Worthwhile Videos

What videos have you seen that you think others might be interested in? Here are a few I found:

From Peak Moment Television, this is Matt Simmons' 26 minute talk at the ASPO convention called, "Oil and Gas--The Next Meltdown:"

This is a 4:28 video I found of Julian Darley of the Post Carbon Institute talking about what Michigan should do about preparing for peak oil. It was an impromptu interview, done at the time of the ASPO conference.

This is a 6:20 video of Matt Simmons talking about what Michigan should do to prepare for peak oil. This was also an impromptu interview, done at the ASPO conference in Sacramento.

This is a video called "Oil Outlooks Clouds Russia's Economic Future" from www.russiatoday.com, talking about peak oil and peak gas. I couldn't find a way to embed it, but this is a link.

You may remember that I visited the Brutus oil platform in last November, and wrote a post about my trip. Another woman on the same trip, Margot Gerritsen, put together a 17 minute video documenting the trip. This is a link to her video.

In the comments, let us know if you have found other videos or radio programs that might be of interest to TOD readers. Also, if you have comments on the videos, feel free to share them.

Here is a question for the board. Why is it that there is little to no discussion about the role of the price system in allocating resources "correctly." I have known Matt Simmons over the years and he is a smart guy, But I listen to the video above and can't help but think he is missing some big pieces of the picture. As gas prices go up, people cut back consumption. We just had a big build in gasoline inventories last Wedneday, as imports were very strong. As the economy slows down and budgets are squeezed, people will consume less. While the price system is not perfect (externalities, public goods, monoply power), it tends to work pretty well. That doesn't mean the adjustment process isn't painful. Any time the price of something you buy goes up, you are worse off.

Maybe the doom and gloomers will be right. But from my vantage point as a hedge Fund manager, I see a tremendous amount of resources privately allocated to producing new forms of energy. I also see alot of oil available at different prices. I think the notion of peak oil needs to be embedded in the context of the pricing system. The amount of supply response at $60 per barrel is alot different than the supply response at $150 per barrel. Economic history is filled with predictions of doom by people who did not understand the role of the price system in allocating resources.

I firmly beleive that hydro carbon prices are headed higher in the longer term, but I just can not see why individual people reacting to prices will not make the adjustment. Will there be so pain, yep. But it is just not that hard for our economy to adjust to higher prices in order to have a 10-20% reductions in usage.

Time will tell, but my bet is that alot of people will look really silly in a fgew years. Sort of like Al Gore is going to look when the climate crisis does not happen. Oh well, interesting times to say the least.

Related to that, I'd add, Simmons expressed hope because commodity prices have been high.

Now the price of corn has fallen to half of what it was this spring.

Oil and gasoline prices are tanking on a daily basis.

All in the midst of the possibility, if not then the probability of imminent shortages of both.

Perhaps those that play the market (people like yourself) assume no one will have money to buy these things due to deflationary pressures.

I'd say that's one risky bet, with lives on the line if you lose.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, markets fail us.

This isn't a video, but instead an audio interview of Bud Burrell. It's not about Peak Oil, but it does deal with overarching economic conerns that affect everything we're likely to be doing in the near and perhaps the far future.

It scared the hell out of me.


Hello Unrepentantcowboy,

WOW!--just listened to the whole report.

Nate, Ilargi, Stoneleigh: can you add more info for us non-finance TODers so that we can get a better grasp of this Puplava/Burrell interview. I gotta go read the DeepCapture website!

This isn't a video either but on Nouriel Roubini's site there is an article on oil prices where Rachel Ziemba, RGE Monitor's lead analyst for oil exporting economies and China, says:

"...if current trends in the global economy and financial markets continue, oil is likely to come under further pressure, taking it towards $60 a barrel...."

"...Lets look more closely at China. Recent industrial production and manufacturing data suggest a slowing..."

It's all there folks, even our old friend Daniel Yergin gets a mention:-) My discussions over the weekend identified that because of the credit crunch some mining projects are now being put on hold.

Dear Risky,
A good % of the Peak oil community has been focused on upcoming lack in supply without also focusing on fact that 'peak' also means the most oil ever - for a (short) time, oil demand will drop more than ongoing depletion. (I should point out that the energy surplus from oil peaked many years ago - here is a graph of US Coal - I don't have one for oil):

But Simmons has previously said, we are in for a series of higher highs and higher lows as the end of global growth battles with depletion. The credit crisis will cause an acceleration of total depletion because projects that were planned at the margin will be delayed or scrapped. Also there will be OPEC cuts in production.

