A quote from Obama in Oregon..."We can't eat as much as we want...and then expect other countries...to say OK"

OBAMA: 'We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK'...

Discuss. (AFP via Google via Drudge)

Other countries are saying not Okay by driving up the price of oil to a level where we use less so they can use more.

I bet Obama won't propose gasoline taxes in order to lower our demand at lower price points for oil. So he's just posturing.

I would say: "Countries with high fertility rates can't pop out as many babies as they want, find themselves hungry, and then demand more food from us and expect we are going to say OK".

I did see an article the other day about the Democrats, if they can get 'unified' government and get beyond a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (the latter is a big if, and the former I would put at a close to 50-50 probability were the election actually held today--but we have another six months to go! Yay!), would put on a real gas tax. I personally doubt that these kinds of plans are politically feasible, even in this political environment/frame of "change," but hey, I have been (and hope that I am this time) wrong before.

By the way, we are going to try to focus on both presidential candidates' agendas/stances/issues with regard to energy and sustainability (writ large) to compare them as the campaign progresses--so when folks see on-point discussions/commentary/ideas/speeches from both candidates, please send them along to the eds box.

Even if I am a political geek, I can't catch them all.

I agree with the Obama quote. However I also believe that it is political suicide for him to say that out loud.


He was talking to an Orgeon audience which seems to be a far more envirnmentally aware state than some others. I don't think it is political suicide, I think it's actaully smart politics. There are probably a lot of Americans who are tired of politicians who talk to them like pre-schoolers and would welcome a president that is prepared to tell it like it is. I think he has a strong chance of being that guy. The primaries will come to represent the great struggle that Obama had to win over vested interest, old style popularism and the baby boomer narcissism that characterised and embodied the cancer that exists in American society today.

More power to him.

He's black, he's inexperienced, his middle name is Hussein, his pastor is a nutcase...

All true.

But the USA and the world need a fresh start and Obama is the only one who really wants to turn the page.

Even we people that do not live in the USA are watching the election process and hoping Obama would be the winner.

He's half African-American and half Caucasion and you forgot one thing...he's part Irish. Does any of this matter? No, he's a mutt with a diverse background. All the more to understand the diversity of people in this country. The man has the grassroots support of this country right now besides those still hanging onto Ron Paul.

Actually he's not one-half African-American. His father was Kenyan and his mom was a white person from Kansas.

I guess that qualifies him to be a full African-American as opposed to a black American-American.

Hi race is not important. His intellect and personality are.

His pastor may be a nutcase, but I'll bet that pastor knows more about the Tuskegee experiment than you!

"There are probably a lot of Americans who are tired of politicians who talk to them like pre-schoolers and would welcome a president that is prepared to tell it like it is."

You think Americans want to be told what kind of cars they can drive, how much food they can eat, what temperature they can keep their thermostats, what kind of lightbulbs they can use, how much water they can use in their toilets, etc, etc, etc?

You really think that's what people are looking for?

No, THAT is the DEFINITION of being treated like a pre-schooler. Treating people as being too dumb and ignorant to know what's good for them and letting the government run their lives instead.

Do you need to be told how to wipe your ass too?

You think Americans want to be told what kind of cars they can drive, how much food they can eat, what temperature they can keep their thermostats, what kind of lightbulbs they can use, how much water they can use in their toilets, etc, etc, etc?

Of course not, and that's not what anyone's suggesting. Telling someone what you think they should do is not the same as forcing them to do it at gunpoint. But, I, for one, would love to have a president say, "If you keep building cities in the desert you are going to run out of water, and there is nothing that we can do about it."

But, I, for one, would love to have a president say, "If you keep building cities in the desert you are going to run out of water, and there is nothing that we can do about it."

How about "If you keep building cities below sea level you are going to get flooded, and there is nothing that we can do about it."...?

(Hint, hint: Katrina... I expect to see a reply post by Al from Big Easy)

I think it's all about sustainability... Is what we are doing sustainable? Building cities under sea level? Building cities in the desert (Before we look toward the east, think Las Vegas...)? Driving SUV's? Eating 2000 calorie meals at McMansion McDonalds that are brought to us via a 2000 mile long supply chain so we can sit on our fat butt and go through the drive thru to a job that's 30 miles from where we live? Is this sustainable...? And about our 2000 square foot McMansion- complete with A/C, 3 car garage and a lot that is not even remotely big enough to sustain a family of 4 if it needed to be gardened WTSHTF- Is that sustainable?

Or is it POPULAR?

No thats telling them what to do not telling it like it is. If you are the captain of the Titanic do you deliberatley withold the fact that the ship is sinking to give people a choice to continue partying? Or do you say "Look folks, we have a serious problem here, we have a short time to fix it and here is what I suggest we do."

With politicians now it doesn't matter so much what they say, its how it's sliced and diced into soundbites. An articulate explanation of anything will be butchered to a five-second snip. To quote Bill Moyers the other day, "Beware the terrible simplifiers!".

Still, he's basically saying the the US way of life is out of its own hands or indeed "negotiable", the complete opposite of what Cheney said. It's refreshing, but Obama simply remains the lesser of two (or three) evils. I doubt an Obama administration would do anything radically different on the energy issue.

He's a lot closer than anyone else to doing something about the energy issue if he's willing to stick his neck dangerously out, while the other candidates keep their necks tucked safely in...

Full quote:

"Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.

"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added."

Goose took it a little out of context...

Obama wants to produce cutting edge technologies at home that benefit both the US and the rest of the world. It seems he understands the responsible thing to do is tighten our belts in the interim.

In my opinion, he's saying things that need to be said. All the while, the other candidates are playing political patty cakes...

Clinton will say or do anything to be elected and therefore stands for very little. McCain is being branded as an indie but if you look at his voting record he's all-pro smokestack industry.

I know it's been said before that no candidate could help our situation vis a vis peak oil. I disagree. I think Obama is by far the best choice in the context of energy.

Robert, I just saw that you pulled the full quote. Must have posted while I was writing my response. Sorry for the repeat.

No worries! The more the merrier ;)

It seems he understands the responsible thing to do is tighten our belts in the interim.

