DrumBeat: January 22, 2009

The Peak Oil Crisis: What of 2009?

Our wish has been granted for we are indeed living in interesting times. The world's economy is either collapsing or is putting on a very good imitation of doing so.

Production of cheap, abundant fossil fuels is peaking and will soon be withering away, yet gasoline for our cars has almost never been inflation-adjusted cheaper. Around the world, numerous sovereign governments are close to becoming dysfunctional -- likely with very bad consequences. We are pumping so much of the wrong kinds of gases into the atmosphere that the poles are melting, the seas are rising, the land is drying out and some day soon this planet is going to be very tough to live on. On top of all this, the world seems to be acquiring a fair number of people who are convinced that only they understand God properly and that the rest of us deserve to be done in. The only good news is that, so far as we know, there are no large meteors heading towards earth that would render the foregoing problems irrelevant.

Dryships suspends dividend, dumps expansion plans

Dryships said it was cancelling the purchase of nine Capesize vessels, which are the largest type of ships that can haul dry bulk commodities like iron ore, coal and grains due to the "considerable decrease" in the asset values .

An abrupt end to the recent boom for bulk shippers has left many laden with debt for ships they bought at the top of the market. They now owe more than their ships are worth.

Iraq forced to cut spending as oil price falls

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s government will have dramatically less money to spend this year than expected because of plunging oil prices — a dire economic situation that’s already forced the country to slash rebuilding plans by 40 percent, The Associated Press has learned. As the U.S. seeks a timetable for withdrawal, cutbacks on spending and jobs could trigger heightened violence.

Analysts: Libya oil nationalization unlikely

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Call it, if you will, classic Moammar Gadhafi.

The Libyan leader's mention of the possibility of nationalizing the oil sector in response to current low oil prices is merely his unique way of calling attention to the difficulties producers face because of the global economic meltdown, some analysts say.

Venezuela says new OPEC cut possible

CARACAS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Venezuela's oil minister said on Thursday he did not rule out a new OPEC output cut because the oil market remains unstable.

OPEC, which pumps about a third of the world's oil, agreed last month to cut its output by 2.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1 in a race to balance supply with rapidly declining demand for fuel.

Suncor move to cut spending will hurt Flint Energy

CALGARY, Alberta -- Flint Energy Services Ltd said it will lose as much as $150-million (US$119-million) in revenue next year and plans to lay off construction workers after Suncor Energy Inc shelved a $20.6-billion oil sands expansion.

Gazprom counts on Arctic bonanza

Russian gas giant Gazprom said today its hydrocarbon reserves on Russia's Arctic shelf look set to increase by 5.6 billion tonnes (41.1 billion barrels) of equivalent between this year and 2020.

Ecuador cuts oil budget to $3 bn

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said today the country will earmark about $3 billion this year to run state oil company Petroecuador.

Last year, Correa’s administration initially approved a $4.8 billion budget for Petroecuador to boost dwindling production.

Nigeria says Obama Energy Plan Threatens Economy

The governor of Nigeria's central bank, Chukwuma Soludo, says U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to reduce dependency on oil imports is a threat to the Nigerian economy. Nigeria is Africa's largest crude producer and the fifth biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

The High Price of Clean, Cheap Ethanol

"The promise of biofuel is a lie. Anyone who buys ethanol is pumping blood into his tank. Ethanol is produced by slaves."

The padre is familiar with the dark sides of Lula's vision. He cares for the people for whom the president's dream has meant living a nightmare.

Mexico turns toward alternative energy amid falling oil production

LA VENTOSA, Mexico (AP) — Mexico inaugurated one of the world's largest wind farm projects Thursday as the nation looks for alternative energy, in part to compensate for falling oil production.

Mexico is trying to exploit its rich wind and solar potential after relying almost exclusively on petroleum for decades. With oil production down by 9.2 percent in 2008, Mexico now is turning to foreign companies, mainly Spanish, to tap its renewable riches.

Kazakh nuclear, oil deals hang in balance

ASTANA (KAZAKHSTAN): Indian and Kazakh energy officials are braving freezing temperatures to race against time to work out two pathbraking deals in the nuclear and oil sectors. But time-consuming procedures of unlocking atomic fuel, which involve international agencies, and Kazakhstan's tough bargaining in oil have left question marks over whether specific contracts would be signed when President Nursultan Nazarbayev arrives in New Delhi as the Republic Day guest.

'Fertiliser price fixing no surprise'

Sasol's move to settle its involvement in possible price fixing in the fertiliser industry comes as no surprise, Grain SA said on Thursday.

"Competition in the fertiliser industry has been under suspicion for more than a decade," said Neels Ferreira, chairperson of Grain SA, in a statement.

Oil to take 'years' to return to $100

Forecast - Oil prices won't rise higher than $100 US a barrel for "a couple of years," according to Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc.

"Just on supply-demand, putting aside geopolitics, this surplus is going to last for a couple of years and that will have a dampening impact on oil prices," said Yergin, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his book the Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money & Power, in a telephone interview Wednesday. "Right now, predicting oil prices is really predicting" gross domestic product.

Exxon Says Greenland Oil Exploration Team Analyzes Seismic Data

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest oil company, said its exploration team in west Greenland is analyzing the results of a seismic survey.

The data are from two exploration blocks that cover 27,000 square kilometers (10,400 square miles), the Irving, Texas-based company said in a January update on its U.K. Web site entitled “Exploration team breaks the ice in Greenland.”

“It’s an extremely sensitive environment,” Gary Robertson, Exxon Mobil’s U.K.-based geoscience project manager for West Europe, said in the statement. “It’s a dramatic, beautiful and pristine place. We need to understand our potential impact on the environment and the communities living there before we do any work.”

Back To The Future: $1 Per MCF Natural Gas Again?

He believes there will not be an economic turnaround until 2010. He sees too much natural gas supply in the market largely due to the fall in industrial gas consumption, but also from the development of unconventional gas supplies. According to Ziff Consulting, by 2014, some 42% of U.S. gas supply will be coming from unconventional gas resources. Given the current gas supply/demand situation, he sees gas prices falling into the $3-$4 per Mcf range that will create serious economic challenges in the gas and energy industries. He thinks gas storage will be full by September 1st and that could lead to $1 per Mcf gas as gas-on-gas price competition develops. His thoughts about the impact of the natural gas industry environment on the oilfield service business were not particularly encouraging. He expects a further 500 rig-count drop and expects well costs to fall dramatically as well. He pointed out that well costs had risen by a factor of two over the prior two years, but well costs are starting to fall, especially for steel prices (casing and tubing) and drilling rig day rates. He questioned how quickly we would see oilfield service costs fall to 2006 levels, but then wondered aloud when they would retreat to 2003 levels. Bad news for oilfield service companies!

South Hook’s First Cargo Heralds Qatar as Key U.K. Gas Supplier

(Bloomberg) -- South Hook LNG, an import terminal in South Wales, will import its first cargo next month, marking Qatar’s arrival as a key natural gas supplier to the U.K.

Nigeria Proposes Bill to End Discretionary Oil License Awards

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria proposed to end discretionary awards of oil and gas exploration licenses in new legislation for the country’s hydrocarbon industry.

Licenses will be given through an “open, transparent and competitive” bidding process and “no discretionary awards shall be given under any circumstances whatsoever,” according to the draft bill obtained at parliament in Abuja.

Nigeria gunmen free Romanian hostage

A Romanian man seized by gunmen who attacked an oil vessel off the coast of Nigeria on yesterday has been released today, a military spokesman said.

Forties Crude Rises to Three-Month High; BP Seeks Second Cargo

(Bloomberg) -- North Sea Forties crude oil rose to the highest in three months relative to Dated Brent after BP Plc sought to buy its second cargo this week.

Israeli Gas Find Raises Hopes in Cyprus

Israel's discovery of large natural gas deposits off its Mediterranean coast is an encouraging indication that similar finds are possible off nearby Cyprus, a senior Cyprus energy official said on Thursday.

Reliance bottom line takes a hit

Indian giant Reliance Industries reported a drop of almost 10% in net profit for the third quarter of the financial year, compared with the previous quarter.

The company booked RIL net profit for the quarter ended December 2008, stood at 35.01 billion Indian rupees ($707 million).

Reliance said the global economic slowdown and softening crude prices have hit its bottom line.

Opinion: India, China, and Obama's Oil Policy

Over the past year there has been an ever-quickening drumbeat of dire news about oil. Predictions of $250 barrel super-spikes, declining global supplies, and the potential for energy wars made headline news. In the U.S., high prices at the pump became a leading campaign issue and a very real driver of inflationary fears. That inflationary pressure forced the emerging giants, India and China, to tighten monetary policy, which in turn constrained economic growth. But while oil will indeed come to an end as the primary energy supply for the global economic engine, it will most likely go out with a whimper and not a roar.

US Pres. Vows to Break 'Addiction' to Foreign Oil, Increase Domestic Prod.

US President Barack Obama spared no time in stepping up to energy issues, posting an energy agenda on the administration's new White House website on the day of his inauguration.

Gloomy Canadian retail data shows recession biting

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales dropped by 2.4 percent in November from October, the steepest decline in nearly 11 years, and analysts said they expected worse to come as the recession starts to bite harder.

The November decline easily exceeded the 1.5 percent fall expected by market analysts and was the largest since the 4.5 percent plunge recorded in January 1998, when much of Eastern Canada was hit by an ice storm.

The value of sales at gasoline stations plummeted by 14.9 percent from October, reflecting lower prices. Sales at new car dealers fell 3.4 percent.

2009 Japan prize honors lead author of ‘"The Limits to Growth"

Dr. Dennis Meadows, lead scientist and co-author of The Limits to Growth (1972) and its subsequent updates, is the winner of this year’s Japan Prize from the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan for “Transformation towards a sustainable society in harmony with nature.” This prestigious award is given once a year to people from all parts of the world whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for humankind. It carries a cash award of 50 million yen (about $500,000) and will be awarded during a Japan Prize Awards week in April 2009.

Energy Companies Find Money Pipeline Is Open Again

Credit markets are showing some signs of life after months of inactivity, with energy companies helping to lead a surge in new debt and equity deals in recent weeks.

Companies have started to raise funds through sales of debt and equity at a pace not seen since last spring, according to data tracking firm Dealogic.

Globally, new corporate debt sales totaled $91.4 billion last week, the highest since last May when $103 billion was sold.

Devil in the detail of gas deal

The taps are back on, and Russian gas is flowing back into Europe via Ukraine.

But, after the initial relief, those European governments whose people spent up to two weeks with no heating will be asking themselves: is it really over?

This was Europe's worst energy crisis in years.

Slovakia declared a state of emergency and rationed gas supplies to industry. Hundreds of thousands of people in countries like Bulgaria, Bosnia and Moldova were left shivering in the middle of a particularly harsh winter.

Bhutan: Thimphu running out of fuel wood

Winter in Thimphu is at its heights but the news from the Department of Forestry Services (DFS) is even chillier.

The DFS may not meet even a third of Thimphu’s demand for firewood this year, according to officials.

This is because the increasing demand for firewood is far exceeding the allocated supply quantities established by the DFS. In 2008, Thimphu consumed 7,736 cubic meters or 967 truckloads of firewood from its three Forest Management Units (FMU) that supply the dzongkhag with timber.

Pakistan: Power cuts continue around the country

KARACHI: Unscheduled and scheduled electricity loadshedding have continued to hamper the normal life of people across the country on Thursday.

According to reports, 10 to 12 hours of power cuts are being observed in various cities of Sindh, including Sukkur, Rohri, Panu Aqil, Sangrar and Khairpur.

Meanwhile, eight to 10 hours of loadshedding is being witnessed in urban areas of Hyderabad, Matli, Tandobago, Tando Muhammad Khan, Jamshoro, Badin, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas, Umar Kot, Tharparkar, Ghotki and Obaro. However, rural areas bear prolonged power cuts of around 14 hours a day.

Solar energy emerges as a genuine alternative

“There is a quiet solar revolution going on. It doesn’t come out of the blue, it comes from years of people working on it,” Karel van de Graaf, the director of corporate communications for the Dutch renewables firm, E Concern, told the World Future Energy Summit in the capital. “It isn’t that spectacular. Other industries have shown the same progress ratio.”

Can Obama Save the Planet?

The wintry wind that blew through Washington D.C. Tuesday brought change, ushering in what many see as a new era of respect for science that researchers and government officials around the world hope will result in a significant new effort to combat climate change.

Whether the task is worthy will continue to be debated by some. Whether it can be accomplished, politically or scientifically, remains to be seen. Two things are certain: If the majority of scientific projections are accurate, the stakes are very high — saving Earth from rising seas and mass extinctions — and the task monumental.

Saudis to Cut Oil Output 300,000 Barrels Below Quota

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, will cut production by 300,000 barrels a day below the quota agreed on with OPEC to prop up prices, Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said.

Saudi Arabia will make the reduction before a March 15 meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Algerian state-run newspaper El Moudjahid reported, citing comments from Khelil yesterday in Algiers.

“That shows that the Saudis want to take their responsibility and that they see the imperative to match a lower demand with a lower supply,” Johannes Benigni, managing director of JBC Energy consultants in Vienna, said in a Bloomberg Television interview today.

Lower OPEC output won't boost prices: Deutsche Bank

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Early indications that OPEC members are complying with the deepest ever oil-supply cuts may not stop oil prices from falling further, a top energy analyst said on Wednesday.

"It's going to be difficult," said Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist for Deutsche Bank.

OPEC's previous efforts to cut output to stabilize prices have had limited effect.

"They have to cut four to five million barrels a day in quotas; they have to get a good portion of that in real, wet barrels off the market," Sieminski said. "In a sense, OPEC is chasing the economy down."

Oil hits $45 as US company news improves

VIENNA, Austria – Positive news from U.S. companies and economic optimism spurred by the U.S presidential inauguration boosted prices Thursday, with crude trading around $45 a barrel.

Arawak resumes oil production in Kazakhstan

(Reuters) - Oil and gas company Arawak Energy Ltd (ARAW.L) (AAK.TO) said it would resume production at its four operated fields in Kazakhstan following the adoption of a new tax code in that country, eliminating the customs export duty on crude.

The company had curtailed production at the fields in early December citing a "significant deterioration" in margins due to high taxation and a fall in oil prices.

Oil sands cuts help sow seeds of oil price rebound

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc's decision to halt to its C$20.6 billion ($16.2 billion) oil sands expansion because of low oil prices points to an inevitable outcome -- high oil prices.

Gaddafi says looking at oil firm nationalization

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Wednesday his country and other oil exporters were looking into nationalizing foreign firms due to low oil prices and suggested Tripoli might not stick to OPEC production quotas.

Speaking via a satellite link from Libya to students at Georgetown University in Washington, he called the current price of oil "unbearable."

Offshore drilling plan to go ahead: Interior Dept

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A proposal issued in the final days of the Bush administration to expand offshore drilling in previously banned areas will move forward under the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, an Interior Department spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.

ANALYSIS - Gas row shakes Europe's trust in Russian energy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - By cutting off gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine, Russia strengthened its case for new pipelines to bypass its ex-Soviet rival. But it may also have lost Europe's trust.

European consumers, left to shiver for two weeks when Moscow shut off their gas, will now accelerate plans to develop alternative fuels and build a regional gas supply network better equipped to withstand disruptions from the East, analysts said.

Gas row adds pain to east Europe slowing economies

DEVNIA, Bulgaria (Reuters) - Russia turned the gas taps back on this week but the damage inflicted on central and eastern Europe will linger for months, adding to the pain the global economic downturn was already causing.

"We suffered two consecutive shocks. First the recession and then the gas crisis which hit quite unexpectedly," said worker Valentin Vladimirov, whose fertilizer plant in Bulgaria closed for more than two weeks during the Russia-Ukraine gas row.

"I have a loan, everyone I know has loans...I hope we will survive somehow," said Vladimirov, 53, who fears his job remains under threat despite an accord ending the gas row.

Sinopec's Oil-Processing Growth Slowest in Six Years

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia's biggest refiner, posted the slowest growth in crude-oil processing in six years as the economy expanded more gradually.

Crude processing rose 4.5 percent to 168.8 million metric tons, or 3.4 million barrels a day, last year, Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, said in a statement on its Web site today. That's the slowest growth rate since 2002, when oil processing increased 3.5 percent.

China growth slows sharply

BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) - China's economy slowed sharply in the fourth quarter and Japan's central bank on Thursday foresaw two years of deflation as Asia's largest economies buckle under the strain of the financial crisis.

Wind power leading new source of electricity

For the first time, non-hydroelectric renewable energy, led by wind power, was the leading source of new electric generating capacity.

Scientist: New fault could mean major U.S. temblor

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) — A previously unknown fault in eastern Arkansas could trigger a magnitude 7 earthquake with an epicenter near a major natural gas pipeline, a scientist said Wednesday.

