DrumBeat: November 11, 2008

World needs four new Saudi Arabias, warns IEA

Fresh sources of oil equivalent to the output of four Saudi Arabias will have to be found simply to maintain present levels of supply by 2030, one of the world's leading energy experts has said.

Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the developed world's energy watchdog, told The Times that the depletion of existing oilfields meant that vast new investments would be required to satisfy the demand for oil.

Global oil production stands at about 85million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest producer: it pumped an estimated 9.4million barrels per day during October.

Dr Birol's warning of a looming supply crunch emerged before the publication today of the IEA's 2008 World Energy Outlook, which for the first time includes details of a comprehensive study of depletion rates in the world's largest oilfields.

Oil Falls to 19-Month Low, Gasoline Tumbles, on Demand Outlook

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell below $59 a barrel in New York for the first time since March 2007, and gasoline tumbled, on speculation the International Energy Agency will cut its 2009 oil-demand forecast because of slowing economic growth.

Beaufort Sea project 'promising': Researcher

The federal scientist heading Canada's bid to claim thousands of square kilometres of Arctic Ocean seabed under a UN convention says a joint U. S-Canada mapping mission to the Beaufort Sea this fall yielded "very promising" results that could vastly extend this country's territory in one of the polar region's richest target zones for offshore oil and gas.

"The quality of the data is astonishing," Halifax-based geoscientist Jacob Verhoef told Canwest News Service. "We haven't analyzed it all, but what we found is that the entire Beaufort Sea - all the way up to the north - is covered with significant amounts of sediments, which makes our case look very promising."

Tax Overhaul Could Help Oil Producers

A proposed overhaul of the way oil companies are taxed, including more frequent calculations of export duties and a possible replacement of the mineral extraction tax, would help meet calls for assistance from producers.

But any changes would also have to take into account an increasingly difficult balancing act of supporting oil companies and making sure the federal budget is not curtailed by the incentives.

The Global Response to a Terror-Generated Energy Crisis

The Heritage team simulated the effects on world oil supplies, demand, and prices after a major terrorist attack on oil exports from Saudi Arabia and resulting disruption of oil shipping lanes between the Middle East and major Asian economies. Analysts at The Heritage Foundation's Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies developed the crisis scenario, while analysts in Heritage's Center for Data Analysis (CDA) measured the effects of these disruptions on the U.S. economy and found:

● The price of petroleum in the U.S. spiked very quickly from the price of $127 per barrel on the day of the game to a high of $244 per barrel just days later.

● This price increase caused a rapid slowing of the U.S. economy, seen in a drop in employment of approximately 1.5 million jobs in the first year and an average drop in inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) in the first year of $119 billion.

Study: EIA annual natural gas outlook needs revising

HOUSTON -- The US Energy Information Administration has largely underestimated near-term US natural gas production in its Annual Energy Outlook, released early this year, according to a study by FACTS Global Energy, Singapore, released earlier this month.

EIA's own data in its October 2008 Short-Term Energy Outlook documented the annual forecast's gap. Actual production for 2007 grew by 4.3%, rather than the originally forecast 2.7%.

Russia to supply 55 bln cu m of gas to Ukraine in 2009 - Gazprom

MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will supply at least 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Ukraine in 2009, energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday.

Oleh Dubina, head of the Ukrainian national oil and gas company Naftogaz, and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller held talks on Tuesday in Moscow on natural gas supplies to Ukraine and the conclusion of a long-term gas supply contract until 2019.

Lower Oil Prices Enlarge List of Big Oil's Possible Targets

As crude-oil prices fall further, the list of beleaguered oil and natural gas companies vulnerable to takeover grows.

The economic downturn and the drastic drop in oil prices, which have fallen from all-time highs above $145 to about $60 a barrel recently, have caused share prices of most energy companies to plunge and forced many to cut capital spending to preserve liquidity.

Canada: Diesel flowing again, but truckers still fuming

Diesel is starting to flow again at truck stops in Western Canada, but truckers are hoping the federal government can prevent another diesel shortage by regulating when refineries can shut down for maintenance.

An opportunity in energy policy — a letter to the President-elect

We believe that no other challenge we currently face will be adequately addressed unless we are successful in tackling our energy challenges. Based on recognition of the fundamental change that has taken place in global energy markets, critical elements of a new approach to energy policy are set out below.

GM's Skid Quickens as Crunch Raises Bankruptcy Threat

(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp., burning cash as U.S. sales slide, is being pushed closer to bankruptcy as it waits to learn whether the auto industry will win a new round of government loans.

Only federal aid can prevent a collapse of the biggest U.S. automaker, analysts including Buckingham Research Group's Joseph Amaturo said before the shares tumbled today for a fifth straight day. Reorganizing in court protection also may not be possible, because the credit crunch has dried up financing.

Mexico keen to test biofuels

Mexico's ambitious plans to have biofuels one day meet a tenth of its gasoline demand are threatened by heavy regulations in the fuel and farm sectors, government and industry officials said Monday.

Government gasoline subsidies reduce the attractiveness of biofuels, especially as no subsidies are offered to biofuels producers or users, ethanol backers said.

Farmers should cash in on rising biofuel demand

Just a couple of generations from now there will be a petrol or diesel allowance of just one litre/adult/ week. That's the grim forecast -- given here at the weekend -- from a world biofuel expert.

He told people at a conference in Dublin that by 2050 the one-litre-per-adult rule will apply. Frightening stuff.

Seeing Our Future In The American Car

For better or worse, this country is never going to abandon cars on a mass scale in favor of public transportation. A massive investment in public transportation would be welcome, and it may happen. But the car as the dominant form of transportation is here to stay in American life -- and here to stay for some time to come. The American cars of the past, however, will not be a part of our future. Heavy, large cars run by gasoline powered combustion engines will go the way of the Dodo. In 50 years, there will be SUVs in museums, but not on the roads.

Amtrak routes hit record ridership in 2008

With gasoline prices spiking in mid-summer, ridership on the Amtrak San Joaquins and other California intercity trains hit a record in the year ending Sept. 30, Caltrans officials announced Monday.

A total of 949,611 passengers rode the San Joaquins last year. Ridership in July was 32% higher than the same month in 2007. The route from Bakersfield to Oakland and Sacramento is the sixth-busiest Amtrak line nationwide.

Saudi output dominance to continue, analyst says

LOS ANGELES -- Saudi Arabia will account for 20.93% of Middle Eastern regional oil demand by 2012 while providing a dominant 40.71% of supply, according to a recent analyst report.

BMI's Saudi Arabia Oil & Gas Report also said that regional oil use, which stood at 8.24 million b/d in 2001 and rose to 10.61 million b/d in 2007, should average 10.86 million b/d in 2008 and rise to some 11.81 million b/d by 2012.

Gulf states throttle back on oil and step on gas

Gulf states are easing back on oil projects but pushing forward on gas as domestic demand upstages crude exports as the focus for energy investment.

While oil export projects continue to fall victim to the global economic slowdown and subsequent weakening demand forecasts, the need for natural gas is surging due to rising populations and industrialisation.

Oil-Sands Spending to Fall 20% on Shell, Suncor, Encana Delays

(Bloomberg) -- Energy companies are cutting back development of Canadian oil sands, the world's biggest energy reserves outside Saudi Arabia, as crude prices plunge and processing costs become prohibitive.

Daniel Yergin: What lower oil prices mean for the world

Oil prices are a barometer of the world economy. Rising prices between 2003 and 2007 reflected the best global econ­omic growth in a generation. This high economic growth was brought to an end not only by underpricing of risk, excess liquidity and over-confidence but also by an increasingly unsustainable commodity boom - of which oil was a crucial part. Now, as the world has dropped into recession, oil prices have fallen by more than half.

Still a long way to go in travel debate

Locavores, those who aim to eat locally grown food, may be doing more harm than good to the environment.

The end of the Holocene?

We’ve spent a nice 10,000 years enjoying quite a cozy epoch, one that has nurtured human evolution and provided us with large habitable regions in which to develop our bustling civilizations. The degree of climate change we are facing, however, could push us into an entirely foreign set of climate conditions quite soon, a new paper concludes. The crux of the paper, which is based on research on ice cores and other paleoclimate records, is that the Earth’s climate system hasn’t responded fully yet to the rapid increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and that much more warming is in the pipeline for the damage already done. In other words, the changes could be so dramatic that the Earth will likely leave the climate of the Holocene era soon.

IEA to Cut Oil Demand Forecast, Ex-Staff Analysts Say

(Bloomberg) -- The International Energy Agency may cut its 2009 oil demand forecast for a third month as the threat of the worst recession since World War II saps fuel consumption, former IEA analysts said.

The Paris-based adviser to 28 oil consuming nations will reduce the estimated growth in global demand from 700,000 barrels a day, or 0.8 percent, in its next monthly report on Nov. 13, said four analysts who used to work at the IEA and are now at banks. The International Monetary Fund last week warned of the first simultaneous recession in the U.S., Japan and Europe in more than 60 years.

``Given the downward revisions to the IMF data, it is highly likely they will revise demand down,'' said Lawrence Eagles, global head of commodities research at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, who expects demand to shrink 0.4 percent, or 320,000 barrels a day in 2009. ``Anything above zero demand growth now is an optimistic forecast.'' Eagles joined JPMorgan in September after five years as editor of the IEA's monthly report.

Oil falls to $60 as China spending optimism wanes

Oil prices fell to near an 18-month low of $60 a barrel Tuesday as hopes waned that a huge Chinese spending plan will do much to avert a prolonged slowdown in the global economy.

China's Oct crude exports slump 48% from Sep to 300,000 mt

Hong Kong (Platts) - China's monthly crude oil imports rebounded in October after posting a decline September, while monthly oil products imports shrank for the third month in a row, preliminary trade figures released Tuesday by the country's General Administration of Customs showed.

The country imported 16.16 million mt (3.96 million b/d) of crude last month, 7.5% more than September's 15.03 million mt (3.68 million b/d).

The October volume was 28.2% higher than a year earlier, when the country bought 12.61 million mt (3.1 million b/d) of foreign crude.

Reliance Refinery, Gas Projects May Be Delayed, Times Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd. may be forced to miss its deadlines for starting production at its new oil refinery in western India and a gas field off the country's eastern coast, the Economic Times reported, citing unnamed company officials familiar with the plans.

Iraq government approves $67b budget for 2009

Baghdad: The Iraqi government on Tuesday approved a $67 billion budget for 2009 after revising its spending plans downward as a result of falling oil prices.

Government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said the budget would be sent to parliament for ratification.

Gathafi pledges petrodollars for the people

TRIPOLI - Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi said he is determined to scrap ministries and ensure oil revenues go directly into people's pockets, the JANA state news agency reported on Tuesday.

"The decision to distribute oil revenues, their sole source of wealth, directly to the people is not negotiable," Gathafi said in a meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi.

Nigeria militants threaten new "oil war" if attacked

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's most prominent militant group threatened on Monday to renew attacks on the oil sector if soldiers stormed its hideouts, but a military spokesman denied such plans.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it believed the military was planning to launch an assault on two of its camps in Delta and Bayelsa states in southern Nigeria.

Russia-Qatar-Iran gas talks Wed to focus on South Pars: Gazprom

Moscow (Platts) - Russia, Qatar and Iran plan to discuss the implementation of the South Pars project at a second round of talks in the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday, Gazprom said in a statement Tuesday.

"As part of the ongoing discussions between Russia, Qatar and Iran on expanding cooperation, Gazprom representatives will on Wednesday participate in a meeting of a technical committee that will discuss details of the implementation of the joint South Pars project," Gazprom said.

Seventies book predicted our future

Based on then ground-breaking modelling, the forecasts of global ecological and economic collapse by mid-century contained in the controversial 1972 book; The Limits to Growth, are still ‘on-track’ according to new CSIRO research.

...In a paper published in the international journal; Global Environmental Change, CSIRO physicist Dr Graham Turner compares forecasts from the book with global data from the past 30 years.

”The real-world data basically supports The Limits to Growth model,” he says. “It shows that for the first 30 years of the model, the world has been tracking along the unsustainable trajectory of the book’s business-as-usual scenario.”

Bill McKibben: Reversal of Fortune

The formula for human well-being used to be simple: Make money, get happy. So why is the old axiom suddenly turning on us?

Warming to nuclear

GIVEN THE LONG-TERM BENEFITS it’s remarkable that nuclear power still needs to be championed. But that’s exactly what Bertrand Barré has been doing.

A veteran of the nuclear energy industry, Barré – who is also chairman of the International Nuclear Societies Council (INSC) and a consultant to French nuclear group Areva – acknowledges the nuclear industry’s roots in devastating weaponry is still a perception burden. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s history,” says Barré.

The Renewable Energy Revolution Can Become Reality More Quickly and Cheaply than People Realize

A new study by the Energy Watch Group provides convincing evidence that even moderate investments are enough to extend the use of renewable energies. There is no need to construct new nuclear-power facilities to meet demand.

EU To Launch Plan For Caspian Gas, Wind Power

BRUSSELS - Europe should erect more wind turbines, keep a closer watch on oil stocks and improve access to Caspian gas, Europe's energy chief will say this week.

The 27-nation bloc is seeking to reduce its reliance on Russian gas after pricing disputes between Russia and transit states disrupted supplies in recent years and Russia's invasion of Georgia in August stoked tensions.