Thing is, when you crunch the figures and look at the likely peak date and decline rate - Obama needs to be managing a 1-2Mbpd reduction in US demand every year for the next 5 years to be in OK shape. Its not tightening belts, its crash diet.

I see nothing which recognises that so far, so instead he's going to be managing riots, economic collapse and disintegration.

Your extrapolation, all things being equal, predicts a 4-8 million barrel per day shortfall year on year, for the next five. Even at only 4 million barrels per day, you're looking at 65 mbpd total production by 2013 or about 21 mbpd total world exports?

Now that is, indeed a hard crash scenario. I could be wrong, but I think we'll likely fight this thing a little better than that.

In any case, as hard or soft as the crash may be, better to have someone who's willing to put in measures to soften the blow, than to have someone who's going to whistle as the whole system starts to shake itself to shambles.

I also think Obama is your best bet but I think the problems he is going to face are to great. We are sitting on the peak now and any initiative he comes up with will never be implimented in time or be scaled up enouugh to stop the worst of what will happen.

Better to do something than to do nothing. Better to get as many people to the lifeboats as possible. Better to run the pumps as long and as fast as we can. The better we manage this thing, the less people will be harmed for it. Good leadership now is about mitigation -- reducing impact to the lowest level possible.

Right now we don't really know how rapidly the situation will evolve or how effective our response will be. But if we fail to respond, then, for a certainty, things will be much, much, worse.

What a bold move! Obama comes out in favor of...wait for it... developing new technologies! And the liberals all go nuts with excitement.
Wait a second... hasn't Bush been attacked nonstop as a do-nothing all these years by saying we should develop new technologies as the answer to our problems?


Kudos to Obama. The Only polititian, who eats fifth of what he wants, lives in house at 30degrees and drives bicycle.

I encourage Obama to switch off all heating, stay at home and eat nothing at all until the end of elections. Such a wisdom will impress even Republicans.

This is a standard propaganda technique; exaggerate the goals to create a strawman and then attack the strawman. I can understand a Republican's desire for Obama to stay home, but such a request is silly and lowers the perceived veracity of the poster.

Bush (2002): "We need an energy bill that encourages consumption".

Cygnus -- Petrus.

Better yet, how about you guys go live in the woods with the animals. Obviously, since you think technology is worthless, might as well just quit it altogether? Heck, why post on the internet? It obviously can't solve the problem of communication over vast distances. And since you believe solar, wind, renewables, and nuclear technology can't help deal with the energy problem you could at least cut your consumption by the approx 25% they represent and then consign yourself to the decline curve in fossil fuels as well -- since to you that represents the only valid form of energy ever produced.

Re-read my post. Where did I ever say technology is worthless? I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy of those who laud Obama for saying we need new technologies, but attack others for saying the same thing as being part of the "unrealistic," "technology will save us" camp.

It's either his Sister Soulja moment, or he can really relate to Jimmy Carters cardigan' which in this country is political suicide. My guess is he's way too smart for that and he is tapping into what even the unevolved senses -- that we are in deep doo doo.

I would say: "Countries with high fertility rates can't pop out as many babies as they want, find themselves hungry, and then demand more food from us and expect we are going to say OK".

They can if they have oil and there are still willing buyers in the market. Who owns, or at least controls, the food anyway? Certainly not some generic "we". It belongs to the people who grow it, process it, and distribute it and that is increasingly large corporations who simply contract the growing function to individual farmers. Many of these entities are global corporations who do not have national borders or natioanl interest considerations to contend with. In fact it would be illegal for them in many juristictions to do anything but act in the best interests of their stockholders.

The best example of food for oil and corporate corruption comes from Australia with the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein to get the contracts. The attitude of many Aussie farmers after this was revealed shortly after the invasion in 2003, was that corruption is part of the business process and was therfore justifibale if it meant keeping wheat markets for Austrlain growers. The national interest test of right and wrong was willingly junked in the intersts of dollars in the pocket. The fact that Australian soldiers lives were now on the line against an enemy partially funded by AWB kickbacks was of little or no concern to these farmers.

The Iraqis who were eating the bread were simply mouths to feed and they had the money. I would'nt expect the corporations to behave any differently in times of future shortage. They will sell their produce to the highest bidder and US consumers may find themselves competing with wealthy oil producing nations who have plent of real wealth to exchange for food with the corporations. I wouldn't get too cocky about using the "food weapon" just yet.

Certainly the need for food will eventually force the Saudis to curtail internal oil usage in order to make some oil available for export.

But most of the human population does not live in oil producing countries.

I would say: "Countries with high fertility rates can't pop out as many babies as they want, find themselves hungry, and then demand more food from us and expect we are going to say OK".

The population is not the main problem, though it does cue in the equation. The main problem is that the US uses 5x per capita which is the highest in the world. Countries such as India and China do not use as much per capita. We have to learn not to be so decadent.

Since the less developed world is trying to learn to be as decadent as the US, world population is both the main, and every other, environmental problem

Of course population is the biggest problem.

The problem isn't just that people use energy. They use land. As they use more and more land there's less land left over for all the creatures of nature.

Wow, Obama continues to talk to us as if we are adults. How refreshing.

@Future pundit, you wrote:

Other countries are saying not Okay by driving up the price of oil to a level where we use less so they can use more.

I bet Obama won't propose gasoline taxes in order to lower our demand at lower price points for oil. So he's just posturing.

I would say: "Countries with high fertility rates can't pop out as many babies as they want, find themselves hungry, and then demand more food from us and expect we are going to say OK".

These comments seem to represent a fundamental misunderstanding of the resource limitations we are facing, and I'm disappointed to see it coming from someone who's been here at TOD for almost a year. The escalation of oil prices is not pricipally due to "other countries driving up the price." Above-ground volatility, the weak dollar and demand growth in an environment of flattening or declining supply are the real culprits.

Here's a slightly wider cut of the Obama quote:

Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.

"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.

What I think those other countries are going to say not-OK to is the lopsided per-capita, wasteful use of resources by the US. Here's an excellent TOD article that shows the ecological footprint for an average resident of the world's companies as compared to the UN's human development index. What it basically says is that for a quality of life of X, American's consume vastly more ecological resources than the average.

