Chris Nelder on Yahoo's Tech Ticker

Chris Nelder was on Yahoo's Tech Ticker with Aaron Task today. Chris is author of Profit from the Peak: The End of Oil and the Greatest Investment Event of the Century (which was reviewed by Robert Rapier in this post). Chris will have another book (with Jeff Siegel) coming out soon, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks, but it doesn't come out until October.

Yahoo! Finance - Video Player

Here's a link to a second video, which I am having a harder time bringing over: The End Is Nigh: Peak Oil Proponent Forecasts Grim Future. (Yes, that's right, Chris is a "proponent" of peak oil. Why not just call him an "advocate." Jeesh Yahoo!, you should know better.)

I've emailed Chris before but never met him or spoken with him. I thought this interview was quite articulate - better than I could have done.

The alarming part is reading the comments at the Yahoo link. People in this country are a)very ignorant about biophysical concepts and more disturbing, b)have a strong feeling of entitlement and invincibility.

What is peak oil outreach (education, media, discussion) accomplishing??


Those comments are similar in quality (or lack of it) to ones found on the so-called quality newspaper sites (e.g., in the UK, the Times, Telegraph, and Guardian).

We're on a hiding to nowhere if we expect people to be rational, IMHO.

I can comfortable say that Chris is one of the most articulate people I know. I do have to admit that I've generally had a couple of beers in the timeframe of the conversation, so my judgment might be off a little (Kidding, Chris).

I agree wholeheartedly with Nate...great interview, but the comments were unbelievable. Either outright attacks on Chris and Aaron, or pathetic arguments about the state of PO. A few people where on board, but--sheesh. Nate's use of the word "alarming" is really scares me that the wind seems to be blowing the way it is. 'Course, I'm still in shock that I completely missed bringing my own wife around to my somewhat gloomy viewpoint, so I know how hard the fight is.


Basic Kubler Ross, right? Watch and wait..

(and plant your seeds)


Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.

Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.

Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.

Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.

Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.

Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.

Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.

At first glance I was pretty alarmed and I thought that the people leaving these comments are likely to be the first to panic when and if TSHTF. But then again, this is the internet and it's known for its low intelligence comments. Give them anonymity and apersonal interaction and people don't think quite straight any more. I don't know, maybe they never did and the internet is just showing us how dumb we really are. In this latter part is true, then now we know how it is that perfectly avoidable catastrophies in history end up not avoided: like WWI for instance, or the extinction of the passenger pigeon, or .... the list goes on and on.

Cognitive Dissonance I believe, is the term for it. I have always been very interested in how stuff works and fortunately for me, I did quite well in science subjects at school. This has made it fairly easy for me to understand how stuff works. I am very aware of the difficulty many people, lacking a good grasp of science, have with grasping concepts that, are to me quite basic. It is quite sad seeing just how difficult it is for people to "get it". The following shows what we are up against.

To be honest, there are probably people like this all over the world. We are indeed in deep trouble!

Alan from the islands

It is a sad happening that cynicism and ignorance now dominates the public discourse when it comes to questioning an issue that is so fundamental to our society as we know it. I came to hear about peak oil at a property seminar (of all places!) in 2005 and was alarmed enough by what was said to buy Kunstlers book and read it from cover to cover as fast as I could. My life changed.

Sometimes in moments of weakness I yearn for the blissful ignorance and confidence in the future I once had. Perhaps these commenters are really just trying to hold on to their last threads of hope that peak oil and all it's consequences can be postponed indefinitely through vehment denial and mal-informed victriol against those who dare to speak the truth.


Likewise- one of my staff people from Nigeria does not believe in peak oil or anticipate any fundamental changes to our American society. I had an exchange with him yesterday and he says he simply can't see any imminent collapse, all data aside. What's fascinating is that we run a program that includes a huge renewable energy and conservation/efficiency portfolio. He says it is because he is an "optimist" by nature.

And I am happy and positive by nature. But my life is changed, like yours, in light of the uncertain future.

Once again, the big media disconnect. No mention of "that which must not be mentioned when discussing oil".


Consumption of fossil fuels is damaging to the planet's health. It's something we shouldn't be doing.

Greetings from Oz.

"Two to three years", if China, India and the rest continue on their merry way... Strewth! One more thing to cringe about at weddings* (I video-tape them for a living), when the preacher/celebrant speaks of children, a loving home, etc... And I start thinking about the couple's future!