China Solar Companies Reportedly Slowing Production

The China-based solar cell and module manufacturers are slowing down production in anticipation of slowing demand and falling prices, according to Wedge MKI, the Asia-based research arm of investment research boutique Wedge Partners.

Utilities to test solar power at traditional plants

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. utility group announced on Monday a plan to test adding solar thermal energy to natural gas and coal-fired power plants in a move designed to cut fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA Must Propose a Science-Based Fuel Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency must accurately account for global warming emissions from biofuels when implementing the new renewable fuel standard, leading environmental and science groups said in a letter they sent today to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

Recession Will Allow Lower Carbon Caps, Investor Says

(Bloomberg) -- The prospect of a global recession will allow governments to set lower emission targets, an investor in carbon credits said.

UN climate chief seeks Obama input in December talks

The UN climate chief said Wednesday he was "very encouraged" by Barack Obama's stance on global warming, and said he hoped the US president-elect would join in key talks in December before taking office.

"It is impossible to advance on this important topic without the full engagement of the United States," Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told AFP by phone.

Government nixes forest experiments; scientists upset

DURHAM, N.C. — For more than a decade, the federal government has spent millions of dollars pumping elevated levels of carbon dioxide into small groups of trees to test how forests will respond to global warming in the next 50 years.

Some scientists believe they are on the cusp of receiving key results from the time-consuming experiments.

The U.S. Department of Energy, however, which is funding the project, has told the scientists to chop down the trees, collect the data and move on to new research. That plan has upset some researchers who have spent years trying to understand how forests may help stave off global warming, and who want to keep the project going for at least a couple of more years.

Southern Ocean close to acid tipping point

Australian researchers have discovered that the tipping point for ocean acidification caused by human-induced CO2 emissions is much closer than first thought.

China oil imports up 28.2% YOY with a slowing economy, and barely any notice in the MSM.

Yeah, but they are still buying cars, and very few of the cars on the road are reaching end of life and being scrapped.

China oil imports up 28.2% YOY

Highly misleading.

Import volumes can change significantly month-to-month, which is why only aggregated data is reliable. Based on EIA numbers, China's 2Q08 demand was 7.94Mb/d vs. 7.52Mb/d in 2007, or a more modest 5.6% higher. Production over the same periods was 3.82Mb/d vs. 3.79Mb/d, or 0.8% higher. Total difference in imports was 4.8% for 2Q08 over 2Q07, and also very close to that for 1H08 over 1H07.

Imports may be up 28% this October over last October, but that's almost certainly nothing more than noise in the data. The trend is a 5% increase in imports, or about 0.2Mb/d. The IEA analysis confirms that expected growth in Chinese petroleum consumption is 5-6% in each of 2008 and 2009.

You say:

The trend is a 5% increase in imports

Platts says:

In the first 10 months of this year, China's crude imports reached 151.15 million mt (3.65 million b/d), an increase of 10.6% over 136.67 million mt (3.67 million b/d) in the same 2007 period, according to the customs figures.

The trend is a 5% increase in imports

Typo on my part; I'd been talking about demand increase, but accidentally switched to typing "imports" in the middle. Thanks for catching that; my mistake.

To reiterate: the trend is that China's demand is growing at about 5%/year. As the country produces about half of the oil it consumes, their imports are growing at about 10% per year, far below the 28% that BrianT was implying.

Just to correct the arithmetic...

If consumption increases by 5.6%, and production increases by 0.8%, this does not imply that imports increased by (5.6 - 0.8) = 4.8%
In fact, imports will increase by a percentage much higher than the percentage increase in consumption. The proper calculation for the increase is:

change in imports = (current consumption - current production) / (previous consumption - previous production)

In this case, this is (7.94 - 3.82) / (7.52 - 3.79) = 10.5%

i propose ((7.94-3.82)-(7.52-3.70))/(7.94-3.82)= 0.095 = 9.5 %

or (4.12-3.73)/4.12 = 9.5%

No prob, it happens to even the best of us some of the time. ;-)

The remarkable thing here (i.e.: the story behind the story) is this:

July imports were 8% lower than the average of the 3 months before July and 12% lower than that of the 3 months after July. In other words: consumption in China is not slowing one bit, financial turmoil and deteriorating economies elsewhere notwithstanding.

Check eastenders math in reporting the Platts story. It would not pass with a Certified Public Accountant.

Anything above zero demand growth now is an optimistic forecast.

From the Bloomberg article on IEA reducing its demand forecast.

Funny how a little thing like perspective changes the entire meaning of a passage. From my view, any demand growth above zero is a pessimistic forecast. But then, the new JPMorgan employee clearly believes that growth economics is the only game in town.

Come on now. Where the hell will all that oil come from?

Right now, we are producing 2 mbpd less than during the summer peak. Opec cuts 1.5 mbpd ASAP and Russian exports decline cca. 1.5 mbpd in November (and possibly from November on). OPEC is soon to meet again, reducing output by at least another milion barrels. Tar sands projects are halted.

All in all that's like 5-6 mbpd LESS early next year than it was this summer.

And some analysts predict there will be a growth or a negligable decline in consumption. Once again: where will the oil come from? Demand destruction has to take place mostly in the OECD. Exports declining 5 mbpd is a 12% decline wordlwide but like a 20% decline in the OECD.

Will we eat all our SPRs in (less than) a year? The numbers simply don't add up.

Not only that, but short of China falling into an absolute depression in 2009 it will be importing at least 15% more oil-their imports are up 28% YOY with 9% GDP growth.

Well, yes, you are right. But the new JPMorgan employee quoted in the story clearly believes that the sort of declines you are pointing out would be an unmitigated disaster. Do you feel the same? My take is that this decline is a VERY good thing.

A decline of 15-20% in OECD imports in such a short period of time will lead to economic mayham on a scale you cannot imagine. NOTHING will get ANY funding.

It is going to be coal, coal and some more coal.

Coming off of oil is a good thing, but at this speed and magnitude it will change the circumstances we know in such a harsh way, that all alternative energy projects, gas exploration, LNG, nuclear, etc. will come to a halt within months.

And one more thing. Not investing in EOR technologies will cause the decline rate to be close to 9%, up 4% from where we are now. That's another 3 mbpd reduction in 1-2 years, and a gap NEVER to be overcome again. Right now, we have to have 4-5 mbpd coming from megaprojects to stay even. No EOR and this number goes up to 7 mbpd in a year's time. That's definitely not feasible, given we simply don't have the inventory, nor the procejts in the pipeline.

This way, we will surely come off of oil. That's a good thing. And we will have WWIII soon after - that's a negative, I guess. But the way things are going, I'm not sure any more.

With the exception of the WWIII part, I don't disagree with you.

And yes, I fully understand that its going to be painful. But that pain is coming sooner or later. There are only two reasons for postponing it - one is if you believe there are steps that can be taken that would lessen the pain later, the other is if you plan to be dead before the pain sets in and you don't give a %&*$ about your descendants.

Personally, I see delaying the inevitable as increasing the pain. Primarily I believe this because I do not see the economic pain that we will go through as the worst kind of pain. The psychic and spiritual pain that we suffer everyday as a result of the inanity of the growth ethic.

Sure enough, but there is a pain threshold above which society cannot tolerate the reduction. You guys in the US had a 4.2% reduction in consumption y.o.y. and look at all the turmoil it has led to. we are talking about twice or three times as much missing next year.

OECD countries will need to have unemployment rates in the neighborhood of 15-20% to adjust to this. Plus cutting R&D and investments in more or less every field, alternative energy and energy efficiency included (after all, energy is CHEAPer by the day, so why worry?).

I don't know about the US but I guarantee you that a 15%+ unemployment rate will cause governments fail left and right in Europe. We will surely be very close to a revolution, and we will want to come out of the depression by dozens of 'new deals'. Only this time we will lack the energy to do it, since all projects will have been abandoned by then. It's a nice downward spiral we are getting into in these weeks.

Coming off of oil is nice, but be careful what you wish for.

Per a Bloomberg article today, consumption (demand) is down 4.3% in the US y.o.y.


The cooling economy will cut global oil demand for the first time in a quarter of a century next year, Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd. said Nov. 6. Oil demand in the U.S., the oil sands only export customer, will slump 830,000 barrels per day, or 4.3 percent this year from 2007 to 19.8 million barrels per day, the Energy Department predicted Oct. 7.

Currently, USA domestic production is down 7.5% YOY, thus the increased imports.

Total petroleum products supplied for domestic use down -6.7% YOY, -5.6% for the first 304 days of 2008 -- U.S. EIA Weekly Petroleum Report. Crude oil inventory was about the same as last year (YOY). Inventories were growing rapidly and GOM recovery continued as of the November 5 MMS report, 18.9 % of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut-in.

The spike in imports was a one week anomaly.

15-20% unemployment. Check
R&D cuts. Check
Investment collapse. Check
Government failures. Check
"New Deal" plans. Check
Downward spiral. Check

All things we need. Now imagine a world in which;

employment is not an important measure. Indeed, "being employed" is not even a goal, but something to be avoided. (Note the difference between being employed and working);

R&D and investment are vestiges of growth economy that makes no sense any longer. Instead we have learning, experimentation and effort;

government is a local effort to coordinate for some shared goal and dissipates once that goal is achieved, only to come together again as a new goal achieves consensus.

the downward spiral is for those people "over there" who keep trying to get back to the old ways. Those of us over here are interested in more important things, like improving or spiritual life, better knowing the nature we live in, and rebuilding the sense of community that was torn asunder by the old ways.

Those of us over here are interested in more important things, like improving or spiritual life

Improving your spiritual life will become fairly difficult with civilization around you collapsing, I suppose. People marching on the streets with the army involved and the armed poor trying to take away your food from your (supposedly) safe rural environment will make it all the more troublesome to improve your spiritual understanding of nature and such.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think you underestimate the problem of a sudden energy reduction of this magnitude.

Improving your spiritual life will become fairly difficult with civilization around you collapsing, I suppose.

I would suspect precisely the opposite. Indeed, collapsing civilization just might provide the focus needed to revitalize our spiritual life. Now, I am not trying to make a spirituality equals austerity argument. I don't believe that's the case. But I do believe our contemporary penchant for having more stuff gets in the way of our spiritual development.

People marching in the streets? Last time we had this was probably the last great social stride forward made by western societies (think May 1968 in France, the anti-war movement in the US circa 1970, civil rights marches in early 60s)

poor taking my food away? we will all be poorer. But, the migration will be toward the cities as the populous looks to the gov't to feed them, not toward the rural areas where unprocessed food is spread over vast open spaces.

rural environment? Who says nature is only in rural environments?

No, I don't underestimate the problems of sudden energy reduction. But I do think you underestimate the problems of NOT going through that reduction quickly.


Surely "spiritual development" is an oxymoron.

If you mean in the sense that, say, "military intelligence" is an oxymoron than, than I'm not sure I would agree. It's easy enough to imagine how a person moves from less spiritual to more spiritual and if we consider that the be a development in the most generic sense of the word, why not?

Now if you mean development in the sense of economic development - which is code for inclusion into the global growth economy - then, yes I would agree. In the same way that "sustainable growth" is an oxymoron.

A person shouldn't confuse spirituality with religion.

As long as everyone remembers that they are both completely invented by man and expressed through language. Take away language, and the meaning given to both disciplines disappears entirely because meaning exists only in language.

In other words, they are both inventions. That's why there are so many different flavors to choose from. They are bounded only by the creativity of the human mind.

Sure. But then, if you take away language, we wouldn't be talking about anything, would we?

Such is the fundamental fallacy of all claims to truth, they are mediated by language.

Correct on both counts, in my view.

"That's why there are so many different flavors to choose from."

In that case...

I worship the divinity of chocolate.

Caused me to recall a somewhat tongue in cheek report somewhere last week - CNN maybe - about the new King of Bhutan being such a good looking eligible bachelor. Not my type, but...also mentioned the Gross National Happiness "measure" they use.

I'm sure this has been thrashed around before.



Women tend to consider you to be somewhat more attractive when you are the KING.

Those of us over here are interested in more important things, like improving or spiritual life, better knowing the nature we live in, and rebuilding the sense of community that was torn asunder by the old ways.

Those of us over here had damn well better be interested in eating, having a roof over our heads, keeping warm in the winter and all the other things that go with survival. Spirituality, rebuilding the community are luxuries that only come into play when survival is not the only thing one is concerned with.

One very important point! The world now has far, far too many people for everyone to go back to the old ways. Cheap energy enabled the green revolution and still does. Cheap energy enabled the industrial boom that put all the excess population to work. Without cheap energy all that will collapse, along with the population.

Ron Patterson

Those of us over here had damn well better be interested in eating, having a roof over our heads, keeping warm in the winter and all the other things that go with survival.

You are absolutely right about this. But is not central to the discussion from my perspective. Are people going to die? Yes. Are lots of people going to die? Yes. But they will die not because we are incapable of keeping them alive. They will die because we will not keep them alive.

Your note on the "green revolution" is precisely to the point. Our agriculture system is specifically geared toward massively centralized production and distribution. This creates the very risks that you identify.

The one place I disagree with you is on spirituality and community being a luxury. It is precisely because we have jettisoned both of those in our endless pursuit of more that we find ourselves in the situation we are in.

shaman wrote:

The one place I disagree with you is on spirituality and community being a luxury. It is precisely because we have jettisoned both of those in our endless pursuit of more that we find ourselves in the situation we are in.