Alternative energy cannot make up for the energy surplus we once had in coal, nat gas and oil. This manifests in higher prices and allocations of these resources to the highest bidders. The first casualties from this are poor nations and poor people in rich nations, and the environment. As this occurs, politicians change rules in order to replace the previous subsidy - most of these rules (e.g. easier loans, higher leverage allowed, etc. are all just financial accounting tricks and do not increase real wealth at all. The interplay of energy and finance can only end one way - we are seeing an early salvey now (I don't KNOW the future, but I do perceive the likely distribution of possible futures - so it could be a late salvey, but I think we are going to slow down hard enough to reduce aggregate consumption for a while)

There have been dozens of articles here on energy quality and the timeline needed for renewable scaling -even should we have that time, we would have to completely change our infrastructure to higher % of electric, something that will have enormous costs. I have had conversations with hedge fund managers for years about these concepts and to their detriment, they have never understood net energy or energy quality - because if they did the #1 trade would have been to be short the market, instead of long energy stocks, especially alternative energy stocks.

Here are a couple posts I would recommend:
10 Fundamental Principles of Net Energy
At $100 Oil What the Scientist Can Say to the Investor (and I think the timeline on this post was very 'conservative')
On Energy Transitions Past and Future

Peak Oil - While Smart Folks Disagree Part II
There are many others.

Dear Risky,

I think many of us would Like To Believe the markets alone are enough to do the job. The place where I think that hope falls apart is when you look at the timescale and magnitude of money it will take to react to the end of plentiful and cheap oil.

Let's take cars for instance. The average car is 8.5 years old. The average truck 9.5. Even under extreme prices it will take over a decade to change the US Fleet sufficiently to make an economic difference to Main Street, The Poor and The Middle Class. To top it off, if we wait, the crippling effect of high oil means that the Poor and Middle Class won't have the money needed to make the changes necessary to react to market forces. The result is an deep recession or likely a depression.

Our commercial power producing and consuming infrastructure has equipment lifetimes of 20 to 60 years with appropriately huge price tags.

Waiting for market forces to slam us seems like folly to me, unless our goal is Third World status.

By the way Gail, I love the video parade. Great Idea!

I firmly beleive that hydro carbon prices are headed higher in the longer term, but I just can not see why individual people reacting to prices will not make the adjustment. Will there be so pain, yep. But it is just not that hard for our economy to adjust to higher prices in order to have a 10-20% reductions in usage.

If peak oil was about a 10 to 20% reduction in global oil production, which would then continue at that rate forever, it wouldn't be that bad. But it won't just be a 10 to 20% one-time reduction. There will be 10 to 20% reductions until production hits 0. In order for that to not produce anything more than "some pain" everyone would have to be on board fighting it tooth and nail coming up with replacements. At this point we see building high tech armaments and spy tools as far far more important than building electric trains and cars and tractors and cranes. We see bombing, destroying and occupying countries on the basis of a pack of lies as more important than figuring out how to store electricty on a large scale. When you see the defense budget being slashed to agree with what the rest of the world spends on defense, and the resulting proceeds being used to develop things that can help ease the pain of Peak Oil, then and only then should you consider sanguinity.

The price allocation system has been really clouded, the low interest rates of the Greenspan years has really thrown a spanner into the markets. House prices should've never gone so high, all the bailouts and bail ins and what not are only serving to dislocate the market further. The problem is that we really don't have a free market when it comes to the price of money. It should be set by the market, not by a few blokes meeting every once in a while and coming up with a figure (yes it is determined by the market but the market can be overridden as Greenspan did)

The markets have also deeply failed to look into the future, markets represent human nature which values the present immensely over the future. From a perspective of someone in 2300, to price our richest and most vital source of energy cheaper than a cup of coffee from Starbucks per unit is utter madness. Future generations are going to wonder how on earth we could've been so delusional.

Where markets fail to see the externalities, government must step in. Oil is far to cheap. It's true value is not reflected in the market. I would compare it to water, priced very cheaply but just a slight shortfall of water in the body would lead to death.

