Richard Heinberg (via the ABC): "Nothing governments can do about rising oil prices"

For those who didn't see it last night, Tony Jones interviewed Richard Heinberg about peak oil on the ABC's "Lateline" program.

Video - RealPlayer and Windows Media.

TONY JONES: Now to tonight's interview with Richard Heinberg. He's one of the world's leading experts on the phenomenon of peak oil. That's the point at which the world's oil reserves go into decline. The idea is that having reached its peak it's all downhill from there and there's evidence that global rates of oil discovery have been declining since the 1960s, and that new oilfields are becoming more and more inaccessible.

So as demand increases and supply decreases the price of oil goes up and up and up, as we've painfully experienced in recent years. No one really knows when we'll reach peak oil. It may have already happened, it may take another three decades. Why has the price of oil gone up so fast and so high in recent years? How much higher could it go and can anything be done to reverse this relentless process?

Richard Heinberg has written a series of books on the oil crisis including 'The Party's over', 'Power Down' and his latest 'The Oil Depletion Protocol'. I spoke to him a short time ago in Santa Rosa, California.

Richard Heinberg, thanks for joining us.

RICHARD HEINBERG, oil expert and author: My pleasure.

TONY JONES: Now let's start with the recent oil price predictions. Goldman Sachs is saying within two years oil could reach US $200 a barrel. Other analysts have a different view and say it could go down back to $40 a barrel. Where do you sit on this? What do you think is going to happen?

RICHARD HEINBERG: I think the price could lose some ground temporarily but over the long term there's nowhere for oil prices to go but up. And we could, in fact, see prices considerably above $200 a barrel within the next two or three years.

TONY JONES: What does this mean for governments like Australia? We're just about to have our Budget released in this country. The Federal, the new Labor Government came to power promising to try and do something about rising food prices in supermarkets and rising oil prices. It sounds like their hands are going to be tied for the foreseeable future?

RICHARD HEINBERG: Yes, I think that's true. I don't think there's anything that the Australian Government can do or the US Government can do about rising oil and food prices and by the way, these two things are connected. The rising oil prices create increased costs for farmers. Also the cost of shipping, food and just about everything else is increasing, so these high prices are going to have knock on effects through the economy. The airline industry is going to be hard hit and again, there's very little that governments can do other than to start planning for high oil prices. We should be redesigning our economies to operate with less oil. Fundamentally that's the only sane policy response. We can't just hope somehow for oil prices to come back down to $40 a barrel. It's not going to happen. ...

TONY JONES: Do we know the truth, though? The global oil industry has consistently revised oil reserves upwards over a period of time. It is estimated there's more than a trillion barrels left underground just from known reserves at the moment which would last for a considerable amount of time obviously?

RICHARD HEINBERG: Well, yes. If we could use those reserves at any arbitrary rate, the problem is oil is getting harder and hard tore get out of the ground. We've used the cheap, easy stuff. We've used the oil we could get from Texas and Oklahoma and even the North Sea and now what we're finding are oilfields in ultra deep water and places that are extremely difficult to access from a technical standpoint. We're also starting to get more from places like the Canadian tar sands where there's an enormous amount of resource in place, but it's not liquid oil. It's the stuff that has to be converted into synthetic fuel using enormous amounts of water and natural gas. Very resource intensive and environmentally ruinous process. So the easy glory days of the oil industry are over and just about everybody in the industry would agree with that statement.

TONY JONES: I suppose that is the key question. If they were hiding behind the notion of peak oil that notion is terribly unclear, because we may have already passed the peak oil point or, in fact, we may not pass it I think you acknowledge yourself for another three decades which puts a completely different time scale on the whole event?

RICHARD HEINBERG: There are a few holdout analysts who are saying we may not see global oil production peak for two or three decades, but they're substantially in the minority these days and becoming ever more so. I think that the evidence is lining up very strongly in favour of a notion of a near term global oil production peak. For the last two years oil declines have led oil advances, I think a pretty good argument can be made that we're there right now.

TONY JONES: So in the meantime, how much pressure is there going to be to open up brand new areas for exploration, parts of the Arctic which haven't been drilled and even the Antarctic which currently where oil drilling and exploration are forbidden because it's considered to be a world park at the moment?

RICHARD HEINBERG: There is tremendous competition to gain access to these areas. Russia, Canada and some other nations are laying claim to areas of the Arctic to be able to drill there in the future. This is not very prospective area. In other words, from a geological standpoint it's very unlikely we'll find substantial amounts of recoverable oil in the Arctic, and I think it's a sign of the desperation of the industry that there's so much excitement about going into a place that will have unprecedented challenges from a technical standpoint just in operating there. We don't have the equipment that can operate in the Arctic. It's going to be decades before oil can be commercially produced there and yet, we see this enormous competition for access to the place. I think it's, as I said, a sign of desperation.

TONY JONES: At what point in the price cycle does it become economic to convert coal into synthetic fuel, gas into liquids, for example?

RICHARD HEINBERG: Well, the technology for turning either coal or natural gas into liquid fuels is already in place. South Africa has been turning coal into liquid fuel for many years. A company called Sassal operates in South Africa and produces 150,000 barrels a day. That's only a small part of South Africa's oil consumption. They use about 450,000 barrels a day. Even in the one country using this technology they're not getting even a majority of their oil from it. So it's going to take an enormous amount of investment to build coal to liquids plants. These are very expensive facilities to build. We're taking a low grade hydro carbon, namely coal, we're putting it through an intensive process that costs about 40 per cent of the energy in the coal to produce a expensive synthetic fuel. Again, it can be done. I think probably the US Department of Defence is going to go in the direction of coal to liquids but frankly I think it's unlikely we'll see a very large scale implementation of this technology, just because it is so expensive and it's so inefficient from an energy standpoint.

TONY JONES: Then you have the incoming problems obviously of the economic viability of doing that once you add into it the global warming costs?

RICHARD HEINBERG: Well, of course, yes. We're talking about again an environmentally ruinous practice. The Sassal plant in South Africa can be seen from space. It's the greatest single point source of pollution on the entire African continent and that's just 150,000 barrels a day and the world is using 85 million barrels a day of liquid fuel. If we were to try to replace any substantial portion of that with coal to liquids we would be looking at a climate doomsday scenario. ...

Heinberg didn't say anything new (the usual Heinberg stuff, plugging his protocol thingie) what's interesting is that he was presented as a credible "oil expert and author" in the mainstream media.

I think we might have a nascent peak oiler in Tony Jones. He uttered the words "Hubbert's Peak" in an interview with Joe Stiglitz last week.

