DrumBeat: May 12, 2008

Old gas pumps can't handle ever-rising prices

REARDAN, Wash. - Mom-and-pop service stations are running into a problem as gasoline marches toward $4 a gallon: Thousands of old-fashioned pumps can't register more than $3.99 on their spinning mechanical dials.

The pumps, throwbacks to a bygone era on the American road, are difficult and expensive to upgrade, and replacing them is often out of the question for station owners who are still just scraping by.

Many of the same pumps can only count up to $99.99 for the total sale, preventing owners of some SUVs, vans, trucks and tractor-trailers to fill their tanks all the way.

The peak oil culture wars

Partisan conservatives pooh-pooh peak oil (and human-caused climate change) because they think that to concede that these challenges are real and must be confronted is to acknowledge that greed is not always good, and that free market capitalism must be restrained, or at least tinkered with substantially. Peak oil and climate change are fronts in the culture wars, and to some conservatives, watching the price of oil rise as the Arctic ice melts, it might feel like being in Germany at the close of World War II, with the Russians advancing on one front while U.S.-led forces come from the other. The propositions that cheap oil is running out and the world is getting hotter -- as a result of our own activities -- threaten a whole way of life. The very idea that dirty Gaia-worshipping hippies might be right is absolute anathema.

Given that many on the left also see peak oil and climate change as cultural battlefields, as weapons with which to assault enemies whose values they politically and aesthetically oppose (see James Kunstler), it's no wonder that some conservatives are fighting back like caged rats, or that they want to blame speculators for oil prices, or biased scientists for climate change.

CNN Wonders 'What If' Oil Hit $200 a Barrel

The $200 mark is the new media fantasy. A recent NBC News report insinuated CNBC contributor John Kilduff was predicting that price, though on CNBC’s “The Call” the same day he suggested oil would top out in the $130s per barrel.

Why pump prices need to stay high

Driving less? More than two-thirds of car owners already are. It's a natural reflex to $50-$70 tank fill-ups. But US drivers may also know it's time to pay a price to curb global warming. That may be one reason they reject the campaign stunt of urging a holiday for the federal gas tax.

US politicians can't have it both ways. Most seek the type of solutions for climate change that would raise energy costs, yet they are now trying to prevent the very kind of high pump prices that help drive conservation and green technology.

Is your meeting green enough?

(CNN) -- This summer, Republicans and Democrats will celebrate their presidential nominees at conventions billed as the greenest in their parties' histories.

At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, biodegradable balloons and recycled confetti will fall on attendees.

Convention hall carpeting will be recycled, recyclable or both. And organizers plan on using environmentally friendly paint for the walls.

Chrysler Cancels Plan for SUV to Invest in Compact

(Bloomberg) -- Chrysler LLC, the automaker owned by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, canceled plans for a new sport-utility vehicle and is instead investing in a compact car.

Japan scientists warn Arctic ice melting fast

TOKYO (Reuters) - Arctic ice is melting fast and the area covered by ice sheets in ocean could shrink this summer to the smallest since 1978 when satellite observation first started, Japanese scientists warned in a report.

Saudi Arabia threatens to stop oil exports to Taiwan

TAIPEI - Saudi Arabia has threatened to halt oil exports to Taiwan over Taipei's reluctance to invest in Saudi Arabia's power and water desalination plant, a report said Monday.

Saudi Arabia feels cheated by Taiwan's delay to invest in the Independent Water & Power Provider (IWPP) project and has threatened to suspend oil exports to Taiwan, the United Daily News (UDN) reported.

Saudi Arabia supplies 100 million barrels of oil to Taiwan annually, accounting for half of all oil imports.

‘If Saudi Arabia stops oil import to Taiwan for two weeks, Taiwan will face an oil crisis,’ the paper said.

Report says wind can produce a fifth of United States' electricity needs by 2030

WASHINGTON: A U.S. Energy Department report concludes that wind turbines can produce a fifth of the United States' annual electricity needs within about two decades. That is about the same share of electricity produced today by nuclear power.

Alaska says BP oil output ramping up after snag

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil major BP Plc (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) began returning crude oil production Alaska's Prudhoe Bay over the weekend after a power outage early Friday knocked out all six of its processing plants as well as the Northstar field, an Alaska official said Monday.

BP shut early Friday all six of its Prudhoe Bay processing units and production from Northstar, which combined produce as much as 400,000 barrels of oil per day, the oil company said last week. A company spokesman said a truck clearing snow from a blizzard had hit a power line, which led to the outage.

Saudi keeps June crude supplies to Japan steady

TOKYO (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, will supply full contracted volumes of crude oil in June to two Japanese lifters, steady from May levels, industry sources said on Monday.

"The supply will be the contract volume for June," said the source with a Japanese refiner.

Canada: Hosed at the pump

OTTAWA -- Drivers filling up for the May long weekend face fuel prices scraping up against their all-time highs, and some will pay for more gas than they actually put in their tanks. An investigation shows that between Jan. 1, 1999, and Aug. 28, 2007, nearly 5% of gas pumps tested in Canada - about one pump in 20- failed government inspections by dispensing less fuel than they should.

Venezuela's Chavez to buy Chinese K-8 planes

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday the OPEC nation will buy Chinese military training planes, expanding recent arms purchases and further cementing a growing relationship with China.

Russia becoming energized

Washington is deeply alarmed by Russia's growing energy clout. Until recently, the U.S. controlled much of world energy through its domination of the Middle East. Now, Russia is challenging America's oil Raj and Washington is struggling to develop new pipeline routes to circumvent Russia's fast expanding pipeline network.

China's energy security moves it closer to the Middle East

Energy consumption in China is growing as fast as the rapidly growing Chinese economy. China has changed from a net oil exporter to a net oil importer. In recent years, 40 to 50 percent of the oil that China consumes is imported. Of that, 60 percent comes from the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and Sudan are the main suppliers.

Therefore China has a significant interest in the Middle East, and any changes in the situation there will affect China's energy security. It is only natural for energy factors to play a role in China's policy toward the Middle East. Although China's opposition to the Iraq war and to the use of force to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue is not purely based on considerations of energy security, this is a key factor. In a word, energy diplomacy constitutes an important part of China's diplomacy.

Trains may not be our biggest worry

Where he gives no quarter is to the idea that we are smart enough to avoid doomsday. That through technology, invention, Mr. Dodd's "creativity and imagination," we might survive the end of oil through wind power or something better than ethanol.

As we continue to discuss the seemingly never-ending problems of urban education, drug abuse and crime; as we try to solve these ills in ways we have not yet, it does not hurt to think, my God, there could be bigger problems. Problems that make litter along the railroad tracks rather quaint.

Economy and the World in Crisis: Gas, Food, Thought

Neither the gas crisis nor the food crisis is the real problem. The problem is not the mortgage crisis, the AIDS crisis, or a crisis of economics. The real crisis is one of thought. As a world, a society, as people – we are in the midst of a thinking crisis. Instead of focusing on how to get cheaper gas, we must think about how to fuel our world and our lives without gas. Instead of thinking about feeding the world today, we must figure out how to sustain a larger global population tomorrow. We must accept that once we change our thinking, we must align our behavior accordingly. We must learn to value progress over convenience, life over lifestyle. We must acknowledge that we are citizens of a global community, and realize that neither nature nor natural resources recognize our superficial political boundaries. We must transform our collective thought pandemic from the second definition of crisis to the first.

Smelter threatens closure over Govt's carbon scheme

The owners of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter near Invercargill are threatening to close – which would put thousands of Kiwis out of work – and they are blaming the Government's costly carbon emissions trading scheme.

Tesla's electric sports car aiming at Europe market

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Earth-friendly thrill-seekers in Europe can get into the driver's seat of their own Tesla Roadster, provided they have a trunkful of cash to buy an electric sports car that zips from zero to 100 kph (60 mph) in less than four seconds.

Oil hits record high 126.40 dollars

NEW YORK - Oil prices briefly spiked to a new record above $126 a barrel Monday but later wobbled with some investors buying on worries of falling supply and others selling in response to a stronger dollar.

Retail gas prices, meanwhile, rose to another record above $3.70 a gallon, again following crude's recent path higher.

Mideast oil resources rise but gas declines

An increase in the crude reserves of Saudi Arabia and two other Gulf states boosted the Middle East's combined oil deposits by nearly 10 billion barrels this year. However, its gas wealth declined, according to international data.

America's Money: Gas crunch hits home

My husband is an over the road truck driver for a company here in Indiana. They've slowed the trucks down to save on fuel, which causes my husband's trips to take longer to deliver. Therefore, his paychecks are lower. (He only gets paid when the current trip he is on is completed.)

I think the worst part of all of this is that my husband was already gone four to six weeks at a time and now because he has to go slower, he's out even longer than that.

How do you explain to a barely 5 year old that Daddy has to be gone even longer now?? Like our son understands rising fuel costs and the economy.

A Peek Behind the Price at the Pump

FROM Capitol Hill to Wall Street to the campaign trail, the recent surge in oil prices is quickly threatening to supplant the mortgage crisis as the country’s leading economic issue. Last week, prices for crude set another record, finishing at $125.96 a barrel on Friday, while gasoline prices closed in on $4 a gallon.

But even as the presidential candidates debate whether to cut federal gas taxes this summer and legislators look at other ways to ease prices at the pump, a harder-to-control factor is emerging as a main reason behind the increase in energy costs: the sinking dollar.

Police: Gunmen attack police post in southern Nigeria; 2 officers killed

YENAGOA, Nigeria: Police say two officers are dead after unidentified assailants attacked a security force outpost in Nigeria's restive southern oil region.

Energy package before Senate includes ANWR drilling provisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Senate is set to consider competing energy packages on Monday or Tuesday, including a Republican proposal that would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Republican and Democratic leaders recently unveiled separate energy packages designed to show voters Congress is serious about tackling high gasoline prices at the pump. Analysts, however, have given both proposals the thumbs down for containing little that's actually likely to be signed into law.

Australia's Newcastle Thermal Coal Price Rises to 11-Week High

(Bloomberg) -- Thermal coal prices at Australia's Newcastle port, a benchmark for Asia, rose to an 11-week high as constraints on exports restrict supply growth amid increasing demand from power generators in Asia.

India: Is it time for fuel rationing of some sort?

Some European countries have really introduced measures to curtail the indiscriminate use of fuel. India has been witnessing an automobile boom for some time now. Many Indian families have more cars than family-members. For such families and individuals fuel rationing will act as a deterrent against indiscriminate consumption of fuel.

UK: Factory gate prices are rising at their fastest rate since records began

Soaring petrol costs, Budget tax hikes on alcohol and tobacco as well as rising steel scrap prices pushed up output prices 1.4 per cent between March and April, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is the highest monthly increase since records began in 1986 - likely to fuel inflation concerns among Bank of England policymakers and jolt hopes of interest rate cuts.

Malaysia steps up subsidies to tackle food and fuel costs

KUALA LUMPUR — In what he says is a move to ease the burden on the people, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said more money will be spent subsidising oil and gas this year than on developing the country.

Malaysia's Mahathir warns of throwing money at food problem

"The government must not just make a popular announcement of more susbidies... you have to work out how to overcome a food shortage," he said.

"It is not (just) a price problem... (because) even if you reduce the price, if there is no food, there is no food," he said.

Breadbasket Dependence and the End of Cheap Food

The disjuncture between rosy theory and vulnerability in practice grows further when the enormous distortions of the global food economy are considered.

These distortions are both overt, in the well-known subsidy regimes of the US and EU, and implicit and less recognized, hidden in the un- and under-valued biophysical costs of industrial agriculture and the long-distance transhipment of food, in particular through the relatively cheap cost of fossil energy and derivatives. These overt and implicit subsidies have long boosted the competitiveness of the industrialized breadbasket and fostered food import dependence amongst poor countries, but some of the implicit subsidies are now quickly breaking down.

Planting ideas to solve the food supply crisis

The Green Revolution, that swept Asia and Latin America in the latter part of the 20th century, greatly expanding yields, gave us the impression that the food crisis had gone away for good. It sent a signal that donor countries and governments of developing countries could now turn their attention to urban and industrial problems.

This crisis should serve as a wakeup call.

The food crisis can be addressed with the help of science

The next Green Revolution for meeting global food demand, while reducing the use of fertilizers and chemicals, and conserving water, cannot be achieved without the widespread adoption of genetically modified crops. This is essential to raise production to meet demand, conserve soil, and reduce use of chemicals, fertilizers and water. In other words, the world must use technology to modernize and advance in order to fulfil the fundamental needs of human survival, in a way similar to what is happening in other fields, such as with genetics in medicine and the silicon chip in communication — the two great scientific revolutions of the 20th century.

Climatologist stresses research on desert plants: Climate change effects start appearing in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: In the wake of fears that after 40-50 years, most of the land of Pakistan will turn into deserts due to climate change, the government should focus on research on desert plants and try to grow food plants.

Those magic beans called 'ethanol'

For decades, sensible skeptics have warned that government tariffs and subsidies designed to encourage the conversion of corn to alcohol and requiring fuel distributors to mix this corrosive stuff into our gas tanks was not going to "solve the energy crisis," reduce dependence on imported oil, or do anything helpful for "the environment" -- unless by "the environment" you actually meant "the bank account of Archer-Daniels-Midland."

If the critics failed to mention this expensive boondoggle could also promote starvation and food riots around the world, it was probably only because they were afraid of being ridiculed for "piling on."

Guess what.

Are Backyard Ethanol Brewers an Answer to High-Priced Gas?

The company says that families would save a barrel of cash in the long run. It estimates, for instance, that a family will save about $4,200 per year on fuel (assuming gas costs $3.60 per gallon and ethanol costs $1 per gallon) if it has two cars that get 22 miles per gallon (9.3 kilometers per liter) and are driven a total of 34,500 miles (55,500 kilometers) annually. Automobiles do not require their fuel to be 100 percent ethanol, so greater savings are possible if drivers dilute the finished product with water (as long at that mixture contains at least 65 percent ethanol).

Kurt Cobb: What we don't know

Greer takes the catastrophists to task because of their linear thinking: high prices and short supply today mean only ever higher prices and ever smaller supply of everything tomorrow and tomorrow in a straight line. The implication is that this will lead to the rapid destabilization of modern society. But, he is correct that historically, complex societies and their markets tend to take nonlinear courses. What he omits is that nonlinear systems can sometimes turn abruptly and steeply downward.

Total CEO says sharp oil price rise bad for everyone

DOHA (Reuters) - The sharp rise in oil prices is bad for everyone and tough decisions are required to both cut consumption and meet higher demand, French oil major Total's CEO said on Monday.

"There is a problem of supply and demand and this is why the price is high, even if it is exaggerated by speculation," Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie told reporters on the sidelines of an energy event in the Qatari capital.

"Definitely we don't see it as good news, not for producing countries, companies or consumers. It is going too fast."

National And International Oil Companies: Putting Relationships In Perspective

Over the years there have been a number of changes in the relationships between NOCs and IOCs. Yet, these changes are not a cause for alarm, and I would argue that the roles of both are expanding in exciting new ways. If anything, NOCs and IOCs are complementing one another to an unprecedented degree by pooling their respective strengths and areas of expertise. To clarify this point, I would like to take a brief look at the evolution of these relationships and I will be examining the current status of this relationship. Finally I will close with a discussion of the Saudi position on this issue.

Petroleum : A Historical Review

One more long-term fundamental cause of rising prices is that global oil production will decline at some point, leading to lower supply. This is because there is a limited amount of fossil fuel, and the remaining accessible supply is consumed more rapidly each year. Increasingly, remaining reserves become more technically difficult to extract and therefore more expensive. Eventually, reserves will only be economically feasible to extract at high prices. Although there is much contention about the exact timing and form of peak oil, there are very few parties who do not acknowledge the concept of a production peak is valid. Some claim oil is of abiotic origin, and rapidly self renewing, though this theory has few remaining serious proponents. Others claim that oil producers, afraid that overproduction of oil may lead to price drops such as those of the early 1980s, have held back on the search for new oilfields.

The True Cost of Fossil Fuels

What is the price you pay to purchase a gallon of gasoline for your car? Depending on what part of the country you live in, it is probably between $3.50 and $4.00 per gallon.

But is this the "real cost" of the gasoline? True, it is the actual price you paid at the pump. But is it the total "real cost" that you and all of us are paying for our continued dependence on fossil fuels?

I think not.

Australia: Opposition warns of an all spin budget

Fuel prices should be a priority in the budget because they affect food prices, Senator Christine Milne says.

"We're going to talk about food prices going up, fuel prices going up, but food prices are in part driven by higher fuel prices as well," Senator Milne told reporters.

"Fertilisers are going up because of petro-chemical fertilisers.

"It's time Australia seriously addressed peak oil and there is no indication at all in this budget that that's going to happen."

Jeffrey Simpson, Mark Jaccard, Gordon Campbell, and peak oil

There's a bigger problem, too. Jaccard has never made a big deal of oil depletion and peak oil, even as the price per barrel has increase fivefold in five years when measured in U.S. dollars.

And because Jaccard, an economist, hasn't been raising hell about the potential consequences of the world running out of cheap oil, this issue has slipped under the radar screen of Simpson, the most important public-policy newspaper columnist in the country.

Energy alliance with Russia is a bad idea

Mr. Hans Baumann's Sunday essay on the peak-oil crisis, "The Stark Reality of Our Oil Crisis" (May 4), is very insightful and informative, and he, as an industry man, certainly has standing to acknowledge the existence of a peak oil crisis, but his proposal that the United States form an alliance with Russia for our energy needs is naive in its optimism. Does he by any chance have relatives in St. Petersburg? Suggesting an energy alliance between the United States and Russia is nearly preposterous.

Beware the Psychopath, My Son

So many efforts to provide essays, research reports, exposés and books to leaders so they might take the new information to heart and change their behavior have come to naught. For example, in the final paragraph of his revised edition of the book, The Party’s Over, Richard Heinberg writes:
I still believe that if the people of the world can be helped to understand the situation we are in, the options available, and the consequences of the path we are currently on, then it is at least possible that they can be persuaded to undertake the considerable effort and sacrifice that will be entailed in a peaceful transition to a sustainable, locally based, decentralized, low-energy, resource-conserving social regime. But inspired leadership will be required.
And that is the just-murdered fantasy. There are no inspired leaders anymore. And in hierarchical structures there can’t be. Assuming that you can elect men or women to office who will see reason and the light of day, and who will change and learn and grow, make compassionate decisions and take conscientious actions… is a foolish, childish dream. Continuing to dream it simply plays into psychopathic agendas.

Output from huge Kashagan field delayed once again

Eni, Italy's largest oil company, and partners developing the Kashagan oil field in the Caspian Sea may delay production by as much as two years, the fourth postponement at the 7 billion- to 9 billion-barrel Kazakhstan discovery.

The start of commercial output may not occur until 2012 or 2013, said Dinara Shaimardanova, an aide to Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev, confirming his remarks earlier in the capital, Astana. Eni in January said the field, which was the world's biggest discovery in three decades, was expected to start in 2011.

Crude Oil Declines Amid Signs That High Prices May Hurt Demand

Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell for the first time in seven days amid signs that record prices may curb demand in emerging markets.

China's oil imports fell in April as crude costs prompted refiners in the world's second-largest energy consumer to cut purchases. India's industrial production grew at the slowest pace since 2002, government data showed today. The U.S. dollar strengthened against the euro, limiting oil's appeal as a currency hedge.

Russian oil output to fall more - Lukoil tells weekly

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's oil output decline is likely to continue as its tax policy prevents oil firms from investing enough in new greenfield production, a magazine quoted the head of Russian oil major LUKOIL as saying on Monday.

