Looking for answers, a slight cough, and thoughts on Boone's plan

An increasing number of stories in Drumbeat, and in the world press, are focusing on the impacts of higher oil prices. Whether it is in the sacrifices that families must make to stretch their incomes to cover costs, the lack of city and state funding to cover all the utility and maintenance cost increases , or the rising fuel bill that the military must meet, often, particularly in national bases, from existing budgets. And even in field operations the use of alternate approaches is being considered.

The different sizes and scales of the price impact mean that, short of greatly increased supplies of oil becoming available at low cost, (as readers know an unattainable dream) alternate solutions and changes to lifestyles and practices will have to be implemented, on a growing scale as the costs of supply continue to rise. But these answers must be different in different places, and as they seek to address different scales of problem.

From time to time, and particularly in Comments, there are suggestions and reality based discussions on what individuals can do to change or help with their personal lifestyle changes. At the other extreme we debate the success, or otherwise, of national programs to address the issue, and certainly there is a need for such a debate. But there is also an intermediate level, the one where the impact of oil and natural gas cost increases is already clearly apparent, and that is at the level of local, and state government. And here, while the pain is immediate, remedial steps can either occur quite quickly or much more slowly – depending on the local government understanding of the situation.

It is also at this level that most of the decisions are made about permitting new power plants. I was thinking about that, and the factors that lead to permitting decisions when I looked at the announcement about T. Boone Pickens new wind farm program. The plan does not have as immediate an impact as I first understood.

T. Boone Pickens: Well, that's the first step to a 4,000-megawatt wind farm. This is 1,000 megawatts. We start receiving those turbines in mid 2010. We will have the total 4,000 megawatts finished by the end of 2015. That power will go into a transmission line that will tie into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas system in the state of Texas, and it will be transmitted downstate

I first heard him talk about the idea at the ASPO meeting last year in Houston. At that time the installation of the wind farm was intended just to help with the supply of electricity to the nation. In the latest version, however, the benefit of the farm is also directed towards the displacement of natural gas as the source of electrical power.

Natural gas use, as you may have noted, has been increasingly, over the last few years, the fuel of choice for new power stations. And the increase in demand has led to a current increase in US production, although at a significantly higher price.However, a significant fraction of this new production is coming from shale deposits, where the high level of demand and the decline pattern of the wells (50% drop in the first year and economic exhaustion within 4 years) means that this is really a transient resource, with drilling having to increase more and more just to keep up with existing demand, and with the likelihood of that not being possible within the next few years. This becomes germane relative to the Pickens Plan, since by the time it becomes fully effective, it is likely that natural gas will be in significantly shorter supply than it is at present.

As a result any move to change, on a significant scale, the motive fuel for the American fleet from gas and diesel to natural gas power is likely to run out of that fuel, before there has been a significant economic return on the investment. It runs the risk of becoming an alternative, like corn-based ethanol, which will have limited impact, and where its contribution will turn out to be much less than had been originally hoped.

There have been a couple of stories recently about those seeking divine intervention to lower the prices of gas. It has been mentioned that, after prayer, it did rain in Georgia last year to help with the drought. But, sadly, the drought appears to be getting worse. Should the drought continue, then not only will water levels possibly fall to the level that affects local power stations (they need cooling water and if the level falls below the intake level then they must shut down), but also normal drinking and domestic water supplies will come under increasing threat. This was quite a concern last year but doesn’t seem to be mentioned in recent discussions. In these times I am more inclined to the thought that I think I first heard in the Alec Guinness movie The Lavender Hill Mob where it is quoted by a ruffian shoplifting a toy train in a department store, “God helps those, who help themselves!”

So what can we do to help ourselves. There will be local solutions that can be implemented faster than national ones – the Governor in Maine and New England seem to indicate a closer feel to reality than some other states have yet shown. Each region will have to look to the resources of the region to help with their local needs. The solar farms in California will not be as successful in Alaska in December, and the wind farms that may be productive where the wind blows strongly may not contribute as strongly in less windy parts of the country. (When I drove past the wind farm near Hel not all the turbines were turning). On the other hand the pellet stoves that might be a partial solution in places with significant forests, don’t work too well as a significant fuel contribution in Arizona. There is considerable awareness, at the local level, of the need to find these solutions.

The problem however, T. Boone Pickens attempts to the contrary, is that most of these local solutions are not going to have much impact on the more critical need, which is for liquid fuels to drive the cars and trucks in the next few years. And while a number of small companies are now using waste cooling oil, that can only go so far. It is here, I believe, that we need to have more of a national effort. So far that effort hasn’t seemed to do much for supply. Apart from playing the blame game, what are we really doing to find new sources of fuel?

The incentives for corn-based ethanol, and the encouragement of cellulosic ethanol are beginning to appear less than attractive (except to junior senators from corn growing states such as Illinois). What then can local authorities do about the situation? Firstly they need to be aware of the problem, and so, , let me take my hat off to those ( Gail the Actuary being a prime example) who are willing to go out and talk to local service clubs, council members and folk at that level. It does not get you the publicity that talking on national TV does, but often it can be more useful. Talking heads on TV don’t reach the folk that run the town or city, and who have immediate problems in paying for their fuel bills, or affording asphalt for the road resurfacing program. Yet these are the folk that need to know what is coming down the pike. Debbie Cook had some good advice (pdf) about how to talk to folk at this level at the Cork ASPO meeting last year. But before talking to them it might be better to start with the service club programs. Program chairs for these clubs are always looking for informative talks to their membership (and it generally comes with a free meal). They are friendly groups of your neighbors and it is a good way to start spreading the word.

Oh, if only Alec Guiness were the Governor of Maine.. (Link on 'Maine Gov' points to Lavender Hill Mob)
But I'd love to hear what Baldacci has to say, just the same.

Thanks, Prof!

Sorry - fixed.

.. erm, I mean HO.

The link to maine gov pointing to lavender hill mob is probably right. The State of Maine energy policy is martial "law" - after the corporations have looted whatever they can get, it moves to point of gun. The Governor's policies are designed to maximize resource extraction. The TX model appears like it is aimed at keeping energy resources in state where the ME model is aimed at facilitating export of resources out of state. Town selectmen are getting permitting applications redacted and blacked out for "national security". But, of course, Baldacci administration let sale of distribution (CMP) to Spanish owners take place just a little while ago. There is further drama going on with the dams and fisheries, where Baldacci seems in collusion with dam owners - bye-bye a good number of native fish species: salmon, eel. 25 years ago Maine was in a much better place. Now energy policy is strictly "free market" - which in practice means corporate subsidies and get your permit here while DEP looks the other way.

Growth uber alles - but it won't work. We're choking in our shit already. We might take a while to recognize it as such though, the environmental, economic and social degradation.

cfm in Gray, ME

There are things that can be done. Unfortunately, they're all un-American.

Conserve. I won't list all the ways. It's been do so many times in so many places.

Work and live more collectively. An entire change in ethos is needed.

Return to the soil. The small towns that are being abandoned need to be repopulated and built up, a la Kunstler.

Drastically reduce the military, and change the function of what's left. Empire is obsolete, and not just for us (US). The EROEI of war seems to be negative. Refocus resources on survival.

Chances of much of this happening soon? Zilch.

Conserve. I won't list all the ways. It's been do so many times in so many places.

I will list one that has not been done often enough or loud enough.

a) stop population growth.

One of the biggest ironies of our time is that with oil starting to skyrocket in price enough that even the business shows have people discussing finite limits, with websites appearing that deal with the coming decline in global oil production, with former politicians and oil billionaires talking up wind energy and against business as usual with fossil fuels - the amount of people in the media calling for a stoppage of immigration into the United States is zip, zilch, zero, nada, nothing. Right now the vast prevailing thought - both the conventional and the unconventional wisdom - is that we not only have enough oil, natural gas, and coal to produce energy for 304 million Americans, but we have enough to produce it for 400 million Americans. Or is it enough for 500 million Americans? I guess until one of the many many immigration cheerleaders puts an end date on it, it means we have enough fossil fuel for an infinite amount of Americans.

If I could paraphrase one person who had the clarity of thought and cajones to express it - Tad Patzek - talking about energy solutions without talking about population control is like mopping the floor with the pipe still leaking.

Hi FQ,

Are there any truly effective ways to limit population growth that are also politically and morally palatable?


Not really. Bashing on morals and responsibility is counter productive, for Darwinian reasons. People who answer to the call to 'responsibility' (ie have less children) will reproduce much less than those who don't. Those who have more children will proliferate, and their children are more likely to have more children too. Thus, the effort will result in more population growth.

The only way to do it is by very restrictive birth control, which is a total social and political non-starter. It won't happen, especially not globally.

Population is going to level off anyway. We just have to manage the affluence of a population that's perhaps 40-60 percent bigger than today's.

And the Pope's in town at the moment, asking us to go forth and multiply. Religion, now there's a topic!

Regards, Matt B
PS. The "baby bonus" in Australia is still around $7000 cash! Think there's a baby-boom on at the moment over here?

If there's anything we know how to do, it's stop population growth.
1. Install social security and public health care.
2. Install cable tv.
That's really all you need to do to smash population growth. It has worked every single time, no exceptions.
Well, except for Mennonites and Orthodox Jews in the US. Don't know why they are so resistant.

Even religion cannot escape the Darwinian logic. Religions that are peace loving, that don't force others into their religion, that don't urge people to be 'productive', end up losing the Darwinian battle.

Are there any truly effective ways to limit population growth that are also politically and morally palatable?

I am going to speak about American population growth only. You won't get the majority of people to immediately embrace a stoppage of immigration because it has been romantized for so long and they have been taught for so long by its proponents that it is "what makes America great". And the proponents have also been very effective in painting anyone who is against immigration as a racist. And business people wield undemocratic influence over politicians since they are allowed to bribe them (euphemistically referred to as a contribution) and these business people absolutely love a never-ending wave of extra workers from which to choose and a never-ending wave of extra-customers to sell to. Even among the sharp number crunchers of this site, you won't see graphs or bar charts or tables comparing energy needs with a stable population (forget declining) versus growing population or captions that say something like "I have factored in an annual growth in US population of 1.5% compounded" or the words "due to population increasing".

But I don't believe it is an impossible task. It has to be done in steps. First politicians and business leaders have to realize there are finite resources that are in productional decline and that the amount of coal we have and can produce is vastly overstated. Then second, some of those politicians that are retiring - like George Bush - can begin to speak the truth about it and start to convince the people that fossil fuels are finite. Right now there is some bizarre thinking that takes place in the mind of both the elite and the common person in America. They somehow believe that there is plenty of oil - we just have to drill for it, both in America and overseas. They don't know how much is remaining, how much we have already used, how much we need now, how much we will need in the future - they only "know" that there is plenty of oil. Prices are rising from "greedy oil companies" or "greedy Arabs" or anything else unrelated to using up a finite resource. But people are amazingly sheep-like in their thinking and also very deferential to authority. Tell them Iraq has WMDs and you are sure of it, even though you cannot tell UN Inspectors a single place in the country where they are, and they will not only not impeach you or try you for war crimes when it is found out that you lied in order to invade and destroy a country, they will reelect you. So they will ultimately come on board to the idea that we don't have enough fossil fuel. Particularly if a Republican President does it. Then you immediately get an entire network, FoxNews, speaking about limited fossil fuels and the majority of a political party coming on board.

Once you have them convinced there is a PERMANENT shortage, then the third step, stopping population growth via immigration becomes much much easier. Years ago in California there were two years of a severe drought. In the second year, amidst bans and restrictions on watering your lawn and washing your car, they stopped issuing building permits in some areas. An amazing amazing thing. The system is hard-wired for builders to pay bureaucrats to issue building permits forever and ever and yet they stopped. In the face of scarcity they suddenly saw a link between population growth and a finite resource. Now this didn't last, because they apparently thought that it was the last drought. So the emphasis would need to be on PERMANENT shortage of fossil fuels. We aren't going to drill our way out. We aren't going to "coal-to-liquid" our way out. There aren't "political factors" or "above the ground factors" causing a temporary shortage. At the very least, even if it turned out population growth was so ingrained in the minds of Americans that it could not be stopped even when people realized that resources were finite and expendable, the population growth advocates (via immigration or lack of abortion and birth control or what have you) would be forced to become the biggest chearleaders for wind/solar/wave/nuclear the world has seen to date.

Hi FQ,

Thanks for fleshing-out your thoughts. Would it be fair to say the measures you propose are not intended to limit population growth as such, but rather to restrict U.S. immigration? And at the end of the day, would that resolve our issues with excess resource use and environmental degradation?


Would it be fair to say the measures you propose are not intended to limit population growth as such, but rather to restrict U.S. immigration?

Since I prefaced it by saying I was speaking from an American perspective limiting immigration drastically limits population growth where I live - America. Al Gore didn't call for the world to have 100% renewable energy by 2020 - he called for America to do it. We won't hit 100% by 2020, but whatever percent we hit, will be higher if we end immigration today. And ultimately ending US immigration will limit total world population as well since the countries that are overpopulating through births (which is now the US as well thanks to immigrant mothers), most notably Mexico, but also India, Pakistan, the Phillipines, and others, will have to deal with their population problem sooner. Mexico can't shreak loud enough at any proposal to stop illegal immigration. They see it as a big solution to their problems. Stop it and they need to find other solutions. Like maybe birth control.

And at the end of the day, would that resolve our issues with excess resource use and environmental degradation?

An American uses more resources than a Philipino or a Mexican or an Indian. Allowing them to come to the US causes more resource use and environmental degradation than if they had remained home. At the end of any day in which people immigrant from the 3rd world to the US, there is more resources used than there was the day before, more environmental degradation that day than there was the day before. No one thing will resolve our issues with "excess resource use and environmental degradation" so I think it is unfair to say that if something doesn't solve the problem completely than it shouldn't be done. That is what people that don't want a local wind farm always say. They point to how small that wind farm's output will be in relation to what the state needs and then say "this wind farm will not solve our energy problem, therefore it can be canceled with no bad effect".

At the end of many many days, 2 million immigrants a year into the US, plus their offspring ends up being 10s of millions and uses tremendous resources and causes tremendous environmental degradation - if nothing else - for the US.

