DrumBeat: June 3, 2009

Jeff Rubin: Small new world

With global oil supply dwindling and demand rising, you can expect scarcity. And scarcity means high prices. You can expect triple-digit oil prices in the near future. Yes, the price at the pump is going to go up. Count on it. In the United States, that should translate into as much as $7 per gallon of gasoline, and about $2 per litre in Canada. Europe is of course already paying those prices, so they should get ready for the equivalent of double-digit gas prices. But it will also hurt in a lot of ways you may not be thinking about.

Life as we've known it is up for grabs in a world of expensive fossil fuels. Expensive oil means a severe curb on the free-spending lifestyle that cheap energy has afforded us for some time now. It means you can say a long and wistful goodbye to the inexpensive products manufactured on the other side of the world. You may not love them, but they have been stretching our dollars for a while now and holding down inflation at the same time. You'll miss them when it starts to become clear that your paycheque just doesn't go as far as it used to.

Jeff Rubin interview: ‘When you spend more on fuel than food, an economic contaction will follow’

The global economy is mostly about wage arbitrage… but the implicit assumption is that we can move goods and not just finished goods, [but also] the intermediary inputs around the world - that distance does not cost money.

We’ve already seen evidence that China was losing advantage in the North American steel market because it wasn’t economically feasible to ship it across.

What they said on hot energy topics: Wednesday

LONDON (Reuters) - The following are comments on a number of key topics from speakers at the Reuters Global Energy Summit on Wednesday:

Libya sees further oil price rise

Ghanem echoed the views of other OPEC members that prices needed to rise to secure future investment in oil production. But he cautioned oil markets were likely to tighten in coming years regardless.

"In 2-3 years, or maybe even next year, the talk of peak oil will be looming again. What is happening is temporary; demand will come back," Ghanem said.

Energy Chief Says Nuclear Disclosure 'of Great Concern'

WASHINGTON -- The accidental disclosure of a report that gives detailed information about the nation's civilian nuclear sites and programs is "of great concern," and U.S. officials intend to closely examine whether it has jeopardized national security, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Wednesday.

Venezuela agrees to Russian group venture

Venezuela agreed to work with a group of five Russian oil companies including Rosneft and Lukoil to create an oil joint venture in areas of the country’s Orinoco Belt, according to an accord published today.

Putin Urges Europe to Help Ukraine Avoid New Gas Halt

(Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged Europe to help Ukraine make payments for supplies of natural gas because transit from Russia may otherwise be halted in weeks for the second time this year.

Transit via Ukraine may stop as early as the end of June or the start of July, Putin told reporters in Helsinki today at a press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

Eni must sell some gas storage - watchdog

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's oil and gas giant Eni (ENI.MI) must sell some of its gas storage sites to other players, Italy's antitrust authority and energy watchdog AEEG said on Wednesday, as its management damages competition.

The authorities said Eni, which controls 97 percent of stocks through its Stogit unit, had so far made "absolutely marginal" improvements to guarantee more security to the system and to increase competition.

Energy Northwest considers nuclear power again

RICHLAND, Wash. — A quarter century after a grand plan to develop nuclear power in the Northwest collapsed, a regional power consortium is quietly shopping the idea of building another reactor.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Energy Northwest asked each of its 25 member public utilities and municipalities to pitch in $25,000 for further research into building small nuclear reactors.

Ethanol to take over 75 pct Brazil car fuel market

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Sugar cane-based ethanol fuel is expected to take over 75 percent of Brazil's light vehicle fuel market, shrinking gasoline's stake to 17 percent by 2020, the head of the state-run oil company said.

The flex-fuel engine technology, which is now included in about 90 percent of all new car sales, is the reason that Brazilians are buying more ethanol fuel, said Jose Sergio Gabrielli, chief executive of Petrobras(PETR4.SA) (PBR.N), Brazil's state-run oil company.

Oil Demand Falling Fast In Japan

Japan may be forced to shut more than a fifth of its refining capacity, at least 1 million barrels per day, in the next five years as oil demand falls faster than expected, the head of the country's top refiner said on Tuesday.

Nippon Oil Corp President Shinji Nishio also told the Reuters Energy Summit that the company, after its planned merger with Nippon Mining, might shut in 200,000 bpd more capacity than originally planned by 2015, underscoring the rapid demand erosion in the world's No. 3 consumer.

"I think we are likely to see an even faster decline than the government's projection," he said in Tokyo.

Putin threatens to choke Europe's gas

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said today gas transit to Europe may stop at the end of June or in early July if Ukraine does not pay for pumping the gas into underground storage.

Shell Says Nigerian Oil Export Disruption May Extend Into June

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc said exports of Nigeria’s Bonny Light and Forcados crude may continue to be disrupted in June after pipelines were damaged.

Shell has extended a so-called force majeure declaration on Bonny Light and Forcados crude exports into June, company spokesman Adam Newton said in a telephone interview today. Force majeure is a legal clause that allows producers to miss contracted deliveries citing circumstances beyond their control.

China warily permits a peek into its oil reserves

NINGBO, China (Reuters) - China let reporters into its secretive strategic oil reserve on Wednesday, revealing facilities adjacent to major commercial storage, with managers drafted in from state-owned firms on a tight rein from Beijing.

China has rushed to fill its four strategic oil bases since oil prices fell last year and will now build a second, bigger set of bases to expand its capacity, with the eventual aim of having enough to cover 90 days of imports, three times more than now.

Competitors behind palm oil slurs: industry boss

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Western countries are using climate change as an excuse to constrain palm oil production in Asia because it competes with Western business interests, Indonesia's palm oil industry chief said on Wednesday.

Venezuela Offering 3 Projects in Oil Licensing Round, PDVSA Says

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela, South America’s biggest oil exporting country, is seeking bids for three projects to develop 4 billion barrels of crude reserves, Eulogio del Pino, head of exploration and production at state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi today.

Rosneft Faces Challenges in Building Two Asian Oil Refineries

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Rosneft, Russia’s largest state- owned oil producer, will face challenges if it seeks to build simultaneously two refineries in Russia’s Far East and China, said Peter O’Brien, vice president for finance and investment.

Saudi Arabia Increases All Crude Oil Export Prices Worldwide

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, increased its official selling prices for exports of all grades globally in July.

For U.S. customers, Saudi Arabia increased the price of its Extra Light crude the most, raising it by 60 cents a barrel to $1.35 below the cost of West Texas Intermediate crude, the state oil company said in a faxed statement today.

Even If Oil Hits $90, OPEC Won't Increase Production

Oil prices could reach $80-$90 a barrel by early next year, but OPEC will not increase its output until a huge amount of over-supply has been absorbed, the group's Secretary General said on Tuesday.

Calderon to Avert Debt Rating Cut, Goldman Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico probably will stave off a credit rating downgrade by raising taxes to reduce the government’s dependence on oil exports, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

President Felipe Calderon may reach an accord with lawmakers after July mid-term elections, buoying revenue as a decline in oil output and the first recession in eight years swells the budget deficit, said Paulo Leme, Goldman Sachs’s chief Latin America economist. Standard and Poor’s cut the outlook on Mexico’s BBB+ rating to negative last month, saying the slump was heightening the country’s “fiscal vulnerabilities.”

Are Monopolies Holding Mexico Back?

the World Bank has published a book, “No Growth without Equity?,” that summarizes the theories explaining Mexico’s mediocre performance. The book argues that special interest groups, particularly in business and labor, have managed to block changes that would make the economy more efficient and productive in an attempt to preserve privileges built up over decades under Mexico’s closed economy and one-party state. Most important, those groups have frustrated attempts to introduce competition.

Surprisingly, Mexico’s transition from a one-party state to a fractious democracy has done little to change this. Powerful interests have been successful at controlling weak government institutions and co-opting political parties.

Among the book’s cases studies are two areas where Mexico is falling behind by just about any measure: its state-owned oil monopoly, Pemex; and telecommunications, where one player, Teléfonos de México, is so dominant that it exercises a de facto monopoly.

Reserves and production at the oil company, also known as Petróleos Mexicanos, are declining. But even though the evidence of Pemex’s problems is undeniable, efforts to change the company have stalled because several powerful groups benefit – in the short-term at least – from keeping things the way they are.

Kuwait Oil Co Says No Upstream Projects Canceled

State-owned Kuwait Oil Co. has not canceled or postponed any upstream projects, and will invest as much as $6 billion in 2009 on exploration and production activities, the company's chairman said Monday.

"I want to emphasize that we have not slowed down our strategic investments," said Sami Al Rushaid, who is also KOC's Managing Director, at an oil companies conference.

U.S. releases secret nuclear list accidentally

The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked “highly confidential,” that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons.

Urban gardens ease bills, brighten cityscape

DETROIT — Every little bit helps for Earlean White's family.

The neighborhood garden a block from her home was the source of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for her family last summer.

So on a recent sunny Saturday, White, 48, enlisted two of her kids — Katherine White, 9, and David Smith, 13 — and her grandson Robert Puritan, 8, to start planting for this year's growing season.

White says the garden helps ease her grocery bill and "helps the community and makes it look better."

With the help of Urban Farming, a Detroit-based non-profit group, this 20-foot-by-20-foot lot and more than 600 others like it across the USA are being turned into gardens filled with fresh vegetables for hungry families.

Saudi to commission two new oil developments

Saudi Arabia will commission two new oil developments on schedule this summer to boost the country’s production capacity, even as it delays new refinery projects, a Saudi oil official said yesterday.

Chevron to expand oil project in Kingdom

ABU DHABI - US oil major Chevron could deploy a technique to boost oilfield output across the neutral zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 2017, a top Chevron executive said on Tuesday.

If successful, the technique could be rolled out worldwide and add billions of barrels to global reserves, said Guy Hollingsworth, Chevron’s president for exploration and production in Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East.

“We could go to full-field in 2017,” Hollingsworth told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in Abu Dhabi.

Chevron is testing the impact of steam flooding in the oilfields in the neutral zone to help boost output of heavy oil. Steam raises the temperature below ground and loosens up crude that is otherwise difficult to pump.

Bids asked for Saudi fuel hub upgrades

Saudi oil giant Aramco expects to receive bids for the upgrade of around 14 bulk plants by June 28, two sources familiar with the plan said on Monday.

A bulk plant is a wholesale receiving and distributing facility for petroleum products. It includes storage tanks, warehouses, truck loading racks and relared elements.

"Some bulk plants are very old, they are updating them to increase capacity," a source close to the project said.

Saudi to start production at Khurais end June

Although it was not immediately expected to add to the sum of Saudi output, the field represents the biggest ever single increment to global production.

"It's mechanically completed, and it's commissioning...and I expect by the end of this month we will have oil production from Khurais," Abdulaziz al-Judaimi, vice president for new business development at Aramco, told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

Lukoil reports 71 pct drop in Q1 profit

Russia's largest privately owned oil company Lukoil said Wednesday that net profit in the first quarter dropped 71 percent compared to a year earlier, dragged down by low oil prices.

The company booked a profit of $900 million, down from $3.1 billion a year earlier. It said its cost-cutting program helped limit the decline and that the results were still an improvement compared to last year's fourth quarter, when it reported a $674 million loss.

China replaces Total in giant Iran gas scheme-IRNA

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will sign a contract on Wednesday with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) for the development of phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field in the Gulf, replacing France's Total, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Total said it considered the report to be a market rumour.

Cap-and-trade is coming

A cap-and-trade system won't come to Ontario, the government says, before 2012. The delay is, perhaps, understandable. There are many details yet to be worked out, and it makes sense to time the implementation to coincide with an expected North America-wide system.

All the same, the sooner the Ontario government can give industry a clear idea of what the new economy will look like, the better it will be for the province's economy in the meantime. A recession is no time to let uncertainty linger.

Jeff Rubin's Shrinking World

After a quarter-century of increasing free trade and globalization, we have seen our prosperity suddenly stagger -- even in China, where mere six per cent growth is effectively a recession. While GM goes bankrupt, investors still dream of a return to "normal": the happy years before 2008.

Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets for almost 20 years, makes it clear that those years were decidedly abnormal, a three-decade holiday from reality.

Stop the world, Jeff wants to get off

Mr. Rubin has since departed from CIBC. This, he claims, is significantly due to his new book: Why Your World Is About To Get a Whole Lot Smaller. It's easy to see why the bank wouldn't like it. But that's likely not because it's too boldly insightful, as Mr. Rubin might believe. It's because Mr. Rubin has gone from the dismal science to the Dark Side.

The former CIBC star is both a fine writer and an engaging speaker, but he has contracted a bad case of Peak Oil Theory, a condition that afflicts those inclined to anti-materialism, Big Oil paranoia and Pollyanna-ish belief in policy wisdom (But then Mr. Rubin is actually in favour of carbon tariffs, which would collapse world trade faster than you could say Smoot-Hawley).

Peak oil three years away

The global financial crisis might have put it back a little, but peak oil is just three years away, according to the chair of Australia's peak body for petroleum.

JPMorgan Hires Supertanker to Store Heating Oil, Brokers Say

(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second- largest U.S. bank by deposits, hired a newly built supertanker to store heating oil off Malta, shipbrokers reported, in the company’s first such booking in at least five years.

The bank hired the Front Queen for nine months, according to daily reports from Oslo-based SeaLeague A/S and Athens-based Optima Shipbrokers Ltd. David Wells, a spokesman for JPMorgan in London, declined to comment.

BP Missed Opportunity in Brazil’s Santos Basin, Citigroup Says

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, views its absence from Brazil’s pre-salt offshore region as an “opportunity now missed,” according to analysts at Citigroup Inc.

A Call to Action on Peak Oil

We are being lulled to sleep by temporarily low oil prices caused by the global financial crisis. In fact, low prices may lead to an increased level of consumption and accelerated exhaustion of oil reserves.

OPEC Expert says Oil Prices Could Fall Again

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Oil prices could fall again because fundamentals are still weak, OPEC's director of research said on Tuesday.

Total calls for openess in Nigeria reforms

The chief executive of French giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, has urged Nigeria to boost transparency and lay down clearer rules for foreign partners as it pushes through reforms in its mainstay oil and gas industry.

China opens national oil reserve bases for media visit

NINGBO, June 3 (Xinhua) -- China opened its national oil reserve bases to domestic and foreign media for the first time Wednesday since the bases were built.

China Won’t Buy Oil for Stockpiling Until More Storage Built

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-biggest energy consumer, won’t buy more oil for stockpiling until additional storage tanks are built, a government official said.

Until the second phase of the country’s emergency oil reserves is constructed, there will be no additional purchases for stockpiling, Zeng Yachuan, deputy director-general of the policies and laws department at the National Energy Administration, told reporters at the Zhenhai facility in the coastal province of Zhejiang today.

Uganda: Oil Reserves Rival Saudi Arabia's, Says U.S. Expert

Kampala — Uganda's oil reserves could be as much as that of the Gulf countries, a senior official at the US Department of Energy has said.

Based on the test flow results encountered at the wells so far drilled and other oil numbers, Ms. Sally Kornfeld, a senior analyst in the office of fossil energy went ahead to talk about Uganda's oil reservoirs in the same sentence as Saudi Arabia.

"You are blessed with amazing reservoirs. Your reservoirs are incredible. I am amazed by what I have seen, you might rival Saudi Arabia," Kornfeld told a visiting delegation from Uganda in Washington DC.

Russia's Gazprom places 15 bln rouble bonds - sources

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom is placing two issues of rouble denominated bonds worth 15 billion roubles, banking sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Wyo gets oil shale project

GREEN RIVER -- Scientists estimate there's up to 1.5 trillion barrels of oil within shale formations that could be recovered in northwest Colorado, southwest Wyoming and northeast Utah.

But it's going to require new, environmentally friendly technology to make it commercially viable to develop all that oil shale, they say.

Dana Petroleum ‘Not for Sale,’ Focuses on Boosting Production

(Bloomberg) -- Dana Petroleum Plc, a Scottish explorer focused on Europe and North Africa, says it “isn’t for sale” even as rivals target each other because the company expects to boost market value by finding more oil and gas.

