DrumBeat: April 24, 2008

Good-Bye, Cheap Oil. So Long, Suburbia?

Author James Kunstler says the Automotive Age is almost history and deconstructs McMansion living

The suburban landscape has been marred by foreclosures and half-built communities abandoned in the subprime aftermath. But James Howard Kunstler, author of a dozen books, including The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape, thinks there's a bigger threat to those far-flung neighborhoods: the scarcity of oil. As Kunstler sees it, oil wells are running dry and the era of cheap fuel is over. Given the supply constraints, he says the U.S. will have to rethink suburban sprawl, bringing an end to strip malls, big-box stores, and other trappings of the automotive era.

Suncor CEO says current oil prices unsustainable

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Current oil prices above $115 a barrel are not sustainable over the long term, but the oil industry needs at least $75 a barrel to attract investment and bring on increasingly tougher to find reserves, Suncor Energy Inc's chief executive said on Thursday.

"To keep those new supplies coming on, which are going to be smaller and smaller, you're going to need a good oil price. I just don't think you're going to need $115," Suncor CEO Rick George told reporters after Suncor's annual meeting.

He said the current floor price for the industry to operate could be in the $75-$80 a barrel range, although exact numbers are hard to estimate.

Iraq boosts oil exports -- and pressure to pay for rebuilding

Iraq boosted its crude oil exports by 3.3 million barrels in March over the previous month, bringing in nearly $15.5 billion, Oil Ministry figures showed Thursday.

Pump glitch adding to gas costs

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Angry about the price of gas? Just imagine paying for gas you don't get.

Some alert consumers have noticed it over the years: A pump that seems to hesitate a second when the lever is squeezed. Anywhere from 2 to 6 cents tick off before the rush of gasoline starts. That's what happens with a common, hard to diagnose and mostly ignored problem with the "check valve," which is supposed to make sure gas flows at the same time the price meter starts.

Water Needed To Produce Various Types Of Energy

According to the study, the most water-efficient energy sources are natural gas and synthetic fuels produced by coal gasification. The least water-efficient energy sources are fuel ethanol and biodiesel.

In terms of power generation, Younos and Hill have found that geothermal and hydroelectric energy types use the least amount of water, while nuclear plants use the most.

Sudan Targets Extra 100,000 B/d Output Mid-2009

Sudan is targeting an increase of 100,000 barrels of oil a day mid-2009 as the result of new investments, particularly Chinese, come on stream, the Sudan oil minister has said.

Serbia-Russia deal still on hold

Serbia should further negotiate the price for the sale of its oil monopoly to Russia before finalizing a key energy deal between the two countries, the defense minister said Thursday.

Fuel stockpile safety warning

MOTORISTS have been warned not to put lives at risk by stockpiling petrol.

Fears have been raised that desperate car owners are beginning to store highly-flammable fuel ahead of predicted shortages.

A six step guide for preparing for a fuel shortage

As the scene in Scotland seems to be set for another round of petrol and diesel shortages due to the industrial dispute within INEOS Grangemouth refinery it is reasonable and timely to review a list of contingency actions that all affected by this potential shortage could take.

'Dry zone' fear for drivers

Helensburgh’s only filling station ran out of fuel this week as divers fearing a petrol drought rushed to the pumps.

The panic buying was sparked by the threat of strike action at Grangemouth oil refinery — which supplies 10 per cent of the UK’s fuel. Huge tailbacks formed in East Clyde Street as drivers queued outside the Tesco Express garage. Despite ordering in extra supplies to cope with demand, the petrol station had to turn customers away on Sunday after running out of unleaded, super unleaded and diesel.

Electric usage drops 20 percent

In the face of Juneau's energy crisis, the city is experiencing a shortage of an item not usually associated with a rain forest - clothespins.

By Sunday, a person was hard pressed to find a bag of clothespins on the shelf in either of Juneau's two big chain department stores, and nearby space, where wooden clothes-drying racks once stood for sale, were empty.

People are buying anything they can to reduce power usage during the crises, said David Tobias, a True Value Hardware employee. Drying racks were sold out the day after the avalanche, he said.

Sharp rise for natural gas feared

As spring warmth allows homeowners and renters to turn off their furnaces, it may be time for tough choices about next winter.

Suppliers have just started to stockpile natural gas for the main area heating fuel for winter, and it doesn't appear there will be a shortage.

Nonetheless, experts are concerned that prices are higher than normal and could rise significantly this summer.

Gouging myth out of gas

When you're paying more at the pump, don't blame the station owner. He feels your pain.

Schools struggle to fuel buses

Soaring fuel prices will cost Middle Tennessee school systems hundreds of thousands of dollars more just to keep buses running until the end of the school year.

To save fuel, bus drivers are being asked not to run their engines when they are parked, even for a short time.

The Williamson County school board on Monday approved dipping into the district's fund balance, money that has been uncommitted, for an additional $250,000 to buy fuel.

Higher asphalt costs a strain

Rising crude oil prices are not only hurting drivers at the pump. They will prevent some roads in disrepair from being resurfaced.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation plans to spend between $55 million and $60 million on road overlays in fiscal 2009, up about $10 million past few years. But MDOT chief engineer Harry Lee James said that will cover fewer miles.

FACTBOX-Why oil prices are at a record high

The fall in the value of the dollar against other major currencies has helped drive buying across commodities as investors view dollar assets as relatively cheap.

It has also reduced the purchasing power of OPEC's revenues and increased the purchasing power of some non-dollar consumers.

The Future of American Power: How America Can Survive the Rise of the Rest

Despite some eerie parallels between the position of the United States today and that of the British Empire a century ago, there are key differences. Britain's decline was driven by bad economics. The United States, in contrast, has the strength and dynamism to continue shaping the world -- but only if it can overcome its political dysfunction and reorient U.S. policy for a world defined by the rise of other powers.

Waste Not: A steamy solution to global warming

The U.S. economy wastes 55 percent of the energy it consumes, and while American companies have ruthlessly wrung out other forms of inefficiency, that figure hasn’t changed much in recent decades. The amount lost by electric utilities alone could power all of Japan.

Group touts telecommuting's green benefits

An estimated 1.35 billion gallons of gasoline could be conserved annually if every U.S. worker with the ability to telecommute did so 1.6 days per week, according to a report released today by the American Electronics Association.

Oil prices, gasoline costs to double: CIBC report

OTTAWA — Crude oil prices will soar to more than $200 (U.S.) per barrel over the next five years – driving Canadian pump prices to $2.25 a litre and forcing a fundamental transformation in the North American economy, says Jeff Rubin, chief economist with CIBC World Markets Inc.

In a new report, Mr. Rubin forecast a continued run-up in crude prices, despite a slowing world economy and slumping petroleum demand in United States, the world's leading oil consumer.

...“Whether we are already at the peak of world oil production remains to be seen, but it increasingly clear that the outlook for oil supply signals a period of unprecedented scarcity,” the economist said.

Caltex chief tips oil to reach $US200

The CEO of Australia's largest oil refiner says he expects the price of oil will reach $US200 a barrel.

The Caltex annual general meeting has heard refining margins dropped during 2007, as the Australian dollar and the price of crude oil soared.

Oil prices soar to $120, and this is not the limit

The world has enough proven oil reserves, which have almost doubled since 1980. But spending on developing new and difficult fields, for example on Russia's Arctic shore and in east Siberia, will be much higher than oil production costs in the 20th century, especially given the current price situation on the oil market.

The logical conclusion is that the current price, $120 per barrel, is not the limit.

Kuwait Boosts Sales to China, Stake in Sinochem Plant

(Bloomberg) -- Kuwait Petroleum Corp., the fourth- largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, wants to increase crude oil exports to China to 100,000 barrels a day this year, a company official said.

Fuel costs send US Airways to $236M loss

PHOENIX — US Airways Group said Thursday it swung to a loss in the first quarter, punished like other airlines by the rising cost of jet fuel.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based carrier said it lost $236 million, or $2.56 per share, versus a profit of $66 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, the net loss was $239 million or $2.60 per share.

Australia: Carbon tax adds 10c a litre to petrol

THE country's largest oil refiner, Caltex, has stepped up its calls for the Federal Government to quarantine motorists from its proposed carbon-trading scheme, warning it could add an extra $1.4 billion or 10 cents a litre to the nation's fuel bill each year.

In an abrupt U-turn on the 10-cents-a-litre carbon tax the refiner advocated several weeks ago, Caltex yesterday said the Government should "not impose a carbon cost on motorists".

State works to stop Juneau energy crisis

JUNEAU — With avalanches having severed Juneau from its source of cheap hydro power, a high-level state disaster cabinet is looking for ways to help the town cope with a sudden spike in power costs.

The 17-member group of commissioners and other state agency representatives met for two hours Wednesday to consider how to soften the blow of what’s expected to be about a 450-percent increase in utility bills next month.

Electric ratepayers may have to cover repair costs as well

Juneau's electric ratepayers won't only be asked to pick up the price tag for the diesel fuel being used to keep the city's lights on.

They may also have to pay for repairing the transmission line and electric towers that were damaged in last week's avalanche near the Snettisham hydroelectric project.

Air emissions spike in Juneau with increased diesel use

Juneau's electric utility predicts that by late May or early June, it will exceed some air quality permit limits by powering the city on diesel. State permitters may go easy on the company because the cause is a natural disaster.

Lehman warns that oil boom will deflate

The roaring oil boom of the last few months may be on its last legs as economic growth slows hard across the world and a clutch new refineries come into operation, Lehman Brothers has warned in a hard-hitting report.

“Supply is outpacing demand growth,” said Michael Waldron, the US bank’s oil strategist.

“Inventories have been building since the beginning of the year. We have pretty significant projects starting soon in Saudi Arabia, and large off-shore fields in Nigeria,” he said.

Big Oil Price Caution Persists Amid Latest Spike

HOUSTON (Dow Jones)--In September 2004, oil prices surged above $50 a barrel for the first time, foreshadowing today's bullish energy market that shows no sign of abating.

Despite that landmark price, BP PLC (BP) continued to base its investments on $30 oil, BP Chief Executive John Browne told analysts a few months later on a conference call. BP's restraint reflected the residual caution of an industry that has grown accustomed to boom-bust cycles, including the 1998 downturn that sent oil to the single digits.

Will gas prices finally drive us to the tipping point?

The most mind-boggling statistic in the EIA report was this one: U.S. gas consumption during the summer driving season - April 1 through Sept. 30 - is expected to decline 0.4 percent.

Yes, that's only four-tenths of 1 percent.

It's discouraging that, when faced with record-breaking gasoline prices - not to mention the specter of fossil fuel-driven climate change - Americans are only likely to curtail their driving by the tiniest of margins.

Don't blame OPEC for record oil prices, Brown told

A professor of energy policy economics Wednesday confronted Prime Minister Gordon Brown on resorting to again blame OPEC for the ever-escalating price of crude oil.

"Should the prime minister not recognize that there are in fact other causes of high oil prices, in particular unsustainably rapid increases in demand, depleting reserves and the behavior of futures markets?" Philip Wright of Sheffield University said.

Australia: Get used to $1.50-a-litre petrol, experts say

Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil spokesman Elliot Fishman agreed that the emerging economies of China and India were driving up petrol prices, saying demand far outstripped supply. He said that 1964 was the year the most oil ever was discovered.

"Since that time we've been finding less and less oil and we've reached a point now where we consume four barrels of oil for every one discovered," Mr Fishman said.

"Bad Money" author says our focus on finance could be our downfall

To hear Kevin Phillips tell it, the U.S. is a world power on the skids, an overstretched empire slumping toward the fate of Hapsburg Spain, the maritime Dutch Republic and imperial Britain.

The culprits: Wall Street and Washington.

The former Republican strategist lays out his harsh case in "Bad Money," an update of his 2006 best-seller, "American Theocracy," which warned that the U.S. was dangerously dependent on debt and oil. Events have so far vindicated his views.

"Profit From the Peak: The End of Oil and the Greatest Investment Event of the Century"

There is no doubt that oil production will peak, if it hasn't already, and that all other fossil fuels will peak soon after. The important questions for investors are: when will it happen, to what extent, and what can I do to capitalize on it?

According to Brian Hicks and Chris Nelder, the authors of "Profit from the Peak: The End of Oil and the Greatest Investment Event of the Century (Wiley; March 2008; $27.95; 978-0-470-12736-0; Cloth)," we are quickly facing the end of our oil-based economy. Half of the world's known oil reserves are gone, and with roughly a trillion barrels remaining -- and consumption up to eighty-six million barrels a day -- the world has about thirty years of oil left. And that's a best-case scenario.

Australia: Here's what 2020 needed to be about

Given the challenge of global warming and peak oil, debate about tax reform should be focused on what changes are necessary to encourage environment-friendly investment and lifestyles instead of the old debate about the "tax burden", which is completely divorced from what taxes buy.

Measures to stimulate consumption of fossil fuels total more than $4 billion a year. Why should the fringe benefits tax reward those who use their company cars mostly for private use while lesser mortals pay income tax and GST on their public transport fares?

‘Cash in on mixed future for farming’

A huge rise in North Wales plantings already reflects the drive for self-sufficiency and Tony Little, of Organic Centre Wales, told the meeting consumers would also have to change what they eat in the post peak oil economy.

“Feeding animals to feed ourselves is not efficient, though getting rid of livestock altogether is not desirable or obtainable,” he said. “But to produce more food, we need more people. One estimate suggests 20% of the workforce – we just need another 19%!”

Sneaky ways to get better gas mileage

Motorists in the United States looking to save as much as 32 cents on a gallon of gas needn't drive across state lines in search of cheaper prices at the pump.

The answer is right under the hood. That's because more frequent air filter changes can improve your vehicle's gas mileage by as much as 10%, the Car Care Council says.

U.S. arms sales to OPEC at risk over oil: senators

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of U.S. senators on Thursday will call on the Bush administration to use its leverage with OPEC to increase oil supplies or risk Congress holding up multimillion dollar arms deals with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other members of the oil producing group.

"As Americans are paying more than ever to fill up their cars at the gas station, it is clear that oil production by OPEC members is below the capacity at which they could be producing," the lawmakers said in a joint advisory announcing a press conference in which they will release a letter to President George W. Bush asking him to pressure OPEC for more oil.

Russia is now the world's largest oil producer ahead of Saudi Arabia

Last year, Russia was the world's largest oil producer ahead of Saudi Arabia. At roughly 9.84 million b/d, Russia produced almost a fourth of non-OPEC crude oil in 2007. However, the latest data now suggests that the days of strong Russian oil output growth are over. After an increase of 2.3% in 2007, crude oil production plummeted in January & February. The decline accelerated further in March, to 1.0% YoY, and Russia's first quarter crude oil production averaged just 9.75 million b/d, down 0.8% YoY.

Nigeria to oblige oil companies to refine output

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Nigeria is planning legislation to oblige international oil companies to refine a proportion of their crude in the West African country, a Nigerian state oil official said on Wednesday.

"Everybody producing in the country will be mandated to refine a percentage in Nigeria," said Sola Alabi, Group General Manager for refinery projects at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC).

Nigerian Union Begins Partial Strike Against Exxon

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria's white-collar oil workers union began a partial strike today at Exxon Mobil Corp.'s operations in the country after the two sides failed to reach an agreement over compensation, company and union officials said.

Libya halts 45,000 bpd offshore oil output - Ghanem

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Some 45,000 barrels per day of Libyan offshore oil production has been halted due to a technical problem and could be off line for a few weeks, the head of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Thursday.

Ireland: Electricity bills tipped to soar

Electricity costs in Northern Ireland may rise by as much as 30% this year.

The price hike could come as early as June. It follows news that consumers face a rise of 28% in the price of gas.

UK: 'Local storage' for nuclear waste

Waste from a new nuclear reactor in Somerset would be kept on site, local residents have been told.

British Energy is looking to build a third reactor at Hinkley Point after the government approved a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The company has explained its plans to people living near the site.

Warming shifts gardeners' maps

Every gardener is familiar with the multicolor U.S. map of climate zones on the back of seed packets. It's the Department of Agriculture's indicator of whether a flower, bush or tree will survive the winters in a given region.

It's also 18 years old. A growing number of meteorologists and horticulturists say that because of the warming climate, the 1990 map doesn't reflect a trend that home gardeners have noticed for more than a decade: a gradual shift northward of growing zones for many plants.

ConocoPhillips Profit Up 17% on Higher Oil Prices

HOUSTON (AP) -- ConocoPhillips said Thursday its first quarter profit rose almost 17 percent as the third-largest U.S. oil company benefited from record oil prices.

The Houston-based company said Thursday net income rose to $4.14 billion, or $2.62 a share, for the January-March period, from $3.55 billion, or $2.12 a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Brazil Oil Finds May End Reliance on Middle East, Zeihan Says

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil's discoveries of what may be two of the world's three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years could help end the Western Hemisphere's reliance on Middle East crude, Strategic Forecasting Inc. said.

Saudi Arabia's influence as the biggest oil exporter would wane if the fields are as big as advertised, and China and India would become dominant buyers of Persian Gulf oil, said Peter Zeihan, vice president of analysis at Strategic Forecasting in Austin, Texas. Zeihan's firm, which consults for companies and governments around the world, was described in a 2001 Barron's article as "the shadow CIA."