Vagit Alekperov, president of LUKOIL, Russia's second-largest oil producer and biggest private oil company, said investment is also not sufficient for maintaining output at mature fields with their hard-to-extract resources.

UK: Further gas price misery in the pipeline

British Gas owner, Centrica has given its strongest indication yet that further gas price misery is in the pipeline for consumers - the company reporting in a trading update that while the current outlook for gas prices creates a 'challenging environment' for energy suppliers, it will take the necessary action to 'deliver reasonable margins in the retail business'. In other words, the poor old customer is set to get stiffed.

The heat is on

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, sits between a rock and a hard place. Every time it raises prices for its millions of domestic gas and electricity customers it risks a consumer backlash.

This January's price hike is the main driver for the loss of about 100,000 accounts. Another price rise will see thousands more head for the exit.

But unless it passes higher wholesale energy prices onto consumers its margins will take the hit.

China Quake Disrupts Power Supply in Sichuan, Shaanxi

(Bloomberg) -- China's strongest earthquake in 58 years damaged power plants and transmission lines, forcing companies to idle some generators in Sichuan and Shaanxi.

About 5.5 gigawatts, nearly 1 percent of the nation's generation capacity, was idled in the two provinces after today's quake, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency, citing data from the State Grid Corp. of China. Sichuan, the epicenter of the quake, lost 4 gigawatts of capacity.

A blight on 'the green city'

The Mirant power plant near San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood is a disgrace to a city that brands itself as a "green" city for the future. The old turbines that operate at the plant - three run on diesel, one on natural gas - have been spewing an unacceptable amount of filthy pollution for decades. Nearly everyone in the city agrees that the plant has been a major contributor to the disproportionate health woes of residents in San Francisco's eastern neighborhoods. The sooner it is shut down, the better.

But it makes no sense to shut down the old plants only to replace them with three new ones that will burn fossil fuels that contribute to global warming and create continued health hazards for the same neighborhood's long-suffering residents - for 30 long years. Regrettably, that's the only option before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Supervisors must reject it.

Oil Shock 2?

Two years ago a leading economist published a study provocatively titled: "What would $120 oil mean for the global economy?" Answer: a global recession, if the price stayed there for a year.

Now the future has arrived, with the United States and other nations getting a double whammy from both the mortgage crisis and oil futures hovering at $120 per barrel. If oil prices stay stratospheric, the cost of fueling cars and planes could slash US economic growth up to 2.3 percent and global growth by 3.6 percent, says Robert Wescott, former chief economist of the president's council of economic advisers and author of the $120 oil report.

How artificial is the crude oil price? Have we passed peak oil?

Here’s a map that purports to show how much oil there is in North America and that the supply far exceeds the demand. This website argues greed is driving the high oil price, not shortage. Wait a minute, isn’t greed the heart and soul of a free market economy? What am I missing?

If there’s plenty of oil still under ground that would seem to confirm the argument of the “kill-environmentalists” school of analysis: if there were no government restrictions oil would flow like, well, like oil. There’d be plenty of oil to go around, and prices would drop. First let’s drill off Florida’s coast. I’d never go there for a vacation anyway.

The oil rocket

Nothing can rise exponentially, even if it is crude Oil. The asset's exponential rise is more an indication of an ending trend and not vice versa.

China faces 7.3 million tonne LPG shortfall in 2010: report

BEIJING (AFP) -- China will face a shortfall of 7.3 million tonnes in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supply by 2010 due to surging demand in the countryside and small and medium-sized cities, state media reported on Monday.

No gas to spare, Dhaka tells Tata

DHAKA: Bangladesh has told the Tata Group that it does not have gas to spare for the steel and fertiliser plants that form part of its $3 billion investment proposals. Instead, Tata should await the coal policy that is on the anvil.

Iran looks to tap key oil field with homegrown crews

AZADEGAN OIL FIELD, Iran - At this huge oil field in southwest Iran, one building stands out among the pumps and maze of pipelines: On its roof in giant letters, big enough for satellites or pilots to see, are the words: "We can do it."

The slogan, made famous by Iran's revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, highlights the country's new drive to tap its oil riches on its own — without Western investment or technological know-how — as Iran faces a threat of tighter U.N. sanctions and American financial pressure over its nuclear ambitions.

McCain urges free-market principles to reduce global warming

PHOENIX - Republican John McCain, reaching out to both independents and green-minded social conservatives, argues that global warming is undeniable and the country must take steps to bring it under control while adhering to free-market principles.

In remarks prepared for delivery Monday at a Portland, Ore., wind turbine manufacturer, the presidential contender says expanded nuclear power must be considered to reduce carbon-fuel emissions. He also sets a goal that by 2050, the country will reduce carbon emissions to a level 60 percent below that emitted in 1990.

Deffeyes' peak looking mighty shaky. Not only does January still top it, but February has topped it by even more.

There is growing evidence that oil production (all liquids) has troughed in the US. Maybe even when measured as C & C.

Not that it will reach new highs. But it will be several decades before a new lower trough is created.

If folks are interested in the economics of oil production, check out this 1975 article from Time. Take a look at how the North Sea appeared as it was being developed.


What is the EROEI on the amt produced over the May 05 number?

Per EIA data US crude and condensate production is lower for calendar year to date than last year, which suggests that in spite of a drilling boom and the ramp-up of exploitation of previously uneconomic supplies that new supply is still lagging depletion - although the lag is narrowing.

It only takes one bad hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico to send the trough on another downward leg.

Really, who gives a flying monkey about all liquids? Now, if all liquids was broken down as BOE equivalents, you might have my attention. If it was broken down into just what all those strange types of "oil" can actually be USED for, thus UBOE (Useful Barrels of Oil Equivalent), I'd lap them stats right up!

As it is, I could give a damn about all liquids. People (The Vested Interests?) use all liquids to hide the problem of crude production. So... what is the C+C data, what with Russian production still falling, eh?


The new February peak, trumping the old Jan peak, is C & C data.

I remember this now:

"The Record Falls - January 2008 is the New World Record for Crude Oil (plus Condensate) Production

Posted by Nate Hagens on April 11, 2008 - 9:44am
Topic: Supply/Production
Tags: bumpy plateau, crude and condensate, eia, global production, peak [list all tags]

The EIA’s newest International Petroleum Monthly shows World C+C production for January was 74,466,000 barrels per day, eclipsing the heretofore peak of May 2005 by 168,000 barrels per day. (thanks to Ron Patterson for the heads up and to Khebab for the quick graphics)."

My comments buried in this were, and Wisdom from Pakistan corrected me (thanx again), that 168 000 is .02% of 74 000 000.

Accuracy of that kind is not possible.

that would be 0.2% actually

Thanx. I knew I was wrong. I did the same thing earlier.

Close math, eh? ;}

In addition to this number being insignificant, Asebius' asertion is almost certainly incorrect given their was a discussion about the previous "new peak" in which it was determined the C+C included production for tar sands.

Why would that have magically changed? If it has, let us know.


Fantastic! New record high in production, and new record high in prices! Can't wait to see the prices when we really hit the peak!

The high prices that started late last year flushed out a little spare capacity. The big question is: is the increase sustainable?

Russia is down every month this year. OPEC was down 350,000 barrels in April. I think we have a tentative answer. The uptick in production that started around November likely ended in March and is now on the way down. I don't think it is any coincidence that the last big run-up in oil prices coincides with the OPEC decline. And don't forget the ELM. Small upticks in production won't mean there's any more oil available for consuming countries to buy.

Nigeria and Iraq have not fully developed their oil fields.

It appears that with recent offshore discoveries in Ghana that they may have multi-billion barrel potential. More oil fields were being discovered in Angola. Namibia has not been fully explored.

Canada has hundreds of years worth of reserves at current rates of production.

Venezuela has a vast heavy oil frontier and large conventional natural gas reserves near the Trinidad border.

In time more nations will enter the decline phase and the declines will eventually show up as declining world production in spite of new frontier oil deposits and increasing production elsewhere.

There are challenges for peoples with limited resources to limit their birth rates and increase productivity in order for all things to become possible.

So what? Exports are still down 1.5m barrels from their peak in Dec 2005. True, they are up 400k barrels for Q1 this year agaisnt the 2007 average.
Lets see them top the Dec 2005 number.

These piddling changes in overall production may be statistical aberations either way. 1.5m is not an aberation.

I am aware of the Export Land Model. Oil exporting nations were experiencing rising family incomes and more cars were being purchased taking away from a nation's ability to export oil. That was known before the ELM model was published. Lowering of exports available for sea transport has contributed to the rise in oil prices. There is also a problem with some nations subsidizing gas prices as with Venezuela, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The consumers were not encouraged to reduce gasoline consumption as gas prices remained the same. In China there was a price cap on gasoline. The last I read it was only about $2.90 a gallon. The Chinese were able to afford more gasoline consumption with their rising incomes. Canada has a five billion dollar trade surplus compared to the United States' massive trade deficits. Part of the reason was attributed to the fact that Canada exported oil and natural gas.

Rising oil prices may cause fuel conservation measures in homes and industry.

Hundreds of acres of soybean fields production (biodiesel) might be needed to displace a one barrel/day oil flow. There is not enough energy in biomass. Ethanol production should not be subsidized or mandatory, and only allowed when the price of ethanol is lower than the price of gasoline with realization that ethanol only gets 80% of the fuel efficiency of gasoline and it was rusting gas tanks. The EROIE of ethanol was very low according to a Cornell study so as to make it a culprit in consuming excessive natural gas, diesel burned in farm tractors, and natural gas based nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilizer prices have increased at a double digit rate.

More hydroelectric projects in Alaska might support electric based industry there. Nitrogen fertilizer may be made from electricity although natural gas is currently being used in most cases. Some of the first aluminum production in the world was produced near the Niagra Falls hydroelectric facilities. In lieu of large scale nuclear or hydroelectric power generation projects the price of electricity might rise as coal demand was rising with mine, rail, and port facilities limited.

The point is we are still on a plateau that has just lasted just over three years. The non-OPEC plateau has lasted over four years. We are, in my opinion anyway, at peak right now. We were at peak early in 2005 and we are still on that peak.

If production shoots up then I will admit that was wrong. But I don't think that is going to happen. Every indication looks like March and April will be lower then January and February. I believe we will come off this plateau late this year and by next year it will be quite obvious that Peak Oil is in the rear view mirror.

The EIA data is just out and indeed February is up over January. More on the data later.


Ron Patterson

Every indication looks like March and April will be lower then January and February.

But that's not related to geology. i.e. it's fixable.

Remember too that all that shut-in production in Nigeria will come on line some day. In a sense those militants are doing us a favour since if oil is peaking, it will be more useful to us in the future than now.

But that's not related to geology. i.e. it's fixable.

Of course it is related to geology as well as above ground factors. Russia is in decline, so is Mexico, so is the entire north sea, so are about twenty other nations.

There is no doubt that problems in Nigeria is affecting their production. But there are always some above ground factors affecting production. If Nigeria ever sees peace break out then they will likely produce more oil. But by then there will likely be problems in Angola or somewhere else.

Russia is down sharply in March and April. Mexico is down in March. Their April numbers have not been released. The large increases in February were in Iraq, (150 kb/d) and Kueait, (50 kb/d). All the increase came from OPEC. Non-OPEC production was flat January to February but with the extra declines in Russia and Mexico it looks like Non-OPEC will be down in March and April, due to geology.

Ron Patterson

Geology is the proximate cause of most (though admittedly not all) "above ground factors." See "Geopolitical Feedback Loops in Resource and Oil Depletion"

You might have seen some numbers on this.. Is anyone following how much oil (gas/diesel) is being used now and historically in the production of oil? IE, just a direct 'net energy' evaluation? I see ref's by Rapier and others on the onetime 100:1 Eroei, and the presumed ~7-10:1 of today, etc.. but I wondered if there is an actual 'Barrels used' count somewhere?

I would suppose this is going to be as challenging a figure to chase down as any detailed production numbers from KSA, but I thought I'd ask. I'd think it would be a very good way to show Non-industry folk one of the clear trends in Petroleum production. Particularly in 'other liquids'.. but even in crude prod.


I personally believe most of the peaking and high prices we've seen are from political issues, but the net result is the same regardless. Iraq has been stuck ~2 mbpd, even though it can produce many times that, but it doensn't matter what the theoretical production capacity is for a country if your drills and pipelines are blowing up as fast as you can replace them.

The countries (I'll likely forget some) are Russia (kicking out foreign oil companies), Mexico (debating whether they will work with foreign companies), Nigeria (piplines keep getting blown up/worker kidnapped), Iraq (see Nigeria), and Venezuala (limited investment, kicked out foreign companies). All could produce more if they wanted to, but it's really only Mexico where there are reasonable prospects where this could change, and even then very little, so geology is for a great extent irrelant in these countries, all of whom have significant reserves.

Russia didn't kick out foreign oil companies. Schlumberger has thousands of employees in Russia. What they did was kick out the IOCs, which any sensible country should do. Subcontracting to the best oil companies in the world is better than signing over your fate to the Exxon-Mobiles of the world. IMO, the idea that world oil production would go up if only Exxon-Mobile were allowed to have their way with other country's oil is little more than globalist propaganda.

Note that I'm not saying that national oil companies always make the right decisions. However, there is no inherent reason why they can't. If I managed a country's oil heritage, there's no way I'd let an IOC within a country mile of my oil fields, even knowing that such a decision might make me a target for invasion or "regime change." The IOCs have a horrific history of exploitation and meddling in countries' internal affairs.

You're right to a certain degree, however, they have become much more hostile to foreign companies. They've raised royalty taxes to almost astronomical rates and have forced many companies to sell their holdings off of pretty bogus legal charges.

I'm not faulting them for this. Hell, their royalties as a percentage of the ever rising revenue per barrel and their production has only faltered slightly, and what do they care--as supplies tighten, prices rise. Plus, a lot of foreign companies got Russian oil supplies when Russia was going into bankrupcy for a pittance, and they deserved more of the revenue then they were getting. And at least you can say that the Russian state oil companies are at least somewhat competant, if corrupt, and Russia, despite the almost endemic corruption, has saved a great deal of the oil windfall in their sovreign wealth fund (I think it's a soverign wealth fund anyway, but whatever it is is well over $100 billion) instead of blowing it all on short term public handouts. That both gives them a degree of security in the long term and reduces the chance of them getting "Dutch disease" (exports of one resource increase the exchange rate, hurting all other industries).

Hello Daxtatter,
Former Putin economic advisor Andrey Illarionov (2000-2004) was acting against dutch disease from the begginning:

So, Illarionov the neocon clown is some sort of guru for you. What a surprise. Illarionov makes Yergin look like genius. Considering his retarded comparison of the Kyoto accord with Auschwitz this nitwit hardly merits any respect. Ever consider that the "Dutch" disease may not apply to a transition economy? After all, the Russian economy isn't even monetized to half the level of a typical equilibrated economy in the west. Russia's M2 has been growing at 50% per year for several years now but inflation has been less than 15%. Looks like all the monetarist chicken little hysterics don't apply to Russia.

Thank God Russia has stopped listening to these snake oil salesmen. Illarionov can screech from Cato until he croaks.

For one, I don't know who this Illarionov guy is, but I don't see where you get the idea that a transition economy can't get dutch disease. In last year oil and gas exports wer 64% of their exports, and will almost definately be even more so this year. Capital inflows like that could dramatically raise the exchange rate if unchecked, and hurt manufacturing and the like--you know the ones that actually create jobs.

If production shoots up then I will admit that was wrong. But I don't think that is going to happen.

Ron, in the November 13th 2007 Drumbeat, you made a couple of comments. First, you said that you felt like the next few months would prove your position correct. You also wrote "Average C+C production in 2005 will be the peak regardless of what month surpasses production of what month." You even offered to bet $100 on it. As I said at the time, I had enough of betting, but I said "I firmly believe you are wrong about that." Have the most recent numbers caused you to re-evaluate at all? Or are you still sticking to your guns?

By the way, today I put up an essay inspired by you:

Replacing Gasoline with Solar Power

Now you can say that someone has done the calculation. Whether you agree with the numbers or methodology, I can't say. But the calculation has been done.


I'm afraid that your analysis fails the quick "smell" test.

Your result indicates that the land area for PV would be 1,274 square miles, while the area for solar thermal would be 4,719 square miles, almost 4 times larger. But, we know that solar thermal is more efficient in converting sunlight to electricity than is PV, perhaps twice as efficient. And, solar thermal can include thermal storage in the system, smoothing the peak output.

The land area is also influenced by the fact that the amount of sunlight declines with the cosine in the angle of incident sunlight to the normal to the surface of a PV array. Thus, fixed mounted PV will tend to produce a sharp output peak around noon, if the array is pointed toward the South in the NH. With solar thermal, tracking is required, which minimizes the cosine effect. Tracking would produce more watt-hours per day for a PV panel, but that also requires more complex mounting structure and also a larger land area below the arrays.

Better luck next time...

E. Swanson

I'm afraid that your analysis fails the quick "smell" test.

Either take a deeper breath, or read the fine print. The PV was based on just PV area, and based on actual cells from GE. The solar thermal was based on total land area for a plant, based on an actual plant.

Better luck next time...

If you read past the first paragraph, you would have seen the basis of each calculation - and the fact that they were not equivalent.

If the comparison between PV and CST is not done with comparable conditions, why bother?

Evergreen Solar's 195 watt panels are: 61.8"x37.5"x1.6" (1570 x 953 x 41 mm), thus have an area of 16.15 ft. They thus have a maximum rated output of 195/16.5 = 11.8 watts/ft2, which is close to what you found for GE.

That's not my gripe. There's still a strong cosine effect, made more so by the fact that the cover plate tends to reflect as the angle of incidence becomes large. The rated output is for a 1,000 watt/m2 insolation normal to the surface, which calculates to an efficiency of about 13%. A solar thermal system can provide a much larger percentage output under clear sky conditions and do so for a longer period as the sun can be tracked from sunup to sundown, which would likely apply under dry, desert conditions. I think your comparison unfairly penalizes the CST system.

While we are at it, are you really thinking of attempting to directly replace the BTU's of present gasoline vehicle usage with a straight calculation for electricity? Aren't electric vehicles going to be more energy efficient than the typical SUV gas guzzler (and I don't mean just the difference between IC engines and electric motors)? Wouldn't the proper comparison be based on the amount of gasoline which a fleet entirely consisting of Prius might consume, which would be much less than the 389 million gallons of gasoline per day you posit?

E. Swanson

An EV uses on average 250 watt hours of electricity per mile, or around 4 miles per kwh.

If the comparison between PV and CST is not done with comparable conditions, why bother?

The purpose, as stated, was not to compare PV to CST. It was to ballpark the required area given the data I had. I had data from an actual CST plant, and data from a PV cell. Since it was stated explicitly what the assumptions were, I don't think your complaint is valid.

Aren't electric vehicles going to be more energy efficient than the typical SUV gas guzzler (and I don't mean just the difference between IC engines and electric motors)? Wouldn't the proper comparison be based on the amount of gasoline which a fleet entirely consisting of Prius might consume, which would be much less than the 389 million gallons of gasoline per day you posit?

You have now commented or asked questions twice on something that was addressed in the essay. Don't you think you should perhaps read it before commenting? That particular issue was addressed. If you read the essay you are attempting to critique, it might save us both some time.

E. Swanson

Aside from some of the other assumptions above, I would have to recommend a longer sniff towards PV angles of incidence, which are not as sensitive as you have predicted. According to this chart (PDF, page 12 >> http://www.greenwatts.com/Docs/HardwareBuydownAgreement.pdf ) and other presentations I've attended, PV modules are not nearly as dependent on being perpendicular to the Sun as is often thought.