Haydar Al-Shukri, the director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said the fault is separate from the New Madrid fault responsible for a series of quakes in 1811-12 that caused the Mississippi River to flow backward.

...The researcher has said a gas pipeline crossed the newly discovered fault. He declined to name the company that owned the pipeline. Al-Shukri had said in a speech at the University of Arkansas' Clinton School of Public Service that the company was building a large line through the area, mirroring the old one's path.

Bill McKibben Interview

Fossil fuel is very seductive stuff. [John Maynard] Keynes once said that, as far as he could tell, the average standard of living from the beginning of human history to the middle of the eighteenth century had perhaps doubled. Not much had changed, and then we found coal and gas and oil and everything changed. Now we’re reaping the result of that, both ecologically and socially.

In the United States, cheap fossil fuel has eroded communities. We’re the first people with no real practical need for each other. Everything comes from a great distance through anonymous and invisible transactions. We’ve taken that to be a virtue, but it’s as much a curse. Americans are not very satisfied with their lives, and the loss of community is part of that.

Cleaner air might add 5 months to life

Americans are living nearly three years longer than they were only two decades ago, and they owe up to five months of that longevity to cleaner skies, a study shows.

Ecologists warn the planet is running short of water

A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind's expanding “water footprint” could be bringing an end to the era of cheap water.

The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term “peak ecological water” — the point where, like the concept of “peak oil”, the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite.

The world is in danger of running out of “sustainably managed water”, according to Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute and a leading authority on global freshwater resources.

Germany hails creation of global climate-change agency

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany said on Wednesday it expected more than 100 countries to attend a major conference in Bonn next Monday to establish a new international agency promoting renewable energy (IRENA).

Schwarzenegger asks Obama for tailpipe rules

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't waiting to press the Obama administration on one of California's top priorities — regulating greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

The Republican governor sent a letter to the new Democratic president on Wednesday, asking him to give California and other states permission to implement tough tailpipe-emission standards.

California expects fast Obama move on car pollution

SACRAMENTO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California's top climate change official on Wednesday predicted President Barack Obama's administration would let the state impose its own tough limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars by May, in what would be a victory for environmentalists.

Climate fight 'will cost 175 bln euros a year by 2020'

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The global cost of tackling climate change will reach 175 billion euros annually by 2020, according to European Commission estimates, an EU source said Wednesday.

Clinton confirmed as new US chief diplomat

The first "aye" vote came from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, who made an impassioned speech on Clinton's behalf and declared that Obama had promised "to be serious" about battling climate change.

"We are staring at an abyss of irreversibility," Kerry warned, adding that he had discussed the problem with Obama and "he intends to be serious about it."

Spring arriving earlier, study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Looking forward to spring? The good news is that it is coming two days earlier on average, but so are summer, autumn and winter, researchers said on Wednesday.

Big Homes, 1-Person Households are Main Causes of Consumer Energy Waste, Study Finds

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. /PRNewswire/ -- Changes in household size and home construction have been the main causes of over-consumption of energy by American consumers, according to a new study released today by SMR Research Corporation.

A reversal of these trends, SMR noted, would dramatically reduce U.S. energy use. Yet, household demographics and home building are seldom mentioned in the debates over global warming and energy independence.

Pemex has released their December and overall 2008 numbers:


They show a total liquids production decline rate of -9.4%/year, from about 3.5 mbpd to 3.2.

The EIA shows 2007 production of 3.5 mbpd, consumption of 2.1 and net exports of 1.4.

If we take the Pemex product production, add in product imports and subtract product exports, we get a very close agreement between prior EIA data and Pemex consumption data. Doing that for 2008 Pemex data suggests 2008 annual consumption of 2.2 mbpd. It does appear that 12/08 consumption was down by about 150,000 bpd from 12/07 consumption. In any case, this suggests 2008 net exports of about 1.0 mbpd, a decline rate of -34%/year from 2007 (versus an initial 2005 net export decline rate of -6.3%/year). This would be an overall net export decline rate of -16%/year over the four year period from 2004 to 2008, versus a production decline rate of -4.7%/year over the same time period.

If Mexico wants to maintain net exports of 1.0 mbpd, assuming a -9.4%/year production decline rate they would have to cut their consumption at about -15%/year, from 2.2 mbpd in 2008 to 1.2 mbpd in 2012.

But their energy minister assures us production will pick up by 2012-2015 so it will be fine....!

Chicontepec may hold 6 - 19 billion barrels of oil recoverable of more than 130 billion barrels in place depending on whose article you read:


Production at Ku-Maloob-Zaap has been rising, yet is supposed to begin to decline early next decade.

They are likely to have more deep water oil as the Perdido oil field (U.S.) is close to the border of Mexico and the trend is likely to continue to the south. Whether or not Mexico can take billions of dollars out of its Federal budget to develop their areas is another question.

Unfortunately, as the Cantarell Field (second largest producing field in the world in 2005) decline rate accelerates, Pemex's overall production decline rate has been accelerating. Here are the recent annual numbers for their production decline:

2005: -1.7%/year
2006: -2.1%/year
2007: -5.6%/year
2008: -9.4%/year

BTW, it's a little uncanny how close the four year numbers are for Mexico versus the ELM numbers.

ELM assumptions are consumption equal to half of production at final peak, production decline rate of -5%/year, consumption increase of 2.5%/year. After four years, Export Land's net exports are down to 53% of peak.

For Mexico, consumption was 52% of production at peak, with a production decline rate of -4.7%/year, with a consumption increase of +2.4%/year. After four years, Mexico's net exports are down to 53% of peak.

Basically, Mexico is showing the same net export trajectory as Indonesia and the UK--all three showing accelerating net export decline rates (all three were consuming about half of production at final peak)--and it looks like all three will hit or approach zero net oil exports within eight years of final production peak. For exporters with less consumption relative to production at final peak, it will just take a little longer for them to approach zero net oil exports.

And a continuing reminder about Peter Wells' prediction that North Ghawar, largest producing field in the world in 2005, will be effectively watered out by the end of 2010.

North Ghawar, largest producing field in the world in 2005, will be effectively watered out by the end of 2010

If Aramco allocates all of the OPEC production cuts to Ghawar, they will make it to 2011, and perhaps even 2012.


(Apparently, Peter Wells' comment at ASPO-USA was in response to a question from Alan).

You really have to appreciate the irony that the government is effectively trying desperately to increase the demand for something--net oil exports--that will, IMO, show a long term accelerating decline rate.

Yes, an overall optimistic presentation on future oil production, but that answer was given in a quiet voice.

An example of what production cuts could do.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, will cut production by 300,000 barrels a day below the quota agreed on with OPEC to prop up prices, Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said.

*IF* North Ghawar# is producing 3,250,000 b/day, a cutback to 2,950,000 b/day will add almost another month of "full" production for each year of production.

# South Ghawar recently went into production (900,000 b/day) and will likely maintain that for a half century or so. Tight rock, thicker oil in South vs. North Ghawar.


Hello WT & AlanFBE,

Thxs for this ELM discussion mini-thread-->when added to Ace's recent postings: it's a real Horror Show when one considers the postPeak global implications.

We need to figure out a Peak Outreach way for this to become truly discussed by the MSM. If one considers the mind-boggling amounts of time and money stupidly spent by consumers on horror movies, DVDs, and monster video games: if we could just divert a small fraction of this crowd to watching/studying a 'real-life horror show', it could do much for Optimal Overshoot Decline.

In other words, we need to wake people up to the fact that, for example, 'Friday the Thirteenth' is actually Everyday, Everymoment when it comes to depleting FFs and other finite resources.

Perhaps, horror movie aficionados should be subject to a random lottery: where some lucky moviegoer is actually kidnapped from the theater, then whisked off to Zimbabwe, Somalia, Congo, Sri Lanka, etc.

The adrenaline factor would be sky-high among the moviegoers, even before the stupid pre-movie commercials ended, in anticipation of the kidnapping to come. The dopamine thrills would be maximized for all-->maximum cerebral reward for your horror movie investment dollar.

The 'lottery winner', if he/she survives, will of course get the maximum, sustained adrenaline rush from his/her full exposure to ongoing environmental and energy depletion. I would think they would be very appreciative of their personal participation in Peak Horror.

I would like to see this idea start with the premiere of 'The Road'.

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

Aren't a lot of Mexico's problems due to above ground factors? Resource nationalism stops them getting the latest exploration and extraction technology. Also Mexico has never been wild catted. if they stare in to the abyss of declining production this may change.

IMO, there is not a huge difference between cumulative production to date under Pemex and what they would have done with major oil companies in charge; the real problem Pemex has is the lack of capital and expertise to tackle the ultra deep water stuff.

As I have noted several times, Peaks Happen, even in areas developed by private companies, using the best available technology, with virtually no restrictions on drilling, e.g., Texas & the North Sea:


Chicontepec may hold 6 - 19 billion barrels of oil recoverable of more than 130 billion barrels in place depending on whose article you read

'Oil recoverable' is not the same as 'oil in place'. 19 Gb is an amount I have read before. That article says:"Pemex plans to drill more than 5000 wells by 2012. It hopes to raise production from the current 26.000 barrels a day to 1 million barrels a day in 10 years. Due to geological challenges, though, perhaps only 5 to 7 percent of the field's oil will ever be extracted."
Maybe this is 5-7% from OOIP (130 GB).

The exact number, not truncated, was 139 billion barrels in place, and a higher projected recovery rate. It is all theoretical at this point until they get more production and engineering data. My opinion.

There was a brief item about Mexican oil production in this morning's WSJ print edition (I have to go teach, so maybe someone else can find the link?). It explicitly mentioned the 9% decline in production, and ALSO mentioned explicitly the approximately 16% decline in exports.

Also, there was an editorial in today's WSJ about the banking crisis that sounded suspiciously as though the writer has been reading Denninger's website. He was making precisely the same kinds of recommendations - albeit with less intense rhetoric.

i love this guy:

Calling the bottom of the market is tricky; a 90% drop is an 80% drop followed by a loss of half of your investment. "


I think the WSJ Mexico story was posted in yesterday's DrumBeat.

How' bout we split the difference?


Hi I just wanted to notify you that another scammer is using your company to give out jobs
so people will try to cash cashiers checks for them, the name is Gleyn Terry,
I'm glad you posted a beware sign on your site to be sure I checked and found your warning post

Bill McKibben is an inspiring persona and his contributions to raising awareness about Global Warming and energy are indisputable. At the end of the interview in the above article the interviewer asked McKibben what the number one thing people can do to help stop global Warming McKibben stated:

The number one thing is to organize politically; number two, do some political organizing; number three, get together with your neighbors and organize; and then if you have energy left over from all of that, change the light bulb.

What is interesting is McKibben never mentioned the subject of human population.

Late last year New Scientist magazine listed the top ten green contributions that people can do and number one was: don't reproduce.

I know McKibben gets it but he won't broach the taboo. Without significant programs to shrink populations everything else is for naught.


He wrote a book about this very topic in 1999.

Maybe One: A Case for Smaller Families

Maybe One argues that we must start thinking about family size and stop thinking of population as an "abstract issue" that has no bearing on our lives. McKibben produces compelling if not controversial arguments for curbing the U.S. population explosion, a population which he believes could grow by at least 50 percent by the year 2050 to possibly 400 million people. That's a lot of mouths to feed, fuel to burn, and waste to dispose! McKibben's arguments are a mixture of the highly personal (he speaks in great detail of his decision to have a vasectomy) to the highly global (McKibben cites scary statistics about the greenhouse effect, species extinction, soil erosion, and food shortages). He is particularly passionate about "only children" and that it really is okay to have just one child, arguing that only children are often more intelligent and confident than their multiple-sibling friends.

They are also more likely to be selfish, struggle in resolving peer issues, and materialistic. At least that what the pre-teens my kids hang around with tend to be like.

Not that such is a reason to have more, per se, but single kids aren't any more "perfect" than other kids at the individual level.

There's no evidence that single kids are more likely to be selfish and materialistic. That whole birth order thing is pretty much a crock.

At least some studies support your position, though "popular opinion" (both based on a quick Google) supports mine. Maybe there are sociological differences during developmental years that tend to iron out by adulthood? In any case, the research doesn't support any notion that only children are much better off in any meaningful way either. Still, fewer children is better in terms of world population.

Researchers have evaluated only children in terms of five main developmental outcomes: intelligence, achievement, personality, sociability, and psychological adjustment. Intelligence (usually measured in terms of standardized ability tests, such as IQ tests) and achievement (measured typically in terms of the number of years of education attained or the prestige of occupations) are the two most commonly studied outcomes. Only children generally score slightly better than others on intelligence when they are young. However, during adolescence, the small advantage in intelligence disappears (Falbo and Polit 1986). On the other hand, only children appear to have and maintain an advantage in achievement. Even when the socioeconomic characteristics of their parents are controlled, analyses indicate that only children tend to complete more years of education than others and are likely to have more prestigious jobs (Blake 1989).

One of the concerns about only children is that their lack of sibling relationships might lead them to have less desirable personalities than those who grew up with siblings. However, the results of hundreds of personality studies suggest that only children are generally like children with siblings in most personality dimensions, including autonomy, generosity, and cooperativeness (Polit and Falbo 1987).

Research into the sociability of only children has yielded mixed results (Falbo and Polit 1986). Although a few large, longitudinal studies suggest that children without siblings may be prone to more solitary recreational activities than children with siblings (Claudy 1984), other studies indicate that only children marry at about the same age as others and are no more likely to divorce (Groat, Wicks, and Neal 1984).

I'm a single kid and I'm selfish & materialistic as hell. But then, so's everyone else...

Hey Paleocon,

There you are. I wanted to pick back up on our discussion from yesterday.

In response to something you said—an “individual wanting ‘to do right’ in a situation of possible ‘free rides’ “—I would like to try to tie this comment back into the ongoing controversy over the nomination of Timothy Geithner. To me this goes to the heart of what we were talking about.

Obama in his inaugural address called for “a new era of responsibility,” and in fact based his entire campaign on “change” away from the politics of a prior era. Obama’s nomination of Geithner raises a big question mark, as well as provides powerful symbolism, as to whether Obama is serious about either of these.

The NY Times’ lead editorial this morning intones that:

The entire Obama economic team earned their stripes — for good and more often ill — during the deregulatory and self-regulatory efforts of the 1990s and this decade.

But I believe this only scratches the surface of the problem, and is where the NY Times gets it completely wrong, for it fails to deal with the underlying philisophical venality that went hand in hand with the political corruption.

Kevin Phillips develops this theme in Wealth and Democracy:

Corruption, like larceny, comes in many forms, some blatant, others more subtle.... It seems clear from the historical record that swindles are a response to the greedy appetite for wealth stimulated by the boom.

Less obtrusive but at least as important has been the corollary corruption of thinking and writing—the distortions of ideas and value systems to favor wealth and the biases of “economic man...”

[Phillips then goes on to take] a look at how philosophy and public policymaking (emphasis mine) during such periods has shifted to emphasize markets and Darwinian behavior and to find civic virtue in erstwhile private sins like greed, self-interest, and prfligacy.

--Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy

So just what are some of the linchpins of this “more subtle corruption,” the philosophical corruption of which Geithner’s actions bespeak volumes, and that would lead him to believe that free riding and shirking on his taxes (and if he is to be the nation’s top tax collector, surely he must believe that taxes are a public good) are appropriate behaviors? Here I turn to Etzioni and a series of quotes that set out the philosophy that Geithner appears to be steeped in:

The neoclassical paradigm does not merely ignore the moral dimension but actively opposes its inclusion...

[T]he fact is that neoclassicists have labored long and hard to show that practically all behavior is driven by pleasure and self-interest....

[The] reductionism of neoclassical economists [leads to the] notion that people act morally only as long as it makes sense in economic terms: “Economic theory...tends to suggest that people are honest only to the extent that they have economic incentives for being so.” (Johansen cited by Sen, 1977; see also Cloniger, 1982)

[M]oral commitments are affected...by the content and level of morality in society, by the values of one’s subculture...

--Amitai Etzioni, The Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics

I suppose my question is this: Are Geithner’s moral commitments reflective of the “level of morality in (our ) society,” or are they reflective of the “values of his subculture?”

But there is a second aspect that Etioni explores, the one that, when I was a kid back in the Dark Ages, we used to call character:

The position (of socio-economics) is that (1) that individuals are, simultaneously, under the influence of two major sets of factors—their pleasure, and their moral duty...; (2) that there are important differences in the extent each of these sets of factors is operative under different historical and social conditions, and within different personalities under the same conditions... (emphasis mine)

Examination of behavior shows that individuals who seek to live up to their moral commitments behave in a manner that is systematically and significantly different from those who act to enhance their pleasure.


