A Prince and Four Peaks: Peak Oil, Gas, Coal and Uranium

Today the second three-day world future energy summit began in Abu Dhabi. One of the biggest energy conference in the world that is being attended by key policy makers, financiers, leading academics and no less than 400 journalists from all over the world. The conference was opened by the Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange and the Netherlands. He is perhaps the only prince in the world who regularly uses a bike to get around and save fossil fuels, as shown in the picture below. The prince spoke about the lessons that we need to learn from the collapse of the Roman civilization in perspective to the four peaks of oil, gas, coal and uranium that await us.

"Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that when the Roman Empire finally collapsed, large parts of Europe had been deforested. Acres of forestland had been cleared for farmland and to provide firewood. Wood and food were essential, to maintain the roman empire. To meet their short term needs, the Romans overexploited their prime energy resource. They did not think about the consequences for later generations. So the demise of a seemingly invincible civilization was partially due to the unsustainable use of their prime energy resource. The question is, are we going to be any wiser?

What the Romans were experiencing, we would now describe as peak wood. Reaching a point of maximum production after which it enters terminal decline. We are now facing a century of at least four undesirable peaks, peak oil, peak gas, peak coal and peak uranium. Mountaineers may be proud to conquer peaks, but there is no reason whatsoever for us to be proud. We can, however, change the course of history. The technologies we need are there."

More information on the conference including the full speech by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, links to the highly interesting program, and audio files of the presentations can be found below the fold.

- Link to the full speech of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander
- Link the full conference program
- Link to audio files of all speeches at the media page (username: wfes password: press)

Full Speech

Transcript of opening speech at the world future energy summit by His Royal Highness, Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Crown Prince of the Netherlands

19 January 2009

Transcribed by Rembrandt Koppelaar (ASPO Netherlands)
“Your Royal Highnesses, Your Highnesses, Mr. Chairman, your excellencies, distinguished guests and delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a delight to be here today at the second world future energy summit. Our aim at this summit is nothing less than to plot a revolution. A peaceful revolution that will provide us and generations to come with sustainable solutions for humankind's most pressing issues, climate change, energy security, and equitable human development.

First I would like to pay a tribute to His Highness, Sheikh Khalifa, President of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of Abu Dhabi. And His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and supreme commander of the armed forces, for their vision and support. Together they have set the United Arab Emirates on track to a sustainable future. And now they want the world to join them on their mission.

Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that when the Roman Empire finally collapsed, large parts of Europe had been deforested. Acres of forestland had been cleared for farmland and to provide firewood. Wood and food were essential, to maintain the Roman Empire. To meet their short term needs, the Romans overexploited their prime energy resource. They did not think about the consequences for later generations. So the demise of a seemingly invincible civilization was partially due to the unsustainable use of their prime energy resource. The question is, are we going to be any wiser?

What the Romans were experiencing, we would now describe as peak wood. Reaching a point of maximum production after which it enters terminal decline. We are now facing a century of at least four undesirable peaks, peak oil, peak gas, peak coal and peak uranium. Mountaineers may be proud to conquer peaks, but there is no reason whatsoever for us to be proud. We can, however, change the course of history. The technologies we need are there.

On a global level, the sun and the deserts present us with major opportunity. We know all energy resources originate from one source, one masdar, nuclear fusion from the surface of the sun. Arab traders sailed the Indian Ocean, long before Europeans ventured into these regions. The same winds Columbus used were there, generated by the sun's heat to make his historic journeys. My wife and I traveled to this beautiful city by plane, with fossil energy generated millions of years ago by that same sun. If it were up to the sun we would have no energy problems at all. Every 30 minutes the earth absorbs enough light to meet the energy needs for one year. Every 30 minutes, if only we could harvest it. To do so we need the world's deserts. Many regard deserts as a barren and hostile environment. In fact, they are a precious source of life, which we should embrace and protect for the common good.

The circle of deserts embracing the globe presents us with wonderful opportunities for both generating and transmitting solar energy. Large-scale solar plants in deserts, connected to a cross border or even intercontinental grid, are a fundamental solution for sustainable energy supplies after 2050. Two leading examples show ambition and vision: Abu Dhabi’s concentrated solar thermal power plants and the Union for the Mediterranean solar plan. As an interesting side effect, and of great benefits for the local population, heat from the solar thermal power plants may be used to desalinate seawater or generate cooling. So heat and water stress, now almost analogues with deserts, can partly be solved while mitigating the effects of climate change. Although the solution may sound costly, scaling it up will make it a more profitable business than fossil energy.

The point is, if we don’t treat energy as a long term investment, we will end up paying much higher bills. But we mustn’t wait until solar energy plants and cross border grids are available for sustainable energy supplies. We need to invest at the local level too. Technologies for local production of sustainable energy are readily available for both electricity and local cooling. These technologies can be applied without a large infrastructure, making them more promising than existing examples. There are three examples I would like to share with you today, two designed in the Netherlands and a third a joint venture between Canadian and Spanish scientists and entrepreneurs.

The first is the green greenhouse, a new generation of greenhouses that produces not only plants and food but also clean electricity, heating and cooling. One transformed, greenhouse can provide sufficient energy for 200 homes. The green greenhouses produce biogas for electricity generation and uses the CO2 thus generated to stimulate the growth of plants. This process also produces water of drinking quality.

The second example is vacuum sewerage for toilet and kitchen disposal. The sewage is used locally for the production of biogas. The pipelines are only half the size of the normal pipelines, giving higher flexibility for construction. Both CO2 emissions and water use are reduced by 50%. No larger infrastructure is required and developing regions are presented with the opportunity to obtain much better water conditions.

The third example is the production of clean energy by a new, completely closed system of garbage gasification in small units. 99.8% of the total garbage supply is re-used or converted, producing 80% more biogas then it uses. No water is wasted during the process. On the contrary, water is one of the products.

What makes all these technologies interesting is that they contribute to the solution of the energy problem and also help in other areas. They help us reduce water scarcity and get rid of excess waste, and present new economic opportunities in developing regions. Contrary to general belief, they are no more costly than the traditional polluting production processes. In fact, they result in substantial savings. The payback time, in green greenhouses for example, is only three years.

So, ladies and gentleman, we know the technologies are there, for both global and local solutions. We need the political will and the right approach to investment for a fundamental transition toward a new energy system. We owe it to our children and to future generations. Investments in sustainable solutions make our communities healthier, our planet cleaner, our economy stronger, and our future brighter.

Let us look beyond the current financial and economic crisis and build the foundations of a sustainable future. As a result of this crisis, billions of dollars of public spending are needed to build better economies and generate economic growth. If we spend wisely in sustainable solutions, these investments will also contribute towards rescuing our planet. However, the temporary rise in coal dependence will cancel out our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. Many countries, including the UAE and the Netherlands, are investing in new carbon capture and storage or CCS technologies which are expected to have a positive impact in the short and medium term, but this may distract us from our primary objective, which is to arrive at the one source of energy that makes life possible on mother earth, our sun.

With the fossil dependent technologies we are using now, we are burning our home and trying to hide the smoke with CCS. Nonetheless, CCS technologies are definitely an improvement on current technologies. And we hope that it will offer clear prospects of finding real solutions and developing truly sustainable consults. Politicians, entrepreneurs and citizens alike should work together like firefighters, and put out the fire and save our home. Let us not end up like the Romans. Instead, let us harvest the infinite energy generated by this majestic star that rises and sets on us each and every day. Here in Abu Dhabi, we can see the challenges ahead of us, and set the example.

Thank you very much.