According to the linked graph, a panel is still generating some 90% of it's nominal output when it is 50 degrees off angle (east/west) to the Sun.

I don't see how you've presumed to knock down his points with this sniffing..


Yes, PV panels can collect some of the diffuse energy from the sun. As I look at your chart, it would appear that the de-rating is to be applied to the rated kilowatt capacity of the PV array for purposes of calculation of the allowable buydown amount. That does not directly translate into kilowatt-hrs produced from a fixed array vs. an array with tracking, IMHO.

E. Swanson

Your cite shows that the average cosine sensitivity to the azimuth angle (east-west) over the course of the day is less sensitive than taking the cosine would suggest. That's correct because the apparent motion of the sun (east-west) spreads out the cosine effect. But if you orient the panel 50 degrees off at any given moment, you will only get about 2/3 of the electricity that you will get if you orient it 0 degrees off. Actually, at a guess, you'll get at least around 10% less than that because 50 degrees is a high enough angle to increase reflections considerably. There is no way to get 90% - energy is conserved (else TOD wouldn't need to exist...) and, like it or not, the angled panel simply intercepts a lot less sunlight.

The upshot is that if you fix the orientation of the panel, you'll only get, on average, about 60% of what you would get if it tracked. However, the catch is that tracking systems tend to be somewhat heavy and complex. They have to stand up to whatever wind load is prescribed by the governing construction code, and it's best if they don't jam up (or at least don't wreck themselves) in freezing weather. That's why you don't often see them used with panels - just too much bother for the benefit. (However, in order to work at all, CSP has to track on at least one axis, and the more typical parabolic mirrors have to track on two. It's a serious disadvantage, possibly offset by other advantages.) Even just 150W worth of solar panels (or CSP mirrors) may need to bear two or three hundred pounds of wind load, somewhat more in areas subject to coastal storms.

You just can't fool "Mother Nature".

Robert, average C+C production for 2008 could very easily prove to be lower than 2005. It will be close but I still think 2005 was the peak. However it does not matter that much. We are definitely on the peak plateau right now. Non-OPEC has been on a plateau for four years and is showing signs of weakening.

The current spike is an OPEC spike pure and simple. OPEC is currently producing all at maximum capacity. Well, in my opinion anyway.

I read your article on Ssolar power replacing gasoline. Really Robert, don't you think it was rather skimpy? You calculated that it would take over 3 million acres of solar panels.... Well hell. No problem, just manufactur 3 million acres of solar panels. That's real easy to SAY. Building them, installing them, servicing them, and the infrastructure would be the main thing.

But Robert, if you would recall, I kept harping on BATTERIES! You ignore batteries! I am not just talking about batteries in the car but batteries for storing the energy at night. You say convert it to hydrogen, then burn that hydrogen to generate electricity. Really now! Are you serious? What would be the ERoEI on that scheme? But actually you admit that you haven't solved the problem because you say:

Second, and the bigger issue, is that we still don't have a good way to store excess solar power.

Exactly! And until you solve that one problem you haven't proven anything. Everyone ignores the storage problem. That is at least 60 percent of the problem.

And cost? You completely ignored the cost issue. What would this scheme cost? Can the average Joe afford any of this?

But congratulations on getting a start on this project. After all, one must start somewhere. Now all you have to do is figure out how to store electrical energy and how much all this will cost then you will be almost there.

One more point. You say:

I am only going to do this calculation for gasoline, as I think it is unlikely that electricity will ever power long-haul trucks or airplanes.

Well, that was one reason I was saying an electrical fleet is impossible. Thanks for conceding my point.

Ron Patterson

Non-OPEC has been on a plateau for four years and is showing signs of weakening. The current spike is an OPEC spike pure and simple.

The current "spike" is simply OPEC going back to their pre-quota-cuts production level of late 2005. Check the EIA's data and see for yourself.

Regardless of whether you look at oil supply or fixate on C+C, OPEC supply was lower in 2007 than 2006 than 2005, and non-OPEC supply was higher each year. Dec-Feb08 has reversed that OPEC slide but not the non-OPEC gain, leading to a situation where the difference between current production levels and those in the second half of 2005 are 2/3 due to growth in non-OPEC supply.

That doesn't mean the situation will continue, of course; I'm just pointing out that the OPEC "spike" is nothing more than them restoring production levels, meaning the recent plateau was, to some extent, due to an OPEC spike downwards.

That being said, non-OPEC growth has clearly slowed. Its monthly supply data from Jan05 to Feb08 shows average annual growth of 0.25MB/d (best linear fit), or about 0.5%, which is pretty weak growth.

But Robert, if you would recall, I kept harping on BATTERIES! You ignore batteries!

That's because it would be stupid to use them to store solar. Pumped storage is a much more economical and mature solution.

Harping on about batteries is pointless, at least for bulk power storage.

The current "spike" is simply OPEC going back to their pre-quota-cuts production level of late 2005. Check the EIA's data and see for yourself.

Yes, that is exactly correct. My point was this was all OPEC manipulation.

That being said, non-OPEC growth has clearly slowed. Its monthly supply data from Jan05 to Feb08 shows average annual growth of 0.25MB/d (best linear fit), or about 0.5%, which is pretty weak growth.

It has not slowed, it has stalled. Average production for the last 50 months is 40,988 kb/d. February production was 41,051 kb/d or 63 kb/d above its 50 month average. And were it not for Katrina-Rita taking over one million barrels per day off line in August 05 and almost that much in September 05, February 08 production would be well below the 50 month average. Katrina-Rita took an average of 300 kb/d off line for 2005. That is taking the total off line oil for the last 5 months of 05 and averaging it over 12 months.

February 08 non-OPEC production is 535 kb/d below the February 07 production.
Non-OPEC C+C oil production
Feb 07 41,586,000 bp/d
Feb 08 41,051,000 bp/d

I may be wrong but I believe it is all downhill from here for Non-OPEC.

That's because it would be stupid to use them to store solar. Pumped storage is a much more economical and mature solution.

Harping on about batteries is pointless, at least for bulk power storage.

Well, this "pumped storage" needs to be explained and added to the equation. How much pumped storage? How do you extract the energy from this pumped storage. How much energy could you store and what would be the cost to build the infrastructure and the cost per kilowatt hour from pumped storage.

Don't you understand Pitt, you cannot just say something like "three million acres of PV" or "pumped storage" and leave it at that. Then it simply becomes argument by buzzword. Buzzword is not an argument. And batteries do matter even if it is only for the automobile. Batteries are very important and MUST enter into the debate, at least as far as over the road travel is concerned. Well, that is unless you plan on running your automobile with "pumped storage".

Ron Patterson

Yes, that is exactly correct. My point was this was all OPEC manipulation.

Happy to help you illustrate it, then!

I may be wrong but I believe it is all downhill from here for Non-OPEC.

Possibly - there's no longer strong Russian growth to buffer ongoing declines in the UK, Norway, and Mexico - but the latest IEA OMR projects strong growth in the Caspian region, as well as Brazil, and to a lesser extent Australia and China. (Also strong growth in biofuels, but I suspect you're less interested in that.)

The forecast is for +0.8Mb/d, half of which is biofuels, which is still going to mean tight markets and high prices unless OPEC ups its production a fair amount (another 0.8Mb/d, say). Whether they want to - or can - is another matter.

So to a certain extent it doesn't enormously matter whether non-OPEC production grows slowly or shrinks slowly - oil markets are still going to be determined by what OPEC does.

Well, this "pumped storage" needs to be explained and added to the equation. How much pumped storage? How do you extract the energy from this pumped storage. How much energy could you store and what would be the cost to build the infrastructure and the cost per kilowatt hour from pumped storage.

Most of that was covered in the other post of mine I linked to.

* Capital costs for pumped storage are roughly $100/kWh, based on the cost of a recent large Chinese project and based on a comparison to tunnelling costs done by someone else.

* Based on hourly data covering a year for wind and solar, about 24 hours of pumped storage is the cheapest way to get reliable baseload power with a mixture of the three.

* Energy is extracted just like with hydro plants - falling water and big turbines. Energy is stored by pumping the water back up. Round-trip efficiency is 70-80%.

* The amount of energy you can store depends on the size of the plant you build. One of the links I used to get the $100/kWh ballpark figure describes ways to build pumped storage even in the US midwest, and costs it out by comparing to existing tunnelling projects, so the total amount of storage attainable is very large.

The US consumes an average of about 5M BkWh (taking into account transmission losses) per year, or ~13.5B kWh/day. If that's the amount we need to store to go all-solar-and-wind, we'd need to spend $100 x 13.5B = $1.35T to create the necessary pumped storage.

The Tianhuangping project is 8M cubic metres of water, and based on comparisons to dams, should cover only a few hectares. That suggests at most a hectare per GWh, meaning the pumped storage needed for the US would take up around 10,000 hectares, or about 40 square miles flooded with 500m source-to-source height difference.

Realistically, that's a strong over-estimate, since we'd get substantial smoothing of the power inputs thanks to geographic dispersion, whereas the data I used for the optimization process was quite localized.

Plus, that's the amount required to replace the entire US electrical generating capacity. EVs, thanks to their greater efficiency, would only require 15-20% of that, so divide the above totals by 5-6 to get an overestimate of what you'd need.


Quick check of the calculations: 1 cubic metre @ 100m vertical distance has about 0.27kWh of gravitational potential energy, meaning 13.5B kWh @ 500m would need 13.5B / 0.27 / 5 / 80% efficiency = 12.5B cubic metres @ 500m vertical distance. That is, for comparison, about a third the volume stored behind the Hoover Dam.

The Hoover Dam generates about 4B kWh per year with flows around 20,000gal/sec = ~80 cubic metres/sec = ~2B cubic metres/yr. With the lower vertical distance, that roughly checks out.

So, yeah - the Hoover Dam holds more water than would need to be stored, so it shouldn't be at all unreasonable to do. The biggest cost would probably be the generators, which is likely where most of that $100/kWh comes from - most pumped storage systems have ~12h of storage capacity.

And batteries do matter even if it is only for the automobile.

And that's irrelevant when considering the question of how to power those cars. Isn't that the question at hand?

Moreover, that's a much, much smaller amount of power being stored, and so expense is less important there. It's basically a solved problem - LiIon, NiMH, even lead-acid - and now we're just trying to make it better and more convenient.

Robert, average C+C production for 2008 could very easily prove to be lower than 2005.

"Could very easily prove to be lower" is quite a move from your previous position, which I think boiled down to "No way in Hell."

I read your article on Ssolar power replacing gasoline. Really Robert, don't you think it was rather skimpy? You calculated that it would take over 3 million acres of solar panels.... Well hell. No problem, just manufactur 3 million acres of solar panels. That's real easy to SAY. Building them, installing them, servicing them, and the infrastructure would be the main thing.

Ron, do you understand what a thought experiment is? The purpose was to frame the problem. If I had found that the required area is greater than a large fraction of the total area of the U.S. (as is the case if you do the exercise for biofuels), that would have doomed the idea from the start. You had complained that nobody had ever done a calculation like this, and up until I did it I had no idea what kind of electrical capacity we were even talking about. So, it suited my stated purpose, and based on the number of comments and e-mails I have gotten over it, a lot of people found it a useful starting point.

But Robert, if you would recall, I kept harping on BATTERIES! You ignore batteries!

I didn't ignore batteries. I addressed the issue of storage in the essay you say you read. You clearly misunderstand the purpose - stated explicitly - of what I was doing. This wasn't done to prove that we can replace cars with electricity. It was done to get an idea of the scale of such an operation - not to solve the technical problems in one fell swoop. You might as well complain that I didn't come up with a cure for cancer, or solve world hunger. That wasn't the intent.

You say convert it to hydrogen, then burn that hydrogen to generate electricity. Really now! Are you serious?

If you have excess energy of any kind - wind, solar, nuclear - then such a scheme is certainly not out of the realm of discussion for storage. For instance, here's another thought experiment. Assume you have an infinite amount of electricity, but it is available for only a short period of time each day. I presume you will agree that under those parameters the hydrogen scheme is quite workable. In the real world, we don't have infinite electricity, but the sun does give us the potential for a huge amount. Would you rather I just throw up my hands as you have and concede that we are doomed? I prefer to keep trying, but sometimes you give the impression that you would be happy if we all assumed your outlook.

And cost? You completely ignored the cost issue. What would this scheme cost? Can the average Joe afford any of this?

Cost was addressed in a previous essay that was linked to, and I have mentioned it here as well (in fact, I think I mentioned it before in response to you). It is several trillion dollars. Again, I think you need to read the stated purpose of the calculation. It is for understanding those kinds of parameters. You have to understand what you are up against before you can begin to address it.

Well, that was one reason I was saying an electrical fleet is impossible. Thanks for conceding my point.

Ron, you don't concede a point you never disputed, and I have consistently said that liquid fuels would be needed for certain transportation applications. It might be more appropriate to say "Thanks for agreeing with me."

Robert, average C+C production for 2008 could very easily prove to be lower than 2005.

"Could very easily prove to be lower" is quite a move from your previous position, which I think boiled down to "No way in Hell."

Just a note on this. The May OMR is out, and oil supply is down to 86.8Mb/d. Based on the relative levels of oil supply for Jan-Apr given by the IEA and the corresponding Jan-Feb levels for EIA, we can pretty confidently say that EIA C+C will come in at about 74.5Mb/d for the four months.

C+C was 73.8Mb/d in 2005, meaning that for 2008 C+C to come in below 2005 would require the remaining 8 months to average 0.35Mb/d below 2005 levels, or about 1Mb/d below their levels in the first four months of the year. Assuming a linear decline in production over the year, we'd need to see Q4 production down about 2Mb/d (3%) from Q1 to get 2008 C+C to come in below 2005's level.

Possible, certainly, but not likely without a major disruption of some kind.

Are you including tar sands as was pointed out as a problem with these numbers earlier in the year, or simply accepting tar sands = crude?


Every indication looks like March and April will be lower then January and February.

Not sure about that, note that more than half of the February increase versus January 2008 is coming from Iraq (+150 kbpd). Iraq has quietly increased production since mid-2003:

If Iraq goes back to pre-war levels tomorrow, you are adding 700 kbpd to the market.

February Iraqi production was exactly the same as its October 07 and December 07 production. They may increase to pre-war levels but that is not going to happen very soon. But crude oil is tight worldwide right now. Of course it is just a guess but I would bet March and April are quite a bit below February levels.

Ron Patterson


I can't seem to open the spreadsheet link you included

"We're sorry, rethin@gmail.com does not have permission to access this spreadsheet."

Rethin, go here:

Then click on 1.1a, 1.1b, 1.1c and 1.1d to access the data. This data is not protected, it is free access, no registration required.


I thought perhaps you had done something with the eia numbers?

James Kunstler was up to PAR in his latest post on Clusterfuck Nation talking about Peak Hillary's "Monster Amibition":


"Whatever America's fate may be in these very trying times of peak oil and climate change, a consensus seems to have formed that we can't afford to leave the same old cast of characters running things.

Back around the year 2000, I used to joke with my friends that Bill Clinton would return (despite the two-term limit) as Emperor Bill the 1st. He almost made it. I voted for him twice in the 1990s, but the new script addition wasn't so appetizing. It would have been one of the stranger occurrences in all of modern world history. The political "death" of Hillary and Bill is a story of Shakespearean dimensions. It seems to be ending as farce, though. Who knows, before the day is over, Hillary may yet put on a pair of overalls with one suspender and have her picture taken sucking on a jug of moonshine likker. Of course, irony has been the Boomer's intellectual stock-in-trade."


They ain't dead yet.

Despite the talk of a "dream ticket," if I were Hillary, I would not accept a VP slot. If Obama loses to McCain, or if Obama wins and crashes and burns (as is likely, no matter who wins)...in the words of Derek Jeter's ex-girlfriend, the "one you gave away will be the only one you're wishing for." People who hated Gore the first time around were pleading for him to run this year. Best not to be associated with whoever is in the White House, if she hopes to run again.

And the same thing goes for Obama, if Hillary somehow pulls it out.

Never happen.

The Clintons made the mistake of burning the bridge while they
were still on it.

I don't think the Clintons have burned many bridges. And if they turn out to be right (because Obama loses, or because he's an unpopular president), all will be forgiven.

Politicians are pragmatic creatures. Lieberman, now he burned bridges. But in the end, they worked out a deal. Because it was to both sides' benefit to do so.

Here's a sample:


"On Wednesday, following her 14 point loss in North Carolina and narrow victory in Indiana, Hillary Clinton told USA Today that she remained more electable than Barack Obama, whom she trails in every election category, because she has "a broader base to build a winning coalition on." In one of her campaign's most explicit overtures to racial division, Clinton claimed the support of "hard-working Americans, white Americans" in the interview, which the Clinton campaign recorded and provided as an audio file to media outlets. USA Today reporters Kathy Kiely and Jill Lawrence write:

As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.

The fallout across the blogosphere, and among civil rights groups, was immediate. Several key newspaper blogs reported on a statement issued by the black-led advocacy group ColorOfChange.org, decrying "Senator Clinton's race-baiting." "The politics of division now seem to be her core strategy," writes James Rucker, the group's executive director

Hillary: 'Hard-Working Americans, White Americans'
AOL News Newsbloggers, VA - May 9, 2008
Does Hillary Clinton believe that white Americans are the hard working ones, and all of Barack Obama's supporters are lazy blacks and college kids?

You'll never hear Clinton was America's First Black President

I've grown up with the Clintons in Arkansas. A very small
place politically. Master pols, the Clintons could always
slice the debate fine enough to find wiggle room.

But this issue is literally black/white.

Blacks will no more forget this than they will the Dixiecrat

Blogs aren't mainstream, though.

And I suspect we are at "peak blogs."

We don't dare say there's a peak Internet, that's unthinkable!

I'm surprised no one's linked a study of how much energy an Internet user actually uses. I guess it would hit a little too close to home. I've seen a couple of things, like one Google search using enough energy to light a light bulb for 15 minutes or half an hour or something, and an avatar on 2nd Life using as much electricity as a real person in the third world?

I didn't say peak internet (though I'm not ruling it out).

I figure even if BAU continues for another 50 years...blogs are on their way out.

That's just how it works on the Intertubes. First Usenet was the place to be. Then came e-mail and mailing lists, and only geeks and losers stuck around Usenet. Then came web pages and web-based message boards, and only losers stuck around mailing lists. Then came blogs, and web pages became passe. Blogs won't last forever, either, and are already showing signs of fading. When your mom has a blog, when every newspaper in the country feels they must have a blog...you're probably at peak blogs.

Leanan "...blogs are on their way out" I'd hold the presses on that prediction. That is also what they said about personal computers. They were a passsing trend that would have a limited appeal.

Blogs will continue growth for at least the next 5 years. The thing is there are so many good ones around (like the Oil Drum) and they're more entertaining and informative than TV.

Blogs will survive, just as Usenet and webpages have...but they will change, and not be like the blogs we have today. If they are successful, they will be increasingly corporate. If they fade away, they will be replaced by something else.

That's assuming we are not at peak internet. We might be. During the Great Depression, the number of households with phones dropped, and I think we'll see the same thing with Internet access if the economy goes half as bad as some peak oilers fear.

I think TOD has peaked. It has become increasingly difficult to connect here.

There is some irony in the fact that TOD is powered by Drupal, based on the PHP language. Now, PHP is not particularly efficient as programming languages go. TOD's server is therefore far busier (and using a lot more power!) than what could be expected from a site this size.

(But I understand that Drupal is a very convenient option if you don't have a dedicated IT crowd working behind the scenes).