Limiting immigration as long as WE in the US have such a disproportionally larger share than anyone else, as long as that disproportional share is based on taking away from those same people who then must try to work their way here, no, it will not work. No, if we want to stop the urge to come to US, we need to
take less and help others have more.

Or put all our efforts into guns. Maybe just shooting people at the border. And it won't be long before we start shooting people within our borders with equal abandon. How we make and pay for those guns is going to be an interesting question. Nuclear and biological weapons - on a mass scale - that's probably what US will do. After all, we already have the stockpiles.

Before we do that, however, we're going to need a Pinochet-like purge of the unpatriotic elements within US society. Which is why Homeland Security's terrorist watch list is now over 1 million Americans. Nixon was just playing around.

cfm in Gray, ME

We can stop immigration without stopping "the urge to come to the US" or using guns to kill people. And we likely will, only for very sad reasons. As horrible and "immoral" as the pro-immigration crowd want to paint a stoppage of immigration, it happened once before - during the Great Depression. And it wasn't turned on again (for the most part) until Teddy Kennedy and his team got fired up about it in the 1960's. That's 30 years without significant immigration. The country survived fine, the world survived fine. No one went to hell because of it.

Ultimately I don't see how that won't be the story again if things go as badly as they could once oil production starts to decline. You will not have a Great Depression II, with high 25% unemployment, and a government that looks the other way as employers hire illegals from Mexico.You will not have a Great Depression II and have a government that cows to the incessant begging and whining of greedy businessmen who claim they must have more and more foreign workers or they won't be able to compete ... with the American company down the block. And you will not have a Great Depression II with 25% unemployment and a million new immigrants each year waiting for their citizenship papers.

And also, you will not have a Great Depression II, and have a government that looks the other way as employers send jobs to China and India in massive amounts. Pulling back jobs from China and India while simultaneously freezing the US population would be a great way to lesson world demand for oil, just as sending massive amounts of jobs over there was a great way to hit Peak Oil sooner rather than later.


Where do people like you come from? Are you posting from your bunker in the hills, or what?

The mind boggles.

An American uses more resources than a Philipino or a Mexican or an Indian.

Surely, Americans do consume and waste enormous resources. Why do you feel you have the right to spend a life of luxury, while others should be denied of these things? Everyone here wants a better life for themselves and their loved ones. And if its in America, people will go. If not legally, then by illegally crossing the borders.

Do you know how many illegal immigrants enter the US every year?

Surely, Americans do consume and waste enormous resources. Why do you feel you have the right to spend a life of luxury, while others should be denied of these things?

I am not denying anyone anywhere in the world the ability to live a life of luxury. You don't have to come to America to live a life of luxury.

Everyone here wants a better life for themselves and their loved ones. And if its in America, people will go. If not legally, then by illegally crossing the borders.

It is a simple matter to stop illegal immigration. People can't come to where they aren't wanted. Right now the people in power want illegal immigration so it occurs, but if they decide they don't want it then it wouldn't matter how much a Mexican crossing the border or an Indian or Chinese overstaying their visa wants to come they wouldn't be able to get a job, get any services, etc. because Americans would know the penalty was too to severe if they deal with them.

Do you know how many illegal immigrants enter the US every year?

Tons, but you have both George Bush and John McCain who want to give them another amnesty. Rich men love illegal immigration. They lose no jobs due to it, have no salary lowered from it, don't have their neighborhoods taken over by it, have no gangs in their kids schools because of it, etc. - they only see it benefiting them as they hire cheap and desperate gardeners and nannies and maids and what have you while all of society, rich and poor alike has to share the burden of the costs of the illegals. I wouldn't be surprised if Barack Obama was all for it. If the people in power ever decide they don't like illegal immigration they will stop it. If we go into a Great Depression both legal and illegal immigration will stop. Any politician who continues the "great immigration propaganda" at that point will be voted out of office.

I for one would like to see churches sponsoring family planning clinics in Mexico. It is the biggest waste of resources for all these churches to drive a bunch of cars down to Mexico all the time to build houses. One family planning clinic could save 10's of thousands of car trips to Mexico. I am not going on anymore of these missions. I supose they do offer a modicum of help to needy people. But family plannning is the hot ticket.

At least that is the way I see it.

It's like African aid. It should go hand in hand with population control. They are very poor and beset with numerous challenges and frequent crisis, and yet have a very high population growth rate.

I read once that Warren Buffet was a big contributor to Planned Parenthood or something similar. But now he has turned all his money over to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their foundation lists these Grantees:
Global Development Grantee Profiles
Our partners in global development are committed to helping hundreds of millions of families in the developing world emerge from extreme hunger and poverty.

Global Health Grantee Profiles
Organizations we support are working on innovative solutions to prevent and treat disease and provide access to health interventions in developing countries.

United States Grantee Profiles
Organizations in the U.S. are expanding access to technology and making a difference in the lives of students, and vulnerable children and families.
Even clicking on the "Read more" links for the above shows nothing about population control. So you have to wonder - did Warren Buffet help or hurt people by diverting his billions from a situation where he was donating part of it to population control - to a situation where it is all going to things that are worthy and good but that do nothing to solve the underlying problem of overpopulation and increasing population. The hope I suppose is that all the poor areas will become rich enough to where parents have better things to do with their time than raise more than about 2 kids. But do we have the time and the resources to get to that point?

I didn't know we were giving money to poor people in Africa. I thought we were just propping up corrupt governments with money that we borrowed from Swiss banks that got the funds from the corrupt government officials that we bribed.
Just goes to show that you learn something new every day.

Actually, a good part of that money comes straight back to us in the West. Typically 50-75% of foreign aid is "tied" foreign aid, that is the receiving country must use it to buy goods and services from the donating country.

For example, a few years back the US gave $175 million in aid to Afghanistan, and $125 million of that went on building a luxury hotel for foreign VIPs to stay in. Entirely built by foreign contractors, and staffed at most levels by them, I think they might have let some Afghans sweep the street outside or something... But hey, it's foreign aid, honest!


a) stop population growth.

I'm with you all the way - in fact I stumbled into PO while doing research on projected oil consumption to 2050. The curve looks like a wall by 2012.

But -

Just as their is a 1:1 relationship between unitl fossil fuel and unit GDP, there is a similar relationship between unit human and unit GDP.

Roughly expressed.

Unit GDP:Unit Fossil Fuel:Unit Human

By extension throw in the byproduct of burning fossil fuel and you get.

Unit GDP:Unit Fossil Fuel:Unit Human:Unit GHG

Constraining the growth of any one of these units slows, stops, or shrinks the economy.(Remember Bush rebuffed Kyoto because it would negatively impact the economy)

So as a guess, the only thing that is going to downsize the population is PO or GHG as humans are too selfish to give up money or percieved wealth voluntairly for any reason. Including saving themselves.

Believe me, I'm with you though. No money = no 'work' other than food, clothing, shelter, art & entertainment, and heat. I'd much rather be doing that than what I do now!


Although Unit Human:Unit GDP, Unit Human has no relation to Unit GDP Per Capita. If population stays stable, GDP only grows slightly (due to efficiency gains etc), but the increase in GDP goes straight into people's incomes, so they actually get more wealthy, not less.

But alas, it is the percieved wealth that matters, not the actual wealth, and percieved wealth is measured in GDP...

Money is too abstract. Look at the relation between population growth and primary energy use: the per capita primary energy use over time is almost flat. This is because we are more efficient with energy, both on the generation side as on the demand side. With population levelling off maybe at 40-60 percent bigger than today's, that strongly suggests that at least the problem of exponential energy growth isn't escalating ad infinitum like some doomers believe.

There was a time when the term population control referred to the right to decide whether or not to have more kids. I guess 'population control' is now just a euphemism for xenophobia.


White House Defines Contraception as Abortion

In other words, health care providers would have the right to refuse to provide patients with comprehensive information about abortion or birth control even if they ask for it.

Providers could also refuse to write prescriptions for birth control or provide referrals for abortion services based on their personal beliefs, adding to a trend that is already reflected in litigation involving pharmacists around the country who argue religious freedoms in their refusal to dispense emergency contraception.

Organizations that don't comply with the proposed rule could be forced to scale back services due to lack of funding, leaving women who rely on government-funded family-planning clinics with fewer options for affordable services and supplies, Richards said.

Superceding States' Policies

The regulation could also undermine state laws that require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims and that require health care insurance plans to cover contraceptives if they cover other prescription medications.

I guess 'population control' is now just a euphemism for xenophobia.

What we need is a non-euphemism for the phenomenon of people worshiping immigration and immigrants and/or romantically spinning immigration into some fairy tale that never ends. Isn't it amazing that even on a site dedicated to discussing the decline in production of a critical natural resource the politically manufactured term "xenophobia" is still used.

The media circus around anti-immigration sentiment is a drug-induced haze that prevents realistic assessment of this government's counter-productive anti-birth control policies. That you can rant against immigrants as a form of population control but ignore the contradictory pro-population/ anti-reproductive rights issue is a testament to the power of that drug.

If you want world population control, then stop trying to prevent US Citizens [AND non US citizens here and abroad] from limiting the size of their own families.

If you REALLY want to stop illegal immigration, you'd undo NAFTA and you'd crack down on their non-law-abiding US corporate employers. But cracking down on the illegal immigrants themselves is only token zenophobic action - whose sole purpose is to rile up the political base before an election: suckers!

That you can rant against immigrants as a form of population control but ignore the contradictory pro-population/ anti-reproductive rights issue is a testament to the power of that drug.

Even with the birth-control views of the right wing, had liberal Teddy Kennedy not gotten the immigration spigot turned on again in 1965, we would be at negative population growth. The birth rate just went above the 2.1 per woman replacement level recently and it was ascribed to a higher birth rate from immigrant mothers.

That you can rant against immigrants as a form of population control but ignore the contradictory pro-population/ anti-reproductive rights issue is a testament to the power of that drug.

I am with you 100% on the US promoting birth control, regardless of whether abortion is part of it, but I don't think American policy has that much affect on births in other countries.

If you REALLY want to stop illegal immigration, you'd undo NAFTA and you'd crack down on their non-law-abiding US corporate employers. But cracking down on the illegal immigrants themselves is only token zenophobic action - whose sole purpose is to rile up the political base before an election: suckers!

I agree, this "crackdown" is just for show to placate the right wing. We have never done more than give token enforcement to employers hiring illegals. I have seen cases get thrown out of court because a plant was inspected for illegal hiring without giving the employer sufficient advance notification. The penalties should be so severe that hiring just one illegal puts the business at risk of going under and the second offense puts it out of business. But I disagree on NAFTA. NAFTA sends jobs from the US to Mexico which to some degree would lower the amount that are streaming here illegally.

But I don't think there are many people who have xenophobia - "fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign". Which has an implied "irrational" tacked on to the front of it. There are clearly many many harmful effects of immigration that go hand in hand with the harmful effects of native population growth and are far from irrational. It's actually irrational to ignore them or pretend they don't exist. Housing and land become more expensive and life is more crowded and congested. Finite resources have to be divied up in smaller allotments and run out sooner. Renewable resources like wood and fish are harder to renew. Garbage must be piled higher and further away, pollution increases, democracy decreases - each vote is worth less. Employers have more power over their workers as the population growth puts supply/demand in their favor (which is one of the reasons they absolutely love it). And immigration adds problems that native population growth doesn't - like increased crime among immigrant groups versus natives, extra costs for educating and other activities for non-English speakers. And there is the negative that the poor feel the worst - the phenomenon of living in the same house or apartment and yet, in effect, ending up in a foreign country - where you are not welcome.

If you really have a population argument rather than a xenophobicracist one, then you must argue instead to ban all immigration legal and illegal, and not differentiate between the two. But the insistence upon differentiation is the clue to the racism in the arguments made against illegals.

Whether they realize it or not, most Americans concerned about illegal immigration DO have xenophobia and blatant racism, fuelled by right-wingnuts in power in politics and media. They are not clamoring for waspy-looking immigrants to be stopped at the borders. They are upset about the brown impoverished non-english speakers from south of the border.

Regarding the increased crime comparison you cite: Many illegal immigrants are the victims of crime. They are known to be 'walking ATMs' because they can't open checking accounts, and so they are targets of 'native' thieves looking for an easy mark so they can go do more meth amphetamines while the immigrants go do underpaid outdoor manual labor all day.

If you really have a population argument rather than a xenophobicracist one, then you must argue instead to ban all immigration legal and illegal, and not differentiate between the two. But the insistence upon differentiation is the clue to the racism in the arguments made against illegals.

You pulled out the race card on the wrong guy. I am against all immigration.

Whether they realize it or not, most Americans concerned about illegal immigration DO have xenophobia and blatant racism, fuelled by right-wingnuts in power in politics and media. They are not clamoring for waspy-looking immigrants to be stopped at the borders. They are upset about the brown impoverished non-english speakers from south of the border.

Doesn't matter if they are calling for it for because the immigrants are of a different race or if they are calling for it because they don't speak English or any other reason - just calling for it is the right thing to do. Immigration is ludicrous in a period of declining critical resources and/or finite resources. Immigration is ludicrous into a crowded country with expensive cities with over 300 million people. Immigration is not sustainable. At this point in time, as we face tremendous crisis, anything that is not sustainable should be stopped as soon as possible. It's technically possible to stop immigration tomorrow.

Regarding the increased crime comparison you cite: Many illegal immigrants are the victims of crime. They are known to be 'walking ATMs' because they can't open checking accounts, and so they are targets of 'native' thieves looking for an easy mark so they can go do more meth amphetamines while the immigrants go do underpaid outdoor manual labor all day.

Not too many natives forming gangs and doing drive by shootings. I think you have a tough task ahead of you if you try and make a case for immigrants committing less crime than natives. But that's irrelevant. The primary reason for stopping immigration is not crime anyway. There are negatives that far outweigh more crime committed by immigrants in the areas they inhabit - except of course for the victims of those crimes.

How can you argue immigration and racism are the same, or that illegal and legal immigration are the same? How can you claim that Americans in general don't mind "waspy-looking" immigrants sneaking across the border? Do you invite poor illiterate criminals to live in your house and feed them at your expense? Why not?

