Peak Oil - Politics, Geopolitics, and Choke Points Video

This is a 26 minute video, featuring four speakers at last fall's ASPO-USA conference in Sacramento. One of them (shown on the opening screen) is our own Jeff Vail, talking about Geopolitics. The others are Morey Wolfson, showing a google earth video of oil's planetary choke points, an interview with Tom Whipple in which he mentions that oil scarcity is already being felt around the world, and talk by Representative Terry Becker on how to bring peak oil as an issue to a legislature.

This is one of a series of videos produced by ASPO-USA. The blurb that goes with the video indicates the following:
Peak Moment 137: These four presentations were taped at the ASPO-USA 2008 conference.

Morey Wolfson shows a stunning Google Earth presentation of oil's planetary transportation Choke Points, primarily in the middle east.

Jeff Vail discusses how our energy future is not controlled solely by what's possible economically, technologically and geologically but, equally importantly, geopolitically. He notes we will increasingly produce less because of geopolitical problems--as in Nigeria, Iraq, and elsewhere.

Editor Tom Whipple discusses two significant publications available free on the website and through email subscription: daily Peak Oil News and the weekly Peak Oil Review. He describes how oil scarcity is already being felt in island nations and other less-developed countries.

Connecticut State Legislator Terry Backer provides sound advice on how to get a peak oil resolution through a legislative body: through someone experienced in getting legislation introduced, and by speaking the language of legislators. He succeeded in his state by framing peak oil within economic issues and government's responsibilities to the people of his state.

DVDs of the entire conference can be ordered through ASPO-USA at This is the eighth and final Peak Moment Conversation videotaped at ASPO-USA 2008.

Tom Whipple and Terry Backer's side- by- side presentations demonstrate that irony, not gravity holds planets, stars and galaxies together; on one hand the wolf is at the door (down the street in Nepal), on the other, a long and deliberate siege approach with much sugar- coating is the only way toward doing something about it.

Backer left out the bags of money under the table which is an essential part of the legislative process.

A good way to understand how things work - or don't work - in America is to understand at all times that everything is run by the Mafia.

Over the next week or two, we are planning on running several articles talking about what the new administration should be doing. If one tries to think like a politician interested in getting elected, it seems like there is relatively little one can do. Borrowing more to "stimulate" the economy seems to be the big one, even though excessive debt to stimulate the economy (and no real growth to pay back the interest) is how we got into this mess.

I greatly appreciate the work you and others do here on TOD, and found the presentations/talks by Morey, Jeff and Tom worthwhile. As for Mr Backer, I am afraid I share Steve From Virginia's cynicsm regarding the political process. It does't matter whether it's coming from the Democrats or Republicans; neither side wants to deal with the reality of a planet with finite resources. Both parties are never going to deal with the issues of energy production or climate change; the solutions to both of these problems is a threat to the status quo (conservation, change of lifestyle for our fellow citizens, having to do with less) and flies in the face of what they have to do and support to get elected. As much as I am loathe to quote the man, Dick Cheney was right; the American way of life is non-negotiable, and our political class will do everything possible to keep the party going...until it can't.


Borrowing to pay for imported products (RE: oil), certainly was not a sound economic plan. Either was the left wing policiy of not allowing new oil production inside the US.

CO2 caused global warming is a complete hoax. If the new Administration and Congress implement the same insane policies as the EU, it will be more bad news for the economy.

I for one would like to see the ASPO and other peak oil activists drop the whole CO2 global warming argument. In fact, we may be entering a major cooling period due to solar activity (or inactivity). Which should make the depletion of fossil fuel resources all the more of a concern.

So which part of GW is a hoax:

The fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (established by Arrhenius over one hundred years ago)?

Or the fact that we have emitted hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 1800's?

Or the fact that during that time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by over thirty percent, from around 280 ppm to around 380ppm?

Or the fact that CO2 concentrations had never risen above 300 ppm for the last ten thousand years, and levels have not been as high as they currently are for at least the last million years?

Or the fact that every single established scientific group in the world that has weighed in on the matter has concluded that anthropogenic global warming is real and a threat?

Which of these facts do you find to be a hoax? Please inform us and supply evidence.

If none of these is a hoax (in fact if just the first two are true, as they indisputably are), then AGW is not a hoax.

I for one would like to see the ASPO and other peal oil activists drop the whole GW denialist argument. Anyone who can't understand figures and science this basic (or who chooses to ignore it or misrepresent it) has no business posting on serious forums such as this.

And of course there is no cooling as has been pointed out repeatedly here, though it does still snow sometimes in Sweden and in the Himalayas in winter, which according to some here is proof positive that GW is a hoax.