Agreed. I posted it because it was interesting to see Richard on the TV - he hasn't really said anything new in quite a while - not that there is much need to as he is just explaining the basics to people who are probably new to the concept.

That said, I find myself without enthusiasm for the Oil Depletion Protocol - I don't think it will ever be adopted and I don't think it is the right way to solve the problem even if all necessary countries could be persuaded to adopt it. So rather than flog a dead horse its better to work out how to fix the supply side (ie alternative energy) as quickly as possible and let rising prices take care of demand...

Hi Big Gav,

Thanks for posting this.

re: "I don't think it is the right way to solve the problem even if all necessary countries could be persuaded to adopt it."

How come?

What is the downside it? (Are you saying there is one?)

re: "its better to work out how to fix the supply side (ie alternative energy) as quickly as possible and let rising prices take care of demand..."

Can you possibly elaborate?

Can the supply side really be "fixed", given the finiteness of the planet?

How do you/(we) move resources to alternative energy without also employing some conservation measure?

Or do you see conservation as unnecessary?

From whence comes the money/energy to introduce large-scale use of alternatives and how to do this?

In answer to your questions :

1. Why isn't it the right way / what is the downside ? Because it focuses on trying to get countries to agree to ration a depleting resource in a fair and equitable manner. For many countries it won't be in their interest to do so, so they will be motivated to subvert the system. Either it will fail, or it will need to be enforced in a heavy handed way. In the latter case, this means that you are focusing more attention and resources on the problem (decreasing oil availability) instead of the solution (finding efficiencies and substitutes).

2. How can the supply side be fixed given a finite planet ? The amount of energy available from renewable sources is more than 10,000 times our current consumption. There is also a lot of scope for making our use of energy much more efficient. Thus I don't see that there is any meaningful supply constraint, though there may be challenges ramping up replacements as fast as fossil fuels dwindle, depending on the peak date and decline rate.

3. Do I see conservation as unnecessary ? No - conservation is a very cost effective way of dealing with less energy. However it isn't the only way and there are limits to how much more efficient we can become in energy use or in "doing without" things we want or need.

As a broad brush description of how to solve our problems I'd say these are the important ones :

1. Adjusting building codes to make new buildings highly energy efficient.
2. In appropriate areas, making solar hot water and rainwater capture part of the building code.
3. Encouraging denser urban development, with better public transport (the whole "transport oriented design" paradigm, with a focus on building walkable neighbourhoods)
4. Moving to electric transport - both individual and public
5. Building as much solar, wind, geothermal, ocean and biogas based power infrastructure as needed. Build in enough storage to deal with any intermittency issues. Expand the grids and interconnect them. Make the grid smarter - manage demand to match supply instead of always trying to generate sufficient power to meet demand.
6. Increase the use of recycling, eventually moving to a "cradle to cradle" / "design for disassembly" / "internet of things" industrial paradigm, so that we can give up the current extraction based system of manufacturing.
7. Adopt various other efficiency measures as appropriate (cogeneration, increased vehicle fuel efficiency standards etc)

8. Work from home where possible.
9. Expand office opening times and work in shifts where possible. This can reduce traffic congestion which safes energy.

10. Reduce human population. IMO, without this, the other 9 are at best stop-gap strategies.

Hello All:

As I am a brand new user, I feel a little guilty about my first post, but I am compelled to respond. I have been vigorously study the energy/PO/alternative subject, trying to cut through the various agenda driven noise. I read the doomers, the pollyannas, the cornucopians and everything in between. I haven't decided where I sit but what is essential on this subject is verifiable, realistic data wherever and whenever possible.

Please, do not take this as a flame. My intention is exactly the opposite.

So, I must take exception to your statement:

"2. How can the supply side be fixed given a finite planet ? The amount of energy available from renewable sources is more than 10,000 times our current consumption."

By definition, a finite planet has a fixed supply side of energy. It consists of how many joules we receive every day and we can't use more than that unless we've stored some from the previous day's (or month's insolation)

From my studies, about 99%+ of renewable energy comes from the sun, and as of 2004, total energy consumption would make this factor less than 8200.

Am I being picky? Yes and no. If we are to wrap our heads around this problem, every number we use must be realistic and grounded. That said, whether it it some vague "more than 10,000" or a more specific 8200, it is a meaningless, potentially dangerous, cornucopian statement. I have seen it many times, so you are not alone.

What is our current solar consumption? As we enjoy the benefits of oxygen, and are relying on plants to provide us with it, while at the same time they are stopping our CO2 levels from not going through the roof any faster than they are, I would suggest that we are indeed using that energy and shouldn't mess with it.

The ambient temperature of the earth is almost entirely due to solar radiation, without which we would have a very cold dark orb, so I posit that we are using that energy, as is every member of the food chain.

The oceans, which comprise 4/5 of the planet is a solar driven food machine, starting at the smallest creature who thrive by photosynthesis and are the very foundation of the marine food chain. Further, temperature differentials that are responsible for moving nutrients via massive ocean currents are solar driven. As we avail ourselves of this bounty, that energy is off limits.

Every creature on this planet; herbivore, carnivore or omnivore survives as a result of what the sun provides, both in terms of food and water. For land creatures, every scrap of water that they use was distilled and delivered by, you guessed it, solar energy. We are in that group, from our millions of acres of direct food crops to millions of tons of plant life eaten by our domesticated animal. This planet is solar powered and always has been.

So, what is left for us? Frankly, I don't know, but as the earth is in relative equilibrium, I would say it is using just about all of it.

That doesn't mean that there isn't something left over for us, but what is our realistic supply? Again, I don't know, focusing on "realistic" values, any form of direct or indirect solar conversion must be in relative proximity to its consumption. This is a good thing, otherwise we could screw up our oceans more than we already have. Perhaps we could extract solar energy from the poles, and lessen ice cap melting, but that makes for a pretty long extension cord. :-)

Let me provide an example:

If we were to replace the energy consumption of the US using photovoltaics, (and I don't suggest we do), it would require we cover 21.8% of the US land mass with solar cells (Based on an average of 5KWh/m2/day and an efficiency of 25%).

I show this to highlight the staggering amount of energy that we consume.

So here are the two key questions:

How much is available to us?
How much can we realistically expect to harvest?

Whether you meant to or not, the statement in question implies boundless resources and further implies that it's all for the taking. When will we ever learn?

Please take this in the vein it was meant and if I have missed anything, feel free to jump all over me. We are dealing with some very large numbers here so between sig. figs and units, it's easy to make a mistake.