Yeah, the most efficient code would be written in hand-optimized assembly, but it's too bloody expensive and today's computer science graduates barely even know what it is unless they specialize in compilers. Next best is usually plain C (not C++ or C#) from a good optimizing compiler. Interpreted scripting languages are the worst, and they're even worse when they're riding over interpreted or quasi-interpreted underlying languages. I've often wondered whether even one clock cycle in 100 does any useful work in a commonplace 800-watt pizza-box-size blade server, with the other 99 or more just spinning interpretive and overhead wheels round and round, and I've yet to get a straight answer.

So it goes.


PHP is web optimized and extemely scalable as it is written on core C calls. On fact many , much busier sites (Yahoo) serve up tons of content in PHP. Now Drupal...


Leanan we already have a shrinking number of households with Internet access.

It's one of the reasons the libraries are very busy, they're the one place the unemployed and homeless can do stuff on-line. The library here is a beehive of activity.

As for Peak Internet, here are a couple of links to what I am talking about:

Energy use of the Internet:


2nd Life Avatars use more electricity than Brazilians:


I am very close to losing my connection here, and may only be able to check email, post, etc from the library myself.

In fact once I have sold off all of my stuff, this computer may be one of the last things I dispose of before I go on the road. i've purposefully set up an email address I can access from any machine anywhere.

Leanan - I agree with you, blogs will become less popular. Although there may be a reason that I am unaware of, Stuart Staniford has not even made a COMMENT since March 21. I think that Stuart is about the brightest commentator/contributor. I get tired of the political trashing of the current administration and the global warming diehards, so when I came to read about energy topics (and I do not want to see thousands of stories about how nice it is to compost), it gets boring to sift through 100's of comments and threads to really get some energy information. I respond to the BS just to let them know that there are some who feel diferently on the "off topic" topics.

I think Stuart is taking a hiatus from TOD, perhaps permanently. It all happened while I was on vacation, so I'm not really sure what went down. I thought he posted a good-bye message, but I don't see it. Perhaps he didn't, or perhaps they didn't publish it.

I don't want to put words in his mouth, especially since I was paying more attention to baseball than TOD at the time, but I gather he's decided TOD isn't for him. He wants to do peer-reviewed scientific work, and - this is just my impression - he thought his credibility would be hurt if he was associated with a site where global warming deniers and other "outside of the mainstream" types post.

No he didn't say anything. The only reason I knew anything about it was from a comment someone posted at the automatic earth.

he thought his credibility would be hurt if he was associated with a site where global warming deniers and other "outside of the mainstream" types post.

You mean he's embarrassed to be seen hanging out with us doomers?

I think it was more the AGW deniers.


Heading Out. Maybe Euan. I didn't know there were others.

Hmmm.... Stuart being human and all, you don't think it was the... erm.... very robust critique he was getting on some ofhis last posts?

I sense a bruised ego.

Not that it matters in the end.


No, I don't think that's it at all. There have always been robust critiques here. I think that's one thing he liked about this place. And look at what he's planning to do instead: peer-reviewed research. Where the critiques will surely be even more robust.

And look at what he's planning to do instead: peer-reviewed research. Where the critiques will surely be even more robust.

Absolutely. If you think I hold people to an exacting standard, consider that I allow more slack here than when doing peer review.

If one's ego is easily bruised, submitting work for peer review is not advised.

Okie-dokie. But, just as an observation, I'm not at all sure being in the position of being reviewed essentially in private (at least the vast majority of the time) is more uncomfortable than being held up to public scrutiny every time you publish. It is, however, likely more rewarding and useful.


The point of peer review is that eventually, you publish...where you are held up to public scrutiny. I think one thing he did like about TOD was that you got the feedback so quickly here, rather than waiting for weeks or months.

Stuart always struck me as having an unusually thick skin when it came to things like that. He never wanted to ban or censor anyone, even when the rest of us were at the end of our rope. He even went out of his way to respond to those who many considered to be trolls not worth responding to.

And I really didn't see where his recent work got any more criticism than his earlier stuff. If anything, it was the opposite.

I think he just wants to be taken more seriously than a blog would allow. At one point, he was talking about setting up a real peak oil scientific journal, that would be more formal and more scientific than TOD blog, but perhaps he realized it would be an awful lot of work. He was having less and less time for TOD as it was.

And I really didn't see where his recent work got any more criticism than his earlier stuff. If anything, it was the opposite.

I don't agree with that. He took some pretty good shots over the latest stuff he wrote. Anyone who suggests the possibility that we can carry on is going to bring that out in some people.

Yeah, but he's been saying that from the beginning. And been criticized for it from the beginning. I think he loved it, actually.

I don't agree with that. He took some pretty good shots over the latest stuff he wrote. Anyone who suggests the possibility that we can carry on is going to bring that out in some people.

In particular, check out the tone of the comments to his more pessimistic articles (perhaps A Nosedive Toward the Desert or Saudi Arabian oil declines 8% in 2006) and compare them to his more optimistic ones (Four Billion Cars in 2050? or Food to 2050).

To my eye, at least, his more pessimistic articles were received much more favourably by the general body of posters. Kind of like "if it bleeds, it leads", but for doomers.

In general, saying almost anything doomery here attracts praise; saying almost anything anti-doomery attracts criticism. Being objective in that kind of environment is...wearing...and I can imagine it might make him less interested in devoting time to the place. Does for me, at least.

Some elements of the doomer approach can resemble a religious conviction more than a rational deduction, and are often mingled with a dislike of present society and a moral stance that it should get it's just deserts.
In short, for some it is very similar to any other apocalyptic sect, and any critique is emotionally felt and responded to as though it were blasphemy.
That is not to say that all those who feel that we are going to come to a sticky end are a priori mistaken, or that some who so feel are not rational, but there are certainly elements of a far more fundamentalist attitude in many who think that we are certain to come unstuck.

Some elements of the doomer approach can resemble a religious conviction more than a rational deduction,

Give us a break, Dave. Nuclear will save us! Time isn't an issue! Really, building 10,000 reactors is easy, look at France! Besides, we only need 32!


This didn't need to be a doomer/anti-doomer thread. Always remember those three fingers pointing back at ya.


You obviously missed the bit where I said that those who felt that society would crash were not necessarily wrong, and the very careful distinction I made in stating that not all those who so felt were operating purely from emotion.

Some certainly are though.

My comments above weren't about his decision, just about the two processes. I'm aware of what peer review is all about and it's final, hoped for result. ;)



Peer review is good, I have read in the latest Skeptical Inquirer that Religious Creationists now have their own peer review of their belief.
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9715114-7.html or just Google creationism peer review.

Creationism Reviewed and Assessed by Peers?

Even if we assume a modern CFT 20W lightbulb, 15 minutes is 18kJ. The network traffic and the actual search of the database is going to be nowhere like that. Maybe the statistic is essentially taking the total energy consumed by google -- particularly the frequent web-crawling to update the indexes -- and dividing it by the number of searches, although even that sounds a high value per search. (18kJ is 4.5kWh, which at even 1p per kWh means it's costing google 4.5p for each search I do. There's no way their advertising revenue/search is that high.) If this calculation is wrong please correct me. The real question is how much "meaningful value" relative to other means of finding information is embodied by a an internet search. Certainly I use it a lot rather than travelling to a library.

I don't know anything about second life. Graphics cards can theoretically require up to about 200W, although that'd be running flat out. Dunno how expensive rendering avatars is.

Even if we assume a modern CFT 20W lightbulb, 15 minutes is 18kJ. [...] (18kJ is 4.5kWh, which at even 1p per kWh means it's costing google 4.5p for each search I do. There's no way their advertising revenue/search is that high.) If this calculation is wrong please correct me.

I think a 20W bulb running for 1/4 hour should be 5Wh not 5kWh, so then you are down at 18J, not 18kJ and .0045p per search.

I think the only mistake I made was dividing 18kJ by 4 to convert to kWh, which is complete b*****ks. But 1 W is 1 J/s, so 20 W for 15 min = 15*60 seconds equates to 18kJ. You're right about the rest; thanks for checking.

Obvious numerical mistake: 20W for 15 min is obviously 5Wh, ie, 0.005kWh. That sounds economically possible. But I'm still not sure I believe it. I'll leave it to someone with more knowledge of data-centres to comment on it.

I posted an article once about how a data center uses as much energy as a small city. Also one about how data centers were moving to the Pacific northwest, lured by cheap hydroelectric power.

Still, I don't think it's power usage that will do in the Internet, if it happens. I think it will be lack of money.

Think about what pays for the Internet. It's people paying their ISPs for access. It's companies sponsoring content by buying ads. In some cases, like TOD, it's people creating content for free, and paying to host it, because it's a sort of hobby for them.

If we hit the Grand Depression, how much of that will survive? Money will be tight, and Internet access will be one of the things people cut. (If you believe the people who have been interviewed by CNN, many already have.) Web sites that depend on ads to for revenue might find it hard to sell ads to companies that are cutting back. And people running their own web servers or web sites may not have the money to continue. There will be less content, so less reason to go online.

And even if you can afford it...the net is one of the things that really valuable only because lots of other people use it. ISPs may not be able to stay in business if they lose too many customers, so even people who can pay may find themselves cut off. If you go online mainly to communicate with friends and family, and your friends and family are no longer online, the 'net is much less valuable to you - maybe not worth paying for, if times are tight.

As for the friends thing, there's a dirty little secret that goes a lot deeper than that.

Internet friends aren't real friends. They're arguably not even real.

I've had a 20-year letter and then email friendship with my older sister that turned out not to be real as soon as I became poor. People you've talked to on the net for ages turn out, upon meeting them, to be weird strangers.

The Internet is the Jolly Rancher of human interaction. Ever try Jolly Rancher candy? Even as a kid I considered those things to be kinda weird - they're SO strong, SO intense.... SO strongly triggering the "food" instinct that they're very popular, but in the end there's no nutrition to speak of, and you wish you'd spent your money on a hot dog or went home for a good honest PB&J.

Same thing with the spectrum of ways to interact with people. I'm going to trot out a law that says you only make real friends face-to-face. And in my experience, your real friends are going to be people you see often, face-to-face. Not talk to on the telephone, no chat with on a chat board no matter how much, only face-to-face and often.

Because of this, the internet is actually dehumanizing.

Seems to me one has to consider the alternative: broadcast and cable television are repetitious bores and face to face friends who are interested in the same stuff are hard to find. Those with minority beliefs and a different outlook on life can usually find someone on the internet with a similar view.

Expecting real friendships in the person to person sense is asking too much. A more realistic expectation is a familiar person whose ideas are fun to think about. Kunstler, for example, could hardly be called a friend of TOD posters, but I bet a lot of them look forward to every Monday for his latest rant. I do.

It's something like a favorite columnist. But with the internet it is more immediate and two way communication. I do not see the internet going away anytime soon.

On the contrary, as the Post Peak Oil world unfolds it seems to me that it will become ever more valuable as transportation costs rise. Already families send pictures and such to each other on the web rather than mail them or bring them in person.

I like to watch internet television especially foreign sites like Bahn TV and France 24. Also I like old British comedy like Yes Minister, 'Allo 'Allo, and Absolutely Fabulous. I use to have to buy these but now some are posted at various video sites for free and are available at anytime with out disks or even a player.

Same thing goes for classic performances like Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee doing "Why Don't You Do Right?" which is my favorite. Billie Holiday. Bessie Smith singing St. Louis Blues. It's the best stuff and all for free on the internet any time you want it. Can't beat it.

Agree that Internet interaction is not the same as face to face. In fact, there's research that proves it.

But it's not like people you know in person never blow you off. Because of money, because of sex, or for no reason at all.

And some of my best friends are people I first met online. Many of my friends married people they met via the Internet.

I made a number of really good friends via meeting them on local BBS systems (popular before the internet was accessible to civilians.) Local boards would have gatherings where everybody from the board who could make it would show up at a park, etc. I sponsored one of those at my house. Great time for all, and made lots of lasting friendships.

In regards to people I've met off of the Internet, I've had a lot of success, but I'm particularly picky about who I meet in person from the net. Lately I haven't had the time to go about meeting new people due to my work schedule, however.

fleam "one Google search using enough energy to light a light bulb for 15 minutes or half an hour"

That is really interesting. Last year I went to a potential job-site for a solar installation and the guy had a 2100 S.F. home on the beach and his average monthly energy use was over 2000KWh's per month. Even if you ran every light in the house full time you would have a hard time running up that kind of usage on average. The owner was very circumspect about his business so I did a little private research and discovered that he was running a web server in the spare bedroom.

If the internet is that much of an energy hog I can see problems ahead.

The server was probably just a front for his growing Cannabis under lights. I've known people who couldn't weld but had a welder in the garage just in case the cops got suspicious about why their electricity consumption was so much higher than their neighbors. ;)

DD - If you saw the amount of cabling spaghetti coming from a special high speed internet terminal panel to the upstairs you would know that wasn't the case. Also his home would appraise in Del Mar at over $6,000,000 even in todays market. If he got popped on a grass charge they would impound the house.

He didn't look that stupid!

For a standard PC (ie, not big iron like an s390) the absolute OTT power supply is 1.1 kW, and most knowledgeable people claim you can't actually achieve that power draw except running benchmarks, and most PCs are more like 500W acheivable maximum. Even assuming 50% efficiency at max, that can draw a maximum of 2.2kW. How many of these do you need in a server farm to reach 2000kW? Could you fit them in a residential bedroom?

I'm skeptical that in total internet usage is higher than 5% national energy usage (although locally in data centres the usage may be the dominant local power usage).

Amazingly, the math works out.

1 server at 500W and 24 hours a day = 12kWh/d. 30 days/month = 360kWh.
So, you'd be looking at about 5.5 servers, which is a bedroom's worth. Realistically, I don't know if 500W is a decent average load. My 20" iMac uses about 150W, and most of that goes to the monitor.

Most power supplies are rated 450-500W (ie, not the OTT 1kW ones that are sold without anyone actually needed them), which is what the manufacturer says is the maximum they can supply to the motherboard. If you independently test them then apparently the manufacturers are often significantly exaggerating what they can supply. Most good power supplies have an efficiency of 70 percent or above (80% is the target these days). So the maximum power they could be drawing from the wall is 715 W. I don't think web-serving uses the graphics card or very much CPU power, so I doubt you'd actually achieve that level of power consumption. But to be getting web requests that have 5 servers (probably more given 500W is too high for a web-server) running 100% flat out 24-hours a day suggests he had a very, very, very popular site that required a lot of complex server-side processing.

I have wondered...what the collective power consumption would be if we could gather the inventory for all datacenters in the US. Maybe rank them...small, medium, large.

ATX power supplies are required by the ATX specification to be 68% or more efficient at peak load. Most exactly meet the spec, being 68% efficient at peak load and much less efficient at other times. It is a good bet that a 500W power supply is drawing 400-600W at typical operating conditions. It is easy to build a much more efficient PC. 80% efficient power supplies that are also pretty efficient over the full range of power output by the p/s are available (Seasonic makes some nice ones). My PC uses one of these and draws about 270W under full load and about 80W under typical conditions. The initial cost differential between a cheap power supply and a good one is tiny so the ROI of a high efficiency PC power supply is huge (spending $20 extra for an efficient power supply will save you around $300 over the life of the PC).

I have a Kill-A-Watt, which measures actual power consumption. My two year old 2.8GHz Pentium only draws about 100watts. Server farms if sensibly configured use lots of slower CPUs, (cause slower gives more transactions per Joule). Of course you gotta add in switching gear as well, but you should be able to keep the cost per search down.

I gather one of the biggest power draws is air-conditioning. All those servers throw off a lot of heat, and computers don't work well if it gets too warm.

My office building existed for 20 years without air-conditioning. If it was hot, too bad, people sweated and worked anyway. But when a computer appeared on every desk, they had to install air-conditioning. We have air-conditioning now, not for the people, but for the computers.

The owner was very circumspect about his business so I did a little private research and discovered that he was running a web server in the spare bedroom.

Wonder what kind of pornography he was selling... :\


OK. But I'm saying the Clintons have destroyed
one of their previous political bases in order to continue
some kind of a campaign.

With Hillary now going for the Dem NASCAR vote, she might as well try out to be McCain's VPOTUS
as Obama's.

And I repeat...if she's smart, and as ambitious as you think, she'll steer well clear of Obama.

The Daily Show has a funny take on this, Hillary's America.

Hillary, unlike her wing-man Bill, does not have a teflon coating. All of the nasty rancor she's thrown around for the last 6 months is coming back to her in spades. She has slowed Obama no doubt but she has shot herself in a vital place politically. There is a point where there is no coming back. Kind of like peak Oil

Peak Hillary!

There is a point where there is no coming back.

Agreed. But Hillary is nowhere near that point.

And when TSHTF...as I think it will, during the next president's term...all bets are off.

Many thought the fecal material would impact the rotary cooling device at high velocity before.

I do not discount the ability of the political 'leadership' class to shift about the deck chairs on the Britannic. (or is it the RMS Olympic)

I know people who felt things could not keep going after the late 1970's, yet here we are.

So long as the sheep keep thinking all is good, they will keep acting that way. Remember, after Sept 11, we were all to go out shopping!

That's true, but when I say "TSHTF," I don't necessarily mean zombie hordes and Mad Max. From a politician's POV, just a bad recession is a disaster.

Leanan - "I don't necessarily mean zombie hordes and Mad Max..."

That is really good! Can I use it?

The big problem with Mad Max is their vehicular use isn't consistent with oil being scarce. Did you see the way they drive around in circles? They are not acting like people who can find barely any oil. Also, their vehicles can't be in peak running condition without a decent maintenance schedule nor quality parts so their fuel economy must be terrible!

If you think that Peak Oil is the end of muscle cars you are sorely mistaken. There will still be fuel to burn going into the foreseeable future for those who can afford it. For pensioners and salaried slaves, you're f**ked! Not to mention you should read the fine print "In God We Trust".

Rich people are already moving the deck chairs around by getting out of Fiat Currency into commodities particularly precious metals becuase they're easier and safer to store in safety deposit boxes in banks that will survive the collapse. (yes there will be bankers in the post peak world, they just won't be giving out toasters for new savings accounts.)

Good Luck!

Yes, what was hard to show in 'The Road Warrior' was the fact that the invaders in their monster trucks and Deth-Hedd DuneBuggies were actually 'The 1%' .. all CEO's, Yacht-clubbers and World Leaders. They just had evolved their 'duds and their trappings' so as not to get lynched.

In the new director's cut you get to see their internal monologues.. mostly songs by Andrew Lloyd Weber about how 'Nobody understands the Rich Guy..' It's very moving.

From the upcoming Broadway musical, based on the movie adapted from the novel Mad Max 4: Revenge of the Effete Elite

"Nobody Understands the Rich Guy"
(arranged to the tune of Monty Python's "Always look on the bright side of life")

We create all the work, but people think we're jerks
They envy us for all the stuff we have
I have four different yachts, some can't afford a cot
But that's cause they're lazy anyhow...

And nobody understands, the Rich Guy...
Nobody knows what it's like, to be the Rich Guy...

If we seem rather mean, because our wealth is quite obscene
It's because you peasants don't understand the world
If you're feeling you've been f*@!ed, don't be a silly duck
Just watch some sports and have another beer!

And nobody understands, the Rich Guy...
Nobody knows what it's like, to be the Rich Guy...

For life is simply pain, that's what the Buddhists say
You should face your suffering with dignity
Forget about our stuff, we also have it rough
We can't take it with us, anyhow...

Nobody understands, us wealthy elite...
They think we're soft, wimpy and effete...

When the $h!t hits the fan, we'll execute our plan
And that's to eliminate the filth
You'll see how shrewd we are, to invest in gold and muscle cars
And how much canned food and ammo comes with wealth...

And nobody understands, the Rich Guy...
Nobody knows what it's like, to be the Rich Guy...

Very Nice!

