DrumBeat: July 20, 2008

To Save Gas, Shoppers Stay Home and Click

To go shopping these days, more Americans are trading in their car keys for a keyboard.

Online shopping is gaining at a time when simply filling up a gas tank to head to the mall can seem like a spending spree.

A number of retailers — including Gap, Victoria’s Secret and J. C. Penney — are experiencing double-digit sales growth at their shopping Web sites, creating a surprising bright spot during an otherwise gloomy time for sales in brick-and-mortar stores.

Gas under $4? It may be closer than you think

Drivers could see gasoline prices below $4 by Labor Day, and even a nickel decline within days, after oil prices fell again Friday.

Peak Oil: The End Of Ferry Services Between Japan And Taiwan?

Before air travel, how on earth did people get around the globe? For a brief moment in history, there were steam ships and then diesel ferries. Now, due to high fuel costs, such ferries may no longer be a solution to your travel needs.

A just transition?

In the past few months, outbreaks of industrial unrest and protest have been occurring throughout Europe in the industries most affected by the rising price of oil. Starting with Grangemouth refinery, Unite workers in went on strike over reduction in pension rights. Workers in haulage companies delivering to petrol forecourts followed in a dispute over pay. More recently we have seen the protests of the haulage companies themselves demanding special reductions in tax on fuel – by the time this article goes to press, we will know whether Gordon Brown has held his nerve on that. In France, railway workers and fishermen have been involved in industrial action and in Spain public transport workers have likewise struck over the impact of the rising price of fuel. Meanwhile, oil companies continue to make record profits. These are signs of things to come.

Even oilmen believe our planet is burning up

When I started on this journey, three years ago, oil was 50 dollars a barrel and the Peak Oil theorists were dismissed as alarmist fringe elements. We were apparently at least 50 years away from Peak Oil. Anyone who dared to say different was simply laughed at.

But then I met a man employed by the oil industry to collate data on oil reserves, and he told me that already we are not producing enough oil to meet demand, and even if output were increased, it would be used up by growing demand from China and India.

So, I asked, what did this mean?

'A global crash,' he said, 'at a guess somewhere between 2008 and 2010.'

Decreasing vehicle miles traveled a sign of the times

For the first time in decades, Americans are driving less by combining trips, reducing discretionary driving and using public transportation. According to the Federal Highway Administration, vehicle miles traveled dropped by 2 percent in the first part of this year compared to a year ago — the steepest decline since 1942, when the highway administration began keeping records.

It is difficult to know how much of the reduction is the product of temporary changes in driving patterns caused by oil price sticker shock; drivers could quickly revert to their old behavior if prices fall again.

Still, some developments suggest that more lasting societal changes may be under way. Public transportation systems in some parts of the country are operating at or near capacity and are developing expansion plans.

Costs hit seniors’ meals

The economy has free-meal programs in a vice, forcing them to consider not feeding some needy clients and making it harder to keep and recruit the volunteers who serve them.

Gas prices have forced many volunteers to pull back or quit giving their time. They are crucial to boxing and delivering meals to folks who have trouble feeding themselves.

Bangladesh: No more gas-based power plant

Special Assistant to the Chief Adviser Prof M Tamim yesterday called upon the political parties to reach a national consensus on energy related issues for ensuring energy security for all in 2020 in the country.

Dr Tamim said, no more gas-based power plant would be set up in the country as there is a shortage of the fossil fuel.

A Rational Plan To Solve Our Critical Shortage of Oil And Natural Gas

Many of the existing drilling leases are in areas that are difficult and time consuming to exploit. For example, some are in very deep water and some require long pipelines. The key to fast and successful production is to allow determination of the potential in each areas. This would allow drilling in optimum locations to produce oil and gas in the shortest time.

Energy independence is well within America’s reach

Geological surveys indicate that America has more oil reserves offshore, and in its interior, than the combined reserves of Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. But Congress, at the behest of environmentalists, has made it illegal to drill in 85 percent of America’s offshore territory and other promising areas.

BP block $1.8B dividend from Russian partner

LONDON, England (AP) -- A British newspaper has reported that BP PLC blocked a $1.8 billion dividend payment from its Russian joint venture in an effort to pressure its billionaire partners.

Work resumes at Iraq refinery in once-violent area

BAGHDAD - An oil refinery in Iraq's western desert has resumed production, the government said Sunday, as part of an outreach to an area once controlled by Sunni insurgents.

Purdue Panel Finds Misconduct by Fusion Scientist

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A Purdue University panel has found two instances of misconduct by a researcher who claims he produced nuclear fusion in tabletop experiments.

Rusi Taleyarkhan made headlines in 2002 when he published a paper in the journal Science claiming that he had produced nuclear fusion by making tiny bubbles collapse in a liquid. The new report found misconduct in subsequent papers.

Coal carves a place in the future of global energy

As the price of oil and natural gas soars, many customers are looking to coal as an alternative fuel. That means a boon for suppliers -- and a potential bane for the environment.

Channel 4 to be censured over controversial climate film

Channel 4 misrepresented some of the world's leading climate scientists in a controversial documentary that claimed global warming was a conspiracy and a fraud, the UK's media regulator will rule next week.

In a long-awaited judgment following a 15-month inquiry, Ofcom is expected to censure the network over its treatment of some scientists in the programme, The Great Global Warming Swindle, which sparked outcry from environmentalists.

Does Al Gore Finally Get It?

Al Gore has always gotten climate change, global warming, and CO2 levels. He "got it" before I did. The carbon dating of the ice-core samples was enough scientific data to prove to me, engineer that I am, that the CO2 levels are exponentially increasing due to man's activity on Earth: specifically burning fossil fuels. The ice caps shrinking, glaciers receding, ocean levels rising, the threat it all poses - I buy it. He was spot-on. Gore deserves the Nobel Prize and the Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth". He has led the way.

However, in some ways, Al Gore has done a disservice to his own cause by warning about the consequences of global warming instead of the realities of worldwide oil production versus demand. As I have said for years now, the biggest, most imminent threat to the US economy and indeed to worldwide civilization as a whole, will be the inability of worldwide oil production to meet worldwide oil demand while our economies is still oil based.

All Tickets, Please

As oil prices rise, businesses and consumers alike are ditching planes and cars for more-efficient rail.

9/11 and 4/11

I am reliably told by a Bush administration official that there is an old saying in Texas that goes like this: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”

Could anyone possibly come up with a better description of President Bush’s energy policy? America is in the midst of its worst energy crisis in years and what is the big decision our Decider has decided? Drum roll, please: Our Decider decided to lift the executive orders banning drilling for oil and natural gas off the country’s shoreline — even though he knew this was a meaningless gesture because a Congressional moratorium on drilling passed in 1981 remains in force.

Boat owner reports costly fuel theft

MARSHFIELD, Mass. -- A South Shore business owner reported hundreds of gallons of gas stolen from ships docked at his marina.

Dave McShain reported the crime to police after taking one of his vessels out and noticing the gas gauge was on empty.

Several hundred gallons of diesel fuel were stolen from four yachts all together.

Boat fuel laced to beat thieves

A vigilante movement has set up its own 'boom and bust' scheme to fight thieves beating the fuel price explosion by taking petrol and diesel from boats moored at Exmouth Quay.

Some boat owners have been allegedly mixing acetone into "bait" fuel cans in a bid to blow the engines of anyone stealing fuel for their own vehicle.

RUSS FEINGOLD - Oil in the bank: Are leaseholders holding out on pumping?

Coal companies already comply with requirements that they diligently develop federally leased lands - why should oil companies be given special treatment? My bill would create industrywide accountability standards, which many of the oil companies say they are already capable of meeting. So why are they putting up such a fight?

Pakistan: Govt’s handling of food and energy crises criticised

ISLAMABAD: Severe energy crisis coupled with the skyrocketing food inflation is afflicting nearly 37 million Pakistanis living below the poverty line while the government seems to be clueless about dealing with these problems that threatens its economic viability, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) president Muhammad Ijaz Abbasi said Saturday.

The Oil Price - How Long Can It Go on Rising?

There is a hysteria about what the reserves are. But there is an even worse hysteria produced by a guy called Simmons. I have met him, he is a fun guy, but he is dangerous.

...Simmons has said, "It cannot produce anymore. It is declining, and there is water in it." Well, every field has water. If there isn't water in it, the oil doesn't come out! Oil is not like a swimming pool, it is in rock, in porous rock. There is water and gas, so when you make the hole, you bring the pressure down, and the water pushes up, so all oil has water in it, and you have to take it out. He claims it's a lot more, and makes a comparison with a field in Oman which is declining. But this is like comparing a calf with an elephant. A small thing with something big. He has written nonsense on Ghawar.

Looking to Mid-Atlantic for oil

With energy costs continuing to climb, politicians in Washington are again casting their gaze to the waters of the Mid-Atlantic, and the oil and natural gas reserves that geologists believe lie beneath. New talk of offshore exploration has the region's environmentalists on edge.

Sabic's Net Income Gains 17% on Fertilizer Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world's biggest chemicals maker by market value, reported second- quarter profit increased 17 percent on rising fertilizer demand and access to discounted oil-based feedstock.

Why the world's economies are sinking

The current economic slowdown may look global, but it might turn out to be the first in history that hits rich countries harder than developing ones.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole: Energy future requires comprehensive action

One day, we'll be free from the stranglehold of high gas prices and dependence on foreign oil. We'll power our economy with alternative energy sources, leaving the petro-tyrants in Iran, Venezuela and Russia unable to hold the world economy hostage.

To get us there, I support a "kitchen sink" policy. We need to throw everything and the kitchen sink at our energy crisis — conservation, alternative energy, exploration and market fairness.

Texas oilman taps into well of U.S. anger

Our nation is in desperate need of national leadership on many issues. In particular the American people are searching for someone to put them first in dealing with our emerging national energy crisis. Can we trust an oilman to lead us away from our addiction to oil when he and his friends make millions by keeping us hooked? I say, yes.

The negative impact this growing energy crisis is having on the American economy is dangerous and profound. One year ago we were concerned when the price of oil exceeded $50 a barrel and was selling for the previously unheard of price of $86.

Internet entrepreneur returns to solar energy

LOS ANGELES: In 1973, when Bill Gross was 15 and cars were lined up at every gas station in Southern California, he wanted to do something about high energy prices.

An aspiring engineer, he figured out how to build parabolic concentrators and Stirling engines to capture the sun's energy, selling the plans for $4 apiece through ads in Popular Science magazine.

Gross, now 49, is again building solar power projects after a lengthy detour through the early days of the Internet.

The coming black plague?

Dr. Brian Schwartz, co-director of the program on global sustainability and health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said governments should start planning for a worst-case scenario, with soaring oil prices disrupting food supplies, just as they plan for other possibilities like nuclear war and bioterrorism.

"We have an industrial model of food production that requires intense amounts of fossil fuels," Schwartz said. "Food is going to be a huge problem for us."

California must wake up to looming fuel crisis

Like it or not, oil fuels the engines of industrialized economies. In California, we burn through nearly 20 billion gallons of the stuff each year just driving around. Then there's the oil we use to grow and transport food and pump water, the oil that fuels planes, trains and cargo ships, and the oil that is embedded in every computer, every inch of asphalt and every bit of plastic. So imagine my surprise when I learned that oil supplies are running out - and that the federal government is doing nothing to prepare for it.

We're running low on oil

The United States consumes around 20 mbpd, or 24 percent of the world's total daily production of petroleum, and about half is imported. While discretionary driving is down, a high demand for fuel is still built into our economy; we can't cut consumption rapidly without causing economic dislocation and hardship (e.g., cold homes or empty shelves this winter). However you slice it, with just 4 percent of the world's population, we consume 24 percent of the liquid fossil fuels. I leave the ethics of this to your individual consciences.