..."We could see that world becoming a very violent one," said Zeihan, former chief of Middle East and East Asia analysis for Strategic Forecasting. "If the United States isn't getting any crude from the Gulf, what benefit does it have in policing the Gulf anymore? All of the geopolitical flux that wracks that region regularly suddenly isn't our problem."

Myth of peak oil debunked

The head of Oklahoma’s largest independent producer of oil and natural gas debunked the myth of peak oil on Wednesday, saying the biggest hindrance to recovering new reserves of oil and natural gas are governments and their policies.

Oil’s quest to find tomorrow’s fuel

The world’s major oil companies are being forced to turn to the once unimaginable raw materials of chicken fat, tar and algae to make fuels and sustain their businesses into the next century.

For, in spite of massive legacy positions in oil and gas built over 100 years, gone are the days of the 1970s, when the majors controlled 85 per cent of the world’s oil reserves – the raw materials on which they built their businesses.

Big Oil Asks: Where Will Tomorrow's Oil Come From?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading petroleum exporter. Officially, it has reserves of about 260 billion barrels of crude oil - approximately 24% of the world’s total proven petroleum reserves.

But Saudi Arabia has a problem. And it’s the same one that every oil-producing nation will face someday: Its oilwells are drying up.

Saudi Aramco Aims to Double Crude Oil Supply to China By 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest state oil company, aims to double its crude oil supply to China by 2010 from about 500,000 barrels a day last year, an official from unit Saudi Petroleum Ltd. said.

Strike could close key Grangemouth oil refinery for a month

Plans to haul fuel by road from locations in England and Wales to Scotland will be put in place today ahead of a two-day strike at Grangemouth, Scotland's biggest oil refinery.

...It will take up to a month to bring the refinery back up to full capacity, according to its owners.

BP says power cut at UK refinery would shut Forties

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Forties oil pipeline will have to close completely if a power plant at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland stops running because of a strike planned for Sunday, a spokesman for pipeline operator BP said on Thursday.

Gazprom's New Focus On Production

Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom plans to increase investment in gas production and transportation substantially while cutting spending on acquisitions. This will reassure European customers concerned about its capacity to meet export commitments. However, Gazprom's capacity to deliver will be severely tested as it tackles an array of ambitious projects.

Far from Middle East, U.S. farmland yields new oil

NEVADA, Missouri (Reuters) - George Stapleton has been in the oil business for 30 years, helping plumb sands and shale across the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Now the chief executive of MegaWest Energy Corp is drilling deep into Missouri farmland.

In a non-descript pasture bordered by a pecan grove and a fish pond, Stapleton's company has hit black gold -- and in doing so is demonstrating how record prices of more than $100 a barrel are fueling a modern-day American wildcat oil era.

EU eyes raise of emergency oil stocks as prices soar

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on whether changes should be made to the management of emergency oil stocks held by EU member states as oil prices edged closer to $120 a barrel on Tuesday (22 April).

The consultation will seek input into the "shortcomings" of the current system in the face of the growing risk of oil supply disruptions caused by rising global demand for oil, the Commission said on Tuesday. The consultation is open until 17 June.

‘China not main driver of soaring oil’

Soaring international crude prices are driven by a range of factors including speculation and depreciation of the US dollar, not mainly by China demand, Saudi Aramco regional vice president Mohammed al-Mahdi said today.

Prayer At the Pump

Rocky Twyman says nothing else has worked, so he's urging motorists to pray for lower gasoline prices when they fuel up.

Twyman says he and his fellow volunteers at a church soup kitchen launched "Pray at the Pump" today at a gas station in Washington D.C.

After fueling up their cars, Twyman says they bowed their heads and asked God for cheaper gas.

Oil's Flight Grounds AirTran

Although AirTran hastened to assure investors that the quarter's loss was just a bump caused by rising fuel prices, the company's decision to issues shares and stall expansion plans indicates there's more than a little turbulence ahead for the airline.

Airline flies slower to cut costs

Belgium's Brussels Airlines has announced it is slowing speeds and reducing weight on some of its aircraft in order to reduce fuel costs.

The airline said slowing its planes by about 10km/h would cut its annual fuel bill by 1m euros ($1.6m; £800,000) and add a minute or two to flight times.

EasyJet Exec Predicts Cull Of Budget Airlines

Oil prices well above USD$100 a barrel will drive most of Europe's low-cost airlines out of business, the head of easyJet's French subsidiary said on Wednesday.

The stark warning of a cull of low-cost airlines came as the British budget airline's shares fell more than 4 percent after another increase in oil prices towards USD$120 a barrel.

Hamish McRae: A permanently high oil price might not be a bad thing if it forces conservation

Oil is in blow-off territory and a reaction in the price is inevitable, probably quite soon. But that does not mean that we will return to cheap oil in our lifetimes.

Panic at the pumps: Soaring petrol prices and fuel rationing introduced to prevent garage droughts

Demand for unleaded fuel has risen by 68 per cent, according to the UK Petroleum Industry Association, a trade body for the industry.

Demand for diesel was up 40 per cent, it added.

To protect supplies, some garages have introduced unofficial "rationing", limiting customers to £10 of fuel.

As if the credit crunch wasn't bad enough, the oil price is now piling on the agony

No wonder the British Airways share price fell to a new four-year low yesterday. Less than two months ago, the finance director Keith Williams warned that his operating profits would be completely wiped out by an oil price of just under $120 a barrel, and that, if sustained, such a price would lead to fundamental change across the airline industry as a whole.

Back then, it seemed quite unlikely prices would reach such an elevated level, yet here we are, less than two months later, with the price of oil at a point which apparently spells financial Armageddon even for relatively healthy airlines such as BA. I hope you have already paid for this summer's airline tickets, for, the way things are going, the age of cheap air travel may already be a thing of the past, along with cheap mortgages and low-cost flatscreen TVs from China.

The end of cheap clothes is near

US cotton consumption is set to fall 6.5% from last year to less than a million tonnes whilst EU consumption is expected to fall 11% to about 460,000 tonnes, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicts.

At the same time, they are hit by more expensive raw materials and by soaring oil prices, which make their factories more expensive to operate and which pushes up the cost of shipping to foreign markets.

Surge in oil prices prompts warnings of global recession

The price of oil has surged to a new record above $119 per barrel. Given the spate of "Record Oil Price!" stories that have filled newspapers in recent months, investors might be inclined to dismiss the latest threshold crossed – if it weren't for the increasingly dire warnings being issued about the havoc that expensive oil may wreak on the global economy.

Fuel poverty summit branded a disaster

One of Britain's biggest charities has condemned today's energy industry summit as a "disaster" for the 4.5m households who now find themselves living in fuel poverty.

Mervyn Kohler, special adviser for Help the Aged, described the lack of concrete measures to come out of the summit as a slap in the face to the poorest consumers who are now forced to spend at least 10% of their income to heat and light their home.

Spectre of food rationing hits US

The spectre of food rationing arose in America today as retailers began imposing limits on rice and flour sales following bulk purchases by customers alarmed by rocketing global prices for staple foods.

Bill McKibben: The Greenback Effect

Greed has helped destroy the planet—maybe now it can help save it.

Pine beetle outbreaks turn forests into carbon source

DENVER - An outbreak of mountain pine beetles in British Columbia is doing more than destroying millions of trees: By 2020, the beetles will have done so much damage that the forest is expected to release more carbon dioxide than it absorbs, according to new research.

The study, led by Werner Kurz of the Canadian Forest Service, estimates that over 21 years trees killed by the beetle outbreak could release 990 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — roughly equivalent to five years of emissions from Canada's transportation sector.

New Zealand's largest glacier will disappear: scientists

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand's largest glacier is shrinking fast due to climate change and will eventually disappear altogether, scientists said Thursday.

The 23-kilometre (14.3 mile) long glacier in the South Island's Southern Alps is likely to shrink at a rate of between 500 and 820 metres a year, said Martin Brook, a physical geography lecturer at Massey University.

GMO coupled with organic farms best for environment

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Genetic engineering, combined with organic farming, may be the best way to grow food for a rising population as the world confronts climate change and environmental degradation, a U.S. rice scientist said.

China will go further in climate change talks, UN official says

BEIJING (AFP) - The impact of climate change on China's environment will likely lead Beijing to make greater concessions in negotiations on a new global warming pact, a senior UN official said Thursday.

Scientists say accumulation of greenhouse gases accelerating

WASHINGTON - Major greenhouse gases in the air are accumulating faster than in the past despite efforts to curtail their growth.

Carbon dioxide concentration in the air increased by 2.4 parts per million last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Wednesday, and methane concentrations also rose rapidly.

Learn Permaculture in the Catskills. Get certified by the Permaculture Institute of USA.

August 16-29, 2008 in Woodbourne, New York

A Certificate Course for Urban and Rural Residents, Planners, Land Managers & Design Professionals. This training covers the fundamentals of ecological design, given by two of the country's most experienced permaculture instructors, and many local guests. Join us at a rural retreat center near Woodbourne, New York. Upon completion, course attendees will receive a Permaculture Design Trainee Certificate from the Permaculture Institute.

Who Should Take This Course: The Permaculture Design Course has transformed the lives and enhanced the careers of thousands of people around the world, including architects, landscapers, community developers, social workers, city planners, teachers, students, farmers, gardeners, homeowners, Yoga teachers, business owners and others. It's for anyone serious about creating a sustainable future! The principles of permaculture apply to any scale of design, to highly urbanized areas, suburbs, and rural communities and properties. The permaculture approach crosses between disciplines and creates links between them.


does anyone know if something like this exists in the UK?

Regards, Nick.

Yes it does. Permaculture is a global movement. UK has a great magazine: http://www.permaculture-magazine.co.uk/ that will find where this is being offered near you. The dominant magazine here in the USA is http://www.permacultureactivist.net/ . Be careful of anyone treating the concept like it's some sort of gardening technique. Here is a good place to start in the UK: http://www.spiralseed.co.uk/ and his free Beginner's Guide: http://www.spiralseed.co.uk/permaculture/

Thanks, Semaley. Good links. Here's a para that made sense to me..

"Putting massive effort into attempting to ‘tame nature’, such as by damming valleys and flood plains or creating and maintaining bare soil by plough, is not only energy consuming, unsustainable and destructive, it is also unnecessary when we can meet the needs of people and the environment by working in harmony with, or even directly utilise, natural systems. Instead of using massive chemical inputs to control pests, why not encourage predators such as ladybirds and hoverflies to do our work for us? Or why not construct homes that utilise passive solar energy and wind power rather than building nuclear power stations?" http://www.spiralseed.co.uk/permaculture/ (Item #7, 'Work with nature, not against')

My wife is reading Pollan's 'Omnivore's dilemma', and is very excited by the 'Grass Farmer' Joel Salatin. Another approach to many of these ideas of using Nature's energy to our and it's advantage, not looking on it as an Opponent to Best.


This is great if like me you are building a home out in the country on 20 acres surrounded by 100-300 acre farms. I can grow most of the food I need, without almost any added fertilizer and the ground water table is still in pretty good shape for small amounts of irrigation, what fertilizer I do need the neighbors cows can provided if I let him harvest 5-10 acres of grass to fed them in the winter. I prefer to use the tractor but could get by without it. I can also trade some of what I grow with my neighbors for things they can more easily grow and I want.

Problem is with the exception of building the house in the country, I don't do any of those other things food is still far too cheap to bother at this point. Modern agricultural techniques fertilizers, pest control, large tractors allow us to pull huge yields per acre 5 and in some cases 10 times as high as natural methods. While you and I may have enough land to sustain ourselves via natural means unless you have a way to give everyone enough land to do this, or are able to get farmers to increase land in production about 5 times, we still need the chemicals and fuel to be able to feed the cities.

This all goes back to Carrying Capacity we as the world are long past the point in population to be able to just live off the land with out massive outside inputs. Sure I can and you can but there are 6+ billion of us on this rock and not everyone can.

I actually live in a small city, and while we have growing potential at our house and at a community garden, we also have farms nearby, several CSA's to choose between. Farmers need customers, as far as that goes, so shipping produce to a city isn't a bad deal.. probably not enough, esp with the fisheries crashing, but it's a concentrated market, so if there's a usable freight link, river, ocean, railway between them, then that exchange will proceed.

I don't deny we are in all probability in population overshoot, but aside from education and availability of birth-control in the third world, it's an aspect that I can do very little to affect, while lifestyle choices and creating the best community designs/infrastructure is where most of us can work to make the system as resilient and survivable as possible. I just can't let the UNworkable problems make me so overwhelmed and despondent that I don't do any of the preparations that are going to push us in the right direction.

We'll all get ours at some point anyway. 'Survival' is just a form of procrastination, after all.


We'll all get ours at some point anyway. 'Survival' is just a form of procrastination, after all.

"Life is a short warm moment. Death is a long cold rest." - Pink Floyd

Hi Jokuhl--If your wife likes Joel Salatin's farming methods, she'll love Logsdon's All Flesh is Grass.

Why would anyone need a freakin certification? Sounds like a conventional moneymaking scheme to relive the naive of their money. "You have a need, we have the product... sign here".

Nothing against Permaculture, but when it is used as just another business opportunity to make money, forget it. If people are serious about Permaculture then they supply the knowledge, you supply the labour, money need not enter into the transaction. Otherwise it is just another conventional business about the bottom line and scaling/leveraging up the product to simply make money to live a conventional lifestyle.

False prophets? I'm sceptical, convince me.


I've had the same thought.

There is surely something to permaculture (small p), but Permaculture (TM!) seems a bit overly interested in charging cash money for this and that.

That said, there is plenty of permacultural information to be found for free here and there.

Permaculture is not something you can learn out of a book, it takes experience and knowledge to get it right. And where do you think that experience knowledge about permaculture came from? People who are serious about permaculture INVEST their time and money in learning these skills and in publishing. None of this is free. You're naive if you think people will invest without any return.

I can see your sentiment, but this isn't a gardening course. I'd be happy to break down the costs so you can see that nobody can make a serious living charging this amount. Certainly I won't make anything (money out of my pocket, not in it). I seriously doubt the teachers are in it for the money, either. Even the Ashram will have expenses from buying food for two weeks, cooks, cleanup, etc. Inevitably, somebody has to clean the toilets and somebody needs to be available to answer a phone to validate someone took the step to learn this design concept. Imagine you put classes down on your resume and nobody could answer the phones where you took the course to validate what you said on your resume (did they do well, present for the whole course, what does the piece of paper mean, etc).

If a teacher wanted $10/hr, that would be similar to 80+ hrs of work for a 72 hour course, or $800. I don't know about you, but $20k/yr doing this full time wouldn't pay my rent either (beginner teachers tend to ask $1k to $2k per course, as teaching these courses is part time at best). To make it worth the effort to a dedicated teacher, you might want to pay more. These particular teachers, though considered among the best available, aren't expecting top dollar (I've seen teachers charging over $5k). Since this course will have multiple top notch teachers, you can imagine we'll need at least a dozen or two students at the $850 tuition being charged.

Inexperienced teachers won't have many students, so end up charging more to make up for having only a few students. Experienced teachers attract many students, so can ease up on tuition. Experienced teachers also tend to have successful design businesses, such that a course is more of a sense of duty than a business interest.

Any extra money after paying the teachers and other course costs (travel expenses, advertising costs, drafting supplies, architecture drawings, handouts, etc) will be used to seed future PDC courses, help students who can't afford it, etc. I can tell you first hand that some students end up not paying anything. Green Phoenix Permaculture is a 501c3, so your contribution to help lower course costs would be tax deductible. There is already a list of folks wanting to take this course, if you'd be willing to help them (I still won't be paid).

If $850 is still too much, feel free to look for an alternative. Either way, the individual skills and concepts being taught (through hands-on demonstration and direct involvement in the design process) would cost you far more than $850. This is an intense course and isn't for everyone. My course included some 18 hour days, though the course itself is billed as 72 hours.

A weekend series course might also be an alternative, if you can't afford paying for accommodations in addition to the course tuition (there are plenty of course offerings). However, even weekend courses range from $700 to $1000, depending upon location (still need to pay the rent for classroom space). We had a $300 weekend course here in NYC, which we can't find class space to repeat. Note that these weekend courses tend to involve the entire weekend, plus heavy homework (your design project).

In the ideal sense, we would have properties near cities that didn't have a mortgage to pay, provided all of their own food (including for students, teachers, apprentices, and interns), and housed teachers that didn't need any further money. It's a nice thought, but not reasonable to expect we can magically provide. Personally, I have that in mind, but it takes time to raise money to buy million dollar properties that can support this sentiment.

Re: "The head of Oklahoma’s largest independent producer of oil and natural gas (Devon Energy) debunked the myth of peak oil on Wednesday. . " (link uptop)

With a quick search, I could only find data back to the early Eighties, but crude oil production from Oklahoma has dropped by about two-thirds since the mid-Eighties.

So, if private oil companies, using the best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling, could not reverse the declines from Oklahoma, Texas and the North Sea, could someone explain how they can reverse the post-peak conventional declines from any region anywhere in the world?

Of course, he is also arguing that unconventional will save us. I expect that it will slow the rate of decline of total production. After a vast expenditure of capital, the Barnett Shale Play (Devon's primary area), has basically stabilized Texas gas production at about 60% of our 1972 peak rate, with a huge drop in per well production rates.