If we going to over-generalize, why is that liberals always want to give away my money and resources, and use up other peoples, yet won't part with their own?

It's simple for me -- rule of law. If we have space and choose to allow immigration, come on in legally. If not, stay out. If you are here, legally or illegally, and you break the law, away you go to prison or deportation (or execution -- what's this nonsense about people coming here and not living according to our laws??).

If you don't want to speak English, don't come. If you don't want to take care of your offspring, PLEASE don't come - we have plenty of deadbeat parents here already.

The entire problem with immigration isn't one of hate, but of the extent of finite resources and the cost of liberal hand-outs. It was bad enough when we built a welfare state for citizens, but to extend it to non-citizens is ludicrous. We can't afford it, and we don't owe it to anybody.

And FYI, the media is way left, not right. Most politicians of both parties as well. Us true conservatives don't mind being called conservative, and certainly no big-gov't advocate is one!

FiniteQuantity,I agree with you 100%.In Australia we have a similar problem with the "Growth at any Cost" crowd in control in Government and business.
Consequently we have abominations like a 150,000/annum immigration intake,a previous Federal treasurer telling the nation's women to have a third child for the country and an insane "baby bonus" of about $5000 for each child.
There is a small organization here (Sustainable Population Australia)which has been battling away for years to try to raise consciousness of this issue but it is like trying to penetrate a wall of total shit.
As you may know,Australia is the most arid continent apart from Antarctica.It has a lot of mineral wealth but this is being sold off overseas at an increasing rate.Because there is prosperity at present there seems to be a belief that this can continue regardless of the real carrying capacity of the land.
We already have a >20million population which is beyond the sustainable limit.Factor in the present problems of land degradation due to mad farming practices,a very unreliable rainfall over most of the country and the coming energy and climate change crises and we have a disaster waiting to happen.

I can remember toying with the idea of immigrating to Australia years ago after talking to someone who had done so and then moved back to the US. At the time your population was only something like 12 or 15 million which sounded so tiny - and nice. But yeah, while in a discussion with an Aussie recently on this board regarding immigration I did a query and found out that not only is your immigration 150K, but that the government wants to increase it. They feel you have enough water, oil, coal and natural gas and everything else for not just 20 million people, but an infinite amount. I can say infinite as long as the immigration proponents didn't put an end date or a population limit on the practice.

Talk is that the new centre-left government will increase this to over 300,000 per year (1.5% of our population) because of their commitment to "social justice".

The justification for this is that unemployment is low and we need the extra workers - mainly it is about gratifying their left-wing support base who were outraged at the previous goverments unfriendly attitude towards refugees.

Australia is a big country. If space were the only issue, we could house the entire world here. The real isssue is that it is a dry, drought-prone country and the sustainable population is actually about 20 million when you take water management and soil degradation into account. We are already past that, and are seeing the river system dry up as a result.

Somewhere along the line the left decided that anyone who opposes immigration is a bad person who just wants to see refugees suffer.

My view is that overpopulation is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. Importing overpopulation into the countries that are currently least affected by this issue just spreads the misery around evenly. It's a curious kind of morality that requires you to import people to help destroy your environment because they've already reached the limits of their own carrying capacity.

Australia is a big country. If space were the only issue, we could house the entire world here. The real isssue is that it is a dry, drought-prone country and the sustainable population is actually about 20 million when you take water management and soil degradation into account. We are already past that, and are seeing the river system dry up as a result.

I have heard of impending water problems in certain dry states in America like Nevada for quite some time, but population growth has still continued at a faster pace than other parts of the country. I heard a show on the radio that discussed how the state of Connecticut was recycling a certain admirable percentage of their trash and wanted to increase it. Later a government employee said that they had to increase recycling in order to keep from having to transport more of it to other states because the amount of trash they were collecting kept going up. He never mentioned stopping population growth even though they were now trucking their trash to 3 different states, one of which - Ohio - was over a 450 miles away.

America also has vast amounts of land in its center that is "underpopulated". And this land is pointed to by proponents of infinite population growth via infinite immigration. However, and Australia is probably similar - they do not start any cities in those areas for immigrants to live in. The immigrants come to existing cities and make them more crowded and congested and expensive. I remember hearing the Bee Gees comment on how different America was from when they toured it in the 1970's till now. They said "You have a very crowded country now" with their voices rising in a way that seemed to say "Why did you allow that to happen and will it continue to get worse?".

In America both parties are for immigration and that includes illegal immigration. There is some call for a stoppage of illegal immigration from a portion of the conservative Republican party, but the big-business elite Republicans, the ones that have the ear of the politicians via their large monetary gifts and country club discussions, are all for illegal immigration. They love cheap desperate workers. They can fatten their bank accounts while all of society must share in the costs of immigration - both legal and illegal. The current Republican president and the current Republican candidate are both for illegal immigration. They use politically manufactured terms like "comprehensive immigration reform" to try and disguise that fact from the part of the party that is against it. And they have to say different things at different gatherings. But there is not accountability for politicians from a submissive and enabling press, so they get away with it.

Importing overpopulation into the countries that are currently least affected by this issue just spreads the misery around evenly. It's a curious kind of morality that requires you to import people to help destroy your environment because they've already reached the limits of their own carrying capacity.

I have often wondered what limit, if any, do the American pro-immigration group see as to American population. China got up around a billion and saw a need to stop it (but still hasn't). I was astonished to read once that China had 10 to 20 million people die of starvation in the early 1960's. But I don't think the "one-child policy" started until 15 years later. On the other hand, India has passed a billion, and even though it has hundreds of millions in extreme poverty, they still apparently see no problem due to overpopulation.

a) stop population growth.

Yes, of course, but not only or even primarily thru stopping immigration -- there has to be global cooperation on this issue (as well as many others).

For America, stopping immigration is sufficient. The other countries need to work out their own methodology.

This is one of the few net places I know where I can offer the following comment without generating unthinking hysteria. So here goes:

If obscure shlubs like me can see it, then you can be sure that plenty of the gics (gangster-in-charge) can see too that there exist now a very clear set of indications that the world is already well into population overshoot: There are already too many of us here, scrabbling about for a living, plus a bit of jam and cream if possible, for the Earth to carry indefinitely. The number has to go down, and probably will, whether we cooperate or not.

So now, imagine that I'm not the ordinary, and usually pretty humane shlub (thanks JHK for that excellent Americanism!) that I am, but instead a super-rich, powerful, high-status member of the ruling 'elites' -- anywhere in the world, not just in the US.

Moreover, from having either scammed my way into that class, or from having been brought up and educated in its ways by my rich family, I'm inclined to do the sort of cool, amoral realpolitikal thinking which Machiavelli exemplifies so elegantly in Il Principe and I Discorsi.

I think of the common citizens, with whom I seldom have anything but the most superficial contact, as our -- the 'elite's' -- highly useful and profitable, but always potentially very dangerous cattle. They are where they are because they don't have our characteristics, whereas it's those same characteristics which have got us where we are. It's just a Darwinian thing: survival of the fittest, best rising to the top.

(OK, this is very superficial shit. But I didn't say that this eliter was deep, just rich.)

Now, suppose that like T. Boone, I and my like-minded buddies have substantial amounts of the wherewithal at our disposal. But instead of putting it, like Mr T, into practical ways to negotiate everyone through the white water ride that we're just entering, we decide that our best course is to do something effective about population overshoot.

We go looking for more like-minded people amongst the gics in our particular empire, or maybe if we're REALLY visionary people, amongst all the gics of the world. Our argument is that if we, the gics, are to hold on to our special position in human society, with all its power and privileges, then we have to do something resolute and effective about the overshoot. Just leaving it to natural, four-horsemen solutions won't do, because it will maybe wreck our world too, and also may well precipitate a time of chaos, upheaval and -- obscene word! -- revolutions, in which no gics can be sure to hold on to what they have. Sure, if we all just carry on with BAU the big Four will assuredly get to work without any other help from us. But just too chaotically.

So we have to reduce population drastically, and soon; and -- inescapably -- without the knowledge or consent of the reducees.

Now, we know that already, molecular biology is well into the borderlands of manipultating genetic materials quite subtly. And with intesive, well-funded effort, more breakthroughs in capability are not far away.

So because our particular clique of gics is Causcasian/Semitic/Mongoloid/Afro/other (choose one) we want to develop a line of biological agents which will target Caucasian/Semitic/Mongoloid/Afro/other (choose as many as seems good) but without affecting our racial group, which will be specifically left out of the genetic targetting.

Once a range of credible agents has been developed, we begin to solve the overshoot problem by releasing them in waves, widely, in appropriate areas of the Earth, to create vast pandemics, but mainly amongst the target races. (We also develop complementary vaccines for the exempted racial group(s), of course, at the same time as the plague agents are being developed, as an added assurance that our privileged ethnic group(s) is left untouched by the plagues)

Someone once said that whatever humans once become capable of doing, you can be sure that sooner rather than later some humans will do, just to see what happens. We're now on the brink of being able, as a meddlesome species, to do the sort of thing sketched in above. People have been thinking such things, quietly, for some time now. Pretty certainly, there will be people thinking these ideas in every empire, in every racial group in the world.

Can anyone explain to me why some coterie of people with the right level of Machiavellian amorality wouldn't decide round about now that they had a heavy but necessary duty to do something like this, to -- so to speak -- partly destroy our swarming species in order to save it?

Sound thinking IMO.

Thank you for stating what needs to be considered.

Think products like;
Roundup - (for weeds)
Advantage - (for fleas)

The other option would be to have a huge global sit down chat carefully outlining the constraints the world faces and then every human modify their lifestyle accordingly.

Yeah, like that would ever happen.

I don't want to be too dogmatic about this, S, but I think that that sort of all-including conversation that you describe, and a global agreement for us all to climb down together, very carefully and cooperatively, from the high pinnacle of risk that we're now on, is about the only feasible alternative to the sort of grisly scenario that I outlined above actually being tried.

Like you, I'm not inclined to give the humane option short odds. But yet -- we are a very agile and limber species. In the face of unprecedentedly terrible dangers, we might actually pull this willingness from somewhere deep in our collective alterconscious mind.

I suspect that an awful lot of us, once we saw clearly and soberly what's facing us, would opt for the humane option. But first we have to do something decisive to get our species' tendency to gickery under effective control. We've never cracked that problem yet. But now might be the time that we do.

So, stock up on ordnance and MREs?

Praise the lord and pass the Cipro...

Figuring out how to have gentle population reduction without biological or other warfare while mitigating the downslope of Peak Everything is the most important task facing the human race.

Here's one perspective on a Doctor Strangelove (or is that Doktor Mengele?) approach to overpopulation:

Project for a New American Century
PNAC: the "Mein Kampf" of World War IV

"While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein ...
"the process of [military] transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor ...
... advanced forms of biological warfare that can "target" specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."
-- Rebuilding America’s Defenses, September 2000, Project for a New American Century

signed by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Richard Perle, Scooter Libby, et al.

Collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole. Competitors who evolve as peers collapse in like manner.
-- Joseph A. Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies

there has to be global cooperation on this issue

If the populations are confined to their native regions, failure in one area does not have to cause great consequences in others.  It also prompts people to act, because their own errors will affect them first and hardest.


There are also a few things that can be done that are ALL-AMERICAN: Think Micro generation. Large number of smaller wind generators are not exposed to local adverse factors (i.e. periods of heat with no wind) and they do not require major investment into transfer infrastructure.

There is something else: residential and commercial heating with granualted solids combined with thermo solar. (I hate to use the word pellets as all Americans think about their Jerry Whitecker stove)These are fully integrated and automated solutions for an affordable price, compared to what we pay for our SUVs. The fuel comes in bulk and is "pumped" into the storage device, and for the rest the sunshine is for free and we got more here in America than they have in Europe...


davebygolly for President!


End the carry trade in dollars to petroleum. What is a 'carry trade'? The term surfaced in the 1990's when the Japanese central bank (Bank of Japan) lowered their prime lending rate to zero in an attempt to stimulate the economy after their stock and real estate bubbles collapsed. Investors borrowed cheap Yen- denominated securities and used them to buy securities with a higher yield. The same thing happened here in this country after 2001 when the tech bubble popped. Traders borrowed cheap dollars and bought an appreciating asset - real estate. Now, speculators are out of real estate and are using cheap dollars to buy commodities.

The real funds discount rate in the US is negative; 2.25 percent with over 4 pct. inflation. I know I know, the speculators aren't causing the price of oil to rise ... but the commodity speculators are the same types of people who manipulated the mortgage loan and loau- backed securities businesses. They say the same things; "We're running out of oil!, (they're not making any more land) prices will be much higher in the future, (real estate can only go up!) oil prices will always go up. Economic conditions are different now." Just as real estate speculation raised the prices of land and houses far past the purchasing power of most individuals, speculators are doing the exact same thing with commodities. Ending the carry trade would pop the commodities bubble. If the price of oil (and copper and steel) is really based on fundamentals we will find out in a hurry.

Congress's consideration of authorizing higher margin requirements the futures markets caused a big sell-off on oil over the past few days.


Ending the carry trade would require raising lending rates by the Federal Reserve. Perhaps the industrial world's central bankers could consider a lending cartel to counter the OPEC cartel. Without credit, there is no money for anyone to buy oil.

To keep the SUV crowd under control, a price level for gasoline needs to be set by raising gasoline taxes; $4 today rising a dollar year until it's $10 a gallon US ... parity with the other consuming nations.

I agree with higher margins, from 5% to 50%, but think a better solution is; 'You buy it, you own it'. The buying and selling of commodities requiring only a 5% position creates a bidding atmosphere which is going to translate into higher prices, regardless of fundamentals i.e. supply and demand.

Eliminate any possibility of speculation and we will know exactly what the fundamental price is for oil.

The real estate speculators had to take physical delivery of the "commodity". During the bubble, there was a hugh amount of property inventoried or held in ownership by the speculator crowd. That's not the situation with the rise in oil price over the last few years. There is some short-term speculation volatility to be sure, but we're probably not reverting back to a pre-bubble $40 oil price like we are with housing.

There is a huge difference.

Oil requires storage, real estate is storage.