Be skeptical of any discussion of oil prices that fails to mention depletion. In the end, geology, not economics, determines the amount of oil that can be supplied.

Civilians and oil firms flee Niger Delta as guerrilla attacks worsen

Threatened with beheading and harried by pirates who robbed them, people fleeing the Niger Delta's Bonny Island this weekend struggled to reach Port Harcourt, the regional capital, as the conflict worsened between armed groups and Nigeria's armed forces.

Barely reported amid attacks on oil facilities and their expatriate staff, the story of what has been happening on Bonny Island - site of the giant Nigeria liquefied gas plant - is a story of two communities in conflict: the better educated and paid incomers from outside the delta and the economically marginalised indigenous Ijaw.

Oil sands boom swamps the Canadian wilderness

For oil majors who are finding it difficult to locate new reserves, the attraction of Canada's oil sands is strong. Resource nationalism, where countries bar foreign companies from their oil, is on the rise, as shown by BP's spat with its Russian partners over its joint venture TNK-BP. The issue of reserves is particularly sensitive for Shell, which had to downgrade almost a quarter of its booked proven reserves four years ago, a scandal that led to the ousting of then chief executive Phil Watts.

But development is controversial. Untreated oil sands have the same consistency as peanut butter. Steam is pumped into the sludge to separate the oil from the sand and water. Huge upgraders are needed to treat the oil before it can be refined conventionally, and the process creates at least three times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil production. The environmental organisation, the Pembina Institute, estimates that by 2030 the emissions produced by the industry in Canada could total more than a quarter of the UK's current emissions. Production also devastates the boreal forests and wetlands which cover northern Alberta.

How Russia strives to dominate oil (Review of Petrostate)

For anyone with knowledge of economic warfare, the opening scene in Marshall I. Goldman's new book evokes a shudder. Russian hosts take him into a darkened room that is the "brain center" of Gazprom, the world's largest producer of natural gas, in an office building high above Moscow.

"In front of me," Mr. Goldman writes, "covering the whole 100-foot wall of the room, was a map with a spiderweblike maze of natural gas pipelines reaching from East Siberia west to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Arctic Ocean south to the Caspian and Black seas. Manipulating this display were Gazprom dispatchers, three men controlling the flow of Gazprom's gas to East and West European consumers of this Russian natural gas monopoly . . . . "

Chief Says Exxon Will Keep Doing What It’s Doing

Q. Many energy experts were caught flatfooted by the rapid rise in prices in recent years. How do you explain it?

A. I was surprised by how rapidly the price ran and how high it ran. It clearly is a demand-driven price run-up that we’ve seen, especially in emerging economies because of price controls and subsidies. We are not seeing the normal market signals responding normally. That’s one of the causes behind the rapid run-up.

Energy debate should be based on facts

America needs a balanced energy policy that blends increased production with greater efficiency and an aggressive shift to new sources and technology that will end what President Bush has rightly describes as an "addiction to oil."

Oil companies already can drill

Oil companies already hold leases on 68 million acres of federal lands that aren't being drilled. If they were, the oil companies could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil per day, nearly doubling U.S. oil production, cutting imports of foreign oil by one third, and far exceeding ANWR's potential output. The government has already given them the green light. Over the last eight years, the number of drilling permits has gone up by 361 percent. The question is: Why won't the oil companies start drilling?

The Philippines: Oil firms to cut diesel prices by P1.50/liter

Dureza said the price cut was the result of President Arroyo’s appeal to oil companies to lower their diesel prices.

He was also quick to clarify that the move was not connected to the latest Social Weather Stations survey results showing Mrs. Arroyo’s net satisfaction rating in June plummeting to -38.

China warns Exxon over Vietnam deal - newspaper

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China has warned Exxon Mobil Corp to pull out of an exploration deal with Vietnam, describing the project as a breach of Chinese sovereignty, the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday, citing unnamed sources.

The article, which cited "sources close to the U.S. firm", said Chinese diplomats in Washington had made repeated verbal protests to Exxon Mobil executives in recent months, and warned them its future business interests on the mainland could be at risk.

Small Thinking

With $4 gas prices, designers on the frontline of production say there is a renewed focus on small, fuel-efficient cars.

Recession could have a silver lining for us and planet

Our lifestyles, as we became more rich and privileged, became ever more wasteful. Cobblers went out of business because people just threw shoes away rather than getting them repaired. Household appliances were replaced because they did not match the new kitchen decor, not because they did not function. Children were casually tossed €20 or €30 every day to purchase their paninis and lattes, because packed lunches were so 1990s.

Meanwhile, we managed to ignore the real poor in our midst, and consign them to the category of losers. Strange how that tendency fades when we ourselves experience a touch of economic frost.

Shifts and Faultlines in the World Economy and Great Power Rivalry

This is a research essay about changes in global capitalist accumulation, newly emerging relations of strength among imperialist and regional powers, and the force of competitive pressures and tensions. It is about great-power rivalries in a world system based on exploitation. To use an analogy to the complex motions of large parts of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle, this is a discussion of shifting tectonic plates in the world economy: some of their longer-term movements and some of the more sudden and unexpected eruptions.

UK: Open Space event to discuss sustainable future for Exmouth

THE biggest move yet in an Exmouth group's bid to encourage sustainable ecological living will gather residents to plot a future less dependant on oil.

As the world comes to terms with the issue of 'peak oil', as oil production inexorably begin to decrease, the Transition Town Exmouth (TTE) group seeks to foster plans for an oil-free Exmouth.

Oil Shock

For more than a year the U.S. economy has been reeling from the housing and credit crises, but now it’s staggering from the blow of rising energy and food prices. The impact of $4-a-gallon gasoline is rippling outward as Americans cut spending of all sorts. Every month it seems as if another major economic sector hits the skids: first it was housing and construction, then automobiles and airlines, then tourism and, finally, back to housing with the implosion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

What ties all these crises together is cheap energy, which drove years of suburban sprawl, SUV sales and big-box consumption. That’s all in the past, however. The United States consumes 12.4 million barrels of imported oil products a day. At $140 a barrel, that comes to $633 billion a year — a huge transfer of wealth to oil companies and oil-producing countries and four times the annual cost of the Iraq War.

Inflation and the Spectre of World Revolution

In Asia, particularly Pakistan, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, Nepal, Mongolia and China, hundreds of millions of workers, peasants, artisans and low-paid self employed workers, as well as house-wives and pensioners have engaged in sustained mass protests as they experience a decline in the quality and quantity of food purchases as prices skyrocket. In Africa, hunger stalks the land and major food riots have occurred from Egypt through Sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa. In the Caribbean, Central and South America, food riots have led to the overthrow of regimes, mass protests, road blockages from Argentina, Bolivia, through Colombia, Venezuela and Haiti.

Climate won't wait, Mr Rudd

THE first of Nelson Mandela's eight lessons of leadership is that "Courage is not the absence of fear - it's inspiring others to move beyond it". If ever our planet needed inspiring leadership it is now, as we face the twin threats of climate change and peak oil.

Our leaders need the courage to take the bold, far-sighted action we need if we are to survive this challenge and emerge better off. In perhaps as little as two decades we have to radically transform our society and economy.

Rudd sails through greenhouse test despite lack of green flagellation

The Rudd Government is never going to win a medal for political bravery. It's not in the same league as Hawke-Keating Labor. Even so, it's done a better job with its first step towards a carbon pollution reduction scheme than many people accept.

Scientists to discuss climate risk posed by wetlands destruction

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Moves around the world to drain marshes and other wetlands to make space for farming could be hastening climate change, scientists gathering in Brazil from Monday will be hearing.

A Disappointing Truth

Al Gore gave a big speech about global warming last week. He was thunderous and prophetic. He said “the survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk.” He implored the nation to stop burning dirty coal, gas and oil — in just 10 years. In a policy context, that’s like sending the nation to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

So here’s a question: If the job is so huge and urgent, why is the ad campaign so pedestrian?

Invest 94 approaches Gulf of Mexico

Atlantic Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook


What I'm noticing is their complete confidence that this
will not grow and will hit SW Texas.

Even as my weatherpeople can't tell me weather more than 48 hrs ahead.

""As much of the Southeast experiences record drought, our findings indicate that weak tropical systems could significantly contribute to rainfall totals that can bring relief to the region,” said Shepherd, lead author of the NASA-funded study. "These types of storms are significant rain producers. The larger hurricanes aren’t frequent enough to produce most of the actual rain during the season and therefore are not the primary storm type that relieves drought in the region."-12.07.07


so at the least someone on the US GOM could get 15 inches of rain.

According to Reuters:

Tropical storm Dolly is forecast to strike Mexico at about 23:45 GMT on 20 July. Data supplied by the US National Hurricane Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 19.7 N, 86.3 W. Dolly is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 74 km/h (46 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.

"Hello Dolly!"

You're looking swell, Dolly,
We can tell, Dolly,
You're still glowin', you're still crowin'
You're still goin' strong.
We feel the room swayin'

Looks like Dolly will threat the needle and not affect either Mexican offshore production infrastructure or Texas offshore or onshore oil infrastructure. Of course, track forcasts are very uncertain, especially when projecting as far forward as a second landfall in Texas.

Looks as if it may be moving north of forecast tracks and strengthening rapidly. A direct hit on Houston at hurricane strength is by no means impossible; although by no means probable either (at time of writing) it has to be said before everyone panics!

Definitely one to watch very closely.




The slower it goes and the more it strengthens, the less
reliable the forecast becomes.

Here's the path of Hurricane Dolly circa 1996:


From reading the storm2k site linked above, seems they think Dolly may have just turned a lot nastier.

Latest discussion link http://www.storm2k.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=101807&st=0&sk=t&sd=a...

Dolly could become a hurricane soon as the eye appears to have formed. Better organization is still required.

The animated loop link below shows Dolly could move more northward to south Texas if the high pressure ridge moves westward. Click on MSLP checkbox to show isobar contours.


Tapis and Minas oil prices have also just started moving back up again and are over $140/barrel now.

This article from above spiked my interest... Oil companies already can drill

First, is it true that there are large US areas already leased for oil (or perhaps NG) production that are not being used at all?

Second, why aren't they?

From reading here so long I can imagine some possible reasons why not, like:
* no currently economical deposits in those areas
* not enough drilling rigs or crews available
* no infrastucture (pipelines) to carry oil from those areas

If somebody out there in TOD land knows why those current leases are not being drilled, please share your knowledge.

All of the above, plus one. Right now, the lessees control that acreage, and know that they have an inventory. The big players in the industry have the capability of developing those leases, and in fact, want more. They specifically want to get their hands on additional acreage while Bush/Cheney are still in power, because they know what to expect, who to chum up to, and how to "get 'r done". If however, the leaseing process were made fair, and the lessees were made to take on short-term, but attainable, timetables for development, they wouldn't have the really enviable position of picking and choosing, and letting someone else do the testing of an area.

Kind of like letting others develop the technology to make a better cheaper solar panel before you use your equipment to start producing them yourself.

68 million acres, a lot of which is goat pasture(a term for acerage with little or no prospects for finding any oil).

and a lot of that 68 million acres will never be drilled. the blm leases land (onshore) for 10 yr primary term with 1/8 royalty. if the lease is drilled and found productive, then the lease is held by production, and royalties are paid.

and a lot of that 68 million acres is held by speculators(those damn speculators again), who are hoping that someone will come along that wants to drill, find production and make the speculator rich with a nice fat orri(overriding royalty interest).

and a lot of that 68 million acres will be drilled and no oil or gas found.

some people claim that this country has lots of oil, and they know this because they see idle oil wells everywhere they drive. so(to them) oil production is easy, just start up the pumping unit. the assumption that 68 million acres equals 4.8 million bpd is based on the same bs. just drill a well anywhere and oil will come shootin' out of the ground. hell we can all be like old jed clampet.

hell we can all be like old jed clampet.

