DrumBeat: May 4, 2008

Michael Klare: The New Geopolitics of Energy

While the day-to-day focus of US military planning remains Iraq and Afghanistan, American strategists are increasingly looking beyond these two conflicts to envision the global combat environment of the emerging period--and the world they see is one where the struggle over vital resources, rather than ideology or balance-of-power politics, dominates the martial landscape. Believing that the United States must reconfigure its doctrines and forces in order to prevail in such an environment, senior officials have taken steps to enhance strategic planning and combat capabilities. Although little of this has reached the public domain, there have been a number of key indicators.

Nigeria oil rebels say mulling Obama truce appeal

LAGOS (Reuters) - Rebels who have stepped up attacks on Nigeria's oil industry in the last month said on Sunday they were considering a ceasefire appeal by U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Food, fuel costs climb, and key inflation measure drops

The official view of inflation for years has taken little account of food and energy prices, which are thought to go up and down with no lasting impact.

But evidence is growing that these basics could be elevated for years to come, and the "core" inflation rate—minus food and energy — is telling only part of the story.

"It is reassuring to have the core index tame, but you can't eat on the core index. You can't drive on the core index," said Bill Hummer, chief economist at Wayne Hummer Investments in Chicago. "You can't ignore what's going on in food and energy."

Third of oil revenues goes back to consumer countries - OAPEC

KUWAIT (KUNA) -- The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) said Sunday an estimated third of the cash surplus generated from the oil exports of its members in 2007 went back to the consumer countries.

The soaring prices of other imports of the oil exporting countries consumed a great part of the cash surplus due to the plummeting of U.S. dollar, OAPEC said in its monthly bulletin.

The relationship between the dollar depreciation and the rise in crude oil prices

Last week, OPEC's current chairman, Algeria's Minister of Energy and Mining Shakib Khalil, said "the dollar is now the barometer of oil prices," and anticipated that oil prices would jump from their current level of about $120 per barrel to almost $200. In his statement to the press he explained that oil prices move in an opposite direction to the dollar and hence a direct relationship exists between the two.

Asian leaders issue poverty warning

Soaring food prices may throw millions of people back into poverty in Asia and undo a decade of gains, regional leaders said Sunday while calling for increased agricultural production to meet rising demand.

Asia - home to two-thirds of the world's poor - risks rising social unrest as a doubling of the price of wheat and rice in the past year has hurt people spending more than half their income on food, Fukushiro Nukaga, the Japanese finance minister, said during the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank.

India feels the heat as thousands riot over power cuts

Thousands of people, many wearing only underwear, rioted across northern India yesterday over power cuts that have left millions without electricity or water, highlighting the yawning gap between the country’s superpower aspirations and realities on the ground.

Yemen: Cabinet orders closure of monopolizing diesel stations

The Cabinet is holding Ministry of Oil and Minerals responsible for overseeing the process of the supply and distribution of diesel to the licensed stations in Yemen and to take legal action against manipulators of the distribution, as well as ordering the closure of the stations that manipulate or violate laws of diesel distribution.

Drilling for dollars

Scores of gas exploration companies leased much of the rolling land, pasture and green space from Central Pennsylvania to the Northern Tier, through the Endless Mountains and along Pennsylvania’s Route 6 to New Jersey. Smooth-talking land representatives have set up shop in county deed offices. Few residents with more than 20 acres have not been approached with at least one offer from a gas company or intermediary.

Energy gets a triple-whammy

I admit that I have never hiked, hunted or skied cross-country on Mount Taylor. You may not have either. So why should we care what happens there? Because we care about energy costs and realize that energy is central to life as we know it. The lights that protect us at night, the computers that allow us to communicate efficiently and the medical equipment that saves lives all require energy.

As New Mexico continues to grow, we are going to need every energy source available. We need to be filling up the energy pool, not draining it. Yet, with help from the Sierra Club, that is what has just happened.

The Oil Swindle Never Stopped

In the year 2000, there was a tremendous glut of oil in the world market. Supertankers were fully loaded and standing off-shore with no takers, no room in the land-based tank farms, no capacity at the refineries (or so we were told). The multinational oil companies and countries were inexplicably NOT ordering the available crude into storage tanks at their cracking plants. In effect, a world wide glut of crude oil was being described as a shortage.

Emissions Trading – A Weapon of Mass Taxation

"Staggering estimates of the costs of forcing industry to purchase permits to emit CO2 are just starting to emerge:Germany (100 billion euros), Australia (up to $22 billion), New Zealand ($4.5 billion). The amazing fact is that even though consumers in many countries will bear oppressive costs, there may be no reduction whatsoever in CO2 emissions, and no beneficial effects on the world climate."

In a New Climate Model, Short-Term Cooling in a Warmer World

After decades of research that sought, and found, evidence of a human influence on the earth’s climate, climatologists are beginning to shift to a new and similarly daunting enterprise: creating decade-long forecasts for climate, just as meteorologists routinely generate weeklong forecasts for weather.

Logging reports back opposing views on climate change

Loggers will return to the forested lower Sierra Nevada this spring armed with a peer-reviewed study that says "intensive" forestry practices - including clear-cuts - may ultimately assist in the battle against rising worldwide temperatures.

No way, environmentalists say. Their own report, released one week after the industry's, says precisely the opposite: Larger, older trees will remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Israel at 60: Paying price of a blooming desert

It’s an irony of history that the very success of the Jewish state is causing many of its current problems. The founders, some of whom are still with us because it wasn’t that long ago, never dreamed it would turn out this good this fast. They didn’t plan for it.

E.P.A. Proposes New Limits on Lead in the Air, the First Revision in 30 Years

WASHINGTON — For the first time in 30 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new limit for lead concentrations in the air.

The agency is under court order to complete a new rule by Sept. 1, because of a lawsuit brought by environmentalists.

Global warming guilt and record oil prices

The reasons commonly espoused don't fully explain the more than 10 fold jump in crude oil prices over the last decade. Maybe, oil is pricey because we all have started feeling guilty about consuming it!

Time for Michigan to plug in to green energy

This wacky time in the world of energy, however, brings great opportunities as well as obvious dangers for Michigan.

"We're at an inflection point right now," venture capitalist John Denniston told me Thursday, for the viability of a potentially huge new industry built around renewable alternative-energy technologies.

Review of Kunstler's post-peak novel by a woman who has lived the life

Most writers about the End of Civilization jump to the idea that the man will rule again and the woman will retreat. I suppose this is much less prone in minority communities where often the matriarch is the dominate force. But in European-based cultures, there is this strong belief that women will retreat to the house. But this is a false idea. For in Medieval Europe, the women worked in the fields just like the men. And herded animals or chopped firewood. They did all sorts of things. The one difference was, they did two major, extra chores: birthing of children and all things to do with weaving. Spinning wool was something even the queen did as she sat upon her throne up until 1200 AD.

C.I.A. Chief Lists Population as a Top Concern

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, yesterday described three troublesome trends that distinguish this century from the last, and the exploding populations of poor places topped his list. Interestingly, energy shortages (and climate change) were not on his list.

Oil's Fair In Love And War

I never for one instant thought that the invasion of Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein was part of some ploy to take control of Iraq's oil, and I still don't. That was small potatoes in the big picture -- it was about securing the free flow of oil from the Middle East to the industrial world.

Because without oil, our entire civilization comes to a crashing halt.

How we can fix U.S. energy policy

There are five clear examples of how the federal government has exacerbated this problem and how Congress could alleviate the mess it helped create...

India: Uranium shortage has hit N-power plants

NEW DELHI: The government has finally admitted that India’s nuclear power plants are operating below capacity, and with declining profits.

Answering a question in Parliament last week, the government said, "Currently, there is a mismatch in the demand and supply of indigenous uranium. As a result, this capacity is being operated at lower power level, matching fuel supply."

Economy great - for pawnshops

"People are cleaning out their houses of gold, silver, whatever, to get money just to fill their cars with gas," said Nat Leonard, 51, whose grandfather opened Society Hill in 1929. "People are pawning out like crazy."

Business is up maybe 20 percent over last year.

"With this economy, we're not done yet with bad times," Leonard continued. "Not even close."

Things are so awful, he said, he's getting loads of first-time customers.

Scientists to ‘recreate sun’ in hunt for energy

A NUCLEAR fusion laboratory designed to recreate the temperatures and pressures inside the sun could be built in Oxfordshire under plans being drawn up by British scientists The aim is to build the world’s most powerful lasers and use them to blast tiny pellets of hydrogen fuel to create energy.

The process could, say the researchers, be a partial solution to the world’s energy crisis, offering a source of safe, carbon-free power with a minimum of radio-active waste.

Expert: $100,000 in concrete could have protected Snettisham line

Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. President Tim McLeod said the electric company never imagined avalanches so big would hit the line.

Avalanche diversion expert David McClung said a relatively cheap concrete wedge structure at the base of each tower could have deflected the tons of force delivered by the avalanches, protecting the line.

McClung estimated the cost to protect the exposed towers with diversion structures to be $100,000. It's a negligible cost compared to the millions the energy crisis will cost Juneau, he said.

Kunstler novel visits future world with no oil or electricity

In his best-selling nonfiction book “The Long Emergency” (2005), James Howard Kunstler argued that we would soon face a crisis that would force some radical changes for America and other countries around the world. His newest work “World Made by Hand” (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24, 317 pages) is a speculative piece of fiction that brings that future world into sharp focus.

“My book is sort of nostalgia for the future,” said Kunstler in a recent interview from his home near Saratoga Springs. “It’s a future world that’s more tranquil. People aren’t tyrannized by automobiles and machines and computers. They aren’t being bombarded by incessant commercials and ads.”

City Council to look at gas-price effects: Goals include education and emergency plan

BELLINGHAM - Delta Airlines limited services here recently because of gas prices.

Whatcom County officials voted down a new, larger Lummi Island ferry because it would have cost another $500,000 for fuel.

Area residents are feeling the dollar crunch at the gas pumps, too.

Get the picture? City Council member Jack Weiss hopes so.

Monday night Weiss and other council members will discuss the creation of a local peak oil task force that will study how ever-increasing fuel prices and the potential for decreasing oil production will affect the local economy, government and the public.

Candidate campaigns for democracy and against the agenda of an American Empire to take-over Canada

In Russia after World War II and during the Cold War, it was believed that Russia was nearly out of oil because its wells were nearly dry. Now they have replenished and over 70 % of crude oil pumped in Russia is being exported. The oil wells somehow replenished themselves and peak oil is just another myth used to create fear.


The theory of peak oil holds that at some point — a year from now, a decade — global production of crude will peak, possibly plateau and then inexorably decline. On the eve of the Offshore Technology Conference here, the latest production figures for non-OPEC sources, 60 percent of global supply, indicate output has stalled at about 50 million barrels a day.

The flat production is particularly worrisome, because it comes at a time of record-high prices that ordinarily would stimulate production growth. As that has not occurred, the world's capacity to produce oil from conventional sources might have been reached.

As Gas Costs Soar, Buyers Flock to Small Cars

DETROIT — Soaring gas prices have turned the steady migration by Americans to smaller cars into a stampede.

In what industry analysts are calling a first, about one in five vehicles sold in the United States was a compact or subcompact car during April, based on monthly sales data released Thursday. Almost a decade ago, when sport utility vehicles were at their peak of popularity, only one in every eight vehicles sold was a small car.

The switch to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles has been building in recent years, but has accelerated recently with the advent of $3.50-a-gallon gas. At the same time, sales of pickup trucks and large sport utility vehicles have dropped sharply.

In another first, fuel-sipping four-cylinder engines surpassed six-cylinder models in popularity in April.

“It’s easily the most dramatic segment shift I have witnessed in the market in my 31 years here,” said George Pipas, chief sales analyst for the Ford Motor Company.

Brown calls for pressure on OPEC on oil price

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Sunday for international pressure on oil producers' group OPEC to bring oil prices down.

"Clearly oil prices are very high. Clearly also there needs to be some international effort with OPEC to get the oil price down," he said in an interview with Sky News.

It was not absolutely clear why the oil price had remained stubbornly high, he said.

It's the oil crisis of the Seventies back to haunt us

THERE'S been a lot of bull talked about a temporary little problem with oil. That's why the OPEC president's prediction last week that oil prices will rise to $200 a barrel especially if the dollar stays weak, will stun the Department of Finance. The piston in the National Development Plan is the assumption that oil would be $100 per barrel (42 gallons) by 2020. The Government's big strategy, so clearly priced on pre-peak oil economics is already bog-roll, but, officially, the Government is sticking to the daft idea that our energy input costs will remain a constant for the next 12 years and plans to build an infrastructure for the oil age.