Remember when the 'Feral Boy' knocks the guys fingers off with the boomerang? I think it was a sly nod at 'The Invisible Hand'!

Or he's a sly nod to "A Boy and His Dog".

I tend to remember Feral Boy and Max's cattle dog as Spreidle and Chim Chim, since they're always stowing away in the trunk. (Why does the Mach 5 have a trunk, anyway?)

(Why does the Mach 5 have a trunk, anyway?)

Boot. It's a Boot. ;)
It has one because you need somewhere to store the beer. :D

Sure. I'm probably not the first one to use that phrase. It's a pretty common metaphor here in peak oil land.

If we have a Depression and a long-term energy crash, there won't be many Zombies for Hillary in 2012. There probably won't even be elections.

True, but I don't think it will unfold that fast. I could be wrong, of course, but I think it's going to be a long emergency...longer even than JHK predicts.

We may have the start of a depression and energy crash in the next four years, but it won't be recognized as such. It will be assumed to be a typical cyclical recession, and many will still be waiting for gas prices to go down again.

Zombies for Hillary! Love it!

Elections in November, Halloween's in October, start working on your signs/costumes now! A little mercaptan makes a nice zombie stink!

Leanan "during the next president's term...all bets are off."

On that point we're in complete agreement.

In the forseeable future I see events trumping personalities. This may be perhaps the makings of a financial Tsunami, a trainwreck of global proportions that will take years to play out. The financial markets are currently sucking on fumes which they think is the exhaust of economic growth but what they are actually smelling is a meltdown in progress. Those parasites will continue to suck on this dog we call a market economy for at least the next decade. After that they might need to learn how to work for a living if they're lucky!

And of course thats why I read this web-site because even though a trainwreck is horrible to watch it is impossible to take your eyes off.

"during the next president's term...all bets are off."

I wonder if any of the peak oil aware are considering strategic voting:
vote for the candidate they like least so he will become the new "Herbert Hoover"

I am.

Voting for McCain as Herbert Hoover 2.0 is a bad move, IMHO. We've already got Bush well into that role and given the time constraints we face on possible remediation I don't think we can play politics for another four years. The Great Depression was resolvable with policy and human endeavor. Peak oil will never bend to those puny forces :-)

In that case, does it matter who is in the Oval Office?

No. What matters is who owns the one who is in the Oval Office.

In that case, it doesn't matter.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

It matters when it comes down to resort to nuclear threats to extort resources from other countries. There are many Bush supporters who really, really want to kill off the rest of the world. I've worked in offices full of these people. They're itching for an excuse. The fact that such a monstrous act might also require martial law and the arrest of Democrats makes it all the better. President McCain will find that we've used up all our conventional weapons, and then what? He's 72, for crying out loud.

Of course, the current president has over five months to create the larger war that will make us give up our sanity.

Agreed. The big difference is that nobody saw the 1929 stock crash coming, here everyone and their brother is knows what's happening.

Naw, there were a number of people who forsaw the 1929 crash. One guy wrote a series of books - now being pimped by the 'gold is real money' crowd. (Alas I do not remeber the name)

Fodder for the 'it was engineered' conspiracy crowd.

"Part 1 - “Perhaps the boom was due for a "healthy breathing-time…

As a matter of fact, it was due for a good deal more than that. It began obviously to collapse in the spring and summer of 1926. People who held binders and had failed to get rid of them were defaulting right and left on their payments. One man who had sold acreage early in 1925 for twelve dollars an acre, and had cursed himself for his stupidity when it was resold later in the year for seventeen dollars, and then thirty dollars, and finally sixty dollars an acre, was surprised a year or two afterward to find that the entire series of subsequent purchases was in default, that he could not recover the money still due him, and that his only redress was to take his land back again."


The problem is that many view the current down turn as part of the economic cycle we have been experiencing for generations, that of boom and bust. Many believe that this downturn will eventually turn around, that the cycle will continue. Growth will resume.

The economy has always had its periods of expansion and contraction. In the 80's there was the S and L debacle before that there were others, but the contractions of the past were the result of factors that could be overcome, when supply exceeded demand the economy would slow down or halt or recede until demand grew and stimulated the economy. (Powered by cheap energy)

Recently we have seen two so called bubbles burst first there was the stock market bubble in 1999 and more recently a housing bubble, they both imploded. We are still dealing with these two events, but the difference is that in a world with decreasing energy resources the old market forces that would shape our recovery are no longer viable.

Energy was so inexpensive that it allowed for economic inefficiencies and expansion to exist at the same time, economic downturns while they existed would always end once the excess capacity was exhausted and pent up demand stimulated the economy (this is why GWB sent out stimulus checks to spur economic activity, however these checks may stimulate the economy in the short run, in the long term the added stress on the federal debt will be counter productive).

However now we are in a world where energy is increasingly rare and expensive. As with energy almost all if not all of the other commodities needed for an industrial society have been extracted by going after the easiest to access first. As we are reaching the end of the era of cheap oil/gas/coal/energy the other commodities needed for economic expansion i.e. steel, copper are not as readily available, and their extraction will require a higher energy input than has existed in the past, at the very time when energy is becoming more dear and valuable.

Just as the government is paying for current operations by writing checks that the next generations have to cover we are depleting resources so quickly that future generations will have to live in a world where basic economic commodities are even harder to come by than they are now.

Unlike in the past when an economic contraction was the result of production exceeding demand, here the economic contraction we are witnessing is the result of limited production capacity, capacity that is shrinking not growing. Even in the face of static demand this would be problematic, however as the world population is growing and seeking access to resources what we are seeing is the economic version of burning the wick at both ends.

This economic train wreck that is visible to those who wish to see it. It is not a pretty sight we are seeing it now, competition for grain for fuel or food, resource wars where might makes right, long term environmental degradation for short term gain (and a decreased ability to mend environmental damage caused by resource extraction).

All of this is happening and we are in the midst of a presidential campaign to determine who will lead the US and the pathetic MSM is still focusing on irrelevant minutia instead of dealing with pertinent issues.

You'll find that the Great Depression ended December 7, 1941.

And we've been working the "solution" to the Great Depression
for the last 60 years.

The U.S. and the other nations which want to partake in our life styles are consumer economies. I think the basic assumption during the Depression was that there was a need to encourage folks to consume more, since our industrial productivity had grown so large that full employment was not needed to produce all the stuff which the industrial nations could pump out. War is the ultimate consuming activity, as both the weapons and the infrastructure is destroyed beyond repair. When Hitler went to full war time production, the unemployment rate went to zero and as the war progressed, the soldiers and even the prisoners had lots of "work".

As individuals, we don't absolutely need to consume all that stuff we see in MalWart or all the exotic foods found in the Supermarkets. Our economic system is geared toward the fully employed worker, that is, the system is designed to produce at maximum 24/7. Only with unions has it been possible to limit factory production to 8 hour shifts 5 days a week for the 40 hour work week. When a slowdown in production happens, as in a recession, some workers are laid off because that's the most efficient way to cut production from an economic perspective. That's efficient for the producers, but hell for the laid off employees who can not find work with other employers in the area who may also be cutting back. Big recessions, like the Depression, could be handled by cutting the number of hours per worker or sending everybody home for a week or two (or a month, like France). That isn't likely in the U.S., I'm sorry to say, so it looks like the war time economy will continue as a "solution" to recessions.

But now, along comes Peak Oil and the laid offs become permanent. The "war economy" solution only makes things worse, as doing so becomes a huge energy cost and after the "war" is over, it will be impossible to re-build due to a lack of resources. Think Iraq on a larger scale.

E. Swanson

Back when I taught US History, a major component of my discussion of the Depression's cause rested on overproduction leading to a glut of manufacturers who were then faced with less to produce as demand for what new products became available dried up because those folks affluent enough to buy only bought one of whatever and that whatever didn't break anytime soon (no planned obsolescence). This led to layoffs of factory employees, many of whom were recently displaced farmfolk--the farm sector having an ever deepening depression starting in 1921, which also served to remove much of their buying power from the market. This is also what I expect to see, already see in some areas, happen to the US economy, with the difference being service employees of today acting as yesterday's factory workers.

Gas and diesel's average combined national average cost is $4.04 today, $1.05 more Y/Y. At the monthly 2007 average of 12,119 KBD or 508,998K Gallons per day, the current amount of addditional money being removed from the economy is $534,447,900 per day Y/Y. Since prices paid by all consumers won't all be retail, the numbers aren't perfect, nor do they include the other 2,083KBD of other petroleum used in the tarnsport sector. But I think it's safe to assume that Y/Y over $500 Million a day are no longer being used to purchase stuff bought from the service sector. GDP will not measure this change. Given other fuel driven inflation, I would easily expect $200Billion removed from service sector revenues during 2008. Again, not one dollar of this will be noted by GDP. But that's not wholly true. Service businesses will buy less and thus affecct the whole logistic chain. It's this drop in spending that will be seen by GDP. When diesel hits $6 and gas $5, unless demand has lessened significantly, consumer spending will be reduced by another $500Mpd from today's level. This simple scenario shows just how easily the US economy will slip into an ever deepening Depression as the main employment sector--service--finds its demand ever shrinking, much as what happened in the 1930s.

I think that most of us who read this site would agree that the next President of the US will be leading the country into a very challenging environment. It's possible that they will be overwhelmed by circumstances and unable to face that challenge. But every challenge is an opportunity, and it is also possible that the next President will radically change the country's perception of energy sources, global warming, and national security. This run up in gas prices is preparing people, educating people. People are already much more receptive to this new paradigm.

I believe the American people are ready, even eager, to meet this type of challenge. They want a new Apollo program, something of that magnitude, to inspire them. They want to come together across class, racial, geographic lines.

To think you can game the system and waste 4 years of changing public perception is foolish. This next administration is the most important in a generation because the enormity of the challenge will become obvious. And so while it has the potential to be a disaster, it also has the potential to be the most succesful and influential Presidency in a generation.

I think that most of us who read this site would agree that the next President of the US will be leading the country into a very challenging environment.

There is a sizeable group here that thinks the "next (and possibly last) President of the US will be MISleading the country into a very challenging environment. That top link to "Beware the Psychopath" is so on target, thanks Leanan.

cfm in Gray, ME

They want "Apollo", sure, they just don't want to pay for it.

Apollo never required any visible sacrifices on taxpayers' parts. The economy was growing maybe 6-7% a year, there was no inflation at first and there was a budget surplus in 1964.

Conservation will require a myriad of tiny annoyances, at best, which will make the masses feel that there is no future worth sacrificing for. In the terms which they understand, they are actually correct. Worst of all, this little drama has no future payoff like The Eagle Has Landed or V-J Day to keep us deferring our precious gratification. As Vietnam proved, we don't like dramas that weren't scripted by Frank Capra and run more than 120 minutes.

Hi Testudo,

I agree with you, to a point, but I think the time frame is off. This next admin. won't be the one. The one after is more realistic, but I'm not hopefull. As Leanan related.."meet the new boss, same as the old boss". The old paradigm most likely won't change overnight. Our political leadership and law makers are too pathological by nature to do anything else. The political leadership will remain doing bau, tho adjusted, modified, but framework. We will be the ones having to change the way we function, not them. After reading the above item "Beware the Psychopath, My Son", I don't see much in the way of change. The pathocracy that deceives us into electing them will remain entrenched.
for more.

Our 2 pol. parties are mirror images of each other. They serve the same master.


I believe the American people are ready, even eager, to meet this type of challenge. They want a new Apollo program, something of that magnitude, to inspire them. They want to come together across class, racial, geographic lines.

Is tht why millions are marching to end the war? Is that why millions are marching to protect the Constitution? Is that why they are seeking a Constitutional Convention to do what Congress won't? Is that why McCain runs almost equal to Obama and Clinton despite so many being disgusted/sickened by and/or distrusting the current regime?


I wish you were correct, but you aren't. The evidence doesn't support your comments. What's going to get America going? Nothing. The disease is fatal. Ask Ceasar.


Agreed. I think the GOP should have to stick around to deal with the shit they have set in motion. Whoever is elected will necessarily be unpopular and ultimately fail.

I intend to call their bluff, pull aside the curtain around the man in the corner, and vote for "none of the above". Enough with this utter sham.

I completely agree with your analysis.
In effect, the Obama-Clinton issue is about as relevant as the Austrians in 1913 arguing about who their next Habsburg ruler is going to be.
It might be wise to take a look around, and make plans for the other side of the wall we are about to crash into, as the current view is from a nearly extinct world.

IMHO her strategy is to do everything she can to help Mccain win, in the hope that she can run for the job in 2012 (after Mccain flounders). IMO she is dreaming if she thinks she is getting elected President (ever) as the time to be firmly identified in the public's mind as totally lacking in integrity is after you are elected, not before-as stated, the last 6 months have firmly branded her.

""The decline of global oil production seems now irreversible. It is bound to occur over a number of transitions, the first of which I have called T1, which has just begun in 2006. T1 has a very benign gradient of decline, and it will take months before one notices it at all. But T2 will be far steeper...My World Oil Production Capacity model has predicted that over the next 14 years, present global production of 81 million barrels per day will decrease by roughly 32%, down to around 55 million barrels per day by the year 2020."


This quote was from 2006, meaning we now have 12 years.

By Election Day 2012, we'll have 8 years to 55 million bbls
per day.

A most conservative drop to 71 million will have destroyed
agriculture methods as we know them today.

If we're having an election in 2012, that'll be progress in and of
itself, IMHO.

"If we're having an election in 2012, that'll be progress in and of
itself, IMHO."

It is refreshing to see clarity brought into the picture.
While the repugs and dems do differ on workplace, women's, environmental and other micro issues, they both fully embrace the current suicide economic model, and until that is confronted, it is the preverbal "changing of the deck chairs" analogy.

IMO that might be the back-up plan but the Democrats seem to not go to the well twice on individual Presidential candidates as much. If the Clintons believe this then we haven't seen the last of the desperation for this 'the one best shot' at it.

The 'totally lacking in integrity after your elected' comment so true.

This thing is so scary. The relatively unbranded candidate set up for the biggest scapegoat in history situation. The alternative candidate openly pandering to the religious right and imperial wings of America (a direction too destructive to contemplate) and the Clinton's seeming wreckless disreguard for the ultimate impact of their ambition. Hope that changes soon.

For a new direction I think the choice is clear, because it offers the possibility of some creative responses to the challenges, but the need for lowered expectations based on the Perfect Storm scenario that few see ahead is going to require more patience and fortitude than any American generation has ever produced thus far. I'm not that big on macro fixes anymore just averse to mega impediment.

IMO that might be the back-up plan but the Democrats seem to not go to the well twice on individual Presidential candidates as much.

I think it's more that they're less disciplined than the GOP, so it's more a random thing. The Republicans sort of wait in line and take turns, which means previous candidates show up more often.

If Gore wanted to run again, he'd probably be the nominee. He just didn't want it. (Though some are still hoping.)

The relatively unbranded candidate set up for the biggest scapegoat in history situation.

Could be. If he's elected, and I have serious doubts that he's electable. And no, not just because he's black.

Could be. If he's elected, and I have serious doubts that he's electable.

Not sure. It may depend on how the 'rift' plays out. I sincerely hope the Clintons and Obamas do not hate each other any more than they both loathe the idea of handing us over to McCain.

they both loathe the idea of handing us over to McCain

Errr, not like either one of them will be out of a job if they don't make it to the podium in Jan 2009.

All 3 will still be powerful people - still getting what they have been getting.

Seems to be that absolute power that has the potential to corrupt absolutely. It's a race with a winner. Powerful motivation. With at least a pretty strong sense of entitlement on everybody's part.

The Clinton's feel this was their turn and it's being unfairly pre-empted.
McCain (maverick straight shooter turned expedient) feeling he was supplanted unfairly by GWB in 2000.
Obama feels he has 'earned' the right to run by the rules.
If you are saying they should be satisfied with their (still influential) fates being secondary to the fate of the nation, I agree, but I doubt any will be.

All this said I'm sure we both would acknowledge that this is still somewhat of a sideshow to the bigger issues facing the country near term. Count me with the ones hoping that this isn't the last one of these sideshows we have the luxury of witnessing.

I don't think that so-called rift really matters. The whole Clinton vs. Obama "bad blood" thing is "inside baseball" - not gonna matter to Joe Public. This primary has been very mild compared to some in the past; I expect the party to come together in the end, as it usually does.

The GOP's tactics are to attack people on their strongest points. Hence the "swiftboating" of Kerry. They turned his strongest asset, his war hero past, into a weakness.

I expect they'll do the same to Obama. His strongest point is he's an "outsider." They'll attack him on that, by 1) saying he's too young and inexperienced - something that voters are already concerned about and 2) claiming he's not really a different kind of politician (dragging out Rezko and other dirt - and call me cynical, but I suspect there's a lot more where that came from. Hey, it's Chicago after all ;-)

I think that, on top of the unease white working class voters already feel about him ("not one of us") could be enough for McCain to prevail.

Yeah, inside baseball...

All the talk about Clinton vs. Obama, such as today's piece by JHK, misses the bigger question. What happens if McCain is elected?

There's the suggestion that another 4 years or Repug Business as Usual would sink the Repugs for decades. What's missing is the fact that McCain is getting a bit old for the job. And, if he goes, who takes his place? Will it be Mitt Rommey or (worse) Huckabee? Both are religious fundamentalist and might shift the U.S. further toward a theocracy.

There are many people out there that still want to teach Intelligent Design or Creation Science, as it was once called. They seem to have no clue that those issues were throughly debated after Darwin published his Origin of Species in 1859. That they still do not understand or accept rational science just points out the danger that they pose to the world. Both the Young Earth Creationist and the Muslims have a fanatical perspective regarding science and would most assuredly continue to destroy that part of science which opposes their world view.

If McCain lets a Fundamentalist have the VP position on the ballot, I would feel it absolutely necessary to vote for the Democratic candidate, whomever it is. I would probably be motivated to get off my ass and do some political work again as well...

E. Swanson

Hey Big Dog! What is wrong with teaching Intelligent Design? It teaches us exactly how petroleum was formed in the first place. "God put it there" And now we know how it got there, all we really need to do it to Pray harder and maybe she will put some more there. I will start praying for that right after I get back from my prayer group for lower gas prices...

"What is the difference between God and the Lone Ranger? There really is a Lone Ranger."

Edward Abbey

If McCain lets a Fundamentalist have the VP position on the ballot...

Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and defeated contender for the GOP presidential nomination, is currently at the top of John McCain's short list for a running mate. At least that's the word from a top McCain fundraiser and longtime Republican moneyman who has spoken to McCain's inner circle.


Looks like we really might crash into a pile of deep doodoo.

Don't forget, Huckabee believes in Biblical inerrancy. Here's Huck's background.

Huckabee has stated, "Politics are totally directed by worldview. That's why when people say, 'We ought to separate politics from religion,' I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible".


Do we really want a guy in line to be a possible President who apparently does not understand the basics of science and technology? I hope McCain's operatives take the time to read all those comments at the linked site, you know, the ones that say something like: "I would vote for McCain, but absolutely not if he selects Huckabee for VP".

E. Swanson

Yeah but I believe in this case it matters. I've heard somewhat credibly that it's pretty serious. I'm sure you'd agree it can spill over to the supporters.
A slight may be harder to take than a war of ideas. I'm anxious to see how strongly the support appears from the 'whoever is on the out's'. That could affect the outcome.

It's not that serious. Except to people working on the campaigns in question, and they are not only not normal people, they're out of touch with what normal people are like.

McCain vs. Bush got a lot nastier, and yeah, they still aren't each other's favorite people, but it didn't matter to the voters in the general election.