You're not posting on a suspended artistic license, are you?

If we were to replace the energy consumption of the US using photovoltaics, (and I don't suggest we do), it would require we cover 21.8% of the US land mass with solar cells (Based on an average of 5KWh/m2/day and an efficiency of 25%).

Let's see.  1*1017BTU * 1054.4 J/BTU = 1.05*1020 J/yr energy.

1.05*1020 J / 0.25 = 4.20*1020 J sun required (assuming all 100 quads are supplied as electricity)

4.20*1020 J/yr / 1.8*107 J/m²/day / 365 days/yr
= 6.39*1010
= 6.39*104 km²

Looks like a square 253 km (157 miles) on a side.  That's a long, long way from 20+% of the US land mass.

In practice, large amounts of that energy would be used as heat (low to no conversion loss) and the fraction used as electricity is counted some 3x in its portion of the 100 quads.  Both the USA and Australia may be in bad shape, but a lack of solar energy doesn't figure in either of our troubles.

Right you are, still haven't figured out where I messed up. It's a factor of 15??? (mutter, mutter, mutter)

The World Resources Institute puts 2000 US total consumption at double your figure, so the required area would a minimum of 1.3e5Km2, or a square 357 km (221 miles)on a side, still not a trivial figure. Factor in conversion (DC-AC or electrolysis plus transmission costs) and add another 25% plus whatever increases over the last 8 years.

In some ways, this proves my point and a good raison d'etre for sites like this. If we don't have realistic data, we can't move forward logically.

Having wiped a little egg off my face, I still stand by my basic premise.

Yes, I know Oz has no solar shortage, I worked in the Simpson desert and the Strzleki Desert for 3 months.

I close, cheerfully busted

Back to your note about impact on the general environment, put PV on roofs and solar thermal plants in the desert.

I really can't see how we could have any meaningful impact on the environment if we did this (except for the benefit of shutting down all the coal and nuclear power plants).

We aren't going to change the albedo of the earth and the energy isn't "lost" - it will reemerge as heat somewhere down the track.

Yes, I agree, although heat (infrared) has a lower energy value than visible or ultraviolet light, it all goes to progressively lower energy levels. That's entropy for you.

The red and infrared spectrum does not contain sufficient energy for photosynthesis, but as you rightly point out, we have lots of desert and are making more every day.

My main point was the need for real data, and I think I have beat that to death enough. Secondly, I wanted to point out how much energy we consume and what sort of effort will be required to replace it.

Also, you are right to point out that PV will do nothing to replace petroleum distillates unless we use the electricity to generate hydrogen, which is a cruel hoax as a transportation fuel (IMHO), or further process the hydrogen into some sort of liquid fuel, which will do little to address CO2 emission issues.

As an interim or stop-gap measure, I don't understand why coal should not be used for electrical generation, providing scrubbers and CO2 sequestration are included. Perhaps I am naive, but I'm still learning.

As more and more countries "get it", I see a looming general resource crunch. If fossil fuel independence is possible, it will come at an enormous cost in money, natural resources and energy. Rather than hijack this thread, I will post my theory for all to pick apart once I am better informed.


PV (and any other form of power generation, preferably using renewables) will help replace oil if we transform our transport systems to be electricity based instead of liquid fuels based.

We need to do both things to deal with peak oil.

The World Resources Institute puts 2000 US total consumption at double your figure

The EIA says the US consumed 104.8 quads in the last year on record, so you might want to see if WRI is doing any funny accounting.

"Two men say they're Jesus, One of them must be wrong." - Mark Knopfler.

Your reference to WRI implies that WRI is less credible than the EIA. Can you justify this?

At present I have no basis for believing one over the other, (or either one, for that matter) but the WRI does not detail its methodology as well as the EIA.

That said, I find it interesting that the link you provided showed:

- Fossil fuels jumped .06 quads due to notation f "Includes 0.06 quadrillion Btu of coal coke net imports.", which is not reflected in imports.
- Renewables jumped up .05 quads between input and the breakout after adjustments (deduction) and exports (deduction).

Not a huge jump, but still, unexplained discrepancies make me question the overall validity.

I will investigate more.

That said, I find myself without enthusiasm for the Oil Depletion Protocol

I agree ... its even less likely to be implemented than the Kyoto Protocol, which means very close to zero.

If we see $200, $300 or $500 a barrel in the next few years (and yes I think developed economies can cope with that without collapsing) the demand side will take care of itself, and there will be enormous incentive to develop alternatives.

Lets hope those alternatives don't include CTL, oil sands and shale oil.

Efficiency gains can preempt the need for oil in urban transportation.

Masdar is being built using Personal Rapid Transit. These systems can move car-size compartments using an electrical equivalent of 200 miles per gallon of diesel.

You really should just buy a banner advert on the site.

How much commission do you charge for banner ad sales kiashu ?

Seriously though, please don't spam thread after thread with the same message - eventually you'll become annoying, even if the thrust of your argument is generally agreed with.

Well - I wouldn't hold my breath - at the moment the signs are that efforts to ramp up all 3 are underway...

Agreed. I posted it because it was interesting to see Richard on the TV - he hasn't really said anything new in quite a while - not that there is much need to as he is just explaining the basics to people who are probably new to the concept.

I'd like to see those getting a shot at good publicity speak more directly. When you have the time of a sound bite, it's got to bite. Explaining things such as discoveries vs. production really needs to be explicit. Too many people have no exposure to the issue and terminology. For example, saying something like, "We've found an average of n barrels a year since 1985 and have used up N barrels a year. We're depleting known reserves rapidly. Future finds will almost certainly be even less than over the last ten years while demand is still growing."

Or something like that.

And when he was asked and/or had it stated (2x, I think) that he agreed peak could be in 30 years, he needed a very direct, "No, that's not what I've said or believe." His answer was more gauzy, which leaves more room for people to miss it entirely or misinterpret it.


Well there was Alan Kohler the week before... anybody who saw that should have started to connect the dots.

Thanks for the link.

I'm always amazed at how people can look at that graph and not instantly understand what we face.


ABC, Australia isn't "mainstream" (no Britney Spears or wonder-bra stories found on THIS channel). But how to get your experts onto prime time? That's the big challenge.

As for any mention of Energy Security in our brand new government's National Budget, again zip! Indeed, the follow-up questions today from mainstream media on the ABC (yes, that's right, the same, non-mainstream channel) were also devoid of "$200 a barrel" talk.

Is it a conspiracy? What am I missing?

Well - I'd love to declare a conspiracy is at work, but I don't think its true in this case.

