and even 130 or 140kph speed limits, to your attention.

Even with rationing it would depend. Odd-even rationing as in the 1970s puts a big premium on driving as fast and far as possible the days you’re allowed to purchase. It might have little effect on short-haul commuting except to catch some poor slob out once in a while. Huge lines would certainly have an effect, but keep in mind they tend to grow best in big congested cities where nothing moves even as fast as 45 anyhow. Coupon rationing would quickly turn into a cesspit of favoritism and corruption, so there’s no telling what its effect would be, except to make some rich at the expense of others; no doubt government officials with unlimited coupons would weave in and out at 75mph amongst ordinary schlubs doing 35. With a soft limit (tradable coupons), it would be the same as letting the price go up while mailing everybody a check...oh, wait a minute, we're already doing that and we save the huge cost of the vast army of Federal jobsworths the other versions of rationing require.

Am I the only one in this thread who is old enough to remember what life was like in during 1973?

They were hard times!!!!

My dad was a car salesman and sales just STOPPED! That meant that my dads salary stopped. Fights broke out at gas stations. You were afraid to go for gas. You only traveled to the store, and when you got there you bought only the essentials (if they had them). I grew up as middle class, maybe the rest of you had a silver spoon and could waste money, but not us. It was an emotionally trying time.

If peak oil is real, and those times do return, I think you are going to get a very nasty education about how every dollar you save is really important.

"Am I the only one in this thread who is old enough to remember what life was like in during 1973?"

No, you are not.

In the immortal words of my mother, when faced with complaints about how cold it was in the house with the thermostat turned way down, she would simply say...

Put on another sweater!

You had a sweater?

"You had a sweater?"

Yes, we were in pretty good shape, sweater-wise.

I have appreciated a good sweater ever since...


I had better stop now, last time I followed one of these down I ended up living in a hole in the road ;-)

At least you lot had a car to need gas for...


(It's dark in this hole...)


Enforcing it is part of the demonstration of political will, both in terms of the population agreeing to do so for the greater good of society and the state in terms of being willing to establish some baseline rules and support them with actions.

If no steps are taken, nothing will change. So you need the real data, not the data of what happens when it's not enforced. People speed because they can get away with it. In Europe, people tend not to speed because the consequences are both serious and expected.

If no changes are implemented, none will occur.

45 or so is the ideal speed, but 55 is ok too.

The point is, this is not a fairy tale option, it's real, and is the easiest way to save even 1%, although I suspect it's more, but let's say it's just 1%. Then you look for the next 1%, and the next. Then you've saved 1 mbpd imports. If you don't start somewhere real, you won't get anywhere.

Think of any other way that you can save this much without implementing anything new or expensive.

But now let's question your assumption:

A conservative think tank claimed that the total fuel savings during the national speed limit was no more than 1% overall. It must be noted however that this group is funded by, among others, corporations from the auto and oil industries

What a surprise. A study by the Heritage foundation seems to form the foundation of your claim here, they find that .... ok, let's be serious and move on to something real.

http://drive55.org/content/view/39/1/ seems a good starting place.
which takes us to this article
where a real world test was done, by my top of the head math, their trip resulted in a 40% fuel savings at 55 mph.

I believe 45-55 is the optimal range for modern cars, but I don't know that for a fact. That's because the engines are designed to run in 4th or 5th gear at freeway speeds, and 3rd up to that speed, and at the top end of 3rd, you're running at really high rpms. Most cars do not like driving in 4/5th at 40mph. They did in the old days, but then they were also only 3 speeds, and 40mph was about a good mid rpm range for the motor.

I don't have time at the moment to find any actual source that shows the true expected savings of an enforced 55 mph, but it's fairly obvious that if you can cut say 2% (I'll assume double any Heritage foundation report begins to approach reality based on previous experience - think of them as the CERA of general purpose thinktanks, ignore everything they say and assume it's worse) then you should cut it now, before that 2% will matter even less. Again, I find it almost surreal that at this point people are not willing to sacrifice anything at all yet, I guess it really has to start to collapse like Kunstler says in this country before we start, too late, to actually take real actions. That's what I was afraid of, unfortunately, but I didn't want to give full credit to the arguments put out by the 'Long Emergency', which I just read, because they strike me as being fairly much worse case driven.

We didn't have the political will back when it was passed. With rationing and shortages to encourage us.

I just think that this is a waste of effort. Too much work for too little reward. Even many peak oilers hate the idea. There are a lot of other things we could do instead, that would have better returns on investment.

Are you kidding? Like what?

Peak Oilers are valuable if they are fairly rigorous in their analysis or actions, people who do solid research which we can then learn from (eg khebab here, Simmons, Campbell, Laherre, Kunstler to some degree). I've followed some of these people's work for years, others are new to me. What I'm interested in is what will be done in the real world to start to deal with these issues, and what the actual severity of these issuse are, not what an online community likes to talk about. A lot of the stuff here is pretty much identical to any other highly specialized, non-mainstream focused topic area of online 'communities' in terms of going off-topic, having pet peeves/issues, techno-utopian fantasies, etc. Lots of cruft that is.

Currently, real world stuff in most the non European parts of the world seems to be the following: boost coal production and consumption until supplies collapse. Change nothing. Increase uranium production and consumption until supplies collapse and/or a few major 'accidents' occur. Change nothing. Get some windmills built. Use the non-existent extra electricity which will merely pad the downward slide in oil producction to drive electric cars. Sell more cars now as fast as possible. Keep building more roads.

Kunstler is right I guess, no wonder Simmons talks with him. I didn't actually want to believe that, but it looks like that's the most consistent scenario of all.

Refusing to sacrifice is a symptom of the problem itself, of the level of addiction Nate recently wrote about. Addicts refuse to consider stopping or reducing consumption as a realistic option. I guess he's right.

Thanks for the insight though. Better return on investment than putting up a new sign and enforcing a single law? Again, are you kidding? If you don't take the easy steps, what on earth makes anyone think that the harder steps will be more productive long term?

Anyway, have to go, can't be reading TOD all day long. So I will assume that we in fact have a fairly long way to go before society and its politicians begin to take real actions. And that, at least in the USA, those actions look like they will in fact come too late.

I'm interested in is what will be done in the real world

Me, too. That's why I think the 55mph speed limit is a non-starter.

Better return on investment than putting up a new sign and enforcing a single law?

Yes. One, getting the public to agree to put up that new sign won't be easy. Two, even if you get it up, it's the enforcing that's hard. Like I said downthread - the last energy crisis gave us the Fuzzbuster.

State and local governments are strapped. Cops use a lot of fuel, and it's killing their budgets. If they have to decide between chasing speeders or tracking down a murderer or a drug dealer, they aren't going to pick chasing speeders.

Far better than enforcing the speed limit, IMO, would be to require cars to have Prius-like gauges that tell you how many mph you're getting. People will probably go along with it, because it's a cost "they" (the car companies) will have to pay. The car companies will gripe, but they'll just pass the cost along to their customers. If cars become more expensive, well, that's not a bad thing, is it? I think if people see for themselves how speed affects gas consumption, they'll slow down on their own, far more than if you try to put a million cops on the highways to enforce a 55 mph speed limit.

Ok, this is funny. So you believe that changing all the cars in the country to use gas meters is more practical than having a national speed limit in terms of immediate results? And you think that will happen sooner and save more gas than simply requiring an easily enforceable speed limit? Enforcing laws is fairly easy if you simply consistently enforce them. After a while people get the idea, it's not rocket science, especially when it's a rational thing.

I guess Denial runs far more deeply than I suspected.

And then you believe that seeing that mpg show on their dashboards will make consumers change their behavior? The only people I know who are this disconnected from reality are Libertarians.

Sorry I wasted our time, off to do some more productive things. I thought you'd actually have something real to say, lol... ok, one less person to read on this blog, thanks.

So you believe that changing all the cars in the country to use gas meters is more practical than having a national speed limit in terms of immediate results?

It would be required of new cars only, of course.

And you think that will happen sooner and save more gas than simply requiring an easily enforceable speed limit?

Yes. We've tried the speed limit thing, and it didn't work. It's not "easily enforceable." (And I should know, having spent many hours parked beside highways with a radar gun, doing speed studies.)

And then you believe that seeing that mpg show on their dashboards will make consumers change their behavior?

Judging from the number of Californians complaining about how slow Prius drivers are clogging the HOV lanes - yes.

Attach RADAR GUN to lightpole...

attach CAMERA to radar gun...

wire camera to DMV...

send the ticket in the mail...


This is being done, a little, more as a respnse to innocent pedestrians/bikers being run down by speeders. It would be quick, easy and cheap to enforce ANY speed limit ANYWHERE.

The problem with cameras is that people quickly learn where they are. They're really good for things like running red lights at intersections, but covering all roads, everywhere...not only would that be difficult, it would be more than a little creepy.

Regulating speed by the govt. will be so easy in the future, it is happening now in Australia and Canada. GPS tells what road you are on and the speed limit. Car's computer can regulate drive by wire throttle to whatever position is required to maintain desired speed.



Towns are going to be desperate, truly desperate, for money. They will enforce any speed limit you set. So will counties and states.

Indeed. Here in Korea they had to put up signs warning the camera zone was ahead to stop all the accidents from people hitting the brakes for the cams.

It's a wonderful world, after all.


Actually, we have loads of these metal-pole policemen here in Sweden. Almost everywhere. Hundreds of them. And the next step they're figuring how to do legislation-wise is to photgraph all cars, and check the time between different metal-poles, so if you on average travel faster than the speed limit between cameras, you will be fined. All done by computer, of course.

I was going to reply:

So, someone disagrees with you, so you simply write them off as being in denial, disconnected with reality, a waste of your time, one less person to read, etc.

What a juvenile response. Look, you disagree on what might or might not be effective. No need to get all snotty and petulant.

...But then I thought, nah, Leanan can reply for herself.



I was always amazing to me that the speed limit was 55 and everyone was speeding.

Then I thought that there could be a reason the speed limit is 55/65 and everyone (including the cop driving next to you in the passing lane) is traveling 75.

Selective Enforcement. If everyone is speeding, you can pull over anyone.

Ayn Rand to explain what I mean.

"'Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?' said Dr. Ferris. 'We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it.

There's no way to rule innocent men.

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.'"

Ayn Rand

Yes, we are probably all law breakers. Selective enforcement is the norm, IMO.

Breaking a law is not inherently wrong or immoral. It can be immoral, though, to allow a single unjust law, or a system of fascism, to go unchecked.

Several years ago, I attended a conference about the air pollution problems in the area of the Great Smokey Mountains. There were in attendance (as I recall) 5 governors from the surrounding states. There was lots of great "speech-a-fying" by the state environmental departments and the governors, all claiming that something had to be done. In the Smokeys, most of the air pollution is produced somewhere else and carried in by the winds.

Having just moved away from Georgia, I cornered the newly elected Governor, Roy Barnes(sp?) and suggested that one quick way to reduce the pollution in the Atlanta area was to enforce the 55 mph speed limit. Pollution, such as oxides of nitrogen, increase at higher power levels required to drive faster and the CO2 emissions also increase, both due to air drag. Georgia had just gone thru the process of increasing the speed limits on rural Interstates, with the limits near Atlanta being left at 55 mph. Governor Barnes just turned and walked away, which would likely be the typical response from all politicians. Actually, I was rather surprised that he even waited around for me to ask the question.