Individual fields peak and decline, oil regions do the same, so do nations. What makes you think that the world will peak and decline?

Well, as we have discussed, it's magic. It's the "Huber/Lynch" oil field that I am still hunting for, where individual oil wells peak and decline, but the total field production--the sum of the output of depleting oil wells--increases forever. The Huber/Lynch oil field will be run by elves and fairies, with unicorns grazing in the pastures.

In regard to another story:

Re: Brazil Oil Finds May End Reliance on Middle East, Zeihan Says (link uptop)

Stratfor.com has been opposed to Peak Oil for a long time, and note that there are several "if's," to say the least. For starters, it will take a long time to bring these fields online, and in less than 10 years, our middle case is that it would take the combined net oil exports of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE to meet 2007 US net oil import demand.

"Elves and Fairies" .. works for me, as long as we can hitch up those unicorns to pull Semi-trailers around for us. Do they fly?

I didn't even look at the NEWSOK article to see if there were comments.. but I had an inkling of trying to sway the argument by suggesting that Peak Oil was just another word for 'Intelligent Decline'


And IF the new Brasilian find does have 33Gb of URR in it, this is how much the world uses in 13 months.

This is so, so, so important to remember. Such a huge quantity - and it only represents 13 months of world consumption at present consumption rates.

According to export land theory, we will also eventually be independent of the Middle East and maybe just dependent upon Canada. Hellelujah!!! The promised land is at hand. Of course, by then, we will also be drowning in oil and natural gas brought to us courtesy of Devon. All environmentalists, thank God, will be in jail or will have been executed for crimes against the state.

And Eastern Canada including Ontario will be riding bicycles (Albertan "Canadian" oil is reserved for the USA).

tstreet "All environmentalists, thank God, will be in jail or will have been executed for crimes against the state."

I know you meant to be funny but for the past six years under new tighter policies related to the Patriot Act the Justice Department has moved to punish and make examples of "Monkey Wrenchers".

Take the case of Jeffrey Lehr, a former resident of Eugene, Oregon who helped establish Red Cloud Thunder, a group of activists that organized a tree sitting campaign to stop the thinning and clear-cutting of old growth forests outside of Fall Creek, Oregon.

In 2000 he set fire to three SUVs at Romania Chevrolet dealership in Eugene as a protest against excessive consumption and global warming, along with Craig "Critter" Marshall, who was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Luers was initially sentenced to 22 years, 8 months in prison.

The crime caused only $28,000 property damage but was branded as Eco-terrorism by the Justice Department ergo the Draconian Sentence.

In February of this year his sentence was reduced to 10 years. Scary...This dangerous lunatic may be free as early as December of 2009, so remember your Escalade could be next!

There is a prison support network where you can learn more about individuals who have been incarcerated or murdered as a result of "eco-activism":


"A true patriot has to be willing to defend his country from his government" Edward Abbey

Meanwhile, how many have heard of him, while a fellow named Singer, has been doing cartoons against car-based living and SUVs for years and they're being put on t-shirts and getting the word out, I'm willing to bet has done more to discourage SUV purchases than burning SUVs did.

This is why, between the Molotov and the really witty cartoon, always choose the really witty cartoon.

Not to mention that torching a SUV is counterproductive. The fire will put toxic gases into the atmosphere, The insurance company will pay for the losses. The dealer will simply replace them with the cost paid for by the insurance or deducted from taxes and passed on.

There will have to be a response by he fire department putting the first responders at risk, because every run has risks, and also putting the public at risk as a result of the response not just from the fire trucks will be racing through the streets. But as an auto fire is all hands on deck operation should there, at the time the responders are putting out needless auto fires, be another incident where it to be a house fire, auto-bus accident, medical call etc. the response will be delayed. The fire response and factory replacements will just use up more valuable oil.

"...will be run by elves and fairies..."

What? There's oil in San Francisco???

Judging by the price, it's very special oil.

Stratfor also was quite certain that a nation-state was behind 9/11.

kornhauer, hich nation state?

A good examination of Brazil's prospect as a major new offshore oil province in the context of all the issues discussed here would be a great addition to the line up of articles on Russia, Saudi Arabia, and so on. I, for one, would find it pretty useful and I think others would too.

Because the world is Finite.

the ceo of devon should know better than to make the statement:

"But instead of allowing oil and natural gas companies access into many areas where known reserves exist, the U.S. government instead has restricted access to those areas."

on face value i would conclude that the CEO of DEVON doesn't understand the meaning of the term "RESERVES".

Full disclosure I've done some consulting work for Devon, not on the oil side but on their computer network. Rest assured the CEO knows exactly what he is doing. Devon Energy along with another major player based in Oklahoma Chesapeake Energy have interests across the globe. They are currently riding a huge wave of expansion due to the nice double effect of oil price rise and consumption rise. It is of course as they see it in their best interests to open up more areas for production such as ANWR and others. They are interested in short term gains, it's all about expansion and growth, hmmm doesn't that sound familiar. As long as they can keep growing the company and tapping new areas that they know have oil, it doesn't matter that in 20 or allot less years even those areas will be depleted they will have made massive profits in the mean time. So of course the CEO is going to say get rid of the restrictions (it's slowing our growth) and there's plenty more oil (and indication to share holders that we can grow forever.) As oil peaks companies like these which are based mainly on expansion will start to see their profits drop, no matter what the price of oil. If your model is based on ever increasing growth (think AOL a few years back, or Starbucks now) when you stop growing it's over, this applies to energy companies as well. Put it another way if I have to bring online another (jut a wild guess) 200 oil or gas wells a year to remain profitable and cannot be profitable just by what I have producing now sooner or later I'm out of business, but it's in my best interests as CEO to keep expanding as long as possible. If that means getting permission by public pressure or other means to tap resources that were previously off limits, I will say anything necessary to achieve this.

I suspect unconventionals will accelerate the downslope if anything. Many of them have marginal ERoEI which will not improve with volume.

This guy, who I know by the way, actually appears to be denying that oil ever peaked in the U.S. He said the peakists were wrong "over and over and over again". Not!!! Of course, it's not that hard to lie in Oklahoma. I grew up there but left as soon as I was able to.

The more it becomes obvious that we are at or just past peak, the more we are going to see and hear these types of rants, and the more shrill and desperate their tone will become. For a while, anyway. Expect it, and just enjoy the spectacle of fools making their foolishness public for all to see.

"Of course, it's not that hard to lie in Oklahoma."

is this what they mean (clapton, etal) ......livin' on tulsa time......?

Many here may already know this, especially Leanan, but I was pleasantly surprised when TOD showed up prominently yesterday when I did a Google News search on Ineos.

Record price for rice

BANGKOK–Rice prices in Thailand, the world's top exporter, surged to $1,000 a tonne on Thursday as concerns about food security first triggered by a handful of Asian export bans spread as far as the United States.

This week's five per cent jump takes prices to nearly three times their level at the start of the year, intensifying fears of social unrest in Asia as millions of the region's poor find themselves strugglig to pay for staple goods.

Leanan - JMG's latest Business As Usual is a good read.

That is interesting. Here's the EB link.

I like this bit:

The familiarity of our current arrangements, and the rhetoric of progress we use to justify those arrangements, make it easy to dismiss such a human-powered economy as some sort of primitive oddity that existed only because people didn’t yet know any better. Look at the disparity in economic terms and a different picture emerges. In a society without access to cheap abundant energy resources, it makes much more economic sense to train and employ a human worker than to develop a machine to fill the same niche; except in special circumstances, the additional cost of building, powering, maintaining, and operating the machine more than outweighs the additional benefits of mechanical speed and regularity.

This was why ancient Rome and imperial China, both of which had a solid understanding of mechanical principles and sophisticated technical traditions, never had industrial revolutions of their own. Lacking massive energy supplies of the sort that made modern industrial society possible, it simply made more economic sense to invest the available resources into the labor force.

That is pretty much how I see it, and why I think we will not be able to maintain a high-tech society on a solar budget. Other cultures have not managed it, and it's probably pure hubris to think we're different.

The knowledge and technology gained thanks to fossil fuels are an advantage, but I suspect it's not one we will be able to maintain over the long term. It takes surplus production to support the "specialists" who don't support themselves - kings, priests, solar technicians, doctors, nuclear physicists. We will find ourselves able to support fewer and fewer of those, and as that happens, knowledge and skills will be lost. Even knowledge and skills we cannot imagine we would ever lose now.

I agree with that, and I liked the coverage of the energy slave concept even though it is something I've been thinking about a lot.

In regard to that, I believe that it is the energy from fossil fuels that has allowed us to live independently from the people who surround us, and that as our energy slaves disappear people will need to learn to live more interdependently. And this is potentially a good thing.

I also believe that people tend to gravitate naturally toward a hierarchical tribal social organization.

However, as climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and economic crises lead into catabolic collapse, people will begin to understand that overpopulation is the real problem. Somewhere along the way it will occur to them that all of those “excess” people are actually a detriment to their own survival.

Combine these and it seems to me that the most likely eventual scenario is a fracturing into local social groups (tribes), along with an attempt to drive out the “other”, which is exactly the way things seem to go in areas. The question in my mind is what those fracture lines will be in the US – will it be ethnic, religious, or something else.

I posted my view of a future society last year. Essentially, people gathered in extended families and affinity groups on sufficient land to produce their food. My rationale for this was that it seemed logical that families and others would be forced to re-group as the economy collapsed.

I also brought up skill-sets which I believe is too little discussed. City people don't seem to be aware of the necessary skill-sets a rural person typically has. Here's a short list:

Electrical - AC/DC
Using hand tools
Engine/mechanical repair
Timber falling
Food production - vegies, berry/nuts crops, fruit trees
(This includes soil science, pest control, etc.)
Animal science/basic vet skills
Hunting, trapping, gathering
Food preservation
Basic First Aid

Now, most people would not be considered journeymen in all these categories but they know enough to get by and, equally important, they know what they don't know so they know when to call in someone has the expertise.

Lastly, rural people like myself have acquired the tools necessary to do this stuff. I have the tools to overhaul an engine or build a house or preserve a deer. Many people are going to find that the little hammer and screw drive in the drawer won't hack it. FWIW, I have over 20 hammers of various kinds. This might not set a TOD record but it's not minor either.


Good chuckle, You're exactly right, we used to call it "jack of all trades master of none" I'm the same, but my thing is saws, circular, hand saws (crosscut and rip) pruning saws, bow saws, mitre saws, jig saws, you can see where I'm going.

I feel a bad case of tool envy setting in. ;-)

Hi Don,

Two of my most "unusual" hand saws are a 1 point rip saw and a 4 point crosscut saw for timber framing. But the tool I think is most fascinating is 10" hand plane for convex and concave surfaces. It has a flexible sole plate. so it can be adjusted for either. I've never seen another one like it although they must be out there.


Edit to correct spelling of sole "place" - it should be "plate" stupid me. Too much humping dirt for a new raised bed today. I don't know but some people might think place is right.

Oh Gawd do not start me on planes. although I have generally substituted a selection of draw knives for planes.. I can deal with a more rough cut edge.
Chain saw, table saw, hack saw, bone saw.

hi Todd,

Those are called 'compass' planes. A very handy tool when nothing else will finish a nice curve. I have had one for years and used it from time to time in my trade as a chippie - mostly joinery. The big thing with hand tools is knowing how to sharpen and set them. A blunt saw or plane blade is quite useless.


I am passably proficient in a fair portion of that list, with a couple of exceptions that must be addressed. My next step is to learn to make the tools, as I expect that will be a barterable skill.

I was surprised by your list of basic skills. It's a good one but I hadn't slowed down to consider those as a whole. I'm fairly proficient in all of those. Although you have me way beat in the hammer count!

One of my favorite quotes from a colorful mechanical engineering professor was "Specialization is for insects, not man." Meaning you need to be proficient in a lot of skills to survive in the real world. Having a narrow specialty will not be very helpful when TSHTF if you can't eat, drink, or keep warm. Lacking any one of those skills will help with the die-off.

FWIW I guess I have about 20 firearms of various types each for a slightly different purpose. Where your passion or hobby lies, there will your toys/tools accumulate...

Carpentry - Decent, helped build small house but slow
Roofing - Decent, helped repairs several times, two new roofs, kind of slow
Masonry - Nope
Electrical - AC/DC - Expert
Plumbing - Expert
Using hand tools - Generally good
Engine/mechanical repair - Pretty Good, rebuilt engine on down. Specialty work (rebuild fuel pumps, etc.) cannot do without help
Timber falling - Minimal
Food production - vegies, berry/nuts crops, fruit trees
(This includes soil science, pest control, etc.) - Could be expert, lots of experience earlier (including soil & pest) but lack interest
Animal science/basic vet skills - Nope
Hunting, trapping, gathering - Only gathering
Food preservation - Decent (canning, pickling and freezing but not smoking, salting or drying)
Sewing - Marginal to be generous
Basic First Aid - Pretty Good, almost expert
Welding - Sub-Minimal, much better at brazing and soldering

I could do it, the "self sufficient" rural life, and the skills were useful in the early days back after Katrina, but that is not the way I want to live my life.

Best Hopes for All the Choices,


"allowed us to live independently from the people who surround us"

energy allowed us to lose 'we-ness'. cooperation will be seen as necessity. look at the amish raising a barn.

every time i use my tractor or my jeep to do work i know it is days/months to do that job with me physically doing it. w/o several helpers i actually am stumped as to how -w/o machinery- i could accomplish lots of the jobs being done.

i recently dug a pond w/ my frontend loader tractor. i ran into an old landfill: bedsprings/fencing/glass. impossible to drive on to pack the dam. the pros said no can do w/o hiring a dozer. i went to oldtimers [internet & neighbors ]& learned to move the debris into the dam & let it settle naturally [like they did when scoop plows & wheelbarrows made ponds] for a year with a deep temp spillway so water wouldn't collect. knowledge is already lost!

one of the things i look forward to post peak is more 'we-ness'.

Energy allows me to cooperate with team members on 3 different continents.

Energy allows people from around the world to discuss things here.

Someone was talking about researching and compiling a list of Core Technologies that may survive in a post PO scenario?

I hopes and prays for internets survival of some sort.


An energy elephant?

Canada, the mouse that sleeps next to the U.S. elephant, seems to be feeling a bit elephantine itself these days. "PM Plays Energy Card," said the big headline on the front page of the National Post yesterday. The story said Prime Minister Stephen Harper had "issued a direct warning" to the United States over the prospect of reopening NAFTA.

The thing is, Canada is bigger than the US. Who's the mouse?

....and more worrying Canada has amassed 90% of it's population on the US border. :)

sshhh! Although it's a little hard to plan our attack strategy with this thing watching over us:


That's the US Embassy in Ottawa... man it gives me the willies.

Your right that thing is pretty ominous looking, my tax dollars at work. Is that a Nuclear reactor cooling tower on top of it or what? Probably just a sterilization ray. :)

"God damn the pusher man."

Pretty much sums it up.

There are a couple of reasons for Canada's position regarding post-NAFTA negotiations. The first is that the Americans have been less than honest in the actual workings of NAFTA bordering on mafiaso goon sqad petty extortion - truth be told.

The second reason is because we can. Has this ever stopped the Americans from acting the same way?

I am reminded of the axiom Ron Paul has on his desk, "Don't steal, the government hates competition." In this case, its don't bully, that's our job. I was recently living in the U.S. and my wife is American, but I saw the writing on the wall and we got ourselves out of there. I don't know if Canada will be any better, but at least it has a chance.

Who knows, someday the U.S. may result to Abrams diplomacy for oil and water. DON'T FORGET THE WATER! Oil will be essential, water will be life or death.

I was trawling through the archives yesterday over at Energy Bulletin to see how recent developments stack up against past predictions. I found this amusing headline from 2004:

Report: Oil Will Cost $51/barrel by 2025

Published on 13 Apr 2004 by AP

The funny thing is, you might not be able to buy a gallon of gasoline for $51 US in 2025, much less a barrel of oil.

Report: Oil Will Cost $51/barrel by 2025

Maybe that is in "new dollars", after a few (or a few dozen) zeroes have been knocked off of the old ones.

Interesting retrospect pedalpower, this statement was issued by the EIA only 4 years ago .... ..... and the cost of the very same "2025-barrel" penetrated the prediction of 51$ in October the very same year ! IT IS RIDICULUS ! and the world is planning ahead based on this rubbishis info

What is a word from EIA or IEA worth these days ?
I'd say ; Nada, zip, zilch .... zero, nil, null, nothing, aught, nihil, néant, τίποτα, niente, нуль,noll ... 不存在的, 0점, معدوم , 無,


Just to rub it in, once again, here are the very words of the IEA in 2004:

"The average IEA crude oil import price, a proxy for international prices, is assumed in the Reference Scenario to fall back from current highs to $22 (in real year-2000 dollars) in 2006. It is assumed to remain flat until 2010, and then to begin to climb in a more-or-less linear way to $29 in 2030."

(World Energy Outlook 2004, page 47)

Jeff Rubin was just on CNBC, basically again making the Export Land Model (ELM) argument, and he pointed out that crude oil production has not been growing. I was surprised that they had him on again. The CNBC anchors had the same response as last time, they pretty much looked sick.

That link is up.
Yup the moderators are clearly going through the 'stages of grief'

I cannot get it to play? Interesting.