Six years to reach $10/gal by raising taxes? Auto fuel could be $10/gal the week after the first fuel shortage anywhere in the states.

Just a glance at the crude graph for the week, it looks like the longs had a lot of stops at $140, $135, $130 and the boys in the pit made a lot of money this week knocking off stops. I would imagine about Monday or Tuesday we will hear nothing but bad news about crude oil and the price will be back up.

BTW: I saw the first station in Reno with regular less than $4 (398.9)for about 5 weeks.



The closing of the Sraits of Hormuz would bring gas to $10 a gallon in 24 hours.
The boys in the pit would turn into 'the girls in the pit'.

Lessee, it's been a long time since I traded commodities and I didn't trade oil ... but crude oil in the ground is already in storage. And with contracts available out to 2016, nobody has to take delivery for a long, long time.

Next week is a long time in the commodities markets.

During the mania phase of the late, lamented real estate 'boom' people were buying and flipping sales contracts. This was for buildings that hadn't even broken ground yet in Miami, Las Vegas and New York City. "Taking delivery" means a lot of different things, but an item bought already exists; the oil, the land, the raw materials for the buildings to be constructed on the land exist, the only thing conjured out of thin air is the money.

I don't look at this as an oil crisis as much as a money crisis. How so? Look through the other end of the telescope. Price dollars in milk, for instance. Priced in milk, the dollar is less than half as valuable as it was a year and a half ago. A milk shortage? Not hardly, there are millions and millions of cows and more on the way ... it's just the dollar has lost so much value in comparison to the milk.

The value of anything; currency, dollars is related to supply and demand, the dollar declines in value as more and more of them are pumped into the outside world. To get prices under control, the amount of dollars has to be brought under control. Unlike oil or land, there are two ways dollars are created: (a) by the Fed, when it buys Treasuries, and (b) when banks and other businesses extend credit. Dollars are debt insruments; they are Treasury notes that pay no interest. Anyone can print money in America. Wanna print some money? Give someone a credit card with a $10,000 limit! You've just printed $10,000!

Now, the credit crisis will take care of the second part of money creation; banks that are needing capital won't lend. As for the Fed ... it is completely out of control. Personally, I think the Fed is fighting the wrong war (isn't that 'business as usual in Washington?) Fed chief Benjamin Bernanke believed the sub-prime mortgage defaults last fall had sparked a crisis of confidence and a parallel liquidity shortage in the mortgage banking industry as well as in the businesses that invested in real estate- related paper. The classic solution to any liquidity shortage is for the central bankers to flood the banking and brokerage system with cash. This is what has been happening. Unfortunately, the credit problems are structural rather than a confidence crisis -a misallocation of capital into sprawl and consumption rather than into renumerative enterprises such as alternative energy or a better health care system. This misallocation of capital was caused by (drumroll) an ongoing liquidity flood beginning in the early 1990's! Adding even more liquidity has been a mistake.

Since the (b) part of money creation is breaking (and will ultimately crash completely) there has been no place for the Fed's tsunami of cash to go ... outside of the tight circle of commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and other large institutions (pensions, retirement funds, municipalities) who are close enough to the Fed to be able to tap the liquidity.

What do they do with that liquidity? Buy commodities! They buy and sell back and forth to each other and pump up the prices. As more and more liquidity hits the commodities markets prices go through the roof, repeating the same process that took place in the real estate markets. Fed printing and government subsidies jacked up house prices; Fed printing and government subsidies are now jacking up commodities prices. For example, the government policy mandating a percentage of ethanol production and subsidies to the enthanol industry has helped cause grain prices to double in a year. It's hard to compete in a money game with a player who can print all the money they want.

Speculators (let's call them investors) don't have to take delivery on any futures contract, in fact only a few broker-dealers are authorized by the diffeent exchanges to take delivery of a shipment of oil ... the 'investors' only have to roll over their positions. If there isn't a 'counterparty' - someone to buy your expiring contract - the exchange will buy your contract and will sell it later. The exchanges can print money, too!

If the Fed were to raise interest rates - the funds rate is currently 2.25 percent - a great deal of downward pressure would be removed from the dollar. With the US economy in lousy shape, there is small reason to hold the dollar; the low funds rate makes the dollar useful only to carry traders. Raising the funds rate would freeze the oil-dollar price relationship. Coordinating rates with the Eurozone and Japan would cause the oil price to decline to the cost of production-plus-reasonable return ... as it was before the dollar began its decent in 2002.

The bottom line is oil is bought with 'something', Right now, that something has low value, for reasons that have little to do with the oil and much more to do with policy. Taking steps that make that 'something' more valuable would bring the 'bought with' equation into an equilibrium more favorable for the buyers.

If oil prices decline, gasoline prices will follow. Gas is now appx. $4.10 per gallon @ $135 a barrel. Since the current pruduction cost of oil is for the large part ridiculously cheap (under $10 a barrel) prices might sag to $70 or less a barrel. The calculates to about $2.25 a gallon for gas. That's where the gas tax would enter. It would keep the pump price at $4 and then increase it to $10 a gallon. This would encourage conservation and ultimately a turn from petroleum.

Certainly, a security situation might hinder delivery from the Persian Gulf or Nigeria; the Russians are intent on playing chicken with the Eurozone on oil and natural gas supply ... but a security crisis would also cause a flight to the dollar which would make the dollar more valuable. Since oil is priced in US dollars - and will be for the forceable future - the price of oil might wind up being lower! If Saudi Arabia is threatened for some or any reason ... they will turn to the US; guess what our military investments will buy us?

One delivery issue that would increase prices would be serious hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

I can go into excruciating detail about how the dollar will for all practical purposes be the exchange currency but it is not particularly germaine. ALSO; none of the above questions the validity of 'peak oil' or reduces the need for everyone to make different energy choices. I do suggest the price discovery mechanism is distorted by the same sort of speculation that just recently infected the real estate market. It is a dollar rather than a 'energy shortage' issue.

Mebbe they should change the name of this place to the 'Dollar Drum'.


Not to dash cold water on the wonderful exuberance, but Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) are not dollars.
There is a money shortage, not a surplus of cash.
What fact supports such a statement?
National Debt in excess of 9.5 Trillions.
That debt is not payable with FRNs, even if enough existed. (M1 = 1.3 T)
If you read Title 12 USC Sec. 411, it defines a FRN as an obligation to pay face value, in lawful money, ON DEMAND. In 1933, Congress repudiated that promise, and became bankrupted. Then, in 1935, offered the opportunity for the American people to become securities on that debt (Human Resources) via the Federal Insurance Contribution Act.

By law, every FRN is borrowed, at interest, into existence. That means the only way for the printing press to run is when Congress authorizes more debt. (HUH!)
In 2007, the new debt was greater than the interest payment on the old debt (insane?).

And, no, you cannot question "the debt" (Thank you, 14th amendment).

The upshot is that the outstanding "dollar" debt (obligations owed to creditors, etc) is far greater than the amount of FRNs.

And the national debt, if called due on demand, would require 85 times as much gold as there exists above ground, in the whole world. At current mining rates, it would take 57,000 years to mine enough to pay it off (if the interest was frozen RIGHT NOW).

Ergo, America is heading down the drain, and no amount of FED MONETARY POLICY (Striptease to distract folks), will change the nature and cause.

There are not enough FRNs to satisfy the bookkeeping entries for all the folks who are owed FRNs.
There is not enough gold in the whole world to pay the national debt.
If you think this is incorrect, take a large paycheck to your local bank, and cash it - but do not deposit it. Ask for FRNs. You may be surprised that they won't have enough, on hand.
I have many reports from people who tried to cash out their accounts and were given "cashier's checks" and were admonished to "deposit them" elsewhere - and not try to cash them.

TITLE 12,CHAPTER 3,SUBCHAPTER XII,sec. 411. Issuance to reserve banks;
nature of obligation; redemption
" Federal reserve notes, to be issued at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the purpose of making advances to Federal reserve banks through the Federal reserve agents as hereinafter set forth and for no other purpose, are authorized. The said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues. They shall be redeemed in LAWFUL MONEY on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve bank."

LAWFUL MONEY - "The terms 'lawful money' and 'lawful money of the United States' shall be construed to mean gold or silver coin of the United States..."
Title 12 United States Code, Sec. 152.

"Dollars, or units; each to be of the value of a Spanish milled as the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four-sixteenths parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard, silver."
"Eagles—each to be of the value of ten dollars or units, and to contain two hundred and forty-seven grains and four eighths of a grain of pure, or two hundred and seventy grains of standard gold."
--- Sec. 9, Coinage Act of 1792, April 2, 1792

($10 Eagle had 1/2 troy ounce gold)

According to Title 31 of the U.S. code, a silver dollar complies with the original Coinage Act.

31 USC Sec. 5112. Denominations, specifications, and design of coins
(e)(1) ...weight 31.103 grams;
(e)(4) have inscriptions ... 1 Oz. Fine Silver ... One Dollar

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 20 Jul 2008 at 05:09:13 AM GMT is:
$ 9,521,953,667,917.96

To pay national debt, in Eagles, would require:
476097683395.898 ounces (476 billion ounces)

At the end of 2006, it was estimated that all the gold ever mined totaled 158,000 tonnes.
1 tonnes = 35,273.9619 ounces (avoirdupois)
Multiplied out, it computes to:
World's supply of gold = 5573285980.2 ounces (5.5 billion ounces)

The U.S. owes 85 times the world's supply of gold to its creditor, whose fiduciary agent is the Federal Reserve Corporation, whose governor shall not be paid by the U.S. government (see Title 22 USC Sec. 286a, et seq.)
(FYI - the U.S. Governor of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund is the Secretary of Treasury. Pursuant to Executive Orders issued during the Bank holiday of 1933, the President transferred sweeping powers to the Secretary of Treasury to "deal with" the Emergency.)

Though Congress is delegated the power to COIN (stamp bullion) money or BORROW money (gold or silver coin), no one has audited the Federal Reserve or the Treasury to verify that the FEDERAL RESERVE ever loaned money to the U.S. Congress to substantiate the 9.5 Trillion debt. Nor did anyone point out that usury, charging a fee, in money, is mathematically impossible to pay in a finite money token system... as the national debt clearly illustrates.

(Don't bother that funny man behind the curtain, he is the GREAT AND POWERFUL WIZARD...)

The national debt is denominated in dollars, and can be purchased, dollar for dollar using Federal Reserve Notes. The US repudiated Bretton Woods in 1971, and shortly before that got rid of silver certificates. I think 1969 was the last year you could redeem silver certificates for physical silver, at 1 ounce silver per dollar. Since 1971, the national debt has been denominated in fiat currency, which now exists for the most part in electronic form and has no tangible representation whatsoever. If the Constitution sets the value of 20 dollars as equivalent to one ounce of gold, and 1 dollar as equivalent to one ounce of silver, then a Federal Reserve Note with face value of 1 dollar has a value of 20/955 gold dollars (= $G0.02) and a value of 1/18.55 silver dollars (= $S0.054), at the afternoon London settings. In terms of gold dollars, the national debt of $9,521,953,667,917.96 is equal to $G 19,941,264,226.02, or 19 billion ounces of gold. If 5 billion ounces of gold is the world supply, then the principal on the debt would be unpayable.

If the US were on the gold standard, the US would be bankrupt. To see what bankruptcy does to a country, just look and see what happened to Germany in 1923, and the consequences. I strongly doubt that the US will adopt "honest money" or the gold standard, or any other standard. It would destroy the entire credit economy overnight. Your $150,000 house would be worth no more than $15,000... which would destroy the banking industry because they'd end up underwater on their mortgage assets. It's the old story: Owe the bank $100,000 and the bank owns you; owe the bank $50 million, and you own the bank (depending of course on the loan loss reserves and the amount of dollar deposits the bank has).

What happens on the national debt is that although there will never be any significant payment of principal, at least after the Bush/Cheney Administration, as long as the interest on the debt doesn't go above say 6%, if the debt ceiling ends up at $15 or $16 trillion, and the national debt hits that number (due to the banking crisis), it'll still be possible to pay the interest on the debt and not go into default. The income tax rate would have to double, all other expenditures staying at the same level including defense spending, which would be about 50% of the level of debt service. Of course, if we had the prime rate shoot up to 20% like it did in 1980/81, and the fed funds rate go up to around 15%, all bets would be off, and the government would have to quadruple income taxes, and get rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid (which are net losses at this point in terms of the balance sheet), and maybe cut defense spending somewhat. I can see either Obama or McCain telling the poor and middle class to suck it, but I can't see them slashing defense spending.

The other thing, of course, is that with fiat money, the Fed can create money and inflate the money supply. Down the road, that will result in higher interest on the national debt (or a series of failed auctions because no one will buy the debt at the offered interest rate). If we were on the gold or silver standard, that option would have never have existed, and the Dow would be stuck at 1000, just like it was in 1969, and a lot of the growth that has occurred would have been impossible to finance. Finite dollars = finite, sharply limited growth. Very few people want that kind of scenario, it would kill their jobs and their income and their opportunity.

Your assumption of fiat money is not correct. The law is the law. All FRNs are borrowed into existence, not emitted. The FED cannot create money, nor can Congress. The Constitution delegates the power to COIN money (stamp bullion) or BORROW money. If Congress had the power to create money , it would not need the power to borrow it.

What IS going on, is that the aggregate debt due to usury far exceeds the available money tokens. In short, it is impossible for all debt to be paid. It is impossible for all account holders to redeem their accounts with current monies.

We can't continue much longer with a debt-credit monetary system.
We can't go back to precious metal coin(not enough).
We are toast.

Question. Windmills - Why one prop hanging off bearing - two props either side balances load on shaft - perhaps less stress on bearings n gearbox - just a thought, I know nothing about wind turbines, read somewhere that they have gearbox problems.

Short answer. The props need airflow to turn. Once the air moves over the first set of blades there isn't (or shouldn't be*) enough flow to move a second set. Also, the turbulence caused by air bouncing off of the second set of blades would cause the first set to lose efficiency.

(* If there is enough energy left in the wind to turn another turbine then there is efficiency to be gained in the blade design.)


Lucifer -

I find your question a bit unclearly stated, but if you are asking why the almost standard design of large modern wind turbines have three rather than only two blades, I think the answer has to do (in part) with controlling vibration.

