DrumBeat: May 26, 2009

Asian LNG Supply May Exceed Demand by 57%, Wood Mackenzie Says

(Bloomberg) -- Supplies of liquefied natural gas from proposed plants in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia may exceed demand in the Asian region by at least 57 percent, data from Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd. show.

The combined capacity of some LNG projects in Papua New Guinea, Australia and Indonesia is more than 44 million metric tons while the Asia-Pacific market, led by China, requires 28 million tons a year in 2015, Noel Tomnay, Wood Mackenzie’s head of global gas and power research, said in a report yesterday. The projects are seeking approvals in 18 months, he said.

Floater supply cushions Petrobras demand

Petrobras will drive the demand for deep-water rigs but the brazilian giant should be in no hurry to commit to newbuilding contracts given the excess floater supply through mid-2012, according to ODS-Petrodata’s Gavin Strachan.

Strachan estimated that about 20% of the floaters under construction have not been contracted. The excess supply will allow Petrobras the option to either charter or purchase rigs to meet its drilling requirements, he said.

Saudi oil minister: OPEC to hold output steady

CAIRO—OPEC is unlikely to cut output at its upcoming meeting, Saudi Arabia's oil minister said in comments published Tuesday, as indications mounted that the oil producing bloc would resist a temptation to tighten the taps despite wanting higher crude prices.

The Saudi minister, Ali al-Naimi, also voiced concerns about global crude stockpiles, whose tenaciously high levels are being sustained by weak demand linked to the economic meltdown.

Gazprom Says Ukraine Gas Payment Situation ‘Very, Very Serious’

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas export monopoly, may demand Ukraine pays for supplies in advance if it struggles to pay its bill for May.

National oil companies: Price fall highlights investors’ favourites

As oil prices fell in the second half of last year, oil companies’ shares suffered. But few were as badly bruised as the partially-listed national oil companies that had been investors’ favourites until the end of the commodity’s decade-long climb.

National oil companies’ shares fell 64 per cent in 2008, as investors moved away from companies with huge potential and back to those with strong cashflow. By comparison, shares in international oil companies – which have more varied portfolios covering everything from exploration to refining and marketing – lost 34 per cent.

Book Review: 'Game Over' by Stephen Leeb

Leeb is obviously a believer in peak oil and now proposes the concept of Absolute Peak Oil. He defines this as the point in which we’d have to invest more than a barrel’s worth of energy to pump, refine, and truck a barrel’s worth of it to the local gas station. He believes this point in time is very near and therefore suggests a massive investment in alternative energy. This is particularly important for the US, considering its 65% dependence on foreign oil.

Leeb discusses society’s complexities, both on an historical and a current basis. He points out that when complex societies run low on resources, they typically undergo wholesale collapse and experience large scale violence and starvation. Reading between the lines, it would appear he feels the US could easily slip into such a state if it continues to ignore its energy crisis. He points out that humans tend to live in denial and tend not to make significant changes until being forced to. The danger, he points out, is that waiting until then will be too late. We need wise and intelligent energy policy now.

But that policy won’t be easy to articulate. Obtaining the metals and water needed to generate more energy is a vicious circle of resource depletion. He points out the challenges in providing all the steel necessary to build 200,000 wind generators. Every investment at this point, Leeb says, must be analyzed in terms of resource/energy return on investment.

Volatility prompts a pause for breath

The effects of all this will be so profound that some people believe they will outweigh the investment cutbacks by oil companies, heralding the arrival of “peak oil demand” rather than “peak oil supply”.

It is a notion from which oilmen recoil, pointing out that oil, gas and coal will for a long time yet represent the world’s main sources of energy, providing the fuel that will help keep the global economy turning and eventually lift billions of people out of poverty in countries such as China and India.

Switching Horses on Oil Strategy

Thunder Horse turns 10 next month. BP's billion-barrel oil field, discovered in 1999 in the Gulf of Mexico, is a source of pride. It also is a reminder of what ails the oil majors.

Thunder Horse, which started up in 2008, will provide 42% of BP's incremental upstream production over the next three years, according to analysts at J.P. Morgan Chase. Unfortunately, it is also one of BP's few discoveries of such scale in recent memory. Neil McMahon of Sanford C. Bernstein calculates that less than half of BP's additions to reserves over the past five years have come through its exploration efforts.

Saudi Arabian Oil Output Exceeds OPEC Quota, JODI Data Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is producing more crude oil than its OPEC quota, according to data from the Joint Oil Data Initiative, citing figures submitted by the Persian Gulf country.

Production was the lowest in February at 8.065 million barrels a day, exceeding its 8.051 million quota, according to the data. Output rose to 8.358 million barrels a day in March, the most recent month for which data was shown.

Venezuela Oil Output Audit Targets Project Lenders, Halff Says

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s audited oil export figures are meant to reassure lenders as the country seeks oilfield project financing and tries to raise money through advanced sales of crude, Antoine Halff of Newedge USA LLC said.

Economist: Pricier Oil Means Less Globalization (audio)

Just last summer, oil was surging toward $150 a barrel and gas prices were hitting $4 a gallon. The recession brought those prices crashing down, and today it may seem like high oil prices are one of the few economic problems that we don't have to worry about.

But Canadian economist Jeff Rubin says what we saw last summer was a glimpse of our future.

Growing Pains: Goosing growth is the only way out of this mess

In the current economic mess, it's easy to believe that the U.S. has reached a point where there are diminishing returns to the usual forms of investment. Putting more people to work at the same tasks doesn't do as much as it used to. Putting more capital equipment to work at the same tasks doesn't do as much as it used to. We have even found that higher leverage -- borrowing more to get more work out of every dollar of capital -- has its drawbacks. Should we rest content with what we have, even if recession and debt payments force us to have a little less?

Quite the contrary: We should press forward with investments that offer chances to improve the efficient use of key economic inputs. Just as the computer revolution that started in the 1960s has improved the quantity and quality of some kinds of labor, the biotech revolution that started in the 1980s may improve the productivity of agriculture.

Change yes, end of prosperity no: CIBC

The coming decade will look much different than the last for the North American economy, but the radical changes brought on by the global financial crisis won't mean an end to prosperity for Canada, say economists at CIBC World Markets in a new report that blue-skies about the future.

“It's not as painful as some think,” said chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

The next 10 years will end the U.S. consumer's excessive reign as king of shopping, and that crown will shift to China and emerging markets, predict Mr. Shenfeld and his colleague Benjamin Tal.

Pipeline breach interrupts some of Chevron's oil output in Nigeria

Chevron Corp. said it shut down about a quarter of its oil production in Nigeria after one of its pipelines in the Abiteye area of Delta State was breached.

Nigeria's main militant group in the oil-rich Niger River delta said it destroyed "major" trunk lines feeding Chevron's Escravos crude oil terminal.

Production of about 100,000 barrels a day was shut down to protect the environment, Chevron spokesman Scott Walker said Monday by e-mail from Houston. The incident is being investigated, he said.

China says data showing lower energy use signals economy changing, not slowing further

SHANGHAI (AP) — China is defending the quality of its economic data, arguing that figures showing declines in energy use mean the economy is changing, not contracting.

Data on China's electricity consumption have long been used as a benchmark for industrial activity, given the often haphazard nature of other measures. But as the economy shifts toward services and less energy-intensive manufacturing, this practice may be misleading, the National Bureau of Statistics said in comments carried by state media Tuesday.

In Ecuador, an Unusual Carbon-Credit Plan to Leave Oil Untapped

QUITO, Ecuador -- Beneath the tropical jungles of northeastern Ecuador lies a vast pool of oil, representing one-fifth of the small Andean country's petroleum reserves and potentially billions of dollars in revenue. Directly above that pool, the Yasuni National Park is home to a diversity of wildlife that is among the richest on the planet, Ecuadoran and U.S. biologists say.

Faced with these two treasures, Ecuador is pursuing an unusual plan to reap the oil profits without actually drilling for oil.

The idea envisions wealthy countries effectively paying Ecuador to leave its oil -- and the carbon dioxide that would result from using it -- in the ground. Environmentalists hail the proposal as a potentially precedent-setting approach to conservation in developing countries.

Coal-Fired Power Plant Rejected by Japanese Minister

(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s environment minister recommended rejecting a proposal for a new coal-burning power plant in the north, calling it an obstacle for the nation in meeting its pledges to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Duke Energy building "last two" coal plants-CEO

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - U.S. firm Duke Energy (DUK.N) may be building its last two coal plants to bet instead on nuclear power, chief executive James Rogers said on Tuesday.

Rogers described his company as the third largest U.S. generator of electricity from coal and the third largest from nuclear. If Duke Energy had to choose between one technology or the other Rogers said: "I'm betting on nuclear."

"And I would go a step further and probably say that these two coal plants we build might well be the last two we build until we have a clear picture on CCS," he told reporters, referring to two planned coal plants.

Energy chief feels pressure on all sides

United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu is in Europe this week to begin talks that will be crucial in the global battle against climate change.

The 61-year-old physicist yesterday held key discussions with energy ministers from G8 nations in Rome before travelling to London to take part in a debate, with Nobel prize winners, on global warming.

The arrival of Chu, himself a physics Nobel prize winner, comes as the scientist-turned-politician finds himself under fire from environmentalists over decisions he has made about America's campaign to fight global warming.

A National Energy Tax: No Solution to the American Energy Crisis

As the summer months quickly approach and families start to plan vacations, our country continues to struggle with high energy costs. Unfortunately, Congressman Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and other Democrats in Congress are strongly pushing legislation which implements a cap and trade system or more accurately: cap and tax. The simple truth behind the Waxman energy plan is that it raises taxes, kills jobs and will lead to more government intrusion.

Green Camo: Seeing Through the Military’s New Environmentalism

As the single largest consumer of energy in the world, the U.S. military is poised at the center of two of the most life-altering issues of our time: climate change and the height of oil production (“peak oil”). Surprisingly, the Pentagon began taking both matters seriously much sooner than the rest of government, which still has its fair share of skeptics.

Garage's hybrid approach to fixing 'green' cars

As the name implies, Luscious Garage is not your typical auto repair shop.

The small South of Market shop was the first of its kind in the country to specialize in servicing hybrid cars.

Solar power could surge by 2050 in deserts: study

PARIS (Reuters) - Solar power plants in deserts using mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays have the potential to generate up to a quarter of the world's electricity by 2050, a report by pro-solar groups said on Monday.

The study, by environmental group Greenpeace, the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association (ESTELA) and the International Energy Agency's (IEA) SolarPACES group, said huge investments would also create jobs and fight climate change.

Arab nuclear ambitions embolden spurs nuclear renaissance

The most volatile region in the world is going nuclear.

In the Arab world, at least thirteen nations, both oil-rich and oil-thirsty, are collaborating with world powers to build nuclear energy programmes with unprecedented determination.

As energy and water needs grow, they are confronting the inevitable depletion of oil and natural gas. The nuclear option has trumped renewables as a means to generate electricity while guaranteeing long term security.

Exxon Mobile to develop solar, biofuel and coal gasification technologies

Is oil giant Exxon Mobile preparing itself for the beginning of the end of oil? It indeed looks like it. In its 2008 Corporate Citizens Report released Friday the company promises to battle greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy efficiency in the short term, advancing emission-reducing technologies in the medium term, and developing technologies such as solar, next generation biofuels and coal gasification for the long term.

Japan: Government to embrace 'Green New Deal'

The government will promote "Green New Deal" policies to expand the nation's markets related to environmental conservation and build a society where environmental policies will not hamper economic growth, according to a draft of the 2009 white paper on the environment.

President Obama says energy cuts are key to saving the planet

A GLOBAL drive to improve energy efficiency will be the centrepiece of US President Barack Obama's strategy for fighting climate change, the US Energy Secretary has said.

An international initiative to cut the amount of energy used by buildings and vehicles is as important to reducing carbon emissions as clean energy generation, and will be more achievable in the short term, Professor Steven Chu says.

Climate change: World's destiny at stake

PARIS (AFP) – Ministers from economies accounting for 80 percent of the globe's greenhouse gases met Monday to warnings that "the world's destiny" may lie in the outcome of a mooted pact on climate change.

The so-called Major Economies Forum (MEF) met in Paris ahead of a new round of UN talksaimed at culminating in a sweeping global treaty in Copenhagen in December.

Appa, Sherpa, Warns Mount Everest Glaciers Melting From Global Warming

KATMANDU, Nepal — A Sherpa from Nepal who holds the world's record for scaling Mount Everest said Monday the planet's highest peak was littered with trash and warned that its glaciers were melting because of global warming.

Appa, who like most Sherpas goes by only one name, scaled the peak last week not to draw attention to his own amazing feat _ he has now climbed Everest a record 19 times _ but to the impact that global warming is having on the majestic site.

Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating lakes whose walls could burst and flood villages below. Melting ice and snow also make the routes for mountaineers less stable and more difficult to follow.

France, Germany urge more flexible climate pact

PARIS (Reuters) – France and Germany suggested on Monday that rich nations should collectively guarantee deep cuts in greenhouse gases by 2020 while giving flexibility to laggards such as the United States to catch up later.

France said the idea, floated at talks among 17 top greenhouse gas emitters including China, United States, Russia and India, could help toward a new U.N. climate treaty due to be agreed at a meeting in Copenhagen in December.

Amazon hit by climate chaos of floods, drought

SAO PAULO – Across the Amazon basin, river dwellers are adding new floors to their stilt houses, trying to stay above rising floodwaters that have killed 48 people and left 405,000 homeless.

Flooding is common in the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness, but this year the waters rose higher and stayed longer than they have in decades, leaving fruit trees entirely submerged. Only four years ago, the same communities suffered an unprecedented drought that ruined crops and left mounds of river fish flapping and rotting in the mud.

Experts suspect global warming may be driving wild climate swings that appear to be punishing the Amazon with increasing frequency.

Electricity monitors keep tabs on usage, cost
In-home boxes may save energy

Robert Schweikert turns on the dryer in the utility room of his West Meade home and a digital readout nearby jumps from 245 to 5,700.


The savings that can result when these monitors, called energy-use displays, vary widely for a household — from 2 percent to 15 percent, according to a 2008 resource guide from Energy Business Intelligence.

See: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090526/GREEN02/905260330/Electricity...

And north of the border:

How Google Can Save You Money On Your Hydro Bill

Torontonians have another reason to check into their iGoogle homepage besides looking at the weather, joke of the day or horoscope. A new pilot gadget will be appearing as soon as next week which will give some residents a chance to cut down on their hydro bills.

A project between the search engine giant and Toronto Hydro called "Google PowerMeter" will allow homeowners to look up a snapshot of the last 24 hours of their power usage. The trial project won't be in real-time but if it's successful that function could eventually be added.

See: http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_34737.aspx


Hey Paul !

Thanks for your posts, I look forward to them.

From the TN link:

Schweikert put a monitor at his son John's Green Hills office and found out why bills were so high there. His son had been turning the temperature on the heat pump way down on cold nights when he left.

The father and son discovered with the monitor that a large spike occurred when the thermostat was raised in the morning. It turned out that an auxiliary heater kicked in to bring the heat up quickly. That was eating large amounts of energy.

His son dropped the temperature fewer degrees at night and the bills were cut in half, Schweikert said.