When resources are even more scarce, this inequality will become more stark and trigger even more resentment from those using fewer resources.

I also think other coutries are going to say not-OK to them having to pay the high price for our high-cost quality of life footprint. The US enjoyes these SUVs and excessive calories and poorly climate-controlled homes at the direct expense of the world's developing nations. Our carbon emissions lead directly to abnormal weather patterns, drought and rising sea levels. It's not just envy of our lifestyle that will cause other countries to say not-OK. It's the direct harm we cause those other countries.

To your point about high fertility rates and other countries demanding "more food from us," there's a lot wrong with this interpretation. "We" are not providing food to these other countries. If anything, we're limiting their ability to produce their own food by encouraging them to produce unsustainable cash crops for our benefit. It's the policies of Western-based global companies that have driven the massive urbanization of many developing countries, pushing them to a dependency on largesse from the developed world to help meet basic needs. There is a looming problem ahead with the higher fertility rates of some developing nations, but I think your hypothetical counter argument to Obama misuses the situation.

Don't forget that Obama's larger point (not in the original post) wasn't a simple finger-wagging "bad America," but it was a call to lead in the development of solutions. Given our lopsided use of finite resources and the direct harm this causes to the ecology and economy of other countries, this is our obligation.

baratunde, Habitat loss in Africa isn't caused by American consumption of oil. It is caused by countries that have fertility rates of 5, 6, 7, 8 babies per mother.

As for resource usage: China has already surpassed the US in rate of use of almost every resource aside from energy. China uses more metals, concrete, and other construction materials. China's lead over the United States in resource usage will only widen with time.

I would say: "Countries with high fertility rates can't pop out as many babies as they want, find themselves hungry, and then demand more food from us and expect we are going to say OK".

That raises an interesting question. Should we provide food aid to countries that run persistent energy deficits? For example, should myanmar receive aid following the hurricane?

On that same note, should the middle east provide "oil aid" to the U.S. when we run persistent trade deficits?

Are countries expanded beyond their energy or population "budgets" due to artificial manipulation of the true prices of base commodities. Specifically food and oil.

Oil is priced in dollars, and huge sovereign wealth funds re-invest back to the U.S. keeping the dollar from falling to it's true value.

NGO's provide food aid continuously to poor countries sustaining higher populations then they should otherwise have.

I'm not pushing these policies, but it is a little disturbing to see where they might go.


Actually, in our consumption-addicted society, it was a pretty gutsy thing to say. It will probably lose him some votes, especially among the "this big pickup is mine, and don't you forget it" crowd. If he's posturing, he is posturing to the minority, not the majority...

Please can we avoid this pablum? This is worse than all of the BS "Free energy" devices that break the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

Does anyone here any longer believe that the system "might just work this time"?

I understand that we need to maintain hope but this is getting crazy.

The fix is in, (or maybe they just decided to give up? get a conscience? "oh, sorry we were just kidding, whoops?)BS.

From Speaking truth to power;

Monday, 05 May 2008
How Barack Obama is fronted by the most vicious predators on Wall St."


"Seven of the Obama campaign’s top 14 donors consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages. These latest frauds have left thousands of children in some of our largest minority communities coming home from school to see eviction notices and foreclosure signs nailed to their front doors. Those scars will last a lifetime.

These seven Wall Street firms are (in order of money given): Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. There is also a large hedge fund, Citadel Investment Group, which is a major source of fee income to Wall Street."

Hello Souperman2,

Yep, nothing new--politics wedded to corporate power go back a long way:

During the first period (1518-1587), the beylerbeys were admirals of the sultan, commanding great fleets and conducting war operations for political ends. They were slave-hunters and their methods were ferocious. After 1587, the sole object of their successors became plunder, on land and sea. The maritime operations were conducted by the captains, or reises, who formed a class or even a corporation. Cruisers were fitted out by capitalists and commanded by the reises. Ten percent of the value of the prizes was paid to the pasha or his successors, who bore the titles of agha or dey or bey.[12]
The past Guano Wars will be nothing compared to the coming postPeak NPK wars. Food Surpluses = Job specialization. You can't eat crude.

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

Goodness. And if these firms weren't involved in all candidates' political contributions, I'd be very surprised.

The interesting thing about Obama's campaign is that his list is composed, primarily, of non-public donors. That is, donors who give less than $200 dollars. The list is 1.5 million strong and represents the largest grass roots political support system in modern memory.

So the question is how beholden is Obama to the special interests? Based on his rhetoric, seems a lot less than the other candidates who appear to lack the guts to address the issues he raises.

In any case, I think we get the government we deserve. So if we decide, at this point, to fall into apathy and cynicism based on these conspiracy theories, we may well end up with the government we feared -- because we expect no less.

As an electorate, it is our duty to demand the best, to expect it, and when it is not delivered -- to hold the bastards who failed accountable.

Good luck with the cynicism/depression/malaise. For my part, at least hope/will/drive keeps me moving, feeding my family, and functioning as a responsible citizen.

Right On!

And not just hope, but righteous anger, and the will to persist in eradicating the cancer of greed that has overtaken this nation

Cheers for that! And I absolutely agree -- greed will be America's downfall if we don't reign it in.

The US and the rest of the world needs more of " Ask not what your country can do for you.... etc etc" JFK style

and less of

"We can have a gas tax holiday and make the oil companies pay for it. My plans fully costed nyaehhh!" HRC style

Absolutely! It's better than the half-measures that only continue or increase dependency on a failing system.

We need politicians to encourage people to grow gardens, buy smaller, more fuel efficient cars when it comes time to replace the old ones, invest in personal alternatives to oil (phevs, evs, home solar panels, home wind generators) walk, bike, or take public transport to work, keep the thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer, eat locally grown food when possible, eat a little less meat if possible, and to form community organizations to encourage their neighbors to do the same.

Again Robert Marston beats me to the punch in responding to these comments! It's easy to criticize any single candidate, but to do so without providing a comparison is not at all helpful. We face a choice in the upcoming election, and that choice should clearly favor Obama for those concerned with resource depletion.