In conclusion, let me state that from the perspective of subculture that I live in, and from my values and morals, I find Geithner’s behavior and Obama’s appointment of him extremely disturbing.

But beyond that, if he is approved, I wonder what it says about the level of morality of our society.

Agree completely. Geithner is a criminal that has gotten away with it by just saying, "it was an honest mistake". Next time the IRS comes to your door, just say "it was an honest mistake" and see how far that get's you!

How many people in this country, don't even gross $35,000 a year, and this bum "forgets" to pay $35,000 in back taxes? Am I the only one that thinks this guy is lying thru his teeth, just as most in washington do each day?

This crap has gotta end......

One year I forgot to include the income from a 1099. The IRS computer eventually found the error and sent me a bill. I paid the bill and that was that.

Now you can claim I did it on purpose, I'm stupid, or I'm incompetent. Perhaps all three, who knows. I also used TurboTax. I would like to think I'm not permanently disqualified for any and all positions of responsiblity for ever and ever because of that mistake. And somehow, I just don't feel like a criminal, for reasons that include the fact that I didn't commit a crime.

I personally cannot claim to know what TG was thinking. And you can't either. Is this really how you want to start off the new administration? By ranting and raving about every typo? I'm sure we can get another Bush elected next time if this is really a showstopper issue with you. Maybe the twins will have sobered up by then.

I'm unemployed, have a disabled child, and it's raining outside. I'm also having a wonderful day reading and I'm about to go swimming at the gym. I'm thinking of making homemade pizza tonight. My dog is curled up next to me snoring.

The end of the world is going to take a while. Perhaps you should consider pacing yourself.


You paid the bill. Geithner was informed of the error, and chose not to pay the bill. Until the confirmation hearings loomed.

Big difference, IMO.

Recently there seems to be a common ploy of "try to get away with it" coupled with "if caught, say you're sorry". Words mean too much; actions mean too little. Or so it appears, when gauging character and intent.

I've seen various numbers from $25K to $40K in money owed, and some hints it was for nanny wages. How much was his total tax liability for these years? Are we talking 1% or 60% of what he owed?

Another way of looking at this is moral ground to be taken by those who want to reign in the IRS and increase "nanny exemptions". If Geitner can do this, how can they hold anybody else to a higher standard? Why can't more of us pay and get paid in cash under the table, with no come-backs?

"try to get away with it" coupled with "if caught, say you're sorry".

or in the case of cheney, continue lying until they wheel you out.

Where is Cherenkov when you need him?

YOU are also not in the running to manage one of the top jobs in the governmnet. Ethics and morals, or should I say the lack therof, in your government, is so rampant and infused, that most like you, simply let it slide.

I find it typical of the sheep, the majority of people in this country have become. That attitude of "so what, they all do it"...."as long as I get what I need, who cares".....

I've also seen this same rhetorical strategy employed in regards to the mortgage defaults that are wrecking such havock--that "everybody" took part in the debt orgy.

Well, "everybody" didn't take part. In fact, forecasts I've seen, assuming housing prices fall another 25% or so, indicate that about 12 million houses will evenually be repossessed. That's 12 million out of 116 million households, or about 10%.

10% is not eveybody.

I think "forgetting" to pay taxes is something that should permanently disqualify you from ever becoming the head of the IRS.

What about a pilot that just "forgot" to extend the flaps on takeoff and kills several passengers. Should he be given a second chance at flying because of an honest lapse of thought?

He's failed at something he's supposed to enforce by leading the Teasury Dept. This does not fly in the private sector...at least the portion I work in. The fact that he'll probably get a pass from Congress just shows how out of touch Washington is.

the income tax code has become so complex that the irs doesnt understand it. it sometimes takes a smart cpa tax attourney working for exxon to figure it out, expecially the parts written by exxon lobbyists.

I share your concerns about Geitner and the entire Obama financial team. I think the difficulty is that our subculture (working stiffs and professionals) is different than that of the ruling elite in so many ways that what seems intuitively obvious to each group differs.

The people I talk to seem to be more upset by the notion of fairness denied and culpability evaded than by the magnitude of the bailout money and financial losses, though the former are "virtual" and the latter have "real" effects.

A common theme among both my conservative cohorts and my more liberal friends is that they'd rather see the banks fail and the economy punish the gamblers and elites even if it meant hardship for them. The whole notion of "the system must not fail" seems to be answered by "why not?".

I know from my watching my kids that the notion of fairness is deeply rooted in human nature, and bankers and CEOs getting bonuses while little guy are getting laid off bugs the heck out of people. I think Obama, though priviledged, will understand that aspect of humanity, while I suspect Geitner and his buddies will not. Eventually Obama may well have to throw some of the financial elite under the bus to continue his popularity.

I know I've now shifted yesterday's topic from SS to bailouts, but after thinking some overnight I believe the notion of fairness is where SS will end up as well: people will believe that SS and welfare are "fair" to some moderate level, largely equal to what they think people like themselves will get or deserve. If a previous generation expected and planned for more, they may well think it's "unfair" if they don't get what was "promised", but if the current generation believes the earlier one had an unfair advantage due to cheap energy, better work, and loose credit it'll seem like the bankers' bonuses today -- it might be legal, but it's not fair or right, so the deal can be changed.

I suspect as a society we'll continue to support SS and welfare to some level for a long time, if we possibly can, but there won't be a subculture of "wealthy" retirees on the public dole if the main culture is poor. We'll all suffer along at roughly the same levels of declining middle-class (except for a few percent of elites who will remain privileged by whatever means they can). Hopefully that level will be above subsistence, but who knows?

I know from my watching my kids that the notion of fairness is deeply rooted in human nature

Not just humans. Monkeys and even dogs have an inborn sense of fairness.

I'm not sure Obama will throw anyone under the bus, though. He's just not the type to make waves.

Speaking of fairness, I find this clip of Robert Reich a bit disturbing. But highly plauisble. Money is going to pour in the direction of the most powerful. Most of them won't be wise enough to turn it into something real.


You can be sure of one thing about the new president:

Obama = Affirmative Action Squared.

I'm not sure Obama will throw anyone under the bus, though. He's just not the type to make waves

Was that Susan Rice (I might have the name wrong), who in the primaries went from top foreign policy adviser, to under the wheels of the bus, for muttering that Hillary was a monster. In this case, you might say he was trying to avoid waves (controversy) by getting rid of her. But, it is clear his staffers aren't totally immune.

That is an example of what I mean. Obama's history is one of "going along to get along" (with his party). He'll throw the financial elite under the bus when the Democrats demand it. I'm not holding my breath.

Why would he do that? Banks gave him a lot of money for his campaign. In contrast with Bush, who became the president largely because of his far more intelligent father, Obama had to build his career from nothing. His ambitions were clearly monstrous, if not, he wouldn't make it. And if you want to achieve what he did, you cannot just push around your own ideas.

Well, at least he is smart ;)

The name is wrong. You refer to Samantha Power.

All mammals do. As do some birds, swans for example. Black Swans too. Storcks, black & white. The albatros and his ilk. Too bad they choke on a diet of plastic.

Etzioni writes extensively about this whole issue of spending now, current pleasure/consumption and saving so that we don't become dependent on our children and/or the government in the future. This is so because this is an area laden with conflicts of pleasure/consumption vs. morality, perfect for his analysis.

I don't want to put up another long post, but let me just throw this quote out:

People thus have both an absolute and an expedient morality. Similarly, the fact that people are less likely to heed a moral commitment if the costs are high, does not indicate that there is no imperative...

We really have no way of knowing what the relative cost of providing for us in our old age might be. But if that cost, to take the most extreme example, is that our children themselves will starve, or their children will starve, we might be the ones asked to check out.

Also, the future behavior of our children might also depend on how they perceive we fullfilled our moral commitments:

A re-analysis of the Coleman data on American schools suggests that student performance is affected by how legitimate (i.e. morally appropriate) they consider the homework assigned to them, and how fair they feel are their teacher evaluations of their efforts.

If our children belive we have not met our moral commitments by striving to set something aside for our old age, or that we have ravaged the commons, the imperative to provide for us in our old age might be diminished.

The point I want to make is that the moral obligation of our children to provide for us may not be absolute, but it will not be blithely brushed aside either.

Which I suppose is about the same conclusion you came to.

I think we came to about the same point from opposite directions. A key aspect of my supposition, though, is that I think it is impossible for the Baby Boomer generation to save "enough" if what they save is money, due to the relative valuation of money/savings/etc based on current market supply/demand situations, let alone worsened by economic or energy collapse. I think we must, due to large scale economic patterns, collectively depend on our "children" for support. But you are correct that future workers are more likely to look kindly upon those who planned well for their elder years than those who did not.

I do think that future generations will look upon those in authority from 1980 to 2010 as "wasteful and heedless", which doesn't bode well for my old age.

I don't disagree. Though I might not be quite as doomerish as you, what I fear is a one-two punch. The first punch is a period of deflation that will wipe out the equity in homes and other non-cash investments like stock-heavy 401(k)s. The second punch (after a flight to cash) is a period of inflation that will wipe out what's left--cash savings and defined benefit plans like pensions and social security.

From a moral perspective, if we've done the right things--fought the good fight; we might still be able to hold our heads high and have our kids think well of us. To quote Etzioni again:

Moral acts often concern intentions and processes, not outcomes. (This is not to say that outcomes do not matter, but the moral standing of an act is derived from its being in line with moral criteria.) Unlike pleasure, which is a matter of achieving the desired end-state, moral commitments can be expressed by taking the proper steps (choosing the morally sanctified course) even when the sought-after result is not attained. For example, one can live up to a moral commitment when one testifies in court on behalf of a wronged party even if the person loses the trial, or when one donates blood to a relative who nevertheless dies.

--Amitai Etzioni, The Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics

A key aspect of my supposition, though, is that I think it is impossible for the Baby Boomer generation to save "enough" if what they save is money

This is why liquidating all debts and reducing my need to buy food and energy are the first and most important elements of my "retirement" plan. If I don't need to buy much food or much energy, and no longer need to make any mortgage payments, then the amount of money that I will need will be manageably low.

The biggest challenge will probably be health care costs. I'd be willing to see SS scrapped if it meant that we could end up with true, universal, single-payer health care financing at a reasonably low cost -- and if that low cost were achieved without triaging everyone older out of the system altogether. In the absence of that, my backup plan is to assume that whatever I do manage to get from SS I will use for medicare & medigap premiums and out-of-pocket co-pays, deductibles, etc.; anything left over I'll try to save in whatever looks to be most inflation-proof or deflation-proof at the time. I'm assuming that if medicare and SS both go away, at least I won't be any worse off than anyone else my age.

From WNC

anything left over I'll try to save in whatever looks to be most inflation-proof or deflation-proof at the time.

I've been retired for about 10 years (I retired at 60). What you are going to find is that trying to do what you propose involves very serious risk; the risk is that you will lose money you do not have time or the ability to make it back. To me, the only thing that is inflation/deflation proof is "stuff" but this also has it's limitations.

Further, decisions (often capricious) will be made that are beyond your control that impact you regardless of how well you planned. The government's redefinition of CPI/inflation has screwed many retirees. In fact, SS benefits should be about 70% higher than they are. Someone who assumed that their benefits would match inflation has been screwed

Finally, you will have expenses that you cannot totally foresee so you gotta have cash some place.


I think it is very much an open question what the "average citizen" would have done under the circumstances. He clearly knew that additional taxes were owed in the years prior to the ones for which he paid back taxes as required by the IRS. He also clearly knew that he could get away with it and so, in his mind, there was no reason to go above and beyond the letter of the law.

The Obama transition team apparently felt that all would be fine if Geithner simply paid additional taxes for those years not already deal with by the IRS.

Under the circumstances, I would think that the man could have at least demonstrated some level of shame and, as a practical matter, would realize that his credibility will be zero as the boss of the IRS. This lack of shame and double standard will result in more people cutting corners in filing their tax returns. If caught, they will simply point to the man who now has ovesight over the IRS.

My admiration for Obama has come down at least a notch as a result of this episode. This is a black mark on what has otherwise been a pretty fine start to the administration. However, it is unrealistic to think that he will be rejected by congress.

...if he is approved(Geithner), I wonder what it says about the level of morality of our society

DownSouth I don't know what high-minded subculture you come from but the mainstream culture that I'm familiar with is steeped in narrow self interest. The U.S. tax laws (as long as I've been paying them) have been deeply slanted in favor of wealth. The problems come as a result that middle class people (how dare they) began to figure out complex tax codes, depreciation and expense deductions.

Do you think that paying higher taxes is a sign of moral virtue? That's downright un-American!


if he is to be the nation’s top tax collector, surely he must believe that taxes are a public good

You've not been paying attention. History suggests instead that he might be assigned that position to protect those like him that don't believe that taxes are a public good.

Do we have to go through this whole dance about how Obama is making mistakes in picking these people? He is not making mistakes. He's making a deliberate choice to serve wall street and the military establishment. Warsocialism.

cfm in Gray, ME

be happy and stop at two , the population will decline at that rate - its those who have more that are the issue but how do you pursuade anyone from having kids when their inclination , relegious leaders , etc,etc are against you ?

if you don't have kids how does that stop the plofergate (spelling warning!)??


PS: 2 teenagers are enough to put you off for life :)

how do you pursuade anyone from having kids when their inclination , relegious leaders , etc,etc are against you ?

I think you would have to read the entire book rather than the review to get an answer to that question. People write books to inform larger numbers of people of the intricate nature of our world and convey the author's unique insights into that world. I think too few people take the time to read books. Thankfully, we have libraries...

People Turing to Libraries During Economic Downturn


2 teenagers are enough to put you off for life

Right. An absolute pre-requisite for starting a family should be first taking serious responsibility for raising someone else's teenager for a few years. A direct antidote.

lengould - A number of years ago I was working for a developer trying to build a condominium development. We had to do an environmental impact study. It was for the most part a formality. Later on as I began to discover Limits To Growth I wondered if it was done adequately. Did they consider the required amount of water and waste disposal as well as what our increased population demands might present to the local economy as well as ecology.

The answer is no. The assumption in local municipalities is that if we build it the resources (as well as the increased tax base) will be there.

That is False as most on this site know.

Here is my question:

What if in order to have a child you had to have an environmental impact study. If you had an illegal child there were penalties (financial) that had to be paid for having illegal children.

Would that be so bad?


Wisco - I didn't know about the book but after reading a few pages I can see how deeply personal his (McKibben) decision to have only one child was.

When I was growing up I had two siblings - both sisters and we lived in a two bedroom 1 bath suburban home with our parents. As a result I spent very little time indoors or at home for that matter because the lack of space or privacy was oppressive.

There was a kid in my neighborhood who was an only child and I was secretly envious of his home life. He had his own room and he didn't have to keep his personal possessions under lock and key. I remember one afternoon we were in his room reading comics and I could hear piano music in the house. I asked him what that was and he said it was his Mom playing the piano. I was awestruck by that. Imagine having the peace and quiet to play a Sonata in the afternoon.


Christopher Cokinos and his wife came to their decision to have no children after examining our impact on wildlife:
Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds

…to be quite honest, we are frightened enough of the future and certain enough of the toll 6 billion people are taking on the planet that we have decided not to have children. How I have hesitated to say that, because I say it with resignation, not with righteousness. Others reach a different conclusion. Our decision makes us, sometimes, quite sad. But I cannot imagine explaining to a child of mine what the loggerhead shrike used to be, as it perched on a locust tree beside a Nebraska marsh, or what the song of the hermit thrush once sounded like, echoing among limestone hills and ferns in the Indiana forest.

I have six nephews and nieces; that's plenty for me.

File under "Others reach a different conclusion":
SUV smashes into Planned Parenthood office in St. Paul

On the 36th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, a man smashed his pickup truck into the entrance of the Planned Parenthood office in St. Paul this morning.

But I cannot imagine explaining to a child of mine what the loggerhead shrike used to be, as it perched on a locust tree beside a Nebraska marsh, or what the song of the hermit thrush once sounded like, echoing among limestone hills and ferns in the Indiana forest.

All you windmill advocates take heed.

And cat lovers, building dwellers, and car drivers:
Cats More Lethal to Birds Than Wind Turbines

However you look at it, though, birds in the United States seem to die in turbine blades at a rate no higher than 40,000 a year. Deaths by dastardly domestic felines, on the other hand, number in the "hundreds of millions."

Common Eco-Myth: Wind Turbines Kill Birds

In the United States, cars and trucks wipe out millions of birds each year, while 100 million to 1 billion birds collide with windows. According to the 2001 National Wind Coordinating Committee study, “Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States," these non-wind mortalities compare with 2.19 bird deaths per turbine per year. That's a long way from the sum mortality caused by the other sources.

