Peak Oil Media: Matt Simmons gets more pessimistic on CNBC, Heinberg, and others...

A Matt Simmons phone interview on CNBC, in which Matt sounds a very loud and certain clarion call about our direction--calling it (potentially) "The Great American Disaster." I think it is safe to say that Matt has gotten pretty pessimistic, even doomerish lately.

Under the fold, more from Richard Heinberg with a great review of accelerating events, Phil Hart talks peak oil on Aussie TV, KrisCan interviews Andre Angelantoni about post-peak life, and David Bell of ASPO-Oz appears on Bloomberg.

Richard Heinberg, author of “Peak Everything”, reviews the accelerating events since mid-2007 with Janaia Donaldson of Peak Moment Television, including the credit crunch and fossil fuel price volatility, noting that we’ve missed most of the best opportunities to manage collapse.

An interview with TOD's own Phil Hart on ABC Stateline TV in Victoria (Australia).

KrisCan speaks with Andre Angelantoni (you might recognize him as aangel!) at San Francisco's hybrid and electric car service Luscious Garage where they chat about how to prepare for life after Peak Oil. (2 parts)

David Bell, convenor at the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, talks with Bloomberg's Bernard Lo from Sydney about the outlook for crude oil supply and demand, and the impact of rising prices on business.

Finally here's a link to a World Energy Television (an energy industry site, I think) has a long interview with Matt Simmons: It's not embeddable, so you have to slog over there yourself.

Who wouldn't get doomerish reading the articles on this website - the amount of fear mongering and lack of positive imput is a tragedy. Peak oil by nature is a concept only - of course gasoline is going to run out but the attitude with which you approach it can make a huge difference. The general attitude here is depressing if not condesending, and is continuely in a state of proving itself rather then researching solutions and showing people how to live a natural lifestyle.

Fearmongering? Lack of positive input?

So, no, we shouldn't attempt to understand the scope of the problems we face so that we can then understand which set of band-aids to attempt to apply?

Surely you are joking.

Let's triage the patient without diagnosing the problem! What would you do if you walked into a hospital near death and was told "Sir, you have blood all over you, here's a band-aid for that itty bitty cut on your forehead." You would likely not recover from your wounds.

If you haven't looked around lately and seen what is going on in the world, that is exactly the approach you are advocating.

We offer up hopeful, large scale solutions around here all of the time. We just embrace them as the panaceas that they are not, neither do we embrace individual and government inaction and complacency. Kinda different from your standard media fare, eh?

The general attitude here is clinical and empirical with a graceful touch of concern for humanity thrown in for flavor. It is not condescending: it is educated. It is critical. It is academic. And it is certainly not for everyone.

I take no joy in the success of this site, nor do I take joy in the massive resource inflation we are witnessing--other than that it may be the one thing that could spur alternative fuel and method development. I really want the community writ large to be wrong about all of this. I beg for it every single day, sir.

That's why we started this site: to learn as much as we could, to assemble as much knowledge as we could, in an empirical caring way, and to try to facilitate conversations about these complex, nasty problems.

The people here have learned the facts, and we don't sugar coat them. Frankly, I am immensely proud of this community and its approach to the real problems we face. There are a lot of smart people here thinking hard about what's coming.

Someone has to talk about it, someone needs to do the hard thinking, and someone needs to worry about the effects, especially on those who have less of a voice in our society--the poor, the indigent, the folks who are going to bear the brunt of this first wave of transition. I can't speak for others, but that's why I do this.

I am in a relatively safe seat to watch all of this go down--at least in the early innings. However, ask those increasingly hungry people in Pakistan how they are feeling right about now about ethanol. Ask the people who won't have heat this winter what they think of the resource premium.

This is a human tragedy already.

Prof: Congrats on a great site. I realize what the first poster said is very unpopular, however I feel he made a good point. TOD is unlikely to fix the planet-possibly the focus could shift more towards opportunity rather than defeatism. Still a great site-just a minor suggestion, not a criticism.

None of us aspire to "fix the planet." No single person, website, or entity for that matter could do so.

However, every single person we educate about our energy situation is another person who has the choice to a) learn, b) prepare according to their own perceptions, and c) educate others.

Do you really think that I keep harping on all of you to spread this site around for my own ego or personal gain? Hell no. It's about facilitating education and conversation for as many as we can.

You see, that's what many do not get: TOD is not about defeatism, instead, TOD is already about opportunity! The opportunity to facilitate as many people as possible making a difference through nontraditional and traditional means.

It needs to happen. The more people learn, the better off we will be. It's that simple.

I would rate Prof. Goose up, but the arrows aren't working.

Prof. Goose 2008!

Oh p*** off those silly arrows, they are just being used here to show agree/disagree, in contravention of their declared purpose! Just reading the posts takes enough time without getting into gradings.


The CNBC video is a prime example of the juxtaposition of peoples time horizons and boundaries. Simmons eloquently outlined the bigger picture of that society is facing dramatic institutional and structural change, and then the conversation was brought directly back to short term profits. June highs mean july lows, etc.

The reason there is no international, national, or regional body looking at WIDE boundary SYSTEMS analysis is that there is no money in it. If the markets are designed to produce profits measured in dollars, how will the markets solve problems of the global commons? How can the viewers/guests on CNBC even begin to analyze the depth of this problem beyond how higher oil prices affect their portfolio allocations? There will come a day when a 'paradigm allocation' will leapfrog modern financial portfolio allocation. Thats why the quizzical looks on those guests faces - energy and ecology are not topics ingrained in most traders pattern recognition banks.

I can only hope that our next crop of national leaders surround themselves by wide bounary thinkers - to surround themselves by the current crop of salespeople will lessen our chances dramatically.

And I agree with PG - this is difficult to do - to present facts about the situation as best as possible while remaining positive. What if the situation is worse than even some of the pessimists predict? The sooner we close off avenues that are dead ends, the better we can save high quality resources.

Well done by Matt Simmons.

Agreed. It's very difficult to convey the complexity of the peak-oil issue in a venue like CNBC's "Fast Money", which thrives on 30-second sound bites, whereas comprehending the reality of our energy predicament takes weeks or months of reading and study to sink in. Matt Simmons has been able to penetrate the mass-media "white noise" about as well as anyone...

At least half my research time (which isn't much) is spent here, asking simple questions on a subject that's a little daunting afterall - indeed, it seems a heck of lot more urgent to my kid's immediate future than recent discussions on climate change.

For the most part, I've been delighted with the replies here, which are often in great detail. And I do agree with you, Robin on the rating thing TOD is trialling and would rather see a "snap-to" function somewhere, so I can easily find any responses to my Average Joe questions (some stories generate 400+ comments).

Regards, Matt B
PS. Does anyone think buying a cheap, road-worthy motorbike from China at the moment is a bad thing? (Passed my learner's last week).

Hi Joe,

Just thought I'd say Hi, though it's OT. I'm glad to see you here and asking questions.

My bias on motorized bikes is that of people I've known personally, I've never known a motor-biker who was not involved in a serious crash. But that's just my own observation. Anyway, do be careful.

Giddaye Aniya,

You sound like my mum, my sister, my wife (and her mum and sister), neighbours wives and all the ladies at the local tennis courts!


I live in an area where backstreets and 40 to 50 km/hr limits abound. To that end, I work from home, so the licence is mainly for local errands. And I'm 42, so should have a bit of sense out there... Besides, if current trends continue, ten years from now cars and trucks may be few and far between (which may not be a bad thing).

Regards, Matt B
PS. Testing for their motorbike license last week (ten in our group) were: Dad and I, two ladies in their early sixties, one lass mid-twenties, another mid-thirties, a fellow my age, another slightly younger and two 18-year-old lads. Guess which two failed the prac test? Hint: Young male testosterone!

Good question Joe. Don't buy Chinese anything by the way. Buy local. It is dangerous to ride motorcycles but it has provided me with a lucrative living for a long time. I am a physician who works in the operating room and the bulk of our organ donors are young male motorcycle riders so if more people buy cycles and motorbikes we will have a lot more hearts and kidneys and livers for the market. Interestingly not that many victims are bicyclists and our real growth business seems to be bullet bikers. Get a bicycle Joe and keep your organs for your own use.

My brother notes that in his town they're unofficially called "donorcycles". Good to keep in mind.

The real danger, of course, is the dang cars that'll kill you. I had an old italian motorcycle in my teen years and by staying away from traffic, never had even a close call. I'm actively looking to buy one in the 125-250cc range just to park in the garage for future use during gasoline scarcity... then I'd look forward to rationing.

The problem with motorcycles is cars.

Greenish, my experiences exactly.

As a young man I owned a motorcycle in a rural area and also never had even a close call. When I moved to the big city, I gave it up because car drivers just didn't pay attention (and this was BEFORE cellphones!).

And I too am shopping for a simple 4-stroke bike to store away till most of the cars are off the streets...

Errol in Miami

Hi Joe,

Caveat - I'm a cyclist not a motorbiker but have lots of friends who also ride motorbikes and scooters in and around London and on race tracks. First i would say get yourself some good gear, when (not if) you come off then jeans just get cut through immediately and so does your skin, don't skimp on a helmet how much is your head worth? Some of my friends have come off at well over 100 mph and just got up because they were wearing good kit and didn't hit anything. Next, look ahead and ride defensively, if a car hits you it will hurt you more and it doesn't matter if it's not your fault it still hurts. Try and watch out for parked cars opening their doors without looking.

Good luck.

Hey joe. I ride a Lifan 200 cc enduro. It's a cheap chinese knockof of a honda bike. They are NOT low maintenance. The chinese bikes are constantly in need of low-level repairs, however, at least in the case of a lifan, the engines and transmissions are good, and the bike gets 80+mpg.

I have wrecked it many times off-road, but never had a problem on-road, nor have almost any of my many friends that ride. Frankly, most of the bike wrecks are horsepower on the brain rather than inherent to motorcycles. Yes, if you drive at 120mph, you gonna die. But how many reasonable car drivers do you know that have never wrecked? How do the motorcycle statistics compare to say... ferraris driven by 22 year olds? I'd be a little hesitant to ride much in dense traffic, having tried that for a while before.


It's a bad thing if it's a two-stroke: loud and smelly, two-strokes are highly polluting!

Also, be sure to seek out and and take a training class before becoming a regular rider, even (especially) if it means taking a class intended for "real" motorcycles. Two-wheeled motorized vehicles have some counter-intuitive characteristics, which mean that your years of driving cars and bicycles are likely to cause you to do exactly the wrong things! Motorcycle training classes are easy and enjoyable and will give you a new set of motor-skills that are likely to save your life...


PS. Does anyone think buying a cheap, road-worthy motorbike from China at the moment is a bad thing? (Passed my learner's last week).

In general I'd say yes it's a bad thing.

Spend a little bit more for a Honda, Yamaha, or Suzuki (we could add Vespa and Aprila to the list if you are considering a scooter) even if it means buying a used bike rather than new, and you won't have to worry about build quality, reliability, or parts availability issues and the bike will hold it's resale value much better, plus if it already has a scratch or two you won't cry so much the first time you drop it, which most new riders do sometime in the first year or so. There are buckets full of low mileage nearly new bikes out there, the best value and you'll have lots of choice.

Things not to "try at home", shows a lot about what wearing all the gear will let you walk away from...
and just plain fun too :-)

Congrats and enjoy the ride!
Ride safe!

Thanks John (and to all others above). I very much appreciate the advice.

Perhaps I'll regret it, but...

Bought the Chinese bike this morning; 150cc, $2,490(Aus) ride away. The thinking; twelve months of 40, 50, 60km/hr backstreets, off-peak, for local errands only, upgrade to a brand-name bike after that. Petrol saved by this time next year (versus not using the Aussie-built VY); 220 litres, or around $340(Aus) - based on a mere 2000km.

I promise to be careful.

Regards, Matt B
Now, I'm off to arrange those bunches of flowers I just picked up for the wife...

Buying a Motorcycle? Thats a great idea... Indian and Chinese Motorbikes are strong, ruff-&-tuff, and snappy. An average 200cc bike will easily give a 150+ miles per gallon. I suggest "Pulsar DTSi 200"


150+ mpg is a bit much I think. A 200 cc bike would do somewhere between 50-75 mpg.

Still much better than the average car, but not that good.

btw, a normal car that does better than 50 mpg can be bought now. No hybrid, just an ordinary ICE.

This one does somewhere between 50mpg and 60mpg. The secret is: It weights only 720 kg and has a 1 liter 3 cylinder engine.

Thats very interesting... :) Cars are very important for the way of life to continue in some way. My parents are getting old, and they may not be able to drive a two-wheeler in a decade.

Generally, my 125cc bike (Bajaj XCD 125) gives a mileage of about 85 kilometers per liter, so I believe a 200cc bike would give arund 60 kmpl.

What arrows? Oh, THOSE arrows... I filter them out. Firefox + AdBlockPlus + AdBlockPlus Element Hider. Then add this element hiding rule that some other kind TODder created: karma_3_big)

Voila! No more annoying (and mostly useless) arrows!

Karma, got an error message from this site earlier "karma error", now I see this word again. Interesting word to find floating round in TOD subspace.

It's the new form of education. The teachers let their pupils present ideas, then they vote on their classmates ideas. The most popular ideas - I mean the best ideas - win. Democracy and the market system have worked so well in organising society, it's logical to apply it to learning as well.

If "None of us here aspire to "fix the planet"", why then the question: ask someone in Pakistan what he thinks about ethanol? TOD does indeed try to fix the planet and is notorious for global think. Just check out the daily items on Drum Beat. Most are foreign related.

The truth is that some things that mitigate Peak Oil like ethanol benefit one country more than another. The idea that Americans should make economic and energy choices based on the dire situations in the Third World is every day fare at TOD.

Third world countries like Haiti, Pakistan and Bangladesh got themselves into the situation they are in without American help. Now Americans are suppose to make unsound economic and energy choices to bail them out according to many who post on TOD.

The result will be that we all descend to the lower economic level that these third world countries have already achieved. This will not sell except in those countries who reap the largess of American stupidity. They have nothing to pay for grain. They make little effort to control their ever rising populations. They have no better plans to deal with Peak Oil than we do. And if they could they would gladly slip into the U.S. and increase our own population stress which is happening even now in the case of Mexico.

X: Good point. However, your argument is "Fix the USA". IMO the USA isn't going to be fixed, probably a % of Americans will come through this thing okay. I don't think there is room for 300 million in the lifeboats-I could be wrong.

Sir or Madam: your credibility crashes to zero when you make claims like "countries like Haiti, Pakistan and Bangladesh got themselves into the situation they are in without American help." Before you ever post anything more about other countries around the world and the history of American involvement with them, please read (a lot) of books. Start with researching our involvement in Haiti over the past century or so. I think you'll wish you could take that post back.

Actually, when the US fully occupied Haiti for almost 20 years in the early part of the 20th century and ran the place it improved. Since then our involvement has been much more limited, too limited to turn the place around.

As for countries getting themselves into sad shape without US assistance: That is far more often the case than it isn't.

I bet none of the people giving me negative ratings on my comments about Haiti have read about just how well the 1915-1934 period in Haiti compares to what came afterward.

Poster "x" report to room 101 immediately for politically correct reeducation.

Exactly. The USA is singelehandledly responsible for every instance of shiftlessness, sloth, stupidity, savagery, and cruelty that ever occurred on Planet Earth - since millennia before it was even formed.

100% agree.
The group think on this site can mock the Catholic Pope, make evangelicals out to be flat earth rednecks and label Israeli's as racist. BUT don't point out that Haitians, Indians, Arabs etc have f*cked their countries up with massive birth rates and now threaten to increase the overpopulation in the US, Europe etc otherwise you will be labelled racist.
Pointing out flaws in other cultures/countries isn't always racist but realist.

Please don't count Pakistan in third world countries. We have a very large agricultural base, live in the most naturally fertile deltas, been home to the oldest civilization (mehrgarh) in world that predate egypt and sumeria. We have large reserves of natural gas and coal (200 billion tons out of 1000 billion tons total coal reserves in world).

Our 60 million arable acres SUSTAINABLY produce enough food for 300 million people, we are large exporters of rice, mango etc in food items, textiles and sports goods in industrial products and softwares and customer care in services.

Our govt put no taxes on working class, it only tax the big businesses. We have health and education free.

We have the fourth largest army in world. We are a nuclear power. We make almost all of advanced weapons of today's warfare in our own factories, rifles, tanks, air crafts, sea crafts etc.

We have excellent relations with china for whom we are the only friend. We also ofcourse have more than friendly and actually brotherly relations with highly rich and surplus in wealth nations of middle east, iran etc.

Usa "help" done only one thing to our economy...damage.

Wisdom, are there problems with food supplies in Pakistan.

Nope, as I said Pakistan produce enough food for 300 million people. Our population is about 160 million. So we grow almost double than what we need.

Looking at particular food items, we have a high surplus of rice which we still export in a world where leading exporters vietnam, thailand etc had cut their exports to almost nothing and india another major exporter cut exports 80 to 90 percent. We grow enough wheat to satisfy more than 90% of our wheat needs, in better crops it exceed 100% so we become exporters of wheat for short periods of time. About mango we are the biggest exporter.

We do import large amount of tea from kenya. Our own tea production is zero and since we were formerly part of british empire we have a great consumption of tea. We also import tobacco, a little of coffee etc.

Dear WisdomfromPakistan,

As a native of what is sometimes called a third world country, namely Brazil, I think I understand your reaction and desire to point out all of the great and good things about ones native history and culture.

I have also been a citizen of the United States for over 40 years and will be the first one to admit that this country has a lot things to explain on the global stage and that, is to put it very mildly. However I am also of the opinion that one must very carefully examine the minute splinters in ones own eyes before making blanket statements about the motes in the eyes of others.


Fernando Magyar

Fernando, Could you please e-mail me re: Brazil? I'm very interested in your native country. Just link my name to get email info. Thanks.


dropped you a line

Wisdom, I know you love your country and I'm certain it has many good points but your statement that it isn't 3rd world is unsupportable.
According to the US Dept of Ag your country is a net food importer. Your Federal Bureau of Statistics has overall imports at $40 Billion and exports of $19 billion (and a record trade deficit). Pakistans food imports are up 51% in the past year.
The UN Human Development Index has Pakistan at 136 (and falling) and Burma rates higher (132).
Your countries strong suit is remittances from expat workers (2 million in the Gulf) and growing demand from the gulf for your fresh produce.
Bottom line is your country wouldn't be my choice for moving to after the crash.

NEAL: Just in case you didnt know....America IMPORTS
more food then it EXPORTS.
I would enjoy providing the evidence from official
sources that have dot gov web addresses and proudly
show the presidential seal....if only you would say
"It cant be true".
Importation of more food then exporting does not a
third world nation make.

Nephilim, I think you need to read what Wisdomfrompakistan wrote before you criticize what I wrote. HE said it wasn't 3rd world in part because of its strong agricultural production (enough to feed 300 million was quoted). I was correcting what he claimed.
And how do you justify the US as a net food importer? (tonnage, value ?). Maybe the value of coffee,chocolate, bananas etc exceeds the value of wheat, corn and other produce but in calorific or nutrient value it would be safe to say the US is the worlds largest net food exporter.

Neal: Iam surprised you tried to argue America doesnt have a severe trade deficit in agriculture.
It was once true that America was the "Food basket of
the world" but sadly hasnt been for nearly a decade.
I live in America and offer you the first of many
dot gov official sites as evidence...
Please feel free to open site using the drop down menu
and cursor to "United States"
Then view that America imports nearly TWICE as much
food as it exports.
Weather by tonnage or calorie America imports twice as
much as it by dollar,drachma,lira,
pound,rouble,peso,raw diamond,cut diamonds or boogers
America imports nearly twice as much food as it exports.
Please feel free to challenge this fact again and again and again...I have dot gov websites and
wallstreet journal articles that could choke an
obese Chicago pig butcher.
And heres the pic of the obese Chicago pig butcher

wisdomfromPakistarn,We have some folks here with a euro-centric world view.As my best friend in college was a Pakistani,I know better.Many don't.

America being the most profligate energy user in the world has exported it's values to the poorer countries of the world. It is no wonder that the desire to emulate the American way of life is now causing chaos for all. Remember that it is the third world that is now providing the energy for America. WTSHTF as it will for many Americans it will be the third world people that know how to grow crops without oil that may save your ass. You do not seem to understand the perilous situation you are in. Listen to Jim Kunstler and Matt Simmons they know the American way of life that is not negotiable according to Bush is a dream.

While I am a recipient of the advances in medicine and technology spawned by the brains within America it is now time to have these brains tackle the energy question. The bankers of America have given us the credit crunch with their manipulation of money basically for individual wealth creation. Time now to spend the funds on solutions to this crisis. Forget the blame game, too late now anyway.

All of us at TOD should be lobbying our Governments with the knowledge we all gain from this site. We have elections here in NZ in 4 months time and to date only the Greens of all the politicians are talking about energy. Our Government has brought back our rail system from private enterprise, This is where our taxes should be invested in all countries including the USA.

Third world countries like Haiti, Pakistan and Bangladesh got themselves into the situation they are in without American help.

Benign or not-so-benign neglect by the developed industrial world, to which the U.S. belongs, did get them into the dire situation they are in. Regardless of whether the U.S. was directly involved, their problems are now our problems...

Prof: agreed on the points you just made. However, I do think the Drumbeats sometimes wander off in very defeatist directions, for example in treating hard-labor back-to-the-15th-century scenarios as inevitable, or in taking a tack - ludicrously ironic for anyone posting something on the Web - perilously close to asserting that all technology can only be useless. (Actually I think that stance often has more to do with politically-correct Marxist-Leninism than with defeatism, but that's for another day.) Nobody's crystal ball is clear enough to back assertions as bald as that, so staff might consider responding once in a blue moon, as Big Gav occasionally does on TOD:ANZ.

Check out the interaction over there a few days ago, involving John15, Big Gav, and others. It worked out rather differently from the archetypal interaction with John15 over 'here' (i.e., usually, on the Drumbeat.) Now I too occasionally get irritated when John15 posts pie-in-the-sky in a manner seeming to suggest that we could scale it up this very afternoon, but it remains that the differences between that interaction and the one typical here probably underline what theokobox might be picking up on. (And I do think the new numerical rating system tends to reinforce, or to "align with", a notion of groupthink.)

theokbox: the username page only shows how long you've been registered - a whole four hours - not how long you've been lurking. Still, don't you think your first post might be a bit early to paint with such a broad brush? It might well be fair comment on one particular article, but "Who wouldn't get doomerish reading the articles on this website" uses "article" in the plural, not the singular, and it manifestly refers to the entire site.

I'd suggest that you and anyone else new please get some perspective from the editorial and tutorial materials - and not attempt to judge the whole site from selected open comment threads.

I suspect a few of the commentators above are examples of the troll species.It is very hard to know how to deal with trolls.Maybe not feeding them would be the first line of defense.
Personally, I find TOD to be a valuable resource,whether I agree with the opinions expressed on it or not.
Best wishes to all with honest intent.

I don't know what site you're reading, PaulS, but it's always seemed to me that half the people posting here are engineers.

And yet somehow it doesn't seem to help as much as it might. Check out the overly maudlin comments concerning Easter Island on today's Drumbeat. Or the recurring meme that once oil plateaus or starts to dip, we'll never again be able to get agricultural goods except from across the street, never mind that even the Romans were shipping them long distances - or that shipping apples from Washington State to other parts of the country at a fuel cost of a penny or two per pound is some kind of disaster.

Education definitely is KEY for why the OilDrum MUST exist! The amount of misinformation and denial out there is vast.

I had an argument today with a intelligent man, passionately self-employed, and politically libertarian by my estimation. I searched for 20 minutes for common ground and found none, just "different facts" that need disputing, which is a beginning at least.

First he said that the market will respond to problems (when the government isn't getting in the way.) Fine, minus corruption of insider information and market manipulation. Then when I bring up peak oil, he says its ALL artificial limits causes by drilling limits and that there's no shortage of oil (in the U.S.) I suggested the U.S. oil reserves would be depleted in a decade of our current consumption even if we could extract it fast enough, AND that what's left can't be extracted/pumped fast enough to meet our current demand.

He never once considered the possibility that the U.S. ought to be TRYING to reduce our consumption. He says the Market could provide for us NOW if we let it, including transitioning us to alternative energy. I noted that that's exactly what the high oil prices now were doing - a less than gentle push away from oil, and he just returned to his belief high prices were artificial and hurt people and denied that the Magic Market requires high prices to encourage us to move to what we need.

It hurts my brain to argue with denialists, but I suppose I'm yet a denialist myself. Besides choosing to "pay down debt" now while I have more income than expenses, I can set myself to live on less money in the future. Besides that, and not owning a car, I may be as bad as anyone. I WANT someone to grab my shoulders and shake some sense into me, tell me this wonderful world around me is an illusion and I need to wake up and take reality seriously. But as long as the world LOOKS normal, as long as most people got jobs, and their credit isn't maxed out yet, we can continue the illusion a while longer.

I had a similar discussion with a friend who is getting his PhD soon, and his great observation was that ONLY people in very stable situations seem to worry about economic collapse or a returning great depression. I pointed out that only people in stable positions are willing to consider things that challenge their stability, which he accepted. But his faith was based on some mysterious information about "signs" and "indicators" NOT pointing towards a depression. I couldn't make any sense of it except to assume he read something somewhere that said such signs existed and were all looking up in the future.

Anyway, I have to wonder HOW MANY FACTS can a mind deny to keep their world sane, so they can get up the next day and do something that assumes a future that can't possibly exist as they wish it. AND if denial is so powerful, what are the "key facts" that can at least STICK around a while to be added to later "key facts" that will push them over?

I'd LIKE to share some of the PeakOil presentations, BUT I see perhaps they need to be written in a weaker voice than that of the converted. For me peak oil is an uncertainty in the near term, a certainty in the long term. I like Congressman Barlett's presentations largely, and his stated bigger mission, for leaving a world his grandchildren can enjoy and appreciate as he has, and of course his attempts to give perspective on the amount of energy in a gallon of gas.

Anyway, I guess my assumption is that the future is a place of less energy, less opportunity whatever we do, individually or collectively. I don't think that makes me a doomer, but I accept it is an assumption that may not be true.

I find the idea of a world with LESS actually interesting because it gives MEANING to values I hold - that the material world has become UNDERVALUED for our excess, and conservation and care for things a lost virtue. I truly can't stand to see the HUGE garbage bins so many people put out each week. Then I imagine the hours and hours each week people must spend BUYING things to trash so much so fast. it's insane to me, at least as a single person with just my bicycle to carry things.