I think 99%+ of the population understand almost nothing about the oil market and will just accept the status quo until the (petrol price) pain gets too great for a significant number of them to bear.

At that point scapegoats and solutions will be demanded, and we might start to see some real action.

As part of one his an early questions, Tony Jones also mentioned (words to the effect), "some believe forty dollars a barrel is possible". Is it? Who are the "some"? Will those voices help carry the so-called peak in Mr Hubbert's Curve beyond what is a reasonable plateau - so the decline is that much steeper? So that any "real action" will come all too late?

Again, how on Earth do we get the PO message into the homes of the 99%+? If only to debate whether the notion PO has arrived or is still several decades away. Do TODsters have any influence? Can we start using it? For our children's sake... And their children.

I just don't get it. Why do we have to wait for the airports to close?

We just have to do it the old fashioned way I'm afraid. One person at a time. I leave calling cards whereever I go with the message "Peak Oil is going to change your life. Visit and find out why and what you need to prepare for life after cheap petroleum" On the flipside is printed "If you think $1.50 a litre for petrol is a ripoff, just don't buy it. Adjust. Peak Oil will cause petrol prices over $3.00/L by 2010." Don't believe us. Go to"

I especially love leaving them on petrol bowsers. But I leave them in librabry books, at cafes, any waiting rooms I visit. It feels kinda subversive but at the same time more of a practical action plan than just blowing off here at TOD.

You can get these printed pretty cheaply at Officeworks so it doesn't need huge expense.

Thanks DD, but I don't know. Sounds a bit... Not me?

Classic :-)

As part of one his an early questions, Tony Jones also mentioned (words to the effect), "some believe forty dollars a barrel is possible".

The correct response to that question would have been "Well, they're insane. Totally disconnected."

I don't think there's a conspiracy. It's just that people don't want to hear bad news in between Britneys latest car accident and what that Queer Eye fella is doing.
They're much more interested in what immediate, short-term benefits they'll get out of the budget (like the Au$31bn in tax cuts, or a Happy Meal each week) than genuinely pressing, long-term issues like Peak Everything.
This short-term thinking has infested the Australian mindset in an increasing amount recently. How much is due to the Government we've has for over a decade, and how much is due to everyone folling Americas lead on everything from 'entertainment' to car size, I don't know.

In case anyone's interested in further research, the name of the company mentioned in the article is "Sasol," not "Sassal."

The transcript got it right once and wrong once - not sure how they managed that.

CTL was discussed here recently:

It matters not whether Heinberg put his usual spin on things, it's that the discussion is being had on Australian television at all. Lateline is the kind of show that business leaders, politicians or the academia would watch and that could mean a lot more awareness in our decision making circles. I'm dissapointed I missed the show though, usually don't miss it. Damn that tiredness thing!

Bloody good show, I say. The interviewer might have asked some better questions, like what does it all mean, or where will it all end? But the media don't like viewers learning that things will get worse. Some blokes might get huffy and switch the channel, and down go the ratings and advertising revenues or underwriter contributions. Say mates, can you imagine Peak Oil on The Jim Lehrer News Hour here in the U.S.?

Actually the ABC is government owned and funded (like the BBC) - so no worries about cranky advertisers - they can be as gloomy as they want.

They get plenty of criticism from the conservative press of course, but that would happen regardless of what they actually said...

From what I have seen, the science programmes from ABC are high quality. The Crude programme which I have watched on the Internet was very good. The science on the BBC here in the UK has decreased in quality and quantity over the last few years. The Horizon programme which used to be very good is now mostly sensationalist.

"underwriter contributions." Often public media are the most conservative, like the Jim Lehrer News Hours, and National Public Radio, both of which have been a wasteland on Peak Oil.

If TOD wants to be mainstream it should be careful about who is mentioned in the discussion. some have very radical ideas.

you actually compare Richard Heinberg to Pol Pot?

- Jesus you are a tool - why not go whole-hog and compare him to Hitler, I mean, if you are going to compare a guy to someone responsible for somewhere near a million deaths, why not go all the way?

you are shameless and reprehensible

macduff- that's not my blog so I didn't make the title. some of his ideas are very radical though.

Nearly every aspect of the process by which we feed ourselves must be redesigned. And, given the likelihood that global oil peak will occur soon, this transition must occur at a forced pace, backed by the full resources of national governments.

It will be necessary as well to break up the corporate mega-farms that produce so much of today's cheap food.

In some cases, relocation of people on a large scale may be necessary.

Ya thats irresponsible

But far more irresponsible is being blase about Peak Oil - in times of crisis people will turn to the irresponsible as a normal coarse of action.

As for a skinny academic being Pol Pot - uummm - I don't think so .

No, those quotes are NOT "irresponsible." This is hilarious - Richard is simply telling the truth. It's Mz Nature who is the Pol-Pot, not the messenger, the "skinny academic.".

Put the quotes in their proper context and they do not sound "radical" - just an honest assessment. Especially the last one - Richard doesn't "acvocate" genocide, he is simply stating the obvious outcome of our situation based on the history of critters on this planet in similar situations in the past.

Only an angry titbaby, or an incredibly ignorant and stupid person, would have confused Richard's intent.

True - I am guilty of seeing darkness within a non contextual quotes. But the times can make one weary.

Anyone can be quoted out of context and be mocked. I think we are seeing a attempt to discredit make him, JHK, and anyone else who's beliefs may reflect liberalism.

*shrug* - I am exhausted by this continuing dead argument. It adds nothing.

"But far more irresponsible is being blase about Peak Oil"

why? 99% of the country knows nothing about peak oil. what they do know is rising prices for food and gasoline and they react accordingly.

And most over 40 will think its a replay of the 1970's and all we have to do is buck up till our 1981 comes back around. Its not gonna play out that way.

I do know the intelligentsia of our dear nation do have a major clue about peak oil.

So if doing nothing is the right course what are you doing on TOD?? Slamming liberals?

why? 99% of the country knows nothing about peak oil. what they do know is rising prices for food and gasoline and they react accordingly.

Go bankrupt?

If I was quoting Heinberg saying something like that I'd add the appropriate, and usual, for me, caveats (ie. that I think government mandated moving of people out to rural areas and telling them to become organic farmers is a spectacularly bad idea and should be resisted by everyone).

In this case, he was straight down the line so I don't feel the need to add any qualifications - most TOD readers are probably at least vaguely aware of Heinberg's views and their pros and cons.