Cats kill birds, cars kill birds, plate glass windows kill birds, the whirling blades of wind turbines kill birds. It's an error in logic, and a common propaganda ploy, to claim that because other things kill birds, it's okay for windmills to kill them too. Fact is that hundreds of raptors and many thousand neotropical migratory songbirds are killed at California's Altamont Pass wind "farm" annually. Extrapolating these numbers nationwide show that windmills are a significant source of avian mortality. Windmills also kill bats. The minute amount of electricity windmills provide isn't worth the cost in dead birds & bats. The only thing they're good for is target practice, I say.

That argument would say that we should stop driving cars, eliminate windows, and euthanize cats as well.

Like everything, a cost-benefit analysis is needed. What is the actuarial value of a single bird, given some statistical mix of indigenous, introduced, common, and endangered victims? What's the value of a megawatt of power? Should be pretty easy to include bird-cost in the overall equation. If we can envision carbon credits, maybe we can envision bird credits (and cat credits) as well?

Perhaps a windmill operator could fund a cat-spaying and stray euthanasia fund in return for erecting a bird-killing farm?

Let's face reality -- animal life is not worth much until a species is endangered. It may be unfortunate, but by simple observation it is patently true. If that were to change, other items would need to be impacted far more directly than turbines.

That argument would say that we should stop driving cars, eliminate windows, and euthanize cats as well.

That would be a good start! Or at least, go with smaller windows.

Talking about the actuarial value of a single "bird" is absurd. Economics into ecology won't go.

The point is that birds are being hit by many, many impacts, and they are all cumulative. Many bird species are at the brink, or getting there quickly.

Your last paragraph I would agree with, if you changed "is not worth much" to "is not perceived or valued by our society to be worth much".

The "greenwashing" of capitalism! It was only a matter of time...

I think it also a logical error to extrapolate from Altamont Pass.

Also, the point isn't to say "it's OK for wind turbines to kill them too"; the point is to keep things in perspective.

I AM keeping things in perspective. Birds are integral & indispensable components of terrestrial ecosystems. Many bird populations are in precipitous decline. The perspective that needs to be kept in mind is that ecosystem integrity is MUCH more important than providing an insignificant few GWs of energy via wind turbines. If everyone unplugged their toasters & electric can openers we could conserve the measly amount of energy windmills provide, AND save the lives of countless birds & bats.

everyone unplugged their toasters & electric can openers we could conserve the measly amount of energy windmills provide, AND save the lives of countless birds & bats/

Good luck getting "everyone" to do anything. In the meantime, if I off a few feral cats on three consecutive weekends I will have the same impact on bird numbers as your quixotic quest.

A small personal story: In about 1975 we took my 90-year-old mother-in-law to visit another old lady. While we sat in the living room a pheasant hit the window with a bang. The old lady went out on the porch, got the pheasant and came back in. A quick twist and the unconscious pheasant was dead. She said, "Would y’all care to stay for lunch?" In a few minutes these two old ladies had the pheasant frying, home canned veggies going, and boiled potatoes cooked for lunch.

They didn’t think anything about it but I have never forgot that morning and what these almost centurions did.

My question to the all of us would be … what will you do if a pheasant hits your window?

I personally had a very similar experience. I was sitting in my living room, thinking about what I was going to have for dinner. WHAM! A woodcock flew right into the window - problem solved! A little wild rice, some salad, yum!

I'll eat it. I helped butcher home raised pigs twice, killed chicken and am still active saltwater angling. I once ate pheasant it was good.

Fact is that hundreds of raptors and many thousand neotropical migratory songbirds are killed at California's Altamont Pass wind "farm" annually.

The reason for that toll, and the smallish amount of power generated, is that the durned enviro's won't let the wind farm be updated with modern turbines. The new larger turbines, have much lower rates of angular velocity, and are higher off the ground, and need to be far fewer in number. But, the lawsuits have prevented the vast bulk of the old obsolete turbines from being replaced.

We have always had a kind of tunnel vision from many environmentalists. Any local damage, that is offset by a global good (like decreasing global warming), is an outrage to them.

The new larger turbines, have much lower rates of angular velocity...

The blade tips are still moving ~200 mph and still kill birds. Lying by omitting pertinent facts is still lying.

Extrapolating from Altamont is the lie. A falsehood. Yours.


Extrapolating from Altamont is the lie. A falsehood. Yours.

Good point, Alan. Let's forget Altamont, shall we? Tug Hill, NY, is even worse. Up to 15,967 birds and bats are killed annually by the 195 turbines there. That’s up to 82 birds & bats per turbine per year. Zeebrugge in Belgium is also worse, at least when it comes to killing terns. Actually, Altamont seems fairly benign in terms of avian & chiropteran mortality, relative to elsewhere. But, then, the operators of Altamont probably ordered the clean up of dead birds during the mandated study.

You don't have to worry about windmills for powering your electric train fetish, Alan. After all, you have thorium! LoL

I would propose local grids: every house a heat pump, solar water heater, some electricity by wind and/or solar. Transition.

Ottawa boy's invisible invention warns birds about deadly windows

. . .He later read that about 500 million birds a year in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada were dying as a result of crashing into windows. Many deadly bird collision are with the windows of skyscrapers along their migratory paths.

Sobcov resolved to help save the lives of some of those birds.


All we need now is an invisible invention that warns about deadly politicians.

Too bad wisco lacks Charlie Sobcov's empathy with birds. First he propagandizes for a bird killing technology, then he threatens to "off" cats. My diagnosis: Compassion Deficit Disorder.

All we need now is an invisible invention that warns about deadly politicians.

Like maybe something that will divert our stunned MPs from traveling to Ottawa next week for the latest round of parliamentary roulette?

Perhaps we should just throw them against windows to see if such blows would knock sense into their heads.

To detect deadly politicians and other intentional miscreants for this fiasco it seems all you need is a speech recognition engine tuned to look for "nobody could have predicted".

Also hunters kill a lot of birds during pheasant and duck hunting season, at least here in the Midwest.

On top of that there are people like me who will kill any bird that gets into a building if possible. They are flying mice. They poop on everything and make an awful mess.

There is a big world out there for birds, but they want to be close to people because of the shelter and food that is generally available around people. That a few more are killed by wind turbines is a plus as far as I am concerned.


All discussions far too simplistic. Issue, as most others, is far more complex than argued here.

Yeah, those nasty birds.
How dare they to try to live an easy life by preying on our precious trash! How dare they to shit onto our clean-sweeped streets and shiny cars!
Shall they find their food in the monoculure wastelands we preserve for them, or the few spots of nature that we are nice enough to invade only occasionally.
Hell, somebody should tell those buggers that the man-made world is important! A lot more important than the life of a few rats with wings that are only good for crapping on memorials and squeaking. I guess, they would even be stupid enough to shit on money! MONEY! The most important thing EVER! The fanciful paper that can buy you everything and everybody! Why should we care for a being that retarded?

Out of the way birds! Here comes man, the image of god, with a dick of chrome and steel and the ability to humiliate you by mere yelling.

Damn, one guy proposing to off cats and another one to do the same with birds, all in the same thread. Would they be willing to do the same with homo sapiens, for spewing chemicals everywhere, destroying whole ecosystems and killing god knows how many animals for nothing? I'm sure everybody would be appalled by the mere thought of it. After all, we are man and they are only animals. Whyever that makes a difference in the value of a life.

Malignancy is thumping its chest just everywhere. I don't understand you people.

Malignancy is thumping its chest just everywhere. I don't understand you people.

Not difficult to understand. Small minds get pissy when their favorite technofix gets rained on. Cats, birds & bats matter little compared to their being able to run the electric can opener or play with the electric train in the basement.

you know, you often have some excellent points, and serve as a counterpoint to other views - but do you realize your postings are coming across as increasingly strident and hostile? There are some regular posters who make great contributions to this site, and your replies have been really nasty. Are you aware that this doesn't help to support your positions? If you don't care, then it just becomes a pissing match, and then what's the point really?

It seems fine that you may not like wind, or think that there aren't any solutions to the problems we face (in fact, I think there are, but that humans are unlikely to choose them - for reasons Nate has explained quite well I think). I think you would be more effective here if you were a little less hostile to others.

Wisco mentioned birds, I mentioned windmills, he escalated. Then Alan petulantly chimed in. Follow the thread, observe who started the pissiness. I offered Nate the opportunity to ban me, and he said "stick around." If you don't like what I have to say, click the little - box at the top left of my posts. Thanks.

Nate said "Stick around," but he also asked you to be less hostile.

Actually, I kind of appreciate the "hostile" responses from darwinsdog. Given the context of human-caused mass extinction, some hostility to anthropocentric thinking is appropriate. I don't think humans will survive unless respect for all other life forms becomes a core value.


"I don't think humans will survive unless respect for all other life forms becomes a core value."

But with his responses, how much do you think he's really adding to any reader's sense of respect or compassion for the Natural World OR for each other?

This is a forum for communication, and this kind of snarling and snapping doesn't further any ideas, it just creates friction. A challenge to anthropocentric thinking is fine, but constant condemnation just kills any chance to build ideas. DD told Nate last week that he doesn't believe in the constructs of 'Good and Bad'.. but he does, in fact, and tosses it like Abrahamic Lightning Bolts into the discussions. It's antisocial, and it's irresponsible.. that's the only reason I've responded to certain of his most extreme posts as I have.

It's understandable that people are angry about what we've done as a species, and that we're deeply afraid of what's coming, and then being extremely frustrated about the imperfect options that we are left to choose between... but if we're going to be typing our thoughts and opinions through microchips across landlines and satellite links, then I think it's more than a little impingent upon us to take some responsibility for the two sides of the 'evil technology' coin that gets flipped day in and day out. DD uses these mixed blessings of the modern era as much as the rest of us, even if he's unwilling to take any responsibility for the steps the rest of us have to choose to go forward.. by which I mean to keep living.. not necessarily 'growing the economy' or building fancier technologies. I feel that solar PV, electric vehicles and windpower are far simpler and less destructive than what they can replace. The scale and impact of windpower does have to be understood, and that challenge is clearly being put to the industry.. but it's nothing compared to the mercury and antimony that coal power deposits on the woods and waterways of Maine, or the Martyred Mountaintops and Waterways of Tennessee..

He can join the conversation, or just keep peeing in it. He's had some useful comments recently, and I hope that he considers them a more useful direction to put his energy, instead of the Rancor that works as a drag on people's will to join together here and at least try to figure things out.


Thank you for your moderating voice of reason.

"even if he's unwilling to take any responsibility for the steps the rest of us have to choose to go forward.. by which I mean to keep living.. "

That's the point, now isn't it. The steps most of you choose, will NOT keep you or your decendants living. It really is coming down to an either / or, in this rapidly changing situation we have these days.

Armchair quarterbacks, that slide along and don't make waves, we do not need, and cannot afford any longer.

So who's the armchair quarterback? Are you throwing a real pigskin here, or just more digital poo?

We're all a string of ASCII characters, here. But you seem to be equating this kind of beligerent adolescent nihilism with constructive debate. They're not the same thing.

The cry of 'Free Speech' and a stubborn Rebel Spirit is great and essential, but it also all-too-often gets conflated with insulting rants and people unloading their emotional baggage..

You, like DD, have had constructive moments, and good criticisms of dead-end ideas.. but you also jump into this 9 year-old tantrum thing which while it might have some catharsis, sure as hell isn't helping us to 'stop digging', is it? That IS the digging that we, for the most part, have to get out of.

Best of Luck.

Power to the People!

We want to maintain a civil and professional tone here. If you think that's silly or a waste of time, then this is not the site for you.


It's a LOT of Either/Or's.. and when you describe it as one, you start getting into absolutes..

"There's only two kinds of people in the world.." or
"You're with us or you're against us."

Only a Sith deals in Absolutes..

My wife and I ended up divorcing largely as a result of me not wanting us to have a second child. As I became more aware of peak oil, climate change, carrying capacity, etc I just felt it would be an incredibly selfish thing to do to bring another child into the world I fear we are headed for. I love my daughter more than I can say and, at times, I truly despair for what the world might be like when she gets to my age - it tears me apart.

My wife and I were only children, so we thought we wanted a large family. We married late, so we wanted them fast. We had three kids and adopted two more in less than five years. It was a financial and emotional strain. The kids fought constantly, stole one another blind, and punched holes in the walls. My laissez faire and her discipline didn't mix. I moved out (but nearby) about halfway through their adolescence.

Result: they're all around forty now, well functioning adults, close to one another. When one is ill, another helps out. They fly across the world to get together. But only the youngest has married. He adopted the school-age son of his bride, and they're had two others since. The kids have realized the benefits we wanted from a large family, but they continue to get them from one another and not from families of their own. One son has had three children by different women, and seems a good child-support father.

So -- my marriage produced five kids, who amongst themselves have produced five kids. I guess we're breaking even.

We come back to the old question often mentioned on this board. What's the point of American families limiting their reproduction when the government is admitting millions of immigrants a year. Until the US government restricts it smaller families are pointless.

All terrorists to be released from Gitmo soon........
They will go back to the training camps and learn new tactics.
Population will be decreased by new terrorist activities????

riiiiight - that sounds exactly like what the Executive Order said....

Where do you get your intel? must be a great source, because what I've seen (the actual wording of the Order) seems to say over a year, they will close Gitmo and transfer prisoners to Leavenworth - and quit torturing them and sending them places to be tortured. Your reading of the same document seems a bit different?

Although, if I were an innocent taxi driver etc. like some have been (and already released after years), and were tortured and abused for years without trial, one of those training camps would look pretty good right about now. The lack of efficacy of torture is extremely well documented.

From my view, it's pretty nice to be part of a nation that honors the law again.

From my view, it's pretty nice to be part of a nation that honors the law again.

It is going to take much more than Guantanamo, so that USA can claim to be a country that honors the law again.

If the USA now honours the law that would imply that at some time in the recent past that it did not honour the law.

If you do not honour the law then the law provides for prosecutions and sanctions. You cannot claim to follow the law if you permit those who broke the law to go unprosecuted. To do so creates two classes of citizens: those subject to the law, and those who are above and beyond the law. Such a concept is aborrent to all civilized concepts of law.

The USA remains tolerant of war crimes. To do so promotes further war crimes. This cannot be claimed as a source of "honour."

The American people cannot lay claim to innocence in these matters. Such a position was adopted by the people of Germany circa 1945 and was soundly rejected by the prosecuting powers, the US amoung them.

Yesterday on the Open Letter on Biofuels a poster replied to my post about heating with wood when I stated that pine has less heat(btus) than oak.

He stated that pine has the same number of btus as oak.

No one refuted that claim. I did.

Is anyone here ,I'm wondering going to refute it either?

If not then we are not going to make it when we revert back to wood heat. This is the level of discourse on an essay about biofuels?
Come on. I learned this when I was a child out carrying in wood for my grandparents to cook and heat with for thats ALL we had. We didn't go sawing up and splitting pine or sweet gum.

If pine is all thats left...well it will be tough and as I explained most of the oak and other hardwoods have been totaled out by the loggers long ago. Its getting to be rare. At least around here for when you give a logger access to your woods, you are committing a sin,he will screw you into the ground. I know 5 professional loggers personally. I see their work. I know the landowners. Its a shame that we wantonly destroy what is needed to save our asses in the possibly bleak future. A sad shame.

Saying that softwoods have the same btu as hardwoods is insane.

Oak about tops the list with 25 mbtus per cord vs 14mbtus for pine.


This was probably a confusion between energy per unit mass and energy per unit volume.

A cord is a measure of volume. Pine is less dense than oak so has lower energy density. If both are well seasoned it seems reasonable that pine would have nearly the same energy per unit mass as oak. They are at a chemical level not that different.


I burn a lot of waste pine in my stove. It produces less heat than hardwoods, and burns faster so I need to load the stove more often. But it is a lot lighter to carry (once dried for a year).

I was the poster, and that was exactly what I said and what I meant.

At the same moisture level, oak and pine provide roughly the same number of BTUs per lb. There are of course many more cubic inches of pine than oak to a pound.

My response was specifically aimed at the ridiculous statement that if you burn pine you can freeze to death with a fire going. As long as you keep stoking you can get the same number of btus an hour out of a woodstove with pine as with oak. As Ralph says, you just load the stove more often.

A table of BTU per pound of various woods can be found here.

We sell wood by the cord. We cut it by volume and not weight.

I load my stove based on VOLUME...Get it? Please.

So what matters is not weight. Of frigging course pine is not as heavy as oak. Is this way over everyone's head?

So I put volume in my stove and get x btus of heat out.

To do the same with pine I would need a bigger stove and have to feed it far more often ......

What is so hard about this.

I said this and please read carefully.

A CORD of wood not a ton of wood.

I said a cord of oak vs a cord of pine in millions of BTUs.

I rest my case and wish to not argue this stupidity any longer.

I have heated and cut wood for years. I owed an Outdoor Power Equipemnt business. I was a Stihl dealer. I went to all the Stihl tech schools.