So, my world view is strengthened by limits, even as I fear them, fear the fighting and hoarding that MUST come when others realize their future may not be as they've assumed. I fear a future of haves and have-nots where gated communities separate people by their individual wealth. If I was a bit more optimistic about my ability to communicate I'd see that also as a great wonderful challenge, but sharing is a BIG DRAG. I'm sure our speedy modern life is largely fueled by the convenience of isolation, and when that isolation means poverty, we'll have to quickly reorganize ourselves into more collective expressions of choice and priority.

And again, that's why I'm still a denialist. I assume a position of privlege, exchanging relative "voluntary simplicity" for resisting searching for more cooperative power. It's a nice world we have for freedom: (1) Earn money (2) Spend it as you please. Oops, and add (3) Borrow as you please.

Our illusion of freedom is our weakness too. We're all part of the problem because we can't imagine a lifestyle that uses 1/10 of the energy we use now, because we can't imagine freedom in that world. And because we can't accept that challenge, we'll go on the destructive path until it crumbles beneath us and becomes impossible to follow any more. That's where I'm really a doomer - I can't see any will for collective action that can make a difference.

I've caught the fatality of the Republican pessimism - whom in the name of personal power - have demonized government as a force for good. There is no common good. There's just money and the RIGHT for those who have it to KEEP it and spend as they choose.

I just don't even know if anything is worth discussing under such an atmosphere.

I'm almost coming to the conclusion that communication is hopeless as long as you are trying to convert someone who doesn't want to be converted. a seriously fucked up idea.

I remember a quote I copied down from "The Brothers Karamazov", by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It's a philosphical book, expressed through fictional characters. In one section one character talked about isolation and the need for everyone to set an example of "brotherly love" in the world, act selflessly, act outside of our immediate direct interest and benefit. It's a fun place to be, to turn down the voice of ambition, the noise of distraction. It's not really "the answer", not really "heaven", just the other side of life that becomes hidden under a poverty of spirit. I don't believe in collective awakenings, but perhaps there is a critical mass where the world does change directions. Anyway, brotherly-love is still entirely self-interest whatever greater benefit society might find in it.

Part Two Book VI: The Russian Monk.
1. Father Zossima and His Visitors. (d) The Mysterious Visitor Paragraph 12 [Page 278-280.]

... "That life is heaven," he said to me suddenly, "that I have long been thinking about." And all at once he added, "In fact, I think of nothing else." He looked at me and smiled. "I am more convinced of it that you are, I will tell you why later on."

I listened to him and thought that he had something that he wanted to tell me.

"Heaven," he went on, "lies hidden within all of us - it lies hidden in me now, and if I will it, it will be revealed to me tomorrow and for all time."

I looked at him. He was speaking with great emotion and looking mysteriously at me, as if he were questioning me.

"And we are all responsible to all for all, apart from our own sins. You were quite right in thinking that. And it is wonderful how you could comprehend it in all its significance at once. And in truth, so soon as men understand that, the Kingdom of Heaven will be for them not a dream, but a living reality."

"And when?" I cried out to him bitterly, "When will that come to pass? Will it ever come to pass? It is not simply a dream?"

"Then you don't believe it." He said, "You preach it and don't believe it yourself. Believe me, this dream, as you call it, will come to pass without doubt. It will come, but not now, for every process has its law. It's a spiritual, psychological process. To transform the world, to recreate it afresh, men must turn into another path psychologically. Until you have become really, in actual fact, a brother to everyone, brotherhood will not come to pass. No sort of scientific teaching, no kind of common interest, will ever teach men to share property and privileges with equal consideration for all. Everyone will think his share too small and they will be always envying, complaining and attacking one another. You ask when it will come to pass; it will come to pass, but first we have to go through a period of isolation."

"What do you mean by isolation?" I asked him.

"Why, the isolation that prevails everywhere, above all in our age - it has not fully developed, it has not reached its limit yet. For everyone strives to keep his individuality, everyone wants to secure the greatest possible fullness of life for himself. But meanwhile all his efforts result not in attaining fullness of life but self-destruction, for instead of self-realization he ends by arriving at complete solitude. All mankind in our age is split up into units. Man keeps apart, each in his own groove; each one hold aloof, hides himself and hides what he has, from the rest. He ends by being repelled by others and repelling them. He heaps up riches by himself and thinks, 'How strong I am now and how secure.' And in his madness he does not understand that the more he heaps up, the more he sinks into self-destructive impotence. For he is accustomed to rely upon himself alone and to cut himself off from the whole; he has trained himself not to believe in the help of others, in men and in humanity, and only trembles for fear he should lose his money and the privileges that he has won for himself. Everywhere in these days men have ceased to understand that the true security is to be found in social solidarity rather than in isolated individual effort. But this terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will suddenly understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another. It will be the spirit of the time and people will marvel that they sat so long in the darkness without seeing the light. And the sign of the Son of Man will be seen in the heavens. ... But, until then, we must keep the banner flying. Sometimes even if he has to do it alone, and his conduct seems crazy, a man must set an example, and so draw men's souls out of their solitude, and spur them to some act of brotherly love, that the great idea may not die."

Thanks for that post,Tomruen.I haven't read Dostoyevsky for years and I can see that I will have to reread "The Brother Karamazov".Dostoyevsky seemed to be a rather strange mixture of mystic and anarchist,I think.Perhaps not a bad combination.

I'm afraid that I identify more with Ivan than with Zosima, but I certainly appreciate you plugging a great piece of literature.

I know exactly what you speak of, as I am unable to extract myself from an unsustainable lifestyle. I have a suburban house, a good job, and a family. My son is only 5 and I fear for his future. My wife agrees in principle with what I say, but so far is unwilling to make the sacrifices that I think will be required of us to prepare for the years to come. Hell, I don't have a crystal ball, maybe lowering our standard of living is premature. I work as much as I can to earn extra money in a desperate attempt to prepare, despite the time away from my family. Is this denial?

I have settled on trying to educate others, especially my co-workers and neighbors. I have come to the conclusion that solutions must be approached as a community, that we are stronger together. So I am finding myself in a waiting game, waiting for the others to catch up with my level of understanding. You are correct that there is a great deal of misinformation that has to be overcome but all we can do is encourage the others to seek the truth. I always take opportunities as they present themself, and right now there is a great deal of discussion about high oil prices. As the professor said, our goal is to educate. Hopefully at some point in the next few years leadership will take over and a mobilization will occur.


I, too, an unable to extract myself from an unsustainable lifestyle. Though I am trying. My husband is supportive of my efforts to work toward ELP. Right now we are only working on the L and P. We have purchased 13 acres of very fertile soil just 60 miles from NYC and are growing a s***load of vegetables. We don't have the E down and are merely giving the stuff away (I realize the value of it and won't sell it cheap, I'd rather give it away.) We just purchased a new John Deere tractor with 36 months interest-free financing and figure it's money in the bank. We'll see. Whether the hyper-inflationsists or deflashionists win out. Either way. We're riding green.

LOL you have 13 acres and a new tractor - I guess you and I have different ideas of "unsustainable" !
I have a herb garden - so if things get back at least my mud cakes will be flavoursome.

Orbit500 writes:

LOL you have 13 acres and a new tractor - I guess you and I have different ideas of "unsustainable" !

I note the humor. When flying into Brussels and out of Amsterdam that's exactly what I saw. Hundreds of small farms abutted to the cities and equipped with small tractors.

I've come to blame the media for quite a bit, but it probably isn't as simple as that. I remember when the US was initially talking about going into Iraq and the support for invasion was materializing based on fears of Saddam as a bogeyman. I tried to debate rationally with people. I tried to tell them about other facts not reported in the media. Even after the illegal invasion I still tried to reason with people. I ran out of energy at the end of the last election and finally said que sera sera.

People finally woke up in the last couple of years, but for all the wrong reasons. If they had really examined the facts, we would have impeached a long time ago and there would have been several trials for war crimes. This isn't the reality on the ground though.

I stopped trying to tell everybody about peak oil years ago for much the same reason. You can't reason with people who lack the curiosity to examine the world around them. It's like a computer model when you plug crap data in, you get crap data out. It's very rarely the fault of the hardware and when it is, that is testable and correctable.

You would have never been able to reach the person because he's not willing, prepared, and perhaps not even capable of accepting the information being freely given. Even now people don't see the truth, with gas on average above $4/gal. Maybe when it hits $12/gal - $15/gal they will begin to understand that none of the explanations previously offered, other than peak oil, are realistic. It's frustrating because our ability to mitigate the potential for collapse are fading away. It's almost like something we saw in the primaries, with Hillary unwilling to give up until she and the supporters she had were left with no other choice but to concede defeat.

People are often not rational and even when they are trying to be, they are limited by the quality of the information they have. It would be nice just to blame it on the media. It's much bigger than that and even bigger than the momentum of society. There are many vested interests who wield great power and want to grow their psychotic stranglehold on society. As much as peak oil deniers have trouble accepting peak oil, many truly-believing peak oilers are unable to see the deeper manipulation going on by the elite. You either see what's going on at the top of the pyramid or you don't.

Prof G: We may not want to "fix the planet" but making the world (or at least society) a better place is why a lot of us go into engineering.

Defeatism and pessimism are just things we all have to deal with. I know I get frustrated when I see countless cars driving by and I wonder where all these people are going. Or what is happening to my neighbors when gas gets REALLY expensive. or some of the STUPID things our society does like corn based ethanol. I can certainly understand Matt Simmons getting down

Now, as for TOD, there is NO better place to find such great information on energy. The analysis and data is just incredible. TOD should be offered as college credit. It certainly helps me more in life than my music appreciation class.

Thanks, MM. We're tryin'. :)

Prof. Goose,
I'm not quite buying the "we're just educating people" stance or at least the usefulness of this assertion to counteract the criticism that TOD shades into the doom and gloom attitude. I very much appreciate some of the work that TOD and peak oilers have done in tracking hydrocarbon usage and production. However there is a certain passivity and even glee with which some on TOD watch the proceedings that I believe is not really taking the ethical high road.

If you presume to know something in a crisis or at least know better, you have an obligation to take some leadership position or at least puzzle out what might be a way out of the crisis. I realize that some discuss solutions here but that is not "just educating people" as you assert.

I believe some in the Peak Oil community are just enjoying watching a train wreck, not really an admirable position, though replete with the pleasures of Schadenfreude.

For instance, the theme running through comments and some posts here that we will inevitably experience some form of population contraction is not NECESSARILY the future. It MAY happen and it is a matter of ethical choices and work by people to decide how they structure their future society. However, those who are attracted to the "trainwreck" narrative feel that it is INEVITABLE. This is just one example of the attraction to a gloom and doom narrative that one finds on these pages.

On my blog ( I have been advocating a turn to what I call the Renewable Electron Economy as a solution to our climate and energy needs. It is not an easy road to achieve this result but it is a vision of hope that can be achieved with sufficient work and social investment. It not the only vision out there that offers hope but it is one of them.

You assume that there IS a way out of the crisis. Just hypothetically speaking, how would you respond to people if you believed there was not?

I operate from the place that there is no way out of the crisis at this point. Is it true? I don't know and as I point out elsewhere, that's a deceptive question to ask. As a context "no way to avert the collapse" has me taking actions that I wouldn't take if I was operating from "how can we turn this ship around?"

Of course there is nothing stopping people from operating from both contexts at the same time and just switching between them as required. I've judged for myself that the best context for me is the first one; others have to make their own judgement.

The way out of the crisis is to go through it. (See WWII, the Great Depression etc). There will be something on the other side. Not everyone will live to see it.

Given the inherent unfairness of the world it is quite possible that some people will have a relatively easy time of it. Misery is never evenly distributed. I'm not expecting the Swiss to suffer much.

My "personal context" is that there will be countries (and regions) that manage to preserve their technology and culture through the transition to post-carbon energy sources. And there will be plenty who collapse.

I think it is a mistake to think of a "world collapse". Who is this "we" of whom you speak? There are haves and have-nots now, it is likely that in any crisis there will be some who suffer greatly and some who suffer little.

Those who say solar, nuclear and EVs cannot possibly be scaled up in time are right - in the context of saving the American middle class. But they will provide energy and transport for some people.

The French and the Swiss do not have to worry about "scaling up" nuclear power - they did that decades ago.

Between "no crisis" and "total collapse" there is a scenario where civilisation makes a transition to a clean, green post-carbon future - but "civilisation" consists of less than a billion people.

Like I said, misery is never evenly distributed.

I think those countries who have gone most far in modernization will suffer most, those who are still living in mostly pre 1800 standard of living will not suffer much.

Ofcourse the hunting-gathering native tribes of australia, africa etc will not suffer at all. Actually they will benefit with less pollution and more share in hunting once the safari hunters of "advanced" societies stop visiting them.

The country I think will most hit will be Japan as it has too many people in too little land having too little arable land and almost no other natural resources to trade. The country that should be least hit should be canada having too little people at too much arable land and too many natural resources to trade. Also brazil can be in better position.

Middle east would be ruined once its reserves of oil and gas are gone. Most hit in the region would be kuwait and uae. Least hit may be syria, egypt, iran, iraq (minus the effects of war).

China may go under a big revolution once its economy fail due to depleting coal reserves of its country, rising costs of imported fuel and decreasing buying power of its foreign consumers. Then its 900 million farmers would be very angry at having no share in the wealth and all burden of pollution in crop failures. Ditto with india.

Afghanistan will open new opportunities for a lot of pakistanis to settle there once american and british troops have to return because of their falling economies and because of very few remaining survivors in afghanistan after 30 years of war.

Russia I think will not be much affected because of its too big land, too few people, declining population, huge reserves of gas once oil is gone, huge amount of weapons enough to grasp resources of its former states around Caspian Sea and because it can literally make most of europe pay anything to survive the cold months every year using its gas.

Europe would sure be in rags because of too many people, too little land, too much industralization, too much dependence on outside (norway i not think can supply much of european energy demands) especially gas in winter months. Traditionally europe could have support only 6 million people, now it has more than 100 times that many people.

Usa can survive relatively easy because of its too few people, too much land inspite of its being very far in modernization.


Sorry but you are mistaken about both Australia and Egypt (as I've lived in both). There are no hunter-gatherers left in Australia (most became settled generations ago and depend on tourism, mining, agriculture and government welfare).
Egypt has gone from 2 million to 80 million in 200 years and depends on imported grain for about half its needs (bread,stock feed). Biggest money earner is tourism (won't that be nice for the 20% of the population that is involved in tourism WTSHTF).
Both countries have problems, although I love both (Egypt more) I am sure that Australia will be my best option.

You've had an account here for four days.

Look up the prefix "over-" and the word "generalization" right after you get done further impugning my motivations or accusing this site of being unethical or not genuinely motivated.

If you happened to see a break in the tracks coming and could tell the engineer to stop the train, would you not try to do so? Even if you were ten miles away and the engineer was deaf? That's what this site does, and I would like to think that we do it for the right reasons.

As I said in the opening comment, I get very little joy out of this, but I feel like it needs to be done. So do my colleagues. Are there some people here getting their dose of Schadenfreude out of this endeavor? Probably. Can I control that? No. Should that prevent us from our educational mission? No.


Recall my prior comment about Cornucopians du Jour? Note that our two new friends have been members for time periods measured in hours to days. I suspect that you have one person, or a very small group, signing on under new names and then telling everyone how worthless The Oil Drum is. One might begin to suspect that they perceive the research and discussion on The Oil Drum to be a threat.

I have two all time favorite comments that were directed at me: (1) I am personally destroying the Peak Oil movement (to which I replied that I was willing to hire myself out to destroy other movements) and (2) That I am analogous to Saddam Hussein--I was hoping for a Hitler analogy, but I suppose Hussein will have to do :(

I am personally destroying the Peak Oil movement

shhhh, I thought you asked us not to divulge that and now you go ahead and do it? you'll give away the secret handshake and the location of the compound....I think we need to elect a new leader.


Thanks a lot for all your work westexas. I appreciate you taking the time to explain the ELM. Also I especially appreciate contributors who come up with future oil/hydrocarbon production charts like Khebab, this seems to be a very valuable and selfish service. I don't know of any higher quality projections.

Finally thanks very much to Prof. Goose for putting up and maintaining the site, and for taking the time to make comments. Oh, and for the Matt Simmons CNBC piece today, it was great.

I'm shocked by how right Matt Simmons has been. Shocked. Really still in a state of disbelief. What did he say? If there are serious fuel shortages, it will only take a week for the food to run out. I will have to watch it again now.

Host: What do you think is the probably scenario for the next 6 months, and next 6-10 years
Simmons: Unfortunately I think the probable scenario is that we will keep dropping our inventories and feeling good about it. Hoping that that will basically bring about a price collapse assuming that might be demand declining when it's not, and then we will have a shortage. If we have a shortage then we will have a run on the bank so fast your eyes will spin. This is basically when everyone tops up their tank, and we haven't run out of oil but we could literally run out of usable diesel and gasoline and then we would have the Great American Disaster because within a week we would run out of food.

I don't understand the beginning of Mr. Simmons statement. I guess he is saying that the demand destruction that is being reported by the MSM isn't necessarily real and that instead decreased imports could be the result of using inventories?

As you are "impugning" my authority to say what I say by noting that I only recently joined here, I must have hit a nerve somewhere. That's not really much of way to engage with the more serious issue of whether personal predilections are influencing the way information is presented here as well as a general preference here to take a somewhat fatalistic attitude (perhaps not your attitude).

One thing that has kept me from feeling like it was worth my while to actually register on this site is the use by regular presenters here of pseudonyms, like "Prof Goose" rather than your real names. If you are presenting serious information that you stand by, why not sign it? Taking individual responsibility for what one says has something to do with ethics, I believe. You care that much more about something that bears your given and family names. The use of pseudonyms here actually undermines what is generally pretty high quality analysis (though shaded towards the negative...of course). TOD would be better without them.

Your metaphor of the train tracks and the engineer offers a number of different takes. You can alert the engineer in a way in which your credibility is undermined. You can write of the whole situation in a manner that submerges the genuine wish to help by portraying yourself as someone who loves stories of disaster and destruction. Using your real name helps.

Responding to Michael Hoaxter,

I think intelligent people are able to detect intelligence in posts regardless of the handle a poster uses, especially when they follow a poster's writings for several years.

And why would it matter to me that you post under your real name, if that is your real name? What the h3ll does your name mean to me? Absolutely nothing, because you've never posted anything of value here that I've ever seen.

The name is Hoexter, with an "e".

My advice to you is to step out of your info-cocoon and read other sites. Other people and I have written worthwhile stuff in that big wide world out there.

How about judging the merits of the particular argument or opinion? If you can do that, you might make a contribution.

Mark Folsom

Staff Biographies


Prof. Goose is Kyle Saunders, associate professor of political science at Colorado State University. "PG" graces us with a post now and again about energy politics and policy, sociology, and psychology, with a little bit of economics, research methodology, and modeling techniques thrown in for good measure. Behind the scenes, he is the managing editor of the site and attempts to help Super G keep the trains running on time.

*yawn* You hit no nerve I assure you.

And there you go again, claiming to know the formula for "credibility" and "ethics." My real name, as was noted above, is no real mystery once you spend some time here. My credibility really isn't in question, but thanks for your concern!

Even so, it is the quality of an argument that matters most, not the name behind it. Pseudonymity has a long and storied history; on the web even moreso. Times are changing and our model of knowledge is changing.

Sorry, we live in a post-modern world now, my friend: you do not have a license on how to do things "right"...nor do I. So, I'm not going to preach to you how to do things. Instead I'm going to present my information and argument and let people discern the quality of it for themselves.

To this point, our formula seems to work; it has accomplished and continues to accomplish amazing things. Mostly because I am surrounded by absolutely amazing people who do amazingly high quality work.

So, we are not going to change it on your recommendation. Thanks for the tip though.

Well, Kyle, in your style of response, you are confirming the juvenile quality of using pseudonyms which I think does some damage to your stated mission. Yes, my concern is genuine despite your jibes, I do actually think there is good work being done here, by you and by others.

Yes, your credibility outside your little community here would be helped by using your real name. Inside it, you may be a king!!

As for post-modernism, the whole point of TOD is in fact undermining the relativistic world of pomo. You are making statements here about the objective nature of limited supplies of the primary energy on which modernist and post-modernist societies have been based. Post-modernism at least in most of its popularized forms, is endlessly relativistic.

I'm quite sure if you adopted a thoroughly post-modern ethics in your day job, you would get yourself fired pretty quickly.

So the choice is yours, post modern or anti-post-modern ethics whether online or offline.

In order not to be juvenile, should not you address your opponent as Dr. Saunders?

I have to to admit knowing nothing of post-modern or anti-post-modern ethics, but I am certainly grateful for this site and the opportunity to discuss issues with like-minded people. I have been concerned about energy issues for some 30 yrs. I am mystified as to your motives for attacking the professor. You admit this site has done some good, and then attack his ethics.

Can any of us really do without the society in which we live? We have to work in the context of our times. Apologies for interjecting in this discussion, but I believe this format allows it. What I can tell you is that I think Prof. G. has done more to raise awareness than you or I. That makes me me want to do more. What about you? Is it your reaction to attack those who are are trying to accomplish something?

Reality is what it is despite the categorizations that are applied to different lines of thinking. I am a realist and I believe in the professor and this site. Criticism is welcome as long as it serves the search for the Truth, but this kind of criticism seems too personal to be relevant.

Just my take on this....


What you call juvenile, I call engaging social intellectualism!

("Web 2.0" Use teh Google... )

I assure you I am no king. We are peers among peers here at TOD. I am no better or worse than anyone on staff, readers, or anyone else--and I have much to learn from everyone here.

And, as for getting fired, the title says Associate Professor. Unless I pull a Ward Churchill or do something really stupid, well, I can adopt some post-modern ethics if I so choose. :)

As for post-modernism, the whole point of TOD is in fact undermining the relativistic world of pomo. You are making statements here about the objective nature of limited supplies of the primary energy on which modernist and post-modernist societies have been based. Post-modernism at least in most of its popularized forms, is endlessly relativistic.

Dear Mr. Hoexter,


I can recall my first post here, thinking of all these intelligent, but overly pessimistic people. Wanting to help them be less doomerish. I'm still a lot less doomerish than is typical here. Clearly many of us can see societal and technological paths which would minimize the pain of transition to a post petroleum world. Where the doomerism comes in is in seeing how foolish people in the collective continue to be. So our pessimism comes from seeing people and politics making things much worse by their boneheaded stupidity. Part of the doomerism comes from observing this dynamic, and part is the human reaction of frustration, kinda the 'this is what those idiots are going to bring onto themselves -but heck they deserve what they are going to get'.


We all know the real name, the Magic Decoder is here for any and all to see, as someone pointed out upthread. It reveals most of the staff names. And handles or pseudonyms are about as common throughout the Web as nitrogen molecules are in the atmosphere. So what is your problem?

Memo: even the much-maligned John15 usually manages to stick to one basic issue per subthread as opposed to changing the subject at every turn. If you did so, it would be a helluva lot easier to follow whatever you're trying to say.

I think you raise good points, but you are up against the groupthink. Helpfully, posts that represent the groupthink are now identified by the Groupthink Rating.

I find it ironic that the guys on TOD believe they are so much smarter than every one else, but then wonder why the likes of Michael Lynch regularly get invited to talk on the media, but press release from an anonymous group on the internet get thrown in the bin. You wonder who has the greater grip on reality.

TOD is a very Web 2.0 experiment, but is unlikely to be effective. Joe Sixpack is not reading the interweb.

This is a point i have failed to express but wanted too for sometime.


Some of us are (reading, that is). Some of us are very concerned for their children's future.

Regards, Matt B

Giddaye Michael,

Some of the pseudonyms do give a hint to the writer's personality (like mine). Which is OK, I guess. And though I do understand the arguements for anonimity, part of the reason MS media personalities and Big Business heads get their opinion heard is because they do put their names to their comments - to this end, I agree with you.

Perhaps for TOD comments, an accompanying join-date and an historical number of registered comments along side the pseudonym might help; eg...

Joe Average / Member 11 months / 63 Comments Made

Further, I wouldn't mind knowing a writer's age (yes I know there's plenty of students with 150 IQ's versus dummies like me - not to mention reluctance from the fairer sex; not to be sexist). Perhaps even an occupation? But hey, how far do we want to go. At the end of the day, I'm here for a few answers and a bit of comfort, because no-one in my immediate circle thinks about the future if we keep BAU; not enough anyway.

Regards, Matt Blain (from Oz)

The use of pseudonyms here actually undermines what is generally pretty high quality analysis (though shaded towards the negative...of course). TOD would be better without them.

Luckily, back in 1787-88, the good people of the State of New York were happy to evaluate just the high quality analysis contained in 85 essays signed by three authors who hid behind the pseudonym PUBLIUS in the Federalist Papers, without worrying unduly about the identity of the author(s). As it turned out, the Constitution was ratified, and Madison went on to become the 4th President, Hamilton the Secretary of the Treasury and Jay the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

So let's just stick to evaluating arguments?

.... PG '08!

On my blog ( I have been advocating a turn to what I call the Renewable Electron Economy as a solution to our climate and energy needs.

George Carlin: Saving the Planet and the Big Electron!


Three simple points:

One: This site has presented and argued over solutions. Clearly, you have not bothered to read them.

Two: To imply that population growth has no limit is silly.

Three: To conclude that people grin and gleefully clap over disasters that will touch their lives is inane.

Clearly, you are advancing your site's cause. No problem there. But do it with a bit more class.

Actually I do like my ideas and what I have written at my site, otherwise I wouldn't have written it and put my name on it, nor posted a link here.

I am, though, questioning the master narrative here at this site which does have the tendencies that the original commenter put his finger on. Prof Goose (or Saunders) sidestepped dealing with what might be called a Peak Oil/depressive view of the world with his response.

Looking at the videos, we see the master narrative in action in Heinberg's and Angelantoni's interviews where they pretty much focus on the notion of collapse as being their preferred way of looking at the situation. I just don't see that as necessarily the outcome of our current might be but it is not the only possibility. Therefore I'm chatting about it with you folks here.

I have not read every post here but I have noted that some are on solutions. However, the preponderance are about the relatively dire situation we find ourselves in. TOD is not to held responsible for the direness of that situation but I believe there is a "story" about the future possibilities for post-oil sources of exosomatic energy that is told here over and over again that is a product of individual and group psychology.

In a polemical manner you've also taken what I've said about population and distorted it. Of course there's a limit to population growth but I don't know if there will be an imminent collapse which is one story told on this site.