This is a dynamic that I have wondered about. I assume the Aux. heater's in TN are electric coils. This aspect had been discussed in HVAC/R class, in technical specific terms - a heater coil is a purely resistive device.

Nice to see some consumers are learning some specifics of their mechanical systems.

Hi Robert,

You're right; the aux. heaters would be electric resistance and, as you can appreciate, you can get dinged pretty hard by the additional demand and energy charges. Thankfully, there are intelligent/adaptive setback thermostats that can help prevent this from happening.

Just to give you a sense of the potential cost penalties, Nova Scotia Power charges commercial customers $9.034 per month for each kW of demand, so if your roof unit is equipped with a 25 kW aux. heater, say, you're looking at $225.85 per month in added demand charges. In addition, you'll also pay a $0.02822 premium for the first 200 kWh consumed, per kW of demand, so you can tack on another $141.10 in increased energy charges. In this example, the customer would fork over $366.95 a month whenever the strips fire up within the current billing cycle.

I encourage clients to do whatever they can to limit demand and shift more of their energy to the lower cost second tier, but I'd have a better chance teaching a black bear how to tango (had I not traded in my magic wand for that Plymouth Reliant, there would be a lot more load controllers around here).


I have a unit whereby I can see the instantaneous power usage. It doesn't cut consumption.

Sure, when its new you might go round trying to find where the parasitic 100W of standby usage is coming from. However in day to day usage, what do you do when you see its drawing 3.5kW rather than 500W? You assume its the hot water or something, but what can you do about it?

Information is handy, but only if it can be acted upon. In fact what's more useful is information that causes automatic reaction. I know I'm not going to monitor a display every hour of every day.

These meters are all about automatic remote reading by the power companies and nothing about saving energy.

Hi Gary,

I'm pretty sure the power monitor featured in the first story is made by Blue Line, a company based in Newfoundland and Labrador and, if so, the data is available to only the homeowner. As the article points out, individual results vary widely and some of the initial gains may be lost over time but, overall, there's a net positive benefit.

I see these things largely as an educational tool and my own monitor has helped me to eliminate needless waste. For example, I now use my ThinkPad for the bulk of my computer work and, in the process, I've trimmed my power demand by about 100-watts. I've also unplugged two of my satellite receivers which draw 30-watts each in standby mode (it takes about twenty minutes to reload the guide but that's not a bid deal).


Airlines are often seen as 'canaries in the coalmine' when it comes to peak oil. It's interesting to see which are currently faltering and which have managed to remain in a relatively strong poistion thus far. As flying becomes more of a luxury it seems that aiming for the top section of the market is a winning strategy. At least that's how it seems judging by the recent success of Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic profits soar

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it has almost doubled annual profits, just a few days after rival British Airways reported a record loss.

The airline said pre-tax profits soared from £34.8m to £68.4m in the year to February, despite a backdrop of volatile oil prices and the deep recession.

The results contrast with BA's record annual operating loss of £401m, reported last Friday, after its fuel bill reached almost £3bn.

Virgin Atlantic, which is majority owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, flew 5.8 million passengers over the period, helped by higher numbers of premium travellers.

BA reported a 13% fall in premium travellers for the second half of its financial year.

It will be interesting to compare how the budget airlines at the other end of the market are faring.

If you look here:


there is an Excel spreadsheet that shows the monthly gallons of fuel consumed. Last Sept, the amount dropped about 15%, and hasn't recovered since then. My understanding is that what has happened is that the airlines have reduced flights and substituted smaller aircraft.

ericy -

Reduced flights and the use of smaller aircraft is directly related to a sharp drop in business travel, which in turn is directly related to the state of the economy. Bad economy = less sales calls, less project activity, less largely unnecessary business meetings, and less whatever.

Over the years I used to do a fair amount of business travel, and one could gage how well the economy was doing by whether airports appeared crowded or empty.

Also, I strongly suspect that while the price of tickets may have a strong influence on vacation and recreational air travel, it has only a rather weak influence on business travel, as the business traveller is usually not the one directly paying for his/her ticket.

Business travel has been cut back a lot. Many companies do not allow any travel, even if it is a few miles down the road. I suspect they make the blanket prohibition so they don't have to argue about what is allowed or not. We're seeing greatly reduced attendance at all sorts of seminars, schools and trade shows. It's looking rather bleak out there. Some airlines that catered more to business class travelers are suffering more.

The company that I work for has requested that we not sign up for any classes or seminars until things begin to look a bit brighter. This is in a company that has been paying tuition for a course per semester for anyone that would like to attend one of the local colleges or universities fro quite some time now.

Interesting data, thanks for the link, ericy. I'll have to add it to my 'favourites'.

I'm not what you'd call a frequent flier, having only been on a plane twice (well, I had to get back somehow). My interest stems more from the environmental, resource use side of aviation. I've taken special interest since the furore over our government's plans for airport expansion, especially at Heathrow Airport. Higher oil prices still don't seem to have put paid to the plans although the issue has receded from the media spotlight recently. I don't know how much of an impression economic downturn and a decline in a demand for aviation will have. I worry that wasteful infrastructure projects will be pushed through as 'Keynesian' stimulants for the BAU economy, although perhaps I should welcome this, from an Orlovian perspective.

Re: Amazon Chaos

You could not ask for a better example of chaos in action.

If you've a brain, a pulse and any desire at all for your progeny, or humanity, to maintain any degree of social cohesion over the next 100 -1,000 years, please act now. Here's what I am doing:


What are you doing?


What is your sense of S Koreans' willingness to hear about PO, Transition Towns, Alt Energy, Permaculture.. etc? Is it as anathema in Seoul as in much of the US?

I remember a considerable Windfarm towards the eastern shores when I flew into S Korea a couple years ago. Even from several thousand feet, the turbines seemed mammoth. Do you follow what they're doing with windpower there?


Bob... crap... just hit the perfect combination of the wrong keys and deleted a long post...

Short answer: I'm limited by my Korean skills, but not nearly enough for a nation that has virtually no resources and virtually no hope of feeding itself when there is something like 0.03 acres of arable land per person.

I will try to write a longer response later.


That's such a drag. Very disspiriting..


When you reply, please state why you remain in a severely overcrowded lifeboat. Wouldn't it make sense to move? I understand familial bonds, but wouldn't your family benefit from your establishing residency elsewhere?

New Zealand comes first to my mind. Kiwis are nearly race blind and it's not too far away. It's not as hard as you think. Once in, you could bring your family. Or back to your native country if better.

I'm convinced most people, even enlightened ones, will suffer or die in place. Of course, most assume they'll be fine where they are, but I think it's self-delusional thinking. This is good news for those of us who are building havens. While you may judge S. Korea as your best option, you should justify it and see if the TOD community agrees with you. Your worst enemy or best friend will be your immediate neighbors, so small geographical changes will make a big difference. Think about the N. Korean response to resource scarcity....

I live in Juneau, AK. Many TOD contributors probably consider Juneau as a relative haven. Population density is ultra low, resources including coal(!), hydro and food (fish) are abundant, and the average Alaskan is relatively ready. Primative population density and cultural achievements were high. Juneau is the powerhouse community, and will dominate local politics for decades. The region is easily defended and poor enough not to invite immigration. Alaska is an oil exporting state and relatively fiscally independent. And of course with climate change and rising sea levels, S.E. Alaska will benefit.

TOD community, what do you think, does Juneau sound relatively ideal?

This is all true, and Juneau might be ideal for other TOD members but not for me. I'm moving. If anyone wants to cess out Juneau, I'll gladly show you around. I'll give you the no bull tour.

ccpo, I'm not trying to rain on your parade, I am just curious. Wisdom from Pakistan justified his plan to stay there, I shake my head but he is most likely correct. WoP has an intact village. Maybe you do also.

My family is spread out, all of them in non-ideal communities, and none of them can grok Peak Oil, so I've established roots in a new region with no familial or preexisting social connections. Basically I looked at the globe and eliminated most of it, then focused in on the remainder. After several false starts, I've finally pulled the trigger. We all have different criteria, so I don't expect any other TOD members to follow me, but the micro spot I've picked is agricultural, has skilled and networked neighbors and my family fits in well.

Cold Camel

Its a bit funny I looked very hard at Alaska once when I was looking for grad schools and decided against it mainly because of money.

However later when I became peak oil aware I considered it again and my conclusion was that probably quite a few people will survive there but over time I think it will become more and more a place where your more surviving then creating new stuff. Nothing at all wrong with that it is cool :)

Historically outside of the Mongols you never really have gotten a high civilization out of the North and one could readily argue the Mongols assimilated and fused a lot of Chinese and later Indian knowledge into their culture. The other example is the Vikings and you have a similar sort of fusion mixing in and cherry picking ideas and fusing them with local creations. I could readily see Alaska become something like that but it still requires some other companion culture to really work. One living in a bit more begin conditions.

And one last thing unlike a lot of survivalist type living with a bunch of people who own and know how to use high powered rifles when the rule of law may get a bit hazy never struck me as the smartest idea. I'm familiar with the long running feuds in Arkansas and I tend to think something similar could easily set in in Alaska.but with a few people getting shot instead of just dogs. I'd suggest the conditions for tit for tat feuds are fairly good in Alaska given the chance.


I agree with everyhing except the feud thing. That's a universal problem.

Cold Camel

Yeah but I'd rather feud with someone who was not a perfect shot with a high powered rifle able to disappear into the bush and live off the land :)

I happen to be excellent marksman for some reason I have the gift for laying in a shot.
I'd rather not deal with people who are better than I am.

I'll take my chances with strawberry farmers in Oregon :)

And yeah I need to get me a few nice rifles a shotgun and I'm a sucker for a good crossbow but they might be illegal in Oregon. I've always felt a good crossbow was a way underrated weapon.

Anyway a little real doomer porn :)


My wife caught me looking at that page :(

Hello Memmel,

The Title of the fiction book escapes me just now as I read it many years ago, but some survivalists made some big crossbows from a bunch of car or truck leaf springs, and wound them up to full cock with come-alongs [winches]. They found it effective for a sneak-attack of sending flaming steel-pipe arrows into the fuel tanks of the invaders. It didn't matter if an enemy was standing in front of the gas-tank; the heavy pipe-arrow would just pin them to the soon-to-be flaming vehicle.

I have no-idea if that is applicable to real-life, but it sure sounds interesting.

Again, your concern about dead-shot hicks should be everywhere Iraq veterans settle, not just Alaska.

I’m not afraid of dead-shot hicks or vets. They can shoot me in the back from 500 yards, but in my experience, feuds are started by the bully who accidentally or intentionally kills someone and gets away with it.

Assuming that political power dissipates, we can also assume that police protection will disappear as well. Without initial suppression of appropriate retaliation, feuds don’t start. What happens is, someone pulls a gun and kills the bully. The dead-shots don’t defend idiots. I was in the Venezuelan and Brazilian gold fields 20 years ago, and in both cases all the significant players went around armed. People died, but most were friendless, i.e. not worth befriending. When any decent person died, friends evened the score, and there was no feud. Once you eliminate the savage idiots, even the criminals tend to play by the rules….

A much worse threat will be the release of prisoners. Yes, most prisoners are harmless, but many are unreformed predators. They will go on the hunt.

Many posters on this site are terrified of social breakdown and the release of animal instincts. I’ve been there myself, and had to study hard on the subject. Farfal in Argentina is a must read. But with study, I realize I can significantly sway the odds in my favor with proper preparation, particularly location. In most cases victims choose to be victims. Low-level random acts of violence cannot be prevented or eliminated, so should be ignored. If you are worried about social breakdown, Alaska is about the safest place I can imagine.

I’m enjoying this discussion with you, Memmel. This is certainly a tangent. And Alaska ships many of our prisoners off to Arizona, so….

The other significant enemy you fail to mention is the entitlement mentality. A significant percentage of our population considers that in times of stress, all resources should be shared. They will attempt to disarm neighbors and mandate the distribution of mitigation stockpiles as they did post-Katrina. I’d rather my neighbors were armed.

On a final note, the evolution of military firearms is all about reducing the size of the projectile and still making an effective kill. This is in part why 5.56 persists; it effectively penetrates man-portable armor. Your crossbow gives up range, accuracy, reloading speed and magazine space. Firearms will remain more effective for at least 40 years. None-the-less, I feel the call to learn how to make a yew bow. Then I return to reality.

Oregon is nice.

Cold Camel

A number of good points.

I'll certainly have a few rusty 22's ready to hand over to my neighbors when asked to disarm for the good of all. I might even fund a few worn out real rifles to make it even better looking. And what the heck a cheap pistol :)

I agree with most of what you said. Your right about the Iraqi Vets and they will be back some day and I suspect they won't be happy for long. I'd not be surprised if the war is now just being prolonged for this very reason. Fairly deep recessions are almost universal at the end of wars so ...

Some thoughts I don't even want to follow through on that one both sucks and is way to realistic.

The thing I like about crossbows and bows in general is they are actually decent hunting tools. You can carry a number of different arrows or bolts and its basically a universal hunting weapon for any game. And of course you can fall back to making excellent bows and with a bit of machining decent crossbows without any technology if need be. With just a few hand tools you have more than a lifetime supply of arrow heads without resorting to flint. Hell even glass is good stuff.

In a dangerous situation with a human your going to be a hell of a lot cooler thinking armed with a bow or crossbow vs a gun. Rambo anything is out. If you did decide to shoot someone then it will be to kill and then run like mad. Its a good way to keep the survival instinct up there. Your goal is to get people to leave. Also of course shoot someone with a arrow and they can't be certain your not armed with a gun and honestly I'd probably carry both but conserve my ammo. At least a good handgun.

I see ammo as getting really really expensive and for the most part if you go the bow route you only need it for protection. Why fall into the ammo trap ? Even reloading really does not really solve the problem. I just don't see any real reason to hunt with a gun vs a bow. Sure you need a bit more skill but once learned your just as capable.
If your moving to some seriously open terrain then I guess you would have a issue but I have to wonder about other survival issues if you chosen to live in a place without enough cover to get close shots.

99.999% of the time your shooting birds and rabbits and squirrels etc anyway you can be pretty sure that any bigger game is going to either get wiped out are get really good at hiding until the idiots run out of ammo. In Arkansas where I'm from the Whit Tail deer population was decimated during the depression.


According to QDMA figures, there were less than 500 deer scattered throughout Arkansas in 1930. Current estimates indicate a deer population of 1.75 million in Mississippi and 1 million in Arkansas.

Anyone that expect to be able to run around and shoot a few deer as needed as things get bad are probably going to be in for a nasty shock. Blowguns are good stuff also I went through a blow gun period once. And modern slingshots are not to be taken lightly.
And of course air guns. But the bow or crossbow is still one of the few weapons that works for small game and for the two legged varmits or the occasional less common deer.
I need to get a good slingshot I really forgot about them its been a while.

I probably should figure out how to make a good one using inner tubes.


Another idea for my metal shop once the good ole boys run low on ammo and deer.

Sharps reproductions are rather expensive, but they do show up as used rifles.

Here's one that's up for auction this week

E. Swanson

I will not click that link.
I will not click that link..

Arggh looks around for wife and clicks link :)

Historically outside of the Mongols you never really have gotten a high civilization out of the North

What was in not necessarily what will be. Don't you think being darned cold and often iced over had just a tad to do with that? I don't see how that makes those places unable to breed civilizations. Keep in mind, if warming continues and that old Jet Stream continues it's northward trek, the new north will be the old grain belt, which is where civilizations rise.