How about the FACT that temperatures have been steadily cooling over the last 10 years. Even though man made CO2 has risen to an all time high. That should be enough for anyone with a brain.

Houston, we have a troll.

(I honestly don't know why I bother.)


Hello Conservationist,

The UK link is for the **full* northern hemisphere. Your NOAA link is just for the lower 48 states. It is very possible due to major circulations such as El Nino for one section of the northern hemisphere to be warmer than the rest of the hemisphere.

The Jet Stream can ride along the northern US border blocking cold air intrusion into the US while making Canada colder than normal. That fact does not show up in the NOAA statistics.

You have to compare apples to apples. Global Climate change is about the whole world.

Yes you correct, that link was just for the US. Another interesting fact is that 1934 was the warmest year on record for the US, not 2005. So here we are in 2008 with cooler temperatures than 1934 - even with all the CO2 that has been generated since then.

Globally, at least 4 sets of data show a cooling trend over the last 10 years. Links to the data are on this site:

I for one, do not see how CO2 could be responsible for the Earth's warming. Considering so much CO2 has been added over the last 10 years, yet temperatures have been trending downward.

So you refuse to address any, even one teenee weenee one, of my points. That means you concede them and accept that there is AGW and it is very serious. Well, I'm glad we're in agreement on that.

If you think that short term data on one part of the globe prove anything definitive about global data, you are beyond hope and help.

And of course you are cherry picking the one outlier year, 1998, to try to make some other inane point.

I'm done feeding this troll.

Grow a brain. Grow a conscience. Introduce them to each other. Then get back to me.

Sure you want everyone to be in agreement with your AGW nonsense. That's the propagandist's dream. Get everyone to "believe". Better wake up and smell the coffee. Kyoto is proving to be a disaster, you've lost the left wing media, AND TEMPERATURES KEEP GETTING COLDER!

Must be hard to attract new "believers" these days.


No offense dohboi, but you were warned.

A valiant effort nonetheless.



Indeed I was. No more troll feeding from me.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Conservationist, I'm not laughing with you, I'm laughing AT you.

... Watch docu The Great Global Warming Swindle.... it's on the web

Hello Again,

I took a look at the site you referenced. If I understand their argument, what they are saying is that we have to adjust downward the current station temps because urban sprawl is raising the average temps. But isn't that part of global warming? WE create more and larger heat islands and therefore we affect the global temperature. Is that not so?

Next comes the effect of anthroprogenic, terragenic, and celestial sources on the temps. Is it large? small per source? Does the variability of the sun and its cycles play a part? Does volcanic activity play a part? Does the circulation of the earth in its orbit play a part? What are the sources? What are the sinks? how do they interact? What are the other greenhouse gases and where are they stored (methane, water vapor, etc.)?

My ultimate temperature guage is the arctic ice cap. Is it shrinking or is it expanding or is it staying about the same? That is the critical question.

We all should be asking more questions and **working** to try to find better answers than throwing garbage comments at one another.

The "urban heat island effect" was adjusted for long, long ago, but denialists just keep on reviving old issues long since resolved, hoping that someone in the audience won't know that it is just a canard.

The folks at realclimate have nicely summarized most of these pseudo-arguments and addressed each one.



Good one magyar.

Hey, Super G, can we get a button to single click post this as required? ;-)


I totally disagree with Conservationist -- but I also think that it is improper to be overly disparaging of his point of view. It's shared by others.

But this is not the place to argue it much, either for or against. There are oodles of sites that make the arguments, and the vast majority of the scientists studying the issue have confirmed the reality of GW. The best thing is go up against THEM, not against energy people. Once you've convinced even a significant minority of them, then you might be able to convince readers here to take a second look. But you've got a big uphill battle. Even some of the biggest corporate opponents of the GW idea have started caving on the issue.

Also, how does opposition to drilling here put one in the "left wing"? Actually, never mind.


I see your point and it's well taken.

I am more than willing to debate views but simple gainsaying of a position, or offering "proof" that is no proof at all, tells me that there is little interest in rational discussion. All in all, it gets a little tiring, which was why I was not willing to spend the time explaining the errors in Conservationist's logic. If he had shown a sincere desire to learn, I'm sure I, and many others would have offered tons of input.

Consider it my effort in energy conservation. :-)


Perhaps it's you that needs to learn.

CO2 only comprises .037% of the Earth's atmosphere.

Ice cores prove that CO2 increases lag temperature increases.
(Therefore CO2 is NOT the cause of warming)

Mann's hockey stick graph has been completey discredited.