E. Swanson

Replacing the vast majority the current automobile fleet can in no circumstances be considered 'low hanging fruit', and the fact that's your suggestion seems to imply you may have missed that point.

All that's required to change driving behavior is to make the enforcement a bit enhanced, and it partially pays for itself anyway from fines, and to make the penalties higher. For people with something to lose high penalties do in fact work just fine.

Your counterpoints are filled with straw-men and unreal scenarios. You don't need a million cops, you just need some consistent enforcement and penalties that are so high that you simply will not be willing to take the risk. Have you ever stopped resisting the urge, and started to push away the cars in front of you with your bumper? Of course not, the consequences would be so severe you don't even seriously consider the option. This is how Europe handles serious breaks of traffic laws. When I've lived there, people do not in general break traffic laws.

It's interesting to see how deeply the addictions go in this country though, Nate was right to write about that question recently. It's kind of hard to believe that an oil drum/ drumbeat editor seriously believes that replacing all the cars on the road with slightly more economical ones, with more gadgets, just as we are approaching serious decline of basically everything is a good strategy for this problem. What else can you really say to that though? Guess I'll stick to reading the real news from now on. Although some of the people who write comments here are pretty insightful.

My initial comment was based on an immediate action to start moving towards resolving issues, not some long term fairy tale. Something real that can actually be done now, almost immediately, that is. When you suggested that there are actually more realistic options, I was of course expecting to see a more realistic option. Not fantasies. In other words, some way to drop an immediate say 2 or 4% off current demand.

By the time enough of these gadget filled cars are sold, in theory, to make any difference in your scenario, we will basically be out of oil. With population increasing etc, year over year, it's hard to see any scenario long term that gets the country anywhere better than constant demand with maybe a slight per capita drop. How does that in any way help anything? That's not a 'low hanging fruit', that's more in the lines of a 'serious self delusion' I'd say. Strange to see such nonsense being promoted here though.

You do a good job though digging up articles often worth reading every day though, so I guess that's worth something, so thanks for that.

You are jumping to conclusions. I used to be proponent of the 55 mph speed limit. (In fact, I still am, but for safety reasons, not fuel efficiency reasons.) You can see me arguing in favor of it in old posts here and at PO.com.

Why did I change my mind? I discovered that there's no proof that it works.

It's kind of hard to believe that an oil drum/ drumbeat editor seriously believes that replacing all the cars on the road with slightly more economical ones, with more gadgets, just as we are approaching serious decline of basically everything is a good strategy for this problem.

Actually, I don't. I think the personal car is doomed. Which means arguing about the speed limit is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But if we are going to rearrange said deck chairs, I don't want to spend too much energy doing it, and I don't want to tick off my fellow passengers too much.

Well, since you started out this thread with a fake statistic from a right wing think tank that works below the intellectual level of CERA, you'll have to forgive me for having some doubts about what research you really did re this question. No offense, but it took me about 10 seconds to find the source that exposed that. So you clearly didn't do much work on this question if you're still repeating that study's claims as facts. Which suggests, sadly, that you in fact have no facts to support your claim at all, and are merely stating some belief you hold for some reason. Like most Americans are doing at the moment. What a surprise. Thus my disappointment.

But, again, my point is simple: until this society begins to take concrete, real steps, as a society, to deal with what is clearly a global issue, there's very little point in creating fantasy scenarios based on basically only wishful thinking.

So when we start to see some actually real, concrete actions, which requires some sacrifice from the American people, both in terms of them supporting politicians who are not trying to tell them everything will be fine, and in terms of then acting on this, there is almost no point in even paying attention to anything this country does re this issue. Your discussion simply highlights this fact more strongly.

Anyway, let's leave off this discussion, the limits of it are clear. It's better to spend this type of time doing actual work and research than filling yet another endless comments thread in a single day's drumbeat, that doesn't get anyone anywhere. I suggest reading some real research on such topics, that's what I've been doing more, but TOD is a fun read, maybe it's too much time re the data though to read daily anymore.

For some people, maybe these specialized technical web based non-'communities' (I say non because real communities involve real interactions, not virtual ones) and their ensuing debates etc might be interesting, if you've never done them before in another context, but sadly I have, in many other different contexts, so you'll have to forgive me for having little interest in doing this more, unless of course you feel like citing some actual facts and data, not groundless speculation and idle fairy tales.

Again, keep my beginning point in mind: until this society is willing to make sacrifices in substantial ways, nothing real can get fixed. If that willingness does not appear, as you seem to believe it will not (and you are probably right), it's not a matter of us driving happily around in prius cars in 20 years... anyway, thanks for the good parts of the work you do, it is useful, and I think the more rigorous material presented here will in fact end up shaping public policy, TOD is going to have political and social impact I think, although these types of threads will probably not do anything more than any other online babble does. And I've done enough of that to consider myself somewhat of any authority in that area, ;-)

Back to the real world now. Glad you all use your abilities to do this site for people, it's valuable, so thanks for that.

But, again, my point is simple: until this society begins to take concrete, real steps, as a society, to deal with what is clearly a global issue, there's very little point in creating fantasy scenarios based on basically only wishful thinking.

Funny, that was my point, too.

Anyway, let's leave off this discussion, the limits of it are clear.

You keep saying that, but you keep replying. :)

Again, keep my beginning point in mind: until this society is willing to make sacrifices in substantial ways, nothing real can get fixed.

Absolutely agree. But they aren't going to be willing to make sacrifices just because we ask.

I think it would take something like a war. Mere high prices aren't enough.

A real, concrete step, is reducing the speed limit. That happens now, in real time. An unreal, non-concrete step, is assuming that people driving priuses in greater and greater numbers while not changing any core behavior, is not simply more the of the same, and involves simply a change of car keys and some pretty steep new car payments, which may not even be possible for many Americans in the near future.

You seem to be missing my main point over and over again, this has nothing to do with you, me, or any other TOD person asking anybody to do anything. This is about the real, living, American society being willing to make sacrifices, and then supporting politicians who do not pretend that they won't have to. You seem to be confused on this issue for some reason, I've said it clearly over and over.

This is what I think we need to watch for here.

Until that point happens, however it happens, this country is not going to be leading anything but a decline.

A real sacrifice does not look like your scenario of high tech cars with marginally better mileage, and that sacrifice will probably only be available to the comfortably well off for the next 10 years anyway. It looks like people being willing to drive slower, take some more time, to help save gas, driving less, etc. Consume less that is, support that too politically. That's why I think that realworld signs of such sacrifice will be the real test of where this country is at. I don't look to TOD for solutions, I look to it for good analysis.

As long as nobody is willing to ask the American people to change, or talk to them about this openly, or to admit that this is necessary, nothing will change in this country at all, at least not at the speed it needs to change. This point is much closer than I think you realize. You can feel the tension building among the rich and powerful here, they are starting to figure this out, one by one. And they get listened to more than we do.

Personally, I don't know what it will take to change Americans, they aren't going to be the leaders on this matter by any stretch of the imagination. But I will look for the signs that this society is actually starting to grow up, and accepting sacrifice and reduced consumption as an idea of a new norm is the first step to that process.

Anyway, sometimes I can't resist a web chat, even though it's basically totally wasted time re anything bigger in life, but thanks again for TOD team's work, it's useful, as you all probably know.

A real, concrete step, is reducing the speed limit

And I disgaree.

This is about the real, living, American society being willing to make sacrifices, and then supporting politicians who do not pretend that they won't have to.

I thought we were trying to avoid wishful thinking fantasy scenarios.

Anyway, I am actually not a fan of efficiency. I think it's a trap. We need less efficiency, more resilience.

if you wanted to enforce highway speed limits, then re chip the cars, no re-chipping no lic. plate renewed. Like that will ever happen...

I am a fan of efficiency, I drive a VW TDI-diesel, stock and no mods. At 65-70mph, I get 48-52mpg,
If I drive 51mph keep the engine under 2k rpm I will clear 63MPG

This spring I will be upgrading it with a new 5th gear from Germany, new head bolts, injectors and chipping the car. Result plan to get about 65mpg at 2k rpms going about 65mph, the ROI is about 24k miles.

Re-chipping my car, a 1982 M-B 240D (manual transmission), cannot be done because it has no computers.

One could check the torque curve, but quite frankly, the extra aero resistance (from slightly vague memory iit is square, not cube, of speed) at 65 mph will not be overcome by lowering rpm.

Cheapest way to change rpms is to slightly oversize tires.

The steps I have taken (I get 30 to 31 mpg in the city)

Keep car clean & waxed.
Keep valves adjusted
Keep car aligned
Keep tires properly inflated
Keep fuel filters clean
Reduce unnecessary weight carried around (sometimes :-(
Use synthetic lubes (5w40 Mobil 1 is diesel rated for engine), also synthetic in transmission, differential, power steering, wheel bearing grease, brake fluid
Installed LED bulbs all around except headlights (less parasitic loss @ night)
Installed film in windows to reduce summer heat load
Installed Optima battery (lighter, less internal resistance)
I am thinking about euro headlights (better aerodynamics, look better too)

Drive conservatively

and most IMPORTANT

Drive very few miles !

My goal this year (if no evacs) is <60 gallons of diesel (and <3,000 kWh).

Whoof. I'd be nuts to step into this thread. But it's that sort of a morning. No, wait, it's afternoon. Drat.

In my admittedly subjective observation, it seems like people usually drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit, whatever that is. Because getting a ticket is a pain in the arse, and the greater the margin of speeding, the more serious the ticket is, I think there is some deterrent value. So I do like the notion of lowering the speed limit; I doubt the fuel benefit is only 1%. Even if it is, I think it's rather worth doing anyhow, ars gratia artis, to piss off those who deserve it. Anyone caught with a fuzzbuster could, with minor rewriting of law, be subject to waterboarding and summary execution.

And as long as I'm wishing, I'll say that 35mph would be a nice speed limit. Or how about a law that make it illegal for a private vehicle to pass a smaller vehicle of any kind? I suppose one 'plus' to putting little electronic dials in new cars would be that you could encode a more advanced algorithm; allowing a sliding scale which for safety's sake could - for instance - enforce upper limits on kinetic energy wielded by any mortal with a standard driver's license.

Most of this won't happen, and even if it did we'd still have W.S. Jevons blowing raspberries at us from beyond the grave. But there are different kinds of resilience, and insipid waste strikes me as resilience of the meanest sort. Perhaps a bad habit to ingrain in those who will be having to make serious transitions.

Yeah, I'm cranky today. But I'm for speed limits. I also think that SUV's should have shotgun shells wired up in lieu of airbags in the driver's steering wheel, but that's a different subject...

Here in the UK trucks have to go slower than other vehicles by law and in general THEY DO NOT BREAK THEIR SPEED LIMIT because, for them at least, the law is very srictly enforced.

If the vehicles break the speed limits in your country then it is because the law isn't enforced adequately - to use that as a reason for not conserving fuel is bizarre.

I have heard hundreds of reasons from Americans why they couldn't possibly use smaller more energy efficient cars, almost all of them wrong - most of the world's population do not have cars at all!