Dana is forecasting output will rise 9 percent this year after jumping 29 percent in 2008, and plans to start production at two new fields in 2009 in addition to the 34 already pumping. Its exploration campaign over the next two years is targeting 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources.

My Thoughts on Oil

● Despite US oil inventories at near 20 year highs, simply the notion of global growth has oil prices up over 50% since March.

● US dollar weakness is helping to propel oil (and gold) higher.

● The US consumes around 20 million barrels of oil a day and imports roughly 65% of it. The amount of oil the US consumes is equal to the output of the world’s two largest oil producing nations (Saudi Arabia and Russia) combined.

Administration: Highway fund to go broke in August

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is warning lawmakers that the trust fund that pays for highway construction will go broke in August unless Congress approves an infusion of as much as $7 billion.

2 percent Vt. gasoline tax takes effect

MONTPELIER — A new gasoline tax quietly kicked in this week, upping the price distributors pay by 3.3 cents a gallon.

The tax was part of a $540 million transportation bud´get that Gov. Jim Douglas signed without fanfare Fri´day. The bill called for the tax to take effect June 1.

The Ultimate Race: Peak Oil vs. Global Warming

Last year, in a fit of journo-satirical inspiration, we gamed out an enviro-athletic competition based on the pseudo-serious question: What will end the world first, Global Warming or Peak Oil? We called it The Ultimate Race. And after an offseason hiatus, the race is on, again. For how long? Well, that's kind of the point of the whole exercise, isn't it?

Toyota to start plug-in hybrid leasing

(AP:TOKYO) Toyota said Wednesday it will start leasing plug-in hybrid cars, that are even greener than its hit Prius, by the end of this year in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world's top automaker, will start leasing 200 plug-ins in Japan, 150 in the U.S. and 150 in Europe, mostly for rental, such as through special government-backed programs, it said in a release.

Toyota will for the first time use lithium-ion batteries in the plug-ins. The batteries are already used in some cars but more common in laptops and other gadgets.

Zero Energy Houses Creating a New Design Vernacular

The traditional gabled roof that we are all familiar with was engineered to slough off snowfall. But in an uncertain post peak oil future of possible energy shortages and water shortages, more and more houses are showing up with roof-shapes engineered to harvest their own rainwater, and support solar power generation.

Germany’s $143 Billion Wind Farms Jeopardized by Tight Funding

(Bloomberg) -- As much as 100 billion euros ($143 billion) in planned investments in German offshore wind farms are at risk as developers struggle to get funding, jeopardizing the deepest emissions cuts in the European Union.

Spain Likely to Give Franco-Era Reactor New Life, Lozano Says

(Bloomberg) -- Spain is likely to extend the life of the last of its Franco-era nuclear plants, reversing a promise to close aging reactors as Europe seeks to cut fuel imports and curb generation costs, according to a former government adviser.

Climate Change Policies Won't Impact Global Warming: However, 10 Sensible Ideas Will Combat Global Warming Now and Boost the Economy

DALLAS /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The various policies currently being considered by the Obama Administration to combat global warming will ultimately do nothing to impact climate change, according to NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett.

In fact, there are several "no regrets" ideas that can impact climate change today, including the government reducing regulatory barriers to new nuclear power plants, according to a new NCPA study that examines 10 "cool" climate policies and will be released at a June 3 Capitol Hill briefing. For example, the study concludes that nuclear power generation worldwide can reduce emissions by almost 2 billion metric tons.

Pelosi upbeat on US-China climate cooperation

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday expressed high hopes of cooperation between the United State and China, the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, ahead of key climate change talks.

"We did see that the Chinese government knows that they have to do something," Pelosi told a news conference on the heels of a weeklong trip to China with other lawmakers devoted to energy and climate change.

Waxman Irks Allies by Bargaining With Companies on Climate Bill

(Bloomberg) -- Representative Henry Waxman has taken on everyone from drugmakers to the tobacco lobby in three decades in Congress. Now, leading the most comprehensive U.S. effort yet on global warming, he’s clashing with close allies.

Probably best to take the statements above re:Ugnada oil reserves (" Uganda's oil reserves could be as much as that of the Gulf countries, a senior official at the US Department of Energy has said.") with a very big grain of salt. They don't offer any numbers other then height of the pay collumnes and np mention of areal extent. The net pays are very nice but not even close to West Texas standards let alone the Persian Gulf. Current country flow rate (3.5 million bopd) should garner some attention though. But also expect the players there to hype the play to death as they try to raise capital.

I watched "Earth 2100" an ABC last night. It was pretty good though they put far more emphasis on global warming than on peak oil. They still had jets flying right until the end. About 2040 they traveled from San Diego to New York in their car, part of the way with a convoy of cars. That gives you some idea of what they thought about the supply of oil.

In the end the water rises and destroys New York. The population of the world was dropping by millions per year. I think they had it down to about 2 billion in 2100 but I don't remember exactly. The power finally went off completely during the last decade.

The last 15 minutes was devoted to the theme "This does not have to happen." Then they gave the feel good message as to what we could do to prevent it. It was mostly about how to slow down global warming however. There was one line about "slowing population growth". And there was lots of advice about solar and wind power. That seemed to be their answer to the energy problem.

If anyone else saw it please post your opinion on the show.

Google ABC Earth 2100 and you will gets lots of links about the show. Here is just one of them.

Scientists From Around the Globe Join ABC News in a Forum on Surviving the Century

"We really have less than a decade to start getting this right. If we're still dragging our feet in 2015 I think it really becomes at that point almost impossible for the world to avert a degree of climate change that we simply will not be able to manage without intolerable cost and consequences."

As I said, they were far more concerned about global warming than peak oil. They are watching out for a warming planet and almost completely unaware of peak oil that is about to bitch slap them right in the face.

Note: At the above link there are over 800 readers comments, so far. Some of them very interesting. Many of them highly critical of the opinion that there is any problem at all. Others thought God would fix everything. One example:

This is the BIGGEST piece of propaganda crap I have ever seen, I am sure all the wacko liberal teachers will be asking for a copy to watch in their classrooms to indoctrinate the poor children even more. This is DISGUSTING and NOT TRUE!!!!!!!!!!

Ron P.

If the water rises, we move to higher ground.
If the oil runs out, we go back to burning wood.
Can we stop global warming or peak oil?
Or, should we just accept it, and start changing the way we live.
It is easier to change before the final impact.
Did you see the movie Deep Impact? The people waited until the day the tidal wave hit to go to higher ground. We have plenty of advanced notice on global warming.

solar and wind power. That seemed to be their answer to the energy problem.

Old photons (plus a moving earth) got us the coal, oil and gas.

Why should not new photons supply what we get? Such a lifestyle shift will be lower energy per person.

"Why should not new photons supply what we get?"

Well they should and will to some degree, of course. But less emphasized by the program is how MUCH we have to do right away to be prepared for it, particularly that all-important point about 'Lower Energy Per Person'.

Ron said the Convoys of Cars showed 'what they think about oil availability'.. I would just modify it to say it shows just how much they HAVEN'T thought about oil availability. WON'T think about it. The idea that there isn't always going to be another Tanker coming down the road to refill the 7/11 stations is essentially UNthinkable to people.

In the west, it is outside of the experience of some 3 generations of people now, that 'Things can run out.. and not be resupplied' Well, sure, this was briefly learned in the 30's and 40's, but the way it was 'UNlearned' again through the 50's almost makes the message harder to sell than ever.

Ron said the Convoys of Cars showed 'what they think about oil availability'.. I would just modify it to say it shows just how much they HAVEN'T thought about oil availability. WON'T think about it. The idea that there isn't always going to be another Tanker coming down the road to refill the 7/11 stations is essentially UNthinkable to people.

And yet they had Lucy and her parents move from the burbs to the city early on, claiming commute costs were the big driver of this change. And, we will still have some oil & bio-liquids fuel available in 2040 (or was it 2050), so
having fuel for occasional journeys is not really a stretch. If we have say 25% as much oil (or oil-like fuel) available as today, that still allows a considerable amount of oilbased travel.

Acknowledged.. I guess to focus in tighter on my point, we do hear people 'talk about Gas price', about 'We should bike more' .. etc.. but to get them to extrapolate a reduction in oil flows out even to simple second-order effects, such as our ability to maintain roads, price of Asphalt, etc.., what happens to JIT inventories with increased diesel shortages, emergency health care, etc.. which would make that Convoy unlikely not because you can't fill up the car's tank, but perhaps that there just aren't enough gas-stations still in business to connect the country..

The interruptions in this chain of events will most likely hit in UNlikely, innocuous little links that we hardly think about. "You can't get tires anymore.. nobody has any.."

Is your several uses of UN in words such as 'unlikely' meant to signify that the United Nations has conspired to create or exacerbate Peak Oil?

just curious,

Sometimes I'm dry.. but I'm not THAT dry.

No, I don't have a bone to pick with the UN at this point. As flawed as they (like any of us) may be, the fact that it exists is more a positive than a negative for me.


Never saw any ads for it, or I would have been sure to see the whole thing. Just happened to come in the room, my wife had landed on it as she was channel surfing. She watched two minutes and left the room. As I watched it, I kept wondering how did this even get on broadcast, commercial TV. Somebody at ABC must have pushed hard to get this made and get it aired, I applaud them for trying. It was fanciful but at least they mentioned a lot of the things that should be getting a lot more attention. This morning I scrolled through a few of the comments on the ABC link, and most are discouraging to read.

Here is the index page:

Not terribly well organized, you have to keep going back to view the "Act I", "Act II", etc.

I wonder if Disney is working on the apocalyptic version of EPCOT Center? If so, they should probably look for a location outside of south-central Florida.

Also, ABC has a facebook index that has been up and running since at least last fall.

As I watched it, I kept wondering how did this even get on broadcast, commercial TV.

Obviously the privileged elites are starting to panic. They are trying to find a way to get the non-privileged to slow down the freight train before it heads off the cliff taking them with it. Unfortunately any real solutions would conflict with the human animal's genetic drives to reproduce and consume resources, as evidenced by all the discouraging comments on the web site. This can only end up in a massive war.

Maybe the successor to our civilization will make a similar movie.

The humor is appreciated but... successor?

It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing high intelligence this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. THIS IS A ONE SHOT AFFAIR. IF WE FAIL, THIS PLANETARY SYSTEM FAILS SO FAR AS INTELLIGENCE IS CONCERNED. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only.
-- Fred Hoyle

I agree with Hoyle. Either thorium (or cold fusion or some other technomiracle) saves us, or this planetary system fails as far as intelligence (or, rather, technological civilization) is concerned.

We're the one chance. There can be no successor.

Not one able to make movies about us, anyway.

So, we were stupid before we started burning coal?

The current great cities of the world won't be amazing repositories of high-quality ore millenia after people no longer inhabit them?

Such hubris.

I think you read me as saying almost excactly the opposite of what I was trying to say.

Hubris? I was acutally thinking of ancient Greek tragedy when I wrote the above. And what a tragedy it is! Imagine a human, a thousand years from now, stumbling upon a book repository from the late 20th century... reading dreams of space colonization, industrial utopias where each family has its own automobile, sattelite navigation, personal computers... And realizing that, though it is no less intelligent than the creatures that made that, it doesn't stand a chance to replicate that civilization.

Intelligence is the source of our hubris, and Peak Oil our nemesis.

So, we were stupid before we started burning coal?

I don't think the word "intelligence" in my Hoyle quote should be read as "high IQ", but rather as "science" or "technological civilization" (although you could speculate that Hoyle meant, implicitly, that producing high tecnology is the ultimate fulfillment of the person endowed with high IQ). Which I tried to make clear in a parenthetical remark, but I seem to have failed.

The current great cities of the world won't be amazing repositories of high-quality ore millenia after people no longer inhabit them?

Surely, Hoyle's point must be that all three - coal, oil and high-grade ores - are necessary to build a technological civilization? Are you trying to imply that coal and oil are unimportant?

Besides, I think you are wrong. You can't build a new house, bigger and more splendid than your old one, from the salvaged materials. Yes, our current cities may well be considered treasure-troves by our descendants, but because their society will have less techno-clout than ours.

If we're at Peak Everything, we're looking down in all directions.

Hubris? Yes, I think hubris is a good description of what got us where we are today.

Now follows the Revenge of the Gods.

The implication is that the society we have built on the backs of fossil fuels is the only way to be civilized and intelligent.

People were smart enough before we started burning coal, fossil fuels didn't make us any more intelligent. Even a cursory study of ancient technologies reveals that our forebears were every bit as clever as we are.

Industrialization was well underway before we started exploiting oil.

High-grade ores are certainly desirable, and should we fail utterly we will be leaving those to follow immense deposits of high-grade concentrated metal ores in the form of our former cities and industrial sites.

Whatever they may build from it it will likely look nothing like what we do today, even if they attain higher technological heights than we have.

There is more than one way to do it, just because we did it this way doesn't mean it is the only way or even necessarily the best way.

The belief that it is the only and/or best way is the hubris to which I refer.

Even a cursory study of ancient technologies reveals that our forebears were every bit as clever as we are.

And I have a Roman suspension bridge over the Hudson that's for sale. Would you like it? :-)

My cursory study of ancient technologies led me to the opposite conclusion. And that's only to be expected. Intelligence is not knowledge. The development of the sciences, materials science and mathematics in particular, has been a long, hard road.

should we fail utterly we will be leaving those to follow immense deposits of high-grade concentrated metal ores in the form of our former cities and industrial sites.

Our successors will (I hope) have our knowledge, but they will not have the resources available to us.

The rubble of abandoned cities will not constitute high-grade ore. The most common metal in the fabric of cities is steel. We are mining iron ores that are about thirty percent iron. City rubble is no more than two or three percent iron, except in small pockets. "Small pockets" are no basis for a civilization on the scale of ours.

The situation is worse with copper and other metals. Before the industrial revolution, ores of over ten percent metal were common, and used. The development of the steam engine was prompted by the desire to pump water from high grade tin mines. Lower grade ores were abundant, but needed too much energy to be usable. Solving the water problem eventually solved this problem too... for a while.

Our successors will need large amounts of energy to be able to use abandoned cities as mines. We have used the easily accessible deposits of high grade copper and tin ores. If industrial production stops for a century or two, it will be very difficult to start it up again.

Conceivably, our successors may master bio-engineering to the point that they can use plants to concentrate metals in seawater. Or maybe nanotechnology will perform that magic for them. But they will be limited to the rate at which they can move sea-water past their harvesting devices. Our fossil fuel consumption is four orders of magnitude (10,000 times) larger than the energy in the world's natural ocean currents (source: Vaclav Smil - Energy in Nature and Society, figure 12.9). Mining is about three percent of economic activity. So it's unlikely that filtering ocean currents will provide materials quickly enough for a large-scale civilization. (Leaving aside the energy problem of reducing the metals.)

Or maybe our successors can have a civilization with only a small amount of metals. Then they almost certainly won't be using much electricity, and probably not much machinery either. No lights, no electric motors, no pressurised water pipes, no water heaters. So not much medicine, no telecommunications, not much trade.

Fred Hoyle was right, unfortunately.

I'll raise you a set of pre-Roman pyramids.

We were able to begin developing electrical technology before we started mass consumption of fossil fuels.

Human exceptionalism strikes again, from a different vector. Just because we followed a particular path does not mean that it is the only or best path.

This particular path happens to lead to a cliff, maybe our successors will be better off for us having burned the fossilized sunshine so they can't trip over it.

I completely agree that the particular path we followed was not the only path, or the best path. But I was trying to make a general case, that the essential problem is the requirement for both scale and concentration. Here's another attempt, based on three considerations.

First, a few prototypes don't power a civilization. Try working out the energy density of Leyden jars. Dielectric constants mean that static electricity cannot be concentrated enough to be industrially usable on Earth.

The only known sources of energy concentrated enough to be industrially usable are nuclear (including solar), chemical, and gravitational. We are using them all. As a result, we could, if we wished, build a copy of the Great Pyramid in two years, without noticing the economic effect.