As for JD, he is usually a bit over the top, but the Pol Pot comparison isn't entirely unfair. Richard seems to be a nice guy but you need to be careful about trying to impose your favourite solution on people. If lots of people choose to adapt to the high food prices and unemployment levels that Richard foresees, by taking up permaculture based small scale farming then they should be free to choose to do so.

They should also be free to choose not to - there are other ways to handle this problem and people should be able to choose the ones they prefer, not be coerced into becoming peasant farmers.

And just how does George Bush's "solution" to peak oil, climate change and the ramifications improve on what Pol Pot might have proposed?

CFM in Gray, ME, Airstrip 1

Free market economics will actually be the best way to sort it out. People will choose there own ways to respond and the market will sort out who gets what resources. The solutions that actually deliver will be supported and the ideas that don't work will be culled. Perhaps that is why TPTB are appearing to do nothing. They don't believe it is their job to interfere in market forces.

Actually, they interfere with the market all the time. Usually in favour of coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear - which all receive significant subsidies, $10 billion annually just in Australia... compared with about $250 million for renewables.

I'm all for letting the market sort it out. I'm Jewish, I don't like pork even when in a barrel. But it's never going to happen - all we can hope is that renewables get the same subsidies as depletables.

which all receive significant subsidies, $10 billion annually just in Australia...

I thought it was Au4Bn. This improves the maths on equiping houses with free PV substantially!
Still all but unachievable in terms of actually being able to install enough rooftop PV, but the numbers look better. :)

Haven't we already had this out of context argument?!

Did he say 'forced relocation'? No. If there is no water, relocation may be necessary. Perhaps he is thinking of some of those unsustainable desert cities, no? Las Vegas perhaps? Does making this observation make me a psycho crazy megalomaniac?

Also, "at a forced pace" does not necessarily mean at the point of a gun. I take this to be simply an explicit statement that it is urgent.

Yes, he has a relocalisation slant to his proposals. But I seriously doubt that the nerdy westcoast academic has the dreams attributed to him by those with apparently darker imaginations.

Yes - but now other people are participating so we get to rehash it :-)

And I didn't bring it up.

If Las Vegas becomes unsustainable (and a combination of CSP and desalination may mean that isn't the case) then the pace of change is unlikely to be so fast that residents won't leave of their own accord as water and fuel prices slowly make the place unaffordable to live in.

That doesn't require relocation "at a forced pace" - the market and freedom of movement is sufficient.

And I doubt many aging cocktail waitresses would find a life of farm labor either appealing or practical.

I don't think Richard is a closet megalomaniac just waiting for a chance to send the bourgeoisie out into the fields to work for a living - but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I think some of his ideas are sufficiently wrong that I wouldn't recommend governments start trying to encourage people (by whatever means) to follow them.

While those with darker imaginations (RI being the classic example) may be overly paranoid, you still need to be careful where you are published (assuming your work isn't being ripped off) and there are a few lingering questions in this case that make me wary. YMMV.

Hi Big Gav,

I appreciate your comments, as I find most of Richard's work, along w. the tone of it, to be even-handed and thoughtful.

My take on it is that he could sometimes use a good editor, or the equivalent in feedback.

re: "some of his ideas are sufficiently wrong". It might be a good idea to ask (him) for elaboration about these, as a starting point.

I think the comments made during the interview were appropiate for the audience that was targetted.. I know its the same ole Heinberg but to the people that may have seen him for the first time, you wouldn't want him to talk over their heads and have the audience turned off.. So we shouldn't be too harsh on him for he's just trying to explain peak oil on the simplest terms.. We need more of this talk on the TV tubles for sure..

Nothing in the budget though. This Labor government that I voted for so far seems as deep in the pockets of the Greenhouse Mafia as the liberal government it replaced.

However I did notice an increase on the Crude Oil Excise. However is that just from the increase in oil price or are they trying to tax crude a bit more?

I think its just condensate which is affected, not all crude oil.

I'll be adding more commentary to my post on the budget shortly...

This Labor government that I voted for so far seems as deep in the pockets of the Greenhouse Mafia as the liberal government it replaced.

And yet, bugger-all about energy. No increase in the Solar PV rebate (still capped at $8000, or 1kW), small measures on insulation etc, some low-interest loans. But nothing really substantial.

I have never been restrained in admitting that I am not really a fan of Richard Heinberg, but from what I could see of the interview (only the transcript on TOD, since I do not have high speed internet) he was well balanced in his words and put up a good argument for the case of energy depletion and coming difficulty. I assume that he stayed as logical throughout the interview as he did at the opening (benefit of the doubt and all that) and if so, good show...


I agree. Heinberg was restrained and careful but didn't sugar coat anything. A good video for introducing people to the topic. I do think it is much more likely that the U.S. and China would come to some agreement about how to divy up the oil than it is likely for the Oil Depletion protocol to be adopted.

I agree also; great for newbies such as myself (not overly scary, but certainly food for thought). But, as I mentioned above, ABC Australia is NOT mainstream. We need these kind of interviews to appear on the Bras-And-Britney current affair shows. C'mon, Sixty Minutes, you can do it!

Heinberg is quite dismissive of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL), writing it off as "expensive synthetic fuel". I was aware that South Africa used this process, but was not aware that fully a third of their domestic production is supplied by coal today.

As an environmentalist and climate-change believer, CTL horrifies me. As do tar sands. But as the wells run dry, I find it difficult to believe that coal-rich America will not resort to this technology, at least as an interim measure to deal with the catastrophic effects of peak oil on its heavily oil-dependent transportation infrastructure. In fairness, he does suggest that the DoD will probably go in that direction.

So... just how expensive is CTL? I have no idea. I'm neither and engineer nor an economist. At what oil price per barrel (any carbon tax ignored) does it become economically viable?

My thinking is that when J6P realizes the full implications of peak oil on his lifestyle, he will vote against any carbon tax or environmental regulation that prevent him from getting his delicious oil. And the flooding of the coastlines in a few decades? He'll worry about that later.

If the drop-off in oil production is quick enough, and chaos/hilarity ensues, I suspect that J6P's vote quickly becomes irrelevant. In that scenario, government takes on a more authoritarian role, and it resorts to nasty technologies such as CTL to help keep the order.

With the current global population, and the natural desire for increased consumption among our 6X10^9 residents, I just don't see this ending well. We'll try to use technology to save us, but in the end, there are just too many of us. Shortly, it seems that we'll all be participating in a re-enactment of Mad Max, unless (1) we stumble across some kind of near-miraculous technological innovation not seen in the past 50 years, or (2) a tragic pandemic quickly reduces our numbers by 95%.

/end of paranoid rant

Hi, ztexas.

So... just how expensive is CTL?