Grangemouth dispute was UK's costliest ever

One source who has been closely involved with negotiations between the two sides said the figures involved were "simply astronomical".

He also revealed that senior Government figures were closely involved in ensuring the two sides entered negotiations to end the dispute as quickly as possible.

North Sea oil's ebbing tide

The sight of a convoy of giant tankers last week carrying emergency petrol supplies to the UK is a glimpse into the future. Last weekend's strike at the Ineos refinery at Grangemouth, which helped push up oil prices to a new record of $120 a barrel, reminded us how dependent we have become on North Sea oil - and how we will have to cope in the not-too-distant future when it's all gone.

They’ve got us over a $120 oil barrel

Is the head of Opec right about a $200 oil price? Will a more realistic target, $150, be reached this year and what would be the consequences of that for the economy? Why has oil been surging anyway, doubling in price in a year?

Rebels bomb Colombian pipeline

Colombia's Cano Limon oil pipeline was paralyzed for a third day after it was bombed by rebels on April 29, state-run Ecopetrol SA said.

The pipeline, which carries 100,000 barrels of oil a day from a field shared by Ecopetrol and Occidental Petroleum Corp., was expected to resume operation over the weekend after military-escorted engineers finished repairs, an Ecopetrol spokeswoman said.

Slowdown may end oil surge

THE economic slowdown in the US and its impact on China and India can potentially reduce energy consumption and affect oil price negatively, a leading banker has said.

John R Wright said that none could say for sure the oil price would remain at the current high level for long.

‘King Faisal Stood Firm on Oil Embargo’

RIYADH — The United States threatened to use force against Saudi Arabia in 1973 after King Faisal, along with other Arab leaders, imposed an oil embargo on countries that supported Israel during the October War, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday.

...He added that American officials talked about the possibility of attacking Saudi oil fields, something that was leaked in US newspapers. Some of these statements came from the then US State Secretary Henry Kissinger.

No respite from high inflation for Gulf states

Inflation in Saudi Arabia and four other Gulf oil producers will probably soar to at least 9 percent this year as rents and global commodity prices surge and falling interest rates spur lending, a Reuters poll showed.

In dollar-pegged Saudi Arabia and Oman, average inflation may more than double as the weaker US currency makes some imports to the world's biggest oil-exporting region more expensive, according to the poll of 17 economists and analysts.

Nigerian Militants Kidnap Two In Attack On Oil Ship - Army

LAGOS (AFP)--Nigerian militants attacked an oil ship off the coast of the west African country and took two people hostage, a military spokesman said Sunday.

Russian April oil output falls again, exports rise

MOSCOW, May 4 (Reuters) - Russian oil production fell for a fourth month in row in April, confirming pessimistic forecasts for the year, when it is expected to fall for the first time in a decade, while exports rose on the back of improved weather.

Energy Ministry data released on Sunday showed production stood at 9.72 million barrels per day, down from 9.76 million bpd in March and over 2 percent lower compared to the post-Soviet high of 9.93 million bpd in October last year.

In absolute figures, March production was over 6 million barrels - the size of six large tankers - down from October.

Russia Will Raise Oil Export Tax by 17% to Record

(Bloomberg) -- Russia will increase its crude export tax by 17 percent to a record on June 1, after oil prices rose in March and April.

The tax will be set at $398.10 a metric ton, the seventh consecutive increase, Alexander Sakovich, deputy head of the Finance Ministry's customs department, said by telephone in Moscow today. The current duty is $340.10 a ton, or $46.40 a barrel.

BP oil trading comes under scrutiny

WASHINGTON -- Eight years ago, Federal Trade Commission investigators believed that BP occasionally exported oil from Alaska's North Slope to Asia in an effort to drive up spot crude oil prices on the West Coast.

Long-awaited electric sports car rolls out

After several years of development, the Roadster -- with sleek lines like a Ferrari or Porsche and a sticker price of $109,000 -- moves from the drawing boards to the market next week when Tesla's first store opens. It's near the University of California, Los Angeles, in the city's tony Westwood neighborhood, where Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Hollywood practically intersect.

Mexican oil production is a concern for U.S.

Mexico's oil production is in a dangerously steep decline. Why should that matter to the United States? Because Mexico exports 1.2 million barrels of oil per day to the United States, which is 8 percent of the U.S. supplies.

In Mexico, Pemex isn't enough - Oil giant can't do exploration alone

The irony is this: Even if Pemex were able to take all of the exhibited technology at this week's Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) back to Mexico in a giant shopping bag, it would still not be enough.

If the U.S. experience is any guide, in relation to Mexico's deepwater fields, it is irrelevant how strong you make Pemex. You can gold-plate Pemex, but if Mexico has only one oil company at work, the effort will fail.

On the U.S. side it took 20 years, drilling 70-100 wells per year, $100 billion and 100 companies working to produce 1.5 million barrels per day. Mexico can do the same — but not with just one oil company.

We're Nearing Crunch Time for Oil

It’s looking increasingly like Crunch Time for oil will be in effect during the 2010 to 2016 time frame. I’m being optimistic in forecasting an end date for it, but the starting time is, if not etched in stone, predictable with some substantial certainty.

Ho, ho, hey, hey, 'peak oil' here to stay

Yes, we'll see fluctuations in prices, but long term, the hard numbers of the "peak oil" argument cannot be escaped. In the short term, chances are good that we'll be paying $200 or more for a barrel of oil. And we're shocked that it's passed $100.

A tax on carbon worthy of debate

With anger rising over the cost of gasoline, Ottawa watchers cannot understand how Dion could possibly think he would win over voters with a promise to make them pay even more. Surely, say the pundits, even a policy wonk like Dion must know he would be committing political suicide if he were to adopt such a wonky position.

But Dion has no chance of persuading voters that the idea has merit, if he doesn't put it out for discussion and debate, as he has now done.

Can We Survive? (Part 2) (PDF)

In Part 1, we argued for the rapid deployment of what we called “first-round survival technologies.” These technologies are designed to satisfy certain of mankind’s fundamental needs while buying additional time to hold global warming within tolerable limits — long enough, it is hoped, to make other substantive changes that are required for humankind’s survival. Without such technologies, many climate researchers believe that our opportunity to prevent intolerable climate change may evaporate in fewer than ten years.

Farmers face climate challenge in quest for more food

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - If farmers think they have a tough time producing enough rice, wheat and other grain crops, global warming is going to present a whole new world of challenges in the race to produce more food, scientists say.

It's really great to see the list of stories today regarding Peak Oil. The Huston Chronicle story, Plateau, even uses the words "Peak Oil".

Now, what do we find on the political front, where the rubber meets the road? Well, yesterday, Mrs. Clinton gave a talk about oil at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. So, here we are nearing the mid point in the election process and 2 of the 3 candidates are telling us that we need to reduce the pump price of oil, when our problem is that oil and gasoline have been too cheap for so long that we think the oil will last forever. If the election comes down to Clinton vs. McCain, who will deliver the message about peak oil? Will either of them say we need to raise gas prices, which must happen if the shortage is to be communicated to the man (and woman) on the freeway? I doubt it.

E. Swanson

Two out of three? Try three out of three. One of the reasons Obama is against the gas tax holiday is that he says it doesn't work: prices will rise to make up for the tax cut. He is in favor of stopping oil purchases for the SPR - in order to lower prices for us drivers.

Nobody currently running is going to say we need to raise gas prices. Heck, even the Green Party isn't going to tell people they have to drive less. Their stance on it, last time I checked, was to switch all cars over to natural gas. Yeah, that'll work.

"Yeah, that'll work."

::sniff, sniff:: Ahhh, the sweet smell of sarcasm in the morning. Fresh as dew on a new blossom.

Nobody currently running is going to say we need to raise gas prices. Heck, even the Green Party isn't going to tell people they have to drive less...

Ditto in Germany. When the Greens proposed raising the price of petrol to 5DM / liter (approx. €2,50) in their draft programme for the 1998 Federal Elections, the media reaction was so hostile that it soon became clear that they risked wiping themselves out. The realpolitiker in the party were quick to re-write the draft programme and the idea was eventually dropped. I don't think it's been heard of again.

German-speaking TOD readers might like to consult the chronology of this cautionary tale here:


You have left off the entire framework of various German Ökosteuer (call them environmental taxes in German), including the raising of the gasoline tax in steps over a period of 5 years - 'Die Mineralölsteuer wurde nach ökologischen Kriterien gestaffelt; dabei wurden bestimmte Verwendungszwecke begünstigt. Von 1999 bis 2003 wurde die Steuer mehrmals erhöht.' http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96kosteuer

The Greens are a very interesting case, since it is easy to attack some of their more naive proposals - including, from what I have been told, the idea of only using animals to farms, coming from the very beginning of the Green Party.

Of course, for years the CDU insisted that women's proper role did not involve such jobs as actually being the Chancellor, but oddly, no one makes fun of how the CDU has compromised its principles by having Merkel the head of the party.


I was writing a comment, not a treatise. My point is that no political party can afford to bite the bullet and call for a radical increase in fuel taxation -- least of all today. But thanks for the information on the 'gradualist' approach.

There's nothing 'naive' as such about proposing a hike in fuel tax. What's naive is expecting that you will be able to convince more than 1% of the electorate that it's not naive.

As to Angela Merkel -- political parties couldn't care less about the sex of their leaders provided they win at election time. Margaret Thatcher (first leading politician to cotton on to climate change, BTW) had no problems with the Tories either. Where did you get the idea that the CDU had any principled opposition to women PMs?

Mainly because the conservative Catholic part of the CDU was a devoted follower of the 'Kinder, Küche, Kirche' framework - 'a German slogan translated “children, kitchen, church”. In present-day Germany, it has a derogative connotation describing an antiquated female role model. The phrase is vaguely equivalent to the English Barefoot and pregnant.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinder,_K%C3%BCche,_Kirche (not a very good link)

And it is not exactly a coincidence that Merkel is East German - most West German women found more hospitable political homes in other parties, in part because most West German women who wanted to live in ways not encompassed by traditional role models pretty much realized that the CDU was their opponent, at least in the past.

Things change, of course. Now, the Christian Democratic mayor of Hamburg (who while gay, is not in a civil union like the SPD mayor of Hamburg or the head of the FDP) is allied with the Greens to retain power. A generation ago, the CDU was also the most reliably anti-gay party.

As pointed out by Radlafari, the 5 mark tax died, but increased taxation of energy did not.

The Greens are to a major extent being proved correct in their forecasts - I would not say that raising energy taxes is political suicide in Germany, at least as long as it is coupled with positive benefits - the growing number of PV system installations and home insulation standards being concrete examples.

The original Green tax proposal was clumsy, and then whipped into a firestorm by the Bild. What is forgotten is how Kohl raised the gasoline tax several times, without the same accompanying outrage.

What is forgotten is how Kohl raised the gasoline tax several times, without the same accompanying outrage.

That is true. And it shows that it isn't so much the message that comes to voters, but even more the person who sends it. Always reminds me of Franz-Josef Degenhardt's lyrics:

".. und wer alt war, galt als weise,
und wer dick war galt als stark.
Und den dicken Alten glaubte man
aufs Wort und ohne Arg .."

Five deutschmarks for a litre of gas (this compares to ~$14 the gallon today) was widely perceived as completely overdrawn in 1998. However, after the green-red coalition took power in late 1998 they soon imposed an additional tax on petrol, the "Oeko-Steuer", which remained untouched when the new coalition government (without the greens) in 2005 took power.

The top article about Dion in CA proposing to increase taxes on energy shows that at least a few politicians are willing to take it on. That sounds like policy implementation along lines of Homer-Dixon at BC NDP Convention.

Conventional politicians - coming from and representing the developer and business-as-usual class - are not going to take on transformative issues. They will delay and avoid them as long as possible. For the most part, those proposing solutions will have to challenge from outside any major party structure. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge to any of you so inclinded.

cfm in Gray, ME

I think change is possible, but it won't come from the Oval Office. Not in the current political climate.