His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands"

Rembrandt - does the prince skate in winter time? When I lived in Norway, each winter they had a festival in Oslo called the Holmenkolen festival with skiing and ski jumping. I believe the late King Olav jumped off the gigantic Holmenkolen ski jump which made the people love him, but his son King Harald never did, a black mark, redeemed by the fact that he married "a commoner". NW European monarchies are something of an anachronism - but most actually have stable political systems and are prosperous apart from UK which is preposterous - not due to our monarchy I dare say.

You are doing an amazing job promoting the concepts of PO and energy decline in The Netherlands and throughout Europe. You mentioned that you had written a book - would you care to elaborate?

If you'll allow me; yes, as a matter of fact the prince does skate in winter time. I remember a long time (+10 years) ago the prince took part in the 'Elfstedentocht' or 'Eleven-cities-tour' where skaters ride along eleven cities on ice.

I'm very pleased and surprised to hear the prince say these words. Even though he might be 'wrong' on certain specifics, it's the main gist of it that counts.

like re: deforesting
Where does he get his information on WestEuropean deforestation? Italy was probably deforested long before any collapse. Most of the Mediterranean Basin long before that (deforestation of Crete and So. Greece helped the downfall of Mycenaean Civilization - The Ceders of Lebanon plundered long before the Romans got to it.)
And Germany was hardly deforested, for instance. I mean, I'm sure the situation wasn't helped during the ca. 600 years of Roman Empire..

Germany is a long way from Rome.
Imperial Rome managed to rid northern Africa and the middle east of all elephants, lions, and many other beasts, entertainingly killed at your local arena. By the time Rome fell, it cost too much to get wood from Gaul, and to get wheat and olive oil and pottery up to the northern provinces. In the mean time, relatively poor northern and northeastern tribes were sucked in to the apparent affluence of The Roman Empire. Millions of Roman citizens enrolled into slavery (what made them do so? What was so terrifying about freedom? Hunger?). An explosive (or implosive) cocktail if ever there was one.
Many lessons are to be learned from the demise or the Roman empires.

Yes he skates. He actually complete the 211 km. long "elfstedentocht". Mind you that this year was the first time in 11 years we could skate on natural ice here. When I was a boy we did it every winter!

Rembrandts book is called "de permanente oliecrisis"(the permanent oilcrisis) and is co-authored by a well-known economist, Mr. Willem Middelkoop. The latter also being author of the book "als de dollar valt" (if the dollar falls, or fails).

Both books make a good, basic read in a Q&A set-up.

There are more peaks:

(a) peak credit 2008
(b) peak CO2 20??
(c) peak water varies from place to place, in Sydney 1998

On (b)

We actually exceeded 350 ppm in 1990, the intermediate target now pushed by James Hansen at the AGU in San Francisco, December 2008

Example on (c) in the Sydney catchment area: the peak was in 1998

Peak Credit: not verifiable as it is a renewable resource
Peak CO2: again it is a renewable resource
Peak Water: again a renewable resource as you cannot destroy it necessarily faster than nature can regenerate it from water vapor

I am commenting only to remind people that words matter and their misuse can weaken arguments that have a significant factual basis.

So you have to ask: Can the resource renew itself? Can the resource go extinct?

Credit is a good example. The concept of credit would have to go extinct as there will be more and more people added to the population in the coming years, so potential credit lines would increase along with it.

What's important is the rate of renewal. For example, the Oglala aquifer took millions of years to fill, but we've drained 10% in a half-century.

Freshwater resources are becoming more scarce, and the situation is approaching disaster proportions in places like the Murray-Darling basin and the Western US.

For more information on freshwater depletion, see:


Peak Credit: not verifiable as it is a renewable resource

Economy is powered by energy, not by money

I've independently come to similar conclusions to the Prince. Perhaps I have royal lineage somewhere. Specifically

# we'll need more controlled atmosphere food production, as opposed to broadacre. Reason being no diesel and the need to recycle most NPK onsite. The function of outdoor community gardens will be to keep the unemployed busy not to grow much food.

Secondly that methane is the hydrocarbon fuel of the future, either
# emanating from damp wastes, or
# gasified from dry waste.

The prince is not an engineer and has not done his homework. The peak sustainable uranium price will be under $200 / pound for at least several hundred years. That is less per kWh than coal.


Splitting 6 ounces of uranium or thorium will provide a lifetime supply of energy at the U.S. rate of consumption.

When the sun runs out of gas and swells up to destroy the earth, earth will still have abundant supplies of uranium and thorium. If intelligent life exists then, uranium and thorium may provide the energy to go to the outer planets. Fission is our longest lasting renewable.

From wikipedia article on Uranium depletion:

Various agencies have tried to estimate how long these primary resources will last, assuming a once-through cycle. The European Commission said in 2001 that at the current level of uranium consumption, known uranium resources would last 42 years. When added to military and secondary sources, the resources could be stretched to 72 years. Yet this rate of usage assumes that nuclear power continues to provide only a fraction of the world’s energy supply. If electric capacity were increased six-fold, then the 72-year supply would last just 12 years

These are only the low cost uranium resources, typically in the range of less of 130 $/kg. This corresponds only to one $ per oil barrel equivalent. The nuclear fuel resources available at a cost of extracion of 10 or 20 $ per oil barrel equivalent are pratically renewables, almost infinite on a human scale, even with current and very inefficient nuclear technology based on ordinary or heavy water reactors, which use far less than 1% of the energy of uranium. At today uranium price, current nuclear technologies prevail

Nor indeed exist a "Yucca Mountain peak", all the transuranics in the nuclear waste can be reused and recycled (and eliminated) with enormous energy savings

This reference is a red herring in that all of its numbers rely on the statement, “assuming a once-through cycle”. The only reason we follow this cycle is natural uranium is so low in cost, and a presidential directive back in the 1970s banned it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reprocessing If the cost of uranium rises enough reprocessing will become viable again. Another reason this is a specious argument is that Thorium fueled reactors can produce aproximatly 400 times as much energy as Uranium in thermal reactors, http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/ . This gives us plenty of energy for a thousand years even assuming an increase in energy usage each year.

Thorium fueled reactors can produce approximately 400 times as much energy as Uranium in thermal reactors

You build one, then I'll believe it. I've seen vaporware tech come and go many times. Why is this one any different? I smell a scam. There's a lot of money in pushing this idea, for someone.

There were a lot of thorium fueled prototypes working very well including molten salts reactors; the question is not if they really work, but rather if their electricity production is really reliable and cost effective...it' s simply a matter of physics that one gram of thorium ~ 3,5 tonn of coal, no question about it

As someone who's followed liquid fluoride salt reactors for years, I would honestly be interested to know who's got all the money pushing this idea.

As for building it, its been built allready at ORNL over 40 years ago.

Bill - 'When the sun runs out of gas and swells up to destroy the earth, earth will still have abundant supplies of uranium and thorium'

OK then..peak Yucca mountains.

And it's not a renewable however you figure it.

Actually, if the rate of U extraction is at or below the rate of ore body generation by natural processes then it IS renewable, or as much so as geothermal, for instance.

Just as oil is renewable at a certain extraction rate - at least 100 barallels a day(!!) worldwide.

And if you properly reprocess and breed, then the average 30-year half-life of the end state waste means that your waste pile has a finite size.

And it's not a renewable however you figure it.

Nothing is renewable in this universe. If you don't like it, find another Universe where the second law of thermodynamics doesn't apply.

The error in thinking here is one of too few classifications. You can't really shoe-horn everything into "renewable" and "non-renewable" without having some sort of timeframe and usage rate. A better classification would include some notion of price, total production, production rates, and time, all on a handful of graphs.

