DrumBeat: August 28, 2008

Russia may cut off oil flow to the West

Fears are mounting that Russia may restrict oil deliveries to Western Europe over coming days, in response to the threat of EU sanctions and Nato naval actions in the Black Sea.

Any such move would be a dramatic escalation of the Georgia crisis and play havoc with the oil markets.

Reports have begun to circulate in Moscow that Russian oil companies are under orders from the Kremlin to prepare for a supply cut to Germany and Poland through the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline. It is believed that executives from lead-producer LUKoil have been put on weekend alert.

"They have been told to be ready to cut off supplies as soon as Monday," claimed a high-level business source, speaking to The Daily Telegraph. Any move would be timed to coincide with an emergency EU summit in Brussels, where possible sanctions against Russia are on the agenda.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Summer's End

While waiting to see how much damage this week's hurricane will do, it is a good time to review recent developments in the world's petroleum and economic situations for their relevance to peak oil.

Should it look as if the current hurricane is going to tear up the Gulf oil fields and the coastal refineries, it might not be a bad time to go out and fill your tank for U.S. gasoline stocks are unusually low. Any supply or refining disruptions in the next week or so have a good chance of resulting in spot shortages of gasoline.

These shortages in turn just might lead to the fabled "run of the pumps" in which 230 million drivers rush to their gas stations and start topping off tanks. In a matter of hours millions and millions of gallons would be transferred into consumer's tanks and it likely would take weeks to sort out the ensuing mess. At a minimum it would give those people running for President or Congress in November something to talk about. If it happens, it will be fascinating to watch.

Bering Glacier Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought

HOUGHTON, MI - A new system of measuring water melt shows that the Bering Glacier--the largest glacier in North America--is melting at double the rate that scientists thought. The glacier is releasing approximately 30 cubic kilometers of water a year, more than twice the amount of water in the entire Colorado River, said Robert Shuchman, co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI).

"This could potentially change the circulation of coastal currents in the Gulf of Alaska," Shuchman said. Those currents are key factors in tempering climate, redistributing nutrients in the water and providing adequate food for the salmon and marine animals, he explained.

As glaciers melt, sea levels rise, and "sea level rise affects everyone," Shuchman added. "If it continues to rise at this rate, parts of the state of Florida could be under water at the turn of the next century."

Georgia crisis could thwart EU project to bypass Russia for natural gas

BERLIN: The crisis in Georgia could be the final blow for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline across the Caucasus - an €8 billion project backed by the European Union - dealing a serious defeat to the Continent's efforts to wean itself from Russian energy.

With Georgia still in turmoil and Russia's recognition of the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, analysts said investors and creditors of the $11.8 billion project would be even more wary of putting their money into a project already running behind schedule. The pipeline is designed to skirt Russia and deliver natural gas from Azerbaijan directly to Europe, stretching over 3,000 kilometers, or about 1,800 miles, from Turkey's borders with Georgia or Iran to Austria.

"Who is going to finance the Nabucco project now, let alone supply it with the gas it needs?" said Borut Grgic, director of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Ljubljana, Slovenia. "Nabucco is all but dead."

Brazil: A funny kind of reward

Yet just as Petrobras has struck a bonanza, Brazil’s government is debating whether to create a new, wholly state-owned, oil company to maximise its profit from the new fields. This echoes a campaign in the 1940s that led to the creation of Petrobras in the first place, under the slogan “the oil is ours”. But much of Petrobras’s new stature and success comes from the decision of a previous government to float 60% of its shares on the stockmarket and to open up the oil industry, allowing foreign firms in as partners and competitors.

As food prices soar, Brazil and Argentina react in opposite ways

da Silva's government recently announced record farm credits, a form of indirect subsidy, to encourage Brazil's farmers to produce more while the price of their exports are high on world markets, a move that should improve Brazil's economy. But Argentina, Brazil's economic and political archrival, decided to share the agricultural windfall at home.

Worried about the wave of inflation rippling around the world, the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina increased export taxes on some crops, a move meant to keep down domestic food prices by encouraging farmers flush from global profits to sell more at home.

Investment banks see opportunities in crumbling roads and bridges

NEW YORK: Cleaning up roadkill and maintaining runways may not sound like cutting-edge investments. But banks and funds with big money seem to think so.

Reeling from more exotic investments that imploded during the credit crisis, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are among the investors who have amassed an estimated $250 billion to finance a wave of infrastructure projects in the United States and overseas.

China has head start over West for Iraq oil

DUBAI (Reuters) - China crossed the line first in the race for big oil contracts in post-Saddam Iraq and has gained a head start over Western oil majors in the competition for future energy deals.

China's biggest oil company, state-run CNPC, agreed a $3 billion service contract with Iraq on Wednesday.

The deal could set a precedent for terms that fall far short of the lucrative contracts the oil majors had hoped for as they jostled for access to the world's third largest oil reserves.

Starved of investment since the Gulf War of 1990-1991 and the subsequent U.S.-led invasion of 2003 that removed former President Saddam Hussein, Iraq holds some of the world's last large, cheap, untapped oil reservoirs.

"The biggest significance of this deal is that CNPC will benefit as the first international oil company to be developing one of the giant discovered oil fields in Iraq in the new era," said Alex Munton, analyst at global consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Northeast and Northwest Passages Both Free of Ice

For the first time ever, both the Northwest and the Northeast Passages are free of ice. Shipping companies have been waiting for this moment for years, but they will have to wait a little while longer before they can make use of the Arctic shortcut.

Bayer on defensive in bee deaths

Bayer CropScience is facing scrutiny because of the effect one of its best-selling pesticides has had on honeybees.

A German prosecutor is investigating Werner Wenning, Bayer's chairman, and Friedrich Berschauer, the head of Bayer CropScience, after critics alleged that they knowingly polluted the environment.

Some fuel terminals have short-term outages

BISMARCK, N.D. - Industry officials say they are mystified by fuel shortages at terminals in the Upper Midwest in recent days, but they expect enough supplies for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Terminals have run out of fuel in West Fargo and Grand Forks in North Dakota; Alexandria, Minn.; and Sioux Falls, S.D.

Officials are trying to figure out why.

Lester R. Brown: Raising Water Productivity

With water shortages emerging as a constraint on food production growth, the world needs an effort to raise water productivity similar to the one that nearly tripled land productivity during the last half of the twentieth century. Worldwide, average irrigation water productivity is now roughly 1 kilogram of grain per ton of water used. Since it takes 1,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of grain, it is not surprising that 70 percent of world water use is devoted to irrigation. Thus, raising irrigation efficiency is central to raising water productivity overall.

Brazil's debate over new oil wealth heats up

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilians have long joked that Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be. But since massive oil reserves were found off its coast last year, many feel the future may have finally arrived.

From the halls of Congress in Brasilia to the bars of Sao Paulo, Brazilians are fiercely debating what to do with the newfound oil wealth. Newspapers are running cover stories and editorials on the issue almost daily, drawing parallels to a "The Oil is Ours" campaign that led to the creation of state petroleum company Petrobras in the 1950s.

Russian oil and gas export interruptions

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia has cut oil and gas supplies to neighbors and indirectly to onward customers in recent years.

The following is a list of some supply interruptions and the reasons offered for them.

Natural gas cars: Clean, green, going nowhere

The GX is the only production car available in the United States that runs on compressed natural gas, or CNG, and is sold only in New York and California, the two states where there are enough refueling stations. The Big Three U.S. automakers ceased making such vehicles a few years ago.

The limited availability of fueling stations and the car’s restricted range are other drawbacks.

High gas prices ground Diddy’s private plane: Rap impresario forced to fly ... gasp! ... commercial!

NEW YORK - Even Diddy’s complaining about high prices at the pump. The rap mogul took to his YouTube video blog to rant about the rising cost of gas, which he says has grounded his private jet.

Level with us: America needs a stiff dose of the truth

You don't get elected president, or dog catcher, in America by suggesting that citizens change their profligate lifestyles. America is all about excess and consumption, forever and ever. The fantasy that keeps us going is that by the time the oil runs out we will have made a smooth transition to "alternative energy" sources. And everything else will remain exactly as it is. Each house will still have two or more cars (fueled by Dumpster scum or sunflower seeds), all our myriad machines will still run on electricity, things we no longer want (after being used for minutes, days or weeks) can be dumped in the landfill or "recycled," and the climate will go back to being "normal." Conventional wisdom says it is political suicide to tell voters the truth — that is, that everything in the above paragraph is a delusion. However, as Orwell said, "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear." And to keep what is not pleasant to hear, but truthful, from people is suicide of a different sort.

Obama and Biden, McCain and Romney (or whomever) have yet to address the substantive issues facing the nation down the road environmentally and economically. The truth is that we are collectively walking headlong into a hurricane while pretending to be out for a stroll in the park. If the next financial quarter shows an uptick, the nation's designated "experts" will declare that it's back to "business as usual."

Japan military may run out of gas money this year

TOKYO: Japan's military may use up its annual fuel budget months early this year, despite running some ships and planes at low power and cutting back on major exercises.

Faced with fuel costs that exceed spending plans by 60 percent, the Self Defense Force has scaled back training missions involving jets and ships, vehicles are being run at slower speeds, and more passengers are being squeezed in per trip in order to conserve fuel, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.

"If fuel prices keep increasing we won't be able to cover it, and we will have to make a request to ensure we have sufficient funds," the spokeswoman said.

She refused to say the fuel shortage would affect Japan's foreign operations, such as dispatches in support of U.S.-led forces in Iraq, but she denied that the country's defense would be compromised.

World’s main energy source likely to change

"We won’t ever run out of oil, just like we never ran out of whales.”

That’s the main message from an expert who has studied change in the world’s primary energy source over time. He understands why gas and oil prices are sky high and explains it’s all just part of the historic cycle needed for a major energy shift.

Jordan to provide Lebanon's electricity

Jordan has expressed readiness to provide Lebanon with 50-70 megawatts of electricity a day to help the country meet a drastic shortfall.

Jordan said on Wednesday it has offered to sell power-starved Lebanon electricity at special prices until the end of 2009, local daily The Jordan Times reports.

Saudi inflation may continue, but at a slower pace

Inflation is a key challenge across the Gulf region, where currencies are pegged to the ailing dollar, as their economies surge on windfall revenues from oil that has been racing to record highs.

Pakistan: Power generation declines due to high cost of oil

MANY power sector experts attribute the alarming rise in outages to either incompetence of power authorities or a deliberate attempt by them to produce less electricity in view of high oil rates.

They have a point as according to WAPDA’s own data, the total installed electricity generation capacity in the country, besides around 350 MW nuclear power plants, is 17,724 MW. The net production after accounting for operational or capacity loses is 16,008 MW.

On an Upstate Wind Turbine Project, Opinions as Varied as the Weather

It’s a long way from the hellish fires in Southern California or the scary drought in the Southeast to the Catskills. But for those contemplating the issues of climate change and the roadway to greener energy, it’s not so far away at all. Whatever role climate change may be playing right now, it’s clear that even something so elemental as the wind is as subject to the vagaries of politics, self-interest and community dynamics as anything else.

“I will say this just once: not in my backyard,” Mr. Many said, when asked to characterize the discord. “People in Delaware County think it ought to be in the Adirondacks. People in the Adirondacks think it should be in the ocean off Massachusetts. Teddy Kennedy thinks it should be somewhere else. Everyone wants alternative energy, but no one wants it where they have to look at it.”

Biofuel buses could hit end of line

Amid concerns over rising fuel costs and the growing worldwide debate over the environmental benefits of biofuels, Toronto's transit agency will consider abandoning the use of biodiesel for its massive bus fleet.

In a meeting tomorrow, the nine city councillors who oversee the Toronto Transit Commission will debate a report that advises the agency to quit using its current fuel, made with 5 per cent soya bean oil, because of "the serious financial issues facing the commission."

McCain Popularity Rises With Gas Prices

As gas prices rose, so did John McCain’s popularity. That’s no coincidence, agreed a panel of environmental thinkers gathered a few blocks away from the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

And, they said, that’s the Democrats fault.

“Average people paying $4 at the pump were saying, ‘OK, what’s the plan?’ and there wasn’t a plan,” said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., a former two-term governor.

Republican candidate McCain had a plan: “Drill here, drill now.” Democrats scoffed at that, but their plans seemed poised to raise people’s energy bills, the group said.

Excessive loadshedding sparks protests across Peshawar

Protest rallies continued across this provincial metropolis Wednesday as the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) failed to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to consumers on the third consecutive day.

The hours-long power shutdowns badly affected the daily life. The electricity breakdowns duration touched over 15 hours in different parts of the city and its suburbs. Complaints of power disruption were received from Hashtnagri, Sethi Town, Garhi Atta Mohammad, Garhi Qamardin, Kohat Road, Dilalazak Road, Saeedabad, Gulberg, Nothia, Lahori Gate, Karimpura and areas close to Ring Road.

The enraged protesters on Wednesday blocked the main GT Road at various points, including Hashtnagri, Gulbahar Chowk, Chamkani, Tarnab Farm and Lala Kalay. The residents of Hazar Khani blocked the Ring Road for over two hours, making the passengers to suffer.

India: Transport union warns of stir over diesel

CHENNAI : The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on Wednesday reiterated its demand that the state and central governments set up a high level enquiry commission to go into the reasons behind the increasing diesel scarcity.

It Is Time for the US to Sell Its Highways

It’s difficult to imagine a person not having heard the old axiom “Buy low, sell high”, and it is prudent advice when you are making financial decisions. It’s the second part of that adage that might warrant a look at our strategy for infrastructure improvement in this country. If you are looking to make the maximum amount of money by selling something you want to sell that something when it’s at its highest value. I wonder then, is it time for our government to sell its infrastructure? You know, since the effects of Peak Oil are beginning to make themselves felt, the value of the infrastructure developed to serve cars running on cheap oil will decline each year into the future; starting soon. Selling high might mean selling soon.

Tehran exploits US-Russian tensions

WASHINGTON - Iran could emerge as a big winner, at least in the short term, from the rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and Russia over Moscow's intervention in Georgia, according to analysts here.

Whatever waning chances remained of a US military attack on Iran before President George W Bush leaves office next January have all but vanished, given the still-uncertain outcome of the Georgia crisis, according to most of these observers.

Thistle Creek plan to include some energy efficient homes

Eastman is currently employing some of his energy efficiency ideas to renovate the Electroshield facility on High Street where his company produces building connectors. He has been aware of peak oil issues since his high school days in Yellow Springs in the 1970s, he said. He and Brown built Eastman’s house in the Vale in 1995 with triple paned windows, fluorescent light fixtures, and walls with an R-value of 30, which at that time of cheap fuel seemed to many to be unnecessary, Eastman said. But now that energy costs are rising steeply, even those standards no longer seem unreasonable.

In defence of 'soulless' suburbia

If the latte-loving deep thinkers are right, and all of us plebeians are wrong, why is it that North America's suburbs continue to grow like Topsy? Even in an age of high gas prices?

Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because people actually like to live there. Especially young families who place a high value on safety, proximity to parks and other green space, community sports and other neighbourhood activities.

Climate code red - the case for emergency action

Imagine swiping your smart card to register your carbon ration every time you fuel up at the bowser. Your personal carbon allowance – which gets debited when you pay for carbon-based services or goods – would be granted annually and its value would decline every year. That strict, citizen-account approach to emissions cutting is being advocated by Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action, just published in July.

Co-author Phillip Sutton says, ‘the planet is already too hot. We reached a dangerous level of climate change at least two decades ago and the challenge now is to stop releasing new emissions, pull excess carbon out of the atmosphere and take steps to cool the planet.’

Gustav expected to become a major hurricane

MIAMI -- A strengthening Tropical Storm Gustav jogged to the south on Thursday and was likely to graze southern Jamaica and the western tip of Cuba before nearing the oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico as a powerful hurricane.

The eventual U.S. landfall of the seventh storm of what experts have predicted will be an unusually busy Atlantic hurricane season also shifted west in the latest model runs. That would take it deeper into the heavy concentration of U.S. oil and natural gas platforms off the Louisiana and Texas coasts.

"An Air Force reconnaissance plane has found a surprise this morning," the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. "Gustav has either reformed to the south or been moving more to the south-southwest overnight."

Oil near $120 as Gustav threatens US Gulf

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil rose towards $120 a barrel on Thursday, its fourth day of gains, boosted by the threat of damage to U.S. oil installations from Tropical Storm Gustav.

The storm is forecast to regain hurricane status as it approaches the Gulf of Mexico, home to a quarter of U.S. crude oil production and 15 percent of its natural gas output.

... "Gustav...is on track to pose a sizeable threat to both upstream and downstream production capacity," Thomas Stenvoll, energy strategist at UBS said in a research note.

"The impact of Gustav on the downstream sector could be felt more acutely - at least in the short term as there is no U.S. government inventory that can be released."

Gustav may hike gas before Labor Day weekend

HOUSTON - The brief respite for consumers at the gasoline pump may come to an abrupt end if Tropical Storm Gustav slams into the petroleum-rich Gulf Coast and its numerous refineries, just as Americans begin packing up cars for the Labor Day weekend.

Venezuela posed to nationalize fuel distribution

Lawmakers loyal to President Hugo Chavez want to allow the nationalization of fuel distribution, the government's latest move to bring Venezuela's economy under increased state control.

Under a bill likely to win initial approval Wednesday, fuel distributors including subsidiaries of British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., would have 60 days to negotiate the sale of their businesses to the government or face expropriation.

China, Iraq reach $3 bln oil service deal

SHANGHAI, China - China and Iraq have signed a $3 billion deal revising an earlier agreement for China's biggest oil company to help develop the Ahdab oil field, an official at the Iraq's Oil Ministry said Thursday.

No more cheap energy, warns cabinet minister John Hutton

John Hutton, the Business Secretary, admits households will struggle to pay their heating bills this winter due to rising costs.

But he effectively rules out imposing a windfall tax on energy firms because it would only lead to higher charges for customers.