In reality, almost nobody wants to conserve until they have to - which probably means we won't have the UN required 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020, which means (if you believe the IPCC) we will definitely have catastrophic climate change - plan how you personally will mitigate that (if you have the misfortune to live that long.)

Plan your future based on the assumption society will carry on as it has - until it can't! Do not expect pro-active change from society in general - the inertia that we see in many things applies especially to human behaviour.

I heard (I don't know if this is true because I live in America) that in Europe the trucks have recording devices that notify the trucking company if your truck exceeds the speed limit. The unions insist on it because with a speed limit that is actually enforced they don't have to worry about their bosses pressuring them to drive faster.
There are lots of Europeans on this forum. Is this true?

True. They are called tachographs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachograph and, as well as proving that the driver was not speeding to their employer, they are used by the police to prove a driver has been speeding.

You would get much better traffic flow, less accidents and would be much more appealing to alternative vehicles.

Sure there is some larger national security / trade balance benefit of not paying ADj and Chavez millions of dollars a year? Maybe not,

Staniford also came to the conclusion that 55 MPH had little impact on fuel efficiency in his TOD article The Auto Efficiency Wedge. Didn't give a source but I assume he knows who the Heritage Foundation is.

One thing that struck me as very surprising is the lack of impact of the 55mph speed limit. This was adopted in 1973, and one might have expected it to make an abrupt and significant contribution to the solution. However, fuel economy increases between 1974 and 1977 were only very slightly higher than those of earlier years and it is rather hard to discern a major effect (eg a big spike up in the fuel economy growth rate in 1974 is not evident at all - there is not even a modest response until 1975). Nor is there any sign of a decline in fuel economy when the policy ended in 1995. Overall, I find very little evidence that the 55mph speed limit had much effect at all - presumably compliance was too poor for the theoretical benefits to emerge in practice.

Never knew about the 35 MPH WWII limit.
A Top Speed of 35 Miles Per Hour? It's often suggested that we'll make a WWII effort to overcome peak oil - and, unfortunately, we'll also need a Pearl Harbor style event to get peoples' attention. In the face of brownouts and empty pumps it'll be simple enough to demonize speeders.

Don't agree that cops would rather go after serious criminals than speeders - which is less risky and provides a source of revenue?

Then there's the fact that the dropoff point for SUVs, minivans, and trucks (all very popular these days) is more like 40mph.

they USED to be popular. sales are down. the Prius outsold the explorer and a lot of SUVs are going hybrid.

This is a very defeatist line of reasoning. You could say the same thing about almost everything else we might do to conserve.--People will not accept an increased gas tax. People will not accept a gas guzzler tax. People will not give up their SUV's. People will not give up the freedom of a personal vehicle to use mass transit.
High speed driving has not been around forever. Speeds have crept up over the years as car handling, safety and accelleration improved, In the l950's, California had a soft 55 mph speed limit, and yes a lot of people drove 65. Now, it seems like 75-80 is the standard on LA freeways. A 55 mph speed limit, even if unevenly enforced, would have the ancillary benefits of encouraging car makers to increase fuel efficiency by using lower displacement, less powerful engines, and would reduce consumer fears of buying a small car.

sf, that's exactly the point. Basically, what a discussion like this exposes is a strange phenomena where people assume that the conditions they grew up around are unchangeable constants, the norm. This isn't the case at all, talk to anyone from a rural background who is 60-70 and you learn that nothing about our current norm is normal at all. It's a peak condition, and it will not survive the passing of the peak.

When faced with this type of issue, there is only one rational solution: begin to immediately conserve everywhere you can to avoid full social collapse. If something yields 1,2%, great, do it. This is not complicated, unless you live in a fantasy world. First you conserve as much as you can, everywhere you can, picking the lowest cost and easiest places first, then you work on padding the decline with realistic alternatives. Believing in techno-utopian fairy tales will end with a very unpleasant picture, as the Hirsh report, and pretty much every other realistic study, is showing.

This is basically what the Nazis did as the rest of the world was massing on their borders, some last magic fix would take care of the fact that they were beaten. That's not an example I am looking forward to emulating, attractive as it seems to be for some.

It's more than a little ironic to see the US Air force and Navy start on the very same coal liquification plant technology that the Nazis depended on in WWII to meet their energy needs... If that's not a huge red flag, I don't know what is.

Stuff like this has nothing to do with being right or wrong in a discussion thread, it has to do with facing reality and being practical and picking the easiest targets first, not looking to some future fairy land.

However, again, I do agree with the drumbeat editor that it is sadly very unlikely that Americans will accept toning down their consumption patterns until reality forces this act on them. And it's not going to be a Prius with a cute gas mpg gauge that pushes that onto them, sadly. Just look at current coal prices, for example, it's quite safe to say that worst case scenarios at this point are the most reasonable guess for what's really going to happen. At some point the political system will need to deal with this, and if nothing goes really wrong, then TOD is totally wrong in all its fundamental premises. Which I don't believe is the case.

Interesting observation about talking to those 70 years of age from rural areas. Now talk to someone who's 90 (if you can find one who's talkative). The old ones have made much larger changes in their time than us younguns have.
How was such social stasis arranged?

Well, just because I was curious, and I know perfectly well that no Heritage foundation report is worth anything, I searched and searched, and finally found what I was looking for, primary source material.

IEA Energy Saving study. Recent.

That's a pdf, wouldn't open for me, so I read the html version.

So what are the conclusions? Well, obviously the conclusions align with science, common sense, and physics. Also logic. Not, unfortunately with the myth based ideas I was being handed by the editor here.
Speed reduction: benefits: VERY LARGE.

Here's a hint: if you find yourself relying on junk science and junk research from junk right wing think tanks like Heritage, Cato, and so on, your conclusions are probably going to be junk as well. So be careful where you pick up your information from.

Do real research, question the system's dogma's, then you publish after confirming that you are not just regurgitating some junk from some politically motivated propaganda tool or some corporate whores masquerading as 'researchers'. That's what all the real peak oil guys do, that's what Simmons does, that's why they are who they are of course too.... and I guess spend less time chatting in these threads.

Anyway, didn't want to leave this hanging. I also found cute little graphs that I could have posted from the gov about fuel economy, 55 is about the peak though. It was also tempting to slice out some of the graphs from the pdf so I could have graphs and stuff demonstrating what common sense tells you anyway, but c'est la vie. Confirming conmon sense doesn't strike me as a particularly interesting or productive way to spend time though.

I think I'll follow my advice and focus more on primary source materials, books etc, seems to be a better way to really get into this stuff, if it's real, it's important, and isn't worth arguing about.

IEA Energy Saving study. Recent.

LOL. Yeah, the IEA. No politics involved there.

Note that the report says the fuel savings in North America could potentially be 3-4%. That doesn't mean that will be the reality.

Here's a hint: if you find yourself relying on junk science and junk research from junk right wing think tanks like Heritage, Cato, and so on, your conclusions are probably going to be junk as well. So be careful where you pick up your information from.

Good thing I don't do that.

I think I'll follow my advice and focus more on primary source materials, books etc, seems to be a better way to really get into this stuff, if it's real, it's important, and isn't worth arguing about.

Unfortunately, that doesn't do you much good when you're debating online. Since nobody believes you if you can't post a link.

There have been several studies done on this topic. But, so far as I know, they are not available online. And they are contradictory. Basically, it all comes down to the assumptions you make. Especially on compliance. The IEA report admits that compliance is a big issue.

The IEA recommendations are explicitly meant for emergencies: "the conditions of a supply disruption or other oil-related emergency."

And I think speed limit reductions (and their other recommendations, like driving bans) are best used that way. One, people are more likely to comply in an emergency. Two, it gives us some resilience in a future emergency.

There is a reason they don't set land speed records in SUVs.
Aerodynamic losses go up with the cube of speed.
Lets say you are driving 75.00 MPH.
To save 1% of your fuel, you have to slow down to 74.75 MPH.

With all due respect, your comment is incorrect.

The fuel power required to overcome aerodynamic drag increases with the cube of relative air speed, but the fuel consumption only increases with the square of the speed. And, there are also other factors, one which varies directly with the speed and the other which is a constant. For a car (or SUV) the aerodynamic term begins to be large above 30 mph or so. The other important point is that the efficiency of the gasoline engine is greatest at wide open throttle, thus, the best efficiency occurs when the transmission is in the highest possible gear. For an automatic transmission, that means the torque converter must be in lockup mode. All that comes together to produce the best mpg at a speed near 45 mph.

E. Swanson

Doesn't quite work like that, mate.
Humans are naturally occurring living organisms.
A couple thousand pounds of humans is no problem for this earth- and when they die they will
become a couple thousand pounds of bacteria, predators, soil, plants, and be returned
to the ongoing circulation of biomass in the great community of living things.
A couple thousand pounds of Escalade, Jaguar, and McMansion are toxic waste- waste which will
be poisoning living things for long centuries after you have been forgotten.

You could not have made a better characterisation of 'people of the Machine' if you'd tried.
Congratulations, you are demonstrating how evolution is doing its job in eliminating
people like you. I am glad you have no offspring- they would have had a high likelihood of being
just like you. If you have recognized, subconsciously, this high likelihood, and are thus
congratulating yourself for not turning a problem of two people of the machine into a problem
of a dozen people of the machine, then i suppose you should get a pat on the head.

"Not that I think the prius will save us but man"

then the 250 won't kill us either, right?

I know all too well the pain of related-elders making absolutely no sense. My parents own a cottage that they rent out and are attempting to upgrade in total disregard of the underlying stupidity of their venture. They see it as an investment and pour obscene amounts of money into it on the mistaken belief that some stooge will pay upwards of a million clams? for their disaster in the middle of nowhere (imagine a giant cottage with plenty of nutrient-poor land entirely heated by 1970s baseboard heaters with an indoor pool, heated by 1970s tech, and with giant north-facing windows).

As it is a 'business' they feel they can write off no end of TVs, ACs, and septic systems (Revenue Canada recently served them with a $90,000 bill). Oh, and just to make this topical, they claimed ~$5,000 in gas this past year for 'management' visits (I love'em but come on).

It's enough to make an 'ELPer' puke.

I have decided to start spelling my name with only one F.


Doing my part.

LOL! I used to spell mine with an apostrophe. It was DIY'er, but the funny character caused all sorts of server problems so I shortened it to save electrons.

From the Bagdad story about "doubling" oil production. I wonder how much more of our money that venture is going to cost us? Talk about a lousy EROEI as it relates to our "hard earned" tax money. John

What a deal for the US! Americans supply the cash for developing new fields, supply the security for construction and operation, then they get to watch the corrupt Iraqi government officials make off with the profits while the avarage citizen of Bagdad is still in the dark and without basic necessities of life. Worse than Nigeria.

Maybe this is why MCcain says we must stay in Iraq for another ten years or so.

On another note last week's Drum Beat had a story about the Kuwait oil production being expanded from 2.6 mbpd to 4.0 mbpd. How could they do that since they admit their reserves are overstated by 80% and production has peaked? My guess is they will be drilling horizontally to suck oil from the Iraqi fields just across the boarder. This is what the Kuwaiti's were doing in 1990 before Saddam Hussein started the invasion of Kuwait that led to the first Gulf War.