I'm not clear what you mean by "spirituality". If you are thinking of a return to religious dogma which ignores science, such as Fundamentalist Young Earth Creationism, I submit that such would only lead to a return to the Dark Ages, where those deemed to have the wrong combination of "spirituality" would end up ostracized (if they were lucky) or killed. I think one can see lots of such insanity throughout history, such as that during the 14th century. A return to a society based on religious myths and superstition would not be my idea of an improvement, no matter how "moral" the resulting society were to become.

E. Swanson

Well... I think you might confusing religion with spirituality. In my view, spirituality culminates in the beleif that everything has value, and not necessarily a dollar value. Religion tends to culminate in the beleif that only certain things have high value and certain things have very low value (i.e. that certain groups of people are worthless, certain ideas and modes of thinking are useless, and certain lifestyles are sinful). It has been this mode of religion that has ended up with things like the Crusades, the Dark Ages, 9/11, the Holocaust, etc.

I think that the value system in our society is pretty messed up. What is more valuable to you as a comsumer, that $20 toy that you just bought your kid or feeding a starving family in Darfur for that same $20? Our wallets and attitudes say the toy. Spirituality (at least from my point of view) says that everything has value... It's not about myths or superstitions or fanaticism.

Thanks for bringing this up, Gecko, as spirituality is something I am hesitant on discussing on TOD.

I have a big problem understanding the complexity of the world. I am forced to see God as the creator of it, for lack of a suitable scientific explanation. Things like DNA. Design of the eye. How life came to be.

In the Hebrew Bible, God describes himself as "He who causes to be", and "I am that I am". Not of this world, but "He who holds the universe in the palm of his hand".

Honestly, I do not know what all of this means, but I will assume that there are many things beyond my comprehension, just as I know there are many things beyond the comprehension of my cat.

There is so much I do not understand. Yet I am here for the time being. I do not know how or why. I have to make the assumption I have been created, but for what?

I know I am made from dust. I will return to dust. Science verifies this. There is absolutely nothing special in me. Its all in the way I am assembled.

Old earth, young earth? I figure it must be pretty old. I see no reason my God would try to trick me. I cannot believe in any gods who rely on trickery, as my own primitive logic tells me God and Truth are one. Science, like Religion, seeks the truth.

Religion carries human intones of leadership and control, and cannot be implicitly trusted. Religion is likely to describe me as of little faith, but I am only screening "false prophets" by scientific analyses.

Science debunks religion and verifies Truth ( God ).

I am matter, somehow aware of itself, but I am constrained to the affairs of matter. Could God be intelligent energy?

Einstein showed matter and energy are related.

Something in me tells me there is something else out there, far more potent than I. I don't know what it is. For lack of any other word for it, I will call it God and revere it.

Its clear to me there are many others out there who feel this too, and they are trying their best to relate with it.

There are many more choices than God or science. If you're really interested there is a whole life's worth of searching out there for you. And, oh, what a life it would be!

Hardhat--For your enlightenment and helping you gain greater spiritual insight, may I suggest reading What is Life.

Nothing to add. Just loved to read this and rated up. Thanks.

Something in me tells me there is something else out there, far more potent than I.

The Big Electron works for me.


"And I can dream, can't I? See I don't worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we're part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron...whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn't punish, it doesn't reward, it doesn't judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while."
George Carlin on the Environment

I am forced to see God as the creator of it, for lack of a suitable scientific explanation.

I suppose you're only human and dont see the contradiction in your logic.

Like why an anthropamorphic intelligence that somehow creates itself is a better explanation than any other hypothesis.

Forced? What is wrong with "I don't know"?

Where is it written that talking monkeys should expect to understand the Universe in all its glory?

To say that if science can't prove something, one is "forced" to believe that godz did it seems really, really bizarre to me.

Geckolizard has already given you a pretty sound answer. And I would echo his general sentiment about religion v. spirituality. The sort of churches you refer to are pretty much anti-spiritual.

As a shaman, I have my own variety of spirituality based in animism. But it is certainly not the only form. Geckolizard suggested value, I tend to go with the notion of meaning - our spirituality provides the meaning of our existence. But perhaps more importantly, spirituality guides how a particular person finds the meaning in their life.

A dogmatic church claims to already have answered the meaning question and proscribes it to members, it doesn't let them find it on their own. (And beware of science, it has it's own tendencies toward dogmatism.)

I find spirituality to be the opposite of hubris. It teaches us that we are not the most powerful creatures in the universe and even kings and emperors are just as lowly and subject to the same fate as the poorest peasant. We are here for only a short time and no matter how much we accumulate it will some day be passed on to strangers. Spirituality is accepting of diversity of life and the diversity of ways of life. Spirituality teaches us that we are connected and we sink or swim as a community and a world.

"Downward spiral. Check"

that would describe the last 8 yrs, no doubt.

I completely agree with getting on with the pain. Yet I'm young and I know I'll have to live through (or try to) live through the end of rampant industrial growth. I know many older coworkers who appear too afraid to consider doing anything, they just want to keep the wheels going long enough to retire.
I also have faith that we can reorganize ourselves sucessfuly in a sustainable resilent manner, and the sooner we try to do this the better. In particular I'm attracted to open source sustainable technology development.
Imagine an online developed set of simple technologies that could be built locally by anyone using simple know how. We already have the resources for most of this technology in our junkyards and soon to be discarded SUVS. Build the new post industrial society from the monemental excesses of the industrial age. Its happening check out this example http://openfarmtech.org/

Great site roamer. I love this part- "Food, energy, housing sufficiency. There are no poor among us - because we are all evolving human beings and farmer scientists."

I'm afraid some of you guys are not getting it.

Coming off of (imported) oil is great. Spiritualism and a better understanding of nature is fine. However, the magnitude of a potential reduction is frightening.

How much do you want oil consumption to decrease yoy in the OECD? 3-4% a year? Even 5%? I'm all in. That will be painful but can (to an extent) be mitigated. 15% ? That's a totally different animal, guys.

I assure you: you do NOT want a 15% reduction in oil consumption in the OECD during the next 12 months. You may not know it (yet), but I'm sure you don't want it once you'll truly get what that actually means.

Are you absolutely sure that we aren't getting it?

Perhaps it is your own fear that is getting in the way. Will it be horrible? yes. Will lots of people die? yes. I've been studying this and writing on it for 30 years. I get it.


may not want a 15% reduction in oil consumption. You fear the deprivation, the likelihood that you will lose much of what you have, perhaps your loved ones. It is time to get over that fear. It could happen now or it could happen 20 years from now when there are that many more people to suffer an die.

I can't speak for others, but I've already processed that fear and welcome the collapse with open arms.

Good for you then.

I'm only 34, so I have not been possibly able to studying it for 30 years. It may well be that you are the one getting it, not me.

But I don't fear anything. My wife does though. Our daughter is only 9. Despite my 'have no fears' attitude, I may well be altered somewhat by theirs. I can't tell you.

At any rate, I do not wish a reduction of 15% in the next 12 months. Albeit I think I'll make it.

Ah! A daughter of 9 is a wonderful thing, and certainly explains some of your... concern. We adopted very late in life and have two very small children, so I know what that does to your thinking. Children are our (yours, mine, everyone's) link to the future and everything we do should be with them in mind. We all need to remember that. We're in for a real wild ride, but keep trying to give that daughter everything you have, heart and mind, and you will be leaving the world a better place than it is now, irregardless of what happens with our material well-being.

No offense, but don't we all?

I'm 19 and I've been studying energy/global warming for about 10 years or so. Used to go to the library and just crack open books one after the other on all this sort of stuff, half the time wouldn't even get out of the isle, just sit and read it.

When global oil production peaks, the economy is likely to shrink in direct proportion to dwindling fuel supplies, says Dr Robert Hirsch of the thinktank SAIC.

Peak Oil Means Peak Economy

If OECD imports decline by 15-20% over a 1 or 2 year period, economies will come to a screeching halt. Food distribution, medical services, etc. would all be affected. The tsunami of unemployment alone would cause huge problems, and energy projects would continue to be mothballed left and right. In this scenario, there simply would not be any spare capital or energy for meaningful mitigation. Things would just get worse and worse with each passing year...

There seems to be a bit of disconnect though. This week I've had multiple friends and family say to me in glee, "I just filled up my tank for $30; thank heavens we dodged that bullet."


Things would just get worse and worse with each passing year...

This is true if if what you are measuring are the goals and values of the present economic model. But worse and worse in our neverending effort to have more stuff might actually be better and better on some other scales.

The kind of crisis we're facing is the kind where there is not enough food to go around. The kind where children do not have access to medical care, where people fight and invade over the remaining scraps of energy and food.

I don't mean to sound brash, but you do realize how many people have been slaughtered in Iraq? The suffering Iraqis have experienced, and the horrific living conditions they're living under, breed fanaticism and extremism - not some new age spirituality crap.

You can say 'it doesn't have to be that way.' But so what? What effect does that have? None.

Please go peddle your cornucopian spirituality elsewhere.

And because you don't want to face poverty and hunger (something a good portion of the world is doing already, anyway) you would declare someone's spirituality "crap"? And just to keep you happy, we'll manage to keep the soul-deadening, mind-numbing global economic system going until you die - then the rest of the remaining billions can suffer an even worse fate.

Do I understand how many have died in Iraq? I'm afraid it is you that doesn't understand - the number who have died in Iraq is minuscule compared to what is to come. Do you understand that the number of people who will die this year because of lack of access to food (in a world that produces so much that some has to be trashed to keep prices up) will outnumber the total of those who have died as a result of the Iraq war?

Breeding war and fanaticism? Are you kidding me? War? Was it the poor who launched shock and awe? Was it the poor who wanted to "bomb the North Vietnamese into the stone age." (as if they had far to go). No, more often than not, the poor are the victims of war, not its cause. Fanaticism? Who could be more fanatic than those who wish to preserve their own privileged position, those who worship growth to a degree that they can't even imagine other ways of living, who don't even recognize that their own wealth is built on the back of people who don't wake up knowing if they'll have enough to feed their children?

And I'm not saying 'it doesn't have to be that way.' If you'd read a little more closely you might have noted that I was saying it DOES HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. Cornucopian? not sure how you define the word because I've never seen it used that way.

Oh, and have find playing with all those toys you've collected.

Breeding war and fanaticism? Are you kidding me? War? Was it the poor who launched shock and awe?

No shawman. Iraq was invaded by a cabal of neoconservative extremists who claimed to represent the best interests of the American people. It was, and remains, a war for resources, as well as a crime against humanity. Invasions and violent competition over remain resources will only increase. The resulting conditions breed war and fanaticism.

You said upthread:

the downward spiral is for those people "over there" who keep trying to get back to the old ways. Those of us over here are interested in more important things, like improving or spiritual life, better knowing the nature we live in, and rebuilding the sense of community that was torn asunder by the old ways.

According to you, the number of people who have died in Iraq is minuscule compared to what is to come (I agree BTW). Typically, when a person is watching loved ones die of starvation, all that he or she cares about is finding food to make the pain and suffering stop. Most people in these conditions would find your lecture (quoted above) about 'improving one's spiritual life' to smack of cornucopianism.

Cornucopianism: is the belief that physical resources are ultimately less important than the resources of the mind.

Thanks for the comments, Matthew. Confirmed for me that my reading of your first message was correct.


I appreciate your observation about the fallacy of 'stuff'. I think you understand the goal, and endgame, of much of economics (especially the discretionary side) revolves around the acquisition of 'stuff'. This 'stuff' could be that new SUV, that huge mansion in the exurbs, or the 60" flat screen HDTV. People are commonly measured in our society by the 'stuff' they have, whether it be the big house ("Did you see how nice his house is?"), the car ("Nice Corvette.") or even the ability to acquire more 'stuff' ("She makes six figures."). I have, in my 30 years in life, learned that the acquisition of 'stuff' has no end and is destructive in itself. Peak Oil heralds the end of this... It becomes very difficult to acquire things when you don't have a job, are in debt up to your ears with a mortgage that reset to $2,000/month, and when food and heating has skyrocketed as well.

There, however, is a positive side to the economy... Our economy, as it is structured, keeps us fed; it keeps power coming to our homes so we can turn on lights; it keeps us heated by either pumping Nat Gas to our homes, or allowing us to get fuel delivery. It keeps us safe by providing prisons to lock up dangerous people; it keeps us enlightened by giving us the Internet; and it keeps us healthy by providing medical care that heals us and keeps us alive.

All of this collapses if things really hit the fan. All of the acquisition of 'stuff', all that wasteful activity. But, the helpful activities collapse as well.

And Shaman... if you are indeed as spiritual as you say, you should know that focusing on fear does not get you as far as focusing on hope. People want a hopeful message... They will need that in the upcoming clusterfuck we're heading into. Give them hope that the quest of 'stuff' is a false quest. Give them hope that there are pleasures of life beyond television and McDonalds. Do this... and you will be a true Shaman.

Thanks for the comments Geckolizard. One proviso - I don't want to claim any special spirituality for myself. I'm struggling like all of us to make sense of the world. I think the main difference is that I, like you, have seen through the shallowness of much of our modern culture. In some ways, that makes the pain all that much more noticeable as you can't give in and get solace from the the Church of Walmart.