A simple agreement of "functionally perpetual", "long term", and "short term" would help a lot too. Does it matter if uranium runs out in 150 years if a nuke plant only lasts for 30? Does it matter if sunlight runs out in 4B years? Does it matter if oil is renewable in only 100M years? Does it matter if solar were to become free if we can only build 10GW per year? Or that 100Mbbl/day of oil is possible at only $1000 per bbl?

Curves with reasonable scales tell us a lot. We need to be reasonable in our planning and our arguments, and we can probably afford to give the benefit of the doubt to each new technology in its infancy, but not to dominant sources in their maturity.


Glad to see you back at TOD. I think fresh air on nuclear energy has been in short supply here. Keep it coming!

Has someone any hint on this green greenhouse technology ?

Has someone any hint on this green greenhouse technology ?


Nobody wants to talk about peak thorium, do they?

That's because a peak that's tens of thousands, if not a few hundred thousand years away just isn't sexy enough.

Where in the world is there a working Thorium electricty generating power station?

Only India has an ambitious plan in thorium plants; in some way, France, Russia, China and Japan (with Fuji program) has some interest in molten salts thorium fueled reactors. Today uranium market price is less than one US $ per oil barrel equivalent and with this low prices investments in more efficient but more complex technologies instead current well-know LWR or heavy water reactors have little sense. In the future, things could change quickly

There are lots of ambitious plans about, but a rather noticeable shortage of actual, commercial, working reactors.

Nuclear advocates keep touting the supposed nuclear renaissance - if thorium is so (theoretically) great, where are the reactors being constructed today ?

Meanwhile there is a genuine boom in wind and solar power (and, as the prince noted, in biogas) and these don't have any waste issues and aren't relying on future breakthroughs to mitigate known problems.

" There are lots of ambitious plans about, but a rather noticeable shortage of actual, commercial, working reactors.

Nuclear advocates keep touting the supposed nuclear renaissance - if thorium is so (theoretically) great, where are the reactors being constructed today ?"

Basically, because today uranium price is less than one $ per oil barrel equivalent and at those prices less efficient but well know low enriched uranium LWR prevail. Things can change quickly in the future with escalaltions in uranium prices

" Meanwhile there is a genuine boom in wind and solar power (and, as the prince noted, in biogas) and these don't have any waste issues and aren't relying on future breakthroughs to mitigate known problems."

Indeed, of course there is no "geniune" boom in wind and solar if you have to pay 15-20 eurocent per kWh to subsidy wind and 40 cent/kWh and more to subsidy solar PV, with the modest result to achieve only 1% of worldwide electricity use. To be clear, I have in my house both solar PV and thermal plant, and I' am not at all a "nuclear advocate", simply consider it an important part of a balanced energy mix

CANDUs will run thorium.

LFTR is very interesting technology. Perhaps it will provide Homo sapiens some energy relief through the coming decades.

I would caution, however, using time scales in the "thousands of years" when trying to see around the corners. What do you think the probability is that Homo sapiens civilization will in any way resemble what we know today? I am comfortable saying that in 1000 years there is a 99.99% chance Homo sapiens' society, if there are any Homo sapiens remaining, will not look anything like we might predict from our perspective today.

Nobody wants to talk about peak thorium, do they?

No, because the technology to extract useful energy from thorium does not exist, just like earth based fusion - if these (and many others proposed on TOD) are an energy solution they will be for future generations not mine.

Any solutions required for mitigating the peak oil downslope (that we are now on) must be available NOW to replace all the non-available energy - because of climate change using other fossil fuels as alternates for oil isn't acceptable.

In Europe we have a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions (for climate change reasons) by 80% by 2050, so that's ~20% by 2020 or ~2% a year - this year's 2% will come from recession, so not a bad start.

However, to avoid ongoing economic depression we need a solution that can provide ~20% of all primary energy by 2020 and replace all the equipment that currently uses that 20% of fossil fuels as the energy source ... and we haven't even started to think about how it will be done, clearly thorium is of no use at this timescale.

Forget long term solutions, we need something that works and scales in the time available now to avoid disaster!

Dont worry, there is enough post-peak fossil fuel downslope to make long term research and development meaningfull...

For the world maybe, but not for 'boomers' like me ... I suspect it is much cheaper and quicker to try and scale up existing technologies, including fossil fuels, and forget about climate change in the name of growth. Governments typically have a 5 year max timeline - probably too short a time to adequately ramp up existing nuclear.

In order for there to be adequate investment in new oil wells the suppliers need a guaranteed price - in Europe Governments have done this before to ensure enough food is grown, it's called 'intervention' and is the sort of desperate money wasting policy I expect to see.

Also, peak oil isn't an energy problem for everybody, countries that import a large proportion of their oil will be in big economic trouble because of the rapid declines caused by ELM (probably within 10 years) they will struggle to adequately feed their populations, let alone carry out expensive long term research.

The exporters will never have had it so good, unless they are invaded. I think the required research will not be done in the oil exporting countries in the timescales I require.

Not all resources and solutions are for you and me, I like the idea of prosperity beyond my own generation. But by your measure I live in a country with an unusual government since manny things are managed on a timeline longer then five years. This does not insulate us from mistakes and problems but the effort makes society more robust.

There are four horses of devil:

(1) Belief in evolution
(2) Socialism
(3) Economic system that is based on interest-based-debt.
(4) Modern Democracy

The democracy in which head of state is elected for a fixed number of years is doomed to fail and is incompetent before it fails because of many reasons:

(1) Head of state knows he would be in power for a short number of years. He would incline towards short term benefits at expense of long term benefits.

(2) He would most likely keep the things as they are and would be reluctant to do any major or fundamental change simply because he can't be in power to complete the process.

(3) He would be reluctant to start any long term projects whose seeding and ploughing would be done by him and fruits would be harvested by others.

(4) He would have to make unrealistic promises to people to come in power. These promises would haunt him through out his term.

Other than having a fixed number of years to be in power modern democracy has other faults too including:

(1) Since every adult has right to vote, the candidate has to make himself known to all people in country which can't be done without usage of mass media. This usage comes at cost of money which most likely an abled person not have and would have to take from others. These others would like the leader to pursue their self interests at the expense of the interests of people if elected.

(2) In most modern democracies the power is divided in many hands therefore the decision making process is slow and requires lots of efforts to convince the representatives and reach a consensus. This often results in significant and unrepairable loss of time, resources and opportunity.

(3) The representatives who are elected for short fixed periods of time may leak sensitive information to outsiders once they are no more in power. Under the principles of democracy these sensitive informations cannot be hide from them because they must know clearly and extensively what they are voting for.

(4) The show-business effect. When people know their candidates only through mass media the factors like beauty, sex appeal, hair cuts, dressings etc get undue importance over factors like ability, experience, morality etc that are really important.

(5) Leader not remain leader. In order to please the people who had voted for him to get their votes once again for his second and final election the leader instead of being in forward go to backwards. Now its people who decide and the leader simply follow them. Its like keeping the horse before the cart.

(6) Rise of civil servants. With leader and representatives coming and going every few years the center of power shift to stable civil servants who are firmly fixed in their positions by law. These people become so powerful that they confuse, mis-guide and mis-inform the leader into decisions of their choice. The leaders also leave the matters to the professionals to the extend they don't clearly knows how the system works and what reinforce what.

What is the solution then? I would not stop at criticizing but would present an alternative form of democracy. Some of its features are:

(1) The leader must be elected but not for a fixed number of years but for life unless he do something bad enough to be taken away from power. Democracy must be there but not in the form of modern democracy. People do have the right to have a leader of their choice. The leader elected must be ensure that his job will be secure for life unless he make a big mistake. Only then the leader would work on correcting the fundamental errors in society, start long-term projects and really really act like a true leader.