PS. I came across my first gas station on Tuesday night with the "Out of Gas" signs on all of the pumps. Attendant said it was the first time it has ever happened and the truck was due to arrive soon. Anecdotal to be sure, but I filled up at the next station I came too.

I had to go over to an IE window to get it to play.

Millions and millions of people are now facing immediate starvation. Erin and Mark have their panties up in a bunch over the "the possibility" that Americans will be driving less in several years.

Still, the day that Americans have their driving privileges snatched away will be a scary day indeed. American society was designed for easy motoring. And Americans have been conditioned by a lifetime of easy motoring. Most depend on cars and trucks to get to their food, medicines, and jobs. Thus, to many Americans, suddenly losing the ability to drive is akin to unexpectedly having your legs amputated. People are going to freak.

Yes, it is possible for people to change how they live. However, it's much easier to 'upgrade' to what is perceived as an 'improved' or 'easier' lifestyle (like China is doing), than it is to 'downgrade' to what is perceived as an 'impoverished' lifestyle. Humans can be very resistant to this kind of change.

When this happens here in the U.S., desperation will replace complacency. Religious fundamentalism will explode. And most people will support WHOEVER can convince them that "I will make it all better, just elect me and do as I say."

We ,americans are a scary lot, and it's been awhile since anyone told us 'no'. The counseling necessary for a couple of hundred million folks in withdrawal all at once aint gonna be pretty.

If one was to write a 'how to' users guide to living oil free where would one begin....1. Push your car over a cliff. 2. Quit trying to buy oranges in Maine in February 3. Give up NASCAR, grain fed steak, and plane trips. We know that all that is coming so how many people to go...what was it? The future is here just not well distributed.

Most of the 'solutuons' have to be couched in "this will be greener" or "bikes are sexy" or "it'll be good for the farmers" b/c politically the 'sweater speech' can't compete with the lower taxes crowd. We require sugar with our medicine. Staggering immaturity is projected upon us and we usually comply.

You want the truth?, said Jack Nicholson. Perhaps the recent spate of rice hoarding in the stores means there is a sudden sense of malaise, but I doubt that the implications for lifestyle are really factored in. We really need to put away all the sharp objects and begin to have it out with each other. It's not the world's responsibility to keep our Hummers humming. Sorry folks God only put so much of the black stuff down there. That's all there is to it.

"And most people will support WHOEVER can convince them that "I will make it all better, just elect me and do as I say.""

Sounds more like Obama everyday.

and McCain would be different how?

Like Ronnie Ray Gun, he'd take more naps.

When this happens here in the U.S., desperation will replace complacency. Religious fundamentalism will explode.

No and no. We won't start launching missles and we won't start praying either. We'll simply buy scooters or bicycles.

Despite what 50% of the readers here appear to believe, we can live without every single adult over the age of 18 owning and driving a car. We can form co-operatives and share cars. Businesses will offer delivery service. Bus service will expand.

The average person can peddle a bicycle at 12 mph... even in the rain. Most of the places we work or shop are within 12 miles so they are commutable by bicycle or scooter. We just need some modest traffic engineering to accomodate scooters and cycles.

When folks stop financing, insuring, and fueling their 4,000 pound pets, they will, on average, realize an additional $600/month.
Multiply that by thousands and thriving local businesses and neighborhoods arise.

your assuming that the average American or human for that matter is a rational being..
we are not.

We won't start launching missles

I dunno. I think the families of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who've died as a result of our invasion may beg to differ.

As for religious extremism, I also think it's a very real (and scary) possibility. But time will tell I guess. Here's a Noam Chomsky interview worth a taking a look at. It's interesting that religion became mobilized as a political force shortly after the domestic peak of oil production.

However in the U.S., the more extremist, by comparative standards, religious movements did become mobilized into a political force for the first time in history really and that’s pretty much less than 25 years. It’s striking that this is one of the worst periods of economic history for the majority of the population, for whom real wages and incomes have stagnated while work hours increased and benefits declined, and inequality grew to staggering proportions, a dramatic difference from the previous 25 years of very high and egalitarian economic growth and improvement in other measures of human development.

There is a correlation, common in other parts of the world as well. When life is not offering expected benefits, people commonly turn to some means of support from religion.

Religion's been a political force since the Pilgrims, and waxes and wanes over time. When science really started to gain strength after the Civil War, there was a backlash that eventually arose and culminated in the Scopes "Monkey Trial," weakened quickly and then gained again during the Depression, was shoved aside by WW2, gained again due to use as a tool during start of Cold War, Sputnik and Space Race caused decline, then ressurected By Reagan/Bush whose allies have kept it in the forefront to a degree wholey at odds with reality. Today, it's become just another tool useed to divide and conquer. When asked what my religion is, I answer that I invented my own and keep my own church.

I posted this comment over at Realclimate.org in response to another commenter, the quote is his.

We know that enough sunlight falls on the Earth in one hour to power all of human society for one year - so we just have to capture and convert a small fraction of that in order to meet our energy needs.

Another, at least to me, interesting question is just what exactly are our so called needs? As an example of what I mean let me postulate a possibly radical paradigm shift and alternative way of life. Do we really need what we think we do? Could we imagine a much more personal self contained but still comfortable and fulfilling existence? We living in the so called first world style of Western civilization live in relatively large houses with lots of power consuming lights and gadgets. Do we really need to light an entire room to full daylight standards at night all the time? could we survive with low intensity LED strips and maybe wear self contained fashionable headgear with personal high powered lighting powered by human powered kinetic generators, http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=powering-cell-phone-battery. Maybe saving the full daylight at night brilliance only for very special occasions? I can think of hundreds more such examples of energy efficiency which is available right now with off the shelf technology if only we look at how and what we do from radically different perspectives.

I’m not even going to bother with pointing out the stupidity of sitting in a typical traffic jam commute to your average downtown office, cocooned in a couple of thousand pounds of fossil fuel powered carbon dioxide spewing automobile. As a more concrete example one of my colleagues from work takes three to four days of very stressful travel by plane, rental car hotel stay etc… to visit and implement my company’s software on site at a typical customer. In that same time I can log on to computers in half a dozen countries around the world and do the same implementation and training for dozens on customers with ever leaving my home. Maybe I can invite those customers to meet me on some nice sunny beach on our two month long sabaticals and make it a point of all of us getting there by sailboat instead of by plane.

Let me invite all of you to start imagining this kind of world. BTW I just came back from doing kayak support for a relay swim team www.distancematters.com held in Tampa Bay Florida in commemoration of Earth Day, I spent over 13 non stop hours paddling in this 24 mile race. I met some people who do things like swim the English Channel run up on the beach turn around and then swim back again, It was an immense honor and a pleasure to be associated with such people. I'm pretty sure, based on meeting these folks, that when the going gets tough there will be a few people out there who will be mentally prepared for our new reality. I truly feel sorry for the rest.

Happy Belated Earth Day to All!

That message was clear !!

It was. Next up, Jeffery Brown or Alan Drake!

Best hopes for more clarity.

Electric cars, hydrogen vehicles!!!?? WTF? If only we can switch from heroin to crack, things will be just fine. - whew!

This is why Kunstler & Co. have it nailed on the head, it's the car stupid!

BTW, I think Rubin is wrong. Move his projections up two years.

But to answer the vacuous anchor's question, no you won't be able to get the techno-genie to grant your three wishes and make a significant change to the U.S. auto fleet. You won't even be able to convince Bubba to stop driving his F-250. Instead, he'll just threaten to shoot any A-rab he sees because its their fault.

Nah, it's the baby-making - those little suckers are resource absorbers, and they grow exponentially while resources are finite. ;) Doug Stanhope is right, every problem boils down to "too many people" cuz we "are pissing away our natural resources like draft beer at a frat party." Our genes don't care if our lives are crap - they will still make us create more copies, to continue life until the population crashes. The countries that are the worst off today in the world - is there population shrinking yet? If not we are truly pooch-screwed! I think the biggest problem is that humans will still reproduce desite staggering levels of suffering. But that hardwiring is the only reason why any sentient species survives.

Just a glance at a chart of the exponential growth of the human population should strike fear into the compartmentalized mind of the optimist, because we are indeed animals, especially when it comes to reproduction. When your life sucks and you're poor as dirt, sex may be the only drug in town.

Stanhope is an unsung genius. I'm glad I got to see him in person before it all came crumbling down.

I actually think that Erin Burnett is a believer in peak oil. Mark may also be leaning peak oil.

Speaking of projections, this was Jeff Rubin in April 2005:

"Over the next five years, crude prices will almost double, averaging close to $77/bbl and reaching as much as $100/bbl by 2010."


Rubin has figured out many of the key dynamics out there. But he also has been a bit on the low side when forecasting prices. I wouldn't be surprised if this is just him being cautious, realizing that even if he's wrong and that prices are higher than his forecast, he's still right in terms of the trend. No one will fault him if he says that prices will go up dramatically, and they go up even more so.

It may also be his media savvy, realizing that there's only so much that people will listen to. People, out of some protective instinct (or something else), will look away from deeply troubling ideas, no matter how carefully argued or presented. That's my experience anyhow.

Price predictions are difficult because of the instability of the US dollar. Rubin could have mentioned that his predictions were not accounting for possible extreme US dollar weakness.

Very true. Another big risk when making price predictions is the impact that high prices will have on demand... but he is clearly in the Matthew Simmons camp rather than the Deffeyes camp (who has said something along the lines of oil in the future only costing $80, but nobody being able to afford it).

Uranium prices reached $135 dollars a pound in June of 2007. Commodity promoters advertised that uranium stockpiles could not last; as if reactors would be shut down as a result of scarcity of uranium.

Since then the price per pound sank to $65.00.

The recent weekly petroleum report showed the United States petroleum products supplied above what was supplied last year for the past four weeks. Total stocks of petroleum + products (excl. SPR) are 3.6% lower this year than last; nothing to panic about. It is not as if our ethanol use has freed us from dependence on foreign oil either, a lowering of imports resulted in large stockpile draws in three of the past four weeks. The spring and autumn were generally times when oil usage was lower due to not needing heating oil for heat or gasoline for summer vacation get-aways. From what I have read, someone in OPEC indicated prices might remain above $90.

A build in crude is normal for this time of year, yet total stocks only increased 700,000 barrels for the week. It does not seem like the nation is serious enough about conserving energy. With gasoline prices in danger of rising to $4.00 a gallon by the end of Memorial Day weekend we might see greater efforts towards conservation.

I think he hit the nail pretty hard on the head in that interview, saying fewer Americans would be driving in 5 years of alternatives like electric cars or hydrogen cars aren't mass-produced by then. 5 years? Are you kidding me? Anyone with a brain should be shitting their pants over such a prediction.

The ELM, and recent case histories, indicate that net oil export decline rates accelerate with time, which is why I always finish my Peak Oil/Peak Exports presentations with Alan Drake's work (what I call my Peak Oil Tranquilizer--he may be wrong, but at least he has a plan based on proven technology).

Electrified Transportation, circa 1908:

My city of Bergen/Norway is taking Alanfrombigeasy seriously, a modern tramway/ system is under developement. In the downtown area it will use the streets, but seperate tracks (off the streets that is) will be arranged for where possible in less dense areas. Bergen used to have a tramway-system from ca 1900 till say 1970 or so. Those times are back !

New tram system video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCxdvMf5zeU&feature=related

Old tram (museum)video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL_Nj_O27Zs&feature=related

Yeah, Norway is a good example of the catastrophic effects of high energy consumption taxes. Don't you guys have something like the highest per capita income in the world?

In contrast, here in the US we are the proud owners of millions of suburban McMansions, which make no economic sense without an expanding supply of cheap energy.

Depending on the exchange rate of the day, Norway has the highest gas taxes in the world (some days Sweden, some days Denmark).

Based on oil consumption in 1970, Denmark would be oil self sufficient today. But because they cut oil consumption in half, they now export half of their oil production.

ELM in reverse :-)

Best Hopes for Danish Consultants in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, etc.



In general, I like the idea of electrified rail. However, if we move to electrified rail, and most of our electricity comes from fossil fuels, won't electricity prices rise through the roof? I like moving to electricity, sunlight hits the planet everyday. But doesn't the investment to go with electrified rail have to be tied to a second investment in increased electricity production and transmission?

ComplexAdaptiveSystems -

Do you see any scenario where electrical prices Don't go through the roof?

I expect it will ALL become damnably expensive, Energy, Materials, etc.. (everything except Labor) which is why we should be doing it now, while it's still 'cheap' (subsidized as it is by the 'Last days of Ancient Sunlight'..) The vast majority of the remaining 'blown trust-fund' should be applied to smoothing the transition- to help falling Energy and the consequent falling Population not fall ALL the way down the cliff.. IMO. Some places might get away with it, many will not, and there will be some very sad, but cool Ghost Towns out there.


which is why we should be doing it now,

Ah, but there's the rub - what exactly is "it."?

As far as I'm concerned, any plan which includes the building out of some solution is suspect from the beginning.

..and because it is suspect, do you take a shot at it and try, or do you just stay suspicious?

I'm converting a couple bikes into a trike, and trying a motor/battery/controller which may or may not help me on the hills.. it 'could' be one small solution that I at a personal level am developing.

That is my 'it' .. a lot of different its that we have a fairly good idea might help, but with many of them, we won't know unless we try. We won't see all the little costs, side-effects, complications or added benefits until well afterwards.

It is not a 'final solution', or a silver bullet.. it's just action, action on many, many fronts.


If that's your "it," then I'm right with you. Your earlier post made it sound as if you had some grand plan. What you are doing (and what I would agree is the best path) I would term a build down as oppossed to a build out. I think that is an important difference. Plan on seeing a lower tech, decentralized, slower moving society in the future and plan for that. What I would object to are the efforts to hurry and get some "it" done in time so that everything will be hunky dory when the oil runs out. To me, such plans are counterproductive. If I jumped before understanding you, I apologize.

I might have shifted my theme a bit, too. I've been tossing in replies hastily today. Pardon the tension, if it seemed that way..

I do actually think we need to use some of the thinning abundance (!?) of today's energy to get a solid jump on investing and transitioning to things like electric rail and adding more PV, CSP, Wind and other Alt-E mfr-ing capacity, while I agree that such plans must be well-thought out. But I don't think that they all have to be second-guessed within an inch of their lives, either. The mentioned technologies are proven and provable, and unless the harshest PV eroei critics can offer clear numbers that show PV or others really shouldn't be part of the mix, they should be growing fast right now, both for the potential installed capacity and for the jobs.

It is not a Grand Plan in the sense that it pretends to offer us continued BAU coming out the other side.. no, our energy availability WILL be dropping, and we will be 'building down' in all sorts of ways from this profligate profile we're so accustomed to.. to use my favorite image, it is simply widening the straw that we will try to breathe through. But decentralization and increased self-reliance are surely going to be making a comeback.

Nonetheless, I do think we have to hurry with some of this. These are lifeboats, and they have to be deployed while the davits are still functioning with steam power.. Just because they are machines, just because this is an aspect of 'Industry' doesn't make it 'non-grata' for me. There is appropriate technology, and using it well will help. ..And even what may be deemed 'appropriate' or essential will vary from situation to situation. I'm not the judge of it. That will be determined from place to place. I just want people to see it coming, and see what tools will be able to help us durably and reliably for a good stretch into the future, hopefully long enough to brace us a bit during the tumult, giving us some breathing room to make more of these or other, more fitting solutions.

Bob Fiske

Have a look downtown anywhere.
There are chocolate shops, handbag shops, perfume shops, donuts, hamburgers, icecream, shoes, clothing, pets, lighting, electrical, auto, drugs, liquor, cameras, computers, toys, amusements and games and a lot more. Specialist shops, proudly thriving in a growing economy.

Now these trams are going to take people to work and shop downtown I suppose.
Of course all those shops will be doing plenty of business because of the trams. So we had better electrify as much rail as possible less they go broke.

The electrical projects will be funded by government and entrepreneurs with excess capital, or funds will be just taken from other areas seen to be less needy, like hospitals and schools, wind farms and PV manufacture or whatever.

The high speed trains racing across the country will be needed by inter urban commuters to get to the city to work and shop and use the trams.

The high speed trains will be hauling, grains, vehicles, consumer goods and cornflakes and cookies.
If things go bad, riding shotgun on the trains would be a new occupation. Not a job I'd want mind you. Especially if the trains are speeding past hungry, jealous crowds.

Actually, I'm all for electrifying rail. It probably was the one big change we could have made that would have made the transition of off fossil fuels smoother. But with all due respect to those that support rail electrification now, I think we are about 30 years late. Had we started in the seventies we'd be a radically different society now.

But what we should do and what we do are rarely the same. And we will putz about too long to affect any society wide intentional changes.

And what's to prevent those "hungry, jealous crowds" from derailing that high speed electric train and looting it?

While all you technofix expectationists are tinkering with your gadgets, someone's just going to bust your heads, raid your larders, rape your women, then move on to the next preoccupied mark.

I think Alan has posted before that electrification of rail transportation would actually only draw a few % from the national grid.

IMO the home heating transition from oil to electric space heaters could potentially put a LOT more strain on the system than trains...

In the worst case, diesel could be burned in a high efficiency central power plant (combined cycle 60% efficient x.93 for transmission and transforming) vs. abour 30% (from memory) for a diesel ICE.