The medieval warm period was warmer than the last century.

Increased solar activity caused the warming in the last century.

Decreased solar activity has caused the cooling over the last 10 years.

Arctic ice that melted last summer has now returned to 1979 levels. Antarctic ice has increased dramatically.

Record low temperatures are now being recorded around the world.

10 years of cooling is probably not enough for the hard core "believers" but don't worry, it's going to get a lot colder.

Ok, contrary to my own instincts I'll try to follow Aniya's lead down thread:

Emotional honesty, together with compassion, might be more pragmatic than what is considered pragmatic.

Dear Conservationist,Please read: Rebuttal to your points

nr.16 doesn't address the issue at all
If you go to page 675 of you see that IPCC computer models predict a relatively greater warming some 10 km above the tropics caused by greenhouse gasses. This has simply not been observed at all, not by weather balloons (, 200hPa and 300hPa should, according to IPCC models, show more warming than 850hPa), nor by satellite measurements:, these data are managed by the very authors of the paper cited by the site you give, in fact this paper is given on this site too, and it actually says lower troposperic temperatures had been given values that were too low (which isn't about the issue of the predicted greater warming 10 km above the tropics at all); so what you should see on this site, if IPCC models are correct, is a greater warming in channel TTS (figure 5) than in channel TLT (figure 3) around the equator.

Please do not believe me.
Look at the data and conclude for yourselves.

Exactly, just look at the data.

There is absolutely no data that links CO2 to global warming. Whereas warming and cooling directly correlate to solar activity and Milankovitch cycles.

AGW proponents have made the mistake of just looking at irradiance. Whereas solar effects on lower cloud formation, albedo, and water vapor were completely overlooked.

Writing their own data to support their theories is another trademark of AGW proponents. Mann's hockey stick graph was actually "peer reviewed" by his own associates. The Wegman report completely discredited his methods.

CO2 caused global warming is a complete hoax.

Yeah, just like that so-called continental drift. There ain't no way a bunch of eggheads are gonna convince the likes o' me with their fancy-schmancy science that land moves around. I mean, what kind of moh-rahn do they think I am? My land is exactly where it was when my grand daddy homesteaded it -- right here. Jeez luh-WEEZ!

If one tries to think like a politician interested in getting elected, it seems like there is relatively little one can do.

Gail, you've hit the nail right on the head. The people in charge have to start thinking like statesmen rather than politicians.

We aren't desperate enough for statesmen and statesmanship may be a lost art, anyway ... like plastering.

I just watched a History Channel program about the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It was an interesting debate about whether the dinosaurs were killed off primarily by a meteor impact or disease – disease seemed to have the edge with the meteor (and its attendant climate change issues) just delivering the final knock-out punch.

It made me think what a fragile existence we have and how utterly foolish it is to believe that we can continue to promote “growth” of human populations and growth of consumption of goods based upon natural resources. It seems as if we are like a gambler who’s life hangs in the balance over the hope of winning the next 10 bets in a row that are 10 to 1 against him. We should be talking about how we can get to a global population of 2 billion - not gambling that somehow we can sustain 10 billion.

If we can find marvelous new sources of traditional or alternative energy …. If we can solve most of the geopolitical problems on the planet…… If we can find substitutes for many minerals…. If some mysterious force reverses the global warming….. etc, then we can grow the world population of humans so that 1/3 can live a reasonable life and 1/3 can scrape by and the last third can suffer in misery (or some such division).

I felt a real since of frustration listening to the political guy lecture us about how we need to “speak their language” and not sound like some kind of “end times” nut cases. I frequently try to convince elected representatives that PO and GW are serious threats – he is right that all of my contacts to date have been utterly fruitless. Does this mean that I should pander to their total ignorance of science? Well, I won’t.

Truly well said BD.

However, pandering to ignorance, if the ignorant have the power, may be the bitter pill we have to swallow. That doesn't mean we abandon the facts, or science.

Think of it as using the right screwdriver, depending on the screw and BTW, it's not something I do well.

Look on the bright side; 9 days from now GW won't be a threat any more. :-)


Look on the bright side; 9 days from now GW won't be a threat any more. :-)

Haha! Nice zinger :)

Hi bicyle dave, pragma and..."political guy" in the lecture.

re: "I felt a real since of frustration listening to the political guy lecture us about how we need to “speak their language” and not sound like some kind of “end times” nut cases."

The planet is round and finite.

The human global economy depends on a flow of energy from the natural and physical world.

We are used to this flow increasing, but now it will start to decrease. This will have (and already has) enormous impact on our human economic arrangements.