Two reasons.

1) He's got the best energy/climate plan, though it's not perfect.
2) He offers the best ENVIRONMENT for engaged citizens to have a voice in their government.

I wrote on my personal blog a few months back in response to Obama v. Clinton on energy

As is often pointed out in attempts to compare the two, they offer similar proposals. Gristmill’s assessment is similar to my own quick one. It comes down to who do you think will actually get their plan done and who can bring the largest number of Democratic votes into Congress to pass legislation.

That would be Obama in my book. In addition to his proven ability to work with a range of interests (see him on the Illinois death penalty), he brings a transformational plan (more here) for government transparency and civic engagement which should ensure that the voice of the people is heard in crafting our new energy policy.

Reason #2 is the most important one to me. Regardless of his policy positions and shiny PDF files, Washington is where good ideas go to die. However, as evidenced by his record-breaking grassroots financial support (yes, he's gotten money from bank employees but who hasn't?), direct experience in grassroots organizing and development of TOOLS for citizen engagement (see the working www.usaspending.gov or www.barackobama.com), his administration offers the hands-down best chance for those who care about this country to influence its direction.

How I feel about it is that most of the policies that a politician is involved with is totally out of reach to the voters. So it is important not to rely exclusively on the ballot. Now I rather have Obama than Clinton, and certainly don't like to have a 3rd Bush term; but we have to be mindful of is that Obama is still going to have troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas of the Islamic region. This is really bad because the major beef that al-Quida has with the US is the presence of those areas, and that is why they chose to fly planes into buildings. He still recieves donations from corporations, and that is by getting them through people instead the corporate check itself.

Now my point is not to say, don't bother with Obama, but it is important to say, that there is a variety of things that need to be done, from direct action to living frugally as possible.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side...

You're running out of oil - Bush

PRESIDENT George Bush yesterday told leaders of the oil-rich states of the Middle East that they must face up to a future without their precious hydrocarbons.

In a stark warning, he said their supplies were running out and urged them to reform and diversify their economies. The outgoing United States president told the World Economic Forum, meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, that it was time to "prepare for the economic changes ahead".

Mr Bush's family name is inextricably linked to the oil industry, and this was his strongest statement yet on the future of global supplies.

Perhaps PRESIDENT George Bush hasn't heard of Masdar. UAE (and possible Saudi Arabia) is way ahead on this issue.

Bush is smart only when he talks about oil. When it comes to alternatives, he has about a 2nd grade education. So the fact that he hasn't heard about Masdar, or wouldn't acknowledge it if he had, isn't in the least bit surprising.

Really? Hmmm.... must have been his wife who designed their house, then...




Given his outright opposition to anything alternative in Congress, your suggestion seems plausible. Of course, perhaps he wants to keep the solar panels all to himself...

But seriously, the guy's energy policy is a one-legged dog. And his foreign policy puts us smack dab in the middle of WW III territory -- a fight to the finish over the remaining oil. It's almost as if the guy would rather fight over oil than attempt to shift away from it. The fact that he keeps solar panels on his ranch may well be, but his lack of vision on the policy level begs a stark contrast to his own personal/practical measures.

In any case, we'll know there's real trouble when the Bush ranch sports its own micro brewery!

My point was: he knows the reality; he doesn't give a flying intercourse.


And my point was -- any oracular vision Bush might have is worthless unless he uses it in the context of his leadership. His political opposition to solar/wind legislation while building his own solar ranch goes beyond hypocrisy. It's outright immorality. Simply put, Bush is a failure as responsible leader.

It's like the captain of the Titanic taking a lifeboat all to himself and consigning an entire lifeboat to each and every one of his 'special' friends. As we all know, when there is innocent life at stake a good captain will go down with the ship, rather than throw people out of lifeboats so he can save his own skin. Bush was responsible for driving this ship. He knew we were heading into some dangerous waters, but he ordered the last boilers fired and charged on at full speed. Yet he takes zero responsibility for the trouble and offers back of the hand solutions that amount to half-measures while covering his own tail as much as possible.

Enough with Masdar already. It's the modern day equivalent of Tomorrowland and other than proving that with a greenfield site and lots of money, you can build a carless community, it does nothing to provide a sensible transport plan, for millions of suburban dwellers who are locked into their high oil consuming lifestyles.

No matter who talks about energy and peak oil, both parties will somehow twist the issues in order to manufacture as much consent for resource war as possible.

Both parties will try to make resource war seem to be inevitable, and our own role in this war to be somehow noble and good.

I might vote for Obama, but I trust him not at all.

It is all about selling weapons and controlling key resources -- oil, nuclear materials,water, and food.

The Great Game is at the end stage now. The leaders may try to act as though they do not want war, but all are focused upon killing off as many competitors for scarcening resources as possible.

We are looking at "Die Off" and responding by engaging in a massive game of "Kill Off."

The much more powerful force of nature will overtake our species as we fight over scraps. The article about the growing dead zones in the world's oceans is an omen. Oddly, science now plays the role of religious prophet. Ancient seers spoke the truth to power, often calling for complete reform at great risk to themselves.

(Edit: the TimesOnline article on growing ocean dead zones was linked to in today's drumbeat.


Above is the link copied from my browser.)

We have a choice of life or death before us. We will either waste precious time and resources pandering to various groups interested in the status quo which is a policy of "Kill Off," or we will cooperate and try to sort out the best paths to sustainable human life given fewer resources and an increasingly hostile ecosystem.

We have mortally wounded our own living habitat, and can only survive by healing -- as much as possible -- the womb in which we live and move and have our being.

It may be that Obama has some sense of what is needed, but the question is whether or not it is possible to become POTUS without selling one's soul.

Obama's backers ultimately only make money from blood, drugs, slavery, and ecocide.

Good luck with that.

(Another edit: I try to keep living as if I can make a positive difference, in spite of the cultivation of intentional ignorance in our fascist world. Corporatism requires ignorances on the part of the masses -- Bernays and all of the USA political propagandists and corporate PR folks have said so and acted accordingly for a long time now. Even so, one slogs on....)