Still crossing my fingers MS media gets full-blown onboard soon and a plan emerges. That'll be the only way.

Regards, Matt B
* This sentence, from the preacher's mouth at a recent Seventh Day ceremony (word for word, literal context)... "When God created Adam's companion, he performed the first thorasic surgery". And then the sermon turned heavy!

Cringe again.

Also war stocks. Resource restrictions lead to war, simple as that. Iraq is simply the first of the "Oil Wars".

There seems to be a part two;

"The End Is Nigh: Peak Oil Proponent Forecasts Grim Future"

Chris is pulling no punches.

Good job!

and again the comments @yahoo are brutal.

good catch soup

The part 2 seems to crash about half way through....anybody else this problem?


And here is the third part:
No Relief from $120 Oil Anytime Soon -- or Ever, says Energy Expert

My sincere thanks to TOD readers for their support. It's great to have a sane community to return to after the ugliness of the Yahoo comments!

yep, them comments are real eye openers. But, most reading this site have heard worse. guess that's why many of us are doomers. Wonder what makes folks refuse to study the facts? Maybe our culture has ripped folks off so often most see everything as a scam. I afraid this thing is going to get real bad. Maybe the folks who have found a bolt hole are going to be the only ones to suffer through the next few years. The rest are in denial through ignorance, religion, or just plain blindness. What a ride!

Maybe our culture has ripped folks off so often most see everything as a scam.

I'd say 'duh' but that us not helpful.

Plenty of corruption and the powerful breaking the law going unpunished so why should anyone be surprised when such a viewpoint exists?

Open records strikes me as a good starting point in an attempt to shut down the scammers.

(And separate issues: Yahoo! video does not work on platforms that are not windows and Macintosh. Also the rate up/down has stopped working - if one is banned from rating perhaps coding it so the option goes away would be an option)

I saw the interview this morning and was hoping that some oildrummers had seen it. Nelder was very straight-forward in the interview, simply stating the facts.

As much as I was surprised by the interview even being conducted in the first place, I was more surprised by the comments on the yahoo page. Wow. Folks are so quick to attack the messenger. Tree-hugger, doom-and-gloomer, he's out to sell something, etc. What's it called when you attack the messenger rather than the message... "ad hominem" attack or something like that?

At the same time, I can understand knee-jerk reactions by folks who are just starting to receive the peak oil message. It's scary. It's frustrating. And it's difficult to wrap your head around. So, quick, angry attacks are somewhat understandable.

"I was more surprised by the comments on the yahoo page. Wow. Folks are so quick to attack the messenger. "

Now you know why it's called, "Yahoo!". You can also tell why politicians are so stupid.

Why are people so irrational? I dunno, but this problem will solve itself. New York City and Miami might be under 50 feet of water, but that is how it goes, sometimes.

I understand the persons who do not comment on Yahoo have a better grasp and are thinking about how all this will effect them. I personally think this is truly captivating to experience all this! Of course, the Chinese have a curse; "may you live in interesting times ..."


True, true. I took a look at the comments and the reaction is especially understandable because it's hard in the interview format to really say what needs to be said.

If you can't "box in" the audience, literally give them no escape from the logical inevitability of peak oil, people will dismiss the message out of hand. (Well, they'll manage to do that anyway when they are really committed to their current point of view.) Boxing in the audience takes more than a short ~12 minute interview.

In any case, Chris did a fabulous job without the benefit of graphs.

We're expanding the conversation bit by bit and Chris definitely added more people to the conversation today. The others, well, sometimes they'll only come around when the network of conversations of which they are a part is saying the same thing. Humans respond to the network of conversations they are in and right now the larger network isn't really mentioning peak oil much. This won't happen overnight, but it will happen.


I saw it when it came out. And the unfortunate part is the "how to profit from Peak Oil" and 'I have the book to sell you'. So there should be some allowance for the public to receive it with skepticism.


I would post a link to it on several (non peak oil) groups I'm on, but the title of the book would create more of a problem than it's probably worth, and would tend to make the message "a harder sell" for people on these lists. A good interview though, as all have stated.