On to your positive side of the economy - which I'm not quite as sure is as positive as you suggest;

keeps us fed - well, some of us. Others it starves. And at what cost? How's your diet? carrying around a few extra pounds due to all that starchy food? been tested for pesticide impacts? Your kids getting enough HFCS in their diet? And then ask where your food comes from - and not because its necessary to eat locally (though that's a good thing) but because I want to drive home that we have become completely disassociated from our food production - its owned by a handful of very large corporations.

lights and heat. While I do enjoy reading by light at night, it is not something that is critical to my life. Indeed, truth be told, there would be no need for me to read at night if my days were mine (instead of the hydra-headed corporate economy's). And heat is great! but do we really need to maintain a constant 72 - 78 degrees inside? And the reality is we have used cheap energy as an excuse for not building homes that could handle the elements far better.

prisons - unfortunately we've got the wrong set of dangerous people locked up. In the U.S. we prefer to lock up pot heads rather than the corporate criminals who perpetrate crimes that kill thousands.

Internet - don't confuse enlightenment with information.

Medicine - some real good stuff, like sulfa and antibiotics. But you're going to have to do some convincing if you want me to believe that the modern medical system is adding to the quality of our life. Much of the enhanced life expectancy of the developed world comes not from medicine, but from improved hygiene.

On hope and fear - I am very hopeful that we will close out the era of growth worship and fearful that we will figure out a way to keep it going. But hope and fear are two sides of the same coin. Hope is not appropriate if it is a lie - there is no hope that life as we know it will continue much longer. Am I fear-mongering by saying that? Most would think so, though I don't. And I'm afraid taking the stance that it is hopeful that the materialism gig is up isn't going to fly.

All in all that's like 5-6 mbpd LESS early next year than it was this summer.

Way too much. US will recover to about 5 mb/d by years end. The North Sea will recover from the maintenance of August and September but still down five to eight percent next year. Azerbaijan had a huge drop of over 400 tb/d due to some problem in August. They will surely recover. All in all I expect non-OPEC to be down about half a million barrels per day in 2009 verses the first half of 2008.

So if OPEC cuts another million barrels per day to 2.5 mb/d then that is 3 million barrels per less next year than the first half of this year.

Ron Patterson

Wanna make a bet? :-)

You left out Russia. That's another 1.5 mbpd EXPORT loss this November. In case the price remains low, I'm sure it will become a prolonged decrease, far greater thatn the 3-4% HL suggests. Should prices rebound, you may be right with 3-4 mbpd, because the Russians will sell.

And I said 5-6 mbpd less than the summer peak of 75 mbpd. So in H1 2009 I can easily see C&C output at 70 mbpd give or take 5%.

But a bigger problem is the decrease will be an export/import decrease, and the even bigger problem is that it will be an OECD import-reduction. Like a 15% reduction.

You are mixing apples and oranges. If you wish to talk exports then talk exports, if you mean production then talk production. And the Russian export cut will not last. It is a move to get the Russian Government to lower export duties and they will surely do that. The producers are just pumping into their holding tanks in the meantime. The temporary cut in exports means absolutely nothing.

Average world oil production for the first six months of 08 is 74,057,000 bp/d. That is what you need to look at because that is the production that affected the price, not any one month's production. Average world C+C production in 2009 will be well above 71,000,000 bp/d, you can bet on it. I would guess pretty close to 72,000,000 bp/d.

I opted to talk about what I wanted to talk about, sorry. ;-)

I do know that production and exports are not the same thing. You say 72 mbpd for the 12 months of 2009, and I said H1, or the first 6 months. Provided prices stay at this level (or go lower) until the end of this very year, I can see production being close to 70 mbpd in the first six months of 2009. In case prices rebound, 72 is not out of the question.

However, all that reduction will be an export reduction as well, and China&India will consume more next year, not less. It will make the OECD countries to reduce imports by at least 3 mbpd, which in my opinion will be closer to 5 mbpd.

And that has disaster written all over it.

India is not so important. Middle East on the other hand, that's where the demand is, in addition to China of course.

This rating system TOD has, got me wondering a lil' bit.

Upthread I said I expect a reduction of 5-6 mbpd compared to the 75mbpd 2008 summer peak. I got +1 for it. Here I say the exact same thing and I get -2

BTW, unfortunately these things depend on other things than how you guys rate my opinion. :-)

We are producing at least 2 mbpd less now than during the peak. The rest of the GOM is not coming back any time soon with the prices we have. OPEC cut 1.5 mbpd. They will surely cut some more, my guess is another 1 mbpd. That's 2.5 mbpd + 2 mbpd we lack NOW compared to the summer peak. That's 4.5. The Russians will cut 1.5 mbpd (export cut, I know it's different), but I think longer term it will bo arond 0.5 mbpd. That's 5 mbpd altogether. Add some (unplanned) losses in Nigeria and a further decline at the North Sea... and we are right there at around 70 mbpd by the end of Q1 next year.

Even if you downgrade this post, that alone will not cause Iran to pump more. ;-)

Instead of accepting lower imports, wouldn't OECD bid up the price of oil?
Your earlier estimate was an average of $120/barrel for 2008 and an average of $180/barrel for 2009.
Are you still sticking to that estimate?
Why do you think the price is still falling?

Prices will rise -- that's out of the question. They have to. The price of oil on NYMEX can go down to USD 40 or USD 20 or USD 2. The real question is: What quantity will actually be traded at the export markets at a given price?

Important megaprojects that have not already been started all stop below USD 50. Most of them have already been stopped. In case the price is 60 for a while, that's at least a 5 mbpd reduction in total exports. If the price is 40, make the a reduction of 15 mbpd or more. I guess there will be a small quantity of oil at USD 20, but not much. At USD 2, no exports at all.

Declining exports cause shortage after a while. Be it a 5 or 10 mbpd reduction, the shortage will come. When it comes, prices will jump overnight. Asking whether the price of oil will increase is not a good question. The good question is: When and by how much?

Should prices rebound this year, there has to be no physical shortage. Oil and gas will be expensive, but at least you'll be able to buy it. In case prices remain low for another several months, there will be a shortage, causing prices to rebound (jump). We will have high prices AND a shortage.

Given the EUR:USD exchange rate, prices should be in the neighborhood of 110-120 now and 150 by mid 2009. We will get there, latest by 2010. The only difference being: If the prices rebound sooner, there will be some oil and money (a functioning economy) along with it, in case prices rebound later, there will be a shortage with virtually no economy, no alternative energy, no R&D, no nothing.

I'm looking forward to the price being elevated soon. Very soon. (It seems unprobable at the moment, but that's the only way we can avoid something terrible.)

In case prices remain low for another several months, there will be a shortage, causing prices to rebound (jump). We will have high prices AND a shortage.

I have trouble understanding this. As long as we (OECD) can outbid others, why should we face a shortage? Or do you think China will be able to outbid OECD?

.......in case prices rebound later, there will be a shortage with virtually no economy, no alternative energy, no R&D, no nothing.

Again, I have trouble understanding this. As soon as we experience a shortage, price should start rising. Shortages will end when demand once again matches supply at a higher price. I see shortages and high price happening simultaneously only if China or some other country outbids the OECD. Do you see that happening?

Another factor is that some of the decline in exports is voluntary. I think exporters will increase exports again when oil crosses $100/barrel. Of course, this will only buy us some time and not fix the ultimate problem.

Shortages will be temporary, but I think, yes, China can and will outbid the OECD for oil.

Another factor is that some of the decline in exports is voluntary.

Almost all of it as of now. However, some closed wells can not reopen overnight. Producing wells closed will cause a shortage of several weeks, maybe months.

And the most important problem of all: lacking investments in EOR technologies, and the corresponding decline rate changing from 5-1% to 9%. (BTW, according to my model, decline rates are 5.7% for 2008 and were 4.95% in 2007. The IEA's figure of 5.1% reinforces my model, the reason being then having measured the dicline rate in Q1 2008, very close to 2007. I think this rate will go up to 6.5% next year, due to lack of investment.

Thanks for the explanation. Your model didn't predict the collapse from $147 to $58. Do you know what went wrong? How low will it go? When will it start rising?

No, it didn't.

In fact, I was the most optimistic kid on the block. I predicted 130 for June 30th 2008 back in 2007, and I predicted a decline in the fall and 140 by years' end. What I didn't have in mind:

  • EUR:USD at 1.25, a 20+% increase
  • the start of the greater depression in 2008 (I thought it would be H2 2009)
  • two hurricanes (I thought there would be one though)
  • Russian action in Georgia
  • margin calls, margin calls, margin calls
  • You ask what went wrong. The stock market and the financial market went wrong, and due to ever more margin calls, people have to sell whatever they got, oil included. The price of oil does not reflect supply&demand since early October, not even speciulation based on a stronger USD. The only thing it reflects is the fear people have regarding the financial system, and the underlying will to sell everything and buy bonds.

    That was my mistake, first and foremost.

    I wish I had been right though, and not for the sake of being right (again). In my scenario, there would have been 'no biggies' until 2011-2012, just a slowly deteriorating society and an 'undulating plateau' until 2010, with decline rates of 6.5% starting only in 2011.

    I was wrong, as indicated by the price now, and as will be indicated by output data next year. It happens. I got it right for more than 2 years, and it all went wrong in 2 weeks. Too bad.

    Artcle re Goldman urging clients to short the California bonds they make money off underwriting-it is a good thing these guys don't have any influence over the USA government, else big problems would result http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/081111/business_us_goldman_bonds.html?.v=1

    Oil prices fell to near an 18-month low of $60 a barrel Tuesday as hopes waned that a huge Chinese spending plan will do much to avert a prolonged slowdown in the global economy.

    It should be remembered that Bakken oil development seems happy with $60/barrel oil. If we are going to shut this kind of thing down, we need to bring the price down even further. We should be saving that resource for when the price of oil is unavoidably high, rather than tapping it now when we can still drive the price of oil down. If we wait until we are no longer using oil, we can sell the Bakken oil at $200/barrel to those who are slow to convert.

    Let's set a target price of $20/barrel to be maintained for the next decade through our conservation and transition efforts. We only have a factor of three in price to go now to reach that target.


    I have a better idea.

    Why don't we set the target price at zero, effective from tomorrow on? In case you are keen on watching a catastrophe unfold in front of your very eyes real-time, that's the best way to do it. In fact, the prices we have today will do it soon enough, but it takes somewhat longer, like 2 years. Should we reach 40, we are falling off a cliff in 6 months' time. With 20 a barrel, it will still take weeks.

    Why play chicken little? Reduce the price to zero, man. That'll be fun.

    To hell with price. I beleive in the quota system...

    Set a quota of 3 gallons of gas per day for every car, truck, and automobile. Everything with a gasoline engine... 3 gallons per day.

    For the diesel folks... 10 gallons. Every semi truck... 10 gallons per day. That's it.

    For the rail industry... No quotas. For the airline industry... 20 gallons per passeger-trip.

    Once this is done, then we will see the solutions to many of the problems of Peak Oil just appear...

    Necessity is the mother of invention.

    Can I sell the portion of the three gallon a day I don't need on the black market?

    Of course you can. Your conservation is rewarded, and someone else's high consumption comes at a price.

    Very fair.

    No you can't for the simple reason that the US Stand-by Gasoline Rationing Plan, what we have to work with, includes a white market where you can sell your unused rations. This strongly discourages any black market since any black market would be exposed because it hurts the financial interests of half or more of all drivers but cutting into what they can get for their unused rations.



    The USA consumes 150 billion gallons of gas a year. There are approx. 150 million registerred vehicles. You suggest rationing everybody to 3 gallons a day or 1000 gallons/year. There's no pratical way to prevent people from selling each other ration coupons and or gasoline and your proposal is to not even try.

    My objection to this scheme is that it accomplishes nothing.

    OK, I was off by a touch... Bump it down to 2 1/2 gallons. But, it's the right ballpark to start with without causing major discontinuities.

    There's no pratical way to prevent people from selling each other ration coupons and or gasoline

    EXACTLY! This is a feature, not a bug. Those who want to conserve would be rewarded by being able to sell their rations, and those who wish to consume more would pay more. I think of that as very fair. And if someone wants to continue to ride a Hummer for their 50 mile daily commute, then by golly they need to REALLY pay for it or reconsider their choice in vehicles.

    A couple dollar a gallon tax on gasoline will accomplish the same thing without any additional bureaucracy.

    It is true that a tax could do something. But, the money has to go into a bureaucracy when you tax. And, to continue to reduce consumption ahead of the depletion of the cheap-to-produce oil, we need to raise the the tax to a higher and higher level. That could make the use of the tax problematic, destabilizing the funding of social security, for example, or requiring a new bureaucracy to distribute rebates to citizens. On the other hand, if we intend to ration right down to zero consumption, the bureaucracy to do this is temporary, though already approved by Congress.


    To continue to reduce consumption ahead of depletion, we don't have to do anything. Market prices will reduce demand. Of course the oil companies will become richer that way but that isn't my concern. It's the rationing scheme that has to continuously try to figure out where we are on the supply demand curve. Last I checked we have a trillion with a t dollar deficit. I don't think there's going to be a surplus to redistribute to the citizens. Ever. I not destablilizing social security; I'm funding it.

    I don't need to ration down to zero consumption. The market will do that.

    Is the texas railroad commission out of business? When was the last time a bureaucracy was temporary?