Hi Beggar

I guess you must be seeing your life flash before you which is what happens just before you die. I am choosing to become a "local-vore" (eating only that which is grown in my garden or within 30 kilometers of my home), helping to educate my local community of what we can do to thrive - not just survive, not pro-creating (the world has enough mouths to feed already), and making all the changes I can locally while fully realizing that society as we have come to know it on a macro scale is about to radically change.

I am no polly anna either. I recognize that the world is tanking and with that tank will go much of the world's genetic heritage. Humans, by and large in the US are mindless of what is happening in the world. We have been conditioned to be this way. Our media and politicians, except for Obama, want to keep us in consumption mode and ill informed until it is too late where even the Truck Drivers will be on to what is happening.

To that end I would encourage us all to thwart any attempt by our corporate controlled government to initiate resource wars and take some responsibility on our own to make positive changes that will benefit the rest of humanity. We have the power to choose and not blindly capitulate.

killing off as many competitors for scarcening resources as possible.

Is scarcening an actual word? I looked it up on dictionary.reference.com and it didn't compute. While I think depleting may be the word you were looking for, I kind of like the sound of scarcening. It conveys an urgency that depleting does not. The etymologists may not agree, but I herby decalre from this day forward that scarcening should be adopted as a unique descriptor for Post Peak Oil decline and should be applied to no otehr resource than oil! All those in favour......??

Anyone with the knowledge of peakoil realizes that we will have to sacrifice as whole to keep a decent standard of living for everyone. It also means we need to invest (taxes) in mass transit and alternate forms of energy, yes it also includes nuclear. I believe if the president and government came out and laid down the facts, the majority of the citizens would grumble but come on board.

Or we could keep going with the war in Iraq, push up the deficit and force those damned ungrateful Iraqis to sign that oil bill. We've spent blood, time and money writing and translating that bill for them. We need that oil to produce a global surplus. It would only take a few, say, 10,000 barrels above consumption and storage capacity over the period if a few months to lower the price of a barrel. With luck the next president could continue this policy for 2 terms.

How do we know how much we will have to sacrifice? If the millions of acres off our coast were available to explore, might we finally be able to put an end to all this talk? What are we afraid to find?

The government of Iraq is forcing the militias to lay down arms. Given time to develop, the production from Iraq has the potential to double. But then, so does the production from Canada, Brazil, India, and a lot of other places (not to mention the USA since we really have not explored vast areas). The same old stuff about 2 more terms worth of oil were said in the Jimmy Carter days.

Canada makes up for the shortfall from Mexico -- if we're lucky.
Brazil makes up for the shortfall from the North Sea -- If we're lucky.
Iraq will be very lucky to make up for the shortfall from Saudi, Russia, and the rest of the Middle East.
India would be ridiculously lucky to make up for the shortfall from Australia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

And the US? Well we might find a few decent provinces if we're lucky. And we might beat the domestic decline curve for a few years, if we're also lucky.

In all, seems like a lot of luck involved in this huge oil gamble. Seems like a good policy for made in Las Vegas. Are you good with cards or dice? But even if all the lucky breaks happen, we still have a massive depletion undertow pulling us down past peak. House rules. House wins. And in this case, Mother Nature is holding the cards.

Canada makes up for the shortfall from Mexico -- if we're lucky.

Canadian output is not expected to go any higher than 5 or 6 million, and is not expected to get there till at least 2020. US declines plus Mexican declines will easily eat up the Tar Sands production - and that's not including ELM considerations.

(Fun note: My google for Mexican oil production? First two links were from TOD.)

Brazil makes up for the shortfall from the North Sea -- If we're lucky.

North Sea may be down another 2mb/d from now by 2020, if not more, if they continue with the average 5% a year so far. Brazil is expected to get about 1mb/d out of new fields by 2020. That gets them only to self-sufficiency... if their demand doesn't grow.

Iraq will be very lucky to make up for the shortfall from Saudi, Russia, and the rest of the Middle East.

Iraq is assumed to have about 6mb/d in undiscovered/untapped fields. Russian production alone, falling at a standard 4.5% a year, would eat up the extra 4mb/d from Iraq... if it ever gets produced.

I think KSA does have the ability to eventually get to 12.5 mb/d, but not today. ELM will eat some of that. Falling production and ELM in the ME the rest.

Add increasing demand and other fields/areas going into decline over the years between now and 2020 and I see no way out. Undulating plateau is about the best we can hope for.


Ah, cheers for this. Good stuff.

Look I guess your new to all this stuff and probably need to absorb a bit more of the finer grain associated with oil exploration, particulalry when it comes to deep sea exploration. The truth is that the oceans have always been available to explore. No body has ever stopped the oil companies from surveying the ocean floor to look for telltale signs of oil and gas. The oil explorers have never been that confident of finding it in sufficient quantity to justify the huge investment (gamble) required just to do the ocean floor mapping.

You can bet that if the explorers said that another Saudi was sitting just off the coast of California, Congress and the President would take five minutes flat, to approve drilling. It's just that neither congress or the president or oil companies are prepared to gamble a trillion dollars to find out. Much better to spend it on a war in Iraq going after a known thing.

If the American public are that sure that all that oil exists, then the market would create an IPO for an oil explorer and it would be happening. The fact that Wall St is not spinning off new oil exploration companies every week or so is that investing in them presents a very high risk of never seeing your money again.

I'm not entirely convinced that investmetn in mass transit and alternative energy is absolutely critical. I think the first thing we need to undeerstand is what on earth are all those people doing when they travel to all those places and are their journeys really necessary? (And the answer is not as simple as: going about their business)

Ask the same question about what all the energy is used for and we can then make a judgement about what is necessary and what is not. For example is TOD really vital? How much power would be saved if we simply turned it off? What could we do with the energy saved? (What could I do with all the time I spend here?).

We have to start asking more questions before jumping to conclusions and tech fixes. It is only when we ask more questions that we absorb more knowledge and uncover more wisdom.

I'm not entirely convinced that investment in mass transit and alternative energy is absolutely critical.

I had been wrestling with that too but have come to the conclusion that in most cases it is.