And he warns that Russian aggression in Georgia has cast doubt over Britain's future energy supplies.

UK: State profit-plundering won't work

Taxing excess profits to recompense over-charged consumers is a strange way to proceed. Why not ask why are people being over-charged in the first place?

Canada to map resources in Arctic for development

TORONTO (AP) — Canada plans to map energy and mineral resources in its Arctic region in a bid to encourage development and assert its sovereignty in the far north, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday.

Harper said field workers and specialized aircraft will use state-of-the-art science and technology to search for mineral and energy potential. The information gathered will be used to create geological models and subterranean maps to will help companies find resources.

Arctic sovereignty has moved to the forefront among northern countries as global warming melts Arctic ice and opens new shipping routes and access to untapped, potentially rich resources.

Many remain poor even as Angola reaps oil wealth

LOBITO, Angola (Reuters) - On a recent Friday night, men in SUVs and others on mopeds line up outside one of the few gas stations in Angola's port city of Lobito to fill up for the weekend.

As car horns begin to sound, it becomes clear that the gas pumps have once again run dry.

"We provide millions of barrels of oil each month to China and the United States but don't have enough to fill up our own tanks," said David Boio, a local businessmen, as he stepped down from his truck.

Toyota lowers 2009 global sales target

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota lowered its global sales target for 2009 by 700,000 vehicles to 9.7 million Thursday, showing that even one of the world's most durable automakers is being hurt by rising material costs, a slowing U.S. market and soaring gas prices.

Here's why the stock market is all about oil these days

Q: Why does the price of oil seem to have such a big influence on the stock market?

A: Our nation relies heavily on oil and other fossil fuels. And that is reflected by the stock market.

Miss. coast's post-Katrina recovery not yet complete

According to the Census estimate, Gulfport and Biloxi, the population centers of the coast, have lost more than 13,000 in population between them. Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties have lost about 30,500 people since Katrina, about 8% of their population.

Not coincidentally, the three counties above — Pearl River, Stone and George — have seen their populations increase about 8%.

Bay St. Louis and Waveland, cities that jointly lay claim to the dubious distinction of "ground zero" for Katrina's destructive power, still have the largest population losses. Bay St. Louis lost nearly 20% of its population since the storm and it's almost 15% for Waveland, according to U.S. Census estimates.

UN climate talks make headway on emission limits

ACCRA, Ghana - Talks on a new global warming agreement have begun to resolve some major sticking points, the U.N. climate chief said Wednesday, sounding a promising note after months of sluggish negotiations often marked by confrontation among industrial and developing countries.

Arctic sea ice melts to 2nd-lowest level on record

"We could very well be in that quick slide downward in terms of passing a tipping point," said center senior scientist Mark Serreze. "It's tipping now. We're seeing it happen now."

Within a few years — "five to less than 10 years" — the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer, said NASA ice scientist Jay Zwally.

"It also means that climate warming is also coming larger and faster than the models are predicting and nobody's really taken into account that change yet," he said.

Re: Arctic sea ice melts to 2nd-lowest level on record

Looks like the denialist were correct, the models haven't got it quite right. The only problem is that the models were too conservative and things are happening sooner than the model projections suggested. This also applies to those predictions that there won't be any big changes for the rest of this century. Sorry to say, abrupt changes appear to be closer than thought.

The denialist can't take this as support for their claims, such as "it's been cooling for the past 10 years", meaning that 1998 was very warm. If the Earth has indeed been cooling, there would appear to be no reason for the decline in sea-ice extent. Not that such facts deter the denialist from their mission of spreading disinformation.

E. Swanson

Even if it only matches last years record then the situation is still precarious as there is less multi-year sea ice.

Interesting... John Michael Greer also seems to be downplaying the probability of an abrupt change.
I don't know which way things will collapse (fast, slow, or see-saw) but the Soviet Union's collapse was not due to an energy shortage. We, on the other hand, have - as James Kunstler repeatedly points out - very few resources to fall back upon.

I don't completely follow his argument. He says that we will collapse, but it won't be that bad, because the USSR wasn't that bad, and they still have a semi-functioning state(s) there 20 years later. He rejects the "It's different this time" argument.

Well that's fine, if you only consider the USSR. What if you think about other collapses, from Diamond's book or other places/times: Easter Island, Maya, Greenland, European Jewish, Native American...

Just ask T-Rex, Neaderthals or Wooly Mammoths how things are going.

The world has ended before. It just restarts; that is not much consolation to those who have to deal with the collapse. The big questions of course are timing and preventablility.

It seems to me that he is the one arguing that "It's different this time" - it all depends on the timescale you look at.

What if you think about other collapses, from Diamond's book or other places/times: Easter Island, Maya, Greenland, European Jewish, Native American...

Greer argues that those, too, were slower than we think.

As an example...there's evidence now that Easter Islanders had about 50 years - about two generations - from the time they became aware resources were running out, and the final collapse into warfare and cannibalism.

This was reflected in changes in their technology (to adjust to the declining resources), and in the formation of larger political groups, that made larger statues.

They saw the end coming, but were unable to change enough to do anything about it. Except build a bigger stone head.

My understanding is that the very largest stone heads were still remaining in the quarries. If only they had gotten those heads in place - then everything would have been fine. Surely there are countless civilizations where those biggest stone heads were successfully installed in time; we just don't hear about them

cfm in Gray, ME

My head just exploded from your comment!?

Peak Head?

heaven forbid!

I don't like where this thread is heading.

Good article from September, 2006. An excerpt:

Cambridge Energy Research Associates predicts world oil and natural gas liquids capacity could increase as much as 25% by 2015 (wt: 106 mbpd, total liquids). Says Robert W. Esser, a director of CERA: "Peak Oil theory is garbage as far as we're concerned."

If we use ExxonMobil's upper end estimate of 6% per year from existing wells, we only need about 70 mbpd of new total liquids production in 2015, that we didn't have in 2005, to be producing 106 mbpd. No problemo, 'cause we are certainly enjoying the $38 oil prices that Yergin & CERA promised us we would have.

? I was thinking about the comment above.

My understanding is that the very largest stone heads were still remaining in the quarries. If only they had gotten those heads in place - then everything would have been fine.

and tried to be funny but now I get confused instead.


Maybe ... maybe not:

Japan military may run out of gas money this year

I guarantee you right this second Pentagon planners are having waking nightmares about this. No military establishment in the history of the world is as energy- dependent as the US's. Our world- wide archipelago of bases requires resupply and personnel to be shipped by air. Our operational doctrine requires air superiority which means fuel- guzzling high performance aircraft both for combat duties as well as for force deployment, resupply, refueling, communications and air traffic control. The Navy, while smaller in total ship numbers than during the Reagan era, requires supertanker amounts of fuel, even the nuclear ships -carriers and submarines - require petroleum. Aircraft carriers are nothing more than floating tank farms for the dozens of fighter and reconnaisence aircraft they carry ... as well as to support their enormous crews in comfort.

Most of the legacy military equipment the US relies upon inhales fuel; the M1A series main battle tank 'gets' a green five gallons per mile; this vehicle needs 11 gallons of fuel to start the engine. During Desert Storm, the armor had to tow small trailers of fuel behind. The smallest and most economical vehicle in daily use by the military is the Hummer. The real one, not the smaller H2 civilian Hummer that green people 'whine' about.

Every part of the US military requires vast quantities of fuel.

- F/A 18 (combat fighter/bomber equiv. F16, F22, F15 JSF) 6,000 gallons for a combat mission radius of 500 miles.
- M1A2 Abrams main battle tank (equiv. Russian T80, both with turbine engines) 5 gal/ mile.
- Airlift command aircraft; C141, C17 have fuel consumption equiv. to comparable wide- bodied commercial aircraft.

Modern naval ships tend to much larger - and less economical to operate - than their equivalents from the WWII era. Of course, all the support, ammunition, lubricants, navigation and communication devices have to be manufactured, tested, shipped to the user and made use off and replaced ... all this requires petroleum. No navy or other service uses wind, coal, wood or any 'alternative' fuel for operations.

The biofuel experiment and the biofuel relationship to food has been attempted before. At the end of the Second World War, Germany distilled 'white gas' or ethanol from its potato crop. This amount of biofuel produced was insufficient to Germany's operational needs; Germany had numerous heavy tanks, tank destroyers and jet aircraft and more than adequate manpower ... but could not operate these items because of the lack of fuel. Because the potato crop had been diverted to fuel manufacture, the survivors in Germany in 1945-46 endured a serious famine that was only relieved by intensive efforts of the US and USSR.

The Air Force has been working on a program to develop a 'biofuel' for its aircraft:


While this may address training issues and whatnot within this country, such fuels - as well as solar panels (the Pentagon itself has one) and fuel cells cannot support overseas operations.

Fuel constraints will become far more noticeable five years from now. This illuminates certain aspects of US policy, such as our stance in Iraq. It is becoming more clear that having a long- term military presence in Iraq is central to ensuring that fuel is available for 'vital functions' which would certainly include military operations. It is also certain that this insurance will be maintained ... either with or without the cooperation of a 'compliant' Iraqi government. This explains candidate Obama's recalibration of his proposal to withdraw from Iraq "Responsibly". This responsible withdrawal could take as long as a hundred years ... or as long as there is oil available in Iraq ... and Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Whether China has or has not 'contracts' with the Iraqi government is irrelevant. They don't have a military presence in the Middle East ... and can't. They don't have sufficient fuel.

The same fuel 'metric' is applicable to all major powers' military establishments both in China, India, Russia and NATO. The cumulative investment of trillions and trillions in military infrastructure is a wasting asset. In five years no military will have sufficient fuel available to function as they can currently. Some militaries may not be able to function at all; NATO, China, Pakistan, India; Russia will be fractionally effective and countries with fuel reserves; Brazil and Nigeria do not have military infrastructures.

Looke at this way, it appears better to turn this military investment to use now, when there is both fuel to use the materiel and some fuel availability as an outcome of military action.

Some things to watch:

- Russian interest in the central Asian republics that have oil reserves and were once part of the USSR.

- America will use a pretext to invade Venezuela.

- A ressonable likelihood that Al Qaeda is on the US payroll ... similar to the 'Awakening Groups' in Iraq. These are also labeled 'Al Qaede in Mesopotamia' by both the US government and the media when it is convenient to manipulate how issues arising in Iraq and elsewhere are presented to the public. It is noticable that the US does not attack Al Qaeda assets and that organization does not attach US/European targets. Osama's organization would be useful to turn against the Saudis. Keep in mind, 'insurgent activities' are used ss provocations for various US military activities. A successful Al Qaeda attack on the Saudi royal family would be a reason for US troops to 'reposition' themselves inside Saudi Arabia.

- Look for a dramatic increase of military activities between Pakistan and India both in and outside of Kashmir. Pakistan's fuel situation is even more dire than the Germans at the end of WWII. It's 'use it or lose it' in Kashmir.

- Look for an increase in Taliban activities in Iran! Iran is a closed society, but a large enough attack would be published in the Western press. The Taliban is an instrument of the (Sunni) Pakistani ISI intelligence service.

- Look for the Taliban to keep up the pressure in Afghanistan ... but not any 'go for broke' offensives. Time is on the Taliban's side. NATO is being pulled by events in Eastern Europe and will have to make choices .. all of them stupid choices but momentum is building for a Euro-Russian confrontation. The Taliban will wait for NATO to go home and then put more pressure on the Americans ... who will have to choose between supporting the effort in Afghanistan (no oil) and supporting the effort in Iraq (the rest of the oil).

- Look for NATO to lose its collective mind over Russia. NATO planners are looking at the gas guage while losing sleep over an imminent Russian invasion of eastern Germany! Reasonably, NATO will rather fight WWIII in Ukraine rather than in Poland so look for a fast track for Ukraine NATO membership ... exactly a useless move. Russia won't attack Europe. Europe is Russia's best customer.

- Look for Russian bellicosity to increase. Russia knows that 'threats' cause the price of oil to increase. They will make threats. Russia is looking at the gas guage, too. If they threat too hard, they could force a confrontation that makes the gas guage head to zero a lot faster than they would like ... and would at the same time unmask the threats as empty bluster.

We live in interesting times ...

Thanks for a very informative post.
Question: how much of the military could be supplied by coal to oil technology?
Obviously there could be no question of running the civilian car fleet by this means, but perhaps the far smaller needs of the military could be covered, to some extent at least?

Theoretically, most if not all ... practically, not very much.

The military has a difficult time commandeering resources for its own use, in a peace- time environment. In a 'national emergency' the domestic petroleum supply would be directed to the military but that would defeat the end purpose which is to both support military activities while at the same time supporting 'economic' activities such as building/supporting sprawl and 'happy motoring'.

I suppose the 'coal hydrogenation' process can be made to work. This has probably been discussed here on TOD. I doubt it would scale in time and is a super- dirty process. The Nazis also used this method to produce fuel, but the plants were susceptible to bombing and the output was small in relation to the amount of energy consumed by the plants themselves.

The total Energy Return on Investment will have to be re- calculated to take into consideration the costs of military actions to obtain or defend fuel supplies.

It takes little in the way of a policy miscalculation to skew the EROI into uncharted and unchartable dimensions. Consider a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan that destroys all the major cities of both countries, kills 500 million people and reduces world-wide crop yields by fifty percent. How does one price this?


Steve - are you Steve who used to work with Sparky/Massie from Verizon UK ?

It is very poor planning to try to switch the USAF to ethanol. South Africa was cut off from world oil supplies and found some relief in converting coal to oil, it is not cheap but it is more practical. The risk of needing corn imports to satisfy Federal biofuels mandates is high. The strategic value of the United States to the world might lessen if the United States will lose its ability to export grain. The pentagon lacked foresight during the euphoria of ethanol dreaming. The return on investment for ethanol is currently in the negative range. An unprofitable nation finds its inflation adjusted income declining.

The U.S. had a bully agressive attitude during the Bush years when Iraq was invaded based on false charges; with grossly underestimated war costs. The pro-Iraqi invasion governments of England, Spain, and Italy were voted out. The Republicans lost Congress. Rush Limbaugh needed a drug rehab program after fraudulently obtaining 2,000 pain killers in six months.

The Feds have borrowed the entire Social Security Fund surplus to fund deficit spending and now the boomers approach retirement age after the government has already spent what they was supposed to have been saved for their retirements. The Social Security fund is expected to reach a deficit crisis once they start to retire. They were not even giving T-bills in exchange for their social security payments.

The government ceased to recognize the Geneva convention guidelines while using waterboarding.

The government unilaterally violated a non-proliferation treaty with the Russians by placing missles near their border. That upset the Russians. Tensions have mounted. The loss of Russian oil imports or natural gas to the EU might be devastating. Some sort of deal to allow free trade should be put forward instead of economic sanctions.

OPEC might not be able to keep oil prices down. They appeared to be a self-serving organization. Some of the OPEC nations suffered under Islamic law and wished to impose this law on others by force. There are yet many scholars critical of Koran, its contradictions, and the differences between it and other world legal systems.


I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for spending your valuable time writing this superb post!



- America will use a pretext to invade Venezuela

Hezbollah's presence in Venezuela draws concern
"...draws concern." I like that touch. Pure Judith Miller.
If McCain starts to surge in the polls I would suggest Hugo start filling and parking tankers.

Thanks, Steve,

This is interesting. Perhaps you could expand it and write an article?

A couple of questions:

1) It looks like you're outlining at least the case for (if not claiming a knowledge about) US military presence in Iraq (and elsewhere) is a result of a particular strategy on the part of the "Pentagon planners" that has an assumption of "peak oil" as its basis. So, the logic is to use the military apparatus while there exists the (possibility of) fuel to run it. (Yes?)

“…when there is both fuel to use the materiel and some fuel availability as an outcome of military action.”

So, one question is - do you believe that Pentagon planners share the "mega-projects study group" (combined with ELM) view of near-term peak? Do you believe they accept this analysis?

Do you feel that they see the total situation in a way that enables them to "get it" WRT the high degree of dependency, the economic correlations (i.e., necessity of LTF availability), etc.? In other words, do you also feel they see the implications for the global industrial economy?

Do you have the impression they see any implications outside the purview of their immediate planning objectives, in other words? If so, do you think they feel any obligation to either A) address the issue outside the responsibilities of their individual (career) positions, or B) to inform/warn/share this view with others?

Just thought I'd ask.

2) Anyway, my question is, below you also say...

“… the end purpose which is to both support military activities while at the same time supporting 'economic' activities such as building/supporting sprawl and 'happy motoring'.”

In other words, as you say:
“The total Energy Return on Investment will have to be re- calculated to take into consideration the costs of military actions to obtain or defend fuel supplies.”

Do you believe that anyone in any government anywhere actually does this?

In other words, do the Pentagon planners, for eg., look at the amount of oil required for military functions, the amount such functions (if "successful") would (so to speak) "yield", and then see if there's any "leftover" for the running of US society?

So, they actually take a look at this in some kind of qualitative and quantitative way?

So, that there's the possibility they might pick a number or percentage and say "Wups, well, our return just went negative...maybe we should pack up and go home." (Question mark?)

Because if this way of looking at the issue is even a remote possibility, then it seems the numbers, in terms of cost and, more importantly, debt incurred, would show a net negative yield prior to taking any military action. (Ignoring the factor of lives lost, etc.).

Or, do you suppose the thinking is to "secure" supply, in the sense of prevent interruption of supply, and there is really no cost/benefit analysis beyond this?

I guess I wonder how many people representing what sectors of government look at this and how they see it. In other words, I wonder what Cheney thinks about and who he talks to, likewise, how much overlap with anyone in the Pentagon (or anywhere else, for that matter).

Steve you are over emphasizing the issue. Sure american army uses most oil as compared to any army but how much, just one percent of total american consumption of oil. Thats too little to make america reduce any of its military operations or global presence. If not anything else the american domestic oil production is enough to sustain american military for a long long time.