But it is important to calm down as well, and offer a solution. China is really hitting it big with wind power these days, and my guess is that they will add several hundred GWs by 2020, and could power well over 100 million households. China will have a huge wind turbine export industry as the growth in the Chinese wind market is tremendous, smashing even the most optimistic forecasts. Cheap wind turbines from China will make the market extremely competitive in the years ahead and is highly welcome as it has become a seller's market at the moment with the rush to wind. Wind is very easily deployable and will be a key for the future sustainable future. Yes, there are some bird killings, but it is highly exaggerated. Road killings are thousands of times more serious.

The future is electric, the problem is whether the auto manufacturers can shift production fast enough

You are offering a "solution" to electricity. I believe we are suffering from an ecological time bomb, and peak oil and energy descent are symptoms.

Consider how HIV worked before some of the modern drugs. A person with it might get cancer: treat the cancer. Later pneumonia: treat the pneumonia. It didn't treat the underlying issue, the virus causing immune suppression.

Whereas I believe it is important to discuss peak oil and what mitigation strategies will cause the least misery, I don't offer "solutions" as such when it's a systemic underlying issue that really is, if not the root cause, the exacerbating factor.

China's economic growth is rather irrelevant (to me) considering the ecotastrophe in progress going on there.

But wind energy is going to be absolutely massive, and it is important to understand this. It is domestic, clean and great. And China is leading the way now, it will be a highly competitive market, and huge amounts of power generation can swiftly be deployed by new wind capacity. They are even testing out 3 MW turbines these days! 3 MW!

I think we must realize that it is great that China has reduced poverty the most and the quickest in human history. That should be hailed I think, as extreme poverty is really an awful situation. 80% of China was in the dollar-a-day situation 30 years ago, now it's only about 15%. That is good. But it's much better when it is done sustainably, which is the path that I think will be taken now. The Olympics could prove a real catalyst for that, but sky-high prices as well.

If we combine wind with geothermal and a few hundred nukes, and create great incentives for plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles the future looks better. I'm positive that China can pull that off by 2020.

Personally, I expect the "Chinese miracle" to turn into the "Chinese Disaster" within five years +/- two years. This is about the same time frame that it becomes clear that the human experiment is failing — badly. Right now it takes people looking forward some amount of time extrapolating the ecological impacts Dennis brought up to see how this is going to end.

Many people, in my view, don't have a feel for how systems work and thus are unable to do this extrapolation.

You expect it, or you hope it? You must back up your statement with facts.

You must back up your statement with facts.

I think the only things that I "must" do are eat and go to the bathroom. As far as I can tell, almost everything else is optional.

Are you requesting that I participate in a conversation with you?

But wind energy is going to be absolutely massive, and it is important to understand this.

You must back up your statement with facts.

It is domestic, clean and great. And China is leading the way now, it will be a highly competitive market, and huge amounts of power generation can swiftly be deployed by new wind capacity.

You must back up your statement with facts.

They are even testing out 3 MW turbines these days! 3 MW!

Is that supposed to be impressive!

80% of China was in the dollar-a-day situation 30 years ago, now it's only about 15%. That is good.

You must back up your statement with facts. (do show how its 'good')

If we combine wind with geothermal and a few hundred nukes, and create great incentives for plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles the future looks better.

You must back up your statement with facts.

I'm positive that China can pull that off by 2020.

You must back up your statement with facts.

Really, do back up your claims with some facts. Feel free to show how this time a rising standard of living and consumption of raw materials does not come with negative ecological consequences.

But it is important to calm down as well, and offer a solution.

Solutions have been offered. The problem is, the quickest solution - less people - is not popular.

The solution of powerdown - not popular, but beats a 'bullet in the back of my skull' solution. (others might be happy with a bullet in the back of my skull. But I'm betting their happiness would fade if the bullet is to go to the back of their skull.)

Plenty of things will be given the label of 'solution' - but the problems of use of the built out environment, pollution, ..... and fitting into past habits makes finding what will be branded 'an acceptable solution' nigh impossible.

The simple equation:

Total amount of energy = people X amount of energy used

will balance out - the only thing up for debate is what gets changed to make it balance.

Psssst...I have a phrase for y'all...Think Oilgae AND Methane Hydrates...Reference: Vertigro AND The Japanese
This board is considered doomer because....OF ALL THE DOOMER POSTS!!!!.....Seriously, back away from the keyboard and the Cheese Doodles and realize that there ARE alternatives. Also be aware that many (like me) see through the political agenda behind the warm embrace many folks have for the apocalypse...aka Peak Oil...I even agree with the politics...LOLOL... But oilgae will hold off the apocalypse...Sorreeeeeeeeeeeee

I imagine we'll find out soon enough, won't we?