We cut a lot of timber here. We put the pine and softwoods to the pulp mills. We don't do that with hardwoods. Good hardwoods go overseas to the damned Chinese who send it back as junk furniture.

Or we warehouse the hardwood and make our own furniture , which is something else I do. I have lots of hardwood laying around. I have little softwood except for making something out of wood. Such as Paulownia and ERC.

Enough ok.

Airdale-some things are self-evident and some aren't.Hardwood is not one of the latter.If you cut wood to heat with its fairly self-evident. Cut a cord. Burn it. Ipso facto.

In another thread someone stated

"Pine has the same BTUs/lb as oak, just a lot less pounds/cubic foot."

Units and context clearly stated, to which you responded

I didn't think you had looked this up but just out of your head.
Your wrong. I did look it up to be sure after your post.

And now a page long rant in response to a simple table of BTU values per pound of wood, just a bit downthread after a half page long rant which insinuates we wont make it if we attempt to heat with pine and sweet gum.

Oh. Good. Grief.

I live in the Pacific NW and heat my home entirely with wood. Around here, It's really hard to come across any hardwoods. When I do, I save it for woodturning projects. Soft woods are what I have on my land and the adjacent properties. I have yet to find the need to cut down any living trees for firewood needs. I've been able to get by with collecting dead and downed wood. Most of this is pine and fir. We have to load the stove more often. I do have some very precious pieces of oak and maple that I've put in the firewood pile. We only use these on cold nights and put them in the stove just before heading to bed. That way there will still be some hot coals in the morning.

We only go through about 3 cords per year. The house temp in the winter fluctuates between 50° in the morning and 66° (F) when we've got the stove going. We've got an older house and I know we lose lots of heat through the roof as we get icicles instantly whenever it snows. I'm sure that upgrading the insulation would give us more sustainable tempuratures and make it a bit warmer inside. I haven't quite figured out how to upgrade the insulation yet as we live in a dome house and the only contained space for insulation is the width of a 2x4. Compmlicating matters is that the entire framing of the roof is a honey-comb of triangles. Most likely, any insulation changes will have to involve adding the insulation to the interior of the roof.

Our first year in the house took some getting used to. We thought it was cold all the time. Now we've acclimated and think that 63-65 is toasty. I get so hot and start sweating whenever I go to a neighbor's house and they have the interior temps at 75-77. It just feels way too hot.

So it can be done....Heating with softwoods, even in an old and drafty, poorly insulated house. It's not all that pleasant acclimatizing, but it's definately within the realm of possibilities for people to be able to survive.


TS, it's all about acclimatizing, isn't it? My heating range is similar to yours. Well, we rarely go over 60 in most of the house during mid-Winter, except for the room with the stove in it. You get used to it, but as you say, when you go to a "normal" person's house, it's way hot.

When we lived in the Pacific Northwest we also heated partially with wood. What I always looked for on a wood hunting expedition was downed madrona. It burns like coal, and I don't know of any other good uses for it. If we had any, it was always used for the night fire.

Madrone is one of the most energy dense woods around.
See: http://lrapa.org/public_education/home_wood_heating_programs/
Madrone is also milled for some exotic wood products, but only in small scale operations.

Madrone is one of the most energy dense woods around.

Where I grew up in New Jersey, we had something called ironwood. I think it was denser than water (i.e. it would sink), and was pretty tough. I don't know anything about energy density.

I built a 40' diameter dome on a three foot riser wall in 1974. We burned less than 2 cords per year. If you have the bucks, there are several options. Re-sheet the interior shell with rigid insulation bonded to sheet rock. I know you can get it with up to 3" foam. There are special taping compounds for this stuff and extra long nails.

Not knowing the construction of your ceilings, you could foam the void if there is one. I'm going to post some stuff I've done for energy efficiency tomorrow - they might help...

One thing that I mention is to duct in outside air for your wood heater. It will make a huge difference.


Hey Todd,
That would be great. I'll be looking forward to reading about it. I have to reshingle the roof this summer so I'll be pulling off at least one piece of the sheathing to make sure there's insulation. I'm thinking, because the of the irregular shape, that they used loose insulation in the cavity. I'm betting that there's been a fair amount of settling. We'll see.

The ridgid foam sheets that you're talking about are what I was thinking of. I had no idea how to attach them to the interior surface so I'll be interested to learn more about that.


after a half page long rant which insinuates we wont make it if we attempt to heat with pine and sweet gum.

I heat with oak, hickory, and maple. Not very much pine around here. The first sweet gum I cut was my last. My neighbors laughed at me for using sweet gum. The eroei is lower for sweet gum than any other tree. (hint: try splitting sweet gum.)

Splits fair when its frozen.

Has anyone mentioned the little problem that burning pine e.g. you get lots of creosote condensing out on your flues. More prone to chimney fires etc.
The VT oldtimers used a big gob of pine kindling , OTOH, to intentionally start a "small" chimney fire to burn off that creosote. Makes an impressive, rocket-like roar when burning.
We VTers hafta rely mostly on Maple & Ash as the Oak is vy scarce hereabouts.
Usta be lotsa Beech but the diseases and acid rain wiped it all out in the 80s. Changed the looks of the place too.


I'm a former Vermonter, but moved to my place in NH 15 years ago. Tons o' oak around here! Lots of beech still, though the scale/nectria is working on it. Where in VT are you?

Strafford/Norwich area. The North limit line for Oak around here is pretty much a little south of here, like Claremomnt, NH, i think. Do you have good Beech?

One reason I'm interested in the masonry stoves. Dry wood, well insulated appropriately sized firebox, plenty of air and turbulent burn doesn't make for much creosote.

Airdale et al:

Here's one for you. A couple miles away is a truss factory. They have tons of cutoffs. These are 2 X 6 and 2 X 4 Doug fir etc. We go out there and get a couple pickup loads in August. When stacked, there is little air in the stack. We have a modern wood burner and burn this stuff to essentially no ashes and no chimney problems. Best part is, it's "free to a good home". This is much better value than oak at $250-$300 per cord. :-)

Interesting that last August, they didn't have near the cutoffs that they had a few years ago. Their business is down 70% or so. Most of the illegal alien framers are gone too. Mixed blessing.

I have heated and cut wood for years. I owed an Outdoor Power Equipemnt business. I was a Stihl dealer. I went to all the Stihl tech schools.

Hi Airdale. In my woodsworking days, I had an O75 Stihl with a 111 cc engine, & bored out intake & exhaust ports. I ran a .404 pitch skip-tooth RG chisel chain on a 36" bar with it. I only used it on the biggest trees on my strip, using a Jonsereds model 70 w/ 24" bar for most of my timber falling. That Stihl would buck a big log like it was cutting thru butter!

One winter when the logging woods was shut down with snow, I worked in the saw shop as a chainsaw mechanic. I'm not much of a mechanic but 2-stroke engines are pretty simple & the shop owner was there to show me how to fix things I couldn't figure out on my own. I hated to work on Stihls! Seemed like they had too many extraneous parts that had to be removed in order to get at anything. I much preferred the simplicity of the Scandian saws: the Jonsereds & Huskies. Sachs-Dolmar saws were pretty popular back then, & weren't bad saws. American made saws & the Jap Echos were jokes.

Hello Darwinsdog & other TODers,

Thxs for this firewood discussion. Not much call for firewood in my Asphaltistan, besides, our sahauro cacti take a very, very long time to grow, and to dry out after harvesting [besides being illegal]. Plus, it yields very little burnable material. I dare anyone to harvest, then stack a full cord of jumping cholla.

Not being an arsonist expert, it thus occurs to 'Wild & Crazy' me: Has anyone tried to invent a fireplace or cast-iron stove where you can just feed the log in uncut from outside? That sure could save a Lot of Labor and reduce chainsaw or misery whip usage postpeak. Not sure what the design requirements would be to reduce energy leakage to a minimum.

'a fireplace or cast-iron stove where you can just feed the log in uncut from outside? '

yep. native americans.

tepees allow such.

more seriously the outdoor furnaces that bring the warm air in via duct take large chunks.


I mentioned the 'Rocket Stoves' earlier, also developed by the Aprovecho project, and these allow for long sticks of wood to be progressively pushed into the fire-chamber along the air inlet, leaving little chance for them to ignite towards the feed end.

These are also built for efficient burns, they hold the heat directly around the cookware for the best use of cooking fuels.. so they tend to be sized for 'branches and sticks' more than big tree trunks And they work to minimize exhaust particulates in people's kitchens, which has been a major health issue in the non-industrial nations..



"Aprovecho Research Center is especially dedicated to creating effective and widely usable appropriate technology solutions to problems such as cooking and heating with biomass (wood, charcoal, dung, crop residue)."

EDIT: Here's a video.. Aprovecho Research Centre, Southern Africa, Rocket Stoves

Thxs Jokuhl--I watched the video.

I have a lot of chain saws that I pulled form my business when I shut it down.

I have a Sachs and run a 30+ inch bar on it for sawmilling with my Alaskan Mill.

Jonsred AFAIK went out of business and I believe Huskavarna got their products for when working on a ugly wornout Husky I had to replace the oil pump and used a Jonsred part. Same part. The Husky pumps were bad news.

Stihl makes very good saws and you really need to attend their school and follow the shop manuals carefully and will have no trouble. I can take one apart almost blindfolded.

I love Stihl and Echo but have only Stihl and Sachs now. Plus a Partner and some others I picked up at auctions in boxes all apart and resurrected.

I won't even mention the name P****n.

You grade timber with a grading stick to find Board Feet..not tons.They may sell a bundle of sticks at a Shop and Go(possibly in lbs) and someone comes home to burn a fake fireplace once a year and they can say ....I heat with wood.
BUT this is how it really is: You get up in the morning and its very icy in the house..but not quite freezing. You go out in a colder outside and drag in some wood..struggle with kindling and finally get a fire going then you nurse it til you get a good bed of coals and finally you thaw out. This is really heating with wood. Its not playtime.
Its long work, its hard work and you profit by it but its not something most are going to do. Period.
And I didn't mention fussing with ashes. Or cleaning out the flue.
Yet there to me is nothing more comfortable than sitting in a good chair by the wood heater, drinking an Irish coffee and reading a good book while the winds howl outside. Then you wake up every 3 hours if you want to keep the fire going all nite. I don't. Its wastes wood.

And BTW Frank said to 'get the chip off my shoulder' when my post he replied to was in no way hostile. Not in the least.

And in that post I(ME) stated that 'pine has less btus that oak'.

I did not qualify that with any measurement system but assumed its always in cords or ranks or ricks,,never per pound.

His reply to mine was in lb / cu ft....this I overlooked but the issue still remains that I was speaking of the normal method of accounting....cords which I did later QUALIFY.

So its moot but the reality remains that hardwoods ,particularily OAK is far far better in heat value than pine. I gave those numbers.

Here it has a times past exceeded 0 Deg F...and once hit 28 below.
A couple days last week it was zero(0)...and lately in the 20s at night.

I am not in a pissing contest about this but everyone really needs to understand the relative merits of wood heat and fuel for this reason alone.

You order a cord of wood for fuel..On top of the load and so ,so carefully placed is hickory or maybe also oak..underneath is junk. You don't see it and they unload it take your money and leave. And a lot of it is green. Will clog your chimney, be hard to get started and maintained and give you very poor heat return. A big waste but if there is nothing else? Then God help us and its getting to be less and less of good hardwoods.

Hey you think the loggers are after your cheap softwood when you got good oak? Ha. Welcome to ripoff world. Loggers got you beat all the time unless your in the woods with them.

Its best to bring in a certified state forester to assay your timber else you will always get screwed. Big time.



That loggers are after the hardwoods too and that hardwoods for firewood are getting harder to come by tells me that they are valueable for things other than firewood, and may not be the best choice from the standpoint of sustainability. Nobody will argue that white oak is not good firewood, likewise probably nobody will argue that light sweet crude isn't good oil, but refusing to use anything that isn't prime white oak firewood is analogous to refusing to use anything that isn't light sweet crude. For my personal choice of firewood I prefer wood that isn't valuable for anything else.

With that, here's a book I think you would enjoy for some stoveside reading.


Masonry stoves are centuries old technology, fired intermittantly, have no problems with properly seasoned trash type woods, had its berth during heavy deforestration in Europe. They are still in use in Europe doing fine with two firings a day of coppiced popular. Temp-cast claims that in Finland 90% of newly built homes have one, little in the way of hardwoods there.

one of the best firewoods i have found is (hard) elm. i dont see that in the table. hard elm, well cured, burns slow and produces coals suitable for cooking. you are not going to get that with pine.

pine needles burn nearly explosively, unfortunately.

"I don't see that in the table"

I don't know about the US - but where I live in Canada, burning any kind of elm is illegal due to the risk of spread of dutch elm disease. Can't say everyone around here follows that law. A lot of dropped branches disappear before making it into the pickup pile. Dutch elm is spreading.

*sigh - lovely trees - disappearing


Burned a lot of pine, gum, poplar, sassafras, silver maple etc. when I had a stove. Mostly sold the hickory and oak. Poplar doesn't have the BTU of oak, sure, but a ton of poplar can be grown much more quickly than a ton of oak.

Wish I had a finnish fireplace , then the type of wood wouldn't matter much as long as its bone dry. Small well insulated firebox, several smoke channels inside lots of thermal mass.

Any folks from Europe around that has first hand experience from the masonry style heaters or kachelofens?

"Europeans...first hand experience from the masonry style heaters or kachelofens?"

a few yanks around here have used them, too. My folks had them built into two subsequent houses. Fantastic! Someday I'll have one, but was also looking at these this morning, when your life is more portable..

(Lotsa size and material range in the Rocket Stoves out there.. look up Aprovecho)

Yes these are the second best method.
The only disadvantage is the price.
And the price of firewood, too. You cannot just cut a birch tree or an oak on your own property, you need a permit, and very rarely you get a permit.
The best of these heaters can be seen in rural areas of Turkey, and in fancy turkisch restaurants.
It is a very bulky heater made solely from clay. It is an all purpose stove.
It heats the house, is a kitchen stove,
and burns everything. Dung from donkeys,too. The traditional heaters have
a bench and even beds included.
Very cozy.

We have a masonry heater.(see the manufacturer of the core here ) It works well. Currently heating 2500 sq ft on 2 burns a day with this cold weather recently her in RI. Cost 5 - 10k more than a standard fireplace. We have one in the basement also (they are stacked) which I burn when I am working down there. It looks like we are going to go through about 5 face cords (3 1/2 full cords?) of mixed woods (70% oak). I have been letting the radiant floor heat go on in the mornings too (lazy me). I'd say about 80% of our heat comes from the masonry heater. The dryer the wood the better, burns very clean.

What's your radiant heat fuel source ? Is it more expensive to run than the stove ?

So far I am getting the wood for free from downed trees and such. There is my labor and chainsaw expenses. My radiant floor is using an electric instantaneous water heater (draws like 100 amps when running) that is supposed to be the backup to the solar hot water system, but I haven't finished the solar yet. Heating with electricity is way!!! more expensive. My solar hot water system should be able to provide most of the heat by itself when it's done. It's a 300 gallon drainback system using 125 short evacuated tubes. I probably should have used flat panels or home built trickle system, but I was seduced by technology again.

The evacuated hot water collectors I've heard about should be much more efficient in cold weather, compared with flat plate systems. they would be very good for space heating, since the greatest heating demand is when it's coldest. I don't know how the cost per collector area compares. Some technology is a good thing...

E. Swanson

Hi Airdale

Didn't read this post on bio-fuels.

Here's a refute

White Oak 25.7 million btu per cord(mbpc)
Red oak 24 mbpc
Norway/Jack Pine 17.1 mbpc
Ponderosa pine 15.2 mbpc
White pine 14.3 mbpc


Here's the same woods in BTU/lb instead of MMBTU/cord


White Oak 8110
Read Oak 9360
Jack Pine 9393
Ponderosa pine 9140
White pine 9610

The energy content of various wood fuels is reported here and here from the excellent Welcome to Wood Energy Scotland website which has been set up as part of the biomass action plan for Scotland.

I calculate that the domestic heat energy demand currently supplied to Edinburgh by gas could be met by the current annual biomass output of the Scottish Borders and Lowland forests.

District heating systems with combined heat and power plant seems the sensible way to proceed with this. The problem is we don't have this infrastructure and we don't have much time to make the required changes given that, as others have pointed out, UK gas is in rapid decline, OECD Europrean gas production has peaked and although the UK is building LNG import infrastructure, it's debatable whether imports will come our way in sufficient quantities.

Renewable Ali.

Airdale -

As you can see, most common woods have heating values in the range of 8,000 to 9,500 BTU/lb, so there isn't all that much difference between the various species of domestic woods.