Again, none of us has a crystal ball. I read the discussion on this site and use my own judgement as to what may actually occur. Some outcomes are more likely than others, but no one knows for sure what lies ahead. I tend to agree with the posters who say that it will be the Poor who will bear the brunt of what is to come.

The site functions in its own way, I think it has taken on a life of its own. It is really pointless to take on the Doomers, they have to be engaged. When we start to see true leadership they will come around. At least they understand the mess we're in.

Whether the problems manifest themselves now or in the decades to come is irrelevant. As a whole, humankind should acknowledge there are limits to our resources. Let the discussion begin there!

Well for one thing, you're not chatting you're trolling. That is, you're making remarks that are inflammatory. You keep blaming us for focusing on collapse and saying that there are more outcomes, and you talk about solutions but where are they? The only thing I've heard out of you is complaining that we're too negative. You won't convince anyone of anything this way, we respond better to assertions supported by data and facts.

I've been here nearly a year myself but I've known about peak oil since I was taught about the concept by a geology professor in the 1995. I've paid serious attention to it since at least 2001. As Simmons says, there could be a lot more being done at the national level about this energy crisis (peak oil or not) than there is. *THAT* is depressing, along with the lack of concern by the populace and factual errors by the MSM. When you see that, people continuing to ignore what you have known about for a long time, naturally your thoughts start becoming more pessimistic. Finally, a lot of the discussions about the collapse of society should be treated as exactly that, discussions. It's one possibility among many, as you say.

So this is trolling?

I never thought an honest attempt to engage in discourse with people in a way that is straightforward and fairly accurate would be considered trolling...

I think you are a little sensitive about what are really quite basic observations about the TOD "culture" such as it is. I discuss solutions on my blog. Which you can find a link to above in one of the other comments I made.

Prof. Goose immediately took an unnecessarily ad hominem approach to me in his first response to my (critical) comment, and I responded somewhat in kind, perhaps mistakenly. I don't think I'm a troll so much as you guys are engaging in, as another commenter above, a kind of group-think that is intolerant of some pretty simple reality-based debates. You want to shoot the messenger before listening to the message.

If there is a master narrative, we are all free to ignore it or refute it. Read everything. Take away what is useful. Frankly, I don't give a flying fig what the master narrative is. Maybe your right about the MN. Who cares?

RE: Pessimism, defeatism, doomsaying, schadenfreude, etc

I'm reminded of a friend who recently went to hospital with chest pain.
The attending doctor sent her for an x-ray, and looked at the result:
"Hmm", says he, "this shadow here could be a lesion or a clot or pleuracy .. lets go with pleuracy".
So she was sent home with painkillers.
'Luckily', her husband had been treated for pleuracy no so long ago by the family doctor, and recognised that her symptoms were different.
The doctor arrived at their home and without further ado said "shall I bring her to hospital or will you?" - it was much more serious than pleuracy - it was a blood clot.


Now the first doctor could be considered an "optimist".
Taking an initial view that the condition might have been serious could be considered by some people to be taking a pessimistic, or defeatist, view.

Presuming, however, that the attitude, view or hopes that one has, or holds, do in any way affect the actual reality of the condition is a class of thinking known as "magical thinking".

While I will heartily support the frequent value of such a mode of cognition in the realms of psychology, arts, philosophy and economics, it does nevertheless risk being an inappropriate approach for other issues which have somewhat more to do with actual physical reality.

Which is the hard nub of the issue:
perhaps no amount of wishing will make the problem go away;
perhaps no amount of wishing will make the problem less bad than we hope.

These are real, hard risks, and I for one am busy inflating the lifeboat just in case it becomes necessary.

It is also becoming apparent that should it in fact prove necessary, most other people would be completely unprepared.

As it happens, I think I'm being optimistic. If I were being pessimistic, I'd be wondering when oceanic dead-zones would be large enough to generate large amounts of sulphur-loving bacteria populations, eventually outgassing over the land and eradicating 90% of multicellular lifeforms.

well said.

Prof. Goose,

I've been here since you launched this site and I officially joined early on as well. I can say without any hesitation that I've learned more through TOD as the backbone of my autodidact "peak oil research" than the equivalent of a multi-discipline undergraduate degree.

There are hundreds of quasi-lurkers like me among the people you have DEEPLY influenced -- and thousands more you have had a strong impact upon. Know this on the days skeptics shower scorn. Know that - slowly, and in ways that you'll never fully see - your work and the work of all editors here will indeed have an impact on the world. We will never know to what degree this will be so. But without a doubt, TOD has had an impact and the veritable army of people that have gone through "TOD School" will hopefully help the world transition to a better world. You have already achieved more than you know. My gratitude for your work and the work of all editors here runs deep.

- ziggy

TOD is unlikely to fix the planet

TOD is a web site. TOD allows people to post text to each other.

TOD *MIGHT* be able to help others who CAN effect change data to make change(s).

possibly the focus could shift more towards opportunity rather than defeatism.

Opportunity is posted often, based on the observation of the energy levels projected to exist and the population of the planet expected to exist.

But some people are unwilling to accept "powerdown" or see that as an acceptable 'opportunity'.

Another 'opportunity' is global thermonuclear war. The 'opportunity' of plain old war is being done already.

TOD may not be able to "fix" the world, but one individual learning one thing and doing one act could. It has happened before and could happen again. We are trying to increase the probability that the right person/people will get the right information at the right time to make the decision to do something that will somehow help either themselves, their family, their neighborhood, their town, their state, their country, their continent, and the rest of it.

The roots have definitely been planted at TOD and some sprouts have grown...heck...the next benevolent dictator of the world could be reading right now. If he/she is PO aware and gets the world straightened out in time we all might be spared a messy crash.

(top - nonsarconal; bottom - sarconal)

TOD is unlikely to fix the planet

This is completely untrue. Look at the effect that blogs and bloggers like Glenn Greenwald and Fire Dog Lake had in delaying the horrendous, Orwellian FISA updated/Telecom immunity bill. Their efforts, while ultimately unsuccessful, delayed passage of the bill for 8 months (it just passed and would have originally passed in December) and forced the Corporate Media to address the issue. It also created the Strange Bedfellows coalition of right and centrist civil libertarian groups and activist liberals, which is in the process of raising millions of dollars to target those politicians who voted for this terrible legislation.

The corporate media is so devoid of substance and addressing the real issues that people are looking for an alternative source of news. This does translate into action and allows people educated in the issues to spread the word and lobby politicians for change.

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance = doing something to help = helping people accept reality

Thanks for helping _

it may be the one thing that could spur alternative fuel and method development.

And then?

BTW I just ponked you up to 24 to say, that your statement is valued and this is not intended as a criticism but merely questioning the general assumption that once we have clean energy we will have a solution.

I just posted this downthread:

The next leg of what is to come is far more uncertain--the demand destruction effects, the price signal (whether it goes to 80 or 500), policy movement and momentum, the geopolitical response to the king of the hill taking a couple of bullets and wavering, there's a lot at work here--and it's going to take as many informed people as we can manage to get out there trying to help educate and inform if we are going to even come close to a wise ending to this hole we have dug ourselves.

I did say "could spur..." :) I don't assume that we'll even have enough clean energy to matter, CR. After doing this for these years, I don't think we can assume much of anything anymore, or at least we need to change our assumptions fundamentally. That's the painful process we are just beginning.

We can have enough clean energy to matter, because concentrated solar power is cheap and scalable and could be abundant. Of course, BLM has just suspended new permits just when we desperately need to build as fast as we can.

C'est la vie...

Mark Folsom

BLM reversed the decision a few days later.....

We can have enough clean energy to matter

and that will bring an end to our using FF as quickly as we are able? That will halt population growth, that will renew depleted water resources, rebuild the northern cod stocks, end resource wars and pubescent acne as well as middle age spread, let alone allow us to resolve the problem of our western style and massive over consumptive, 'civilization'? Personally I doubt it, and to be a little more real about it, we need more energy like a new hole in the head (solution there?) than we need a complete change in education and especially the values we hold as guys and gals on this, possibly soon to be, 'stone spinning in space'.

And then?

and then what?

Why was John15's most informative posts EVER marked down?

Dear Prof,

Hear, hear! That goes both for your original posting of a fine medley of timely videos, and for your restrained response to the unhelpful posting by the obviously irritated theokobox. I suspect that your article inadvertently stepped on his ideology in some way that made him intensely uncomfortable.

In my humble (yet strongly held) opinion The Oil Drum has been, and remains, precisely on the mark.

These two posts, theokobox versus Prof. Goose, are a example of the gaping chasm between the close-knit peakoil community and the wider public. Ignore it at your peril. The right path forward would be to give all solutions (e.g. electrification of railways, wind, solar, passive houses) a much more prominent place on this site.

CLOSE-KNIT PEAKOIL COMMUNITY. Right you are mate, one big happy family we are, and everybody always has a kind word for everyone else here, and rarely do we disagree. And everybody here loves me :)

There have been enough solar, wind, and electric rail posts on TOD to sink a battleship. Are you sure you got onto the right website mate? Besides, that stuff doesn't yield liquid fuels. And that is what many of us here crave. Me, for example, I like the aged grape juice variety and cactus juice too, reminds me, time for another Hornitos tequila.

Now, about electrification of railways, please tell me how this would be retrofitted across the nation, power delivery across crossings, grid and generating considerations? And do you we need more rail lines, as the current ones are used to max capacity. And how many rails, trains, cars, infrastructure to cover the whole U.S. in order to replace the highways system.

And, where will that electric power going come from? -- more coal, more natural gas, more nuclear, or solar/wind. What will all of this look like, capital cost, design, etc.

Why suggest that somebody else post this stuff. Why don't you get to work and do it. Mate, show us how all of that stuff that is going to save the world. I for one am ready to read your pearls of wisdom.

I don't get it. What does ethanol have to do with the hungry people in Pakistan? Scientifically speaking, of course.

If you have ethanol you can power generators to make electricity to pump ground water which effectively increase water supply five times SUSTAINABLY. You can always put in fertilizers (chemical or organic or both) and if you are strictly recycling its a one time investment. Green revolution has already gave us high yielding seeds thats produce on average 2.5 times than older seeds grains. Climate is already there. What is lacking is the water supply. Once you have five times the water supply you by having two crops instead of one every year can grow five times as much grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton, sugarcane etc. A 20% of your land must be devoted to grow sugarcane to get ethanol to power generators to pump ground water. So at the end of the day you have four times as much crop per acre as you had in 1950s before green revolution and all that SUSTAINABLY. Since you are recycling nutrients there is no run off of nitrogen in fresh water because the nitrogen supply in the soil remains constant year after year. Since there is no use of any fossil fuels in this scheme the whole scheme is fully SUSTAINABLE.

However, ask those increasingly hungry people in Pakistan how they are feeling right about now about ethanol.


There are no hungry people in Pakistan except may be a few hundreds of thousands that live in thar desert and those addicted to heroine. Supply of heroine had decreased to almost zero when taliban came in power in afghanistan because they following strictly the islamic laws can't take income from any addicting thing like heroine, hashish, alcohol etc. They remain in power for 5 years on 90% area of afghanistan and though they were extremely poor and in a constant war with northern alliance so badly need money never grow nor used any money that could have come from heroine, hashish etc. When they were defeated in battle after american illegal invasion and northern alliance came in power we again start having a big supply of heroine but those 5 years of taliban govt were enough to cure majority of heroine addicts, times there was almost no supply of heroine.

No hungry people in Pakistan? WTF? Last time I checked the stats there were over 50% of the population below $2/day. With that many in a hand to mouth situation it's no wonder that food riots in Pakistan make the news.

You are such a big frog of a pond who not know anything outside its pond. You have to understand the concept of PPP. Two dollars in pakistan can buy as much stuff as twenty dollars in usa. That is PPP. Many people at farms work for 0.67 dollars (40 rupees) per day and still feed their families (wives, 6 to 8 children). They key is extremely low prices in pakistan as compare to "developed" countries.

Item Price in city Price in village

Flour 40 cents per kg 30 cents per kg
Rice 100 cents per kg 70 cents per kg
Milk 60 cents per liter 47 cents per liter
Shirt 500 cents 300 cents
BusFare 15 cents -
Veg Oil 150 cents 100 cents

When and where did you heard about any food riots in pakistan which is significant (involving atleast 1/10000 population of pakistan, 16 thousand or more people)

I take no joy in the success of this site, nor do I take joy in the massive resource inflation we are witnessing--other than that it may be the one thing that could spur alternative fuel and method development. I really want the community writ large to be wrong about all of this. I beg for it every single day, sir.

This seems like a great example of the condescending attitudes often expressed by Peakoil commentary on most sites dealing with the issue. My paraphrase of the above quote - "Oh the personal pain of my knowledge. How I wish I were wrong."

Give me a break.

There are some basic statistics that indicate that the U.S. at least is in a good fundamental position to deal with our energy issues. I do not suggest that there will not be difficulties. I do suggest however that the situation is not so bleak as to require those promoting agendas to be pained regarding their interpretations of possible events.

1.) Currently the U.S. uses twice the amount of oil per person as France. This indicates large scale waste by Americans. But it also indicates that we can easily reduce our usage by huge amounts.

2.) We produce approximately 8 million barrels of our own oil per day and it looks as if we can maintain that level for a significant period of time.

3.) If we cut our oil usage to level of developed European states, like France, we would then need to import only 2.5 million per day.

4.) If we stopped pissing away our oil resources on pointless warfare we would be in even better shape.

5.) There is every reason to think that while alternative fuels cannot yet replace the energy generated through oil, we can make significant strides with solar and wind - not to mention our significant reserves of coal.

There may be significant challenges coming, but we have adequate resources to maintain a healthy and lean society as we make the required energy transitions and as we develop new resources and behaviors.

A motivated American population, (think WW2) informed by an "objective" energy critique absolutely has the potential to come through these challenges in a healthy and adaptive manner.

Sure the days of conspicuous and wasteful consumption are gone. Who cares? Thank God! it's about time. But there is no reason to conclude that our civilization is imperiled.

I don't see it in the light your last sentence states. ELP, economize, localize and produce, from Jeffrey Brown, the rail commentary led by Alan, and the many alternatives which I see here locally all provide a means for living, but I am not sure what a "natural lifestyle" would be. Knowing and understanding the problems, staying current on the news and events which are impacting our lives and maintaining a dialog about how informed people see the future are all benefits I see in TOD and especially on the Drumbeat.

I do agree that the news is depressing. As I read Galbraith's book on the "great" depression, one thing I took from it was that the depression was not just economic, but psychological as well. I don't think that Matthew Simmons got to the any depressed state from reading what you might see on TOD, but rather a lot of us are realizing just how dire things most likely will become, unless, as I have suggested, we "dig up" Einstein and get him to change that "E equals M C squared" equation. Of course, anyone else who is qualified is welcome to change it as well.

Yeah thats what we need. Good Attitude! That will solve everything lets sit around the fire and sing Kumbaya.

And yes things may be doomerish HOWEVER!!! they are REALITY!!! that is the difference.. Its doomerish beacause even we here do not want to see it happen. However most know it will I bet.

How about you stop being so negative and offer up some solutions. There are people here who put some serious amounts of time into research for the subjects posted. Maybe you would like to do the same on the subject of living a natural lifestyle for example?

Hello, I've been reading here almost daily for most of a couple of years now. This is my first post. I hope I can add something positive. I'm not an Engineer, Scientist, and I have no background in technical subjects. I earned a degree in History. I've been a Soldier, Policeman, and for the past fifteen years, a small time Farmer and Cowboy. I live on a little homestead in the high desert country of the Colorado Plateau. I bought the ground 20 years ago, or so, and have lived here full time for the past 12 years. Nothing was on the property when I bought it. What is here now is what I have built. This is where I'm at after 12 years: My orchard is finally producing apples and a few plumbs. I have tried growing peaches, apricots, cherries, and pears. Only apples will grow because of the dry and cold winters. Deer and mice take a severe toll on young trees. I have a good barn built with plenty of space for out of the weather hay storage and stalls for animals. My fences are done, but require constant maintenance. I have established a small herd of goats for milk, cheese, and meat. I finished a nice chicken coop this spring and have 20 laying hens. I've kept chickens for a number of years but they've been free range and have lived in the barn. I trade eggs with the neighbors for bread, and canned vegetables and fruit. I have a good gaggle of geese and they're for meat. My garden is finally producing. It's taken much work and experimentation with the garden to find what works and what doesn't. My place is in a river valley and so the soil is very silty and has a bit too much clay. I've been composting seriously now for three or four years. I eat everything and so there are never leftovers for composting. I use chicken, horse, and goat manure mixed with hay pieces left over from winter feeding. I've kept a small herd of cattle but have decided goats make more sense for my objective which is simple sustainability. I can always get a beef from my neighbors.

My home is a small log structure (700 sq. ft.) built from hand cut and adzed pine. It's reasonably airtight and stays warm during our cold winters. I heat with a wood stove using wood from the surrounding mountains that I cut and haul myself, and coal from the local farm store. Heating a small house requires a lot of wood, much more than most realize.

I've built a blacksmith shop out next to the barn. The latest acquisition is a coke fired forge. I have much to learn about blacksmithing. I make a fair bit of extra money making spurs for cowboys; those I don't sell locally, I sell on the e-Bay auctions.

There is much left to do. The next project is a cold cellar and a canning kitchen, someplace to prepare game and put up vegetables. I hope to learn to can vegetables and fruits using a wood cook stove. A smokehouse would be nice and is on my list of projects.

I have two well trained mules, a yearling mule, and a good saddle horse. An upcoming project is to find a good wagon and break the mules to pull. I can pack my mules and have learned the mysteries of the Diamond Hitch and the necessity of weight balanced packs.

Here's what I've found to be important in the success of my own project: 1). Water is essential so only consider land with a proved and well established water right for irrigation. 2). Wells are expensive, but, spend the money for your own house water. A well won't water a large garden or a hay field. You need rights to irrigation water. 3). Find a smallish community of folks who haven't had much. They know how to get things done; most are pretty good mechanics, are smart with animals, and know how to build, whether it's a small shed, or a house. 4). Become a part of the community. Go way out of your way to get to know folks. Be friendly and do your very best to fit in. 5). Work hard and cross your fingers. Pitfalls are many but you'll learn by doing.

So, you all now have an overview of my little homestead project of the past dozen years. The point is this: I've worked very hard and I've learned and accomplished a lot BUT....I'm nowhere near self sufficient. I hope to get there within the next two or three years, but if I couldn't go to the grocery story (45 miles round trip) I'd be hungry. I probably wouldn't starve, but, I'd be hungry. Because of my experience I'm not at all hopeful about our future. How, in fact, are the 300 million folks in this country going to get along if our transportation infrastructure ceases functioning? My answer is... they wont. My advice is to get started with your plan if you haven't. There is a lot to learn, and a lot to do, much more than you think and, you're pretty near out of time. I hope I don't sound like a know it all because I sure don't know much. Best wishes from the Fremont

See, there's a positive post right there.

I am hopeful; not sure positive is the right description for what I think is going to happen. In my opinion, civilization, as we know it, is absolutely toast. How are we going to maintain the huge and amazingly complex infrastructure created over the past 150 years without cheap and effective energy? I think that what we've spent the past 150 years building falls apart at about a 30 year schedule. What will run the massive graders, the asphalt layers, the cranes, the locomotives, airplanes, transport trucks, combines, swathers, diesel tractors, the snowplows, the graders, and on and on? Wind, solar, biofuels, coal, nuclear, tar sands, oil shale..... NOPE!!! The problems are, as discussed here often, scalability, and energy return for energy invested. Then, there is climate change, in my opinion, a no brainer. Something is wrong when you can see your air. When I was a youngster the sky was blue. It hasn't been for at least 50 years now. You put a blanket on your garden to keep the ground heat in on a cold night. I would guess CO2 has a similar effect. It keeps us warmer than we would otherwise be. No mystery there.

But, still, I am hopeful. We have a chance to re-do business as usual. Again, localization is often discussed here as a solution and, there is no question we will have to re-localize in a very big way. That is a good thing; we'll all get to know our neighbors and our community. Our children will no longer enjoy the advantages of teenage anonymity (bad behavior will be reported to their parents), our food will be locally grown, we'll walk a lot more and the fat epidemic will go away all by itself. Work will be productive i.e., we'll get back to producing products for local consumption, rather than running fast food franchises, working at financial enterprises, or building iPhones with built in TV's. Not bad, having a job that has a product that people use. Quality will be better and what we produce will be made to last. Growth will no longer be the measure of a successful economy. The capitalist paradigm will soon be history. Once investors figure out that future growth is an impossibility, do you think the NY Stock Exchange will keep on ticking? I don't think so.

So, if we pay close attention, I think some of us will make it to the other side. Most of us wont. Too Bad. We made a wrong turn when God told us in the Old Testament, to go and master the earth and we did. Forget the stars. We're not going there. Never. It can't be done with the internal combustion engine, or variations thereof. We've blown our single shot at the big time with our choice to use fossil fuels in the way that we have. We don't have other options at this point.

A personal example of one of our "little problems" is as follows: I drive a Dodge Diesel 1 ton Pickup. To fill the tank, the bill is $150 or so. So, I buy 10 gallons of fuel at a time and I drive maybe 3,000 miles per year. My truck is necessary to haul livestock in a large stock trailer. What am I to do because I am now approaching 300,000 miles on the odometer? Well, I'm not going to go find a hybrid because I don't have the money for one and it won't pull my stock trailer. I'm not going to find another 1 ton truck with fewer miles because I know that soon I won't be able to afford any fuel and all I'd have is an ugly flower planter out front. What I will do is continue to drive what I've got until the wheels fall off or I can no longer afford the 10 gallons of fuel I limit myself to twice a month. I think many are in similar circumstances and will make a similar choice. A trendy hybrid would be nice, but, I think I'll keep my 25K thank you. Who is going to build the nuclear reactors when there is little possibility of return on investment; a problem similar to my truck problem? The same can be said for any of the proposed solutions to continue business as usual. Where will the capital come from in a contracting world economy. Forget cyclical contraction, forget business cycles. Grasp the notion of contraction as the norm, never again growth, never again $40 million dollar year end bonuses to the fellers on Wall Street.

So, we'll do what we do until we don't. The pain will be immense, but what is left, after the gnashing of teeth, will be a much better society, or none at all. Best from the Fremont

Thanks for those posts Fremont, I hope to see more of your posts and insights here on Tod. I could have written some of the things you said myself word for word, although I'm in France (Europe):

My place is in a river valley and so the soil is very silty and has a bit too much clay

I'm only a few years into my project (essentially a mixed micro-farm), but things are very much as you say. I guess in the end, things that are really important are universally important.

I doubt many will see your posts as optimistic, the lifestyle you present is many peoples' worst nightmare. Optimism for many is the belief that global initiatives, government, science, technology or "someone else" is going to save them without having to change their own lifestyle in any substantial way. Billions of people essentially doing nothing to enhance their own survival will in the end lead to a tragic collapse IMO as the global initiatives, governments, science and technology fail them.

Fremont sir,

You are an asset to the TOD community and you have my rapt attention.

There is much discussion here on the pros and cons of sustainable living, your personal experience is invaluable.

When TPTB can no longer make a profit from supplying food, fuel and cheap tat, many folk will be abandoned to their fate; ie "let the b*stards freeze in the dark." Under such circumstances it's obvious folk will have to produce their own food and trade for what they need.

I too am working toward a (hopefully) sustainable lifestyle. Vegetables, herbs, soft fruit, apples, chickens, ducks, goats, couple of pigs; solid fuel stove, perhaps a little hydro-electric and solar water. Although I have none of these things yet... I hope to trade my electronics skills, at least in the short term, for the things I cannot make myself.

I would learn more from you, and the other self-sufficient(ish) folk here.

Best regards

Siwmae (Hiya) Fremont,

A pleasure to read your posts after that unusual spate of ignorant, silly troll-flak aimed at Prof. G and the other TOD-masters, at the top of these comments.

Fre -- you're either a very good imaginative writer, or you're telling it as it's really been for you. Your descriptions ring very true to me, and mirror my experiences closely, here in Britain.

I particularly appreciate your vivid underlining of how, even after some years of learning how to be more frugal and self-sufficient, there comes for you as for me the understanding that we still have no complete detachment from the modern urban food-distribution machine. Just the knowledge that if -- no, I'm afraid it's going to be when -- that system does crash, those of us who've been doing our hands-in-the-dirt due diligence already for some time will have a better chance of eating at least enough to stay alive, and also of keeping warm enough, and we'll be able to help keep alive too an inner circle of the people we care about most. As well as my own mini-permaculture set-up going well at my own place, with already the beginnings of a food surplus beyond my own needs, I help to support a local CSA farm, which is quietly getting up to speed as the spinal life-support food source for -- currently -- a hundred nearby suburban sharers, with more to join as it picks up to full speed.

Like you, I'm not optimistic about the chances of many people in countries such as this one: 60+ million people, mostly living the hitech urban life, with, for the most part, near zero idea of how to do real, practical food self-sufficiency; all of us packed into an island which historically has supported around four to five million people mainly on their own efforts, without massive inputs from outside.

The English empire has been doing mass-murderous armed robberies, and enforcing tribute from many foreign victims, for several hundred years now. After 1945-54, with their empire close to collapse, the imperial gangster-class who still run its rump finally capitulated to the idea that their last hope of continuing their old habits for a little while longer was to push Britain into becoming a dependent sidekick of the US empire. And so they've held us since. When -- not if, it now seems ever clearer -- the US goes down, harder and further than the SU did twenty-odd years before, from the same fundamental causes, I suspect that Britain will meet its modern nemesis. The signs already point very alarmingly in that direction. Just in the past few months here, the sense of a steady, alarmed awakening of millions of people who until very recently had been sleep-walking through our sorry little ersatz copy of the American Dream for decades has become palpable. Amongst the more perceptive people, who have started gathering their information from sources outside the corporate media and the pocket-politicians -- sources such as the truly excellent TOD -- there's a growing realisation too that we ain't seen nothin' yet; that the times are now ripe to get a whole lot more hairy still.

Hope you find time to keep posting, Fre. Your have vital information to offer. Respect!

Hwyl fawr, RhG

How, in fact, are the 300 million folks in this country going to get along if our transportation infrastructure ceases functioning? My answer is... they wont.

All one has to do is look to Europe and the fuel strikes.

Stores emptied in under a week, with limited fists-of-cuffs in some locations.

Did you see in the Economist interview with Matt Simmons that he's putting in a farm at his house in Maine?

To me, that says it all.

Then, after Simmons puts out this urgent warning on CNBC, they blow it off and finish up with the idiot who talks about his 1-month trading recommendation.

I think the people (like the 4-hour member above) who insist on opti-chat about cheery "solutions" rather than a realistic discussion of what's happening are either morons or selling something.

