DrumBeat: June 19, 2009

More drivers hit the road in April: Lower gas prices encourage drivers, with the number of miles driven increasing for the first time in 18 months. But rising prices will likely lead to fewer drivers this summer.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Drivers took advantage of lower gas prices in April, with the number of miles driven increasing for the first time in 18 months, according to a report released Friday.

The Department of Transportation said that travel on all roads and streets rose by 0.6% in April to nearly 250 billion miles, up from 246 billion a year ago. That marked the first increase since October 2007, when the number of miles driven edged up 0.1%.

After 52 days, gas price rise nears end

NEW YORK (AP) — Gasoline markets exhibited the first signs that an extended rally in pump prices is nearing an end after 52 straight days on the rise.

Gasoline futures started falling midweek after a government report showed a huge surplus. Already, wholesale gasoline prices in key markets like the Gulf Coast and Chicago had begun to fade. Should prices continue to fall on the New York Mercantile Exchange, cheaper gas may be on the way for motorists.

"Supply won't be an issue," said Andrew Lebow, senior vice president and broker at MF Global. "That's why gasoline futures are dropping. It's down so sharply that it's really going to be hard for crude or any of the energy commodities to show gains today."

US natgas rig count rises for first time since Nov

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States unexpectedly rose by seven to 692 this week, the first gain in the rig count in seven months, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

U.S. natural gas drilling rigs have been in a mostly steady decline since peaking above 1,600 in September.

Schlumberger axes jobs once again

Oilfield services giant Schlumberger has swung the axe once again, lopping heads off across the Houston area in another round of job layoffs resulting in the elimination of around 100 positions.

Eni Shuts Nigerian Crude Oil Pipeline Following Armed Attack

(Bloomberg) -- Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil company, closed an oil pipeline supplying the Brass export terminal in Nigeria after it came under armed attack last night.

The lost output totals 33,000 barrels a day, of which 16,000 belongs to Eni, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. An Eni official couldn’t immediately say whether the attack would cause a suspension of contractual delivery obligations.

Feds charge Exxon Mobil in Kansas over dead birds

The Justice Department charged the company Thursday with violating a law protecting migratory birds. The misdemeanor charge filed in federal court in Wichita alleges the company unlawfully killed migratory birds, including three owls.

The government alleges the birds died after coming into contact with hydrocarbons at tanks in Kearney, Stevens and Morton counties in Kansas.

Urban Survivalists

"Normally the kind of people that do this and there is a group of them would be known as extremists. People are thinking that -- is about to happen and the end is here."

"But experts say there's been a recent shift in the typical survivalist they're not just extremist anymore living somewhere in a remote wilderness. They're more mainstream more urban and more prevalent than ever."

"The thing that's led to the change were everyday Joes are now hoarding supplies in the coming survivalists there's this notion that the economy is in trouble. It is not going to repair itself. And the government is not helping so people are thinking that they may suddenly have a day where there's no food had to. Have been the question of the economy is perfect people and they are concerned and you know we'd like survivalist. I want more than a lot of people who would like. You don't -- watched -- preparing of sort of sort of laughter you know. How are now like actually safe haven here or can go get a budget survival supplies and if people felt like across the spectrum not just the -- people on the extreme left or extreme right."

Living on Canada's Oil: Must we really choose between energy security and a climate disaster?

No matter how useful the oil sands might be to our energy supplies, tapping into them remains the most controversial petroleum project on Earth. The local environmental fallout—in terms of deforestation, water demand, and toxic waste—varies among the dozens of ongoing extraction projects but is often immense. And taken as a whole, the oil-sands industry emits so much greenhouse gas that Greenpeace has called it "the biggest global warming crime ever seen."

In other words, U.S. policymakers are now faced with an awkward problem: How do you balance improvements in energy security with worsening climate change, especially when dealing with a resource that isn't yours? It's a live issue for the administration and Congress. President Obama was forced to address the matter when he visited with his Canadian counterpart in February. Energy Secretary Steven Chu brought it up in a meeting with Alberta premier Ed Stelmach this week. Meanwhile, lawmakers must decide what to do with several laws that could end up restricting oil-sands consumption in the United States. This is an issue that isn't going away soon.

Review and Analysis of the Peak Oil Debate (PDF)

This paper reviews arguments from both sides, focusing the discussion on three topics. First, we review the Hubbert theory, examine its assumptions, and note the criticism levied by optimists. We present the results of our own modifications to Hubbert’s theory, which attempt to account for some of the critiques of optimists. In particular, we account for the impact of economic conditions on oil production in a simple, endogenous manner. Second, we review peakist arguments that are based on declining discovery rates. Finally, we include a section that reviews peakis concerns about Saudi Arabia’s oil production in particular as described in a book by Matthew Simmons.

We conclude from these reviews that the most alarmist of the peakoil claims are likely false. Still, we see some convincing reasons to think that global production could peak within 20 years, with demand outstripping production indefinitely.

Russia-Ukraine Tension Could Cause Another Gas Crisis

BRUSSELS -- A lingering natural-gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine could cause a major crisis in the European Union "in weeks, not months," the second such crisis in just over six months, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Friday.