That would be really funny but I had someone bring up the Beverly HIllbillies while talking about energy issues a while back. I kidded with him a bit, and then realized he was serious. I wonder just what percent of the US, and world, sees something on TV and believes it. I think overcoming the miseducation provided by the boob tube on anything, 9/11, climate change, peak oil, etc. is going to be impossible.

I wonder just what percent of the US, and world, sees something on TV and believes it.

Ah yes. The two American realities - one grounded in reality and reason, and the other - more comforting, more upbeat, more sexy - dreamed up in the boardrooms of corporate consumer America and presented to us live and in color by the genius of Madison avenue:

See! How happy they are consuming our products! You deserve it. You deserve a 5,511 lb SUV with a 26 Gallon tank. You need it. You need 403 Horsepower. You deserve it. Dripping in chrome You've got to have it. You deserve to be this happy. This is all about you.

a lot of that 68 million acres will be drilled and no oil or gas found.

If true, then the whole GOP/API argument to open up ALL remaining OCS and Alaskan areas fails. IMO, the point of pressing the GOP/API/Little Oil to start ASAP on the already existing 68 million acres is one of Put Up or Shut Up and of political necessity before moving to the next lease-block auction. Essentially, the tough proposition being put to API/Little Oil is: Either start drilling on the land you already have access to or tell us why you won't.

the leases dont have a put up or shut up provision. to decree otherwise is all hugo chavez.

"Merchants of Debt"

What can’t be repaid, won’t be repaid. . . So what happens as more and more Americans default on their loans? It would seem to me that the cash/barter economy will be getting bigger, with fewer and fewer people buying "stuff" on credit.

Given a Shovel, Americans Dig Deeper Into Debt

While the circumstances surrounding these downfalls vary, one element is identical: the lucrative lending practices of America’s merchants of debt have led millions of Americans — young and old, native and immigrant, affluent and poor — to the brink. More and more, Americans can identify with miners of old: in debt to the company store with little chance of paying up. It is not just individuals but the entire economy that is now suffering. Practices that produced record profits for many banks have shaken the nation’s financial system to its foundation. As a growing number of Americans default, banks are recording hundreds of billions in losses, devastating their shareholders. . .

“Today the focus for lenders is not so much on consumer loans being repaid, but on the loan as a perpetual earning asset,” said Julie L. Williams, chief counsel of the Comptroller of the Currency, in a March 2005 speech that received little notice at the time. Lenders have been eager to expand their reach. They have honed sophisticated marketing tactics, gathering personal financial data to tailor their pitches. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising campaigns that make debt sound desirable and risk-free. The ads are aimed at people who urgently need loans to pay for health care and other necessities.

Thanks WT.

I sure wish someone would investigate how the USA is going to repay it's debt.

What - the debts from Reagan and Bush 1 coming due in 2012-2013 (I think I recall reading that here on TOD).

While we are at it when taking about National Security - nothwithstanding why our international debt holders "might not" want to crash us without firing a shot, but why have we even given them the option if we are REALLY concerned with security?


IMO, there is no way (primarily because of the ELM) that the bulk of debt, both public and private, can be repaid--at least not with dollars with anything close to current value. So, it's default and/or currency debasement. But in any case, using one or both methods, I expect to see wholesale debt repudiation, both public and private.

Ancient Israelites supposedly observed a "Jubilee" which returned land to the original owners and freed the slaves. Probably of more spiritual than temporal effect, yet it is a nice idea. How lovely to intend a Jubilee than to have it forced upon us through the workings of greed and stupidity.

Ancient Israelites supposedly observed a "Jubilee" which returned land to the original owners and freed the slaves.

Well, we could give it back to the remaining indigenous Americans, except they probably don't want it by now since they have realized how lucrative running a casino can be:)

The archaeology and history of the region indicate that the Jews stuck to homestead farming from Biblical times all the way to the Mishnaic era. No latifundia for them. There's no record of a Jubilee actually being carried out, but it's likely that the prospect of being fleeced by a jubilee prevented any transaction in the first place if it was to be reversed by a jubilee (long term loans or land sales.

"So, it's default and/or currency debasement."

i doubt our "leaders" will allow default without a fight so further debasement it is . under this scenario, i cant see deflation being widespread.

'mercuns are addicted to debt.

Argentina seems to be a good model for what happens when a modern, industrialized state goes bankrupt. All was doom and gloom about 5 years ago, but now they seem to be doing fine.

I have seen very little analysis of of the recent Argentine experience, and maybe they really aren't doing fine -- but one for sure reality is that just because the government and the banks all fail, the people don't go away. They find a way to get by.

I would say they are definitely not doing fine.

Compared to what? If the monetarist quackery preached by the IMF was adhered to then the patient would be dead.

They are doing fine only because the "proletariat" essentially seized the means of abandoned production. The owners of said abandoned production fought tooth and nail to keep it idle and even dismantled but they did not succeed. The culture in Canada and the USA is quite different. The owners will win and the society will lose. The problem in the future will be what sort of production there will be without cheap fossil energy. When the global economy is partitioned into regional pieces and each piece is in a depression the Argentinian experiment will not be so successful.

Well, I saw Naomi Klein's "The Take" several years ago, when it first came out, and apparently it is still relevant, because Ms. Klein just published in FT-- http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2008/05/diary-financial-times .

I didn't really mean that one could compare USA with Argentina -- their history is violent and abusive, unlike the United States which has always valued freedom and justice and liberty for all, and has always resolved problems through polite Town Hall meetings.

No, it was just a gambit -- I was hoping someone would talk about what happens in the real world when banks and governments melt down. What happened in Spain after Ferdinand and Isabella collapsed their economy? Germany survived two major economic and government collapses -- I guess you could say the Marshall Plan rebuilt them the second time, but there is more to it than that.

It seems reasonable to assert that there will always be a future as long as the sun shines, but it is impossible to predict just what will happen. And even in the direst circumstances, life goes on and the human population continues to increase. I guess my question is, how do we best understand the role of banks, money, government in our own lives -- it is clear they aren't given or constants, even though they present themselves that way.

I'm looking for real world stories of what happens when they fail.

And even in the direst circumstances, life goes on and the human population continues to increase.

Um...no, it doesn't. Life goes on, yes, but the human population doesn't always increase. Looking at it now, it seems like it does, because we're at the top of a massive fossil-fuel powered spike. But the human population used to be subject to Malthusian limits. Dieoffs were common in the past.

Human population was pretty stable for millennia. There was a boost with beginning of agriculture, and again when we contacted the new world (which provided new kinds of crops). But human population doesn't always increase.

Well obviously, there are dieoffs -- people have the social intelligence of yeast in a beer barrel. However, despite ice ages and deforestation and black plague, and now oil shortage, people have increased their range and numbers steadily since Eve left Africa. The current overshoot will lead to an undershoot and a return to the slowly rising baseline. Not in my lifetime, not likely yours. But not long from now, either.

But being a short-lived creature, what I am interested in is stories of how people have survived personal and social crises in their own lifetimes.

But being a short-lived creature, what I am interested in is stories of how people have survived personal and social crises in their own lifetimes.

In that case, Argentina, Yugoslavia, New Orleans, etc., are interesting, but possibly not very relevant. The crises were relatively short-lived, because the rest of the world was still fine, and able to support the areas that had collapsed.

But the crisis isn't over in Argentina, (former) Yugoslavia, New Orleans, etc. They have merely disappeared from the MSM. I guess "relevant" is a moving target -- my current personal standard for "relevance" is how people cope with uncertainty and misfortune. And in that light, Argentina is just as relevant as England in the Plague Years or America in the Oil Crisis.

They haven't disappeared from the MSM. Argentina especially has been in the news a lot recently.

But I kinda doubt the way fuel shortages and high food prices are unfolding in South America is all that relevant to how it will work for us.

The collapse of the former Soviet Union is compared to "American prospects" in Orlov's new book. I found it very worthwhile reading.

This is a link to a post I did about Dmitry Orlov's book. I thought it had some very worthwhile observations.

I think when you look at collapses, you have to look at what the rest of the world looked like at the same times. The Argentina collapse took place before resource constraints were as big an issue as today.

If the US should suffer a collapse, we will not have the benefit of cheap easy-to-import oil to help fix our problems. We have built a very complex network, and it would be difficult to keep it going without the oil we have come to expect.

Leanan -

"...the human population used to be subject to Malthusian limits.

You are right on that one!

A couple of weeks ago Darwinian mentioned a book by George Huppert 'After The Black Death: A Social Hitory Of Early Modern Europe'. Huppert's thesis points out that after the Plague had wiped out 1/3 of the population, people in rural farming villages were extremely careful about allowing births to occur. A farmers son would have to wait until one of his parents died in order to marry and have four children, three of which would die before adulthood.

Not true in the cities however. The European cities growth over the period of 1300-1700 choked off most of the resources of the farms leaving farmers and artisans trapped in a never-ending cycle of poverty and starvation which eventually led to a series of violent uprisings. In southwest France alone there were 453 documented revolts against the Aristocracy.

The Aristocracy viewed starvation as a way of controlling the rabble with a good die-off every 20 years or so. In 1779 when Louis the Sixteenth realized that the only way he could pay for foreign wars and royal extravagance was to tax the "new middle class" particularly since the poor had nothing left and the Royals had made themselves exempt from taxation. This motivated the bourgeoisie to throw in their lot with the poor and that led to Storming The Bastille.

It will be interesting to see how massive die-off might be viewed by current elites who will no doubt be able to insulate themselves.

Yes,joemichaels,ruling classes promoting dieoffs of the hoy polloi is an old idea.

I'm sure it has already been thought of by the current ruling classes.It is likely that geneticly specific plagues have been developed.Limited vaccination could be another option.

Not exactly promoting die-off. Since farmers during the late middle ages lived locally they were subject to floods, droughts, crop failure and the like. When these disasters occurred there was not enough food to keep everything going so there was little in the way of food relief. Hence the die-off.

What was illustrated during this period in Europe was that as time went by there was an increasing concentration of wealth and resources in the hands of absentee landlords and moneylenders. These elites were able through trade far beyond their borders to insulate themselves from the normal feast and famine cycles. When a blight would strike a local farming village however the moneylenders and wealthy were able to confiscate lands from impoverished farmers.

The ruling classes didn't engineer famines they simply took advantage of these natural cycles of feast and famine. Also a starving peasantry were easy to control when rebellions occurred.

I cannot vouchsafe for this blog, but ferfal seems to have a radically different perspective than yours.

Surviving in Argentina

ferfal has his own perspective, which is valuable.

In my experience, the empty house gets broken into 10x more than the one with people obviously inside.
Same happens during blackout, holidays, etc.

Around here, you do not leave a house unoccupied for more than a few days or a couple of weeks unless you want to come back to a very unpleasant surprise.

It was fairly common after the crisis for people to come back to their homes after extended holydays or spending some time abroad or in the hospital, only to fin the place picked to the bone or even worse, A FAMILY living inside! With a slow working justice system with bigger fish to fry, it takes months, even years to prove that your house is yours and to have them evicted.


These are the stories we need to help us prepare for meltdown of our own banks and government. People will get by, but how exactly do they do it, and who does it best?


Thanks for your link to this fascinating (and very useful) site. Tips and tricks for how to deal with what may be in store for us all.

The entire global capitalist system does not rely on the existence of Argentina. The last time America imploded, it pulled the entire world down with it into a decade-long depression that brought fascist governments into power in Germany and Japan, and you know what came next. In half the world people had to decide whether to fight for Nazis or Communists because they didn't believe capitalism would ever be rebuilt at all.

At least energy was cheap then. At least in 1929 the global business class did not depend on American troops in over 130 countries to deter dissent and disruption. At least no one had invented derivatives and credit swaps yet. At least the world's major river systems weren't drying up, and its coastal cities weren't in danger. At least eight countries didn't have nuclear weapons then.