Apparently, you've missed some of my earlier posts. :) I've no intention of remaining in Korea. I've looked into locations other than home (the US), but it's hard to find good info. I actually looked at NZ but saw no method that matched my circumstance.

If you've some useful info, please contact me via the e-mail in my profile.


My useful info is, it's near impossible to accomplish long-distance. I'd say give it up, but I succeeded, so maybe you can too.

First off, I couldn't have done it without my wife's support.

It was a waste of time to visit properties to which we were not drawn. Make dedicated visits. If you can't afford the search, you can't afford to move.

When I had time, I would search for properties. Often for months at a time, I found nothing. But when I found one that I couldn't shake off, we would visit. I visited one farm without my wife, but not a second. When searching long distance, ignore raw land.

I've also found that now that I've actually purchased a property, some of our other worries have fallen away. From here on out, it is just one step after the next.

We paid full asking price for my property in a declining real estate market. It's a go/no go decision. You can't afford to chisel. Also, the owner is your introduction to the neighbors.

Budget your move, then restrict your search to properties that cost 1/2 that. It's humbling to live within your means, but pointless to spend all your money on property. It won't be turn-key. Much of my delay was eyes too big. The first farm we looked at cost 5x the one we bought.

I've been serious the whole time, but this spring, I told my wife, "No vacation." She agreed. We ain't expecting no party, so full mitigation mode is the only way to go. I've been a pig on the last few vacations anyway. I look around at the walking dead and get depressed. It's all so make-believe.

Remember the money you spend on your property is make-believe. Maybe things will get better, then you can walk away from the land and be happy. We look at it as a great life experience.

Cold Camel

Yeah I'm still saving up. For the short term since I rent I'll continue to rent and check places out. I can readily afford a few acres with a decent trailer. I might not need that much room either since I'm not sure my wife would buy into that.

I think you really nailed it the most important thing is to pay cash and get your property free and clear and then still have money left over. This may mean living well below your "means" but that says a more about have badly screwed most of our thinking processes are.

In many ways your better off getting a place with more land and say a good source of rocks and timber and take your time building your own place. You may need to be careful about the local laws.

One has to imagine that if things got bad enough then building materials from abandoned buildings should be plentiful.

Also I think you should have a sort of plan C. If somehow things manage to work out and its not all that bad then consider what you would do if things remained like that are now. Maybe your retreat becomes a summer place ?
Maybe you rent it or maybe you just stay because your happy. I mention this because if your doing something out of fear its not the right way. You should be making a lifestyle choice your happy with.

For me at least my final decision was a small town in a rich agricultural area. That seems to be the best for my own circumstances. And I'm looking for the biggest yard I can get. I really want at least 0.5 acres for a garden. I've chosen a machine shop as my post peak goal. I figure I should be able to get the food I need in exchange for machining work. Also some electrical work etc. I can't see why society won't quickly go back to a more 50/50 split with half the people farmers and half working to support them. And for me at least I'd honestly be happy as a lark putting around in a machine shop for the rest of my life. I really love making stuff out of metal for some weird reason. My dad has a big wood workshop and I used to help him a lot but metal has always been something I really enjoy working with. Given the chance I'd probably try to get decent at both. Maybe not the worlds ultimate wood worker but if it works out sort of a general metal/wood/electronics shop is what I'm thinking.
Anything to eat :)

And this may sound really weird but one of the one things I want to do post peak if things get bad is make toys for kids and even hopefully be able to make bicycles including the tires. Not the cheap plastic crap like we have now from china but real toys with machined parts hopefully primarily brass. Stuff that would last generations.
Something about that idea just sticks with me.

So for me at least one of the possible bright points in the future is we might see real toys again. Maybe thats not so weird after all :)

I'll just tag thison to the end here...

Yeah I'm still saving up... a few acres with a decent trailer.

...the most important thing is to pay cash and get your property free and clear and then still have money left over.

In many ways your better off getting a place with more land and say a good source of rocks and timber and take your time building your own place... One has to imagine that if things got bad enough then building materials from abandoned buildings should be plentiful.

Also I think you should have a sort of plan C.

Agree with all above. Will likely start with a really cheap rental, building a tiny little cabin or Plan C below while building something more substantial. Definitely want water or a good water table on property. Water with a decent gradient will charge batteries a bit. Water catchment via cisterns and swales (if sloped) will be definite additions in time.

Woods are needed for emergency fuel (I hope to build well enough to not need any fuel for heating and cooling. I'm content to bundle up to avoid the cold and don't need a perfect 72 year round.), building materials, food, etc. Also, want to build only with renewable materials. If I'm growing my own trees, I can balance any wood bought with more trees.

Plan C is shaping up to be an old carbureted truck/jeep-ish vehicle and travel trailer, in case the gov't or marauders decide what's mine is theirs.


As far as location, well, we aren't wealthy or anything close to it, which is one of the problems with NZ. Your comments in that regard wrt strategy don't fit my planning, but I have very specific requirements for myself that I very much hope not to violate.

Also, your comments were far too cryptic with regard to immigration to be of any use. An e-mail would be appreciated.

Cheers, gents, and thanks for an entertaining read.

ccpo, It sounds like you have a good handle on your specific situation.

NZ immigration is intimidating, but the system is full of loopholes. I went through the process and was accepted. I had to know I could get in before I could fully weigh the benefits. My advice is that you shouldn't let the immigration process intimidate you.

Also, having started with extremely specific goals for the property, I found that I had to throw out about 3 of 10. You won't find everything. As Shrek said, "It'll do, Donkey, it'll do." Perfectionism is the enemy of the good.

And timing is everything. Prices are going down. Risk is going up. Even though I waited six years, I still probably jumped early. Best of luck.

Cold Camel

Interesting chat Camel/memmel. I'll throw my vote towards Texas. I don't contemplate survival tactics too much but I understand at least the desire to be mentally prepared should TSHTF to such a degree. Even skilled I think most would still desire community. Perhaps even more so in such times especially if you had dependents/young ones. No doubt other communities have a strong base but Texas does pride itself on being very independent minded. But it's more a sense of "us" and not "me" against "them" here. As Camel said, if everyone is armed (as we are for the most part) then that strong sense of community should eliminate the undesirable elements. A strong individualistic attitude is vital to surviving alone or in a small unit. But mass and diversity might make the difference between just surviving and existing in relative peace.

Climate wise we won't freeze in the dark. It does bake us in the summer but that won't kill most. Agriculture should survive well enough without modern chemicals/tools. We are also very adept at wildlife management including an inbred distaste for poachers.

Then add the state owned oil/NG leases as well as refinery capability. We also have one of the largest and best armed military forces in the world which would certainly pledge their allegiance to the state before the Feds should condition deteriorate to such a dismal degree. Plus we’ll always make some room for our cousins from Arkansas. For comic relief if no other reason.

Climate wise we won't freeze in the dark. It does bake us in the summer but that won't kill most.

I don't know how far into the future you are thinking, but the Jet Stream has been moving north steadily. Texas is likely to get a lot warmer and drier as time goes on.

But, hey, people live in deserts all over the world. Personally, looking for a place a little wetter and greener.



I knew the moment that a Texan found out I was from Arkansas this would start :)

All I can do is say the Arkansas prayer.

Thank God for Mississippi.

Seriously though I don't see a lot wrong with the entire Mississippi/Missouri/Ohio river valley region some parts are arguably better than others but the entire drainage is one of the most fertile regions of the world its well watered and obviously has a number of navigable rivers. I'd argue if it had not been for the oil age that the region would have become the natural center of the US for a wealth of reasons. It realistically was until we gutted it.

I thought a lot about moving back and I might its my own plan B.

It seems that once you assume a river reasonably close by that can handle some sort of boat traffic and enough agricultural land to support a reasonable population its really hard to really say place A is better than B. I'd stay away from the largest cities i.e much over 300-400k but other than that and thats even more a preference than and absolute its tough to really pick a place outside of personal preference.

In the Southern US I'd say Atlanta is one of the few cities that even comes close to being questioningly sustainable because of the population vs the local water resources.

Chicago is probably the only other city outside of the North East one would also question. So outside of Chicago and Atlanta I just don't see huge issues in most of the region and of course both cities could easily disperse some of their population and it would improve the situation immensely. But they are the only two I would call seriously over grown. Others like Dallas for example may have serious issues but maybe not.

Outside of this as far as the US is concerned the problem areas are actually where the wealth is concentrated the Washington DC -> Boston North East seaboard and Southern California. This is where in my opinion you have to many positive feedbacks loops to prevent regional or at least local collapse.

At the moment I happen to live in one of the worst places to be in my opinion but I'm working on changing that :)

Good point about the river systems memmel. I suppose if we picture a near zombie stage across much of the US it might seem a similar place to the early explorers. Water will always be key for many obvious reasons. But I'll still hang my hat on the community angle. Not that each section of the country wouldn't have a similar gathering of like-minded and relatively well intentioned folks. But Texans do seem more fanatical when it comes to such matters. I've been a TBC (Texan By Choice) for about 30 years. My experiences range from low paid ranch hand to the big CEO's and there is some sort of common genetic defect that throws them into the same mind set when it comes to homeland (i.e. Texas) security.

I wasn't kidding about the potential of our in-state military revolting against federal authority if it ever got that bad. Not a very pleasant thought but completely predictable IMO. I suppose I’m also prejudiced to think most southern states would be a better place to hang. If I had to choose somewhere other then Texas I would pick Arkansas if for no other reason then they are the second best marksmen in the country.

My family already owns a little bit of land in Sao Paulo State in Brazil.
However years ago when my airfare was paid by Oil Company money, I had many opportunities to stop in north eastern Brazil, while on my way to work on an offshore oil rig off the coast of Amapa. I personally like Paraiba State near the city of Joao Pessoa. You can google it. Here is an example of a property listed on the internet. BTW Engenho is the large gears for crushing sugar cane to extract the juice and Cachaça is a strong rum like spirit distilled from sugarcane. You can either drink it or run your tractor on it ;-)

Disclaimer: I took this as a random example and have no personal interest in this property.

A chance to buy an historical farm for sale in Brazil located in the Paraiba highlands within Brazil's Northeast having commercial value in the form of Cachaça and Manouc flour production. Property for sale in Campina Grande, Brazil
Farm for Sale in Brazil - Old 'Engenho' 138 acres in the highlands

Location: Campina Grande, Paraiba, Brazil
Price: £71,839 / $106,125 / €80,270 / 250,000 BRL
Type: Farms
Status: Resale <?blockquote>

Written by Cold Camel:
I live in Juneau, AK. Population density is ultra low, resources including coal(!), hydro and food (fish) are abundant, and the average Alaskan is relatively ready. Primative population density and cultural achievements were high. Juneau is the powerhouse community, and will dominate local politics for decades. The region is easily defended and poor enough not to invite immigration. Alaska is an oil exporting state and relatively fiscally independent. And of course with climate change and rising sea levels, S.E. Alaska will benefit.

TOD community, what do you think, does Juneau sound relatively ideal?

The U.S. census reported an Alaskan population of 33,426 in 1880 and 686,293 in 2008. How many of these people will leave when crude oil is no longer economical to extract and send to the lower 48 states? How many will leave when the royalty checks stop? Britannica indicates that Alaska imports about 90% of its food suggesting the population will need to drop to about 68,000 to be self-sufficient. Juneao with about 30,000 people will need to decrease to 3,000 based on this method of estimation. Since peak oil makes transportation expensive, Alaskans can not rely on inexpensive imported goods. How well do greenhouses work in Juneau?

Anthropic climate change is acidifying the oceans which may be detrimental to fish making reliance on them as a food source questionable.

Can Alaska successfully adapt to melting permafrost caused by global warming?
Melting Permafrost in Previously Forested Areas, Alaska Science Forum, March 8, 1983

How about avalanches knocking down power lines? They used diesel generators to replace lost hydroelectric power.
Avalanche spurs Alaskan town to quick energy-consumption change, May 14, 2008:

In Juneau, Alaska, an avalanche has severely disrupted the electricity supply, forcing the city's utility to change over to more expensive diesel and pushing rates up 400%.

"Here in Alaska, where melting arctic ice and eroding coastlines have made global warming an urgent threat, this little city has cut its electricity use by more than 30 percent in a matter of weeks, instantly establishing itself as a role model for how to go green, and fast.

Is Juneau prepared for peak oil to diminish tourism?

Wiki has the elevation of Juneau listed at 56 feet which is likely an average. What is the elevation at the Gastineau Channel? The land in the area rising by maybe 10 feet by 2100 due to melting glaciers is not enough to out pace sea level rise caused by the glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica melting and sliding into the ocean which could eventually raise sea level by 80 m (262 feet). The future contribution to sea level rise by dynamic ice is rather uncertain, but the cautious planner would avoid anything within about 300 feet of sea level.
Melting Glaciers causing the Land to Rise Rapidly in AK, May 19, 2009.

Blue Twilight,
a bit of a relief to read your 'reality check' for Alaska, (though it could be Cold Camel's great great grandchildren who deal with 300 feet of sea level rise. I understand that full melt could take a while).
The stuff up the thread about guns and disintegration of the Union, is the kind of imagining that makes many outside the USA seriously worry for America.
I suppose if USA gets another 9/11, perhaps more lethal than the first, and not all that unlikely, and then Dick Cheney, at least the Iraq vets will be employed. If Dimitri Orlov's dictum actually becomes applicable to USA, it is much better for that skill-set to be employed rather than self-employed. I prefer to look on the bright side. I like memmel's idea of making toys for his kids and friends. Sort of thing you can start now.

Blue, you ask lots of questions, all are valid. Your estimate that the population needs to drop by 90% passes my sniff test. Yep, yep, yep.

But After the 90% drop, life should be quite sustainable. Nice article in Alaskan magazine on subsistence if you can find it on the net. Those 60K will be fine, and anybody is free to join.

The key is mobility. Modern Alaskans live in houses. That will have to change. There is plenty of food but you have to chase it. Today, they use machines, but tomorrow they will just pack up and go. Nomads aren't necessarily hurt by sea-level changes.

The old-timers still exist, barely, and the population is open to outsiders. We love the idea that a Jamaican finished 13th in the Yukon Quest dog race. That guy could settle in any village and become local just by following around the old folk, and he's as exotic as you can get. If it's for you, it's real. I can't say the same for any other indigenous society that I know.

So yeah, Blue, I agree. Alaska is not for me. But I still hold that somebody reading this blog might read this, move to Alaska, and thrive. I have no dog in this hunt. Thanks for the input.

Cold Camel

Here in France we've gone from 31°c yesterday to 14°c today. Chaotic temperature fluctuations can cause considerable problems for agriculture. For example, the flip flopping of the weather (cold to hot to cold) here in Europe over the Spring has caused half my onions (the early planted ones) to bolt, ruining half the crop. The flip flopping fools the onions (which are biannual) into believing that two winter/summer cycles have passed and so they flower (bolt).

It seems that all roads lead to agriculture (financial collapse, peak oil, climate change, resource depletion and overshoot, et al) or the demise thereof. And of course agriculture is the Achilles heel of civilisation, which by their nature leave deserts in their wake (and a few useless buildings).