About $1B USD for 10,000 barrels a day or $6.5B USD for 80,000 barrels a day. Not many of these plants will be built and it would take many, many of them to make even the smallest dent.


No, this will not end well, in my view. What always follows a population bloom?


The $1 Billion per 10,000 BPD is about what Monash Energy was expecting for their 60,000 BPD plant (including CO2 sequestration ) in Victoria, Australia.

Even at that price the levelised marginal cost of production for Diesel fuel is $50 per barrel so it is likely to be a goer unless the locals object to the continued strip mining of the beautiful Latrobe Valley. However there is no sign of this.

There is an outfit in Australia that thinks it can use Underground Coal Gasification (UCS) to substantially reduce the capital cost of CTL, see

They got a consulting firm to estimate the global potential for UCS. Their estimate is 10 trillion tonnes of coal.

Linc expect to get their initial pilot plant up and running within 2 months and then we can finally see if this likely to work.

Linc, Monash and some dodgy South Australian guys all have CTL plants at various stages of planning / construction.

This was discussed at some length recently:

So about $2trillion to build the infrastructure to replace all current US oil use?
Or about $85billion to replace Australia's. These are big numbers, but absolutely feasible to keep the current oil-based economy moving. I mean, the NSW government will spend $2b on a desal plant for water, so $85b to avert peak oil is peanuts.
Consider too, that this will be a gradual investment, as the US and Australia still produce a fair amount of oil domestically.
I think it would be an environmental disaster, but you can bet the governments (at the hands of the voters) will spend this rather than contemplate a change in consumer lifestyle.

Agree completely. People, in general, don't give two hoots about the environment. As for the government, they can't even decide whether or not to ban plastic shopping bags. Going to need an extra-wide, extra-absorbent bandaid for this problem - if indeed PO is now a reality.

Or about $85billion to replace Australia's

Big Numbers scare the daylights out of the voters.
Yet, at the same time, they say "it's only a billion, it's the government ffs!" when people point out how much their desired handout would cost.

Au$20Bn surplus this year.

There aren't even plans on the drawing board for CTL in the U.S. If it came to be, the maximum output would be a few million barrels per day. Not enough water, nor trains to transport the coal. The capital costs are enormous and the U.S. doesn't have much capital. U.S. coal production is peaking, and because oil/diesel is used to mine and transport coal, as the price of oil goes up, so too will the price of coal. There will be no CTL here. We are where we are. The only change will be oil depletion and accelerated oil depletion due to wasting oil on so-called renewables. Heinberg was right when he said conservation is the answer.

Errr - CJ - I'm no fan of CTL but I think most of your claims here are pretty debatable.

Do you have any evidence for the claim US coal production is peaking, for example ? At the moment US coal production (and exports) are rising rapidly as far as I can tell.

I talked about US CTL briefly in this post - the Air Force is the most likely customer initially :

I won't include the link for my report, because every time I do, TOD editors delete my post, but it can be found by Googling Cliford Wirth Peak Oil. Here is the relevant section, which includes reports that I cite:

In 2006, the U.S. National Coal Council proposed a program to develop a coal gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant that could generate 2.6 million barrels per day by 2020 and produce an additional 475 million tons of coal per year. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has not accepted this proposal, and it is not in a planning stage of development.
The 2007 GAO study identified significant problems with the coal GTL program:

“This fuel is commercially produced outside the United States, but none of the production facilities are considered profitable. DOE reported that high capital investments—both in money and time deter the commercial development of coal GTL in the United States. Specifically, DOE estimates that construction of a coal GTL conversion plant could cost up to $3.5 billion and would require at least 5 to 6 years to construct. Furthermore, potential investors are deterred from this investment because of the risks associated with the lengthy, uncertain, and costly regulatory process required to build such a facility. An expert at DOE also expressed concern that the infrastructure required to produce or transport coal may be insufficient. For example, the rail network for transporting western coal is already operating at full capacity and, owing to safety and environmental concerns, there is significant uncertainty about the feasibility of expanding the production capabilities of eastern coal mines. Coal GTL production also faces serious environmental concerns because of the carbon dioxide emitted during production. To mitigate the effect of coal GTL production, researchers are considering options for combining coal GTL production with underground injection of sequestered carbon dioxide to enhance oil recovery in aging oil fields.”

Future coal GTL is limited by the availability and rising cost of coal. The German based Energy Watch Group reported in "Coal: Resources and Future Production" (2007) that global coal production would peak in about 2025 “in the best case” and that,

“The U.S. passed peak production of high quality coal in 1990 in the Appalachian and the Illinois basin. Production of sub bituminous coal in Wyoming more than compensated for this decline in terms of volume and – according to its stated reserves – this trend can continue for another 10 to 15 years. However, due to the lower energy content of sub bituminous coal, US coal production in terms of energy has already peaked 5 years ago – it is unclear whether this trend can be reversed. Also specific productivity per miner is declining since about 2000.”
The Institute for Energy (IFE) of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, reported in The Future of Coal (2007) that (excerpts):

“The supply base of coal is being continuously depleted. World proven reserves (i.e. the reserves that are economically recoverable at current economic and operating conditions) of coal are decreasing fast. Coal production costs are steadily rising all over the world, due to the need to develop new fields, increasingly difficult geological conditions and additional infrastructure costs associated with the exploitation of new fields.”

Well - I'm sure that will make Australian coal miners happy (unfortunately) as we seem to have plenty of coal left, as noted in my CTL post.

Having plenty is good, but is coal production peaking now or soon in Australia?

No - read my CTL post - not for decades.

Don't worry about it, because Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) has absolutely no future. I grew up in Johannesburg, 200km or so downwind of the SASOL plant, and the pollution was unbelievable. When the wind blew in just the right direction, Johannesburg would have one of its regular "stink" days where the air reeked of hydrogen sulphide, burning my eyes, nose and throat, giving me a headache and making me feel nauseous. Low exposure levels to H2S causes irritation to eyes and throat, coughing, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. Symptoms last several weeks. Long-term, low-level exposure causes fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory, and dizziness. Everyone complained, but for a long time nobody even knew what was causing it. Then an environmental journalist working for The Star newspaper published an article about the high levels of pollution in Johannesburg (thanks to SASOL and the local mine dumps, one of the most air polluted cities in the world), and he named SASOL. A few years later we saw the satellite photos of the awful smoky pall spreading all over southern Africa from the SASOL plant. NO FUTURE FOR THIS TECHNOLOGY — NONE. The pollution is so bad it's visible from space.