    It is true that the market will provide the price signal to destroy demand as scarcity takes over. But, we will pay much more money if we do things that way. If oil has an average price of $200/barrel for the 15 years when we cut our consumption to about nothing, we will have paid about $10 trillion more than if we ration now and cut at a not too disimilar rate. That seems to be $10 trillion that we don't have.


    that would be something like 40-60 miles per day. i think it's pretty much the same thing as no limit to buying, except for vacations and unplanned trips.

    think of it the other way around. when the food truck won't come to your neighbourhood anymore because of this quota, and you'll have to drive farther to get the stuff you want, who wins?

    taxation is a tried and true alternative. works great in europe, why do you want to reinvent the wheel?

    How many gallons of diesel did the U.S. use per year?

    Chris - I understand your sentiment. But I always wonder when I read your posts what you think the mechanism is that we might use to push prices lower. In our current system the price is set on a quasi-open market where price policy is not possible. What would you use?

    There is quite a lot of support for a tax to curb consumption. Both James Hansen and Al Gore have fleshed out competing proposals. The first is a 100% dividend which provides a citizens rebate of 100% of the tax and the second is a tax shifting proposal, usually aimed at reducing the FICA tax. I think that to be effective at the $20/barrel level, the tax is going to have to be in the neighborhood of $300/barrel or so. And, to keep up with depletion it will have to increase from there with time. I see several problems with this. First, you have to get Congress to pass it. Second, the amount of revenue it too large to tie up in government hands even temporarily. Third, in the case of tax shifting, it puts ongoing expenses at the mercy of a sin tax which, if it works, should last less than two decades.

    So, I prefer rationing using our existing Stand-by Gasoline Rationing Plan. This only requires a decision on the part of the President to get going. Through the included "white market" it keeps whatever wealth transfer might occur with the tax proposals flowing between private parties rather than through the Treasury. We won't get dependent on the rationing revenues the way we might with tax revenues so that once we ration down to zero, we are done. And, most importantly, people will see the benefit of lower oil prices directly as they fill up at $0.90 a gallon. They might be filling up once a month with their hybrid rather than once or twice a week, but it will be an ongoing confirmation that the program is working.


    Now I'm even more confused. It's not clear to me how a tax would lower the cost of oil.

    On the rationing side, are you suggesting that we ration and then charge an absurdly low price on gasoline? Of course, this doesn't address the other uses of oil, but more critically, who would you get to purchase, refine and distribute the oil/gasoline under such a regimen? If the global price of oil was substantially higher than anyone involved would be losing money unless the government subsidizes them. Or is that your intent?

    My aim is to get the global price of oil down to a level where investment in expensive-to-produce oil ceases. I think that expensive-to-produce oil is an economic calamity that we must avoid. But, the only one player that can unilaterally control the price of oil is the US. If the US cuts consumption 20%, the world will have 5 million barrels a day of spare capacity. At that level of spare capacity, the world oil price is around $20/barrel. Holding the price there very strongly discourages developing oil that costs more than about $15/barrel to produce and deliver. That keeps the bulk of the oil supply cheap. We can keep the price low on our own if we continue to cut oil consumption down to zero in about a decade or if we have some help, we can take about 15 years to get to zero. The timescale is set by the depletion of cheap-to-produce oil.

    Rationing is always a form of price control. In wartime, the government could go ahead an requisition what is needed for the war effort and let the remainder sell at the scarcity determined price, or it can recognize that this will be impoverishing and deal with scarcity through rationing so that price stays affordable even though the full demand is not met.

    I argue that we really do need price control to avoid having the oil supply become an intrinsically expensive supply. The market is not able to avoid this eventuality because it cannot foresee depletion. In the case of oil, coming to rely on an intrinsically expensive supply is economic suicide and so some action must be taken in the national interest. I prefer rationing owing to its intrinsic fairness and low impact on the tax structure, but there are other options.


    It isn't 1968-it is 2008. Your fantasy of the USA controlling the universe is ridiculous.

    Well hell Brian, for once you got it right. What is that saying about a blind pig finding an acorn once in a while? ;-)

    Seriously, you are absolutely correct. World oil prices are subject to world supply and demand. Our tax system may affect US prices and consumption but a deep cut in US consumption will just make prices cheaper for the rest of the world, and consequently cause world consumption, outside the US, to increase.

    And the US did not even control the world in 1968 but we did have one hell of a lot more influence than we have now.

    Ron Patterson

    IMO it is a common fallacy on this site-the USA was the undisputed King in 1968-now it is realistically running on fumes. Most analyses of future oil imports, as an example, asuume the USA still receives its current share, which is unlikely to say the least.

    Not agreed about US influence. Look just how financial crisis spread from US throughout the world. US has best marketing crowd and they can sure sell anything they want. I respect and fear US in the same time.

    I am sure that Europe can't do pretty much anything without US consent. It is true though, that China is gaining ground though.

    The guesstimate is the USA went from 55% to 19% of global GDP in 40 years-it would be hard to lose that much ground even if it was the goal.

    So what? Who set up production in China? Chinese? I don't think so. The fall in GDP merely reflects that there isn't much production going in US anymore. Let's talk consumption though. Trends are bit different there, huh. Let's talk military expenses. Which country is spending for military more than all other countries combined? Is that Syria?

    You are correct that if we force the price of oil down to $20/barrel through conservation and transition efforts, consumption in the rest of the world will go up owing to the lower price. But, it can only go up about 3% a year at max because it takes time to build the roads and make the cars to drive on those roads elsewhere. As long as we cut our consumption quickly enough to counter that growth, we can keep the price of oil down. We have the power in the market because we have the single largest share of the market.

    So, let's get all these expensive tar sands and deep water and CTL and oil shale projects cancelled with a low global price for oil. Let's say that we are not going to buy that stuff so we are not going to pay for its development now with a high price for oil.


    I understand your goal - just not how you expect to get to it. Price controls by the U.S. gov't in the absence of subsidies to the industry that provides the controlled product would just drive all players from the business (why stay in the business if you'll only lose money). Add subsidies and you deal with the consumer issue in the U.S., but not the production issues that impact a global industry.

    Rationing is a form of price control, but it is not direct price control. Those who can afford to pump oil at $20/barrel (most producers) will do so and those who can't won't. But that is good because we don't want expensive-to-produce oil contaminating the supply. There is no subsidy, just control on demand that is not based on price but another criterion: self-control.

    Edit: I should add that with depletion, we don't expect oil companies to survive as oil companies in any case. They may end up as energy companies of synfuel companies or just do lubricants. But, in the end, they won't be selling much fuel. We should be paring them down starting now.


    There is quite a lot of support for a tax to curb consumption. Both James Hansen and Al Gore

    Two voters convinced, 219,999,998 more to go.

    It's not at all clear there's significant support for a gas/carbon tax in the US, no matter how good of an idea it is.

    However low the support for a gas tax, though, I can pretty much guarantee that the support for outright rationing would be even lower. Don't delude yourself that it's at all likely in any situation short of an international crisis.

    (Shaman) It's not clear to me how a tax would lower the cost of oil.

    The price of oil, not of gasoline.

    If the US taxed oil the way Europe does, consumption would likely move down much closer to European levels, subtracting 6-8Mb/d from US consumption. Reducing world oil demand by 10% would likely lead to a certain amount of a glut on the market (at least temporarily), lowering the price of oil (and lowering OPEC's quotas) to a new equilibrium.

    (Or that's how I understand the argument, at least. I'm not entirely convinced that a high US gas tax would enormously lower the price of oil, but it would certainly lower US consumption, lower overall global consumption, and spur investment into non-oil-burning alternatives, all of which would be good news.)

    What there is support for is high MPG vehicles that are affordable, and things like transit that give people options besides driving.

    Adding taxes of one sort or another would be a political stinkbomb.

    The only way that rationing would ever be palatable is if there were widespread supply shortages, and people were getting sick of getting stuck in gas lines.

    People might accept rationing as an alternative to very high prices for fuel. Woops, we missed that opportunity. Instead, we got "Drill, Drill,Drill, etc"...

    Maybe the Democrats could actually do something and add a "security fee" to the price of all transport fuels, using the funds to pay for a large portion of our military expenses (including Iraq and Afghanistan). If the Federal budget deficit balloons to multi-Trillions next year, such a fee might be salable. The resulting political firestorm could be an entry into a real debate, with a practical rationing system being one option. The debate could cover our imperial military industrial complex, peak oil and climate change. Anyway one looks at it, making a substantive change in our energy supply won't be easy as we've all become used to cheap oil and expect that oil should continue to be cheap.

    E. Swanson

    Actually, we've got pretty convincingly to the point where we know for how long oil can continue to be cheap: about a decade if the US goes to zero consumption in that amount of time or about 15 years if the US and Europe go to zero consumption together in that longer time. After that, the price has to rise because too much of the cheap-to-produce oil will have been used up and only expensive-to-produce oil can fill remaining demand from Asia or elsewhere.


    "What there is support for is ... things like transit that give people options besides driving."

    And things like transit are fabulously expensive.

    "Adding taxes of one sort or another would be a political stinkbomb."

    And therein lies the rub. Transit riders expect to get their fabulously expensive rides practically for free, and typically pay less than 1/3 of the operating cost and zilch, zero, nada, towards the capital cost. If I could drive on that basis, it would cost me well under 10 cents a mile - so dirt-cheap that there would be no need for the discussion today in the other thread.

    "The only way that rationing would ever be palatable is if there were widespread supply shortages, and people were getting sick of getting stuck in gas lines."

    And even then, some of the cruder rationing schemes, such as the very common one of limiting the amount purchased at one time, seem designed to lengthen the lines. And of course the lines are a bit self-increasing because they consume extra gas idling and/or stopping and starting during the wait.

    And to go by what happened in the Southeast with the "gouging" laws, some people seem to prefer long lines, so I don't know what the dominant attitude will be. At any rate the real fun will begin when the rationing scheme provides wildly disparate amounts to different people, as happened in World War II with the A's, B's, and C's. Life is so much more complicated now than it was back then that any scheme like that will be much harder to rationalize and much more likely to cause social strife. People ought to be more careful about what they wish for.

    If we could only find a way to administer a consumption tax that allows the President to say, "I'm abolishing the IRS", people might go for it for that reason alone.

    Ron Paul ran with that as one of his planks.

    Won't happen as the IRS and their rules/powers is a very big hammer to pound down the nails that stand up.

    If we can demonize the people getting taxed then it is pretty easy to get a new tax. Thus, we heard all about how smokers were costing the health care system so much more than other people despite the fact that they don't live as long and so have fewer treatments. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/337/15/1052 Because smokers are considered to be leeches, cigarette taxes go up all the time.

    But, states also come to depend on sin taxes for revenue such as lotto or slots or alcohol and tobacco sales. So, there is a disincentive to set the tax so high that it actually works to discourage the behavior entirely.

    With gasoline, we might demonize the people who are producing the scarcity: the hummer drivers, and slap an axle weight surcharge on such vehicles even if it turns out that these are the first off the road when the price goes up. But, I think you could get a tax in support of better fuel efficiency through if you could paint the minority that gets taxed as harmful.

    Getting new taxes that apply to everyone has been harder to accomplish.

    I think rationing could be sold with an ad showing someone looking in the sofa for gas money. Kind of retro, but people would get the idea.


    In one way you are right. Voter's have not been yet been presented with choices on this. When I said a lot of support I meant within the context of people who are thinking about this kind of thing. Hansen and Gore are big guns in my estimate. Margaret Mead said "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." and it is within this group that I am estimating support. Certainly within the Green Party EcoAction Committee, taxation has had more support than rationing. It is still policy I think. http://gp.org/committees/ecoaction/eco_2006_04_25.shtml

    As a practical matter, I think rationing does best in the face of peak oil because it is already approved by Congress and it just needs the President to get it going. We might have the time to do taxation for coal and natuaral gas though coal looks like it is headed for cap-and-trade.


    The Bill McKibben article is a real gem, although Nate might want to talk to him about why the drive for more got out of control - biology of the brain and the development of addiction and all that which he's posted about several times before.

    Somehow I find it heartening to know there are at least a few folks out there who know the score. Too bad it's too little too late (my doomerism shining through).

    I'm still amazed that the price of oil is dropping so quickly! Here it is at $60/bl when just four and a half months ago we were at $147. If you look at the NYMEX trend though, the price seems to have stabilized somewhat the last two weeks, i.e., on 10/27/08 it was $63.22/bl and today about the same.


    Maybe it's the end of the downtrend, maybe not, you can't predict anything from two weeks of data.

    The Dow seems to have stabilized in the 8000 range too. When the Dow does well, oil goes up, when the dow or financial markets have a bad day the oil price drops too. The market/price is dominated by the fear of global demand slowing down with a depression.

    The only way oil is going to go up this year is if the market starts to feel like an economic recovery is happening.

    So far today, Dow Down 2% oil down about a buck (about 2%)

    This pairing spells doom. We can only have cheap oil if we are all too poor to afford it. If we ever start making money again the oil price will rise and be out of reach. the more time passes the more "out of reach" the price will be.

    We can only have cheap oil if we are all too poor to afford it.

    This is something that's seemingly turning into an important point. One of the arguments of the cornucopians is that over time our technological advancements make resources that are expensive or are of limited capacity able to be replaced by other cheaper or more plentiful resources. The classic examples are that the limited, renewable resource whale oil was replaced by natural gas and petroleum, and expensive and limited copper telephone lines were largely replaced by fiber optics.

    To this argument the doomers have always replied, "but what will replace petroleum? If we can't find something, we're SOL." (pardon the initial-ism) Maybe what we're seeing is what happens when we can't replace petroleum, instead of an asymptotically increasing price per barrel, the price is tied to the economic activity in some sort of feedback loop. The price of oil may not keep going up as it gets harder to produce such large quantities, maybe the demand destruction keeps the price of oil at some level tied to economic activity.