Now, some woods tend to burn more easily than others, and that might color one's subjective impression one way or the other.

However, one of the more important factors perhaps not given enough importance is moisture content. As anyone engaged in woodworking painfully knows, wood has a high affinity for moisture. Literally sucks it up like a sponge. And since it requires almost 1,200 BTUs/lb to evaporate water (starting from ambient temperature), a relatively small difference in moisture content can easily make a big difference in net heating value. That would say to me that, purely in terms of heating value, it's more important to make sure that your wood has been well-seasoned in a covered enclosure rather than what specific type of wood you use.

There are of course other important considerations, a main one being that pine and other conifers have a high resin content which can cause your chimney to tar up a lot faster than if you burn hardwoods. Overall, hardwoods are just a better all-around domestic fuel, but not because of higher heating value.

The efficiency of the Stove is key !! Just installed a EPA Phase II Non Cat Secondary combustion stove (Pacific Energy) 2 months ago and I am AMAZED that wood consumption has been reduced 3 fold. Burning the wood gases is where the real heat is. It's like a reactor. In the morning, it's still glowing, just toss a dry log in and it will explode in a minute or so. Drawbacks is price ( 2 x the price of a cat stove ) and the wood MUST be dry for for combustion of the wood gases.
But there are few better paybacks for the $$ spent.
Such a stove will also weight 2x other stoves due to the internal ceramics - No steel in the combustion chamber - it will melt.

In Western Oregon, I find that Doug Fir is good firewood for a number of reasons. There is plenty of it, especially already down. It has more heat/lb than hickory, although hickory is best in terms of heat/vol. (27million BTU/cord). DF is easy to split. The white oak around here is terrific firewood in terms of BTU/cord (25 million BTU/cord) but you have to have a hydraulic splitter to split it. Doug fir burns the cleanest of any wood I've burned in my 40 years of wood heating. I can burn a fire for over a week and not have to shovel any ashes. Since it has more BTU/lb it stands to reason that a greater % of the wood turns into BTU than into ash and creosote. Never had a problem with DF creosote that wasn't more the problem of a poorly drawing flue.

All things considered, there are many characteristics of firewood that go into its value as heating wood. From years of heating with wood in Western NC, I would probably choose white ash over most anything else in terms of all its burning characteristics. That was before I started playing with a wood lathe. Now I save hardwoods.

Got to agree with you Airdale

Here is a link from KSU extension service on heating with wood.


Shows osage orange/hedge/bodark (many names) massively planted in Kansas as hedgerow in the 30's to stop wind erosion. It is the best wood heat source, densist wood known to man. I have way to many of them on my property. Burns hot hot hot! and it exacts a toll every time I cut it! Have some pretty good scratches on my face and back from last weeks encounters cutting scrubs out in my field. I make sure to not burn any sections of it that has been damaged by wind, lighting or ice. If you do it will pop and spark like crazy....took me ruining a carpet to figure that out! I have another PDF on wood heating from KSU (some overlap with this) they no longer link to. If you want it I would have to email it. Let me know if your interested.

Just a question to all you folks with wood burners.......

How many trees do you all plant in a year?

Just wondering?

The Siberian elms & Russian olives I cut for firewood these days grow back from the stump. I try to plant a few fruit trees each year, and a decade ago I bought seedlings from the state: ponderosa, pinyon, Rocky Mountain juniper, Gambels oak, Southwest white pine, etc. Few of these are sufficiently large to harvest, altho I've thinned them out somewhat. I've burned wood most of my life, have logged, thinned, worked commercial fuelwood contracts... But no matter how many trees I cut down, my tree karma is good, & here's why:

When younger I spent several winters in the South planting trees, mostly loblollys but sometimes long-leaved pine. I could routinely plant 2,000 trees per day, day in & day out, for $.05 per tree. I think that my record was 4,250 trees in a single day. During the summers I also planted trees in Arizona, New Mexico & Colorado. Couldn't plant as many in a day out West as I could in the South, but got paid more per tree. I figure that I've hand-planted several hundred thousand trees. So no matter how many I cut down, I'll never cut down more than I've planted.

I really don't mean to come across as condescending, but that question sounds like it came from somebody who has never been responsible for managing a piece of woodland. I burn around three cords of hardwoods a year, getting ~90% of my home heating from our wood stove. Over the last seven years, I have yet to cut down a healthy standing tree strictly for the purpose of harvesting firewood. There's a terrific amount of good wood available out there for scrounging. A couple of examples:

- Urban wood removal. Our neighborhood has a lot of trees, which are not immortal. Windstorms, disease, owner tastes, and even one tornado have resulting in over a dozen trees coming down on my block over the past seven years, and many of them have found their way into my woodpile. Their previous owners are often more than happy to give me the wood, especially as I may be saving them some money on the cost of removing the tree.

- Woodlot management. I own a piece of woodland which consists of a lot of mature, quality hardwoods (mostly oak-hickory), and some shade-tolerant "intruders" (box elder, basswood) which are moving in as part of a long-term succession process which I would prefer to arrest (I like the oaks). As it turns out, sapling basswoods make damn fine kindling.

Trees are not static, and woodlots are not "museums", fixed in time. They're dynamic places, always changing, and they can be a good sustainable energy resource if they're managed intelligently. I think it makes a lot of sense to use available wood for heat, rather than further depleting fossil fuel stocks.

And for the record, I've planted in excess of five hundred trees over the past decade. How about you?

My point exactly. Why be so defensive if you have been doing the right thing? Which is, planting more than you take. Even with the blowdowns, diseased or dead wood taken, each and every user of the resource needs to put back MORE than they use. No need to explain to me the Woodmans Creed.

Let's see...a few $billion$ for a Thorium Reactor...or a few billion Fruit, nut, hardwood trees....

Guess which one I choose? Simple problems, simple solutions.

And BTW, managed 20 acres in the midwest and planted a few thousand in the last 30 years. Every where I have lived in my 50 plus years of life, I have planted trees. Even if there were only a few feet of space available.

Most do nothing but take.

I don't know, where you guys live, but where I live, trees are planted by themselves. Since people don't work the land anymore, the percentage of forest is rapidly rising and currently stands at approx. 60 percent of the country.

Don't understimate the power of self-healing of the nature.

Evidently the self-healing isn't occurring fast enough out here in the West:

Death rate of West's old-growth forests doubled
Experts suspect warming, fear 'prelude to bigger, more abrupt changes'

The mortality rate of old-growth forests across the West has more than doubled in recent decades, and those forests are now losing more trees than they gain, according to a new study that identified the most probable cause as warming temperatures...
Recall my earlier postings on Earthmarines & tall trees...

A good woodlot well maintained and cut well should replenish itself.
In other words be sustainable. Reason: Free sunshine.

As you cut the upper story trees you will let the oaks start up from nuts in the ground.

I planted some sprouts off my huge white oak about 6 years ago. Planted them in the open. Today they are 20 feet high. Thats in the OPEN mine you.

Managing forest lands has a lot of literature available. I use just the down fall myself. Dead falls and those that fall in creeks.

My neighbor gave me permission to roam his 2,000 acres and cut everything down that I wanted. What falls in the fields gets dozed over to the side and covered with dirt anyway so I am doing him a favor as well.

I am now cutting a hickory that is 2.5 feet at the butt and been down for 6 years maybe. Its tough wood but an excellent source of heat. Gives me great ,free exercise and like Don in Maine said..its spiritual exercise.

So how many do I plant.None for mother nature does that via nut crops and the wild turkeys do the planting.


Airdale-how many do you plant?

I transplanted about 90 last year but 70 of them were fruit and nut catalog trees. The rest were ash and thornless honey locust. All the ash and locust were volunteers from existing trees. Most folks that live in the city and new burbs and mow their yards don't realize how invasive trees really are. The hedge trees send out runners and form new trees, the squirrels plant so many pecan trees that I spend many hours a year digging them our or cutting them down and painting the stumps with Roundup concentrate trying to kill them. I have hundreds of ash, maple, & thornless locust trees sprouting on my creek bank each spring. I have already selected a couple of dozen for transplanting in the next month or two. On my visit to Mt. Vernon last summer I became a fan of George's living fence program. I am going to start some of my own.
I don't heat with wood but have a woodburner in my barn and a heatolater in my woodburning fireplace. I truly lust for a masonry heater fireplace with a wood fired oven but haven't figured out how to retrofit my current system I think I have the mass and strength for one just can't decide if I want to find more land and greenfield a fully energy efficient abode.
Seriously, as noted by others if you have a reasonably forested piece of property Ma Nature will provide you a lot of wood thru ice, high winds and just trimming. I cut well over a face cord over the weekend just trimming back a huge hedge and a large mulberry tree that were encroaching on my barn. The trees are fine and will probably need to be trimmed back again in another 7-10 years once again providing many good fires.

I helped my father cut firewood for 10 years before I had even heard of "hardwood" or "softwood". Some trees loose their leaves? Theoretically softwood is less efficient but it didn't seem to matter to us, I don't think we ever froze to death. I think Doug Fir is fairly dense. The tree, not the Contributor! Not really relevant when the closest deciduous tree is a 3 hour drive away, or the neighbours apple tree!

We never replanted anything, either. Wood was picked up on the edge of industrial clear-cuts; my first thought about sustainability is "pissing in the ocean". Later I should have gotten more involved in the anti-logging protests but my job involved carrying a gun & having a 'criminal record' for sitting on logging roads was frowned upon.

In New England foresters thin. In the west they plant. Different places. My land burnt in 1941. As always the trees came back very thick and are choking each other. Plenty of dying firewood sized trees.


Just to be pedantic the 'hardwood'/'softwood' distinction has nothing to do with the wood, its the method of reproduction.

How dry the timber is has more effect also since less dense woods generally grow faster its really an economic point not an EROEI argument.

Maybe someone can post a list of growth rates/energy for firewood


Hardwoods - 0.5 to 1.5 tons per acre/year
Coppiced Willow 5.0 - 8.0 tons per acre/year

Jobless claims soar in latest week

The number of new unemployment claims jumped more than expected last week, as companies continue to cut jobs at a furious pace and more Americans turn to an extended benefits program.

New home construction falls to a record low

WASHINGTON - New U.S. housing starts and permits tumbled to a record low in December, data showed on Thursday, accelerating a downward spiral that has left the economy mired in a recession.

Is this another Great Depression?

By every measure — lost jobs, plunging stock prices, scarce credit and a profound loss of confidence in the banking system — the economy is in awful shape.

The nation's 11th recession of the postwar era began in December 2007 and easily could become the longest since the Great Depression, although most forecasters expect a weak recovery to begin in the second half of this year.

But what are the odds that we’re the early stages of what will eventually become a depression rather than just a recession?

Isn't that a rhetorical question really?

And it appears they're already getting us softened up for another $1.0 to $1.2 trillion in additional bank bailouts, specifically designed so that the upper management, shareholders and bondholders of the banks are sheltered from any losses or accountability:

Can you spare $1 trillion?

Don't bet on bank nationalization
Investors can't seem to shake the notion the U.S. will seize control of a big bank. But experts don't think that's likely.


Oddly enough, the data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency report on Derivates shows that only two banks, JPM and HSBC, are holding almost $124,000,000,000 in gold derivatives between them, approximately 98% of all gold derivatives in the world.

At $850 per ounce, that represents about 145,882,353 ounces of gold.

As the tides of monetary bubbles recede, curiosities are turning up on the beach every day.

Can a money machine really exist in free and efficient markets? Economic theory says it cannot, that it must be due to some flaw or inefficiency, or an artificial scheme such as the regular returns from the Madoff Fund.


No energy growth, no debt creation. No debt creation.

Anything more than 9:1 leverage is being crushed.


I have two job interviews this week, which I was pretty surprised about. I thought that nobody would be hiring at all. They are both with small companies, the headhunter said that the big boys are not hiring, but do have some temporary positions (cleaning up eliminated departments).

Why You'll Work Through Your Retirement

There is a major social and cultural message in the current economic collapse for the future retirees of America: Forget retirement.

That's right. The recession is making clear what we've suspected for a long time. The concept of not working and embracing leisure for the last third of one's life isn't practical for most people.

Yes, but will any employers let us work?

The same younger workers that will be resentful about having to support the oldster's social security and pensions will also be resentful about the oldsters clogging up the ladder and blocking the younger workers' advancement opportunities.

I suspect that for most of us, what would once have been our "retirement years" will be spent in part raising food, cutting wood, and doing a variety of DIY/frugality things to save money, and in part working on some sort of self-employment enterprise that brings in a few dollars.

But what will the youngsters be doing as we are do the below stuff you mentioned?

Whining and hanging out?

If they won't get down on their knees in the dirt to garden should they be allowed to 'sit at the table'and eat what you produce?

Not in my youth. You got a tanning and told to get outa sight. You learned real real fast. You worked for the salt in your biscuit.

I don't see the younger ones doing this.My son threatened me when I suggested such. My daughter sneered in my face.


And as always, we must be aware that those unemployment numbers circulated by the MSM are the ones that got a good massaging by the politicians. The raw numbers are much worse.


The un-"adjusted" number is 768,858 not the 589,000 everyone is talking about.

Scroll down after clicking the link, to see the chart and compare last years un-adjusted number (415,149).

Re: Is this another Great Depression?

I think the article was pretty shaky to say the least. He kept using the phrase "no comparison". He was right, but not in the way he meant.

The methods by which GDP,CPI, inflation and unemployment are calculated have changed radically (and dishonestly IMO). The figures are misleading at best and useless at worst.

Second, if unemployment gets to "only" 10% it will be catastrophic because typically both parents work and require both incomes to keep their heads above water. Families are far more brittle than they were in the 1930's.

That's correct Pragma. To get a grip on just how signifigant those changes are, watch Chapter 16 - Fuzzy Numbers in Chris Martenson's Crash Course.


LOL, it was Martenson that I was thinking of when I posted. I second the recommendation, as well as the whole course. http://www.shadowstats.com/ goes into even more detail.

To put the dangers of 10% unemployment into perspective I also recommend The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class, a lecture by Elizabeth Warren.


She blows away some common preconceptions.


During the Great Depression the unemployment rate peaked at about 25% in 1933. By 1940 the unemployment rate was down to about 15%. (WIKI)

The rate of people out of work looking for jobs, out of work stopped looking, and P/T people who may need more hours was above 13% recently.

Trying to pump money into an organization with failed business management policies is like putting air into a flat tire. A waste of time and money.

It's difficult to get a handle on what the unemployment figures were during the GD. A formalized methodology was established in 1940 and it has been fiddled with ever since.

As most women did not work in the '30s were they included in pool of available workers? I haven't been able to find out.

I think it's safe to estimate present unemployment to be about double what the official figure is, like you said ~13%. If the official rate rises to a possible 10% then actual will be 20%.

There are a number of implications here:

1. In the '30s, if the husband became unemployed, the wife could take up some slack by perhaps taking a lower paying job, taking in laundry or boarders etc as well as the husband taking a lower paying job.

2. Now we have both working, each have a 20% chance of losing their job. Because both jobs are required, the percentage of households hitting the skids will be significantly above 20% and theoretically could hit 40%, although unlikely.

I guess this is my roundabout way of saying that to suggest that GD unemployment is a long way away from our present or upcoming situation is wrong and dishonest because the metric has changed, as well as social dynamics and demographics.

When you pile on debt obligations, which were not present during the GD, the situation becomes very precarious indeed.

Why is it that Warren can broadcast loudly this thesis and get by with it and yet when I just talk about it around the fringes at the tobacco shop I get ugly stares from the women who are punching buttons on the electronic 'gaming' machines nearby????

Why is that? Why?

Yesterday my girl cousin won $500 on the state lottery. She spent thousands to get it..yet I can mention Warrens study? Not a word? Not from my own cousin?


You can not make headway with anyone who has made a break with reality.

This is yet another reason why the upcoming crash will likely be very "interesting". We that frequent this site are in a very small minority. We understand the problem, although we do not always agree on the solution. :-)

The vast majority are suffering from cranial-rectal inversion so their re-introduction, or perhaps introduction to reality will be traumatic and often unsuccessful.

My advice? Don't waste your breath and go find 2 fingers of good sippin' whiskey.

The Burgan oil field in Kuwait peaked at 2.41 million barrels of oil per day in 1972:


OPEC cut production of oil in 1973.

Kuwait has been turning towards planning to develop heavy oil deposits and does not anticipate any more major oil finds within its borders.

Wow it's been ages since I saw anything mentioned about Burgan. A while back I recall some discussion over whether Burgan or Cantarell was the #2 biggest active oilfield on earth, the debate centering on whether one valued reserves(Burgan) or production rate(Cantarell) more highly when deciding on the definition of "big". Given peakniks' focus on flows, I recall Cantarell won out in the end.