Iran has recently claimed that it is Kuwait not Iran syphoning off Iraq's oil.

Here: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/archive.html
is a link for a history of ice cover in the arctic. Does anyone know of a comparable history for the antarctic?

I prefer this site: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/

They have animations that make the changes much easier to visualize and understand. Has both Arctic and Antarctic.


Abandoned anchor cut Gulf Internet cable

CAIRO, Egypt - An abandoned anchor was responsible for cutting one of the undersea Internet cables severed last week, causing disruptions across the Middle East and parts of Asia, the cable's owner said Friday.

A FLAG Telecom repair crew discovered the anchor near where the fiber-optic cable was severed Feb. 1 in the Persian Gulf, 35 miles north of Dubai, between the Emirates and Oman.

Weighing more than 5.5 tons, the anchor has been pulled to the surface. The company did not immediately explain whether the anchor moved and snapped the cable or whether the cable itself was drifting when it was sliced.

Oh, our complex world produces so many opportunities for pure coincidence. No need to fantasize about "conspiracies" -- let alone pure power plays.

Whoever would have thought an abandoned anchor might just be in the same place as an undersea cable?

NeverLNG -

Just how does one 'abandon and anchor'? Is this the same as abandoning a junker car?

When a ship loses an anchor, it is usually the result of winding it too tightly (a chain length to depth ratio of about 10:1 is recommended) or the stresses created by a severe storm while the ship is anchored. The chain breaks and the anchor sinks to the bottom.

This whole 'abandoned anchor' explanation begs the question of why a ship would be anchoring in a clearly marked no-anchorage area in the first place.

And even if an anchor should be lost, it would tend to lie flat and be strongly embedded in the undersea sediments and thus not very prone to drift, even under severe current conditions. It doesn't just go bouncing around the sea floor like a tumbleweed.

When a ship 'drags its anchor', it is usually already moored at an anchorage and finds that the anchor is no longer holding, usually as the result of a severe storm and/or strong currents. When that happens, the thing to do is to power the ship up and attempt to re-anchor. One does not let the ship drift all over the place with a loose anchor.

Significant parts of this story still need some serious further explaining.

I would guess that they abandoned their anchor once they learnt that they would get blamed and would have to pay compensation.

Tehran Times

U.S. and Israel cut internet cables: report

A report says U.S. and Zionist regimes are the two anti-Muslim states that intentionally cut the internet cables to the Muslim world.

These two countries exhibit a strong and anti-Muslim bias in their foreign relations. They also have the technical ability to carry out clandestine sabotage operations on the sea floor, according to an article on the Opednews website.


The U.S. Navy has long had special operations teams that can go out in submarines and deploy undersea, on the seabed itself, specifically for this sort of operation, he wrote.

Sauder pointed out that Iran will open its own Oil Bourse soon, which will be trading in ""non-dollar currencies."" This has massive geo-political and economic implications for the United States and its economy.

An operational Iranian Oil Bourse, actively trading supertankers full of petroleum in non-dollar currencies, poses a great threat to the American dollar's continued dominance as the international reserve currency, he added.

Interesting the Tehran Times doesn't make the claim itself but is reporting what's been said elsewhere.

Oil Pullback Is a Gift!

Very good article. It gives the amount of gasoline, distillates, jet fuel and other products in each barrel of oil. It also talks about OPEC cutting production because the falling dollar is cutting into their profit. “But it will wreck the economy” some say.

Yeah, yeah, say OPEC members, as they roll their eyes. They've been hearing this same sad song as oil rose above $50 ... $60 ... $70. But the global economy keeps on trucking, and Americans keep driving Lincoln Navigators!

Yeah, but sooner or later it has to have an effect. Nevertheless:

It's also hard for OPEC to take us seriously when we do little to curb our own voracious thirst for oil.


China's oil imports are expected to jump from 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2006 to a stunning 13 million bpd in 2030.

Dream on, that flat ain’t gonna happen.

Ron Patterson

Of course one possible view of OPEC strategy is that they think non-oil factors are sufficiently strong that a strong recession is guaranteed in the west regardless of what happens to the oil price, in which case they may as well grab whatever money is available now, particularly if it's likely to effectively devalue in future.

Ron: If you feel that the estimate for Chinese oil imports in 2030 is high, show why. Unless current trends reverse, the Chinese economy will be far larger than the USA economy by 2030. I would not be surprised to hear the 2030 equivalent of John McCain or Hillary Clinton arguing why the USA must EXPORT oil to China "even though it hurts" because it is "efficient" and just "good business".

Ron: If you feel that the estimate for Chinese oil imports in 2030 is high, show why.

Brian, surely you are joking. Or perhaps you are not joking, perhaps you believe CERA when they say world oil porduction will reach an Undulating Plateau at about 130 million barrels per day in 2030. If that is the case Brian, if CERA is correct, then perhaps China will import 13 million barrels per day in 2030. But if that is not the case, if we are at peak oil, or will hit peak oil by 2011 or 2012, then there is no way in hell China will import that much oil. They will not import 13 million barrels per day because there will not be that much oil for them to import in 2030!

Hell Brian, that is what we have been arguing on this list for the last two years. Where have you been? By 2030 I expect total world exports to be less than 13 million barrels per day, if indeed there are any exports at all in 2030.

And you are dead wrong about a politician of that time wanting to export oil from the US to China. The US as well as the world will be in the midst of a great depression by that time. Half the nation or perhaps much more will be unemployed. Today the US produces only 5 mb/d The US will be producing about 2 to 3 million barrels per day in 2030 and will be importing virtually nil. The American people would hang any politician who even suggests exporting part of our tiny production of oil to China.

Ron Patterson

Ron: You might be right. My argument makes more sense if the date quoted was 2020, not 2030. IMHO, people are underestimating how much oil is going to flow to China, but by 2030 all bets are off, as you are stated. I plead guilty on hyperbole for predicting the export of USA oil to China, but I wouldn't want to be money against it. Who, 22 years ago, would have predicted the extent to which the financial elite have successfully looted the American economy? They are winning, and winners often keep winning. Your Treasury Secretary today is in the media crowing about the fundamental strength of the USA economy. What he means is that the relentless decline of the USA and the relentless rise of Chindia is a really good deal for the people that matter. The American people might start hanging important people in 2030, but the trends do not suggest this at all-if anyone gets executed it will probably be those at the bottom, not the top IMO.

Brian, a couple of points. I seriously doubt that Chinese oil imports will ever be much higher than they are right now. I think we are on the peak plateau and have been for three years. Oil production will not go up by any appreciable amount and because of increased consumption by exporting nations exports will drop. China will compete with Japan, South Korea and every other oil importing nation. I seriously doubt that China will be able to outbid them for those declining oil exports.

I think you have a mistaken opinion of politicians. Sure most are crooks and lie when they think it is to their advantage to do so. But what you seem to not understand is that every politician always keeps his/her finger to the wind sampling public opinion. And whatever that opinion happens to be, they immediately get on their soap box and start screeaming that this is part of their platform. If 70% of the American people would declare that we should cut off all imports as well as exports, then virtually every politician in the nation would be singing that tune the next day. Politicians always sing the same song their constituents are singing.

So do you wish to know what politicians will be doing, or trying to do, when the world produces half the oil it does today and gasoline is 15$ a gallon and the unemployment rate hits 60%? Then just imagine what the general public will be advocating and that would be exactly what the politicians would be saying also.

That is my point. If gasoline were to hit $15 a gallon then no politician would dare advocate exporting a single drop of oil. Perhaps they would not be hung but they would not be in office very long that is for sure. Politicians ignore their constituents at their peril, and that is the first lesson they learn if they expect to stay in office.

Perhaps you feel the way you do because politicians often ignore your opinion. But that is because your opinion is likely to be in the minority or your representive senses that it is only a minority opinion. But if you held the majority opinion you would not be so ignored. Politicians find out the opinion of the majority of voters and it becomes their opinion.

Ron Patterson

Hi Ron,

re: "Politicians find out the opinion of the majority of voters and it becomes their opinion."

Do you think this was true for the US invasion of Iraq?

Interesting article. I know there was news on other fronts (short squeeze, Nigeria, North sea) but the willingness of several OPEC ministers to defend $80 a barrel crude as of late could be seen as part of the runup yesterday. Doubt $80. needs much defense, but they stand ready to cut production if need be.

1. High oil=falling GDP (then stimulus) dollar weaker, oil higher, OPEC and OECD both trapped, unless consumption slows down or production goes up, neither likely
2. Ghawar probably watering to the top of Ain Dar
3. ELM for 28 million Saudis half under the age of 25
4. Sustained demand as evidenced by soon to be 1 trillion automobiles worldwide. (fuel tanks ready to hold every availiable export gallon)

It may give the appearence of control to feign cutting back to defend $80. But the upside potential has no such safeguard anymore. I hope we're not banking that OPEC can throttle the oil on and off like some modern Deus ex machina? Simmons asked for transparency I think this is why.

Preparing to watch the addict twitch. (uncontrollably)

Warren Buffet accepts Peak Oil? (Ignore the political talk it starts with.) At time stamp 5:30 he starts talking about the tar sands. He thinks its the best chance to "fill the gap that will otherwise develop in the next decade or two."

Here is a interesting site that takes all the economic data and combines it into one number. Their slogan is, "A chart is worth a thousand words of high fallutin' economic mumbo-jumbo"

Interesting post on how the Fed influences interest rates and the stock market. Turns out the the "Plunge Protection Team" has been operating in full view all this time (if you know were to look).

Here are his two links to support his arguments. "Slosh Report" and "federal funds rate". Once you understand the these two links, it's like peaking behind the curtain in the Wizard of OZ.

Here are two interesting threads from tickerforum.org:
Funding the Bank of Sealy (Hiding money in your mattress.)
Safest banks to keep money?

Safe & Sound ratings By Bankrate.com seem like a useful item. How accurate the ratings are is questionable.

CNN money has a couple of nice pages where you can view the Pre-Market and After hour stock activity.

Safe & Sound ratings By Bankrate.com seem like a useful item. How accurate the ratings are is questionable.

They give Citibank 4 stars, so I don't rely on it too much.

There are some other rating services here - some are paid services though:


Noticed that myself. I looked at it as a case of not wanting to pick a fight with a giant.
On the other hand, they do rate some banks with 1 or 2 stars, so you know to really avoid those institutions.

Warren Buffet accepts Peak Oil?

Which explains why he's recently become
a major holder of Railroad stock ..

Triff ..

The Automatic Earth: Debt Rattle, February 9 2008

Do storms come more perfect than this? On the one hand, people are maxed out, and increasingly delinquent, on their plastic, on the other hand lenders are tightening standards and raising their rates, and steeply too.

For many people, credit cards are (or even were) the last resort for money/credit, once refinancing becomes a non-starter; from here on in, the future looks bleak, empty and downhill. They can't even buy groceries with plastic anymore. When you figure in that over 70% of US GDP is based on consumer spending, you can figure out where that GDP is headed.

Edited to cut down on excessively long quote. Please post a link and a short excerpt only.