These days, it seems change is coming from the grassroots level. An example is gay marriage. It started on the state and local level, with mayors of scattered cities granting marriage licenses to gay couples, and with one state, Massachusetts, making gay marriage legal. This totally freaked out the Democratic party, which correctly saw this as a losing issue on the national level. I think they probably did pay the price; Bush's victory in 2004 seems to have been driven at least partly by opposition to gay marriage. But overall, I have to say it was a victory for gay rights advocates. Acceptance of gay marriage has progressed far faster than I ever imagined possible. I thought they were making a big mistake by pushing it - that it was too early, and that there would be a big backlash. I was wrong.

A model like that is more likely to work than hoping the president "sees the light" on peak oil. Already, states are taking the lead on environmental issues (and being sued by the EPA for their trouble). The ultimate goal may be a national policy, but the start is grassroots.

But, but, "gay marriage" isn't...

"Marriage", to many of us, is the union between a man and a woman. OK, I know that lots of other folks (perhaps you, Leanan), don't see it that way, but that's the way the word has been defined for centuries. A legal recognition of the joining between 2 of like sex might be called a "civil union" or something like that, but, a "marriage" it would not be. It's sort of like saying that the word, "red" means the same as the word "green".

I'm not concerned with the religious point of view, so forget that batch of arguments. The way I look at it, for what it's worth, is that society long ago decided to promote the union between a man and a woman as the best way to reproduce and educate the young, because that's what works. As a result, society (in the form of governments) has given various subsidies to those who have chosen "marriage". In so doing, society has discriminated against other social arrangements, such as 2 gays living as a couple. Society has also decided that it's bad for teenagers to have sex and states have laws defining statutory rape (i.e., sex with someone less than, say, age 18) as a crime. Prostitution and polygamy also illegal in almost all states. How many rational people would advocate making these other activities legal?

What the "gay rights" advocates want is to have their sexual orientation legalized and to be able to enjoy the same subsidies which accrue to those who are married. Well, I think that's a bad idea for society. Witness the frequent failure of children from single parent households. Perhaps a better idea would be civil unions for every sort of arrangement, with no subsidies of any sort. That might actually help reduce population growth, as the tax breaks and other benefits for making babies would go away too.

May we live in interesting times...:<(

E. Swanson

That wasn't really my point. I was talking about how to achieve political change in this country, not the benefits of marriage, for anyone. But hey, the ideal family structure could be sort of considered on topic, I guess.

It's sort of like saying that the word, "red" means the same as the word "green".

Even if you're right...words change meaning all the time. Even words for colors. English is a living language, and all that.

The way I look at it, for what it's worth, is that society long ago decided to promote the union between a man and a woman as the best way to reproduce and educate the young, because that's what works.

That is simply not correct. Other societies have allowed gay marriage, and polygyny, and even polyandry. Marriage is basically an economic contract. When the economy changes, so does the nature of marriage.

What the "gay rights" advocates want is to have their sexual orientation legalized and to be able to enjoy the same subsidies which accrue to those who are married. Well, I think that's a bad idea for society. Witness the frequent failure of children from single parent households.

I don't see how that follows. If it's bad for children to come from single parent households (and I think that's questionable), then you should encourage marriage of all kinds. A child living with two parents of the same gender is not a child from a single parent household. Many states already allow gay couples to adopt and foster children, and of course, just because you are gay doesn't mean you can't have biological children.

FWIW...I think the "natural" family structure for children is the extended family. Not the nuclear family, which is an odd fluke and basically the product of the industrial age. Yes, having two parents is better than having one. But having three or four is better than having two. It's the ratio of parents to children that matters most.

Erm, seems to me we may want to applaud, even encourage gay marriage. After all, wouldn't this affect population growth in a negative, and therefore positive, way?

(The sarcasm glass is half full, here.)

Dunno about marriage in particular, but I could see homosexuality being encouraged in a society that was concerned about sustainability. In fact, that may have been the case in Japan. They were very accepting of homosexuality (and to this day are accepting of it in ways Americans find shocking). I suspect it was one of the ways they dealt with population issues. They are also very accepting of abortion compared to us, and have a tradition of relatively late marriage compared Europe.

"but I could see homosexuality being encouraged in a society that was concerned about sustainability"

There used to be a joke Leanan: "I can remember when sex was dirty and the air was clean."

The USA is young in population and historically immature unlike India, China, Japan or Europe. Also when it comes to prioritizing our landbase we have behaved like adolescents with Daddy's credit card. I can't think of a credible argument that all of this "infrastructure" has been worth what we gave up in exchange: clean air, healthy forests, stable eco-systems. When I hear arguments that we're going to somehow keep all of it going, all I can do is shake my head and say, "not gonna happen".

30 years from now (if we are able to continue to grow our population exponentially) people will have a dramatically different attitude about procreation. Forget about gay politics, how about vesectomies for teenage boys? Too bold you say. Circumstances change and so do peoples views. Granting tax subsidies for children, welfare payments for unwed, unemployed mothers and large families tooling around in Chevy Tahoes are soon to be tossed on the historical trashheap along with strong central governments and the golden age of the American Dollar.

Human Populations will either be reduced through social engineering or we'll get a new Dictator: Gaia.

References to vasectomies are illogical-you could sterilize 95% of all human males without lowering population growth at all. If actual lessening of population growth is the goal, you need to sterilize the female population-one guy can father literally thousands of offspring.

Brian, wake up, you're having a wet dream!

The number of sperm a guy can generate is hardly a determinant of how many kids he could Actually father. There are those thousands of potential mothers who might have some influence in the guy's effluents.

Jok: Wake up-you're talking nonsense again. In terms of population growth, the human female is the limiting factor. This isn't a question to debate or ponder.

"If actual lessening of population growth is the goal, you need to sterilize the female population-one guy can father literally thousands of offspring."

As the saying goes, you're not even wrong. Talking about massive, forced sterilizations of either gender is a ticket to insurrection and pop. overreaction, in the first place. If you have a goal of lessening pop growth, educating and supporting women is what works. This also gives decent odds on getting the next generations fed and educated as well.

"the human female is the limiting factor. This isn't a question to debate or ponder." It's so easy to jump into Eugenics when having a distanced and hypothetical conversation.. but that doesn't make the conclusions realistic. There are a lot of limiting factors besides the flowrate for gestation.

Jok: Whatever. News flash: there are not going to be "massive, forced sterilizations" so you can relax on this one.

That is quite true. That is probably the reason females are considered "inferior" in so many cultures. It's a justification for female infanticide, which was a common method of population control in the days before reliable birth control.

That is the reason I think it's possible that "men will rule again" if society collapses. We'll have the same sustainability issues our ancestors had, and I suspect we'll solve them in similar ways. It has nothing to do with whether women can farm or fight.

I don't buy it.

I think the devaluing of women in the modern age has been a function of our fear/loathing of 'nature' as we mastered Physics and Force projection, and created the forms of Imperialism and Colonialism that have crushed and exploited any 'resource' that was weak enough to be overtaken.

Can't source it at the moment.. I should remember to stay clear of these Population threads..

I don't see how that follows.

Women are often devalued in cultures under population pressure, even those that are not imperialist or colonialist. This can usually be seen in the sex ratios. If one gender is favored over the other, it shows up in the sex ratios.

Note that it doesn't have to be outright infanticide. It can just be favoritism. Feeding some children more than others, giving the boys better medical care than the girls, etc.

Personally, I wonder if this won't change, at least in the sense that women with access to weapons (ones that don't require male strength for maximum efficiency) will not accept it.

There is a parallel (in a mirror image way) - Japan in the age of the shoguns, where guns were banned to preserve the feudal order.

Personally, I don't think there is all that much 'native' difference in men or women being able to kill in their own interests. The difference is mainly one of socialization - and at this point, at least in societies like that of the U.S., younger women are being trained with the same techniques that younger men are, in terms of military experience. Not to mention video games, of course.

No predictions of the future, but I think the idea that women will return to the roles of centuries past is less likely than many here assume.

I don't think ability to kill really has anything to do with it. There have been cultures in the past where the women were the soldiers (or were at least as free to be warriors as men).

The difference is childbearing. As pointed out above, control of females is control of fertility.

I have known since the 60's (Zero Population Growth was all the rage) the mathematical certainities of the capacity of Gaia to feed its inhabitants. I see starvation daily in the papers and other news, and am supposed to become immune to it?

Maybe its like toilet odor - after a while I don't smell it anymore? Well I do - and it grieves me to no end to see the haves waste so much while the have nots suffer so much.

The paradigm of homosexuality is an enigma to me. My Christian beliefs on this run very contrary to my observations of the result of unbridled breeding. I have known since High school the fate of yeast in a petri dish.

I elected not to marry ( my stubbornness with the opposite sex convinced the ladies to agree ), but come tax time I dearly pay for not spawning off a bunch of deductions and tax credits. They don't see what I would spawn off ( experimentation with alternative refrigerants and ice bank technologies for thermal energy storage ) as worthy of tax credit, much less a stipend. I now depend completely on society to support me if I can no longer do so ( and I do not expect them to do much more than get me disposed of).

Yet, I wonder if even my God wants me because I feel more comfortable around my own sex. I am too much of a scientist/engineer to be much of a lover. My love is in my lab. Hell, I do not even make a good employee because I honor physical law before office politics.

No, this is not a solicitation for employment. I take pride in building resilient systems. I have systems in place that will sustain me for the rest of my life. However my output is highly constrained as this requires input. When other people need this output, hopefully I will still be able to deliver, but I am aging, and research takes time.


My Christian beliefs on this run very contrary to my observations of the result of unbridled breeding.

And that is not a coincidence. I think the point of the Christian view is pretty obvious. No sex unless you're married. You can only marry another Christian. And, in some flavors of Christianity, no birth control allowed.

Obviously, the point is to outnumber the heathens. Good for Christianity, not necessarily good for those who practice it, for the planet, or for anyone else.

you wrote:

Other societies have allowed gay marriage, and polygyny, and even polyandry. Marriage is basically an economic contract. When the economy changes, so does the nature of marriage.

Perhaps I should have prefaced my comment with something like "Western" societies. The point which I was attempting to get across was that our society (as embodied in our laws) has chosen to promote heterosexual marriage. Whether or not that is the best choice or remain so in future, that's what's evolved in the U.S. Maybe marriage with it's attendant problems of divorce and single parent child care, will become obsolete. Maybe we will go back to the days of feudal lords who had the "right" to deflower any maiden within his realm. Or, maybe a more hedonistic "Playboy" model of anything goes will become the norm (as if it hasn't already here in Redneckistan). I think we've seen quite a bit of what's been called "serial monogamy" in the cities of the U.S., and our national obsession with "being sexy" has produced TV shows like "Sex in the City" and "Desperate Housewives".

At the same time, there's the fact that health issues do exist, such as birth control and STD's, not least of which is HIV, which is still incurable. Recall the report a while back in which it was shown that something like half of black female teenagers have been infected with some STD. As the effectiveness of our available antibiotics continues to decline, STD's may again become a major scourge.

May 10, 2007
Washington Post

Virus Spread by Oral Sex Is Linked to Throat Cancer

The sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer also sharply increases the risk of certain types of throat cancer among people infected through oral sex, according to a study being published today.

The study, involving 100 people with throat cancer and 200 without it, found that those infected with the human papillomavirus were 32 times as likely to develop one form of oral cancer than those free of the virus. Although previous research had indicated HPV caused oral cancer, the new study is the first to definitively establish the link, researchers said.

None of which changes the accepted notion that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman...

E. Swanson

The point which I was attempting to get across was that our society (as embodied in our laws) has chosen to promote heterosexual marriage.

Yeah, and not too long ago, it chose to promote slavery. Times change.

Not sure what the rest of your post has to do with the subject at hand. Are you saying the black female teenagers are getting STDs because of gay marriage?

The statistics for white and hispanic females was about 20% of the 14 to 19 year old age group. Considerably less that that 50% for blacks. My point was that those who get those diseases do so by being in a chain from older to younger individuals. Children don't have STDs, as near as I can tell, but acquire them from their sex partners. One reason for monogamous relations is to stop the spread of STDs. If one expects a future of less medical care and the inability to provide replacement antibiotics as the present ones are defeated by evolutionary changes in the diseases, then one might also expect to see STD epidemics and a return to a society with strict monogamous relationships.

AIDS/HIV is a heterosexual disease, although it first appeared in the gay community because of their tendency to have frequent sex with different partners. I think it was a gross mistake to allow the gay community to prevent the reporting of AIDS cases to some central authority for tracking the disease. That failure made the epidemic much worse. In some African nations, the percentage of young mothers who are HIV positive when they present at hospital for child delivery is quite high, approaching 40%. That's been said to be the result of infidelity by the male partners after marriage.