But given that Cantarell's ongoing nosedive solidly indicates that its goose is pretty much cooked, is it safe to say the silver medal has been passed? Has anyone got any recent news/data/analysis on Burgan? Last I heard(2005-ish), the official story was that they had determined that about 1.7mbpd was the "optimal rate" and they would be able to plateau it there for 30-40 years, despite the clusterfuck of reservoir coning that must have resulted when the late Mr. Hussein lit the place up on his way out.

Anyone know if they've managed to keep things flowing as hoped? I realize the Kuwaiti monarchy probably isn't going to just open up the books on their main national asset(especially given the ruckus over their reserves numbers when that PIW report came out), but the saudis aren't any more forthcoming about Ghawar and TODers always seem to be able to suss out info about it!

A while back there was a rumor from an OPEC source that Kuwait's future production would become unreliable. Kuwait yet claimed some rather high oil reserve numbers. One cannot see who is giving false information or who is telling the truth. Are the reserves OOIP, proven, probable, and impossible, or drill proven reserves? Burgan was supposed to be a complex of more than one field. If Croft is right; after they water out of their last primary sandstone zone, they will have to switch to lower quality stringers (narrow sands) and limestones and produce at potentially lower rates. Am not sure of their heavy oil reserves numbers.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 16, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.1 million barrels per day during the week ending January 16, down 441 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 83.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging 8.7 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging about 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 9.9 million barrels per day last week, up 137 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.8 million barrels per day, 92 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged nearly 1.2 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 362 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased 6.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 332.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 6.5 million barrels last week, and are at the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased last week by 3.1 million barrels and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 11.8 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of average range for this time of year.

And here's what was expected:

Analysts expect a buildup of 1.9 million barrels in U.S. commercial crude inventories for the week ended Jan. 16, according to a Platts survey.

They also anticipate a week-to-week increase of 1.9 million barrels for gasoline stocks as well as a decline of 2.25 million barrels for distillates, the survey showed. The analysts project a drop in the refinery utilization rate of 1.4 percentage points, to 83.8%.

Traders will be watching closely inventory levels at Cushing, Okla. -- the delivery point for Nymex oil futures. Inventories at Cushing jumped to 33 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 9, the highest level on record.

Platts estimates that maximum storage capacity at Cushing is about 42.4 million barrels, but only 80% of that is considered operable.

Plenty of oil in inventory.

I can understand an oil refiner wanting to buy oil while it is cheap, and increase his inventory, but most of the buildup seems to be going to Cushing.


Can't help but wonder if those rumors of a big arms shipment to Israel are behind all this stockpiling.

Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 11.8 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of average range for this time of year.

In view of this data, would anyone care to post their take on why gasoline (but not diesel in our area) has gone up about $0.30/gal in the past month? (Location is the SF Bay area, CA)

I'm just curious... assuming that economics are out of the equation and there are no unique geological problems, is there an "optimal" ratio of wells per field size for best operational effect?


Another writer advising, let bankrupt banks be taken over by the FDIC receivership.

Some banks are healthier as they were not as infected by bad lending practice and were yet showing profits.

New York has started running up debts to pay unemployment benefits as its reserves have been paid out. Governments spoiled by easy credit terms unable to balance their budgets.

Here I was thinking the recession/ depression would prevent oil from rising anytime soon and then Yergin makes his prognostication. He is wrong more often than right but then this time maybe he will get lucky. Ironic we are sitting at about one Yergin.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day... :-)

Yeah...the stopped clock is right for just one split microsecond.


Yergin says it won't go up? My god! It's the Yergin price signal. Time to go long! :)

Even the mighty Nokia is getting hit. Well, sort of:

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia on Thursday reported its final-quarter 2008 pretax profit plummeting to about 476 million euros from some 2.57 billion euros in the year-ago period and added its handset market share had shrunk to 37 per cent from 40 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2007 and from 38 per cent in the penultimate quarter of last year.

Nokia said it expected to see industry-wide sales contract to the tune of 10 per cent this year, having earlier forecast them to decline by five per cent from last year's levels.


Our new President has set the hopeful tone of transparency and responsibility for the nation in his inaugural address.

Therefore let us begin this new era by clarifying the core facts of the present global energy, environmental and economic crisise. Although that alone is a worthy exercise it is immeasurably more than simply worthwhile. It is vital, in the truest sense of that word, to the now and future inhabitants of earth. It is vital, as in “necessary to the existence of life.”

It is also something else.

It is impossible under the current laws.

The truth is so raw, so inexcusable, so utterly felonious that such admissions would compel the prosecution of literally thousands of corporate executives and high government officials. None could publicly admit to such things without facing ruin, yet all of us face ruin if they do not.

We must create an environment of overwhelming public permission for them to speak truth, in order to save us all.

I therefore propose an unprecedented action.

That we, the people, grant amnesty to the government.

I suggest a voluntary, grass roots driven, AMNESTY for all financial and regulatory malfeasance up to a certain date, for example July 4th, 2009.

By popular acclamation, freely given in the form of signed personal letters to the elected members of Congress and the chief executive, we the people would empower them to enact such a legally binding full amnesty for revelations made to Congress, Treasury and the Department of Justice conditional only upon those admissions being also revealed to the American public at large.

The idea is both simple and extremely powerful. Much of its power derives from its simplicity, and therefore the legislation should not hedge or quibble the fundamental principle. Democracy cannot function without good decisions, and good decisions require true facts. True facts in this case will not be forthcoming until the guilty can reveal them without committing virtual suicide. For that to occur we must first forgive. Forgiveness is forgiveness, period.

The above outlined proposal stands on its own. Below is an expansion of the rationale that has personal meaning for me. In other words, there are some things I want to say about it that aren’t really necessary but will make me feel better for having said them.

First off is the sheer magnitude of the deceits that have led us to this day.

Decades of catastrophically bad judgment, compromised regulation and obscene salaries. Compounded and complex layers of indebtedness so stupendous that meaningful figures may well be impractical to ever reckon accurately. And surrounding it all a closed-ranks barricade of silence, outright secrecy, denial, partial truths and audacious lies. Informed decisions become impossible because one cannot become truly informed.

The estimates of toxic indebtedness we hear about the financial crisis for example (a few trillions, or tens of trillions, of dollars) are themselves despicably deceitful. No one believes the glib estimates because they are ridiculously small.

If the monthly defaulted payments alone come to a trillion, then the total toxic debt must be a sizable multiple of a trillion. A reasonable multiple might be as much as a hundred times the missed ‘monthly debt service,’ especially if one considers the mysteries of unregulated debts that aren’t even on the balance sheets. What is the fair market value of these bad ‘assets’? They resolutely refuse to say, and it takes little imagination to surmise why they refuse.

The only credible reason for permitting Financiers to shroud the actual size of their unrepayable debts is that the questioners themselves do not really want to know, and the only plausible reason they would not want to know is that the truth must pose some danger to them as well. What danger might that be? Complicity, perhaps? A bribed obligation to protect the miscreant?

To call a bad debt a ‘troubled asset’ is criminally disingenuous. We all know that one man’s ‘troubled asset’ is just some other guy’s bad debt, and that the bad debt of one guy is the ‘troubled asset’ of another. Deliberate obfuscation is not helping the situation. There is a chain of bad debt, of a long but indefinite length, that simply could not amount to less than hundreds of trillions of dollars.

How fair is it to taxpayers to ask them to ‘bail out’ an endless lineup of insolvent banks and corporations to the tune of half a trillion dollars each, suggesting by inference that several hundred billion will do the trick, when the underlying ‘black hole’ would take ten, twenty or a hundred times that amount to satisfy?

All that does is delay Armageddon by a few weeks or months, at the cost of stripping the real assets of people who actually work and produce things.

The fervent delusional faith of the perpetrators, of course, is that the Stem-to-Stern breeched hull of the Titanic can be pumped out fast enough that the ‘unsinkable’ death ship can make enough headway to stop sinking… so that they can resume a full-speed-ahead uncharted course back into the iceberg that sank them.

Under these circumstances it is small wonder that recipients are rat-holing the bail out money, buying up gold bullion and packing enormous chunks of cash into numbered accounts in the Caymans. They know better than we how much time is left before not even the most desperate stop gap measures will forestall the inescapable end for even one more minute.

Save them and save yourself. It worked to end the atrocities of Apartheit, and they were dealing with murders, not mere theft.

We haven’t got much time. Amnesty now.

Send that letter.

We haven’t got much time. Amnesty now.

Indictment, prosecution, conviction, hard prison time now, I say.


Merrill Lynch took the unusual step of accelerating bonus payments by a month last year, doling out billions of dollars to employees just three days before the closing of its sale to Bank of America.

The investment bankers did the same sort of bonus game last year, giving out the money before they reported big losses, as I recall. The only way this will stop is for some of the big guys to go to jail for a few years and I don't mean spenting time in the Eglin Minimum Security Prison (aka: Club FED).

E. Swanson

Smith's suggestion doesn't solve the problems, and is socially unworkable, but buys us time.

Your suggestion doesn't solve the problems, creates fallout resentment for government and the legal system, but is socially expedient and satisfies a deep need for vindication and revenge.

Should we take a kick in the head and a few days off to recover, or a kick in the head and some cake and ice cream? Tough call.

Obama said this........"the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness".

Pure rhetoric and means absolutely nothing. His speech to me was very disappointing and quite simply toed the party line.

He had a great chance to say we can still be happy but we have to alter our expectations (downward) about what it takes to make us happy.
Our dreams may not be realized so we must work hard to realize alternate dreams.
Maybe soon a full belly will be a realistic dream.

By sugar coating the state of our perils he makes a rod for his back and condemns himself to be the scapegoat for those who believed him and actually expected things to get better, expected that their dreams would be realized and that they would be happy.

Maybe he has no clue.

TPTB put Obama there, because public is absolutely in love with him. USA, Germany, Japan, Kenya, hell, I'd bet that even in Iran and Afghanistan people like Obama.

TPTB robbed us during the daylight and want to proceed with this charade as long as possible. Given deflation (or disinflation, as TPTB like to call it), they want people to believe that they can make it (fulfill that American dream, shared now by people worldwide), even if they are going to work for less and less and even if because of PO the standard od living will deteroriate even further.

There is NO ROOM for altering our expectations downward. What is more, expectations are now very high, as people can still remember good times very well.

I propose an experiment to test this. We could compose "an alternative Obama" speech and present it to randomly chosen people. How would they respond?

The guys that control Obama have no intention of adjusting their expectations downward in any way. Thain doesn`t directly hold the leash but he might as well be Hank, Ben or Geithner`s clone (Bob Rubin thinks bigger) http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-01-22/john-thains-to...

All well and good until he declares martial law.

Then all those words were long ago forgetten...well really 2 hours after he said them.


Maybe he [Obama] has no clue.

It's hard to know what goes on in the mind of a politician.

As long as our feet are planted on solid soil and the fundamentals are strong, our gardens will prosper. It's all about Being There.

I say "Lake of Fire"..and then hang them. Then put graffitti on their tombstones and then erase their names from all documents and then make it a crime punishable by death to mention their names for eternity.

And then start to talk about their cohorts in the same vein.


The oil bulls perpetual argument "peak oil" is equivalent to the assumption of an invariant or steady state economy.
Rather the key question is about the peak dependence of economy on oil.
This slide show

seems to point out economy is behind peak dependence on oil.

A new Ellen Brown article for you. It's really quite different than her normal articles. A little unsettling.


On a recent visit to Tuscon, where I was invited to give a presentation on monetary reform, I was disturbed by a story of strange goings on in the desert. A little over a year ago, it seems, a new industrial facility sprang up on the edge of town. It was in a remote industrial zone and appeared to be a bus depot. The new enterprise was surrounded by an imposing security fence and bore no outward signs identifying its services. However, it soon became apparent that the compound was in the business of outfitting a fleet of prison buses. Thirty or so secondhand city buses were being reconfigured with prison bars in the windows and a coat of fresh paint bearing the “Wackenhut G4S” logo on the side...

...“FEMA is being upgraded as a federal agency, and upon passage of PATRIOT Act III, which contains the amendment to overturn posse comitatus, FEMA will be re-militarized, which will give the agency military police powers. . . . Why is all of this being done? Why is the regime moving to a militarized police state and to a dictatorship? It is because of what Comptroller General David Walker said, that after 2009, the ability of the United States to continue to service its debt becomes questionable. Although the average citizen may not understand what that means, when the United States can no longer service its debt it collapses as an economic entity. We would be an economically collapsed state. The only way government can function and can maintain control in an economically collapsed state is through a military dictatorship.”...

A google search led me to the G4s USA website, where you can see a picture of one of the busses that Ellen mentions.


That's the finest looking "second hand school bus" I've ever seen!

EDIT: My mistake - it says "second hand city buses" not school buses.

Ahh, the new Dual-Jobs program.

Apply to be a Worker-watcher! However, Workers need not fill out forms.. they will be informed of their new employment forthwith.

Remember that Nate and I have first dibs on the longest bunks in the workcamps. Hopefully I can get assigned to the northern AZ tree-planting detail as I don't want to be on the 'grisly' wood-chipper crew. Knowing my bad luck: I will probably be assigned to harvesting countless amounts of jumping cholla from our desert [which will digitize me in short order]. :(

I'm looking forward to the education I'll receive at Stalag:Asphaltistan!

First they came for the Lawyers, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Lawyer;
Then they came for the Bankers, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Banker;
Then they came for the Politicians, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Politician....

Caclulated Risk has a good serie of charts showing how depressed the US economy is, no wonder oil demand is collapsing:

vehicle miles driven are off a record 3.7% Year-over-year (YoY); the decline in miles driven is worse than during the early '70s and 1979-1980 oil crisis:

Vehicle sales have plunged to just over a 10 million annual rate - the lowest rate since the early '80s recession.

Continued unemployment claims are now at 4.61 million, just below the high time peak of 4.71 million in 1982.

Total housing starts were at 550 thousand (SAAR) in December, by far the lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking housing starts in 1959.

The builder confidence index was at 8 in January, a new record low.

Capacity utilization ... fell to 73.6% from 75.2%. This is the lowest level since December 2001. Industrial output fell at an 11.5% rate in the fourth quarter.

My question is that we have ALL this going on, everything falling off a cliff and oil is hanging in the $40s a barrel, a level which was considered very expensive only few years back, this in itself tells me that the plateau is here, and that once the economy turns around, the spike in oil will be phenomenal.


Forecast - Oil prices won't rise higher than $100 US a barrel for "a couple of years," according to Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc.

So, is the new "Yergin"? I read today on Bloomberg that Giethner said the Chinese need to revaluate the Yuan. Is this something similar, where Daniel Yergin gets to recalibrate the Yergin unit?


I've been mulling over how to interpret the latest "Yerginism." I thought the following was interesting, "Right now, predicting oil prices is really predicting" gross domestic product."

Well, what if we see a combination of voluntary + involuntary reductions in net oil exports, even with weak demand?

BTW, I don't know if you saw my posts yesterday about the Great Depression, but it appears that demand was only down one year in the Thirties (in 1930), and in constant 2007 dollars, oil prices rose at 11%/year from 1931 to 1937, from $9 to $17 (BP data, I don't have numerical nominal price data). And as Downsouth noted, there were three million more cars on the road in 1937 in the US than in 1929.

I suspect that 2009 is to this (as they say, the "Greater Depression") as 1930 was to the Thirties, i.e., the one down year in consumption. The big difference, IMO, is that we don't have a group of new giant oil fields. It appears that in August of 1931, the East Texas Field was approaching production of one mbpd, which would have been about 20% of world oil production at the time (and which briefly drove the price of oil down to 10¢ per barrel, nominal price of course).

My grandma said just the same as Yergin, a couple of weeks ago.
I laughed at her, but now it's confirmed.

Boone Pickens says the U.S. should have a "wind bank" to fund wind energy. He says Obama is charismatic enough to bring everybody together to pull it off.


Well, okay, if the bank is a renewable energy bank and includes solar and ethanol. Pickens is all chutzpah. He can't get his wind turbines financed after putting $2 billion down so he's going after public money.

Remind me again how this differs from failing ethanol plants wanting to tap the federal treasury. They both made mistakes: Pickens in his financial timing and failing ethanol plants mostly in their hedging operations.

We have a wind bank. It's called Congress ;-)

The difference?

Wind has a pretty decent energy return on investment.

Oh I know, I know, EROI is a hoax, brought about by evil scientists who can't do math, in some nefarious scheme to prove that honest ethanol is not the perfect fuel that it is.

But you asked for a reminder...

More Liberal lies to deny me my divine right to prosperity:

Trees in Western U.S. Forests Dying Due to Climate Change
Death Rates Have Doubled, Researchers Find
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 22, 2009; 4:35 PM
The death rates of trees in western U.S. forests have doubled over the past two to three decades, driven in large part by warmer temperatures and water scarcity linked to climate change, a new study spearheaded by the U.S. Geological Survey has found.