When a turbine blade passes in front of the vertical support structure, there is what is referred to as a 'wind shadow', whereby the wind flow is slightly reduced due to the presence of the support post. This causes a flexing of the blade as it passes across the support post. As I understand it, if there is a blade on the direct opposite side (as in a two- or four-bladed turbine), an unwanted vibration can be set up. Evidently, three-bladed turbines reduce this vibration effect (don't as me exactly how).

While wind turbine blades are extremely simple in principle, the analysis of stress and vibrations in large blades is not so simple.

Yes, there have been problems with bearings and gearboxes, but these are mechanical engineering problems that should be almost fully sorted out as more and more operating experience is accumulated.

Lucy Fur,

The gearbox problems are specific to the new 2.5MW Clipper Liberty turbines.


As Clipper scaled wind turbines from 1-1.5MW to 2.5MW they hit a few bumps in the road.

Their design is actually quite elegant and the gearbox problems were diagnosed a supplier quality issue. All field units have been replaced (holy $$!) and their QMS system now has P&P's that prevent sub par components from making it into manufacturing.

Sorry about the lingo, I'm in the inverter manufacturing business...


Thanks, especially for the Fur coz it's cold and we're trying to conserve energy since our gas supply blew up.

Careful with the Pickens Plan. This is the lipstick he is putting on the pig that is his plan to sell huge quantities of water from the Ogallala aquifer. The wind farm provides the warm and cozy cover for his need to build a water pipeline (which will follow the power lines from the wind farms) to Dallas.

Boone is a sly old devel: build turbins where there isn't much demand (but it's cheap to buy the land) and then let the rate payers in TX spend the money to hook him up. That pig just got cuter thanks to the utility customers in Texas. "Build it and they will come" or at the least they'll pay for a good bit of it.

"In what experts say is the biggest investment in the clean and renewable energy in U.S. history, utility officials in the Lone Star State gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from gusty West Texas to urban areas like Dallas.

"People think about oil wells and football in Texas, but in 10 years they'll look back and say this was a brilliant thing to do," said Patrick Woodson, vice president of E.On Climate & Renewables North America, which has about 1,200 megawatts of wind projects already in use or on the drawing board in Texas.

Texas is already the national leader in wind power, generating about 5,000 megawatts. But wind-energy advocates say the lack of transmission lines has kept a lot of that power from being put to use and has hindered the building of more turbines."

We already pay the highest rates for electricity in the country here in Texas. I paid 15.9 cents a kwh last month from TXU. I can't believe people are not rising up about these rates.

I remember reading about how many (coal-fired I am pretty sure) power plants Texas has to continually build to handle the ever-increasing demands resulting from its ever increasing population. I can't remember the figure but it was large enough to make your eyes widen in astonishment and wonder why no one was speaking out against the population growth that was continually straining their electrical production.

Last I knew we were in the Country and our rates are $.45 per KWH Stop whining!

I was also going to mention the water. Virginia Abernathy posted a fairly detailed review of this on the Yahoo Energy Resources forum last week. I don't have time to find a link but it is a worthwhile read. It certainly made my question Pickens' motives.


... which will follow the superhighway.

I'd read about it too. T. Boone's been chompin' at the bit to pipe all hat pipe fossil Ogallala Aquifer water to El Paso, San Antonio, and Dallas since 2000.

And the power lines got approved yesterday.

Texas cemented its role as the nation's top wind power producer Thursday when the Public Utility Commission authorized nearly $5 billion of new transmission lines.

The commission told its staff to create the order picking the middle scenario out of five to harness the wind. A lattice of wires will connect West Texas' and the Panhandle's fast-growing wind farms to power-hungry cities to the east and southeast. Texas already generates nearly 7,000 megawatts of wind, the most of any state, and the new lines will boost that by 18,456 megawatts. . . . .The state next needs to choose who builds the expensive lines and how quickly; Mr. Hudson, who will leave the commission in a few weeks, guessed that much of the benefits of harnessing more wind could be here by 2012 or 2013. . . . . . .Mr. Pickens is one of the largest wind farm investors and owners and is building his own transmission lines to bring 1,000 megawatts of wind power to market in 2011, two years earlier than when Texas' new lines should be completed, Mr. Rosser said.

Although, actually, the lines will only make it possible for future turbines to deliver their power.

Yeah, a friend of mine called up and was making noises about T Boone Pickens being "charitable" instead of the hard-nosed profit-seeking businessman that he is, and I checked and it appears that he's buying up the water rights:
"The Pickens project has been in the works for several years. Pickens bought a huge ranch in Roberts County, a county which has only about 800 residents. With neighboring ranchers he acquired more than 150,000 acres of water rights. The water comes from the massive underground Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches from the Lubbock area to the Dakotas — the largest aquifer in the U.S. Wells drilled into it for decades have provided water for residents and crops." (from http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2008/apr/30/pickens-sends-landowners...) Pickens spent some big money for changes to Texas law to make this possible: "His most recent venture, Mesa Water, seeks to make a fortune off the “new oil” through water rights he has purchased in the Texas Panhandle. The vehicle for Pickens’ related land grab is a state water law that allows a handful of people to form a so-called “fresh water supply district.” These districts wield the power to condemn private land for infrastructure far beyond their own borders. In this way, a Pickens-controlled district covering eight square miles in the Panhandle is on the verge of acquiring the power to condemn private land for a pipeline all the way to Dallas. Such districts also are authorized to raise cheap money by issuing tax-exempt bonds. Although the legal requirements to form such a water district already were minimal, this year the legislature watered them down further. Going into the 2006 election that preceded this legislative fix, Pickens personally contributed $1.2 million to state candidates and political committees. Recipients of his largesse included each of the 16 senators who faced election in 2006 and one-third of the 150-member House. Republicans received 94 percent of all the money that Pickens doled out to state candidates (see Pickens’ contributions in the appendix). Pickens spokesperson Jay Rosser said in an interview that there is no connection between his boss’s political activity and the recent changes to water-district law. ... Rosser did not dispute, however, that the water district that Pickens is seeking in the Panhandle would not have been viable without the recent legislative changes. Until last month, petitions to create a water district required the support of a majority of the registered voters within the proposed district’s borders. Changes enacted this year dropped this electoral requirement for a more feudal one. Now a district can be formed with the backing of whoever owns the majority of the appraised land value within its proposed borders. Similarly, the 2007 legislature revoked a requirement that only local registered voters could serve on the boards of these water districts. Now any Texas resident who owns property in the district can sit on the board.5 The newly relaxed requirements for board members seem particularly advantageous to Pickens. " (from http://www.tpj.org/watchyourassets/pickens/) The impact on the aquifer has been predicted in the same article: "Mesa Water also has said that the pipeline will allow it to legally extract up to 200,000 acre-feet a year from the Ogallala Aquifer. The indulgent pumping limits set by the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District would permit the loss of half of the aquifer’s remaining waters by 2050."

See also: “Water in Storage and Approaches to Ground-Water Management, High Plains Aquifer, 2000,” U.S. Geological Survey, Circular 1243, pages 32-34.

I hope that we are not now opposed to profits. If Pickens, or Gore can get the wind, solar and other alternative energy plans up and going, I would hope that they make money. The last thing we would want is for them to just get started and lose money, and back out. I remember when Reagan ripped the solar off the roof of the White House. We didn't need to save energy, obsiously. If only...the solar had remained, even if just as a reminder....we had stayed the course....we had developed the industry as Carter had envisioned....had the sea change in attitudes..., back then. So now, we get some new "leadership" in the arena, and everybody gets upset because they have a profit motive. Are all of you being supported by one of ExxonMobil's "charitable"-type organizations?

We need all of the efforts we can muster in this area. If we are not going to fund this with government funds, the people who do fund it are going want to make a profit for their efforts. Of course, there will have to be supportive government programs, not to subsidize this, but to provide the enabling legislation. Imagine if toll roads had to wind through only the path which private investors could arrange without the enabling legislation. Maybe we could privatize fire stations, too. I'd put all of mine in the rich part of town, since the ghetto residents couldn't pay for my efforts at fire protection.

With an aquifer the size of the Ogalalla, Pickens doesn't have enough water rights to serve any significant portion of the Dallas Messtroplex population. If we don't do something about the global warming impact of gradual heating, Dallas will be unbearable. I may live in OK, but I grew up in Dallas, and our family had no air conditioning until 1957 - when I was 13. My grandkids couldn't survive without A/C - just ask them. So, Pickens water efforts won't work without the population growth which is projected for Dallas/Messtroplex. Mr. Pickens has not always had the ability to pick winners, and I am not certain that the water scheme will be profitable either. If he builds that water pipeline to Dallas, he will still have to pump the water along the route, since it isn't all downhill, so energy will impact his plans there as well.

I hope American businesses can be profitable. That will be a lot better tnat the alternative, since the only other currrent source of funds would be the government. Do you want your electricity supplier to be run like the Post Office?

I have no objection to profits, but Mr Pickens wants to use public money and the resources of private individuals, using a hideous perversion of the state's power of eminent domain to take water rights from farmers and to use that to line his pockets. Like most big businessmen, Pickens is a screaming socialist when it comes to his costs; he's only a libertarian when his profits are concerned. It's the old "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine, too" and he's using the coercive force of government to bring this about. Every business that uses tax-increment financing deals and condemnation by eminent domain for private use is doing the same thing. If Pickens would have negotiated for the water rights without using the coercive force of the state to make people take his offer, that would be one thing. This isn't a free-market deal, though, and I think it stinks.

Oh, and by the way, if you have to use "government money" (a/k/a taxpayer money, a/k/a my money) to make your deal profitable, it isn't profitable. You aren't any different than a stick-up artist forcing me to "invest" the proceeds of my wallet into yours.

Thanks for the excellent overview.

You raise a very good point about the short lifecycle of shale gas deposits so, in summary, shale gas will help but it should not be factored in as a long term solution.

My own understanding of energy problems/solutions is constantly eveolving as I integrate more information:

  • wind power is very location dependent. Even mountain tops that I have visited aren't windy all the time - Sulphur Mountain near Banff (2,451 m 8,041 ft) or Mount Washington NH (6,288 ft 1,917 m). Matt Simmons claims to have located an area off the coast of Maine which is windy all year round (after months of research)
  • solar power has a lot of possible uses as we move further along the cost/efficiency curve
  • geothermal looks very good. Shallow geothermal is already practical in most areas as a heat sink for heating/cooling. Deep geothermal to tap heat from the earth's magma could probably be made practical (for most areas) with a lot more research money. I have no clear idea of the timeframe involved
  • tidal power looks good. Some cities (New York and San Francisco come to mind) have strong ocean currents just outside their harbours. The tides in the Bay of Fundy are an amazing sight to see. Tides are totally predictable and tidal power would be close to the large percentage of the world's population that lives near an ocean
  • a lot more use could be made of nuclear power. IIRC, many early commercial "light water" (LWR) reactor designs were derived from reactors for powering nuclear submarines, so they weren't really optimal for power generation. Better designs are possibly CANDU, Sodium Cooled, Pebble Bed, or Thorium cycle reactors.

Probably the most important thing right now, is the process of public education so that people can make informed choices about their future. There isn't any single magic answer.

Hi calgarydude,

I might respectfully add high efficiency air-source heat pumps to that list. New inverter drive systems provide vastly superior cold weather performance compared to conventional air source units of just a few years ago. For example, Mitsubishi recently introduced its new H2i line which is aimed at the light commercial sector; it provides 100 per cent of its rated heating capacity at -15C/5F, 87 per cent at -20C/-4F and 75 per cent at -25C/-13F and can operate for more than four hours at these sub-freezing temperatures before it needs to execute a defrost cycle.

Source: http://www.mehvac.com/UploadedFiles/Resource/H2i_brochure.pdf

I've been working the numbers of the Fujitsu 12RLQ for another member of this forum who lives in Summerside, PEI. This 12RLQ has a HSPF of 10.55 (the Mitsubishi P-series H2i model noted above has a HSPF of 9.4) and based on the last ten years of local temperature data, we estimate his seasonal COP at 3.28 -- at 14.46 cents per kWh, the operating costs are the equivalent of fuel oil at 38.7 cents per litre or $1.46 per U.S. gallon (82% AFUE). I pay 10.67 cents per kWh and based on my estimated COP of 3.26, my equivalent fuel oil costs are 28.7 cents a litre or $1.09 per U.S. gallon -- the economic pay back, in this case, is less than two years.

Even at 20 or 30 cents per kWh, a high efficiency ductless heat pump such as the 12RLQ can beat the pants off oil heat in just about any climate and at a much lower initial cost than a GSHP.


"...high efficiency air-source heat pumps..."

Yes absolutely. And many of these units can provide air conditioning in the summer.

The installation cost of GSHP is a big deterrent.

Even something as simple as a ceiling mounted circulating fan can provide much better heat distribution in both hot and cold climates. And then there is insulation...

When energy was virtually free, there wasn't much incentive for efficiency. That appears to be changing very quickly now.

Hi calgarydude,

Heat pumps do, in fact, provide air conditioning and dehumidication so unlike a wood or pellet stove they can earn their keep all year long. Here on the east coast we don't have much demand for a/c, but during the summer months I run mine in "dry mode" which removes excess humidity without overcooling.

With respect to their cooling performance, the Fujitsu 12RLQ has a SEER rating of 21 and one of the Mr. Slim models (MSZ-FD09) is rated at 23. To put this into perspective, that's more than twice the efficiency of a standard central air unit sold prior to 20006 (the current federal standard is 13 SEER).


An open question to those in the know... how common are leaks in GSHP installations and did earlier designs use materials more likely to fail with the passing of time? The reason I ask is that I came across the following report related to a senior's complex in Imperial, NE:

"The problem the facilities staff brought to the council is with the heat pumps that cool 24 units at Imperial Heights. The heat pumps are buried 210 feet underground, and have ground loops that supposedly circulate water continuously to drive the compressors. Each year about six of those loops leak and go dry, burning up the compressors, according to Billie Hayes. No one wants to dig up the loops, no one wants to install new loops, and the staff is left pouring water into them, although it's known that they leak."