Echoing comment below, thanks for automatic earth Ilargi

Many thanks for setting up Automatic Earth Ilargi, I read it every day now along with the Oil Drum.

Be great to see more TODers join the discussion over there...


Ditto, Cycling.

Over the past few years, I've noticed a trend in my area where gas stations are closing. Most of the stations are indpendent, so I assume they are shutting down due to issues of getting supply at a reasonable margin. However, there are some majors that have shut down to (e.g. BP). Has anyone else noticed a similar trend in their area and would the reduction in the number of gas stations accross the country reduce the minimum operating level (MOL) for the system.

This may be complete speculation, but I’m wondering if there is an effort to reduce the number of gas stations, to reduce the minimum operating level (MOL), so that as supply declines, the system can continue to operate. Plus, there is the added benefit that a reduced number of stations would be easier to control for purposes of rationing and security.

Yep...in my neck of the woods, I've seen 2 BPs close, 1 Valero, and 1 Conoco in the last year. BP, I believe, announced that they would be cutting back on the number of retail outlets to cut costs...link?

Dbarberic: Since all of the majors and most strong independents run on TRUE MOL's, even to the point of running out of unleaded twice and more a week (I'm citing my personal experience at a COP Kick's store (company owned) in B'ville, OK for a time period ending two years ago and lasting for the prior three years) and substituting a better grade when they did. You are talking miniscule amounts ot inventory versus the construction cost.

Most likely, the market where you are is saturated and managerial decisions are being made to save on operating costs, with or without other factors considered. Most areas operate through jobbers and not direct except for company owned stores. Beyond that, in many cases, distributors own the real estate and not only dictate price but operating hours, etc. Then take into account operators who have multiple locations and thus more impact when they express their opinions, and you begin to get the grasp of the market. It is far from the "free market' espoused by the majors, at least in the US.

Here in NW San Antonio, several Exxons, a few Chevrons, a BP, and a Citgo station have been closed and demolished in the past 2 years. Valero razed a few stations but rebuilt them in place. A new Texaco and a new Valero station have popped up, but the net loss is around 3:1, based on my poor brain's recollection. Average price is dropping to around $2.84, with an informal observation range from $2.91 to $2.79 in my area.

The tussle between Venezuela and Exxon points up the issue of who is the boss these days.

Venezuela has a GDP of about $165 Billion, Exxon had revenues of about twice as much last year. So it would appear that in a battle of the rights of a country to control its own resources Exxon will be able to out gun Venezuela both in terms of how many lawyers it can throw at the case, but also in terms of how willing banks and other financial institutions will be to get on the wrong side of the entity which will provide them with future business.

Add in the universal business hatred of what Chavez is trying to do to the capitalist paradigm and you have a good example of the what is rapidly becoming a norm: sovereign firms instead of sovereign countries.

Have we reached the point where countries have to take defensive action against multi-nationals? The alliance of China and Alcoa may be one such example.

What happens when multi-nationals become too big to control? There is no UN (as weak as it is) equivalent to control international firms.

The IOCs control about 8-12% of world reserves, depending on whos stats you like. 'Venezuela has a GDP of about $165 Billion, Exxon had revenues of about twice as much last year.' The IOCs are not finding as much oil as they are pumping, y-o-y. The IOCs will not be able to access oil held by NOCs unless Uncle Sam intervenes or the NOCs are so poorly managed and corrupt that they fail to invest in infrastructure (as is probably the case in Mexico) and in desperation call in IOCs to help them develop fields.

What ever the courts rule in Exxon vs Venesuela will matter little. The only way Exxon will be able to enter Venesuela and extract oil is by force of a US invasion. The US can now invade and disrupt oil supply leaving Venesuela, but does the US have the troops to station in Venesuela to insure the safety of Exxon operations in that country? No. See link below. 'Defenseless and Stupid' by J R Nyquist


As for 'universal hatred of what Chevez is doing to the capitalist paradigm'...well, it is not universal hatred. It is hatred by TPTB in some western capitalist societies and even in those not universal.

Chevez has stated in several speeches that 'Venesuela has enough FFs to last several hundred years if developed slowly and used wisely and not wasted by the Americano del Norte'.

Since we that post on TOD profess that we want to use FFs wisely and make them last as long as possible while searching for a replacement, why would we root for Exxon Mobile to prevail over a country that is attempting to conserve and use their FF resources wisely?

...and, as far as capitalist bankers go...well, after their recent show of competence who gives a flying flock what they think or do?

Well stated. Exxon still operates in the "virtual" economy (superstition based capitalism).
Venezuela actually has real assets, and the intelligence to develop them wisely, and to the benefit of it's people.

The only way Exxon will be able to enter Venesuela and extract oil is by force of a US invasion.

Th oil certainly isn't my beef. I just want Chavez to fairly compensate for the assets he took. The way a lot of people responded, they misunderstand that and seem to think the oil is the issue. I couldn't care less about the oil. It's the $4.5 billion we invested into his country that I want to see back. As I said, it's no different than the U.S. simply confiscating Venezuela's U.S. investments - like their Citgo refineries - and then offering pennies on the dollar as compensation. If that happened, I would expect Venezuela to take the issue to arbitration.

Exxon went in and made those contracts under a US Client State, CorpWhores for US Capital.
I think the terms might be up for negotiation. There may be a middle ground. Exxon threw the dice, and lost.

Exxon threw the dice, and lost.

Not yet, they haven't. That's the whole point of arbitration.

The funny thing about those contracts is that Chavez didn't have them cancelled until oil prices went up. Up to that point, he was fine with oil companies assuming the risk. And I suspect had oil prices remained at $30, he would have preferred for oil companies to continue assuming that risk.

The more that the US screws with Chevez, the worse the situation will be for Exxon and the US citizens. I do not believe that you or Exxon are worried about $4.5 Billion. Exxon is subsized by US taxpayers. Exxon can write off the loss. Exxon wants to wriggle its way back into Venesuela but it will not work without a competent regime in power in the US. I look into my crystal ball and guess what...I dont see a competent regime in sight.

The next president is going to be McCain (not my choice). The US will continue to slide toward a military/police state because the politicians, as a group, are totally incompetent and the military realizes it. McCain is military and his competition is not electable...imo. Maybe McCain can either invade Venesuela or make deals with Chevez...we can only hope.

The current administration has screwed up everything that they have attempted to accomplish. Can you name another administration that messed up a coup attempt in SA? Cuba is not SA. Once the first attempt on Chevez failed all entities affiliated with the US were suspect.

SA has been the playground of US scoundrels forever. Texaco destroyed the environment of an entire people, the Ecuadoran indiginous people and their rainforrest environment, with the help of a puppet regime installed by the US. Is the US or Texaco going to compensate these suffering people of Ecuador? Or, type 'Smedley Butler, US Marine General' into google and read his short essay 'War Is A Racket'...
Robert, dont tell me about 'fair compensation' untill the US government and the US oil companies and United Fruit, Coca Cola, Pepsico, et al, compensate the peoples of SA for all the misery, poverty and ignorance that they have caused in those regions. Exxon lay down with the dogs the US put in power in Vensuela and Exxon got up with fleas...Happens all the time.

,'The Johns Hopkins University Press

Kristina Egan - Forging New Alliances in Ecuador's Amazon - SAIS Review 16:2 SAIS Review 16.2 (1996) 123-142 Forging New Alliances in Ecuador's Amazon Kristina Egan Since the discovery of oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon in the mid-1960s, indigenous groups inhabiting the Amazon have been organizing in resistance to oil exploration and its associated adverse impacts. The dominant political and economic institutions marginalized Indians and discredited their ethnic and cultural heritage, so the Ecuadorian government largely was able to ignore their concerns. Operating in an essentially unregulated environment, oil companies dumped raw petrol, its by-products, and processing fluids into the Amazonian river systems and clearcut thousands of hectares of rain forest for roads and wells. In addition to the negative effects on the rain forest itself, such environmental degradation has impacted the health of the forest's inhabitants and threatened their cultural and physical survival by ruining traditional lands.'...snip...

Here is a small excerpt of what Howard Zinn had to say about the American capitalists playground in SA, the Carribean, et al, ...

RL: There are people who look at the world today, and at the United States' role in the world, who say that you can't really describe the United States as an imperialist power, that the very notion of empire is dated. But you have said that America brought a new kind of empire-building onto the world stage. I was wondering if you could discuss what you think are some of the distinctive features of U.S. imperialism.

HZ: I think the reason people say this is something qualitatively different is that the United States has not created empire in the image of the British empire, in which there is direct control over colonies and outright possession of colonies.

In fact, Cuba is probably a good example of it, because the United States did not make Cuba a colony officially--technically, Cuba remained free. But American corporations, the railroads, the Vanderbilts, United Fruit, banking interests went into Cuba and dominated the Cuban economy. And while the United States was not keeping Cuba as an outright colony, whenever the United States saw fit to intervene militarily in Cuba to make sure that there was a government favorable to American economic interests, it did so again and again.

And I think that characteristic of not imitating the British style but following a new American style of keeping a kind of nominal independence for a government in the Third World but at the same time insuring economic control and maintaining the option of military intervention when that economic control was threatened--that became a common characteristic.

RL: Maybe you could give some other examples of that.

HZ: In the early part of the 20th century, after the Spanish-American War, that's exactly what the United States did again and again in the Caribbean, in Guatemala, in Honduras, in Nicaragua: overthrowing a government in Nicaragua when a liberal government threatened American domination; occupying Haiti and the Dominican Republic when it seemed that governments would arise which would not play ball with the United States--long occupations of those two countries.

Obviously it's the whole 'power to the people'(and a decent livelihood) that US Republicans don't like. Can't let sharing the wealth with the common man get started. They're getting ready to start that whole Contra thing up again.

US appoints Contra propagandist as ambassador to Nicaragua

A few months before leaving the White House, the Republican administration of George W. Bush does not want to leave any loose ends in its strategy of obstructing – with aspirations to eliminate – the unavoidable revolutionary processes taken on by government leaders in various Latin American countries, including that of Sandinista Daniel Ortega.

The appointment of Robert J. Callahan as Washington’s new ambassador in Managua is clearly part of that line, give that his mere presence in that Central American country is like putting salt on a wound that has not healed and which he was part of inflicting.

The named diplomat is identified as a disciple of John Dimitri Negroponte, current assistant secretary of state, responsible as ambassador in Tegucigalpa for the support given to the Nicaraguan Contras and the dirty war to destroy the Sandinista Revolution in the 1980s. At that time Callahan became his spokesperson, speech writer and manipulator of public opinion by concealing the blood bath in which that dirty war submerged Honduras and Nicaragua.

One doesn’t have to be very astute to imagine the "tasks" assigned to the new ambassador. Nicaragua is a key piece in the Central American region, characterized to date by its servility to U.S. government policy. This is a situation that the Sandinista triumph has begun to reverse and within which other countries, like Guatemala and Honduras, are beginning to work in favor of their peoples without following the so-called Washington Consensus to the letter.


US Republicans work to build new Contra force vs Nicaragua

Republicans in the U.S. Congress are worried by Ortega's alliances with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Cuba's Fidel Castro and even Iran.