Best case would be renewables. The modeling I have done with the Millennium Institute shows that the economic effects of electrified rail plus renewables is not additive, but multiplicative.

The best of all worlds :-)

Best Hopes for Electrified Rail running on Renewable power,


Denmark is a good example of adaptation to a sudden oil shock - they were very heavily dependent on oil for electricity generation as well as transport. I imagine there must have been a lot of belt tightening with the adjustment but they seem to have managed it just fine. I believe they even banned driving on Sunday at one point.

Electricity went over to more coal generation, then CHP with a lot of district heating schemes, and now wind power and biomass, and a big improvement in building insulation standards.

In the UK where I live we discovered North Sea oil and gas and burnt it all with very little thought for the future. I reckon we are about to see the payback here.

I have named him Sir Alan of BE.

WT, that is the similar picture we had of Jacksonville and aspire to some day. So long as we make accommodation for this new fangled craze called the velocipede, (and handicapped on a serious note), this is still a workable plan.

WT , regarding that ”per capita”-thing I guess we are up there. Personally I do understand that we, as a nation, are very lucky: few people – a long coastline and a lot of fossils. We will suffer some in the future due to sub-urbanization here as well, but not in the vicinity of the magnitude of that of the US of A. (4X of’ s in one sentence, was that correct?).

The ignorance of PO is all-over-the-place in my country; it is simply not an issue, but that said, I guess we are among the few that can allow for the idea of still being ignorant …for some more time. After all we will be exporters for some more years, as opposed to our neighbors in EU.

The ignorance of PO is all-over-the-place in my country ..

I have a 17 year old boy in Trondheim. I told him that by the time he gets to 21, 80% of Norway's reserves will have gone. I think he is trying to humour his "old man" as he has taken it quite well.

Hi Alfred, your boy is just like most of us, happily unknowing. BAU for another few years until TSHTF!As you say he is only 17 thus not responsible nor able to grasp the concequenses of what may come or should be done TODAY already, IMO.
All in all I see Norway as a good place to ride out the downward slope of Mr. M. King Hubbert.

Once upon a time we survived on fish, potatoes ,rutabaga and some …whale meat , polar bear and penguins, jellyfish … and even what worse were … We can easily switch back ...;-)

and penguins

In Norway ???

Amazing that Polar Bears never eat Penguins. It must have something to do with preferring seals. ;)

Might have something to do with them being at opposite ends of the Earth.

ohh sorry, only canned Penguins and dried jellyfish. The polar bears were taken sushi-style :-)

If you can eat lutefisk, you can eat anything. If you can enjoy lutefisk, anything is possible! :-)

I was in Geneva last year and they are expanding their electric tram system too -if its good enough for the Swiss its good enough for anyone... :o)


I came across a similar nostalgic shot from my hometown:


In fairness we do have a good bikepath there, but...

Even without an economic disruption there is no way that EVs, PHEVs, or certainly hydrogen vehicles will have any significant penetration in the vehicle fleet. There appears to be no understanding of what it takes to bring such a product to market, nor of the infrastructure changes required. With an economic disruption it is even more absurd.

Well lets lighten things up a bit around here with the potential implied in this!... Just heard on CNN that there are an estimated 3 million out of a pop of 27 million Iraqis who are disabled in a war designed to keep feet up off the ground. Now if we could get that happening over here in a similar proportion think of all the fuel savings. It just boggles the mind!

I think that what we are going to see when the price of gasoline gets high enough is that a lot of compacts and subcompacts are going to start getting converted into electrics. It is feasible to do, and can be done for <$10K. In many ways, one might be better off to take that money and buy a purpose-built NEV instead. On the other hand, if there is a 5-year waiting list to get a GEM, and a conversion is your only hope to preserve some motorized mobility now, what else are you going to do?

Once all the compacts and subcompacts have been snatched up (including some in the junk yards) and converted, those left with nothing but SUVs and no way to afford double digit per gallon gasoline will be in a world of hurt.

I think when Americans "get it" or "if they get it", American ingenuity will kick in an we will see a dramatic demand decline. 5-7$ gallon gas will make us get it...but may be too late by then. We need to "get it" very soon. ... BTW, hydrogen cars. I understand the fuel cells require platinum ... so this solution does not scale at all.

There are some new fuel-cell designs that use alkali instead of acid in the membranes and therefore can use cheaper metals that are not a resistant to corrosion. That being said fuel cells are still terribly inefficient when you take into account what it takes to produce the hydrogen. Either use the electricity needed for electrolysis directly and save the efficiency loss or throw the coal into the power plant and save the conversion to hydrogen step and the energy loss.

NEVs with a very limited range (say 20 miles or so) are, IMHO, the ONLY viable future for motorized personal transport - and even at that, only for some, not for all. There simply aren't going to be the resources to support anything more than that. Batteries will be the bottleneck, and we're going to find that we can only AFFORDABLY manage to put a few batteries into each NEV. That is what is going to limit their range and speed, so there is no point continuing for the dreams of EVs with a range of hundreds of miles and speeds of 60-100mph. There will be few high-performance things like the Tesla and the Chevy Volt built, maybe, but they will never be anything more than curiosities and rich people's playthings. For the masses, there will be feet, bicycles (if you're lucky), mass transit (if you're really lucky), and short-range, slow, tiny NEVs (if you're REALLY really lucky); maybe a few horses or mules can be thrown in there for the country folks. That's the best it's gonna be, people, forget about anything else, and start figuring out how to adjust yourselves to this future reality. Coming soon to streets near you!

I can't understand why you are so pessimistic on EV's.

Here is the Th!nk, which is not much like a conventional American car, but would do most of the job with you just having to hire an ICC when you needed to do a long run:

the TH!NK city is a two-seater with a top speed of 65 mph, a zero to 30 mph time of just 6.5 seconds and it’ll reach 50 mph in 16 seconds – perfectly respectable ‘round town performance at legal speeds, and it’ll run another 124 miles after an overnight ten hour charge from any domestic power outlet. The ROI is amazing as total running costs for 10,000 miles in the UKP14,000 vehicle will be the extra UKP125 on your electric bill.

Those needing something bigger would have to hang on for the 5 seater Ox:
The Energy Blog: Five Passenger TH!NK Ox Introduced at Geneva Auto Show

These are serious people and the production engineering is by Porsch.

Gail fears that the electricity grid would collapse, but massive savings in use are pretty easy in the US as it is currently used so poorly:

Or homeowners could switch to residential solar thermal panels cheaply:

IDC, has announced plans to mass-produce an inflatable solar panel and make it commercially available for less than 100 pounds ($200) , a great leap forward in making green energy available to the masses.

Of course, you would still need to plumb them in, but just the same the massive savings possible are clear.

Overload on the US grid is in any case largely a peak period issue, and as Alan from the Big Easy has posted transmission lines to spread the load are pretty cheap, and wind-power is an excellent resource in the States and is quick to build.

I don't see a painless transition but there seems to be no reason why substantial numbers of people should not have reasonable access to a fair level of mobility.

I am sure you have seen the air compressed cars. I haven't figured out yet if that has any potential.

I saw them, but it remains unproven technology, which is why I prefer to focus on efforts like the Th!nk and the Toyota plug-in hybrid which is coming, as we can be confident that they will happen.

The generation of electric and hybrid cars after that should be able essentially to provide similar performance to ICC cars:

Last month, Stanford University materials scientists unveiled a nanowire electrode that could more than triple lithium batteries' energy storage capacity and improve their safety.


“Previous tests show the UltraBattery has a life cycle that is at least four times longer and produces 50 per cent more power than conventional battery systems. It’s also about 70 per cent cheaper than the batteries currently used in HEVs,” he said.

UltraBattery sets new standard for HEVs (Media Release)

All the vehicle fleet in the developed world is not going to be replaced overnight, but there seems to be no technical reason why a lot of people should not be able to drive about instead of walk or use public transport.

Unproven??? Ever use an air powered ratchet wrench or watch a jack hammer? Air power has been around a lot longer than FF power. What needs to change are expectations.

If the roads are in a sad state of repair, what's the point of doing 60 mph (100 kmh) anyway? There is the real disconnect me lads!

Sure compressed air works, but the performance figures claims made for running cars on it are unverified, at least as public information.

here seems to be no reason why substantial numbers of people should not have reasonable access to a fair level of mobility

Monday - Took Streetcar to meet client
Tuesday - Took Streetcar to protest GWB
Wednesday - Took Streetcar to free concert downtown (every Wednesday evening for 20 weeks)
Thursday - Took Streetcar to buy JazzFest Tickets (cash, zero $ to Ticketmaster and zero dollars to Visa, all local $ stay local) and talk with friend.
Friday - Take Streetcar to Client and review preliminary results, miss JazzFest
Saturday - Take Streetcar to Jazzfest
Sunday - Take Streetcar to Jazzfest

Meanwhile walked to a variety of destinations. Will not use my car once this week.

Best Hopes for Non-Oil Transportation,


I've got a little VW Polo, which I believe is smaller than any of your VW's in the States.

Even if oil goes to $500/barrel shortly I would be able to run it for what I actually need it for, to go the 1/2 mile to the shops and back- walking carrying stuff is a bit difficult for me, and none of us get any younger.

No reason after that why the back seats couldn't come out and whatever batteries are then available shouldn't be installed.

To you I might sound like a pessimist. To some doomers, I might sound like an optimist.

Part of it is a matter of time frame. Short term - next 5-10 years, say - there are going to be lots of good things become available, pretty much along the lines you describe.

Somewhat longer term, though - 10-25 years out - I am afraid that we're going to see inexorable resource depletion (not just petroleum, not just FFs, but MOST non-renewable resources) really kick in and start to take its toll. That is the period when we are going to be looking at serious economic decline. When you really start to face up to what that is going to mean, it becomes impossible to be very optimistic.

Much longer term - 50-100+ years out - I am maybe a little more optimistic than some doomers, in that I still have some hopes that we can level off, avoid a total crash, and manage to salvage something of a technological society. Doomers would claim that the few people still left by then would all be on foot or maybe horseback, except for the few that still had antique bicycles working. I'm more optimistic and hopeful in that I am hoping that we'll still have the capability to make a few bicycles, NEVs, and even some mass transit equipment.

Fair enough, WNC, if that is your evaluation.
I'd just like to point out though, as you are doubtless well aware, that that is an entirely separate argument to oil and gas peaking.
Personally I have never found the Limits to Growth methodologies at all convincing, save in limited and specialised cases such as fossil fuels and rare earths and minerals.
That is not to say that severe difficulties won't be encountered, and I don't know the answer as to whether we will pull through in some reasonable shape, but it does seem to me that as long as we have plenty of energy we can, at least technically, cope with a lot.
For instance, as long as you have energy it is much easier to deal with pollutants and provide fertiliser and so on.
Incidentally, although most here would think that I am mainly a nuclear power advocate, that in fact is largely a fall-back position, and in practice I think that high altitude wind and solar power will provide most of our energy needs - I just don't count on it until the technology is pretty solid.
Nothing wrong with different opinions though, and I haven't got a hot-line to God!

Twilight -

The extreme difficulties and vast expense involved in implementing major and large-scale changes in technology and the infrastructure needed to support that technology is something most people, including many top economists, have little or no appreciation of.

I almost gagged when I heard one prominent economist, when querried about the worsening oil situation, cavalierly reply something to the effect: "I'm not at all worried about oil, because if we run out, we'll just switch to coal and nuclear."

Right, Dude! No problemo .... just flip the oil switch to OFF and hit the ON switchs for coal and nuclear. Gee, why didn't I think of doing that?

We'll just mount a "Mr. Fusion" on top of each engine. They saw it in a movie somewhere.

Another pdf that goes with Rubin's announcement today.


Here is the pdf that goes with Rubin's report:


It gives a credit (at the end) to The Oil Drum and Stuart's Megaprojects Task Force.

I inquired with the EIA about when they will have the 2007 net export data out. Answer: "Soon."

They have some 2007 production data up on their export/import website. If Mexico had a zero increase in consumption (which does not appear to be the case), their 2007 net oil exports dropped at about -13%/year.


Good to know. Sharpen your weapons, WT, you are soon to get a direct challenge to ELM. Not that net exports wouldn't decline. They will. But they won't be choked off at nearly the rate you project.

We will need official data to test rival predictions.

What is the most up-to-date version of your projections?

Is this where you are going on the EIA website for oil import data?


Yes, and it looks like they are adding new data--10 years of historical production, consumption and net export data.

Airlines' folding leaves US soldiers stranded in the middle east.

Our congress critters are going to threaten to not sell SA weapons if they don't pump more oil? What part of C-H-I-N-A are they missing? What part of OPEC changing the price of oil to Euros are they missing? And were they too busy smoking dope to remember the 1973 embargo?

The King's pronouncement that SA was leaving oil in the ground for future generations was a shot across the bow of the US. This is our shot back. Stay tuned for further developments.

Yup, were in a hole alright, and our Governments answer KEEP DIGGING!

The Congresscritters are ignorant, stupid, or worse but it's hard to argue that less weapons in the Middle East is bad thing.

Wishful thinking, but maybe it's a crack to get a "discussion" on PO going on a more national stage.


What I can't understand is why this government is so opposed to reducing demand. Why don't we dramatically cut demand (through oil tax, gov't guaranteed loans for PHEV development etc.) and let the Chinese go to war with the Saudi's without us. Or are we going to have a Molotov/Ribbentrop partition of Ghawar with the Chinese?

Because short-term political incentives - pleasing voters and influential lobbies - trumps long-term thinking of any kind. The first rule of politics is to seize and maintain one's grip on power. In our 'democracy' this is done by placating the consumption whims of the masses and the wealthy corporations that benefit from that consumption.

It's really that simple.

What? Cut demand? that would be un-American! Besides, the American way of life is non-negotiable. What are you, some kind of commie?

Sadly, that seems to be how much of the country thinks. Personally, I think that the Global Warming activists have hurt the cause of making the U.S. energy independent. They have provoked a knee-jerk reaction on the right, defending the interests of corporations against environmental meddling. I think the U.S. public would be a lot more receptive if an oil tax were sold as a way to protect our national interests from Arab control. Post 9/11 would have been the perfect time to make this argument, and I think it could have worked. Now, I don’t see the public agreeing to a gas/oil tax, even one that is revenue neutral. People are not going to be satisfied with seeing the bucket of sh*t tipping near the fan, and the fan running at full speed. They are going to wait until it hits them in the face. What else is new?

and I think it could have worked. Now, I don’t see the public agreeing to a gas/oil tax, even one that is revenue neutral.

Darn it. Have to concede on both counts and I also wanted to see that tax. We have rebate checks coming, the system is there already. 'Look folks there will be a 30 cent tax on gasoline but you'll be getting $1000 this year and the same next but the tax will be a bit higher'

Ride a bike and 'make' money. Use it to downsize your vehicle choice. Spend it on bus tickets. It is your energy rebate check not your go-out-and-stimulate-the-economy into higher fuel price check.

I was dismayed to hear Gov. Richardson dismiss a similar idea w/o even hearing it fully the other day on CNBC. We want votes not solutions appearantly. When we fall in that bucket I doubt we'll come out smelling like a rose.

If the below link is correct:
the answer would be "yes you are a commie!"

'Cause its un-'Merican son. Unbridled consumption and Manifest Destiny are our God given rights.

"God Bless America, and nobody else." - ah, the movie with Warren Beatty in it :-/

moabite -

I'm sure that Saudi Arabia is shaking in their boots (or more accurately, slippers?) at the prospect of the US holding up arms sales.

These days, arms are getting to be more fungible than oil, and all the major arms producing countries have a full line of the latest high-tech war toys. These annual internations weapons shows are very much like auto or boat shows, with booths manned by the various arms producers handing out slick brochures and CDs extolling the virtues of their latest missile, fighter plane, or armored vehicle. And if one is only interested in small munitions of the more mundane sort, the international arms black market is about as open and accessible as a country flea market.

The fundamental problem of which the US Congress is either ignorant of or in total denial about is simply this: the US needs Saudi oil, but SA does not need US arms. We will probably be seeing more Middle Eastern oil traveling eastward to China and Chinese arms traveling westward to the Middle East. Nice job, Congress!

Did you see that nice demo from a Russian Mig29 shooting down an unmanned reconnaissance plane (made in US??) this week?

Late-revision MiG-29s are nice, but the Sukhoi 'Flanker' family is where the action is. :) Winged Death.

I'm pretty sure that various US defence contractors who would lose a substantial level of business are, even as I write, taking those congresspeople out behind the woodshed and administering a severe kicking.

I think this reflects the level of anxiety in Washington at current economic prospects - if the price of oil doesn't come down soon, gasoline prices are going to shoot past $4 per gallon in the next 4-6 weeks. Ouch.

Time to print more money to send to Israel so that they can buy that weaponry. Somebody has to buy it.

Oh wait, maybe Mugabe could use some jets now that the South African dockworkers union has refused to unload the Chinese arms intended for Zimbabwe. Yeah, that's it. Send some newly printed money to Zimbabwe so that they can buy the product of what's left of the US manufacturing industry.

Good point one of the few areas of manufacturing left in the US is weapons systems, and the government is threatening to stop sales. I'm sure the CEO's at Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, GM etc. were so happy to hear this they called up their senators first thing this morning to show their support. :)

Hello TODers,

Over the past couple of years, I have seen many predictions and suggestions here for investments that would be profitable in a post Peak Oil world. Unfortunately, during that time, all of my cash was tied up in my 10 acre property in Vermont, and there was little I could do with regard to suggestions here at TOD regarding oil futures, commodities and POT stock.