    This reminds of ethanol, throughout the 80s and 90s, ethanol was always the fuel that would become economic if only the price of oil would rise to the current price plus X dollars per barrel, except whenever you heard about it, it was always the current price + X, it never became economical because the price was tied to the price of oil because of the diesel engines they used to harvest the corn, etc. From the amount of news articles we here about this and that new technology, you'd think they have gotten better, but I am not so sure.

    Imagine -for a moment- how big a barrel of oil would be if we had 'fixed' oil to something static in the early 70s. Since then the dollar has fallen to a fraction of its value back then -the 'fixed' barrel would contain a small fraction of what it does now... The Gold/Oil ration attempts to smooth for this -have a look here (interesting reading these predictions of prices from 2004!)


    Now add in speculation, further plummeting $$$ and whoah! "Peaking Oil Supply" and no, the price is going up and a lot. The highs will get higher and the lows will get higher. Even if we just stayed where we are production wise the FEDs printing presses would ensure that.

    Demand destruction will be the oscillator of choice, destroying demand in rough order:

    Status Oil_Import_dependancy
    Poor High
    Poor Medium
    Poor Low
    Rich High (e.g. US)
    Rich Medium (e.g. Europe)
    Rich Low or negative (e.g. Stable Exporter)

    Of course it all a lot more complicated than this simple list as within individual countries you have the whole range of 'country type' individuals -ie. the boudaries are all blurred...


    Gross oversimplification but...

    We partied on cheap almost free oil up to the 1970's then lower 48 peaked and oil would have become alot more expensive, more imported, lower ERoEI, etc.

    Enter cheap almost free money which masked the true price of oil and we are off to the races again.

    Money can no longer mask EROEI.

    Enter guns.

    Is Russia moving to nationalize another strategic asset?

    Uralkali Existence `In Doubt' as Russia Renews Probe (Update1)


    "Uralkali would suffer ``an enormous financial strain if found culpable and made liable to the state and third parties for all damages,'' the Berezniki, central Russia-based company said in an e-mailed statement today."

    Hello Skylar,

    Thxs for this info. If billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is not in the very exclusive 'Putin Boyz Club'-->I bet he trying to get the hell out before he is thrown into a gulag prison cell like the former Yukos billionaire, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. I have no idea how politically connected Dmitry is to Putin [maybe TODer Dissident might chime in], but I wouldn't call Dmitry's new digs in Florida very cold & confining:

    Russian mogul pays Donald Trump $100 million for Florida mansion
    Potash ore deposits are a very strategic resource [phosphate even more crucial IMO], both vital for topsoil fertilization and explosives. We might see many frozen corpses atop bloody snow if this goes down Tom Clancy style.

    ccpo - You should add ocean acidification to your climate change round-up.

    The fact that man can have an effect on the pH of the worlds oceans just boggles the mind.

    Tough to deny.

    from leanans post up top;

    "Southern Ocean close to acid tipping point"

    "The ocean is a fantastic sponge for CO2, but as it dissolves in the ocean it reduces the pH of the ocean, so the ocean becomes more acidic," says Dr McNeil.

    This acidification makes life especially hard for marine creatures such as pteropods - an important type of plankton found in the Southern Ocean - whose shells are made up largely of calcium carbonate."

    The surface & deep ocean isn't well mixed. The deep ocean offers an immense sink for CO2 but the time frames for mixing make this fact rather irrelevant in the short- & meso-term. It's the surface ocean that's becoming acidified as CO2 dissolves in the form of carbonic acid. And it's the surface ocean where the action is, biologically. This is the crux of the problem.

    It's horrible isn't it -imagine invaders from another world coming and spewing out something that ate away at our bones... We'd be up in arms if we had any left...


    The worst things we can imagine are always things people have already done to other people.

    Probably overlooking the effects of SO2 emissions and the formation of suphuric acid in the upper atmosphere due to the burning of high sulphur hydrocarbons ==> acid rain.

    I was working on it today. I should point out it's not on climate change, but on the cryosphere, mostly the Arctic.

    At the rate I'm going, I'll have to put it in my will for my son to finish it for me.


    The U.S. Department of Energy, however, which is funding the project, has told the scientists to chop down the trees, collect the data and move on to new research.

    This is the sort of story - the sort of willfully misdirected action - that leaves me cold. Those trees will come down only through the immoral, criminal complicity of a long chain of command. Maybe Gandhi could stop them. But I think in modern day America, Gandhi wouldn't last a day. The Pope damning the participants to hell will not stop them. Will he call out all the Catholics to ring the forest and protect it? Blessed are the earthmarines - because that's what it is going to come to. Are we really going to need groups like MEND protecting every resource on the planet?

    I'm not making any judgement on the experiment itself. There might be some data to "harvest" now - and no, we don't know how big this plot is. Are they going to dig it all up???? Destroying long running experiments now because they might be "obsolete" by 2012? I was reading one of Wendell Berry's essays on strip mining last night - how government officials, agencies, judges and legislators team up to destroy life itself.

    cfm in Gray, ME

    The thing that gets me is that scientists who work in fields with really intensive data "production" requirements (ie, fields where a huge amount of work is required to produce relatively little analysable data) need a lot of patience that isn't to everyone's liking. (I know I couldn't do it.) Given that this is global warming related stuff that people with agendas will rip into if they can find any reason to question the statistical significance, I can just imagine the soul-destroying feeling some of these guys must have of having invested a large amount of somebodies time and not getting reliable data out.

    Even if you don't "believe" in AGW, at least allow this to be demonstrated by letting researchers produce the best data they can from experiments.

    I live 4 miles from this FACE experiment (I know it's a repetitive redundancy). And when you go out and stand amongst these trees, it is immediately obvious that something is different here. But what is starting to appear is that it's a matter of nutrients and water (in cambination with the elevated carbon dioxide) that is important.

    When campaigns can crack jokes about seemingly meaningless research (only to have it blowback in their faces), it's a wonder that any advancement occurs at all. But then again, maybe that's why people come here to receive their PhDs and then go somewhere else where their knowledge and research is appreciated (or why my son and his girlfriend might leave the US in search of better prospects after they receive their PhDs).

    To find on Google Earth the coordinates are: 35°58'30.92"N, 79° 5'35.90"W


    Sorry, had to replace the image with a link. It's way too big for the DrumBeat, and didn't display properly anyway.

    It could well be that this experiment has run its course and is at the point of yielding diminishing results. It could well be that the money could be better spent on a new set of experiments designed in the light of knowledge gained from previous research. Loblollys grow fast, especially when fertilized. Science news articles seldom provide sufficient information for the public to decide the merits of continuing or discontinuing a research program.

    It does sort of sound like one of the Bush regime's many last-minute sabotage acts.

    NASA made a mistake and duplicated the September numbers for October. The corrected data is available.

    The CNBC talking heads were talking about what to invest in for an Obama presidency. The answer: natural gas. In their view, it's the only "clean" energy that makes economic sense. They don't think wind or solar will be realistic with oil prices where they are now.

    It wasn't that long ago that all kinds of alternatives (including CTL) were considered feasible at $60-pretty soon these won't be feasible at $100 either.

    I know you didn't say it...

    But these folks think electricity is going to be too cheap to worry about? Isn't electricity a somewhat regional product (not really fungible across the whole USA)? Are anyone's electricity rates going DOWN? Oil and electricity aren't that tightly linked - our rates just went up (California) because of low hydroelectric output (drought).

    Solar power is one of the only ways individuals can actually produce their own power. How can that NOT be a good thing? Haven't recent events taught anyone that relying on the government for large scale solutions might not be the best idea?

    Actually, electricity rates are starting to go down in some parts of the US. Due to the drop in natural gas prices.

    And electric rates in parts of Texas have recently dropped 25% to 40%. Mine dropped from $.16 to $0.09 per.

    Mine went from $75/mo on average while living in an all-electric home to $0/mo with an upfront capital cost of $900. Although, I'd have to add that my consumption has dropped dramatically as well. It's easy to run off of 80 watts in solar power and 400 watts in wind power when all you power is two laptops, lights, a water pump, and a TV from time to time.

    Denninger's on a tear this morning, even for him:

    FAIL: One Word For Them All

    Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, Congress.

    President Bush.

    And if he doesn't get on top of this, President-Elect Obama.

    Geithner is one of the front runners for Obama's Treasury Secretary, isn't he? Along with Summers and Rubin.

    Treasury said there would be an immediate banking system collapse and a Depression if they did not immediately buy "distressed mortgage-backed securities", and yet not one single dollar of said distressed assets have been purchased to date, while $310 billion has been spent or committed so banks can make acquisitions and fund bonus pools, with said acquisitions happening at 60% discounts to claimed balance sheet values just days prior.

    Has the banking system collapsed?

    Has your ATM card stopped working?

    No, but Goldman and Morgan, along with others, have $70 billion in bonus pool money to pay to their employees, compliments of the US Taxpayer.

    Lots of stuff in that post. Including a report that AIG is still partying at luxury resorts while begging for more taxpayer money.

    Obama is one helluva salesman, because I still can't believe he is as crooked as the rest of these grifters. If it ever becomes obvious, he will be as reviled as Bush.

    I don't think he is crooked, but realpolitik is something entirely different. Obama has received 500 million for his campaign. Realistically speaking, do you think that Bush has really been in control for the last 8 years. There you have it.

    Arguing about 343.000 dollars is pretty contraproductive. He has still not embraced the idea that we are going down. If this guy wants to change something, he should lead a militia or sth, he sure seems angry enough to do it.

    I bet that he is too coward to actually do something. It is very easy to bitch online.

    He's actually been doing something, set up a few websites, videos against the bailout, personally co-ordinated an online movement against the bailout. Paid top dollar to meet with McCain's advisors at a fund raising event in Washington. I think he's mailed, faxed and tried to call virtually every senator and congressman if you check the archives. Oh, and he's offered to meet them personally at his own expense on how to solve the current crisis using his genesis plan.

    Look, it's all of no use. He is undoubtly extremely smart, but the solutions he proposes would shake the country to its foundations. Would it be good? I think so. But since elites would be endangered in da genesis plan, it is of no practical use.

    The only thing that can change things is an outright revolution. Anything else is pretty much an academic discussion.

    Does Obama have a secret message:






    Unfortunately I suspect that the plan is to repurpose the whole biosphere for fuel production. The ERoEI is so low that however much you take you need more. Sort of like insolvent banks borrowing money from governments.

    Starbucks’ profit drops 97 percent

    NEW YORK — Fewer U.S. customers and venti-sized costs for closing poorly performing stores led to lower sales and profit in the fourth quarter at Starbucks Corp., the company said Monday.

    Remember when Starbucks seemed invincible?

    "Remember when Starbucks seemed invincible?"

    Yeah, that's when the analysts were saying people would forgo priceier luxuries in a downturn, but would continue to indulge in their double moacha lattes.

    Just two months ago, I had people laugh at me because I said GM was about to go bankrupt.

    Of course, they're probably still laughing, since our beloved govt. will likely fork over some big money just to forestall the inevitable for 6 months or a year.

    Will Starbucks be looking for a bailout? Aren't they "too big to fail" now?

    Well what happens if Boeing, GE, IBM, Caterpillar, Microsoft, .... fail? Are they all going to be nationalized and the US turned into the United Socialist States of America (USSA).

    Boeing will be protected for "national security" reasons.

    Frugal, your post made me think of lifeguard training I once saw.

    One of the biggest dangers of a person that is drowining is that they will often try to climb on top of their rescuer, using them as a floatation device. The unwary rescuer can themselves be drowned.

    Reading your post, I had a mental image of every large corporation in the USA failing at the same time, drowning, all trying to climb over each other to get on Uncle Sam's back in a desparate attempt to not drown. Funny image, until I stopped to think about what it means in the real world. Pity the poor lifeguard.


    Bailouts are nothing else than further proof of rise of fascism. The thing is - fascist economy can be quite efficient and might be the best bet for US and other developed countries. Prepare to say goodbye to your personal freedoms though (if you haven't already) and learn to live every year with a little less.

    And please don't count on military budget shrinking. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

    BMW said, "Bailouts are nothing else than further proof of rise of fascism."

    Which reminded me of Harold Laski:

    "Fascism, in short, emerges as the institutional technique of capitalism in its phase of contraction" (Laski, 1936)

    Laski argued that fascism hopes to reconstitute the conditions under which the making of profit can resume. Political parties, trade unions, cooperative societies -- the characteristic defenses of the working class (what Americans call the middle-class)-- are targeted and destroyed. All but one voice (one perspective) are suppressed. Power is attained in concert with the military and big business.

    What makes you think Boeing, GE, IBM, Caterpillar, Microsoft might fail? Especially Microsoft. Last time I looked Microsoft had no debt, and billions in cash. Try looking up their financial statements, on Yahoo. (Income, Balance sheet, and cash flow.) Take some money out of the mattress and go have a night on the Town and relax. If all of the above fail you are most probably screwed anyway.

    puhkawn, I had just picked out these big US firms randomly. I did check out the Yahoo financials as you suggested and came up with this:

    Boeing: cash=9.46B, debt=8.58B
    GE: cash=61.20B, debt=514.10B
    IBM: cash=9.76B, debt=34.41B
    Caterpillar: cash=965.00M, debt=34.16B
    Microsoft: cash=19.09B, debt=0

    Looks like GE has a net debt of almost half a trillion - holy smokes!