A small group of former Contras and other Nicaraguan opposition figures met recently to plot strategy at the Miami office of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican Cuban-American who is no stranger to fighting socialist governments. Miami has the country's largest population of Nicaraguan immigrants and is where the Contras originally organized.

The newly energized Contras in Florida say their opposition will be peaceful, but some suggest they could rearm if Ortega attempts to reinstate socialist policies.

"When we started, we had pistols and hunting rifles and no experience. Through the years, we gained that experience and still have it ... A true war would depend on how extreme are the conditions imposed by Ortega."


Obviously it's the whole 'power to the people'(and a decent livelihood) that US Republicans don't like. Can't let sharing the wealth with the common man get started.

Why don't they oppose Norway then?

Very early in North Sea exploration, Fortune ran a cover story about "blue eyed Arabs" (cover to match) because the Norwegians were driving a tough bargain (unlike the Brits, etc.)

The oil companies were NOT happy with Stat Oil, "Buy & Hire Norwegian" policies, etc.


Robert, dont tell me about 'fair compensation' untill the US government and the US oil companies and United Fruit, Coca Cola, Pepsico, et al, compensate the peoples of SA for all the misery, poverty and ignorance that they have caused in those regions.

Again, if you are going to start making such comparisons - as if "oil companies" or "Coca Cola" are broadly responsible for the U.S. seizing the assets from my company - then don't ever complain about being robbed if you are a white male living in North America. After all, it would be a small thing considering the job your ancestors did on the native population.

That's the thing - as I pointed out before - about painting with a broad brush. I can lay a lot of ills at your feet with the same broad brush - thus, you can't ever complain about anyone stealing from you. Think about it: You get mugged on the street. Are you going to the police? How could you, given your argument above?

Come on, it's not like Exxon is an innocent in this dispute. The company backed an attempted coup against Chavez. Exxon and other oil companies participated in a plan to bring down the legally-elected government of Venezuela.




I would imagine that any foreign-based company operating in the U.S. that cooperated in a plan to take out our legally-elected government would suffer some form of retribution, and would deserve to suffer some form of retribution. The U.S. has certainly seized foreign assets over issues similar to this.

Should Exxon be participating in coups as part of its business plan? If its coup doesn't succeed, and its property is seized, should we feel much sympathy for its shareholders? Is this kind of activity the best way for the U.S. to handle oil scarcity issues?

If I were Chavez, I would say, "Enough is enough.", and announce tomorrow the complete ceasation of oil sales to the US and Great Britain. It's not like he doesn't have the power to do this, or the friends to back him up and take advantage of the situation.(China and Russia) The US/GB axis is far more vunerable than they believe.(or perhaps, than they let on)

[Guess they're lucky I'm not Chavez, as it WOULD be the headline story tomorrow just before the Asian markets opened. I'ld have spent the day today in consultations with China and Russia in advance of the announcement.]

[Actually, if this were a war game and I was playing Venezuela, I would wait a week to allow China and Russia time to get military assets in place and announce it NEXT Sunday ahead of Asian Markets with US markets closed on Monday for President's Day. By the time US markets opened on Tuesday ...]

The company backed an attempted coup against Chavez.

Instead of linking to 3 stories that talked about a coup by Chavez's political opponents - and by state-run PVDSA - why don't you extract the specific piece that supports your claim that Exxon backed a coup against him?

To be honest, I don't care about ExxonMobil anyway. I care about ConocoPhillips. But I don't think the links you posted supported your claims.

Does it start to remind you of anything?

More eBay fun...

EBay's PayPal funds freeze plan draws fire

In the uproar that erupted over the planned fee hikes and other policy changes eBay announced last week, one drew particular ire and incredulity: eBay's plan hold payments sent through its PayPal payment service for up to 21 days in certain circumstances.

PayPal is evil. Don't say I didn't warn you. ;-)

Also found this article, about eBay alternatives, interesting.

Another iOffer feature allows users to trade items.

"With the recession, people don't have as much free cash lying around, so swapping has become more popular," he said.

There are also sites like Zwaggle, where you earn points by giving away stuff that you can use to be given stuff. Sort of an alternate currency, I guess - Freecycle but not quite free.

". . . in certain circumstances."

Which probably means payments made in months with 28 or more days.

PayPal is evil. Don't say I didn't warn you. ;-)

I had an unpleasant experience with PayPal. PayPal was the repository for the $2,000 on the oil price bet. When I got the money, they had taken a cut out of it. I asked them what the deal was, and they said that all payments require you to give them a cut. I argued that it was a transfer from another PayPal account, and shouldn't have been charged a commission.

They then said "Oh, you used the account for gambling? That's against PayPal policy." They then threatened to shut my account down. But against PayPal rules or not, they refused to part with the cut they took. So, let it be known that PayPal won't let you gamble with your account, but if you do, they will still take their cut.

PayPal always takes a cut. I have never known them not to (and I was one of the first PayPal users). That's how they make their money.


Receiving Balance/Bank Funded Payments into a Personal Account Free

Personal accounts are so crippled they are almost useless. You were probably "upgraded" to a business or premiere account, simply because of the amount of money you tried to transfer. The limit is $500 for a personal account, I think. It's certainly less than $2,000.

It also depends on how the other party pays in, ie direct transfer from a checking account in which case there is a hold on the money or from a CC in which case payment is instant.

I have thousands of transactions with PayPal, and in all this time only one dispute that they resolved to my satisfaction in about 10 minutes via E mail.

The part that sucks is EBay and I never use it.

You can lift the 500 limit by providing a SS#.

I think that's how you upgrade from personal to premiere, too.

No. You can have a verified premier account and still be subject to the 500 limit.

Don't give them the SS# and just get their debit card, you have a 400 day limit that doesn't count against the 500 transfer limit. It costs a buck per transaction but that's only .25%, cheap insurance.

The costs are inconsequential if you consider that using them as a web based application for cash flow and shipping management allows you to run the outgoing side of a full time business in about 5 minutes a day.

I rarely use my PayPal account. The only reason I upgraded from a personal account was the limit was too low for a once-a-year charity auction I used to run on eBay, until they banned them.

However, after I upgraded to premiere, I was never subject to the limit.

The house always wins, even if it claims it's not a house.

(On the internet, noone knows you're a Casino!)

Nice casino youse got heyah. Be a shame if anyt'in wuz ta happen to it...

I had someone access my credit card through Paypal and charge $1,600 on it without my permission. Fortunately the credit card fraud department picked up on it and called me to verify. I will never use Paypal again.

Probably someone working for PayPal. They've had terrible internal fraud problems. Or so some former employees have claimed.

Hi Robert: How much was their cut on the "transaction?"

Something like $60. It was 3% plus some fixed amount. This was unfortunate, because $1000 of that money was mine to start with. So, I essentially paid them 6% for the money I won. When they pointed out that gambling was a violation of their policies, they forced me to tell them that I wouldn't do it again. But as I said, they were more than willing to keep their cut of the gambling winnings.

EBay has recently changed its feedback policy to prohibit sellers from leaving negative feedback for buyers. This lets a buyer leave negative feedback for a seller without fear that the seller will retaliate in kind. This, coupled with the new PayPal policy of holding payments 21 days for sellers with more than 5% negative feedback, increases the incentive for a buyer to hold a seller hostage with a negative feedback threat. Sellers will work hard to accomodate the buyer.

I mostly buy on eBay but I've sold a few things. My feedback is 100% but I know this new policy will diminish my interest in selling on eBay. The questions I've gotten regarding the items I've sold are beyond stupid. I find selling on eBay unpleasant.

PayPal has never caused me any problems other than the outrageous conduit fee. Not that that's not enough.

Have you had personally bad experiences with PayPal or is it from what you've read and heard?

I personally have not had anything too gawd-awful happen to me with PayPal (I hardly use it), but a very close friend of mine did. They froze her account for 90 days, for no reason she was able to determine. Not just her PayPal account - the bank account she had linked to her PayPal account. Luckily, she had read this and did not have a lot of money in her account. But she was pretty steamed, and I don't blame her.

I don't know if they're still doing that; I know they've been sued by several states, precisely because of stuff like that, and may have changed their policies.

I have 1500+ positive feed back on ebay on about 4,500 transactions. My feed back rating is +99.3%. Most of my transactions were sales of items in the $300-$2000 range and were antiques that I wrote individual descriptions and posted multiple photos of. I always described items correctly and my experience was that I had about 1 buyer that was a 'real stinker' out of each 200 sales. My ebay sales plunged after the 9-11 event and never recovered to a level that I considered worthwhile to continue. The period from 1998-2001 was very good for me, sales and profit wise. I had a bank account linked to Pay Pal and never had a problem with them. I have heard a lot of negative comments about ebay and pay pal on TOD but I suspect that most of these experiences are recent, or after 9-11...or, from TOD posters that attempted to scam ebay or pay pal. My experience was that after the WTC event the quality and knowledge of ebay buyers plunged. Purchasers were buying items from me that had no experience or expertise in the antique items that I was selling and some left me negative feed back for no reason...although I had a 100% satisfaction guaranteed return policy and always stood behind it. I continue to purchase old movies and books on ebay and use pay pal when the purchases are overseas. No problems to report. I used to purchase antique Harley Davidson T Shirts on ebay but found that a lot of fakes are being sold in that market now so I stopped buying them.

With many Tajiks spending what little money they have on fuel to heat their homes...

Heat Disconnect Protection To End

The winter moratorium on disconnections of heating service by utility companies is scheduled to end March 15.

The Public Regulation Commission on Thursday approved language for notices that utilities statewide may voluntarily send customers to notify them to arrange payment plans in advance to avoid disconnection after March 15. Under a state law passed in 2005, utilities may not disconnect customers eligible for the federal Low Income Homes Energy Assistance Program for being behind on payments from Nov. 15 to March 15. However, that protection ends with the moratorium.

Fax or e-mail your New Mexico business briefs to (505) 823-3994 or tfsldeabaJoumal.com.

Albuquerque Journal Friday February 8, 2008


Hello BillP,

Thxs for this info. Obviously, as much discussed before on TOD, this is now a very clear sign that families, relatives, and friends, need to start doubling or tripling up into one household if they want power for cooking, heating, A/C, hot water, etc. Same for downsizing into a small, well-insulated, TODevelopment for those that can still afford this choice.

I would expect all US states to quickly replicate NM's 'hard shutoff' for non-payment, otherwise poor detritovores will try to emigrate to those areas where food, energy and water/sewage is still free. My guess is the FED's and States' Energy Assistance Programs will now be given the hatchet job in this recession and strained govt. budgets.

Peak Outreach could help make this transition smoother [less rioting]if a small utility discount was offered in exchange for weekly attendence at a local Peak or Permaculture group; to properly alter mindsets so these people help accelerate paradigm change instead of leveraging cascading blowbacks. If your house is too crowded, too cold, or too hot: you will be heading to the nearest library or mall anyway to normalize your body temp--the govt. could use these open spaces to fund groups to get the Peak Outreach really growing. My feeble two cents.

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

Although IMHO the oceans of the world are going to become much more turbulent, in more ways than one, their are some possiblities with living on a boat.

I did for many years and my eco-footprint has never been smaller.