NATO, China, Pakistan, India; Russia will be fractionally effective and countries with fuel reserves

I can tell about Pakistan. Being a muslim country Pakistan always get easy (low price and sometimes even free) oil from saudi arabia. Just yesterday saudi arabia agreed to deliver 110,000 barrels of oil to Pakistan which Pakistan can pay later, this will help a lot in present foreign exchange shortage of Pakistan.

Total oil consumption of Pakistan is just 350,000 barrels/day which is so small an amount that we will hopefully keep getting it for a long long time especially because (1)about 25% of this is produced domestically (2)there are some more untapped resources in sindh that can be extracted (3)we are close to the oil producing region (4) all of the oil exporters of middle east from saudi arabia to iran are our friends (5) we have huge deposits of natural gas (6) we have 20% of coal reserves of world. Since we have no military presence outside our borders and we are not in any major war at the moment (except a minor short scale war in tribal areas which is sponsored by america) therefore our military not consume high amount of energy.

Look for a dramatic increase of military activities between Pakistan and India both in and outside of Kashmir. Pakistan's fuel situation is even more dire than the Germans at the end of WWII. It's 'use it or lose it' in Kashmir.

Why? The kashmir conflict is there since 1948, what special happened now to expect 'dramatic increase in military activities' in kashmir?

Its only our oil situation that is problematic, other fuels like we use like natural gas etc are still there in large amount.

What do you mean by " 'use it or lose it' in kashmir"? What exactly is there to use that get wasted forever if we not use it now?

Could it be all those stone heads were simply "busy-work" which the elites foisted onto the working class, likely using religion.

If the elites distract the working class with useless effort and religion, then the energies of the working class would not be expended eliminating the elites.

Good one Hard hat.
Elites have a way of making people believe they belong to the higher class. People don't rebel against their 'own' class.
Elites use religion and civic ethics to make us believe what they want us to believe. They have blatantly taken control of the media, from top to bottom (journalists used to start as high school graduates, now they need a degree...).
They are telling us to be like them: we must pursue lust, gluttony, greed, envy, pride, wrath and sloth if we want to be happy. Sex, food, money, having more than your neighbor, war and leisure & 'labour-saving devices', are the things we need and want and are willing to pay good money for.
Spend some time watching ads and (recent)movies, if you didn't know this already. The elites are teaching us to be sinful: if everybody is sinful, they make more money.
There is paradox here: they want us to have religion, whereas an atheist git like me can clearly see the dearth of morals in the story(ies) they are telling us.
Being happy is not what you have, it is what you do.
Sorry for digressing.

Hi lukitas,

Interesting. I'd say this isn't a digression. It sounds like you and Alan from Big Easy are neighbors.

re: "Being happy is not what you have, it is what you do."

Hi Aniya
Thanks for commenting. I'm sorry I don't know Alan from Big Easy.
I'll google.
The point I would like to make is this: an altruistic attitude is rewarding : emotionally, socially, often materially. Humans have fun when they help each other.
However, most of the media tell us to be gluttons, while presupposing that we are all enthusiastically religious.
It has become the rule to party, feed, drink, work, drive, dress and leisure yourself to death, for as much as you can afford. If you've got it, flaunt it.
Of the seven virtues, only faith is required, hope has us by the short and curlies, whereas love, humanity, justice, prudence and temperance are discounted, and courage is under fire.
Strange that an unfaithful unbelieving atheist should be pointing this out.

It made me really happy to find someone had responded to my comment : thank you Aniya.

One small insight from my own experience. Giving to others enrichs life in dimensions that no other path can. But good food, good drink and good companionship can add to that.

There need not be a contradiction between the "pleasures of the flesh" and the pleasures of the spirit :-)

Best Hopes for a Life well lived,


Hi Alan,

re: "good companionship"

That's why we're here. :)

The food and drink not being available in our TOD cybergathering.

Nice to meet you Alan.
Apparently, we look at life from a similar angle.
It is good to hear from you.


OK, try these on for size, in Historical order:

P-Tr = was it an asteroid ???
K-T asteroid = ???
Pompeii = 2 days
European Black death = 4 years
Holocaust = 6 years

Everyone have a happy day!

When I was much, much younger and first started out with aquariums I noticed that occasionally a few fish would die, but the die-off was never total.... The system recovered... And I thought that the adults that were warning me about fish mass to water volume ratios were all worryworts. Then one day it turned out to be different... all the fish were floating belly-up.

d-/ <-- (up-side-down)

Since then I've listened to worryworts.

Of course if the worryworts had been warning you about the fish mass/ water volume and it turned out to be a farilure in your aerator pump, not a lack of food, the worryworts would have gotten it completely wrong. Just remember, just because someone yells that the sky is falling doesn't mean you should immediately invest your life savings in a sky proof bomb shelter. You could end up with a very expensive hole in the ground.

Actually, a high fish mass/water volume ration will create a chemical imbalance that is toxic to most species of fish, regardless of aerator pump performance or food availability (food availabilty may even worse the problem).

as long as you identified the root cause, you should be fine in the future then. If I came and told you that you can't put blue fish and red fish in the same tank, however, you'd probably once again discount me as a worrywort. Just pointing out that worrywortism doesn't make people right.

The Black Death caused massive disruption for sure, but it wasn't the end of civilization. And it's the same for the other disasters you list, with the possible exception of the asteroid (and as you note, it's not clear exactly what happened then).

That is what Greer is arguing. He's not arguing that terrible things can't happen suddenly to individuals...sometimes a lot of individuals. Nor is he saying that collapse won't happen.

Rather, he's saying that it will be slow and uneven, with stair-steps down followed by temporary recoveries.

I guess it gets into your definition of "collapse" and "society", neither of which I want to do right now. I don't personally buy the notion that there will be a fast crash return to the stone age either. All I'm saying is that to argue that the world can't change a lot in 10 years is not consistent with the historical record, even if it hasn't happened in the last 50 years.

All I'm saying is that to argue that the world can't change a lot in 10 years is not consistent with the historical record, even if it hasn't happened in the last 50 years.

But nobody is arguing that. Greer points out that Russia did indeed change a lot...but it wasn't a straight line to the stone age.

Greer does think that things can happen fast. In one of his posts, he warned his readers that we might be approaching such a point. (IIRC, it was when everyone was worried about economic collapse last spring.) Turned out nothing happened, but I think it's clear that he does believe that big changes can happen suddenly.

The Black Death took off in Europe immediately after the 'Year without a summer', a famine year that was probably the result of a massive volcanic detonation in the Indonesian archpelago which blasted huge amounts of dust into the atmosphere and cooled the planet. The immune system is very sensitive to starvation, antibodies are proteins. It could be argued that the critical mass required for take off of the epidemic was acheived as a result of the weakened state of the population. It is another example of how one catastrophe might turbocharge another. World wide food shortages are looming, this has to be a a cause for concern with bird flu and multidrug resistant TB just waiting for an opening to wreak their mayhem.

The Year Without a Summer was long after the Black Death.

However, I've seen theories that link the Great Famine (years earlier) with the Black Death. And also with "peak wood." Contrary to popular belief, people liked to bathe back then, and villages had public baths, like in Japan. But firewood grew so scarce the bathhouses had to shut down and hot water for washing became a luxury for the wealthy.

I agree it can get bad very fast. In the age of peak everything it could get dicey. The third world is experiencing the nightmares much earlier than the 'developed' world. Throughout the developing world loadshedding, hunger and warfare/pestilence is the norm.

But imagine a food born pestilence that creates a yawning gap in the grain supply. A global 25% reduction. (Something like ug99 wheat rust but that extends to corn). We have a just in time food supply today, and no room for error.

That is the one I think about. Declining oil supplies hits food hard too. In the developed world 20% of oil is for agriculture. Without natural gas and oil corn goes from 220 bushels an acre to something under 135 bushels an acre.

I am noticing the storms hitting a lot harder (e.g. Gustav) and our ability to recover from them being slower. This slowly tightening vice will be interesting to watch. I like to think we have time to respond, to change to adapt. But there may not be such a luxury this time around.

"That is the one I think about. Declining oil supplies hits food hard too. In the developed world 20% of oil is for agriculture. Without natural gas and oil corn goes from 220 bushels an acre to something under 135 bushels an acre."

Uh, actually, it goes a whole lot lower than that. The cropland that has been farmed with chemicals is essentially dead and poisoned so they it will grow almost nothing without those chemical inputs. And it takes years for it to recover. Ask all those farmers in India who got suckered into the "Green Revolution" and now no longer can afford to buy the fossil-fuel fertilizers -- they have been committing suicide at the rate of about 10,000 a year for the last few years at least.

Holocaust = 6 years

1917-1915 = 2 years. If one goes from 1914 to 1918 - still not 6 years.



As for the Turkish atrocities ... helpless Armenians, men, women, and children together, whole districts blotted out in one administrative holocaust -- these were beyond human redress. (Winston Churchill, The Aftermath, 1929, p. 158)

you're obviously not talking about the same Holocaust.

...or the same vice {sic].

When I hear the term "holocaust" I automatically think of Nazi Germany in WWII. Especially when the writer equated it to "six years". I've never heard of the Armenian holocaust referred to generically as "the holocaust".


(from the Greek ὁλόκαυστον (holókauston): holos, "completely" and kaustos, "burnt"), also known as (Ha-)Shoah (Hebrew: השואה), Churben (Yiddish: חורבן), is the term generally used to describe the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, as part of a programme of deliberate extermination planned and executed by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) regime in Germany led by Adolf Hitler.[2]

I've never heard of the Armenian holocaust referred to generically as "the holocaust".

But it was THE 1st program of deliberate extermination planned and executed in the 20th century. (The American Indian was a dead issue) And Churchill's use of the word ties the meaning to the Armenians.

Even the word Genocide was born of the way the Armenians were treated.

So after reading the link you provided, are implying that it is wrong to use the generic term "Holocaust" to refer to events of the WWII period is wrong, but it is OK to refer to the killing of Armenians as such? From your link:

The Young Turks and the Truth about the Holocaust at Adna (1913 -- massacre of Armenians in 1909.)

The Holocaust and Other Poems (1914 -- "Holocaust" in this title refers to the San Francisco earthquake and fire.)

The Holocaust in Minnesota (1918 -- great forest fire.)

Fire from Holocaust to Beneficence: the Romance of Aryano and Semita (1918 -- "Holocaust" refers to a volcanic eruption; Aryano tames fire.)

The Holocaust: Italy's Struggle with the Hapsburg (1919 -- the oppression of Italy in the 1800s, suffering and dying patriots.)

The Last Ditch: ... the Minnesota holocaust ... (1920 -- drainage and irrigation law, inequalities, the destruction of water resources.)

The Holocaust (1922 -- poem in memory of the Armenian massacres.)

The Smyrna Holocaust (1923 -- destruction of Christian neighborhoods by arson; the massacre of Armenians.)

Holocaust Poems (1944 -- World War II's effects on England and the English.)

Holocaust at the Bar X (1952 -- potboiler Western.)

Holocaust at Sea (1956 -- account of a 1942 naval battle, the sinking of the battleship Scharnhorst.)

World Law or World Holocaust (1957 -- address before the Oklahoma Bar Association.)

Jungle Holocaust (Date uncertain but 1950s -- World War II in New Guinea.)

If your problem with the use of the term "holocaust" was in it being co-opted by survivors of Nazi atrocities, you could have indicated as such. Trying to imply that the writer who indicated Holocaust = 6 years was incorrect because the Armenian holocaust lasted only two or four years seems pretty weak.

I knew what he meant, but this is not the point. I don't see a good use in arguing whether the Native Americans, African Slaves, Jews, Armenians, Tutsis etc. got the worst deal. You can make arguments for each. I was simply using the generally accepted naming convention, and picked a few examples.

My point is just that societies can collapse within short (less than 10 years) timeframes. I consider Europe 1936-1945 the collapse of a society. Europe 1913-1919 could also be considered the collapse of a society. The fact that new civilizations emerged in their place doesn't negate the fact that the old ones collapsed.

Captital or lower case H? holocaust is a noun but usually (the) Holocaust refers to WWII.

I find perpetuation though language interesting, after all why do we have a word like 'antisemitic',
is it not a form of bigotry? Does this imply it is more vicious, or more pervasive than other forms of ethnoreligious bigotry? Antimuslin or anticatholicdon't seem to have gained a foothold.


I tend to agree with consumer. I really wish I had ignored Eric's original comment. I should have known better.

Judging by the length and ferocity of yesterday's (or the day before) thread on whether the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified, I'd just as soon let this holocaust/Holocaust debate fizzle before it becomes another incredible waste of time and energy.

The validity of the word antisemitism vs. other words to describe bigotry, I don't even want to go near that one. I'd hate to see WisdomFromPakistan get banned by Leanan :-)

That's a joke having to do with pro/anti Israel/Palestinian debates that seem to crop up from time to time. My intention is only to close with a little levity and not offend anyone and I apologize to WFP and Leanan using them in my joke, but it was very hard to resist.

That timeline makes sense. I'd point out that we're now 35-40 years from first becoming aware of resource issues (Population Bomb - 1968, Limits to Growth - 1972, OPEC Embargo - 1973/4). Warfare and cannibalisim 10-15 years off, then? Well, warfare seems already to be here, eh?

That's if you assume a global collapse will follow the same timeline as one small island in the middle of nowhere.

I don't think that's a reasonable assumption. I think our collapse will be much slower, simply because we're larger, and have a lot longer to fall.

Some think the opposite - that we will collapse faster. But there's no evidence to support that. Larger societies that collapsed, such as Rome, took longer than Easter Island.

Which isn't to say there won't be a lot of individual tragedies along the way, some of them quite abrupt.

One thing about our collapse. Wouldn't the last of of the easter islander's simply left? They didn't all have to die, maybe they just said "screw it" and hopped in a boat to South America or back across the pacific? And the fall of the roman empire had little to do with resources than a collapse of a cohesive political hierarchy, where rival nations became more powerful than them. I'm not saying we'll be able to become more populous in this resource constrained environment, nor am I saying that war and strife aren't in our future, but why is there an assumption that 100% die-off of the human species is in any shape probable? Alot of doom and gloom from people who know no more than the rest of us. Oh well.

Greer isn't saying there will be a 100% dieoff. Few peak oilers believe the dieoff will be 100%.

In 1965 executives at Shell wanted to know what the world would look like in the year 2000. They consulted a range of experts, who speculated about fusion-powered hovercrafts and "all sorts of fanciful technological stuff". When the oil company asked the scientist James Lovelock, he predicted that the main problem in 2000 would be the environment. "It will be worsening then to such an extent that it will seriously affect their business," he said.
"And of course," Lovelock says, with a smile 43 years later, "that's almost exactly what's happened."
His latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, predicts that by 2020 extreme weather will be the norm, causing global devastation; that by 2040 much of Europe will be Saharan; and parts of London will be underwater...ethical consumption, carbon offsetting, recycling and so on - all of which are premised on the calculation that individual lifestyle adjustments can still save the planet. This is, Lovelock says, a deluded fantasy. Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.

Peak Oil is unfortunate for industrial societies but Global Warming is going to knock us on our rear.


Climate change is a different animal.

David Goodstein, professor of physics and vice-provost of CalTech, points out in his book that there's a possibility that AGW could tip the earth into a state "incompatible with life."

And it could happen fast. During the Younger Dryas reversal at the end of the last ice age, there were three and two year patches of change (within a larger change) in temp of several degrees C.
Climate change does not always happen in geological time, it can happen in human time as well. We are due for changes as abrupt as this, but with a greater magnitude.

The Earth has a stable mode incompatible with life: frozen solid. My understanding is that even with the highest possible level of greenhouse gas you don't get temperature rise more than 6 degrees (C). All the ice sheets would melt, but it would be very wet and you could still feed a lot of people. Contrariwise if we undershoot on the greenhouse gas levels [not easy I know] and get an ice age then things would be bad.

Alas, there is a variable humans do not have the technology to control - the output from the sun. Sun output may have been why iceball earth existed.

My understanding is that even with the highest possible level of greenhouse gas you don't get temperature rise more than 6 degrees (C)

This would be incorrect, so far as I know. Link?


Got it from someone who would know, but I might have misremembered. Looking around I found this to the contrary from Gavin Schmidt at realclimate: "Look at Venus for an example of extreme CO2 forcing…. The effect doesn’t saturate, it just slows. - gavin". It's pretty moot since we are going to lose our ability to pump CO2 into the air sooner than the IPCC expect. That assumes no run away effects from high temperatures, but remember the previous interglacial was a few degrees warmer than this one and it didn't happen then.

I think the new sensitivity findings by Hansen, et al., last year blow the idea of a max of 6 degrees out of the water. We can reach six degrees well before blowing all the fossil fuels into the air.

The Paper:


An article on the paper:


There have been other comments and papers from Hansen since. He's saying 6C for doubling of CO2. That's 560ppm. We can easily do that. We just learned there's something like 1/3 or 1/2 more carbon in the permafrost than they thought, and, of course, that the permafrost is melting.... a hundred years ahead of schedule. (Anything about that sound familiar?)


The Solar System around us furnishes a pretty powerful pointer as to the potency of warming by greenhouse gases. Venus,our nearest planetary neighbour in the Solar System provides ample evidence of what a 'runaway greenhouse gas' effect can achieve in terms of surface temperature - some 400-500 degrees centigrade - enough to melt Lead! Whilst this is admittedly an extreme example, highly unlikely to be replicated on Earth, I would certainly regard a maximum rise of 6 degrees centigrade as a hopelessly hubristic wild guess, since at this point, even the best scientific minds around cannot determine with any real accuracy how the positive feedback loops of climate change will interact with each other.

The 6 degrees comment has got some basis, as that is around the rise in previous mass extinctions where methane was released.
Of course, it is purely a ball park estimate, but the only prior experience we have indicates a rise of this order.

Lovelock argues that "hot rocks" is likely a stable mode. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it was in several Guardian.UK articles of this past winter and also in his book, "Revenge of Gaia". His argument is that insolation levels have been slowly increasing and that Gaia was a the upper range of what she could tolerate without flipping to a new stable state.