Having just sold the homestead and having relocated to a house within walking distance to a train near New York City (my post PO lifestyle choice), I'm wondering what to do with the proceeds (I'm renting). I'm afraid I'm too late to take advantage of the POT and commodities boom (including gold), and some people say the stock market will tank once the credit crisis really starts to kick in.

How about it? Any predictions for where the smart money will go next? Is it too late to buy oil futures and/or energy stocks? What are the pitfalls involved when buying energy futures?

PS: I won't be buying a farm in the middle of nowhere -- been there, done that (sort of). If there's no gasoline available at a reasonable price I don't want to be stuck in the boonies. Sorry if that offends anyone here, but I lived the dream and that's my choice. Neither am I going to buy dubloons and bury them in the backyard. I'm looking for something I can tell my broker... Thanks in advance to anyone who cares to share!

(Formerly in Vermont)

Wow. A 10-acre spread in Vermont would be a lot of people's post-peak fantasy.

Hooray! We've got 10 acres in southern Vermont.

Of course, pre-peak, it does take a lot of gas to get anywhere. And believe me, the winters are anything but a fantasy. But all in all, it's a pretty good, sustainable place, especially after you subtract a few million tourists ...

Hi Leanan. I loved my place in Vermont, don't get me wrong. We closed on the property last month and it was with a heavy heart that I drove away. However we got a good price, and I consider myself lucky to have sold it within a few months of putting it on the market, given how things are.

The house was in a valley at the base of a mountain, in an agricultural community adjoining State land, with all of God's creation to roam around in. Two streams went through the property, there was a woodlot, and I had installed a large, irrigated, organically-managed vegetable garden, after I became PO aware. I certainly took advantage of what we had while we were there, and I'll miss it.

Here's the rub: if Peak Oil's immediate effects are going to manifest themselves in a shortage of gasoline (and/or in an exorbitant price), I felt that we were going to be more and more limited in our ability to get around. The nearest grocery store was a 10 minute drive (or an hour's walk), the nearest town was a 30 minute drive (or a day's walk back and forth, not that I ever did that - there are no sidewalks anyway). Our property was subject to high winds and heavy snows, and although we snowshoed for recreation, I thought that walking anywhere in winter for errands was not going to be practical. Our plowing bill was already several hundreds of dollars a season, and heaven only knows what that will be in the future. The growing season was also very short.

I was already spending $90 a week on gas just to run errands and see clients. That's probably gone up now in just the past month. With limited transportation options in the future, I began to feel that we would be too isolated out there. After all, one still needs to buy groceries, go to the dentist/doctor etc. No one can be completely self-sufficient -- that's a myth. (And yes, I got to know my neighbors).

As I write this, my car is in the driveway and I only use it a few times a week. I walk to the grocery and shops and can take the train into Grand Central. I'm getting more exercise and it feels good to be out from behind the wheel.

To any city/suburban folks dreaming about moving out to the country post peak, and "growing your own food" etc., be careful what you wish for. It's not for everybody. People who are born into the country life will likely be more comfortable living with less transportation than people who are used to going to movies and restaurants whenever they feel like it. Try renting a farmhouse for a year and see how you like it before you make any long-term commitments, and good luck.

George in Vermont said:

"I felt that we were going to be more and more limited in our ability to get around."

You won't have that problem living near NYC for sure. Your days of going ANYWHERE when TSHTF will quickly be eliminated. The "smart money", as you say, was in Vermont, sorry. I'm glad to hear you got a good price for your future.

Well, who knows? If the Yosemite supervolcano explodes or someone drops a bomb on NYC, you may be right. However, I think that while these are possible threats, the risk is remote compared to the very real and imminent threat posed by the looming liquid-fuel transportation crisis. New York's commuter trains and subways run on electricity, we have the harbor and the ocean if passenger ships replace air travel (I went by ship to Europe last year and much preferred it over economy class air travel), and of course the Hudson River, Erie Canal and the waterways linking us to Lake Champlain, Montreal and the St. Lawrence. So, while I realize it is counter-intuitive to some, I'll be taking my chances here. Cheers.

...and in the City and the Suburbs ~8,000,000 mouths to feed. Unless you can keep your food supply intact or the collapse is gradual (which is entirely possible), cities over say 100,000 (pulled that number out of thin air) are traps. I happen by chance (there was no plan to end up here) to live where quite a bit of food is grown and energy pulled out from the ground sometimes on the same piece of land. Do you think for a second that IF things were to get really bad that the people who produce the food and energy would be very worried about a city hundreds to thousands of miles away, when all their resources are being used just to survive and store enough to eat through winter.

Here's a simple very simple example, I grow grain I produce 300 bushels it takes 250 bushels to feed myself and my friends who helped. That leaves 50 bushels to send to others right, WRONG 30 bushels are destroyed due to rot, infestation, and mold or maybe I want to preserve just in case next years harvest goes bad. That leaves 20 bushels to do something with like oh I don't know keep, so I have something to PLANT and harvest and do it all over again next year.

I guess it boils down to how TSHTF, living in cities during a collapse would only be a great idea if somehow most of the rest of our transportation and farming infrastructure was able to be kept pretty much intact.

Ah, but our food distribution system is not built on people who plant a couple acres and have their friends help out. It is based on huge farms and even larger collection points that are specifically set up to send the farm products to cities.

This is the single largest flaw I see in the thinking of those who say that the city dwellers will flock to the country to overwhelm the survivalist farmers. For most people in cities (at least in N.A.), food comes from grocery stores. And that is where they will go should the worst happen. Should the government get involved, they will set up distribution centers in cities, not out in the country.

To think that all of this would change (especially the idea that suddenly small farmers will be providing food to cities) in a quick collapse borders on nonsense. In a long slow collapse we will, no doubt, see a move toward smaller farms, but that slow collapse would also see adjustments (even if they be Malthusian) in the cities as well.

I generally agree. As you well know, one can become quite isolated (including from medical care and aid in our older years) in remote rural areas. I will point to Airdale as an example.

Humans are social animals and we live longest and best in a society and not as hermits.

Still, I might have chosen a Chicago area village on an electric rail stop, or the extreme Eastern terminus of St. Louis's Light Rail Line. Some place with a LARGE supply of #2 dent corn and soybeans within bicycling range (a few silver quarters could go a long way). Not the best tasting diet, but enough to get you through year one. And close enough to grow your own later, while remaining connected to a large metropolis. Living in a large food surplus area is not a bad thing, but remaining connected to a medical establishment and a functional society is even more important.

Choosing to live a life that is utterly dependent upon oil based transportation (and fairly large amounts of it) does not seem a wise choice as we enter post-Peak Oil.

Best Hopes for Electric Commuter Trains,


WAY below my goal of 60 gallons of diesel and 3,000 kWh this year so far. Took the streetcar Monday to meeting with client, Tuesday to protest GWB, Wednesday to free concert downtown (always nice, every Wednesday for 20 weeks or so), today to buy JazzFest tickets (cash, zero $ to Ticketmaster, zero to Visa, all $ stay local :-), tomorrow to client (miss JazzFest that day), JazzFest Saturfay and Sunday. All by streetcar :-) My car may be used next week to carry bulky item for friend w/o car. Otherwise, just quietly sitting on street.

George, I absolutely think you did the right thing. If/when TSHTF who do you think the government, city, and state officials will try to help first(assuming they are still operational)? Places where the mass of the population are or Bob & Jane living out in BFE?

I'll give an example. My husband grew up in a very rural part of Tennessee. They had a massive ice storm many years ago and were cut off from power for over a week. The county got power back to parts of the city where the majority of the population were staying before a week. My husband & his family were basically on their own until the city felt like getting to it AFTER everyone else had power.

I don't buy into the you'll be better off on your own miles from the rest of civilization. There are too many what-ifs. What if you have a medical emergency? Do you think there will be any doctors willing to drive out and help you? They will be in the cities. Just my opinion.

FWIW, I think you probably did the right thing.

I dunno.

If you own your own small farm you could at the very least avoid being one of these guys.

To be honest the thought of bread lines is a lot more immenent and scary than mad max armies roaming the countryside.

Good photo but this one from PastPeak sums it up a little better IMHO. :)


Uh-oh, sounds like reality giving us a little tap on the shoulder.

Now class, sit up and listen. Whatever fantasy juice is driving our ideals of a FF depleted world, weeding and shucking stalls is going to burn that right out of you like the acrid aroma of the manure you are standing in.

Seriously, as a kid out at my aunt's farm visiting from the city we would spend all our time dodging cow pies in the field when visiting with the kid next door (next pasture?) Here's us city kids doing a highland jig around every cow pattie and he just walked right through them. "Oh, cow shit? Don't bother."

This gives you some insight to what you wish for. Or, try milking cows twice a day. Knew a quasi-retired Vermont dairy farmer living on Cuelbra Island, Puerto Rico - one messed up dude I can tell ya. Vietnam may have been a close second.

I'm near the Marble Hill stop. Get in touch [theoildrum.com handle]@yahoo.com if you wanted to explore some Permaculture.

George, the smart money is in cash. Read Market Ticker and The automatic Earth

It better not be USA cash.

If the doomers are right US cash will burn just as good as any other countries to keep warm. :)

Better than Australias' at any rate. Ours is plastic.

Actually I am not all that sure about that Brian. If you have US dollars now, which way do you think the dollar will go from here? At any rate I would not rush to change it into Euro's.

IMO the value can fluctuate in the short term-long term (>5 yrs) the US dollar is in serious trouble IMO. Anybody that thinks you can hide out in US T-bills or cash is delusional IMO. The trade deficit is not improving and the fiscal situation is critical. Oil depletion is then added on top of the above mess.

I agree with the assessment of "delusional". While I am sympathetic to the desire to not face the music, the evidence is now overwhelming that the economic imbalances we've built up over the past 20 years or so are utterly unsustainable.

For a great primer on our economic mess, The Crash Course flash videos are a good way to go. http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

There are a couple of new ones added over the past week, "Debt" and "A National Failure to Save".



What to invest in? I fear that not a lot of palatable options have been left within the system. Cash? Stocks? Bonds? What if the very money system itself is broken? Then what?

/"The only way to win is not to play...."/

The dollar has been generally declining since 1971. I think that's a serious sign of long-term national decline.

Try this currency graph. Never know when a worm can turn or which way.

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar fell against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, as slowing global growth prompted investors to buy the greenback as a safe haven.


Make sure you look at it over 5 years not 5 days, the trend is much clearer.

There's quite a run on rice, dried beans, and canned goods at the moment. . .

Hi WC, long time no see, watch those canned goods if you plan to store them. If you haven't heard they are lined with an apoxy type paint containing bispheol A which is being taken off the market in Canada as among other things it gets us guys right where it hurts ... in the prostate with cancer. Oh wondrous world we live in that has such marvels in it. (I am growing tomatoes quite madly this year as the acid in the canned one's plays particular merry hell with that lining.)

A good reason to grow your own produce and to preserve it by home canning (in mason jars), dehydration, fermentation or root cellars.

This might be a good year to buy extra at the farmer's markets and put up more than one-year's worth.

Well, I live on 10 acres in rural Vermont. But since you made the (bad IMO) move to NYC I would recommend the following:

1. A really good bomb shelter.
2. A geiger counter and nuke pills.
3. 5 years worth of canned food in a really secure location.
4. PLENTY of guns and ammo.

People are going to be cannibalizing each other in about 7 years in the big cities IMO. They may be doing that here to some extent too but at least I've got plenty of fresh air, good scenery, and a shot at feeding myself post-peak.

Sorry George, not what you wanted to hear I'm sure.

Ya do know that some of the people in the big cities will realize this problem and head out into the country with their Beretta's and Glock's. You may not need the Bomb shelter or canned food but may I suggest and nice Browning 30-06 with a 4-8x scope and plenty of ammo for you as well. Good for medium size game and will drop a city dweller at 400yds. If the bombs start falling and society collapses no place in the city's or countryside will be safe, I have had the fortune to never have been in a place where people are starving but I have seen what hunger will make starving animals do and I do not believe we are any different different.

...I suggest and nice Browning 30-06 with a 4-8x scope and plenty of ammo...

And a small militia. As Heinberg has said, "you have to sleep some time."

Hello Cedar,

As detailed in earlier posts:

If a farmer has 40 I-NPK investors stockpiling a 10-year supply on his farm: I think he will have no problem finding a protective militia so he can get the sleep he needs.

Of course, I would prefer to reduce this dire possibility by SpiderWebRiding acting as the distributional 'ribcage' to Alan Drake's 'spine and limbs' of RRs & TOD.

Didn't the inefficient Nuahtl Tlameme scheme result in 'hearts' being plucked, then held aloft to the sun?

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

Time to stock up on that modafinil/provigil ;-)

i am reminded of those plastic hideaway's that can be buried in just about any location that have air purifiers and lids that will move a car if one would put one over it. they were sold to people before y2k.

may I suggest and nice Browning 30-06 with a 4-8x scope and plenty of ammo for you as well. Good for medium size game and will drop a city dweller at 400yds.

And may I suggest an 8-round clip if your rifle takes one?

You know, I think 'Lucifer's Hammer' might be required reading for people on this site...?


The above link is a fine bit about revenge killing of man VS man.

There are plenty of very bright investment types who believe we are still on the front end of the commodities bull - so don't exclude gold and commodity plays. And if you want to avoid some of the pitfalls that come with straight equities investments, try talking to your broker about ETFs. Otherwise, there is nothing that can substitute for research when it comes to investment. Even in a bear market their are companies that gain value.

That said, you really do want to think long and hard about how much money you want to keep in investment funds that you will not have direct access to should there be a banking panic. Those dubloons could just as well be American Silver Eagles and the hole in the backyard can be a safe in your basement.

Well, I for one just bought stock in POT and CSX. I am going long. I have enough cash and land, plus garden, fruit trees, chickens, etc. We are 65 years old, but have made plans for some while and one son lives around the block....he is expanding his garden. The only bad part is that we are in a SMALL town in New Mexico (good water though...Gila watershed). Trips to town will have to involve carpooling...some of which we do already. Friends are raising goats and turkeys. We are as prepared as ever I guess. However, still need to get the solar pump in.

For some insane reason gold and silver are sinking in price, probably as a result of a concerted effort by central banks to suppress the price and support the US dollar by selling their gold reserves. So now is a good time to buy gold and silver, maybe the last opportunity to get into precious metals. I cannot imagine any possible future for the world in which these metals become cheap.

How about oil & natural gas royalty trusts that pay nice dividends every month? ERF, PWE, HTE pay dividends in Canadian $. PBT pays dividends in US $.

It is not too late to buy fertilizer stocks like TNH (nice dividends), POT and MOS. TNH is a limited partnership; so you probably don't want to buy it for your retirement account.

ECA is a good play on natural gas.

BNI if you are bullish on railroads.

RJA is a good mix of agricultural commodities.
They just started an ETF for coal mining companies called KOL.

If you are long term bullish on food and energy, the above is a good mix. Don't forget to keep cash in the bank (less than FDIC limit) equal to 1 year's expenses.

I am NOT a financial adviser; you may lose money. Good luck.

I am NOT a financial adviser; you may lose money. Good luck.

Still allot better than: I AM a financial adviser; I WILL lose you money. ;)

... relocated to a house within walking distance to a train near New York City

I guess, Gaza today ... New York City tomorrow
Palestinians to go hungry as Gaza fuel dries up


Remember it is to the advantage of most people to sell you something or get you to buy something that they "earn" commission on. That is why you will always hear advice urging you to buy right before a bust, all the way down and up again.

I guess you need to think what your vision of post PO will look like and who will lose out (e.g. airlines, hotels???) and over what time frame. I believe in the US you have inflation liked securities (TIPS?) but would bet a Euro to a cent that the US measure of inflation excludes many items that most people consider part of normal life:-)

If you haven't done so read The Great Crash by John Kenneth Galbraith, probably won't help much since hyperinflation looks more likely than deflation in the short term but at least you will see what happened then.

Buy property which is fairly central and which gives good possibilities of splitting into apartments.

If I were you I would buy some land in a place with a longer growing season than Vermont. Actually, you don't have to live on this land. Someone else will probably be happy to work on it for you, in return for something like a share of the crops produced. Get somewhere with a lot of rain ("rain makes grain" farmers always say). If you want to live there, it doesn't have to be extremely remote, or even that huge---2 or 3 acres might be enough (though more would definitely be better.

Out of the box thinking---why not emigrate? Anywhere you choose will put you in a position to use less oil than Americans do, since Americans use the most per capita of all other countries. Many other countries have longer growing seasons, national health care, better public trans., laws controlling possession of firearms,not so many boring WalMarts, etc. I have lived in a few countries. It is kind of fun to try a new culture. It is not that hard to learn a foreign language. If you dislike cars, emigrate! Americans have the most cars per capita in the world!!Americans have so few other transportation options compared to people in the rest of the world. Why wait for peak oil to come to you??? Go out and embrace it, cut your oil use in half in one day simply by moving to another country!!!