(2) There must be a group of abled people of country, scholars, scientists, military men, secret service people etc that not only assist the leader through their advices but also select who should be the next leader once a leader is gone. These abled people whose services for society are well known and spanned on decades are in better position to really know the true qualities of people to be selected as leader, not their appearances and hair cuts. Once they select a person as the next leader after thorough thinking and debate ordinary people are informed and then it should be left on ordinary people to accept or reject the new leader. If they reject then the abled people choose another person. If the abled people find leader doing wrong things to the extend he must be taken away from power they gather and declare the person as no longer the leader.

(3) In normal conditions, the abled people do not interfere with the leader and let him run the country as he desire. The leader is free to choose his team of ministers to run different parts of govt. Since there would be only one man making decision (with help of advices given by abled people) so decision making would be fast and opportunities would not be lost.

(4) The abled people though powerful enough to select and remove leader of country would have to continue their professions and make a living out of that, means they would not be given money by govt. There can be tens of thousands of these people who gather in capital from different parts of country for their meetings. These people each would have a large number of followers in their localities who believe and trust in them. The leader would not be able to buy the abled people because of their large numbers (its hard to buy tens of thousands of people), their goodness and patriotism (proved by services for country spanned on decades) and their check on each other (any rise in living standard of any of them can be easily monitored by people of their locality).

(5) Removals from abled people would be on their deaths and on votings between them. Similarly additions in them would be on basis of voting too. It would be they who decide when a person's services for country are great enough to be made a part of abled people. When a person do something extra ordinary for country or humanity he would be given a seat in abled people instead of a medal. Generally the membership of abled people would be much stable than being head of state.

(6) The sensitive secrets of country would be known to the leader but not the abled people. The task of abled people is to select (not elect) the leader. Its the leader's duty to take decisions. If taken out of power its necessary to either kill or imprison the leader for life to prevent him leaking the information.

(7) Its must to have a separate and parallel center of power called judiciary. Once the initial judges are put in place at all three levels, they would increase and decrease their numbers on their own without any interference from anybody. Its wise to give judges their own source of income in form of some land or some taxes that they collect on their own.


You have put much thought into this new constitution but I couldn't help thinking that it sounded like an absolute monarchy which is a form of dictatorship.

Saddam Hussein had a government like you described and this power was abused. The Soviet Union had a similar arrangement with it's Politburo that elected the secretary general for life. Both proved to be failures at least in delivering the best for their people.

The most enduring democracies are the ones that have strong enduirng institutions which are peopled by different generations elected periodically to provide renewal and reform, incrementally.

Existence of an independent and powerful judiciary shows that the rule of govt is constitutional, not absolute.

Its not monarchy because the seat of leader do not automatically pass to his offspring.

Saddam Hussain and soviet system are not examples of my proposed plan because:

(1) The judiciary was not independent. The leader can put and remove judges.
(2) Absence of a large group of abled people with power to put and replace the leader.

Wisdom from Pakistan really means stupid ignorance from Pakistan.
"Belief in evolution" I never read past that bit of garbage.

Why would you demand facts for anything, when you allow belief and faith in a sky fairy rule your life.
I bet you are teacher in a religious school and nominate yourself as being wise.

You sound no better than the mentors to the Muslim suicide bombers, they live in fine homes with four or more wives and a dozen children. They mentor young men and girls to kill themselves while they, fornicate and preach their (supposed) wisdom.

I for one won't read another word of your religious trash writing.

What is the solution then? I would not stop at criticizing but would present an alternative form of democracy. Some of its features are:

I applaud your accurate criticisms of present democracies, but deplore your proposed solution of elected dictator-for-life. The better alternative solution to the real problems you pose is to gradually progress ourselves away from representative democracy and toward direct democracy. Modern communications systems and leisure time for all can easily afford every citizen of a polis reliable and accurate means to express their wishes directly on issues in which they are interested, and to individually allocate their right of opinion to ANY other citizen who they trust on the subject, for any time period.

Example, I would probably wish to cast my votes directly myself on issues of energy and science, but would happily allocate my voting rights on economic issues to Gail-the-Actuary, on climate to a different person I know. This system become GENUINE democracy, replacing representative democracy gradually as we develop experience.

Yay, religeous and political ideology followed by a long winded bunch of nonsense.

Of course it exists. Maybe you should read the rest of this site.

Given there's some 120 trillion tonnes of thorium avaliable, you would have to burn it at the rate of the entire solar insolation of 10 ^17 watts over a million years before it was exhausted...

Its simply not a resource for which we should even bother talking about exhaustion. We'll have destroyed ourselves in world war fifty-seven, be controlled by robots, killed by a zombie plague virus or ascended to AI gods by the time its even remotely relevant. And one might assume at that point we would have figured out inexpensive solar or even fusion in that timeframe.

And that's exactly why people won't talk about it: it actually solves the problem.

I was wondering if there is any limitation on the neutron generation side of the equation? I mean, in energy terms, what does it take to produce the neutrons in the 232Th to 233U reaction?

The European Commission said in 2001 that at the current level of uranium consumption, known uranium resources would last 42 years.

Mamba, you should have taken the time to read my reference or your reference. Do you believe your reference?

“…whilst uranium is a finite resource mineral resource within the earth, the hydrogen in the sun is finite too - thus, if the resource of nuclear fuel can last over such time scales, as Cohen contends, then nuclear energy is every bit as sustainable as solar power or any other source of energy, in terms of sustainability over the finite realistic time scale of life surviving on this planet.

We thus conclude that all the world’s energy requirements for the remaining 5×109 yr of existence of life on Earth could be provided by breeder reactors without the cost of electricity rising by as much as 1% due to fuel costs. This is consistent with the definition of a “renewable” energy source in the sense in which that term is generally used.”

OK then..peak Yucca mountains.

Using today’s pre model T reactors we produce 10-15 pounds of spent fuel per 80 year lifetime, most of which is recyclable into advanced reactors. With advanced reactors it is 6 ounces of waste that becomes less toxic than ore in 280 years.

Yucca Mountain is a waste of money and should be stopped. I support deep seabed burial until recycling becomes cost effective. deep seabed burial is simple, inexpensive and safe.


> And it's not a renewable however you figure it.

The sun is burning up a finite amount of fuel at a tremendous pace. By what logic is the sun renewable and a longer lasting fuel supply not renewable?

Bill Hannahan, thanks for the reply: - 'The sun is burning up a finite amount of fuel at a tremendous pace. By what logic is the sun renewable and a longer lasting fuel supply not renewable?'

This is true. But our use of solar for electricity production does not dictate the rate at which it turns into a red giant.

Funny, I thought sea disposal was the best option too.

In fact I would like to see the risk figures for sea dispersal [as in, find a big current and just tip the well diced crap in it]. Not politically correct, but it may be the least bad option..

In the UK we just find some sand dunes 300 yards from the sea, eroding away, and pile it...no seriously, we do:


some more fun:


In fact I would like to see the risk figures for sea dispersal [as in, find a big current and just tip the well diced crap in it]. Not politically correct, but it may be the least bad option.

No, the least bed option is don't create unrecyclable waste - any waste not just nuclear, and certainly clean up your own waste, don't leave anything (including debt) for future generations to clean up.

Nothing new with this idea. British Nuclear fuels have being doing it for years at Selafield. Making the Irish sea and north alantic as far north as Norway the most radioactive waters in the world.