    Remember that about half of GE is GE Finance which like other financials lives and perhaps dies by leverage. How solid is GE Finance? Hard to tell, not even as transparent as the banks. Would a failure on GE Finance side doom GE common stock?... probably.

    Cat? The leverage there surprises me. Maybe it has a financial arm ... if not ...?

    That is a very disturbing list. The only company worth anything is the one that makes virtual products, and their business could drop by half in a heartbeat without causing a major problem (if everybody kept their computers and software for an extra year what would it hurt?).

    I fear the line of bail-out prospects is going to get awfully long!

    The question is whether the govt would be better off to bail out GM (and Ford and Chrysler) or inherit the pension obligations when they go bankrupt. A $25 billion bailout might not be a bad investment instead of having to take over the 500,000 pensions from GM retirees.

    $25 billion might not seem so bad (heh, it's just a "little" bailout) but industry watchers are saying that GM, in particular, will need multiples of this just to start.

    And that is to keep the company from going under, it won't address the underlying problem (making vehicles nobody seems to want to buy, except for some fleet sales and the US govt). You give them twenty billion today and it'll be spent in six months and nothing will have changed, we'll still be talking bankruptcy.

    I think. :)

    25 billion? AIG spends that on hookers and blow in a year. Let's prop up this aging dinosaur, at least to keep retirement benefits for a workforce that counted on this for a living.
    It is a semi Main Street bail out, at least give some of the proletariat a chance at the pig trough.

    Throwing good money after bad? Why not!

    Pelosi, a California Democrat, did not say how much aid should be provided, but automakers are seeking at least $25 billion in emergency loans to help them survive their worst-ever downturn.

    "I am confident Congress can consider emergency assistance legislation next week during a lame-duck session, and I hope the Bush administration would support it," Pelosi said.

    From the letter from Pelosi / Reid to the Fundies (guys who will vote on providing funds):

    We must safeguard the interests of American taxpayers, protect the hundreds of thousands of automobile workers and retirees, stop the erosion of our manufacturing base, and bolster our economy. It is our hope that the actions that Congress has taken, and that the Administration may take, will restore the preeminence of our domestic manufacturing industry so that it can emerge as a global, competitive leader in fuel efficiency and in new and path-breaking energy-efficient technologies that protect our environment. We appreciate your serious consideration of this request, and look forward to your response.

    Reading between the lines: 'That Escalade Hybrid sure is cool, isn't it?'

    Hey hightrekker;

    If you are still on sched. to sail May of next year, drop me an e-mail at the spam protected address in my profile, ( you can figure it out)

    it might be an interesting conversation.

    the old hermit

    The Chinese government might be willing to take over those pension obligations in exchange for Chinese ownership of the nameplates they most desire. That would give China's regime leverage over a number of older American voters, and thus their Congressmen.

    Perhaps the US auto companies can be put through a simultaneous quasi-bankruptcy while retooling for more efficient products. $25b has already been allocated to the retooling so some postponement of payments to some creditors may be enough to make them profitable again. Allowing them to go belly up would mean the loss of at least 3 million more jobs which leads to millions more bankruptcies and foreclosures.

    After hearing how the world financial system would collapse in disarray if we didn't pass a $700 billion finance bill right away, (martial law, anyone?) and now seeing how many billions were used for executive bonuses and vacations and new bank acquisitions, I'm having a hard time swallowing the whole "millions of jobs depend on this" line.

    I'm not saying jobs won't be lost. I'm saying that our govt. likes to give blank checks to their friends, and the little guys still get screwed.

    I see no reason it would be different this time.

    We need a new meme... "Too big not to fail." Or, put another way, "Too big to succeed." It's true. Some of these large corporations are too big, too old, too stuck to succeed. I hope Bush lets as many of these 'too big', 'ain't gonna make it unless you bail me out' companies fail as possible before he leaves. It would be his biggest, positive legacy. Get as much of the dirty work out of the way. Be a real champ. Do something for your country while you still can. Rant off.


    I wonder if they are really forgoing that luxury or just not willing to pay for the convenience. High end coffee sales are doing great here. You can buy a pound of world class coffee for what a couple of lattes at SB cost. As a child growing up in New Orleans with good coffee at an early age, I'll never be without a very good cup. I can just brew my own cheaply and recycle my old SB cups to keep up appearences.

    I think people are doing that...for now. They are buying espresso makers, coffee grinders, gourmet coffee beans, etc. Similarly, they're buying things like big screen TVs (with the idea that they'll save money by not going out).

    Some analysts call this trend "cocooning." Buying nice stuff for the home so you can go out less.

    But my guess is that as the economy gets worse, they'll have to cut back on the "coccooning" items, too.

    Eventually, they will have to buy an actual cocoon, and zip themselves up when the sun goes down and try to survive until it's time to go to work again.

    I consider the "conveience" to be part of the "indulgence."

    Anyway, I'm not surprised given the occassional times I go into Starbucks, there seem to be an inordinate percentage of adolescents. They are the first to lose their jobs during layoffs.

    I never had that kind of spending money at that age nor did I begin drinking coffee until I was in my early twenties.

    Starbucks To Begin Sinister 'Phase Two' Of Operation

    SEATTLE–After a decade of aggressive expansion throughout North America and abroad, Starbucks suddenly and unexpectedly closed its 2,870 worldwide locations Monday to prepare for what company insiders are calling "Phase Two" of the company's long-range plan.


    Closing 2,870 locations? Crap, now I'll have to walk TWO blocks for a cappachino

    Walk? I only see Starbucks near huge parking lots...

    Hello Feonixrift,

    Lewis Black has a hilarious skit on two Starbucks literally across the street from each other:

    15 sec Youtube Proof:


    The 'End of the Universe' Skit [3:09]:


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

    We have that here in downtown Minneapolis. You can sit and look out the window of Starbucks, and see into the window of the Starbucks across the street, with those people looking back at you. It's creepy.

    Maybe it's all done with mirrors. :<)

    Instant coffee was no more than five cents a cup. I read from a blog: "Starbucks coffee costs about $1280 per barrel."

    Joe Costello,

    This is installment three to my response to your article in Asia Times.

    So what can we conclude from my long dissertation yesterday as to the current moral state-of-being of America? What is the American Creed—the dominant set of values and beliefs? Let me give a stab at it in the following summary:

    1)	Nature was put here to be exploited for our comfort and 
    2)	Science and technology are the keys to unlocking nature, and
            science and technology are constantly improving.
    3)	Success is “this-worldly” and is measured using criteria such
            as living standards and the accumulation of material wealth.
    4)	Our success is attributable to our own goodness; whether that
            goodness is based in the fact we are more “Godly,” more
            diligent, more technically proficient or have a more fervent
            embrace of justice and/or freedom (democracy).
    5)	Because of our superior goodness, we have a right to the 
            natural resources located not only on our own soil, but those
            located on the soil of other countries as well. 
    6)	From points 1 to 5 above, it follows that there are no limits
            to our penultimate goal in life, which is  improving living
            standards and accumulating material wealth.
    7)	When it comes to how we treat our fellow Americans, there is
            a commitment to equality and justice.  (There is not an equal 
            commitment to how we treat people outside the U.S.)
    8)	Acting as a counterweight to this belief in equality and
            justice is a contradictory belief in freedom.  Over the past
            three decades, freedom has been in ascendancy, manifesting
            itself in an anti-government sentiment.  Central planning,
            government regulation and intervention are eschewed. Bankers
            and financiers have found themselves uniquely and favorably 
            positioned to exploit this environment of freedom.  In 
            addition to benefiting directly from the lack of economic 
            controls, they have also used the new atmosphere of freedom 
            to consolidate inordinate political power. 
    9)	Both our religious and our secular, social and political  
            theories are based on sentimentality.  There is little
            awareness of how morality, religion and culture work in the
            real world.
    10)	Acting as a counterbalance to these beliefs in sentimental 
            religious, social and political theories is, or at least in
            the past has been, a transcendent belief in pragmatism and 
            common sense.

    The goal of course is to alter this moral landscape--to change one or more of the above enumerated beliefs or values to some new set of beliefs. But in order to do this, it is first helpful to get an idea of what the world is really like. And as Andrew Bacevich has written: “Realism in this sense implies an obligation to see the world as it actually is, not as we might like it to be.”

    Many of us have good ideas as to improvements we might make to #1 to #8 above. But it is my contention that it is our embrace of #9 that inhibits the ability of most of us to do so.

    Most Americans, whether dealing with people who live within or without the United States, demonstrate little knowledge of how morality and culture really work. “It is frequently assumed that human nature can be manipulated by methods analogous to those used in physical nature,” Reinhold Niebuhr tells us. “No national culture has been as assiduous as our own in trying to press the wisdom of the social and political sciences, indeed of all the humanities, into the limits of the natural sciences.” The result is that “when political science is severed from its ancient rootage in the humanities and ‘enriched’ by the wisdom of sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists, the result is frequently a preoccupation with minutia which obscure the grand and tragic outlines of contemporary history and offers vapid solutions for profound problems.” Our theories are thus “blind to the lust for power in the motives of men” because we have had “so little experience in managing or participating in the conscious and quasi-conscious power struggles of life and in fathoming the endlessly complex compounds of ethnic loyalties, historic traditions, military strength and ideological hopes which constitute historic forms of power.”

    This same theme is echoed by Robert L. Heilbroner, his discussion limited to the realm of economics. “To be viable, market systems require conventionalized responses to the signals of price arrays and movements,” he writes, “and when those responses fail to evince their required ‘well-behaved’ character—as in the case of ‘panics,’ or ‘destabilizing’ expectations—market systems break down.” So the abstraction of a rational, “economic man,” without whom free-market theory doesn’t work, is a fiction. As Niebuhr tells us:

    It seems to know nothing of what Thomas Hobbes termed “the continual competition for honor and dignity” in human affairs. It understands neither the traditional ethnic and cultural loyalties which qualify a consistent economic rationalism; nor the deep and complex motives in the human psyche which express themselves in the desire for “power and glory.” All the conflicts in human society involving passions and ambitions, hatreds and loves, envies and ideals not recorded in the market place, are beyond [its] comprehension.

    Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

    But probably one of the most devastating critiques of the dominant theory in American cultural studies was rendered by Richard Bernstein:

    My experience leads me to believe that insofar as culture is involved in multiculturalism, it is not so much for me to be required to learn about other cultures as for me to be able to celebrate myself and for you to be required to celebrate me…

    The paradox is that the power of culture is utterly contrary to the most fervently held beliefs and values of the advocates of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is a movement of the left, emerging from the counterculture of the 1960s. But culture is powerfully conservative. Culture is what enforces obedience to authority, the authority of parents, of history, of custom, of superstition. Deep attachment to culture is one of the things that prevents different people from understanding one another. It is what pushes groups into compliance with practices that can be good or bad, depending on one’s point of view. Suttee (the practice, eradicated by British colonialism, in which Indian widows were burned alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands) and female circumcision, as well as the spirit of rational inquiry and a belief in the sanctity of each human life, are products of cultural attachments of different kinds. Those who practiced suttee, or who believe that women who commit adultery should be stoned to death, do not believe there is anything bad about these practices, any more than those who practice rational inquiry under conditions of freedom think there is anything wrong with that.

    The reality of culture is something that the ideological multiculturalists would despise, if they knew what it was.

    Richard Bernstein, Dictatorship of Virtue

    In my next communication I would like to talk about the moral vision and techniques used by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was without a doubt the most effective advocate of moral change known to 20th-century America.


    You give a lot of food for thought in your posts, and I am in agreement on many things. Let me say, I believe America is in a very juvenile state of politics at this point, which is extremely dangerous. Most of the words we use such as democracy, freedom, rights have little real meaning these days, as they have for the most part been hollowed out, corrupted, or in some cases no longer exist. In that sense, I agree completely that what most call freedom is nothing such. Pepsi or Coke, Chevy or Ford isn't freedom.

    I believe Hannah Arendt, who was far and away the greatest democratic thinker of the 20th century gave the ultimate and profoundest political paradox with the statement, “If men wish to be free, it is precisely sovereignty they must renounce.” America's public spaces have been destroyed and our politics castrated, we have retreated to our private lives, thinking them free, but they are in no way such. People with no public lives are not free.

    We have replaced our self-government and politics with the rewards of consumption, provided by a corporatocracy to which most are basically in wage servitude, measured materially on a historical basis it has been comfortable servitude.

    I disagree with your notion that Jefferson was against government, far from it. He knew government was necessary, but Jefferson was one of the most radical democratic thinkers of history. He realized democracy was inherently decentralized and thus looked for ways around centralization.

    I really like the term self-government best, for it is not only a government by the citizenry, but it also implies government of the self, to which modern society has been and remains sadly deficient. If the self is not governed from within, it will, as the social animals we are, be governed from outside. So yes, I agree we are in need of some new morality, and from an oil perspective and our greed overrun economy's damage to our environment, the thing America could focus on best is responsibility.


    I like making graphs with Open Office, anybody have recommendations for competitive software?

    Old school - gnuplot

    Gnumeric can handle a fair deal, and has a faster load time.

    If you want something more 'mathy', there's gnuplot (painful to use, but effective) and there's octave (gnu's matlab workalike), both of which are quite stable.

    Of course, Google Docs is another option.