As for action, I think you've got an up hill struggle. Not because there isn't enough concerned people, because there are. The problem is that so few can transition into the new way of living, even when they can see what is coming.

I was surprised when I started organic farming (small scale) just how few we are in number. There are masses of people involved in promoting, certifying, teaching, organising, writing about it and all manner of things. But in a hundred square miles you could practically count the number actually doing the farming on one hand. And here in France people are very conservative and fully support of local food producers, especially organic ones.

I don't think anything will be done until things collapse... and then it will be too late. Do whatever you can for yourself and those closest to you, if enough do this we stand a chance, otherwise we have no alternative but to make do with what we have done for ourselves.

My onions hve not bolted (flowered), but I have a question. How do you know when to harvest them?
I'm pretty new to growing my own veggies and lack some basic knowledge. Despite this I have alreay eaten a some things that I have grown this year. Kohlrabi and raddishes, yum yum.

Edited to add I am in Germany near Cologne.

From my childhood gardening, once the green shoot has shot up to about 5 or 6 inches you can harvest the onion. This is what my parents called green onion. The onion bulb will be about the diameter of a pencil.

The onion will continue to grow for say 6 to 8 weeks. The onion will be about the size of a orange at this time. When to pick the onion depends on what size onion you like to eat.

If you gently dig around the base of the onion, you can see the size of the bulb, without killing the plant.

The key is to pick the onions before the bulb gets too moist and rots. Also if not eating immediately, be sure to dry the onion in the sun. Wetness is the enemy of storage. From our experience, a dried onion will last one winter.

harvest when the tops have died back
I got a tip from an old lady, she told me if your onions bolt step on them and really heel it into the ground. a new stock will come up and it will be fine. No idea if it will work but I'm trying it.

Leeb is obviously a believer in peak oil and now proposes the concept of Absolute Peak Oil. He defines this as the point in which we’d have to invest more than a barrel’s worth of energy to pump, refine, and truck a barrel’s worth of it to the local gas station.

Talk about out of left field! In all my days here at TOD I have never seen anyone suggest we were anywhere close to an EROEI of 1:1 for petroleum products, except possibly for corn ethanol.

If I were a non-Peakist and/or non-Doomer, I'd be crying "Alarmist!"

You folks with all the charts and such, WTF? Anything to this?


Inasmch as I've been hearing 8:1 (From RR, I believe) as the low end of the Net Energy for Crude Oil presently, I would love to know what people are calculating for various types of well.

I would have to think that some must get pretty slim in their margins, ( ie, close to that 1:1 Leeb discussed) which are being supported by whatever cheaper, easier crude still flows at healthy returns from less difficult locations and depths.

One of the problems when calculating ERoEI is what inputs do you have to count. I believe we never count all of them. Perhaps we need and ERoEI for society as a whole. When a machine run on fuel is involved in producing oil or solar panels or ethanol we count the energy to run the machine (and should count the energy to produce the machine) but when a human is involved we do not count the energy to run the human (food shelter etc - there is room for energy savings here at least in the US) We also don't count the infrastructure - roads, road machinery, running road machinery, gas stations, running gas stations etc. I don't know if this is what Leeb meant but I suspect that as a society or a world we are out of excess - someone calcualted that industrial society would fail on less than 8:1 perhaps for the reasons I am offering. I don't know how to quantify this, but I suspect that the economic collapse is because we are out of excess.

And remember that every bit of debt has only as much value
as there is energy.

That's why the Credit Derivatives Monster, over a quadrillion
sounds the death knell for civilization.

What we've been doing since actual PO in May 2005
is matching $$$ w/ actual energy.

which will = massive deflation.

Deflation is not only unlikely but virtually impossible (other than for short financial panic periods) in the post peak oil world.

Ignoring the world’s central banks for a moment - The price of energy and other natural resources must rise relative to other prices due to their scarcity, and in addition, this rise in prices must result in a lower standard of living in long run. Granted in the short run, some technological improvements may balance out part of the general price rise caused by resource shortages.

But getting back to central banks, particularly the Fed, they have embarked on a wildly inflationary expansion of the monetary base. The Fed has clearly set out to backstop the collapse of mortgage and credit derivatives – even if this means issuing trillions of $s in new money. This will surely result in a related amount of inflation. The argument against this is that money velocity will slow to offset the Fed. Maybe so, but eth money base has already doubled over the last year, and I don’t think money velocity has even fallen a fraction for that amount.

Well their goal is asset price inflation and in particular of assets that require long term loans aka cars, houses etc.

The reason is of course most of the debt default is in these areas. However if they are in oversupply they are in oversupply and prices will fall until they meet demand and or the goods are destroyed. This can be as places going to slum status or cars for example and some homes actually being destroyed.

There is nothing the Government can do to bolster demand if you have and absolute excess of a good. Look at Detroit it simply has to many houses for the intrinsic demand no price is too low.

These days you have a lot of different inflations and deflations and supply and demand imbalances.

Also for the most part the printing presses have been running in overdrive in and attempt to backstop the insolvency of the banking sector. Obviously even if they do this but issuing loans esp on homes continues to to result in high level of defaults as house prices fall it simply does no good.

I think what people are missing is its really a cash flow issue. People don't have enough money to service their current debt loads much less expand them. We can expect also that interest rates will increase as the Federal government exchanges cash to banks for worthless debt. But this is not really printing money in the traditional sense its simply the same as the bank having defaulted most of this cash never gets lent out again as its use to increase cash reserves to cover ever more defaulted debt.

Its not printing until the banks start lending and the loans stop defaulting as long as this continues all thats happening is the credit worthiness of the US Government is declining against its creditors.

Next of course we expect that oil has peaked and our creditors are also the suppliers of our imports they buy our debt and sell us goods. They can and will demand higher prices for goods such as oil if the absolute supply is tight and in addition they feel the dollar is being devalued. Although traditional printing in earnest has not started obviously at some point the US can and will print to pay its debts instead of selling Treasuries on the open market.

I'd say right now its more the obvious fact that as the US takes on ever more debt that cant be repaid then the eventual effective default becomes ever more certain. Our creditors are not going to what to hold dollars for long.

However internally you still have the cash flow problem. Most of the people are technically insolvent so offering more debt simply does not help. I'd say that the average American probably needs 100k of pure cash to repair his balance sheet and solve his cash flow problems.

Offering more credit will simply cause more defaults and eventually the Government purchasing more toxic paper just to balance the books.

High unemployment virtually ensures that wages won't increase no matter what the Government does.

I'm not saying that some things are not inflating but its complex enough of a situation that saying inflation or deflation is simply to simple. Whats really going on is that both creditors and debtors are insolvent. No amount of games with credit and debt can solve this problem. It needs a big influx of non-inflationary cash and also for the debt to be truly defaults. This means you have to allow the system to heal and become productive again.

The approach the Government has taken virtually ensures the system will self destruct the chances of simple inflation taking hold are in my opinion zero.

Instead the US Government will attempt to lend at negative real interest rates. That is borrowing money at a higher rate then it is lending at. This does not lead to inflation but outright destruction of the currency as external creditors simply refuse to exchange goods and services for the currency at any price. We import to much to inflate.

Thus the Government eventually has no choice but to allow interest rates to rise to reflect the true risk of default and eventual attempts at more traditional monetary inflation in a sense it will be forced to pay the inflation tax well before it gets a chance to really inflate since it squandered its credit backstopping debt that should have defaulted.

Of course the average US citizen is still flat broke but now if they try to get credit that have to pay the punitive interest rates that the US Government has forced on itself. Our credit crisis is finally forced into the open in its real form we are insolvent. Any attempt at printing in these conditions will ignite instant ultra-super inflation. Its instant death or accepting the situation and forcing the defaults and repudiating the debt until the system at least stabilizes.

This does not mean that the US Government won't continue to print but its just printing money and sending it to our creditors the internal economy gets nothing and the newly recapitalized banks are useless no one can get credit so who cares what the bank balance sheets look like. The banks themselves will be forced to diversify their own holding away from the dollar effectively converting US dollar denominated debt into external debt.

Our creditors are beyond unhappy with the Fed buying treasuries and very rapidly they will face the choice of having to buy all treasuries issued or allow interest rates to rise. I'd argue the US Government fails fast if it tries to effectively close the trade in treasuries way to many are outstanding.

Effectively regardless of what the Fed and the US Government does it will be forced in my opinion to allow the credit markets to clear. Any other choice results in a fast crash of the currency system not inflation not deflation but a outright rejection of the currency for any external trade. In general of course the borrowing capacity of the average consumer is now negative rising commodity prices will reduce this even further.
We will be forced to either save or die.

So it really comes down to how US sovereign debt is treated if I'm right then we will see interest rates rise strongly to punish the US for taking on so much worthless debt.
Effectively we get the worst parts of inflation without the benefits.

In my opinion the bailouts have themselves ensured that any attempts at simple inflation are impossible. Its really Japanese style deflation on steroids as the population is itself insolvent.

And of course the velocity of money will slow to a crawl and the GDP will tank etc.

I think the real problem is by not allowing the debt to default like it should then and only then doing rational inflation sufficient to keep the system from collapsing we lost our opportunity to inflate in a manner acceptable to our creditors. Inflation that leads to real growth is simply not the same as inflation to backstop defaulted debts. If you choose this route then realistically the other door is closed.

Sorry for the long post again but I think the real situation is complex enough that you have to look at all the angles. One thing is certain the American consumer will be unable to sit down any time soon. In the end we are the US its not our government and we will pay one way or another for our recklessness. One thing thats certain in history is no government gets away with printing money if it cannot induce economic growth. Printing is actually allowed but only as long is you have a reasonable chance that the economy will eventually grow to cover the debts. When it becomes clear that the US cannot make this promise then we are done.

Well put.

I was convinced of a dollar ‘crash’ in exchange value as early as 2005, and I wrote some popular internet articles about it that back then. On the way to the final crash is a fall in the purchasing power of the dollar - which you more specifically describe alternatively as a rise in real interest rates to cover default risks. I think we are in general agreement that the fall in dollar will be some combination of a fall in its purchasing value and at the same time higher interest rates to salvage what remains of the world trade system that delivers large, but diminishing, quantities of energy resources to the US.

Inevitably the coming crisis will result in a lower levels of economic activity, which will be necessary to adjust to the lower levels of energy resources available worldwide.

We both agree with Memmel.

Strange. ;}

The Problem is what happens to the largest Military in the World.

LOL :)

I don't like people agreeing with me I'd much rather see arguments that are excellent and opposite my views.

For the most part all I've seen with counter arguments is they narrow the problem until their solution works.

How do you take a society that has run up huge debts and is worried about keeping housing prices and insane levels with a banking system centered on getting the yearly monster bonus that pay no attention to our problems and covert it to one that succesfully transitions to a zero growth fairly low energy society is beyond me.

The answer seems to be that all we need to do is borrow a bit more money pass some laws and renewable are really high growth supporting fantastic energy sources we have just failed to tap. Despite the maneuverings of Westexas's iron triangle I really think if they where that good we would have been using them. This suggest they are not that good which takes you back to my first question. Maybe its extreme but history indicates its probably closer to the truth than some expectation that we can just phase in renewables without really missing a beat. And we still have a hell of a lot of debt even then.

Thanks for agreeing I guess I keep hoping that I'll see something I can believe in that would change my point of view instead I continue to see the same thing over and over again we need to do X and thats the problem therefore we solved it.

The only exception is Alan's electric rail/ trolley concepts thats really the one single idea if you will that really stands out as something that makes tons of sense no matter what your viewpoint is. And whats interesting is its one of the few that works today in many countries and used to work in the US. Small wonder its a damned good idea it actually works :)

I hope that shows I'm not a complete doomer I just think that our real choices are fairly slim they are not by any means zero but I've yet to see and idea of the same caliber as Alans be presented.

And I don't really have anything against Wind power but I can't see it being "the answer" that its made out to be. Certainly it works some places but we have a global problem and its going to take a lot more than wind to pull us out. I wonder about the long term life of the turbines in general windy places often are areas that have major storms every few years put up enough turbines in the Midwest and a tornado taking out a lot of them will eventually happen. Maintenance of the turbines remains a concern of mine. My experience with the wind farms I've driven past is even when the wind is blowing and most of the turbines are working at least 10% or more seem to be feathered and not operating. I have to assume this is because they are waiting on repairs.


Compared with hydro power my intuition suggest that they are quite a bit more costly long term. For a society thats probably going to suffer from financial problems its not clear that continuing to maintain complex turbines at high availability will work long term. I'd suggest the solution suffers from the decay problem. A few turbines go down and are not repaired then a few more etc. Its the traditional slum lord problem.

I'd not be surprised to see a wind advocate jump in and claim this won't happen but we have no shortage of unproven claims.

What are the failure rates for the oldest wind farms some have been up for decades ?


Looking shows the turbines being taken down after only 30 years of operation or less.

Sure thats their design lifetime but I can't imagine a world where we are replacing all the turbines in the world every 30 or even 40 years. I'd suggest we would need to reach 100 years plus for wind turbines to really work.

We can look again at hydro.


And of course the issues with birds etc are real but I think they can be overcome.

My point is we need to solve these problems for wind to really work and they are not trivial but they are solvable wind needs to become a low maintenance 100+ year resource to ensure that it can survive both good times and bad. I think it has to be done this way.

I think my concerns are valid and I've seen other valid points raised. I'm sorry but suggesting that you have the answer for mankind then brushing valid concerns under the table played a big role in getting us into the hydrocarbon mess we are in. I can readily see wind turn into another fiasco if its not handled in the right manner.

Yet another long post but to be honest the inability of people proposing solutions to actually debate the "doomers" is probably one of the biggest reasons I'm pretty sure we will fail. Its time to start thinking in terms of faint but real glimmers of hope and not trying to dismiss doomers with stupid ridicule. I guess I just think its time to do things different assume the worst and prove thats not going to happen or what we need to do to avoid it and do it. Then take the next step and the step after that. Thats how I suspect you can prove the doomers wrong and until I see people starting to think like this I can't help but have my doubts.

The founders of the United States started with a deep understanding of the worst excess of governments and no small dose of brilliance and working from the worst case scenario they forged a system that lasted over 200 years and created one of the most powerful nations on earth before finally succumbing to the rot that seems impossible to escape.
Thats impressive and it was not done by brushing aside problems and issues it was done by taking them on head on. I simply don't see this today and without it given the problems we face success will probably be well after we fail and learn these lessons again.

I happen to think we can solve our problems but it won't be easy and it won't be done by ignoring them. Eventually some fragment of the current population will eventually resign itself to facing and solving these problems I just honestly don't see it soon. For some reason for mankind the pain of our mistakes and the resulting suffering seems to be required before we change. I'm all for avoiding the hard road but it can only be done if people recognize the easy path might not be all that nice either. It may be better than I suspect but I'm certain it would be better than the approach we are taking now.

Sorry for the long post again but regardless of how I approach the problems we face I keep coming back to the real root being our current social system and society until we really change that we simply can't solve our real problems. I guess I'm baffled by people that feel we just need a bit more duct tape and we are good to go.

Thats why I've bequeathed the US the title of the Duct Tape Empire.

There is nothing wrong with expedients! (Duct tape.) They work!

Well ... the have up until now. Please, just one more year ...