The so-called renewable energy technologies cannot fill the gap, because of issues of scale, manufacture, time, and other issues.

"What, then, is to be done?" said a very highly educated person to me the other day.

This is exactly the question.

Anyway, this is an outline of sometimes how I talk to people.

Emotional honesty is also important - and valid. This is shocking stuff. Even Robert Hirsch was shocked, and courageous - (in my book)- for saying so in his interview with Global Public Media back in 2005.

Denial is natural. Specialization and competition may not help the situation. A person wiser than myself once told me that compassion is the highest value.

Emotional honesty, together with compassion, might be more pragmatic than what is considered pragmatic.


Thank you for that perspective. So much of this site is about being "right", but the ways of making a case have so many alternatives.

I think that we need to re-visit the issue of denial occasionally. Denial is irrational but to ignore its power is to ignore a big part of the problem. The brain has difficulties absorbing certain concepts if there is no framework to receive it.

Even trolls may be emotionally honest, because the logical alternative is not within their sphere. What we see as a troll is someone that is firmly rooted in an alternate belief framework, but we too often assume that they just want to make mischief. In reality, they are defending their beliefs, or perhaps even their existence.

Inasmuch as some people can not read a graph and understand the implications, us "scientific types" can not understand why the data is not "obvious".

Technical types, (myself included) can be particularly harsh, because of our own limitations or our perceived "superiority".

Please post more often. IMO it is a welcome adjunct, and balance, to the mix.


OK here's a quote:

Robert Hirsch on peak oil: "This problem is truly frightening. This problem is like nothing that I have ever seen in my lifetime, and the more you think about it and the more you look at the numbers, the more uneasy any observer gets.”

“It's so easy to sound alarmist, and I fear that part of what I'm saying may sound alarmist, but there simply is no question that the risks here are beyond anything that any of us have ever dealt with. And the risks to our economies and our civilization are enormous. And people don't want to hear that. I don't want to think about that. That's a very uncomfortable thing to think about. And I will tell you that it took some time after that realization set in to be able to emerge and try to be positive and constructive about this problem. This is a really, incredibly difficult, and incredibly severe problem.”

Hirsch is right on the money. In fact, the problem has gotten even worse with the current low oil prices.

Unfortunately, the "global warming" crowd seem to have the ear of political leaders. The global warmers really think that we are better off without fossil fuels anyway. And they consider biofuels to be even worse. Get ready for the train wreck.

Allright, neoconservationist man, you've made your point about how, in your opinion, global warming is some kind of elaborate hoax put upon modern industrial society by leftist ecofascists (otherwise known as dirty smelly hippies) intent of forcing the rest of us to give up our SUV's and instead ride bikes or eat granola. Or something like that. I really wanted to just let your comments pass by without comment, but the fact that you were up at 2:30 in the morning with nothing better to do with your time than troll this website tells me you're just a bloody idiot. Or just a shmuck.


Yeah, I'd like to see you riding a bike in below zero weather.

BTW, the Earth is rather large and has different time zones. Do some research on that.

In fact, I have ridden a bike in below 0 (Centigrade) weather. For short trips it's not that bad, and the excercise felt good. So, what's your time zone, boy? Redneck Standard Time? Or would that be Troll Savings Time? Please, enlighten me...



Dear conservationist. With all compassion and due respect for your rights as a sentient being on planet Earth, take a look around. The train wreck has already begun. There is no question that resource depletion is happening and our biosphere is beginning to collapse due to economic externalities.

Thanks Gail, and Jania. A comment on some the comments, which, I see, have declined in quality: Dieoff's and WarSocialism's Jay Hanson is two steps ahead of most of us, carrying the message that we as a species are genetically predisposed to self-deception, and, therefore, to resolving our coming energy shortages--a mathematical certainty--in the most brutal way possible, by global war. Morey's chokepoints bring to mind the thought that the Navy's of the world have had their eyes trained there for decades, armed to the teeth. I submit that the politicians of the world, carrying dirty water for that legal monstrosity, the corporation, will fight to the death, your death, not theirs, seeking social control, like troglodytes hardwired to fight over food and the most productive mate. The political process is expensive, slow, ineffective and designed to maintain the status quo, which, many of us consider, a huge problem. Politicans cannot solve a thing, they are not trained to do anything except print money, jawbone over phony budgets and pass dictatorial legislation to fund shoe sniffers at airports. posted this vid to youtube December 24, 2008.

Yours: January 11, 2009 - 9:45am EST
Mine: January 11, 2009 - 7:40am EST

I see someone reads me.