I think you've pretty much hit the nail on the head Joe, although I feel you vastly underrate the significance of the effect Peak Oil will have on our individual lives, when you describe it as being 'unfortunate for industrial societies'. Peak Oil will initially bring the world we know to it's knees, although Global Warming will almost certainly deliver the final death blow. One thing is pretty much assured when these two 'Grim Reapers' have finished taking their toll - there will be far fewer of us inhabiting this planet. Taken in isolation, most post-Peak Oil scenario predictions range around an ultimate population reduction of 4-5 billion from the present 6.4 billion. Figure in Global Warming on top of that, and it has to be conceded that prospects for the future of the human race are none too rosy on present showing. Seems like Malthus might yet be ultimately vindicated in his views!

Few peak oilers believe the dieoff will be 100%.

Exactly! Only those with extremely little knowledge of biology believe there will be 100% dieoff. Homo sapiens occupy almost every niche of the earth, nothing could possibly wipe out all of them. And even if we have a pandemic we are so numerous that some would be immune.

How large a dieoff will it really be. Everything is just a wild ass guess but I would expect that sometime in the second half of this century the population of the earth will be less than half a billion people. Just as we are deep into overshoot right now, we will likewise go deep into undershoot. That is, our population will drop well below the long term carrying capacity. Then it will gradually rise to that level before Malthusian limits hit us again. And the population will likely settle at that level from now on.

But as I said everything is just a guess. The population could drop to much lower than half a billion, depending on how serious things get during the collapse.

Ron Patterson

If a crash does happen I would feel that population levels may sink far more than you suggest. This is because under those circumstances people fight for resources.

As discussed previously, civilisation may well be a one-shot deal, as the richest deposits have been used up, especially of fossil fuels.

Furthermore many more renewable resources, such as the oceans and topsoil, have been trashed compared to historic levels and endemic warfare would complete the process.
In a society such as that no resources would be available to deal with issues like climate change, and a couple of failures of the monsoons would do for huge numbers of people.

The best hope would be that some areas managed to insulate themselves from the crash, maybe China or the US.

If this did not happen, population might drop to hunter gatherer levels, but reduced from that due to resource degradation.

At that time world population was perhaps 4 million.

Woah! dave getting his doomer on.

Well I guess you did say "if".

500 to 600 million seems reasonable to me considering both problems in total. but there is one wild card that might make your 4 million a reality if not optimistic.

the asteroid apathos, is due to have a close by orbit in about 2020-2035, but there is one thing. it will pass near what's called the gravitational keyhole of the earth. a small window of space that if it passes through means that it will swing around and hit the earth in ten or so years after the first flyby. the last thing we need is a asteroid hitting us in the middle of us trying to work through peak oil and climate change.

I just can't see a support point for a 500million population.
to get down to that , you would need a pretty universal disaster, so if you have not got large pockets of highly developed technology, then you have to look at the last time the population was at that kind of level, in around 1600 or so.
Society at that time was extremely complex, and adapted to it's environment in a relatively stable way, many elements of which had not changed for hundreds of years, and the environment relatively undegraded.
In contrast, a 500 million population now would be one where the infrastructure had been being rapidly wiped out, where both famine and warfare were endemic.

This ties in with the reasons that hopes to move to a relatively 'green', small scale lifestyle are in my view unrealistic.
You can do that in areas of the world, but only because in other areas you have very sophisticated, high tech systems providing the basics.

Mining, for instance, is both high tech and high energy. That is just the start of the story though, as at every stage to process the materials you are relying on this infrastructure.
Both solar cells and wind turbines are utterly dependent on it, as is transport, computers - the list goes on.

To take a specific region, the UK, the present population is around 60 million.
Some kind of low-tech society might be able, in theory, to support around 4-6 million, which is the last time we were anything like 'back to the land'.
The process of reducing the population 10 fold though would so utterly trash society, not to mention the impoverishment of virtually all resources relative to our 1600'ish baseline, that the momentum would surely go past this.

Around 600,000 people was likely the size of the population after the fall of the Roman Empire and ensuing troubles.
If technology goes, this might be some sort of upper limit, but would seem to be pretty optimistic, again due to degradation of resources and the momentum of decline from 60 million to 600,000, with the warfare, famine and pestilence implied.

If the technological infrastructure goes, so do almost all of us.

Hot rocks would be 100%. Nuclear disaster could be 100%. Ocean toxicity could be 100%. The Rapture could be 100%. Gray goo nanotechnology could be 100%. I can't assign probabilities to any of those. Nor is there any reason to think it more likely that population would decline to well below half a billion and somehow stabilize there than that population would continue to plummet to zero.

Exactly! Only those with extremely little knowledge of biology believe there will be 100% dieoff.

Is this the same level of certainty as when you say 'there are no conspiracies'?

Iceball earth would have been a 100% human dieoff. The hot rocks model - 100% dieoff. Man's willingeness to kill each other in various horrid ways might just get humans to 100%.

The best way to get to 100% dieoff is the killing of the support biosphere. Heat/cold/tools of war like nuke or bio weapons could make it happen.

Edit: A way I had not thought of getting to 100% die off
The ingestion and absorption of industrial toxicities has contributed to an endocrine disruption that's resulted in a 40% decline in sperm count in 50 years. And I 'forgot' about the methane burp option.

That was not a option. Polynesian Canoes were constructed out of large trees. Peak Trees (as in they were gone). How should were cook our neighbor tonight?

Well, actually, having done a brief Wikipedia search on Easter Island, it appears the inhabitants never disappeared at all. They did wreck their environment, but are still alive and well on the island today.

If we're all in the same boat, so to speak, arn't we all in the middle of nowhere?

I read the article with great interest. Then I read it again. I think Greer is a very smart man but I also think he still does not see the big picture. He talks about "speculative bubbles" and those who say "it is different this time". What no one seems to understand however is there was "never another time to be different from". And there were no other bubble to compare this one to.

Yes there is a bubble in oil but its a production bubble, not a price bubble. There is in fact a fossil fuel bubble that includes coal, natural gas and oil. This is the first fossil fuel bubble the world has ever experienced and it will burst, just like all bubbles.

This fossil energy bubble has produced a food bubble, which in turn has produced a population bubble, and that bubble will burst also. There have been other population bubbles, of other animals, and they have always burst. But this is the first worldwide human population bubble. And it cannot possibly be different this time because there was never another time to be different from.

Ron Patterson

Thanks Ron, well said.
Another observation in a different vein comes from the Chimp when he says that this will be the very first time in human history when all of humanity is faced with a decline in the amount of available energy.

"I don't completely follow his argument. He says that we will collapse, but it won't be that bad, because the USSR wasn't that bad, and they still have a semi-functioning state(s) there 20 years later. He rejects the "It's different this time" argument."

IMO, Often I think the peoples argument comes from their definition of optimism. For some a long drawn out multigenerational collapse is preferable because they do not have to witness extreme misery and hardship, so they argue a catabolic collapse . For others pulling the band aid off quick is preferable so they argue a catastrophic collapse. The former is the camp I see Greer in.

I personally have fell into the quick collapse camp recently. Mainly because of four reasons.

One: Information technology.

The speed at which information disseminates. IMO, we have a telescoping action on world changing event due to the speed at which information travels from information technology. The more people think that things are going to collapse, to whatever extent, drives them to make life changes that are usually not beneficial to keeping BAU together. Put another way: people divesting from multi-national corporations en mass is sure to wreak some havic, The quicker people realize the unlikely prospects of BAU continuing the quicker it will fail. Basically psychology, the quicker people realize we have a unrealitic system in place, the quicker they will remove themselves for that system the best way they can. Financial MSM know this, hence the never ending bottom calling.

TWO: War

"Moscow has issued an extraordinary warning to the West that military assistance to Georgia for use against South Ossetia or Abkhazia would be viewed as a "declaration of war" by Russia.
The extreme rhetoric from the Kremlin's envoy to NATO came as President Dmitry Medvedev stressed he will make a military response to US missile defence installations in eastern Europe, sending new shudders across countries whose people were once blighted by the Iron Curtain.
And Moscow also emphasised it was closely monitoring what it claims is a build-up of NATO firepower in the Black Sea."

The desperate attempt for TPTB to keep it together and remain in control will backfire in their face eventually. Then again, I have an utter contempt for TPTB, so I am biased.

THREE: Global Financial System:

I can't see this working once we start into decline for more than two or three years at the most. The again it depends on decline rates. I assume 4-8% declines would be devastating and at the very least and knock us down a peg or two very quickly, which would feedback to points 1 and 2.

FOUR: I am biased and feel that the quicker we re-organize the quicker we can recreate a sustainable world, if that is possible at this point. Aside from a major war, I am in favor of a quick collapse.

Best Wishes for the most optimistic collapse

The World has become so interconnected (globalized) that a failure in one part will throw a stress on another part as people fall back to other areas to get support. Which will cause these other areas to experience collapse, which will stress out other areas further back.

Analogous to acute liver and kidney failures.

I deal with organic farmers who use horses, etc. as well as modern farmers who use propane to dry grains after harvest, etc.. The approach to both systems is different even though the end product (food) is the same. If you go and spend time with both types you'll see that modern farming is FAR MORE dependant on petroleum than the unexperienced person would ever guess. A seasonal oil shortage could easily result in a famine that would affect a large segment of the population.

(My opinion).

And yet, many uses of fossil fuels have alternatives. In your example, if the corn is left in the fields to dry, then no propane is needed. The harvest comes in later and is subject to some loss, but overall it works out just fine with no propane. (assuming available diesel to run the combines...)


try significant losses for small time gardeners leaving corn/beans/etc. to dry in the fields due to raccoons/deer/etc.

got to grow some for those others.

try significant losses for small time gardeners...due to raccoons/deer/etc.

Or conibear 330 and raccoon stew...an extra yield from the garden!

For some a long drawn out multigenerational collapse is preferable because they do not have to witness extreme misery and hardship, so they argue a catabolic collapse . For others pulling the band aid off quick is preferable so they argue a catastrophic collapse. The former is the camp I see Greer in.

I don't think that's necessarily correct. If you read his paper on catabolic collapse, he clearly points out that a slow collapse is the worst. Maybe not for you personally, but for the earth, and for our descendants.

A slow collapse means we have time to turn all resources and capital to waste. The result is an environment so damaged that it cannot support even a primitive level of technology. Soil barren, all the trees cut down, water poisoned, air polluted, many plants and animals extinct, etc.

Greer believes the collapse will be slow because historically, that's how it has been. He doesn't think it's preferable.

I think people have a very, very hard time thinking of The Perfect Storm. They seem to be able to see the various big and little storms that make up The Perfect Storm, but not TPS itself.

- Climate change can happen within 2 years, we now know. It has happened in that time frame since the end of the last Ice Age.

- None of the examples from history have any analogy to today. Not one. None of them help us understand what we are facing except in the most superficial terms.

- None of the collapses in history ended civilization precisely because they were isolated from other parts of civilization. That is no longer the case. Russia occurred in the era of interconnectedness, but while resources were still thought to be plentiful, and in a very practical sense were still readily available. I wouldn't call it a collapse. It was more akin to a bankruptcy, really.

- None of them included at least three different immediate causes, any of which was capable of triggering a collapse, or near collapse in and of themselves.

- None of them occurred within a context that threatened the very existence of human life. WTH do people think is going to happen if and when that little reality sinks in?

I find the reasoning of most to be lacking for the reasons mentioned above. Any assessment of future trends that does not include resource depletion, climate change, financial collapse and war is a waste of your time unless specifically intending to assess a single aspect for clarity in that area alone. But even then, it must come back to TPS.

It is time to alter the conversation.


I find the reasoning of most to be lacking for the reasons mentioned above.

But...there's really little point in talking about it in those terms. If it's truly unprecedented, then we have no basis for debate.

Yes, we have technology and interconnectedness the world has never seen. Does it mean the collapse will be faster...or much, much slower?

I tend to think slower, simply because that's the trend. Easter Island at 50 years was about the fastest collapse we know of, and also the smallest. Rome was quite large, and took four centuries.

But if what we're facing is truly unprecedented, and not related to what has happened before, there's no point in speculating, really.

I tend to look to history as a guide, because that seems to be the most accurate thing to do. (The best way to avoid your own biases...though people often manage to fool themselves even when they should know better from personal experience.) It could very well be that it would be misleading this time, but what's the alternative? Consult the Magic 8-Ball?

I tend to think slower, simply because that's the trend

I tend to think faster because I made a living from fixing very complex electronic systems.

I think the key word in any change is 'exponential'.

Due to obvious economic inertia, I expect decline to be almost imperceptibly slow at first (but maybe already happening?) and accelerating exponentially with quite a short doubling time as more and more of our essential inputs peak then decline.

When I started work 35 years or so ago most people in OECD countries had very simple easy to fix systems supporting their daily lives. The trend over that period has been for things to get exponetially more complex (eg. Moore's Law in electronics) now they are very complex - most people don't know how something as 'simple' as hot water gets to come out of a faucet (tap) - no society has lived like this before so history isn't necessarily a good guide.

Even the poorest people in the world rely on oil - next time you see a picture of a starving person attempting to drink from a polluted puddle look what they are drinking from or using to collect the water ... it's usually made of plastic and is one of their few possesions.

Recently available things like cheap plastic jerry cans often allow people to live a long way from water supplies in marginal, previously underpopulated, places.

Add in production from our system of agriculture requiring a stable climate, inorganic NPK, chemicals and fossil water and fuels is unsustainable at current levels ... and I think food and population growth must slow then decline - experience from studying things like yeast suggests exponential decline.

I think ccpo makes the critical point - as Darwinian, arraya and Ignorant also allude to - this time it's global, which makes it unprecedented. There's nowhere to evacuate to, no other colony to exploit, and only vestiges may remain in pockets isolated from the gathering perfect storm, rather than fully functioning other cultures/civilizations as in past collapses. But that doesn't mean there's no point in debating and/or speculating about what may transpire. And history can serve as a guide. It's just important to note the critical differences. An example might be to consider what happened in the US when its oil extraction peaked. That made it vulnerable to an embargo, resulting in shortages/lines/price spike, etc. And there was demand destruction. But the critical difference was that imports could be ramped up. The US could turn elsewhere to satisfy demand. When the globe peaks, there is no elsewhere to turn to. (Nor, as Catton might say, any elsewhen, which we have already done by exploiting ancient sunlight.) So start the ball rolling with shortages/price spikes etc., but then consider what happens when no alleviation from elsewhere is possible. Then add in similar and synergistically positive (with negative impacts) feedback loops such as arraya and ccpo have listed. To which I would add population overshoot, which is, of course, the underlying ultimate cause of it all. Perfect Storm indeed. And definitely worth discussing.

But...there's really little point in talking about it in those terms. If it's truly unprecedented, then we have no basis for debate.

Leanan, sometimes I just want to bonk you on the head. Consider yourself bonked on the head.

Your logic is wacky. I didn't say we should not look at history nor that we should not look at individual issues. I did say only doing that is pointless. I didn't say there was no solution, I said we won't find it piecemeal. (Hmmm... Perhaps pithy would have been better in this case.)

The discussion has to start drawing all these things together as a matter of habit because time is of the essence. The Hirsch Report makes this point, right? Well, if we had a 20 year window only to deal with oil depletion, does adding several other stressors lengthen the window? I think not.

We also have tools now we didn't have in Roman and Mayan times that help us understand complex systems better. We know of the underlying order to seemingly chaotic systems. We have tons of basis for debate. Creativity and intelligence let us see beyond what merely is.

Almost as an aside, but as an argument in support of rapid collapse, consider how slowly things moved, literally, in those past collapses. How long for food to get from point A to point B? How long for large social changes? (I don't know the answers, these are actual questions.) Let's assume for a moment that things moved 10 times slower than today. If we could create from that a econo-socio-politico-ecological variable of change, might we not find that increased speed plays itself out in most areas of human endeavor? Considerations of Chaos Theory cause me to think they might.

Consider time as a chart of bifurcations. Place 1 AD as the start of a line. Where is the first bifurcation? Maybe the fall of Rome? The Middle Ages the second set? The Industrial Revolution the third? Oil the fourth? The Depression the fifth? (Or vice-versa on those last two?) Now the sixth?

If this rather unusual way of looking at time were to have a chaotic structure to it, we should be very, very afraid because by that sixth level of bifurcations things are getting very complex, indeed.

No, I don't think complexity helps us unless it is also redundant. Competition does tend to lead to the creation of multiple samples of essentially the same thing, so... What I expect, though, is for the complexities to result in positive feedbacks that are beyond any control.

That said, a lot depends on how one is defining collapse.


I know were "pissing" away our future but do you have to be so graphic about it? :-)


Hey! You! This is a family site!


"A lot depends on how one is defining collapse."

Ccpo, you of all people should know that "period three implies chaos". Chaos, at least, is preferable to the steady state, which is extinction.

And please don't bonk Leanan on the head, we need her brain.

Hey, it's just a little model I thought up on the fly. Let's not get overly scientific about it just yet.

I shall take the bonking of heads under advisement.


Hi arraya,

Thank you and just one comment.

re: "The more people think that things are going to collapse, to whatever extent, drives them to make life changes that are usually not beneficial to keeping BAU together."

This is a generality and we'd have to get into particulars; ie., can you expand upon this?

I'm not so sure that people thinking things "are going to collapse" means they make any changes at all, let alone ones that are, as you specify, not beneficial. (Perhaps they might be equally disposed to make ones that are.)

At the same time, I see (sometimes) people *wanting* to make changes to benefit the environment, even if they lack what we would see as the best information upon which to base their actions.

re: "Basically psychology, the quicker people realize we have a unrealitic system in place, the quicker they will remove themselves for that system the best way they can."

In other words, I'm not so sure about this.