Now, inflation and deflation exist together at the same time. The general tendency is toward inflation because hoardnig (saving/profits/bank reserves) removes currency from circulation. The apparent shortage of cash is the deflation. Eventually this shortage requires replacement. What is hoarded is added to by new issue. This process is inflationary but the inflation is concealed. The hoarded cash is not in circulation but it exists. Experts are worried that this hoarded cash might appear suddenly in ciruulation resulting in a sharp devaluation of the currency. This tension is being expressed now by 'Inflationists' such as Doug Noland. There is a lot of currency at some levels of the finance system but it is hoarded as bank reserves.

Converting assets into currency also removes that currency from circulation.

Regardless of whether the basis of the currency is gold or imagination, issuing more into circulation is inflatioary. What amplifies inflation is velocity, but there is no need to get into that here except to say the price spikes are generated by velocity of money or credit. If traders start swapping oil futures contracts back and forth the price of these will go up, the same as if there is more money added to that market.

What matters with energy is the relative demand on production that energy commands. Energy will continue to demand a greater part of output as it becomes scarce rrequiring more energy diverted to obtain it. It doesn't matter if the notational price is higher or lower. What matters is the prie of energy compared to other prices particularly embedded energy costs which are cumulative.

At some point decisions will have to be made. In the US and other advanced nations 99% of energy is simply wasted. It is used once then vented into the atmosphere. Some fuels are used as feedstocks, fertilizer and materials/chemicals. These forms of energy are have more staying power. Most people drive around in circles. The live in drafty houses far from anywhere. Their political proxies engage in military adventures. They turn rain forests into patio furniture.

Denial isn't that durable. Reality intrudes.

Another year or so will inform the stupid that the underlying problems orbit around energy availability. There will be a crisis. The economy will enter another deleveraging phase. People will look around and see that the problem is still credit ... but also energy. This will be the great awakening.

I don't know if this will be timely. I believe that the peak of oil availability was in 1998. We are ten years past the effective peak in production relative to demand. Every form of denial has been brought to bear. Even the credit machine has been cranked up to bring money to substitute for cheap oil. So far, nothing has worked.

What will work is conservation. We had a head start in the mid- 1970's, but Reagan and the real estate developers and other 'growth promoters' stifled conservation. We will have to 'catch down'. That means stringent and hard to bear rationing and energy monitoring. It will be interesting. There are a lot more cars in the world now than there were in 1975. A lot of them will go hungry.

What's been happening has been a grand experiment; to substitute credit growth and financialism for energy growth. It failed because the experiment wasn't cast properly; it ADDED the financialism to the energy consumption. There was no substitution. Typical. When Americans are given a choice between 'A' and 'B' they will usually choose both.

Now, that time is ending.

I think you hit a lot of key points.

I like to some it up as rich mans inflation poor mans deflation. I.e common assets will fall dramatically in value while those with lots of money will use that money to chase whatever is scarce. To top and obvious ones are food and energy. They won't be lending it out to people soon to be jobless and they won't give it to companies with uncertain futures except under some nasty terms.

What they probably will do is pile in on liquid investment tat looks like a sure bet at least for the short term. I'd suggest almost pure technical trading will become increasingly more common. In some cases underpinned by fundamentals often just the market moving at a whim. The stock market for example looks like its turned into and almost complete momentum game these days. Thats to be expected. However the markets that are just being moved without any real underlying fundamentals will probably whipsaw around a lot. I expect big moves in both directions in the stock market to become routine. Eventually heading downward more often then not but its so far from any reasonable fundamental basis that its become a game.

Investing becomes a game of sucker baiting i.e everyone trying to get in and get out.

This could very well destabilize even commodities at some point but I just think they are well underpriced on the fundamentals so by the time they get high enough to also move beyond fundamentals people might be surprised.

As always I could well be wrong given a lot of trading regardless of what for will be effectively gaming the market any market.

But I'd argue that these are really just arbitrage plays money is not really being invested in the true sense its just day trading on steroids. When a arbitrage play opens up the money piles in pushes up then boom down again. Over a matter of days at most months. Then the winners are off to the next game and loser lick their wounds.

Oil and other commodities will I think increasingly see hoarding become a factor I've posted a few times that I think we have witnessed a oil bank if you will form. Where a significant quantity of oil maybe as high a 100 million barrels is now in the hands of traders. They will roll this physical forward making a lot of money in the process.

We could well see this sort of play open up for all kinds of commodities even our beloved stepchild NPK fertilizer :)

These are plays with a lot more fundamentals involved but they are still simple short term arbritage with a touch of hoarding. So although I think your right I think anyone expecting this to result in some sort of generalized inflation where houses and wages shoot up in price and current debtors get their homes for free is mistaken.

If you think about it I'm suggesting that the world is really moving to cash with the debt economy effectively collapsing. The absolute amount of real cash in the world is so small vs the outstanding debt that its almost not worth discussing.

I'd guess at most 10-20 trillion in cash vs say 200-400 trillion in debt.


This suggest 6 trillion in the US and its GDP is about 13 trillion.

World GDP is 54 trillion.


So about 24 trillion or so I'm not all that far off in my initial guess.

As far as debts goes well have fun I could well be low but does not matter its vastly larger than the cash economy.

I suspect that if you took the actual cash and had the largest holders zero out their debt that the remaining cash would be substantially smaller. Thats extreme but it gives you and idea of how much honest money exists its not near as much as people assume.
Certainly assets and equity exceed this by a lot but the premise is most of this will be lost in short order. Many companies will eventually have no value with their assets not even worth scrapping.

Given the only way we can create money is to print it or issue debt I think you can see that the debt side overwhelms the real printing presses. The currency would collapse before you literally printed enough money to devalue any substantial amount of the debt that can and will default. Interest rates would quickly soar as you still have fractional reserve lending. Hot money flows like I described would so distort the system that the rest of the economy is left unhinged. And any printing will certainly land in the hands of the elite before it ever makes it down the ladder.

We are in my opinion starting to see this already. However I think once the wealthy or more correctly powerful since most of the wealthy are technically insolvent themselves get made whole then the printing presses will slow and they can and will game the system as long as they can.

They have no reason to "save" the middle class and I don't expect them to. Once the Feds are forced to give up on the new breed of subprime mortgage as defaults pile up I fully expect lending for homes to really freeze up. In fact I'd not be surprised to see lending to the middle class and most companies to continue to decline as banks increasingly throw money into arbritage plays and make outsize profits.

And amazingly enough I'd not be surprised to see the system set in this twilight zone for a couple of years before the constant gaming finally cause the house of cards to fall. At the end of the day all its doing is concentrating wealth and at some point its a poker game with the money redistributed by the Fed each night for a new round.

The game is over when this is really the last game in town.

Obviously you understand economics but be a bit careful about debt vs cash and even more important these days who is getting the money and who is not. Its not being redistributed to save the economy thats for sure. I think its becoming increasingly obvious that that was never the intent. Right now the top sharks are fighting over the next several months I suspect they will begin to eat each other.

I think for example that AIG has probably served its purpose and it will be demolished nd eaten next and maybe first I predict Bank of America taken over by Goldman Sachs and thats just because GS wants the name :) Citi probably sold off piecemeal with plenty of Government backstops. This will be seen as a very good sign by many. I think the game with the TARP funds and the stress test was to set up the banks to finally start taking them out now that they have players and the Government backstopping capability to actually have someone who can at least put up a show of having enough money to buy these assets.

Up until now one problem was no one had any money you can't sell if you literally have no buyer.

Anyway its a bit different from what a lot of people expect but if you think about it a bit you will see this is whats going on today at time goes on the stakes will be raised each round and the pool of winners will get smaller but its really more of the same.

Except for taking our pension funds and all the equity in our homes via devaluing them with more stupid loans then eventually non at all the middle class is no longer important. I guess they will keep us around long enough to ensure the oil prices rise and they make enough money but once they get into the danger zone you will see that somehow more and more people drop out of the middle class as the are "demand destructed"

How will it end tough to say at some point I think the real cause is just simply the real economy is simply not getting funded any more and it just basically stops one day.

Via: Bloomberg:

North Korea threatened military action in response to South Korea joining a program to seize weapons shipments, and said it’s no longer bound by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

South Korea’s actions are tantamount to a “declaration of war,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. “If the armistice agreement loses its validity, the Korean peninsula will revert to a state of war.”

Power makes one stupid.

"Instead, power skews a person's ability to perceive reality. If you're at the top of the social pyramid, you won't perceive things that are unbelievably obvious to those lower down. This is generally because human beings hate to learn anything that reflects badly on them. And the more power you have, the more others will not want to bring these things to your attention. (See: Clothes, The Emperor's New.)

At the same time, power tends to make people believe they're perceiving the world more clearly than others. They think being at the top makes them able to see further.

These two things combine to make those with power often act in way that seem stunningly "stupid," when seen from the outside."

I believe that 1985 was our last chance to power down.

Case in Point, via Cryptogon:

May 26th, 2009

Newsweek is complicit in the crimes of Henry Paulson and the gang. Oh yes, poor, misunderstood, bewildered Hank.

Sure, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs didn’t know what was happening with the securitization of that toxic waste. Oh sure. Tell me another one. I’ll believe anything this morning!

Goldman Sachs made markets in the stuff, but *meh* Hank obviously lost touch with what those young whippersnappers were up to back at the office.

And what’s this about avoiding financial disaster??? Where the f*&% have the trillions of dollars gone, Newsweek?

All these psychopaths are thick as thieves, and they’re laughing at us because they got away with it. Again.

Via: Newsweek:

Paulson does not seem to have grasped the urgency of the looming disaster. Although top financial experts were warning about the housing bubble back in 2006, Paulson—by his own admission—was not paying much attention to the way banks were slicing and dicing mortgages and selling them as complex securities. “I didn’t understand the retail market; I just wasn’t close to it,” he told NEWSWEEK."

Which one's worse-ignorance or criminal?

And I'm not the only one who thinks the Nk military action is an ominous development.

ZeroHedge's Tyler has been all over the Debt Crushing results of
May 2005 PO and now has published this:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Urgent: North Korea Calls SK Decision To Join Anti-Proliferation Program Act Of War
Posted by Tyler Durden at 11:53 PM
Developing story: Per BNO, Bloomberg, and WSJ, North Korea has said it will "use its military" to respond to South Korean decision.


Update 2: NK Statement: "Any hostile act against our vessels, including search and seizure, [..] we will immediate respond with a powerful military strike"


Update 4: Yonhap Statement here

The US people will never know what happened. And a BTW, some
very very few individuals have decided that this info is
not suitable for MSM Consumption.

A Conspiracy.

"Not for MSM consumption"?

I heard about it on MPR this morning. Not exactly "Corporate Media" but about as mainstream as it gets.

And they did sound concerned, rightly so in my opinion.

Um... not so much. Speaking as one IN Korea, not that that makes me an expert. This is a typical pattern for NK to rattle sabres when they think there is leverage. They always push with new leadership. Always.

You have to realize, NK knows it cannot win a war. It's a losing proposition for them. Unless they are facing the ultimate collapse of their government, the best they can do for themselves (the leadership) is maintain status quo. Nobody is going to invade them and their people are too scared, to brainwashed and too hungry to fight. What do they grain with war?

I repeat: this is nothing new. The push is so hard (On Memorial Day? Care to telegraph your punch a little?) because they obviously see Obama as a semi-pacifist, or just plain jelly-spined. Once the balance is determined between DC and PY, all will settle down.

There is zero chance of a war right now except by accidental escalation.



The Remnant Alliance Party

"And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life. Rather, it is human, and only its possessor and begetter takes it so solemnly-as though the world's axis turned within it. But if we could communicate with the gnat, we would learn that he likewise flies through the air with the same solemnity, that he feels the flying center of the universe within himself."


Or not allowed to create then destroy

Collapse of Empire has been well documented. Of course I don't agree with everything you wrote, but close enough to cover
my position.

The US Foreign Expeditions are the key. And the $ must be
strong to continue it. All the Earth's Assets have been
monetized. All externalities have been outsourced. Pollution
has nowhere else to go.

Growth must be replaced by Resiliance. 4 billion individuals
must be removed from the population roster as oil supply

Demand for oil will be crushed. That's the Meme. IMO.

Humans must stop. first and foremost.

Sure thats their design lifetime but I can't imagine a world where we are replacing all the turbines in the world every 30 or even 40 years.

What do you think happens at fission plants or coal plants?

Same kinda lifetimes.

Japan and the Japanese were the world's largest savers. Japan experienced an inflationary spiral that ended in deflation. Today Japanese store shelves are filled, but the price tags are among the highest in the world. The yen has great world value, but the Japanese don't benefit. Correct me if I am wrong.

The USA and Americans are the world's largest spenders. We are experiencing a deflationary spiral that will end in inflation. Today commodity prices are dirt cheap. Tomorrow USA stores will be empty, but the price tags will be reasonable. The average American may end up owning his house and car, but he won't be able to afford the upkeep. Feel free to disagree.

The situation isn't very complex, our leaders just want us to think that it is. For example the housing market. 99 houses and 100 buyers, every house is worth money, which could be a lot. 100 houses and 99 buyers, the marginal house is worth nothing, so the rest of the houses are worth next to nothing. Game over.

I tossed money into land and a house at a high price. My next step is to stockpile commodities. I want to store enough to feed my family and my extended neighbors for a minimum of two years. Sufficient commodities require cash, but are inexpensive compared to the price of land. The land will go down in value, the commodities up. My neighbors are very savvy low input agriculturalists; I'll have seed wheat. We'll make a fine team.

It's a slam dunk. The only variable is timing, which if I am wrong, I'm dead meat. It took me six years to pull the trigger. What do you think about my vision, my timing, and my strategy?

Cold Camel

"Deflation is not only unlikely but virtually impossible (other than for short financial panic periods) in the post peak oil world."

Oh, don't get me wrong. Everything will be more expensive than it
is now.

But the actual paper $ will be matched to energy.

It must be honored uber alles. And there may be $2 trillion in
actual cash.

Or the Empire is over.

The Potemkin Recovery and Redistribution Project Fails.

I have not read his book, but I do have a few insights:

1. EROI is calculated at the well head, but that does not include the energy society must spend to use the energy. It does not include refining the oil, transporting the oil and gas, roads, cars, etc. Once those are factored it 3:1 is the lower bound. So heavy oil with some major advance in technology won't do the job. Nor will oil shale.

2. EROI averages new and old fields together. But studies looking just at new fields find the EROI is falling faster than new + old. The question is what is the shape of the EROI decline curve.

3. This 3:1 boundary is going to show up as a limit to the price the economy can pay for oil. As the oil price moves toward that boundary, the economy will contract as net energy goes negative. This is why we get volatile oil prices (in a large scale movements of energy sense).

4. Other sources of fuel can mask the state of EROI decline. Higher EROI Canadian gas is lowering the cost of the tar sands. As that natural gas moves towards oils EROI, tar sands will jump in production cost. It is already in the $80 to $90 dollar range to put new barrels on line. As gas gets expensive, that will move up toward the + $100 number that seems to toss the economy into deep recession.