Can you quantify "most radioactive", I' m almost sure it' s a scam, but maybe you only don' t know the physics you are tring to deal with

Seabed disposal?

Seriously, the best way to dispose of spent fuel is called a 'parking lot'

Its low maintenance, safe, and accessible for future generations.

See what the uranium mining and exploration technical expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency has to say about the notion of peak uranium in the Nuclear Energy Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology division newsletter.

All Newsletters may be found here.

Personally, I expect uranium (probably with fast reactor breeding) to function as a technology bridge to thorium use and then maybe onto fusion. But fusion is still a bit sci-fi to me. The transition to thorium will probably employ Pu-Th mixed oxide fuels in existing light water reactors. Then there's solution reactors... etc. etc.

BHP Billiton is cutting mining operations for copper, nickel, diamonds and coal
Where uranium is a joint product with say copper and gold then lowered revenues may load costs onto uranium. I realise gold is holding its value but I suspect it could fall out of favour anytime.

Even if the thorium fallback option didn't exist half a century of uranium would still be a bridge to the future.

Heheh, the Arabs were really frowning at him when he mentioned there wouldn't always be oil...

I call it a great leap forward that our future king is PO aware, and speaks out about it in public. Much, much better then Obama pushing the mantra of growth in his acceptance speech.

Unfortunately the latter gets all the publicity.

Kudos to the Prince!

Obama vague, theist "but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."
-categorizing SUVs, McMansions and Clean Coal as childish?

umm, never mind, emboldened Obama,
"We will not apologize for our way of life"

Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that when the Roman Empire finally collapsed, large parts of Europe had been deforested. Acres of forestland had been cleared for farmland and to provide firewood. Wood and food were essential, to maintain the roman empire. To meet their short term needs, the Romans overexploited their prime energy resource. They did not think about the consequences for later generations.

Rome was a christian empire long (centuries) before it collapsed. Therefore it prove my point that its a typical christian nature to consume resources unsustainably and destroy environment in their greed and naked desire of power. What non-christian empires you can see that had followed this path? There is none. Some of the great non-christian empires includes:

(1) First Persian Empire, founded in 6th century bc.
(2) Second Persian Empire
(3) Babylon, about 30th century bc.
(4) Khilafat-e-Rashida, 633 A.D - 663 A.D.
(5) Khilafat-e-Ummaya, 663 A.D. - 765 A.D.
(6) Khilafat-e-Abbasiya, 765 A.D. - 1150 A.D. (approx)
(7) Khilafat-e-Usmaniya, 1526 A.D. - 1922 A.D.
(8) Ghazni Empire, 9th century A.D. - 11th century A.D.
(9) Saljoqi Empire, 9th century A.D. - 11th century A.D.
(10 Mughal Empire, 1526 A.D. - 1857 A.D.
(11) Many chinese empires since 4rth century bc to 20th century A.D.

None of the above and none of non-christian empires (except may be aztecs) ended ruining environment. Basing empire on unsustainable level of resources' depletion and destruction of environment and extinction of species and extensive wars is a fundamental christian way-of-living. Its due to this response from christian religion:

"So what, jesus died for our sins so we not have to pay for it"

"Yeah, yeah, we know jesus ordered to turn the other side of face after first side is hit but you know we can't really live this way, its a rule to be kept in books and to attract people but we can't really follow it in our lives"

And how is under your bridge today?

Dear WP
Humankind has always destroyed the environment.
This has nothing to do with religion.
Copiuos examples to be found here:
Tainter, Joseph A. (1990). The Collapse of Complex Societies :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Tainter

I can recommend the book.
kind regards/ And1

WP is not alone in blaming christianization:

(borrowed words) "For example, a well used theory is the Christianity theory (Edward Gibbon): That the infiltration of Christianity was linked to a loss of civic virtue in the Romans. However, if we include the evidence that the Eastern Roman Empire, which was dominantly Christian, and continued to survive for many more centuries, we can critically analyse and dismiss such theories. Furthermore, if we dig deeper into the evidence presented we can see that while Christianity did not contribute to a loss of civic virtue, it was a factor of the collapse of the empire"..."[Christianity] was damaging in that it clashed with previous Roman religion; creating more division."

ps. The Eastern Roman Empire survived many of the above-mentioned Khalifats...

With all due respect, the Junction of the Tigris/Euphrates used to be called the heart of the 'Fertile Crescent', did it not? And whether the Saudi Regime gets called an empire or not, it is surely squeezing all the juice from it's Oranges, no less than the American Drillers and Miners have grabbed the earth's bounty as fast as the machines could take them.

This sad piece of 'a bit' of human nature seems to unify, not divide our people.

Time to feed the better Angels of our nature!

For starters, the people of Easter Island and the Norse empire were not christians and they ruined their environment and collapsed...

Was the Soviet empire Christian? Really, it was as non-religious as they could make it, and it collapsed in 1990, ostensibly due to resource depletion. Your claim is patently ridiculous.

You make the mistake of thinking western civilization is strictly Christian. This has not been true for a very long time (if it ever was). There is much more pluralism in western nations that you are used to thinking.

Or shall we talk about the birth rate in your country, or in India for that matter, compared with western nations. Oh, but that doesn't matter, because you're in poverty??

Face it, every one of us is hard-wired to consume. Western civilization has just been more successful at it.

I don't think peak wood had anything to do with the fall of the western empire, parts of the eastern empire lasted another 900 years
after rome fell, and the eastern empire had a very similar society as the western empire, with similar energy usage. We need to keep our metaphors
straight, it's confusing enough to people when the price of oil crashes and they say 'so much for peak oil'.

...the eastern empire had a very similar society as the western empire, with similar energy usage.

Have you actually seen an energy analysis of the western and eastern empires somewhere? I would like to see that.

Couldn't the eastern empire have used less energy by recycling the detritus of the former western empire? It seems as though it would have taken much less energy to recycle the material from the collapsing old empire than it would have taken the old empire to originally produce that material. It takes more energy, for example, to smelt silver out of the mountains of Spain and then turn it into coins than it takes to melt old coins into new ones. At least in terms of metals, the old empire would have left lots of recyclable material for smart traders on which to keep a smaller empire running.

Besides, wood is a renewable resource, on human timescales. The argument for peak wood is that they cut down the old growth forests in the western empire, with their tremendous resource of old hardwoods. The new forests grew, but at no where near the original energy content. However, if you're not trying to power the western and eastern empires, just the eastern, and you don't need to smelt as much metal, it seems as though you could get by on a great deal less energy.

I think the problem with the peak wood/Roman Empire theory is that it's even more subtle than peak oil. Just as most people think peak oil is about running dry, people confuse peak wood with complete deforestation. Peak oil is (mostly) about peak flows; peak wood is about peak BTU production from wood in the Roman trade zone. Oil is utterly non-renewable in human timescales; wood takes several generations to renew, but it can renew on human timescales.

I don't have any comparison of energy usage of east and west empires, I don't think the sources exist for anything like that, I'd be curious what the prince's sources are. I base my guess on the fact that the big money earning portions of the eastern and western empires occupy the same latitudes and similar climates, with a similar culture that has things like public baths and heated floors. The total size of the army was smaller after the fall of rome, but the per capita size was pretty similar.

The best book i've read on the fall of the western empire is: "The fall of the roman empire" by Peter Heather. He looks at the few sources available to the point of tedium as well as the most up to date archeology, then brings it all together at the end. I'm no historian, just oilfield trash living and working here in italy.

Could it be we are "Peak Earth"? The reality is the earth has a finite carrying capacity and humanity may be pushing it to the brink. Just like an aquarium has a carrying capacity, if you add too many fish, everything will eventually die off.