(On the other hand, folks, I really do like the USA (not its infrastructure though). I lived there a large part of my life and I think, post-peak, it'll be quite nice there, like Kunstler's book "World Made by Hand" depicts (only why didn't he show any extended families, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc, all in one house? )

I think you were right to leave Vermont----those cold winters are only for the hardiest (hats off to them, though!) I grew up in New England and I understand that farming there was very rugged, only for the toughest and most patient.

Anyway----Good Luck!!!


precious metal stocks, especially juniors, did not go up w/ the metal; & are currently way down.

i think we will eventually hyperinflate so these would be good ; only until an economic shift [they might change the rules or policies]/collapse.

if u have big bucks oil futures or options -yes ; imo but i am not knowledgeable in this arena.

useful things-post peak- are the safest investment.

fwiw i am semirural & am currently considering a truck & lg. trailer just in case we are too close to quite a few folk or some hellish event; not sure though.

Some thoughts.

Hydroelectric producers in various nations that will do reasonably well post-Peak Oil. Secure, long lasting renewable energy providers. Geothermal and wind also good, but shorter lives and higehr operating expenses.

CIG and CPL are on NYSE, Brazilian hydro producers.

Canadian Hydro Developers, Great Lakes Hydro, Innergex are three in Canada.

Verbund in Austria (diversifying outside into FF, but good core production). Several Swiss hydro utilities.

Also one or two in New Zealand.

Timing is an issue. I see these as more asset preservation with modest returns than anything else.

More later. Canadian railroads (CP & CNI) are also interesting.

Best Hopes,


Might be a slight conflict of interest, but Run of River (TSX). These are the projects I've been working on. Lots of hydro development potential in BC. It may end up being the WECC powerhouse if we could only build the transmission lines. Yes 'Merica, your future may lie in Canucks hands (re: NAFTA renegotiations).

For the enviro-nazis - We are objecting our way into the dark ages.

Or as another power proponent put it today, to quote Graucho Marx in Horse Feathers;

"Whatever it is, I'm against it."

Brothers Team Up To Create 100-Mile-Per-Gallon Car


As CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports, the Ewart brothers have a rather advanced science project. But instead of a typical dry ice experiment, Chris and Andrew used batteries and a charger to make their hybrid Toyota Prius get 100 miles per gallon. "My brother and I built this, and car companies should be able to do it, too," Chris Ewart, an electric vehicle enthusiast, said.

Ummm....it was a Prius to begin with. I guess I would like more details fat chance in a MSM "news" story. I've been in a friend of mines Prius moving at about 5 MPH in a traffic jam, the on board computer said we were getting 127mpg for that moment not sure what the average was probably 48-55mpg.

A rope and harness so that one could get out and pull the Prius during traffic jams would improve mpg substantially.

That was one of the most vacuous articles I've ever wasted 30 seconds reading. Don't you have anything about dancing eunuchs or something that might have a better chance of working?

New-home sales plunge to lowest level in 16 1/2 years

WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes plunged in March to the lowest level in 16 1/2 years as housing slumped further at the start of the spring sales season. The median price of a new home in March compared with a year ago fell by the largest amount in nearly four decades.

We're probably well past Peak New Homes now. Retrofitting, remodeling and rehabing existing housing will be all that we really need to be doing for a long while.

I would be curious to see what vacancies are at for the US. I believe population growth has not waned much..and homelessness may be increasing. Do we need more homes? I don't know.

We certainly don't need any more McMansions. Infill duplexes and town homes near transit lines we arguably do need, along with lots of auxiliary apartments over garages.

I was thinking about this in relation to another thread a few days ago referring to the likely "flight to the city." While I do see such flight as likely, I wonder about the infrastructure investment this will require and where the energy to support it will come from. I look at the closest large city to me (Orlando), which is probably not atypical of sunbelt cities that have grown large in the last 40 years - there are about 2 million people in the metropolitan area, but only about 180K in the city proper (and fewer in the central city).

While some of the housing stock close in to the city is older there are also a significant number of condo high rises. What happens when, say, a quarter of the metro area population wants to move in closer? Forget prices, where do you put them all? Sure, some folks can double up, but a lot of those condos aren't big enough to hold too many. And even that older housing stock is going to require some reconfiguration to allow for multiple families.

But beyond housing, consider the related infrastructure. Even something as simple as, say, grocery stores. How do we go from enough grocery stores to service 180,000 to enough to service 600,000 or more in a short time period? Consider, too, what this dramatic increase would do to a water and sewage system.

The more I think about this the more I come to believe that homesteading the suburbs is a reasonable alternative. (Toying with the idea of turning the stripping of suburban houses into a business/occupation.)

A two-car garage is about the same size as were a lot of corner "Mom & Pop" grocery stores 50 -100 years ago, and are the same size or larger than a lot of grocery stores in much of the rest of the world. Ditch the zoning laws and you might be surprised how many "grocery stores" could start popping up in garages in each neighborhood.

Then the states will look just like my wife's neighborhood in Mexico City. Funny, there isn't a business district.

What you want is the Venezuela model. A beer store every other block and only $0.25 per and always ice cold. Beer and gasoline are cheaper than water in that country.

I would not be surprised if what you describe comes true, and my bet would be on zoning just disappearing (along with many services provided by city governments). However, my issue is not with the number of grocery stores, but with the number of people being served by those grocery stores. (And that was just an example, certainly not the only change.) If a city expands 300% in just a few years during a period of economic disruption, it is difficult to see how the infrastructure can be put in place that will be anything like what Americans expect (consider the change in electric demand - would this itself bring down local grids?)

From the Lehman story at the top:

"Lehman has trimmed its forecast for global growth from 1.5m b/d to 1.1m b/d, predicting a slide in prices to $83 next year and $70 to $80 in 2010."

We're saved.

Yup. If I had to make a WAG, I'd say $70/bbl equates to 10% unemployment in the US of A.

I started to laugh, then recalled 10% is today's number, sans "Pollyanna Creep".

So applying my "inversion truth detector" (TM), this means that global production will DECLINE by 1.1 - 1.5 mbpd, and prices will increase to $157 next year ($120 + (120-83)) and $160-170 in 2010. ($120 + (120-80) or (120 - 70)).

That sounds about right.

Bush AG Blames Organized Crime for High Oil Prices

Attorney General Michael Mukasey warned Wednesday that organized criminal networks have penetrated portions of the international energy market and tried to control energy resources...he said similar efforts have targeted the international financial system by injecting billions of illicit funds to try to corrupt financial service providers


Oh Well, what is it, 275 days left ?


Are they talking about the CIA?

No, The Oil Drum guys are behind it. Professor Goose is the mastermind of a global oil price conspiracy.

I always liked Peak Oil Pranksters-sounds like a gang of thugs that would battle Spiderman.

Not openly :-)...

Besides, those guys are OUR criminals and as long as they do what Gee Dubyah tells them to do, it's LEGAL (even though unconstitutional)!

E. Swanson

Billions of illicit funds to corrupt financial service providers?

Ben Bernanke, you're under arrest!

"by injecting billions of illicit funds to try to corrupt financial service providers"

ummm - wouldn't that be the Fed? If I'm not mistaken, the Fed has been busy injecting billions of dollars (often in illegal ways outside of their charter) into the system - "corrupt financial service providers" - sounds like an apt description, Bear Sterns ring any bells?

Leanan, thanks for posting the link about my new book, Profit from the Peak! In many ways it is an homage to the work of ASPO and TOD, and includes a bunch of charts & data from:

Colin Campbell
Jean Laherrere
Albert Bartlett
Charles Hall
Robert Rapier
Stuart Staniford
Euan Mearns
Dave Cohen
Randy Udall
Steve Andrews
...and many others.

I am humbled and grateful to stand on their shoulders, and I welcome the feedback of all TOD readers & contributors.

George (formerly) in Vermont: You may find a number of good investment suggestions in my book. I would not suggest buying commodity futures, but there are a number of good stocks and ETFs that are good ways to play the commodity boom. I wrote up several of them in a recent article, Commodities Soar as Stocks Sink

As for high gasoline prices and the reasons and myths about them, I attempted a fairly lengthy explanation and debunking in my article of last night, High Gasoline Prices Are Here to Stay. Since I cribbed various bits 'n pieces from recent TOD discussions for that one, I'd be interested in feedback from the board.


Hello ChrisN,

As an addendum to show how times have changed, Motley Fool's investment advice:

Your Next Four-Bagger: Rice

Sorry, folks. When I mentioned a four-bagger in the headline, I literally meant four bags of rice. That's all you're currently allowed to buy at Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT) Sam's Club. Costco (Nasdaq: COST) is mulling a similar measure.

These are tough times, I know, but a run on rice is not what I expected...

... No, it's not time to hole up in the bomb shelter and clutch your hoarded Rice Krispies treats, but there's still no way to sugarcoat it: These are indeed difficult times.
If we cannot rapidly change the operating dynamics of the Thermo/Gene Collision, then IMO we are on track to validate Jay Hanson's prediction [8-page PDF Warning]:

If you were born after 1960, you will probably die of violence, starvation or contagious disease.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Toto I've come up with a plan that may involve my migrating through your Asphalt Wonderland.

It involves my working up here, selling off my stuff and caricaturing, while the tourists are up here, then with my stuff sold off except for my bike and backpack-load, when the weather gets cold, instead of sitting on my ass and doing nothing, which is what one does up here in the winter, I move down to Phoenix and live and work down there, because winter's the big tourism season there. Then in the spring of 2009, get out to the coast and work my way up, and back to the SF area.

It has the advantage of giving me a bit more time to hone my skills, and a working winter instead of a sitting-around-getting-cabinfever winter. And getting to the Bay Area earlier in the warm part of the year, since I know there are a couple of "hibernation" months in the Bay Area too, and I'll need to save up to live through them under a roof.

So, the upshot is, if there are any PO meetings in the Phoenix area in the winter, I may be able to make them.

Well, I will probably die of disease... its called old age.

Or, I may die of violence. I want to be 90 years old and shot by a jealous husband as I'm jumping out the bedroom window.

Starvation would be a tough one, but then it might be the IV drip falling from my arm. Or, Wendy's might actually close after midnight!

I'm just ribbing ya.

Whoops, I forgot a few contributors--also Rembrandt Koppelaar, Dave Hughes, & Graham Zabel!

Thanks Chris -- and thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions.

Regards, George

I sure hope you aren't the same idiot that request my permission to include an EIA chart in your book.

I wanted to use your chart of energy sources and uses (http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=406297431&size=o ) in a book I wrote this year. Did you receive a permission request for it? My publisher is threatening to delete it from the book and I think it's an important chart to include. Please respond as soon as you are able to chris.nelder@[edited by Leanan]
Thank you,
--Chris Nelder
Energy Analyst

A long time ago I posted an EIA chart showing energy flow in the US on the oil drum. I of course rehosted it on flickr. Suddenly out of the blue I received multiple requests from Chris and his editor for my permission to include my chart in his book.

What kind of idiot that calls himself an "energy analyst" can't identify an IEA chart?!?

The kind of idiot who was confused because you called it an EIA chart, then an IEA chart, and after inquiring with both agencies I discovered it was neither. It's from the Lawrence Livermore Lab, https://eed.llnl.gov/flow/02flow.php. A kind and helpful ASPO member helped me track down the original source. I would also appreciate it if you did not post my email address like that--there is a reason why we make them spam-protected in our profiles. I am at a loss to explain your abusive (and wrong) responses to a pretty simple inquiry.

What I want to know is why someone calling themselves an "energy analyst" and is writing a book would include an "important chart" from some random guy off the internet with 0 sourcing?

It kinda calls into question the sources for the rest of your book doesn't it?

So did you editor cut it out?

I knew of the chart, but didn't know where to find it. Your copy of the chart was the first version of it I found with a Google image search, which did not have the source on it. Like any good journalist I went to find the source and get permission to use it before I put it in the book. As for whether my research and sources are good, I think so, but you'll have to judge that for yourself. In any case, I fail to find any justification for your insults.

Why then did you ask *me* for permission? Do you always use random unsourced images from google image search as resources? If I had said yes, you would have just put it in your book. You made no attempt at all to see if those numbers were even remotely correct or how I assumably assembled them.

The only reason you just didn't go ahead and use the chart was because your editor wanted my permission.

I wanted to use your chart of energy sources and uses (http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=406297431&size=o ) in a book I wrote this year. Did you receive a permission request for it?

So yes, it does lead to questions about the reliability of the rest of your sources.

No, I never used unsourced material, that is why I contacted you to a) determine the source, and once that was established b) to obtain permission. I did exactly what I should have done--track down the correct source and attribute it--despite your red herrings. My permission request clearly indicated that if you were not the correct and legitimate source of the material, that you point me to the correct source. If you had not ignored the initial requests, I would have tracked down the correct source before the 11th hour. You clearly know nothing about the process of writing and editing a book and getting it ready for publication, and your assumptions and allegations about the process I went through are simply wrong. Your criticism is rude and totally unjustified, and I'm done feeding this troll.

Except you never asked me for the source. You asked *my* permission for *my* chart.

My permission request clearly indicated that if you were not the correct and legitimate source of the material, that you point me to the correct source

You sir, in addition to being a lousy researcher, are a liar. I posted your email. You can plainly see this is not the case.

My criticism is very much justified.

And it seems you have a history of pulling this crap. You've been called on it before.

You posted that chart without any attribution whatsoever, so how was I to know you were not an author or a legitimate source of it? Step one is to ask and find out, which I did. It was not an easy one to find, since it was from 2002 and has since been revised.

The standard permission letter (which you may have never received, because you were an abusive jerk in your very first response and I had to go through Flickr mail to reach you) says: "Please indicate your agreement by signing and returning the enclosed copy of this letter to me. In signing, you warrant that you are the sole owner of the rights granted and that your material does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control these rights, I would appreciate your letting me know to whom I should apply." That is the same copy that went out to all those who gave permission.

You replied that it was an IEA chart, which I determined was not true. I inquired further, found the correct source, published and attributed it. That hardly makes me a "lousy researcher."

In the tar sands thread, Pitt took it upon himself to attack me relentlessly, as you have, but that's where the similarity ends.

Since you took the trouble to review my past threads on TOD, I did the same. After the first page of results, I can see that you have scarcely participated in any TOD thread without picking a fight with somebody, using ad hom attacks and in general being an accusative jerk.

I don't know what your problem is Rethin but I say again that your attacks are wholly unjustified and your attitude makes me think you must have gone off your meds. Everyone else I contacted to obtain permission to reprint was helpful and kind. But without ever having heard a single word from me previously, you had a chip on your shoulder from the get-go, and your first response was "You must be a pretty crappy energy analyst not to recognize an IEA chart. Perhaps you should ask them for permission as I do not own the copyright to one of their charts." You were abusive AND gave me the wrong source.

I will not try to defend myself further here, since you're trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. Go ahead and call me whatever you like, I'm done with you. Find somebody else to fight with.

My book stands on its own, it is well-sourced, and I welcome any constructive and non-abusive criticism of it. Most of the work cited, as I said, is from TOD and ASPO researchers whose credentials are far more impressive than mine.

And if I was the author of the chart and gave you permission to use it? You would have used it would you not?

So you would use a random chart you found on flickr? From an anonymous poster? Without any attribution whatsoever?

After all you had already included it in your book. It was only your editor that blocked it for copyright reasons.

And Pitt did not attack you, he questioned your sources. Seems pretty apropriate don't you think?

I'm leaving this, because Chris responded to it, but in the future, please don't post private e-mails without the permission of the author. It's basic netiquette.

My apologies, I just cut and pasted the whole thing. I didn't notice it in there.

Thank you for editing it out.

On our news network today they noted the Brazilian oil find as the largest in 30 years, 33 billion barrels. They said the hope is for it to pump 7 million barrels a day by 2020 so the US can move away from ME oil entirely. The lies just keep coming. People are being kept in the dark for a reason.

Youngstown's plan to relocate residents from abandoned neighborhoods to more lively ones in order to save money has run into a snag...

You can't pay them enough to leave

Only one of the half dozen residents who have been contacted by the program since June agreed to relocate, according to Bill D'Avignon, the city's community development director. And in interviews with CNNMoney.com, another seven residents vowed that they too would stay on their deserted blocks.

...D'Avignon, who has been surprised by the resistance, said the city may have to up the ante to overcome the resistance, which seems to stem, in part, from community loyalty.

That reminds me of those little shacks in the middle of downtown Shanghai and Beijing surrounded by skyscrapers... 'home is where the heart is.'

""I'm East Side born and East Side bred and when I die, I'll be East Side dead," said Rufus Hudson"

I'm afraid there will be an awful lot of that in times to come - probably plenty of Roman villa-owners in Gaul had the same attitude as things really began to come apart as I'm sure Maya citizens did "I'm Mutal born and bred and there is no way I am moving out to the country"

Actually, it was the opposite. People were forced to move from their farms and villages to the big cities, where there was protection from raiding armies.

One reason why I think George may have made the right decision in leaving Vermont...

I live in Vermont too-sixty very isolated acres. Actually I'm not too worried about roaming armies coming here. It just wouldn't be worth the effort to get here and then climb the mountain. Especially in winter.

There was a great line in 'Gallipoli', where Gibson(?) and the other guy were camping out as they crossed the Australian bush, and talking about how Germany was going to take over if they didn't fight.. and the other guy looks at the endless scrub and says 'If they want it, they can have it..'

Here's a fun video of suburban farming...