From the Opinion page of The New York Times: A Geologist Weighs in on Peak Oil

We’ve blogged repeatedly, and somewhat skeptically, about the “peak oil” frenzy. Chris Turner of The Walrus recently profiled Dave Hughes, a Canadian geologist who has crisscrossed North America lecturing on the end of the fossil-fuel age. Hughes, who spent 32 years mapping Canada’s coal reserves, believes that “there’s no possible way to keep running the engine of a modern global economy for much longer at the pace we’re burning [hydrocarbons].”

Thanks Darwinian for directing us to that article. I like the personal style of writing, which was very powerful. That is exactly what is needed to make the story personal so people can understand the personal impacts. This paragraph should be a shock felt around the world:

Two weeks after you ride along with Dave Hughes for Talk No. 155, though, the IEA releases the latest edition of its annual World Energy Outlook, which predicts a global oil production peak or plateau by 2030. In a video that appears online soon after, the Guardian’s George Monbiot requests a more precise figure from the IEA’s chief economist, Fatih Birol. The official estimate, he confesses, is 2020. Monbiot also inquires as to the motivation for the IEA’s sudden about-face, and Birol explains dryly that previous studies were “mainly an assumption.” That is, the 2008 version was the first in which the IEA actually examined hard data, wellhead by wellhead, from the world’s 800 largest oil fields. Monbiot asks, with understandable incredulity, how it was that such a survey hadn’t been conducted previously. Birol’s response: “In fact, nobody has done that research. And the research we have done this year is the first in the world, and this is the first publicly available data in that respect.”

And to hear various agencies advising not to worry because there are 27 years left of gas, oil, or coal! Just how long do they think it would take to make the necessary adjustments? That's only one generation away...

That block quote documents an incredible inefficiency / incompetence. Has government leadership gotten so bad that they will no longer discuss with the voters ANY issue in which the voters are not already interested? (Rhetorical question of course).

Now isn't that lovely.

And who is to say that the data presented this time is real and not politically messaged.

Did Duncan and others use this data for their mathematical computations of where to put the cliff to the george? How now John?

Lynford, what the hell is your point? Duncan, and all the rest of us, are really just guessing as to the date of the cliff. We know we could be off by several years, perhaps by a decade. But we will ultimately be proven correct. We are deep into overshoot and the consequences of peak oil are looming large.

Sooooo.... Again, what the hell is your point?

Ron P.

Good evening Ron:

The point is that people in government are making decisions on data. As pointed out above ... 27 years before the peak will make plans considerably different than 5 years or 5 years post peak.

I really don't give that much of a damn. I got in another 15 feet of double dug and fertilized raised vegetable bed today.

How big is your garden?


another 15 feet of double dug

Congrats! Now, if I can only convince you to dispense with that in bold (keeping more carbon in the soil, doing less damage to the flora and fauna in your soil, and keeping more moisture there), we'll all be happy.



Gene Logsdon doesn't like raised beds, either.

The only raised bed I’ve ever found useful in sixty years of gardening is the one in my bedroom. And after I quit double-digging, I didn’t have to spend as much time there either. Or if I did, it was for reasons other than resting.

Logically, they don't make sense. They don't save room; open ground allows more plants as they can be unevenly growing. Easy enough to step over if they grow into the walkway. Maybe for plants that like drainage? They do keep a place tidy-looking.

Our friend above is a little older, being a tad past his 20's (wink) and raised beds are a great solution for aging backs, I'd think.

One other thought, is raised beds on stilts so you can plant high and low, with stuff that needs shade low and sun loving plants high. Double your area.


A geologist already has weighed in: Kenneth Deffeyes.

A futurist has done so as well: Buckminster Fuller. And others, too many to mention. Problem is, folks aren't willing to listen to their message.

Re: Climate Change: World's Destiny at Stake

By comparison, US President Barack Obama has proposed reducing America's greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent by 2020 compared to their 2005 level. Analysts say this roughly translates to a three percent cut from 1990 levels.

If you weren't a doomer before, this might make you one. Brings to mind RR's post on why we won't stop climate change. 3% by 2020?

What I think is going on here is a bit of, as I posted earlier today elsewhere, a bit of hearing what one wants to hear. Makes me wonder of either 1. Obama is taking a cautious approach now waiting for some undeniable Katrina-esque moment to hit whomever in the solar plexus with the reality, or 2. he's listening to the illogic of resource constraints making AGW a near non-issue.

God help the hindmost.


Surprisingly, the Pentagon began taking both matters seriously much sooner than the rest of government, which still has its fair share of skeptics.

I think the logistical realities of the wars fought over the last 6 years has focused their attention. You cannot just assume the oil is going to be there: you have to buy it, take delivery or have it delivered, and watch it be consumed at an astonishing pace. The modern military lives and dies at the end of an oil supply chain.

Actually, the fact that this author starts this sentence with "surprisingly", shows how much of a clue they have about the situation. Whereas business and political leaders have the luxury of being able to engage in denial and hide from the facts, it does not serve military leaders well to follow suit. Not that military leaders have never engaged in subterfuge.

The point is that, "the Pentagon began taking both matters seriously much sooner than the rest of government" a long time ago, as pointed out in this article titled "Energy Resources and Our Future" - Speech by Admiral Hyman Rickover in 1957, submitted by Gail in August 2008, that has this paragraph in the early section.

On May 14, 1957, Admiral Hyman Rickover gave a speech to the Minnesota State Medical Association called "Energy Resources and our Future." This speech was posted in December 2006 on the Energy Bulletin, and also appeared on The Oil Drum. This speech was made available by the work of two people: Theodore Rockwell, author of The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made a Difference, who had this article in his files, and Rick Lakin, who sought out the article and converted it to digital form. Since the speach is one many will want to read, we are repeating it again.

This suggests that at least some people in the US military have been Peak Oil aware, at least since 1957. I also suspect that people in the Pentagon have read The Hirsch Report. The military play a very high stakes game. They cannot afford to be ignorant or misinformed, neither can they afford to ignore good intelligence.

Alan from the Islands

This motivation do not hinder disasterous military procurement including massive walking dead development programs.


You folks are easily mesmerized by a few pronouncements and white papers.

The military does nothing better than write white papers, create PowerPoint presentations, and pontificate about many various subjects.

You would cry in your milk (or beer) if you knew how much liquid fuels the military washes every day for 'training missions'. If fuel savings was such a priority then why isn't that feature listed in any military requirements documents used to structure new hardware acquisitions? Why haven't all of our legacy aircraft been re-engined with modern fuel-efficient engines? Why doesn't the military invest in Level D simulators equivalent to what airline pilots use and practice at least half of their annual mission skill requirements in the simulator? Before someone goes off half-cocked about how flying a military aircraft is not like flying an airliner, save your breath...been there, done that, and many aircrew from various aircraft types could easily and effectively receive at least half their training from Level D simulators. Today it is more about effectively communicating over the radio and data link and programming alpha-numeric commands into smart weapons than it is about white-scarf yanking and banking...air war is a massive on-line collaborative effort, similar to complex on-line games. Yes, there is still airmanship, but airline pilots typically fly their first real ride carrying revenue passengers...the simulators are that good for training cockpit swicthology and stick and rudder skills....any number of weather rand emergence equipment failure events can and are programmed into the sim training profile to be practiced over and over with a well-qualified instructor.

Why do Air Force Wings feel absolutely compelled to burn every last tenth of their annual flying hour budget by midnight on September 30th of each Fiscal year? Because if they don't use it, they will lose some flying hours (MONEY) next year from the budget. And flying hours burned equals proportionally how much money they get for office furniture, computers, etc.

Every so may years Command would issue an 'edict' to minimize fuel use and each time the local commanders would condone a 'screw that, training comes first' attitude. Training, such as the annual air show quota, for one.

The ONLY reason the military ever cares about fuel consumption is due to logistical reasons...particularly the pain it is to have a big fuel tanker truck logistics tail overland to supply a far-flung Army. At most, it is a logistics concern on the battlefield, but it is most definitely NOT a concern about reliance on foreign oil, or global warming, or other pollution concerns, or anything like that. If the military could do away with environmental regulations, it would do so in a heartbeat.

"They cannot afford to be ignorant or misinformed, neither can they afford to ignore good intelligence."
Some say military intelligence is an oxymoron. For starters how could U.S. military intelligence have overlooked immediate Japanese translation of Hector Bywater's 1925 novel The Great Pacific War (featuring a surprise Japanese assault on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor) for inclusion in the curriculum of their Naval War College?

Why did the Navy ignore the results of the 1932 Army-Navy war game attack on Pearl -- and to the success of a similar exercise by Admiral Harry Yarnell in 1927? The New York Times correspondent covering the exercises reported that Yarnell's planes "made the attack unopposed by the defense, which was caught virtually napping, and Yarnell's planes escaped to the mother ships without the slightest damage." He also noted that the Pearl Harbor defenders had yet to locate his task force 24 hours after the attack.

Why did they overlook 1940's victorious British carrier raid against the Italian fleet in Taranto? Cmdr. Minoru Genda didn't: He used it in planning Nagumo's attack.

Have a look at http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=6779&IBLOCK_ID=35&PAGE=1

The military certainly play a high stakes game - in keeping the gross amount of money flowing to the military industrial complex.

I think the logistical realities of the wars fought over the last 6 years has focused their attention. You cannot just assume the oil is going to be there: you have to buy it, take delivery or have it delivered, and watch it be consumed at an astonishing pace. The modern military lives and dies at the end of an oil supply chain.

Yes, and getting fuel into a war zone multiplies the cost severalfold, and puts supply convoy personnel in serious danger. For that reason, they are willing to pay a premium for any deployable technology that even partially mitigates fuel dependency (solar, wind, recycling of wastes etc) that can be set up in hard to supply bases.

Re: 'The Military's New Environmentalism"

What a joke!

The words 'military' and 'environmentalism' used in the same sentence perfectly defines the word, oxymoron.

This is nothing more than the DOD trying to get in on the 'green' bandwagon, just as it tried to get in on the environmental bandwagon in the 1970s, both cases being just an attempt to acquire more funding.

It is well to keep in mind that the DOD is only partially populated by warriors, the remaining fraction being a huge cadre of bureaucrats and technocrats of the worst kind, all trying to get their snouts into the feed trough.

The environmental history of the DOD is atrocious. Some of the very largest and worst Superfund sites have been at DOD installations, plus various Department of Energy (a misnomer if there ever was one) installations involved in the nuclear weapons program. Between defoliating Vietnam with Agent Orange and spreading depleted uranium particulates all over Iraq, the DOD has nothing to be proud of environmentally.

It if truly wanted to do something to help both the environment and our energy situation, it would stop doing much of what it is currently doing. Simple as that.

Whew! Now I feel better.

Absolutely wrong, here. Broberg is closer to the mark. I agree about military thinking. They have no choice but to be realists to the extent their biases will allow. Since they war game everything, if they aren't aware of PO, I'm Einstein. In fact, we know they are working on bio-fuels for the air force, right?

That there was military planning going on for PO while BuCheney were in charge is maybe all you need to know since BuCheney was, outwardly, skeptical of or silent on PO and AGW.

Now, what we might **not** see is military technology in this mien going public while it can still offer a competitive advantage to our military.


The military of course is peak oil aware, it must be. Resources are highly important in any war, and fuels likely rank as the #1 resource. During WWII, the germans were producing liquid fuel from coal, and it wasn't because they thought it was cool, but due to a lack of oil.

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)

ccpo -

Of course the military is peak oil aware. I never said they weren't. That is one of the reasons for our Iraq/Afghanistan adventures: to both maintain tacit control over oil resources, if for no other reason than to prevent our rivals such as China from doing same.

What I am speaking about here is their egregious wastefulness of resources of all types, not just oil but also men and materiel. Part of this wastefulness is due the fact that they are not paying for it. And the other part of this wastefulness is due to engaging in dubious adventures, but that fault rests not strictly with the military alone, but rather with what is usually described as the military-industrial-congressional complex. The real energy policy of the US up to this point has been a not-so-successful attempt to exert military and political dominance over the Middle East and other areas with large oil reserves.

Regardless of whether the military's fuel comes from petroleum or bio-fuels, the shuttling of C-5 transports back and forth halfway around the world and the running of patrols with A1 Abrams tanks that get one mile per two gallons fuel economy hardly qualifies as being energy frugal. Ditto planes and ships. Regardless of how bad an oil shortage we have, you can safely bet that the military will always get first priority on all supplies, all the way to the last drop.

Thus, I remain totally unimpressed by the military's professed 'green' posture. And I still maintain that it is largely rubbish, being aimed at gaining both PR points and funding for energy studies and initiatives that will help carve out some nice career niches for the many military and civilian technocrats that populate the Pentagon.

This is really deja vu for me, as I've seen almost the exact same sort of thing when the environmental movement got into full swing and became a 'hot' area during the early 1970s. A lot of military and ex-NASA people suddenly became 'environmental'. It was BS then, and it's BS now.

Environmental awareness (in many senses) is absolutely essential to the military in order for them to perform their job.

Environmentalism, on the other hand, is considered a dangerous luxury when every possible edge against the enemy is needed.

Waste of resources is relative, the military only has so many people and so many physical resources to draw upon so it behooves the generals to make the most effective use of everything at their disposal in wartime. Note that effective is not usually the same thing as efficient, since a robust action is more likely to succeed in the face of an adaptive enemy than an efficient action. This does not mean that the military eschews efficiency, but rather that it is only one factor among many under consideration, and not the primary one.

One need look no further back than the Russian "scorched earth" policy in WWII to see an instance where outright wasteful destruction of valuable resources was used to positive military effect. There may be some more recent, but my study of more recent conflicts hasn't been sufficiently in-depth to reveal such a case.

Of course, this awareness when translated back to the civilian sphere results in an apparently incongruous sensitivity to resource and environmental constraints. The best military minds are flexible and reality based, it should be totally unsurprising that they recognize an approaching enemy of any nature and attempt to respond appropriately.

r4ndom -

I am well aware of the distinction between efficiency and effectiveness, and have discussed such on several occasions on TOD. As I have said, engineers tend to fixate on efficiency but often neglect to check on whether what they are doing is effective or even needed in the first place.

Back to the subject at hand: can you honestly say that our military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have been anywhere close to being either efficient or effective? If you do, then by what criteria? What has all those hundreds of billions bought for the American taxpayer?

And what good is 'environmental awareness' if one's actions largely ignore such?

When I speak of the military wasting resources, I am not just referring to physical resources such as oil, but to financial resources, i.e., money. No one, and I mean no one, can piss away money better than the DOD! Million dollars are like nickels as far as the Pentagon is concerned. And therein lies my main beef: the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on Iraq/Afghanistan (and it seems we can soon add Pakistan to that list) are dollars that could have been spent trying to structure our society for a post-petroleum world. There is only so much real money to spend, and we have not been spending it wisely.

I don't see any sign of this sort of thing letting up, but rather it will probably only get worse. The US is busy making war, while China is busy making deals.

No one, and I mean no one, can piss away money better than the DOD! Million dollars are like nickels as far as the Pentagon is concerned.

and let us not forget, on September 10, 2001 no less, when Rumsfeld admitted the DOD had misplaced upwards of $2 trillion dollars. funny how that quickly fell out of the headlines the next day...

Sorry it took so long to get back to you:

Afghanistan *may* have been a necessary war, I personally think we missed a huge opportunity to gain face and prestige in the region when we rebuffed Iran's olive branch regarding the 9/11 perps.

Iraq was a huge waste. A monstrous mistake from the beginning.