To say people can and will realize something is "unrealistic" when it's the only reality they've known, and the one (in whatever way) they've learned to navigate,..hmnnnn.

This seems to presuppose that people have a way to quickly learn what is (emphasis) what you might call "realistic".

I'm not so sure.

Perhaps it's the case that, for any individual, the primary relationships - (for eg. this would be family for most people, as a generality, plus relationships that function as "gatekeepers" of one's income source) - influence how and under what conditions people live, what their shared views are, and, to a large extent, what any one individual is willing or unwilling to count as "real."

So, I guess I'm saying is...the information via "information technology" might not play as great a role as we here (TODers all) might imagine.

IMHO what makes it "different this time" are the tools and triggers for distructive collapse.

The spring is tighter (due to a multitude of pressures) than any time previous and the elements that are capable of triggering collapse are many.

I agree we can muddle, coast, struggle through for a while still but its not a question of if but when.

The discussion about Japan willing to fight to the death rather than give in that AlanFBE was talking about the other day, thus waranting Nukes should be instructive.

There are always people in power who simply will NOT give in and that is exactly what is required in order to avoid all out war due to resource constraints at this point.

greer seems guilty of using an example here to reinforce his argument that this will be a 'long descent' without analyzing the very complexities [that he speaks of] i. e. the major ascent of energy prices recently as russia needed a 'leg up' & had the oil to provide.

he may be right about many of our 'fast collapse ' scenarios being mostly based on unconscious cultural processes.

things are different this time w/ globalism & i believe will allow us to prop up [ which we are doing financially] one another to some extent until we 'fall down'[at least a step or more] together.

Aahhh those evil 'denialists' again....

Denying what exactly?

Denying that the planet warms and cools? - i'll buy that.

Or denying it is man-made - include me out.

But dont worry about it: UK miles and congestion are already on the way down so carbon will reduce.
I am sure its the same in the States as well and this will be the trend from now on.

And just as soon (like 2009) as we are too poor to buy Chinese doo-hickeys, they wont need to build too many coal fired power stations to produce them.

So its all going to plan :-)

I have to give MudLogger for staying on topic.

The article referenced was about climate change and my comments were also. Abrupt Climate change is the subject of the draft version of a report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP).

The CCSP has been "reviewing" climate science, a process which has been going on since 2003. At the start, many folks complained that this whole process was intended to delay any sort of consideration of the problem of climate change. It's been more than 5 years and there are still several reports left in the process. Here's a list of the various SAP's, with dates and one can follow the time lines, if one wishes. After it was revealed that the Shrub Boys interfered with various aspects of climate science, it would be easy to conclude that the whole exercise was intended to whitewash the problem, so to speak.

E. Swanson

I'll be honest with you Black dog. I think politicians are going to do diddly-sqaut about it and certainly not follow the reccomendations given to them by climate scientists for a steady state 450ppm or below (I think the recommended figure is now below this).

As MUDLOGGER says above in post up top we will be forced to reduce our carbon footprints through oil/gas scarcity BUT....to keep economies pumping industry/countires are going to burn anything that looks remotely black and I don't think the green lobby are going to win any fights when considering new shale/coal/sand projects. I just cannot see them leaving this stuff in the ground when we are pumping 5 or 10 mpd less than now when decline has really set in with oil at $200+.


quick edit: target of 350ppm and a good study (small pdf)


Given the massive rise of coal, not to mention future shale/sands projects I just cannot envisage politicians coming to agreement globally once we hit the declines big time on oil/gas.

I just cannot see them leaving this stuff in the ground when we are pumping 5 or 10 mpd less than now when decline has really set in...

I wonder what happens when: a) we have a really ugly season with hurricanes and b) the arctic melts enough to disrupt the Jet Stream and thereby farkles all our wheat/corn/soybean assumptions...

These events are not far off and when they occur, I don't think things will be catabolic. I think we'll be rather busy.

a) It is not yet proven That global warming causes more hurricanes and in fact a recent study by climatologits suggests the opposite. Besides which in a global popoulation of 6500M+ only the parties badly affected by increase typhoon/hurricane rates (which I would rough guess at a few million + population) are going to want to do something about AGW if indeed AGW is resopnsible for the increase rate.

b) The entire arctic sea ice melt is not enough to disrupt the thermohaline circulation....you need something bigger...like Greenland, which given the current unstable regime is feasibly possible. Climate modelers put the possible melt for Greenland at 1000+ years gradually but of course their models don't take into account catastrophic events that could adversely affect melt/disintegration rate. Previous thermohaline shutdown in the paleo-climatic records have been attributed to more transient events, say huge ice-dams breaking in what is now Canada.

There are 3(4 see bottom) more important factors that you should have added to your list that MIGHT make politicians think twice: c)crashing global food production, d)sea level rise and e) population migration/refugees. d) is probably not going to happen on 1 politcal partys' watch ie "4 year to do something" syndrome (quick clarification - they will just mandate building on higher ground) so that leaves us with c)to date I know of no studies which prove current food production is any lower now due to global warming than say 20 years ago. If anyone know such a study I will graciously conceed this point and say c) is going to be the first reason for politicins to worry about AGW. My point e)? I honestly don't konw how individual countries will react to that!

I could have added f) war but if we are that far down the path in an energy war it is unlikely governments will be thinking about recuing ther carbon footprints!!


Marco wrote:

The entire arctic sea ice melt is not enough to disrupt the thermohaline circulation....you need something bigger...like Greenland, which given the current unstable regime is feasibly possible. Climate modelers put the possible melt for Greenland at 1000+ years gradually but of course their models don't take into account catastrophic events that could adversely affect melt/disintegration rate. Previous thermohaline shutdown in the paleo-climatic records have been attributed to more transient events, say huge ice-dams breaking in what is now Canada.

What I'm thinking of is not the same situation as that which caused the Younger-Dryas cold period, which may have been triggered by a bolide impact but which lasted more than 1,000 years.

What you are missing is that the Nordic Seas are rather isolated from the rest of the North Atlantic. Water (and sea-ice) which flows thru the Fram Strait into the Nordic Seas tends to stay there thru re-circulation around the Sub-Polar Gyre. That's seen in the continuing freshening of the surface water of the Nordic Sea. Also, The East Greenland Current transports some of the low-salinity water from the Fram Strait into the Labrador Sea and there's further transport from the Arctic thru the Canadian Archipelago/Baffin Bay/Davis Strait route. There was an event called The Great Salinity Anomaly which was first detected in the Labrador Sea and then traversed the Sub-Polar Gyre beginning late in the 1960's. Another such event would have more fresh water available as the Arctic sea-ice melts and would enter the already freshened Sub-Polar Gyre and Nordic Seas. And, each year, it's likely that continued low sea-ice extent would add more fresh surface water to the mix.

WHO Commentary about findings reported below.

Curry, R. and C. Mauritzen, 2005. Dilution of the Northern Atlantic Ocean in recent decades, Science, 308, 1772-1774.

E. Swanson

I'll take some time to peruse this link in the morning as it's late here! Thanks for the info.

For (b) he said "jet stream," not thermohaline circulation. IIRC at least one study so far suggests that greatly increased (in both time and size) open water in the Arctic may disrupt or change Northern Hemisphere air current flows, leading to significant changes in storm tracks and thus changes the waterfall patterns.

You know jack about climate, friend. Take your taunts and set them against 350ppm.


I would like to see someone look at how the massive volcanic eruption under the polar ice cap, that occurred last year, affected the amount of ice. Was the heat input from that enough to cause the extra melting last year? If so then the rise in minimum ice area this year make sense--and we can expect area to continue to increase for the next few years.

I hadn't heard about that before, just gooled it and got:


Plenty of other hits. I didn't see any explicit mention of a peer reviewed study correlating the two - if only becasue I havn't looked. Interesting though.

No scientists think that's plausible.

What’s Up With Volcanoes Under Arctic Sea Ice

Perusing the comments, I find it hard to believe the # of denialists. Scary. Even after a range of arctic oceanographers weigh in, citing ratios of .1 to 100 watts/sq m. between volcanic sources and surface heat.

I think cc denialists are really terrrified. Much more than peak oil denialists, where technology shows them a path thru the forest. Then its just arguing time frames. CC is not giving the time frame option for BAU, or a tech path thru the forest. (I can't see oil lasting much beyond 2012 even in our fitful plateau, not sure of the descent after that.)

There's a reason for those numbers: the denialists are very well funded.

I don't think the denialist:believer ratio is particularly high - i've seen far more misinformed comments elsewhere.

I'm still undecided! I read as much I can, realclimate.org, AGW books, opposed to -AGW books, Nature, climare.ark, new scientist, IPCC full reports etc...

IQ 135, Aerospace engineer, telescope designer, astronomer: stupid enough to be duped by anti-AGW propoganda? Maybe. The day I stop learning though is the day I die.

It pays to keep an open mind. Unfortunately AGW might be another rearview mirror event just like Peak oil.


Hell has become slightly cooler lately.

GOP adds global warming to its 2008 platform

The National Republican Party for the first time is expected to acknowledge global warming in its 2008 GOP Platform, according to a draft of the document.

“Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth,” the document said. “While the scope and long term consequences of this warming effect are the subject of ongoing research, we believe the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today.”

Excuse me if I cynically believe this is a worthless GOP stunt to try and get some votes from the green brigade.

Notice that they will not be so quick to tell US public HOW they are going to use less oil. I suspect they might wait until after the election!!


Gawd!! Next they'll acknowledge evolution and the Sun being the center of the solar system and all.

Look in the rearview mirror.


This might sound callous, but there hasn't been enough catastroph yet! Call it rearview if the population starts decreasing.


I have generally found your posts to be intelligent and thoughtful, so I'm going to be as gentle as I can here:

You've got rocks in your head.

As an educated man you know that science rests on a bedrock of scientific inquiry that itself rests on... leaps of faith and logic. This idea that science is made up solely of scientific experiments is ridiculous. When we add to this that political and public safety choices are almost always made in a vacuum of perfect knowledge, relying on judgment and insight as much as, and sometimes more than, facts and science, then we cannot but conclude that expecting to wait till AGW is proven beyond ANY doubt is so exceptional as to be irrational.

Let us further add this fact: I know of no, I repeat *no* peer-reviewed, un-debunked anti-AGW scientific paper. Not one. I know of two surveys of AGW literature. One was of scientific papers in journals. The result? of 1000 papers reviewed exactly zero could be said to be anti-AGW. All teh rest either supported AGW or were neutral. The other, more recent, found that of a set of books on climate that were anti-AGW (note: not scientific papers, but books), 90% were connected to conservative groups and/or think tanks. check out Exxonsecrets sometime.

In the meantime:






Or you can believe your own lyin' eyes... The blue lines are of current interest.



I always try and take criticism positively and learn by it! No offence taken.

Yours and Black dogs links are stuck in my reading box which is bulging just now!


volcanic eruption under the polar ice cap, that occurred last year

Wrong. They occurred 7 and 9 years ago. Read carefully.


Can anyone advise if there is any location on earth in which an active volcanic region is combined with FF source rock?

Geology rocks but I don't. It would seem that sedimentary and igneous formations would not occur in the same region. If this is correct then the notion of the arctic being a new oil province seems misguided.

If the hypothesis that rising oil consumption and rising economic growth are cause and effect, and the observed economic growth on the upslope of oil use is a series of ever higher peaks and troughs, then I expect post peak oil economic decline will still be a series of peaks and troughs … the only difference post peak is that each economic peak will be lower than the previous one.

There was a US census report yesterday that shows that the inflation-adjusted median income for working-age households was $1,100 lower in 2007 than it was in the recession year of 2001, and since the census data was taken in 2007 an economic downturn appears to have started in the US!


Is this economic evidence of peak oil (in the USA at least) from a source of data different from the EIA?

Who cares about working-age households incomes?!

Fresh from Bloomberg today:

"U.S. Economy Grew Faster Than Previously Estimated (Update1)"

There is no recession and there won't be any. That's clearly bullish news for commodities.

Over the weekend I plan to say farewell to two restaurant owners who are going out of business because business declined drastically over the course of this year. Other restaurants within a 5 mile radius have also closed this year; all had been open for over a decade and had been doing quite well... until late last year.

Ignorance is bliss, as they say. But if ignorance is bliss, what of sheer stupidity? Nirvana?

From the government that has lied about everything comes the rosy news there is no recession...


Not to worry, ccpo, the Tooth Fairy is coming to the rescue:

Breaking News: Lehman To Be Acquired by Tooth Fairy

The market responded with enthusiasm to reports that the Tooth Fairy has agreed to acquire Lehman. The purchase price has not yet been determined and will be set by Dick Fuld wishing upon a star, clicking his heels three times, and being transported back to that magical place where Lehman still sells for over $70 per share.

In related news, Lehman has agreed to sell all of its level III capital, including CDOs, ABSs, pet rocks, baseball cards, slightly used condoms, and credit default swaps written by MBIA and Ambac. Lehman’s level III capital will be acquired for 150% of its face value by Tinkerbell, who will carry it off to Neverland to be fed to a crocodile. Lehman is financing 90% of the acquisition at an interest rate that has not been announced; Tinkerbell’s up-front payment consists of a handful of pixie dust, three crickets, and a bullfrog. Analyst Dick Bove estimates that the bullfrog could eventually be transformed into three princes and a pumpkin coach. The deal gives Lehman no recourse to any of Tinkerbell’s assets other than the Level III capital. If Tinkerbell defaults, Lehman’s successor entity will stick its hand down the crocodile’s throat and attempt to get it to regurgitate. The firm’s historical value-at-risk analysis shows that sticking your hand down a crocodile’s throat is completely safe.

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson issued a statement: “I am delighted that SWFs (Sovereign Wealth Fairies) continue to express confidence in the terrific values represented by American financial institutions. As I have been saying since August of 2007, this shows that the crisis is now over.”

Meanwhile, the SEC has announced an investigation of mean, evil, bad short-seller David Einhorn. While out for a beer with a friend, Einhorn reportedly suggested that the Tooth Fairy does not exist and that wishing upon a star is not a wholly reliable price discovery mechanism. Christopher Cox, chairman of the SEC, said, “Vicious rumors attacking the Tooth Fairy will not be tolerated. Our entire financial system and indeed the American way of life depend on the Tooth Fairy and wishing upon a star. How else could one value level III capital appropriately?” The SEC is reportedly planning to set up re-education camps for short-sellers.

Source: Comment by Etz on Cassandra...


In some aspects I suspect it is a precursor to PO. Having lived through the price spike/demand destruction of the late 70’s – early 80’s cycle I’ve seen first hand just how slowly the global (and US) economy adjusts. As discouraging as the stats are that you offer, I still think we’re just seeing the effects of $80+ oil. It’s difficult to not expect the ’08 stats (calculated 12 months from now) won’t be worse or even much worse then ’07.

As important as are the discussion regarding the mechanical aspects (maximum production rate vs. global demand) it easy for me to see political/military factors generating a series of artificial PO’s. Because of these factors OPEC’s maximum production rate may not be the determining factor in meeting global demand. Just because the KSA could produce 10 million bopd doesn’t mean they will even if the demand is there and the price can be paid. Given the dynamics shown in many of the models presented here it would appear that OPEC may just be a few years from becoming an effective cartel with members adhering to production quotas. I can foresee a rather serious and dangerous game of “chicken” between producers and consumers coming not too far down the road. The worst case scenario I see is that, despite serious global demand destruction, oil prices don’t drop significantly as OPEC members exercise self discipline and reduce rates proportionally. It could be a world where the ability to pay may not be the determining factor in access to crude oil. Correct or not, I think China sees the same possibility. Yesterday they announced a multi-billion $ joint venture with Iraq to develop a certain field. China has been cutting similar deals with other countries for at least 10 years. China will own a large percentage of this new oil. It will not be on the open market unless China chooses to sell it. I haven’t been able to come up with a credible estimate of the volume of this “right of first refusal” production but I think it is already significant. Another way of looking at the Chinese approach: they are essentially establishing multiple strategic petroleum reserves, just like our SPR, without having to compete in the current global market to buy this oil.

Mucho thanks you old gas sniffer. Made my "almost" weekend.

I love documentaries!

Thanks MUDLOGGER, I'd stay and talk, but now that I am done identifying an Ordovician receptaculites for an appreciative audience of townspeople, I am taking my entourage to the IHOP.

The potential problem for China is that oil producing nations may chose to renege production deals with a country just as quickly as they have done with current IOC contracts. Albeit you may think twice before p*ssing off the largest populace on the planet.

I think you're right on, ROCKMAN.

Russia has made it abundantly clear that it intends to discard the "market" as the mechanism for determining oil and natural gas prices.

I don't know if, talking near-term, a Russia-OPEC axis is in the cards, but I feel a Russia(and adjacent counties under its influence)-Iran-Venezuela alliance certainly is. And remember, Russia has a nuclear arsenal. So I agree that some sort of effective cartel, with the military muscle to back it up, is certainly in the offing.

What we're seeing now in terms of lower incomes for the average American, that's just a continuation of a trend that begin at the turn of the millenium.


Actually, the trend is longer than that. From 1967 to the mid 1980s average wages ended up flat, but given the strong economy before 1970 and the polarization of wealth, that meant the median was probably actually falling from the early '70s onwards. Like Peak Oil, we may have hit a bumpy plateau in wages; from around the first oil crisis in '74 to the '91 recession it looked bad. The uptick in household income in the '90s was probably the result of:

big gains among the rich
more 2-earner families
longer hours for salaried workers
massive stock and real estate speculation and growing personal debt
huge jumps in education & medical costs which inflated the GNP at consumers' expense

While many Americans were spending more and more time on their job commutes, reducing the utility of their wages, a sort of declining EROEI.

Kind of like "enhanced recovery"; we were stealing from our own future. And every uptick made people ignore the long-term plateau. Since 2000 we've gotten back on the real trend over the last 35 years.

After 35 years, shouldn't we all be getting angry?