Maybe one way to address the disease problem is to turn the process of coupling into a more formal, legal arrangement. Instead of applying for a license to have sex, why not require that both parties sign a standard "partnership contract", which would include breakup arrangements. Such an agreement would remove much of the acrimony of divorce. Part of the contract process would be the requirement for testing for all STDs, including HIV, before the contract could be signed. Those who signed the contract would be eligible for some minimum set of benefits which have been typically given just to heterosexual couples. But, don't call it a "marriage contract" and don't call the resulting arrangement a "marriage" if it is not heterosexual. You gotta leave something for the Church(s) to worry about.

E. Swanson

Honestly, I don't see what this has to do with the topic. If monogamy is desirable, then marriage is desirable. For everyone, gay or straight.

I really have a gripe with dumb ass medical statistics in the media - which are used as scare tactics in many cases. I am not inclined to have a lengthy debate on HPV, but would recommend being cautious about believing the marketing hype of things such as the HPV vaccine.

...and to be able to enjoy the same subsidies which accrue to those who are married. Well, I think that's a bad idea for society. Witness the frequent failure of children from single parent households.

As a single parent, I can tell you that a lot of the "frequent failure" of children from single parent households has to do with the discrimination we face on many levels - the subsidizing of married households and penalizing of ours in the tax laws being a major force.

My two-person household with a birth certificate between us pays more in taxes than a two-person household at the same income level but with a marriage certificate between them. No freakin' wonder it has been such a struggle.

And now that my child is a young adult, I can no longer insure him. However, if he was my domestic partner or the child of my domestic partner - no problem.

Too bad single parents are so busy doing the work of two parents (but without the subsidies) that they have no time for grass-roots lobbying for their benefit.

Oh come on Black Dog, that wasn't her point.

If you're color-blind, "red" does mean very nearly the same thing as "green".

If "marriage" means a chosen union between unrelated people, then there's nothing wrong with people of the same sex getting married.

But in all practicality, "marriage" doesn't even mean that. Like Doug Stanhope suggests, it's more like signing a contract guaranteeing that you'll be lucky forever, and if you're not, the other party has the right to half your stuff.

If you need a legal document (or a diamond) to prove you love someone, your relationship is a sham from the get-go.

If penalty of law is needed to prevent lovers from fighting or separating, there is something deficient in the system as a whole.

If you think all couples can only be exclusively bonded for life, you're insane.

Gay marriage should be forbidden, and so should straight marriage. Marriage should not be state-sanctioned.

Disagree. Marriage really isn't about love. It's an economic contract, and I think it still has a place.

It's not to provide a good environment for children. If that were the case, marriage would not be allowed between people too old to have kids, or for people who were infertile or didn't want kids. And I guess marriages would be dissolved after the kids were grown and out of the house.

But there are a lot of protections that the institution of marriage gives families (whether there are kids or not). We've all heard the horror stories. A friend of mine was with her partner for 30 years. He raised her daughter like she was his own, though he never adopted her legally. Then he had a stroke, and ended up in a nursing home. His family declared him mentally incompetent, and cut my friend and her daughter off, not even allowing them to visit him. They lost his financial contribution, and his family removed them from his health insurance. They were kicked out of their home (which was in his name). The daughter had to drop out of college, because he had been paying her tuition, and his family stopped that once they got control of his finances.

That is not what he would have wanted, and it wouldn't have happened if they had married. Yes, it's possible to set up various legal instruments that provide about the same protections as marriage, but it's a pain, and you may end up in a long court battle if the family objects. That's much less likely if you're married.

And one perhaps overlooked benefit of marriage: divorce. If you're married, there's also an established path to dissolving the union.

My gay friends laugh and agree with me that the *ONLY* negative to gay marriage will be a new syndicated TV series "Gay Divorce Court".

One entertainment contribution that our society could do without :-P

Best Hopes for Gay, and Straight, Marriage,


Divorce is an established path, and a benefit? That you say this implies you've never been around one in progress.

I would envy you if that were so.

The horror story you cite speaks more to the inherent social disconnection threaded through society than to proposed benefits of the back-end, piecemeal solution provided through police, lawyers, courts, and governments of that which existed before there ever were police, lawyers, courts, and governments.

But maybe you fundamentally do understand, as you state that similar problems are "less likely" if you're married, admitting it's a risk, or a gamble.

Which makes the joke about contractually agreeing to be lucky an equally valid comparison.

"but that's the way the word has been defined for centuries"

Actually, any fair history of marriage in the West would acknowledge that the word has been repeatedly redefined in legal terms in response to changes in social behavior - one thinks of the "married womens' property acts" in the 19th century that redefined the legal definition of marriage so that women could own property despite their status as married females or Loving v. Virginia that redefined the legal definition of marriage to recognize inter-racial unions. You want to privilege a definition of marriage you like (relying on gender identity of the partners) based on some questionable assertions and assumptions but haven't really offered why your definition of marriage should be immutable when most other definitions have been susceptible to change.

Why the "failure of children from single parent households" should be evidence in an argument against gay couples forming families with children is beyond me.

As one the gay rights advocates you refer to I'd say all I'm looking for is the same range of legal rights, privileges and economic benefits my straight siblings enjoy. Marriage has ceased to be a matter of legal status and is now simply a matter of contract - an associational arrangement based on volition. Allowing some members of society access to the benefits of such an arrangement, but not others is simply irrational and unjust. To be fair - your suggestion that marriage be redefined as a purely private arrangement not subject to state scrutiny would be rational and just by my standards.

You Rock Pudentilla

I presume you have forgotten our efforts to get Barry Commoner elected as the Citizens Party candidate back in 1980.


His main issue was the energy crisis with environmental issues also emphasized. The effort didn't get very far and in 1984, the "radical feminist” took it over and it died. However, the legal challenges which were pursued by the Citizens Party made it possible for Ross Perot to later build his one-man party.

E. Swanson

Environmentalists are getting smarter about how to pitch their message. This morning, I saw a pretty good TV slot:

Man descends into basement and sees a prominent environmentalist (David Suzuki) standing in front of an old refrigerator.

Man: "David Suzuki, what are you doing here?".

Suzuki: "Bob, running old appliances like this is hurting the environment".

Man: "But David, I'm still using this fridge" - opens door to show four bottles of beer inside.

Suzuki: "Did you know that running this fridge is costing you $150 in electricity every year?"


The final scene show the man running around the house turning everything off, including the kids' Nintendo and his wife's hair dryer.

People get the message once it is explained properly :)

Even those that seem to "get it" about PO in some sort of minimal way just don't seem to get the long-erm implications and urgency of it all.

There is undoubtedly some deep psychology here. It is difficult to really face up to the fact that paradigms are shifting massively, that all of your comfortable certainties are now dissolving before your eyes, and that the future will be much different, and in many ways worse, than what you've experienced up to now. If our leaders can't adjust to reality quickly, we can hardly expect the masses to do so.

And yet we must adjust to reality, and it is urgent that we do so as soon as possible. As Fatih Birol said the other day, "We must say fairwell to oil before oil says fairwell to us."

This is why I think it is a very good exercise to get ahead of the curve and go ahead and live as if times were harder than they already are, as if oil (and all energy) were already more scarce and expensive than they already are. Practice giving up things now, while it is easy to do so, rather than wait until your back is against the wall and you absolutely have to.

For almost a decade dry natural gas production in the United States seemed to be in decline. Recent high prices, advances in drilling and completion technology, blowing down gas caps of mature oil fields, and new pipelines allowed for December 2007 production to reach a decade high.


Since some environmentalists were calling for natural gas produced electricity instead of new coal powered electricity that is cheaper; it is not likely that we can switch all cars to natural gas. May switch some cars to natural gas then complain about the higher electrical bills later as natural gas cars were legal. Natural gas is yet cheaper than oil per BTU by a wide margin, yet CNG cars, trucks, and buses on a larger scale might cause the natural gas to become too expensive. The EROEI of natural gas was declining with lower grade shale gas reservoir development. Consumers might demand the cheaper coal generated power in the event of a rush to natural gas. The arguement that coal generated power is a source of mercury is of little use after medical authorities have proven the largest source of mercury in people's bodies is from their mercury-silver dental amalgam fillings. These mercury fillings have been banned in Germany.

Just did $800 of dental work.

5 cavities.

Full set of XRays and amalgam fillings.

But I didn't go to the Emergency Room for my badly sprained ankle
(garden injury), so zero X Ray exposure there ;}.

Me is a Dead Man Walking, I guess. 8D

And I've known the hazards of both since Reagan. What to do?

Maybe eat more organic broccoli?

These mercury fillings have been banned in Germany.

Hm - no. The biggest producer in Germany (Degussa) has given up producing amalgam some years ago.

As Fatih Birol said the other day, "We must say fairwell to oil before oil says fairwell to us."

Yeah, but even he doesn't mean it the way many of us do. He means "develop more fuel-efficient cars and alternate fuels, and let the happy motoring continue." Which is about as much as you can hope for from any US politician.

Honestly, sometimes I think we'd be better off with non-peak oil aware leaders. Because the mainstream responses to peak oil aren't all that helpful. (CTL, ethanol, invade oil producing country, etc.)

Yeah, I have given up on American Politicians too, but then who can blame them, they have to be elected by the American people. Fortunately, the world has the National Oil Companies (NOCs), who are the only entities engaging in intelligent peak oil and CO2 emission practices. Recognizing that it is more important to have some oil in the future than a small increase now, they are refusing to engage in all out drilling. As the Saudi King recently stated, lets leave some for our children. Understanding the only way to limit CO2 emissions from oil into the atmosphere they intelligently plan to leave some of it in the ground until CO2 emission-free alternatives can be found. Generational responsibility again!

Okay maybe I am ascribing too noble a set of motives, but what’s the difference. Viva La NOCs!!!

Or it could just be that what's left to explore & drill just costs too d@mn much and they don't have enough money to do it. . . so they are just buying back shares instead.

Here's the thing, we needa develop pretty much all viable options (ethanol and biodiesel are not viable) if this is going to NOT be TEOTWAKI. That means we need to build nuclear, wind (the combination of these 2 means we will need a major energy grid upgrade), CTL (to be fed with coal displaced by the nuclear and wind), hybrids, develop PHEVs, drill for every drop of oil we can find, shift our populations to walkable development styles, improve rail transport, control population growth (worldwide), etcetera etcetera etcetera. Since there is no magic bullet, we need to just open up with everything that can make even the slightest difference.

The problem is that every single item on that list meets with VERY strong opposition when the rubber meets the road. I have no doubt that this comment is about to get blasted for the support of nuclear. Similarly, CTL will get blasted as polluting. Wind meets strong opposition on the local level whenever it changes from theory to reality, People don't want to give up their SUVs, no one wants to live in an apartment or have an apartment complex built in their neighborhood. Etcetera etcetera etcetera.

The problem is not one of lack of *peak oil aware* leadership, it is one of a total lack of *leadership*. Any measure proposed by (for example) W is fiercely opposed on the sole basis of the fact that W proposed it, similarly with Gore, if he supports it, 40% will die to prevent it. It runs that way with everyone on the scene, democrats and republicans would rather die on a sinking boat fighting with each other than let the other start bailing.

What we need is a peak oil aware *hero* we need what Obama was trying to be in the early going (except with a clue). We need it now. Pity it doesn't look like we're going to get it.

Try a mental exercise though: Imagine what our situation would be if everyone decided to go ahead and live as if non-renewable energy was already extremely scarce, expensive, and mostly unavailable, as if they were already poor and powered-down. What would we need then?

The answer is that we would still need to do some things like develop renewables, an electrified rail infrastructure, etc. The dimensions of the problem would be far less daunting, however, and the problem would seem much more solvable.

Of course, everyone ISN'T going to live like that, especially given that there is absolutely zero possibility that their leadership would ever suggest that they do so. The only thing this changes, though, are the prospects for our success in making outcomes better rather than worse for most people. The fact is, non-renewable energy IS going to become extremely scarce, expensive and mostly unavailable, and we ARE going to become poor and powered-down; it will happen, and not all that far into the future. You might as well start getting ahead of the curve and get used to it now, because that is where all of us WILL be ending up, one way or another. And it is THAT fact that will ultimately "solve" the problem (if that is the right word for it). Mother Nature will lead us (or more likely, drag us kicking and screaming) to where we must end up, since our "leaders" won't do it.