But neither of those wars was decided upon, or even entirely planned, by trained military men. Iraq was Rumsfeld's war, he laid out the plan, and he planted the seeds of failure that his successors have been trying to recover from ever since.

Afghanistan went better, but that was largely because we really did have the support of an overwhelming percentage of the Afghan people before we went in. We got lucky, in other words.

In both cases the soldiers and their officers on the ground have done an amazing job with the resources they have been given. The few failures mostly track back to the civilian leadership or psychotic individuals that failed to get weeded out or snapped in the field.

Remember, the military does not set the mission, it is the job of the military to execute the mission set by the civilian leadership. If you don't like where the military is being poked in, take a look at who is holding the other end of the stick.

"Regardless of how bad an oil shortage we have, you can safely bet that the military will always get first priority on all supplies, all the way to the last drop."

In a way you are absolutely correct. Air Force One is a military aircraft and the last drop of fuel will go there so the President (and friendly reporters) can hop skotch across the country and tell people, "Not to worry. We are working on your fuel problem. Here, have some more money."

What I am speaking about here is their egregious wastefulness of resources of all types, not just oil but also men and materiel.

Fair enough. I was responding to the idea of their literal awareness which is high, whatever their actions. Not only must they be aware for costs savings, but for threat assessments.


Joule is winner. 100% spot-on. Some of the rest of you can go on being mesmerized by the military's green-washing. We will suck the last drop of oil down in the name of 'defending' the oil fields. Get it through your heads...fuel conservation is like maybe number 358 on the commanders' integrated priority lists. No one got promoted by writing bullets about how much fuel they saved on their annual evaluation report or promotion recommendation reports. Pu-lease.

They US military is trying to make logistics easier by reducing fuel consumption. Any "green" PR benefit is secondary to this purpose.

First global electricity contraction - ever - since 1945
The IEA forecasts global electricity demand will fall by 3.5 per cent in 2009 (last part of article)

In China the drop is estimated above 2 percent; in Russia close to 10 percent; and the rich countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development will see a drop near 5 percent, he said.

My first reaction, where will this info drive Windturbines, Solar-cells and more ?
Norwegian REC (PV-company) is taking quite hard hits already - cutting 35% output after filling up their storage of unsold produce and just yesterday they gave 200 employees a semi-pink slip (temporary leave).... and now this one.

The present renewables market size is so small that it can easily maintain simply on the retirement rate of existing generating units going obsolete. It still hurts of course, mainly by lowering percieved attraction to investors.

Not true, No investment in additional capacity makes financial sense when present infrastructure is idle. Renewables require vastly increased subsidies. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Cold Camel

Then, I take it that, investments in additional capacity from non-renewable sources (nuclear, coal, NG) make even less financial sense. Are we going to see a drop-off in plans to build new generating plants? Is China going to stop opening two new coal powered plants per week?

Alan from the islands

As my governor is prone to say, "You betcha!" Subsidies m-i-g-h-t allow renewables to eck out market share. Let's hope so.

Cold Camel

You have to award a point to Richard Duncan for this one-the first decline in global electricity supply would mark the start of his gorge theory.

Peak Oil means Peak Energy. This is not a fluke.

Other than timing, Richard Duncan has yet to be proven wrong. We're approaching the roll-over from gentle decline to much worse. One more point and the game/set/match goes to Duncan.

Combine the decline rate of modern wells and the drop in drilling and it is likely that production declines accelerate so fast that the next spike in oil prices will crush demand but not lift production as all parties realize high prices are unsustainable.

More and more, I think producers have just as much of a chance of having their tails cut off as everybody else. It just doesn't make sense that one sector of the economy will thrive while the rest implodes. We'll all be in decline, it's just a question of which sector of the economy will decline worst.

On natural gas. LNG might kill domestic high-cost domestic producers during the decline, but it isn't big enough to prevent the economic downturn, and the low prices will implode LNG growth.

Peak Oil = Peak Energy means total production and demand decline regardless of price. Producers just can't afford to build capacity at the price the marginal consumer can afford to pay, so the project goes unbuilt and the consumer goes without. That's you should be in full-scale personal mitigation mode. I am.

Cold Camel

I wonder how this fits with a story I read a week or so ago (sorry...can't find the link). Not much details but it stated that Spain was shutting down some of the wind power due to decreased demand. Unfortunately the story didn't explain the logic of such a move. One would think they would cut back FF genrated power first. Perhaps it was a distribution/regulatory issue or perhaps to save wear and tear on the wind turbins. Or maybe the wind generators had a built-in higher fee which was used to justify the construction in the first place. If that was the reason then it might cool off any interest in future WT construction.


Is this the article you meant?

Spanish wind parks disconnected due to economic crisis

Wind parks in Spain, a world leader in the renewable energy source, are increasingly being disconnected due to a fall in power demand caused by the economic slowdown, a report said Monday.

"Due to the fall in demand, it has become necessary to disconnect the wind parks which already produce more electricity than the system can absorb," business daily Expansion reported without citing sources.

The wind parks are usually disconnected at night when demand for power falls, it added.

Wind parks, a clean energy source, are the first power generators to be disconnected when demand for electricity falls because it takes them longer to stop production than other sources like nuclear plants, it said.

That is why a new Portuguese hydropower project will have an extra 900 MW of pumped storage included in it.


And so much for "nuke load following".


Jab back at you for the pointless comment.

Does every mention of somebody doing something stupid with their power grid have to mean that nukes can't follow load, or are you just trolling?
Besides, nukes are supposed to replace coal in the grand scheme of electricity, whether they can or will follow load changes (and it is a design decision as to whether they can on a plant-by-plant basis) is quite irrelevant to whether they are appropriate to replace non-load following power generation.

On the recent Russian lead-bismuth TOD article, there was some discussion of French nuke load following.

I used French hour by hour data to demonstrate that the French do vary the output of their nukes daily, but do NOT load follow in any meaningful sense of the word. (May 17th max nuke 24:00 to 1:00, min nuke 8:00 to 9:00, which does NOT match the max & min loads).

So I stand by my claim that there are no real world examples of nuke load following and I am quite skeptical of your claim that this is a "plant by plant" decision.


Naval nuclear reactors load follow. By design, and by operational requirement. Therefore nuclear power plants can be built to follow load.

Civilian nuclear reactors generally do not. This is either by design or by policy.

In either case it is irrelevant to nuclear's place in most overall energy plans. It is generally not specced as load following power.

Its a terrible idea. Marginal costs are near nonexistant, so you don't save anything by load following with a reactor, and only produce stresses not incorporated into the design. Its better to dump excess load into resistors than to try to follow by playing funny games with reactor power.

I though the above article answered ROCKMAN's query about why wind was shut down first, but re-reading it I think there must be a mistake in the article. I presume the wind farms are disconnected first because it's much easier and takes a shorter (not longer, as the article states) time to shut them down compared to other power generators. Conversely, it must be easier to reconnect them to the grid should demand rise again. It's an interesting thought that renewable power generation could be sacrificed first during times economic decline.

That's it. Thanks V. Did that explanation ("Wind parks, a clean energy source, are the first power generators to be disconnected when demand for electricity falls because it takes them longer to stop production than other sources like nuclear plants, it said.") make sense to you? Maybe then meant they are the quickest to stop and restart. If they are just stopping them at night I could understand it would be a lot easier then shuting in a nuke plant for just a few hours.

Did that explanation ("Wind parks, a clean energy source, are the first power generators to be disconnected when demand for electricity falls because it takes them longer to stop production than other sources like nuclear plants, it said.") make sense to you?

No. I think you're right that they meant that it's quicker to stop production with windfarms, at least that's the only way I can make sense of it. I think a lot of these kind of news articles, particularly on 'minor' stories, get posted without so much as a cursory proofread.

The UK has had actually had negative electricity prices recently

Price £/MWh -0.80000 Time 04:30

If you had a plug in car, you might be paid to charge it!

Natural gas prices have been driven right down to less than 1p/kWh ~ 23p a therm ( a therm is 29.3kWh)

UK electricity prices are roughly set by the price of gas due to the ~20GW of CCGT units on the grid. With gas prices at current levels electricity is generated at around 2-3p/kWh

When the price rises back up to and above £1 a therm as it did last winter, CCGT electricity costs closer to 10p/kWh.

Now would be a very good time to be re-filling some of the North Sea gas fields or making nitrogen fertilizers rather than burning millions of cubic meters of gas to generate cheap electricity during the summer.

Every time I read about troubles for renewables - I think of Dr. Gabriel Calzada - an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid - who conducted "that" infamous report concluding that renewable-jobs kill off twice the number of job in other sectors....

Spain: Every 'green' job destroys 2.2 jobs

While some U.S. politicians point to Spain as a model for how government subsidies can create "green jobs," a new study documents that every renewable job created by the Spanish government destroyed an average of 2.2 other jobs. Also, each "green" megawatt installed in Spain destroyed 5.39 jobs in non-energy sectors, the study found.

Hmmm, will this paradoxical phenomenon over time turn into Calzada's Law - a paralell to Moore's law for computers ?
I guess we need some more proof before a firm acknowledge will be embraced. But if true - then it is in progress right now as we speak - and we (the world) are obviously painting outself into an unknown and definitely yet not understood corner...

If green jobs kill other jobs, that must mean that the green power is more economically feasible in the long run, right? So, instead of green power "killing" 5.39 jobs per megawatt, it's SAVING payroll on 5.39 jobs.

That's a fair cop, governor! But I shouldn't put any credibility on Calzada's work, because in Spain the Opus Dei is not an urban legend or a movie with a happy end, but a troublesome reality and the University of Prof. Calzada belongs to that organization.

  • http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=ajfYT1IxV4sw&refer=e...
  • Suntech Profit Falls on Slump in Solar Power Demand
    By Christopher Martin
    May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world's largest
    producer of solar-power modules, reported first- quarter profit fell
    96 percent as a recession and credit crunch reduced demand for
    renewable energy.


    And on a related note...

    Canadian Solar Has First-Quarter Loss of $4.8 Million

    Canadian Solar Inc., a Chinese manufacturer of solar power cells and modules, reported a first- quarter loss of $4.8 million as the recession and credit crunch reduced sales.


    Canadian Solar reduced its forecast shipments for the year to 200 megawatts to 220 megawatts, down from March guidance of 300 megawatts to 350 megawatts, as some customers delayed contracts into next year.

    See: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=asgZgbYVQZYk&refer=e...


    I've taken advantage of the downturn to buy more solar panels. Right now, price for a consumer for panels purchased AND shipped is just under $3/watt. ($2.48/watt if you happen to be able to pick them up yourself.)

    Please tell where one can get panels at those prices. I've been watching panels from a few sources and haven't seen much price movement recently. I'm only interested in high efficiency panels such as Sanyo's HIT type but I would expect that if other panels have been falling in price that these will have to follow.

    An excellent strategy considering my prediction (up post). I would also like to know where to buy.

    Cold Camel

    Maybe Durandal is including a tax rebate in his calculation of the price. Northern Arizona Wind and Sun is selling a Kyocera KD205GX-LP 205 Watt Solar Panel for $701 or $3.42 / (rated watt). If one buys 20 panels, the price drops to $3.23 / (rated watt) not including shipping and handling. The prices have been falling since last fall when they were around $5 / (rated watt).

    This brings to mind an idea I have been trying to express. What would happen if the contribution of renewables to the overall electric power production were to double in a particular year from say 1 unit to 2 units while at the same time the overall production fell by 5 percent? Well, I created a simple spreadsheet to calculate the result after 1 year and also what would happen after a number of years. I did three sets of calculations, one adding a fixed amount (1 unit) of renewables per year, another adding a fixed percentage per year and the third adding a declining percentage of renewables per year.

    Here are my assumptions for renewable growth with production declining at 5% per year:

    Edit: I omitted to point out that my starting point for total electricity production was 1000 units, making the starting point for generation from renewables 0.1% of the total, which was the situation a year or two ago.

    Case 1) The amount of renewables added per year is 1 unit
    Case 2) The amount of renewables added per year is 20%
    Case 3) The amount of renewables grows 80% in the first year with the growth declining to 90% of the first years growth and the growth declining to 90% of the previous years growth for all subsequent years.

    The results (the time taken to get to half of the total and the total at that time):

    Case 1: Less than 48 years. half of a total of about 90 units or 9% of current total production, ending up at 100% of 58 units in 58 years

    Case 2: Less than 29 years, half of a total of about 260 units or 26% of current total production, ending up at 100% of 237 units in 32 years

    Case 3: Less than 22 years, half of a total of about 370 units or 37% of total current production, ending up at 100% of 284 units in 27 years


    Case 1: Extremely unlikely and undesirable, unexpected (Black Swan) events could make this considerably worse but, hopefully I will be dead long before electricity production falls to less than 1% of what it is now.

    Case 2: Very unlikely that a growth rate of 20% or any growth at all will be possible post peak.

    Case 3: Unlikely but, best case outcome. Fastest to parity and total contribution. Takes us to a higher base amount in a shorter time.

    I know this is unrealistic and I'd be embarrassed to share this crude spreadsheet with anybody but, it was just a thought experiment. From those numbers, I guess we better get on with alternatives in earnest!

    Alan from the islands

    As the global systems disintegrate, then comes war.

    Japan's big guns prepare to rejoin global arms industry

    That's a prelude, a major economic power grasping at guns instead of butter to reignite its staggering economy. And will those weapons sit peacefully forever, never used? I think not.

    The clouds are building on the horizon. Resource constraints, of which peak oil is just one, plus burgeoning population are going to drive nations into head-to-head contests over resources. And as economies sink even deeper, acts of desperation will grow, from manufacturing weapons to even possibly using those weapons.

    It will be interesting to see how this interacts with the mostly Asian electronics/semiconductor manufacturing supply chain. There are a lot of reasons why other Asian countries may fear an armed Japan, beyond just competing for energy. Supply of electronics is a key resource for any modern military force. Where are the fabs, and can Japan still make the key parts, or have those tasks been outsourced to lower cost counties?

    Right on. You'll know things are about to get hotter when miliraty-minded PTB start complaining about (and taking actions to mitigate) dependence on foreign, for any given entity, semicinductor development and fab.

    Japan's population has been declining for years, and is projected to continue to do so.

    I don't understand your point - can you elaborate?

    GreyZone -

    Just great!

    Could Japan be ready to do to the US defense industry in the 2010s what it did to the US auto industry in the 1970s? (Weaponry being one of our few remaining successful major technical exports.)

    Then of course we have the specter of an all-out Asian arms race. North Korea's recent popping of a nuclear weapon certainly doesn't help the situation either.

    With Japan's technical expertise and industrial capacity it would probably take them no time at all to become a nuclear power. As the Japanese and Koreans have been enemies for centuries, such a development would certainly ratchet up the regional tension level quite a few notches.

    Nor would it bode well for US-Japanese relations. I'm sure that Japan hasn't forgotten who nuked two of their cities.

    Clouds are indeed gathering all over the place.

    I disagree. Chaos may protect us. War between nuclear powers is lose/lose. This is Japan grasping for anything. Both China and Japan face the 4/2/1 problem, each young man represents the hopes and dreams of 6+ mature adults. Declining populations have a very hard time contemplating offensive action.