    I'll check those out, thanks!

    Hello TODers,

    Verdun hosts sombre WWI ceremony

    There are few settings as dramatic, or depressing, as Verdun.

    The centrepiece of the battlefield is the Great Ossuary, a building of grey and blackened stone 137m (150 yards) in length that houses the bones of 130,000 soldiers cleared from the battlefield in the decade after the war.

    Rolling down the slope in front of the ossuary is a field of tombstones, mainly simple stone crosses. The graves of 15,000 soldiers lie here.
    Once the postPeak Overshoot Dieoff really gets rolling from the ever popular machete' moshpit: I wonder when this graveyard will be looted for recycling the O-NPK, and the headstones used for road pavers? 2030? 2050? Much sooner?

    Recall my earlier links on the recycling of the battlefields of Waterloo, Crimea, the European catacombs, even mummified Egyptian cats in such volume that they were sold by the pitchfork ton in the UK.

    For any TOD newbies who are young, consider a future postPeak career in highly profitable "Waterloo Teeth" and battlefield scavenging:

    ..Waterloo was a well-timed battle. By the end of the fighting, night was closing in and the battlefield scavengers could go about their work unseen. In the gloom, shadowy figures flitted from corpse to corpse, gathering up the soldiers' weapons and winkling out any valuables tucked inside their torn and bloodied uniforms. Then came the final act of desecration: with expertise many a dental surgeon might envy, they deftly pulled and pocketed any intact front teeth. Taking teeth from the dead to replace those lost by the living was nothing new. But this time the scale of it was different...
    Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?


    I get the feeling that your final wishes are to have your remains spread on the farmer's field of your choice and become fertilizer (O-NPK) and complete the loop. Is this true?

    But, as for taking things from dead bodies... this reminds me of the Holocaust. The Nazis had created a very efficient system for collecting 'useful' items from the Holocaust victims before they passed... The Nazis would take their personal belongings, things like coats and hairbrushes and shoes. They would shave them... The Nazis had a use for the hair as raw material. They would then escort these people (naked) to rooms where they would take a 'shower', which cyanide gas would be used. Then, after the victims were dead, they would take gold fillings from their teeth, and burn the bodies because it would be easier to expose of the bodies that way. I suppose that in the future they would be used for fertilizer... but, it's been 70 years since Kristallnacht; it's not like this kind of thing could ever happen again, in a resource poor future...

    Hello Geckolizard,

    Thxs for responding. Yep, sounds good to me. But I have long ago filled out an organ donor form so that the PTB are incentivized to speed my demise in case I get mangled in some kind of accident. Harvesting organs for transplant has made many Mercedes and yacht payments for those engaged in this growth industry.

    Then my remains are donated to research: I suspect I will be hacked up at some medical school, but I also understand that there is a need for bodies for detective pathology. So my corpse might be chucked into the desert for maggots, vultures, coyotes, worms, etc, to feast upon, then the newbie detectives and pathologists try to guess my exposure time.

    If TSHTF really fast: I would imagine that most corpses [maybe some still living?] would just be fed headfirst into powerful wood chippers, then bio-polymerization and other processes to quickly make biofuel and fertilizer. This should be the preferred over cannibalism, and burning wood or natgas for cremation will be prohibitively expensive.

    God I love you guys. I will miss you all...

    Hello Degar7,

    Thxs for responding. Just pointing out the obvious 'Circle of Life'; Nature cannot be denied recycling loops.

    If I was King: every time someone flipped a switch, left a jewelry or grocery store, or fueled a vehicle-->they would get a soaking in fresh blood... I think it would reduce consumption rapidly.

    Consider how many have already died in resource wars: Potosi Mining, Guano Wars, War of the Pacific, WWI, WWII, etc. From memory: avg 10 coal miners/day in China now, tens of thousands in America over the years--some recently entombed in Utah. How many oil workers have died over the years?-->one trainee recently cut in half by a cable. We had a high voltage powerline technician electrocuted in AZ yesterday.

    Too bad human blood is such a valuable product for transfusion, and animal blood is an excellent fertilizer...

    I sincerely mean that I will mmiss you all.

    I mean even if this drama goes on forever, I won't (not in this body at least). And the folks here add something special to my day. I call it reality. For too long we have (or I have) been rocked to sleep with noise about BAU. You have helped wake me up. I love 90% of what I read here...great ideas..awesome books...good people.

    Have a pleasant evening and a better tomorrow.

    A day without your prose is empty indeed.

    Hello Toilforoil,

    Thxs for responding. They say the greatest internet sin is a boring posting. I try my best to skew in the opposite direction. :)

    Recall that Exxon used to have an ad campaign: "Put a tiger in your tank". Not politically correct anymore since the great cats are now endangered.

    Perhaps it is now time for: Put a human in your tank.

    Sad to think about on this Armistice or Veteran's Day, but with over 4,000 GI deaths so far in Iraq and Afghanistan: how many easy-motoring miles per soldier are we getting? Makes me want to upchuck....

    totoneila, as far as I am concerned, you are smart, informative and interesting and among TOD-ers I respect most.

    Regarding recent wars: casualties there just showed, that a life of person is not worth much these days (was it ever?). It is cruel, but soldiers, as a resource, are still obtainable and 4.000 deaths are easily manageable. With hunger and poverty among masses to come, the resource will become more plentiful and cheap too, while oil will become direct opposite.

    So the resource wars are quite logical for US I am afraid. US wouldn't be (still!) a superpower, if its actions mostly weren't the best that it could have done in any given moment.

    Sorry for my English, I hope I expressed myself adequately.

    Only 4 thousand in several years? I wonder how many are killed daily on the highways due to drunks, drug heads, etc? When I asked my friend that question he answered, "But that's natural." :-)

    30 thousand a year? Is that about right and what are you doing about it? If you set on your can about the 30 thousand, how can you complain about the 4 thousand? I know, "Bush lied." Rather pale in comparison to road kill.

    I keep hearing something like "15% is really bad". "15%" is neither good nor bad ... it is a number and if it reflects reality that too is neither good or bad. Something that most don't realize is that reality just is. (Monica Luinski's ex-boyfriend asked what is 'IS'?; a great question.)

    The next part is if 15% of this or that is reality that you think is bad, what are you doing about it? You may have kids and in my case grandkids. Are you teaching them how to hunt? How to work in a garden rather than live in the virtual world of X-Box or TV? Only through action will you ever change reality in a direction you would like better. IMHO we only have a couple years to prepare these kids to live in the real world which may not have much of anything.

    I know, you already know all that but again the question is, what are you doing about it? Think seriously, how now my friends?

    Another subject: I just finished Kunstler's novel "World Made By Hand." I thought it was excellent but he could have left the supernatural slant out of it and not lost anything. "The Long Emergency" is quite logical while "World Made by Hand" is quite emotional. I recomend it, especially after reading Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation and his other books.


    I enjoy most of your posts, but this one stinks.

    You want to upchuck about 4000 GI deaths.

    What about the millions of deaths caused by these and other US GIs in countless illegal and immoral US initiated invasions all over the world during the last few decades.

    I am lucky that I live in New Zealand, as the Australasia/South Pacific region is about the only part of the world that has escaped the US military rapine.

    The insane US wars against communism, wars against socialism, wars to spread "democracy", wars against terrorism, etc. have been the single greatest global force for evil in the past 63 years.

    The most effective move that Barack Obama could make to advance world peace and US security would be to withdraw all US land-based military personnel, CIA agents, private US mercenaries, etc. from all non-US territories. These units are a huge part of the problem, and can never be a part of a non-catastrophic solution.

    The global US naval presence is more than adequate to alone deter any conventional attack on US territory: protection against such things as the 9/11 event cannot be achieved by constantly invading other sovereign nations.

    I have never understood why the US has continued with its attempted de-facto colonisation by military control alone. Every former successful colonial power has brought at least some appearance of advancement for the invaded nation whilst raping the resources: the US seems to think that the promise of "US style Democracy" is worth giving up every national advantage and all physical resources.

    4000 GIs have died in Iraq and Afganistan (your numbers). None should have died, as there was no valid reason for any to be there.

    They are probably the lucky GIs, as those who have survived the experimental "inoculations", depleted Uranium contamination, wounds, amputations, illnesses, and psychological trauma will never be the same again.

    Armistice Day is a very solemn occasion for people of Britain and the colonies who fought from 1914 to 1918, and again from 1939 to 1945.

    The first World War was a greater tragedy for New Zealand than for any other nation outside the battle zone. More than 40% of able bodied males left our country, and almost half of them never returned from this war. (Luckily my paternal Grandfather survived, or I would not now be a contributor.)

    This war was fought to protect the United Kingdom and other European nations against the expansionist policies of Germany. If memory serves, the US waited until 1917 to join the war on the Allied side, having previously made huge profits from supplying both sides.

    The Second World War was somewhat similar. How many Yanks are aware that WW2 started in 1939, not 1941 at Pearl Harbour? Again the US made huge profits by financing both sides of the war for the first two years. Only the attack on Pearl Harbour convinced the US administration to do the right thing.

    The 1776 move by the North American colonies was a great event. Your decision to become an independent Nation is laudable. Sadly, I can find no subsequent military international event which brings credit to the US of A.

    4,000 GIs. Pshaw totoneila. 4,000,000 would be too few in compensation.

    Hello Merv_NZ,

    Please forgive for my editing oversight--I should have mentioned that the deaths of any innocents grieves me just as much. As evidenced by my huge body of postings: I abhor senseless war when it would have been so much easier to institute commonsense birth practices so war and violence was unnecessary. Afterall, Malthus explained it so clearly nearly two hundred years ago.

    Yep, I agree that empires [of any size] have a tendency to use their numerical and/or technical and/or resource advantage to run roughshod over a weaker opponent instead of meaningful negotiation and sharing.

    This probably goes back as far as one's wishes to go into antiquity. Recall the classic movie scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the first caveman mentally conceptualizes the incredible power that a bone club conveys to the user:

    Dawn of Man [2:28]
    The next scene is clubbing another caveman from another tribe [a weaker empire], then no more real progress for the next ten thousand generations...

    "...fed headfirst into powerful wood chippers,..."

    Currently working on a great soup recipe for that toto.

    I'm leaning towards a hint of curry flavor.


    World needs four new Saudi Arabias, warns IEA!!!

    Finally! The truth is out! This is going to hit home, hard and swift.

    I don't think so.

    Not with oil under $60.

    T. Boone Pickens has put his wind farm on hold.

    The news is going to be the economy. Nobody's going to care about oil.

    Dr Birol, who has been leading the analysis for the Paris-based IEA, which advises the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on energy matters, said that the decline rates varied by field and by region.

    He said that in non-Opec countries, such as the United States, Britain and Mexico, depletion rates averaged 10 to 11 per cent a year. The average across the 13 member countries of the Opec cartel, which produces 40 per cent of the world's oil, was lower, at about 2 to 3 per cent.

    I wonder where he got the 2-3 percent decline rate for OPEC. Did he just ask the Saudis, Kuwaities, Iranians, etc. for these numbers?

    To me this seems very much like the really silly National Petroleum Council Report. Here is a youtube that lampoons it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvDHOW9gp3c

    So, the plan is to rely on unconventional oil to do more than has been done with conventional oil. This will be done at much greater cost than has ever been seen for oil before. It seems pretty clear that the world is unwilling to pay even $150/barrel, much less $200. The much better choice is to follow depletion down and cease to invest in anything that costs more than $15/barrel to produce.


    The shit will indeed hit the fan.
    IEA says that the world will need extensive tar sands oil production to come up to 106 mbpd in 2030.
    That does not sound like much. 2030 is 22 years away. That's annual growth of about 1%.
    For 22 years!
    Now consider that GDP and energy production are somewhat statistically linked.
    That is a disaster by current growth capitalism standard. I've read reports that say that 2% worldwide growth is needed to keep the wheels of economy turning. Anything less is a downturn or a recession. And about 5% for economy to be healthy.

    And remember the IEA figures require extensive investment in tar sands.
    Which we are not seeing.

    Meanwhile oil prices are below $60. Recession is hitting hard. Worldwide.

    Shortsighted. We humans are.

    UN cuts food rations in Zimbabwe

    The UN food agency says it has had to start cutting rations to 4m people in Zimbabwe because of a lack of funds.

    The World Food Programme said it had had no response to its October appeal for $140m (£91m) to feed Zimbabwe.

    Hello Leanan,

    Thxs for the tragic info. Meanwhile, here in the US:

    NEW ORLEANS – Obese children as young as 10 had the arteries of 45-year-olds and other heart abnormalities that greatly raise their risk of heart disease, say doctors who used ultrasound tests to take a peek inside.
    This is just a huge US tragedy in the making. Obama ought to declare school buses illegal for most kids so they get more exercise 'walking thru the snow, uphill both ways' as my father used to jokingly say about his school days in Canada long ago.

    Fat kids from the rural periphery could still be bussed most of the way, just drop them a few miles from the school so they have to walk or bicycle in with the rest of the kids. Of course, for going home afterschool, their bus pickup is the same miles away.

    I guess I can cross Harare off my list of post-peak destinations. WTF are they going to do if/when things get worse. People are going to be in less and less of a giving mood.

    Well, we've all probably heard the old (frequently repeated) saying:

    When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going!

    The rest may end up dead. Think of the Rwanda genocide and The Congo in recent days.

    E. Swanson

    As if kids actually ride schoolbuses!