This book was my bible for the 5 of the years I lived aboard. Great Ideas for largest production in smallest area;

Sailing the Farm: A Survival Guide to Homesteading on the Ocean (Paperback)
by Ken Neumeyer (Author)



Sea-Steading: A Life of Hope and Freedom on the Last Viable Frontier (Paperback)
by Jerome FitzGerald (Author)


ALSO No relation but there is a cool website on seasteading;


"Seasteading" means to create permanent dwellings on the ocean - homesteading the high seas. Like the pioneers of old, seasteaders will be driven towards the next frontier by their adventurous spirits and desire for freedom. Building sovereign real estate will let them experiment with a variety of different social, political, legal, and economic systems, which is currently very difficult. This research into the basic elements of how societies can be organized will increase our collective wisdom and benefit everyone.


They made a movie about that. It's called Waterworld staring Mel Gibson. Otherwise known as Mad Max on the ocean. Those seasteaders will have serious problems with pirates in the post peak oil world.

Cid, I hate it when you speak of my new business model as piracy. I prefer to think of it as 'protection for those wishing to use the waterways that I keep free of pirates, hazards to navigation, etc'. I will also maintain buoys to aid navigation and carry out trade in my waterways. Those in watercraft using my services that do not wish to voluntarily contribute will be excised accordingly. :)

That sounds like one of the dumber ideas I've heard, right up there with the "Vertical Farm". Have any of these nimrods seen the ocean when it's angry? In fact TOD had some neat pictures of the GoM post-Rita. You wouldn't like the ocean angry.

An excellent UCSB broadcast of Matthew Simmons discussing "Energy Options for California." I found the presentation to be one of his best!


Hello Reveldevil,

Thxs for the link. I am still watching it but I found it interesting that one of the sponsors in the intro was: WTF--does anyone know what this org is, or is it the usual acronymic meaning? Thxs for any reply from my fellow TODers.

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

Jeez, talk about "Spin"

"Big Oil Strikes Back At Petrotyrants"


I finally had the courage to brave this guy's bluster and blow.. whew! He really paints XOM as the White Night, eh?

"With operations all over the world and every other tinhorn dictator watching its moves, it knew a precedent could be set and refused to appease...

"...In so doing, it put all petrotyrants on notice that their power extends only as far as their borders and no more. If they want to cut themselves off from the world by changing the rules, then it's off to international arbitration with them...

"...Exxon's case reminds all that wealth doesn't come from materials alone, but from added value derived in part from the rule of law."

.. and carrying a big stick.

I guess the author cut his teeth on detective stories, the way this was written.

I particularly liked this bit:

"Last year, the power-mad petrotyrant declared Exxon and Venezuela's other foreign investors "robbers" and vowed to conquer them like Simon Bolivar taking the Andes. He hurled leftist nationalistic rhetoric against these private companies whose only "crime" was to invest in and bring jobs to Venezuela."

Nice PR :)

The Automatic Earth has repeatedly warned about what the ECB has been up to recently, in secret. Their massive veiled support of Spain’s banking system is by no means the only monster in the closet; it’s a systemic EU policy to buy up asset-backed securities at, or close to, par, regardless of their real value.

Propping up the banks at the expense of taxpayers is today’s game of choice around the globe. This one puts the Euro as a currency in dangerous territory. It also indicates that Europe’s financial troubles are far more severe than most people think.

"Everybody is doing it," a Frankfurt-based banker said, estimating that banks have deposited up to EUR500 billion of ABSs with the ECB.

Much of this ABS collateral is likely to be fictitious capital, that is paper that is backed by assets which are worth less, in many cases much less, than the notional value of the securities. Under the circumstances the ECB is turning the Euro into trash compared to the US Dollar. The USD is sound money by comparison.[..] Compared to the Euro, you could say that the dollar is as good as gold. Yeah. Right.

Debt Rattle, February 9 2008

ilargi, thanks for the post and your/Stonleighs new site.

I have a question for you: Do you think that the ECB is doing anything differently than the US Fed?...Since the Fed is also accepting questionable assets as collateral?

Perhaps the ECB is simply doing a better job of disguising what they are doing?

Personally, I have been expecting a large correction downward of Euro vs Dollar...and I continue to expect it.


I can't really answer that in a few words. I suggest you come to The Automatic Earth and read the top article in today's Debt Rattle. In it, Lee Adler states that what the ECB does is far worse than the Fed.

However, I posted an article this week named What the FED accepts as collateral these days, in which you will find plenty of question marks concerning recent Fed collateral requirement policies.

I think people should make up their own minds about issues such as these, since a lot of it is quite opaque, and "analyst" opinions are all over the place. Still, there's no doubt financial conditions on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific are so dire that Fed and ECB and Bank of England and Bank of Japan play from their respective books of extreme tricks by now, and those books look very similar. The butler did it and the victim is you.

As for the Euro: this week's "non-rate-cut" meant, to me, that Europe wants its currency to depreciate vs the US brokeback, since its exports are hurting.

ilargi/BrianT... I read your article 'What The Fed Accepts As Collateral These Days' and that is one thing that led me to believe that the Fed has thrown out their own rule book and has decided to do 'whatever is necessary' to prevent a total meltdown. From watching Fed action I feel that they have failed to grasp what Von Mises said about the psychology of markets...Bernanke seems to believe that what is in the heads of bankers and consumers, fear or greed, does not matter, and that he can fix what he perceives to be broken simply by more market manipulation. I have read that Bernanke spent lots of time studying what happened in the US crash/depression of '29-WW2 and also what happened to Japan more recently. I think that he devised a scenario or hypothesis in his own head whereby he could have prevented both of those situations from occuring...and now he is trying out his hypothesis in a real time situation. I suppose the real question is what happens if Bernanke takes interest rates to a minus number (inflation adjusted) and the markets fail to respond in a manner that is desireable...and, I do not see a desireable outcome because of stagnant wages, job losses and a declining dollar value.

BrianT...looks to me like the plane is going to hit the ground...and, after looking around... I find no parachutes on this contraption.

Ludwig von Mises: 'Inflation and credit expansion, the preferred methods of present day government openhandedness, do not add anything to the amount of resources available. They make some people more prosperous, but only to the extent that they make others poorer'.

Ilargi: Both the Euro and the US dollar need to fall in value drastically to rebalance the plane before it hits the ground. If they can do this in lockstep cover will be provided. Good scenario for gold, silver, oil and basically all commodities (unless the plane does hit the ground).

BrianT: You got it! The US$ will fall further than the Euro, but both will fall. Because both are paper.

Here's how I look at it.

Think of all the currencies as a group of 10 or so skydivers. You see them falling at the same rate, holding hands in a circle. (The currencies are all equal to each other, Like the Canadian Loon just became with the $USD)

Now if one of them balls up tight they fall faster and go below the others. That currency is falling in value(relation to the other skydivers). Another one who had webbing between his legs and arms, didn't fall as fast as the rest, and everyone else are all falling faster.

BUT, They ALL are falling to their true value. Zero.

BTW, in my example the guy who balled up is the US, and the guy with webbing I would say would be the Swiss Franc.

"Gold is for optimists. I'm diversifying into canned goods."...

I think our friend the Chimp has suggested stocking up on toilet paper. Really, no kidding --

I also suggest that. What will you do when it's not available. Do you know what they did before toilet paper? I've stocked up 30 years worth, and I'm not telling you where I live.

Moss.It works,and is a perfect bio-degradible

You can re-use cloth that has been properly boiled and washed between uses. But boiling and washing may also be a problem post-crash.

I've gotta ask... 30 years' worth??

I've got great admiration for that in terms of prep, but do you have a spare barn or something, or do you just use one little square a day? And do you have 30 years' worth of other stuff? I'm frankly inspired.

I wonder what the usual mob punishment will be for toilet-paper hoarding in 20 years. Doesn't bear thinking about too much....

Limit on wheat prices raised

With wheat prices touching all-time highs, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday took steps to allow the daily limit on price moves to double, to 60 cents a bushel from 30 cents.

Additionally, the limit will rise to 90 cents a bushel on the next day after a 60-cent limit is reached.

..."There's desperation, and there's the situation where they are not worried about the price, they just have to buy it," said Ben Barber, commodity broker with Bell Commodities Ltd. in Melbourne, Australia. "It's in uncharted territory now, and how far it goes is anyone's guess."

The basis, or the difference between what a local elevator in North Dakota will pay for wheat, and the cash price in Minneapolis or the nearby futures price in Minneapolis, is now at "575 over," Lokken said. That is, $5.75 a bushel higher at the elevator than at the terminal market, instead of the more typical 60- to 80-cent discount of local prices to Minneapolis prices, indicating transportation and time costs.

"They are so short of wheat right now," he said. "The millers are on the floor in Minneapolis, and they are seeing no cars of wheat coming in."


Leanan...might be time to go long on Domino's? :) I can see some of the giant bread makers of my youth like Wonder, Holsom, etc, making a come back and putting local, high quality bread makers out of business. Economy of scale...and, how much air can be sold in a loaf.

I have a German friend that visits the US yearly and he has mentioned on numerous occasions that he has yet to find decent bread here...and since we are in Florida, I agree with him. I advised him that good bread could be found from Baltimore to Boston.

Leidenheimer Bakery seven blocks from me.

I was surprised to see the familiar wrapper while "dining" in Phoenix (saw the colors but not the name when the doors to the kitchen opened) and asked if that was Leidenheimer bread. They proudly announced that yes, they flew it in from New Orleans.



Best Hopes for Good Local Eating :-)


ANALYSIS-Power, steel sectors face coal crunch

Power generators and metal makers are most exposed to spiralling coal prices, with little chance of escaping being locked into pricey long-term deals this year, those in the sector say.

The full impact of record coal prices will not hit steel makers until May or June, when many term contracts will be re-negotiated to reflect the huge increase since early 2007.

Prices for the hard coking coal used in the metals sector have more than doubled in the last year to as high as $210 a tonne and most analysts expect prices to remain high throughout 2008.

China and India have gobbled up huge quantities of both thermal and coking coal to fuel their power stations and make the cement supporting their building booms, while production problems in key exporters have slashed supplies.

Increasing demand and reducing supply at the same time, who could have predicted that

Alstom Unveils Newest High-Speed Train

The AGV is the new "miracle weapon" from a company that has built more than 70 percent of all the trains worldwide capable of traveling faster than 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph). Like the ICE3, built by Germany's Siemens conglomerate, the AGV is not driven by end cars, but has engines uniformly distributed under the individual coaches. This creates more space for passengers and enhances the train's performance. As a result, the AGV can carry up to 900 passengers at a speed of 360 km/h (224 mph)

In the spring of 2007, a test train employing AGV technology set a speed record for rail vehicles of 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph), putting it only six km/h (3.7 mph) behind the record set by Japan's magnetic levitation (maglev) train

A Sun-Powered Hydrogen Car
(And it really does work)

Now, if it scales up.... ;-)


try this one, One hot VW
100km / 1 liter of diesel

Now, if it scales up.... ;-)

Maybe we should be scaled down ;)

Triff ..

Hello TODers,

I wonder if the Sovereign Wealth Funds [SWFs] have been moving to Morrocan phosphate biosolar mission-critical investing in a big way, but under the radar until now:

World bourses lost 5.2 trillion dlrs in January: credit rater

Standard & Poor's said the world's equity markets lost a combined 5.2 trillion dollars as emerging markets fell 12.44 percent and developed markets lost 7.83 percent to register one of the worst starts to a new year.