Sasol is one of South Africa's biggest polluting industries. Air samples taken by residents in and around Sasolburg, the town named after the company, identified elevated levels of many toxic pollutants. Sasolburg residents complain of many health problems, which they believe are caused by pollution emanating from the many Sasol-owned industries in the area, including a crude oil refinery. Sasol has itself acknowledged that ambient levels of benzene in Sasolburg have exceeded US guidelines on at least eight occasions during 2002. Benzene is known to cause leukaemia and cancer of blood-forming organs. In Secunda, Sasol owns several coal mines, two refineries producing liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks from coal, and several downstream chemical industries. When Sasol first began developing in Secunda in the early 1980s, black people were relocated downwind to a township called eMbalenhle. The township is now surrounded by mines and mine dumps. A large percentage of the young people in eMbalenhle suffer from respiratory illnesses like sinus problems, asthma, burning sensations in the throat and chest, as well as from skin irritations and burning eyes. Sasol has refused to acknowledge the toxic effects of their emissions of hydrogen sulphide (H S). Sasol releases over 242 550 pounds 2 of H S emissions in South Africa annually, but states that H S as nothing more than an “odour nuisance” with no “health risk”. In fact, H S 2 2 2 is a broad-spectrum poison affecting the eyes, respiratory system and central nervous system. Exposure to H S can result in, amongst other 2 things: coma, convulsions; conjunctivitis, headaches and gastrointestinal disturbance. Inhaling high levels can be fatal.

From Sasol - A global leader or major polluter? (pdf)

See also

Love that CTL chart Mamba. It would be nice to see CTL compared with oil sands and shale oil as well.

Yeah - great chart - thanks for that (and for the commentary about Sasol and pollution - though perhaps the UCG processes being trialled by Linc will be a lot less horrible in this respect).

I can't see this objection being even the slightest showstopper. This is largely a political problem to implementation, and political problems vanish when the price is high enough.

Not so paranoid,I think!

Thanks for these CTL figures, I'd been wondering about costs and pollution impact after listening to Heinberg too. Here's another one Rapier threw in, at R - Squared Energy Blog: The Week in Energy – September 1, 2007:

For the record, the Energy Information Administration has estimated capital costs for CTL at $60,000 per daily barrel of production. This is around triple the cost of a conventional refinery, or an ethanol plant. Oil companies have looked at CTL numerous times, and have not pursued it on the basis of high costs. After all, don't you think they would rather buy coal and turn it into diesel if you could really do so at a comparable cost? Their raw material supply would be much more secure.

For the public it seems that a concept like peak oil is just too hard to grasp. It's not like this is rocket science; it can be illustrated by drinking a bottle of beer and watching the level drop. Yet, it seems beyond general ken; it is mystifying that even supposedly bright and observant newscasters have taken so long to wake up to what is going on. I heard a moderator on CNBC today ask a "guest" when we can expect the oil bubble to reach top (or to that effect). The guest said that as soon as demand declined prices would follow. (Duh, wah, and mmmm? Even little ol' me could tell you that evening will come as soon as the sun sets.)

I think part of it is "sheeple-ish" trust in the system, celticoil. So often, we just assume that someome will tell us if everything isn't ok. We do it every day. Sometimes, people warn us. Sometimes, they don't see it coming, or worse, don't want to see it coming.

It is an easy concept, but energy has tentacles into every piece of existence--when people start thinking about it in toto...

...true...progress requires consensus, and consensus requires trust, and trust assumes there is leadership. It just seems such a long time coming. Makes one weary...

can I borrow that? :) well said.

Sorry Aus, but it's come come to this...imho...not what gov can due (misspell meant), what will they due?, and @ 50 yr.s old, I know now they won't DO #%#%#%...they don't want to...THEY don't have to. They have, thru their acts, conveyed one important message to me...I'm on my own, but I'm here to assist my fellows. I'll die puttin' that effort forward.
First time in my life where I now know, I am truely on my own.

I'm still breathing...Rock On LAMF


For the public it seems that a concept like peak oil is just too hard to grasp. It's not like this is rocket science; it can be illustrated by drinking a bottle of beer and watching the level drop.

More like watching the level of beer drop while the bottle gets longer and thinner and the opening narrower and narrower and the straw designers keep coming up with super long straw technology to reach the ever receding beer down at the bottom of the bottle. This while more and more beer drinkers are acquiring a taste for the warm stale ale left in the bottom half of the bottle and bidding more and more money for the ever diminishing returns coming out of the super straws. Yet all they can see is that there is still plenty of beer left in the bottle. About half a bottles worth. I dunno, something tells me this is going to lead to a nasty bar room brawl.

Horrible...sounds like something from Harry Potter...even to the problem that should not be named...

This is the changes to the condensate crude saving 2 billion a year. At least one subsidy to the fossil fuel industry is gone.

And isn't Woodside screaming. :)

This is great news. Unless I missed it, this speaker made no statements against immigration and/or population growth. So that means the billions in India and China can continue to come here and to Australia. I have a feeling that somewere in the migrating masses of Asia, there may be an immigrant who can solve the puzzle - how to make sure infiinite population growth continues forever (giving us all the benefits that more people in a finite space entails) with a finite natural resource base.

Population is commonly modelled as peaking around 9.3 billion or so.

No one is predicting exponential growth that I am aware of.

I keep hearing about that population modelling prediction of approximately 9 billion ... but I can't find what type of model they are using. Who did the modelling and by what method? What data did they use? What variables did they consider and what was excluded?


What are the factors that the "modelers" use to see a stoppage in population growth. The argument that is used by those who don't want to have any government policies against population growth is that it will eventually stop when people get wealthy. Here we are on a Peak Oil site. Are you quoting modelers who are cornucopians expecting the worlds' standard of living to increase forever, or are you quoting modelers who are looking for famine and resource wars to begin population limitations at some point?

Since they have government policies (Heinberg said that there is nothing government's CAN DO - and implicitly he said there is nothing government's CAN'T DO) that allow the overpopulated regions of the world to immigrate to their countries, America and Australia, which is who I was mainly speaking of regarding government policy, will peak long after any hoped-for world peak in population. In fact, their peak may not occur until such time as they have equivalent over-population and poverty to the emmigrant countries.

If you read the links you have been supplied you would know what they are basing their models on.
Since you want to make bold claims and substitute your own model of what will happen for theirs, on the grounds that you appear to have read a book once which said something different would happen, perhaps you will forgive the rest of us if we prefer the exhaustively researched and documented UN conclusions, amongst others.