[EDIT - hit the post button too soon. My main point is that there is no point in figuring out how to keep society going at present levels of per capita energy consumption and GDP. We are going to HAVE to be a society that uses a LOT less energy per capita, and that will HAVE to be a LOT poorer on a per capita GDP basis. No need to figure out how to keep everyone happily motoring, most of us will be on foot, or riding bicycles or scooters if we are lucky, or taking mass transit if we are really luck, or driving tiny short-range NEVs if we are REALLY really lucky.]

I am so glad I became PO aware. And TOD has been perfect to learn more abot the oil situation. And how it relates to almost everything we do today. It has helped me to see how little our 3 presidential candidates really understand, or at least let on, about what that they know about the oil situation. I just got done listening to Hillary speak at a campaign rally in Indianapolis. So stupid. Hopefully it is mostly campaign speak but I doubt it. The only words she used that made sense for me was that she called out for the "energy revolution". I think revolution pretty much describes how I feel about what needs to be done.

I just checked oil futures prices and they all seemed to be up about 4 dollars. Does anyone know why such a sharp jump is happening?

Oil prices rally as Turkey bombs Kurds in Iraq

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad al-Olaim said Wednesday that OPEC may hold an extraordinary meeting on oil prices before a scheduled conference in September and did not appear to rule out higher production.

However, Libya's acting oil minister Chukri Ghanem indicated that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cannot pump more crude oil.

Thanks, Ron.

Over the last few days there have been several anti-Peak threads started by highly sophisticated observers. Although well-reasoned and inciteful (deliberate homonym there) these arguments have been largely specious.

1. Whether oil futures are cash-settled or not is a red herring. The settlement price, by construction, follows the price paid by those actually taking physically delivery. At maturity of the futures contract (i.e. on the spot market) the price is driven solely by physical consumers of oil - even if they happen to be sticking it in storage tankes. If no one is willing to pay $115 to take physical delivery of a barrel of oil, how would any short be force to cash settle at this price?

2. Speculation can only occur in futures with longer maturities (i.e. not spot). If this were the case, we should see contango rather than backwardation. The evidence for this is very modest. All maturities are at elevated levels, including spot.

3. It may be true that buyers are willing to pay $115 but would RATHER pay $30. In this case the futures market will force prices to $115 every time. But that is what a free market system is designed to do - attract speculators to force prices to the limit of what people are willing to pay. But again, there is little evidence that this is a dominant force in current oil price formation.

4. The comments about dollar strength have been ill-formed. Our nation's situation isn't even remotely analagous to Bill Gates. The value of Bill's debt is solely determined by his willingness/ability to repay. Nations are in a much different situation. Monetary behavior can create an ephemeral "value" for currency/debt that differs significantly from the pledged assets/revenue backing that debt - in the same way my children will pay obscenely for the latest Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards, only to relegate them to the dustbin when their interest wanes.

Finally, the tone, construction and sophistication of these recent comments seems "unusual" to me, the kind of conversation designed to make thoughtful TOD readers quiet down and think for awhile.

Excellent synopsis.

The "energy" seems more of a calm down, don't panic mode.

"Mexico's oil revenues account for 40 percent of its federal budget. For decades Pemex has been the cash cow for each president, providing the revenues for social programs, operating expenses, and government salaries.

The majority of the Pemex revenues go first to union corruption, then to the federal budget and what is left over goes to operate Pemex. Even with revenues from almost $100 oil, Pemex went into the red in 2007, while oil companies around the world reaped record profits."

Excuse me!? "Union Corruption gets first shot at Mexico's oil

"Plants breathe in CO2 to make sugars and other complex compounds grow. Carbon dioxide levels from burning fossil fuels are rising rapidly and are now the highest than at any time in the past 650,000 years.

Last year, they reached near 390 parts per million from about 280 ppm at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Unless nations drastically rein in their carbon emissions, the level could reach 550 ppm by 2050, the climate panel says, leading to sharp increases in temperatures, particularly at higher latitudes.

The trick for farmers is to adapt, and scientists say the crops of the coming decades will have to be very different."

The trick for farmers is to adapt,....

Again, excuse me!? This increase would be the end of life as we know it on this planet. Adapt?

I watched commentary from the oil pit Friday.

In the AM, both were describing oil market collapse.
"Oil pit guy" said "$87", the next target.

LaLa land.

Nothing, except insulation from the mob, is being done now.

There is no evidence whatsoever that 550 ppm would be climatically catastrophic. Dramatic, yes, a major pain in the butt, yes. However, if you'll look at paleoclimate studies, you will plainly see that the bulk of geological history has been at levels greater than *1000* ppm.

This source is biased overall, however, the research that went into it is valid. Here's the source for the co2 numbers used.
And the temperature source

Now, does that mean it's a good plan? NO, just stating that your exaggeration is one. Adaptation to 550ppm levels IS possible. More probably possible in fact than adaptation to 80% less co2 emissions in the near-term.

the time it took to get to that level before was slow enough for plants to adapt to it. the speed that we are changing the planet is MUCH to fast for this to happen..

Honestly, the plants will do just fine.

Particular ecosystems (arboreal forests in particular) may find rough going and be greatly reduced in extent. This is already happening with the spread of pine-borer beetles and other insects causing extensive damage in areas that used to be too cold for them to overwinter effectively.

The biggest problem has been and will continue to be deforestation and the resulting desertification of large areas. CO2 levels have less to do with that than the widespread availability of axes and chainsaws.

If we accept the view that long-term climate sensitivity (including “slow” feedbacks) is around 6°C, then a doubling of CO2 levels to 550 ppm will in the end produce a 6°C increase. To be brutal, Stern’s 550 ppm target is a 6°C increase and contemplating a 550 ppm policy target for Australia is setting an equilibrium temperature rise of 6°C as policy. And we know that “the last time the planet was 5°C warmer, just prior to the glaciation of Antarctica about 35 million years ago, there were no large ice sheets on the planet. Given today’s ocean basins, if the ice sheets melt entirely, sea level will rise about 70 meters” (Hansen, 2007e).

And what if a target of 550ppm were to result in the destruction of the ocean’s greatest CO2 sink? In peer-reviewed research published in “Nature”, it was demonstrated that it is likely that when CO2 exceeds 500 ppm, the global temperature suddenly rises 6°C

Chance of avoiding three degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches two degrees and triggers carbon-cycle feedbacks from soils and plants

Chance of avoiding four degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches three degrees and triggers a runaway thaw of permafrost.

Chance of avoiding five degrees of global warming: negligible if the rise reaches four degrees and releases trapped methane from the sea bed.


It is hopelessly oversimplistic, but nevertheless I'll pose these questions:

If all the carbon that was geologically sequestered is released into the atmosphere, why SHOULDN'T we expect the earth's climate to revert to what it was when it was producing and sequestering all of that carboniferous material?

And why should we expect species that are adapted to the type of climate we had with all that carbon being sequestered (that includes homo sapiens) would still be adapted to the type of climate we had when all that carboniferous material was being produced and sequestered?

Because Earth has more than one climate, and humanity in particular has proven capable of adapting to every climate on the planet that allows for adequate harvest of potable water and foodstuffs.

If we nuke the oceans, burn all the plants, and poison the sky so that there is no free-standing drinkable water or concentrations of food for people to live on, THEN humanity runs a serious risk of extinction, but as long as there are multiple habitats where potable water and food remain available in sufficient quantities to support 100 Kilo omnivores I expect humanity will get by.

Mind you, there is a long, long way between "getting by" and civilisation, so take that as you will.

"you will plainly see that the bulk of geological history has been at levels greater than *1000* ppm."

But humans, much less civilization was(and will not be) part of it.

We have left the Holocene. 12 000 magical years.

What should be of even greater concern is the non-stop propoganda that is spewing out of our television sets as well as the MSM web-sites:

1. Boeing "meeting the challenge of the 21st century".
2. Chevron "creating a green tomorrow".
3. BP with a new improved ec o-friendly image.
4. Archer Daniels Midland Corp. "The supermarket to the world"

The effort is voluminous and overwhelming. EXXON and all of the corporations can keep fooling most of the people most of the time. The people who read and blog here are the "radical fringe".

I think the average beer-chugging shlub in America thinks high gas, food and energy prices are some sort of conspiracy to stop him from driving his Ford F-250.

Face it Oil Drummers, we are still a small, shrill voice crying out in the wilderness.


Think how depressed we will all be when everyone knows what we have been saying! Right now, being peak oil aware is something that allows us to feel superior. When that ends, we'll have to find something else to be shrill about!

The latest around here are clean coal ads.

Don't forget the dewpont 'the human element' ad's.

At maturity of the futures contract (i.e. on the spot market) the price is driven solely by physical consumers of oil - even if they happen to be sticking it in storage tankes.

Or by oil middlemen who happen to be financial firms. I posted a wsj link yesterday about Cushing.

It mentions:

Even some financial firms involved in oil trading got into the storage business. That gave them the means to set aside oil when the market wasn't ripe to sell it profitably, and to take a cut as middlemen.

Last year, the Vitol Group, a large oil-trading firm based in the Netherlands and Switzerland, paid $170 million to buy an oil-terminal complex in Amsterdam. Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley bought TransMontaigne Inc., an oil-products transportation and distribution company; it also bought a European company that manages oil tankers. In Singapore, trading firms are among the port city's largest storage providers.

Why don't I care to read about "recreating the sun" here on earth anymore?
... is it my problems with Tom&Jerry-materials, Tom&Jerry-temperature, Tom&Jerry-pressure, Nimby, atmosphere a blaze .... fill in for the dots ... Or in short : not possible (?)

Scientists to ‘recreate sun’ in hunt for energy

Re top link: "Can We Survive" part 1 (PDF)

There's an HTML version of part 1 here. (It was posted in a previous DrumBeat.)


This is the first time I've encountered an article on climate change in a publication of the secular humanist community. The times they are a-changing. Very cogently argued.

One and a half caveats. At the end of the article the authors speak of the 'flawed decision-making process' resulting from politicians' failure to overcome the 'knowledge barrier'. No doubt such flaws exist -- but what is 'flawed' from the perspective of the planet's survival may make quite good sense from the perspective of the politician's survival. So perhaps it would be better to speak of a perverse decision making process.

I'm also surprised at the absence of any mention of the 'tragedy of the commons' per se. One of the chief reasons individual countries fail to take adequate action to combat climate change is that they are aware that they will reap only a fraction of the benefits -- and that scarce resources might be better spent on protection than on prevention. For example, it makes a lot more sense for the Netherlands to invest in improving its dykes to protect the country against rising sea levels than in reducing its CO2 output to the same end. Even if the Netherlands reduced their CO2 output to zero the impact on rising sea levels would be marginal. Being virtuous on the carbon front just doesn't pay.

That's why I think there is something almost other-worldly about many of the carbon reduction proposals --- they are political non-starters. Even worse, they may result in a slew of of cosmeticist pseudo-measures that make both politicians and the voting public feel good about themselves while having absolutely no impact on global warming. The focus will have to be on protection at national level rather than on prevention at global level. King Canute could not hold back the incoming tide and neither can we. Let's do the best we can and invest in waterproofing instead. If only just to live a little bit longer.

No doubt such flaws exist -- but what is 'flawed' from the perspective of the planet's survival may make quite good sense from the perspective of the politician's survival. So perhaps it would be better to speak of a perverse decision making process.

Yes. I don't think it's flawed at all; this behavior is structurally required. I think it was in one of the Kunstler interviews I listened to yesterday where he referred to the structural inability of US political system to handle a declining pie - he had much more colorful language.

Most people don't understand that. That the "solutions" espoused by the powers that be - precisely because they are the powers that be in a system that is making matters worse - will almost always make matters worse. The complete turn around required would include relieving them of their power. It's not which one of the US dictatorial candidates will be better - that choice has already been made and they will all make matters worse. We are better off doing nothing than trying to implement anything they would consider a "solution".

The highly centralized federal system in US is not only in the way, but it is highly counterproductive. The Constitution itself - designed to prevent change - is in the way. The Commerce Clause alone relegates the Constitution to the category of "suicide pact" for our time and place.

I'll be voting for Shiva and Pigasus.

cfm in Gray, ME

"Decision making process"? Since when did they ever manage to get around to actually making any decision.