I think you are a little too cynical in your analysis of the rise in real income during the '90s. I would maintain that there were real boosts in worker productivity due to the mass introduction of computers into the workplace.
I would offer my own work history as an example. I was a UPS guy from 79 to 06 and saw how going from paper-based data entry to digital-based data entry, along with a computerized dispatch system, did increase my productivity app 10-15%. There would also have been gains in time-in-transit, tracking, and service enhancements which would have resulted in greater GNP, although not directly related to productivity.
But that gain in productivity was real, and I think that you could project that across the breadth of the economy as computers became ubiquitous. Yes, I agree it was a one-off event, but you need to factor it in

It looks like the Chinese way of turning Iraq into a strategic petroleum reserve works a lot better than the American way of turning Iraq into a strategic petroleum reserve.

Mao Tse Tung's famous aphorism was "power comes out of the end of a rifle."

Strange to see the US following the little red book. Not strange to see the Chinese doing something innovative.

Is it innovative? China has had diplomats for thousands of years. In the 1300s the Chinese government sent treasure fleets with giant junks loaded with goods to trade all the way to Africa, and presumably hoped to obtain influence as well.

Of course Baghdad was close to the Silk Road, so Chinese-Iraqi trade has a history. Just need to get a pipeline along that ancient route.

Oil also moves by rail (all Russia to China oil exports for example).

A standard gauge railroad is under construction in 2 of 3 areas needed to go from China to Iraq.

China to Kazahkstan on Caspian Sea port is under construction and Iran to Baghdad is also under construction (both agreed, physical construction only in Iran, US does not approve).

From Caspian Sea port via rail ferry to Iran or yet to be built Kazakhstan vis Turkmenistan to Iran overland (Railroad exists in Russian broad gauge but not standard gauge).

Called the "Iron Silk Road".


China is also planning large conventional storage facilities for oil:


I found this census report..


Is it last years version of the report referenced in the story you linked?

Anyway, looking at the graph on page 4 you can see the "series of ever higher peaks and troughs" you talk about starts in the 60s with the latest peak in about 1999 or 2000. If the past serves as a key to the future, we would expect that about now the curve to take off for the heavens again. But, as the article you cite indicates, all indications are that just the opposite will happen.

For the median U.S. family, was 1999-2000 Peak Income?

On a related note Casandra had a humorous post the other day about "Peak Credit"..


"Peak Credit", like Peak Oil, thus forlornly reflects the necessity of increasing demand for credit from borrowers to sustain the unsustainable, at precisely the time when supply is constrained and shrinking, for suppliers are squarely confronting the reality that new sources are limited, and in any event, the demanders (even if supplied) have diminishing hope in the current environment of returning what was lent.

And along these lines Gail the Actuary has commented that "Peak Credit" has the potential to put the brakes on the current U.S. natural gas drilling boom:

There are several natural gas only "growth" companies out there, that depend heavily on debt for financing. This debt is drying up, and the companies will have to use cash flow to finance their operations. Growth will necessarily need to be scaled back (as well as stock buy-backs, dividend increases, and other things investors like). I think the question is how soon this scale back in growth starts--has it started already, or as the EIA data suggests, not quite yet.

--Gail the Actuary, August 27 Drumbeat

"For the median U.S. family, was 1999-2000 Peak Income?"

Note that the data you reference identifies household income. In that 40 year period, households went from primarily single-income to double-income. Household expenses rose concurrently with this trend.

When was peak net income for households? Defining net income as that portion not required to maintain the two job lifestyle: transport, food, etc.

If my memory serves me correctly, real wages have been declining sense
1974. Just by coincidence, that is when we went totally fiat, and the casino game really took off.

what about standard of living? Maybe we need to define wages in terms of energy usage. I think wages are allowing us to use more energy now per capita than in 1974.

We should probably have some sort of baseline commodity to compare from 1974 to now.

Work harder, take home less

Despite two periods of recession in the past decade, U.S. worker productivity still rose 18% in the 2000s - about 2.5% per year, according to author Jared Bernstein, a widely followed economist from the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

But inflation-adjusted income for the American middle-class family actually fell during the same period. The median real income for working-age middle-income families in the United States dropped $2,000 between 2000 and 2007, from about $58,500 to $56,500, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

As a result, the 2000-2007 business cycle was the first ever in which the nation's middle-class families had less real income at the end than when they started.

So, where'd the money go?

Another finding from the book: Many middle class Americans who had jobs probably found that their bosses were getting big raises, while their paychecks were staying about the same.

That's because 90% of the growth in U.S. workers' income from 1989 to 2007 went to the top 10% highest earners, EPI said. Income for the top 1% grew 204% since 1989, and the top 0.1% saw their income grow 425% in that span.

I'm glad you found that article. In my above post I was going by memory about hourly wage figures.

Now here are some interesting questions we might mull over if we weren't falling down a screaming abyss to our doom:

1. If the income distribution had remained at New Deal levels during the last 35 years, how would our economy have been different? If it improved growth, then oil would have gotten more expensive, which would have crashed the economy. If it slowed down growth, we would be hitting a gentler Peak, but we would also be less aware of the peaking and thus doing even less to prepare.

2. Do Americans actually believe that their bosses are 204% more "meritorious" today than in 1989? Do they believe that if they keep their mouths shut they will somehow come out ahead in this stupid Ponzi scheme even though they know their bosses are inbred idiots?

3. Isn't all this what Marx, writing before cheap oil made it possible to buy off the working class for a while, predicted would happen one day?

If the income distribution had remained at New Deal levels during the last 35 years, how would our economy have been different?

Relative income equalitiy would have changed the dynamics of the democratic and political process and our fundamental culture. I suspect the "we" vs "me" argument would play differently with all sorts of ramifications for everything from health care to enviroment and militarization of society. Perhaps we'd already have electrified rail everywhere; certainly the structure of social services would be entirely different.

cfm in Gray, ME

This is the wrong country to be in when Peak Oil hits...

Security tightened in Indian Oil depots
Sign of things to come? Oil security will not be an issue only in the unstable oil exporting nations?

China hails $3bln oil deal with Iraq
So, China is willing to cut large share to oil owning nations, thus outbidding the western IOCs?

Oil Service profits soar

"Oil and gas reservoirs around the world are displaying higher decline rates, and with increasing emphasis on maximising resource recovery rates, the industry is facing a new world in terms of service intensity and technology requirements," Hunting said in a statement.

Just as M. Simmons and others have forecast, oil services companies are the obvious winners for now.

'Energy comes before climate'
Score another correct answer for M.Simmons and the rest who've been warning that once nations wake up, oil/energy will become priority no.1 over climate - regardless of whether it's good or bad.

Gas prices in US to drop to $3
I wonder how they know this? Somebody's been looking at charts for too long :)

Why do I have a feeling often these days that I'm watching a pre-written script acted in slow motion and so far the actors have been quite unable to improvise on the set and change the script.

So much for that innovation :)

And don't you love this prediction too?

We might see oil prices spike $5 to $8 if it really rips into platforms," Flynn said.

'Energy comes before climate'
Score another correct answer for M.Simmons and the rest who've been warning that once nations wake up, oil/energy will become priority no.1 over climate - regardless of whether it's good or bad.

Perhaps you and Mr. Simmons need to read up on rapid climate change. This is an untenable assumption on the part of you both. 1. Rapid change would blow PO away, depending on location and nature of the change. 2. If we miss the window on managing climate change, PO will be inconsequential in the long term. That window appears to be now.

I.e., both windows are NOW.


I think you misunderstand me (I'll skip the mockery part for now).

I specifically said that "regardless of whether it is good or not".

I'm well read on AGW as laymen go. I think the action needed is urgent. I'm doing my part. I work on these issues myself.

What I'm saying is that it is likely that both majority of politicians and businessmen will vote energy price/availability/security over AGW migitation in the short-to-mid term, damn the consequences.

I'm not saying it's good or that I condone it.

I'm saying if it comes down to that dilemma - energy concerns are likely to win over climate concerns.

Do not mistake attempts to analyze and forecast actions to those of accepting and condoning them.

I'll skip the mockery part for now

Why would mockery be involved at all since you were not mocked? Overly sensitive, m'thinks. And why the hypocrisy of stating what you are not going to do, thereby doing it?

Do not mistake attempts to analyze and forecast actions to those of accepting and condoning them.

The surest cure for avoiding that is for you to be clear in the first place. You said score one for blah, blah blah, right? The manner and context in which you stated it could be taken as agreement with the position *or* agreement that others would indeed take that position. It was not as clear as you seem to think. Simmons has made this statement over and over and is unequivocal about it. I think it is a short-sighted point of view given what we know about RCC. It is, in fact, utterly illogical to assume that PO does, should or will override AGW. This is completely unknowable.

This isn't dissimilar to a Californian saying The Big One is possible where I live, but A Big-but-not-sooo-big-one is pretty certain within X years, so let's do nothing about TBO.

Anyone subscribing to this point of view is playing a very dangerous game of roulette, especially since RCC is probably more likely than the Big One and would affect the planet, not just an area of one state. I take the opportunity to point this out when I can. There was nothing in my post to offend you, so if you were offended, it was a misinterpretation on your part. I.e., I was insulting neither you nor Simmons.

Anyway, why don't we leave it at: there was a misunderstanding. I see no reason that it might have given offense. You were a tiny bit offended. Sorry. Oops. But next time I suggest you simply clarify without the invective (mild as it was.)


Why would mockery be involved at all since you were not mocked?

Ah, but you were not clear in the first place :)

I have read well on rapid climate change. You assumed I wasn't. You were wrong.

why the hypocrisy of stating what you are not going to do, thereby doing it?

Clearly there could not have been hypocrisy when there was no mockery according to you.

Ah, the logic of it all :)

It is, in fact, utterly illogical to assume that PO does, should or will override AGW.

What wonderful exposition of evidence. What elegance of reasoning!

I gave you an example of a cabinet level member in a major G-7 country implying that energy comes first.

Ignore it at your own will, as you see fit.

Still waiting for your evidence of how this is illogical :)

Also, do note the conditionality in my original statement. It implies probabilistic forecast, not an either/or dichotomy.

next time I suggest you simply clarify without the invective (mild as it was.)

Maybe you want a formulation in propositional logic next time, as to avoid confusion :)

I would further suggest you hold on the ideological fervor when trying to judge what other people are saying. That way we can avoid having discussions like these in the future.


Apology accepted :)


A missive from two years ago. Interesting to see how events have unfolded since then (although my preliminary estimate for the 2006 net export decline was too high).

In any case, how will events unfold in the next two years? If you want to get the hell out of suburban Dodge--via selling your suburban dwelling to a true believer in the Yerginite Community--IMO you are running out of time.

Published Aug 21 2006 by GraphOilogy / Energy Bulletin
Net Oil Exports Revisited

Mr. (Lon) Witter estimates that a simple revision to the mean suggests a 30% drop in residential property values in the US over the next three years. This is without considering in the effect of further increases in energy prices. . .

I propose a sort of triage operation: "tiny" homes and multifamily housing along electric mass transit lines. In my opinion, it is the only way that we can preserve some semblance of a civilized society. The suburbs are, by and large, a lost cause.

I'm pleased to have escaped my suburbia locked home just a few months ago, albeit it was at the expense of my less than Yerganite house-mates and friends. (Will they still be my friends after they're stuck with that house years from now? Sure, because I'll offer them a place to stay on my acreage in the middle of nowhere.)

I agree that the time to get out is running out, if it hasn't already, at least via conventional means of selling your home. Even so, I'm drawn to quote the article quote from upstream in the DrumBeat..

If the latte-loving deep thinkers are right, and all of us plebeians are wrong, why is it that North America's suburbs continue to grow like Topsy? Even in an age of high gas prices?
Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because people actually like to live there. Especially young families who place a high value on safety, proximity to parks and other green space, community sports and other neighbourhood activities.

Is "Safety" just code for white flight? I would have to say though that this has changed as those who are fleeing are no longer just white. Urban blight flight is more appropriate now, I think, as I've seen plenty of non-caucasion people fleeing to the suburb I just moved out of, easily assimilating into the neighborhood, as they are wanting a "safe" place to live. Even so, I don't see the relative safety from a crime perspective to remain as low as it currently is in the suburbs as things progress the way they are.

It isn't unusual for there to be Crime Watch groups formed in neighborhoods to report criminals to the police, but a friend of mine's father was part of a Crime Patrol of sorts, where neighbors had assigned patrols, knowing who did and didn't belong at certain houses, patrolling armed with radios and guns. I see this sort of scenario playing out more in the future, as police departments become stretched financially.

The article from the Edmonton paper was interesting in that the writer appears to have totally missed Kunstler's basic premise, which is that the liquid fuel will not be available to service suburban development. JHK gets criticized for being over the top, but it appears that even he is not yelling nearly loud enough to get his basic message out.

or perhaps that he yells waaaay too much to make his point...


The worst part about this article is its constant references to latte lovers. Starbucks' expansion for the last 5-10 years primarily has been suburban. The typical person buying $5 cups of coffee is a person in an SUV driving twenty miles to work. (It's a long drive. I need my fix.) When I was living in Houston in 2004, I was surprised at how fashionable Starbucks had become on the North Side. Kunstler is a Yankee traditionalist. Spending $5 for a cup of coffee is against his religion.

The writer is assuming today's low gasoline prices are permanent. Your commute (20 X 2 at 15 mpg) would cost $12 in fuel in Canada. The TTC trip would cost $5.50, would take half the morning and would be a big drag. These prices aren't a problem for suburbs, but these prices are temporary.

I suspect that this writer is one of those characters who holds it as an article of faith that surburban sprawl is driven entirely by the market responding to consumer preferences. Suggest that other factors, such as land use regs and zoning, might be in the mix and they get very put out.

I also notice that he assumes that what's happening in Alberta is happening everywhere, and never considers the possibility that high oil and gas prices are fueling Edmonton's growth while supressing growth in other regions.

There's nothing this oil-patch hooker can claim as a virtue for Calgary's suburbs which we're deprived of here in the Houston Heights. We are drowing in green space; every time a building gets abandoned here the jungle overruns it in a few months. We've got neighborhood activities too. I bet people are just as happy to live here. The only problem is that there's too much demand for the Heights' proximity for the supply of old bungalows, and the prices went nuts. However, the solution to that problem would have been to build more Heights all the way around downtown Houston sixty years ago. Instead they built places like Bellaire with no sidewalks and with front lawns the size of gridirons. Now noboby wants to live in that split-level ghetto so the developers poured back here, tore down the bungalows and airdropped these 3-story townhouses and near-townhouses with no yards that blot out the sky. So in the long run nobody gets what they want or need.

This is absurd. I think people can learn to be happy with many kinds of housing; the job of the housing industry is to make them unhappy with the houses they can afford and create fashion manias for houses they can't.

sold my only suburban home in '87, closed the same day i was let go by a smallish oil co.
not cause i was yet poa(peak oil aware), just 'cause i hated the 'burbs way back then.

haven't regretted the lay off or the selling of the cape cod style tract home.

Energy Bulletin has two new pieces on Mexico:

Peak oil and Mexico: The socioeconomic impacts of Cantarell’s decline
The Mexican reforms

The former piece I found especially interesting, it put a little meat on the bones of a subject I've been intensely curious about for a long while.

Interesting indeed Dude. I wonder how much of the Gini index improvement was a result of low/non-income workers relocating north. Also interesting to see such a positive spin given to the growth of future auto ownership by a country that already uses much of it's decreasing oil income to subsidize imported gasoline.

It will be interesting to see how fast the net export decline is.

Mexican Net Oil Exports (EIA data & my estimate for 2008):

2004: 1.8 mbpd
2005: 1.7
2006: 1.7
2007: 1.5
2008: 1.0 (est.)

"Gustav may hike gas before Labor Day weekend."

I am getting sick and tired of seeing headlines like that because there is no reason why such should be unavoidable.

During the winter it is a virtual certainty that cities like Chicago or Buffalo will get hit with at least one huge blizzard that will shut almost everything down for a number of days. During the last summer/early fall it is also a virtual certainty that hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico will shut in a certain amount of crude oil and refinery production. Neither is in any way a force majeure: it is called seasonal 'weather'.

The only reason gasoline prices rise in such a volatile manner whenever there is even a hint of a puff of wind in the Gulf is that (as I believe Nate Hagans has pointed out more than once) the US oil industry is increasingly operating in a 'just in time inventory' mode, with a decreasing amount of cushion to mitigate the effects of predictable seasonal weather events.

From a business standpoint, this is understandable: it costs money to refine crude oil, and the only way you get revenue from doing such is if you sell the refined product, the sooner the better. Carrying inventory costs money. However, this plays havoc with short-term prices, something the oil industy appears to have no problem with.

These weather-related short-term price spikes could be almost entirely avoided if there were a legally enforcable requirement that refiners, distributors, and others in the supply chain must maintain a certain predetermined amount of emergency inventory of refined product. How the amount of such is determined is beyond the scope of my knowledge of the inner workings of the supply chain, but suffice to say that we need a much bigger cushion for refined product, and that just-in-time inventory is a dangerous trend in a very wrong direction.

Two short media pieces on the release of a New Zealand study on managing the transport challenges associated with rising oil prices.


The study itself develops the premise that oil will remain around $110 in the near future, increasing to $150 by 2012.

Close to home:

Natural Gas explosion in Stairtown, TX (40 miles or so from Austin)

Accounts differ, at least one person said they saw a "mushroom cloud" and another said it was felt 11 miles away in Lockhart.

Update with a better article

Apparently a 36" gas pipeline has ruptured.

The Oasis Pipeline is an intrastate natural gas line that runs from the Permian Basin in west Texas to natural gas supply and market areas in southeast Texas.

UK Credit Crunch:'It's just the end of the beginning'

the banks could simply reduce their lending. But that would mean an even bigger brake on growth than we have seen so far. Capital Economics says that for the banks to correct their balance sheets in this manner would imply a reduction in lending of £440bn (17 per cent of the balance sheet), a truly terrifying sum. Some mixture of the two seems more likely, but even that has some nasty consequences.