Hundreds of poohbahs & journalists flying across the world in pollution spewing, fossil fuel consuming jets, to wine & dine & listen to a friggin' PRINCE, no less, advocate technocopian attempts to maintain a business as usual lifestyle. Enjoy it while it lasts, all you who enjoy this sort of elitist crap, while a billion go hungry. Your day is coming.


What a party pooper you are.

On the whole you're right, though. But you overstate your case by implying that our lifestyle is the ultimate cause of world hunger.

It's not the Prince's fault if women in sub-Saharan Africa have 6 children on average, for example.

Read your Malthus:



It's not the Prince's fault if women in sub-Saharan Africa have 6 children on average, for example.

Of course not. The problem is, that the basic health care (with a lot of help of the West) extends their lifespan quite a bit and eventually they are worse off.

So, was the West wise to help in the first place?

May I suggest a great book on the subject at hand:

Forests: The Shadow of Civilization
by Robert Pogue Harrison

"..."Forests is one of the most remarkable essays on the human place in nature..."


Another example of energy consumption going beyond the peak was in Haiti. Here the impoverished people use charcoal for cooking, and many years ago Haiti ran out of wood completely. The denuding of the islands led to diasterous erosion. I do not know how they pulled back from the brink. Does anybody know more?

Are they not falling off the brink, continually and as we speak?

They'd do better if we stopped pushing.

Their agriculture was mismanaged and misplanted by US Agro concerns, the soil was destroyed, and local growing cultures were underpriced by multinational Corps, forcing family farmers to work for dying Company farms, until neither was able to restart.

Now, it's regularly trotted out as an example of 'Social Darwinism', as if Haitians are somehow incompetent and are being naturally selected out of existence.

As Dr. Quincy, MD would say.. 'It's Murdah, cold-blooded Murdah!'

Here's a US Doctor's interview on Democracy Now! about his time in Haiti.


AMY GOODMAN: We live in a globalized world, but we know very little about other countries outside the United States.

DR. PAUL FARMER: Which is very astounding about Haiti, because Haiti and the United States are of course the two oldest nations in this hemisphere. And, you know, between 1776, when our nation was founded, and 1791, when the major slave revolts began and could not be stopped, Haiti was born really just shortly after our republic. But unfortunately, for the first sixty years of Haiti’s existence, of course, the United States refused to recognize that it even existed. Slaves could not govern themselves. Blacks could not govern themselves. Later on came gunboat diplomacy. And then, in the early twentieth century—

AMY GOODMAN: The US Congress afraid to recognize Haiti—

DR. PAUL FARMER: Especially the Southern states.

AMY GOODMAN: —because it would inspire slaves.

DR. PAUL FARMER: Exactly. In fact, the first time we sent an envoy was Lincoln sent an envoy. Frederick Douglass was the ambassador to Haiti. It was an amazing story. Eric Foner has written about this beautifully.

Let's see if Obama has anything to say on the Subject..

How can Obama fix Haiti? I think Haitians expecting a savior should get in line behind the Kenyans, who will be in line behind the US welfare masses, who will be in line behind the workers, who are behind the Chinese and Japanese bond holders, who will be behind the campaign donors, who will be behind the financiers who are of course always first in line.

I truly hope Obama is brilliant and can juggle his perceived obligations while actually doing something meaningful, but I see no way in which he'll satisfy even a small fraction of those who believe he'll throw them a bone.

Did I say he needed to fix it? I asked what he might just have to SAY about it. But really, we need to fix our relationship with it, that would be a magnificent start. But you jump onto this 'No More Welfare' rant.

There are a number of benefits to a prosperous and functioning Haiti for the US, and I doubt it is as much of a USAID challenge as it is an opportunity for cultural and agricultural exchanges.. but NOT the ADM sort.

That said.. a sober look at the history of US Haiti relations, and even the Honorable Republicans would have to conclude that we have a debt to REPAY them, that it is not some kind of Alms that we might choose to dispense if the mood strikes us..

My point wasn't about welfare, but that they're so far down the pecking order that nothing of substance CAN happen unless Obama takes some peculiar interest in Haiti.

Apologies. It was me ranting.

Stepping back.. it's clear enough that we're all in the soup at this point. I just get riled when Haiti's plight is mentioned without acknowledgement of the players that really helped put/keep them there.


Thanks for the recommendation. I'm a bookaholic. Couldn't resist and have already ordered a copy.

Hi All.

I'm trying to get a handle on the Uranium reserve question. Dr. Dittmar gave a presentation in Cork at the 2006 Peak Oil conference describing various issues with nuclear power.


In it, PG 11. he cites that a 1GW nuclear PP consumes 180 tons of Uranium/year or 67,000 tons/year at the current burn rate for all reactors in (2006). Using this number, then, you can determine the years left of fuel using the P1+P2 uranium supplies which is 4.7 MT/67,000T ~ 70 years.

So my question is how many tons (or %) of the uranium is actually fissioned/year in a power plant, and if it could be reprocessed, how long would the current known 4.7 million tons last?


With current nuclear technology (light and heavy water reactors) with reprocessing we can save about 30 or 40% of the natural uranium resources; with fast breeders or thorium breeders they became pratically infinite (> tens or hundreds of thousand years)

Anyway, even with current technology, we have much more than a century (centuries or thousands years, at least) of uranium, besides thorium, at a cost of extraction in the range of 10 or 20 $ for oil barrel equivalent, today uranium price is about one $ per barrel (~ 130 $/kg) and with an energy invested ratio of hundreds fold

Thanks Alex, But how are you determining more than 70 years of uranium? Where does the "Thousands" come from? Does the 70 years assume no recycling? And if recycling saves 30%, then does that mean at current burn rates it would stretch the amount out to 90 years? I am just trying to understand exactly how everyone is determining their numbers as I am constantly asked about building more nuclear power plants. And yes, I agree, Thorium is tremendously attractive due to its availability.


But how are you determining more than 70 years of uranium?

The "70 years" figure is based on super-cheap uranium being fed into modified military fuel cycle reactors. (a.k.a "once through").

Increase the price of uranium by a factor of 10 -- at virtually no hit to the final cost of the electricity -- and the reserves balloon.

Ditch the stupid once-through technology and adopt breeders of one form or another, and the total amount of energy on this planet is, for all intents and purposes, infinite. We won't even be finished with the uranium before the Sun greenhouse-cooks the Earth in about 500 million years.

Yes, wave your magic wand, and have functioning breeders (it was tried at tremendous cost in the past, and failed dismally).

Wave your magic wand again, and have a LTFR (this thorium thingy).

Wave your magic wand to make the financing costs go away, the insurance costs, the waste, the security issues, the mothballing afterwards, and the 20 years to get going.

And then pray that solar and wind won't make it to grid parity before that day (which they surely will soon), which will pull out the magic rug from under all nuclear ventures (except of course the military).

Have a look at Olkiluoto, where this nuclear power plant doesn't seem to get finished, with horrendous cost overruns. And this is "established" technology.

Olkiluoto is not a breeder.

That current technology reactors are hyper-expensive is hardly surprising given the 900 pounds of paper that must accompany an order to tighten a nut.

Bureaucrats: how can we ever thank them?

If you had actually read and understood the recent LFTR article, you would see that virtually every downside of the current modified military fuel cycle reactors is more or less solved. Quite cleanly too: I'm enough of an engineer to perceive the elegance in the design.

My guess is you don't like them because the need for an army of bureaucrats to "ensure" (ha!!) the safety of the power plant has been removed to a large degree. Can you believe it? Intrinsic safety! That we don't need to pay for the laws of physical reality to be upheld is going to drive them crazy!