Having just emerged from a tough and costly winter, next winter promises to be a whole lot worse. Last week, the average cost of home heating oil in New Hampshire crossed over the $4.00 a gallon mark.

Source: http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080504/FRONTP...

If I recall correctly, the average Maine home burns through a little more than 1,000 gallons of fuel oil a year, so the average Mainer will be spending more than $4,000.00 a year just to stay warm (about $1,500.00 more than the previous year).

Edit: But there's a small glimmer of hope.... http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080503/REALESTATE/805030495/1668


Wouldn't it be easier for holmes in Maine to install ground source heat pumps? Most houses in Maine would have enough land, and there is no reason to redesign the house etc as with passive solar. An opportunity for a heat pump salesman?

Hi weatherman,

I'm afraid most Mainers would be hard pressed to spend $30,000.00 or more on a GSHP (according to U.S. census data, the median household income in 2004 was $41,287.00 and the median value of owner-occupied homes in Y2000 was $98,700). Even a small, ductless heat pump at $2 to $3K would be a stretch for many families.

I'd have to investigate this further, but off-peak electric heat might be one of the better options and would involve little or no upfront cost (i.e., oil by day and electric by night).


Why not a woodstove? They are efficient and Maine has plenty of forest and can have more. You can get one for less than the cost of a years heating oil and if you can borrow a pickup and chainsaw you can go get your own wood.

That actually is what I am doing in upstate NY. Heated all last winter for 5 gallons of chansaw gas. However, it is rather labor intensive, messy, inconvenient, and did I mention labor intensive? Wood pellets are a better choice for most people.

As for labor intensive, I would much rather cut and split wood than do a lot of other tasks. F!#@@ a day in the office compared to a day in the woods. Also a lot of wood is free where I live you just have to go pick it up. An if you have a group of buds you can make it a social thing in the spring and fall when the weather is not to hot or to cold. Just go out have some brews and stock up your woodshed. For most working class rural and suburbanites this is more productive than overtime economically.

I agree. You will note that I just said it is what I did and am doing! Frankly, the equivalency is $50/hr for me to spend an hour making wood as compared to purchasing oil That beats my engineering salary! However, I acknowledge that it isn't for everyone.

Hi OM,

Something about slugging back the bruski's and firing-up the old chainsaw that's giving me cause to pause. ;-)

Price will vary, but a decent quality, high-efficiency EPA-approved wood stove, chimney system and labour to install (and here the law requires that wood stoves be professionally installed and WETT certified) will set you back $3 to $4K. For those who have access to free wood and don't mind the work, that's probably not a bad option. For those who would prefer their wood be delivered, you're likely looking at $200.00 to $250.00 a cord, which puts the cost of wood heat in the range of $0.04 to $0.05 per kWh equivalent -- that's about one-half to one-third the cost of fuel oil, so it's still a pretty sweet deal. Wood stoves offer a nice heat and they work without electricity, but there's work involved, they can be messy and they may not be suitable for everyone (e.g., those with asthma or other respiratory issues).

If money is tight, I would stick with oil for the time being and concentrate on reducing your home's heat loss. $500.00 spent on attic insulation, caulking and weatherstripping, 3M window kits, pipe wrap and duct sealing, etc. might very well reduce your annual heating costs by a $1,000.00 or more. Replacing an old oil-fired DHW tank with an electric unit might be another smart move, especially if you can take advantage of relatively inexpensive off-peak energy (e.g., oil at $4.00 a gallon and an EF of 0.5 is the equivalent of electricity at $0.20 per kWh). Again, in many parts of the country, off-peak electricity is a terrific bargain and so a dual-fuel arrangement may prove to be the best choice of all.


I heated my house in Mass with 2 wood stoves, guys my dad grew up with worked on the town tree department when he asked they would dump wood in the back yard when I needed it.

It was a win win win situation I would give them a small gratuity and they would give me an old hardwood town tree that was destined for the dump, the town saved on the tipping charges, I would get a Oak or Black Walnut or other hardwood that was unusable for lumber as it was a city tree and a few townies got lunch money for a couple of days and my buddy got a few beers after the chainsawin was done. I would split it and stack it on wooden pallets to keep it off the ground.

Of course the brews would come out only after the wood was cut and the tools put away.

Get to know these guys in your town, if you see them working about (ask the laborer not the supervisor!) ask what they do with the trees they cut down.

Besides, wood heats you twice! ;-)

Anecdotally, I do think that is happening. Driving around the Ellsworth, Castine, and Bucksport areas I'm seeing a significant increase in wood piles in folks yards. After the "Great Ice Storm" lots of folks who had removed wood stoves, bought new ones just for a back up. One of the few sources of heating that works just fine without electricity. I'm just shy of 60 and putting by the 4 chords I burn each year is probably why I am as healthy as I am.


My family has got a place in Prospect Harbor. Any idea of a reasonably priced place to buy firewood for this winter?


Warner, our local guy doesn't deliver out there, he's cut back to just local because of the fuel charges. He's getting $200 a chord now for cut, split, dry hardwood. You might try Charlie's Firewood at 584-5621 I know he has a good supply but not sure what he's charging this spring.

There is no way we can switch to wood or wood pellets any more than we can switch to any other form of biofuel. Even in Maine, there is not enough.

cfm in Gray, ME, downwind of an outdoor boiler...cough, cough

Hi Gary,

You can be sure there's a special place in hell reserved for outdoor wood boilers and I look forward to the day they're banished from this earth.

Not sure if you've already come across this but, if not: http://maine.gov/dep/air/woodsmoke/phinfo.htm

Also, see: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-15-BoilerSidebar_N.htm

Does your town have any nuisance laws that can used to address this type of problem?


We are on the mailing list for a firm that does them. they seem to quote abour £10,000 which if you forget about the weak exchange rate is probably about the same in dollers. while it is a large sum there must be some way of spreading the cost over time. After all not many people have the ready cash to buy a new car or house,but most people have them.

Price seems to be all over the map, but I would expect our larger homes and harsher climate would kick that number up a notch or two. I'm told a 10 kW GSHP (new construction) will set you back a minimum of $25,000.00 in the case of a closed loop system (approximately 500 metres of pipe) and $30,000.00 in the case of an open well design. An older, less energy-efficient home would need a larger system (15+ kW) and the installation would likely be more a bit more complicated, so you might have to multiple that number by 1.3 or 1.5.


Milk now costs more than gasoline in some areas:


In 2007 soybean acres planted were estimated to be 15% less than the year before. This was attributed in part to higher costs for corn used in biofuels.

Increased exports of grain have led to depleted stockpiles. Wheat stockpiles were reported to be as low as 24 days (May 2, 2008):


The U.S. wheat harvest usually began in southern Texas about mid-May and then moved north as the grain ripened. During July of last year there was yet wheat in Texas that had not been harvested due to rains. From Texas the combine operations moved north through the Great Plains.

While United States grain acreage planted is supposed to increase 2008, the growing need for corn used in biofuels is in danger of being greater than the amount of corn acres scheduled for planting this year.

Other nations may face similar problems caused by biofuels laws and policies. A number of nations banned the export of grain as a world wide crisis was forseen.

Anyone fancy commenting on this? The article doesn't make it clear where the oil came from. Is it assumed to have migrated as I'm sure it wasn't formed in molten lava.

Oil bonanza for Shetland under volcanic rocks

Billions of pounds of oil could be under unexplored volcanic rocks to the west of Shetland.

Scientists believe that rocks formed by huge rivers of molten lava tens of millions of years ago could host up to 500 million barrels of oil.

US oil company Chevron is trying to pinpoint the oil as other experts develop technology to drill through the extremely hard rock.

When the lava solidified it became basalt rock, which is exceptionally tough to drill through, and which also causes problems for seismic surveyors trying to pinpoint oil beneath it.

...Oil companies have found hydrocarbons in similar rock strata off the coasts of South America and Africa. And in the North Atlantic, a basalt area off the East coast of Greenland is believed by the US Geological Survey, to have as much as 500 million barrels of oil. The area, known as the Thetis Basin, is a similar size to the volcanic shelf which lies around the Faroes and which extends into UK waters

Electricity use per U.S. home rose 23% between 1981 and 2001:


Hi rain,

This time last year, I was averaging close to 30 kWh/day and with three small changes, I'm down to 10 kWh/day. 1) now that winter is over, I've turned off my home's heat recovery air exchanger (0.23 kw x 24 hrs/day = 5.52 kWh/day), 2) I've unplugged my three satellite receivers and related hardware (3 x 0.06 x 24 hrs/day = 4.32 kWh/day) and 3) I open the windows and doors to ventilate downstairs whenever the relative humidity level drops below 50 per cent, thereby minimizing the use of my dehumidifier (0.8 kW x avg. 12 hrs/day = 9.6 kWh). Living on the coast, this last item is my biggest challenge, but today happens to be a good day (see: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/trends_table/pages/yhz_metric_e.html).


"I'm down to 10 kWh/day."

Good work! We are at 7 kWh a day without the heatpump and our yearly daily average is 15 kWh a day (includes the heat pump). Our 4.5 kW PV and SDHW systems supply us with all this power (actually 109%) plus a bit to spare for the plug in hybrid someday.

It is interesting to see how low folks can get their consumption. Most can easily trim 50%.


Hi Todd,

Thanks for your kind words and congratulations on your own success! During the shoulder seasons when I lived in Toronto, I could get down to the 6 to 7 kWh/day mark with some effort, but pretty much everything in that home operated on natural gas. Now, without access to natural gas, the choice boils down to either oil or electricity and I'm shifting more and more in the direction of the latter (i.e., ductless heat pump, induction cooking and, soon, an electric water heater). I'm not exactly thrilled by my choice given the bulk of our electricity is generated through the burning of coal, but I purchase green power to supply about half our needs and offset the rest by other means.

The last big push to get off oil is related to our DHW requirements. I've ordered a small, 67-litre 120-volt/1.5 kW electric water heater through Sears to pre-heat the water feed our indirect, oil-fired tank. I figure this will add another 3 to 5 kWh to our daily electricity demand but, in return, cut our annual fuel oil consumption by more than half (it was, in fact, the forthcoming addition of this new load that prompted me to find ways to cut back elsewhere).

BTW, Todd, I enjoyed watching your interview on Peakmoment TV and I would encourage all TODers to check it out at http://youtube.com/watch?v=p9lhTdABB20


I switched to compact flourescents. 100W worth of incandescent lumens produced with 23W of C.F. light bulb capacity. Added insulation to increase heating efficiency.

I bought my first CFL back in 1983 and they provide the bulk of our light but, truth be told, I still prefer incandescent and halogen sources. The compromise is that they can be used wherever the lamp is hidden from view, as in the case of a table or floor lamp. But if the lamp is exposed (e.g., a recessed PAR38 fixture), it's going to be a halogen. My problem is that I hate soft, diffuse light; I want the sparkle and punch and dramatic contrasts you can only get from a 200-watt clear incandescent. I want to see the shadow of the tungsten filament dancing on the ceiling as I walk across the living room floor. Give me a CFL that can do *that* and when I die, my soul will surely rest in peace. :-)


Hear, hear!

I think the cost of operation is all the disincentive we need to control the overuse of Filament lights. This 'outlawing' of incandescents seems a little absurd to me. I also have applications that are best served with Incandescents, particularly for work as a cameraman, while at home we are probably above 95% CFL.

Luckily the advent of these true 'Daylight' Compact Fluorescents has also been a great help to shooters who often need to fill against outdoor light, and used to crank thousands of watts of 'Yellow' Tungsten (and still do) through blue gel to get the right color output. The waste and the heat is prodigious.


Hi Bob,

Fear not, you'll still be able to purchase incandescent lamps. The provisions related to incandescent lamps within the "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (HR6)" are limited to "general service" only; basically your standard A19 household lamp. "General service" is defined as:

1) having a medium (E27) screw-base;
2) a light output of between 310 and 2600 lumens;
3) an operating voltage of between 110 and130V; and
4) a standard or "modified" light spectrum (e.g.., GE's "Reveal").