Second -- and this is Fred Hoyle's point -- we've used the good stuff. Yes, we were able to begin developing technologies before starting mass consumption of fossil fuels. We had easy access to large deposits of high grade metal ores, so we could refine metals with comparatively little energy, and scale up new technologies. When we have finished with fossil fuels, there won't be any large deposits of high grade ores, unless our successors make them through bio-engineering. Wind, water, and wood won't provide enough energy scalability with low-grade ores. So scaling up a new civilization would be very difficult.

Third, high tech needs a high degree of specialisation. Therefore a large population is required, and so a technological civilization has to use resources on a large scale.

So: large scale is needed, but not achievable, apres nous. Unless a -- till now unkown -- form of concentrated energy is found to be abundant and easily exploited.

A few prototypes don't need to become an iPod in every pocket and a car in every garage for society to benefit. Lower intensity usage can support continued development of resources. Lack of the ability to create massive material surpluses might even help.

We've used the good stuff, and become the good stuff.

Total collapse means nobody concerned about mining the high-grade metal ore deposits that were Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, and London.

There may be some amazing speculation about how these deposits ended up concentrated in such a useful manner.

This is an assumption. It assumes a particular rate of idea generation, among other things.
Newton and Euler were hardly spawned out of a modern industrialized society. Building upon their work didn't need to be, either.

20th Century man became accustomed to bullying the universe's secrets out of it, but there have always been other ways.

Unless there is a proof of the assumption that a large scale civilization is a necessary prerequisite for technological advancement and not a result of the particular path of advancement we have followed as a civilization then Sir Hoyle's ideas, while interesting, are hardly the final word on the matter.

Unless there is a proof of the assumption that a large scale civilization is a necessary prerequisite for technological advancement and not a result of the particular path of advancement we have followed as a civilization then Sir Hoyle's ideas, while interesting, are hardly the final word on the matter.

My money's on Hoyle. There's a lot of research suggesting large scale civilization is required for technological advancement. Jared Diamond's work discusses this a lot.

Obviously the privileged elites are starting to panic.

Single data point, meet conclusion. Conclusion, meet single data point.


The MSM move in lock-step. A "single data point" can reflect the entire industry, including advertisers. If you think otherwise then you have underestimated the severity of our failure.

My major concern is that the purpose of this "vehicle" is to actually promote panic. Panic will not save us, and probably will encourage BAU. People in a panic neither think nor act rationally. They usually fight to retain their Sacred Way of Life above all else. They find a suitable scapegoat and blame them for the problem while focusing obsessively on their own righteousness. Demagogues and tyrants love a nice panic; lot's a material there to work with.


From 'Prizzi's Honor' .. (I think)

"So you're in Organized Crime?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, we're not all that organized.."

Promote Panic? I doubt it. TV is produced to sell advertising. Gay Marriage on the News?.. grabs a lot of eyeballs.. ADVERTISING.

Capitalism WILL sell you the rope to hang it with.. especially if it thinks you'll sign up for a long-term subscription. Why would they do that if they'll be dead? That's tomorrow's problem.

We are in agreement. I didn't say they talk among themselves and come up with a globalized MSM plan to sell everyone the same message. I said only that they move in lock-step. Because they think exactly alike. Herd animals do the same thing, schooling fish as well. No intelligence required. No intelligence in evidence.


Obviously the privileged elites are starting to panic.

The ruling class has years of laws, the force of arms, legitimacy of detention, and plenty of "stuff" - land and materials.

When panic will set in is if the above "goes away". And I'm not seeing a threat to that in the place ABC calls home. It would take one heck of a filling of the detention system - costs exceeding value for the laws to be re-thought. And the reduction of arms is not on the table.

This can only end up in a massive war.

Naw - a fine biological agent would knock back the number of people. If something could exist that would attack the underfed the 'class of useless eaters' would be gotten rid of without using the 'military men' being they 'are dumb, stupid animals'. But nature usually thins the starving weak without man having to intervene.

May you all live in interesting times.

I taped it, and have only seen part of it. I can see how the ideas in it would be a rude shock to lots of people - the vast majority of the people out there either think there aren't any serious problems, or think that any problems that do exist have a quick technological fix of some sort that we just haven't come up with yet.

I guess to some, the idea that there are any limits at all may seem like political propaganda - especially when some politicians still talk as if we can drill our way out of the problem (at least regarding oil).

This comes back to a point that I have been making - to prove that the problems are this severe, you essentially have to prove a negative. You have to prove that we have overshot, and you have to prove that technology won't come to the rescue. Which in a sense you can't do with 100% certainty, so ultimately people will still hold out for a miracle. I fear it won't be until the problems are so large and in our faces that people will have to come to terms with it, and even then people will initially look for scapegoats of some sort..

Like you, ericy, I often find myself confronted by a friend or acquaintance who sees me as the Voice of Doom for expressing profound concern about our dwindling fossil fuel resources. The response is often something like, "But there are so many great minds out there. Surely they'll come up with viable new energy sources and systems." The assumption is, furthermore, that the "great minds" will do this in time to keep things going the way they have been in the minds of these friends and acquaintances. No real grasp of the finiteness of fossil fuel resources; no real grasp of the historical relationships among fossil fuel use, human population growth, the rise of mass consumer society, etc.; no real grasp that "great minds" are not sufficient to develop or bring on line new energy sources and systems.

What comes home to me time after time in such conversations is that there are different paradigms at work in the parties to the conversation. It's very difficult to look through your glasses and at them simultaneously. Not impossible, mind you. Self-critical and careful analytic thinkers ideally practice various ways of doing this all the time. But still, as T.S. Kuhn argued persuasively in his classic THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS, even professional scientists, when faced with difficulties their underlying paradigms cannot account for, often stick their heads in the sand. Kuhn even said--at least, I think it was Kuhn and not someone he was quoting, can't remember offhand--that proponents of old and fading paradigms don't so often change their minds as simply die.

Let's hope this isn't the scenario that plays out in the years ahead.

The list of things that have not been invented/discovered/developed far outweighs the list of things that have. Otherwise I would be flying my antigravity car down to the mall to transmute some lead into gold wire so I could repair my perpetual motion generator. Green Lantern economists give me heartburn.

The laws of physics place a ceiling on what can be discovered/invented. A lot of what is trotted out as new is just improved. Semiconductors are a rare exception (made possible by a revolution in physics) and genetic recombination (revolution in biology.) Did I miss anything important?

The set of things to be discovered is bound by the set of things that are possible within the laws of physics and certain thermodynamic limitations. If our salvation lays outside the possible then our prospects appear grim.



I keep wondering if we've missed something.

I know about three sources of energy, and a few energy flows that we can use to do work:

  1. Nuclear fusion and fission - conversion of matter to energy,
  2. Gravitational potential energy, and
  3. Chemical energy - although this is really a minor, temporary byproduct of nuclear fusion or fission.

The energy flows are electromagnetic radiation (deriving from nuclear fusion in the Sun, mainly), electric current, convective and conductive heat transfer, kinetic energy, and pressure energy.

There is speculation about another form of energy, the so-called "zero point energy", but no-one has the slightest idea how to exploit that, or if exploitation is possible.

As far as I know, these are what we have to work with. And we have to work within the laws of thermodynamics.

Nuclear fusion is our only hope if we want to continue exponential growth. But fifty years of "great minds," and a lot of money to focus them, haven't got us anywhere near being able to operate our own fusion power plants.

We can run our civilisation on solar and gravitational energy (i.e. hydro, wind, PV, solar thermal, biodiesel and biogas, ocean currents, waves, and tides), if we use fast breeder fission reactors to smooth the transition from fossil fuels. But only with some efficiency improvements, and an unprecedented level of permanent international cooperation.

That last point is what makes our prospects look grim to me.

I had a professor in grad school who was teaching us quantum mechanics. In his day, quantum mechanics was regarded as heresy by those in the physics department - he studied the subject from someone in the mathematics department, and he made the offhand comment that old ideas die out when the proponents themselves pass away. The idea could well have originated with Kuhn..

The other thing people don't grasp is the staggering quantity of oil we use every day. It isn't easy to visualize, and most people assume that many of the other things out there that are talked about can be scaled up to meet this demand. It may well be that a failure to comprehend the nature of the scaling problems is at the core the reason that most people don't perceive that this is ever going to be a problem.

It may well be that the producers of the program on ABC themselves haven't completely grasped the nature of the problem. How can you explain to others what you yourself don't quite understand. Or perhaps they are aware of it, but are still internally conflicted by the ideas, and aren't quite ready to stand up and talk about them.

Good grief! QM as physics heresy? When (and where) were you in grad school?

Has anyone here looked at Ian Plimer's book disputing GW theories? A review of the book claimed that Pilmer said that problem was that not enough geologists have gotten involved in the controversy. Apparently only geologists (like Pilmer himself) use the scientific method correctly.

A scientific revolution or paradigm shift has yet to influence a common understanding of resource depletion.

Ian Enting, in his detailed demolition of Plimer's book, writes the following:

In Plimer’s public appearances he has made the claim that climate scientists are ignoring geology.
This is untrue. Some of the geologists who are important in developing understanding of
climate and climate change have been:
 H¨ogbohm – who worked with Arrhenius;
 Eric Sundquist of the USGS (with Sarmiento, resolved carbon budget ambiguity);
 the many geologists who have contributed to the paleo-climate studies that Plimer misrepresents;
 Henry Pollack, a borehole specialist, who has published an excellent book, Uncertain
Science ... Uncertain World, (CUP), pointing out that uncertainty about climate is much
less than the uncertainty surrounding many other important decisions;
 and of course the American Geophysical Union which covers the gamut of Earth sciences
– atmospheric, oceanic, solid earth and space sciences—has strongly endorsed the reality
of human-induced global warming:
http://www.agu.org/outreach/science policy/positions/climate change2008.shtml

Full paper here: http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/plimer1a6.pdf

But Plimer has over 2000 references and citations in his book, so he must be right!

A review of the book claimed that Pilmer said that problem was that not enough geologists have gotten involved in the controversy

It has been my experience that geologists are as a group the most resistant, first to the Athropogenic Global Warming premise, and second to the attempt to quantify the impacts.

In the first instance, their view tends to be that long-term geologic cycles dominate any effect us relatively newcomer humans might have on climate.

In the second instance, they are more likely than other classes of climate skeptics to view IPCC global climate modeling with suspicion. They are by training data-oriented empiricists who rely very little on models.

The proper weight to give to empirical data vs. predictive modeling is a professional dispute that colors much of the AGW debate (and not cleanly on the pro-AGW/AGW skeptic lines).

Apologies to any geologists I have painted with an overbroad brush.....

If you think of how long it took for the theory of plate tectonics to get accepted... As far as resource depletion modeling, I dare say that TOD has done quite a bit in comparison to any research done by geologists in the past. Even someone like Deffeyes works pretty much empirically.

Some of the more vocal climate change denialist are geologist. That does not necessarily include all geologists and the AGU is an example of an Earth science organization which has asserted that AGW is a problem. The denialist claims about past climate as seen in their long term historical data, while correct as far as the science goes, is of no real importance to the short term situation humanity is facing over the next couple of centuries.

Over the long term (meaning millions of years), atmospheric CO2 appears to have progressed thru considerable change, but humans have only been around for a few million years and civilization as we know it is only some 10,000 years old. We don't know if civilization can survive what appears to be a natural Ice Age cycle. Certainly, agriculture would be seriously stressed if another Ice Age were to return today and that change was but a few degrees colder than recent average temperature. The so-called "Little Ice Age" was a warm spring day compared to the real Ice Age conditions at LGM some 21,000 years BP. Similarly, we don't know for sure if our agricultural production can continue if conditions exceed those predicted for a doubling of CO2 to 450ppm. Increased drought frequency and larger pest populations would be major problems.

Also, there is quite a bit of disinformation out there, some of it promoted by the geologist who have taken a denialist stance. Those arguments are easily debunked, IMHO, yet they re-appear repeatedly...

Here are a few comments about Plimer's book:

No science in Plimer's primer

The science is missing from Ian Plimer's "Heaven and Earth" : Deltoid

E. Swanson

Something climate scientists and biologists could do is emphasise that the AGW problem is a "rate" problem.

Yes, the world has been five degrees warmer in the past. But it hasn't changed as quickly as is expected without mass extinctions.

Global ecosystems could (maybe) handle a five-degree warming that takes 100,000 years. A million years, no problem. But not five degrees over one or two centuries.

I think denialist geologists don't appreciate this, and focus on the final state instead of the rate of change - just like peak oil denialists who mischaracterize peak oil as "running out of oil."

That is a very good point. Some things, like the trillions of debt is a magnitude problem.
Conversely, the temperature change is small but comes on us rapidly.

I was in school in the early 1980's. But the professor was obviously older than I am (quite a bit, as I recall) - he was French, and he went to grad school in Paris somewhere. I can't remember his name however, or I would google him..

Truly a sad state of affairs these reader comments, but remember, among fools, the wise man is called the fool.

All we can do is do our best. Consider the following ancient wisdom regarding this:

The best of man is like water,
Which benefits all things, and does not contend with them,
Which flows in places that others disdain,
Where it is in harmony with the Way.

So the sage:
Lives within nature,
Thinks within the deep,
Gives within impartiality,
Speaks within trust,
Governs within order,
Crafts within ability,
Acts within opportunity.

He does not contend, and none contend against him.

-Dao De Jing, ch.8


This old prodigal ran away in the days of flower power and moved in with a bunch of semi-hippies(we all had establishment jobs but counterculture tastes)who had a few simple rules.One was that no televisions were allowed on the premises.

This experience reinforced my reading habits and broke me of the idiot box habit for all time.

I do still listen to the radio in the car,NPR and so-called "talk radio",in order to keep up with the two main "mainstream" group points of view.

Neither is much interested in anything other than partisan advantage when you get right down to the bottom of thier coverage. NPR is better at intentional entertainment-Prairie Home Companion.

We simply don't HAVE any truly mainstream "mainstream" media that are not owned outright or else totally dominated by one or another partisan super group,such as the banking industry,the more leftish wing of the liberal establishment(NPR),the more reactionary wing of the political right(talk radio) and so on.

Our new papers are nowadays either owned by conglomerates that have vested interests in the status quo,or else dependent on the ad dollars of the same.

I have never had any problem coming to terms with the all the technology driven changes that have taken place in my life. I have experienced the very tail end of horse drawn farming,I have flown in and out of New York at night(this is truly the bitch slap in the face for those who don't understand overshoot),I have a phone in my pocket that allows me to talk across the continent as much as I please for the price of a daily cup of convenience store coffee.

I have to take classes at the community college to maintain the electronics on our vehicles.

Sometime in the last few months I had one of those experiences that let you know that the world has passed you by and that your days grow short.

I realized that The Rolling Stone and Mother Jones are now more credible sources of news than the Wall Street Journal or The Washington Post.

Now THAT is a change I find truly disturbing.

I do hear, you Mac.

Without a TV, you may have missed out on the amount that many people today are looking to Comedians like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert for 'Informed Editorials' on current events. You may have heard of it, but as one of that statistic, I hope it's clear to you that I really believe I've heard more useful perspective from them than anything on Network or Cable News.

'Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down'

or Mel Brooks' "Stand-Up Philosophers" in History of the world, Pt 1


I have been TV free for 20+years, and had very little before that. I worked with a biofeedback research group (out of UCLA) a number of years ago, and discovered that even the content wasn't that important- TV put one into high alpha almost immediately, and was drug like.
McLuhan was right on on this one!

Do Computers do the same thing? I've been wondering. They do SOMETHING to me.. I can tell, but it's not that dulled passive mode that I feel under the Boob's Bright Glare..


They may indeed have some of the bad effects of ye olde idiot box,as evidenced in my personal case by the amount of time I spend on this site alone,since high speed arrived in my nieghborhood.

Otoh,I am not subjected to ads,the main part of the screen is always showing what I want to see.

The subject matter here is serious.
The variety of serious subject matter on the net is for practical purposes unlimited.
You can exercise rather than smother your brain on the net.