"but it didn't matter to the voters in the general election"

If Hillary should somehow pull off a nomination then yeah probably it would.
If he gets it and the rancor dies down with 'enthusiastic' support maybe not.
There may be another playbook where it carries on with continuing damage the entire time he is the nominee, affecting the outcome. We are starting to get there already IMHO. That's what I'm saying.

I don't think we're anywhere near that point. This primary has been downright lovey-dovey in comparison to many in the past.

People always feel strongly about their candidates. But in the end, there can be only one, and most will come around. No matter who wins.

I'll drink to that.

I am so tired of this circus - it is nothing more than a distraction, a means to allow people to believe they are participating, an illusion that this is a functioning democracy. The differences between the candidates and what they will do are minor, and mostly represent the differences between those who fund them. Different pigs, same trough.

What if they held an election and nobody came? Would they be able to claim a "mandate" then? What would happen to the pretense of legitimacy?

There was a time when I bought it. I never missed an election, and I believed in change from within. Partly that was because I was naive and not well informed, and partly that was before the corporate takeover of government was complete. Voting for the least of all evils has failed in actual practice.

Would Gore have taken the US into Iraq?

Edit this to say I don't fundamentaly disagree with you except in this fashion. The mega impediment is still a possibility. Something that takes us down an already aligned outcome more quickly that necessary. If there is any chance of a thumb being on the sustainable side of the equation w/o putting their whole fist on the opposite side it might be worth a little involvement. The corporate thing ,yes, but solar companies are corporations too.

Would Gore have taken the US into Iraq?<?blockquote>No, I don't think so, but the changes that have occurred since the coup of 2000 are profound. Power has been consolidated very quickly, and the last of the pretenses have been removed. This is the model for the way things will go for likely the rest of my life - when you are in it it may seem like not much is happening, but when you look back 5 or 6 years the changes will be breathtaking. Already it is hard to relate to the world of 10 or 20 years ago, and the things we accept now that would have been unthinkable then.

This is the model for the way things will go for likely the rest of my life - when you are in it it may seem like not much is happening, but when you look back 5 or 6 years the changes will be breathtaking.

Not really. All the power has been taken.

Habeus Corpus
Voting rights
Freedom of movement
Freedom of assembly
One all-powerful branch of gov't

There's really nothing left. It's just a matter of militarizing it to make it official.


If Gore wanted to run again, he'd probably be the nominee. He just didn't want it

Can't blame him. Hell, I want him to run again, but the plain facts are he'd be too stifled in the position of President to get anything accomplished. Too many trade-off, too much glad-handing. We're probably all better off if he doesn't run.

Now, if he'd won in 2000 (or at least been declared the rightful winner), things might be looking a lot rosier than they do today.

James Kunstler was up to PAR in his latest post on Clusterfuck Nation talking about Peak Hillary's "Monster Amibition":



She's carrying on now like William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes Trial -- an obvious, gibbering loser unwilling to shut up and go home, even after every measure of consensus from the bailing super delegates to the cover of Time Magazine has made it clear who the preferred party nominee will be.

Just a note to JHK: William Jennings Bryan's prosecution won the scopes trial. Not the first, nor the last, stupid decision made by the prevailing powers in the US. It is probably not even the stupidest.

an obvious, gibbering loser unwilling to shut up and go home

Too bad JHK got this wrong too.
He's obviously talking about Gore in 2000.


Have you forgotten your meds again?

I must have sinned against convention in being drug/alcohol free.
Or maybe I just forgot that a chemical agent is required to make most left side views valid.
You might want to try it sometime.

...maybe I just forgot that a chemical agent is required to make most left side views valid.

Not really required, but it certainly helps.

RE: McCain urges free-market principles to reduce global warming

From the article (and a similar one in the NYT) :

McCain's major solution is to implement a cap-and-trade program on carbon-fuel emissions, like a similar program in the Clean Air Act that was used to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that triggered acid rain.

The cap-and-trade system would only applies to businesses, not to individuals. Where's the limit for transport fuels and home heating users of propane and #2 heating oil? I'm afraid this is only more pandering to the public's lack of understanding. To actually reach the 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, there would be the need for massive reductions in emissions by individuals. Is McCain planning to ration gas and diesel, or is he just going to let the market boost prices thru the roof as Peak Oil becomes apparent?

E. Swanson

McCains straight-talk express now looks like "The Little Engine That Could"...sell out!

McCains free ride is just about over. There are minions that are sitting at laptops from sea to shining sea waiting to go ater that whale.

"Last time a saw a mouth like that there was a hook in it." Rodney Dangerfield

I've always wondered about the artificial divide between residential and industrial use. Don't industrial products end up used by residents too? So isn't the energy used in industrial production energy used by us in the end?

Equal carbon tax to every ton of carbon! No matter the origin! All these complex cap&trade schemas are just a way to enrich certain individuals and externalize costs to politically suitable ones. They do next to nothing to reduce emissions, because by their nature are creating enormous loopholes which everyone exploits to avoid the real pain and sacrifice needed.

All of these loft goals of reducing emissions by 2050 - whether by 60% or 80%, are all pomp.

As Asebius shows downstairs, future scenarios for liquids production rely heavily on unconventional crude (e.g. tar) and CTL. With the ramping up of those it simply will not be possible to reduce emissions by a great amount, certainly not by 80%.

No, no President-wanna-be is going to tell the American public that their personal fuels consumption has to be reduced to near 0 (and it has to be that small to make up for all the carbon emitted to produce and deliver the goods that they will buy.) Ain't going to happen...

So I cut McCain some slack here - given whom he has to convince to vote for him to become President I'm surprised he is as "radical" on this issue as he has demonstrated thus far.

Krugman's post today is about peak oil:

After all, a realistic view of what’s happened over the past few years suggests that we’re heading into an era of increasingly scarce, costly oil.

The consequences of that scarcity probably won’t be apocalyptic: France consumes only half as much oil per capita as America, yet the last time I looked, Paris wasn’t a howling wasteland. But the odds are that we’re looking at a future in which energy conservation becomes increasingly important, in which many people may even — gasp — take public transit to work.

I don’t find that vision particularly abhorrent, but a lot of people, especially on the right, do. And so they want to believe that if only Goldman Sachs would stop having such a negative attitude, we’d quickly return to the good old days of abundant oil.

My biggest concern is that a fully developed mass transit system takes time to build and this is time we may not have. There are two big plans to increase mass transit in the U.S. that I personally am familiar with, the Dulles metro line in D.C. and the Beltline in Atlanta. The Dulles metro line is, or was, being stonewalled by a Bush appointee (kind of like his EPA chief is stonewalling California with their vehicle emissions). The Beltline is puttering along, but last I heard it would take them 25 years to finish it. Oil prices are rising far too quickly to even think about a 25 year time-line being useful. Let's hope the next administration at least tries to encourage a rapid growth in mass transit projects, but it may be too late.

My biggest concern is that a fully developed mass transit system takes time to build and this is time we may not have.

You don't need a fully developed mass transit system. Transit systems can be built out piecemeal. ie. Think of the impact of having streetcars on some major arteries. Streetcars are not technically difficult. If one doesn't want to lay rail for street cars, trolley buses work as an alternative. All you need are the overhead wires.


[Trolleybuses used to be a common sight in Toronto but were phased out when the price of oil fell in the '80s]

For the life of me, I can't grok the psychology of people who declare "too late" even before the transition has seriously begun.

Its a bizzare and alien mindset to me. And it's definitely unAmerican!!! ;-)

Show me a system of streetcars that have been built quickly! Massive municipal projects, on the scale that we're going to need take a long time. Permitting, planning, lawsuits, cost, these all contribute to delays, building it is only part of the problem. It's true that things can get kick started and go much more quickly if there is an impetus, but that impetus is likely going to be people not being able to afford to put gas in their cars to get to work and that of course is what I mean by too late. My guess is that we're going to have a rough patch before the transportation system gets converted to more mass transit.

Show me a system of streetcars that have been built quickly!

Mulhouse France (pop 110.900) (as well as several other French towns/cities such as Grenoble, Reunion is "interesting")

First tram 2006. 58 km open by 2011/12 (slightly differing dates from different sources, I THINK it was 2012 and now 2011). More after 2012 "maybe".

Also TGV line by 2012.



Best Hopes for Fast Tram Buildouts,


Will someone whose French is better than mine confirm what I am reading from


I noted that the map looked "bigger" than before.

1st Line - 12 km

The next expansion adding 19.72 km (or is the 12 km included in the 19.72 km ?) with 8.75 km of urban expansions planned after that.

In addition there is a shared train-tram track of 45 km.

(Earlier they talked of 36 km going up the Thur valley, did they add 9 km or is joint use of tram tracks in the distance ?)

12 + 19.72 + 8.75 + 45 km = 85.5 km !?!?

In addition a connection to Basel Switzerland (cross-border at St. Louis I think ?) is not counted yet by the French.


The Metro population of Mulhouse is about 273,000.

Best Hopes for French Trams,


I'd say it's as ambiguous in French as it seems to you. It looks like the 23 stations are the first build (Lignes de ville, city lines, shown as heavy red lines), and 15 more (les extensions, under les futurs projets, heavy blue lines) follow. That looks like it adds up to the 19.72km 38-station system, with speculative further extensions in orange.

Under "dates cles", key dates, it says they started work in 2002 and expect to open the full 20km (i.e. 19.72km) urban system in 2013. So it'll take them 11 years to build 19.72km serving the full 38 stations, or about 12 miles. That would be 1 mile a year, not very speedy.

The big question for the US perspective, though, is not even the actual construction time, slow as it is, so much as the interminable "planning" process where every petty two-bit NIMBY with a grudge against the future, and his or her parasitical, obstructionist tort lawyer, is granted absolute veto power. (And never forget the last-second political shenanigans as with the Dulles line.) The French might not stand for quite as much of that rubbish, as they tend to indulge in a bit more dirigisme.

In addition, there is the Thur Valley.


My reading is that there is an existing, low frequency diesel commuter rail line (black) in service today. They are going to run special trams on half of that line as well (yellow-orange) that will service several new stations plus existing stations with greater frequency and inter-line on the urban tram system as well (like Karls-Ruhr in Germany).

Basically converting half of a commuter rail line into a tram line, while continuing commuter rail service. Innovative and cost effective.

Best Hopes,



You often cite French rail expansion. Do you know their motivation for this?

An excellent question, but a less than perfect answer.

The stated reason is to reduce carbon emissions for the 1,500 km tram expansion (this was NOT the reason given for the tram expansion for the last 15 years). Or for the Swiss expansion (larger base, less new lines, but still notable). I think "carbon" is PC talk and not the true motivation. Perhaps I will eMail Jerome a Paris.

I do know that mayors have been elected on promises to build a tram (or trams) from "here to there" and they like to cut the ribbons before the re-election campaign comes around (with a promise for a new tram from "C to D"). Thus the speedy completion times.

All funded with a local payroll tax and national matching funds.

My GUESS is, at the national level, a desire to reduce oil dependence (and France has too much nuke, they want to use more so they can build more).

I have noted a correlation between new trams and if the town "voted correctly", so new tram funding (partially from national level) is also a pork award for supporters.

New tram lines, besides being functional, are also "urban jewelry" and many/most French designs are truly striking. They add to the cityscape and civic pride (see mayor's re-election campaign). They also create more walkable and bikeable towns, which the French generally like (bikes are only recently the fashion rage, see velibs).

Locally, it is seen as a "must have" for even small towns to show that they are alive and doing well (whether they are or not, Mulhouse has shrinking population for example).

At some background level, I think that good public policy is a major driving force (GW and/or PO and/of energy dependence). But "sizzle" sells better than "steak".

Best Hopes for Understanding the French !


Closer to home, after the Northridge Earthquake the then 15 month old Commuter rail system managed to add 60 miles of new (reactivated) track, 7 stations and 15 additional trains within a week of the earthquake. In fact, in general the speed of municipal transportation projects depends much more on how motivated people are to build them than anything else. I expect that increasing gas prices will provide people with plenty of motivation to improve transit LONG before it causes big enough disruptions in the economy to make such projects unfeasible.

I don't know if this was the point Gwydion intended, but the problem with a partial transit system is that people want to make a journey from A to B, and if they have to take their car from A to intermediate C, public transport from C to D, then figure out how to get from D to B (taxi?) then they'll just drive from A to B. Even with high government investment there must be sufficient riders to cover a high fraction of the running costs, and if people won't switch until they can make complete journeys the intermediate money isn't there.

but the problem with a partial transit system is that people want to make a journey from A to B,

People often change their patterns of travel based on the availability of transit.

In other words, if you are at A, you often don't have to go to precisely B. Often C, on the transit route, will do fine as a substitute.

All public transit systems are incomplete in the sense that getting from some locations to others can be highly inconvenient.

Anyhow, this debate is easily settled. We just need data from a city that has public transit that is quite crappy.

A couple of years ago I got given cinema vouchers with a 1 year expiry for a particular chain. From near where I lived to near the cinema of that chain in the city would take 2 buses with a signficant time gap between. In the end half the vouchers expired unused because I couldn't find the energy and time to get to that cinema and back by bus. It's fine if the nearest points on public transport are relatively close to where people want to go, but as they become further away people will use the system less. Hence the sentiment that a "piecemeal" roll-out is unlikely to work.

I think at the end you mean "we just need data from a city that has an incomplete public transit system where some areas have very good modern public transport and some areas have no public transit access" rather than a city with uniformly crappy public transit (which may still be better if you can at least get everywhere via public transit).

From Saturday's New York Times:


Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit

Some cities with long-established public transit systems, like New York and Boston, have seen increases in ridership of 5 percent or more so far this year. But the biggest surges — of 10 to 15 percent or more over last year — are occurring in many metropolitan areas in the South and West where the driving culture is strongest and bus and rail lines are more limited.

The American Public Transportation Association reports that localities with fewer than 100,000 people have also experienced large increases in bus ridership.

I'm not sure why I have to argue this point. As I said, the contrary view reflects an alien mindset.

"It's too late. People will never change their ways. There 's nothing we can do now!!"

LOL. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this!!

And the example of your experience illustrates very well what I suspect is going to happen: a lot of trips that people would have taken now won't be taken in the future. People will just stay put a lot of the time, because it will be just too much trouble to get to some things that are easy to get to now.

We just need data from a city that has public transit that is quite crappy.

Start with Sydney. ;)

I'm a huge supporter/user of public transit, but I'm becoming increasingly pessimistic on any sort of reasonable time frame.

Here in Ottawa we average roughly 2 years of debate for every kilometre of light rail track laid down (sadly, I don't think that's an exaggeration). Buying new buses isn't much better. Park and ride lots are being crowded out by burger kings and tim hortons'. We've needed to build another bridge across the Ottawa River to get all the truck traffic out of downtown for about 30 years now, and I'm very confident we never will. It seems the main obstacle here is political. The federal and provincial governments are (were?) showering the city with transit money, but, because no 'perfect' option exists, we turn it down... or use it to pay legal fees from breach of contract lawsuits and shortcomings in the budget due to the refusal of our exurban-elected mayor to raise property taxes in the exurbs.

It doesn't help that, as the national capital, every decision needs to be vetted by three levels of government and about eight different government agencies, but in terms of transit the only hold out is the city (oh yes, and the federal environment minister, John 'if I see you on the street god help me I will...' Baird).

Obviously politics are one thing, but I think the 'three stooges effect' of every city/state/province/country trying to run through the transit/renewable/nuclear door at the same time will make a large scale, world-wide transition (as is needed to maintain BAU) next to impossible. Not only from a materials POV but also from a human resources angle. I have many civil engineering friends who had jobs lined up for he O-Train construction who've skipped town (or the country) because they're tired of waiting.

Trying to remain optimistic,

Trevor in Ottawa

My prediction for the future of mass transit: we will use what we've got. And what we've got is a huge number of otherwise-useless minivans and soon-to-be-unemployed drivers. Jitneys will crop up everywhere, whether legalized or not.

Interesting article on the "Crude Awakening" display at Burning Man this year:


Peak pyrotechnics perhaps?

Oh, god, it's a crappy day here in the wilds of Massachusetts, but those McCain pronouncements have warmed my heart. We are so not electing that clown, nor any other Republicans for that matter, come 11/2008.

Democrats are just as badly confused, to be sure, but after eight years of differential prosecution they're a tad less corrupt than the Republicans and they do respond a bit to the cracking of progressive whips.

We're going to have a miserable first term for Obama, as people slowly come to grips with the fact that things have changed ... forever.

If Obama has a miserable first term, there won't be a second one.

Most of us here in flyover country don't trust Obama if for no other reason than he's from Chicago, which is more than enough.

Add in the fact that he's never actually accomplished anything, never served in the military, career politician ie never held a real job, refuses to commit to a position on any issue other than banning handguns (see Chicago comment) and you wind up with someone alot of the country can't stand. Nice to see the McGovern wing resurface. Funny, everytime the Ds should provide meaningful opposition canidate, they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Too bad, my dad was a democrat until Ted Kennedy converted him.

Hillary is corrupt and ambitious but give her credit she is competent. McCain is an old soldier fighting the last war, but still believes in God and country. Both would be better than Obama, who is clueless and all style, no substance except for his pet causes which conflict with the constitution. Wonder how the NYTimes would feel if the free speech was banned?

And no, going to Harvard is not an accomplishment, Bush did too. Crazy, but they seem to have the same personal vices (nose candy), bet they have the same IQ too.

This pretty much sums up the reasons I think Obama will lose in November.

I don't think it's racism (though that's what people will claim, if he loses). That may be part of it, but mostly, it's the "McGovern coalition." That was not Obama's profile at first, but it is now, and it's a loser.

And no, I don't blame Hillary. Obama did it to himself, with the "bitter" comment, and by not disassociating himself sooner from the Rev. Wright. Oprah did, he should have, too.

The press fell in love with Obama, and the "post-racial society" they saw in him. They gave him a free pass. That won't last until November.

Most of us here in flyover country don't trust Obama if for no other reason than he's from Chicago, which is more than enough.

So ya don't like someone because of the place where he is from. Ok.....

Hillary is corrupt and ambitious but give her credit she is competent.

So corruption is OK?

McCain is an old soldier fighting the last war, but still believes in God and country.

And you are skipping over the Keeting 5 scandel because corruption is ok.

Thus - Corruption is OK, but where someone is from physically is a deal breaker. I thus gotta ask - what does a brother have to do to get impeached?

Huh. Sounds like the future presidents Mom and Dad better be nationwide circus freaks that way said child can live in all 50 states so people can find said canidate electable.

In modern politics, its pretty much a given that every polician is a borderline crook so the Keating 5 scandal is pretty mild. Same for Whitewater and Monica. Same as always.....hold your nose when at the ballot box, BAU because BS.

Obama's from Chicago, so there is no way there isn't atleast a "graveyard" in his closet similar to Hillary's. The politics there are extreme left wing and out of touch with the rest of the nation, especially those of us not in CA,IL or NY. Not so much about where his is from geographically as he is culturally.

This is shaping up to be the Harvard vs Anapolis election or if you prefer, the guts, guns and god vs the pampered priss. Obama's a lightweight compared to McCain, both in experience and ability. If it was a boxing match, the youngster wouldn't last two rounds.

Atleast McGovern was a veteran but Obama's a pampered politician. Very similar to the difference between John Kennedy and Ted. One was a war hero, the other a spoiled rich kid who got away with murder. The Democrats couldn't pick a worse person to represent them. We really need a 3rd party in the states. Colin Powell could run tomorrow and wipe his feet on both McCain and Obama's back side.

At the same time, I wouldn't vote for Obama regardless of party because he's too smooth. He acts like the Manchurian Canidate, way too manufactured and polished. Prefer politicians who have noticable defects such as red faces, scandals or girlfriends, it tells me that they are actually real people instead of an air brushed resume. On word comes to mind when I think of Obama, and that is SLICK......so the obvious questions are what is he hiding and why the hello does he vote "PRESENT" on important issues? And of course, what planet is this guy from?