Incandescent lamps that are explicitly EXCLUDED from this regulation include the following:

black light
left-hand thread (used where lamps may be stolen)
marine / marine signal
mine service
plant light
rough service / shatter-resistant / vibration service
silver bowl
traffic signal
G & T shape
AB, BA, CA, F, G16-1/2, G-25, G30, S and M-14

When these regulations are phased-in starting in 2012, general service lamps that produce approximately the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt incandescent will use no more than 72-watts; a lamp with the output of a 75-watt incandescent will be capped at 53-watts, a 60-watt bulb at 43-watts and a 40-watt bulb at 29-watts. Philips currently sells general service lamps that meet this new standard (they're available at Home Depot) and within the next few years GE expects to have lamps that will be four times more efficient than the ones they sell now (~60 lumens per watt).

I have 42-watt CFLs in my livingroom table lamps, but I've kept the original 200-watt incandescents hidden in the table drawers.... sometimes, late at night after my partner has gone to bed, I swap them back in and bask in all their glory. :-)


After a bit of searching, this looks like the explanation.
Basalt - and the bits in between

Geoscientist 18.4 April 2008

In 2004, and to a great deal of surprise, Chevron with partners Statoil, OMV and Dong made an oil and gas discovery within a Palaeogene volcanic sequence in the Faroe-Shetland Basin. The reservoir sandstones are contained within a ~100 m thick interbedded sequence of basaltic lava flows, hyaloclastites and volcaniclastic and siliciclastic sandstones.

This “Rosebank” discovery in Well 213/27-1z in the UK area of the basin has opened up new potential plays within the volcanic-dominated Faroese area, where previously only sub-volcanic plays have been considered.

With the forthcoming third licensing round in the Faroese area, oil industry geologists are taking a renewed interest in volcanic rocks and their interaction with sedimentation.

Sounds to me like the basalt is the trap rock...vesiculated basalts have a lot of primary porosity. The source rock is something older and sedimentary.

Volcanic traps are not unusual. There is a good example in Central Nevada, USA. The source rock is Mississippian Chainman shale and the trap is Miocene dacite/rhyo-dacite tuff. The Chainman dips steeply westward and the tuff covers it. Hydrocarbon migrates along bedding in the shale and accumulates in voids in the tuff. I think the porosity is from gas bubble voids and devitrification, but I don't know for sure. This makes for small but productive fields.

oops...just saw undertow's post. This proves research works better than guessing!

Well, first of all:

1. 500 million Barrels is not a lot.
2. Later, Paleogene Basalt flows just provide cover for earlier rocks that already have oil in situ
3. Volcaniclastics intermingle with Siliclastics and manufacture a potential reservoir sequence that can later play host to migrating oil.
4. Basalt flows can obscure what is beneath and basalt is hard to drill. But Basalt flows are not related to oil generation and have no special relationship with oil formation.

There may well be oil here, but lets not get too excited just yet.
Note: The Ocean area between Shetland and the Faeroes are called 'the white zone' - The demarkation between these Islands and Governments is not yet agreed.

Like all oil, it has to be drilled for and production tested before any claims can be made

We will see.

500 million barrels is 6 months North Sea production. Nothing to get excited about.

Changing tracks to geology I find an article from Live Science that indicates that the earth does indeed have a gooey core.


"You know Earth's schematic: core, mantle, crust, right? Sorry, not so simple.

Like the gooey center of a chocolate morsel harboring peanut butter and honey, inner Earth is far more nuanced than outward appearances would suggest. A new model is proposed in the May 2 issue of the journal Science."

Don't fret, no mention of abiotic oil but I suspect Jim Kunstler's "gooey nugget core" retort might need some tuning.

I think they have delineated a convection cell (motive force for plate tectonics, subduction zones and constructive margins)- Which will have different temperature gradients, densities and viscosities than the surrounding material.


I am wondering if someone would like to comment - Engdahl is definitely not in the employ of CERA.

There's some discussion in yesterday's DrumBeat.

The same comment was being made when oil passed $40. The same guys who say oil should be $30 fundamentally said just a few years ago that $30 was ridiculously high. The caravan passes and the dogs bark.

Fuel costs in exporting countries with heavy subsidies. Another factor in the export-land model where economies become inflated with unrealistic levels of consumption, yet I cannot help but envy. Here is my tourist story.

Recently we visited Venezuela. I had been curious about fuel costs so I took this image of a pump in Polarmar. Rate of exchange at the time was 2000 Bolivistars to 1 US Dollar. This fill of 36 liters cost 3.44 Bolivistars.


While marveling at fuel prices some local fellows came by and asked why I was photographing a fuel pump. I said we are paying US $4.00/ gallon and you guys are paying a few cents. Man in center said 'Welcome to Venezuela'


Tourism and travel costs are related. One cannot help thinking that a factor for the future for selecting a country to vacation beside climate and location features will be the (subsidized) energy costs.


i knew prices were low in those countries, but that is beyond my wildest imagination
in the end, their oil will just dry up, and they will have achieved absolutely nothing with the oil-money, besides keeping the population content and in total ignorance of peak oil.

oh, and it's safe to say that the kind of price increase that will go un-noticed in first world countries (2-3 cents) will get people rioting in countries like bolivia

had3z "in the end, their oil will just dry up, and they will have achieved absolutely nothing with the oil-money, besides keeping the population content and in total ignorance of peak oil"

You mean like the United States of America did?

If I understand the photograph correctly, and if the exchange rate is 2148 bolivars to the dollar, that's 3.49 bolivars, or $0.0016, one-sixth of a cent, for 9.35 gallons. That converts to 0.00017 dollars, or 0.017 cents, per US gallon.

So why am I often told in statistical tables that gas is around 17 cents per gallon in Venezuela, if it's actually 100 times cheaper, at 0.017 cents? Incredible!

Oh, well, what's a factor of 100 between friends? Anybody???

After inflation hit Israel for a few years, the gas stations shaved three zeroes on their displays, and then the government followed suit, changing from the shekel to the "new shekel" (NIS).

I'm guessing the pump meters there show the price in thousands of bolivars.

Could be, though to come out right it would have to be 100's of bolivars. And by now they would have had time to change the label to say thousands of bolivars, instead of just bolivars. So I'm still wondering just a little. Richrd???

Yes Thanks

I was continuously confused by the currency on the trip. Even at the upgraded value fuel is still very cheap relative to us. Incidentally fuel costs in Trinidad/Tobago were also in the same price range. When we fueled our rental car in Tobago it smelled strongly of ethanol.

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Sunday for international pressure on oil producers' group OPEC to bring oil prices down.

With OPEC's highly inflated reserve estimates, which ballooned in the 80's, there is an assumption that all they have to do is open the spickets a little wider and an increase in oil flow will bring the price down and we can all go back to business as usual with strong global economic expansion. However, the basis for those ballooning reserve counts had more to do with meeting an arbitrary OPEC mandate, which required OPEC members to produce only a certain percentage of their reserves in any one year. To get around that requirement, OPEC members within a few short years in the early 80's artificially increased their reserve counts so they could continue to produce at a rate of their choosing.

Thus, since those reserve counts are wildly unrealistic (see Simmons Twilight in the Desert), and since 120 dollars a barrel is great incentive to pump more, then they probably can't produce more.

Yet, OPEC members probably do not want to own up to lower reserve counts because they would then be directed by OPEC to lower their output in line with their revised reserve estimates.

Brown is always calling for OPEC to bring prices down. That is all he can do. Act like a player on the world stage.

He needs to get out more.

He is what we call clever-stupid. Too much time with his head buried in economics textbooks.

Dont blame him though: If I were him , in charge of UK Prosperity an all, I probably would not want to look into that dark place called Peak Oil.

Fine words butter no parsnips.

Candidate campaigns for democracy and against the agenda of an American Empire to take-over Canada

Leanan, you must have googled every wacko theory you could think of at one time and come up with this Doug Plumb yo-yo. He puts them all together in one convenient bundle. Oh, he did miss out on the NASA moon-landing hoax. Maybe I'd better email him.

I don't think you guys see how the US is going to mitigate peak oil. There is nothing to worry about. We don't need that much gas when there are no jobs. It's much more cost effective to impoverish a nation that to mitigate the problem.

That "story" made me laugh...one needs a little entertainment now and then would you say??

As occasionally happens, Google News burped and threw up this old article today, dated June 14 2006:

Oil could drop to $40 a barrel says BP boss

He told the German magazine 'Der Spiegel' this week that oil prices could fall back to as low as $40 a barrel in the medium term, and to as low as $25 a barrel within the next decade.

This was back when oil was $70....

Green roof and rainwater harvesting greatly expanding in UK

As a result, Britain is experiencing one of the biggest booms in Europe in the “green roof” and rainwaterharvesting industries. Sales of rainwater-harvesting systems have more than doubled every year for the past four years. An industry worth about £500,000 in 2004 has now grown to more than £10 million.

The number of green roof companies has increased fivefold in as many years. Where fewer than 10,000 square metres of sedum blanket were laid annually, that figure is now approaching 100,000.


Hit them over the head with a hammer for long enough, and eventually they notice......

People seem to think things always have been the way they were in their grandparents' time. But marriage has changed over the centuries, and even decades. In the Bible, marriage is between one man, and as many wives as he can afford. Not to mention concubines. In feudal times, marriage was a political and property matter; peasants (no property) didn't worry much about marriage. Don't forget -- part of the property being traded between families was the bride. A married woman through Victorian times was part of her husband's estate and had little independent standing.

Now marriage is between two individuals who wish to formalize their relationship as a social unit. Gay people aren't trying to change marriage; the institution has changed so that it's appropriate for them. Couples need legal recognition to care for each other; further, many gay couples are in fact raising children and need the support of legal recognition. Note the issue isn't "gay marriage," or "domestic partnership," or "civil unions" -- those are all second-class arrangments, reinventing the wheel. What we're after is marriage equality -- "marriage" for all loving couples.

Funny how people "get" marriage. My partner and I have been together for 25 years, and people have been accepting and respectful. But when we were married in Montreal in 2005, wow! Congratulations! Here's to your life together! Friends gave us a cookbook! Even my husband's family, who came up from Maine to stand with us, seem no longer to treat me as that guy their son lives with.

Mudduck in Jackson Heights

Although I personally do not believe in marriage as it is designed, I can not abide the concept of the government getting involved in my business. I also believe that people who do wish to get married should have the right to so do. I do not understand the opposition to same gender marriages. Marriage is a contract, if two people each of whom would be able to marry a member of the opposite sex wish to get married they should not be barred because they are of the same gender.

And not just for couples if people wish to enter into a plural marriage they should have that right.

As for civil unions I find them to be particularly offensive, because they are a tacit admission by the state of the prejudice and discrimination that prevents same gender marriage combined with a refusal to really do anything substantial about it.

The people who believe in marriage but do not believe in same gender marriage or plural marriage are free to marry one member of the opposite sex if they so wish, but they should be be allowed to stand in the way of the happiness of others.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Also if two opposite gender people wish to be domestic partners i.e. for benefits reasons they should be given the same benefits as unmarried same gender couples.

Those who are at or above the age of consent have a right to, or not to, get married in a manner that they so wish.

The review of Kunstler's book by a woman was fascinating reading, especially when contrasted with Kunstler's own experience during a minor disruption of power in his own home town.

Some people look for a plausible explanation why their beliefs will prove correct, and others deal with reality as it comes.

Being a talented polemicist devoted to promoting major changes in a society which devoutly avoids reality as much as possible is not easy.

But then, it wasn't all that hard for a woman to live a life in conditions like that portrayed in Kunstler's novel. Maybe he needs to get out more, to see how people live when the power is off for years, and not merely days.

As a note, not really self-commenting - 'The Geography of Nowhere' is a magnificent work, and should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding why America looks like it does today. Kunstler's polemic style is fantastic, and all too rare in American discourse.

Kunstler himself, however, is neither a prophet nor is he very practical in an empirical way. And it is this lack of practicality, while using the skills of practical people around him (whether it be the people running the airlines or the rail system), which at times makes him so frustrating to read. They know how to keep things running, while he is talented at pointing out how things can fail.

This was one of the problems I had studying and working at a university - the professors were often wonderfully intelligent, yet many were woefully incapable of anything resembling even basic handiwork. And yet, this lack did not generally stop them from having deeply held opinions on subjects beyond their skills.

This disjunction is roughly the same as a tooth ache - the tongue slides over the area causing the pain, becoming a habit hard to shake. Kunstler is so right in some areas, the areas he is wrong in become harder to ignore.

expat "They know how to keep things running".

Really? Tell me how to run an airline with $120 a barrel gas or a trucking company or finally a government that is broke from years of deficit spending and noone left to extend credit.