I personally have been very grateful for the insights provided by Westexas, AlanfromBigEasy, all the gardening guys, jbunt and shargash (on hedging through investing and trading), all the solar guys who post here, all the pessimists who point out exactly how bad this situation is likely to be (so we can be as prepared as possible), all the physics and technical guys who explain the laws of thermodynamics, and many others.

This is very back of the envelope, but here goes. Let's assume that at least half of the population are in a position where they could grow a modest size garden. I say HALF, to exclude people in high rises, apartment complexes with little extra land, sick or disabled people, etc.

If they gardening half grew just 1/8 of their food during the warm months, that would represent 1/16 (6%) of their food, and 1/32 (3%) of the entire nation's food. Canning, drying fruit, etc. would bump this up a little, perhaps to 4%.

This could be huge, since hundreds of billions are spent on food. Unfortunately, most people with suburban lots (the people in the best position to garden) aren't very good at this, or not inclined, judging by the apparent lack of gardens.

Unfortunately, the same economic forces that will push people out of their food complacency, high food and fuel prices, will also contribute toward pushing them out of their homes, via forclosure.

most people with suburban lots (the people in the best position to garden) aren't very good at this, or not inclined, judging by the apparent lack of gardens.

or perhaps they have an HOA that stops 'em

Of course it would be best for them to start doing this before they are needy or hungry, so that they might be able to actually grow food after getting past the learning curve.

For me, growing a "good garden" has been tough and I've always had a garden for a few peas, some carrots, radishes, a few beets, and maybe some sweet corn and tomatoes. Some would consider me an "experienced" gardener. What's different now? I'm doing my best to grow a garden that I can depend on for a substantial part of my diet, year round. I no longer think of having a vegetable garden as something "nice" for the summertime. So, the little things, that were once no big deal are now definitely a big deal. I had to get the raccoon that was ravaging my young corn and so I spent a morning with my dogs finding the critter and then sending him to raccoon heaven with all of the other good raccoons. This morning I noticed holes in the leaves of my beans. I've got to get out the books to identify the pest and find a remedy short of going to the farm store for pesticide. I've learned to plant marigolds with the tomatoes to keep the tomato worms off and to plant my early tomatoes in black cans to protect them from the unexpected early frost which otherwise will kill them dead. I know more than I did about cultivating a successful garden, but there is much to learn. I haven't even scratched methods of crop preservation. I will this fall with what should be a pretty good crop for the winter months. I've never canned but, I'm going to learn how. I've dehydrated meat, but never vegetables and so that's another area where I've got to develop skills. What I'm saying is those who think they can plop in a garden in the back of the house for food to live on are not at all aware of the many difficulties they will face. Food production for sustainability is a tough nut; lots of practice is required in my experience but, then, I live in a harsher than normal environment and so maybe it's not as hard in places where the soil is favorable, it rains regularly, and the growing season is a long one. In this particular environment, the Indians who lived here for thousands of years, were able to successfully grow corn and squash as diet staples. When it rains hard, the little corn cobs, two to three inches long, are washed from their storage mokies high in the sandstone cliffs. They're at least eight hundred years old. Flour was made from rice grass an incredibly intensive labor. But, what are you gonna do? What I'm saying, awkwardly, is growing your own food ain't easy; it never was until modern agriculture came along and blurred the picture finally erasing our collective memories of what it was like to grow our own food. We, as a culture here in the western world have no idea what we're in for. I've got a photograph of my great grandfather with one of his wives. In the background is his team of draft horses. My great grandfather is dirty, he looks really tired, old and worn out. His shoulders are stooped, his overalls are frayed. His wife looks pissed. So, once again, unless you have another plan, and I'm not sure what that might be, you all ought to get started developing some serious gardening skills. No Food Indeed!! How could Mr. Simmons spout such nonsense on TV? I, for one, don't think it's nonsense. I don't know how things are in your particular neck of the woods, but, here, there has been a noticeable lack of highway maintenance this past year. Holes are developing in the asphalt and the cracks haven't been filled with tar. How long until this little problem becomes a big problem and then a huge problem as in, tractor rigs with trailers full of food for the Foodtown are no longer able to navigate the very bad highways assuming the availability of fuel in the first place which is a rather large assumption, especially for the far off places in this United States of America. Again, Best Wishes from the Fremont

I really hear what you are saying. I have jumped from a good-sized garden to planting about 6 acres of vegetables. Everthing that could go wrong has gone wrong. It's really tough. I'm just glad it's "practice" and I'm not really relying on it yet. My hands just ache at night from pulling weeds. I'm growing a h*** of a lot of vegetables though I'm too tired to "put them up." Mostly, I'm laying them down, in the compost pile. Where I may lay myself down as well! Matt Simmons has no idea what he is in for! Yeah, it sounds so easy....I'll buy a farm and grow my own vegetables! I just hope those five daughters of his will help by toiling in the fields. But if there were brought up in the age of cheap oil, well, they will probably work as hard as my two sons....not much.

I haven't purchased many vegetables for quite a while--
I had rainbow chard and greens tonight for a vegetable. In Marin, I can harvest food year round, supplementing it with mushrooms in the fall and winter, fruit summer and fall.
I had wild plums and blackberries with my steel cut oats this morning.
I have so many tomatoes it is embarrassing.
I dehydrate fruit and tomatoes, and still have stockpiles from last season.
I am horrified that people cannot ID a edible wild mushroom, or do not know the best foraging areas that are near where they live.

I visited someone doing 6 acres a couple of weeks back (he's been doing it for 20 years). He was in the same situation, basically so many things were going wrong he was losing control over the whole lot. Weeds were obviously a big problem, so he laid a lot of synthetic mulch matting, but the reflected heat off the matting killed the crop. I was glad to leave to be honest, it gave me a headache just looking at it all. Another producer I visited is thinking of giving up after 20 years due to weather related problems and I'm going to see another who is packing up next year. To put that into perspective, there is only about 6 organic producers in my department (county).

Myself I'm doing just a half acre this year, probably 1.25 acres next year. There are so many problems that there is no point scaling up until one can manage a small area first and I also expect to cut back if things start getting away from me. I also think diversification is important. I quickly learned one year is not the same as the next. I'm currently having a problem with a mouse which somehow gets onto my seed table and digs up the seed to eat, even thought he table is on stainless steel legs (originally put on to stop the slugs getting onto the table and eating the sprouting seeds). You can guarantee 100% that some new problem always comes along to confound your attempts to produce anything.

If people think that they can wait until the situation is certain before making their move, then they are in for a terrible shock. I agree with the other posters, it takes years to set up and learn to farm organically to a level that allows a family to feed itself.

for mice I use the old-fashioned snap traps, with the yellow plastic "cheese" bait bar, usually with no bait (but peanut butter works best if you do use bait). The mice get killed dependably, and you can re-use the trap if you check them every day or so. It's a lot better than using poison, it's a lot quicker and there's not the danger of pets, livestock, or children eating the poison.

Fremont, thank you for stepping up and making a positive contribution. Your posts are helpful.

Though, it might be better to break a long post into paragraphs. It makes it easier for everyone else to read.

Your input on planting marigolds is right on the money. Marigolds produce a natural pesticide from their roots that may even last a few seasons after they are gone.

For more information on "companion planting", here are some resources to peruse:

Again, your de-lurking and the sharing of your experiences is appreciated.

Thanks 710, Getting a list of companion plants was on my list for the week.

Thank you for your post. We also live in the high desert in Western Nevada and have the same problems with growing things. One year we will have wheel barrows full of apples and the next year, nada. This has to do with the timing of the freezes. This year we will have a bumper crop. :-)

We have a well for domestic water and I am going to lower a DC submersable down the same casing for irrigation of the gardens. A solar pannel will power the pump and the excess solar can charge a couple deep discharge batteries and, with a good inverter, I will have some minimal power to run a few tools.

I build furniture and I am working toward having a complete hand tool capability. As long as we have power, the electrical tools are real time savers. I have learned to cut a pretty straight line with a hand saw, finish it with a plane and chisel a fair mortice so I am about half way there. Curves with a bow saw are still a bit rough and handcut dovetails are as nice as the machines make (I think better :-)

I am a doomer and have pretty much given up on trying to talk to people about the coming bad times. There is too much denial in the community and when they look around the party is still going strong.

I spend time on the Oil Drum to keep up with the data and engineering insights. I also spend some time on survivalist sites to learn technique. Lots of reading to do and lots of things still to learn.

At 75 it is a bit harder to do than it was a few years ago.

Experience beats a diploma any day in my books.

A couple of questions;

What breed of chickens do you have or do you mix them? How many eggs a day do you get on average from the 20 in the laying season?

Do you cut your wood for the stove by hand or use a chainsaw?

Thank you for your response and your questions. My chickens are Rhode Island Reds, 11 mature, and six chicks. The 11 hens give me 8 or 9 eggs a day. When my chicks mature I should have in the neighborhood of 13 to 15 eggs daily. That's a lot of eggs. I don't try to sell them. They are here for anyone who drops by and needs some eggs. This has worked out well and usually, I get a nice loaf of fresh baked bread, or a jar of jelly in return. My mature hens live in my barn at night and the door is shut to protect them from critters. My chicks live in the new coop but are free to roam during the day. Chickens are beneficial here because they keep the bugs down and are very easy to keep. Fresh Ice Cream made with fresh eggs and buttermilk and cream is wonderful. Barnyard eggs are soooo much better than store bought eggs. The yolks are deep yellow and very rich. Goose eggs are very good as well, scrambled with butter and salt, but, you've got to be pretty hungry. I just slaughtered a pig and the fellow down the road cured the hams and bacon. Yum, yum. It's all so much better than what is available at the grocery store.

I use a chainsaw to cut my firewood, primarily dead Aspen. I own a couple of cross saws for when gasoline is no longer available. I'm older (mid 60's) and so cutting wood with a chainsaw is plenty of work. It'll be tough with a cross saw. Hopefully, I'll be able to barter for my winter wood with my many good friends here in the area. I think being a member of a closely knit community is extremely important. We all look after one another. The old people here are provided firewood during the winter months if they are unable to gather it by themselves and many here heat their homes with a wood stove supplemented with coal. The old people here say that they never knew there was a depression during the 30's because they never had much anyway and nothing changed with the crash.... they still had nothing. Most have had happy and full lives; they've raised their children, worked hard, and been a part of a strong and vital community. This county, 130 miles long and 70 miles wide, has a population of some two thousand souls. Half of the county is above 7,000 feet elevation and it's called "up county". The other half is 4,000 feet elevation and is called "down county". My place is in "up county" between two 11,000 foot mountains. I know everyone in "up county" and a good number in "down county". It's great and I have to add at least an hour to my day for "visit time".

Best to all from the Fremont

Hey hey Fremont,

You should consider converting a chainsaw to ethanol. Ethanol may not scale up enough to feed our cars but it can definitely handle a chainsaw or two.

Hi thanks for the post.
I'm a lurker here too but have been a peaker since about 2001, when I first stumbled across Campbell's piece in Scientific American. I'm 60 now, my background is in IT telecom/networking and I have had little practical experience in working land or building. I'm basically a technician/paper pusher.

At first I was sick to my stomach, then went through depression, the evangelical stage - a colossal waste of time but am now sitting uncomfortably at L2 with an action plan of sorts, I don't kid myself it'll save me but its something. I got rid of my van and now walk virtually everywhere.

I purchased 6.5 acres on Vancouver Island three years ago and work it part time. I don't have animals yet as I still do consulting in Vancouver and can only spend about half my the time there. But I plan on chickens, ducks and goats plus a horse when I take up permanent residence.

The first year was spent cleaning up as the previous owner left a s**thouse in one corner that I couldn't stand to leave and we had a huge windstorm 2 years ago that knocked down about 20 big trees. I have established an orchard, getting some plums this year but no cherries yet - will try apples soon. Tried gardening for the first time last year. Got reasonable corn, stunted potatoes, good peas, beans, excellent strawberries, blueberries and blackberries plus green onions, chives and some other herbs. There is no way I can feed myself with my current gardening efforts so have to rethink. I put in a drip and pond system (to keep things alive while I'm away)that took me forever to get working properly as I tried to do it with a small head gravity feed (big mistake). I made a nice workshop and chicken coop. I also spent a long time refurbishing an old Ford 8N tractor, which I finally got working. I use an old bush hog off the PTO to cut my 4 acre meadow but it scares the daylights out of me. I also built two useable farm trailers out of a junked pickup and an old rusted broken trailer that were left behind.

I am planning to run the tractor, car and generator for house electricity off woodgas, I will start that project this summer. Conservation is the main goal, better insulation in the house and sweaters in the winter, run the genny for a few hours to get essential things done then use the woodstove for heat and coffee and a battery/inverter for lights. We don't use TV. The woodstove has a water coil so I can get hot water for free. I have a recent vintage pickup in really good condition that I only use to get to the land and for vital work but will use an electric scooter for grocery runs when I finally settle there and while I still can. I use the tractor for most work up and down.

What have I learned? Basically if I can do it anyone can.

1. You are right its a s**tload of work to get anything done, much more than I though it would be. the tractor is ESSENTIAL. Rabbits and deer take anything you let them, so plugging fences is my wife's main occupation. I'm debating getting a gun for the rabbits.
2. Its vital to think things through before you start them. I'm very impatient and have paid a price for that (I almost killed myself breaking up a junked pickup with the tractor as the truck bed came over the bucket as I was lifting it up - it was only stopped by the hydraulic fluid reservoir). In roofing the chicken coop I flattened my finger with a hammer and almost fainted on the roof - I would have come off.
3. Its vital to get to know your neighbours - mine don't speak often but when there's a problem they come running - great people - but it takes time to know them. I don't talk to them about peak oil. My skill for trade is going to be woodgas generators as none of my neighbours is thinking along these lines yet. They are simple but you have to know what you are doing.
4.My biggest problem has been convincing my spouse and children of the necessity of doing what I am now doing. I have, finally, made it into a joke and they think I'm batty but still loveable. The problem is each new expediture or project has to be talked through and argued at length which I find exhausting.
5. You are right about the wood it takes a boatload to heat the house (2000 sq ft) and its got to be cut well in advance and dried, good for fitness though.
6. The best thing was giving up the van. I have lost weight and am now much fitter than before.
7. I love being on the land. My peak experience was cutting cedar shakes with a froe and a homemade maple mallet in the warm sun - magic.

I'm not sure if I can be totally independent, probably not but I know I won't be there in under another 2 years.

I can't help but admire your self reliance, but I don't think this learn to live off the grid approach is for everyone. I can't see how we can support 6, or even 3 billion people on this planet without a replacement for fossil fuels.

That excess 3 billion people aren't going to go quietly, resource shortages will result in war. Quite possibly law and order will breakdown, even in the USA. The federal government could disintegrate as it is unable to pay workers due to the currency becoming worthless (hyperinflation). In which case I suspect existing property rights won't count for much, and sooner or later your land will fall into the hands of whoever is strong enough to take and hold it. Maybe you will be allowed to stay on the land for awhile in return for, say, half of what you produce, but I suspect it would probably be more cost efficient to use child labor.

In summary I suggest property rights will become unenforceable without a replacement energy source for fossil fuels.

For this reason I prefer to focus on potential solutions for replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy sources.

The crime is what our government is not doing and what most of our people are not doing. Ignoring the problem or just seeking about to cast blame or come up with temporary non solutions like drill, drill, drill, or shoot the speculators.

Dealing with this crime of "not doing" is the positive aspect of TOD. It should be required reading for every member of Congress and every mayor and governor. If this would have been done 3 years ago when TOD began, maybe we wouldn't be blocking sugar ethanol from Brazil, the only kind that works for now, from American gas tanks. And maybe we would have some CTL plants from Sasol and nuclear power plants ready to come online soon like every other nation on earth that has any sense. And maybe Congress would be in full flight with LNG import facilities and some electric grid buildup for rail and plug-in autos. TOD is the most positive information source I've come across on the subject of energy. It's like most other major nations have read the TOD book decades ago and America is the only one that still needs to have some sense slapped into its leadership. Slap away TOD!

I agree with most of your rant, but not LNG. It makes absolutely no sense. For one thing, the capital requirements of building the import and export terminals are huge.

The biggie, however, is the fact that LNG ships must burn a huge percentage of their cargo (about 25%, I think) to keep it super cooled, and liquid.

A far better idea would be to build fertilizer plants right at the gas field. There will still be shipping costs to ship fertilizer, but no fuel will be burned to keep the fertilizer super chilled, lol.


I don't know if you're responding to the keyposts or to the discussions, which can get hijacked into some pretty non-productive threads. Surely, the editors aren't in control of the direction that all the discussions take, but the articles and essays and a great many posters here ARE trying to clearly and responsibly yell 'FIRE' in this crowded and oblivious world-theater of ours. Yes, it's depressing, but if you think you see an iceberg floating out ahead on what your shipmates think is an otherwise glassy calm sea, do you tell them and take the chance that it will come across as depressing? I think you have to.

You have to separate the wheat from the chaff, sorry to say, which is completely consistent with living a natural lifestyle. If you try to weigh them, the chaff always wins, so another approach is needed. There are many true gems among the posters and editors here, and I hope you seek them out and learn what you can.. and also to be one of the voices trying to add to the useful thinking, not just berating the problems. For instance, we've had a number of good posts on Permaculture lately. Maybe you have areas of your own lifestyle that don't seem to be on peoples' radar that you could share.. For the most part, this IS a democratic process. Your vote can count.

I don't know what problem SlicerDicer has with Kumbaya. It's a beautiful song. I think I'll sing it Right Now!

Cheer Up. It's a good day to die.


Its not that I have a problem with it... Its the fact singing it wont help matters as many think it would..

I concur with that one.

Yeah, yeah.. I know why you said it.

It's just such a tired cliche', especially when the people who I know that actually have sung that song with me are people who are out there working their butts off pushing clean energy legislation, getting advanced degrees, working on solutions, teaching kids how to survive and connect with and take care of the natural world, people who are putting their asses on the line as witnesses to war, right on the battlefronts. They don't think that singing Cumbaya is going to solve the problem, it's just a way to hang out with the other tired people who they've been WORKING hard with.

It's easy to paint the 'Dreamers' as passive navel-gazers.. but the people I know in that camp are anything but that smirky stereotype.. as pervasive and appealing as that label may be.

Someone's Dyin' Lord, Come by here.. Oh Lord, Come by here..


I don't think you've spent much time here. TOD is a news and discussion site, it's not a community-building site like, say, the post-carbon institute. Even so, a huge percentage of the info I've gleaned on PO and preparations for PO has come via this site in one way or another.


You have been on this site for a little over an hour. You know nothing about TOD.

theokobox, I think that if you are not in outright denial you are at a minimum fractally wrong.

As an example tstreet on July 10, 2008 - 9:13pm posted this in response to "Asking one of the less comfortable questions about our energy future..."

I believe the current increase in population is 70 million per year. There is no market solution, period.

I don't beleive that he or anyone else who posts here and makes such statements is a doomer, I'd call him a hard headed realist.

If a team of highly qualified oncologists tells you that after examining all the results of your test that the diagnosis is that you have a terminal malignant disease and under the best of circumstances you have a few more months to live would you not consider it a good idea to prepare for that eventuality? Reality is what it is, wishful thinking will not bring about some magical cure. You had better write your will and last testament put your things in order and say goodbye to your loved ones.

Civilizations like all living organism are born they grow and they die. That does not mean that they will not produce some viable new offspring. Some deaths are peacful some are violent and painful unfortunately I don't see this one as being of the pain free variety.

BTW this was my response to tstreet's comment:

Does anyone seriously think we can continue to increase the world's population by this amount every year and continue with BAU?

That's a bit more than the current populations of Tokyo Japan, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brazil added together.

I sure hope they don't want to live concentrated into a metropolitan area with all the amenities that are enjoyed by people in those cities, such as access to food, water and shelter.
Notice I didn't mention electricity and mass transportation let alone Tata Nanos powered by fermented bat's milk.

Family planning anyone? I think it's time to go and gore a few sacred cows.

Last time I looked there was no united world goverment. There are a bunch of nations competing with each other, and murdering each other's citizens with depressing regularity. And of course civil wars and tribal wars and mafia within "nations" etc.

"One world" is an idea of how we would like things to be.

So "the world" does not have a rapidly growing population. The population growth is overwhelmingly concentrated in the poorer parts of Asia, Africa and South America.

Within those countries, the population growth is further concentrated in shanty towns which now collectively "house" over a billion people. Hundreds or thousands of people may share a single water taps. For these people there is no infrastructure to speak of, physical or social.

It is quite possible for population growth to continue in shanty towns of the South / Third World until a critical breaking point is reached and a die-off occurs in a hellish apocalpyse of disease, starvation, rioting and genocide, while, at the same time people in France and Switzerland still have clean water, electricity, a functioning tram network and a decent selection of crosoints and madelaines at the local patiserrie.

theokobox -

"...researching solutions and showing people how to live a natural lifestyle."

TOD discusses daily issues related to mitigating "The Collapse" from the challenges related to Peak Oil, Climate Change and Overpopulation. Conservation, localization, and revamping our transportation systems are discussed in detail every day. I for one have a higher confidence in the information on TOD than any happy face MSM site.

If you are of a mind that there will be no collapse or that there is a magic pill for the problems then you might find a lot of the community of TOD disagreeing with you.

The general attitude here is depressing if not condesending, and is continuely in a state of proving itself rather then researching solutions and showing people how to live a natural lifestyle.

Solutions Can Only Be Discussed With People Who Get It

I will offer a reason for why The Oil Drum is operating in the way it is ("continually in a state of proving itself"), although I speak only for myself and have no relationship with TOD other than posting here. I will ignore the second thing you said ("rather than researching solutions") because that comment clearly comes from someone who hasn't been around here very long. If you would like to see the wealth of proposed solutions, visit The Best of the Oil Drum Index:

I give a lot of public talks and in my experience we are still deeply in the education phase. People don't know what's happening with the geology of oil and experts are offering all sorts of reasons for its high price that don't include geology.

Various philosophers have described the "screens" that are in front of people's capacity to understand a new concept. The multiple screens are comprised of all sorts of different thoughts that get in the way.

In my experience, it's almost never that someone "doesn't understand" peak oil. If you explain it then ask them what you just said they will give it back to you reasonably accurately.

The mental process of what most people would say is understanding peak oil is actually the process of removing the screens until there is nothing left that gets in the way of the peak oil concept itself and its ramifications.

First they have to remove the "it's the speculators." Then they have to remove the "it's the oil companies gouging us" and so on until all the screens are gone.

Even then I assert there is "logically understanding" the ramifications (I call it Level 1 understanding, just conceptual) and then there is "getting it," which I call Level 2.

Many people on this blog, myself included, have gone through the actual physiological sick feeling that comes with moving from Level 1 to Level 2. But what is "getting it" that causes that physiological response?

I believe that what happens when moving to Level 2 is the way a person perceives the world shifts. It's not just the sudden capacity to see how oil is responsible for putting almost every thing in its place around us, which is itself an expansive and profound experience. The real work is the seeing of a new future that wasn't seen before. That future is the one that is likely (but not certainly) going to occur if we don't take action in time.

In my talks I do my best to remove as many screens as I can and my talks have been called "doomerish" because of that. I do that because three years ago when I first was introduced to peak oil in a public talk, the presenter failed to remove many of my screens and I left the talk virtually no different than when I came in. (My talks have also been applauded by people who appreciated getting the full picture the first time.)

People go through this mental process at their own speed and more and more people are in the middle of it. If they attend a talk that has been designed to remove as many screens as possible, that process can be quick. If they dabble on the Internet, it may take longer.

All that is to say that we need a significant number of people to get to Level 2 before our societies will be willing to take the actions appropriate to the circumstances. Talking about solutions with people who don't understand there is a problem is literally a waste of time. Talking with people who are only at Level 1 is mostly still a waste of time because they most often think some technology solution or other is going to make this painless.

People need to get to Level 2 so that actions commensurate with the problem are discussed. This is the most important point.

There will come a time, in my view within 12 months for sure but possibly as soon as six months from now, where it will become clear that the majority of people "get it." But we're not there yet and TOD should continue as it is doing until that time.


Not much to say to this but "amen" and make the inevitable point about Level 1 and Level 2 of Andre's scheme also fitting Kubler-Ross's ubiquitous Five Stages of Grief:

The stages are:
1. Denial: * Example - "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening."
2. Anger: * Example - "Why me? It's not fair!" "NO! NO! How can you accept this!"
3. Bargaining: * Example - "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything, can't you stretch it out? A few more years."
4. Depression: * Example - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"
5. Acceptance: * Example - "It's going to be OK."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."

Level 2=Acceptance. Of course, the problem with Stage 5 in K-R's typology is that, if folks around here are right, things aren't going to be OK. That's where Andre's description fits better.

I've been at this for four years now and I still find myself in the anger and depression stages now and again.

This crap is daunting if you allow yourself to be in it. Very few people can for so long. That's why the people around here are so amazing to me...

Yes, I would say my Level 1 equivalent to Stages 1 through 4 and Level 2 is equivalent to Stage 5.

How one reacts once Level 2 is reached is another excellent topic to explore.

It's at that point that peak oil educators need to stand ready to:
1. paint a picture of what's possible in the face of everything we are reasonably sure is going to happen and
2. offer clear actions for people to take, like joining a neighborhood group, a gardening initiative or a relocalization effort and personally preparing

Actually, I would say personal preparation is indistinguishable from community preparation in the world that's coming.

Through that lens, the goal is community-sufficiency rather than just self-sufficiency. Heinberg's notion of resiliency is also very good and includes a flavor of "we are big enough for anything that happens," which is an excellent context in which to operate.

By specifically including the word "community" in it, my concept perhaps might have people aware of and focus on community a bit more. I deliberately chose that context (or "frame" if you wish) because it's quite easy to become engrossed with individual and familial survival and "not bother" with the relationship with the neighbors.

But I think that we will all do much better if we collaborate going forward. There is, unfortunately, a very strong conversation and distrust of government present in the United States that might have started with the "frontier mentality" and the early history of the country (i.e. a repudiation of monarchy and other European institutions, for instance).

It's not the only strong conversation and it's a very valuable one (much good has come of it, like a strong sense of entrepreneurship), but it might just cause some mischief right about now.


Exactly right Andre.

Your question about American political culture is actually right in my wheel house. It's lecture 2 of my intro course. :) There's a whole set of underlying beliefs about government, norms and principles that have been very slow to change in the US.

It is another reason I worry as you do about real policy momentum coming from the populace...

I will just past my notes in here with a couple of comments in italics...