Source: http://www.imperialrepublican.com/c28781.html


Dr. Howard Hayden on windmills

Not all scientists agree with his estimation. According to Dr. Howard Hayden, author of the book Solar Fraud, and considered an expert on wind power, it would take 7,500 windmills on 300 square miles to produce what one nuclear plant produces.
If Pickens is to pursue this plan, we (CAGW and taxpayers across America) urge him to not ask the government for a handout and finance it privately. More government handouts produces more government waste and there is plenty of unproductive hot air in Washington, D.C. already.

Re: 7,500 windmills on 300 square miles.

Something is goofy with those numbers. The size of the wind turbines is a significant factor. What size are they? Those figures mean about 25 per square mile. I have never seen a wind farm with that many per square mile.

Locally a 100 turbine farm of 1.5 megawatt wind turbines is being constructed. It is anticipated that the farm's output will be about 2/3 of the the name plate capacity or 100 megawatts.

About 50 of the turbines are up, but not yet running awaiting construction of a transmission line. I would say that the average turbines of this size constructed per square mile is about 2-3. The total area being used is about 5 by 10 miles with large areas of less desirable or inappropriate locations not being used.

Here again, we run into the old apples and oranges comparisons that I so often rail against. Wind energy and nuclear energy can not be compared. They are totally different. It is irrelevant how many turbines could be replaced by one nuclear plant.

Things that are different can not be validly compared. If they are compared, it proves nothing. It is just fallacious logic which is useful only as a red herring argument.

Nuclear facilities unlike wind are nearly impossible to get through the approval process, may take a decade to build even if approved, require the purchase of fuel, require expensive storage of spent fuel, have frequent major cost overruns as well as other drawbacks.

While I have posted that the local wind farm is taking about 2 years or more to build, it is lighting fast compared to nuclear power.

And local land owners are delighted to receive about $6,000 per year for each turbine cited on their property.


In an overpopulated world, real estate is a ‘real’ problem with diffuse energy sources such as wind and solar in general. Hayden may be a bit on the pessimistic side (he reckons 1.2 W/m2 for the typical wind farm – see page 148 of ‘Solar Fraud’, unfortunately not on line), but you might be interested in reading Professor MacKay’s chapter on wind in his online book on sustainable energy:


MacKay puts 2 W/ m2 as a reasonable estimate for the UK.

So instead of 833 square kilometres (or 300 square miles) we end up with 500 square kilometres as the amount of land needed to generate an average of 1000 MW on a 24/7 basis.

That’s still a lot of real estate -- approx. 500 times greater than the amount you need for a nuclear power plant of equivalent capacity.

"MacKay puts 2 W/ m2 as a reasonable estimate for the UK. "

Yes but he sued the average wind speed as a measure for deriving how much wind power can be extracted from a site. This is called the average bottle fallacy and could cause the power generated to be underestimated by up to 100%.

I tried to pick him up on this however he refused to acknowledge it. I even showed him the correct way to calculate it and an online calculater that he could have used. I guess he preferred these numbers.

All this is detailed in the Danish Wind Energy Manual




From the average bottle fallacy:

"Most people who are new to wind energy think they could easily live without the Weibull distribution. After all, if we know the average wind speed, we also know the average power of the wind, don't we? So, can't we just use the power (or energy) at the mean wind speed to figure out how much power (or energy) will hit the wind turbine?
In other words, couldn't we just say, that with an average wind speed of 7 m/s we get an average power input of 210 Watts per square metre of rotor area? (You may find that figure in the table on the power of the wind in the Reference Manual ).
The answer is no! We would underestimate wind resources by almost 100 per cent. If we did that, we would be victims of what we could call the Average Bottle Fallacy: Look at the smallest and largest bottle in the picture. Both have exactly the same shape. One is 0.24 m tall, the other is 0.76 m tall. How tall is the average bottle? "


You have added a necessary complication. Thanks. Un point pour toi. Of course, my natural reaction to what you say is: now why didn't I think of that before?

What is even worse on page 228 he says this:

"On the other hand, to estimate the typical power, we shouldn’t take the
mean wind speed and cube it; rather, we should find the mean cube of the
windspeed. The average of the cube is bigger than the cube of the average.
But if we start getting into these details, things get even more complicated,
because real wind turbines don’t actually deliver a power proportional to
wind-speed cubed"

So he acknowledges that he is calculating it wrong however to do it right is too complicated!

If you look at this new map of off shore wind speeds derived from satellite data you will see how wrong this guy is:


You can clearly see on the map that parts of Britain in winter have 850W/m^2 and in summer has 350W/m^2. A wind turbine will typically convert about 29% of this to energy so the amount of wind energy that is able to be derived is approx 200W/m^2 to 100W/m^2. No wonder he did not want to be bothered with details.

Also if he had bothered to consult with some people that know what they are doing with wind turbines he would have discoved this:

"As a rule of thumb, turbines in wind parks are usually spaced somewhere between 5 and 9 rotor diameters apart in the prevailing wind direction, and between 3 and 5 diameters apart in the direction perpendicular to the prevailing winds.
In this picture we have placed three rows of five turbines each in a fairly typical pattern.
The turbines (the white dots) are placed 7 diameters apart in the prevailing wind direction, and 4 diameters apart in the direction perpendicular to the prevailing winds.
Energy Loss from the Park Effect
With knowledge of the wind turbine rotor, the wind rose , the Weibull distribution and the roughness in the different directions manufacturers or developers can calculate the energy loss due to wind turbines shading one another.
Typically, the energy loss will be somewhere around 5 per cent. "

His argument about larger wind turbines needing to be situated further apart therefor making them bigger does not help is also wrong. For a start there must be something in making them bigger becaause all the turbine manufacturers are going this way and they would not do this without good reason.

Secondly a turbine that generates twice as much does not necessarily have blades that are twice as big eg:

Enercon E-53 800kW - rotor diameter 52m
Enercon E-82 2000kW - rotor diameter 82m

Both are designed for medium wind speeds. The spacing for the E82 would therefore be 5 diameters apart - 400 m and the rows could be 240m apart if the available space was tight.

Using more correct figures to calculate what it would take to replace a nuclar plant we get, using the fact that in a square kilometer you could get 2 turbines across and 4 turbines deep which is 8 turbines per kilometer square. Each of these turbines could produce 4 588 499 kWh per year. (capacity factor of 29%) From the Wind Energy Calculator I posted earlier.

A 1GW nuclear plant with a capacity factor of 90% would produce 1 000 000kW * 365 * 24 * .9 = 7 884 000 000 kWh per year

To equal this you would need 1700 E-82 2MW turbines which at the maximum packing density would take 214 km^2 in good wind areas of 7.2 m/s and a Weibull shape of 2 and 7.9 scale parameter which are the typical parameters for a good wind site.

This is a bit different from his figures. Please correct me if I have made any mistakes. I do not have a physics degree like the author of this book so I have an excuse if I have stuffed up (unlike him).


It's me again. You write:

Nuclear facilities unlike wind are nearly impossible to get through the approval process ..

Well, if two thirds of the population have been terrorised with horror stories about the alleged adverse health effects of exposure to minimal quantities of ionizing radiation, and if politicians consider the voters' perceptions of reality to be more real than reality itself, then you're going to end up with the punitive approval processes you mention. No surprise there.

The site to consult is:


The other day I watched the Energy Supply Forum. One of the panelists was Skip Horvath, President and CEO of the Natural Gas Supply Association. He pooh poohed Boone's plan by stating three observations:

  • Natural gas is superior to coal or nuclear for providing base load capacity.
  • There is a lack of infrastructure to support natural gas powered vehicles.
  • Significant investment would be needed to upgrade the power grid.

With respect to infrastructure: If there is a gas line available to the location, that is all that is needed to supply the equipment which has to be at the delivery point. The myth that we are going to have to build high pressure gas lines to supply the vehicles is baloney, to be polite. The vehicles currently in use require between 3,000 psi and 3600psi in the tank(s). The compression from ounces in the line which probably supplies your house to the high pressure required has to be done at the source for safety reasons. The infrastructure required, therefore, consists of a relatively small very high pressure tank, high pressure compression pumps to fill that tank, high pressure tanks (about 400 PSI) to feed the high pressure pumps, and compressors to feed the intermediate tanks. Of course, lines, pumps, and meters, along with a good bit of safety equipment restricting flow in case of a leak, etc. would be necessary, but this infrastructure stuff is overblown.

There are also home refuelling appliances which will work off most any home gas line, powered by 110 volt electricity, but should be professionally installed by a plumber who is familiar with natural gas. (google PHILL)

Would the folks talking about infrastructure please shift their disinformation efforts to another topic, please ?

If you do not know what is involved, research the topic by going to look at an installation. There most likely is one in your locale, so bust the myth yourself.

the equipment which has to be at the delivery point.

I think that this is his point. How do you get service stations to make investments in new pumps when there are so few NGV's on the road?

Thanks for the tip on PHILL. Something like this might spur more people to purchase NGV's but do you have any idea of how much one of these costs?

EDIT: reduced quote to relevant part. Removed 'massive' to describe investments.

Honda promotes the Phill for their Civic GX. I've heard a price of $3400 plus installation.

Yeah I've been poking around and this seems about right. Typical installation seems to be in the 1K range with maybe some additional fees for permitting/inspection. Tax credits may be available depending on where you live.

This home fueling thing still strikes me as still being a very niche thing. How many Civic GX's does Honda produce in a year? How many people are willing to go through the hassle of researching, purchasing, permitting, installing and maintaining their own fueling station? If gasoline continues higher, the number will certainly grow. My take is, until their are more models of NGV's available, consumers will continue to gravitate towards what they know.

Imagine that I could wave a wand and make a bunch of models available tomorrow at comparable prices and with similar ranges to gasoline powered cars. Imagine if I used that same wand to install NG pumps at enough filling stations to make it convenient for consumers. What happens to the price of NG? What happens to the price of nitrogen fertilizers? What happens to the price of food? Electricity and heating?

NGV's in an urban environment would be great - there are already fueling stations in most metropolitan areas. In Oklahoma, there are many stations in other areas as well. Compared to the cost of the equipment at modern gasoline/diesel fueling facilities, CNG facilities are cheap. I would guess $150,000. Your local convenience store with a half-dozen pumps out front invested enough to dwarf that price. Plus the potential for pollution would be reduced - natural gas is a vapor, and in most cases, is only a true hazard if released at a concentration of greater than 4%. The controls used, at present detect pressure loss and provide a high safety factor.

If we could convert a large portion of our electric from NG, the cost attributable to supplies would be reduced dramatically. Historically, natural gas is priced on a basis of the BTU ratio to that of crude oil, which is about 1/6 of the heating value of crude oil. At present, that relationship is way off. I have a feeling it will get back into equilibrium, and either oil will drop to 6X the price of NG, or the price of NG will rise to 1/6 the price of crude oil. As to supply, I think that the 4 year life for shale wells is way understated, at least for the horizontal wells. If not, the ones with which I am familiar are real exceptions to that rule. In the area south of Saint Jo, TX, there are Barnett Shale wells operating which have been there since at least 1995, and are still operating. Also, the reserves estimated, according to Wiki, for the Barnett Shale, covering 16 counties of North Texas, are as much as 30 TCF, with proven reserves of 2.5 TCF. If it is true that the Barnett is dwarfed by the Haynesville Shale, with development underway, there is a lot of potential which is being proven with a bit as I write this post. I am also somewhat familiar with a shale prospect south of Pecos, Texas which I have heard referred to as the Balmoreah Shale, with acreage being assembled by Chesapeake and PetroHunt over the last few years. I have no idea of the size of that prospect relative to the other shales. I think that the companies looking to develop the offshore gas are thinking that there are substantial reserves there as well. Shale wells do not have the same characteristics as conventional gas wells, just as deep gas wells have different characteristics. And, increasingly, low-BTU gas can be stripped of the N2 and CO2 which have made them an unlucky find. I think that our gas resources are closer to being the upper numbers, in TCF, not in years. All energy is getting and going to get more expensive, and NG is no different.

Also, I wouldn't mind having a LNG offloading port in my backyard, but it might be a little tough getting the tanker to the Osage Hills of northeast OK.

Not endorsing NGVs, but one way this could work is buy a cheap dual fuel conversion kit for your car, hopefully for under $2000. It gives you a short range on CNG for your regular commute or trips near home, and you keep the gasoline tank for other trips. That's still a big investment if you don't live near a CNG station and need a home refueling unit for thousands of dollars more.

I agree that's the way to go, because you can have a smaller CNG tank and use less gas pressure, the two main problems with CNG.

Thanks for the article.

FYI, the first link in the third paragraph below the fold ("a current increase in US production") is bad - it appears to have a superfluous quotation mark attached to the end.


Are minor grammatical errors really that engrossing?

When it's in a link, it's the difference between reaching the intended web page and reaching an error screen. Just looking to help out here.

"And while a number of small companies are now using waste cooling oil, that can only go so far."
Ya think he actually means cooking oil here?

Y'a right - sorry!

Meanwhile, corn ethanol is powering the equivalent of 18 Million cars, as we speak. It will be 27 Million in a couple of years, and, probably, 50 Million in ten years.

At the same time, GM will have a new "super-efficient" 1.4 Liter flexfuel engine in 2010 that will get in the neighborhood of 37 mpg (while turning about 200 hp,) highway, on E85.

Guys, the point everyone is missing is that you can profitably make cellulosic ethanol out of your grannie's gym shorts when gasoline prices are $4.00/gal.

Problems ARE coming down the road; but, we have a little time, and we WILL work our way through this. Wait and see.

I like Pickens idea from the standpoint of taking the initiative to build a wind farm infrastructure up through the center of the country. I agree with this article's criticism of the subsequent potential problems of converting to natural gas as a fuel for transport. Instead of using NG for all vehicles, it makes more sense to use it as an alternative for a percentage of truck haulers. That way diesel prices and NG will compete for a market segment, versus banking an entire switch in fuel to NG.

If this country can't take the first step in scaling up to take advantage of wind energy, using turbines that have proven effective in providing electricity, then we are simply capitulating to a disasterous post peak oil world.