Obama acts the way a black man has to act to get five minutes from a racist society. It's worked so far.

The planet he is from is the unwhite majority planet that hates George W. Bush, the Christian Right and the American corporate empire that have brought the world to the brink of both Global Warming and Peak Oil, now supplemented by war and famine. McCain has sold out to Bushism. He applauds the mass, intentional killoff of the Iraqi people (one million who would not be dead if we hadn't invaded, plus the prior 400,000 dead that Bill & Hillary caused by continuing sanctions) and any people who refuse to obey the white Christian dictatorship that true conservatives like Kevin Phillips have denounced (see "American Theocracy").

This isn't about normal politics anymore. This is about an American empire with troops in 120 countries, being exploited, manipulated and extorted to supply America with 2 trillion dollars of loans every day, which you as a "normal" American will never accept is even happening. When McCain tells you that he will have to go to war to continue the extortion, you will applaud it as toughness. If a half billion or more people starve in the next few years due to the Depression that Wall Street caused, you and he will blame it on their failure to act "entrepreneurial".

Look at the stories reported at The Oil Drum every day. Do you see it? A spreading resistance by the poor on three continents. Does McCain solve this by Vietnam-style carpet bombing (1-2 million dead)? Is that your idea of toughness? Worse, is that your idea of justice? Are the 200 million of you white Americans ready to defeat the 6 billion of the rest of the planet, the "hard-working" (screw you Hillary) people who actually make your stuff and loan you their savings for subprime mortgage trash?

Super, the Empire seems to be based on exactly that idea. That the white, good, Godly Americans will defeat the dark masses. This is why atom bomb scientists are heros here. This is why so many moms want their kids to go into biotech. At some very deep, unexamined level, it may be about preparing to "beat" those hostile, Un-American masses, by genocide on a very large scale.

I wonder myself if French is really all *that* hard to learn to speak "natively" for an adult? I do not agree with the White Christian Empire. I may be a "German" but that does not mean I have to be a Nazi. I suppose all any of us can do is to do as little to support the Empire as possible - take an oath of poverty or at least very modest living, so as to pay as few taxes as possible, and to get out of here *while* and *if* it's possible.

Two years ago I wouldhave thought someone with super390's views has lost it. Now I find think he is perhaps the most perceptive commentator here. He did have a typo- $2T a day should be $2B. But once we get that many zero's the human mind has trouble comprehending the difference.

Obama's problem is that (I don't know if he is actually from that alternate planet), but he is certainly familiar with it, and recognizes that its residents have legitimate grievances. The rest of the people, just think the alternates are a bunch of spoiled people who hate us because we are successful/rich. They don't use their imagination to try to put themselves into the shoes of the alternative planet's dwellers. So they think anyone who shares any characteristic with the alternates, is just plain insane.

recognizes that its residents have legitimate grievances.

One of the only ways that such grievances can be addressed is in a court of law. Having been in court a time or 2, I know that the courts don't function all that well.

The one 'large' political party that wishes to tear apart the state also has no interest in organizing its 'members' into court watchers. But the next time you are getting the Libertarian Party lecture - ask them about where a functioning court system sits in their worldview. Point out how the Democrats rose to power by demonstrating their ability to service the voters. Then ask why they are not showing that they can lead by taking on actual court watching?

Once the actual work of court watching is mentioned they usually STFU.

And an actual history of a court watcher:

In modern politics, its pretty much a given that every polician is a borderline crook

So that makes it OK because everyone else is?

Obama's from Chicago,...The politics there are extreme left wing

Sir, you would not know left wing if it came and wing beat you, like an attack goose.

Step outside the US of A - and then you can find some REAL "Left wing" politics. (I do not see how Obama will actually act all that different than the mass of the 20th century El Jefe's of the US of A. Calling one side left wing or right wing is just keeping the kabuki theater going. )

This is shaping up to be the Harvard vs Anapolis election or if you prefer, the guts, guns and god vs the pampered priss. Obama's a lightweight compared to McCain, both in experience and ability. If it was a boxing match, the youngster wouldn't last two rounds.

A whole lot of emotionally loaded words to attempt to sway.

But I'll bite:

A boxing match is a poor plan for an old man who can't raise his arms over his head and is quick to anger.

At the same time, I wouldn't vote for Obama regardless of party because he's too smooth.

So again, corruption is OK, but (brace for it) a 'well spoken (1/2) black man' scares ya? {How's *THAT* for offensive}

why the hello does he vote "PRESENT" on important issues?

Now here you might gain traction.

And of course, what planet is this guy from?

Earth, unless you have proof that Obama is a David Iche Reptillian.
(Sad that your 'objections' are hand waving like questioning the planet of origin VS actual votes and positions taken in the past.)

I've said before that the US has not had a true left wing for at least several decades now. Transport the Democratic party to most other nations and it would fit into the center-right portion of their political spectrum. The Republicans would be a far-right party. Most people in the US have no idea how far right wing their country is.

Most people in the US have no idea how far right wing their country is.


The amusing (ok sad) part is to watch some of the masses wail and chest-beat over how 'the other side is gonna screw us' - meanwhile the military-industrial-congressional-complex keeps on a-rolling.


Shrub went to Yale. Besides, doesn't matter whose sticking it to us, we're still f**ked.


I think any next president will have a miserable first term.

Probably. And if they do, it will be their only term.

Exactly. Obama will try to be some reincarnation of FDR. And we will need to find out that there is something to fear MORE than fear itself.

When Obama has a miserable first term...


When McCain has a miserable first term...

Peak Oil will be a major challenge for either.

Peak Oil will be a major challenge for either.

Yes, but not if its acknowledgement and a plan for managing it are bundled into a campaign issue. As users of the same amount yearly as Sweeden, The military, the war, and the vast sums spent on them can easily be pointed to as no longer tenable. As any smart politico knows, it's easier to disarm a potential challenge by leading first. Certainly, we aren't the only ones thinking the economy will worsen as November approaches. Because Peak Oil's ramifications are so heavy for the structure of the US economy, it makes far more sense politically to attack it in a Space-Race manner. That's Change.

What's more, the candidate elected by using Peak Oil as a campaign centerpiece cannot have a "miserable first term" because he's already disrmed that possibility by acknowledging the challenges posed by overcoming Peak Oil. Waging War provides no solution to fossil fuel resource scarcity--especially oil and Nat Gas becasue of usage versus flow rates--all of the failed ploys of the West proves this true. The people at the top of the heap aren't stupid. It's clearly in the vested interest of the dominant class/power stucture to follow the course I've just outlined. There's a lot at stake for this group: Muddling through along the current course will end in disaster, while being bold and at very little real risk will keep them atop and increase their riches/power.

Being honest about Peak Oil is the best policy/politics.

Peak Corvettes?

Last week while driving down a main road through a local moderately prosperous suburban area within the span of about two miles I noticed no less than three parked Corvettes for sale by owner. One was even a 2008 model. (How many people would sell a one-year-old Corvette if they don't have to?)

This got me a bit curious, and I've been paying more attention to the auto classified ads in our local paper. Today there were no less than ten Corvettes for sale, about half by owner.

Now, the Corvette is an expensive and relatively low-production car (I think less than 40,000 per year), so there really aren't all that many around, at least compared to Toyota Camrays or Honda Civics. So, why all the Corvettes for sale lately? At first one might jump to the conclusion that it is the high price of gas, but the fact is that the Corvette doesn't get all that terrible mileage, as least as compared to full-size SUVs and pickups. Even though it has a big powerful V8, it is a light car with good aerodynamics. Nay, I think the answer is that the owners simply can't afford to keep up the payments on a $50,000 car.

Perhaps a trivial but interesting little sign of where things are going.

Friend of mine had a beautiful Corvette... a special order. He'd ALWAYS, ALWAYS wanted one. The love affair was very short. Why?

The car sits about 1 inch off the road. Every speed bump, every pothole, every crack in the pavement is REALLY ANNOYING. These days... road surfaces suck (especially in the spring after the snow plows and ice have had their way).

My friend hated riding the brakes and watching for road dings.
He could never drive the car.

Well, the Corvette does have a low ground clearance, but so do most other high-performance sports cars. But it's really not all that bad. Nevertheless, it's not the kind of car you'd want to take down a rutted country road or a pot-holed urban street.

Another thing is that with its ultra-wide tires and low ground clearance, it's an absolutely terrible car in the snow and on icy roads. Which is OK, as most people don't buy a Corvette to be their daily driver.

Actually, the last two generations of the Corvette (from about model year 1997 on) are very good cars and can hold their own with many exotic sports cars costing twice or thrice as much. If you want a super high-performance sports car, the Corvette, at about $50,000, is a very good value. Unfortunately, for me this is all academic (though if more and more used ones start showing up for sale and if the price goes through the floor, it just might be tempting). Perhaps one last fling at
Automotive Righteousness before the party's over and the hangover sets in!

China to make jumbo jets


"Despite its goal of eventually challenging Airbus and Boeing, the global giants of commercial aviation, fulfilling the ambition will take time, said Jin Zhuanglong, president of the new aerospace group."

Making jumbo jets? They should be available darn cheap on the open market pretty soon.

That is a little startling to hear. I'm curious who was the last company to go into the steam locomotive business?

Not sure about "last to enter the steam locomotive business", but how about "last to leave it"?

In the UK, a rough timeline goes as follows;

1804 - first steam locomotive (Richard Trevithick)

1825 - first railway designed for steam traction (Stockton & Darlington)

1829 - Rainhill trials, for engines to power first passenger railway (Liverpool & Manchester)

1840s - "Railway Mania" (Britain's railway mileage increased around 300%)

1905 - peak locomotive production in UK

1923 - hundreds of small railway companies grouped into the "Big Four". (Still mostly seam powered)

1948 - Big Four nationalised into British Railways

1951 - first standardised steam loco design for BR (999 produced)

1955 - Modernisation Plan, outlining elimination of steam power by 1975

1960 - last steam locomotive built for BR

1968 - last steam in service on BR (significantly faster than originally planned)

Now, many of the builders of steam engines in the UK made the transition to building diesel engines early (building Modernisation Plan engines, some of which are still in service today). Some, however, were technologically out of their depth, producing designs that were less reliable than the steam engines they were meant to replace - the NBL being the prime example. Instead, they carried on building steam engines, until, even with exports, there was insufficient work, and the company went bankrupt in 1962 (http://www.cat-flap.demon.co.uk/nb.htm)

I would contend that NBL co ended up being the "last to leave", and paid the price.


The big steam engines were in use, in northern Illinois, at a Mini-Mill working the steel casting ingot molds and inside/outside transport until the late 70's. At the time, late 70's, it was the largest operating electric arc furnace in the world. Amazing to see these things work. True Giants.


Don't forget the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

Building Peppercorn class A1 "Tornado" from scratch... and nearly there... due to enter "service" in June 2008.

Russia has started reporting their production numbers again. They normally report three or four times a week but last reported on April 24 and did not report again until May 9, a gap of 15 days. The numbers for March and April were dropping fast, then they stopped reporting.

Their figures are in thousand of tons per day all liquids. But I have figured out a conversion factor to get the approximate barrels per day C+C. In March they produced approximately 9,350 kb/d and in April that number dropped to about 9,300 kb/d. The numbers that just came in, for May 9, converted to about 9,335 kb/d.

I guess they waited until they could get the numbers up slightly before they started reporting again.

Ron Patterson

It seems like I have seen where someone here has been tracking/plotting the RIA TEC numbers.

It would be interesting to see an update of the numbers from that Russian site.

What is the best source for reliable C+C production statistics by country? How many years back can you get this data?

The EIA has spreadsheets showing production going back to the late 90s. I think you want "series 1" (1.1a, 1.1b, etc).

Thanks! That's what I was looking for. I'm going to try to make some of my own crude (pun intended) models.

If you want annual data back to 1970, the 4 series (4.1a, 4.1b, 4.1c, 4.1d) gives you C & C for a longer period. It is also in a little nicer format, if you really want annual data.

From the story "Are Backyard Ethanol Brewers an Answer to High-Priced Gas?"

Automobiles do not require their fuel to be 100 percent ethanol, so greater savings are possible if drivers dilute the finished product with water (as long at that mixture contains at least 65 percent ethanol).

Oh, my! Sounds like I need to rush right out and buy one of these $10,000 contraptions. I can save money by mixing my fuel with water.

I can't believe that made it into Scientific American. Then again, they also fell in love with Thermal Depolymerization and their "cheap oil from anything" claims.

This is why things will, probably, work out.


This guy is Very Skeptical about AGW, but is having a ball driving his "semi" new electric get-about.

I've been looking into improved automobile efficiency methods as of late and there actually might be something to this.





From Wiki answers page:

Does water4gas really work?

No and yes. Water injection has been shown to improve gas mileage and performance. Unfortunately it also DESTROYS YOUR ENGINE. It does the good by in effect increasing octane through the water slowing combustion. It does the bad by the fact that water rusts iron. Water injection was used as far back as WW2 on allied fighter planes as a TEMPORARY way to get out of a tight jam.

Who knows? Maybe they will be putting a statue of Ozzie Freedom beside Matthew Simmons one day.

Funny thing, I heard about this on the radio in the middle of the night(C2C) much like the podcast I was listening too about a year ago when I became PO aware.

The Hydrogen fuel mixture idea intrigues me the most, my gut feeling is there is something to it.

Please convince me otherwise and behold - THE BUBBLER!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

So if the rust problem is solved...then we have something?

I've run on all kinds of ethanol and water mixes personally, on my bicycle.

So far, no rust!

I'm all for ethanol and water mixtures, in fact on a hot day you want to run a lot of water in your fuel mix.

There was an excellent answer to the whole Water4gas-question in a Mercedes forum yesterday, here's the link.

100% money robbing scam.
It, just like EVERY other hydrogen/HHO/browns gas "generator" out there, is a simple middle school level science project that an 8 year old can build. Its simple electrolysis. It consists of a jar, water, baking soda, and electricity.
So in the end the most you will ever get back about 35% of the energy you expended making the hydrogen.
Conclusions: Losing proposition.

So Robert, or some sharp automotive engineer please respond to this question.

How does a dew point of 75 to 80 deg F compared to a dew point of 0 to 5 deg F affect fuel octane? Or is water vapor in air miniscule compared to water injection?

The Saudis have repeatedly stated they would not use oil as a political too or weapon - http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=39941

And yet they are threatening to halt exports to Taiwan. If it walks like a duck, ....

I found these paragraphs interesting in this article (thanks for the link):

Saudi Arabia is already accelerating its near and long-term production expansion plans. The country's previous plans called for maintaining its spare production capacity - the prime metric that drives crude price levels - at around 2 million barrels a day. After visiting the country, Guy Caruso, head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, said last month he believes Saudi Arabia is about six months ahead of schedule and its spare capacity could hit 3 million barrels a day by 2011.

The first phase, increasing production to 12.5 million barrels a day from current capacity of 11.3 million barrels a day, has been placed on an accelerated timeline. The second phase - to grow capacity as high as 13.5 million barrels a day by 2011 - is in the planning stage.

Toyota suspends China plant after quake

TOKYO/SHANGHAI - Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday suspended production at a 13,000-units-a-year joint venture plant in Chengdu, southwestern China, after a powerful earthquake struck, killing more than 8,000 people.

Looks like this was a lot more serious than originally reported. Magnitude 7.9 - yikes.

I lived a mere 4 miles from the epicenter of the Northridge 6.8 earthquake. It was quite horrifying. I cannot imagine the strength of a 7.9 quake!!

I guess it depends on where you live.
We got a 6.8 the otherday. No big deal


You've basically just told us all you know squat about earthquakes. An earthquake 4 mi away vs, 160 km are two very different events. Also, the one in China was very close to the surface, while the one in Japan was deep. This makes a big difference in how much ground shaking there is at the surface.

I experienced the 7.2 or so in the California desert back in the early 1990's. It made a tear some 40 miles long... or was that 400? Can't recall... in the desert floor. But I was on the other side of the mountains and 30 or 40 miles away as the crow flies. Felt like a high 4 or so. Later, there was a 6.8 or so aftershock in the mountains between the first and my house. Maybe 15 miles away. It felt much stronger than the first, perhaps like a low 6 range.

Like starting a business, it's all location, location, location. And depth. And the type of soil/rock beneath you. Etc.



all location, location, location. And depth. And the type of soil/rock beneath you. Etc.

That's what I said, it depends on where you live. That recent 6.8 quake did almost no damage. But a similiar sized quake in Kobe did tremendous damage.

And earthquakes in Japan are measured on a different scale called shindo.
"Unlike the Richter magnitude scale (which measures the total magnitude of the earthquake, and represents the size of the earthquake with a single number) the JMA scale describes the degree of shaking at a point on the Earth's surface."
So depth and distance isn't relevant.

The more you know...

Sorry. I mistook your post as rather flippant.

Depth and distance are always relevant. Perhaps not for your scale, but for what actually happens. A 7.0 5 miles under Tokyo will hurt a hell of a lot more than a 7.0 60 miles down, e.g.


No worries. It was rather flippant.

And the shindo scale reflects that. So if you live farther away from the epicenter, or on more stable ground etc you get a lesser rating on the shindo scale.

For example, that recent 6.8 magnitude earthquake was a shindo 5 near the epicenter but only a shindo 3 or 4 where I live.

"the JMA scale describes the degree of shaking at a point on the Earth's surface. As a result, the measure of the earthquake varies from place to place, and a given quake may be described as "shindo 4 in Tokyo, shindo 3 in Yokohama, shindo 2 in Shizuoka"."

So as far as the shindo scale is concerned, depth and distance are not at all relevant. The only thing that counts is how much the earth under your feet shakes.

But then it also depends on where you live. A shindo 6 in Kobe caused the biggest earthquake disaster in since the great tokyo quake. Yet the same size quake in Niigata only damages a few wooden houses.

So as far as the shindo scale is concerned, depth and distance are not at all relevant.

We are talking around each other and saying the same things. Depth and distance are what make an earthquake what it is, as we have both said. Both are reflected in each scale without necessarily being a component of each as shaking is determined by magnitude, depth, distance and the geology.

BTW, the Richter-based data from the USGS includes shake maps, which are a visual equivalent of your receding Shindo Scale, I'd reckon.


Hello Leanan,

Great Toplink: "Saudi Arabia threatens to stop oil exports to Taiwan"

Seems like the 'Water Wars' may be starting to hit the big desert oil exporters. This must be damn worrying for KSA because you cannot drink crude, their aquifers are in bad shape, and desalination plants are expensive and energy-intensive.

I expect to see very large crude carriers [VLCCs] not transporting crude, but heading into big river outlets to suck up freshwater, then ferrying it back home. I think I read somewhere that the Amazon River volume is so great that unmixed freshwater can be found nearly 20 miles past the delta's end.

I wonder what Brazil will charge to allow this? I bet it won't be cheap.

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

That might be an interesting use of the many single-hull tankers needing to be no longer transporting crude by 2010. Business opportunity?

In a matter of days (weeks at the latest) the EIA will be publishing energy scenarios that explicitly include a peak in world conventional crude production.

Not only is this a big event in and of itself, but there is growing evidence that we are still not past peak. i.e. the peak was not 2005. In other words, the EIA will publish a peak oil scenario before peak oil occurs.

See page 2 of this presentation from the EIA conference:


But there is additional info from other quarters. As soon as flickr starts to behave, I'll put up additional screen shots.

Ase, the EIA is saying, reference case, that in 22 years C+C will be up 12 mb/d. However if oil prices are high enough then in 22 years, C+C will drop an average of half a million barrels per year.