When America goes down this time, how will the rest of the world re-prime the pump? How many years will it take? And how many will pick up the gun because they're sick (and dying) of waiting?

Capitalism depends for its survival upon creating conflict, and then arming all sides. Nazism and Communism are but the shadow side of capitalism itself. The global industrialists supplied them both, to create profit for themselves.

It is an interesting idea -- that the collapse of the American economy was the cause of WWII!

Germany's Weimar Republic was hit hard by the depression, as American loans to help rebuild the German economy now stopped.......Hitler's Nazi Party came to power in January 1933......


And of course to fix this problem you attack somebody elses country, and if that doesn't work you attack a more powerful one, continue in this direction until..... HOLD IT I'm starting to feel some deja vou... Maybe WWIII will start for the same reason?

No doubt. Ford and GM and IBM and Brown Brothers Harriman -- all good capitalists -- were investors in the nascent Nazi party. BBH had to be stopped by act of Congress, well into WWII.

Groundhog day indeed. Capitalists make money on war -- nothing else pays so well.

The United States was hit hard by the depression, as worldwide loans to finance it's debt now stopped .... the fascist dictatorship arose shortly thereafter....

NeverLNG--a good place to go for info on South America is Upside Down World. Here is a link to its recent collection of Argentine articles. This google list of items by Mark Weisbrot about Argentina will also fill your info gap about the country. This item by him was published by the LA Times and is a good place to start.

Thanks for the tip -- those are interesting sites. It seems odd that the LA Times would print something critical of the IMF. Maybe they are just being fair and balanced.?

Argentina seems to be a good model for what happens when a modern, industrialized state goes bankrupt. All was doom and gloom about 5 years ago, but now they seem to be doing fine.

And the US, as well as all other (future) bankrupt nations, will do just fine when world oil production resumes its upward climb, increasing by about 1.5 million barrels per day, every year, forever.

When, dear God when, will some people start to realize what "declining forever" really means. It means that all mild recessions will turn into severe recessions. And sever recessions will turn into depressions and then total anarchy. Things cannot possibly get better until that what caused the recession, then depression, gets better. And the decline in fossil fuels will never get better!

Oh wait. Hell I completely forgot about ethanol and diesel made from fry grease. Oh well, I guess we are saved after all. Let's all celebrate as good old American ingenuity will assure that it will be business as usual for centuries to come.

Ron Patterson

Steady there. The balance can be restored when a few billion people are retired from the fray. Then the industrialists can go on making money as before, because there will be plenty of oil. CERA isn't wrong, they just have a slightly different perspective from yours.

The balance can be restored when a few billion people are retired from the fray.

Whew! That is a real relief. Everything will be just fine after about 5 billion people have either starved or been killed in an attempt to find food.

And it seems foolish to argue about what will happen long after we are both lone gone from this earth. However I think you are dead wrong. The die-off process will probably take fifty years. During that time fossil fuels will continue to be burned, exacerbating the global warming problem and everything else. And species extinction will get worse as people kill everything they possibly can for food. The earth will be left desolate and hot.

The tribes that survive the coming anarchy will likely use little, if any, fossil fuel.
After a few generations, they might come to believe that the rubble amid which they live is the remains of cities built by gods. http://dieoff.org/page137.htm

Ron Patterson


I think your position about the timescale for die-off, and the overall trajectory towards a mixture of environmental chaos, species extinction, etc is quite likely correct. However, the quoted, italicised text is plain wrong.

A clear history of what happened will certainly remain. You can't un-learn what society was like in 2008, in the next fifty years, or five-hundred, or probably five-thousand. We've let the genie out of the bottle, and it ain't going back in anytime soon. In 300 years time there will still be lots of examples of well-preserved automobiles, X-boxes, garlic-presses etc. And it will be obvious how they were made, and what they did.

More likely, IMHO, is that society, devastated and impoverished, will look back upon its golden age, and struggle on, with a sense of the utmost shame and regret - how could we, with all our intelligence and resourcefulness, have got it so dreadfully and catastrophically wrong? (Best answer I can come up with is *capitalism*)

The moai of Easter Island give us some good clues to decipher the collapse of the EA society, and there will be millions more times, much better-quality evidence, of pre-collapse human industrial civilisation for millenia to come

Regards Chris

Mostly agree, but the "how could we" will be "how could they" as they look back at us. Just like now, every new generation will think they're the smartest and wisest ever, looking with disdain at those in the past and patronage toward those to come.

The descendants of the Romans, who built ruins to last, seem to have talked themselves into believing that they had improved their lot via Christ, while their leaders plotted against each other in hope of creating their own new Rome. Pretty good compartmentalization of knowledge, brought to you courtesy of the Catholic church.

In 2050 our descendants will be told by their Pentecostal and Baptist overlords that all this technology and wealth in the ruins is irrelevant, because their ancestors allowed homosexuals to live and were punished by God. Case, and mind, closed.

Many human societies have practiced ancestor worship. Future human societies may practice ancestor cursing.

The hopeless, helpless reaction to Peak Oil is partly do to global think IMO. Global think is the idea that nothing can be done unless all the global problems related to Peak Oil are solved at once and no solution which helps in one part of the globe is permissible if it hurts another part of the globe.

Clearly this doesn't make much sense. Most here agree that as Peak Oil kicks in big time globalization will take a big hit. That implys that localization will be the new norm as Westexas' ELP postulates.

If that is the case it is clear that some areas will deal with the Peak Oil situation better than others and some will not be able to handle it at all and collapse. The collapses probably will not all happen at once and in all areas. Some areas will do quite nicely at least in the early stages of Peak Oil.

They may produce ethanol. They may have wind farms. They may have small populations with not many young people. And they may be relatively isolated and ignored.

There is already, it seems to me, some resentment among those who can not see a way to deal with Peak Oil for those who are having some success. Ethanol is widely attacked even though those areas of the country which produce it are now surviving high gas prices and the housing collapse far better than the areas of the country who reject it. And the local banks are stuffed with cash from farmers depositing big corn checks because of ethanol.

Worldwide the prosperity of oil producing countries guarantees that they will be the last to fail in the meltdown. Perhaps some are vulnerable to high grain prices as in the Middle east. But here again high grain prices, which give some areas which produce grain something to exchange for the remaining oil, are under attack as causing hardship for some, mostly in cities, who think they have a right to cheap food since that is the way it has always been in the past.

The idea then arises and is voiced quite often that violence will erupt so that those who are doing okay are made to pay or at least share their good fortune. I doubt it.

Americans are a passive lot as a whole. Lulled into a dream like state by the MSM. During the Vietnam war I learning that killing 250 of them per week was not enough to get most off their butt.

And foreigners who riot, jump up and down and scream will be ineffective as we have seen recently. Besides what are the going to do? Walk half way around the globe and attack the better off survivors of Peak Oil with sticks?

The effects of Peak Oil will be uneven IMO. Some of the world may prosper for quite awhile even as others bite the dust.

The effects of Peak Oil will be uneven IMO. Some of the world may prosper for quite awhile even as others bite the dust.

The EIA data says that many countries have already peaked in their direct consumption of oil, for some countries several years ago.

The important point is the amount of GDP-per-capita produced for each $ of oil consumed - as an example, the UK peaked around the 1998-1999 timescale and is now in serious decline masked buy misleading official statistics.

Up until ~2004 the world, as a whole, has consumed ever more oil because it has become ever cheaper in real terms (normal economics 101, the cheaper something is the more we can afford to consume).

Since 'net exports' of oil seem to have peaked in 2005 we must assume that, in total, the 'net importing' countries are experiencing economic 'real GDP' declines despite official statistics.

The die-off process will probably take fifty years

Ron I think you're right. Also much enjoyed the link for Die Off. Well researched!

To paraphrase: Humans like all mammals are heterotrophs, which means that we exploit autotrophs who convert solar energy (such as plants). Modern Human heterotrophs have been able to exploit stored energy in the form of fossil fuels and the result has been exponential human population growth.

He used the exaple of the reindeer of St Matthews Island where the population of the island went from 24 to 6,000 in a few years because the invasive species (reindeer) were able to exploit the stored lichens which after a few years disapeared. When the stored lichens were depleted the reindeer population collapsed from 6000 back to a few starving remnants in one year. He asserts that humans because of ability to "learn in a flash" has been able to become the ultimate invasive species.

Just think what humans could do to the universe if we could only find a limitless source of power? Can humans polute an entire galaxy? Probably given the opportunity.

In any case his thesis at the end seems to be: Will a massive human die-off occur once the easy availablility of fossil fuels disapear? It would seem to be a logical conclusion or perhaps there are no limits to growth after all.

There was a interesting post at iTulip which has a series of videos detailing the roots and consequenses of Argentina's collapse. I watched the series and came away with a sense that it could very well happen to the US.

The Argentina experience is different in many important regards. I believe the corruption in Argentina was more pronounced than the present day US. However, the debt was the main driver for the collapse and I feel that the US is in worse shape in that department. If nothing else, watch the first video and see for yourself.

Peons, serfs, sharecroppers, and supposedly so-much-better-off modern 3rd World peasants. What do they have in common? In permanent debt to a landlord.

It's not a bug, it's a feature, and our owners have finally come up with an update to ensnare the modern consumer. Too bad that the consumer, unlike the peasant, is not productive.

Are corporate droids better off? What is better?

"Given a Shovel, Americans Dig Deeper Into Debt"

What is really interesting/maddening about a lot of this debt is how clever the lending entities are about avoiding the liabilities. Run up a big credit card debt, the credit card company packages the debt and sells it to 'investors' some of whom may be mutual funds who make up the bulk of pension plans which are depended upon by, guess who....

It's a mutual ponzi scheme but the bigger players are leaving the little players holding the (empty) bag.

Zimbabwe did not ever reach a trillion dollars in debt and they have 2.2 million percent inflation. A million Zimbabwe dollars is not worth a shoeshine in Harare. A loaf of bread cost about 550 million Zimbabwe dollars in late June of this year. The country had to issue 100 billion dollar bank notes. They probably will need some other form of currency and government. Refugees fleeing Zimbabwe have been looting and killing in South Africa.


Washington should be called to produce a balanced budget. When the leaders binged on borrowed money, how much further behind were the followers? Most rulers would not have tried to reduce taxes while starting a major war. They would have considered their costs and realized there are limits to how much credit one might be able to attain. Not that we need the expenses of unecessary acts of agression either.

Re: The Oil Price - How Long Can It Go on Rising?


He has received awards from leaders around the world..., including, last November, the Distinction Prize from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for his lifelong contribution to energy research.

The second point is, 'Why should I care? Why should anybody on earth care whether Saudi Arabia has 260bn barrels of crude oil reserves, or 100bn?' It doesn't matter, not at all. Because what you can produce today, whether it's 260bn or 100bn, the answer is the same. You cannot produce on the basis of 300bn, or 260bn in reserves. But if you produce at the same rate vis-a-vis reserves that the North Sea has, Saudi Arabia would be now be producing more than the whole world's consumption. Of course, its oil would then run out quickly.

So, it's irrelevant unless you are thinking 40 or 50 years ahead. But I will certainly be dead by then...

But it's not really a surprise he would say this...

OPEC honours distinguished scholars in the field of energy

The first OPEC Institutional Award for outstanding lifetime achievements in the field of energy economics was today awarded to Professor Robert Emile Mabro, former Director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, and now its President. Professor Mabro's interest in oil economics began in 1969 as a Senior Research Officer in the Economics of the Middle East at Oxford University London, three years after obtaining a Masters degree in Economics from the University of London.

As an international oil consultant, his field of special interest includes oil and taxation, valuation in international law, Middle East geopolitics and comparative energy economics. His close association with OPEC began in the 1960s.

There is a curious line of reasoning among CERAites.