I do occasionally watch some tv at a social gathering such as the Kentucky Derby at a party thrown annually by a friend,and I do occasionally watch a recorded show saved for me by friends who know my interests when I visit.

I am not ADDICTED,in the sense that the average person is.It makes me want to cry when I see the way the BOX distorts the lives of children who should be exercising thier bodies,devoloping thier social skills,and learning about the real world.

This experience reinforced my reading habits and broke me of the idiot box habit for all time.

I got rid of the TV - but had to find one back last century to support the local TV stations who were using a FreeBSD and Maxtor video capture card to put their weather scans on-line.

Now that set will go dark this month and I'm fine with that. I won't be able to follow the conversations about Dallas or Friends or Idol - but I never watched the stuff being talked about when those things were new.

I posted my comments on it a little while ago: Review: Earth 2100

Bottom line: The basic analysis and message were pretty much on target, but they did a lot that hurt the effectiveness of the show as an outreach vehicle. We need more than just attention paid to these topics to educate and activate mainstream consumers and voters; we need all that plus a constant awareness of how the deniers will spin any such effort. Earth 2100 made it absurdly easy for the deniers to convince the mainstreamers that the show was nothing more than third-rate SF that could be safely ignored.

That's my assessment as well. The show preached to the choir while doing nothing to dissuade counter opinions. I watched the show thinking to myself "that will never happen" even though I have already researched the data myself saying it probably will. It seemed like some kind of science fiction adventure.

You might want to consider the possibility that this was the intent. Perhaps we are at the "then they laugh at you" part of the famous Gandhi quote: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

I wonder what "then they fight you" will look like? Perhaps something like Europe circa 1936.

Did they explain where they were getting the energy to build the massive barrier project? If so, I missed it.

Everyone was still driving throughout the century, albeit in electric cars. So we will still presumably have an energy base (coal?) that can produce the electricity. Although now that I think about it, population was 1/3rd of what it was today by that time, so decreased demand accounted for supply constraints I suppose.

My biggest beef was with human population. They showed how it will decline if we continue on our current destructive path. They then told us we can change our direction and live a more sustainable existence in harmony with the planet. However they didn't address human population if we take this new/better path. Unless we feel pain at some point, IMO human population will continue to grow until it can't anymore. With a growing population, something is going to cause us to hit the wall - whether it be food, climate, or energy. They do not address how we will "control" populations when things remain comfortable on this planet. We will never universally address population growth; therefore, nature will have to step in to address it for us.

So with proper measure, we delay the inevitable. Do you want your brick wall sooner or later?

whether it be food, climate, or energy

Sorry to break the news, but try War. The big 3 you mention will undoubtedly precipitate conflict. On human nature you can be sure of this.


War will not even dent the population problem unless it is nuclear and targets civilians. Since the reason for the wars of the future will be to procure resources it simply makes no sense to destroy those resources. War on a scale that reduces population drastically is a lose, lose proposition.

War on a scale that reduces population drastically is a lose, lose proposition.

Let's hope everybody recognises this.

One of the reasons I recommended "Cat's Cradle" in the book list is that biotech in the hands of small idiosyncratic actors could be a game-changer in terms of the various probabilistic outcomes of the big game. Apocalyptic cult, meet designer plague. Designer plague, meet apocalyptic cult. I don't expect "ice nine" but it's a decent metaphor.

biotech in the hands of small idiosyncratic actors could be a game-changer

As someone else said (I'm channeling what I remember of their observations. The global gorillas mentions this kinda stuff on occasion.)

$25,000 for a "dna printer". (used to be $250+k)
Under $100K for the education to run it.
$250K for a lab if you want to test.

If you are an post grad in the "right lab" - the expense could just be listed as borrowed funds.

Aping what has been nasty in the past would be the simplest.

With better understanding of "life" - one might be able to come up with something that doesn't use the normal 4 DNA letters and such a thing could rip through the chain of life as we know it.

With better understanding of "life" - one might be able to come up with something that doesn't use the normal 4 DNA letters and such a thing could rip through the chain of life as we know it.

If guys like Steve Benner and his group can't do something like that in years/decades of research, some rogue iconoclast isn't going to come along and reinvent the genetic code if they want to make a weapon. Far more likely they would just acquire and use your garden variety scary pathogen (anthrax or something) and perhaps perform simple modifications to increase its virulence.

some rogue iconoclast isn't going to come along and reinvent the genetic code

You misunderstand. They don't need to invent - they just need to IMPLEMENT. I am aware via press releases of groups trying to make 'life from scratch' - and it would not shock me if it ends up with a 5th DNA letter that works.

And yes - the odds are someone will take a known problem and spice it up BAM!

The internet is full of posts about the alleged super-weaponize-90+% kill versions of Smallpox and other things. Or the claims of super-plant pathogens to attack other nations food supplies.

If the bad guys wanna maximize suffering - something like the soil dwelling bacteria to kill plant life would do a rather good job.

You might want to broaden your scope of what is called "war". Civil wars are plenty destructive, can leave nearly everyone dead or maimed, kill women and children more readily than men, destroy cultures and governance in particular, and leave the land (though perhaps little else) in good condition for the next planting cycle.

And "war" itself is not the only dark thing stalking us out there. If half the population of the world ate the other half, you'd seen a 50% reduction in world population in one meal.

I'm just saying.


porge,the neutron bomb was invented to destroy life while preserving infrastructure.

Disease,famine and war are all effective population control methods and are actually a win - win scenario if the interests of Gaia are taken into account,as we must if we are to survive.

You can be sure that Gaia is not taking our interests into account.

I am well aware of the neutron bomb but it has a very small kill radius relative to the first strike event. It will not be able to do the job in one attempt which leaves the mutually assured destruction worry for the attacker.
The other responses are pretty sci-fi for me. So, all I have to ask is why it hasn't already happened?? (to the bio crowd that is).

Of the nuclear powers, only the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India have declarative, unqualified, unconditional no-first-use policies. In 1982, at a special session of General Assembly of United Nations, the USSR pledged not to use nuclear weapons first, regardless of whether its opponents possessed nuclear weapons or not. This pledge was later abandoned by post-Soviet Russia. The United States has a partial, qualified no-first-use policy, stating that they will not use nuclear weapons against states without nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

No, the neutron bomb vere invented to kill tank crews. A regular MBT shields well against blast and infrared radiation but it is penetrated by neutron radiation.
It were developed by USA to kill mass formations of Sovjet MBT:s if there ever were an all out war between NATO and the former Warsaw pact.

It were a simple weapon to design since it essentially is an inefficient hydrogen bomd that do not use the massive ammount of fast neutrons from the fusion reaction to fission cheap U238. Every nuclear weapon power that develops fusion bombs get the neutron bomb if they omit one of the components.

A neutron bomb that emits enough neutrons to kill MBT crews over a significant area still give plenty of blast and radiation damage and levels the area. That the neutron bombs should kill all Germans while leaving buildings and their belongings intact for anyone to grab were very successful propaganda to get NATO to withdraw a weapon that could stomp tank formations in an all out thirld word war.

That the neutron bomb should be a "clean" nuclear weapon is only lingering cold war propaganda that could be dangerous if people started believing in it.

2100 was profound for a number of reasons. The fact that ABC would put it on is very interesting in that it implies mainstream media is now on to the situation. I also found it interesting that Mr. Podesta was an active part of the project noting his connections to the Obama administration. This also implies that the new leaders are also wise to the growing problems. With this in mind, it would seem we have at least a slim chance of doing something. While the Bush administration certainly was aware of Peak Oil, their inability to have a reasonable dialog with the public was glaring. Having an acknowledgment from both media and the top administration that there is a problem, is a good start.

I do believe that the piece probably should have been titled 2030. I also believe the global warming was over featured and that peak energy, antiquated economic systems ( the growth paridigm has to go) and over population were under played (population was hit well, however, as it is clearly the elephant in the room).

The solutions were in many cases total pie-in-the-sky. Without an economic system dedicated to an all out effort, none of the proposals are remotely possible and that includes the sea wall proposal. There will also be peak capitol—all ready is (please note California). It would appear America can't even afford to build a Nuclear electric plants now (Time magazine). Growing food in New York City? You have to be kidding me—dairy, grains, beans, poultry, meat cannot be grown there. Lets get real.

The saddest part is some of the letters of blind ignorance found here (at ABC site). If there is anything that will seal our fate it will be ignorance and stupidity and maybe blind religion.

Good job ABC

Hi Ron, I agree it was a bold move by ABC to put this on and the maquee list of commentators was impressive Kunstler, Diamond, Heinberg and Tainter, others. I totally concur with you that the global warming climate change message was way out of proportion to the Peak Oil Resource Limits message. The parallel message track of how the life of a 21st Century person was impacted by Resource limitation and Climate brought some storybook qualities to the show but tended to trivialize the story almost made it comic book like. Two hours with a lot of conjecture and little fact based info also detracted from the message and will make it easy for the non-believers to color it as more sci-fi jibberish. THe wet dream that New York city was the mecca of all things good until the sea level rise at the very end was the final nail in the credibility of the show. The high rises with green houses and mini windmills truly made the show into a childish fantasy. As a Kansan I found the Greensburg references a bit humorous too.
I did think their were some positive info moments and in the world where nobody wants a downer it will rattle some thoughts. I thought the Easter Island discussions were pretty good. However I found some of the comments made on climate change to be way out there in the scare mode and beyond true credibility. Why use that to scare the bejesus out of everyone when the models still leave a lot of wiggle room. The Peak Oil, Population, Resouce limitation story is much more quantitatively based and compelling in its logic.

The climate change legislation proposed by Waxman-Markey (US Congress) seeks an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide by 2050 (about 40 years from now). Whether you can find more oil, gas, and coal or not; the law might prevent you from using it. A 20% carbon dioxide reduction is scheduled for 2020. It is close to peak carbon dioxide emissions if this bill goes through and stays enacted.

Anything devised by Markey and Waxman has value only as compost feedstock. They are well ensconced in the top 10 biggity idiots in our Congress.

W-M is DOA as a long term solution. Any oil not burned in the US will be burned in China and India. Any oil not burned today (when we don't even need it) will be burned once AGW starts to devour us.

It would have been far better if we had never discovered stored sunlight. It's been down-hill since (any techno-utopia nightmare not withstanding). We won't stop now until the last drop and the last lump are consumed. Then we will look around ourselves, blink in surprise, and perish.

The world is changing because it must. We are not changing because we can't. And so the world will go forward without us. We are not essential.



I saw it. Thanks for bringing it up on Monday.

For me it was old hat but I liked seeing many of the Cassandras that I'm fond of in Prime Time...JH Kunstler, Richard Heindberg, Jared Diamond, E.O. Wilson...

One thing that struck me was that they kept rerunning this add for an anti-depressant medication. I guess they figure that if you pay attention to reality you're probably depressed.


Allow me to add one fact that is horrific but true: In the year 2100, EVERY SINGLE BABY BOOMER WILL BE DEAD!! :-O

If we are this worried about 2100, I take that as a good sign...the poor and those with health care issues are worried about the next year, not the next century.


Not quite. 1964 is the last year, and us Beatle Babies will only be 86. Being a November '64 baby, I'm probably in the 99.99th percentile. We'll be down to the last .01 - .001 percent, but a few will still be kicking.

I fully expect to be gone 15 - 20 years before 2050, tho; men on Mom's side do OK, making it to their 70's, but on Dad's none make it out of their 60's.

See ya in '50! Maybe.


Um...math fail.

Huh? 2050 - 1964 isn't 86? If you're referring to any other numbers, I pulled them out of my arse, so it's not math fail, it's just don't give a damn 'cause it's not even slightly relevant. I should of added a few more modals to be more clear I wasn't going for precision...

Feel free to calculate the actual percentiles, etc., if you see value in doing so.


The reference year is 2100, as in "In the year 2100, EVERY SINGLE BABY BOOMER WILL BE DEAD!! :-O" (quote from the message you were replying to). Not sure how you switched to 2050.

He said 2100 for the Boomers.

I hope Kurzweil has some good books to read..

You are all absolutely correct! My math was right, but somehow I tweaked on the target year!

I shall blame it on the hour at which it was posted.

2x4 to the head noted.


This is one of those recent developments I see in student's work - use of this odd expression 'should of'. Taken by itself, what could it possibly mean? It seems as though it is meant to replace 'should have', but in itself it doesn't make a lot of sense. I suspect people are going by the sound of 'should have', when said quickly, and take it to be 'should of'...

even worse..."I could care less"...that means that potentially, you care very much. Of course, its a Twitter-age ignor-english bastardization of "I couldn't care less". The difference should be obvious :(

Wow, hate Twitter and other pop culture much? (full disclosure: I have never used Twitter, although I am jiggy with other aspects of the Intertubes)...'I couldn't care less' is an expression I have heard at least since the early 1970s...it wasn't invented or caused by Twitter or anything in the 'Twitter Age' (Unless Dr, Emmet Brown fell off his toilet and sketched out the concept for Twitter back in 1972...)

How can you not like Twitter, when it gives you "tweets" like these?

use of this odd expression 'should of'

I think you are seeing lanquage evolution in action. should-of (as a single word) is more efficient than the two word should have. This is a fairly natural occurance in lanquages. Perhaps instead of being annoyed you should think about how extraordinary a thing it is to witness such changes.

Perhaps instead of being annoyed

Where did Christie say he/she was annoyed?

I think you are seeing lanquage evolution in action. should-of (as a single word) is more efficient than the two word should have. This is a fairly natural occurance in lanquages. Perhaps... you should think about how extraordinary a thing it is to witness such changes.

Indeed! As I like to point out, and particularly did so when training, grammar does not = language. It is the other way around. Language determines grammar. The changes are fascinating.


Listen to the two phrases together, though I see that you did.

"Should of" is indeed a verbal corruption of "should have" that has been slowly working its way into written work for decades that I know of. I remember my teachers correcting me on it back in the day, and I suspect it wasn't a new thing then.

Hmmm... I wonder of I do that often? Being an EFL teacher, sure as hell hope not! I attribute that, too, to the hour.

BTW, my favorite shift in American English is the end of the -ly adverbs.

Ex.: Get it, quick!



I taped the show, haven't watched it yet due to time constraints.

As I mentioned recently on the only email list I subscribe to, this sort of discussion raises a general point: hypothetically, if a "near perfect" documentary could be made, which would convince 80% percent of viewers of the "peak oil" message, should it be?

Like most others, my "gut" feeling is "of course it should". But I like to examine the logic behind my gut feelings, and I haven't been able to convince myself that the outcome would be predictably better than if it did not exist.

This isn't entirely an academic question. It would be possible in principle to create an audiovisual piece which would be a lot more effective than anything yet done. Yet forcing that awareness on people who are not already inclined to be receptive would cause freakout of large proportions and perhaps be more likely to lead to militarism than to potato-growing basket-weaving communes.

I wonder.

I thought it was a disaster as far as presenting their case went. I don't think the fictional scenario affair helped much in terms of presentation. I think it did a particularly poor job describing the interactions between the various simultaneous crises and ended up emphasizing climate change to the point where most others were neglected. The "global" nature of things, mentioned in passing at various points, was furthermore almost entirely ignored since apart from a few isolated reports about events to occur elsewhere in the world, the US was about all there was to their fictional scenario. Even the presentation of the climate change affairs ended up drifting off into some sort of bizarre "the environment is sacred" bunk instead of concrete consequences. Spotted owls? Right whales? Drought, famine, disease (malaria, cholera, parasites, etc., not fictional super-viruses), sea levels (at least they touched on that one), fish stocks, et al are the "environment" as it matters to us, not the "beauty of nature" bullcrap.

I doubt it will get too many people's heads out of their arses, but it might at least spook some random people into suspecting there might be something going wrong.

WSJ Energy Blog: Crude Conversations: Obama, Saudi Arabia and U.S. Oil Imports


Look at the numbers: Just a year ago, Saudi Arabia was the second-biggest source of U.S. crude oil imports, behind only Canada. Today, Saudi Arabia ranks fourth, behind Canada, Mexico and Venezuela. . . .