A political culture belongs to its people, it's transmitted across generations, and it shapes but doesn't control action, and it is amazingly resistant to change. Probably the easiest definition I've ever found is that “A political culture is a distinctive and patterned way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried out.”

So, what are the sources of American Political Culture?

I haven't taught this course in three years, but guess what the first one in my lecture notes is Andre, and I am not kidding:

Abundance! (amazing resource endowment of the US led it being a world power, and put it in a situation to succeed from the very did the exploitation of human labor in the first century of the country's existence)

The others in my list are:

Early Frontier (provided escape route for nonconformist/distrusting attitudes to go elsewhere and be reinforced)

Protestantism ("Priesthood of the Believer" and social structures that implied a direct relationship between divine and man without an intermediary (i.e., Catholicism, e.g., Cent/South Am had same endowment, why didn't it grow? Look at Brazil now!)...led to ideas about participatory democracy being possible)

Lockean Values (Escaping the State of Nature, Rights Prior to States, The Social Contract, Popular Sovereignty, Limited Government)

Why did Locke’s Values Succeed?

Conformity of American Circumstances
Early Colonies as State of Nature
Reality of Social Contract in the Constitution
Absence of Feudal Aristocracy in the US
Democratic Mass/Desires Conformed to Will of Government

Ah, very good. Great minds think alike :-). I'll just pick out one element of what you wrote and perhaps deepen the exploration a bit more.

Abundance! (amazing resource endowment of the US led it being a world power, and put it in a situation to succeed from the very did the exploitation of human labor in the first century of the country's existence)

There is an interesting duality to the concept of abundance because I believe in the background for most humans is actually quite the opposite, that is, there isn't enough.

While the abundance you refer to is in the foreground ("let's build on this bountiful land"), there isn't enough is really operating behind the scenes, undistinguished and selecting what makes it to the foreground. Humans, in my view, are perpetually (but not exclusively) operating in "scarcity mentality." If I were to guess, this is a gift of evolution.

There isn't enough is overtly triggered in certain situations. Splitting assets during a divorce gives it center stage, for instance, and it is disguised by foreground conversations like "I just want my fair share" or outright hostility like "There's no way he/she will get what they want." I would go so far as to assert that most conversations that include the concept of "fairness" are actually driven by there isn't enough and its corollary, which is so I had better get some while I can.

Most of the time, though, there isn't enough operates hidden to our conscious thought and can only be seen in situations that are designed to allow a person to set aside the screens that get in the way of seeing it, just like I wrote above. There was a post recently on mate competition that got at there isn't enough from a different angle.

If at the core of it all is the hardwiring of evolution and the scarcity mentality, is there anything ultimately that can be done for our situation? Isn't war over resources thus inevitable? My answers are yes and probably, but that doesn't mean we should stop educating people to these fundamental driving forces at work below their foreground thinking. Once a person distinguishes these for themself they can be responsible for them and manage them.

Unfortunately, the number of people with this education, though growing rapidly, is not even a significant minority yet. And many people dismiss this line of thinking out-of-hand for various reasons that I won't go into now.


"There is, unfortunately, a very strong conversation and distrust of government present in the United States that might have started with the "frontier mentality" and the early history of the country..."

Andre - I commend you on your above exposition on Level 1 and Level 2. That is very real for me and I'm sure a lot of other readers of TOD. However I can assure you that people's distrust of the U.S. Government, however unfortunate, is well justified and is not based on "frontier mentality". The U.S. governmental systems have evolved into a corporate, capitalistic machine that is completely unresponsive to the interests of "We The People..."

IMHO the efforts of the U.S. government will not only hasten collapse (see Dmitry Orlov's Reinventing Collapse - Boondoggles To The Rescue) but will make the effects far worse.

Hi, Joe.

However I can assure you that people's distrust of the U.S. Government, however unfortunate, is well justified and is not based on "frontier mentality."

Here is where the conversation can go sideways very quickly (that having happened to me in the past coaching conversations) so I ask that you ponder my assertions below a while before responding.

There is no doubt ample evidence that reinforces what you say, but I assert that there is another mechanism that is operating behind the scenes that plays the most important role of all.

And that is:
once a context has been established in a person's mind, there is infinite evidence to support it.

This is actually a profound statement.

As we go through our day, we move from operating context to operating context completely unknown to us. There are thousands of these contexts ready for us to use at any moment that our brain pulls in without any conscious effort on our part.

These contexts (or "frames") completely and utterly determine how we interpret the world. You could say that the context is decisive, or said another way, the context does the deciding. It not only determines how we interpret the world, the context actually has us see or miss seeing things.

For instance, if you are in the market for a white Toyota pickup truck, what do you suddenly see on the highway? Exactly, white Toyota pickup trucks.

Going back to our thread, if I look at the world through the "government is useful" context, I see how well my water comes out of the tap every single day, how well the daily food supply works (overseen by the government), I see the good politicians who authentically want to make a difference.

If, however, I look at the world through the "government is wasteful" context, I focus on, and sometimes can literally only see, the boondoggles, the corruption and so on.

In other words, there is ample evidence for any context, including the one you are looking through. That's why if the initial generosity in a relationship disappears, people slip into contexts where they can only see the character faults of their partner. Without going in depth, eventually they conclude "they aren't the 'right' person for me" and end the relationship, only to try again only to have the same thing happen again because they are unaware of this mechanism.

So you are correct: there is plenty of evidence that people "should" be suspicious of the government's effectiveness.

But so too is there plenty of evidence that this government is generally competent. I for one would not want the FDA to stop doing its job and we go back to snake oil being sold as the cure for cancer.

Which is the correct context? Despite our training and intuition to the contrary, that is an astonishingly poor question to ask, it turns out.

If you come from judging for correctness, you head down a blind alley and often land in an argument with someone.

A much more useful question is:
If I can gather evidence to support any context (meaning there may just be no such thing as the correct and true context), where can I bring in all contexts so that I get a complete picture of what's so?

You could have a toolbox of contexts ready to use to analyze any situation. Pull out each one and see what there is to see, then put it away. Keep doing that until a complete picture develops.

But first one has to be aware of the mechanism of contexts, the trap that judging for correctness sets up and then purposefully use the tools in the toolbox.


once a context has been established in a person's mind, there is infinite evidence to support it.

As we go through our day, we move from operating context to operating context completely unknown to us. There are thousands of these contexts ready for us to use at any moment that our brain pulls in without any conscious effort on our part.

These contexts (or "frames") completely and utterly determine how we interpret the world. You could say that the context is decisive, or said another way, the context does the deciding. It not only determines how we interpret the world, the context actually has us see or miss seeing things.

Andre - thanks for the continued high quality of your posts. It's nice to see the discussion elevated to a higher perspective, and you frequently do that. This is a good example.

As a PS in general: Interesting, in terms of human dynamics, to see how much of the energy of the comments here have been focused on a rather lame initial challenging comment to the website in general. It did bring out some good commentary which otherwise wouldn't have been made, but aren't we humans a reactive bunch of critters. Of course, being in Hawaii timezone, I'm mostly a spectator; no comments necessary most of the time. (Though I DO aspire to fix the planet, I'd agree the odds are long that I'll succeed. Still...)

Thanks for the kind words, greenish, and you're welcome.

but aren't we humans a reactive bunch of critters.

(laughing) I've noticed that from time to time!


I'll be a little less enthusiastic about your generally commendable post. Firstly your term "context" would be more accurately "theory" or "paradigm". Secondly, having four unchallenged psychological theories published I can say that individual differences undermine many simplistic generalisations about the human mind. In the present case a great many people have great (excessive) confidence in their existing theories/paradigms. They measure low in neuroticism. There's a second extreme who are high in neuroticism but so scared of worrying about things that they are phobic of anything that may challenge their unconfidently-held theories. They get angry when challenged. So they too are closed to new perspectives.
Then there's a third lot, also high neuroticism but also bordering autistic or genius, who consequently don't have much innate emotion or self-confirmation instinct anyway, and so they are relatively free to question their assumptions and form objective perceptions. They tend to be called scientists and vice versa.

I would say that for most people, the non-geniuses, the most important intellectual deficit is almost total inability to unthink one's prior presumptions.

Next, your notion that the FDA do a good job. JeeeeeeeEz! The FDA are stupohyperogigonormously corrupt. Snake oil is a very nutritious stuff far safer than much of the filth endorsed by the FDA. And they've been trying for decades to stop people buying genuine nutritional medicines that actually work; just now there's ongoing conspiracy to trash DSHEA with the "codex alimentarius" pseudoscience fascism. To Big Pharma's propaganda budget a million dollars is absolute peanuts. Just imagine how many strings you (or tod) could pull with just one of those.

Valid points, all.

Is what I described "true?" No, it's just another point of view.

The value is to see what there is to see using that point of view.

In my view. ;-)

You seem to be endorsing relativism.
If there's no such thing as true, then it can't really be true that there's an energy crisis.
If anyone tells you there is no such thing as truth, then he is also telling you that he cannot be telling you the truth. So you'd best believe him and so not believe him.
The no such thing as truth boongoggle gets wheeled out only when someone is challenged with facts they don't want to believe.

guilty as charged, your honor... *blush*

I acknowledge what you are saying. I happen to believe that there will be a time of chaos between 3 and 5 where gangs roam the streets looking for food or anything else. It is easy to deny the time of chaos but Watts and other examples taught me something about the dark side. Mainly, that it exists in human nature and we shouldn't deny it. Sorry about the negative post but many people on the Oil Drum are somewhere between 1 and 2 about the dark side. And that will start very fast without the warning we have about oil depleation. If you are not ready for the time of chaos, it will be as devastating to you as the poor Watts truck driver that was pulled out of his truck and bricked to death.

I believe there will be chaos, but not in the way people commonly think of it. I think from a Government and institutional perspective, chaos will reign and control will prove elusive with all efforts being akin to dowsing a fire with petrol. However, for individuals it will be different, their lives will still have order, albeit different, as they quickly adapt to the new realities. New systems for living will quickly emerge, with new loyalties and new values.

One of the reasons I continue to read TOD (I made my lifeboat decision before TOD existed, so well into level 2) is to try and understand how our future society/economy will develop structurally and systemically.

The devil is in the detail.

Prof. Goose

"I've been at this for four years now and I still find myself in the anger and depression stages now and again."

My first exposure to Peak Oil was about four years ago when I first read a small book called "Out of Gas" by David Goodstein. I was thoroughly convinced and I talked a lot about it for a while but I didn't change anything in my personal life and after a while I went back to sleep.

About a year ago I started reading TOD regularly and since then I have begun to completely change my lifestyle and goals based around the concepts of Peak Oil and Climate Change. Friends and family think I am extreme but when I learn about the notable actions of hard-core activists I realize that my personal actions are tame in comparison. I am daily amazed at the inspiring examples of the people on this site.

All The Best - Joe

Thanks Joe (and all of the kind words in this thread). It's tough being wise, it's even tougher being different.

The truth is we are all making informed guesses about the future. My point I made up above is that, individually, all we can do is learn, prepare as we see fit, and educate others. In the aggregate/policy sense we can do more, but we have to find ways to agree on what that "what we can do" actually is. I would hope we can do that in an informed and wise manner.

This community has an integrated take on how things are going to proceed, and to this point the community has been increasingly effective.

The next leg of what is to come is far more uncertain--the demand destruction effects, the price signal (whether it goes to 80 or 500), policy movement and momentum, the geopolitical response to the king of the hill taking a couple of bullets and wavering, there's a lot at work here--and it's going to take as many informed people as we can manage to get out there trying to help educate and inform if we are going to even come close to a wise ending to this hole we have dug for ourselves.

Do what you can. That's about all I ever ask of anyone.

Shameless plug to an article I wrote on this very subject: Peak Oil: Living on the Banks of Denial

I hit on 2 alot due to the ignorance of people. It does not give me too much hope. I might be one of the few that gets sick pleasure out of seeing wasteful people get bled in this current paradigm. They brought all this on them self with their me me me. I do look forward to it with excitement. I would rather see it sooner than later.

As for everything else yes I read daily I talk about it daily and look on the bright side of it. Maybe by the time this is all said and done (my hope and what drives me) that neighbors will be neighbors and people will be people. I have seen too many plastic people lately.

I hope for a brighter day when people must pull together to exist and not look at others as merely somebody who happens to live nearby them but never talks to. I lothe what the world has become today. This is why peak oil is exciting to me.

Am I alone? I doubt it.

Inside every cloud is a rainbow.And what could be more beautiful than a rainbow.
Schadenfreude is a normal human emotion.Not a desireable one perhaps,but saints are pretty thin on the ground.At the age of 60 I hope I am around to see some of the most toxic people get their come-uppance.Conversely,I hope I am around to see an improvement in the human condition.
A prerequisite for a healthy internal condition is a sense of balance - the Goldilocks Solution -not too much,not too little,but just right.And a sense of humour,of course.

My reaction to seeing my peak oil predictions come true is one part glee and three parts nausea.

Richard Heinberg wrote something maybe a month ago about "toxic information". To understand the depths of the issues, one has to slog through a lot of painfully depressing information. Few have the mental fortitude for that. The media won't do it; they need to sell cars and houses. Just about every media message one gets advocates behavior that makes matters worse. Where we all live by making matters worse, naturally we are going to deny our complicity. It's not even clear that manybe people have a way to do better. The outcome of that is silly discussions about fixing problems that people refuse to understand. And so-called solutions that will only make matters even worse.

I don't find that the classic steps of overcoming denial match up very well.

cfm, dining at Milliways Restaurant

Wow. Clear, concise, and nailed it. Well done dryki.
I am borrowing this.

Many of us have found that the biggest problem we have is being marginalized when we try to call attention to the problems of diminishing energy resources. One type of marginalization is on the grounds that we are somehow psychologically defective: Your attitude is the problem. In the main I don't buy this. I generally find that people who speak of dire energy problems are more likely to be proposing proactive solutions to those problems than others.

There is nonetheless reason to be concerned with maintaining a positive attitude. In the Heimberg interview he speaks of a cynical tendency to take pleasure in watching one's correct predictions of energy problems unfold into reality. This isn't a widespread attitude, but it should be recognized as an occasional hazardous by-product of being right.

I find it useful to separate my nausea about the future from the rewards of living now. If life is ever to be worthwhile, some present moments have to be able to stand on their own--future or no. So often the joy of life can push my deep melancholy for the future into the background, but without denying it. And then there's hope--if we all wake up and get off our asses, we could live well on a small fraction of the energy we use now, and eventually we could get that small fraction from renewable sources. The transition would be wrenching, but we could do it.

I do, however, miss the future I thought I was going to have.

Mark Folsom

:) As I have grown fond of saying these days while I am enjoying a 20kmile salad, "I am REALLY going to miss technological civilization".

The particularly poignant part for me is that there is no need for it. this issue could be fixed, relatively easily (still an enormous undertaking, but not unattainable) if we were to just get started doing it. But instead we are making every effort to deny reality, deny thermodynamics and drive over the cliff that is so clearly in front of us.

I too do this, and take note of problems that will be fixed as well as created "automatically" by peak oil.

My son bought a bottle of Icelandic mineral water at the local convenience store because he liked the bottle shape. Nearly valueless water came thousands of miles to be sold to a boy for $2.50 while the other man at the counter was remarking at the high cost of gas. In two years this will no longer happen - the water will not be imported (unless as a luxury item), the store may no longer exist, and the complaint phase of gas pricing will either be full anger or simple acceptance.

Several of the disease scares with meat and veggies have been exacerbated by the fact that raw goods came from dozens of farms in several states and finished goods went to hundreds of stores in dozens of states, thereby making the identification of root-cause of the infection hard to accomplish. That problem will likely solve itself -- new local processors may do no better health-wise, but the chances of being infected by a 20K mile salad will be nil!

As for attitudes and perspectives, the post a few days back on dopamine pathways seems to mesh well with the up-thread perception filter concepts. Our brains like to keep things simple and pleasurable. Maybe I'd still be in denial if I hadn't built the dopamine pathway that gets pumped by new posts on TOD!

theokobox - As a direct result of this website I have made huge, fundamental changes in the lives of myself, my family, my community and I continue to work on this every day.

What are you doing?

Yes, paying attention to what is coming down in real time is a bitch and can often become doomerish when you connect the dots and the dots are REALLY starting to pile up so get your ass in gear.

This really belonged on the Drumbeat, as it has derailed the discussion here...

Doomerish? Try some economic websites;

This is one, there are others, such as Reggie Middleton's 'Boom Bust Blog' and Doug Noland's excellent global credit recap at Prudent Bear:

Then, there's this:

You download a program that appears to take over your computer (but doesn't); it's a good metaphor for the powerlessness of an individual in sub- atomic circumstances. The site also has a take on strategy that is different than FAS;

Then, there's climate change:

Most people's overview of the energy/economy/strategy issues is from an economic viewpoint:

Unfortunately, the Washington Post is a big company and nobody talks to each other over there so the Post publishes drivel:

Under the circumstances; Matt Simmons message is apt. We need more doomsayers, to hit people over the head as it were. The energy issues transcends style and image, but people are comfortable with style and image. Style and image actually make up the 'real world' for must of us.

Personally, I think the financial markets are driving energy prices, a good place to find perspective is with Sir ChartsAlot (Gary Dortch):

Oil prices are rising because of central bank money supply policies. This means the nominal price of oil is determined by what Ben Bernanke does or doesn't do rather than by supply, transport and refining fundamentals. The nominal price is what refineries pay for crude in US dollars ... and what customers pay for gasoline at the pump.

The relative price - that of oil priced in other commodities or gold - is fundamentally driven. All commodities have seen price gains, so priced in gold, oil is about what it was three years ago. Gold and platinum, have risen dramatically compared to other assets. Uranium has not, only processors or governments buy uranium and the market is limited; at the same time, all commodities have gained value when priced in real estate. Relative is tricky. People don't pay for gas with real estate so it takes some getting used to.

I find all the comments helpful; not 'doomerish'. John Maynard Keynes was the most, of course; "In the long run we are all dead." Most promote a different ways of thinking; much of the thoughts do not conform to style and fashion. A person who has trained at a university to trade stock options or run a semiconductor company is not going to consider being a subsistance turnip farmer. It's not his (or her) style.

Richard Heinberg is incorrect, we we have style, not a civilization. The energy issue, like all the others orbits around style. Like the option- trading turnip farmer, we have to look and feel good about ourselves in a media- approved way.

This is where the real discussion takes place, not in The Oil Drum, but in a mental space where Hummers have a certain swagger ...

Who wouldn't get doomerish reading the articles on this website - the amount of fear mongering and lack of positive imput is a tragedy.

I don't see fear mongering here. I see rational people making reasonable observations of events and data occuring in society.

Peak oil by nature is a concept only - of course gasoline is going to run out but the attitude with which you approach it can make a huge difference.

Data talks, bull$hit walks... I could put about 10 graphs below to support me, but I'd recommend looking it up yourself... As for attitude, I agree; but attitudes MUST be built on a solid foundation of FACT, or attitude can quickly become delusion.

The general attitude here is depressing if not condesending, and is continuely in a state of proving itself rather then researching solutions and showing people how to live a natural lifestyle.

The attitude is not condescending, but borne out of frustration. There are VERY intelligent people looking at this problem from a number of different angles and coming to very similar conclusions. As for solutions... I see them here, all the time, discussions of what we can do...

its call reality.

being all positive like nothings going to happen will make it worse. a bit of fear drives ppl to change. there is no solution for 800million cars to be replaced in a couple of years, 87mbpd and tv thinks we are saved cause they found a billion barrels somewhere in russia. do the maths, and the black word is dry.

its too late for happy thoughts about peaceful changes to a green natural lifedtyle. under 5 years before we start clicking off irans output each year in decline. buckle up cause we are in for a ride.

PO is a proven concept. all the positive attitudes in the world wont put more light sweet in the ground

yeah yeah i know what you meant, but we arent getting government money to research a solution. we are gathering the information of whats up with the texas tea.

And your attitude is positive, not depressing and not condescending, somehow offering solutions and encouraging a natural lifestyle?

First, please take a look in the mirror and read you own post again.

Second, do as you preach, here at comments section too.

Third, do learn to take notice between what is posted as editorial content and what is written as comments by anybody, including you, with almost no censorship (thus not having editorial oversight).

My challenge to all "this is all doom-and-gloom and you can't think positively" whiners is this:

Write a numbers based, grounded on reality and known current technology (not lab breakthrough 'soon-to-be-here' stuff of unknown probability) solutions that address even 10-15% of c. mid-case peak oil challenge (peak by 2017 or so, decline 4% p.a. and increasing).

If you want to take a challenge, consider a really bad case including peak by 2010, minimum net decline c. 5,2% p.a. + ELM effects + EROEI effects + random downside risks (terrorism, resource wars, political decisions, etc).

Give us your solution, how to implement it, how to finance it, how to advocate it, how to put it on political agenda. Anything. Something that is implementable.

Colin Campbell and others devised a systemic world solution known as the Oil Depletion protocol way before most of people here even knew about Peak Oil. So stop claiming people don't offer constructive solutions, unless you want to look like an idiot.

Put your own actions where your mouth is.

Many of us are already working towards that, but we still don't feel it's enough. Many of us can only influence such a small part.

So if you got a solution and are not afraid to expose it to strict peer-criticism, then publish it here.

I'm sure people at TOD will give it space.

We all want solutions.

Also, do understand that as in any problem solving activity, defining the problem well is a major chunk of devising a successful solution.

We have to scrutinise and understand the problem better, in order to hopefully solve it better.

If it gets some people a bit pessimistic every once in a while, that will pass, but the problem may not.

In the end blaming others isn't going to get your or anybody else anywhere, except bitter and lonely at best.

Peak oil by nature is a concept only - of course gasoline is going to run out but the attitude with which you approach it can make a huge difference.

This is a psychological energy crisis.

If we have a better attitude, it will all be okay.

We're all a bunch of whiners.

If we just had some oilzac or welloiledbutrin, everything would be fine.

Freaking whiners. There's no problems here, obviously. Return your head to the sand, please don't observe what's going on in the world, and especially don't make connections between events in the world and energy. Don't make me bring out the gimp!

It IS a psychological crisis - poor brain wiring leading to ineffectual denial of inevitable realities.

A positive attitude does help - and I'm positive things will get a lot worse.

Yes, we are whiners here. But are we doers in the physical world? That counts double.

I think by and large many people will be happy, though hungry and exhausted. My daughter wnt to Honduras for a missions trip. I asked her to sum up the experience. She said, "The children there have absolutely nothing, but they play, and they are happy."

I think the goal is to remain happy, but not content, striving always to improve.


I would highly recommend reading Matthew Simmons book 'Twilight in the Desert'.
If a Borders or Barns and Noble Bookstore do not have it in stock, they can order the book fairly quickly.Or if you prefer, theres always Amazon.This book should have been a NY Times best seller.
The information contained within this book is incalculably more important to the future of (all) of our personal financial security than the current credit crisis and Wall Street meltdown will be.
Peak Oil, is infact, the direct cause of the meltdown.

If you do decide to research Mr. Simmons findings you will discover that four of the most important names that allowed the global economic boom in the 80s and 90s were Ghawar, Abqaiq, Berri, and Safaniyah.All of them are in critical condition as we speak, and it is the aforementioned four, not 'Freddie' or 'Fannie', that we should be concerned about.

The only one that can make a difference at this point concerning yourself is you.
The erudition you acquire by personal research and [always] asking questions will help not only you, but all of those whom your life touches.
I would agree that at times this site is condescending, and I will freely admit I have been guilty of such behavior; but I think the crisis that is about to unfold globally is of Biblical proportions, and most on this site - including the Professor - would agree with that sentiment.

If we told you otherwise we would be prevaricating.

BTW, I'm not a big fan of the rating system for comments on this site, it might be ok for youtube nonsense, but in relation to this important topic it does smack of condescension as your -74 vote implies.
Why should anyone be concerned about acceptance within group thought....Truth will never be popular.Acceptance based upon peer pressure within group thought is ostentatious towards transformation analogous with Hegelian dialects.

I know a lot of the material here may seem depressing and condescending. But you get over those feelings in time once you get a good clear picture of the battlefield.

I do agree that ideas and solutions should be given more focus... perhaps in the form of a weekly column. I think conceptual solutions are very important. ie, the big ideas, such as basic city and light rail design concepts. It wont do much good to have 50 mpg cars if the efficiency of the overarching infrastructure doesnt improve.


After a long time lurking on TOD, you convinced me to register just to reply to your post.
You do not dispute the raw data provided by the contributors in TOD, and the reason is that: you cannot.
So your positive position comes from “attitude”, or “convictions”. Your belief is that some brain will develop something that is going to take care of things and we will go on in “business as usual”.

Such a belief is based on the idea that people today are somewhat special and better than before, therefore anything is possible. But is it?

If I am thrown into a desert Island, will my qualifications in electronics help me? Who would survive better, a XXI century man or a XVII century “primitive”?

The hard fact is that we are a complex society, totally dependent on one energy resource. Like a house of cards, you only need to remove a wall and the whole thing comes down.

The reason for this is simple: man is not the center of the universe.
The physical world does not conform to any economical system developed by man. Resources are limited, and no market law can override that physical reality. And if our society refuses to deal with it, then it deserves to end.

I don't think I'm doomerish. I think a lot of people before 1929 recognized that the US and the world was on a unstable growth pattern that could end in a tragedy. I'm sure that they where treated as doomers also.

What we are facing soon is at least a order of magnitude worse. How it plays out and when things happen nobody knows but a infinite growth curve hitting the wall of finite resources with the situation being ignored will not end well. This you can bet on.

Furthermore as you understand more about our situation you realize that at its roots our society has been making mistakes not just for hundreds of years but thousands in fact back to the dawn of human civilization. The theme of expansion, exploitation, collapse has played time and again.

But we have finally reached the point where having exhausted most of the worlds resources that after thousands of years civilization has to make a decision. It can choose to concentrate the remaining resources in the hands of a few and leave the rest in increasing misery or it can figure out how to create equitable sustainable life for all.

We are not facing peak oil we are facing the end of our first form of civilization thousands of years of reckless exploitation is coming to a end.

So if you read this site you would realize that the next few decades probably rank right up with discovering fire or agriculture. From here on out we either go down hill to a final collapse on a gutted planet or we learn to live on it respect and love it and ourselves. It not doom but a monumental decision that been thrust on the current living generations.

I have to agree - too many doom and gloomers around here. It's like many take glee that we're all headed over the cliff.

And what's with the hero worship of Matt Simmons. I concur with a lot of what he has to say BUT this guy was supposed to be an advisor to President Bush. Either he was a pretty horrible advisor OR he didn't have much influence.