On the one hand they reassure us that the world can increase production to 120 mbpd and more; and yet, when the price of oil gets "high", their response is that it is demand desttruction that will bring the price down. And when the price is low, the market obviously does not support bringing all those huge but pricey resertves on line.

And the economic wreckage resulting from demand destruction - well, that's just a bump on the road to cornucopia.

"And the economic wreckage resulting from demand destruction - well, that's just a bump on the road to cornucopia."

Thank you.

The largest Pay Option lenders in the nation are a ‘who’s who’ of headline leading troubled lenders such as Wamu, Wachovia, Countrywide, IndyMac, Downey Savings, First Federal, Bank United, American Home Loans and even Bear Stearn, Deutsche and Lehman to some degree.

"One thing is for sure, Pay Option ARMs were the absolute most toxic loan program ever created. Even worse than subprime 2/28’s and 3/27’s." -Best Mr Mortgage

When I hear the queen has knighted him, Iget suspicious:

"However, while Robert Mabro, director of the British-based Oxford Energy Centre, agrees with Petroconsultants' findings that the world has now been fully explored for new sources of cheap oil, he says Campbell and Laherrere ignore the role of technology in increasing the yields from existing fields, which pushes out the timing when production eventually peaks.

Mabro says additions to existing reserves will come from better methods of extracting the remaining oil."

-a 1996 article

He doesn't believe in Hubbert's Curve either.

Wrong then. Wrong now

Same old arguments trotted out year after year.

His comments about "all oil has water" and the like were particularly misleading.

Simmons gives detailed, careful, and complete discussions of oil extraction and of the implications of new technology, while this guy blows out a few phrases that taken together make it sound as though eerything is just fine.

Very odd, too, that even pushing peak off by 40 or 50 years he does not recommend any preparation at all.

When people like this say things like "I'll be dead by then" it makes me wonder if they think that we all will be or something. Or maybe all that matters is their own life?

The "Killer Ape" emerges in a pretty ugly way with these kinds of arguments: huge brain, primitive instincts, egocentric world view, and a benefits from God-like technologies which give a temporary euphoric sense that one is indeed Godlike.

All together, these things work to make thinking very short-term and extremely egocentric. The Killer Ape does not want to be bothered with reality or saddled with responsibility for the impacts of behaviour upon others in the present or next generation.

Charming propagandists abound. Stuff them with money and status-enhancing rewards, and they will repeat the lies as often as required. Goebbels indeed!

He forgot to mention Simmons's call for data transparency.

The Coming Black Plague-

While the article is very inclusive of all the oil based uses in farming the key is harvest. 1440 gallons a week during harvest. The incredible stored energy value in FF is able to be released on demand, when needed, in a light weight highly portable manner.
I cannot envision anything replacing this except for animal/manual labor if we get into crisis mode. Even then the quantity of manual tools, horse(s), harnesses(etc.) and smaller implements needed to make that transition are not sitting idly by in some shed, waiting for the end of FF.
RR's-Are we smarter than yeast?

"Are we smarter than yeast?"

No, but apparently the Amish are...

Six Consecutive Years of Declining Oil Production in Norway

2001 3,418,000 barrels of oil per day
2002 3,333,000
2003 3,264,000
2004 3,189,000
2005 2,969,000
2006 2,779,000
2007 2,556,000

(From the BP Statistical Review)

Enhanced oil recovery technology has not eliminated the observed tendency towards oil production declines in mature sedimentary basins.

There are yet road widening and airport expansion projects being considered that may not be prudent as the world is expected to reach peak oil production and the number of miles driven per capita is already declining in some areas.

North Sea production fell because tofu wielding Vegan terrorists seized control of North Sea production platforms. If major oil companies had maintained control, I am certain that they could have--with the use of improved technology--boosted production by 50% from the 1999 rate.

Typical of all oil men, nothing but lies, lies, lies. It was not "tofu wielding Vegan terrorists" but wheat grass juice loving Breatharians. No soy involved whatsoever. And, left to their own devices, they'd have raised oil production by 200% all the while creating a negative depletion effect resulting in an inverse Hubbert Curve offset wherein production would naturally go up on the down side of the curve.

What oil men won't do to protect their interests. Please stick with the facts from now on. If that's not to much to ask. :)

Okey Dokey. I'll stick with what I know best--exposing the little known Communist takeover of Texas oil production in the Seventies, causing Texas oil production to fall at 4% per year, as the party hacks that were put in charge of production badly mismanaged the fields. The Texas Poliburo is located in the MIdland Petroleum Club. I tell you, they are all a bunch of Commies.

Well, while we are talking about the weather…..

The diagram above shows a projection based upon Hubbert’s linearization for the years 1982 to 1999 for crude oil extraction from NCS (Norwegian Continental Shelf). In the diagram is plotted actual crude oil extraction as reported by NPD (yellow dots), further NPD 5 year projections as of;

early 2006 (red dots and red line)
early 2007 (blue dots and blue line)
early 2008 (green dots and green line)

and finally a bottom up analysis (crude oil) done by myself (field by field) of NCS fields in production or sanctioned for production as of end 2007 where due regard is paid to estimated remaining recoverable reserves, R/P ratio, development in the individual fields decline rates etc..

Anyone want to place a bet on NPD in the near future will revise their present forecast on total Norwegian crude oil extraction?

Excellent graph Rune! So much for the best of EOR in the world reversing the overall decline in a major way for fields that have used the best technology from the start.

Great graph! Just wondering what major oil reservoirs have been found in the norwegian sector since around 1980? There seems to be a lot of talk about the potential for oil (or is it gas?) in the Barents Sea, but has anyone actualy found anything there?

I like the billion-barrel pips, nice visual idea.

I think the following is an important point and this is the first time I've seen it in print:

From "Why the world's economies are sinking"


For China, the challenge is too much economic growth too quickly, creating an overheated economy where food prices leapt 20.4 per cent in the first half of 2008, and wages rose 19 per cent in the first quarter. A modest economic slowdown in Beijing, and for that matter, global economic lethargy, is not viewed as the worst of outcomes by China's economic planners.

Vikram Nehru, World Bank chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific, said, "In some ways, this is not only welcome but desired by the Chinese."

In a world where resource constraints are felt world-wide, a slow-down in the developed world is a good thing for rising economies because it will take the edge off commodity prices. Zero-sum game.

To overstate it a little:

What's the cure for world-wide food and energy inflation?

A US recession.

What's the cure for world-wide food and energy inflation?

A US recession.

This has been a thesis often pointed out in TOD discussions regarding what will happen to oil price with a US/OECD recession: The downward fall in demand from OECD countries will be taken by Chindia, etc., which will ensure oil and other commodity prices remain high, or at least don't drop nearly as far as expected, thus fueling/increasing stagflation in OECD countries.

Yup. A zero-sum game is really a whole new world. That's what's made the inherent inequality of capitalism acceptable: the belief that eventually, those on the bottom will get their chance to rise to the top. Or at least the middle. This pyramid scheme is possible, as long as the pie is constantly growing.

But if the pie is no longer growing, then no one can get a bigger piece without taking it from someone else. You can't rise without someone else falling.

And since we already consume an outsized share of the pie, I suspect we're not going to be able to maintain it, let alone grow it.

The American Dream is built on the ever-growing pyramid. It will be interesting to see what happens when Americans realize, en masse, that the dream is an illusion.

Average American;

"Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggg! we've been lied to."

"No. We've been marketed to."

"...when Americans realize..."

Just because a pyramid can't grow infinitely doesn't automatically force it to stop right this minute. And things can go downhill in a manner that fails to produce that 'realization'; not even the Great Depression killed the Dream. More likely, someone will be seen as standing in the way, and eventually they will be pushed aside. Either that will solve the problem (for a while, nothing is forever), or else it won't. If it doesn't, rinse and repeat. Even with things going downhill, that cycle could repeat for a very long time. Don't count on living long enough to see some kind of final resolution.

And since we already consume an outsized share of the pie, I suspect we're not going to be able to maintain it, let alone grow it.

Exactly, what happens when the United States in default is forced to to accept a more proportional piece of the pie?

Nobody ever discusses the possibility of the US losing it's access to it's disproportionate share of the pie, which seems to me to be the most likely scenario. What would it be like if we got 4% instead of 24%?

60% of US Debt Due by 2011

On February 7th, the US Treasury sold $9 billion of 30-year bonds at a yield of 4.45%, the lowest yield ever. Overall investor demand was tepid. Foreign investor demand was virtually non-existent. "Indirect bidders, a group that includes foreign central banks, bought 10.7% of the amount sold," Bloomberg News reports, "compared with 31.6% percent in the prior auction."

Perhaps that's why the Federal Reserve, the US central bank itself, stepped in and bought half the auction. Yes, Peter borrowed from Paul to pay Paul.

"Would you lend money to the US government for 30 years to receive about 4.45% in interest?" asks Dan Denning, editor of the Australian Daily Reckoning and a professional worrywart. "No? Well then, you speak for most institutional investors as well, who were not interested in buying the low-yielding bonds of a big-spending government."

One auction does not a trend make. But we would note that the 30-year bond yield has jumped from 4.45% to 4.65% since that auction...and that is a trend – a disturbing one.

The US Treasury can ill afford rising rates or skittish bond buyers...or both at once.

America's precarious fiscal condition now means funding her multi-trillion-dollar, long-term liabilities with multi-trillion-dollar, short-term borrowings.

That's a timeworn recipe for disaster.

The amount of marketable public debt that the US government will have to "roll over" during the next few years is massive.

"Of the marketable securities currently held by the public as of September 30, 2007," the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, "$2,838 billion or 64% will mature within the next 4 years."


If the Fed hadn't stepped in, it would not have been fully subscribed, i.e. failed.

Foreign investors veto Fed rescue

As feared, foreign bond holders have begun to exercise a collective vote of no confidence in the devaluation policies of the US government.

Asian, Mid East and European investors stood aside at last week's auction of 10-year US Treasury notes. "It was a disaster," said Ray Attrill from 4castweb. "We may be close to the point where the uglier consequences of benign neglect towards the currency are revealed."

The share of foreign buyers ("indirect bidders") plummeted to 5.8pc, from an average 25pc over the last eight weeks. On the Richter Scale of unfolding dramas, this matches the death of Bear Stearns.

Is this the moment when America finally discovers the meaning of the Faustian pact it signed so blithely with Asian creditors?

As the Wall Street Journal wrote this weekend, the entire country is facing a "margin call".


The fact of the matter is that the US is bankrupt. David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the US and head of the Government Accountability Office, in his December 17, 2007, report to the US Congress on the financial statements of the US government noted that "the federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding assets) and compliance with significant laws and regulations as of September 30, 2007." In everyday language, the US government cannot pass an audit.

Moreover, the GAO report pointed out that the accrued liabilities of the federal government "totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007." No funds have been set aside against this mind boggling liability.

Just so the reader understands, $53 trillion is $53,000 billion.

The US will never repay the loans. The dollar is failing in its role as reserve currency and will soon be abandoned.

When the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to pay its bills by borrowing more from foreigners.


There is no way we can roll over that amount of debt, in this environment, in that amount of time. The US will be in default by 2011. Remember, we have to borrow billions every week just to keep the lights on.

So practically, what happens when this occurs? Obviously the dollar will plummet, and all imports will effectively go away. I assume we'll have to exist with whatever oil we can pump locally or claim militarily? I guess we can barter for grains to some extent, but the days of negative trade balance would be over.

We won't be able to afford local support for overseas bases, either. Friendly bases will have to come home. Unfriendly ones will have to be supported from here, or take what they need.

For us (leaving the honor factor aside), is it financially better to default completely or to negotiate some sort of settlement or terms? We COULD offer 20% rates, but that guarantees inflation.

Foreign powers would do better to keep us dragging on the hook though, and use the exchange rate to buy our assets with oil than to let us default completely, I would think.

Other perspectives?