    Also, with scarce resources, war will tend to be brief, or local as aggressors find their wounds don't heal. Expect lots of saber rattling and not much fizzle.

    Most significantly, wars require debt. If Europe, the U.S., China or Japan were to battle each other, the currencies of the involved nations would implode. The vast majority of the benefit would go to the non-involved parties.

    The U.S.A. is the gorilla in the room, but Obama is a peacenik and the U.S. is indebted to all. Also, the U.S. ability to project power against a significant opponent is suspect. The combination of spy satelites/cruise missles/nukes turns aircraft carriers into targets.

    Police actions are another matter. It is quite likely that the advanced powers will agree to carve up resource rich third world nations, "for their own good". Fortunately for said nations, Iraq hasn't been a cakewalk.

    Cold Camel

    "Nuclear war - the Maginot Line of the 21st century."

    The Jonger is stirring the pot again. I don't see a lot of happy endings with this situation. Hopefully Japan won't go nuclear. If China had any gumption, it would sit on its little friends...but PRC likes US being tied up defending ROK and Japan...less of our resources devoted to the defense of Taiwan.

    I tire of all this foderol...the two Koreas should kiss and make up, as should PRC and Taiwan.

    There. All better now.

    The we could concentrate on chasing pirates and garrisoning oil fields for the empire.

    Declining population is the only thing that can save us in the long run.
    It will hurt in the short term, as the ponzi scheme collapse, but Japan doesn't have the land to feed 120 million people, and with the state of fisheries, their fishing industry isn't going to feed them any more.

    Furthermore, there is so much unemployment in the world today, that having more children will not help at all.
    If things really go bad, then the elderly will die, and the 4/2/1 problem will be no more.

    In a way, nuclear weapons will also help, as it reduces the need for expensive armies, which I think might be what NK is up to. They have to spend a huge amount of their resources maintaining a standing army capable of doing damage to South Korea, but if they can prove they have working nuclear weapons, then their army could be much reduced.
    Of course, they could also stop being paranoid about being invaded.
    France reduced its army recently, dropped conscription a decade ago, as they don't have to need to invade anyone, but they have nuclear submarines to deter anyone wanting to invade them.

    Africa and parts of Asia are already being carved up, land is given away to richer countries/companies in exchange of vague promises of 'jobs' and 'investments'.
    The Madagascar population didn't really appreciate giving away half their arable land to Daewoo, and kicked their president out.

    Hello TODers,

    Does anyone know if 0bama and his Sec. of Education have made any dramatic moves towards reforming 'Murkan Egyoukashun' for teaching of the coming Zero-Sum Reality and Optimal Overshoot Decline?

    Are teachers and their students broadly discussing needed resistance to MPP, moving towards sustainability, and all that it entails? We read articles on TOD of Steven Chu trying to bring about needed change, but is Sec. Arne Duncan moving in a postPeak direction? There really isn't much info on this topic when I google, but here is one link:

    Although the economy has made the most headlines since President Barack Obama took office four months ago, education is another of the new administration's highest priorities. New policies and changes are already going forward, and together with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Obama has unveiled many new aspects of his vision for American education.

    ..In an interview with Charlie Rose, Duncan also elaborated on his vision for schools to become "community centers" open 12-14 hours a day and providing health care, art classes, mentoring, programs for parents, and even "potluck dinners" for community members..

    What about the kids [of all ages] themselves? Have some told their parents that they don't want a videogaming apparatus, but would prefer a coop and some chickens? Telling Dad not to buy on credit a swimming pool, but to start a garden and compost pit instead [and volunteering to help]? Telling Dad that they care nothing about learning golf, but would rather join the Boy Scouts to learn camping & survival skills? Are there some kids that seek out flag semaphore over cellphone text messaging?

    How many parents are now pushing for dramatic change? When their kids pester them for Miley Cyrus concert tickets or a vacation to Disneyland: Do these parents discuss with them the coming maximum thrills of the Hubbert Downslope Roller-Coaster Ride? Do they tell their kids that they want lots of grandkids, or just one, or even none?

    What about high school career guidance counselors, what are they now advising for young adults to pursue? Are they giving hints about solar installation careers, composting sales, and repo-men, or are they still pushing for students to become a new car salesperson or a career in Ponzi-financing?

    I hope Leanan's DB toplinks can post more info on what is happening at the grassroots level, but I would imagine that the Iron Triangle does not delve into this subject very much.

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

    Well, I can say that I convinced my father to recycle nearly everything when I was a child, as it was an important thing for me. He still comments about it to this day, 20 years later, how his son convinced him it was a good idea to rinse out bottles and take them to the recycling center. He still does it, ironically more often than I do. (I recycle anything that doesn't burn or compost.)

    Hello Durandal,

    Thxs for your reply. My parents weren't happy when I announced my intention for genetic death many decades ago. Once I clued them in to Peak Everything with their exposure to Jay Hanson's Dieoff back in 2003: she now thinks it was the smart thing to do [My father died 2005].

    Oil storage play unwound as contango narrows-Vitol (Reuters story here)

    Well, so much for "indirect land use change;" Brazil to "Give Away" 247 MILLION ACRES OF RAINFOREST.

    Yep, "Give Away." To Businesses, and individuals.


    BTW, that's More than all the acres we have in corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and Sorghum.

    But less land than the US Gov't gave away FOR FREE to individuals under the Homestead Act and as incentives to build railroads out West.


    But Alan, the US government never gave away Rain Forest! There is a difference you know. Most of the land the government gave away was prairie grassland, ideal for grazing or farming. The rain forest, well that's a different story.

    Ron P.

    Well , in just reading the headline - it surely looks like "they will just start to give away land... to whoever want some".
    But if you read the article itself it is more of a formalization of the "give away"-land over to those already rightfull owners of the land. Those who already live there and farm the land will recieve ownership-sertificates to prove their ownership. (At least that is what I get out of it)

    The distribution of plots will be based on good faith affidavits that people occupy an area. Authorities will not carry out on-site checks of such claims on plots under 400 hectares

    Nor really sure that the 'rightful' owners will be given the land. Probably the best-connected ones.

    Its helpful to remember that rights are a pleasant sounding euphamism for power.

    Hello TODers,

    This may make you hug your bag of NPK more tightly today. Recall my Ft Knox scenario as you read my teaser below:

    Homeland Security To Regulate Farm & Ranch Inputs?

    ..But a new bill in Congress, expected to be a simple extension of the old authority, instead proposes to mandate the government to take a large measure of control over products and processes in the chemical industry, much like it has taken over leadership, compensation and control functions at some banks, insurance and auto companies.

    ..There are literally no known substitutes with the action and affordability of some key ingredients fertilizer manufacturers feel are threatened. Interfering with the supply of certain nutrients farmers need for specific crop and soil requirements is inappropriate, the Fertilizer Institute said.

    ..The upshot for agriculture could be tighter and more expensive supplies - or the lack of key chemical products - to raise the crops and livestock Americans depend on.
    Recall my prior postings on how I-NPK could be 'The Last Bubble', as Strategic Control of Key Elements & Water is very, very powerful. Will the grassroots ever see the need for full-on O-NPK recycling by SpiderWebRiding as a way to retain some degree of Overshoot freedom? Recall the advantages of moving towards Liebscher's Optima versus survival by Liebig's Minimum.

    Time will tell if we prefer Harry Chapin's "Remember when the Music" or the 'Ultimate in Unfair'...


    Hello TODers,

    My thxs to Leanan for the DB toplink posting yesterday on how 'motozados' are being killed for their efficient rides. I have posted long before as how I see this as being very postPeak plausible for my own early demise when scooters become Unobtainium. Such is life...

    I don't know how many teenagers frequent TOD, but I hope those that somehow survive to be an old man huddled around a small campfire will be able to endlessly recall the previous Peaks of various things, and to what degree they jumpstarted Wildfires of Change to help move toward Optimal Overshoot Decline. How many will have endlessly Reloaded their still-smoking weapons in a frantic Earthmarine protection effort? Will we eat the last horse, or can we muster the sheer will to initialize the growth of biosolar habitats, then enlarge them, then sustain sufficient biodiversity?

    Wildfire Reloaded [4:52]
    Equine Divine? Or will some be able to ride into the future?

    Hello TODers,

    I consider this to be a good sign of possible future Earthmarines:

    Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton

    Horse Soldiers is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered forty to one, they pursued the enemy across mountainous terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which was strategically essential if they were to defeat the Taliban.
    I haven't purchased the book, but recall my prior postings on how totally helpless most of us would be against Earthmarine Special Ops. The current confirmed single-shot kill record in Sniper distance: 1.65 miles.

    Hardly the first time imperial soldiers have ridden horses.

    Next you need to read the Go Rin No Sho.

    I'm 19, been a TOD reader for a couple of years now. World's fu*ked up and I'm fighting back.

    Jeremy Legget writing in the financial times

    From end-2004 to end-2008, total global power capacity from new renewables increased 75 per cent to 280 gigawatts, including a six-fold increase in solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity to more than 16 gigawatts, and a 250 per cent increase in wind power capacity to 121 gigawatts. Wind power capacity grew 29 per cent, with the US overtaking Germany. China was not far behind, doubling capacity for the fifth year running.

    Global solar PV production rose 85 per cent to 7.9 gigawatts. Such growth is possible, continuing even in recession, because some 73 countries have set renewable power generation targets, and at least 64 of them are attempting to hit the targets.

    From the same paper

    Delayed petrol tax beats CAFE plan

    A petrol tax would keep the playing field even. Consumers coming back into the market would want more economical cars and manufacturers would fall over themselves to accommodate them.

    As the tax took hold and consumption shifted, it would brake our oil imports better than the CAFE standards alone and weaken the hand of oil producers such as Russia, Venezuela and the Middle Eastern states. It would make the car industry’s compliance with curbs on greenhouse gases easier and less intrusive. It would accomplish fuel efficiency and environmental goals better than clumsy and easy-to-manipulate fleet-wide mandates from Washington.

    China still buying record amounts of U.S. bonds: report

    TOKYO (Reuters) - China's official foreign exchange manager is still buying record amounts of U.S. government bonds, in spite of Beijing's increasingly vocal fear of a dollar collapse, the Financial Times reported.

    In a story on its website, the FT quoted Chinese and western officials in Beijing as saying China was caught in a "dollar trap."

    The newspaper said China had little choice but to keep pouring the bulk of its growing reserves into U.S. Treasuries, which remains the only market big enough and liquid enough to support its huge purchases.

    I saw a chart of China's total dollar holdings that contradicted the article's conclusion. Instead, according to the other article I read and cannot find at the moment, what appears to be happening is China is selling longer term US bonds and buying shorter term bonds. This process is made easier by Bernanke buying back US bonds in a failed attempt to lower interest rates. (Hint: Chart US interest rates since Bernanke announced and began acting on "Quantitative Easing" - the policy is a total failure.)

    what appears to be happening is China is selling longer term US bonds and buying shorter term bonds.

    Ah, now that makes sense. IMO, China has zero interest in the mid- to long-term survival of the United States as anything more than an old addict begging for a fix.

    They WILL dump the dollar and they WILL challenge the US on all levels... eventually. Timing, as they say, is everything.


    Hello TODers,

    I can't afford this report, but I wonder if Argentina is coming to realize that maintaining asphalt or concrete roads for speedy and smooth transport will be impossible once we get sufficiently postPeak:

    Research and Markets: Expanding Population and Rising Food Demand Fuel Growth in the Argentinean Fertilizers Market

    ..However, high transport costs will adversely impact fertilizer prices. Oil derivatives and Chemicals are the main inputs for several fertilizers and scarcity and high oil prices of these raw materials has directly affected the production of fertilizers. Although Argentina has two urea manufacturing plants, the high price of natural gas has affected the functioning of these plants.
    I hope the Argentines contact Alan Drake for their build-out of standard gauge spine & limbs [RR & TOD] before too much longer. I'm confident that Alan can also advise them on building narrow gauge ribcages, too [SpiderWebRiding].

    In Brazil, this is much better than burning trees for potash as we 'Murkans did long ago [google #1 US Patent]:

    NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES [Will I go to jail now? Or should Google execs go first for making this available?]

    Amazon Mining Holding Plc (TSX VENTURE:AMZ)("Amazon" or the "Company") is pleased to report that verdete slate, a potash rich rock from which Amazon plans to produce a slow-release, non-chloride, multi-nutrient, fertilizer product, has been endorsed by Brazilian lawmakers, as Minas Gerais State looks to establish prospective local innovative sources of potash and fertilizer products.

    ..According to Mr. Antonio Carlos Arantes, member of State Parliament, "Fertilizer costs for farmers in the state have risen more than 500% in the past 14 years, while prices for the goods produced have increased on average less than 25%."

    I hope TODers will read this entire link [not just my teaser]:

    Saudi Arabia just announced it was shutting down half of its oil production.

    It also says it will keep the capacity shut down for at least a year – maybe longer.

    The move would wipe out about five percent of the world’s oil supply overnight.

    What do you expect to happen?
    Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

    Kiss of death?

    Ethanol's arch enemy now loves the stuff:


    My co-op will be sending the corn I deliver to an ethanol plant now owned by Valero. Still having trouble getting my head around that.

    Swine flu errata:

    *1918 Spanish flu came in three waves: first wave in the spring had a fatality rate of 0.7, second wave 3.3, third wave 2.7 LINK (page 8 has fatality rates), swine flu fatality rate probably around 0.7

    *Jetstar will cancel 31 of its Japan flights - almost one third - next month due to "significant softening" of passenger loads amid swine flu fears. LINK

    *NY and Boston still seem to be reporting many new infections and school closings - once it takes hold in an area

    *Southern Hemisphere countries are reporting more widespread infections the last couple of days (except for Venezuela where government officials report no cases) -- any death clusters reported will cause more panic worldwide

    Overall, still a serious threat to oil consumption directly and also indirectly by causing economic problems. Personally, I would not want to fly right now to an uninfected country for fear of being quarantined.

    Hello Goghgoner,

    From your link:
    [bottom of page 5: 1918 scenario repeated now] A pandemic with the characteristics of that in 1918 would, without antiviral treatment, produce an estimated number of deaths equivalent to [approximately equal to] 0.5% of the population across all 3 waves. However, a 20% stockpile sufficient to treat all patients across the 3 waves would result in [approximately equal to] 53% reduction in deaths. With a smaller stockpile of 10%, the reduction in deaths was only 17% because the stockpile becomes exhausted during the second wave, before most of the deaths occur (Figure 6).
    US POP = 306 million, so 0.5% is 15.3 million deaths. About 7.5 million deaths with a 20% stockpile [If you have an effective vaccine].

    Therefore, it would make sense to continue practicing school-closing quarantines so that doctors, hospitals, and morgues don't get a chance to be overwhelmed. It also gives the CDC/WHO more time to possibly make an more effective vaccine, just in case waves 2,3 have an big uptick in infections and mortality.

    As alluded to in your posting: what is unknown is how the public would react to such an event. Back in 1918: info was sparse with little radio and no TV. Not so today, so you might see lots of people missing work to keep an eyeball on their kids & young adults at home.

    IMO, it would be incredibly hard for parents to convince their 18-25 year old male to stay home. Might be better off to buy a short term life insurance policy on him [might also be an effective control,too], but I bet the Ins Cos are already scrambling to make this very damn expensive or entirely exclusionary.