Who’s picking up the slack? A whole host of countries—Russia, Norway, Colombia, and Brazil all increased exports to the U.S. by more than 3 million barrels in March.

My comments:

Canada, Mexico & Venezuela (CMV) to the Rescue?

Of course, what really counts is the total volume of worldwide net oil exports, although more oil is tied up in transit as we replace oil from proximal exporters with oil from more distant sources. In any case, consider our three closest major sources of imported oil (CMV).

The EIA shows that their combined net oil exports were 5.3 mbpd (million barrels per day) in 1998, versus 4.0 mbpd in 2008, a 10 year decline rate of -2.8%/year. However, the 2008 decline rate from the 2007 net export level of 4.4 mbpd was -9.5%/year. This accelerating net export decline rate is typical. Examples are countries like the UK and Indonesia.

Canada has shown an increase in net exports since 1998, while Venezuela's net exports have been falling since 1998, and Mexico's net exports have been falling since 2004, although all three countries showed net export declines in 2008. Mexico will probably be approaching net importer status in four to five years, and I estimate that Mexico, by the end of 2009, will have probably shipped about 90% of their post-2004 cumulative net oil exports.

So, in summary the combined net exports from Canada, Mexico and Venezuela (to all importers) have been in long term decline relative to 1998, and the most recent annual net export decline rate shows, as expected, an accelerating rate of decline.

And what about Russia, Norway, Colombia, and Brazil?

Norway is in long term decline, and our (Foucher & Brown) work suggests that Russian production is at the start of a renewed long term decline. Our middle case is that Russia and Norway will both be approaching zero net oil exports around 2026.

Colombia is a small exporter, and while they showed an uptick in net exports last year, they are down quite a bit from their 1999 rate.

And of course, as of 2008 the EIA showed that Brazil was still a net oil importer.


I like the ELM to the extent I incorporated it as a Chapter into my "Peak Oil Joining the Dots" (Google) document that is now due for an update.

But I think it would be great to extend it if possible. I think it likely that the approach to net exports = 0 will begin to be feared once PO hits mass awareness. We should by mid next decade have achieved this (and possibly now in some countries) and so the example of UK and Indonesia happily 'plunging off a NE cliff' is probably not going to be the one that other countries rushing there will follow. I think it likely that as the crisis takes hold the exponential function will be attenuated into more of an 'S' curve type function -both for internal consumption and efforts to increase output- this will be driven by positive feedbacks of NE price and internal conservation efforts.

Having said that it might not give us more than half a decade more Net oil Exports on a global scale even if all the stops are pulled out...


“and so the example of UK and Indonesia happily 'plunging off a NE cliff' is probably not going to be the one that other countries rushing there will follow”

So let me get this straight as the masses become peak oil aware you are saying that they are more likely to cut their consumption & export it? Surely they would be more likely to horde it thereby accelerating the net export decline.

Surely they would be more likely to horde it thereby accelerating the net export decline.

Exactly. The UK just kept exporting as much as it could after peak without a thought for the future - not something a sane person or country would rush to do IMO.

As you say, hoarding by exporters and attempts at growth of consumption by importers just makes the ELM situation much worse than it already is!

Fortunately clueless Gordon Brown and his fellow crooks will soon be out of power, watch to see what happens after tomorrow's elections!

It would seem that oil exporters would want to hoard resources as much as possible, but economic pressures may force them to do otherwise.

SA is starting to wake up to its problem of rapid energy demand growth:

Platts Oilgram News
Saudis need to cut products, gas demand
May 19, 2009

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi was quoted May 18 as saying his country's rising products and natural gas consumption could impact future oil exports and income if it is not addressed by a "rationalization" program.

"In our effort to maximize benefit from the kingdom's petroleum sectors, one of the local challenges we must confront is the increased consumption of petroleum products in the kingdom since 1990 at an annual rate of 5% and the ever-growing consumption of natural gas, now at an annual rate of 7%--both much higher than the 3.4% average growth rate of the GDP during the same period," Naimi said in an ad-dress to the Saudi Society for Energy Economists on May 13 in Bahrain. A transcript of his presentation was issued by Saudi Aramco on May 18.

"Consumption of all types of energy grew from 3.6% during the period 1995-2000 and by 5.6% during the period 2001-2008," Naimi said. "This progressive increase and growth in the intensity of energy consumption in the kingdom can be attributed to industrial expansion and the fact that prices are much lower than international levels," he said.

With all these production figures going around, I wonder if the well depletions have been properly accounted for. If we have a said amount of recoverable oil in the ground, boosting production rates through technology, etc. will keep the production rate constant, or even increase it against the historical trend, but that would logically mean the "cliff" would be much more abrupt, as there is only a said amount of recoverable oil in the ground. In other words, can we skew the production bell curve peak to the right, making the downslope much steeper?

I have one of those "bad feelings" about the said effect and Saudi oilfields. (regardless of the fact that the "proven reserves" are BS)

"In other words, can we skew the production bell curve peak to the right, making the downslope much steeper?"

I think I have read something to this effect on TOD before it changes the classic bell curve into a sharks fin.

In other words, can we skew the production bell

The UK is a good example - it appears to have finally peaked around 70% of URR according to official BERR figures,

and the UK production isn't actually bell shaped, just like most other regions.

I havn't read Jeff Rubins new book but from what I have read online and seen on video it seems that the main thrust of his argument is along the lines of 'since stuff takes energy to get from A to B the larger the distance between the two points the bigger the impact of energy costs on the final cost hence globalisation is doomed since global seperation distances maximise A to B distances...'

I'm not sure I agree that this is true -I think there are a LOT of factors that go into final pricing. For example one commentator/blogger mentioned that Californian wine deliverd to New York by truck was something like 4x more energy intensive than wine from Bordaux that had travelled via sea. I'm reminded that even in the 1940s it was necessary to secure the English Channel against Nazi aggression for goods to be delivered from Liverpool to London -and this in a country with probably the most extensive railway network in the world at the time. Throughout history the sea lanes and sea based delivery has proved to be far more efficient than land based methods (bar canals but that is just making a water-way).

True distances are now far greater but I wonder whether it is not going a step too far to say the world will 'get a whole lot smaller'. Indeed with technologies like 'Cisco Virtual Meeting' is it not possible that the World will get a whole lot bigger yet fit in a single room?


Nick, I think you are missing the big picture. It will become more expensive to ship anything, whether it is shipped by land, sea or rail. People will no longer jet to Paris or London for vacation. Their vacations will be a lot closer to home, thus the world, for them, will be a whole lot smaller.

And as far as "Virtual Meetings" go, don't count on it. Have you seen the articles about the fact that the GPS system may be in trouble. The satellites are aging and need to be replaced. Well, the same thing will happen to communication satellites. Virtual meetings may very soon be a thing of the past.

I found the author of the article up top, Stop the world, Jeff wants to get off a little naive.

But Peak Oil is essentially a primitive, static theory based on treating the entire energy economy as if it were a single, depleting oil well, underplaying innovation and failing to grasp -- or refuting-- the role of market pricing because, as Mr. Rubin claims, economics only tells "half the story." To argue with a Peakster, meanwhile, is to be cast as someone who "just doesn't want to believe."

Okay all you peak oil primitive people out there, get the message? ;-)

Ron P.

While I'm ready to see how we could lose the 'Multi-point Inter-continental Video-Conferences' with the believable loss of a great percentage of Serverfarms, SAT links, etc.. the Ease of setting up both Short-wave Voice and Data Connections (and variations on that science) suggests to me that the essential benefits of immediate global communications that are less than a century old will be hard to destroy at this point.

With a little more surviving Tech, and not much in materials, replacing ComSats with High Altitude Balloons and Gliders as Radio Relays can also go a long ways towards keeping the world connected.

As with oil, of course.. the question will be 'Flow Rates' .. AND the Rate you'd have to pay for this Flow. But these essentials aren't nearly as vulnerable as the Luxurious Glut of Flow that we use so wastefully today.


Okay all you peak oil primitive people out there, get the message?

Me getum message.
Me say to naive author, "Death by Bunga!"

True distances are now far greater but I wonder whether it is not going a step too far to say the world will 'get a whole lot smaller'.

I think he is making a gross exageration. Sure shipping costs will go up, but there are lots of ways to cut the energy costs of shipping. Most have to do with simply moving slower, cut a boats speed by 50%, and the fuel needed to travel a given distance is cut to 25%. And then there are other improvements that can (and will once fuel gets pricy enough) be made. And we could bring back windjammers as well. Similarly with land shipping, slower speed, longer trucks (add trailers), electric trains etc, all will serve to
mitigate the impact of higher liquid fuels prices. Globalization won't stop, although in some marginal cases shipping costs may change the places where things are manufactured.

Bingo! This is the point I keep making online: When you're talking about a change to something as fundamental to modern economies as the price of oil, then you have to try to account for individual decision makers and the overall economy will respond to those prices. And if there's one thing we know about the US economy, in particular, it's that we're surrounded by low-hanging energy conservation fruit that we've never picked because we've never had sufficient incentive to do so.

Ignoring that response to price changes leads very quickly to linear projections and laughably wrong conclusions.


Your points about reducing shipping costs are well made.

But if the steel industry comes home,it will also bring home the hundreds of smaller businesses that service the steel industry,from the large independent machine shops that fab one off pieces of equipment to the lunch trucks that pull up in the parking lots at noon.

If the costs of shipping produce enable eastern farmers to regain some of the market share lost to California growers, some of the ag supply and processing chain will move too.

When you move even a small wieght from one side of a balance beam scale to the other,the scale moves far more decisively than if you move something on one side only.

I believe that there are quite a few so called tipping points that will be encountered as shipping costs rise,and that many of them will cause positive feedback loops of relocation and expansion in businesses of many kinds,including businesses where shipping costs are minor costs.

I think this is what Rubin is trying to convey.

Of course it goes without saying that there will be some associated contractions else where,but the US will be a net winner-according to Rubin.He is probably right imo.

The only flaw in the "net winner" argument is that the USA has not demonstrated the ability to have a booming economy alongside sky high oil prices (sky high oil prices are necessary to derail globalization-probably north of $500). The productive capacity he is talking about doesn't exist and the suburban sprawl problem won't be painless. IMO he is attempting to put a positive spin on the whole mess.


I suspect that you have not read Rubin's book.

He does use hopeful language and he does paint as shiny a picture as he can of the new world we are headed for.

The actual description of this shiny new world is actually pretty gxxxxxn grim if you read between the lines- or if you just read the description period.

Apparently you are not alone,nearly everybody seems to be reading Rubin as optimistic.

I read his optimistic remarks as the pep talk the doctor gives you about how much better you are going to feel after the big operation-although you will not be enjoying air travel,imported fruit out of season,the ability to commute from a country home,etc.

So does he have to hit every body upside the head with a brick to get them to see that waitresses in the restaurants in the tourist traps are as dependent on cheap oil as the auto and airline industries?

Just where will they find well paid work?

Should he have to point out that the clerk at the farmers market is going to earn maybe half as much as she earned as a barista collecting tips?

He is telling you that as long as you are going to be sucking the lemon of unaffordable gasoline,you may as well pretend that you enjoy riding your bicycle-even when it is raining.

He is telling you that the economy in general,is due for a long period of painful contraction,that the auto industry is never going to recover,etc.

He is telling you that you are going to eat a lot more beans and a lot less meat.

He is leaving you to figure it out for yourself that if you are a dentist,you are not going to be putting braces on the teeth of nearly so many auto workers children.

Consequently your own kids-if you are the dentist-will be shopping at less expensive stores,and you will be buying a smaller boat.

He is telling you that we can have a growing economy again IF we can decouple growth from oil,and I suppose we can have growth again-if we decouple that is.

What he is not telling you is precisely HOW we are going to accomplish this decoupling in doable concrete terms.

None of this is to say that money for change cannot be found,or diverted from other priorities.North Korea is a fairly small country,and one of the poorest,but they have built the bomb.

But if the steel industry comes home,it will also bring home the hundreds of smaller businesses that service the steel industry,from the large independent machine shops that fab one off pieces of equipment to the lunch trucks that pull up in the parking lots at noon.

I think you are letting wishful thinking about localization/re-industrialization get the better part of your thinking. Sure some low value per ton stuff will be shifted to more local sources, but unless/until wage differentials significantly drop I wouldn't expect a lot of manufacturing to come back. We should of course use the coming shipping crisis as a reason to reduce outsourcing, but don't expect rapid results. A slowing and perhaps gradual reversal of recent trends is a far more credible future trajectory.

Enemy,I guess you overlooked the part in the middle about the dentists kids having less spending money,the barista having less money,etc.

Wages have been and are dropping in the US and are likely to continue doing so.When a substantial part of the better paid but not especially well trained workers lose thier jobs and take new ones at lower wages,there is a big ripple effect.A long haul trucker who has been earning 50,000 or better earns maybe 17,ooo locally when he takes a job driving a pickup for an auto parts store.

The kid who would have had the delivery job is now either unemployed,or clerking in a convenience store at 6 buc-I forgot,we haven't had a help wanted ad for store clerks or burger flippers in our local paper for a long time.

That kid is unemployed.

Contraction is now the name of the game- for a good long while if you believe in peak oil-or until someone invents a magic bullet capable of slaying the energy monster.

I ain't holding my breath.

IMO,we will not be able to adjust to falling supplies and rising prices fast enough to MAINTAIN our current economy,just as the oil experts here are saying that we will not be able to bring on new production fast enough to maintain current oil production.

This does not mean that some parts of the economy will not do RELATIVELY well.Rubin is not predicting that steel workers will earn big money again,as they did in the past.He is merely predicting that there will be more of them.

Your last two sentences are entirely consistent with my comments and I am not exactly sure why you think I am the one engaging in wishful thinking.You are making much more out of my comments than I actually wrote.It's a long way from saying a net gain is equal to a boom or even a modest recovery.

Your last two sentences (we should...future trajectory) summarize Rubin's best case scenario-if you delete the sugar coat.

Personally I am MUCH more pessimistic than that,and I would bet that if we could see Rubin's personal portfolio,we would find that he is too.

I think people are missing the point about shipping costs. "Enemy" is right that shipping costs will have a much lower effect on globalization that is commonly stated here on TOD. I've run some numbers on shipping costs after reading the, usually, dopey blog Peak- Oil-Debunked. If you look at his numbers regarding the shipping cost of bulk rice as a function of the value of rice you will be amazed at the tiny fraction of the consumer price of rice is in the shipping. If you extrapolate that shipping cost to manufactured goods the actual impact on end-user prices in virtually nil. Maybe that's not true for air-freighted roses but for cars, electronics, plastic salad shooters (with a nod to Kunstler) the shipping costs will not determine where things are manufactured.

Hello Jjhman,

I think you need to expand your analysis boundaries as a person must consider the total transport distance. Recall from a prior weblink of mine that moving I-NPK from a mine/chem-plant to a sea port, to the next seaport, then over bad roads to the final far-inland and high elevation topsoil square foot can jack the price up to six times or more.

Please start reading on page 89 of this link for more detail:

Fertilizer Use in African Agriculture
Once the postPeak US transportation infrastructure replicates the sad state of Africa: A high elevation, far-inland Colorado farmer can expect to pay much, much more for his farmgate I-NPK, than a gardener near the Mississippi in Baton Rouge.

This is a fundamental reason why Africa uses such a small percentage of global I-NPK production. From memory, about 2-5%.

It is sad that a bag of I-NPK doesn't have a map showing where the Elements were originally sourced as I think 'Murkans would give it an extra tight hug of appreciation. See the USGS website for how much of our vital national food security is now out-sourced.

As discussed before in numerous postings: S from Athabaska, K from Saskatchewan, P from Morocco, N from Russia or Trinidad, plus crude from all over the place have to complete a very long dance to get to the final topsoil square foot. Many other country combos are possible for the many different types of high analysis I-NPK. See FF/I-NPK latency and global pull-system discussion.

Remember what happened when Germany cut off all potash exports to the US in 1916.