If you can answer that one you should be running for President.

I think I could do it, but nobody would vote for me.

Think of all the fun one might have with the economy. Like, when there's only one or two airlines left, they will survive because they would be able to charge the passengers what it costs to fly them from place to place. Same for trucking companies. The problem with the government is a little tougher. I would cut the defense budget in half and pay for the other half with a big tax (maybe $50/bbl) on imported oil, calling it an Oil Import Security Fee. Of course, I would also need to ration transport fuel, using a white market to smooth the distortions, with the allocated amount for each individual declining each year as world supply declines. There's plenty more unmentionable wild ideas out there.

As noted, I would probably get no more than the 5% lunatic fringe of the votes.

E. Swanson

You got my vote Black_Dog. Maybe we could get some cool uniforms and arm bands.

Tell me how to run an airline with $120 a barrel gas...

Ridiculously easy. Charge enough to cover costs. 25% more than current fares should easily do it. Believe it or not, it's only in the last 20 years or so that air travel became so utterly dirt cheap that it even displaced Greyhound buses. That was partly due to record-cheap oil, partly due to a long history of romantic investors subsidizing losses from the day the industry was created, and very much due to cities, counties, and states falling all over themselves to subsidize it, and subsidize it again, and subsidize it yet again. But there's no law of physics or even economics that says it has to stay that way, or that says that the airline business has to remain as huge as it is right now.

I think you mean something a bit different than my point - that is, the people that fly and maintain aircraft, both as a profession and a hobby, are likely to be able to keep something flying long beyond the point where it is 'impossible' to do so in the eyes of those that have little to no experience in the area. I am not talking about miracles, or the fact that when there is no fuel, the motor won't run. Or that the plane won't crash, for that matter. What I am talking about is that skills and determination should not merely be dismissed because they contradict one's worldview.

As noted below, the solution to 120 dollar barrel oil is to charge a higher price for a ticket.

Expat, thanks for the mention of Elaine Supkis's review of Kunstler's recent book.


The review does contain one major factual error, though.

Most writers about the End of Civilization jump to the idea that the man will rule again and the woman will retreat.

If there is one thing that both evolutionists and feminists agree on it is that man still rules in the extra-familial dimension. They disagree as to why this is so. Evolutionists attribute male dominance to millennia of sexual selection; feminists say it's men's fault because they are chauvinist pigs, or women's fault because they don't follow the teachings of Simone De Beauvoir. Or something like that.

But whatever the cause, the fact remains that every society on earth has been, and still is, run by men. Feminists are right about that. It is not a matter of men ruling 'again', since they are ruling already.

Perhaps men will rule even more in the post-peak oil age, though whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of opinion. But I think it's a pretty sound default hypothesis. Partly too because there is a genetic component that has nothing to with 'peak oil', feminism (like atheism) being a kind of evolutionary cul de sac in that the non-feminists (or more religiously inclined women) reproduce more successfully. So even if the abiotic wackos turn out to be right and we discover boundless amounts of oil, a return to more traditional values may be an evolutionary inevitability.

Carolus Obscurus recommends Steven Goldberg's 'Why Men Rule – A Theory of Male Dominance':


men ruling seems to be the way in every human society since time imermorial. Feminsts are accusing nature of conspiricy theories.

In reply to both - the rich and powerful have ruled, and until recently, the members of that exclusive club have ensured that they remain the only members in what has been essentially a male only domain.

Of course individual women have been members - whether Queen Elizabeth or Thatcher serves best as an example depends on your own perspective.

But only in the past generation has the club started to change its membership rules - it is still only open to the rich and powerful, but that is no longer exclusively equal to male.

I think a fascinating parallel can be drawn to Japan - instead of allowing guns to overthrow shogunate society, guns were banned. The rich and powerful are able to expand their definition to include rich and powerful women, as long as the rich and powerful remain rich and powerful.

This is no prediction about the future, but do keep in mind that the past we are generally taught is not really all that accurate - mainly because not only Orwell grasped that those who control the past control the future.

Remember - it is not men that rule, it is the rich and powerful. Which is a gender free way of thinking that rapidly leads most men to realize that they too share the same position as most women - at the bottom, not the top.

In the England of Elizabeth, 'ambition' was seen as a civic vice. Care to speculate on why?

You are guilty of circular reasoning. If people get to the top they are powerful by definintion. Also however low born they tend to get rich.


Thanks for your reply -- more perhaps on another occasion. BTW Goldberg of 'Why Men Rule' fame points out that there were more women rulers in the sixteenth century than there are today (at least in percentage terms). Democracy is less gender-blind than aristocracy, it would appear!

So perhaps what society needs is to wind back the clock by three or four centuries ....:-)

Bring back the Royals

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink: "India feels the heat as thousands riot over power cuts"

Too bad that India has not practiced full-on Peak Outreach--this rioting is only the beginning, IMO. The text is lacking in full details of what transpired:
Police fired teargas to disperse crowds who had blocked roads and railway lines, attacked police vehicles, set fire to an electricity transformer and attacked electricity workers. More than 250 people were arrested.

Protesters in Gorakhpur stormed an office of the electricity board, taking several workers hostage and beating others. They also set fire to a nearby electricity transformer.
Maybe I am mentally wired different than most, but it should take only a second of reflection to realize that beating utility workers, and the other damage actions will not help the power shortages, in fact, it makes it much worse for these people to get things done. WTF?!?

Also, it would be interesting to know the specific locations of the burned transformers. Did the rioters burn the key equipment that supplies their own neighborhood--that was damn dumb! They may be waiting weeks for a new transformer, or longer. I hope they learn from this so that the next time: most people will join with the police to fight-off the mob to protect the infrastructure, repair vehicles, and utility workers.

Alternative Conspiracy Viewpoint: If it was the relatively poorer neighborhoods that lost electricity from these transformer fires, one wonders if the mob was purposely-induced to cause this future supply reduction--thus, more reliable quantities of electrojuice can then be shifted for the neighborhoods that still pay on-time. It is a very cheap, yet cost-effective way to rapidly cause demand destruction, yet continue future cash flows. Just politically inflame a few idiots to start the local rioting... Voila', another step towards my speculative 'Porridge Principle of Metered Decline'.

IMO, this is just another variation on my earlier posting speculating how WTSHTF in my Asphalt Wonderland: purposely directing sewage overflows into targeted neighborhoods can quickly induce out-migration to other areas.

Of course, they are lots of various infrastructure tweaks that can gradually be brought into play to targeted locales: greatly reduced tapwater pressure and/or amounts, non-repair of potholed streets, cutoff of fire hydrant networks, cutoffs of police and fire protection, electrical voltage and frequency fluctuation to wreck home appliances and electronics, etc, etc.

Naturally, I think Peak Outreach and mitigative community paradigm shift is the far better choice, with Asimov's Foundations for predictive collapse and directed decline leading the optimal way.

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


Mobs don't behave very intelligently. Your conspiracy viewpoint gives far too much credit to the mob's collective intelligence - the IQ of which can be rounded up to 1 at best.

You are seeing this probably with a peak oil lens. Trust me - sporadic incidents of this sort occur quite frequently in urban India.

Most Indians don't have access to good problem solving mechanisms for public goods. The power company folks are not particularly responsive. Chronic power deficits can't be solved by the transmission companies. It is hot in northern India now - Death Valley hot - 104-108F and some parts hit 120F. People just vent their frustration on to anything and everything. They will burn buses knowing somewhere that they just burnt some of the taxes they have paid. Welcome to India.

But this could be instructive of what to expect if (when?) the PO SHTF.


I always enjoy Klare's articles. In the top-linked one, he reiterates what most of us already know:

As we approach the 2008 elections, two paths lie before us. One leads to greater reliance on imported fuels, increased militarization of our foreign fuel dependency and prolonged struggle with other powers for control over the world's remaining supplies of fossil fuels. The other leads toward diminished reliance on petroleum as a main source of our fuel, the rapid development of energy alternatives, a reduced US military profile abroad and cooperation with China in the development of innovative energy options. Rarely has a policy choice been as stark or as momentous for the future of our country.

I think the U.S. will go down the former path until we are no longer capable of doing so. I think the latter would require the U.S. to accept it is no longer the sole super power. It would be a voluntary relinquishing of power.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink, "The New Geopolitics of Energy" by Michael T. Klare.

I found his analysis of sealane control to dovetail nicely with my prior postings on sealane control. I would like to see him go futher to analyze postPeak global oceanic flows of sulfur, potash, phosphates, and Haber-Bosch nitrogen. Afterall, job specialization is entirely dependent upon an area having food surpluses, and inducing an agricultural Liebig Minimum is the key method to send a targeted area into precipitious decline.

Mr Toto

Just bought that wheelbarrow yesterday, a nice little Dutch number. Very comfortable to use. Next must buy that 6 cubic meters of composted manure.

Hello Paleobotanist,

Kudos--good for you! I wish you great success on your future gardening and composting adventures. If you eventually become a Certified Master Gardener: you will be a tremendous postPeak resource for your community. IMO, your prior botanical training will quickly help you scale the challenge and opportunity ahead. Congrats!

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

Hello TODers,

As a lifelong owner of two-wheeled fun-- I poached a link from Bart's EnergyBulletin Dysfunction Section today:

Harley ad campaign heaps biker scorn on doomsayers

"Screw it. Let's Ride."

That's the advice that Harley-Davidson Inc, the motorcycle maker whose sales have been dragged down by the U.S. economic slowdown, has for customers fearful of falling home values, rising gas prices and a stagnant job market.
IMO, this is too bad. H-D would be better served, in the long run, by promoting the high mpg of [gas or battery] motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds. They use to sell small motorcycles. It is only a matter of time before they are forced to do this again, or else they will concede tremendous market share to the Japanese, Chinese, and Italian makers of small-displacement, cheap rides.

Recall my prior postings on scooters, and fast-rising sales for dealers selling them. Here is another link:

Scooter Sales Soaring as Alternative Transportation
I recommend buying a used scooter before 'Unobtainium Pricing' kicks into high gear.

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

I just picked up a 500cc Kawasaki from eBay. I'm hoping it will turn in around 60 mpg at moderate speeds. One thing I noticed while looking around was the large number of big bikes like Harleys and similar clones and crouch rockets for sale these days. Looks like the boys are trying to dump their toys. Some of the bikes are really bizarre.




E. Swanson

lol I also just picked up a bike off of eBay! A 1981 Honda CB650 to be exact. I was gonna pick up a Kawasaki KZ200 but they wanted twice as much money as I paid for the Honda. I've had good luck with Honda's though so I see no reason to switch brands. =)

Hello TODers,

Interesting article on how Indian Govt. policies and subsidies are inevitably setting themselves up for big problems ahead:

...“The country is thus heading for acute shortage of fertilizers as was the position during the seventies and eighties unless additional capacities are set up immediately in the country immediately,” FAI adds.

The government woke up to this nightmare only recently when it found that there was a global shortage of DAP, as well as its raw materials phosphoric acid, rock phosphate and sulphur: their prices have reached all-time high.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Somehow, I just don't think this wealthy Indian family has been reached by by Peak Outreach yet:

...Plans were then drawn up for what will be the world's largest and most expensive home: a 27-story skyscraper in downtown Mumbai with a cost nearing $2 billion. The architects and designers are creating as they go, altering floor plans, design elements and concepts as the building is constructed.

When the Ambani residence is finished in January, completing a four-year process, it will be 550 feet high with 400,000 square feet of interior space.
Any bets on how quickly a postPeak mob will burn this down? 5 years, 10 years, or less?

I would be incorporating lots of sniper bunkers into the high-rise design.

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

The Chinese had price caps on gasoline prices. Automobile demand had not diminished through the first quarter of 2008. Some foreign auto companies were posting large sales increases.


The price controls might diminish the ability of the Chinese oil industry to boost production, as it limits the exploration and development budgets of these units.

Shell buying Colo. water rights to use in oil-shale refining

Energy companies are still experimenting on ways to extract oil from shale. Shell says it doesn't yet know how much water it will need.

Officials of the Colorado River Water Conservation District and the environmental group Western Resource Advocates say it could take more water than the region has available.


On at 10pm (pacific) on CBC Newsworld: 'China vs. US.: Battle for Oil'. Likely this will be accessible on the CBC website. Hmmm - actually just looked around and found it here:

'China vs. US.: Battle for Oil'
In 7 parts on youtube