Actually I cannot figure out their logic here (high prices mean less production), but if the EIA says it it then it must be correct. After all they have never been wrong in the past. Have they?????

Ron Patterson

As far as I can figure out, their high price scenario is basically assuming OPEC and Russian etc. don't rush to develop their reserves or other negative scenarios unfold.

[They have two main scenarios ... Reference Case and High Price]

They are definitely assuming in the 'High Price Case' that high prices don't have a positive effect on C & C production. It's not hard to provide some economic reasoning for this. With no easy substitutes and no 'wall of oil' headed for the market, producers have no incentive to invest and produce more. Their best interests financially are served by letting production drop off -- at least until "The Addict" proves he can do without to some extent. Then they will produce. One of their cases shows exactly that....production slowly declining for a few decades and then rising again significantly.

There will be an explosion of new scenarios offered in upcoming EIA publications:


Comparison of Reference Case with High Price Case from this EIA presentation:

[same source as my original post]

Wouldn't hurt for them to be a little more explicit:

The difference between the EIA "High Price Case" and the ASPO Base Case has contracted sharply.

From ASPO:

Maybe we could call this Peak Extra-Lite. My quick and dirty calculation comes to a whopping decline rate of less than 1% a year.

If that's not a fantasy, what is?


You should have also crossed out the "Reference Case" heading and replaced it with "Fantasyland"

The more I run the numbers through the Export-Land Model the scarier it gets. My last model run (based on a primitive set of inputs) has all of Middle East and African oil exports spoken for by Asia in 2016.

2016 figures:
ME produces 22 mbd
ME consumes 7.2 mbd

Africa produces 8.6 mbd
Africa consumes 3.4 mbd

Asia produces 8.7 mbd
Asia consumes 30 mbd

RE: Presidential politics - This will mix it up a little more..

Barr announces Libertarian White House bid


WASHINGTON - Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr launched a Libertarian Party presidential bid Monday, saying voters are hungry for an alternative to the status quo who would dramatically cut the federal government.

His candidacy throws a wild card into the White House race that many believe could peel away votes from Republican Sen. John McCain given the candidates' similar positions on fiscal policy.

Barr, who has hired Ross Perot's former campaign manager, acknowledged that some Republicans have tried to discourage him from running. But he said he's getting in the race to win, not to play spoiler or to make a point.

Borat will doubtless have some interesting comments to make.

World CO2 levels at record high, scientists warn

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a record high, according to new figures that renew fears that climate change could begin to slide out of control.

Scientists at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii say that CO2 levels in the atmosphere now stand at 387 parts per million (ppm), up almost 40% since the industrial revolution and the highest for at least the last 650,000 years.

We've been hitting a new CO2 concentration record every year since measurement started.

That's interestin.

They didn't mention that the YOY growth rate, April 07' to April 08' was only .83 PPm.


Or that the Seasonally Adjusted Peak was Jan with 385.11

It looks like the cooling of the Oceans the last few years is starting to cause the CO2 at Mauna Loa to "roll over." I predict that this time next year (actually, sooner) we'll be hearing about declining CO2 at Mauna Loa. (Probably because so many TOD'ers bought bicycles :)

Hey! I think I'll post AGAIN about the projection that the Arctic is gonna lose a lot of ice again this year! Or that the glaciers are melting all over the world! Or that animals and their food supplies are missing each other because of changes in nesting times, blooming times, migration times, etc! Or that here where I live in Korea winters used to be bone-chilling cold, but no longer are! Or that the Arctic multi-year ice for April is at a new low! Or that the cooling and ice growth in Antarctica is due in part to a wall of wind created by the ozone layer and is insulating inner Antarctica while letting the peninsula melt away!

Ah, well, nevermind. I wouldn't want to sound like an idiot tooting the same old horn every couple of days... Whew!

Well, at least my horn would have been real and not a figment of my imagination! After all, one metric does not an entire set of data make... still... why bother?



The History Channel last night ran a very interesting program called (I think) "Battle of the Cave Men". It was all about the relationship between Neanderthals and early modern humans (Cro Magnons) in ice-age Europe about 30,000 years ago. It seems that Neanderthals and Cro Magnons co-existed in Europe for about 5,000 years before the Neanderthals became extinct.

It seems that despite sharing 99.9% of our DNA with the Neanderthals our greater intelligence allowed us to out-compete them and ultimately led to their demise. The Cro Magnons had greater hunting skills and were better tool makers.

The program raised the question as to whether we will ultimately be a more successful species than the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals survived for over 200,000 years in Europe before modern humans came along. And they suffered constant food shortages and dieoffs, including documented cases of cannibalism, which no doubt kept their numbers in check. The program flashed scenes of modern cities with their enormous populations and asked whether modern humans with our greater intelligence will be able to withstand the test of time and be around for over 200,000 years. My guess is clearly we will not.

...and asked whether modern humans with our greater intelligence will be able to withstand the test of time and be around for over 200,000 years. My guess is clearly we will not.

Well, since the oldest anatomically human remains found so far date to 196K +/- 2K yrs bp, we're pretty close. I personally doubt that Anthropus ecocidus will last another 2 - 4K yrs, but you never know.

Homo neandertalensis had a larger brain, on average, than humans have. What makes you or the History Channel narrator assume that humans have "greater intelligence" than Neandertals had?

Well, their brain size was actually pretty close:

Neandertals The brain size of Neandertals was close to that of modern humans, and the structural organization of their brains was essentially the same as well. The average Neandertal brain was actually somewhat larger than the brains of most people today. However, the difference is minimal when people of similar body size are compared. In fact, the average Neandertal brain may have been slightly smaller from this perspective.

All that being said, from the archeological evidence it is quite clear that the Cro-Magnon intelligence was the superior. Flint and other rock arrowheads, spearheads and other tools found in the Cro-Magnon caves and were far superior to the crude tools found in the Neanderthals caves.

Ron Patterson

The Mousterian lithic technology does appear "crude" compared to the Aurignacian. But Neandertals were specialized subarctic big game killers and their tool kits reflect this adaptation. When it comes to killing mammoths I doubt seriously that the Aurignacian points were "far superior" to their Mousterian equivalents.

And if you are going to assess intelligence based on knapping prowess, both Neandertals & early modern humans were far smarter than you or me.

The average Neandertal brain was actually somewhat larger than the brains of most people today. However, the difference is minimal when people of similar body size are compared. In fact, the average Neandertal brain may have been slightly smaller from this perspective.

Brain size to body weight ratios are a red herring. Extending that line of thought would place squirrel monkeys above cro-magnons. The computational power of a mammalian brain has to do with a number of things, and all else being roughly equal, bigger generally has the capacity to be smarter. We may wonder what Neanderthal did with their minds but can't assume them to be inferior except by the standard of contextual survival.... a standard by which we ourselves might fall short of the cockroach.

"our greater intelligence" had nothing to do with it. The Cro Magnons were the more Bloodthirsty of the two. Much like today, only the most vicious will survive the coming days, and continue the species.


You mean brute strength and bloodthirstyness will win out over brains and cunning. I don't know about that. But you are proposing a false dichotomy. There is nothing that says brains and bloodthirsty cannot go together. It is possible to have both. Therefore one with both would win out over one who was merely bloodthirsty.

Brains is the only thing that gives us an advantage over other animals. The smartest survived. Otherwise Homo sapiens would still be eating grubs because intelligence would never have evolved above the ape level. We had to be smarter than the Neanderthal else they would have survived and not us. The Neanderthal was much larger and stronger.

Ron Patterson

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
-Charles Darwin-

On the contrary, our "greater intelligence", always suspect IMO, is not necessarily our strongest survival asset.

On the contrary, our "greater intelligence", always suspect IMO, is not necessarily our strongest survival asset.

If that is the case then I have been dead wrong in all my arguments all my life concerning the survival tools of Homo sapiens. But hell, I could be wrong. At any rate I MUST know what our strongest survival asset really is. Our blinding speed? Our telescopic eyesight? Our brute strength? Our claws? Our teeth? We sure as hell cannot fly.

We have one strong advantage over all other animals, our intelligence. In every other test of ability we fail miserably. And by the way, we are competing with every other species on earth for food and territory. And we are winning....big time! We are winning by such a wide margin that we are driving hundreds of species into extinction every few days. Soon we will only be competing with ourselves.

Ron Patterson


I suspect that the key difference between Homo sapiens and the other animals is that humans figured out how to harness and use fire. If this is accepted as true, then a person might argue that it was a greater innate intelligence that allowed H. sapiens to perform this neat feat. However, maybe some unique aspects about human physiology also contributed to harnessing the power of fire, like having hands with opposing thumbs. Humans may lack in things like hearing relative to some species, but humans sure have an exceptional ability to manipulate things. If so, humans aren't necessarily the most intelligent species on planet Earth. Perhaps H. sapiens' dramatic success relative to other species is simply the "lucky" confluence of some key traits: the right morphology and enough brains to harness the power of fire.

Which, I suppose, is to say that intelligence is important, but my not be enough in isolation.

Just a thought.


Wolf in YVR BC

Graywulffe, humans did figure out hou to use fire. They also figured out how to make stone tools. They figured out how to trap animals. They figured out how to plant seed. They figured out if they stored food they could survive during hard times. They figured out how to store water. They figured out just about everything. They could do all this because of their superior intelligence.

Humans cannot smell as well as other animals. They cannot see as well, run as fast, neither do they have the strength of many other animals. Humans have one and only one great advantage over other animals, their superior intelligence.

But if you think some other species may be smarter than Homo sapiens, then please tell me which animal is smarter. I really need to talk to this animal. But if this animal is smarter, he may talk way over my head. But I would like a chance to chat anyway.

Ron Patterson

Hi Ron,

Probly dolphins. Decided to stay in the water, no need for fire and all that bothersome tool making. :^)


It doesn’t matter how smart or stupid we are. All that matters is that we are able to pass our genes on to our descendents. Period. If a big clever brain that believes in fairies, gods, intelligent design or an afterlife helped our ancestors (or contemporaries) to survive and breed more of the same, then that’s what evolved and got selected. There’s no God of Science out there making sure that only the ones with the ‘correct’ or ‘smart’ understanding survive. It’s a cruel irony of life that nothing is in charge of our evolution. It’s just chance events, fitness and selection all operating blindly.

One theory that I always liked was that the survival of our ancestors over the Neanderthals was due to our ability to interact with more people in cooperative ventures. The average Neanderthal group was around 15 to 25 individuals. This is too small to undertake large scale efforts that require a lot of planning and coordination. The average Cro-Magnon community was in the hundreds. Being able to live with, work with and catalog that many people made division of labor possible. Division of labor requires trust of people who are not your immediate relatives, special rules for the good of the village, enforcement of those rules, creation of a group identity and denial of the self for the good of all, etc. In short, we created civilization and organization as a legal precedent as opposed to a random mutation in the brain. It is an enforceable code of conduct as opposed to hard wired instincts. So the mental ability to live in larger groups made civilization possible. That’s the only ‘smarts’ that mattered.


We sure as hell cannot fly.

Tis simple.

Throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Just quoting your namesake, Ron.
Obviously intelligence has a huge role in enhancing our adaptability.
But our success so far has been largely due to our ability to exploit ever increasing amounts of energy.
Will our intelligence serve us in a world of decreasing energy availabilty?
The same intelligence that has produced nuclear weapons, bioweapons and genetically modified organisms?

Hello TODers,

I urge all to read Leanan's toplink:

- The food crisis can be addressed with the help of science

...The next Green Revolution for meeting global food demand, while reducing the use of fertilizers and chemicals, and conserving water, cannot be achieved without the widespread adoption of genetically modified crops. This is essential to raise production to meet demand, conserve soil, and reduce use of chemicals, fertilizers and water. In other words, the world must use technology to modernize and advance in order to fulfil the fundamental needs of human survival, in a way similar to what is happening in other fields, such as with genetics in medicine and the silicon chip in communication — the two great scientific revolutions of the 20th century.
Oh boy, talk about trying to scale a sheer, overhanging cliff of diminishing returns! But, I have no doubt that ADM, Monsanto, Cargill, et al, confidently think of themselves as world-class, no-ropes-required, free-climb mountaineers.

If I follow the Moore's Law thrust of this author's argument: World-class bicyclist Lance Armstrong can win evermore Tour de France championships whereby in every race -- he is given increasingly less food and water. Yeah, good luck with that race strategy.

My guess is the author hasn't yet encountered the 'Liebig Law of the Minimum'. But to his credit, he did discuss population control:

But the challenge of sustainability will not be fully met until there are more concerted national and international efforts towards achieving an acceptable degree of population equilibrium. This is particularly critical for India. Economic growth does help achieve demographic equilibrium but the time cycles are unusually long. India cannot depend on economic growth alone to meet the challenge of population growth and the need to feed it. If India does not take urgent steps to popularize or publicize the message, and seek national consensus on achieving a degree of demographic equilibrium, we will be overwhelmed by problems of hyper-population which would make global warming pale into insignificance. While we seek advantage from our demographic dividend, India must avoid a demographic catastrophe.

Meanwhile, back down on the farm:

Cyclone Nargis sends prices out of gear

NEW DELHI: What a month! In the four weeks of April, international rice prices have shot up more than 50% and are threefold from last year. What’s worse, the cost of growing food is zooming.

...Fertiliser prices surged to new peaks in April. According to World Bank estimates, urea is now costlier by 25%. DAP is also up by 18%. Other important chemical nutrients such as TSP, rock phosphate and potassium chloride are up 15%, 14% and 7%, respectively.
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

As with the so-called "Green Revolution," all recombinant techno-fix gimmickry is going to accomplish is to allow more people to be hungry. If you feed 'em they'll breed.

"all recombinant techno-fix gimmickry is going to accomplish is to allow more people to be hungry."


Such hardcore truth.

I suspect there are many crypto-cornucopians here who still believe that there is a happy fluffy way out of this pickle. Who don't even understand the nature of the situation at all.

Look people, we are not going to "clever" ourselves out of this mess. For f**k's sake, we clevered ourselves into it.

Hello TODers,

Down Under going under?

Gloomy prospects for bumper wheat crop

Paul Kedrosky with some interesting thinking on KSA and what THEY want from oil prices...


...That's why I disagree with the common wisdom that OPEC is in the predictable goose-plucking, tax business -- that of extracting the most feathers with the minimum of hissing. Instead, OPEC is in the unpredictable "black swan" business: Its optimal time series of prices is something like $100, $100, $100, $10, $100. Big, unpredictable and intermittent crude oil price decreases will do more than anything else to keep OPEC precisely where it is in the market: A wildly profitable cartel with control of a crucial commodity...

Hello Prof. Goose,

Fascinating conjecture, but IMO, this ability to depress crude prices would be hard for them to do--especially if geology and existing rusting infrastructure are already limiting their output. Besides, our man JoulesBurn has the eagle eye on Ghawar. :)

I would think that the opposite black swan is their only choice: cutting output, ala '70s energy embargo....$125,125,125,[$1,000],125,125. A quick whipsaw up, then down, can probably accomplish the same goal of stifling a shift to non-FF alternatives.

From the larger perspective: does it serve anybody's long term interest to create black swan events? Nature seems to be providing plenty of these birds--> European heatwave deaths, Indian Ocean earthquake & tsunami, Myanmar typhoon, China's earthquake today, ongoing Aussie drought, another hurricane Katrina/Rita combo this summer? It appears that nearly everyone is getting their fair portion of unhappy events [or soon will].

I would suspect if OPEC tried another '70s embargo: the food exports to KSA, Kuwait, U.A.E, Qatar, etc, would be shutoff overnight, and those desalination plants, water pipelines, and water storage reservoirs in that huge ME desert look mighty vulnerable to me.

Exchanging induced black swans can quickly lead to the full-on gift exchange of ICBMs carrying nukes or bioweapons--Hope we don't want to go there!

As posted before: people can sit easily in the dark. Afterall, we are evolved to handle that. But people without food and water...TSHTF unbelievably fast. My feeble two cents.

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

Jeez, next thing OPEC will be blamed for the JFK hit. IMHO, OPEC has clearly attempted to mitigate dramatic price declines by talking about cutting back or actually doing so. Does this guy normally say intelligent things?

Look at these quotes from Bush today. He's been doing his Peak Oil homework.

"Of course I'll bring it up to him," Bush said in a CBS News radio interview. However, he added that the capacity of the Saudis to raise production — and thus help lower prices — is limited.

"When you analyze the capacity for countries to put oil on the market it's just not like it used to be," Bush said. "The demand for oil is so high relative to supply these days that there's just not a lot of excess capacity."

Wow, he used several oil related terms in context, even showing a level of understanding regarding the idea that demand is outpacing supply.

Given he's known about this problem since Day 1 of his administration (Cheney, 1999) we ought not be surprised.


GM didn't kill the electric car. Big Oil didn't kill the electric car. The EV1 was dead on arrival.

In the end, though, the price wasn't an issue. The reality is the EV1 was hostage to a technology the engineers knew from the get-go just wasn't able to do the job Roger Smith and the California Air Resources Board believed it could. That's what killed the electric car.

In the article they say the engineers really wanted to do a series hybrid (ala the Volt).

"The emissions would be tiny," said Wilson, "but we can't do it because the CARB mandate insists on zero emissions."

Speaking of the Volt I wonder if the batteries are still a problem.

I noticed this. A123 has a plug in conversion kit for the prius.
As near as I can tell this uses the same cells as what they are submitting for the Volt program.

It gets 30-40 miles. That's good.
Costs $10k. That's bad.
It's waranteed for 3 years. That's terrible.

This just illustrates why Toyota didn't go this route with the prius. If A123 won't warantee their batteries for more than 3 years it just makes no financial sense to use them.

Perhaps the Volt will be D.O.A. as well.

In the article they say the engineers really wanted to do a series hybrid (ala the Volt).

"The emissions would be tiny," said Wilson, "but we can't do it because the CARB mandate insists on zero emissions."

Hummp ---- whatever

GM never wanted to do hybrids either

GM never wanted to do hybrids either

GM does not own the patents. If they were the patent holders - they'd wanna do it.

Hybrids are patented?

Hello TODers,

I have speculated before that during the postPeak Overshoot decline phase that I-NPK will be more valuable than gold; ie, food more valuable than shiny metal. Recall my posting about Ft Knox: gold machine gun bunkers outside to protect the seeds and I-NPK inside.

Does this following weblink confirm this possible trend, or is the stock market action in fertilizer companies just getting wildly excessive? I have no idea, but I am hoping experts will respond.

Quitting gold for fertilizer boosts Anglo Potash

Not that long ago, Anglo Minerals was just another junior mining play trying to develop Nevada gold properties.

That all changed in February, when the name became Anglo Potash and the focus shifted to Saskatchewan fields. The company never looked back.

An Anglo Potash joint venture with BHP Billiton became a $284-million takeover offer Monday from the world's largest mining company.

BHP Billiton is offering $8.15 a share for Anglo Potash stock that was changing hands for less than $5 in February, when the name was changed. The plan is to develop the prairie province's first new potash mine in 40 years. Clearly, the junior potash plays are takeover targets.
Shares of Calgary-based Anglo Potash soared $1.99, or 33 per cent, to $8.06 on the market today.

Are biosolar mission-critical investors driving this trend, or is it just detritovores doing another pointless Pets.com scam?

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

Are biosolar mission-critical investors driving this trend, or is it just detritovores doing another pointless Pets.com scam?


Don't forget 'momentum investors' going with 'the trend is your friend' looking for a place to park US inflato-buxs.

Norwegian oil production declines in April:

OSLO (Thomson Financial) - Preliminary oil production on the Norwegian
continental shelf averaged 2.097 million barrels per day in April, down from a
revised 2.140 million in March, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said.