EDIT: Consider that this problem will get considerably worse as we go postPeak as we still need to move Megatons of material to feed the still burgeoning Overshoot. This will not be solved unless someone invents the 'Star Trek Transporter' to instantly 'beam' vital NPKS to the multi-millions of farmgates. Please consider the logistics hurdle from Bou Craa [home of the world's longest conveyor] to Kathmandu, or moving mountains of Sulfur from Athabasca to Mt. Kilimanjaro.

"She came down from Yellow Mountain..."

Please see 'Wildfire Reloaded' on Youtube, then extrapolate. IMO, most people have no idea of the postPeak ramifications of Asimov's Bio-Elemental Intensity implications. But YMMV.

Thanks for the link. It is scary to imagine that the US of A could end up as ragged as the article portrays central Africa. But I think my point is still valid: Globalization will not be much affected by significantly higher fuel costs. Maybe that link helped make my point. Fertilizer costs in central Africa are so high because of weak infrastructure, not high fuel prices. Ocean freight charges are so low that they simply aren't the deciding factor in whether or not to ship internationally. The case made by the article is that INTERNAL shipping issues, quite separate for fuel costs, determine the economics of fertilizer use. If, as I suspect, most international shipping of manufactured goods is by sea, that shipping cost, even at very high fuel rates, will not affect decisions of where to manufacture goods. Certainly that would be more the case as the "dollar density" of goods goes up.

Reading the above stories from "mainstream" sources, I am amazed our energy sufficiency is not debated more vigorously by the public. China building huge oil storage facilities, JPMorgan banking on a shortage of heating oil in Europe, old Spanish nukes going online...and this is just today. Reading these news it's obvious that the people in charge in various places have some idea what is happening, and are preparing for it. This is the news of the ages, but we focus on 230 poor souls on a plane that crashed into the ocean. Reminds me of Stalin's famous quote: "A death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic."

On a tangent thought, watching history happen is fascinating, as it is completely different than how it is taught at school. It is the slow gathering of causes that is the real story, while the decisive "event" is merely an effect, yet we collectively fixate almost exclusively on the latter, giving little thought to what brought it about. This is likely why peak oil won't truly be mainstream news until it can be proven statistically beyond any doubt...

...and it's the reason why future generations will hate us for inaction as when seen from the perspective of an energy depleted, resource wasted and roasting world they will cry into what's left of their beer and say "Why was nothing done...?"


But, remember, SOMETHING WAS DONE!

After the second major oil shock in 1979, we eventually went back to BAU after the Saudis flooded the market with oil in 1985. We bought Ronnie RayGun's "Morning in America" dream world, building that "Shining City on a Hill". Along with lots more miles of freeways and houses located out on the fringes built on cheap farm land, land which will not be able to produce crops to meet the needs of the growing population, as once was possible.

It turns out that that was the wrong thing to do and there were lots of us knew it at the time. The implications of "The Limits to Growth" and "The Population Bomb" should have been obvious, but only a few people got the message. The rest of US bought the Greed is Good idea and off they went. Too bad the people who promoted these ideas got rich and moved into gated communities, where they and their children are not going to feel the pain they caused. and, they are still trying to keep on keeping on...

E. Swanson

They don't make walls that high. They don't make gates that strong. There are no closed systems. All are in the same race, the race is going where it is going. Only a few will arrive at the end. They will not know they have arrived, they will not recognize each other at the end.


Yea, verily!

I just had the displeasure of watching Howard Baker going on about how 'Saint Ray-gun' saved the United States of America from the horrors of 18% inflation and 10% unemployment and 21% interest rates by setting our economy and the world geopolitical order right and providing us with 18 years of unbroken inflation-free growth (I take it he started the clock about 1982 and clicked his utopia timer off late 2000?).

What the fool and all the people who believe this crap don't understand is that if we had listened to the LTG crowd back in the early 1970s and changed our ways we wouldn't be poised for the big fall off the cliff right now. Listened, as in embraced having no more than 2 children per woman, taxing oil, continuing efficiency enhancements, avoiding costly wars...but nooooo, President 'morning in America' used his 'great communication' to sing us our favorite fairy tale of American Exceptionalism and lull us back to sleep.

Reagan was an actor till the end...very fitting. Not that any significant politician of any stripe has had the brains or guts to knock us off of top dead center of BAU.


Your looking at the wrong places. You looking at what the Media puts out.

Instead might I suggest that you go outside, go to the countryside and find your news. Where the truth is.

Don't know about others but right here in the heartland of this country. By the confluence of the Mississippi, Ohio,Tennessee and Cumberland rivers I see death all around me.

Or rather the lack of life.

What? No grasshoppers. Used to be I could walk across a hayfield and see them by the thousands springing up and hopping about. No more. None.

Birds. Very very rare to see a Bluejay anymore. Most Purple Martin house are deserted. Very very few cardinals. Perhaps lack of insects is causing this. No food.

Moths and butterflies. None to speak of.

Wood bees are very few. Also wasps. Honeybees can't be found in my yard or garden.

I live in the country and on a farm. All around me the crop spraying rages on. The wildlife continues to die to the point that it is now very obvious.

We have killed and are killing the 'understory' of life support for our wildlife. The insects.

I used to see a few 'hummingbird moths' once or twice a year. This is a strange creature. At nightfall it buzzes around flowers and it appears to actually be a hummingbird for it moves slowly, is large and you can't see its wings move but just a blur.
I haven't seen one in the last 4 years.

Lightening bugs? None. Once at dark I could look out across the yard and fields and see zillions of flashing lights. No more. None. Gone.

Most people locked up in suburbia or next to the TV do not notice these happenings. They worry about American Idols while vast changes are occurring right outside the door.

My youth in the country seems a dream now. Something of mythical proportions that surely did not happen. Now all is BARREN and dead or soon will be.

I saw this earlier in the spring with the birds and commented. No replies to those comments. We are too worried about Obama and the rest.

A huge sea change is occurring. We don't and won't care.

Where did you go Rachel Carson? A dying world wants to know. Well maybe just one person. Me.

Surely my part of the country is not an exception. Perhaps where crops and Big Ag are missing is different? Maybe the proclivities of a massive ice storm did this? Then why as I motorcycle to other further places do I note the same? St. Louis, Hopkinsville,Ky, Cape Girardeau, parts of Alabama,central N.Carolina.........

Airdale-now back to your normal programming...forget all the above...its not significant,it won't matter,Susan Boyle is singing, but there is not going to be a Fat Lady to end it all, just a whimper....


I live on a densely packed street on one side and forest woods on the other. Except for lightning bugs (which have become pretty scarce) I still see the other animals you mention. Saw wild bees amd butterflies yesterday.

But you're right, the farms are being sprayed to idiotic extremes. It's not only the bugs that we are killing.... We're burdening future generations of people with terrible health issue:


I'm more fortunate than you, I live not far from The Everglades National Park.
Plenty of mosquitoes, fireflies, grasshoppers and Sphynx Moths (hummingbird moths)and birds galore! Still the park is but a minuscule fraction of its former size (the river of grass that is)but at least it's still big enough to get lost in without your GPS :-)

Then again you probably don't have, non native invasive giant snakes, such as the exploding populations of Burmese pythons, that are capable of swallowing a full grown deer, to worry about in your neck of the woods. Current estimated population 150,000 and growing.

Anyone out there interested in becoming a snake trapper?

"...I saw this earlier in the spring with the birds and commented. No replies to those comments. ..." I read your comments carefully but don't think i have ever commented - please don't take this as disinterest and keep commenting, the state of our environment is hugely important.


In this case, the silence is me nodding and praying..


Ditto airdale

Totally agree with you airdale. Instead of looking for miracle cures to our present condition, we should be looking to cultivate nature, and it will provide for us. Biodiversity, or the lack of it is a far bigger problem than people realize. These "factory-farms" get it all wrong, as they only cultivate one species in huge lots, with all kinds of chemicals sprayed on top and put in the soil. I think the most serious thing in this is that we are killing the soil. Nothing will grow in these soils after the spraying eventually stops, and we will have massive desertification.

Incidentally, I just watched a program yesterday which detailed the CCD problem with honeybees, and that in China they actually have resorted to pollinating pear orchards by hand(!!!), since chemicals and monoculture practices have caused all the bees to die. This is pure insanity!


I'm surrounded by woods and cow pasture, a mixture of either one for miles and miles in every direction. As a result, there's no "farming" going on here, so no pesticides, etc. I have bountiful amounts of all sorts of the wildlife that you speak of, so fortunately it is not everywhere. Here I even see bluebirds, which are so rare in other parts. Some animals like deer are so plentiful, they're almost a scourge. I'm sure that will change once people start going hungry and begin poaching to survive.

My attempt at a garden this year has all but died off. I tried to harden my seeds before putting them out, but they didn't harden very well. It may turn out my environment is not that great for growing things. However, if I complete my greenhouse this year, it should make next year a success. I prefer a controlled environment anyhow.

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


Regrets about your garden. Its been a killer season here for most folks gardens. Most failed. What was left hardly grew. A lot of seed never came up.

But I worked my ass off on mine. Fermented my tomato seeds and well I did for some I did not ferment failed to sprout in the peat boxes in my seedling container. So I ended up with approx 24 fairly good tomato plants. Okra...got 4 up. Potatoes....half didn't come up. Yet what is there is producing. Beans and peas I had good luck with.

Between much rain off and on only a very few,maybe 2 or 3 windows were open to put out a garden. If you didn't hill everything then it all washed away as most others did.

I got 3 smallish rows of corn. Some didn't germinate. Plenty of radishes ,lettuce and onions are much ,very much attention and working over them.

So you were hit with what everyone must have been hit with. Now you learn. Now you must religious watch for just the right times to plant and sow and never get too busy to not watch and wait then leap right in when the time is perfect.

It took much work to get my soil into good tilth this spring. A huge amount of clods. Wasn't til the last rains ended 5 days ago that it finally was right and I could weed it. Took two full days on my hands and knees in the dirt to get the grass out of my rows. Now they are clean and I can finally relax.

I have a 60 ft x 100 ft garden. I sowed half in buckwheat and vetch to get a good ground cover for next year and create some mulch.

I am going to sharpen my scythe and go at it when the cover crop is ripe. Let it lay over winter. Supplement with all the down branches and debris run thru my wood chipper.

A good way to ferment tomato seeds is to open a jar of last years tomatoes. Ones that are cultivar specific and not mixed. Label them to be sure ..like Rutgers ..Homestead..etc....then use the tomatoes but leave some vestiges in the jar and about a 1/4 of the juice. The seeds will stay on the bottom. Let it stay open and ferment/spoil. There are your seeds to grow your seedlings. Don't ferment them and you get no viable seeds.

There is absolutely nothing like good homegrown canned tomatoes.

my rhubarb is doing very good. No one could grow good strawberries here this spring,so there were none. Insect have laid eggs in every single one of my pears. Only the blueberries and blackberries will bear this year for me. My fruit trees are now gone. Ice and weather and storms with hail/ice and wind.

Its going to get worse I fear from here on out so you need to home those skills and prepare. I am almost ready to jump into making my own PV controller and a battery Desulfator to ressurect others thrownout batteries. Mother Earth had a good set of plans for the controller.

Best to you man and don't give up,hang in, keep planting,


Hi airdale,
The very first tomato I've grown from seed myself was "Chadwick's Cherry" courtesy of Bountiful Gardens about 1990.
Since I've always had city-lot sized gardens, the pack they sent lasted a good many years but the last seed I planted was grown in a large pot, (filled with my homemade version of terra preta) seperate from the rest of the garden to keep the strain true(Chadwicks is my wifes favorite).
Perhaps due to its heredity, biodynamic upbringing and terra preta nova culture, these seeds practically leap from the soil yet I've never obtained the seeds the way you describe. I just scrape 'em out of any one of the hundreds I get. Very curious.
Your observations are very alarming and has caused me to wonder when was the last time I saw a honeybee? Not one this year. One horsefly though and that is one too many.
One thing that has me encouraged is the set of fruit my pawpaw trees have this year. Since this tree evolved before the honeybee it is not pollinated by them but by fruit and carrion flies.
According to the maps I've seen of their range, you're smack in the middle of it.
Do you make any use of them and have you noticed their set this spring?

One of my future projects is to build a screen house rather than a green house. My problems is too many bugs, mostly those that kill off or eat my garden stuff. At present I am not even trying to garden because of the insect problems.
A screen house will let me control them. I tried a small test a few years ago by putting a screen enclosure around some "Square Foot Gardens" and had excellent success. Things like cabbage had zero bug damage. It would be nice to be able to grow squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelons, pumpkins but vine borers kill them all off before I can get any fruit.
I have some green house hoop style buildings to put up and cover with screen. All I need is more time and a 30 year old body to replace my current 70 year old body (big grin).
And it would be nice not to fight gnats, mosquitoes, etc... while doing weeding, planting, harvesting, watering, etc...
Plus it would keep out the rabbits, deer and others that want to scrounge in my garden.

As to screening out bugs.

I brought a 9'x100' roll of tobacco bed cover last month. It is very light spun polyester I believe. It can float on top of the plants. I intend to use it on my cabbages to keep the looper worms at bay.

Problem is what happens when it gets soggy from the rain? So I haven't solved that yet but will perhaps.

The screen idea sounds good but expensive for a large crop of cabbages.

I am looking my self to enclose a 60' by 12 ' area beside the barn and screen or use fiberglass panels. Something so I can get a real early start on my next years garden plus carry some til early winter.



Regarding the vine borers, pumpkins are the species Cucurbita pepo, just like summer squashes, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. All of these are very susceptible to squash vine borers.

To get a winter squash all the way to maturity in a yard that has a problem with squash vine borers, a better bet is any squash from the species Cucurbita moschata. These have a solid core stem that is much more resistant to the vine borers. Squash in this species include the butternut (like the variety Waltham), Seminole pumpkin squash (it has a pumpkin-like shape), trombocino squash, and Tahitian squash.

I am NW of Atlanta, and the rain has been amazing. Hard to get everything planted, since the ground has been so wet. Just got my sweet potatoes in today. Rabbits have been in the corn and beans, and I had to replant the beans earlier in the spring because they had all been nibbled down to nubs, but I will start to get eating-sized green beans in the next few days.

Gardening is never as easy as it is made to sound in magazines, but when it works, it is great!

Hope your next garden manages to slip past some of the more destructive pests.

There are still many creatures left at my home - the honey bees are still in the old catalpa by the house. I do see a reduction in butterflies and I suspect that if I were more aware there are problems with the migratory birds - but I am not sure. I fully believe it's mostly the pesticides. We live on a hill in what was once a poor man's hardscrabble farm, cleared long after the better land in the valley. Nothing is sprayed very close by, although I'm sure the bee's range will get them to the farms down below - still, the dosage is lower. Right now, it seems everything is alive - including the ticks (which are rampant at the moment) and the many invasive species of both plant and animal.

I've been worried about the rainfall and hoping it does not repeat the pattern of the last few years, where the end of summer was very dry. So far it seems to be different.

I just returned from a five day backpack in the Snow Mountain Wilderness, a sky island in the very souther Coast Range in California. I did not see another person in five days, and went to sleep to the sound of howling coyotes. Some of the largest lion tracks I have every seen were common not far from my camp, and a young golden eagle soared frequently off the eastern side of the mountain. The trout fishing was good fro small wild rainbows. The old growth forest had never been logged.
This was a stark contrast to the Central Valley, with it's rice paddies and almond orchards, factory meat, and crop dusters, overweight people driving Ford F250's with the ATV and the dirt bike.
These places still exist, but they are coming harder to come by, as our concept of wilderness becomes impoverished.

Sounds delightful, hightrekker. Have you ever read the book "Headwaters, Tales of the Wilderness", by Ash, Russell, Doog & Del Rio (Island Press, Covelo, Ca)? It's prefaced by Edward Abbey. Story of an esoteric quest in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness...

I will put it on the list---


the next meetup in San Francisco we'll be showing How Cuba Survived Peak Oil and A Farm for the Future.

Let me know if you want to ride down with me (July 2nd).