(Of course, it is also possible you are a future-phobe, and prefer the known poverty of the past to the uncertain prosperity of tomorrow. Whatever floats your boat!)

And as for magic wands: you'd better start waving yours furiously. You are going to need it to scale up solar and wind systems to an industrial level. The feeble capacity factors of these systems require either super-expensive storage systems and/or super-expensive augments to the grid to permit distributed generation. With the obscenely low capacity factors of the core generators, you must over-build generative capacity by factors of 3 to 5 (and this is a minimum) to become industrially useful.

Maybe if you wave that wand fast enough you can generate some wind energy? You are going to need every last gust.

I never said Olkiluoto is a breeder, just a normal run-of-the-mill nuclear power plant with cost overruns of more than 50%, supposedly finished in 2009, but postponed to at least 2012. New technology nuclear plants will be accompanied by 1800 pounds of technical documentation just for the restrooms.

Germany gets more than 7% of it's electricity from wind, and managed to build up this capacity in just a few years. In a few more years it will be 15%, and who knows where it will be in 2030, when the first LTFR would be ready (if ever). Wind already is a multibillion Euro business, adding 21 GW capacity in 2007 alone.

By the way, solar added 4 GW peak capacity in 2007 alone, which is more than nuclear power added.

Wind and solar are real: LTFR is a pipe dream.

I never said Olkiluoto is a breeder,

Then why are you mentioning it in a discussion on breeders?

Wind and solar are real

To get 1GW of wind @ 95% CF, you need to build about 3-5GW of capacity -- and a huge augmentation to the grid. If this is "real", it should be pretty easy to show me where it is located.

The 3-5GW installed is a minimum, assuming farm-to-farm power production is perfectly decorrelated. I'm not sure even Europe is large enough to approach this ideal, so I'd guess at least 10:1 would be needed (10GW installed for 1GW @ 95% CF).

LTFR is a pipe dream.

Whatever floats your boat!

I don't know how long this will take to happen, but here is my personal prediction: the current craze for turbines will crash (due to subsidy withdrawl) when it finally becomes common knowledge that industrially useful power can not be obtained via that route short of (1) backup via fossil sources (Pickens!) or (b) investments that make even current day nuclear plants look essentially free.

"Renewable" -- wind and solar -- is the CDO of the energy market. Initially it looks like a great idea ... say, when the wipe-out comes to pass, do you think the "Greens" will accept responsibility for the lost time and disastrous mis-investments?

The delay of Olkiluoto 3 is a good example of what happens when you rewake a dormant industry. The construction schedule were reasonable for a reactor built in Europe in the 70:s or 80:s when the suppliers and crews had all the skills in place. They also seem to have started building before all the detailed design were finished.

I am quite happy that the Finns have been very serious about security and quality issues. Good security need skilled authorities.

It will be Finlands 5:th reactor and there are three consortia competing about the go ahead for building the 6:th. It will be easier to build the next one.

I dont think the licensing for a thorium breeder will be any easier. Also such an reactor will have all calculations double checked and will need some expensive security measures such as being aeroplane crash proof. But I think thorium breeders is an exelent technology to develop while recreating the ability to quickly build nuclear powerplants. Wonder if lawyers can be retrained as welders? ;-)


Yes, ~ 100 years are only uranium resources at very low cost of extraction (less than 130 $/kg, pratically less than one $ per oil barrel equivalent) with *current* nuclear technology of course with no recycle/reprocessing at *current* nuclear electricity production (about 15-20% of the world use)

Bear in mind, with a kg of natural with current nuclear technology you can procuce 40'000 to 55'000 kWh ; with fast breeders or thorium breeders about 7-8 TWh, there is at least a ratio of about 100 between the two; pratically with breeders nuclear is almost infinite, renewable. But even without breeders (including thorium) and for a long time we will not need them, the uranium economically and energetically avialable is very high, because we can tap those resources
at a cost of extraction, say, of 10 $ per oil barrel equivalent which are in the order of centuries or thousands years, at least

At some point in time, every material thing on earth will have its own peak. Peak is the point of greatest production (supply) in a given period of time. Peak is not the total available, nor the amount left, nor is it price dependent. Even renewable resources have peak production too. You can only recycle so much in a day. When resources are used faster than they can be recycled, a limit will be reached. Because of peak production, growth will be limited until a replacement resource is found. Think of filling a glass with water. At some point no more water can be added to the glass. Then we get a bigger glass or a different glass. We are at a point of finding a replacement resource for oil. The sooner we adopt a replacement the better. The real issue is that oil was so cheap and so easy for so long that we are all spoiled rotten. Oil has enabled people to be fat and lazy. Before the oil age, people did a lot more physical labor to grow food and travel. Oil is like steroids, and has caused an unsustainable level of growth.

"Oil has enabled people to be fat and lazy."?

I can only assume you are speaking for yourself. Me, I work pretty hard, as do most people I know. It's true, we don't slave away in fields or jog marathons every day with 100kg of cargo balanced on our head. But that's because we don't need to -- in effect, we pay farmers to do the work for us, and in return, we work on building software, cellphone networks, and other things they use to do the hard job of farming.

A win-win situation if there ever was one.

Wood is a great renewable. One kg dry wood (20% moisture) contains 20 MJ. One liter diesel contains 37.8 MJ. Therefore one kg wood is equal to 20/37.8 = 0.529 liter diesel. One acre of natural (i.e. unmanaged, self growing, diverse bio logically) forest can sustainably produce 2 tons wood per year. One acre managed forest can sustainably produce 5 tons wood per year. Therefore one acre natural forest is equal to a flow of 6.6 barrels oil per year. One acre managed forest is equal to a flow of 16.5 barrels oil per year.

One additional benefit of forests is production of fodder for animals. One acre natural forest can produce 800 kg hay (20% moisture) out of which 600 kg is in leaves and 200 kg is in grass. This means 160 kg milk and 20 kg meat if fed to cows, 80 kg milk and 32 kg meat if fed to goats.

Time taken to grow is atleast 10 years for natural forests and 5 years for managed forests. We have to grow forests anyways if we really want to restore the environment. Once the forest is grown the standard way is to cut 10% of trees per year, therefore 90% of carbon di oxide taken away from air always remain in forest. A growing forest remove 1.47 tons carbon di oxide and many tons dust and add 1.07 tons of oxygen and many tons of moisture in air. Its also a refuge for wild life.

Living at 1.5 times the standard of living of sub continent a 300 watts of continuous power per capita would be consumed. This translates into 300 * 365.25 * 24 * 60 * 60 = 0.9467 GW = 473 kg wood = 0.25 acres of natural forests = 0.1 acres of managed forests. This standard of living ensure 24 hours electricity availability for home appliances like refrigerators, tv, iron, computer etc, electricity availability for work place for high lightning and air conditioning, seat-by-seat bus travel to and from work and for leisure, train travel to 1000 miles one way every 3 months, foreign travel 3000 miles one way by sea once every two years etc.

I despise the stench of woodsmoke. You should too:



"The large number of deaths and other health problems associated with particulate pollution was first demonstrated in the early 1970s [7] and has been reproduced many times since. PM pollution is estimated to cause 22,000-52,000 deaths per year in the United States (from 2000) [8] and 200,000 deaths per year in Europe."

But hey, these are only humans dying off, apparently one of those "necessities" (per the doomer playbook).

Yet, ignoring all that, how can you tolerate the destruction of a natural environment for a feeble 300W of power? Especially so given that we already know how to generate power from sources that do not require this kind of harvesting in the first place? Isn't the argument that it "grows back" the position of a parasite?