The findings, published today in the online journal Science Express, examined changes in 76 long-term forest plots in three broad regions across the West, and found similar shifts regardless of the areas' elevation, fire history, dominant species and tree sizes. It is the largest research project based on old-growth forests in North America.

Grim news.

Unfortunately, old news. Read 'The Dying of the Trees' by Charles Little, published in 1995.

I ran into an old friend today. Money is tight for him right now, and heating oil prices were killing him, so he bought a wood stove. He's heating his house with wood from his lot this winter. (He has a very large lot - several acres - due to the yuppie zoning rules in his town. You aren't allowed to build a house unless you have 2 acres or more. That leaves many lots which can't be legally built on. Rich townies driving through see what they think is a great lot, buy it...then find out they can't build on it. It's then sold in auction for a few hundred dollars. My friend has bought many such lots over the years, adjacent to his original property, and now has a very impressive spread.)

However, there has been a learning curve. It's been wicked cold around here the past week or so. He had a pipe freeze, because the wood stove doesn't keep his attic as warm as oil heat did. He noticed steam rising outside one of his windows one morning, and went out to find water shooting out of his wall. He also had a valve freeze in his water heating system, and his well valve froze, too. And his stove caught fire because of build-up in the elbow bend. (He now knows he has to clean it every couple of weeks.)

These could have been fatal mistakes in a Mad Max situation. But as it is, he still has oil backup, and he still has a job and so can afford to make repairs.

Similarly, a lot of my friends are starting or greatly expanding their gardens - not because they expect to have to live off the land, but simply to save money. This seems to be a nationwide trend. Gardening, cooking, keeping chickens, are all increasing sharply in popularity. I suspect the reason is mainly the economy - not fear that the supermarket shelves will go bare. But it's good practice - just in case. The Greater Depression might be a blessing in disguise.

It is starting to feel a lot like the mid '70s right now - people getting in to gardening, bargain shopping, home cooking, heating with wood, home energy conservation, driving economy cars, vacationing close to home, doing lots of frugality/DIY stuff, etc.

For those of us old enough to have lived through it, "it's deja vu all over again!"

Yeah so he had a chimney fire. Yeah, so he was burning soft woods or those not well cured.

Just kidding. No HuHu.


Hello TODers,

As usual, another great essay by Orlov:

Perestroika 2.0 beta

As a Thermo/Gene Collision realist: I fully expected, and was fully prepared, to be disappointed by the initial efforts of Tiger & Obama. I had hoped that they would look closely into their young children's eyes, then taken a more radical course at the Presidential Inauguration. Such is life...

Tiger's father, a former Navy Seal, had more cojones than his son. So please keep sending Peak Outreach to Tiger's website. Maybe we can eventually get Tiger to acknowledge the postPeak Era.

Good day for dark humor. I had a good laugh when I read the summary of the Orlov article on the EB, and Tom Whipple commented that the good news is that we don't know of any giant meteors headed our way.

Tom Whipple may have forgotten, or not yet seen Tyson's video on Apophis. It is still not exactly clear if this will miss the Earth:

The close approach in 2029 will substantially alter the object's orbit, making predictions uncertain without more data. "If we get radar ranging in 2013 [the next good opportunity], we should be able to predict the location of 2004 MN4 out to at least 2070." said Jon Giorgini of JPL.[11]

In July 2005, former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, as chairman of the B612 Foundation, formally asked NASA to investigate the possibility that the asteroid's post-2029 orbit could be in orbital resonance with Earth, which would increase the probability of future impacts. Schweickart asked for an investigation of the necessity of placing a transponder on the asteroid for more accurate tracking of how its orbit is affected by the Yarkovsky effect.[12]
Although unlikely, the swing back out through the asteroid belt might alter the orbit slightly. Odds are it would make it move more in a direction to miss the next keyhole, but one can't be sure until it starts swinging back in towards our little blue marble.


The conventional wisdom of an econic recession, or in this contempory crisis it's being called a "crash", is that spending slows first, then companies lose money so they lay people off.

That is why a decline in the stock market (which follows the lost revenue and layoffs)has historically been seen as a "trailing indicator". High unemployment and the bottoming of share prices normally comes near the end of an economic contraction.

But this current economic crisis is anything but normal.
The firm I work for shed nearly 50% of it's employees in the IT (information technology)section before the economic crisis even began, and at least 30% of it's administrative and production staff and had NEVER suffered a losing quarter in it's history. It was a $9 billion dollar company at the start of the crisis and is now a greater than 9 billion dollar company.

The reason for this new order of events is due to the fact that this economic crisis was NOT caused by an economic slowdown of the conventional type. The new world order is outsourcing and taking costs to the minimum. In the 1980's the slogan became "quality is job one". In the last decade the new slogan could be applied as "margin is job one".

With a whole world of cheap and in many cases reasonably well educated workers to draw from, and communications technology now opening up new ways to reduce in-house staff, firms are not bound to retention of a workforce inside their home nation. Only law and old fashion civic duty, not technology and need creates the need to hire American to do American jobs. Capitalism has always admitted to being "amoral", meaning that it is not bound to any set moral code except to increase the profit and strenth of the firm, but seldom likes to admit to being "apatriotic", meaning that it is really bound to no loyalty to any particular nation.

Even less do companies have any loyalty to it's own workforce. We as American workers say we know this, that's just the way it is, but do we really understand it? I have heard people (friends) I had worked with for years say, as they got the news that they were out, "But look at all I have done for this company!", or "I've been here from the start, and can do anything they need here, why are they treating me this way...?", or saddest of all, "what did I do wrong?", or "what didn't I do?"

The employee often feels that long loyal service will be considered an asset, or they blame themselves for their loss of position. We must believe this, because we know that we will get older, slower, suffer more illness as we age, so we have to count on some level of mercy from the employers. We simply cannot compete in middle age with a young worldwide workforce that is younger, faster, and most importantly, cheaper.

If we look at the nation in objective terms, we still have all we had five years ago, ten years ago, and 20 years ago, in fact more. We still have the educated workforce, in fact more educated, we still have the roads, the airports, the shipping ports, the buildings and houses, boy do we have plenty of houses!

Those fascinated by energy would make the correct assessment that we do not have as much oil or gas still in the ground, but to this point that has not been a decisive factor. Oil consumption has not grown greatly in the last decade, and most of that growth was caused by choice, not need, through our choice of heavier more powerful vehicles and larger more luxurious homes and second homes. It should be recalled that many nations with absolutely or almost no home energy resources (Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, etc.) have grown nicely up to the point of this most recent crisis.

The argument cannot easily be made that we do not still have money. it came with some surprise to many that there were so many people with bank deposits that had exceeded the FDIC insurance protection cap. We also know that when people get nervous a lot of money flees mutual funds, indicating that the moeny was in fact there and that now it must be somewhere else.

We also have a lot of debt. While the houses are still here, they were, until the onset of this crisis, acting as the "bank" of people's money to an extent far beyond their worth. Credit cards were performing an essentially banking function providing loans at huge interest rates, thus increasing the monthly burden on the cardholder. Healthcare costs, which are a very small portion of income when a person is young, has increased far faster in cost than the rate of inflation just at the time it becomes for the baby boomer generation an increasing burden, so the cost of the service and the number of times it must be used has increased at the same time.

So what seems to be the problem, other than the obvious one of too many houses at too high of a price?

The problem is two fold: First, we have more worldwide competition. This is a huge factor in our current crisis. Technology and changes in American law have opened the worker up to world competition in a way that was unheard of even a decade ago, and this trend is accelerating. We always knew this would occur but kept delaying the day of reckoning when we would have to confront it.

Secondly, American communication has changed. Technology has sped up communication, rumor, news and by extension it has speeded up the waves of euphoria and then fear that race through the markets. This is no giant conspiracy, but simply the nature of business in the new "instant world" where "facts" are hurled at the investor, the manager and the worker at the speed of light. The ones most able to prosper are the ones most able to surf the "information" stream, manipulate it and make decisions in absolute real time. Needless to say, this increases risk by exponential factors. It is hard to believe that when I was young I checked the stock market weekly, when the detailed business section of the newspaper came out on Sunday. Now I check it more than hourly with my I-phone. Even people inside the financial community were astounded at the speed with which the recent financial crisis moved across the globe. A crisis of confidence almost anywhere becomes a crisis of confidence almost everywhere.

Now we have a new factor, the "proactive layoff". If businesses believe the economy may not be as strong or even contract, they do not wait to see, they begin shedding staff NOW. After all, in the new world of international educated workers, they will be able to replace the worker soon enough if they must, and may be able to replace him or her at a far better price. This is essentially the logic of the recent Microsoft layoff, but many other firms are behaving in exactly the same way. This is why "stimulus packages" have a reduced effect.

The individual employee and small investor is thus minimized in importance to the corporation, and the "team" concept is frankly now viewed as a relic of the 1980's. Many firms still talk it, but the new conditions make the idea of established teams and established loyalties a liability, slowing down the fast movement needed to survive. Each "worker" must move on his or her own, look out for themselves, and invest for themselves. It is very much like running alone versus running in a three legged race with a partner. No matter how talented both parties are in a three legged race, they can never run as fast as a healthy individual running on his own. Those who are "tied" to others are increasingly hobbled. It is to be noticed that even marriage is regarded as more and more of a libility and the number of single people will continue to grow.

This creates two major option paths for the individual: One is a type of financial localization. This means looking for opportunities and options very close to where we are, wherever that may be. Instead of exporting cash to New York and recieving advice and expertise from the financial media, we must look at the lay of the financial landscape in our local area. This is where we must build contacts and look for the "dis-equalibrium" that provides opportunities. It is much easier to get the real "facts" about your local area than it is to get them on the light speed "blogsphere" or from the business media, which has agendas shaped by their advertisers.

This does not mean never exporting cash, but we should look for opportunity of as great or greater value close to home first, then look outward. A Norwegian bank or individual should know every viable opportunity in Norway before they decide to put money in mortgages that are actually in Alabama. We can buy bonds in local cities before we decide to buy bonds in Singapore if they are equally viable. We can store our money in local banks and credit unions (do not dismiss the credit union) before we put money in banks with fancy big names and even bigger fees.

I seldom make predictions: But I am predicting a bigger boom in
entrepreneurial activity in the years ahead than we have ever seen in our history. The employee realizes now that it does not take an economic downturn for companies to slash staff, and that a company can be as profitable as it has ever been and still be willing to rupture long standing work groups and shed loyal and productive workers based on price alone. This will create a mindset of "never safe" at work. The distruction of all the productivity gains made in the 1980's and 1990's will be the result, but frankly, that is their problem. We will be looking out for the productivity of our own businesses, running small and fast, often with no more than a handful of employees, but rich by local standards.

To do this, we will have to look for the "niche" markets, the areas that the large companies cannot afford to work in. We have seen this in the many small hobbies and sports that have emerged over the last 20 years, wherein a young man takes up windsurfing and then begins providing gear, apparel, magazines and videotapes to other fanatics of the sport, or builds model railroads and then sells gear, accessories and information to others in the hobby. There are thousands of these niches that large firms do not even know exist.

This is essentially the rebirth of the "small is beautiful" idea, and what Alvin Toffler called "mouse milk runs" in the 1980's. This is a "relocalization" but not in the way portrayed by some, because many of the larger corporations and institutions will still survive, but will have to come to the small investor and the small customer to make their case and make their sale. It is fascinating that just as electric vehicles are being discussed for example, it is still almost impossible to get the advanced batteries and motors needed to build one. The firms that make them want to be OEM suppliers to the big auto companies, or they seem to be willing to sell nothing at all. Many solar and alternative energy firms will not even sell to the individual. This attitude will have to change.

This current economic crisis is real in the sense that it is very disruptive of long standing institutions and of people's lives. But all indications are that once the markets regain rationality, some semblence of sanity and confidence is restored and the market is returned to a scale that matches reality, there will be a recovery.

However, just as after any major financial or geopolitical event, whether it be a depression, a boom or a war, the landscape will be different. Just as life in the post WWII period was different in many major ways from life before WWII, so life in the U.S. will be different post "the crash" or the crisis or whatever it is named in the history books than life before it. Those who do not panic, but stay alert to the many ways that the financial, technological and social landscape are changing will be the ones most able to enhance and enjoy the remainder of their lives doing the things that are meaningful and important to them. In the end that is the goal for most people, and the major tool is our own rationality.

Thank you

Roger Conner Jr.

"do not panic, but stay alert.."

That was the driveway wisdom I heard from my neighbor this morning, as well. Good post, as usual Roger.

Can't say I've heard any better suggestions. Thanks,

Did we forget to mention that our employees are our most valuable asset?

Did we forget to mention that what we really mean is, our most liquid asset? (most easily disposed of asset)

Potassium-Containing Potash Essential To Feed The World's Growing Billions

..But the really long-term driver behind potash is the world's rising population. "Global population continues to grow by more than 200 000 people per day, meaning more people need food," stressed Doyle. "Added to this, stronger economies in China and India are giving more people the opportunity to eat nutritious food, especially protein from meat sources."

The world's population was 6,5-billion in 2005, and it is expected to continue to grow until at least 2050, when it could exceed 9-billion - in other words, 40% more people to be fed than today. "Feeding more people and producing more animals takes more grain. Increasing production on a shrinking per-capita agricultural land base can only be achieved by protecting the soil and replenishing its nutrients through proper fertilisation," pointed out Doyle.

..Back to the short-term, and, as a result of rising global protein consumption, at present the world's grain stocks-to-use levels have fallen well below the 30-year average. "It is estmated that current global grain stocks would feed the world for only nine weeks," warned Doyle. Add the current low crop prices, and it "is a very dangerous situation."
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

US benchmark Tampa ammonia headed higher in Feb - sources
As posted before: I bet OPEC is envious of the JIT capabilities of the I-NPK Mfgs to slam shut their factory doors and mine shafts as required.

Potato and vegetable growers should be sighing with relief as the first phosphate cargo to arrive in the UK for several months arrives at Sutton Bridge well in time for this years spring plantings.

..The special phosphate fertiliser is manufactured for Law Fertilisers at St Petersburg in Russia and is designed to increase yields by encouraging rapid early root development.
Morocco is a lot closer to the UK, so I am not sure what is going on here. Maybe Morocco is having problems getting sufficient recovered sulfur to beneficiate their raw rock?

Airdale, my friend. I've had the same stihl 028 wood boss for 25 years. Couple of new bars, bent a couple, lots of chains. Power head is rock solid after 25 years, think about that. I don't have much faith in the younger ones to file a chain properly. 028 was pretty heavy to, haul that around for 8 hours and you know where each muscle is. Stihl is a great company, they have actually designed a replacement saw for us old duffers think I need to get one soon. Can't quite hold the 028 all the way up anymore. Geezer loss of upper body strength.

I cut and burn a lot of swamp maple, I like to leave the oak, Driuds had a lot of respect for oak. I do feel very calm in my oak grove. I cultivate it. Cultivate is one of my favorite words, intention, action, result.

A little better here airdale, my boys don't like it much but they do know how to work, pump water, feed the stove, cut the wood.

They don't like it much. But they are good shots, know how to feed the pigs and chickens.

No harm, no fowl, what I have built I'll give to them.

Good kids

Don in Maine

Hello TODers,

This reads like a quote from Ilargi or Stoneleigh over @ TAE:

Microsoft Slashes Jobs as Sales Fall

..“We are certainly in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime set of economic conditions,” Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, told investors Thursday in a conference call to discuss the company’s dismal second-quarter financial results.

“Our model is not for a quick rebound. Our model is things go down, and then they reset. The economy shrinks.”
I would postPeak advise Microsoft to get out of making vaporware, then invest their remaining resources to making 'real asset software' like bags full of beneficiated apatite [P], sylvite [K], and O-NPK compost.

Most of their products are complete SHIT already. So me thinks they've got a great start in the O-NPK department.


Just as "a large meteor heading towards earth would render the foregoing problems irrelevant", so too will Peak Oil render Global Warming irrelevant, and for the same reasons. It's a matter of relative onset and impact. People understand this reality as aptly shown by Pew Research.


True, but if and only if we have not already reached a tipping point, and if the remaining FFs do not do us in.

More and more, I think that ship has already sailed, even if we burn no more (fat chance!)

And if and only if we don't cut down every single tree to replace those FF's

One bright spot in gloomy UK (headline from a Bloomberg video yesterday): "Queen evades property slump as farmland gains value".

Well, at least HER MAJESTY won't have to worry about putting food on the table!

On the other hand it is possible to imagine a return to a land-based feudal governmental system as large land owners become more and more wealthy and powerful relative to everyone else. And I believe that Queen Elizabeth's lands are very vast indeed.

Will she share her deer, or will the Sheriff of Nottingham ruthlessly enforce that ban?