If the banks manage to raise another £20bn from disposals, conventional rights issues, Sovereign Wealth Funds in China and the Gulf subscribing for equity, and stake building and takeovers by foreign banks relatively unscathed from the mess (e.g., Banco Santander/Alliance & Leicester), this would still mean a contraction in balance sheets of £180bn, or 7 per cent – equivalent to 13 per cent of the UK's GDP.


Little gas in North Dakota:
"We're being told demand is outstripping supply at this time..."

The pipline is intact though:
"We don't own the (fuel) inventory in our system," he said. "If we don't have adequate supply to match up with demand, then we encounter some short-term outages."

This reads like some messages from rural Saudi Arabia. Somehow funny...

Yeah. They've had shortages there before. Sucks to be at the end of the pipeline.

Natural gas cars: Clean, green, going nowhere

Natural gas is getting another look as a fuel, particularly for transportation, because of the expected boom in American natural gas production, which is dragging down its price.

This is a myth being perpetrated by the likes of T. Boone Pickens and Aubrey McClendon, chairman of Chesapeake Energy. Even after the big fall from over $13 to the current of around $8, natural gas is still 26% higher than it was last year. Nevertheless, natural gas is still a heck of a bargain. On a heat content basis, it would have to bring close to $20 per MCF to equal $115 per barrel oil.

One also has to consider the track record of these guys--their propensity to win using any and all means. McClendon gave $250,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Pickens was one of its big defenders, offering a $1 million reward for anyone who could dispove its assertions. This was a compromise he later reneged on when it was demonstrated that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was anything but truthful.

McClendon also donated $625,000 to Americans United to Preserve Marriage, a group headed up by the arch-bigot Gary Bauer, a master at the use of pseudoscience to demonize a small minority.

This November, a measure that will appear on California’s ballot that proposes the sale of $5 billion in bonds to fund alternative energy rebates for vehicles, including natural gas-powered cars and trucks, and also incentives for the research, development and purchase of renewable energy technology. Training and education initiatives in this field will also receive grants.

Texas billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens is the primary sponsor of the measure though his company Clean Energy Fuels Corp.

Aren't Pickens and McClendon supposed to be big defenders of small government, free markets and laissez faire? Oh, I suppose not when it comes to promoting their businesses, like a $300 million dubsidy for the Seattle SuperSonics:


What’s more, there’s a limited amount of natural gas available for transportation use because most of the U.S. supply is used to make electricity, he said.

Doesn't NG-for-transportation entail some of the same moral ambiguities as corn-for-transportaton? Afterall, what's more important, home heating fuel or fuel to drive your Hummer?

Just a reminder about T Boone and water. (and I look forward to the replies saying 'don't be diss'n T Boone' like last time)


If water is the new oil, T. Boone Pickens is a modern-day John D. Rockefeller. Pickens owns more water than any other individual in the U.S. and is looking to control even more. He hopes to sell the water he already has, some 65 billion gallons a year, to Dallas, transporting it over 250 miles, 11 counties, and about 650 tracts of private property. The electricity generated by an enormous wind farm he is setting up in the Panhandle would also flow along that corridor. As far as Pickens is concerned, he could be selling wind, water, natural gas, or uranium; it’s all a matter of supply and demand. “There are people who will buy the water when they need it. And the people who have the water want to sell it. That’s the blood, guts, and feathers of the thing,” he says.


Roberts County, Texas, sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer, a huge underground reservoir that stretches all the way to South Dakota. It’s in Roberts County that T. Boone Pickens set aside eight acres from his ranch for drilling deep into the aquifer.

Then he turned this parcel into a town, basically, with only two eligible voters — both of whom were his employees. (This required a change in Texas law in 2007 — a change facilitated no doubt by his $1.2 million in campaign contributions to Texas legislators in 2006).
Then there was an election in this district, in which both voters voted to make this 8-acre municipality a special fresh-water district.

Pickens’ wholly owned government entity now can issue tax-free bonds (meaning he can borrow at a serious discount) and use the power of eminent domain to pressure landowners to sell — or to take their land if they hold out. The eminent domain power is key to building the pipeline that will run this water down to the Dallas area, where Pickens hopes to sell the water. If your land lies in the path of his proposed pipeline, you got a letter explaining that T. Boone wants to buy a stretch of your land — and explaining that he can use eminent domain if you resist. If this begins to sound too cutthroat to the public, Pickens just reminds journalists and politicians that following this water pipeline will be the transmission cables for Pickens’ mammoth wind farm.

Take fossil water to keep the game going.

These guys like Pickens, McClendon and our sitting president are utterly ruthless, but worse than that they're two-faced. They'll sell out their declared principles in a heatbeat if there's a buck to be made. Everything's about smoke and mirrors. They're all cut from the same cloth, and all their schemes fit a common mold. Does what you reference not sound eerily like the following?

"...whether the public interest issue is taxes, size of government, property rights, or public subsidies of private sports ventures, Bush's personal ownership interest in the Texas Rangers baseball team has been wildly at odds with his publicly declared positions on those issues. And ongoing litigation over the Ballpark deal has revealed documents showing that beginning in 1990, the Rangers management--which included Bush as managing general partner--conspired to use the government's power of eminent domain to further its private business interests."
Robert Bryce writing for The Texas Observer

Source: http://austin.about.com/cs/bushbiographies/a/bush_background_5.htm

These guys like Pickens, McClendon and our sitting president are utterly ruthless, but worse than that they're two-faced.

And 'we' (ok, a couple of posters here on TOD) have discussed how a %age of people are psychopaths and how large numbers of psychopaths are in the 'leadership class'. To channel words like those uttered from Colonel Nathan R. Jessep mouth - Given the leaders of large organizations either are psychopaths or act that way, it would seem you sheep need people like them on that wall making sure you have consumer goods to buy.


History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.

Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham City Jail

Talking about eminent domain, have you been following any of the controversy in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the way the natural gas producers like Chesapeake are invoking it to build pipelines accross people's property?

It's become a very hot issue. Some claim they are abusing the law.

Here's but one example:


Major gas exploration companies have formed their own pipeline divisions as they seek routes for pipelines to serve the Barnett Shale, one of the nation's largest natural gas fields. Those divisions are considered utility companies or “common carriers,” a legal term that means they carry oil or gas for anyone.

Under current interpretation of Texas law, Chesapeake's pipeline subsidiary, known as Texas Midstream Gas Services, can condemn land the same as any other utility company.

However, lawyers specializing in pipeline and condemnation matters question whether these divisions should have that power because the pipelines typically serve only one company.

Some claim they are abusing the law.

The Kelo decision gives 'em cover.

DownSouth: Yep! You are seeing it correctly.You arent
hallucinating.Eminent domain thru condemnation was always done for the benefit of the larger public and
never for private profits...untill this administration
Now a Walmart can lobby to have an entire neighborhood
uprooted,just so they can build a tax exempt big box.
The tax exempt big box then increases the communities
strain and burden on police,fire dept,roads, etc etc

But that aint the half of it.Magna Carta is mortis also.
Ditto Posse Comitatus finito.
Habeas corpus is now persona non gratis.
Mink-ya milona <-----Mullberry street slang

edmonton, alberta population just over 1 million. is edmonton big enough to have any real 'burbs ?

EU threatens Russia with Economic sanctions:

French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said EU states would be looking at the possibility of sanctions at an emergency summit early
next week.

Mr Kouchner said: "Sanctions are being considered, and many other means," in preparation for the summit, which will be held in Brussels.
"We are trying to elaborate a strong text that will show our determination not to accept (what is happening in Georgia)," he said. "Of course, there are also sanctions."


If the EU is talking sanctions, rest assured that Russia will talk sanctions also, and in fact they have already made a small move by blocking a signifcant porition of American poltary imports into Russia, and they are planning to stop WTO talks.

I believe the EU is playing with fire, and I am convinced more and more that Russia will have “technical” diffculities this winter with their gas and oil exports, especially if the EU continue its pressure.


I believe the EU is playing with fire, and I am convinced more and more that Russia will have “technical” diffculities this winter with their gas and oil exports, especially if the EU continue its pressure.

"The Real COLD War" - I can see the headline as Europe shivers at the end of empty gas pipelines.

“The real COLD war” good one Undertow! …

It is actually amazing that the oil market is not reacting to what’s going on with Russia, can you imagine how would the market react if the EU was threaning Saudi Arabia with ecnomic sanctions!?


Let's hope this war stays cold for the US & Russia:

"Putin accuses U.S. of orchestrating Georgian war"


SOCHI, Russia (CNN) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to benefit one of its presidential election candidates.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Matthew Chance in the Black Sea city of Sochi Thursday, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.

that is an interesting allegation on Putin's part - there was speculation on some of the Georgian-war threads here at TOD that the US election may have explained why Georgia was (allowed? encouraged? not actively discouraged?) to invade South Ossetia by it's US allies - certainly the US could have seen from space Russian forces massing - as well as Georgian forces doing the same - one call from the White House or Pentagon "hey Saakashvili, ummm, you guys look busy near S. Ossetia, ummm looks like a LOT of Ruski tanks gettin together the other side of the tunnel, might want to rethink this thing for now..."

and it certainly allowed McCain to "look Presidential" (in the absurd narrow US definition of saber-rattling looking presidential - ignore the ingnorance of the history, ethnicity and superpower politics of the region displayed) - and to increase the fear-factor that seems to favor Republicans in election years...

so it seems like Putin's allegation is possible, although as a smart former intel officer, Putin could also be laying down some very clever agitprop of his own...or a mixture of both.

The fact remains that Saakashvili launched a premeditated and unprovoked attack on S. Ossetia, one that noone in his right mind could believe would go unanswered.

of course there are facts and there are facts - from what I have read "unprovoked would be pretty hard to prove on either side - this is an ongoing conflict with a lot of hatred on (at least) both sides - lots of chicken and egg arguments get thrown around about who started what

none of which really effects the big-picture superpower posturing going on - and I for one am more than a bit suspicious of the US either saying "sure go on in" to Georgia or NOT telling them that the Russians were massing in North Ossetia - movements of large columns of armored vehicles are not the sort of thing that military intellegence etc. ignore - so the US would have known, and chosen to not inform Georgia? Or did the US tell Georgia "sure, go on in, we got your back" - and if so, why? Either the US a) completely mistook the probable Russian response to the attack or b)hung Georgia out to dry - and I for one believe that at least part of the decision if it were b) had to do with influencing the upcoming US election. But maybe Putin and I are cynical and paranoid.

The bit of Putin's comments which really struck me was that the American's were not acting with the same degree of caution as they had displayed in the Cold War, and had American citizen's in the area - perhaps 'Blackwater'?

This has got the feel of different elements in the Government acting autonomously, with perhaps some of them encouraging the Georgian moves, and hoping either that this would improve McCain's chances, or even that they could use this as a lever to encourage confrontation, with presumably even more money spent on weapons.

Here is Deutsche Welle's take on some of the issues - I found the comments about the naval forces being deployed in the Black Sea particularly unnerving.

The USA already has and has had for a long time,the
lock on the worlds weapons industry. But on a Larson
"Far side" note...Russia is Americas leading supplier
of small ammo to the civilian enthusiast gun shooters.

Wolf ammo is Russian made.


Bear ammo is also.


Ya cant make this kinda stuff up!

Referring to America's caution at the start of the first cold war: the Soviet decision to terminate democracy in occupied Czechoslovakia in 1948 was critical in selling the Cold War to the American people. In 2008 it seems that someone in America wanted to goad the Russians into doing the same thing to Georgia to create a martyr to get the 2nd cold war going. Maybe it wasn't the entire US government, but that's irrelevant because we no longer have a functioning Constitution; the State Department is a Hollywood movie set; the civilians who operate the Pentagon are directed by Cheney's office.

Now if McCain and his Georgian lobbyist acted on their own against Cheney's wishes, that would be news. However, it wouldn't be unprecedented. In 1968 presidential candidate Richard Nixon had some kind of back-channel relationship with South Vietnamese ruler Nguyen Van Thieu. LBJ knew about it because (get this) he'd had the CIA tap Thieu's office. Proving that the US has a tradition of not really trusting its allies that continues to this day. Nixon's goal presumably was to get Thieu to sabotage LBJ's peace talks by refusing to cooperate, in exchange for a victorious Nixon giving Thieu unlimited support. Of course Nixon betrayed Thieu, as he did everybody, by forcing him to sign a peace treaty in 1972 similar to the one LBJ offered him in 1968.

It matters because what Nixon did might be construed as treason. I would have to think a senator trying to start World War III is guilty of something worse.

The military industrial complex might see this as insurance in case Obama takes over. Even if he succeeds in winding down Iraq and Afghanistan, then a chill in relations with Russia would make it difficult for any US President to cut the military budget.
A lot of players stand to benefit by this ploy in Georgia.
Worryingly the disintegration of American policy into an arena where many can play, with various factions perhaps having different objectives, is very reminiscent of the military government of Japan in the run up to World War II, or Germany in the run up to World War I.

The second fact is: a) we have "advisors" on the ground and b) satellites in the sky... We KNEW what was going down.

I find Putin's assessment a lot more in line with reality than our belabored protests. The days of "shock and awe" are over...

Could someone please tell me what IIRC stands for.


the hermit

first hit in google explains it all

IIRC = If I Recall Correctly.


Thanks Ben

The hermit

Natural gas down a whopping 8.64% so far.
This volatility in NG prices since it plummteted from 13$ is just trememdous.

Supplies rose 102 billion cubic feet to 2.757 trillion cubic feet last week, the U.S. Energy Department said today. A gain of 84 billion was expected, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

This may have been posted elsewhere, but the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting abstract deadline is September 10. Some of the scientists among our commentariat may be interested in submitting to this Union session: http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm08/index.php/Program/SessionSearch/?show=d...

GM Dealers Report `Resurgence' in Pickup, SUV Demand (Update1)

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp.'s U.S. dealers are reporting that a decline in pickup-truck sales may be ``bottoming out'' and that some demand is returning for large sport-utility vehicles, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said.

Dealers are seeing ``some resurgence in demand for full-size SUVs and pickups,'' Lutz told reporters today in Joliet, Illinois, for a test drive of some of the Detroit-based automaker's 2009 models.

Thats a follow up to my previous post "There will be no US recession".

Bad news for the "demand destruction" guys.
Good news for commodities investors.

I forgot to mention the URL:


Happy elections in the US!

Five minutes ago this grifter and his cronies wanted 50 billion of taxpayers money to do a grand retooling away from SUVs-now he is hawking SUVs. Grifter Nation.

The taxpayer is being asked to fund the healthcare and pension provisions of these companies, far more than for re-tooling.
Most of the taxpayers will have far less generous provisions than those they are to be forced to subsidise, including doubtless very generous provision for the genius's at the top, who have bankrupted their companies.

Looks like another airline is folding, Canadian "Zoom".


Seems their business model was based on oil at $70 a barrel.

Question is will the reduced number of flights impact on ground level climate. After 9/11 when flights were suspended temperatures rose across the US.


Will a drop in flights have any affect?

Airline removes life vests to save weight, fuel

TORONTO - Air Canada's regional carrier Jazz is removing life vests from all its planes to save weight and fuel.

Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stuart said Thursday that government regulations set by Transport Canada allow airlines to use floatation devices instead of life vests provided the planes remain within 50 nautical miles of shore.

I was joking about this after some airline removed the entertainment systems to save 500 pounds. How much further behind can removal of the drink carts be? Better yet, how much weight savings could be had by removing the seats? There not that comfortable anyways...

For that matter, if you get rid of the drink carts and the seats do we really need so many stewardesses? No seats, no tray tables, no need to make sure they are in the fully upright and locked position during takeoff and landing!

Maybe the copilot could dash out of the cockpit before takeoffs and landings to make sure that everyone is seated with their seat belts on. In fact, do they really even need a co-pilot? All the Captain has to do is fly the plane. Couldn't the autopilot be used while the captain attended to the passengers needs?

Sounds like a few DC3's I have flown in in Central America--
We usually landed on the Golf Course in Golfito.

I parachuted out of one of these once. I had very few jumps at the time, and all had been from considerably larger aircraft (C-141 Starlifters and C-130 Hercules).

We were sitting on the tarmac waiting for it to arrive and when it did, the engines were generating what seemed to me to be a frightening amount of smoke and noise. I looked at it rather dubiuously as we loaded up but it turned out to be OK.

Pretty cool for an aircraft that was probably built 30 years before I was born.

I'd have to think that the only way I'd get into such a plane was if I was already wearing a parachute ;-)

I made a comment in some internet forum about whether or not the airliners could for sure carry the weight of the passengers plus luggage (inspired as I watched the line waddle through the security checkpoint) and several people jumped on me about making fun of fat people.

Hell, I'm nearly 300 pounds. I would appreciate knowing that if you fill a jumbo with 300 pound people PLUS luggage, fuel, and of course the drink cart, that you aren't going to cross some vital breaking point somewhere.

Actually it makes sense to get rid of the life vests. From the Economist a couple of years ago:


Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now. In fact, do not bother to look for it at all. In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero.

I recall hearing that the main purpose for donning lifejackets was to make the bodies easier to locate. Similarly, the main reason for adopting the bracing position was to protect the teeth and so make identification of bodies via dental records easier.

As a fan of 'Air Crash Investigation' on at least one occasion when an aircraft ditched in the Indian ocean many passengers panicked and inflated their life vests, which led to their being unable to exit the aeroplane when the cabin flooded.

However, I would prefer to have the life vest and control myself so that I did not inflate it too soon!

Actually, I think the main purpose of the lifevests is to make people feel safe flying over water. Otherwise, there would be reduced demand for flights that went over water, and you wouldn't be able to charge as much for the seats.

martinw -

The real purpose of adopting the bent forward bracing position is to make it easier to kiss your ass goodbye.