Sort of like Al Gore is going to look when the climate crisis does not happen.

It's interesting that people who know literally nothing about climate change or global warming make idiotic comments on blogs. The climate crisis is here right now or don't you connect the dots between Ethiopia's starvation and shifting weather/precipitation patterns?

Of course not because from your "vantage point as a hedge fund manager" science is a rumor.

Demand is elastic to a point and as the elasticity gets stretched, the resistance increases as we cut into neccessity. The real question is can we convert our energy infrastructure into a sustainable sytem faster than we run decrease production? If not then the constraints will be very painful!
When demand hits the supply ceiling, the price increase isn't a linear function. I don't know the exact equation that explains the phenomenon, but I have observed this behavior in the commodity markets.
I have observed the recent price decline, as a result of demand receeding from the supply ceiling. which is also non-linear. I would like to challange anybody to come up with a mathmatical model that explains and predicts this behavior, or one may already exist!
As elasticty of demand gets stretched by price it becomes less effective in controlling the price as fear takes over common sense.
Fear and Greed both have a polarizing affect on common sense. This is all just common sense!!
People tend to beleive what is is in there own best interest and don't want to listen to the truth. Most people would rather hear a lie because it makes them feel better! I have observed this behavior in my buisness with my competators. I try to perform my buisness with complete disclosure and found I am at a disadvantage since it doesn't sound as good as the fast talking salesmen who tell clients what they want to hear. Usually salespoeple don't lie they just tell the partial truth, or the side they think you want to hear. What behavior do you think got us in all the situations we are in?
People see what they want until they can no longer ignore the truth and it slaps them accross the face.
The components we need in our market place are tranparency, objectivity, and accountablity. A system that rewards these traits will be sustainable and stable. When are we going to wake up to not making decisions based on greed and fear??
When we do, all our lives will change for the better as we all consider the whole systems health and as our own best interest.
In this capitalist ecocnomy we reward and promote greed which tends to breed sociopathic behavior in the business world. Look up the characteristics of a sociopath to compare the behavior to what we see everyday in the business world.
Here is one link
Do your own homework before making judgments on this statement! I have both researched and observed this behavior over many years in the buisness world and am amazed that more people don't recognize the obvious.
Tranparency, objectivity and accountablity are the opposite of what any sociopath would want when functioning in society or buisness.
Just had to get this off my chest.!!


Another question for the board: has anyone been able to read the article that is linked in the "Recently on TOD:World" box at screen right, subsection TOD:Canada, link text "In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!", URL http://canada.theoildrum.com/node/4495 ?

--- G.R.L. Cowan, author of How fire can be tamed

Sorry, it is still in draft form. After some recent programming changes, we noticed that some European stories that were still draft were showing up on the TOD Europe list, and SuperG fixed that problem. No one noticed that we had the same problem in TOD Canada. I will let SuperG know, so that he can fix the problem.

I recently discovered the quite brilliant new 11 minute video animation "Wake Up, Freak Out, then Get a Grip". It's about the climate change side of the problem, rather than explicitly about peak oil, but I think the advice is well-judged there too! http://wakeupfreakout.org/

In terms of peak oil I recommend this 12 minute discussion from last month on BBC Radio 4 here in the UK, featuring Matt Simmons, Richard Heinberg and John Hemming (Chair of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas). It picks up on both the issues of population and energy rationing as discussed in the videos above. As the BBC site only hosts the audio for a week after broadcast I have hosted it on my website: http://www.darkoptimism.org/Radio4.mp3

ps Scary to see just how troubled Matt is looking these days

Interesting! Thanks for posting these. I hope others watch / listen to them also.

No worries Gail - glad you found them interesting. The pick of the other links I've uncovered over the years are up at: http://www.darkoptimism.org/links.html

I get a lot of nice comments about the list, and you'll find you make an appearance there too :) I recommend exploring beyond just the peak oil section.

Great idea, Gail, to share video links. I think video is a great way to convey a message - many are more apt to watch a video clip or doc than to read an article or book. That said, the three legged stool I recommend to folks to grok the big picture are Al Bartlett's talk on exponential growth, available in several places, including here, William Catton's book, "Overshoot, the Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change", and the documentary film What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire featuring Heinberg, Jensen, Catton, Prieur, Mander, Manning, Glendinning and many others.