"There were few safe havens in January as 50 of the 52 global equity markets ended the month in negative territory, with 25 of them posting double-digit losses," said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&Ps.

[The only markets that went up--BS]
...Morocco which gained 10.17 percent and Jordan, which was up by 3.11 percent.

Recall that there is recoverable uranium in these phosphates--these rocks when extracted will be more postPeak valuable than gold. Gold can't grow food or generate electricity. Morocco is also a good location for solar generation.

Arab countries are fundamental for the production of fertilizers

Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among the most important global producers of raw material for fertilizers," pointed out the AGE advisor...

"That is, 50% of the global phosphorus reserves are in the Arab nations... According to him, apart from the world leader in phosphorus reserves, Morocco is also a great producer of sulphuric acid, with production of 11 million tonnes.

Another example mentioned by Saab is sulphur, a fundamental raw material for the production of phosphoric acid, much used in making fertilizers. Saudi Arabia produces 2.7 million tonnes of sulphur. The United Arab Emirates, in turn, produce 2.06 million tonnes. "These three companies are responsible for 10% of sulphur production in the world. As Brazil does not produce sulphur, this makes them important partners for the country," he guarantees.

"In the case of potassium reserves, Jordan has 580 million tonnes and is starting to supply potassium to Brazil," finished off the advisor.
I would postPeak expect Brazil's Petrobas to trade Tupi crude to Morocco and Jordan in exchange for NPK. Worthless Fiat Money won't seal the deal to allow our kids to squeal when opening their Happy Meals{Tm}.

Unless, this is the plan going forward:

Report: U.S. AFRICOM Base To Be In Morocco

The Algerian daily Liberte reports that the U.S. and Morocco have agreed that the U.S. Armed Forces African command (AFRICOM) is to be situated in southern Morocco, near the city of Tan-Tan.

Source: Liberte, Algeria, January 22, 2008

Islamic alarm bells across the water… - And a possible US presence

...In the meantime, and in the same week, came reports in the Algerian and Moroccan press, that the US is considering setting up its recently created Africa Command headquarters, Africom, in Tan Tan, a city just 200 kilometres across the water from the most easterly islands in the Canaries.

Currently located in Stuttgart, the command, which coordinates all US military and security interests throughout Africa, was created last year by the Bush administration. But right from the start the idea was to place it somewhere in that continent rather than Europe.

“We will work closely with our African partners to determine an appropriate location for the new command in Africa,” said George W Bush in a speech last year.

Although the US Navy plays up the altruistic side of Africom, such as its ideals of bringing peace, education, health and prosperity to the continent, there has been a good deal of scepticism about the real and underlying motives of the command, one of which is said to be the securing of vital sea lanes...
Militarily controlling the flow of NPK gives enormous induced-famine leveraging.

The Moroccan weekly Al-Sahifa said on April 6 that construction works are in full swing in Tan-Tan under watertight security measures.

It added that the area, which used to be a tourist hub, has almost turned into military barracks.

The Spanish ABC newspaper earlier said the base will be a transit for American forces in the Middle East.

Humanitarian Mission

Washington was quick to deny the reports on the construction of a military base in the Arab-African country.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Good catch!

The US is considering locating it's African Command in the exact same location it hasn't been building a base since 2005.

At the same time the British colony of St. Helena is getting an airstrip after a half decade of asking. Roughly locate the island by drawing a line south of Wales and west of the Nambia-Angola border.


The fellow island of Ascension already has an airstrip, and a USAF base.

I note that Angola recently joined OPEC and has a realistic possibility of increasing oil production by 1 million b/day.


Note to all oil producing countries;

If you make any sizeable discoveries or production advancements, KEEP QUIET ABOUT IT!

...and start investing in a formidable military!!

Hello Cid Yama,

Thxs for responding. If I may further 'Rock the Casbah, Rock the Casbah!' for phosphates and African energy resources--the very first outpost of the American Empire:

Morocco was the first nation, in 1777, to recognize the fledgling United States as an independent nation. In the beginning of the American Revolution, American merchant ships were subject to attack by the Barbary Pirates while sailing the Atlantic Ocean. At this time, American envoys tried to obtain protection from European powers, but to no avail. On 20 December 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed III declared that the American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage.

The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty. Signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, it has been in continuous effect since 1786. Following the reorganization of the U.S. federal government upon the 1787 Constitution, President George Washington wrote a now venerated letter to the Sultan Sidi Mohamed strengthening the ties between the two countries. The United States legation (consulate) in Tangier is the first property the American government ever owned abroad.[8] The building now houses the Tangier American Legation Museum.
Sadly, our Native Americans were not the recipients of unbroken treaties. :(

Yep, route-control of resource flows and extortion of the margin is a time-proven concept. As would be expected in Foundation concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline for the Porridge Principle of Metered Decline.

The Canary Islands [more name irony?] and Morocco are very strategic for sealane domination [Strait of Gilbraltar, Africa-Europe, South America-Europe, etc] and combined with phosphorus [Life's Bottleneck] creates a powerful geo-control nexus. IMO, Morocco maybe the last Empire Outpost that TPTB wants to give up. Recall my earlier postings on the US Navy being the ultimate postPeak pirate fleet. You don't have to sink ships; just exert enough force 'on the margin' as global searoute traffic controller to extort a profitable cut.

Even if we somehow solve our fuel problems [not likely], the need for P & K will continue. Recall that there is No Substitutes for phosphorus and potassium, unless some geniuses figure out how to make plants thrive on toxic residues.

As the old saying goes, "Never say Never".

Even if we somehow solve our fuel problems [not likely], the need for P & K will continue. Recall that there is No Substitutes for phosphorus and potassium, unless some geniuses figure out how to make plants thrive on toxic residues.

There are "substitutes". A lot can be accomplished by recycling.

Here's some data.

Poultry manure is an excellent source of nutrients and can be incorporated into most fertilizer programs. Those using manures must practice sound soil fertility management to prevent nutrient imbalances and associated animal health risks, as well as surface-water and groundwater contamination. The key to successful management is to match the nutritional requirements of the crop with nutrients available in the manure. The value of poultry manure varies not only with its nutrient composition and availability, but also with management and handling costs.

Then too, the farmers might stop applying so much phosphate that it ends up running off the land into the rivers, thence into the oceans.

E. Swanson

Hello Black_Dog,

Thxs for responding. No disagreement from me--I have posted much before on Humanure and other manure recycling of organic-NPK [O-NPK]and trace minerals. As industrial-NPK [I-NPK] prices rise, I hope lots of people start compost pits and/or we can find cost-effective measures to move these organic nutrients back out to the fields. My hope is that SpiderWebRiding networks can answer this need to close the resource recycling loop. PostPeak imagine lots of Fomerly-Well-Offs [FWOs] pedaling the O-NPK composted fertilizer back outside the city limits. Better and safer than having the trash pile up everywhere like in Naples. Time will tell.

comic relief

the future of personal transportation


Hey Homebrew,



nice German roads, smooth

here there would be expanding joints every 50' and he would have loss control for sure.



Neil Young: Music no longer can change world

Colossus Among Critics: Harold Bloom: "The battle is lost"

I grew up believing the arts spoke to people. Books, Movies, Music meant something. Now it seems we're a sterile people, which is why I'm a doomer. There's nothing to save.

The article on Bloom was great, I'm reserving the book.

I'm a doomer, but hadn't really attributed it to the declining influence of the arts. But it's a great reason/insight.

I just go down to the nearest road and watch people drive by, and that's all it takes to convince me we're doomed. People who accelerate to get to a red light...

My thought is that commercialism, the almighty greed for money, has corrupted the arts. As it has corrupted virtual all other aspects of life...

Move to New Orleans :-) We do have something worth saving !

Out the door to Amanda Shaw's CD release party. 17 year old with CD named "Pretty Runs Out", I first saw her perform at age 12. The "good" (and talented) local vs. Britney Spear's "bad".

Earlier CD "I don't want to be a Bubble Gum Princess" (age 15 ?)


Commercialization has not ruined the local music or arts scene here. Katrina has only sharpened it IMHO, despite our grievous losses.

Best Hopes for the Soul of New Orleans,


You're absolutely right, Alan!

Life takes us where our responsibilities lead us--and mine is looking after my family and mother in Southern California. Watched A Love Song for Bobby Long the other day and loovvvvvved it. You're absolutely right!

Just got back from CD Party.

Amanda Shaw started out as a child prodigy fiddler in the zydeco tradition. I talked to her father and he said she asked, at age 3, to play the violin. By age 8 she was getting stage time.

Her public performances have been restrained so as to not overly affect her upbringing and development.

I have watched her for a few years (reminds me of watching Eli Manning as high school QB here) and seen her develop. What is most amazing is the switch she is making to serious themes.

"Pretty Runs Out" is an insight that VERY few 16 year old girls have. She also did a song about shopping for fulfillment and defining herself that way.

In interviews was was asked her goals. "To live a complete and happy life". She plans to attend Tulane after high school.

I hate to put this on a pretty 5'0" red headed girl with a young girls voice that just turned 17, but I could see her maturing into a feminized role comparable to that of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.

She left for an "after CD" Party with Irvin Mayfield as an escort. Irvin is becoming the next jazz icon of New Orleans. We talked briefly about Monday night at Donna's.

Best Hopes for New Orleans music,



Sorry for the cliche', but sometimes it is darkest before the dawn.

Try getting away from MSNBC and the NYT for your info.

There are real, living people in Portland Maine, too.

A lot of the multimedia coming into our little cages claims to provide links to the world, when they may actually be keeping people isolated. Go build a house with Habitat, or something like that.

Finally, if the arts you're seeing aren't speaking to you, maybe you need to be an artist and do some deep searching and speaking yourself.


Finally, if the arts you're seeing aren't speaking to you, maybe you need to be an artist and do some deep searching and speaking yourself.

I am--whether I'm any good or not is really not for me to know, but have devoted my life to art. Just never really expected people to be so trivial. But Alan is also right--there's a better place to be.

Thanks, folks....

nahhhh, it's always darkest right before it becomes pitch black....

as the Mogambo Guru often says "we're friggin doomed!"

Alright, that won't do for a Science-based board! PITCH BLACK is, by definition, 'Darkest'..

If you really want to be the self-fulfilling prophet, be my guest. Hmm, well, no.. I don't think you get to be my guest in that case.

And Of course we're doomed. This is news? No need to be all negative about it. (Yeah, I know, you were being silly..)


Oil production (all liquids) was reported to be at 87 million barrels per day in January.


It seems as if December was a new peak in oil production and there is no sign of oil production going down. OPEC had spare capacity after they cut production in autumn of 2006. During the price surge to $100 a barrel, they began to sell more oil into the market. Oil storage stocks were rising in the first month of this year.

OPEC recently announced they might cut production if oil prices went below $80 per barrel.

The ASPO peak oil model predicted peak oil in 2010.

OPEC had spare capacity after they cut production in autumn of 2006.

Yes, I seem to recall someone here making that argument many times. :-)