Also, I love Matt Simmons' recommendation to send troops into Saudi Arabia in order to get an unbiased and accurate audit of their oil reserves. GREAT RECOMMENDATION MATT!!! That will surely not piss anybody off in that part of the world - However, last time I checked Saudi Arabia was a sovereign country.

Once again, it's great that he's sounding the alarm. Unfortunately, he has little valuable or productive input on what to do about it.

To your first point, I will point you to my comment above.

Re: Bush, you are being naive. Simmons was one voice among many, and it's hard to scream loud enough in Washington to move policy, especially something so complex as energy, when there are 500 other people saying that there's plenty of oil mostly based on your own EIA and USGS saying that everything's fine.

Second, with regard to Simmons, you have selective hearing. He told you what many around here would at the end of the interview, there are ways out, but they require massive policy movement, investment, innovation, and R&D, and they need to be done yesterday.

As for KSA, The troops idea: sure, it's not possible, but that's probably the only way for us to ever really know.

However, re: KSA, uncertainty in the reserves numbers keeps us from knowing how much oil, especially light sweet, we actually have in the world. It's very hard to plan a national energy transpo/infrastructure with that much uncertainty--that's the entire point of Twilight in the Desert--and it's why we haven't done anything before now, because we didn't know what we should do and when we should do it!

Simmons has been a hell of a lot more right than wrong. You can sit back and Monday morning quarterback him all you want.

Hi Prof. G,

re: "quarterbacking".

I just wanted to say that - on my part - when I've made comments in response to Matt Simmons' interviews (previously), it was with the sincere hope that the feedback would be helpful to him, were he to happen to see it.

A point about the uncertainty - He didn't mention it in this interview above.

One of the most interesting (poignant, but noticeable) things to me were the looks on the faces of the other participants when Matt spoke.

For some uses of the military, I wouldn't care who it pissed off. Send the military in to Bangladesh to make sure the relief supplies get to those who need it. Send the military in to count the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia accurately and release the info to the world. These things I can get behind as opposed to bombing Iran or Afghanistan or Iraq just because someone blew up some buildings.

Hi speek,

There's a category difference between humanitarian aid supplies and counting reserves. (At least, I think there is.)

Counting the reserves IS a humanitarian act. The carrying capacity of the planet at the time of the discovery of oil was about 2 billion. The population is now at 7 billion, and that growth is a direct result of the food available from the "green revolution." That revolution was created from oil and natural gas: fuel for the tractors, feedstock for the fertilizers, insecticides, & herbicides, the ability to irrigate millions of acres previously unirrigable land, the transportation of food 1000s of miles eliminating localized famines, and on and on.

Knowing the reserves allows us to plan for and take the necessary actions to prevent the billions who would starve should that system become reduced from expense or even collapse: investment in alternative agricultural methods, population control schemes, educational programs for organic farming, etc. Problems with our fossil fuel-dependent agricultural system are already happening, if you've been paying attention to the news for the past year. Using corn for ethanol caused the prices of all kinds of staples to rise. Localized diesel shortages

Do you think that bad things can't happen in modern, industrialized countries without proper planning? Look at what happened in New Orleans when Katrina hit. Now imagine that those people had no place to go. How many more thousands would have died? Do we really want to rely on ad hoc action by charities and citizen groups to try to address this issue? Or do we want to full weight of the gov't to be brought to bear to solve it?

Your comments are frivolous and inaccurate. 1. Who takes glee? None I know of. For some there may be a rather guilty satisfaction or smugness in knowing you are right and being shown to have been right, but is that glee? No.

2. What Simmons her worship? Because a video with his voice on it is posted? Come on. Toss straw men elsewhere. Foolish statement.

3. Matt was a poor advisor? Are you aware Matt advised Bush prior to becoming aware of Peak Oil? Are you not aware of what a complete and utter idiot Bush is? Are you also not aware it would not matter a whit either way since BushCheney was aware of of PO before Simmons advised them? Another pointless statement.

4. Matt was not, in my opinion, talking about literal troops. He was using the term like any group might, "Let's rally the troops an get started!" You'd have to stretch the context pretty far to get where you got.

Sovereign country? Bush gives a shit? Uh... no.

5. No valuable or productive input? I suppose if one were deaf, dumb and blind that might be so. Opening the books is THE single action that might give us a shot at a realistic response to PO. Pretty damned good advice, if you ask me. Start YESTERDAY. Ditto. Etc.

I dub thee TROLL.


Once again, it's great that he's sounding the alarm. Unfortunately, he has little valuable or productive input on what to do about it.

Then you haven't been listening.

Also, I love Matt Simmons' recommendation to send troops into Saudi Arabia in order to get an unbiased and accurate audit of their oil reserves. GREAT RECOMMENDATION MATT!!! That will surely not piss anybody off in that part of the world - However, last time I checked Saudi Arabia was a sovereign country.

matt simmons wrote a good book, but many of his ideas beyond the stats of peak oil are just terrible.


Maybe his timing is premature, but he's giving the worst case scenarios and trying to get people to WAKE UP.

Golly gee. Simmons was off by two years. Oil is over $100 per barrel now and approaching $150. That looks pretty good, even if it didn't happen as early as he thinks.

But keep reading That pile of lies and propaganda distortions is right up your alley.

In Simmon's defense. He said "could". And it very well could have.

I see something happening on the scale of when we went from a wood burning civilization to a fossil fuel using civilization. Now we are going to have to change to a renewable (Hate that word, sustainable would be better) energy & resource using civilization and we will. Wringing one's hands and crying "Woe is me!" is a waste of time.

It is past time to get to work and make this happen.

Hi memmel,

"It not doom but a monumental decision that been thrust on the current living generations."

(Just thought I'd highlight this.)

Exactly, this is the point Thom Hartmann made in his book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight".

I send many people and organizations my Peak Oil research report, which reviews the scientific and independent government agency studies on alternatives to oil and provides policy analysis about the Peak Oil furture. I would guess many read this stuff.

Not only will alternatives not provide much in the way of liquid fuels, they will consume much fossil energy in the process. This is depressing news to us all.

This might explain why some experts in oil production analysis are more pessimistic about the future.

Check his powerpoint briefs out. He has mentioned his recommendation for 'sending the troops in' to Saudi Arabia on many of occasions. Thanks Matt - let's come up with another mission for the military. I've only spent 4 1/2 of the last 10 years over in that part of the world. Perhaps he did have influence in the Bush White House after all (doesn't Iraq have oil?).

As for him being an advisor - Once again, Matt puts this on his bio. Once again, what the hell was he advising and/or how much influence did he have?

Finally, he's a smart guy but if 'Peak Oil' is going to be understood, accepted, and most importantly, reacted to, by the mainstream - Matt Simmons is not the guy I want out front & center.

1. Hit the reply button on the comment you are actually responding to.
2. I talked about this in my response to you up above. Your measure of a single person's influence in Washington is incredibly naive, especially when there are 500 other people telling Congress and the admin to go the other way based on bad data and mindsets.

Prof - Sorry for not hitting the 'reply' button.

However, you validated my post above. Although he was an advisor, he didn't have much influence. Trust me - I wish he did.

After posts at the Pentagon and Central Command, I'm fairly confident you can pretty much rule out sending troops in to SA for an energy audit. I've also learned that need to be careful on what you put on powerpoint - unless you title the slide 'Brainstorming' or 'Silly Thoughts.'

No worries. :) Just trying to help.

And you're right, but if you think about who and what he was up against, he never stood a chance. Not without a price signal that made people pay attention.

Believe me, I hear what you're saying on your last point.

I agree that the military is probably overextended right now. Also, we'll probably never know what it was that Simmons said to Bush. Remember there's also two sides to advising, the advisor and the advisee. We also don't know how Bush received any possible information about peak oil. Maybe Bush just took this advice and said, well that fits in with our plan to invade Iraq, we'll be securing oil supplies in addition. We know the Iraq invasion was a twinkle in the Nixonian's eyes before Bush was even elected IIRC (Rumsfeld, Cheney).

As I've pointed out many times before though, if the U.S. wanted only to secure oil supplies, it would have lifted sanctions in Saddam Hussein instead of invading. In the past the U.S. government has shown no qualms about trading with dictators.

Finally, he was an advisor in 2001, he published Twilight in the Desert in 2005. It might be that his ideas in 2001 were ill-formed, only a vague uneasiness because he hadn't finished his research. Or, they could have been pretty much fleshed out and already there just waiting to be written. We don't know, so I reserve judgment.

I think you should be more worried by the likes of "fuck you planet earth" (aka world's greatest polluter) Bush and his sycophants.

Check his powerpoint briefs out. He has mentioned his recommendation for 'sending the troops in' to Saudi Arabia on many of occasions.

I think perhaps you've misread him.

Look at the accompanying photo with the slide, and you won't see soldiers, you'll see oil field workers.

I took "troops" to be metaphorical, but I'll stand corrected if it can be shown otherwise.

GOOD GRIEF, Matthew Simmons is talking about sending in the "troops" of inspectors so that the Saudis are not able to lie about how much oil they have.

Matt Simmons: "If auditors are locked out, send in troops to get production data."

Doesn't sound much like a red carpet welcoming......

Hi Mike,

That's my understanding as well. Just as a general comment, whilst I fully understand the desirability of greater transparency, I'm troubled by this notion that we, as oil-consuming nations, are entitled to such information. That strikes me as a tad too brazen.


To me this is an important question that impacts all humanity. The stakes are very high in this poker game, yet the cards are held close.

Sadly, without clear visibility we assume the best, when for survival we should assume the worst.

Hi Paleocon,

I agree, but we can hardly fault Saudi Arabia or any other nation state for acting in their own self-interest. We find ourselves in this position of weakness because we didn't properly manage the risk, and even when we knew we were in trouble, we only managed to dig ourselves deeper into the hole. Quite honestly, I'm a little surprised things aren't a whole lot worse, and I'm an optimist!


Hi Paleo

re: "yet the cards are held close."


Still, there are many players, many types of players and many cards.

So many ways everyone (every one) in each capacity could be more open and honest.

Those who know and take a cynical stance. Those who know and do not tell others. In so many ways...

I guess what I'm saying is...if all the other aspects of this problem, and the people closest to and involved in those aspects set the example of more openness, the Saudi's stance would be more an anomaly, and thus easier to deal with. In fact, the openness of TOD, for example, the "Ghawar" forensics, is a case in point.

re: "survival". Yes, agreed in a logical sense. Though I'm not sure humans work exactly that way.

I love the looks on the commentators' faces when Matt says we need to grow food locally, live in villages again, abolish long commutes, etc.


wasn't it though? "That's such a silly idea, I just can't see where he would come up that" looks.

Not sure if the look was one of incredulity or a moment of oh oh fear.

Can you picture any of these broadcasters digging dirt, sowing spuds, or harvesting turnips in November. Can you envision any of them with calloused hands or dirty finger nails. Doesn't milk come from a carton? Quick, get me the specs: what company manufactures those ripe red and perfect tomatoes in the grocery store?

Perchance a stunning realization that in the real world, where "survival of the fittest" actually means the fittest and most grounded in know-how, these guys wouldn't stand a freak'n chance. Consciously or unconsciously they may be sensing that in the future world as painted by Simmons, they are as vulnerable as everyone else -- or worse yet, may be even more so.

Perchance a stunning realization that in the real world, where "survival of the fittest" actually means the fittest and most grounded in know-how, these guys wouldn't stand a freak'n chance. Consciously or unconsciously they may be sensing that in the future world as painted by Simmons, they are as vulnerable as everyone else -- or worse yet, may be even more so.

I think they were just thinking Simmons went off his rocker.

Exactly. It's a similar reaction when ordinary people drop in on TOD and read stuff like "980 million people will starve in the next 20 years". If you don't realise how this stuff sounds crazy then you probably are crazy.

Oh, this "you" you address realizes EXACTLY how it sounds. It sounds awful. How stupid do you think these "yous" are?

And if you don't like it, it's really a pity.

When one has bad news, it shouldn't be soft-pedaled.

Prepare, or don't. That's my new philosophy.

This ain't no popularity contest. One's life may be at stake.

I thought they were taking him very seriously. They know he's got a better track record than all but a handful of others they've been parading across the screen throughout the rise in oil prices.

Hi Moe,

Yes, I agree. I thought they were taking him very seriously. My take on it is they didn't quite know what to make of all he said.

In a way, I wish he'd use the phrase "peak oil", just so people would know what to do a "google" search for...(he could just say it once).

I liked that he talked specifically about keeping a floor on price. Again, I had the impression the others didn't really understand why.

It's to hard to say how they were taking it, since most of them didn't speak. The host was obviously being neutral, the trader guy clearly thought it was nonsense.

Simmons: in villages....end long shortage...

Producer speaking into the Dylan Ratigan's earpiece: Cut to Hummer H2 commercial in 5..4..3......

The Observer Sunday newspaper here published a "Climate Change" supplement back in March.

There were no fewer than eight car ads in the supplement.

makes sense

"climate change - brought to you buy the good folks at GM."

That was a truly remarkable session of Fast Money. I've never seen that crew looking so stunned and dour. The fact that they accepted the comments of Simmons without much argument--and even more so with the call-in guest who appeared previous to Simmons, talking about how far we have to go yet in the collapse of the financial markets--was amazing to me...might even be a first for that bunch. Looks to me like reality is finally sinking in with the rah-rah crowd.

Yes, it's almost as though they were thinking, "Good lord, the environmentalists were right?!?"

The fact that they accepted the comments of Simmons without much argument

it was pretty clear they didn't agree with what matt was thinking.

I was thinking the same thing and wondering if Dylan Ratigan is now going to look for some farmland and get a homestead together so he'll have somewhere to go and get food in the future....

But the dawning of reality on these people means that the masses are not far behind. And one has to wonder if maybe everyone being in denial will look great compared to everyone fighting it out for available farmland and a place in a village. (Where can you even FIND a village there days in the US for example?)

One fellow had the "I'm listening to a lunatic and I'm much smarter than him" look on his face.

Not all of them eventually get it, but many do.

I hear Bartiromo is starting a pent house commune. The only village they are likely to live in is Greenwich Village.

The commentator who talked about oil from a traders perspective had a smirk on his face like as he listened to Matt Simmons. I got the impression that he felt He was listening to a "NUT"! I try to maintain an objective perspective in everything I read on Peak oil and try to verify information, opinions, and statistics from as many sources as possible. I see TOD as a great starting point for opinions and statisitcs. There are a lot of hard working, smart people here and I feel TOD is a great resource and accept it for what it is. For those who feel TOD is negative or full of doomers, then don't read it! It's that simple. People let the emotions to the information and opinion affect them, when they should be using the info here to get a perspective that is differen't than MSM and remain objective. Do your own research people and use deductive and inductive reason to reach your own conclusions. Then make decisions for your future based on those conclusions. Think on your own!! Use your brain and accept things for what they are! If you don't like what you see then take action and don't complain about the situation.
I feel the Chinese YING/YANG philosophy is as true as any philosophy when understanding how the world and nature works. There are forces pushing and pulling in every aspect of our world and economy when one force pulls thing too far one direction the other will always bring things back into line.
Greed is the primary force that brought us to where we are today and it is the opposing forces that will bring things back into equalibrium. Te sooner we recognize these forces and work with them to keep things in equalibrium, the sooner we can live without the extreme high and lows of the economy and our world.
If we continue to fight the forces of nature then we will eventually destroy ourselves. IT seem pretty obvious and pretty simple.


Eh....Live in villages?
Grow our own food?
Screw that.....Lets get back to the markets....
Lets talk money money money money.

(THAT, is why we are headed toward ALL-OUT warfare.)

I think I'm going to be sick.

This weeks fairy Story.

I have just this minute finished watching a BBC special interview with the Mayor of Huston, The Boss of Shell, The Boss Of Nissan/Renault, a Prof from a local university, and a Car Boffin.

They were discussing the future of Oil.

Not once did they even allude to peak Oil, They skated and sashayed around a few of the problems, Nissan was going to bring out a battery car so oil would not be a problem. Shell was an "Energy" company and there was lots of energy forms still in and on the planet and they could easily be harnessed.

The Mayor of Huston knew that Huston would keep on keeping on because other energies and technology would keep the city growing.

The Car Boffin thought that the oil problem would be easily solved by "Innovative" cars being created.

The Baker Institute Prof mentioned that US electricity production was from coal not oil, so with a little bit of fancy footwork the electric grid could easily handle the Electric cars and with a little extra footwork the oil problem would be taken care of.

There seemed not to be a real problem, merely a few minor details to be taken care of.

50 years ago the BBC used to be such an honest News Broadcaster, but I guess a Thatcher, a few Tony Blair's and a Gordon Brown and at all goes to hell.

Then to add insult to injury I flipped to CNN and was told by a bunch of experts that the Financial Crisis was not really as bad as the Media made out.

CNN and Fox have always been comic opera so that was acceptable for what passes as news.

We the listening and watching public are being hosed by the "Establishment" and we keep coming back for more.


BBC is schizophrenic about Peak Oil at the moment. In the last month they've done two episodes of Newsnight Scotland (one with TOD's Euan Mearns) and one Hard Talk on the subject. However when it comes to mainstream National UK BBC they clearly deliberately avoid it and change the subject if it comes up. Most recently last weekend on the Andrew Marr Show when a guest mentioned it - it was clear from the reactions of all involved that they fully understood the problem but it was not something they were going to talk about. I think Andrew Marr may have called it a "poisoned chalice" if I recall correctly.

Disgracefully recent actions included cutting the mic of Jonathan Porritt when he tried to talk about Peak Oil on Newsnight (UK-wide edition).

Euan on BBC Newsnight Scotland

I think Andrew Marr may have called it a "poisoned chalice" if I recall correctly.

He certainly called it that on Radio 4's "Start the Week", rapidly changing the subject.

Maybe that was what I was thinking of. His words on the AM show last Sunday were: "A Sphynx like smile when Matthew asked you that question.". Now the actual question just asked was by Sharleen Spiteri regarding spending plans in relation to Peak Oil but Marr ignored it and prompted Shadow Chancellor George Osborne MP to ignore it as well and instead go back to the preceding question from Matthew Parris.

I wouldn't say I've seen any convincing evidence that the BBC is particularly engaging in any deliberate suppression so much as that there's no view that peak oil is the dominant thing to focus on (although as I only have a radio these days this is based upon the radio output). I remember hearing Andrew Marr responding to a guest he had on "Start the Week" who mentioned peak oil with something along the lines of "that's the theory that there's a limit in the amount of oil being produced coming along, which suggests that there may be hard times ahead" and then the conversation moved onto some other part of the guests book in a manner which suggested he didn't think it was a particularly important point to dwell on. Remembering that he's a media presenter (to the extent that he had a speciality it was political journalism) and not an expert, it didn't seem too unlikely that he wouldn't prioritise discussion of peak oil over some other discussion topic. (I think the main thrust of the guest's book was about global politics and soft-power so moving onto the politics even fits his profile.)

That's the point about presenters: their skills are in the (no doubt difficult) job of keeping to a running order, running an interview, making for interesting listening/viewing. They aren't particularly interested in the particular issues.

If you do a Google search for "BBC Peak Oil" (without the quotes) you see they had more detailed coverage several years ago.


2004 When the last oil well runs dry

2005 - 'Peak oil' enters mainstream debate

Is global oil production reaching a peak?

A few years ago only a handful of geologists and academics were considering such a possibility.

But now it appears even governments are taking a serious look at the subject.

The question is occupying more and more minds around the world.

It could happen soon.

2006 - If... The Oil Runs Out

At the start of the film it is around $85 (£45) a barrel - in spring 2006 it is about $65 (£34) - but by the end of the drama the price has climbed to $160 (£85).

As the story unfolds, expert interviewees - including Paul Domjan, Former Energy Security Adviser at the US Dept of Defence, oil analyst Matt Simmons and the legendary former Saudi Arabian Minister of Oil, Sheikh Yamani - explain how the crisis will have an effect on every part of our lives.

We will not just be paying a lot more - £2.35 per litre or $5.88 per US gallon - to fill up our cars, we will be charged much higher prices for food, heating and light.

2006 Paul Mason (Economics Editor's blog on Peak Oil)

Paul Mason writes: Thanks John - right, you lot, hit the comment button and let us have a civilised debate over this highly relevant topic. Of course I should add the disclaimer that neither I nor the BBC necessarily agree with him!

Since then the coverage of this "highly relevant topic" has markedly decreased and I don't think that's entirely accidental. Just a couple of weeks ago a BBC Newsnight debate used the words "Peak Oil" in the introduction to the debate but then cut away from Jonathon Porritt when he tried to discuss it. What happened between filming the intro and the actual live debate? Was a decision taken not to explore the topic at the last minute? Of course it could have just been gross incompetence by the presenter but I have my doubts as there seems to be a pattern here.

However I must add thanks to the BBC Scotland Newsnight team (and especially presenter Gordon Brewer for actually posting here) for sensibly debating the issue. Perhaps some of the BBC researchers and presenters who read TOD might comment on the issue.


The BBC is in complete denial about both peak oil and the deleterious effects of our consumption of fossil fuels.

There was I, last night, driving home, my car consuming fossil fuel, pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, when Radio 4's PM programme had an item about Russia's (supposedly) vast oil reserves.

I didn't catch the reporter's name, not that it matters, because the errors he committed are endemic in that formerly hallowed organisation's reporting about oil.

Not once in his report did he even mention "that which the BBC must never mention when talking about oil". No surprise, there, then. Maybe I'm getting paranoid but I've only heard one exception to that rule in the last six months, and that was from Andrew Marr a few weeks back.

Anyhow, back to the report about oil in Russia.

The reporter could scarcely conceal his joy at the prospect that Russia may have up to 200 billion barrels of exploitable oil reserves. Hooray!

(The EIA, by the way, states that Russia has around 60 billion barrels of proven reserves.)

Those 200 billion barrels are enough, he told us, to supply the world's oil needs for decades.


Current annual oil consumption is around 30 billion barrels. So Russia's reserves could fuel our oil addiction at current levels for under seven years.

Send this guy back to school for some training in simple arithmetic.


But my question is, because the Beeb isn't the only part of the mass media to prove itself incompetent, why is it so impossible to consider more than one aspect of complex problems like oil and climate change?

And why is there a taboo against mentioning climate change in the same sentence as oil?

post unashamedly stolen from my blog :-)

No the bbc is not in complete denial. Sure you might not find it in the most prominent slots, but I have heard some quite frank discussion on R4s World Tonight for instance and about a month ago Chris Skrebowski got in a good presentation. The media is currently in a mixed state. I guess it is only a matter of time before it moves on to either of (1) oil supply shortage is now passé, or (2) is now the growing consensus axiom.

Strangely, the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 has had many comments about the credit crunch and other issues being blown out of all proportion by the media, and peak oil was mentioned a few weeks ago on one segment, but never given the dues deserved. It was only a matter of paying more at the pump and rounding up speculators or punishing Big Oil. Yawn.


I have to disagree with you! Although several of the participants clearly didn't grasp the full extent of the energy crisis which we are currently facing, they did all accept that we need to diversify our energy supply as much as possible and to save energy where possible. The Mayor of Houston came across as being particularly well informed and intelligent. As he pointed out during the interview, he was involved in the introduction of earlier fuel-economy standards that had the desired effect. He also added that if the second fuel economy statute that he had attempted to pass into effect, had been passed the US would now be using "6 million less barrels of oil per day". The panel also commented on the enormous potential for wind-energy production in the US.

The Mayor has clearly grasped Peak Oil and commented on the fact that enormous amounts have been spent on searching for more oil without an increase in production. I felt that the panel clearly have been reading up on Peak Oil (Perhaps at the Oil Drum? :-)), and that on the whole what they said was sensible. They still have a way to go. But you wouldn't have seen a panel making the comments they were one year ago.

Also I would comment that Peak Oil is now often being referred to as an accepted reality and not a theory.

I would compliment the BBC on the fact that they are holding such debates, not criticise them for the fact that some of the participants have not read every page of the Oil Drum!

The old saw about everything being a nail if all you have is a hammer applies to why our politicians are obsessed with witch hunts. There are simply too many lawyers in Congress and in our state and local governments. Lawyers by nature see everything complaint through the lens of crimes and torts. Any problem can be solved via lawsuits or criminal prosecutions. And if a law doesn't exist to remedy your complaint the the lawyers will make one up. I strongly belief in the rule of law but there are complaints that simply can't be solved by legislation, court decrees, or executive actions. Lawyers are grounded in an adversarial approach to finding truth and only look for what supports their client's position or refutes the opposition's claims. Somehow the reality of physics, chemistry, geology, and biology are beyond their comprehension because every point of view is not valid. Only testable hypotheses are valid and theories are subject to correction by new data and new tests. There is no Supreme Court of Science which can hand down the final word on a topic.
Heinberg himself point out his own witch, that is the USGS. They failed to do an sonic exploration of the entire continental shelf back in the 90s when the equipment could be had for a pennies. We just don't know what is out there so wild claims are thrown around and undiscovered oil is claimed by POD people as reality. The evidence just isn't there to prove them wrong so there hold tight to their claims and blame environmentalists for denying us all the cheap oil we are entitled to.
In case you missed it yesterday a group of sport fisherman, generally regarded as conservative politically, won a court case blocking oil and gas drilling in a designated wilderness area in Michigan. It is not just remote Alaska the oil companies want to rape. It could be your nearby favorite fishing hole.

thomas deplume said,
"Heinberg himself point out his own witch, that is the USGS. They failed to do an sonic exploration of the entire continental shelf back in the 90s when the equipment could be had for a pennies. We just don't know what is out there so wild claims are thrown around and undiscovered oil is claimed by POD people as reality."

Gee don't that sound familiar, kind of like KSA, only underwater instead of under sand! Perhaps we could let a few thousand Saudi troops come over and do the exploration of the U.S. coasts to see how much oil is really there! :-) I do think we absolutely at peak irony....


"In case you missed it yesterday a group of sport fisherman, generally regarded as conservative politically, won a court case blocking oil and gas drilling in a designated wilderness area in Michigan."

I did miss it, but now I've found it.

But the judge ruled the Forest Service didn't consider how degrading the area could harm tourism...

But see, here's my question for these tourist anglers, the same unanswered question I still have for the Florida Tourism NIMBYism authorities:

Without cheap fuel, the tourists will be unable to afford to arrive in their customary numbers at remote destinations. It may be all well and good and thumpingly politically-correct to veto every conceivable project in every conceivable place, erecting "look somewhere else" signs on every last square millimeter of dirt on Planet Earth. But once you've gotten an endless series of unelected, unaccountable judges to sign off on that point, what then?