One of the subjects Simmons discusses in Twilight in the desert, is using oil while its still relatively abundunt to manufacture alternative energy, because once it becomes scarce the cost will be too great.

Pickens idea to develop wind energy down the center of the US is the minimum step towards reducing our dependence on oil. Secondly we need to build an infrastructure for solar companies to connect to in the southwest. Sure, maybe its not as perfected as wind, but let competition play out as various companies hook into the grid.

If we know we are at or soon to crest peak oil, then why are we debating it like we are so convinced we need to hunker down in tiny communities. While we can, we should do what is possible to avoid Kunstler's Long Emergency.

As Morgan Freeman's character in Shawshank Redemption said, "Get busy living, or get busy dying". So, let's stop waiting for the magic bullet, the perfect solution and move forward with what can be done.

I'm not decrying the idea of putting in a wind farm, just that some of the new reasons for doing so may be weaker than others, particularly given the amount of time that it is going to take to get the farm up to full production. And I have noted a number of commercials about the project on TV this past week, and they left me wondering why? Unless it was to get the Texas Public Utility Commission to move on the transmission lines.

Pickens endorses Al Gore for Energy Secretary, if Obama wins:


BTW, Pickens endorsed a much higher gasoline tax--to bring the price of gasoline up to European levels, offset by cutting Payroll Taxes--before Al Gore did.

In regard to Boone Pickens' plans to make money, I don't think he has disguised the fact that he is a capitalist, but he has made a lot of money--for example, he has paid more income taxes since he turned 70 than he paid in all previous years. He is 80 years old, and I think that he is primarily interested in the future of the country.

While I agree NG doesn't make sense, I strongly agree with what he has been saying about what oil imports are doing to our balance of payments. This is the current danger. Oil shortage and climate change are the medium and short term dangers. Anything we can do right now to reduce oil imports will have a direct impact on the US economy.

Before anybody comments. "short term" should be "long term".

If Pickens wants to offer the chimera of NG powered autos as the ostensible carrots to get the mules to move forward on wind power infrastructure, I say let him make that case.

After the wind infrastructure is in place, despite the end of happy motoring, we'll all thank him.

Take care of me! Take care of me! Take care of me!

Well you might think that I am complaining about the passive population, unwilling to do for themselves, but that is not the case.

So far T. Boone Pickens has convinced the Texas Public Service Commission (is that their name) to assess existing electricity consumers a few bucks per month each to fund new transmission lines so as to feed the electricity he generates into the system. Next he is looking for the federal government to give him $1 trillion in subsidies.

And wind is economically viable? So why the subsidies?

T. Boone Pickens has been and is a confidence man. And you are the rube who this financial sociopath has as his target. This is his history. What surprises me is that at his advanced age, he still cannot abandon the thrill of fleecing others.

If wind power is so powerful, do you really think it needs subsidy, government force to make you pay for it, irrespective of whether it can pay for itself or not.

The destructive forces acting upon the industrial age, deteriorating EROEI, depletion of gross energy production, and the end of imports into the advanced industrial countries, are inconsequential as compared to the destructive force of government reacting to the above three.

There's more to this scheme than wind, though:

It appears that he's buying up the water rights in Roberts County:
"The Pickens project has been in the works for several years. Pickens bought a huge ranch in Roberts County, a county which has only about 800 residents. With neighboring ranchers he acquired more than 150,000 acres of water rights. The water comes from the massive underground Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches from the Lubbock area to the Dakotas — the largest aquifer in the U.S. Wells drilled into it for decades have provided water for residents and crops." (from http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2008/apr/30/pickens-sends-landowners...)

The impact on the aquifer has been predicted in http://www.tpj.org/watchyourassets/pickens/ : "Mesa Water also has said that the pipeline will allow it to legally extract up to 200,000 acre-feet a year from the Ogallala Aquifer. The indulgent pumping limits set by the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District would permit the loss of half of the aquifer’s remaining waters by 2050."

See also: “Water in Storage and Approaches to Ground-Water Management, High Plains Aquifer, 2000,” U.S. Geological Survey, Circular 1243, pages 32-34.

Heading out,
one thing that would fill in my understanding of our power situation is the schedule for nuclear plant decommissioning. Come to think of it, it's likely that coal plants have a lifespan as well.

Can you or anyone point to a reasonably accurate schedule for the shutdown of existing plants?

A quick google turn up this:

But that handles only the schedule for nuclear plants that have already been turned off.

Here are the plants that will (some decade soon) be shut down:

With a little more searching on the www.nrc.gov site, it appears that by going through each reactor and pulling its license expiry date (see http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/ano1.html for an example), it might be possible to create this list. I wonder if coal plants have licenses.

Has anyone done this sort of bottom-up work yet showing how much energy will be taken offline and in which year? (And I do realize that the NRC is extending licenses beyond the design lifespan of the plants.)


In Kansas, we find that the average projected lifetime for a coal-fired generation plant is 30 years. For example, the (proposed and then shot down) Sunflower Electric Power Cooperative plant near Garden City was proposed to be shut down in 2036. Of interest to the group I was working for was that they intended to dump 14.5 million tons of ash directly on the surface of the ground, no geomembrane, no clay liner, on the theory that the ash would form a concrete layer which would be impermeable to leachate. Well, someone must have forgotten to tell them about freeze-thaw cycles, cracking, and channelling in ash dumps. Not to mention the fact that the ash dump would sit directly on top of a highly permeable soil lying on top of the Oglalla Aquifer, which is already suffering major salinity problems and sulfate contamination. Another plant addition being proposed in the eastern part of the state is also projected to have a lifetime of 30 years. After 30 years there's no longer-term planning in place, oddly enough.

there's a plant which has no output information, hence the weird line...

expiration year, MWe
2034, 836
2018, 858
2014, 1118
2016, 1118
2026, 1161
2027, 1154
2016, 872
2014, 811
2016, 821
2027, 831
2024, 1163
2026, 1131
2024, 1125
2034, 825
2036, 835
2024, 1129
2026, 1129
2026, 1022
2014, 764
2034, 1000
2037, 1060
2030, 1150
2033, 1150
2016, 834
2017, 882
2021, 1087
2025, 1087
2009, 850
2011, 850
2014, 565
2017, 830
2021, 839
2013, 478
2025, 1089
2014, 813
2024, 1207
2009, 480
2026, 900
2034, 856
2038, 870
2026, 1049
2013, 951
2015, 979
2013, 511
2022, 1111
2023, 1111
2024, 1134
2029, 1134
2021, 1100
2023, 1100
2015, 871
2025, 1130
2030, 578
2018, 925
2020, 917
2009, 565
2026, 1120
2009, 619
2033, 846
2033, 846
2034, 846
2031, 730
2025, 1335
2026, 1335
2027, 1335
2013, 1116
2014, 1093
2026, 1235
2012, 653
2030, 512
2033, 518
2013, 522
2014, 522
2012, 855
2012, 855
2025, 966
2010, 710
2016, 1096
2020, 1092
2022, 1070
2022, 1080
2026, 1155
2020, 1125
2021, 1126
2016, 839
2023, 839
2027, 1251
2028, 1251
2042, 966
2012, 810
2013, 815
2022, 1105
2024, 1111
2014, 802
2032, 693
2033, 693
2027, 1152
2029, 1149
2012, 510
2023, 1107
2024, 1075
2035, 1125
2025, 1165

Thanks, HFat. I was going to do that work if it wasn't already available, so thank you for that.

I'll take your numbers, create some graphs and post them to a future Drumbeat.

Municipal Solid Waste to Ethanol This is going to be a Biggie. Looking at different projects is looks like it's going to come in at around 100 gallons/ton. We produce a Lot of Solid Waste in the World.

Add to this the Anaerobic Digestion of the manure/humanure from 6 Billion Humans, and, probably, a Billion Cattle and we are, I think, on our way.

In another thread Mr. Gore proposed electrifying the grid with wind power in 10 years and most say, "Oh Wonderful" while Mr. Pickens actually orders a bunch of windmills and most say, "That old goat is trying something." It could be that both are frauds, neither are frauds, or one or the other are frauds. One is probably an unscrupulous politician and the other is probably an unscrupulous businessman. Personally, I'll go with the businessman.

Anyway, electrifying the grid with wind power is a good thing. I wish we had enough wind here for a small turbine but we do not.

I'll go along with your general tone Lynford but will offer a small correction. You're actually judging two business men. Yes, one use to be a politician but he's now running a for-profit business. I don't fault him for that but it does put him in the same general category as Boone and thus subject to the same generalizations.

Wind resources are tricky. The average windspeed for a region is not determinative. The actual location at the height of the turbine is what counts.

The best way to avoid the power transmission costs would be distributed generation, all grid tied. So, if you do not have enough for wind, look at solar. Any of these may well prove to be economical at the rates we will be paying in a few short years.

As a result any move to change, on a significant scale, the motive fuel for the American fleet from gas and diesel to natural gas power is likely to run out of that fuel, before there has been a significant economic return on the investment.

Given this decline, aren't we in trouble anyway if we keep using gas for power plants, fertilizer and home heating? The Pickens Plan is to displace natural gas power with wind power so total consumption shouldn't change much. Electric utilities in California have signed long term gas contracts for decades out. California bet big on natural gas generation, and they expect to run those plants for decades more.

I don't argue the logic of replacing fossil fuel plants with wind, I argue that justifying the replacement by saying you can do something else with the natural gas that you replace may be unrealistic if, by that time, we are seeing a declining gas production. And just because one bets big on something doesn't mean one wins - if it did I would be luxuriating somewhere else!

Agree, but no less realistic than counting on continued access to said declining gas production for power plants.

A Heat Pump is mechanical, so why not power one with a windmill? I have seen on many farms a windmill used to pump water, they must have been cheap to make.

passive cooling could work out a lot simpler.

This will be a huge issue with hotter summers, baby boomers needing aged care and the need to shave peak electrical load.

We need new dwellings ... Earth Tempered - Night Cooled Thermal Mass

Burning Fossil fuels to run AC ,which just make it hotter, is insane
but possible with cheap fossil fuels

I feel that Boone's plan is really just:

1. A justification to build a bunch of wind turbines - which once built, have very little operating cost, and in the next few years, as other sources of energy increase in value, the value of the turbines output will increase dramatically.

2. At the same time, if Boone is able to change the natural gas market from heating and electrical generation usage to the more valuable transportation use, he makes money again from his gas holdings.

All said and done, though, I'm glad he's doing it, even if it is only for a crass profit motive.

Pickens is 80 years old, has billions of dollars and as he said himself what does he need more money for? Why can't you think he sincerely wants to do some good out of his heart? Of all the BS about energy this is something positive. There was oil drum article not that long ago that made the case that there is a 11-33 year supply of unconventional gas right in the US.(I'd put the link here if I was less lazy.) Perhaps Pickens gets information here. I don't know if transport will re-tool with natural gas. But if wind turbines add to the electric supply we have more energy. What runs the world? There is a lot of consensus in the oil drum. But there is a divide between the doomers and optimists. I am undecided because I am cynical but the thing that sets us apart from civilizations that have collapsed is that we have electrical power. Did cars, trucks and jets come about because man invented them and found a way to fuel them. I venture that modern transport came about because man discovered a way to exploit an abundant resource. (Unfortunately we exploited the bejesus out of it.) I don't know if the chicken or the egg came first, but I am certain that the oil came before the car. Future civilization will run itself on electricity if we can make enough to utilize it. The Pickens plan is plugging in the future.

Pictures posted at Pickens Plan. Two were taken by Jim Baldauf at the 2007 ASPO-USA meeting in Houston . The other is from the Garrett Hardin Society http://push.pickensplan.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?screenName=1g...

Wow! Wish I'd been there. Ivanhoe, Hardin and Youngquist all in one.

To think that Britian's leading pointyhead daily 'The Guardian' has one online hit for Garrett Hardin, as opposed to 914 (nine hundred and fourteen) for Paris Hilton ...

... needless to say, the reference to Hardin was a negative one:

An American website for the militantly child-free unhelpfully includes a list of present ideas for anyone adamantine enough to have a kid or three. Next to links for Growing Old Alone and Tubal Litigation they suggest a weighty tome called The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia by bioethics expert Garrett Hardin.

The 'weighty tome' is a thin volume of 168 pages, incidentally. With attention-span problems like this, no wonder Britain's going down the tubes.

Getting back to Heading Out's question, "What then can local authorities do about the situation?": here's a framework for thinking that may help.

There are four phases of response to shortage. In order of time, from quickest to slowest, with reference to transport fuels:

1. Demand destruction: the official stats say vehicle miles are falling. This type of response starts immediately and peaks quickly.

2. Substitution: for example, demand for Priuses and Civics is through the roof, public transport passenger miles are up. Substitution peaks in a few years.

3. Increase supply. Structural substitution could be considered a form of increasing supply. For example, some people think electricity in the form of plug-in hybrid vehicles (80% substitution of oil with electric power) will be "the answer." Supply oriented responses generally peak about 10 years out.

4. Change attitudes and cultural norms. Habitually use public transport, live close to where you work, make cities pedestrian-friendly and car-unfriendly, that kind of thing. Cultural responses peak 25 years or more down the track.

So what can local authorities do? As Heading Out says, first they need to know about the problem - my hat is also off to Gail the Actuary and the others that have taken this on. Explaining the four phases of response will help them realise that there are many things they can do over the next few decades.

Following the 1978-82 price rises, substitution in the form of better fuel economy vehicles(20 mpg) being substituted instead of low fuel economy vehicles (12 mpg) continued for more than 10years.
I can't see how it makes any sense to say that substitution is a form of increased supply. Increased supply is producing more of the same( liquid fuels) and it just isn't going to happen. Substitution will peak when all of one form of energy is replaced by another( for example kerosene replacing whale oil, electricity replacing kerosene for lamps or gasoline for motor vehicles).