The question of what is vital and what is not may be much easier to figure out if one is reduced to 1/5 or less of ones current energy consumption. In most scenarios that rely on alternative energy that is probably the best we can expect based on receeding horizons and resource constraint. At that level most of us will probably be screaming to use it all. Aid in food production and distribution alone will take a bunch.

The social aspects of directing active cities and towns to power down to localized conditions in a big hurry probably merrit our attention as well. Spending time in an active city convinced me that fast-down wasn't probably feasible as too much chaos would result. It's hard to imagine employment there that is not currently energy dependent in some way. Then I have to wonder, what will everyone do for a living? Gardens ,yes, but self sufficiency, not even close.

The question of how to usefully imbed energy settles it for me. The energy wealth of past generations of oil production (and other forms) is all around us in the refined and constructed products we have fashioned into vehicles, buildings, roads, farms and fields. In order not to lose this endowment and convert it into goods that can be useful in an energy constrained future it will take some energy to extract it. Call it recycling, creative deconstruction, conversion, re-utilization whatever. It'll take energy to do it but still a lot less than mining or creating new.

Asking questions about usefullness is probably beneficial. I just think it may come down to the question of whether my family gets to eat or not. At that point I'll certainly settle for all the alternatives I can get.

Obama translation: "The American way of life IS negotiable."

Gee, how refreshing.

What Obama said is very standard - he is a politician after all. Good on him, yes. But.

The relationship between oil, food (and babies) passes thru money and is incredibly complicated. New solutions such as additions (e.g. some solar, bio ethanol, etc.) and fairer distribution, some kind of better support for the very poor of the earth, will change exactly nothing.

The curse of black gold in Africa destroys agriculture. This is the other facet of choosing between ‘driving’ and eating. E.g. Equatorial Guinea used to the the first world producer of the finest cocoa (I live in chocolate country) - no more though I have no numbers to hand. It dropped 10 places in the Human Dvp. Index 90 - early 2000 while p capita income was multiplied by 6 through oil rents. You can imagine what ppl did - they had babies. Angola used to be the 4th exporter of coffee. Nigeria has turned in part into a crazy wasteland. And so on. Misery in rich nations. Of course, there are very many arguments to be made about all this.

Obama states the obvious; is that any reason to vote for him ?
Anyone who doesn't realize that the times, they are a'changing, has to be deaf, dumb and blind, which is to say that the other two candidates understand it, as do most Americans, so why labour on about it.
Sorta like saying to you as you hit 50,'well, you're getting closer to dying you know ', you'll be very lucky to get through the next 10 years without a major illness ' etc. Now tell us something we didn't know, Obie.
We will have plenty to eat, and to suggest otherwise is just total bs.
The troops, or some troops, will stay in Iraq because; the invasion was never about saddam's weapons, or bringing democracy to iraq, or aiding Israel....it was always about our good buddies the Saudis and the gulf states and ensuring that they didn't buckle under Iran's threats. How does saddam come in ? He was taking a leaf out of syria's playbook, and was allying himself with his old arch enemy Iran. Had that alliance been given the time to be consumated, the gulf states and Saudi would have buckled and all the mideast oil would have been under the control of Iran; talk about a monopoly in the region. How much would oil have cost; more than now is all i can say.
Meanwhile, relax. The oil prices are forcing the changes that need to be made, and with far more speed that most people on this board seem to realize.
I might add that idiots like Chavez actually help us, by shrinking his countries production through bad management, and by leaving far more to be extracted down the line, by which time we will value it even more. All the worlds national oil countries, with a few notable exceptions, are similar to Venezuela in that they are doing a piss poor job of production, which, like the Chavez chaos, both speeds us on our way to substitutes and will provide more production availability down the line when we really will appreciate it.
Relax, sip a brew, or your favourite single malt, the sky is not falling, this is just change, as usual.

On CNN last night, they had a "League of first time voters" segment, with Oregon young people. They asked them, "If you had to vote today, who would you vote for? Clinton, Obama, or McCain?"

The reply was "None of the above, because none of them are addressing my issue." Said issue being climate change and the environment. One guy even said the phrase "peak oil."

But then, it was Oregon. They're pretty crunchy out there.

I talk to alot of young people here in Oregun.

They still talk about Ron Paul and intend to write him in.

Paul has done more for getting todays youth involved and educated WRT the constitution than any one I have ever experienced.

He was not just evoking emotions with flowery talk.

He still has more internet activity than any candydate. (younger people who have a vested interest in the future)

But then again he has been taken of the list by tptb.

Kind a makes ya go HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Ron Paul wants women to be brood mares for the state. More of an AAARRRGH than Hmmmmmmm in my opinion.

My Hmmmmmm... I guess is more a question as to why has Obama been the chosen one by tptb?

Perhaps he proposes the least threat?

The readers and contributors to this blog are bright above the accepted median IQ of 100 attributed to an average population.

I have no doubt that most of us here could and would tailor our lives to the diminishing odds.

Unfortunately 50% of our population below the median and then possibly the next 40% also, have been brainwashed into unrealistic expectations increasingly given by Politicians in order to get elected.

"America is just fine" it does not need fixing. Kennedy thought he would fix it. Martin Luther King thought he could could do it. Then another Kennedy tried, then I feel we all just capitulated, grabbed our share while we could, and here we are.

If Obama tries to fix anything he is doomed.

Personally i think our War-Clock is standing at less than 6 years now.

" Mark my words: you have perhaps a year, maybe two, before the riots start. High gas prices, high food prices, incompetent disaster relief, home foreclosures, lack of jobs, and a loss of faith in the system will combine to create chaos."


14 to 81 disapprove of the US direction.


75,000 turn out in Portland to see Obama today

PORTLAND, Ore. - Some 75,000 people have turned out to see Barack Obama speak along the Portland waterfront, a record for the campaign.

The crowd covers the lawn here at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, from the streetside entry gates down to the Willamette River. Portland fire officials estimate 60,000 people are packed inside the park proper and another 10-15,000 are watching outside the gates. Spectators are lining the bridge behind Obama and watching, bikini-clad, from boats on the river.