Just how do these tourists plan to get to their prized wilderness area in the fuel-free - but oh-so-pristine - world they and others like them seek to create? Do they plan to walk there in the future, dragging their boats behind them each summer from someplace far enough south that no heat is needed in winter? Seriously?

One legal point in the Michigan case is that Savoy got permission from the wrong people. The land in question is property of the State of Michigan and not the USFS. The oil companies already have access to over 100,000 sq mi of federal property which they haven't even bothered to explore. Yet they somehow just can't get by without a few sq mi of Michigan wilderness.

So 60% of U.S. senators hold law degrees, and a large number of those practiced before entering politics. There are 1,143,358 lawyers in the U.S. as of Dec. 2006, or less than 1% of the population, according to the ABA. A reader yesterday made a provocative point, which seems appropriate to highlight here. “Seems to me that having so many lawyers in the Senate is clear evidence that this body is not representative of its citizens, nor is it attracting the best, brightest and most accomplished Americans, by any stretch of the imagination.”

Not only are we dealing with the limited thought processes of lawyers, but I think the even more limited thought processes of the partisan human brain. I think we have been selected, by thousands of years of living under the local warlord. If you were not able to instantaneously have the correct (interpreted as loyal to the warlord), your odds of being able to procreate just went down substantially. So it should be no mystery that the first thing we notice about any new information, is if it supports or refutes our side. Only those with training and a great deal of perseverence can overcome this distorting effect on our thinking. It requires constant effort. So we see that peakoil, in the context of US politics tends to support environmentalism, and that supports liberalism. It is a direct threat to Libertarianism, as it suggests some sort of regulation. What currently passes for conservatism in the US, is also threatened by PO. These near automatic responses are very strong, it should not be surprising that otherwise intelligent people resort to denialism.

support environmentalism, and that supports

Gosh, having a low pollution environment seems like a good idea.


Du du Duuuuuuuuu.

Oh, the evil boggy-man of 'liberals'.

It is a direct threat to Libertarianism,

The only threat to Libertarians is other Libertarians. An unwillingness to actually show value as a political organ is an example.

Mr. Simmons is someone I personally don't care for (especially regarding politics), so for him to continually says things that are riveting and accurate is that much more convincing. He really sticks his neck out, and for this he deserves our thanks.

I agree. Unfortunately, Americans listen to experts like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Ms Winfrey. Perhaps TOD can sign them up?

Also, I don't think it's possible to conduct a friendly audit of reserves in SA. This opinion is from one who was forced to strip down to his skivvies the last time he entered the military side of the airport in Jeddah. If you haven't visited, the Kingdom isn't very trusting or accomodating...

Also, I don't think it's possible to conduct a friendly audit of reserves in SA. This opinion is from one who was forced to strip down to his skivvies the last time he entered the military side of the airport in Jeddah. If you haven't visited, the Kingdom isn't very trusting or accomodating..

Nansen Saleri was manager of reservoir engineering for Saudi Aramco and went up against Matt Simmons at the 2005 CSIS conference defending Saudi reserves. He made the statement that the Ain Dar/Shedgum area of Ghawar "would be producing 2 MMBOPD at modest water cuts for decades to come..." even though by his own admission it was 70% depleted (remaining reserves of 12.9 billion over total recovery of 41 billion). Within 18 months he was gone and now has a consulting firm in Houston I believe.

I got my JPT today and saw were Abdul-Jaleel Al-Khalifa, took a Job as CEO of dragon oil company which has 340 MMbbbls of Caspian Oil Reserves. He was Manager, Reservoir Description and Simulation Dept for Aramco. Khalifa was the 2007 President of the SPE. As a sidenote, he officed next to me in grad school and was a friendly, quiet, brilliant guy.

Now Business Week has an insider who is slippin them productiion forecasts.

Tired of putting up the front.... or getting out of the kitchen whilst on preheat???

I wonder how Saudi Security views these people moving on. You seem uniquely qualified to offer a valuable opinion.

Thank you for your service.


Soon after 9/11, our miltary infrastructure in SA has pretty much vanished - except for Embassy Guards and military advisors/trainers, we don't have much 'eyes on' in the Kingdom. Our AF structure has moved from Prince Sultan Air Base to next door in Qatar (Al Udeid AB). As for U.S. military personnel - movements into and around country can be a challenge. Even overflight clearances must be submitted far in advance - and are often denied. Unless you get an opportunity to drink beer with the American and Brit employees in the Aramco housing compound, I can't think of any reason to hang around SA even when I do visit. Most of the Americans/Brits working in Saudi head over the causeway to Bahrain for their fun & games. Many of the Saudi(s) do as well - Allah apparently can't see what's going on over the causeway. Bottom line is that I can't shed any light on what they're thinking - other than just saying that they're a very closed society & increasing so.

Thanks for your informative posts,USMCpeak.I've been doing some reading lately about Islamic societies in the Middle East.Fascinating but scary stuff.
Religious beliefs by their very nature are irrational but when they become so fundamentalist,intolerant and totalitarian as in many Muslim countries they become of great concern.The history of fundamentalist Christianity should give pause for thought.
I believe that Western nations would do well to distance themselves from Islam in any way possible.Obviously the first place to start is energy independence but immigration from Muslim countries needs to be restricted and possibly reversed in some cases.

Religious beliefs by their very nature are irrational but when they become so fundamentalist,intolerant and totalitarian as in many Muslim countries they become of great concern.

And you will always have some %age of population that will have issues with what others do. Sometimes the issues are 'your movies push out our culture' or 'soft drinks are bad'. Othertimes it is 'you shot my brother' or 'you bombed the wedding party'.

I believe that Western nations would do well to distance themselves from Islam in any way possible.

Why not all religions what with them being irrational?

the reason why not all religions need not be distanced from is that most religions are relatively benign or beneficial. Whilst Christians, Hindus, Buddists etc can contain some dangerous fanatics the vast bulk can co exist. Unfortunatly Islam is a religion that seems predisposed to fanaticism and intolerance and this has caused the dangers of the enemy within (think London tube bombings). AFAIK there hasn't been any terrorist incident involving migrant Hindus for example.
Sad fact of life is that 90%+ of migrant muslims are tolerant and abhore terrorism but that few percent that shelters/finances the terrorists means the rest get tagged with the terrorist brush.
WTSHTF and locals are doing it tough the migrant communities will be the ones facing expulsion with those regarded as the enemy at the top of the expulsion list.

Whilst Christians, Hindus, Buddists etc can contain some dangerous fanatics

Ahhh yes, the dangerous Buddists. Setting fire to themselves, creating a fire hazard and stopping armed conflicts. Them thar bodhisattva's spreading the liberation of enlightment to others - a clear and present danger.

Unfortunatly Islam is a religion that seems predisposed to fanaticism and intolerance

Considering how you worry about dangerous Buddists and their nasty passifying ways - your 'sense' of Islam should be considered questionable by others.

(think London tube bombings).

And I remember seeing plenty of press questioning that matter. I'll leave it up to readers to dig up their own material on the matter.

Sad fact of life is that 90%+ of migrant muslims are tolerant and abhore terrorism

Huh. 6% of the population is genetically psychopaths, and another 12% are trainable psychopaths according to the people who study such.

So - could your 10% number of 'non-abhoring terrorism' Muslims just be psychopaths?

Everyone of us wears many labels to describe themselves. Perhaps the label of Muslim isn't the best way to filter for violence as you have claimed?

Why not all religions what with them being irrational?

Ah, don't go and get my hopes up. So much already dashed. But boy, this sounds like a reasonable idea to me.

I believe that Western nations would do well to distance themselves from Islam in any way possible.

Islam is a "Western" religion by any reasonable measure - and shares many of the same Armageddonish qualities and Good v Evil impulses as its blood-brothers Judaism and Christianity. And for that matter, the major secular religious movements do too (fascism and communism).

Christian nations fight Muslim ones because they are so similar, not because they are so different. Eastern religions come out of entirely different philosophical traditions.

He really sticks his neck out, and for this he deserves our thanks.

I concur (about this bit, I don't know his politics). It takes a lot of courage to say something that has no agreement. Simmons is being, in my view, very courageous. I have no doubt that he has been negatively impacted by his speaking up. It goes with the territory.


I concur (about this bit, I don't know his politics). It takes a lot of courage to say something that has no agreement. Simmons is being, in my view, very courageous. I have no doubt that he has been negatively impacted by his speaking up. It goes with the territory.

most people probably disregarded what he said on fast money because he was so doomerish.

All of Britain disregarded Churchill until the crap hit the fan. Then they begged him to save them from their own folly.

You are part of the current folly.

All of Britain disregarded Churchill until the crap hit the fan. Then they begged him to save them from their own folly.

You are part of the current folly.

you're wrong. first of all, there wasn't much Britain could do on their own w/o US help. they could stop Hitler from going through Europe. they almost lost a lot of troops at Dunkirk. chamberlain doesn't get credit for what he did to prepare England for war.

"chamberlain doesn't get credit for what he did to prepare England for war."

Yeah, like that piece of paper he got with Hitler's signature on it. That photo of him getting off the plane and waving it around while everyone cheered him on really improved the troops morale...

SubKommander Dred

It is true that he used the months of the Phoney War to complete development of the Spitfire and Hurricane, and to strengthen the RDF or Radar defence grid in Britain. Both of these priorities would pay crucial dividends in the Battle of Britain.

guess chamberlain did nothing, right?

I am reminded of the scene from Aliens (the second movie) where Ripley is testifying to the corporate types about what happened on the Nostromo (her ship that was destroyed in the first movie).

"Because if just one of those things (the aliens) gets loose down here, all of this ... (she wads up some documents) ... this BULLSHIT you care so much about, you can just kiss it all GOODBYE!"

That's what I am looking forward to Simmons saying. The clip above, well, I think he showed a great deal of restraint.

Where's my Troll-B-Gone? Damn...

Yeah. You MUST be right, as assholes always are (in their own minds.) Let's disregard that a year ago people really didn't listen to him in any way, shape or form, and that even a month ago, that was true. That's right, as recently as WEEKS ago every show's hosts/panelists would be laughing up their sleeves and would be unable to hide their disdain.

Not so anymore, little troll. Why don't you crawl back under your bridge before someone decides to figure out who's signing your checks for spamming this site.


Hello TODers,

I welcome all newbies, of course, but I wish that they would spend some time reading through the tutorials and past archives before commenting. It would greatly help them get up to Peak Everything awareness, as they would quickly discover that TOD has previously posted thousands of mitigative suggestions, and other available forums and books have done the same.

I have posted many times before that our multiple WWWeb forums, books, films, videos, audios, and speakers constitute the largest charity effort on the planet; we are all trying our best at Peak Outreach to all.

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

Did anyone notice the smirking and chortling in the background during Matt Simmons' interview?

We are soooooo screwed. These market monkeys reflect the basic mindset in the world and that spells doom.

I will rate you a +28 for that one just to offset that crazy first post-great stuff!

Weren't you listening? ALL commodities are cyclical. Your only concern is how to profit from the situation.


I chuckled as well at the cyclical comment.

Einsteins simple theory says there is no experiment you can perform to determine your relative speed in uniform motion.

His general theory applies that to non-uniform motion.

I think his theories apply here.


"Einsteins simple theory says there is no experiment you can perform to determine your relative speed in uniform motion."

My exact thought when he made the "cyclical" comment, was that he was concerned with relative market movement, without thinking about the big picture: you can have cyclical movements in a falling or rising market - alone it doesn't tell you much. Although the cyclical element may be important for people trying to make money on short term trades, the overall movement is what counts for the rest of the world.

Basically he was saying "ignore the big picture, look at the little movements up and down". More MSM rubbish. Stay fascinated by the little shiny lights. Don't worry about what's actually going on around you...

Thankfully Matt was there to provide an overview. Interesting contrast.


Is that anything like "spiraling down the drain"?

I like that--it's possible to be cyclical and also declining--spiraling down the drain!

Weren't you listening? ALL commodities are cyclical. Your only concern is how to profit from the situation.

yeah, don't they know commodities are on a permenant plateau? buy now or you'll be priced out forever. they aren't making anymore oil don't you know?

They are cyclical until the last cycle. CNBC has not quite gotten the message that we live on a finite planet. Doncha know, it's all about getting in on the bottom or near the bottom. Or the top for that matter if you short. Even with oil, there will probably be a few remaining mini cycles, but wrapped within the overarching up curve. Human beings have cycles too, until they flat line.

CNBC is looking at the wrong cycle in this case. Instead of the commodities cycle, they need to looking at the total energy cycle, the carbon cycle, and the evolutionary cycle.

These market monkeys reflect the basic mindset in the world and that spells doom.

the fact is matt lost a lot of people when he went so doomerish.

That's not his problem, you know.

It's touching that so many want only good news, but too bad for them. They will be caught with their pants down, to put it mildly.

When one sincerely thinks the news is bad, what is one to do?

That's not his problem, you know.

It's touching that so many want only good news, but too bad for them. They will be caught with their pants down, to put it mildly.

When one sincerely thinks the news is bad, what is one to do?

you have to be smart enough not to turn people off. you can still believe peak oil will be a disaster, but you should give advice that doesn't scare people. keep disaster to yourself.

here is what I would have said.

oil prices don't look like they are coming down so plan according. try to conserve energy. there are lots of ways to do that. sell your SUV if you have trouble filling the tank. try and get a higher MPG car. walk or ride your bike more. try to consolidate trips. you might even want to car pool. buy a new furnace or air conditioner. insulate your house. buy a smaller house if you can. think about a clothesline. get new windows. buy a solar hot water heater. start planning a small solar panel system. food prices will probably rise so why not grow some in your garden? buy local food. move closer to your job or move your job closer to you.

instead matt just lost people by the time he said "no gasoline means no food." the average person just doesn't need to be told that.

"but you should give advice that doesn't scare people. keep disaster to yourself."

Like the the story of 'The boy who (didn't cry wolf, but instead) whispered 'Dog''

Reminds me of a conversation I have with fellow film-crewpeople about how it's basically impossible to make an American film that doesn't have a happy ending. You can terrorize the crap out of people, just as long as they get to trust that their hero and the prettiest girl will survive..

We've been programmed into psychotic avoidance of real information.

Like the the story of 'The boy who (didn't cry wolf, but instead) whispered 'Dog''

Reminds me of a conversation I have with fellow film-crewpeople about how it's basically impossible to make an American film that doesn't have a happy ending. You can terrorize the crap out of people, just as long as they get to trust that their hero and the prettiest girl will survive..

We've been programmed into psychotic avoidance of real information.

you can give advice on peak oil without scaring people. if you think peak oil is a giant problem then you should be very conscious of not being too over the top and having people ignore you. saying something like "sell the SUV" won't be controversial because that's what people are doing anyway in this $100/per fill-up world we're in.

The guy's been subtle for years. He's been laidback and networked, he's published reports and done a tonne of presentations.

"There's icebergs ahead"
"That's one there"
"We're going to hit it"
"... really soon now"
"If we hit it we'll sink"
"Being in the water at this latitude means certain death."

... nah, people don't need to hear the last bit. How close is that 'berg again? I heard this ship's unsinkable anyway. The ticket guy told me.

here is what I would have said.

oil prices don't look like they are coming down so plan according. try to conserve energy. there are lots of ways to do that. sell your SUV if you have trouble filling the tank. try and get a higher MPG car. walk or ride your bike more. try to consolidate trips. you might even want to car pool. buy a new furnace or air conditioner. insulate your house. buy a smaller house if you can. think about a clothesline. get new windows. buy a solar hot water heater. start planning a small solar panel system. food prices will probably rise so why not grow some in your garden? buy local food. move closer to your job or move your job closer to you.

OK, those are all good, positive ways to "sell" the problem.

They're also exactly the same things that those who cared have been saying for 30-odd-years now. Those are not new ways of presenting the issue. History has proven to my satisfaction that they don't work. So long as it's voluntary, more expensive, less fun, more about the future than it is about the now, or demanding of any physical labor, most people will happily ignore it and get back to their beer & football.

If it's not clear to you that a sense of urgency is not only warranted, but necessary, at this point, then I think you're just fooling yourself. The time to make some of those voluntary, easy changes was 30 years ago, and the lifestyle changes that our energy reality now demands are not going to be easy sells. Some might get off the dime because they heard a guy like Simmons dish it straight; others will wait for prices and shortages to force changes upon them. But very few are going to jump up and get busy now because you gave them the soft sell instead. Wall Street, in particular, seems very hard-headed. You have to present a very strong message if you want to be heard, and not simply dismissed. Simmons' tone, IMO, is just about right.

In fact, Chris will make this exact same point tomorrow. :)

They're also exactly the same things that those who cared have been saying for 30-odd-years now. Those are not new ways of presenting the issue. History has proven to my satisfaction that they don't work. So long as it's voluntary, more expensive, less fun, more about the future than it is about the now, or demanding of any physical labor, most people will happily ignore it and get back to their beer & football.

In this context it is educational to look back at the solutions some of us were discussing 35+ years ago. Microgeneration, biomass, public transport, etc.

Things aren't going to change until we stop worshipping that false god called money (or more subtly, "economics").

you have to be smart enough not to turn people off.

It's a shame that is such hypocritical comment. And so wrong. Different strokes. Some need a slap upside the head, some need a gentle chat, and some need to dig their own graves now because they will never get it till there's a gun in their face demanding any food and fuel they have. Etc.

It takes all kinds, not just one kind, Sir Troll.

(Psst! Who's paying you?)


(Psst! Who's paying you?)

It's dutifully noted that when someone doesn't say the things you like, it's because he's been "paid" and is being a "troll".

Ironically, that's a trollish comment by itself.

Hello John15,

You don't seem to realize that it doesn't matter to Mother Nature if a person becomes an optimist, pessimist, denialist, realist, or whatever. She doesn't care what we think or believe, only what we will do in regards to energy and the environment.

So tell me please, John the Optimist, what your energy response will be when:

You encounter no water coming from your household tap.
You encounter no food in your grocery store.
You are attacked by your neighbors.
You can barely move.

What will you do John15, when this is your precise situation?

Please notice that Mother Nature always has a solution.

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

So tell me please, John the Optimist, what your energy response will be when:

You encounter no water coming from your household tap.
You encounter no food in your grocery store.
You are attacked by your neighbors.
You can barely move.

probably have a beer and hope football is still televised.

Hello John15,

Thxs for responding. What I find fascinating about this photo is that it expresses the Thermo/Gene Collision in a simple way; the inability of this community to overcome their optimistic genetic wiring:

1. From the housing in the background, they probably never could afford FFs...

2. But that certainly didn't stop them, they were confident and optimistic that they could eke out an existence.

3. Their initial success in this habitat probably led to happy days with no realistic thought of storing multiple years of supplies; denialism that Nature is always changing.

4. Human procreation with no concern for Overshoot and habitat degredation.

5. Even this poor girl is driven by her brain to run this physical race to its bitter end; she is hopeful of reaching food and water; she can't help that her mind compells her to crawl in the direction of relief from her misery.

Compare what happened here vs what could have been if this community was fully taught Peak Outreach [which includes birth control], environmental stewardship, planning far ahead with a multi-generational mindset, etc.

Recall my earlier, speculative 'amputational vs computational' posting series to instill a higher degree of eco-realism into our existence. In short: to overwhelm our wiring that causes the Tragedy of the Commons; to help induce Optimal Decline.

This is nothing more than a quick social adaptation of the genetic ability of lizard losing a tail to his environment to yet live another day. The real politic exchange between the lizard and his predator is mutually beneficial to both plus the environment, just as gradual extrasomatic reduction due to finger loss = extinction rates will quickly force us to change our ways. The loss of a few fingers would be nothing compared to the loss of our species and most others included.

If we truly love our only planet: let's hold up our hands and count the ways. My guess is that we would change so fast that we
could happily count to eight for generations ahead. Time will tell.

Actually I've noticed that Simmons is being interviewed more and more in the mainstream media. I think he is finally being heard.

"Living close to work, paying for productivity, growing food locally.... "

Yeah, soooo doomerish, NOT!

I lurked here for two years before first posting, and have long considered this the best source of peak oil information. I too have made the observation that the attitude here is negative (sometimes even negatively gleeful?) and it would be good to have solutions instead of just proof of problems, but in retrospect I decided I was wrong.

If this site tried to diversify and suggest solutions, track alternate energy options, teach sustainability, and review Energy Star appliances it would cease to do what it does best -- educate and illuminate the peak oil future.

After all, there are links to sites that already do a fine job of those other activities, and Google still works last time I checked.

And certainly it is well within human nature to be pleased when predictions come true, regardless of how dire those prediction might be. I see the same thing on hurricane prediction sites, and it in no way indicates a lack of caring about the individuals affected. What's more, it's hard being a prophet at best, and after years of being labeled a crack-pot I'm sure it's rewarding to see that not only is the position vindicated but that the site overall is making a positive change in thinking for literally millions of people. For any teacher, having students who willingly learn and make use of the knowledge gained is the best reward.

I say "well done" so far, and "keep it coming". Thanks TOD!

What's more, it's hard being a prophet at best, and after years of being labeled a crack-pot I'm sure it's rewarding to see that not only is the position vindicated ...

I wonder just how much oil will have to cost before our loved ones, friends, acquaintances and colleagues stop rolling up their eyes and thinking to themselves 'Here comes Mr Tinfoil Hat again ...'.

Any bets?

I would guess that $200 per barrel might have a real educational effect. But perhaps I'm just a natural born optimist.

I said the same thing about $100 when we were at $40. Now we're at $145 talking about $200.

The former increase was 150%. The latter around 35%. Which one makes the bigger splash?

I agree there are breaking points for individuals, each according to their own tolerance, which creates marginal change. However, I fear the societal "tipping point" is far higher than $200.

The counter I get these days is "It's expensive but I don't see a shortage." Well, of course they don't. The shortage is in places that cannot bid as high as the United States, Europe, Japan, and China. Yet trying to educate such people to this basic economic fact is like trying to lead certain fools on this website to reality about basic physics - it can't be done. It's not the technology questions that bother me, because we have the tech if we totally reorganize the way we live. It's the innumerate and illiterate masses who block change who make me a doomer.

I would also say, "What happened to all that $28 a barrel oil from 2003? There's a distinct shortage of that."

As the Saudis say, "The markets are well supplied": Yes, well supplied with $145 a barrel oil.

There is distinctly a short supply of the cheap stuff.

The shortage is in places that cannot bid as high as the United States, Europe, Japan, and China.

borders are irrelevant. there are people in every country who can't afford to consume as much as they want.

price rationing:

In economics, it is often common to use the word "rationing" to refer to one of the roles that prices play in markets, while rationing (as the word is usually used) is called "non-price rationing." Using prices to ration means that those with the most money (or other assets) and who want a product the most are first to receive it. Such rationing happens daily in a market economy. Non-price rationing follows other principles of distribution. Below, we discuss only the latter, dropping the "non-price" qualifier, to refer only to marketing done by an authority of some sort (often the government).

It is not only the innumerate and illiterate masses who block change.There are many in the so called educated classes who can only be described a troglodytes.While there are many of the masses who would qualify for this "honorific" I believe that there are large numbers of the wealthy and influential who reside in the same cave.They are quite comfortable there,thankyou,and are all the harder to shift because of that.

People who are numerate find it almost impossible to understand those who are innumerate. Take a simple concept. Percentage change. There are people who couldn't understand that concept if you explained it all day. It is just simply not on their radar screen. Oh, and forget simple algebra.

Cue the obligatory Al Bartlett lecture:

The populace is equally challenged by the difference between running out and peak flow rate.

"It's expensive, but I don't see a shortage." The form of this problem is not specific to peak oil. This is a problem with a deep, wide scope and a very long history: silent evidence.

The people who are experiencing shortages (or problems of any sort), by and large, drop out of the sample in which the remaining survivors make decisions. Those who have less, have less of everything, less energy available, getting squeezed harder than the rest, they may be hungry, thirsty, sick, or dead.

They also have less voice, and are less inclined to vocalize their situation. Their experiences are not shared and heard, their evidence is silent.

People tend to confuse or conflate "no evidence of shortage" for "evidence of no shortage".

The overwhelming majority of people won't "see" the shortage until it overcomes them.

I'd like to take a moment to recommend Nassim Taleb's book, "The Black Swan".

Be aware of and proactive toward impending shortages. Be worried about other people's unconsidered reactions to what amounts to a Black Swan for them.

I think Prof. Goose has undergone a phase change--hopefully not a meltdown...

*laugh* how so?

I've just never seen you posting so frequently and passionately. Usually all I see are bits of encouragement to spread the word. Now you're sparring and commenting and arguing all over the place.

This is how it was the first year or so when HO and I started TOD: I was always in the threads. Now with all of the administrative and editorial stuff I do for the site behind the scenes, I don't get as much time as I would like to come in here and mix it up.

Believe me, I do passionately believe in the educational mission of this site, so do my colleagues. Otherwise, why would be doing this for free? I mean seriously.

Hmmm. I know what you mean. I'm on the board of directors of a local sustainability group here, in addition to making a living, and I spend at least two hours a week in meetings and head out with a projector and powerpoint or video about as often, plus doing a newsletter--and I feel like I'm doing such a feeble attempt at informing people. However, there is glacial progress.

Right on,PG.

I noticed the same thing. I think Prof. Goose has some sort of epiphany lately.

Could it be because our nation is largely innumerate? Good God, it's gone up almost fifty per cent, year to date. We need a "Network" moment!!! "I'm sick and tired and I can't take it anymore!!"

Or, could it be that, after all, this is Prozac nation? I am sure there is a pill for peak oil anxiety. There is one for everything else.

matt simmons made me cringe at the end. no food? yeah, that makes me want to make preparations. stuff like that turns people OFF not ON. macke was right, that just made me want to draw a happy face with crayons and go talk about fannie and freddie.

Reality is a bitch, isn't it, john15? But guess what? Reality doesn't care if you pay attention or not. What is, is. And what is, is going to smack you right between the eyes.

Reality is a bitch, isn't it, john15? But guess what? Reality doesn't care if you pay attention or not. What is, is. And what is, is going to smack you right between the eyes.

you're wrong. the fact is matt simmons turned people off.

no food? he had a chance to educate a demographic that might not know what peak oil is. he went doomer on us and missed his chance to educate. no food is not even close to reality.

>the fact is matt simmons turned people off.

John15, I gotta thank you for many a good chuckle this morning. You are performing your role as an absurd foil to this discussion admirably well.

What, do you have a private Neilsen ratings feed now too, such that you know it's a "fact" that Simmons turned people off, and that "most people probably disregarded what he said on fast money because he was so doomerish?" Not only that, you know what the Fast Money people were thinking too! "it was pretty clear they didn't agree with what matt was thinking" you said...huh, that's not at all what I saw on their faces.