What about those dieing because of:

(1) Car accidents
(2) Factory accidents
(3) Nuclear accidents
(4) Genetically modified foods
(5) Over dose of medicines etc

Actually you don't have a choice. Fossil fuels are running out in short to middle term (5 to 25 years). Switching to nuclear is unethical because it load up future generations with problems of waste fuel management. Alternatives like wind and solar have their own problems and there is a scalibility issue too.

The solution is simple, power down.

Hi WisdomfromPakistan,

Ok, here in the Fuelish U.S., we use about 25 to 30 BBL per person each year. The exact number is uncertain due to the U.S. military’s classified fuel numbers and the enormous amount of off-shore goods we import. So go with 30 just to be safe. We have 310 million people, so we use figuratively, 9 billion barrels total. Our total energy consumption is more like 70 BBL/PP, but that's just the total BTU equivalent, as it’s the sum of coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power and renewables. So at 16.5 BBL per acre, we would need roughly 2 to 4 acres per person to supply the energy we currently use. Times 310 million people, we would need to cut and consume 620 to 1,240 million acres of forest each year. The total forested area of the US is around 750 million acres, or somewhere between 7 to 14 months of energy. What this means is we cannot sustain our current per person energy consumption using tree or other crops alone. While it can be a useful component, there are just to stinking many of us, wasting too much energy.

My vote goes to a combination of regenerative nuclear/breeder reactors, solar, wind and whatever else you can get to turn a generator, and utilizing our vast waste streams of poo, trash, and industrial waste heat, along with a strenuous course of conservation and a dramatic increase in efficiency. It wouldn't hurt if about 4 billion of us found another plant to live on for a century or two, too.

This could have been titled, "The Prince of Peaks"...

If you think that the Finnish plant is delayed, just look at Atucha II in Argentina, something like 29 years in the building, and counting.


Hi Rembrandt,

Surprised that no one picked-up on CP Willem's examples.
1) The Green Greenhouse http://www.zonneterp.nl/english/index_uk.html looks a good idea as do some of the other project themes being developed. I take my hat off to the Dutch government for sponsoring the initiative http://www.innovatienetwerk.org/en/themas/ to R&D local solutions that will directly benefit the Dutch people instead of promoting grandiose 'world' solutions; the only 'benefit' of which will be endless employment for the army of bureaucrats and politicians tasked with carrying them through to their probable final costly failure.
For 2) and 3) I am confused. Not sure if I have the correct references as neither are what I would call 'small'.
2) http://www.bilfingerberger.de/C125710E004ABFC5/vwContentByKey/W27LCMAD59... I doubt this is the correct one as it is German
3) http://www.plascoenergygroup.com/?Projects Canada and Spain so may be the one
Do you have details of the projects he was referring to in 2) and 3)?

possible solution


I apologize for my globish , but we are on Tod Europe
( UE 27 States , some great languages Italiano Espagnol Deutsch .... )

Tartuffe or the Hypocrite , der Bettruger

a figure of the great french european playwright & actor Molière




- there are plenty of figures of Tartuffe in the little world of Peak Oil & Environmentalists , introduced between the true men , and searching now a new " green Gold " , hoping o find it in being masked undere the mask of the lamb .

Many foms of dissimulation

1 . the character of the TV compere

he turn in Helicopter over the rain forest
for movies giving much money , a great " quality of life for him "
vacations in tropical islands ( for the work etc... )
he get great money with ads for SUVs ( for discovering the nature etc.... ),
and agencies od tour operators
" As nicolas H... , YOU also can be an explorator od wildlife "
he had great revenues , allways in airplanes ,

- 2 the character of the Photograph of nature
Known in All the world
Selling book in all the world
little variant
he turn in helicopter & airplanes ,

takes photos of deserts , forest
pollute massively
had a very bad carbon footprint
and say to you
it's for demonstrate to you the beauty of nature

I destroy Nature to show you how she is beautiful
[ And i have , personnally , Great revenues from this activity !! )
( selling books , DVD etc... )
on all the TV Channels

I """" compensate """ by carbon compensation ????
( a lie scientifically )

and what for the "" compensation of Oil destroyed ???


3 the Character of the Minstry of Environnment

She is Minister , Secretary

( you can also take a """ Prince """ ( of What ?? ) , a HRH , a President
a """ Princess """ )
She had great Salary
She come to the Minister Office , Not by cycle, but with Big car
with chauffeur .

Or for THE unique photo with a bicycle , she ( he ) summon the Press
for the unique day of the year , for few minutes on a bicycle
[ In FRANCE , we have seen a case with Alain Juppé
in front of cameras of the convoked Photographs , for a
photo on a bicycle )

and he FALL !! not the habit
all was comedy ( or Tragedy )
all was TARTUFFERIE Tartuffery
She said to you
" drive a cycle , go by feet , etc....., etc.... "
She run a GRENELLE
In Summer , you learn a discret few lines in the journal ....

The Secretary of Nature as flight in an airplane with is family
for a long-distance polluting air travel
she had , after , take a Big Yacht for billionnaires in the Mediterranean Sea

Do for you , that I say to do
Don't do that i personnally do ...

4 the Dramatis personae Member of the ASPO
or other organization

a )
allways he cry " oil is disappearing "
[ And i think so )
frequently a retired of Oil companies ( geologist , engineer , professor of university )
having done personal Fortune by destruction of oil ,

b ) Every Year he ( she ) go to the
ASPO annual conference in Cork , Dallas etc..

allways by AIRPLANE
sleeping in Hotel DE LUXE

Almost allways surprised that the ASPO conference is NOT by teleconference call ...



Little error the people of Norse Greenland WERE really christians
( with a bishop coming from Norway )
( this is good described by Jared DIAMOND , those book " COLLAPSE "I read this autumn with

very good book

2 I think it would be of great utility for """""" wisdom""""" of Pakistan
preventing him of looking like an " idiot " of Pakistan , or " islamist " of Pakistan
( and ridiculizing his land ! )
opening his mind with knowledge , respect of others , and particularly the messages of Christianism , Socialism ,Buddhism , Hinduism , other religions and states.

3 --
- [ a WISE man is , first, in doubt , and not SELF-¨PROCLAMED WISE , first Step in the way of the Wisdom !! )

- Evidently , deforestation and collapse had nothing to do with the great message of The Christ ,

there are risks for all community of people , through time and areas of History .

It 's allways = overpopulation ,bad statute of the woman , analphabetism , greed ,and frequently
impossible to prevent or foresee ( frequently occuring tens of years or in hundred of years after the beginning of the causative process )

5 i Live in a land with great Chrisian Background ( the deforested desert of France )
1700 years of Christianism had Totally destroy the Landscape of France .

PARIS is a desesperate town , with few camels errating in the desert .
The Christian COTE-D'AZUR is totally dead
MONACO is a desert
The forest of beautiful Christian Pines of CHAMONIX MONT-BLANC are desert
None forest ( all destroyed by the Church )
None great Vineyard ( idem )
None Lake , town ( ibidem )
all was destroyed by christians and romans !

The trees that i see , near the Catholic Church , are a mirage

The beautiful forest of great oaks , that i walk ASAP , ont exist !!

idem for the other lands of Christian Europe .

Ireland IS NOT the green EIRE
ENGLAND as a desert landscape
idem the great forest of CANADA RUSSIA FINLAND NORWAY SWEDEN are false

all destroyed ( for """"""""""""""Wisdom """""""""""""""""" of islamic Pakistan )
by Priest Monks Romans Celts and others of the stupid ( i.e NOT islamic ) world .