I don't believe we could continue to function as a nation. Everything would have to localize instantly. Anywhere where there is no local access to food or water would have to be abandoned.

We're in a real pickle. Our infrastructure cannot function without our disproportionate share of the pie.

Does anyone believe we could continue to function on only 5 mbd? (The amount the US produces domestically.)

The scary thing is, there seem to be a lot people that know this, but expect us to be bailed out because we are "too big to fail". I'm afraid that the world is soon going to show us what a silly concept that is.

Paleocon: You live in a strange world. Do you honestly think that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar (w/exception of SA, we have substantial military installations) are going to tell us to pack up and leave anytime soon? The ME is hardly the friendliest of neighborhoods - whether you believe it or not, these countries need us a lot more than we need them.....

Yes, really I do. :)

They won't tell us to leave, but leave we will if somebody won't pay for the support.

How can we project non-existent strength through foreign basis with a collapsed economy at home? Armies afield must eat, and that means they're either foraging or sapping the motherland.

Perhaps our armies are a "professional service" to be paid for in oil, in that eventuality?

Just trying to figure our whether our reaction will be to draw back into isolation or become imperialistic if things get bad at home.

Sapping the motherland? Many of these countries pay a good chunk of the bills for our presence over there. I don't think Qatar or Kuwait will tell us to go home any time in the near future (many of years) - no matter what our energy issues are at home. Do you honestly think they'll turn to Russia or China for security?

Although you might claim that our military uses an excessive amount of energy to conduct business (and I agree that it does) - we provide a capability and a service that NO ONE even comes close to bringing to the table. And while the UAE and SA might purchase some of our F-18 aircraft, they are in no way capable of defending themselves from the Persian hordes across the pond. They know it, We know it. Iran knows it.

Great Britain made a historic choice and withdrew "East of Suez" when they could not afford Empire any more. After a short pause, the USN moved in with Diego Garcia as a first step.

Yes, I do think that China can compete in selling security. Learning from early post-WW II US behavior, they are carefully cultivating the "good guy" image, a strategy abandoned by the USA. They make no enemies (they are selling and transferring technology to expand the Tehran subway for example).

Iran is not an expansionist power, they have not invaded anyone in many centuries (1,000+ years ?). They do want influence, and to do business. "Subversion" via Shia populations is their greatest weapon and one that the US military is worse than useless for (our presence makes it worse).

A Chinese-Pakistani force could provide more than adequate security for a MUCH lower financial and social cost.

The transition will be slow and the southern Persian Gulf states will "hedge their bets", but the USA will follow the UK "East of Suez". And the current royalty may not stay in power forever, as populations boom.


39 years ago today Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

We're never going back.

Then we were going "up", now we're going "down" in more ways than one!

I think our situation is different than Venezuela and certainly than Zimbabwe. In many ways some of the creditor nations will be as concerned with our solvency as we are, and there lies leverage.

It may be that for us oil is more important than Chinese goods, but to China our purchases are more important (at least to THEM!). It's like the sage saying I saw here a day or two ago - when you owe the bank $1000 the bank owns you, but when you owe them $1M you own the bank. For some countries we will "own their bank" too.

As long as we have exports (grain, knowledge products, and assets) I think we can have some imports, but the terms won't be as good -- it'll be cash (and not in dollars!).

It seems to me that the key to economic survival, individually, is to work at something that requires only local resources to produce yet has sale value globally. Then the dollar can go away and you can still buy things, both local and imported. That is something to cogitate upon....

The key to corporate survival will be the same. My current employers may not like that much. Offshore production will suddenly become a major liability, just when offshore sales becomes an opportunity.

I would think that the US defaulting will be resolved like any other bad debt -- you offer cash pennies on the dollar to resolve it. Different creditors will get different terms. Printing dollars will be massively inflationary, as will new terms on bonds, but that's what would happen.

How much money are we talking about refinancing compared to the GDP of that period? How much is it versus our national asset worth?

I wish I'd taken more econ classes in college.

Yet space gives us things like the weather satelite.

And the US Air Force likes talking about 'space being the high ground' - so I doubt man will give up space.

And if man ever figured out how to make a machine that can raise a well adjusted child and a way of culturing human eggs (or just assembling one from DNA) to term Man could just deep freeze eggs/sperm and send that to space to find whole new planets to rape/pillage/inhabit.

Space is a pretty darn expensive place for humans to be for no more tangible reward than we get for it.
I don't think there has been a human being outside of low-earth orbit since the return of Apollo 17 in 1972.

Oftentimes one hears the Apollo program, or the Manhattan project, or the Marshall plan being invoked as examples of what a focused, collective effort can achieve.
True enough, except that 21st Century America has no focus, no collective, and no effort.

The United States since 1940s has been an experiment: what happens to a nation’s economy if you soak it in gas and set it aflame?

you get really high, but the come down's a bitch!

"Does Al Gore Finally Get It? "

His speech did not say one word about conservation and efficiency upgrades... so does he get it? Nope!


He is a politician. People's eyes glaze over and their brains go into frame drop mode when they hear the trigger word conservation. It is the sheeple that don't get it. After all, the inane media spew requires a pretty low level of attention/understanding to be effective in shaping the minds of the masses.

He is a politician.

From Meet the Press interview this AM.

(Videotape, April 2, 2008):

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I will make a commitment that Al Gore will be at the--at the table and play a central part in us figuring out how we solve this problem.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: And this is what your old friend James Carville, who helped make you a vice president once before, had to say about what Obama ought to be thinking. "If I were [Obama] I would ask Al Gore to serve as his vice president and energy czar in his administration to reduce our consumption and reliance on foreign energy sources." This was your response on CNN. "Would you serve in the next administration if you were invited?" "No. No. You know, I haven't ruled out the idea of getting back into the political process at some point"--this was in December of last year--"at some point in the future. Don't expect to, but if I did get back, it would be as a candidate for president, not in any other position."

How can you, given the passion that you feel about this issue and the enormity of the, of the dimensions that we're dealing with here, turn down the idea that you could be in the administration as a vice president or as an energy czar or as both?

VICE PRES. GORE: Well, I really respect and appreciate what Senator Obama and my good friend James Carville and others have said, and I appreciate Senator McCain making some generous comments. But I personally feel that my own best role is to try to bring about a sea change in public opinion. Because one of the big challenges our country has faced is that policymakers who know the right thing to do run up against a wall set up all around them by the lobbyists and the special interests and the defenders of the status quo, and the only way we're going to break out of this trap is by mobilizing public opinion with a clear vision of exactly what is at stake for our country. I think that's my highest and best use in, in public life.

VICE PRES. GORE: Well, I do not--I mean, I made a decision in this past election cycle for the nomination and the one before that not to be a candidate again, and I'm, I'm comfortable with the fact that what I'm doing now is, is of use. I am going to continue having these so-called solution summits all over the country, meeting with engineers and scientists and CEOs and people who are actually hard at work building these new energy--renewable energy systems. And, you know, if you go out and talk to the people who are in the laboratories and who are putting these new systems in, into place, actually building them, the debates on Capitol Hill are really kind of out of date in the sense that the new, more efficient and cost-effective renewable energy options are a--very exciting and, and they're ready to use, especially since coal and oil are continuing to go up in price.

Corporate Elite opinion of the weight of "public opinion: "so?" (as embodied by Cheney).

"Public Opinion" isn't what needs to be changed; it's the very longstanding dismissal of Public Wants and Opinion by US Elite that MUST change. Someone ought to remind Gore he was no different than Cheney's "So?" when he was Veep.

At this point-in-time, "mobilizing public opinion" equates to mounting and leading an insurrection against the GOP/DLC and other entrenched Corporatist Interests, something Gore is very unlikely to do or to champion.

If Gore coupled his call for his Energy Plan with one to Reinstate the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and to hold the many lawbreaking lawmakers accountible, then he will get my attention and perhaps my support.

Read it one more time:

Because one of the big challenges our country has faced is that policymakers who know the right thing to do run up against a wall set up all around them by the lobbyists and the special interests and the defenders of the status quo, and the only way we're going to break out of this trap is by mobilizing public opinion with a clear vision of exactly what is at stake for our country. I think that's my highest and best use in, in public life.

Sounds to me that he understands exactly why the politicians cannot/will not effect change, which he certainly should. I give him credit - he's nowhere near as radical as I might like, but he has willingly stepped back from exactly the stuff you are complaining about, and is attempting to apply pressure/ offer support from the outside. Maybe just barely outside, but still.

He may have it calibrated pretty well - if he got too radical he would be marginalized and could then be ignored, but from just outside the circle he can be most effective.

As far as the effectiveness of "mobilizing public opinion", I doubt Gore will be that successful as he has been turned into such a polarizing figure. Just seeing how Gore's An Inconvenient Truth has mobilized the right against him, makes me want to throw my support behind him in any way possible :-)

I also think that his plan is impossibly ambitious, but hey if you're gonna dream...

it's the very longstanding dismissal of Public Wants and Opinion by US Elite that MUST change.

You make it sound as though the only reason we have gas guzzling vehicles, industrial food production, and marginal participation in the electoral process is because of the elites. While corporations have a great deal of influence on the market and the legislative process, Americans have bought into these ideas thoroughly. In a country where more people can name the Brangelina twins than their own representatives in Congress, is it surprising that the political system has become so co-opted by corporate power?

Ralph Nader said something to the effect of, "If 2,000 Americans per congressional district watched their members of Congress with the same vigilance that they used to monitor professional sporting events, they would be unable to do the bull#!*% that they regularly get away with now." Public apathy has to share some of the blame for the situation we face. The American public elected GWB not once, but twice. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend The Assault on Reason. Gore does an excellent job in identifying and analyzing the trend of the "dumbing down" of politics and media in America. I think you will find that you agree with more of it than you disagree.

I personally find it refreshing that a long-time Washington insider would refuse to take a job in any administration, for fear that he would have to water his message down because of pressure from lobbyists or special interests. As far as the belief that a Gore presidency would have been the same as a Bush presidency or that Gore is somehow equivalent to Cheney, I find ridiculous on its face, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am cynical about the American political system, but not quite cynical enough to believe that (how does Leanan refer to it, "The Mommy Party") would have bent her children over and sodomized them as thoroughly as "The Daddy Party" has.

phreephallin and twilight--I have often remarked on the effectiveness of the US Propaganda and Indoctrination Systems of which you provide several examples of. Way up the thread, souperman2 makes the astute observation: "Average American: "Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggg! we've been lied to."
"No. We've been marketed to.""

Affluenza clearly affects minds as comfort promotes complacency. Such trends were well established prior to the 1900s and remarked upon by Veblen in his Theory of the Liesure Class. Just think about how long sports have served as a distraction and of how well the automobile, suburbia and television have served to atomize American society and neuter any political forces outside of the Dem and Rep parties.

twilight: "As far as the belief that a Gore presidency would have been the same as a Bush presidency..." I see you have already forgotten the history of the Clinton/Gore administration, the wars it fought, the misery it escalated, the crimes it committed, and the fact that it continued the US Imperial agenda that's been in place since WW2's end. You are not unique in this regard as the great majority of Americans are historicly illiterate and meant to be that way, which is the function of the Propaganda and Indoctrination Systems.

Once I disconnected myself from the Systems, it took me years of study to become historicly literate, far beyond what is required to work/teach within the Systems. Perhaps it is because I learned what is authorized to teach by the Systems while learning what comes closest to the US's actual historical Truth--what I call taking the Red Pill. (My dual-major was US History/Social Sciences Secondary Education and English as a Second Language/Linguistics Education. I taught at the Junior College level in California. My research into the nature/history of the US Empire is an ongoing project along with related historical inquiries.) As such, I'm a radical intellectual like Chomsky, while lacking his IQ and photographic memory. Many people dismiss Chomsky as you've dismissed me, primarily because they cannot concieve of us as correct. Being dimissed by people you're trying to educate about Peak Oil is very similar and for essentially the same reasons. Peak Oil after all is only a "Theory."