Crash Survivors Describe Hijackers Battling Air Crew

Survivors of a hijacked Ethiopian jetliner that crashed into the Indian Ocean told a frightening tale today of drunken hijackers who fought with the pilot and did not believe him -- or did not care -- when he said the plane had nowhere near enough fuel to meet their demand to fly to Australia.

Two of the three hijackers, the pilot, copilot and three Americans were among 52 people who escaped the wreckage after the plane ran out of fuel and careened into shallow waters off a resort beach on the Comoro Islands, a small island chain between Mozambique and Madagascar off the east coast of Africa. Another 123 people are believed to have perished as rescue divers gave up hope of finding ...

The people that survived this crash may disagree with the Economist's assertion. Any landing you can swim away from...


EDIT: A more complete description of the event.



In all cases where a passenger plane has undergone an intentional water landing or ditching, some or all of the occupants have survived.

I have a simple question about this article


Does the IEA stockpile oil? When did they become a energy version of "Habit for Humanity"? If not, how to they manage to coordinate the release of some one else's oil?

They don't stockpile oil themselves, but they required their member countries to stockpile a certain amount of oil (90 days of net imports, IIRC).

And yes, they coordinate the releases in case of emergency. That is the reason they exist. The IEA was created after the '70s oil crisis, to prevent similar disruptions in the future.

World's Largest Gold Refiner Runs Out of Krugerrands

(Bloomberg) -- Rand Refinery Ltd., the world's largest gold refinery, ran out of South African Krugerrands after an ``unusually large'' order from a buyer in Switzerland.

...Coins and bars of precious metals are attracting investors as a haven against a sliding dollar and conflict between Russia and its neighbor Georgia. The U.S. Mint suspended sales of one- ounce ``American Eagle'' gold coins, Johnson Matthey Plc stopped taking orders for 100-ounce silver bars at its Salt Lake City refinery and Heraeus Holding GmbH has a delivery waiting list of as long as two weeks for orders of gold bars in Europe.

Mish was working overtime today explaining why the gold and silver prices are not being artificially suppressed. The fact that demand for physical gold and silver cannot be met should have no effect on the price of these products, in Mish's universe. Shortages are the clear sign of a well functioning free market, just like in Krushcev's heyday.

I just know I'm going to regret opening this can of worms in connection with precious metals, but hey...

Why are the only two alternatives either conspiracy or "a well functioning free market"? Why can't it be a free market full of humans who are well-known for being stupid, having strong herd instincts, prone to "unthinking tribalism", prone to superstition and magical thinking, all believe that they're smarter and more insightful than the people around them, carefully selective of which data they acknowledge and which they sweep under the carpet, etc, ie, generally rubbish?

I have come to the conclusion that "conspiracy" is one of those words used out of fear and insecurity. It has about as much intellectual weight as "evildoer" IMO. You will have to clarify the rest of your post.

Why are the only two alternatives either conspiracy or "a well functioning free market"?

Alas, both have elements of myth. Many of the people yelling 'conspiracy' are aware of past events that do qualify under such a label. As events are not what they expect, they label the present events as 'conspiracy' as a way to explain things. Naked Shorting of junior gold stocks might just be an example of 'conspiracy'.

As for 'free markets' - I keep asking to be shown one, yet no one steps forward for such a showing.

Hello TODers,

'Nothing wrong' with fertiliser price increases

THERE'S nothing dodgy behind the skyrocketing and almost weekly rises in fertiliser prices, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which says international supply and demand factors only are the cause of the domestic price pain.

The findings do nothing to ease the angst of farmers adjusting to the news of another price hike in some standard lines of fertiliser, with urea set to rise by $130 a tonne today (Thursday), along with rises in potash between $130-$365/t.

The price now for urea is around the $960/t mark.
IMO, the world's Overshoot is just postPeak willing to pay heavily, until they can't, for food. Declining energy/capita directly leads to higher prices, for both FFs and I-NPK, to assert demand destruction by whittling down the Overshoot #'s.

The requirement for I-NPK prepayment years ahead of ultimate soil application will accelerate the rate of demand destruction as the fertilizer infrastructure shifts to streamline flowrates to those willing to pay now for a possible future later. Those that cannot afford this new cost structure need to be rapidly ramping up O-NPK recycling infrastructure.

I suggest for optimal decline: restructuring for relocalized permaculture, strategic reserves of bicycles & wheelbarrows, and SpiderWebRiding as these methods are FF-independent, yet offer greater potential job specialization than just pure collapse and the Nuahtl Tlameme backpacking schemes.

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

Outdoor Life reports on what's selling in New Orleans:

“I just left a sporting goods store and you would think that the number-one selling item would be plywood or potable water or gasoline right now,” he said. “Apparently it is AR-15s and .223 ammo. I watched at least 20 people buy AR-15s and cases of .223.”

I guess those folks know something Alan doesn't. :-)

Alan, please tell us you're out of there.

A Saturday afternoon or Sunday decision, Doing laundry tomorrow, and a draft of a letter to an "important person".

Best Hopes,


Sporting Goods stores do not sell plywood or bottled water, etc. So the article is misleading. Fishing gear is unlikely to be a top seller just before a hurricane.

Hello TODers,

As available resources diminish: IMO, it only makes sense that we will be increasingly asked to prepay for our future [if we can]. The increasing assertion of civilizational risk to the farm level obviously creates a greater demand for resiliency [risk reduction], especially as the past scheme of borrowing from the future [bonds, credit cards, mortgages, etc] goes kaput. This tightening of feedback loops obviously is a normal and natural occurrence; an emulation of the instantaneous feedback loops as seen in the predator-prey dichotomy.

My earlier posting series on biosolar investors is an outgrowth of this trend, perhaps we will soon see required months-ahead prepayment for groceries and water too. On Matt Savinar's LATOC website: the survival food purveyors are already hopelessly back ordered.

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

No free link for this yet, but Dante says there's a Dow Jones article that just came over the wires called "Saudi Arabian Oil Shipments Dropping":

OPEC crude oil shipments, minus those from Angola and Ecuador, are seen falling by 1.4% in the four weeks to Sept. 13 from the previous four weeks as U.S. and Asian demand eases into autumn and Saudi Arabia cuts back on shipments, U.K.-based tanker tracker Oil Movements said Thursday.

Shipments from 11 of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' members are expected to fall to 24.24 million barrels a day from 24.58 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Sept. 13 compared with one-month period to Aug. 16, Oil Movements said.

The bulk of the drop is from Saudi Arabia, Mason added. After pledging to boost production this summer to meet increased demand, the Saudis have been pumping in recent weeks at 9.5 million-9.6 million barrels a day, the highest level in a number of years, according to Dow Jones Newswires estimates.

It looks like my estimate of 8.4 mbpd annual (total liquids) net exports from Saudi Arabia might be on the high side (versus their 2005 rate of 9.1 mbpd).

Interesting headline about Russia uptop.

So KSA throttles back, Russia curtails supplies to Europe, Gustav and Hanna deliver a one-two punch to GOM (I'm waiting for TS Vladimir to show up), Cantrell is mostly can't, Iraq is signing contracts with the PRC and NATO is sabre rattling in the Black Sea. In the face of all this why do I feel the sudden urge to gas up the car and make sure the bicycles are well lubed?

I found this information about Dubai in an old Oil Drum post:


The author cited credible sources that Dubai production is in a steep decline. The production there peaked in the early 1990's.

From other sources the entire UAE is expected to reach peak production early next decade. As one nation after another reaches peak production, so will the world reach peak oil. Ultimately the high price of oil will cause more conservation than many lectures and efforts to give advice.

Did anyone notice the article above titled, "It Is Time for the US to Sell Its Highways?"

I looked up some personal information on the author, and he seems on the surface to be legitimate, but using Peak Oil as a crisis which justifies the transfer of ownership of public infrastructure to corporate, private hands is a very, very bad idea. It sounds like something straight out of Naomi Klein's book, "The Shock Doctrine." Any thoughts?

Other work Michigan Tech is doing:

The product of a slow-burning charcoal-creation process, biochar can vastly improve soils for growing food and other plants. How vast?
"Eight-hundred and eighty percent," says instructor Michael Moore "We didn't believe it either, so we kept investigating, and soil with biochar and fertilizer indeed was 880 percent more productive than soil with only fertilizer."

Thanks Eric, very good link.

Obama "eight is enough"
Crowd chants "Eight is enough, Eight is enough"
This is a truly disturbed nation

Why, because the crowd agrees 8 years is enough of pseudo-conservatve policies?

because it's a direct reference to a horrible tv sitcom from the 70's 80's. gen Xers, like myself, are/should be weeping
Yes Nicholas, There Is a Santa Clause

Oh, I see. Because you think the pop culture reference is flippant then the underlying substantive (valid) point is negated. FoxNews at work folks.

sorry JD I don't get it. what is your point?
Am I making you stronger by responding, or are you sincere with this line inquiry? Please clue me in.
I'd love to hear you come to the defense of American pop culture.

This is a truly disturbed nation


I'll have to agree that a nation can become psychologically disturbed much as any human being can become "disturbed" by having crazy thoughts running through his head.

However, you have to put things into context.
This was a political rally. This is what people at such massive rallies as this do. They chant some sort of short message mantra.

I suppose your position is that 8 years of Bush Jr. were not enough and you would like to see 8 more years of more and more of the same failed policies. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect your right to have such an opinion. On the other hand, I expect you to respect the right of other Americans to have opinions that are slightly at odds with yours.

Fair is as fair does.

That said, what do TODders here think about Obama's announced energy policy, i.e. getting off of "Middle East" oil in 10 years? Personally, I was disappointed by this clear pandering to the crowd's emotions.

"And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, ..."

---Text from Obama's 8/28/08 speech regarding Middle East Oil

I think you guys are misunderstanding EarlDaily. Near as I can tell, he is not a Republican or a McCain supporter. His comment was about the reference to an extremely bad, idiotic, and shallow TV show, not a comment on Obama, McCain, or their energy policies.

It was more like, "If the way to get to the American voters is via TV shows like Eight Is Enough, we're doomed."

Life imitates art. The movie Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior is said to be prophetic but now we see it in the sequel Beyond Thunderdome. Aunty (played by Tina Turner) tries to assert authority over Master Blaster who turns off the methane tap. Change that to Europe vs Russia. Whoever controls the fuel line calls the shots.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink on this potential Russian crude cutoff. If this becomes real, not just a threat--> it has enormous global implications, duh!

First off, IMO, I don't think Putin would be doing this unless he believed his country was going postPeak. He must easily see how a export reduction can still generate the same revenue, and hoarding for the home team is politicaly wise if he decides to go to Max Peak Outreach and early Paradigm Shift in-country. From my prior weblinks: he has already told his people to grow their own food and has refused to expand phosphate[P] shipments to another country, forcing them to buy more expensive P from Morocco.

Second, his KGB may have the inside scoop on KSA's spare capacity [or lack thereof]. Putin's cutting of Russian exports, only to have KSA ramp up their exports [to negate the Russian decrease], would only make him look foolish and cost his country billions. If the KGB does have the crucial, full audit info on KSA's oilfields-->they accomplished something that Matt Simmons requested years ago [Recall that Matt called for full audit transparency in his book, 'Twilight in the Desert'.

If Putin goes ahead with this cutoff scheme immediately driving prices upward AND KSA CANNOT sufficiently ramp up exports to cover this shortfall--> then, the jig is up-->the rest of the world will quickly figure out that KSA is now on the Hubbert Downslope too. This will add even more upward pricing pressure to oil, which of course will cause even more rapid demand destruction to poor crude consumers.

If the jig is up for KSA & OPEC: then they might as well go ahead and encourage Matt Simmons to lead a full & transparent audit team to find out the truthful bad news for all. The revealing of true global reserve sizes, actual production rates & inventory storage, depletion rate vs additive new discoveries, watercuts, field gas blowdowns, etc, will finally be clear to all. Then the world can finally get serious about planning for the optimal decline future-->whatever that may be.

Is the paragraph immediately above plausible, or instead, when the jig is up--> will that just lead to an ever increasing series of machete' moshpits & resource wars?

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

First off, IMO, I don't think Putin would be doing this unless he believed his country was going postPeak.

I was thinking basically the same thing, or in other words, what if they have to curtail crude deliveries?

Our projected net oil exports from Russia. The initial projected 10 year decline rate is highlighted.

Hello WT,

Thxs for responding. Yep, Khebab's chart is quite ominous and prescient!

Another consideration is if Putin decides to build a Russian version of a 'Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK'--say a ten-year stockpile, as this would be good for Russian national food security while they ramp O-NPK recycling too--might as well as they still have 'cheap' fuel & sulfur for their P & K mines, plus natgas for Haber-Bosch N ammonia & urea.

The US currently imports from Russia 12% of our Nitrogen products. Putin could easily shift some of this product to building their internal stockpile as they go postPeak. This would also allow Putin to drastically raise the price of Russian natgas to Europe, besides raising the US & NATO-country import price of urea & ammonia. Further leverage can be obtained if he restricts exports of sulfur as this is key to the beneficiation of phosphate, besides being a valuable fertilizer Element by itself, plus being the KEY INPUT in many industrial processes.

Recall my previous weblinks where Russia has an internal program to train youngsters in agri & animal husbandry methods plus provides them with rural housing and land, besides a huge budget for RRs & rural roadbuilding.

Overall, I think Putin would rather concern himself with Paradigm Shifting Russia internally as they go postPeak. I bet he is really pissed off because now he has to spend treasure and lives on senseless border problems and a new Cold War; he wishes that Russia could be left alone without NeoCon meddling.

The more Russia can Paradigm Shift--the more they can profitably export crude & natgas to further leverage their internal mitigation for a longer period. IMO, this is a better strategy than OPEC's strategy of building lavish castles and shopping malls in scorching sand dunes, cheap subsidized gas for easy motoring, and deep-freeze A/C ski-runs.

Hello TODers,

Did India have a Black Swan catastrophe? Recall that I originally posted on this Nepalese dam breaking about a week ago:

NEW DELHI -- Millions of destitute farmers and their families may be displaced for months after severe floods in northern India wiped out crops and homes, leaving hundreds of villages under several feet of water.

The Kosi river in Bihar, one of India’s poorest and most populous states, jumped its banks earlier this week after a dam burst in bordering Nepal, causing the worst floods in the area in 50 years.

The situation is expected to worsen over the weekend with meteorologists predicting heavy rains in the region.

With all the regional troubles currently ongoing in Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Nepal--> IMO, Southern Asia is now fully ripened for giant cascading blowbacks. Time will tell: but let's just hope India-Pakistan don't go nuclear on each other.

Floods of Koshi River - The Sorrow of Bihar [with maps & photos, plus info on the latest flood]

...Many top officials have been caught red handed in Bihar's flood scam, including an IAS officer Gotam Goswami. This flood mafia of Bihar relishes embankment breaches, because flood relief is a lucrative business: there is no regular audit of flood relief.
The Corruption and Profiteering on this dire suffering is appalling. Such is life...

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

Will Turkey Abandon NATO?

...Deputy chief of the Russian general staff Anatoly Nogoivtsyn already warned Turkey that Russia will hold Turkey responsible if the U.S. ships do not leave the Black Sea. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Ankara on Monday to make clear that Russia means it.

Russia is Turkey's largest trading partner, mostly because of Turkey's dependence on Russian gas.
Yikes! It can't be much fun to be caught in the middle of a giant tug-of-war [US & NATO<--Turkey-->Russia]. My guess is the drumsticks and wings are removed first, but control of the neck at Bosporus is the ultimate prize:


dont think this has been picked up yet:


columbia states they may have 4.5 Gb reserves against the current 1.5 Gb estimate.


Found a little more info on you story. Just a guess but the new higher number may just represent the higher current oil price than newly discovered reserves. You probably know what many here don't: the recoverable reserve numbers that are tossed out are as much a function of expected economics as the amount of physical oil in place. If oil, for whatever reason, fell to $40/bbl Columbia would probably have to right off that big gain.

Colombia sitting on big oil reserves
By Ed Crooks in London

Published: April 1 2008 22:04 | Last updated: April 1 2008 22:04

Colombia’s heavy oil area could hold 20bn barrels of recoverable resources, giving the country greater reserves than leading producers such as Mexico and Algeria, said its natural resources agency.

Foreign investment in Colombia’s oil and gas industry is booming, and the country hopes to lift oil production to 1m barrels a day in the next decade, from about 550,000 b/d currently.

Colombia’s heavy oil potential is dwarfed by that of its neighbour Venezuela, which is estimated to have at least 240bn barrels recoverable in its Orinoco belt region. But Colombia has the great advantage of welcoming foreign investment.

It is one of the few countries with significant resources becoming more accessible to international companies, and capable of growth in oil exports.

A few more Peaks.

Peak Frogs/Amphibians? A fungus is killing amphibians to possible extinction. They have been around longer than we have in our upright form.


Peak bees anyone? It is probably pesticides reducing the immune system to allow a mite infection to kill a bee colony. Many fruit/vegetable farmers are having problems getting pollinators. Most grains are wind pollinated but most everything else needs a pollinator bug/bird/whatever.


Autistic:Normal children ratio is now about 1:200. Is this a sign that something is very wrong with us? When giant buckets of badness hits the various fans around the world are we going to be tough enough as a species that we will survive?


Who will be left when about the worst thing that has happened in the last few years is the high speed internet was out of most of the day and we couldn’t get our peak oil doom fix? Where is your bottom line stress? Mine was/is curled up in a fetal position, defecating in my pants during a rocket attack in Danang (1967). The coming chaos times will be much worse so one should be ready for a lot of stress.

But not to worry, mate. I heard Obama’s speech last night and HE (TaDa) will fix all those things and we can press on with whatever we want to do. BTW: this is a non-partison comment as McCain will say the same thing. Anything to get elected. In four years we will hear all the excuses why a world class education is learning how to grow peas, beans etc.

Edit: Yep, I are one.

Welcome to The Perfect Storm. Why don't you do a "bringing all the pieces together" piece for me on my blog nobody reads? I've been meaning to, but...