Unfortunately I will be in Humboldt. Let's stay in contact. I work with Marin Peace and Justice frequently, and quite a few members have primary experience with the Cuba experience.

airdale: All of the above critters are still here in the small towns in the southern appalachians. Maybe less numerous than previously, but still with us. Of course, the southern appalachians are the most biodiverse area in N. America. We've always been what biologists or ecologists would call a "refuge"; lots of species will be making their last stand right here. If they disappear here, then that is a sure sign that our own extinction as a species is not far behind.

You are in a very good area. You have good southern folks and are 'shutin' enough to do well.

Hope they leave the mountain tops alone.


Row cropping is declining in my area. More rural folks are going back to animal agriculture with lots of pastured animals and hay/small grain fields rather than all corn/soybeans. Adequate return without near the risk or all the intensive work of preparing the fields every year.
With the return of animal agriculture the value of hay is on the increase.
These things are being beneficial for wild life. One honey producer has had a bunch of hives in one of my pastures for a number of years (I get paid in honey - Mostly "comb honey" which I LOVE. Most young people don't even know what you are talking about when I mention comb honey and are incredulous that I "eat the WAX and all!" And the hives on my farm are there 12 months of the year, not trucked all over the country (No wonder some of the bees get lost trying to find the hive?)
The bird population is returning and some of the countryside is looking better than I have seen it in a long time.

Best Hopes for more pastured animal agriculture!

We called it 'frame' honey. You would buy a frame or two from the beekeeper. Take it home and scrape the wax and honey into quart mason jars. I still got some put by.

I chew the wax too. Some I swallow and some I save for leatherworking,etc.

We do have more 'cattle on the hills' of late. A guy stopped by yesterday and asked for my hints on how I did my hi-tensile wiring. He was a young fella and wanted to start a herd so I told and showed him how. My fence has been up fine for over 20 yrs now.



Your post brings back a poignant memory.

I was probably semi-autistic as a kid, I definitely would be pegged that way if I was growing up now, but I lived adjacent to the last real "swamp" in the midwest.

As I grew older, I remembered the magical dreamlike feeling of being immersed in nature, surrounded by a wealth of life, swimming in a million kinds of living diversity.... and as I grew older, assumed it was some odd perception or perspective of a child, never to be recaptured, since I wasn't experiencing it anymore and it seemed more and more unreal and distant.

Then in '91 I went to Costa Rica to stay in the cloud forests for a bit.

The thing which most impressed me was not just the beauty and diversity that most tourists see when they go there. It was realizing that it was not me that had changed, but the world. The magical spiritual feelings I felt every day as a kid were still within me to feel... but I had to travel all the way to the mountains of central america to find the level of diversity which had existed in an Indianapolis suburb in the early '50's.

And nobody really noticed it going away.

The lightning bugs, the trees laden with tens of tons of migrating red-winged blackbirds, the enormous and colorful snakes and mossback snapping turtles, the butterflies as thick and varied as one could imagine, the wildflower "weeds" growing in profusion, and some new kind of living thing under each log or rock, the critters so varied and common that I didn't have names for them all, the songs of nature at night and at different times of day, these things have been expunged from where I grew up as though they never existed, and some now don't exist at all anywhere. And Bacon Swamp itself is now just tacky housing; one could probably find it with a Google search but I haven't the heart.


Yes, after the war my father moved us to North St. Louis County.

Into what was the startup of suburbs. All around was farms and a big lake. Huge oak trees that we would climb. Gravel roads that we Boy Scouts hiked on and camped in fields and woods.

Today its all gone. Lake drained. Oaks cut long ago. The small outlier town is now just ugly takeout fastfood joints. No more town carnivals or fairs. The train that ran as a smallish commuter style is long gone but one can find part of an old roadbed if you search long and hard.

The creeks turned into sewage dumps. Everything else paved over.

I visit it very rarely. The old train depot was standing but barely the last time I looked. We used to walk the tracks and watch hobos. Pickup stuff like kids did then. No worry about getting in trouble.

Gone and not a trace remains. I know your feelings. But I moved back to my real childhood county here in Ky. Land of my ancestors and I can still see the houses and farms of before where I lived and grew to my early teens. So I have that much. I still have cousins alive. A very few.

Right now I cannot walk in my woods. You simply cannot crawl over the huge amount of limbs and tangled debris on the ground and then the new scrub growing up in it. I don't see how even deer manage it. Will take a long,long time to rot down. I tried today and couldn't walk over three feet into the woods. Fell twice and gave up.


Rachel Carson's work and reputation and influence was killed off by the 'Shining City on the Hill', 'Morning in America' platitudes of Ronnie Raygun and his right-wing fascist/corporatist descendants. Dems haven't had the guts to put up any more than lip service for fear of being run out of town on a rail by Repub brain-dead propaganda...'Senator Smedlap wants to stop all growth and hates America', etc.

I don't remember how many times I have heard wing nuts on the boob tube and on the internets and on the radio smear her name and all those who care about the environment.

Just last week at work I had to endure (in cubicle-land) hearing workers in my building berate and attempt to brainwash a new young worker because he dared express concern about our occupation of Iraq and our treatment of the environment. For his reasonable views he has been mocked as a 'tree hugging whale lover' and been counseled to avoid the siren song of the 'enviro-nazis'. The one guy torturing this kid (who quietly stuck to his guns, good on 'em) listens to that jerk Rush Limbaugh several hours each workday. Due to my fragile worker status I have to keep my darn mouth shut or my job would be a casualty of these pea brains and their bosses.

Break break, I still wonder every day why the good southern people of West Virginia, Kentucky, and the rest of Appalachia coal country don't rise up and put an end to the desecration of mountaintop removal mining. I swear that if there was valuable ore under Great Smokey Mountain National Park and the Repubs were in power they would bless blowing those mountains apart as well. The sick joke is when I read an article blathering about how important is was to keep mountaintop removal mining to protect the 14,000 (Fourteen Thousand!) mining jobs at stake! For crying out loud, we are shedding more than that number every day right now...14,000 is a drop in the bucket, but apparently worth sacrificing mountains for. Same same with the God-fearing salt-of-the earth tobacco farmers...many of my conservative co-workers swoon about how those folks are the American everyman and how the government should stop trying to put them out of business...never mind the 400,000+ deaths per year from their cancer sticks and chew. And I won't buy the premise that the South has become contaminated with carpetbaggers and crack-smoking welfare types who allow this to happen. From my experience most well-to-do genteel rich folks in the South are the biggest anti-environmentalists around. I have heard the 'argument' that 'all this was given to us for our taking and that blissful eternity awaits the pure so don't fret about the Earth' from more than a few of these well-spoken, well-mannered folks in their new cars and their McMansions.


I am noticing the same lack of insects this year. I live about two hours from Tokyo. We used to have lots of bugs even last year and two years ago. But this year it's lonely without them. The worst thing is there are no frogs in the rice fields anymore. No croaking at night. There are also no bees and there are hardly any grasshoppers. No baby crickets and no butterflies and no moths.

The pesticide and herbicide spraying is intense though, very thorough I guess, a lot of brown patches of grass everywhere. Vacant areas turned into gray and brown wastelands so that the owners won't have the bother of mowing the grass.

The only consolation is that the number of cars is also going down. People just love their cars you know...they always want new ones, like cellphones (I have neither). So I'm GRATIFIED that people, for all the destruction they're causing, are also coming up against some basic limits. They'd dearly love to be motoring about but the roads are getting EMPTIER and EMPTIER week by week. I hope the bugs will come back again some day when the people stop being able to spray.

People have stopped being able to drive so much. People will also stop being able to spray so much. It has to happen. Don't lose all hope, Airdale! The bugs are waiting in small pockets of land where humans haven't destroyed everything. The cars will not be coming back but the bugs, the wonderful bugs, will definitely be coming back!

"It is the slow gathering of causes that is the real story, while the decisive "event" is merely an effect, yet we collectively fixate almost exclusively on the latter, giving little thought to what brought it about."

I think this may be similar to estimating EROEI and excluding the non-primary inputs. In both cases tricky cause and effect entanglements become clear.

From Wikipedia: "How deep should the probing in the supply chain of the tools being used to generate energy go? For example, if steel is being used to drill for oil or construct a nuclear power plant, should the energy input of the steel be taken into account, should the energy input into building the factory being used to construct the steel be taken into account and amortized? Should the energy input of the roads which are used to ferry the goods be taken into account? What about the energy used to cook the steelworker's breakfasts? These are complex questions evading simple answers"

From Renewable Energy World, a 9 minute video called Offshore Wind Needs More Transmission and Political Will

Offshore wind tends to be quite a bit more expensive than onshore wind. Eddie O'Connor, the speaker in this video, is talking about the future of onshore wind being mostly tapped out--I presume he is thinking primarily in Europe. Setting up the offshore wind program would require more transmission lines, and a different way of way of energy companies interacting.

I would have to think he couldn't mean the USA, since the plains and the Rockies are hardly saturated with wind-generation.. That said, I hope it doesn't go that far, either. A real emphasis on Extremely LOW energy homes and small, local generation is what I really hold out hope for. I think the Big Utility paradigm is an outgrowth of Big Oil and Big Coal.. and I expect that power generation will start to spread across the scales into mid and small systems once the power-hitters have run the majority of their course.

Sorry your Wind Thread got so sidetracked. I didn't help much with all the Nuclear scuffling, sorry. Good reminder that I need to cut down on Red Meat..

While I challenge some of your points, I appreciate your diligence and your unprovocative tone of voice. Very much appreciated, and I try to live up to that standard.

Bob Fiske

Gail - could not get your Renewable Energy World link to work.

Here is some good background on offshore wind and we are studying these possibilities for Michigan. www.michiganglowcouncil.org

Fixed the link. I see someone has it below also.

Regarding offshore wind-turbines
Here is a link to (the first ever - large scale) Hywind floating wind turbine - a StatoilHydro project running since 2001. It is recently assembled off the Norwegian coast.

Pilot Turbine :
Price tag : NOK 400 million or $ 65 million for a 2.3 MW turbine with floater, mooring and cablings I guess.
There are some nice info videos about the concept via the link.

To Jim MacInnes - rectified "faulty" link to Offshore WInd Needs More Transmission and Political Will ;its here.
The interview was 'sadly' bearing the Hallmark of a dreaming and vested cornucopian - IMHO.But of course thanks for the link - I sometimes love to see real cornucopians talk and wave his hand to the cameraman.

"off-shore wind will be PRICY .."
I just came across TODer wisco's link Cost of wind farm project falls quoting a 'new recession adjusted cost-tag' around $413.5 million for Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County. ---- down the list and became curious ----- the two links here state the parameters for this particular WT park ..... here

ON-SHORE -> $ 2.0 million/MW

Glacier Hills Wind Park (2009) : $413.5 million / 207 MW = $ 2.0 million/MW

OFF-SHORE-PILOT -> $ 28.3 million/MW
(info from my link just above here)

Hywind floating wind turbine (2009) : $65 million / 2.3 MW = $ 28.3 million/MW

Keep in mind that Hywind is a PILOT-thing !But how much can they chop off from this number This example shows that , let me see ... 28.3 / 2 ,offshore is 14 times more costly - Geronimo!

Moreover, those MW's are only installed capacity.
A Norwegian study 2 years back comprising all of Norways WT-farms concluded that delivered efficiency on an average was ..... ONLY 20% (sic.)

Keep in mind that Hywind is a PILOT-thing !But how much can they chop off from this number This example shows that , let me see ... 28.3 / 2 ,offshore is 14 times more costly - Geronimo!

Back when davemart used to comment, he was quoting offshore wind as about 2x of onshore. Even 2x is pretty substantial, and might be rejected (on cost) by the intended power customers. Now, in its favor is the fact that the capacity factor will be a lot higher offshore. But, unless major progress in cost effectiveness is made I don't expect deep offshore to make it.

Great Hywind videos! Yes, it is all very expensive to say the least. However, currently, the only way offshore wind makes sense anyway is to do large scale projects using 80 or 100 turbines. Notwithstanding the cost of this floating platform, some other large costs are for the special offshore substation and the special underwater power transmission cable(s) and/or the converter stations if HVDC is used. I believe the floating platform cost can be brought down significantly if used in large scale installations such as these. Time will tell if deepwater offshore wind will ever be competitive with other renewable technologies such as CSP, etc. However, offshhore wind is already a reality and is going to get even bigger.


About eight million billionaires and millionaires run America. This small minority own and control about 90% of America's total wealth: "They're not smarter. They're not happier. They just know how the game is played and, for the most part, what to do to stay there. Sometimes everybody forgets that the whole thing is designed to keep the powerful in power and the rich in their McMansions." The other 300 million have no real power because America is not a democracy: "We'll forget that, of course, as soon as the markets simmer down."

Don't forget to add.............the greediest, most deceitful, selfish, sociopathic.etc to your list of characteristics of the people that win the game here in USA.
I don't think that the markets are going to "calm down" for long and the "elite" are going to be viewed in the same light as all the other swindlers that came before them.
Let them eat cake.

Like the French Aristocracy, the current pigs at the trough will be hard to find in the near future.

... even in China, where mere six per cent growth is effectively a recession.

Yeah, right. 6% growth is effectively a recession.

Fact. 6% growth is just enough growth to create just enough jobs to occupy just the 40 million people they add a year to the industrial labor pool. What part of "1 billion people trying to enter the 21st century in a single generation" don't you get?

Nouriel Roubini Nov 2008:

"There is thus now a growing risk of a hard landing in China. Let us be clear what we mean by hard landing. In a country with the potential growth of China hard landing would occur if the growth rate of the economy were to slow down to 5-6% as China needs a growth rate of 9-10% to absorb about 24 million folks joining the labor force every year; it needs a growth rate of 9-10% to move every year about 12-14 million poor rural farmers to the modern industrial/manufacturing urban sector. The whole social and political legitimacy of the regime of the ruling Communist party rests on continuing to deliver this high growth great transformation of the economy."

Read it and larn sum'thin:


I appreciate this link. I've been scratching my head for a while about the 6% is effectively 0%. I sometimes forget how static the US is where things like new jobless claims are effectively the same number week after week after week.

Sorry, Roubini's claims aren't enough to convince me that 6% growth is like a recession.

Look at the underlying assumption: "it needs a growth rate of 9-10% to move every year about 12-14 million poor rural farmers to the modern industrial/manufacturing urban sector." In other words, 6% growth is like a recession because China has a political-economic goal of industrialization which will take longer to meet than previously planned in Beijing.

GDP growth 6% is still moving down the road - just not as fast as at 15%.
A recession is when the car is thrown into reverse.

And, frankly, I don't trust the "24 million folks joining the labor force every year" statisticn (that's Roubini's number, not the 40 million you claimed) . How many folks are leaving the labor force every year?

Year	Labor force	Rank	Percent Change	Date of Information
2003	744,000,000	1	 	2001 est.
2004	778,100,000	1	4.58 %	2003 est.
2005	760,800,000	1	-2.22 %	2003
2006	791,400,000	1	4.02 %	2005 est.
2007	798,000,000	1	0.83 %	2006 est.
2008	800,700,000	1	0.34 %	2007 est.


I understand that failing to meet preconceived political-economic goals can feel bad and be hard on a political elite. But that still doesn't add up to a recession which pretty much by definition means a shrinking economy - not just failing to meet expectations.

I'm more than willing to do some larnin', cougar. You got something with more meat than Roubini's opinion piece?

Workers coming from the countryside will "recess" to their villages.

JHK's Clusterf**K Nation this week got me to thinking... I've been to Watertown. Plattsburgh, (and other places in NYS). I've also travelled in places like Sudbury, Ontario (with its lunar-like landscape around the nickel mines) to Louisbourg, NS and many places in between.

Personally I think that the (fundamental) reason that Canada doesn't look as run down is because:
1. The Canadians have social safety nets. (they don't have to worry as much about long-term comfort; they can focus their efforts on other problems) and
2. There is public support for the arts. (that provides some measure of social sanity.)

In an era of energy downsizing, I think the Canadians have a better functioning system to deal with upcoming problems.