I've been saying that the three greatest threats to civilization are Overpopulation, Peak Oil and Global Climate Change.

I am unsure which of the three is the greatest risk, but the evidence is that the severe and acute affects of Peak Oil will hit first, and the 'solution' to both Peak Oil and Climate Change is the same - renewable energy.

I can't fault Al Gore for his concentration on climate change - It's surely a product of being exposed to the issue early, and being in a position to do something about it.

I believe there is a fourth great threat to civilization - religious fundamentalism in all it’s forms. I suspect that when things get worse the followers of these beliefs will get more active.

Or maybe it's the glue that persists when money and work and gov't aren't enough. It can be equally argued it's a salvation of civilization, and I think your extension "in all its forms" is inaccurate.

I suspect the Amish and more fundamental Mormons will do a lot better than average in any serious downturns.

Do the Amish have guns? If not, I wouldn't bank on them doing better, given they are surrounded by those who do. Do you think the starving masses will just roll over and die?

I'm not sure they haven't thought that through. History says the hungry army loses to the well-fed one, defense is generally more successful than offense, and that the organized triumphs over the disorganized. Time for me to read "The Art of War" again, I think. The phrase "target rich environment" comes to mind.

Worldwide, hungry refugees huddle and die of disease and exposure without the succor of the generous. I suspect it will be similar here, if it comes to that.

History didn't have semi-automatic weapons and sniper rifles however. I dread to think what the current tooled-up USA would be like in a long-term/perpetual crisis.

And the people who know how to use them best will likely be hunkered down in a nice pastoral area waiting for thugs from the city to come looking for some freebies. Anarchists don't organize very well (though I did see an "Anarchists Unite" T-shirt one time, and wondered if the guy was funny on purpose or just dumb.).

I don't think the special forces and Blackwater types are going to be causing the civil unrest, but putting thugs to rest.

I do suspect there would be much struggle for simple survival, but it'll be lopsided toward those who planned and prepared.

JMHO - hopefully it won't come to that. But it's also time to get organized.

"An armed society is a polite society."

"God created men equal. Sam Colt keeps them that way."

"God created men big and small. Smith and Wesson made them equal."

"Guns don't kill people. I kill people."

"Don't bring a knife to a gunfight."

Guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people.

that reminds me of the Chris Rock routine about gun control(warning: lots of cussing).

sniper rifles

Yes, the ability to 'reach out and touch' someone with a rifle makes the whole 'hunker down' viewpoint suspect.

I have an M1 Garand named Charlene. She can say "hello" at a thousand yards.

Re: The Amish, someone posted this earlier:

My Amish neighbor is an avid hunter of deer and turkey - he owns six hundred acres right next to me. He, and his community is much respected by us non Amish, and in a crisis I expect we would work together. The Amish are more flexible than you would think. I don't expect starving masses in these parts, now maybe……..Oh, wait a minute, I got that wrong, we’ll actually be dropping like flies out here.. Yeah, that’s it.. No one around here knows how to grow food. The cities where they’ll be handing things out. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Were just a bunch of poor defenseless hicks. Yeah.

I would extend this notion beyond the religious realm, and refer to this threat as "tribal extremism". It can be based on religion, nationalism, provincialism, or economic class. The religious form might be the most potent of these because it so deeply informs worldview.

His speech did not say one word about conservation and efficiency upgrades... so does he get it? Nope!


At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That's the best investment we can make.

Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.

"At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That's the best investment we can make."

I happily stand corrected.


he has been saying we have 10 years to fix the climate crisis for the past 2 years. so i won't pay too much attention to him till he at least updates his rhetoric.

So we have some propaganda piece about Russia dominating oil via a natural gas company but not mention of the $1.8 billion in dividends that BP is trying to steal from Russian TNK-BP shareholders. It is a 50-50 joint venture that exists on Russian oil. The west does a lot of yapping about transparency and corporate standards but when it comes to the meat of it you are a bunch of pirates with centuries of pillaging the planet. Don't whine so much when the rest of the world doesn't get on its knees and pucker up. The sooner BP is kicked out of Russia, the better. I hear there is lots of oil around the Malvinas.

Dissident--One of Clinton's goals was to get Yeltsin to deliver Russia's energy sector to Western countries/companies, to which I recall the opposition of Vladamir Zhiranovsky and the Nationalist Bloc in the Duma. Just how much credit can be given him/them for preserving Russia's energy patrimony?

Zhirinovsky is literally the court jester in Russian politics. Things went sour for western access to Russian oil in Putin's second term when the great Yukos sellout was torpedoed. Unlike Kazakhstan, Russia had a developed oil sector so Exxon and other oil majors could not simply take over when Yeltsin was in power. But they got sweet production sharing deals instead. Those were for the most part removed during Putin's second term. This brought on a whole load of shouting in the western press about the persecution (as opposed to buyout) of victims like Shell whose "human" rights were violated. So it all happened after 2004 just when the oil prices started to increase. Whatever the western media says, Putin's actions were extremely popular. They were also fair. Yukos was siphoning billions into offshore banks and playing the same transfer price racket that Citgo used to bleed Venezuela. The PSA's were obscene and some of the worst examples of 3rd world exploitation. Any elected government of a sovereign state was within its rights to tear them up. At least Shell got billions of dollars in cash instead of the middle finger which they richly deserved.

Thanks for the reply. I understand the easy US/Western penetration of the former SSRs. In 1998 when I read Yergin's (yes, THAT Yergin) Russia 2010, I thought his "Chudo" scenario the most plausible as it centered on revamping and retaining control of Russia's energy assets which would lead Russia's economic--and geopolitical status--revival. I also knew of the PSA givaways, but thought that under the circumstances of Yeltsin's being controlled by the West that much more would have been transferred had it not been for some formidible domestic opposition, which as portrayed in the Western media as centered around Zhirinovsky, although he seemed the "jester" according to the Russian media I read at the time. So perhaps my question should be phrased as, Why weren't more of Russia's energy assets given away to the West by Yeltsin?

According to Naomi Klein in "The Shock Doctrine":

"...in a rare departure from Chicago School orthodoxy, Yeltsin and his team did not allow foreign multinationals to buy Russia's assets directly; they kept the prizes for Russians, then opened up the newly privatized companies, owned by so called (Russian) oligarchs, to foreign shareholders".

It's not clear - to me - how much if any foreign (Western) investment was made in these oil companies: Yukos and Sidanko. Regardless, even with foreing investment I suspect that any profits would have largely stayed with the oligarchs thus limiting the transfer of wealth to Western companies.

As an aside, apparetnly when this Chicago School orthodoxy was apppiled in Iraq, the USA via Bremer insured that privatization - by "law"/decree - would NOT result in Iraqi ownership.


Linked uptop:

As oil prices rise, businesses and consumers alike are ditching planes and cars for more-efficient rail.

Although Rhett Butler’s advice (in “Gone With the Wind”) not to trigger a civil war was ignored, he had a weakness for lost causes, and he joined up with the Confederate forces in the waning months of the war.

It may be a lost cause, but Alan Drake--like Rhett Butler regarding a civil war--warned us that we needed a vastly improved and electrified rail system, and like Rhett Butler, he was largely ignored. And like Rhett, Alan is in the thick of the battle. At least he has a credible plan, using proven technology, to make things not as bad as they would otherwise have been. Who among us can say that of ourselves?


It may be a lost cause......

Far from hopeless, I think it's inevitable. However the savings gleaned in migrating from car/truck to diesel powered rail are far greater than the savings from electrifying rail. Thus the electrification project will at first be just a small part of a much larger migration to rail.

Yes and no.

Electrification also increases capacity by 15% or so, and reduces running costs by 3/8s (1/1.6 Kazakh Minister of Transport) (track and general overhead costs decrease with volume, running costs are loco and I assume labor costs).

Electrification is more than just a fuel switch. It is a key to a higher volume, lower unit cost rail system.

Best Hopes,


UK: Open Space event to discuss sustainable future for Exmouth

Longtime lurker here, posting because I know more about the design of effective conversations than the design of oil rigs or wind turbines. I am consistently impressed with the quality of the TOD conversations over a couple of years now.

We are hosting an international conference in San Francisco this week, celebrating 20 years of worldwide use of the Open Space meeting method to gather passionate people to crunch hideously complex issues and generate consensus priorities and ongoing working groups.

The meeting in Exmouth is one example of how communities and organizations are using methods like this to think and collaborate their way into a peak oil future. We have done a few with Richard Heinberg and others in Sonoma county and elsewhere.

I have on occasion wanted to suggest an online Open Space meeting for TOD folk as a change of pace or a simple effective conference. (Warning: that's a commercial website run by a consultant in Germany.)

With that I will end this shameless plugging and go back to learning from you all.


Re: Thomas Friedman article in NYT.

I still can't understand why he opposes drilling in OCS and ANWR. He says that it won't lower prices, and then says that we shouldn't do it because we want the price to remain high.

The only rational explanation I have heard is to leave the oil for future generations, but I think this ignores the fact that it will be a lot harder to get at in the future. I'd rather drill now, then store where it can be easily retrieved later.

I know this was all covered in the post by Gail, but I can't figure out why Mr. Friedman, who is a smart guy, doesn't address this. It makes me wonder if he has another agenda.

I'm not convinced we should drill in ANWR. I understand the pipeline MOL level issue. On the other hand, we're going to need that oil a lot more in the future than we do toady. I don't believe we'll store it anywhere, if we pump it now. It is just going to go down the carburetors & injectors of the last SUVs.

Even if we pump it now, those wells will be capable of pumping something in 30 or 50 years, long after the pipeline is useless. And that something is going to be precious. If there's not enough left in the ground to justify the cost of building transport infrastructure, we might strand a lot of oil we could have pumped. On the other hand, if we let it sit, there may be a big enough payoff to fund something, even if it is a short pipline (or rail) to a small terminal.

We could follow the lead of the Kuwaiti parliamentary opposition, and pass a law limiting annual oil production to a certain % of remaining reserves. But then we'd start lying about the reserves, wouldn't we?

I think in 50 years, a lot more people will be living in Alaska and northern Canada, and that oil won't have to travel very far to get consumed.


Dear Mcgowanic, Black_Dog, Samsara, Neon9, Garyp Emdeef, River, Xeroid, Trichter, Wisco, Jussi, Radlafari, DenMarkatos, Leanan, phreephallin, Barry99, Dennis, Jokuhl, Datamunger, Lanterne Rouge, Burgundy, Elwoodelmore, Prof Goose, Kafka, Mudlogger, Consumer, Karlof1, Euan, Totoneilla, Creg, Bob, neconned, Pete, Urbangardener, Errol, Samum, treeman, Gavin, lurker and by no means least islandboy.

I’m so sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I’ve been running round like a headless chuck filming,( just about to go off on another shoot in an hour,) but before I do just wanted to stop by and say I’m sincerely grateful to you all for your help, advice and quotes, so a huge big thank you to you all.
I’ve read through most of your posts and there is a huge plethora of info . However on my return, I’ll sit down properly and go through them all with a fine-toothed comb to see how we can fit which bits into the script and where.

SamuM, treeman and Lurker all suggested I register a Gmail account – so I did and here it is:
redthefox(at)googlemail.com, so if there is any other info you think I should know about that’s the place to send it to.

Bob thank you so much for the link to Robert Newmans History of Oil,
I never knew that about WW1, actually it was a very enlightening watch all the way through.

In fact thank you to all of you for all the links, I just need to read/watch all of them.( which I will)

And Lurker ( in the unlikely event I do find an odd tid-bit that guys are not aware of then, I’ll be sure to let you know, I promise.. but I have to say you guys do seem to have eyes and ears everywhere, you’ve got the issue well and truly covered so I doubt little old me is going to tell you something you didn’t already know, but if I do I guarantee I’ll pass it on.)