In the meantime, you do what you want to do and I'll do what I want to do, which is to get as many people ready for an environment of scarce and expensive energy (and food).

realize that there ARE alternatives.

However, these 'alternatives' are more expensive (thus break the economic model built on cheap oil), consume far more resources than the fossil fuel infrastructure, and sometimes are more dangerous to man than fossil fuels.
Member for 1 week 4 days

Do you consider a 7 line post with 'laughing out loud' a rebuttal to 3 years of discussion on TOD?

If your goal is to change minds, consider going back over the 3 years of posts and explain how 'oilgae' is correct VS

Reference: Vertigro AND The Japanese

(What kind of 'reference' is that? Perhaps you are new to the internet. There is a thing called linking. Consider using them.)

Are the alternative fuels REALLY more expensive???....Let's see, oilgae is carbon neutral....Is oil?...Global warming, you HAVE heard about that????...Did you know we have over 500,000 oil wells just in the U.S. ALONE, and all those pipelines, refineries, gas stations...Have we EVER really calculated the TOTAL COST of all that infrastructure???....No???....Didn't think so...Sure, alternatives will be pricey AT FIRST....just like EVERY NEW PRODUCT!!!!...Then the price goes down

What makes you think this is a rebuttal???.....I come here to laugh at the doomers as they hunch over their keyboards eating Cheese Doodles while drooling hysterically over the Peak Oil apocalypse.....LOLOLOL

You know, you all want some science, you want some proof.......Why does the Apostle JHK and his Bible...THE LONG EMERGENCY....NOT have a SINGLE footnote....or even a simple graph?????????????

No, I'm not new to the Internet, but I know the guy who invented it...YUK YUK YUK
So here's a tip...Know what Google is?...Plug in Vertigro....Then plug in methane hydrates Japanese....No, I'm not going to provide links and spoon feed people...Do your own research!!!!

Problem is The Oil Drum and the people who post here are using the idea of petroleum depletion as a force majure to advance their own pet political agendas...I see that....So do a bunch of other folks.

Though I've not read any of Nelders financial recommendations, while listening to the interview I wondered if he would advocate diversification FROM financial assets in addition to diversification WITHIN financial assets. Ecological economists speak of natural, human, social and built capital as the real 'wealth' of our planet. Are people that are looking to 'profit from the peak' also going to try and time when they re-allocate from digital to real wealth?

Yes, absolutely. I think having some gold and silver in hand is a great idea, "just in case," and even more importantly, some hard assets like a good piece of farmable land, some good tools, a stash of NPK, etc. At some point--I don't know when, it could even be within a few years--it might not make sense to hold stocks at all, unless you're quite wealthy and willing to go really long.

It's as if Mr. Nelson is a superstar basketball player, shooting a great % for 2 and 3 point baskets, displaying impenetrable defense, handing off phenomenal assists, and yet the Yahoo! audience is only familiar with american football and won't get off their ars unless it's a touchdown. Commendable work, Chris.

Chris: its good to put a face to a book! As to the comments, if everyone was 'onboard' the relevant stocks/sector would already be through the roof: we need 95%+ BAU 'PO disbelievers' to get those ten-baggers that will allow us to continue to enjoy life as TSHTF.

IMO it's likely the average PE ratio of stocks will be substantially lower post-peak as the future everyone is expecting begins to evaporate, it will quite possibly be the last and greatest 'bubble' in the financial markets. If the energy sector is to thrive this implies a substantial shift of capitalisation to this sector. It has begun already. Several previous posts here at TOD point to this shift in societal resources towards core energy infrastructure.

I think we still have some time to build up a "Post-PO Portfolio -but not much: maybe 2 or three years. After that it is going to be more and more obvious that the game plan has changed. I'm not sure what the KPI will be, PeakOil ETF anyone? :o)


Nicely done! Thanks for posting this. From the interview, "Peak Oil Theory" (oh man...). The US routinely tests at the very bottom of knowledge of the geological sciences. Our national ignorance shines on mainstream media and the interview questions asked, however, the interviewer knows much more than the average person or policy maker.

You might find this interesting;

Jump to Figure 5 and look for high quality of Mathematical content in US Lesson plans (hint, there is none).