Beyond that, there is much pertinent info out there - and not all of it has anything directly to do with oil extraction and consumption, for the underlying problem is our culture itself, based on the insane idea of infinte growth on a finite sphere. All of the videos at Dale Allen Pfieffer's site the Mountain Sentinel are worth checking out, especially What We Choose to Ignore, and Corporate Coup in the US, both near the bottom of the page.

Anything by Adam Curtis, including The Century of The Self, The Power of Nightmares and The Trap

There's also tons of simpler stuff out there, that might be just the thing to get someone to pay attention, like KrisCan and Oily Cassandra.

There's much more, but I'll desist and let others share some of their favorites.

I tried getting people to watch "What A Way To Go". It is the most intense documentary I've seen. But I didn't realize that it is really addressed to those people who already recognize the problems as very serious. The problem is that 95% of the people around here are not in that category. The people I showed it to just didn't get the point of the movie and didn't like it.

On the other hand, all I have to do is mention the thesis of "The Century of the Self" and people say "Oh, really?? Wow!" In this part of the world people are apparently ready to hear that they've been pushed unconsciously to consume as if that will make them happy.

The videos I haven't seen mentioned here are: The Story of Stuff, kind of a continuation of The Century Of The Self. It's compelling to me.

Then there is "Corporations Uber Alles" on How To Boil A Frog which I think is just a lot of fun. The earlier editions of this video are not easy to find at this point. A recent version is partway down the page just under 5 Essential Movies.

I thought What A Way To Go was really good, but very intense as you say. I wouldn't quite show it to my friends and family yet, but I'm getting there I hope.

The Story of Stuff documentary worked quite well with them though, and all this news about the financial crisis is opening the door to educating people more I think. I just hope it's not too late to make a difference!

I find the hardest thing is trying to convince/educate family and friends away from their belief in our unsustainable culture quickly enough for it to be of benefit to them, but slowly enough that my message isn't totally rejected - it's a fine line I think.

On a light note, Kriscan has recently posted a video called "Dear Fossil Fuels" it is in the style of a "Dear John" letter,


"...I recently found myself attracted to renewables, the sun so totally hot..."

Many have seen this one before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QovBLFZhQME
Well crafted black humor art by James Johnson.

I forgot to mention Robert Newman's History of Oil which is the only place I've ever heard WWI explained in a way that made sense. This one is even more fun than the others I mentioned. And just as scary. Newman is a British standup comic of high caliber.

I've been following TOD for almost a year now and I'm really surprised that energy is still NOT the central issue out there in the political domain. The implications for peak are stark, the facts are there for all to see. So why haven't Government's right across the world had meetings and crisis summits in the same manner as with the current financial crisis on finding a way out?

Is there some sort of mass delusion? Aren't intelligence agencies like the CIA, MI6, Mossad etc not doing anything to warn their respective governments of the peak? Why can't the main stream media make it as big an issue as they have done with climate change which is still many years away? Peak is here and now!

Is there some miracle energy substance out there that only governments know of?

I mean for god's sake, Matt Simmons was an energy advisor to George Bush!! And still nothing was done? WHAT IS GOING ON? are we all on our own in effect?

And still nothing was done?

Perhaps something was done and it wasn't what you would have done (or me).



George Bush the ex-oilman has an off-grid self-sufficient ranch that probably has 20 miles of barb wire and enough of Chimps Mountain Chow to last a lifetime...

Wot more proof do you need? :o)


Please don't insult the rest of the oil patch out here. The bushbaby was never in the oil/NG exploration to speak of. For a short time he was the head of a drilling company (Zapata) which went out of business shortly there after.

I've watched tons of peak oil videos and have cataloged them on my blog www.peakaware.com

what's there to enjoy? Our way of life is coming to an end, the dreams and hopes of billions will be shattered. The poorest of the poor are going to suffer first followed by all of humanity. I am encouraged by the fact that you are relaying the message but slowly by slowly, piece by piece society and life as we know it is coming to an end and we are entering a much harsher world. I don't see what there is to enjoy?

Aw, take it easy, VK. The meeting was held. It was Bush, Cheney, and the King of Saudi Arabia.

The King is managing the oil supply the best he can; and we're producing 700.000 barrels of ethanol every day. Cellulosic pilot plants are springing up, daily. We'll probably be in and out of recession for a decade, or so; but we'll be fine.