Green Acres II:
When Neighbors Become Farmers
Suburban Arugula Is Organic and Fresh, but About That Manure...
April 22, 2008; Page A1

BOULDER, Colo. -- When suburbanites look out their front doors, a lot of them want to see a lush green lawn. Kipp Nash wants to see vegetables, and not all of his neighbors are thrilled.

Original WSJ article here.

Hello TODers,

Artificially cooling Earth may prove perilous: study

The study, published Thursday in Science Express, warns that injecting sulfate particles into the air at an altitude of some 10 to 50 kilometers (six to 30 miles), could lead to a loss of ozone above the Arctic and delay the recovery of the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica by decades.

The 1600 eruption of Huaynaputina in Peru had a global impact on human society, according to a new study of contemporary records by geologists at UC Davis.

In Russia, 1601-1603 brought the worst famine in the country's history, leading to the overthrow of the reigning tsar. Records from Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia record exceptionally cold winters in 1600-1602; in France, the 1601 wine harvest was late, and wine production collapsed in Germany and colonial Peru. In China, peach trees bloomed late, and Lake Suwa in Japan had one of its earliest freezing dates in 500 years.
Makes one wonder if the sulphur currently being emitted by the volcano in Hawaii is having any effect. Could crops fail badly next year?

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

Makes one wonder if the sulphur currently being emitted by the volcano in Hawaii is having any effect. Could crops fail badly next year?

It depends on whether the sulfur is being injected into the stratosphere. Compare the eruption of Mt. St. Helens with that of Vulcan Pintubo in the Philippines. Both events were of equivalent magnitude but St. Helens blew sideways whereas Pinatubo blew straight up. When ejecta & aerosols from St. Helens hit the tropospause it was deflected back downwards where it settled & was washed out of the troposphere relatively rapidly. Pinatubo's ejecta punched right thru the tropospause into the stratosphere where it persisted for much longer. Stratospheric SO2 aerosols increased albedo thereby lowering global mean temps ~.3^oC for a couple years. St. Helens had no such effect.

The total eruption volume of Mt. St. Helens, 18 May 1980, was around 1.2 cubic kilometers. Mt. Pinatubo's climatic eruption, 15 Jun 1991, threw out about 10 cubic kilometers. This is a difference of nearly an order-of-magnitude. Quite significant.

A vertical eruption plume followed Mt. St. Helen's initial lateral blast in 1980. This eruption column punched through the tropopause (which is generally around 12 km at St. Helen's latitude, if that) and reached a height of about 22 to 23 km, well into the stratosphere. See Danielsen 1981, Trajectories of the Mount St. Helens Eruption Plume, published in Science.

Aside from the eruption-volume difference, the likely contributor to a much lower climatic effect from the Mt. St. Helens eruption was probably the volcano's more northern proximity, which generally confined the portion of aerosols injected into the stratosphere to the northern hemisphere.



Humans nearly wiped out 70,000 years ago, study says

Had the other species known what was coming, they'd have done them in on general principles.

Had the other species known what was coming, they'd have done them in on general principles.

ROFLMAO unfortunately very true as well.

Humans nearly wiped out 70,000 years ago, study says

Re: volcanos. 70K yrs bp is about the time Toba blew. Toba has been the biggest blow of the Quaternary so far. I had been under the impression that the bottleneck had been earlier - at or shortly after the speciation event, and that Toba had facilitated the diaspora by wiping out congeners in western Indoeurasia. Apparantly Toba whacked down populations in the Crib, too.

Hey, things did work out well for certain specific species (say that 3 times fast..):

1) Holstein and Jersey Cows
2) Broadbreasted White Turkeys
3) Various grasses (corn, wheat, etc.)
4) White Lab Mice
5) Cockroaches
6) Pigeons

I'll feel sorry for them when we're gone. In particular, those turkeys can't mate without artificial insemination, so they will be toast (or roast).

First four were selectively breed into existence by humans. In a small way we created them (or specific aspects of them which set them apart from there wild counterparts )by either selecting for traits genetic mutations never would in nature or selecting traits and enhancing at rates billions of times faster than natural selection. If an environment is suitable the organism will grow and thrive, but we've loaded the dice and created the environment as well. If we die out so will these mutants we have created, they will not be suited to survive in the real world.

As for Cockroaches and Pigeons (Cockroaches with wings) being parasites on our species there numbers will be reduced greatly. For Pigeons it will happen the day we leave and area, cockroaches may lag a bit say up to 100 and they too will start to die off.

For Pigeons it will happen the day we leave and area, cockroaches may lag a bit say up to 100 and they too will start to die off.

No too sure about pigeons, but cockroaches?! Who you trying to kid? They've been around since the Paleozoic and despite all the claims of the religious fundamentalist about the meek inheriting the post peak earth, I'm pretty sure it will be inhetited, by you guessed it, The Cockroaches. < as he exits scene left, singing, La cucaracha, la cucaracha Ya no puede caminar Porque no tiene, porque le falta Marijuana que fumar.>

Read some good biology advice on this one. Cockroaches live in damp semi-tropical forest areas and will return there once all the human waste is gone.

Good news! Peak Cockroaches!

The cockroach family is a large one, and most of 'em wouldn't dream of living in a human's house. Most are peaceful, productive, forest and field dwellers, and cleaner than you are. I remember discovering a whole herd of 'em munching fallen hibiscus flowers in hawaii, near one of the Art Academy buildings. Like a herd of shiny buffalo, in miniature. With more legs. Their munching was quite audible, and I showed my older sister how I could poke one in the side and it wouldn't distract it from its munching. I thought about herbivores and how some are compelled to eat many hours a day, to get the calories they need, and here it was in miniature..

Nope cockroaches will get along fine without us, though we and the one or two "sellout" species of their may pass on.

BC_EE, sounds like you really do need to send your sarcasm meter to the shop for a little fine tuning ;-)

Nah! They probably said; "they're cute, don't have fur, dangerous fangs or claws and are puny. They're born prematurely, immature creatures, and won't survive ten minutes in our hostile world, let them be. What harm could they do?".

Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier link showing hundreds of gallons of industrial 'blood' flowing atop sulfur blocks as you consider this:

Commodity index hits another record high

...The metal and mineral index rose 8.3 per cent in March, surpassing the previous record set in May, 2007, boosted by a huge jump in sulphur prices. Sulphur prices at the Port of Vancouver soared from $295 a tonne in February to $455 in March, up from just $47 a year earlier.
Will I-NPK prices finally reach an equilibrium demand destruction point when flow rates of human blood = flowrates of industrial blood? Recall that sulphur and sulfuric acid are traded in huge amounts.

When will machete' moshpits = sulfuric acid heap leaching of bones?

Recall that sedimentary rock phosphate deposits are concentrated phosphorus evaporites--the remains of ancient biolife. We then add sulfuric acid to bring the dead 'back to life' to restart the cycle.

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

With a picture of JHK uptop, it's time for the Kunstler Kritics to come out, something along the lines of:

"I've heard that he made a "C" in high school history, so clearly his conclusions about the End of Suburbia have no validity."

(Even as suburbia is melting down, just as he predicted.)

I don't kare [sic] what JHK did for grades in history or anything else. All I know is that he amuses me to no end. I mean, I already know everything he's saying, but the way he says it is, IMO, hilarious.

Barely got through electronics in Gr. 12 physics and completely missed complex numbers in Gr. 12 Algebra due to illness. Guess what I do for a profession? Electrical power engineer, and quite well thank you (P.E.).

Enough said.

(I am getting tired looking at his mug though, although he is aging well).

In all his (often foul-mouthed) ranting and raving, has James Kunstler ever said a word against population growth. Does his world look OK as long as the 150 million people they are projecting will be added to the US population in the next 30 to 50 years - all live in cities? And for crying out loud - suburbia is not as spread out as it was when he was a kid. We took on over 100 million people in the last 35 years. Suburbia looks very much like his "main street town".

Incoming Kritics!

I think that he favors the European model, which has produced a per capita energy consumption rate that is half of what we use in the US. And as one would expect, the foreclosure rate in the US is highest for suburban developments that are the farthest away from job centers. For every one percentage point increase in the foreclosure rate, the violent crime rate goes up by about 2.3 percentage points. Some of these places are going from suburban dream to slums at warp speed: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/subprime

In any case, one would have done well by heeding the warnings in the 2004 DVD: End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion & the Collapse of the American Dream, which was largely built around an extended interview with JHK.

Incoming Kuntslerians!

You didn't give his position on population growth so I have to assume he feels it is either OK, or not an important issue.

The current US method of population growth is that you continue to build new factories and office buildings in the same spot as existing factories and office buildings. New housing continues to be built further and further away from this industrial area. So the newest youngest home buyers have the furthest commutes and also the highest payments relative to their incomes. But we are going to get 150 million more people in the coming years. How do I know? We have a constant stream of immigrants and no one, not even the vast majority of Oil Drum Fanatics, thinks that is a problem. So with the millions of new immigrants we can change our policy and build new commercial stuff out in the remote suburbs and all in between. And also fill in the remote suburbs to a nice European density. So we can solve what Kuntsler sees as our greatest problem - low density suburbs - by using our population growth. We can redirect our never-ending stream of immigrants to our suburbs to turn them into all high density. Or at least as dense as the classic main street town where James Kuntsler lives.

IIRC, his outburst during the Houston ASPO-USA Conference referenced the population problem, and I think his summary remarks presentation at same did also. Although he's a naive fool in many other areas, he does have a handle on what will cause suburban demise.

Thanks for the info. It's good to hear that one of the well known people talking about peak oil mentions it. I don't think I have heard any of the others ever say anything about it. For instance, Colin Campbell will talk about a pint that gets filled up at your local pub and then you drink it till it's empty. But he doesn't mention that there are more an more people that want a sip of that beer every year.

Actually Campbell did discuss this in one of the recent peak oil documentaries. I quoted him in my book:

It leads to the awful question, I mean just awful question, just how many people the planet can support without cheap oil. This is kind of a difficult subject, but the population of the world has gone up six-fold exactly in parallel with oil. So, whether it goes down six-fold in parallel with oil remains to be seen.

Here's an article on the rising cost of food. The White House of course dismissed it.

My question about the food riots: What happens when we get to $200 bbl? How many people will be in the streets then?

Interesting piece on the food riots..


arraya, with a direct link between the price of oil and the cost of food, 200 a barrel would be pure palpitating panic of the most chaotic kind. However, I think even a lower price than that would be the precipise none of us want to go past. I'm beginning to wonder if the price of oil will need to be set, i.e. price controls. Maybe at 100 or 110 a barrel and then be subject to review once a month. Oil is just too important to the world economy to allow its rising price to undermine economic stability and cause mass riots, hoarding and famine. Even if it's a difficult process to regulate the price of oil, it's got to be tried. Are there any precedents for such action to be taken?

Well at this rate it's right around the corner. The best thing would be for the US to fall into a depression. If we don't it will be mass hysteria in the third world by election day...

My 10 minute effort to predict when Oil will be $150/barrel.

Rubin's "2010" is looking pretty good. Barring an unexpected oil supply disruption this year, I will guess Q2 2009 because I think Peak Oil is happening now and has moved to 'Stage 2'. The data from 2004/2005/2006 may be becoming irrelevant, in terms of straight line trends?

(Larger view at http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712973@N07/2439979214/sizes/l/ )

Thanks - this is a rarely discussed subject which could do with more attention.

I am wondering if there are substitutes for asphalt?

Obviously gravel, and I believe old tyres are sometimes used on a small scale, but are other possibilities being looked at?

Presumably you could process coal, at least.

Have miles and miles Highways, Roads and bridges built from concrete out here. Main reason everyone switched to asphalt was price 25% the cost for 50% less longevity or something around that. I suppose if asphalt goes to high they will go back to concrete. Course if asphalt goes to high that means the price of gas is very high as well and we just might not need too many roads.

Concrete is limestone, dug up with fossil fuel, ground up into fine powder with fossil fuel, transport to a kiln with fossil fuel, cooked at about 5000 degrees with fossil fuel, transported again to a cement plant with fossil fuel, mixed with water pumped with fossil fuel, and mixed with crushed stones made with fossil fuel, and transported yet again with fossil fuel, to the new road site. Did I miss a step?

Gee, I wonder if concrete prices will remain steady?

Point taken. :)

Main reason everyone switched to asphalt was price 25% the cost for 50% less longevity or something around that.

No, it isn't. They still use concrete for highways where it's warm. Especially if it's dry, too. I hear it's really popular in the Middle East.

The main reason they don't use concrete up north is that it doesn't hold up well to freeze-thaw cycles. It buckles. Anyone who has driven over an older concrete highway has probably felt the problem. Every 66' feet: thud, thud, thud, as your wheels go over the joints between the concrete sections. (And no, you can't eliminate the joints. The joints keep the pavement from cracking due to thermal expansion.)

And yes, the cost of concrete has gone up just as steeply as asphalt, so switching to concrete is not really a solution.

I've always found it odd that more isn't said on TOD about how roads are going to be paved. So what if gas is $10 a gallon if the roads have gone to hell. Try driving a typical car (not SUV) down a road that is in complete deterioration, many, many mega potholes and loose chunks of pavement at say, 40 mph. It will destroy the car in record time. It will break tires, shocks, axles, engine mounts, exhaust systems, etc...

What does that do to the cost per mile of operating a motor vehicle?

How about a truck. Break an axle every 100 miles on an under maintained interstate. Where's the money for road maintenance, assuming communities can even obtain and afford the paving materials?

The cost of gas will be the least of your problems if the roads devolve to third world standards. Lifestyle tracks road conditions. Crappy roads, crappy lifestyle. Speed of the road system also tracks with lifestyle. Donkey cart speed, donkey cart lifestyle. In the case of ambulances, crappy roads means you die on the way to the hospital. In the case of fire trucks, crappy roads means no more house.

Where's a post at TOD on cost per mile on various types of road surfaces?

Hey, maybe the record prison population in the U.S. can be put back on 'road gangs' and magically restore the highways to Utopian condition.

I live in the US and this is my biggest shame, forget our unbridled consumerism and debt. I have no solutions but there has to be something fundamentally wrong when 1% of our entire population is incarcerated in some way shape or form.

And that number is about to rise if the Neo-Cons have their way. Have you visited your local detainment camp lately? "Look, look folks at the pretty flag flying over the concertina on the double walled fences. Now, that's patriotic!"

Let's go through the Looking Glass. Hillary is nominated and gets assassinated, oh say Halloween night 2008. This solves two problems. The U.S. won't have to live with a female president, and GWB gets to declare a national emergency and all these nice provisions they've installed since 2001 get utilized.

They declared martial law and they lived happily ever after. The End.

"Keep your head."

If the shit hits the fan, the 300,000,000 people in America are going to punish whoever makes them pay attention. That's going to be Bush. Do you think that the people in America that have guns are meekly going to do whatever the powers that be tell them to do if the paychecks bounce, the gas station pumps stop, the television turns off when the power stops?
They will be looking for someone to lynch. Bush is in the White House. That's all they know. That's all they need to know. And after Hillary watches it happen, she will make sure that she doesn't screw up the way that Bush did, because the people that be will be cranky for a while.

The link between higher fuel costs and less revenue to repair and pave roads is clear, and occurring all over the country at the current price for gasoline. At ten bucks a gallon you'll have to drive a 4 wheel monster truck to handle the ragged roads, and since that will reduce fuel economy the most you'll be able to do is drive into the local town. No, without cheap oil there won't be enough revenue for ashpalt, or for most people to drive very far, or for all the food we need.

Even if this is just a blip, a period when oil hit an all time high and then drops back down, it still shows us the fringes of what Kunstler's Long Emergency will look like. Things quickly start to unravel. That's the most glaring part about this recent episode of fuel increases, the speed with which food went up in price. It obviously doesn't take 200 dollars a barrel to start things unraveling.

It makes me wonder if there is some threshold of price for oil that in a very short period of time causes such widespread panic that civilization descends into chaos in just a few weeks.

Y'know, I'm not seriously proposing it, but in my youth I found it was a blast to do rough roads on a motorcycle. Hell, I don't even know that off-road riding was that popular then, I hadn't heard of it. But in the mid-60's I had a 106cc street bike (sold by Sears, and the engine block said "Moto Guzzi"), and I bombed that thing up and down all sorts of dirt roats, potholes, cow trails, gulleys and wherever I felt like going - even with smooth street tires - usually cruising around 35mph. The thing never seemed to need much gas. A 100cc 4-stroke with a bit of a secure cargo box and a 4-speed shift could probably get around quite well even on totally destroyed roads. Enjoyably, unless it was winter.

(edit - here's what it looked like, 'cept mine was in blue with giant cheap eagle decals on the tank for irony)


That was my point about EV's getting to highway speeds and longer distances. What difference will it make. One would be better off with the 1956 Willys M38-A1 (CJ-5) I used to own.

Or you can drive a Toyota, very popular in Africa, or build a new Citroen 2CV! :-)

I've always found it odd that more isn't said on TOD about how roads are going to be paved.

That's because everyone here already knows the answer: with good intentions.

Are Kunstler and Cheney the same person? They even have that same annoying smirk.

One of them likes to shoot a gun, and the other likes to shoot his mouth off.

One relishes killing people and the power it gives--a la Charles Manson; the other actually is attempting to save people from their folly, but is awkward in his methods

good points,