Lastly I wondered if I could politely ask If I get stuck again on finding out stats or info would it be possible to ask you guys, I promise not to bother you, just occasionally I may need help and your advice?

Anyway my very best wishes for now

And thanks guys

Rebecca ..x

Lastly I wondered if I could politely ask If I get stuck again on finding out stats or info would it be possible to ask you guys, I promise not to bother you, just occasionally I may need help and your advice?

I think that the one thing that TOD does not lack is people willing to offer their advice :-0. Good luck on your film and be sure to keep us updated.

I am on holiday now, but when I get back to the office I will email you a paper on food production and the changes to types of food production in the UK during the Battle of the Atlantic.

It is a stark starting point regarding what we face.

This paper is going to discuss icky British food like eel pies and marmite, isn't it? Still, I'm very interested in emergency food production.

You could look into a modern "acquired taste" from the UK, haggis pizza:


(Quite why the act of just not using leafleting qualifies one as sustainable I don't follow.)

I love haggis. I suspect a small problem with a pizza version, most folk won't won't cheese with their haggis or pizza with their Bisto (gravy). Haggis must be served with Bisto, not to mention tatties and neeps. I just don't see most folk covering their haggis pizza in Bisto. I could be wrong... OTOH, what if haggis pizza really catches on? Will Domino's be able to deliver? Complete with cabbage and the aforementioned tatties and neeps?

Please consider adding an attribution at the end of the film. I'm sure the spike in add revenues, not to mention the social network indices, would make Prof. Goose rather happy :)

In southwestern Pennsylvania, lease rates that were just $5 an acre 18 months ago have risen steadily to $65 an acre, then $100 an acre, and lately companies have been paying $300 an acre, said David O'Hara, a Snyder vice president. Some leases in Washington County have even topped $3,000, but royalties there are sticking to the more traditional 12.5 percent.

--Better get some gas!


chicken feed! How does $13000 an acre sound? look here:
The activity around the Haynesville shale in northwestern Louisiana is at a fever pitch. The above link is to a website that contains much information for landowners to help them with leasing their land. The internet is bringing a new era to oil and gas land leasing.

Some boat owners have been allegedly mixing acetone into "bait" fuel cans in a bid to blow the engines of anyone stealing fuel for their own vehicle.

I'm not so sure how much damange that will actually cause. My recommendation is just filling a gasoline can up with diesel instead.. I doubt any theif would notice the difference, and it's guaranteed to make the car unhappy. Best case scenario for the theif is poor engine performance like stuttering and stalling. Worst case is replacement of fuel filter, flushing of fuel line and tank, and flushing or replacement of the fuel injectors... (Or cleaning of the carb if it's not fuel injected.)

Someone told me a story of a woman who filled up her gas-powered car with diesel at a service station - the reason she gave was that there were too many people at the gas pump.

Then she tried to sue the oil company for several thousand dollars of damage to her motor.

This isn't an urban legend, since I talked to the person who actually took the call (I have no idea how the woman managed to do this). Other people that I have talked to who deal with retail outlets didn't think that the story was all that unusual.

In short, the general public is a lot dumber than we give them credit for.

Big yachts and commercial vessels almost all run on diesel. It's the gasoline that would blow up the theif's boat engine. :-)

Funny. I searched on "acetone in diesel" and found that a lot of folks are using it as a fuel additive to increase mileage! I guess in small amounts, 2oz/10gal it appears to help some diesel engines. There are also claims of it clogging injectors and melting gaskets and other plastic hardware. Personally I wouldn't try it, but I bet a much higher mixture like 30% acetone would wreck a diesel engine.

I expect the theft of diesel from trucks and boats to keep increasing. Both carry large fuel tanks and often are parked in industrial type settings with minimal supervision late a night. I think Leanan has picked up the leading edge of a major trend.

It is interesting to note the ENORMOUS amount of blog activity devoted to people trying any magic additive to get better fuel economy. I expect many people to start shifting expenses from lottery tickets to fuel additives... likely with equally effective payback.


Wonder how long it will be till people start fixing fake gas tanks so when people siphon they get tainted gas.

Not quite a dummy tank, but close enough. (and discussion about what to add to screw an engine)

Good video about the world oil industry and peak oil (about 50 minutes). Several interviews and clips about Lukos that I had never seen before.

The Epic of Black Gold Part 1
The Epic of Black Gold Part 2
The Epic of Black Gold Part 3
The Epic of Black Gold Part 4
The Epic of Black Gold Part 5

Thanks for the links!

This is an excellent French documentary, long only available in French. I recommend it to esp. Americans as partially alternative look on oil politics, world energy strategy, Russia, Caspian, OPEC and peak oil. Do note, that the links above are only to Part IV of the documentary (in turn that part IV broken into five 10 min segments).

The new found footage of Hubbert, and Campbell's closing speech, are well worth the time.

Dream of gas tax holiday falters over job losses

The political vision of a summer gas tax holiday died a quick death in Congress, losing to a view that federal excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel will have to go up if they go anywhere. ...

lawmakers quickly concluded — with a prod from the construction industry — that having $9 billion less to spend on highways could create a pre-election specter of thousands of lost jobs.

Now, lawmakers quietly are talking about raising fuel taxes by a dime ...

Haiti food aid lags, hunger deepens

... After soaring food prices led to deadly riots in April, the U.S. and the U.N. promised millions of dollars in aid to poor families like Rivilade's, as well as help for farmers to break Haiti's dependence on imported food.

But three months later, The Associated Press has learned that only a fraction of a key U.S. food pledge — less than 2 percent as of early July — has been distributed.

... Most of what has reached Haiti is stuck in port. Nearly all the rest is still inside warehouses — victim of high fuel prices, bad roads and a weak national government.

Barely any food at all has gone to the desperate countryside, where more than half of Haiti's 8.7 million people live. ...

More reporting on the stampede for pellet stoves:

“We’re getting 500 calls a day,” Yakuboff, owner of All Basics Stove Shop in Merrimack, said. “Every tractor-trailer with stoves on it, they’re sold before it gets here . . . it’s a snowball that nobody can keep up with.”


No mention of the price and availability of pellets.



You don't hear much talk of corn stoves these days with record high corn prices. I do think pelletized native (prairie) grass does have some possibility as a viable heating fuel.

Hi btu,

I think this speaks to one of the risks inherent to this kind of technology -- the economics can quickly go south and, along with it, the general availability of the fuel. If your pellet stove can burn other types of pellets (some can whereas others cannot) the risks are somewhat more manageable, but fuel cost and availability will likely remain an ongoing concern.


You are right, all fuels are limited in supply. The native grass option seems to be a regional one where a local pelletizing plant could produce pellets from area farms and provide local residents with an option to wood or fossil fuels. Prairie grass is quite an energy dense material with about the same heating value per ton as hardwood (approx. 16 million Btu). A couple of ton per acre every other year could be harvested without fertilizer or soil degradation, so it could be a long term energy source.

There is a comment, dated tomorrow in the WSJ, about electric cars. Here's a link, which might work:

Former GM CEO Stempel On the Future of Electric Cars

E. Swanson

Favorite quote:

"I'm glad I am not an automotive CEO right now," says Mr. Stempel. "I thought I had problems."

Hello TODers,

As usual, Morocco again is in the news.

Recall my prior postings on Morocco, including the weblink of KSA giving $500 million earlier to this country. Now this:

INTERNATIONAL. UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has donated US $300 million to upcoming Moroccan Energy Fund to ease the effects of soaring energy prices on Morocco, according to Moroccan Energy Minister HE Amina Benkhadra.

Perhaps the remaining energy exporters [who are also huge food importers] are increasingly realizing that potential postPeak control of I-NPK can be used to guarantee their future food supplies. Are they potentially moving to Haber-Bosch N-control by native natgas application, sulfur-control from sour crude & natgas, then these donations to Morocco to secure [P]hosphate flowrate?

Recall from the UN FAO NPK Outlook [57-page PDF Warning] that North America is forecast to move into phosphate deficit:

Current world fertilizer trends and outlook to 2011/12

Page 11: "It is expected that America will continue to be a net importer of nitrogen and that the region will move into increasing phosphate deficit during the outlook period while remaining a primary supplier of potash."
Maybe North America donating cash to Morocco, like these countries, would be a wiser strategy than selling them JDAM munitions and F-16s.

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

Hello TODers,

The former breadbasket of Africa is not doing so well:

Threat of mass starvation looms in Zimbabwe after latest harvest fails
· Five million will need help within months, warns UN
· Families flee as many reduced to one meal a day
My postings, going back almost five years, were to no avail: the antics of Britney Spears were of greater concern to most 'Murkans.

So what next for Zimbabwe in the years to come? Will South Africans see this as the next migration outlet for their postPeak collapse? Or is China gradually moving to geo-strategic dominance in Zimbabwe? Is a reconstituted Rhodesia for European Overshoot resettlement in the cards? Or is there TopDog agreement to whittle up the Dark Continent postPeak:

AFRICOM open to working with China [Stars & Stripes]

STUTTGART, Germany — Energy-hungry China and the United States, the world’s two greatest oil consumers, are jockeying for influence over Africa’s vast economic potential. But as the two rivals sink their business hooks into the continent, soldiers from the two nations have also rubbed elbows there.
Time will tell.

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

Hello TODers,

Thousands lose power in Brooklyn on fifth day of heat wave

A rate hike for this?

A Brooklyn power failure left thousands of people spending the night without air conditioning - and tens of thousands more were warned to cut back their usage or face the same fate.

..In Bay Ridge, some people, who were told to reduce their energy usage yesterday, ignored the utility's plea...
If Peak Outreach was successfully applied in the Bronx: the people would finally understand that conservation and cooperation would generally make them all less angry and more comfortable.

"I don't care," said Kathy Hansen, 40. "I use such little energy as it is, they should not begrudge me my two air conditioners. Why should I be burdened?"

There's the team community spirit that will carry america through all the upcoming darkness!

Pricing needs to be time of use based and graduated. Your first X kwh are cheap, and it gets more expensive the more you use, with no limitation on the increase....

Forces cut back due to high cost of fuel:


They are moth balling heavy vehicles ‘until the price falls’. Pilots will train on Nintendos…

Forces face training cuts as fuel bill rockets
RAF pilots to fly more ‘virtual’ missions

Experts believe that it will be impossible to meet the rising costs of fuel without drastic cuts to the training budget
David Robertson and Siobhan Kennedy

The cost of fuelling Britain’s Armed Forces is due to rise by more than £500 million next year as a result of soaring oil prices, forcing military chiefs to consider broad cuts to air force and combat training.

Ministry of Defence calculations of projected fuel bills, seen byThe Times, show a dramatic increase in operating costs, with fuel for aircraft, naval and ground vehicles up by more than 20 per cent on last year.

Libby Purves:

This time around, in a deep recession , forget social cohesion:


From The Times
July 21, 2008
The Seventies are back, with less good cheer
We have more debt and are less secure than we were the last time things got really tough. It could get nasty
Libby Purves




IEA warns non-Opec oil could peak in two years
Robin Pagnamenta

Oil production in non-Opec countries is set to peak within the next two years, leaving the world increasingly dependent on supplies from the cartel of exporting nations, according to one of the world's leading energy experts.

Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that falling production from key regions such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico would leave international oil companies such as Shell and BP increasingly sidelined at the expense of national oil companies, such as Saudi Aramco

...And its only Monday....

falling production from key regions such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico

Which I call the Problems with Proximal Petroleum Producers. Europe and the US are trying to offset declines from the North Sea/ Russia and from Venezuela/Mexico respectively, while Asia is trying to import more oil because of higher demand.

''Problems with Proximal Petroleum Producers.''

Thats too many P's Westexas.

Shorten it to 4P's or QuadP

Or even...