May 19, 2008 4:12 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain couldn't get 75 people

GOP is toast


I'm walking to work (and drive a fuel efficient compact for other, conolidated trips), grow an increasing percentage of my own food, and keep my house at 66F in the winter (60F nights & weekdays when we're away), 78F in the summer (80F weekdays when we're away)(if we bother to turn on the a/c at all, that is).

Even that may not be "OK" enough with some of the rest of the world. But at least it is several big steps in the right direction.

So, what are YOU doing, Barak?

Barak is changing the political tone. He's saying we can't consume as much as we want whenever we want. In this new paradigm, you become a prime example of responsible citizenship.

Krugman: Peak Oil and Living Like Europeans

Krugman today, writing from Berlin, touches the Peak Oil topic and sounds like Kunstler with "Stranded in Suburbia" riff. He acknowledges it will be a hard slog moving our suburban lifestyle to something dramatically more energy-efficient, but we have to start somewhere.

Krugman says peak oil is becoming a mainstream topic. Now if we can only get his colleague Jad Mouawad, who does most of the Times' oil articles, to say the words "peak oil". He's been circling closer and closer to the concept, it's just a matter of time now.

- Dick Lawrence

From the NY Times, May 19, 2008

Stranded in Suburbia

I have seen the future, and it works.

O.K., I know that these days you’re supposed to see the future in China or India, not in the heart of “old Europe.”

But we’re living in a world in which oil prices keep setting records, in which the idea that global oil production will soon peak is rapidly moving from fringe belief to mainstream assumption (my emphasis - DL). And Europeans who have achieved a high standard of living in spite of very high energy prices — gas in Germany costs more than $8 a gallon — have a lot to teach us about how to deal with that world.

If Europe’s example is any guide, here are the two secrets of coping with expensive oil: own fuel-efficient cars, and don’t drive them too much.


Any serious reduction in American driving will require more than this — it will mean changing how and where many of us live.

To see what I’m talking about, consider where I am at the moment: in a pleasant, middle-class neighborhood consisting mainly of four- or five-story apartment buildings, with easy access to public transit and plenty of local shopping.

It’s the kind of neighborhood in which people don’t have to drive a lot, but it’s also a kind of neighborhood that barely exists in America, even in big metropolitan areas. Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.

And in the face of rising oil prices, which have left many Americans stranded in suburbia — utterly dependent on their cars, yet having a hard time affording gas — it’s starting to look as if Berlin had the better idea.

Changing the geography of American metropolitan areas will be hard. For one thing, houses last a lot longer than cars. Long after today’s S.U.V.’s have become antique collectors’ items, millions of people will still be living in subdivisions built when gas was $1.50 or less a gallon.

Infrastructure is another problem. Public transit, in particular, faces a chicken-and-egg problem: it’s hard to justify transit systems unless there’s sufficient population density, yet it’s hard to persuade people to live in denser neighborhoods unless they come with the advantage of transit access.

And there are, as always in America, the issues of race and class. Despite the gentrification that has taken place in some inner cities, and the plunge in national crime rates to levels not seen in decades, it will be hard to shake the longstanding American association of higher-density living with poverty and personal danger.

Still, if we’re heading for a prolonged era of scarce, expensive oil, Americans will face increasingly strong incentives to start living like Europeans — maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.

Has Krugman read the Hirsch report(s)? Doesn't seem like it from this column.

Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.

This guy is all fluff, why doesn't he pitch this in Iowa or Oklahoma? He just tells everyone exactly what they want to hear. I don't hear any talk of limiting "carbon miles" for the DC polticians. Stop all those political junkets and you might actually make a dent in CO2 emmisions.

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.
1. The ration by price is working on SUVs, car pooling is the new thing. Just crank up the Alt energy research and stay out of the way.
2. Start Al Gore on a diet, make ALL politicians pay for their own food ALL the time, encourage "Victory" gardens in DC ala WWI&II, propose a new Mass transit system (Buslines/Amtrak on steroids) to reduce the airport and traffic conjestion. GM, Ford and Chrysler can retool to build the engines and passenger/frieght cars. Increase Nasa's budget by 10X and lets go to Mars, alot of good ideas have come out of this agency, think cordless tools and battery technology. We'll need to get off this rock eventually.
3. "our homes on 72 degrees" Again, the ration by price is working...Mind your own business and quit trying to tell everyone else how to live. Not like they'll turn down the thermostat in the White House or the Captiol.
4. "other countries are going to say OK" Yes, we drilled the first oil well so this mess is partly our fault. However, all that diesel and fertilizer feeds alot of people in the world. Yes, we're well fed and warm, don't expect us to feel bad about it. The SUVs will make great mini buses and are currently being reduced.

"Countries with high fertility rates can't pop out as many babies as they want, find themselves hungry, and then demand more food from us and expect we are going to say OK".
Amen to that. Try to introduce birth control in a Muslim country and see what happens. Yes, we should reduce our oil use due to strategic interests, walk more to be healthier, watch less TV etc no doubt about it....but we don't need some politician or government agency to regulate how much we eat or the temperature of our thermostats, ration by price and public shame works much better.

Sounds like the same old stuff, "do as I say, not as I do" You really think Obama and Al Gore are going to make ANY sacrifices? Be honest, you really think any other country is going to slow its development because of global warming? Get real, the whole "carbon credit" stuff sounds like the next Greenspan bubble, with the end result turning us all into serfs on Al Gore's new farm. The last thing we need is a "Department of Climatology" that regulates how many beans we eat. Extreme weather may be our fault, it may not be, but we haven't been recording things long enough to really know and the variables are too countless to measure despite the "debate being over".
Reducing the amount of air miles and meaningless "hot air" the political canidates can say will drop the temp by -5C, reducing Al Gore's chilli intake will drop it another -1C so the possible problem is easy to solve.

However, resource depletion is real, measurable and there is something we can actually do about it. Global warming is "pie in the sky" idea that any possible "solution" such as seeding the oceans (WTF?) will probably have ALOT of unintended consequences worse than the original "problem".

Try to introduce birth control in a Muslim country and see what happens.

You are obviously unfamiliar with the history of population and birth control in Iran, Turkey, Indonesia or the Mahgreb.