Many of the regulars here will down-arrow the hell out of me for saying this, but Science really will be our saviour.

LOL, so regulars what do you say? science to the rescue? or will that evil monster called net energy step in the way and with his dastardly ways defeat our superhero gross energy :-)

Why doesn't someone in TOD run for office? I can see Gail as a good Treasury Secretary and Nate as Energy Secretary!

Nah -I'd fit better at the CIA.
But I did get this in the inbox this am...;-)

(and all kidding aside, I want NO part in current politics, though it is of course in my genes to fight that sentiment, as it is in yours and everyones)

Lol - go Nate!

But if you're going to win this one you're really going to need to get our shadowy overlords on board ;D

You nailed it, VK. Net energy is the key. Too bad net energy is science that far too few even know exists, let alone understand. Science will indeed trump all. The laws of physics, biology et. al. care little about whatever 'policy' we may come up with.

Don't confuse technology for science. Technologies frequently break ground not yet understood 'scientifically' (ie. new hypothesis for reality tested against existing accepted hypothetical knowledge). Scientific advances open new fields to technology. It's a dialogue between them, but it's technology (ie innovation) that's is primarily required for reversing energy decent.

That's unless TOD thinks the second law of thermodynamics isn't the last word against free energy and I'm guessing you have consensus on that one judging from the sombre tone of this site.

I don't see what there is to enjoy?

I went snorkling on a coral reef with my son and girlfriend this past weekend. The world as we know it may be ending but there are still things to enjoy

Good Work!


That's a neat site you have there!

If anybody is interested in a .torrent of the 2007 ASPO let me know and I'll put it online.

It would be even more useful if you could upload it to Youtube or Google video ?
Either way - I'd very much like to see it - cheers.


I would like to direct you to a Documentary just release by a Friend of a Friend of mine. Please take a look and do whatever you can to help these folks. They did it on a shoestring, with primarily their own money.


The documentary Blind Spot is now for sale at Film Baby.

Here is the link:

You can see some clips of the film at:

Here is the Woodstock Film Festival link:


Physicist: Albert Bartlett
Sociologist: William R Catton
Activist/Writer: Derrick Jensen
Evolutionary Biologist: Jason Bradford
Economist: Max Fraad Wolff
Historian: Joseph Tainter
Agriculturalist: David Pimentel
Politician / Scientist: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett
Professor / Author: Richard Heinberg POWERDOWN, The Oil Depletion
Lawyer: Matt Savinar
Environmental Analyst: Lester Brown
Petroleum Geologist: Kenneth Deffeyes
Psychologist: Elke Weber
NASA: James Hansen
Author: Terry Tamminen
Activist: Mary Ann Hitt
Author: Bill McKibben
Author: David Korten

Trailer and excerpts show a finished product that looks every bit as good as "A Crude Awakening". And presumably, "Blind Spot" is intended for MS, more or less. That is, people like me. So here's my little story that lead me here nearly a year ago, which I think will also apply to this film:

As an avid movie watcher (have my own, pretty neat home-theatre), I'm always on the look out for something a little different. I noticed the lone copy of A Crude Awakening at the local blockbuster over a year ago, in the section of other small number, new releases, right beside the ninety copies of the latest Harry Potter. Obviously, I was blown away by the film.

However, before ACA was religated to the weekly section a couple of months later, I asked the store manager how many times had the film been hired out. "Twice", she said. Which kind of sums up where we are today, financial bail-out or not.

And that'll remain the problem with Blind Spot (which also has an unfortunate acronym, BTW). Nonetheless, I wish the producers good luck with it.

Regards, Matt B
Average Joe

It would be good if we could get schools to show films like this. Or get some other organized group behind showing the films, like they did with Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth".

Coincidentally, my wife, a math/science teacher at one of our local highschools, took "An Inconvenient Truth" in this morning to show excerpts to the students. To the best of my knowledge, this will be the first time it's been shown at this school.

Regards, Matt B


Feels like a bonus extra on a Matrix DVD to start, gets interesting for a time, then a little extreme (I think its message is; civilization will collapse at some point, but here's a possible world that will rise from it - and BTW, the technology already exists to create that world).

Trippy, too long by an hour and definately not for mainstream!

But maybe that's the point.

Regards, Matt B