I think the Canadians have a better functioning system to deal with upcoming problems.

This may be totally wrong.

Consider just one example. Canada's most "beautiful" city, the capital city of BC, Victoria. Do you know where it has been dumping its sewage for the last 100 years or so? That's right, straight into the ocean. Only this year are they planning to build a sewage system--but get this, it will work only when it's not raining, and when it rains, the sewage will overflow the canals and go right back into the natural water system.

Canada is huge and has a small population. I rather think it has hidden its dirty laundry behind a lot of green garbage, and that's about it. What province has virtually wrecked their environment in search of the almighty dollar? Alberta, right next door to BC, with its oil sands in and around Fort McMoney.

Canada is a dirty, backward country in reality, though its large swaths of pristine wilderness is used to hide or disguise this fact.

Re: Climate Change Policies Won't Impact Global Warming

What utter crap. It is one thing to offer balanced views, it is another to add... nevermind...

Anyway, the think tank is libertarian, it seems, stocked by not an environmentalist, so far as I can tell.

This is their first line from their .pdf study:

Global warming is a reality. But whether it is a serious problem — and whether emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from human fossil fuel use are the principal cause — are uncertain.

Scumbags should be jailed. Worthless tripe. Their "solutions" are a joke: Toll roads! Stop regulation! Etc.

You may be correct in that it is a thinly veiled whinge why they shouldn't even bother doing anything.

However the fact does remain that what the politicians have begun to pledge is barely a token of what the scientists require us to do in order to reign in C02 to an acceptable level.

What is required I would say is very much a lifestyle change on all our parts: and what political is going to slit his (4 year term) neck on that basis?!? Thats the way I think they see it anyway.

If 95% of the populace just 'don't get it' they sure as hell are going to resent punitive measures - and I really do think the CO2 controls would have to be punitive to be effective.


Thinly veiled?

Hardly. The lines I quoted are outright lies. It's full on propaganda. Total bullshit. Disgusting.

What the US is doing now is posturing. The real fun comes in Copenhagen later this year, and they know it. It won't be till after that that they'll have the political capital to ask for real change. I'm certain they're factoring in the various comments to the effect that we have five years or so to get the ball rolling. So, they do this thing now, see what happens in Copenhagen, then do more, though almost certainly still not enough, in the following years.

95% of the populace just 'don't get it'

And, gee, Marco, who's fault would that be?


Fat people causing climate change

Great, all we have to do is go on a diet and we save the planet. I hope to God that we do not have to rely on the Global warming alarmists to get us off fossil fuels, otherwise it will be too late. We will end up in a seriously quick power down/population decline while some idiots are claiming they have saved the polar bears by eating less hamburgers.

Edited to add: And stop drinking beer!

"Credit is so loose today that I can buy the groceries I need on a credit card, eat the food tonight, discard the food by tomorrow at noon and finance my debt on a 30-year, amortized loan. How stupid is that? But people do it all the time - and then they wonder why they're in foreclosure."
Mortgage Broker quoted in Denver Post, March 30, 2005 (link no longer works)

HT: Calculated Risk

....... and skinny people are already hit by Peak oil.

Cost of wind farm project falls

The Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County is now projected to cost a maximum of $413.5 million, down from a projection of $525.6 million when We Energies announced the project last year...The drop in prices for wind turbines is linked to the recession and a slowdown in wind power development caused by both the economy and tight credit markets.

I'm 3 years old on TOD today. Hooray!

I can certainly say it's changed my view of the world somewhat.

Akin to being unplugged from the matrix?!

Thankyou for the valuable information freely imparted by all.


Congrats Marco. I'm almost Two years old here.

Thanks TOD.

The post that started it all.


(it took me a couple of weeks of reading before I registered at TOD)

Congrats - you can never go back!

In my work, we often kick around a dollar per barrel oil price that represents the "GO" price. I mean to say, the break even or make a profit price. After the oil price gets up to there, we all expect Houston to kick into high gear and new construction contracts to flow.

The current number I hear now is $70.

Ten years ago, it was $22!

I got to thinking, this number becomes a part of the collective consciousness of "the oil patch", and I am sure the market knows this number too. Does this number represent the natural equilibrium? Or, does it just represent a floor for investing in oil services?

It would be nice if we had a chart showing this perceived break even price over time. I think it would be more enlightening than the fluctuations in the daily price. After all, when the break even price for investing in the oil patch is as high as last summer's run-up to $147, I think our goose is cooked.


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 29, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.7 million barrels per day during the week ending May 29, relatively unchanged from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 86.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production rose last week, averaging nearly 8.8 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production rose last week, averaging about 4.1 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.6 million barrels per day last week, up 868 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 9.0 million barrels per day, 643 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 949 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 208 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 366.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels last week, and are below the lower limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline blending components inventories rose during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 15.1 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Oil falls after surprise supply jump

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices extended their decline Wednesday after a weekly government inventory report said crude supplies rose unexpectedly.

Light, sweet crude for July delivery fell $1.44 to $67.11 a barrel by 10:35 a.m. ET. Oil had traded down 75 cents just prior to the report's release.

Total crude + products rose 15 million barrels for the week, part of a long term inventory building trend. Total net imports were down over a million barrels a day YOY. The recession and rising gasoline prices have reduced demand.

Nobody seems to clearly understand why conventional gasoline supplies are suddenly sufficient at a level 22.2% lower than 12 months ago.

There's no shortage of crude, tankers or refineries globally. Gasoline production could increase in a pinch.
Locally, there might be widespread shortages at some point.

I guess there's more of a shortage of storage capacity due to the glut of products other than gasoline... hence low gasoline inventories.

I find in interesting that in the short term the price of a global commodity is driven by regional storage numbers, which account for a very small percentage of daily global production.


If anything it makes more sense than having the price being driven by EUR/USD or Wall Street... not to mention the weird shit that happened with WTI this winter.

The final paragraph of the weekly summary:
"Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 18.2 million
barrels per day, down by 7.7 percent compared to the similar period last year.
Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged about 9.2 million
barrels per day, down by 0.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate
fuel demand has averaged about 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four
weeks, down by 8.8 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is
11.7 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week
period last year."

Some years ago I worked for about a year as a subcontractor for Pemex, so I think I have pertinent experience for commenting on Are monopolies holding Mexico back?.

I found working in a Pemex office a rather surreal experience. There are a lot of smart, competent people there. But there are also a lot of people who are totally incompetent, like the draftsman who happily admitted he knew nothing at all about drafting: he got his job simply because a relative was a union official.

Even the competent people tended to be very unproductive. Some of them were unproductive because they knew they had a secure job (because of their political or family connections) but most of them because to show initiative was to risk failure, and to risk failure was to risk losing your job. And if you are a Mexican professional in a petroleum discipline (such as petroleum engineering or the geosciences) the only potential employer is Pemex. Lose your job there, and you will have to change careers or emigrate.

Pemex is also chronically short of money, which means all kinds of shortcuts are taken, sometimes leading to accidents, but usually leading to waste of what money they do have: well bores lost due to poor quality casing or shortcuts in the mud program, dry holes due to inadequate seismic data, and projects cancelled before completion because there is no money.

In general, the overall atmosphere gives the impression that who you know is far more important than what you know. This is not necessarily part of being a monopoly, but the lack of competition certainly makes it easier for such an atmosphere to flourish.

"Who you know is far more important than what you know."

More often than not, this tends to be true everywhere.

This is similar to when you're speaking to someone, the impact comes from only 10% to 30% what you say, and 70% to 90% how you say it.

We are primarily social animals.

I got some Swedish news.

Today the winner were decided for wich municipiality gets the storage facility for our high level nuclear waste. It will still take about two year of further checks for the go ahead for starting to build the facility and it is expected to start builing in 2015 and the earliest date for it to be ready for use is 2022. This feels realy good for the stability of our nuclear power program and it means that all the expensive parts of the facilities will be built while we have a good cash flow from our nuclear powerplants.

And we have won the placement for the big science facility ESS, a giant proton accelerator that will be used to create lots of neutrons for doing manny kinds of material science measurements. It will be built a few years after completion of the synchronous radiation facility Maxlab IV. Thus we will get major facilities that turns large ammounts of electricity into new knowledge and I expect no problems for "fueling" them.

Both of these news are multi billion investments that are planned to be built in the near future wich wont impress pessimists. But I realy like long term planning and I think it will work out ok since the government budgets are under control and there is public support for making hard decisions today to make it better tomorrow. And it runs of electricity and we will probably have electricity comming out of our ears in the 2020:s and onwards.

A little context from the Energy Export Databrowser.

The only indigenous sources of energy of any significance in Sweden are hydro and nuclear. (And of course a little biomass for heating which the BP Statistical Review doesn't track.) In any case, the "All Sources" plot from the databrowser shows that Sweden currently generates almost half of its electricity from nuclear and half from hydro:

If Sweden is to proceed with its planned oil phase-out it will need all the nuclear reactors it can build. Oil still accounts for almost 50% of their total energy consumption (measured in Joules) and Sweden is a large country so any oil phase-out would also imply seriously reduced mobility.

In 2007 were 9.3% of the electricity production from powerplants burning some kid of fuel and 53.3% of these fuels were biomass. 7 TWh of biofuel electricity is significant but it is a small part of the 144.7 TWh total production during 2007.

54 TWh of district heating fuels or other heat souces were used in 2007 and of that were 34 TWh biofuels, the biofuel use is important for our heating needs and the market share is increasing. The heating oil use will soon be close to zero.

The total energy use for transportation in 2007 were 127.9 TWh including shippig and airlines, the domestic energy use for transportation were 93.5 TWh. 94 % of the domestic transportation energy use is fuel for cars and trucks.

The market sare for renewable road wheicle fuels were 5% in 2008, of these were 31 % ethanol in the regular gasolene, 26 % were ethanol in E85, 34 % were FAME mixed in diesel, 1 % were pure FAME and 8 % were biogas. This adds up to 4.3 TWh.

2.9 TWh of the energy used for transportation were electricty for railways, subways and trams.

This jumble of figures do support your point that it is a lot of work to replace the remaining oil use. But I did not state that we would have plenty of cheap wehicle fuel, my point is that we will have plenty of electricity since we are renovatig our nucler powerplants and it is likely that new ones will be built and there are lots of investments in efficiency, hydro power, wind power, biomass CHP and grid infrastructure.

Having lots of electricity makes rail transportation more competitive, it makes it esy to power plug-in hybrids or pure EV:s and if fossil fuels get expensive we can electrolyze water to get hydrogen for fertilizer, upgradig crude oil and complementin the synthesis gas from biomass gasification plants.

If we would brute-force this technically via hydrogen and syntetiseized fuels to power a business as usual wehicle fleet we would indeed need to increase our number of nuclear powerplants. I like nuclear power but I dont lack that solution since it would be inefficient, the wehicle fleet and transportation patterns need to change since it is dumb to burn very expensive fuel when there are smarter solutions freeing up any "excess" fuel for export.

I ought to dig up calcualtions for the Swedish biomass potential and how much paper, fuel and other products we could make from it but I dont have the time right now. I got the impression that we can run a sustainable society with a healthy surplus but things will change a lot if our trade partners cant do it.

From Ordering Steak and Lobster, to Serving It

Carlos Araya used to order lobster, filet mignon and $200 bottles of red wine at the Palm Restaurant in midtown Manhattan.

Now, he seats customers at its Tribeca branch.

Mr. Araya, 38 years old, lost his job in 2007 as a crude oil trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange. After visiting dozens of headhunters with no luck, he applied in August 2008 to be a host at the Palm to support his wife, two young daughters and mortgage payments. His salary has plunged from $200,000 to $25,000.

The mortgage, taxes and fees for the family's condo cost $6,200

These are numbers I cannot even begin to relate to. Nor can I relate to how a society could value the job he did in that way - and he was certainly not at the top of the food chain at $200k.

$200k is middle class for NYC. The cost of living is so high there.

My first job out of college was in NYC. I liked the job, and they liked me, but I couldn't stay. I was losing money working there.

Twilight -- I don't know the details of his work of course. But he didn't draw that salary because of any valuation society put on his efforts. He may have been making $10 -20 million for his company each year. Who knows? In oil trading you general win/lose big. And such goes the compensation.

Yes, obviously I know that. It's merely the typical distortion of the relative value of someone's work that capitalism creates. Our society has chosen this method to determine those relative values. Quite clearly oil traders are more worthwhile to society than say, teachers.

However, in this case Leanan is right in that it is partially a regional distortion.


BBC: Film warns of 'world without fish'

"These huge resources which we once believed to be renewable, that our whole human history has led us up until now to believe are renewable, are not renewable any more because of what we are doing to them. And so our entire philosophical approach has to change. It is not going to be the same in the future as it was in the past."

My sad feeling is that the expected economic weakness of the next decade or so will have less effect on the fishing industry than on the efforts to control it.

Fish oil. A fine business. Like Zapata.


Hello TODers,

As the US declines to Bangladeshi levels of energy usage in the decades ahead, I hope what is illustrated in the weblink below becomes commonplace here long before then:

Motorcycles Saving Lives?
Consider that this will be more manueverable when our roads become a potholed, non-functional mess. It will also be much faster than wheelbarrowing a dying family member to a mostly non-functional hospital, as this human-powered transport method is becoming increasingly common in many places.

Hopefully the American elite will allow this motorcycle to take a shortcut across the manicured golfing greens to save time versus the Zimbabwe method whereby the poor have to wheelbarrow all the way around the Country Club's 18-holes [36-holes?].

In the postPeak future, I would love to see Tiger Woods' golf course design company also switch over to consulting with municipalities on how quickly golf courses can be converted to massive burial graveyards as I think that would be par for the course. Hand-digging giant pits is much ERoEI-easier on grassy soil versus trying to sledgehammer & pickaxe remove the asphalt and reinforced concrete of a typical parking lot before the hand-shoveling begins.

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

Hello TODers,

As most of the 16,000 US golf courses go postPeak defunct, along with the associated resorts, spas, and country clubs: Does it seem likely that we should expect a semantic shift in the common usage definition of what actually is a 'country club'?



IMO, it will be fascinating to see if we mostly prefer to move ahead to peacefully garden, or if most decide to continue along the cultural [genetic?] path of the classic opening scene in Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" whereby the proto-human suddenly realizes the violent killing power of harnessing exosomatic tool usage.

Having recently received results from the eight-month wind energy demonstration project, Carter said analysis of the real-time data provided by the wind turbine shows that over the time period from October 2008 to May 2009, the actual production of electricity was only 15 percent of what was originally anticipated.


After some looking around for data about the Entegrity Wind Systems machine, I think that part of the problem might be the design of the turbine. For example, the machine has no pitch control, a constant speed generator, and appears to have little or no blade twist. Speed control is via stalling of the blades. Without more detailed information, I think the design is a poor combination, which does not offer the best efficiency of conversion from wind speed to electrical energy. Indeed, the graph of power output vs wind speed shows a flat output instead of the peak at one speed as one might expect to see as the available power from the wind increases with speed. The system is based on a design from around 1991, which means that the rest of their system has been thru considerable testing, but I think they could do much better.

Also, we don't know from the article what the surrounding location is like. If there are hills or trees blocking the wind, there can't be much output. My conclusion is that this article should not be taken as a condemnation of wind energy in general.

E. Swanson

Hello TODers,

Don't lecture us: Arabs tell Obama
I don't think he needs to lecture them either. IF I was 0bama, while the press cameras and microphones were on: I would simply ask the Saudi Ruler if they were going to form an ASPO-KSA before Pitcairn Island formed ASPO-PIT. It would seem any more delay just leads to a machete' moshpit. An ASPO-KSA might eventually lead to a full transparency OPEC audit as suggested by M. Simmons & C. Campbell.

There is already an ASPO-China and an ASPO-Kuwait, fer cryin out loud. I bet there are lots of Saudi citizens and ARAMCO employees, just bursting for the slightest chance to post what they know on Ghawar and the other Saudi oil & natgas fields, depletion rates, reserve volumes, etc, etc.