The facts are available here:

Yeah that Muslim country comment is very hypocritical.

Like you could try to induce birth control in a Christian [or any ]country, but the religious rightwing Republicans long ago made that illegal even to discuss with women. Gag rule healthcare funding cut off threats were the first order of business in the both Reagan and Bush administrations. And here in the US, you can't even teach birth control information to public school kids old enough to marry in their states. You'd lose school funding under the abstinence only sex education rules.

TPTB need the largest slave labor supply possible to enforce the globalized low wage policies that keep them rolling in profits. Therefore third world and poor Americans must keep having babies. No condoms for you! And keep those legal immigration quotas artificially low so that most working immigrants can be classified as illegal - insuring low wages and high profits again, of course!

then just expect that other countries are going to say OK

And how shall other nations register their 'not OK' status?

Direct Physical Attack? Resolutions at the UN? Postings on the Internet? Editorials in the NYT?

How about opting to not trade with the US Dollar?

Some Americans have this plan:

Yikes! They are proposing a run on banks. Bank failures, just what we need at this point.


A funny comment I saw on another blog...

The good thing is that people stupid enough to believe in and act upon this don't have enough money to make a difference.

I am sorry to note that Obama is seen by some as just another pol. Living in New Hampshire I and my friends got to see him at a rally and speak to one of his advisors at a couple of house parties. To understand Obama I think you need to read or hear his early speeches very carefully. He warned of the need for sacrifice, and we older folks (at or near retirement) understood this to mean us, not the working poor; and having been young in the JFK era believe me we're waiting for the chance to make a difference again (actually we're already acting). He said he would need us to work with him, in order to counterbalance the influence of money on Congress. "Naive" as he is, he knows his whole plan won't work unless he tells us the truth. I know he will face the usual horrific challenges and pressures, and he will certainly age in office, but -- for example, can you just imagine him at a press conference?
I have family in Tunisia and on a recent visit conversed on separate occasions with two well-informed (Tunisian) in-laws about the election. Both said they didn't think the "money" in the US would let him win. I said he might well win nevertheless, and what did they think if he were elected? Their answers were the same: "It would change the world."
In my mind, we citizens have a responsibility to make Obama successful. Too many of us act as consumers, and see our political responsibility as simply choosing one of two competing products. Some even feel it is the candidate's responsibility to sell him/herself to us, vs. us doing our own careful consideration. Yikes.
At the rally in NH, my wife mentioned to a stranger that she had wanted to tell the Secret Service men to take good care of Barack Obama. The stranger said "I already did."
Sorry for the long wind, but right now, as we all seem to agree, politics is a very serious matter.

"we citizens have a responsibility to make Obama successful." Surely, you're joking.

Alot of us here in "flyover country" don't agree with what Obama believes or the way he sees the world. I don't have a responsibility make any politican successful other than pay taxes and vote. Especially not Obama who doesn't represent anything I believe. The fact that some see him as a "savior" and therefore above critisism makes the uneasy feeling in our stomachs even more so.

Of course, its a free country and you are entitled to your opinion, but don't think for a minute that its my "duty" to support him, its just not unless he is president and then I don't have to agree with him. In my mind, the "inspirational leader" you should be talking about is Ron Paul.

McCain is not bad for a Senator though, at least he practices what he preaches and despite being in DC a long time, still remembers what honor and sacrifice is.


Alot of us here in "flyover country" don't agree with what Obama believes or the way he sees the world.

And how's that getting rid of signing statements, executive orders, REXX 84, Adjenda 21, and the patriot act working out?

but don't think for a minute that its my "duty" to support him, its just not unless he is president and then I don't have to agree with him.

But then what he says goes, hence your lack of progress on the list above?

McCain is not bad for a Senator though, at least he practices what he preaches

And you've established that 'not bad' means you are OK with corruption - things like the Keating 5.

still remembers what honor and sacrifice is.

Right. You just keep telling yourself that, what with your 'corruption is acceptable' position.

For more honor:

"OK with corruption - things like the Keating 5" Not okay with it, just the best of bad options. Keating 5 was awhile ago, Obama was still doing coke in college at that time. Atleast McCain doesn't hate his own country.

What I meant was that as citizens of a democracy we have a role in governing our town, our state, our country. What I meant by "make Obama successful" was "help him succeed in accomplishing what we need him to accomplish". He can take care of his personal success(es) very well without your help or mine. Sorry for my confusing language.

Unfortunately, to understand him one would have to look at who is financing him, and to recognize that no president is a force unto himself. They are representatives of a group, usually one with money and power and expectations of a return on their investment. He may be the least of all evils, but do not expect much more.

Interesting interview over at BlogHer with Obama today: http://www.blogher.com/blogher-exclusive-barack-obama-answers-policy-que...

Sounds more like he wants to be President of the World than President of the USA?

What people don't seem to get is that peak oil, who's president are all mote points. Al Gore has won and will rule this country. Everyone has jumped on the global warming bandwagon. Once the election is done, global arming will be the big thing. We will sign Kyoto and from that point on all decisions will be made by Gore and his court as to what we can and can't do. America is over. Freedoms will disappear so fast they will makd Bush look like a light weight. The presidency ,congress and courts will be nothing but decreasing figure heads, Best you can do now is prepare.

So how long before someone calls him James Earl Obama?

Got bullets? I think we are all going to need a few before we sing kumbya around the campfire, despite what the greenies say.

ENOUGH motherhood statements Mr Obama, give us something tangible as we all, well most of us, want to stop wars, global warming and world hunger. Vacuous generalised statements of the obvious is not what is called for from a supposed new style of leader that you claim to be. Please just one tangible fact based intiative is all I ask and wait for from you IF YOU CAN or isn't YES WE CAN seems like I have heard that one before, I wonder where?

Well it's nice to know you're for something, unlike the GOP trolls who are good for nothing but hooting and throwing feces. The conservative loot and pillage gravy train and corporate welfare are no longer viable. Maybe we can get the fundies out of our bedrooms while we're at it. Step 1 is to vote the GOP out of existence, because they have lied and swindled us into this pickle.

No! I Want Ice Cream 5 Times A Day!