Greetings all...I having been lurking for months...Time to make a comment. While a I could agree with the tone of the website's rather insightful and intelligent concepts completely in theory...I can't in reality. Here's why...Two enormous sources of energy are out there...And they will change the energy scenario completely. I realize many on this site relish the idea of the END OF OIL because they have a secret desire to live as the Amish do....(Pleeeeeeze don't flame me, it's a joke....and a funny one because it contains more than a bit of truth...LOLOL)I really like Jim Kunstler...He's the Stephen King of our era...Scary stories for adults...LOL But I have to say (getting to the point now)...There are two energy sources that while not totally ignored here are dismissed without the fair hearing they deserve. Taaa Daaaaaaa!!!!!!! Algae based fuel and methane hydrates....Their success is basically an engineering problem. The kind of thing we humans are good at...like moon launches and other neat technologies. And both scale to meet world energy needs. Doomsday may arrive on Earth at some point but it won't be caused by lack of fuel. These two items are the solution...Let's get the engineering scaled up. Sorry guys, the Amish lifestyle ain't for me!....LOLOL


Good luck fueling your aircraft with that stuff, aviator202.

To urbangardner: Thanks for replying to my post! And WHY can't you fuel aircraft with algae created fuel??? Did you know that Air France and KLM are actively involved with BUILDING plants to grow algae fuels which will be used to fuel their aircraft? Did you know Boeing and Airbus are allied with firms that are in the process of creating algae jet fuels? Also, did you know the natural gas ( methane and methane hydrates) can be used to create liquid fuels? See, I love the word CREATE because that is what can be done. A new source of fuel CREATED with algae. New liquid fuels CREATED with methan hydrates. I know the oil companies say they produce oil....Horse hockey!!!!....They HARVEST fuel just like fisherman!!! LOL
Thanks again urbangardner

These points have already been addressed and discussed to death.

I think it has been thoroughly demonstrated that neither the sources you mentioned are going to solve the problem for a variety of reasons.

You can always search the site to view previous discussions on these energy sources.

But Sir I HAVE researched it. Pardon my saying so, but you are quite incorrect. Don't mean to be rude. But thanks for your comment!!!!


The laugh is on you. Try searching this site for algal biodiesel, oilgae and methane hydrates and you will see that both are dead ends.

And now read this:

Methane Hydrates

According to a 2004 study by the National Academy of Sciences:

“Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the U.S.,”

“Methane hydrate is a natural form of clathrate—a chemical substance in which one molecule forms a lattice around a “guest” molecule without chemical bonding. In this clathrate, the guest molecule is methane and the lattice is formed by water. Methane hydrate is formed naturally under conditions of low temperature and high pressure wherever sufficient gas exists in porewater. It has been found in Arctic regions and in marine sediment on the slopes flanking every continent.

Many countries, intrigued by the widespread occurrence of natural
methane hydrate and by the promising results of recent test wells in
Japan and Canada, are looking toward gas hydrate as a potential source of energy. The U.S. in-place hydrated methane gas resource may exceed the recoverable natural gas resources of the nation. If methane can be produced from hydrate deposits, the nation’s natural gas energy supply could be extended for many years to come. However, many uncertainties must be addressed before anyone will know whether gas hydrate can be produced safely and profitably. There is uncertainty in the distribution of concentrated hydrate deposits and the possibility that hydrate production could lead to pipeline and borehole instability. Uncertainties are also associated with the effect of gas hydrate on the environment. Gas hydrate may play a role relating to gas hydrate.”

My report concludes:

Because the production of methane from hydrate deposits is in the research and development phase, and because of concerns about profitability, safety, and ecological damage, this energy source will not provide methane (that could be utilized to reduce the consumption of oil) for at least several decades. As of this writing, there have been no breakthroughs in extracting methane hydrates.

Oilgae/Algal Biodiesel/Algae Biodiesel

The production of biodiesel from algae (called oilgae, algal biodiesel, algae biodiesel, or algae fuel) by growing an oil rich algae and extracting biodiesel yields a liquid fuel and avoids displacing food production. Although the concept shows some promise of providing limited amounts of liquid fuels, a principal investigator for the Biodiesel Algae Program of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL), John Benemann, concludes that oilgae faces major obstacles in commercial development using current costly processes using closed photobioreactors for growing algal biodiesel. Open pond technology, which could be more economic, faces 10 years of research and development, and success is uncertain. The NREL Biodiesel Program operated from 1978 to 1966 when the program was terminated.

Finally, the collapse that is coming is not going to be living like the Amish, but will be mass fatalities. Is this really all that funny?

You should know that, in full recognition of the work done by NREL (who I gather are re-starting their program), DARPA is putting several tens of millions of dollars into researching ways in which algae can be used to provide a reliable, and sustainable source for jet fuel.

In this regard there are already known species of algae which can provide such a fuel, at relatively high yield rates. There are also ways of getting around some of the constraints that have earlier been suggested as limiting the economics and rate of development of the technology. This does not mean that algae will provide a solution to the problem tomorrow, but that there are some paths forward that hold the possibility of answering some of the questions that must be resolved if algal biodiesel is to provide a solution in the future.

Thank you Sir for your supportive comments!!! NREL re-starting their program?? Oh Dear could they, might they have, is it POSSIBLE they MISSED something on their first go-'round???...Might their negative report have been PREMATURE or perhaps just downright wrong?...I would be more likely to trust DARPA...after all THEY invented the INTERNET!!!!....ROFL

Yes, of course they missed something in their first go round. Then they thought they had to compete with $10/b oil. The playing field really has changed. In my reading of their close-out report I find all sorts of clues that they were constantly struggling against politically motivated changes in direction of the program, and political lack of vision.

But there are real problems with algae:

They did establish that if you hope to grow them in open ponds then you will be growing wild local strains of algae, so research of genetically selected strains is pointless.

But if you think about growing algae is closed tanks or covered ponds, the cost of the growing structure is very high.

And other real technical problems which I don't recall at the moment, but that are likely solvable, if the price point of the product is high enough.

A really interesting feature of algae is that it does not compete with food plants for arable land.

Well Sir thank you for the reference!!!! However, you quote a 4 1/2 year old study on methane hydrates that seems to be one man's opinion. Have you checked out what the Japanese are doing THIS YEAR??? You might find that 4 1/2 yo report is just a little dated. I know, I know it IS the National Academy of Science and they've never been wrong... Sorry, methane hydrates are coming...Watch the Japanese...GM sure wish they did...In fact, Toyota is Japanese and they CREATED the Prius currently considered by some the present gold standard for motoring...I think you're right in this however, nothing useful concerning methane hydrates is likely to come from a man reporting to(for) the National Academy of Science

Now about this NREL study...I'm SURE they can offer something useful about algae fuel as they have perfected time travel....(sic) "The NREL Biodiesel Program operated from 1978 to 1966 when the program was terminated." LOLOL But seriously, this is a government study, poorly funded....and as I recall their funding was cut due to cheap oil...and a bit of political pressure (if you know what I mean). Dear Zeus man!!!! You are seriously quoting me a study FROM 1978?????? A THIRTY yo study???? Puhleeeeze, I WOULD like to take you seriously!!!!

As for ME not taking a collapse seriously, you must be joking Sir!!!! Here I am proposing solid solutions to PREVENT a collapse and you are presenting obsolete studies that are (Sorry Sir, inadequate argumemts) that it doesn 't work. You are saying the collapse is coming, is inevitable and I AM being humorous???? Puhleeeze whose side are you on? I don't want anyone to die!!! That's is why we must engineer our way out of this? An I missing something? I've given my solution. Please Sir, what is yours?

The problem is that your solutions, thinking, and humor stink. Grasping at straws is not presenting solutions. The National Academy of Sciences is the best organization to conduct a comprehensive analysis of energy policy. You gas around a lot, and give little evidence for the points you are trying to make.

Well Sir I find you judgemental. I'm not grasping at straws, however your posting indicates YOU are doing so. The National Academy of Sciences is the best ENGINEERING organization on the PLANET???? Puhleeze, is that your argument??? Speaking of gas Sir, you are quite good at that yourself. Please Sir, I understand your remarks are based in politics and that is understandable. But where is YOUR solution and YOUR science? Thank you for your comments !!!!

The main part of the title of this post is: LOOKING FOR ANSWERS.

Below are my comments regarding ASPO USA's David Cohen presentation of solid documentation that Peak Oil is now and before 2011 and observation concerning what do we do about Peak Oil impacts?


Excellent work David! I agree with your conclusion that "the time has come to examine measures we might take in the post-peak world." The best organization for such research is the National Academy of Sciences, whose mission is to advise the Congress on scientific matters.

Many interests wish to pursue alternative energies without carefully considering several important questions.

First, do the alternatives address the liquid fuels problem?

Second, how much total energy is consumed in developing, manufacturing, and maintaining alternative energies (this is a question that few studies have examined thoroughly)?

Third, does the development of alternative energies consume liquid energy and yield electric energy?

Finally, what risk management policies should the nation develop regarding Peak Oil impacts?

Because there are many ideological and business interests involved in answering these questions and in advising Congress, it is imperative that Congress to commission the NAS to objectively study these critical issues.

Best regards, Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D., Peak Oil Associates International

The main part of the title of this post is: LOOKING FOR ANSWERS.


cfm in Gray, ME

In this country, the USA, there is a total lack of leadership in addressing the issues of Peak Oil and resource depletion. Most of the population does not know what 'Peak Oil' is or why the price of gas is so high. They complain it is the oil companies or the local gas station ripping them off. This needs to change.

Some people (quite a small majority) are trying hard to conserve resources and prepare for a lower energy world. They are planting vegetable gardens, reducing or eliminating air conditioning, installing Compact Fluorescents, driving slower and driving less and setting a good example for others, especially children (who will have to inherit this world). At the same time there are those driving large gass guzzling vehicles, cranking the air conditioning to the max and partying like it's 1999. During the morning 'rush hour' it is amazing how many large, heavy vehicles there are on the highways, with one person per vehicle, stuck in stop and go traffic with their engines running - and idling for long periods of time. In so many cities! There is surely a better way to use the remaining resources more wisely but there is no national or even local call to action (think Mahattan Project).

Most cities and towns, including Madison, Alabama are not laid out to accommodate anyting but car and truck traffic. They are absolutely not walkable. Doing anything at all requires driving a car. If you try to ride a bike or walk you are having to walk in the path of oncoming cars and take a great risk. Building alternate lanes or paths for bicycles and foot traffic is just not very high on the agenda. The priorities are wrong. Everywhere.

Controlling population would help but who wants to volunteer! We need to lose 50 million, please step up! The real problem here is waste and high per capita usage of all resources including energy. There are so many novel ways to reduce energy consumption, by really huge amounts, even 50 percent or more without significantly reducing quality of life. Real leadership is needed at all levels to build a compresensive energy and conservation policy.

In the future, the energy footprint must be smaller anyway. Why not start now? Only after applying conservation measures does it make sense to start putting up windmills, solar systems and other alternative energy generation stations. Does a person really need a full size SUV or car to commute 30 miles each way to work, driving alone? The layout of the built environment really needs to change where people do not have to go so far to work, school, grocery shopping, etc. Then with the smart application of alternative energy sources we can gradually remake the built environment into a sustainable and livable place. Coupled with population controls and localized agriculture it may work. Sustainable.

Yeah, Aviator; you shore are dum.

7,000,000 Gallons/Yr from 1,000 Acres on Maui.

I think I read that Shell is getting 7,000 Gal/Acre/Yr from their Maui Project.

Hehehehehe........And yet, you Sir cannot spell dumb!!!! On the other hand, why would Shell wish to successfully compete with itself? After all, they are making lots and lots 'o moola from oil just as the biz is right now...I really think you have to view their effort with some skepticism. But thank you Sir, for your comment!!!!

Seems there's a basic muddle, deeply entwined with ever-increasing US wealth and growth without limits AKA cornucopianisn AKA hyper-supply. This goes hand in hand with unbelieveable and unjustifiable top dog salaries and bonuses. Just another form of looting the treasury, one that ultimately confuses and even denies the basic difference between capital (things we use to make wealth) and income (the yield from all our factors).

Apropo to the pickensplan to fuel more cars with natural gas, I would like to see updates on US peak natural gas, both conventional and unconventional. How much natural gas would be required to fuel 10% of the US vehicle fleet. If there is an argument for saving some oil for future generations, should this argument also be made for natural gas?


I'm not sure why the temperature has suddenly been raised so high in this thread.
Suffice to say it did PROVOKE me ... into spending a bit of time on this site:


... and I expect I'll go back and spend some more time on it shortly.

Re. the wisdom of accelerating the draw down of yet another non renewable Fossil Aquifer such as Ogalla ... well ... that brings us to another slight problem !


One last thing, does anyone have any comparative data on the quality of life of the Amish ?
; )
Have a NICE day everyone.

The problem however, T. Boone Pickens attempts to the contrary, is that most of these local solutions are not going to have much impact on the more critical need, which is for liquid fuels to drive the cars and trucks in the next few years.

Why do we assume we need to move a ton to move a person? Freight trains move a ton 423 miles on a gallon of fuel. Why do we accept it costs a gallon of fuel to move a person 18 miles in repetitive, congested travel?

Change the infrastructure role of government from management to leadership; from controlling HOW to build roads to setting performance standards for WHAT is needed. This graphic is intended to illustrate why performance standards such as those we see in communications and electronic result in such innovation while planned infrastructure in power generation and transportation result in Peak Oil and Global Warming.

Planning rewards consistency. Innovation is variation, an aberration, a deviation from the expected plan. Changes between generations of plans are small variations on know-HOW. In the last century roads have gotten incrementally better but still pave farmland, consume real estate, disrupt water tables, require storm sewers, etc.... Incrementally versions of the same benefits/problems.

Standards allow an competitor that can meet the minimum requirement and rewards those at the higher end of the spectrum. Changes between generations leap and jump. This is easily seen in computer disk storage jumping from floppies, to high-density floppies, to hard drives, Zip drives, CD's, DVD's, thumb drives, SD cards, etc.... The number of standards increases as standards leap by each other and allow niche solutions. A rich ecology of solutions evolves.

We expect leaping improvements in electronics and ever more congestion driving to work. One infrastructure is controlled by standards the other by plans.

A great thing about standards, is that local communities can implement local solutions. Any community could implement a standard of allowing any transportation network or device that beats 100 mile per gallon energy use can create jobs implementing solutions in their community. We have termed this Performance Governing.

Communities can implement economic lifeboats, preempt the need for oil by performance standards that allow innovation to know-WHAT.