Forgive me for expecting a two-sentence summary from those who are sanguine about the world getting ONLY another 2.7 billion people whilst at the same time believing in a near-term permanent fossil fuel production decline. Perhaps you "I can live with another 2.7 billion" guys can share what you are drinking. But again, my post was directed at the governments of Australia and America. While mentioning government policy, Heinberg said not a word about immigration, of which the governments of America and Australia are avid practitioners. Can you provide me some links as to exhaustively researched and documented conclusions as to when the governments of Australia and America will discontinue immigration?

I have mentioned this before but it is the one silver lining in this black cloud - in the Great Depression America stopped immigration. And it must have been as romanticized and held as sacred then as now. That was over 40 years after the Statue of Liberty was erected and over 30 since someone added a sentimental poem to it. US immigration didn't start up again at significant levels until Ted Kennedy rammed it through Congress in the 1960's, with his original intent being to get more Irish in. But then he and his aides expanded it to include non-Europeans (which had been mostly excluded in the prior go round).

Whether I am sanguine or not about population increase is neither here nor there.
You seem unaware of what the models of the UN and others are based on after having being supplied with the links so that you could find out.

Since you do now want to do the most basic fact-finding, it is difficult to take your prognostications with any seriousness, since they are presumably based on a similar lack of research.

FYI they are based on a gradual decline of birth-rates in a similar fashion to that which has been experienced in the past, and do not consider major disruptions such as world-wide famine or a major nuclear war.

You continue to ignore my main point of immigration. Perhaps it is for you, like most people, to sacred to discuss.

I find it both astonishing and alarming that on a Peak Oil web site, links would be provided as gospel as to what is going to happen in the future - with not a single mention of fossil fuel production peaking (I didn't listen to the Swede). Perhaps we aren't going to see a peaking of fossil fuel after all? Just 9.2 billion people living happily and mostly in cities while oil-powered machinery does most of the work out on the farm.

"Since you do now want to do the most basic fact-finding, it is difficult to take your prognostications with any seriousness, since they are presumably based on a similar lack of research."

You have given multiple generic responses which are difficult, if not impossible to match up to my statements. What prognostications did I make? What did your basic fact-finding tell you was a more correct prognostication?

Your comments on immigration, for a start.
If you checked the links supplied you would discover what the assumptions are about immigration.

For the record, projected populations are not based on discontinuities due to Peak oil or otherwise, and mostly either assume that present immigration rates continue, or that numbers will be as the governments say they will.

None of these are good assumptions, but more precise predictions are very difficult - that is why the models are valuable, as they give some numbers to base other assumptions on.

For instance, in Eastern Europe when the economy crashed, so did the birth rate, and this might occur in some regions of the world if there is a major dislocation due to Peak oil.
OTOH in some areas, particularly if the rate of movement into the cities decreases, then birth rates may be higher for longer.

Similarly immigration could decrease if they economies of the western nations go into a depression, but famine in their homelands could also increase it.

We don't know, but study of the data sets from people like the UN at least gives some solid grounding of what has happened in the past, and so a basis to look forward.

There is considerable lag in demography, and most of those who will be alive in 2030 are already here.

My comments on immigration - or my prognosticiation if you will - is that it will continue in America and Australia despite the fact that we are facing peak fossil fuel production and stopping it is one easy way to make the problem easier to bear. The politicians, talking heads and even Peak Oil talking heads (Kunstler, Simmons, Heinberg, etc.) are silent on the issue. And, as it turns out, your UN link is in complete agreement with me. For some unknown reason, they project a slight decline in Australian

Two Way Benefits of Australia's Rising Immigration Quota

and American

US last 10 years:

immigration before they both flat-line - the exact same amount of people immigrate each year for the rest of the decades they cover. So what exactly is the difference between my prosnostication and the UN? I did say that if we get a depression as in Great Depression of the 1930's, that it will stop. You seem to agree with that in your most recent comments, save the fact that you think it might be possible for desperate people to force their way in from impoverished countries as is done now in the United States and Europe during prosperity.

So your UN link backs up my main point - Heinberg and his ilk have given an implicit go-ahead for the US and Australia to continue to raise their populations by immigration - and the UN and I both think the governments of both will follow his "recommendation".

If you read it carefully enough, you will always find the assumptions made explicitly.
Many such as the flatline on immigration are mainly made to simplify assumptions, as no-one knows what decisions will be taken.

That is why they are useful as a baseline for suggestions of alterations in policy.

Sure they had some CYA about what if it goes to 0 or what if it stays the same ( I didn't see "what if it increases" which is what Australia and the US are currently doing). The bottom line is that their Wild Ass Guess takes the obvious most likely position - immigration will still be held sacred and valuable by the governments and peoples of Australia and the United States even in the face of resource shortages and urban over-population which has caused and will cause housing prices to soar. The UN doesn't anticipate any Great Depression, but if they did, I have a feeling we would agree on what happens then as well.

The US public, at least, is angry about immigration (especially illegal, but also legal-but-troublesome to an increasing degree).  Grassroots opposition stymied several "reform" (amnesty) bills in the last couple of years despite broad bipartisan and elite support.

Lots of immigrants will be heading home soon, voluntarily or otherwise.

So it seems - sparking plenty of paranoia as it happens.

Rather than talking about ways to decrease the cost of oil or when coal gasification becomes cost effective, we should be focusing on ways to increase production of renewable energy. Unlike oil, renewable sources will not peak, and the more we use them, the lower price will go. Many companies have begun to focus more on renewables, including BP, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, GE, and more.

If you're interested in learning more about renewable energy finance, you should attend the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street (, held June 18-19 in New York City. REFF provides an opportunity for investors, financiers, and renewable energy project developers to network, strike deals, and share ideas about the future. The event will features more than 40 high profile speakers, discussing topics such as solar power, wind energy, biofuels, carbon finance, and more.

Well if JP Morgan have anything to do with this,you can bet it will be related to the military somehow. Ill put out a warning here, that this conference looks highly suspicious, and I would not trust the majority of these companies. esspecially GE and JP Morgan. I doubt anything good will come from this, you have been warned.

Well - I'd rather have GE and JPMorgan promoting renewable energy than putting all their weight behind coal and oil.

JPMorgan just wants to make money - sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes its a bad thing. In this case they should be encouraged.

Hi HI Big Gav thanks for the break down on this, I have been to busy (lazy) to do a follow up on the budget, so I'll be looking forward to your post. By the way could you include the link to the Mp4 download when you link to ABC or SBS posts, make us Mac users happy :)


OK - I'll try.

I've got a MAc and I can watch the RealPlayer version fine BTW.