You really have a way with conflating your own opinions with some official reality meter.

At least you are starting to admit your own bias:

matt simmons made me cringe at the end. no food? yeah, that makes me want to make preparations. stuff like that turns people OFF not ON. macke was right, that just made me want to draw a happy face with crayons and go talk about fannie and freddie.

In other words, if educated opinions on peak oil don't make you happy, or don't turn you on, or are too "doomerish" for your taste, then they're wrong.

So keep on drawing us your happy faces with your crayons, and posting them here. I know that I, for one, appreciate the comic relief.

What, do you have a private Neilsen ratings feed now too, such that you know it's a "fact" that Simmons turned people off

I have common sense. scaring people to the degree that matt simmons did doesn't help anyone. you think people went out to plant a garden as soon as pops and drops was over?

Not only that, you know what the Fast Money people were thinking too!

yes, because I watch the show every day. it's clear they didn't agree.

In other words, if educated opinions on peak oil don't make you happy, or don't turn you on, or are too "doomerish" for your taste, then they're wrong.

yes. simmons is educated enough to right a book about oil production. it's clear that beyond that he has trouble figuring out things from there. the no food comment was the lastest example. keep in mind I respect simmons, I have listened to many interviews with him and have read some of his book.

have read some of his book.


John15,sense is extremely uncommon and I doubt if you are exceptionally well endowed in that respect.
Also, please take some more care with your spelling and grammar.Your present standard lowers the tone of your posts.

John15, I understand you quite well and admire your persistency albeit the ad hominems and offenses that people keep throwing at you, adding to that those stupid numbers below the comments which are nothing but the measure of sheeplessness approvement of every single comment.

It is quite telling that if someone praises Matt for his interview, instantaneous gratification. If someone says "but", or "I didn't like this part", or something else, boom", you're a blind person who is not willing to "see" the Truthtm, and it usually is about the end of the world, or how everyone is going to starve to death, unless! we adopt the environmentalist lifestyletm, which is nothing but unworthy clichés of anti-corporativist talk mixed with a traumatic christian longing for the eden from which we fell...

I think this picture sums it up pretty well:

H/T to Al Fin

I see your point quite well. And I know where I can put the doomerish talk that is spread around this site all too well for me to say it.

Give me those damn crayons!!! I need them because John showed up again.

Give you them? Since john15's post we're suffering a bit of a shortage....

Peak Crayons!

What am I bid for my secret stash of crayon reserves?

"What am I bid for my secret stash of crayon reserves?"

Nothing; we can make our own...

Soap Crayons
1 3/4 Cup Ivory Snow; (powder); 50 drops food coloring; 1/4 Cup water

Mix water & soap flakes together. Add food coloring & put mixture into an ice cube tray. Allow hardening. Break or cut into pieces. Fun to write with on the tub when bathing & face & hands!

Darn it,

There goes my pension plan...

the fact is matt simmons turned people off.

It not turned me off. He infact made me search more for how systems work, from where and how much energy comes, where and how much energy is used etc.

I am a 27 years old computer engineer from karachi, pakistan. I know about TOD and peak oil since 3 years. After one year of reading and searching I made the decision that in the decade to come world not need computer engineers, it need farmers.

I kept trying to convince my father to sale our house and other property in karachi and buy a farm with that money and other money we have. He who has seen only economic booms, massive industralization and advances in technoloy not agreed to my ideas. After his death in dec 2007 when I had hands on his money I used all of it to buy me some acres of land and a tractor. I hope that in years to come I will be able to power my tractor by growing some ethanol from sugarcane. I also recently found out how one can increase water supply and hence food supply sustainably four times per acre by pumping ground water using ethanol powered generators. Now I have 4 acres of average quality farm land on which I can sustainably grow food for 40 people after putting 0.8 acres from these 4 acres to grow sugarcane to have ethanol to pump water from ground.

My tractor still run on diesel and my house at farm is still powered by govt provided electricity but I can very well power these things on my own if I have one more acre of land which I hope to get in next two years.

I would not be able to do all this if I had not read about peak oil from among others matthew simmons and have not read websites like tod, energybulletin etc. I would be working at a software house wondering what the hell is going wrong with world or even worse not knowing about it (been too busy at my unsustainable job) till it personally hit me.

If ever there was a person who is walking the talk; Share your progress with us WFP.

I also recently found out how one can increase water supply and hence food supply sustainably four times per acre by pumping ground water using ethanol powered generators.

Be careful with irrigation. There is also such a thing as peak ground water. Check your water table and how its been refilled and used. Also check the mineral content of the ground water. You might be salting your topsoil with minerals with intensive irrigation. You can reduce this by minimizing evaporation for example by mulching. Find out what is the oldest farmland around your areas and go see how the soil is doing there. This way you will learn how to avoid future problems. To have really sustainable farmland you need to somehow get an equal amount of nutrients back into the soil that you take out in produce, weeding, soil washing and erosion. Ideally you might want to work towards some sort of permaculture suited to your area.

Yes, it's difficult to introduce solutions when people aren't yet operating in the same context. People turning off is an unfortunate side-effect.

What is logically consistent in one context ("there will be no food if x and y happens") occurs to people as non-sensical in the context in which they are operating ("I wonder if we should rent a vacation home this year?").


edit: I don't think there is a message that works for everyone so if I can wake 4 or 5 out of 10 people up, then I say that's effective. The others will at least have been introduced to the topic and may go away thinking.

no food? yeah, that makes me want to make preparations. stuff like that turns people OFF not ON.

Bad news is bad for the news business?

No Food? Well the US government tells people to store some food.

Now - care to back your claim about 'turning people off'?

Now - care to back your claim about 'turning people off'?

absolutely not. just look at the reaction by the panel. I wanted to go back and talk freddie and fannie too just to cheer myself up.

Ok, then man up and prove your statement.

(Oh, wait. you can't.)

Simmons has tried the gentle approach. It's not working!!! Now he's trying the stark approach. And, by the way, he stated a basic truth people need to know. There will be no food or very little of it.

In the long Matt Simmons interview, he doesn't seem to see any conflict in his assertions that oil is too cheap, that we have to travel less, and do more things locally with his anti-ethanol stance.

As a practical matter, if oil is to achieve its correct price the ramifications are that food prices and ethanol prices will rise right along with oil. This can not be avoided. Those areas of the country that produce food and/or fuel are in a different situation than the rest of the country. He should recognize that local production of ethanol mitigates Peak Oil just as traveling less does but without the inconveniences. His one solution fits all is wrong.

He says we have to produce things locally. Here in Iowa ethanol is produced locally, yet he opposes it. If corn is not made into ethanol, it is shipped out for export which is an increase in transport costs that Simmons opposes. Or it is fed to animals that can not all be consumed locally again resulting in increased transport costs not to mention the loss of energy in animal feeding.

His stance on ethanol is in direct conflict with his proposals to mitigate Peak Oil. Higher oil prices means higher ethanol prices. Higher ethanol prices means more ethanol production. Higher ethanol production means more prosperity in the Midwest.

The Midwest is not going to travel less when it can produce fuel and keep BAU going. Higher ethanol prices fuel rural prosperity and contribute to higher corn prices. It is happening right now.

While the rest of the country seems to be in the throws of high oil prices, the housing bubble bursting and the credit crunch, Iowa which is number 42 in foreclosures, seems to have missed out on the slump.

Not only that, in Northern Iowa wind farm construction seems to be reaching an almost panic pace. Last night trucks hauling the very large wood poles that will carry electricity output from FPL's new wind farm at Crystal Lake were going past my place all night long.

I think there is near panic in local electric companies that use diesel which is the case with Winnebago Industries and its home town. They can not raise rates fast enough to cover increased costs and are being forced to buy electricity from wherever.

Those putting up wind farms would like to get them up and running quickly because they do not have the capacity to meet the demand and electicity prices are being bid up. Working all night on weekends is one way to gain some time.

Well...several things, starting with the post from the gentle-person from Iowa. If you look at the net energy created by ethanol production from corn, the double whammy of burning oil to make it, followed by the burning of the ethanol, you get nothing but bad news...a really poor (likely negative)EROI, wasting of my tax dollars and wasting of food. You're not creating anything, let alone profit, you're transferring wealth from my pocket to yours. I pay taxes and a lobbyist or scared legislator takes the money and sends it your way.

The comment on the Matt Simmons interview comparing the participants as monkeys is pretty accurate. Now these are people on the + side of the intelligence bell curve but they are clearly blinking, clutching their blankees and wondering if their milk bottles will be warmed to the correct temperature. The slick whipersnapper who was supposed to be the counterpoint to Simmons was the best. He absolutely could not get past a 1 month timeframe and even see that there is a big picture that needs grasping. He could only blurt out things like, "June's highs are July's lows". Verrrry profound. His little gears were turning and they only mesh with, "How can all this make me a buck this week and why is this crazy man talking like I won't have my dollars (and blankee) at the end of the year"?

Prof. Goose/Post No. 2 in this thread should perhaps be a sticky or a faq that delivers the oft provided message on internet boards that says, to whit: "Newby/troll, do some reading before spinning about and knocking the china over.

We don't need to protest too much and defend ourselves. We're in the position of Custer's men at Little Big Horn and someone walks up and says we're too negative. Ummhh, okay, let's see..."That Indian has really done some creative work with his war-paint and it sure is great how much money I'm going to be saving on oats what with me not going to be needing a horse and all". There, is that positive enough?

For the last 3 years, I've bounced between trying to warn everyone and trying to stop being such a downer. No one wants to hear it but Cassandra must say it.

End of rant.

You have special soil in Iowa in which only corn will grow? Amazing!

Is there anyone else with Matt? Do you think that market is actually keeping the prices artificially low cause people thinks that is bubble and it is going to crash? So when the wake up call finally happens, how will prices skyrocket?

I dunno about the "market". I do think that there is a social momentum to "conventional wisdom" about commodity prices being cyclical, and a pervasive belief in the religion and clergy of economics rather than in a finite physical world. (Always easier to adopt a religion than to learn science.) That's probably the difference between oil at $150 and oil at $1000 (or some other much higher number). If oil's value were derived from first principles, few nations would voluntarily sell it. The big price transitions will probably happen when it dawns on oil exporting nations that it's in their interests to leave it in the ground. I think it's dawning on many now, but most are hooked on the flow of money. Still, it'll happen, and human society will be tipped into more of a hoarding/barter/extortion paradigm.


In the commodities world, all contracts can be divided into two broad categories - speculative and actual consumers. In any random market, you would expect the consumers and speculators to be about evenly divided between shorts and longs. An official with the AMEX recently stated that for the last two months, the consuming end of contracts were 97% longs. In other words, the oil refineries, etc., - i.e. the people who actually use the oil - believed that the current price was not going away or going to get worse (hence being long - buy now is cheaper than buy later). Correspondingly, 97% of shorts were speculators, primarily banks hoping to make a big shot of cash to cover their bad capital situations. In both May and June, the banks lost big time. The AMEX official stated that the speculators lost over $50 billion in May alone. I have not seen a report of the losses for June.

So there you have it - the people who deal in oil are buying now to hedge against the future price increases. The money people who want to believe this is a "bubble" keep betting on the bubble bursting, and they keep losing (coincidentally making their capital situations far worse and the banking crisis even worse than it would be). But that is all they understand. This looks like a bubble so it must be a bubble. The notion that this could be the beginning of declining global production fails to even enter their mental outlook. They are mentally incapable of considering anything other than what their training has asserted over and over, despite their training being clearly wrong. (Economics is not a science. It's a group of philosophers all trying to prove solipsism in a large circle jerk. And if that image is disturbing, it should be. That is how the "economic system" of the world actually works, like voodoo and astrology, not via falsifiable thesis and testing, as a real science would work.)

*clap* *clap*

I think so--people's belief that oil supplies are still plentiful prevents the pricing response that would happen if everyone were fully aware of what is coming. Like Soros says, misperceptions cause bubbles and crashes--problem is, our bubble is the overvaluation of everything that consumes a lot of energy and the relative undervaluation of the energy itself. When the bubble pops, the value of a lot of other things will follow that of SUVs and long-haul semis. Watch for a breathtaking rise in the price of oil sometime in the next couple of years.

I have a question regarding gas shortages. Don't we measure how much oil is in the tank nationally? Doesn't this act as an early warning system for any potential supply shortages?

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 4, 2008

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 5.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 293.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are below the lower boundary of the average range for this time of year.

whoops, were you asking about gas?

found here:

This is a glass half-full culture;
It's all good;
It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow;
It's okie-dokie, Pokey;
Matt went half emtpy;
And got water on his head;
"Market monkeys"
Is definitely glass half-empty;
Yet funny;
Matt needs another approach;
A swim coach, maybe.
but yet on CNN;
where one used to be enough,
They put four to five furry on him,
One silly one with a big grin,
with eyes that could spin.
Just so the world
won't come to an end,
cuz the consumer gotta
spend, spend, spend
Hey, Dude,...give me a reason
Other than the one you got,
why that crude is so high
on the long and the spot….
"What? I can't....hear ya"


Well done.

All U Can Eat
Written by Ben Folds

Son look at all the people in this restaurant
What d'you think they weigh?
And out the window to the parking lot
At their SUVs taking all of the space

They give no fuck
They talk as loud as they want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there's enough for them

Gotta get on the microphone down at the Walmart
Talk about some shit that's been on my mind
Talk about the state of this great of this nation of ours
Poeple look to your left, yeah look to your right

They give no fuck
They buy as much as they want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there's enough for them

[Piano Solo]

Son look at the people lining up for plastic
Wouldn't you like to see them in the national geographic?
Squatting bare-assed in the dirt eating rice from a bowl
With a towel on their head and maybe a bone in their nose
See that asshole with a peace-sign on his license plate
Giving me the finger and running me out of his lane

God made us number one because he loves us the best
Well maybe He should go bless someone else for a while, give us a rest
Yeah and everyone can see
We've eaten all that we can eat

Abandon hope, all ye who read the COMMENTS section of this notorious article.

Just one (delectable) tidbit:

The problem with the peak oil hypothesis is the "dead dinosaur" theory of petroleum's orgin. The industry has perpetuated this disinformation for nearly a century to maintain the fear that we are soon to run out of petroleum.

And some here wonder why some of us are so "negative."

As Ken Kesey so astutely observed:
'You are either on the bus, or off the bus".
If you are not on the bus, you have no hope of understanding what is happening.

And as Hunter S. Thompson famously remarked, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

Thanks PG TOD for the whole thread incl john15, I've been sitting here for six hours absorbing it all -- bugger, wanted to do guitar practice.

That talking trader on fast money is exactly why we're all a tiny bit screwed.

Matt Simmons seems to be getting somewhat anxious about matters judging by his rather obvious change in direction from oil industry banker to social scientist.

As the lady on the Richard Heinberg video said: "It's happening now".

Interesting times to be alive.

I'll take this opportunity to wish everyone the best of luck, power might be off tomorrow.

When listening to Matt Simmons, I noticed the way everyone including the broadcaster kept interrupting him and the way one of the panelists (Terranova) had a smirk on his face. No wonder food riots, gasoline or diesel price demonstrations have not broken out in America yet. It has much lower fuel prices than most of Europe or Asia and is only starting to come out of the denial stage.

The denial stage is followed by anger. This winter, when people with max'd out credit cards cannot pay for their heating or work commutes, it might get ugly. On the other hand, to quote one of my favorite movies,
"never underestimate the power of denial"

North America is just one very cold winter away from a disaster.

Excerpt from the first comment:

Who wouldn't get doomerish reading the articles on this website...

This blog took a turn about a year or so ago. It is still the best reference on the tubz for peak oil updates but somewhere along the lines the food, ammo, and bunker crowd took over. The consensus now reads something like this: There is no hope, we're all screwed, nothing works, the S is about to HTF. If you don't agree with the consensus you are obviously stupid and haven't read past posts that explain how utterly hopeless the situation is. Join us. That is all.

I still visit here from time to time, but even a tinfoil hat doomer like me has his limits to how much darkness and despair he can take.

the food, ammo, and bunker crowd took over.

While I agree that Food is mentioned often, I challenge you to provide actual proof for the ammo/bunker claim.

Your post petropest is a reflection of society as a whole. Most people live so well they want to continue to remain cocooned in a warm, fuzzy feeling of perfect sustainability. However, the end of the age of cheap oil is at minimum pause for concern. Yes, some people will extrapolate the concepts of peak oil to infer a descending civilization and how best to survive that possible outcome. As price continues to rise posts are probably becoming more doomerish. These are people that understand complex systems and they do not see how it all works with fuel that is more expensive or sparse than is necessary to continue the current standard of living, so they see the downside of what might happen. Sure, that makes sense right.

You are the prototypical person that likes what is, and sees any lesser version as simply doomerish. Yet there are no built in gauantees that what is will continue ad infinitum. We must take incoming information and make adjustments to survive. Otherwise you may find yourself trying to pay for all those bills without a source because a lack of energy in the system eliminated your job and you are now wondering what to do, while some doomer has planned ahead with a small property that can be farmed and raise chickens to survive. You'll be sitting in your soon to be repossed BMW wondering how your ignore what could be because it was too doomerish went wrong. How could that positive spin on a declining situation have gone so wrong? Oops!

Join if you want, or don't. The choice is yours.

You are the prototypical person that likes what is, and sees any lesser version as simply doomerish...

1. You don't know anything about me.

2. Therefore, ergo, you are full of shit.

A goodly majority of the freaks that took over this board seem to feel that if everyone in the US can't drive three ton battle wagons ad nauseaum that we're all going to die hideous deaths. Nothing works for them, not solar, not nukes, not conservation. Humanity is screwed alright, but not because of the reasons many spew on this board. As for me personally, I really don't give a crap. Piss off.


I now know more about you than I'd have wanted to.

Wow!!!....Doesnt ole Uncle Sam have more food, ammo,
bunkers, weapons, blah blah blah then anyone on earth?
I thought any idiot knew the USA goverment stock
piled oil reserves and kidding..SPAM!
I myself have a spare tire in the trunk of my car
just in case I get a flat.
I also have an IRA and insurance out the wahzoo.
Could it be that a person could make over 200% on
Munder nets WWWFX during the dot com craze and get out
because that person SAW something comming?
Could it be a person could actually dig a fox hole and live after being shelled by heavy artillery?
Humans actually can think in advance and yet some
humans badger people who exercise the ability.
hmmmmm....sorta like driving on parkways and parking
on driveways....I always get confused by humans.

The problem I have with this is: What is the "join us" thing about?

Where was I supposed to subscribe to cult, I don't see it! You could say that the entire site is a contradiction. If it's as bad as many are cooking it up to be, then those who understand wouldn't try to educate others. They would stockpile food for a decade supply (which is still only a modest investment at current prices), buy the ammo, and in particular not tell anyone else.

I'm sure there are lots of people doing this, but those people wouldn't run a site on it. I see things differently. If the markets understand the concept of a peak coming *ahem* if the markets had understood a peak coming in 1995, then oil stockpiling, an explosion of price, and all sorts of things would have happened THEN such that we don't even feel the peak when it actually happens. Like global warming, individual action is mostly meaningless and society action is needed.

But you do that by making good arguments. If the reality switches to the cornucopist side from the peakist side, then you should report that and if you don't, you loose credibility. That's why this should be a perfectly realist site. Some posts might go a little too far, but it is truly unparalleled in revealing the truths of horizontal wells, tar and shell, the rising oil powers, and the crappiness of alternatives.

I think you just hit a nerve: “If it's as bad as many are cooking it up to be, then those who understand wouldn't try to educate others.”

I for one was one of those that was trying to spread the word about peak oil. Looking at how bad things where on my area (air transportation) I wanted to make a presentation for the people at work. When I read the piece of TOD about the future of air traveling, I was even more concerned and nearly did it. Then it hit me: people have difficulty in accepting something if that means they will be out of the job. Besides, the last thing we need is widespread panic about energy and food.
The reason why the economic system didn't collapse merely on psychological effects is that nobody believes we have a problem. The economy depends on the confidence that it will grow or at least it will have some value at all.

The bottom line is that we have a destructive society, that was/is unable to change itself or even accept that it is destructive.

My view about peak oil changed much recently. I was one of those considering that I should invest in wind power and solar energy, even buy a non conventional transport. Now I think: what for? To perpetuate this unsustainable way of life?

Why do I need electricity in a post-peak world? To power up a TV? The only practical use will be some limited lighting!...

It is one of those cases where we have to get back to the basics: food and water. Even clothing is secondary if you starve.

Is this pessimistic? Yes. But that is because I understand the complexity of technology. To have an wind turbine you need a huge chain of production working, that chain will provide you with all the mechanical, electrical and electronic parts you need. This chain is established on a system that depends on cheap energy and the organizing force of the market.
Cheap energy is gone, and the organizing force of the market is something completely out of our control. The sad part is that we had surrendered our lives and future to this “economic system” with such a thin connection with the physical reality that it states that plenty of oil will be found in a world of oil scarcity!

The inability of coming up with something more clever than this will be our death sentence...

It's interesting to see that we are supposed to put our faith in Mr. Simmon's personal emotions now. Rather than his "facts trumping theory" meme that has been the party line for so long.

Did anybody notice that daily production is 1 million barrels per day above the Simmons' and Deffeyes' called peaked in 2005?

They still call this the peak.

Yes, JAS, because essentially production has been on a plateau (long peak) since May 05. You see, as the world economy expands it requires more energy, i.e. more oil and as that demand rises production has traditionally kept pace. However, since we are at peak plateau, production cannot keep pace with demand and consequently price has been rising for years. Its just recently come to our attention because the price is so high its affecting our western, 1st world economy. However, its been affecting 3rd world economies now for several years. Its just now finally caught up to us.

If production did keep pace with demand, total liquids would be about 92.2 mbd (the figure I saw on a seperate TOD article). Since production is less, it infers we are past peak. Now it could come to pass that a higher peak is possible, however for now it appears we are at a peak plateau.

Amazing isn't it, that just a plateau in production could cause so much discussion, concern, conjecture etc. regarding the current state of affairs regarding price of oil. Imagine now a descent from plateau to something less, like 5 mbd less a day. Extrapolate the price and reduced supply effects on the economy, and let us know what you think.

FYI, all the videos under the fold were removed from youtube.

they're fine for me. restart the browser...?

Work for me, too.

SORRY! Nevermind, it works.

one hell of a thread; lots heartfelt & u'r leadership/involvement Prof Goose was/is evident. thanks to all!

Actually the fast money lead guy did the oil crisis 1 hr. deal about a mo.[CNBC] ago & mostly it was speculation oriented as a problem[ it had little real content/ focus] , so these guys have come a long way just having matt simmons on.

This story in today's Guardian (UK) has everything one would need to write the script and start
shooting the film. It's a love story with a tragic ending.

Public anger was followed by disappointment at the oil drilling results. When Chevron tested its deep-water block in 2006, it struck oil but not in commercial quantities. Other companies plan tests next year. The government also intends to sell exploration rights in its exclusive territorial waters in 2009.

Even if commercial quantities of oil are discovered, it will be at least six years before production starts.

"There is a lot of exhaustion with the whole process," said Paulo Cunha, who managed the Columbia University project. "But I think it would be wrong to brand São Tomé's oil experience a failure. It still has time on its side."

Others are not so certain. There is still very limited oil expertise on the islands. And given the alleged corruption, many local people have serious doubts that oil revenues could be managed properly, regardless of the good laws in place.

"São Tomé's institutions remain among the weakest in Africa," said Yahya. "The best thing that could happen to the country is if no oil is found."

The argument most often offered against peak oil
causing anything more then a mere inconvenience is..

"Dont worry, the market will straighten this all out"

As if demand will produce supply.
I happen to be a capitalist by necessity and have had
the company of economists and accountants assembled
together in large numbers at the same time in the same
These meetings caused a high demand for women of a
younger age and looser morals who would be inclined
to spend a few heated moments with older, balding and
less attractive men.
Emagine my surprise when the demand DID NOT increase
the supply.
I could give example after example of how DEMAND
does not increase supply and show beyond doubt the
reason nearly always is due to LIMITS of a finite
I myself married a former Miss Pennsylvaina and am
well aware there is a limited amount of this particular model available.
I also am of the school of thought that believes that
mostly ugly men get the most beautiful women.
This truth being self would you supply
side economists quantify this?
Please think before saying that mere demand for
something will produce more supply.
And lastly for you accountants reading this and object
to always being labled as boring....your not boring.
Its your dullness thats mistaken for boring.
Just kidding.

I think in your scenario the demand was only tepid, and the offered price was insufficient to interest the potentially available supply. History shows that this sort of market prevails regardless of economic conditions or regulation, though it is an imperfectly traded commodity with vastly varying ranges of quality and price.


Interesting parallel. But my view probably highlights the basis of the inability of many economist to come to an agreement of where PO might lead us. I see, within your wealthy older man(WOM)/attractive young woman (AYW) model, the supply issue has to deal with the availability of WOM's...not AYW's. There is an abundance of AYW's in the world. In fact, the older I get the more there seems to be. If there were an abundance of WOM's (just like cheap oil was once) the the AYW's would have abundant choices (producers) to choose from and could thus have the best of the WOM's (oil fields) with a minumum expandature of their AYM assets. Unfortunately, it appears the WOM's are dying off too quickly (Peak WOM) so the AYW's are forced to make use of alternatives. (I will intentionally avoid the AYW on AYW aspect for the sake of good taste). But even SWOMR won't help them in the long run...the buggers die off faster then you can ship them to storage.

For those who had expected a better level of humor, I apologise. I had the same expectation but apparently I've reached PH some time ago.

Re. Matt Simmons 'no food' comment.
During the Fuel Protest in 2000 in the UK the shops started running out of food within the first week.

This happened this year:

Until the early 1990s the government held secret food stocks, typically biscuits, flour and other dry foodstuffs, in grain sheds around the country. It now relies on retailers and suppliers to have plans in place.

Ministers are in talks with supermarkets about emergency food reserves in case fuel protests lead to shortages at shops.

Tesco, which has played a key part in the discussions, wants the government to allow it and other suppliers to sit in on the cabinet’s emergency committee, Cobra, in the event of a crisis.

Think about it for a second or two.
Your local supermarket chiefs want a seat at the table of government!.

Asda (UK supermarket chain) is owned by Walmart ... and this should be giving one or two people some cause for concern.
Having watched the documentary 'The Real Cost Of Walmart' I personally do not want that family
sitting down as unelected crisis management policy makers here in the UK ... I would imagine
most American TOD'ers would feel the same way ?.