Norway approves $890 mln Troll field project

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway approved on Friday StatoilHydro's 5.7 billion crown ($891.6 million) plan to boost recovery rates and extend the life of Troll, the biggest oil and gas field in the North Sea.

"The Troll projects will contribute to getting more resources out of the field and will increase the field's lifetime," Oil and Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen said in a statement.

China Oil Demand Jumps for Second Consecutive Month

China consumed 33.23 million metric tons of oil in May, up a strong 6% from the same month in 2008, a Platts analysis of official data showed June 18.

The data means Chinese demand has shown a year-on-year increase for a second consecutive month, evidence that demand for fuel in the world's second largest oil-consuming nation is in recovery. In April, Chinese oil demand rose for the first time in six months.

China's own crude oil production slipped by more than 1% in May.

Machiavelli's Insight

"The human tragedy," wrote Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), "is that circumstances change, but man does not."

...Time and circumstances do not seem to have altered our human character despite the unprecedented changes that are happening around us these days. Indeed, if Machiavelli could sense this steadfast attribute of humanity five hundred years ago, then he would be awestruck by juxtaposing our collective character with the incredible changes presently underway. Even though he was alive in a time of considerable energy and excitement, that change is dwarfed by the speed and scope of the change enveloping us now. By almost every conceivable measure, we live in a world of cataclysmic upheavals. And yet our human character still seems fixed on being itself, plodding steadily into the rapidly emerging future with a dull innocence that is strangely incongruous and alarming.

Return to Babel

There has been some talk in the peak oil community about leaving some kind of legacy to post-peak societies – Lovelock's "scientific equivalent of the Bible" comes to mind, as well as John Michael Greer's essays.

This is a subject worth discussing. It becomes increasingly obvious industrial society will undergo some kind of collapse. It is probably too late to prevent or even significantly delay it, but saving some of our civilization's achievements so that our successors – whoever they might be – are left with something else than ruins in the jungle is certainly something worth fighting for. The problem is that bequeathing them a hoard of textbooks written on acid-free paper won't be of much use if they don't understand them... as it is very likely to be the case.

China's Oil Supply Dependence

China is aggressively looking worldwide for oil. The major Chinese state oil companies: China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) are the leaders behind such initiatives. The other state sector firm in China is the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), supported by its “forward scout” PetroChina. CNOOC accounts for more than 10% of China’s domestic crude oil production. The State Energy Administration (SEA) is responsible for regulatory oversight of the industry.

CNPC, Sinopec, and CNOOC/PetroChina are vigorously pursuing oil supply contracts with foreign firms. To this end, the Chinese oil majors have acquired a variety of holdings in Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, Chad, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Peru, Russia, Singapore (pending), Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela.

The Arab World Turns East

For the first time, China has surpassed the U.S. in exports to the Arab world. The Media Line heads to the largest Chinese products fair in the Middle East and investigates.

Gas focus shifts to eastern Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf

Most countries in the Middle East have experienced some fresh offshore activity over the past 12 months. But the main event of note was Noble Energy’s subsalt gas discoveries in the previously unexplored deepwater Levantine basin.

Oilman still tilting at windmills

T. Boone Pickens, billionaire oilman who doubles as one of North America's most prominent advocates for natural gas and renewable energy, is looking to invest in wind power in Alberta.

The province is hoping his quest to invest in wind power will provide a major boost for the sector, which has had a hard time attracting financing so far.

The Clean Energy Revolution Must Be Collaborative

Yet at the same time that companies are collecting patents for clean energy innovations in record numbers, governments are developing new schemes for making advanced technologies available at relatively low cost (one option is compulsory licensing, a legal requirement for companies to license their technology for a nominal fee if they are not providing it in a certain market). And the U.S. government will likely acquire some of the IP developed by companies funded under programs such as the Energy Dept.'s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Meanwhile, open-source projects—platforms for sharing IP with all comers for free—are also starting to emerge. For example, IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes, and Sony created the Eco Patent Commons in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a project that has accumulated pledges for nearly 100 patents to enter the public domain from just nine member companies since its launch last year.

Feds pulled plug on MAPLE reactor too soon, MPs told

OTTAWA — The engineering team that built the MAPLE nuclear reactors at Chalk River, Ont., was four months away from fixing a technical problem that had kept them from getting a licence when the project was cancelled, MPs were told Tuesday.

Multinationals eye up lithium reserves beneath Bolivia's salt flats

Four wells have been dug in Salar de Uyuni and a state-run pilot plant is being built near the village of Rio Grande on the fringe of the desert.

But there is a problem. Bolivia's socialist government has a habit of clashing with foreign multinationals in other sectors and has not clinched a deal – and, according to some, may never seal one – with the investors needed to extract significant quantities of lithium.

Analysis: Many LED patents set to expire in 2010

In 2010, many patents in the light-emitting diode industry will expire. Chinese enterprises are expected to break through the shackles of the intellectual property rights from European, American and Japanese giants. They should make good use of huge market bases and abundant labor resources in order to occupy a place in the global light-emitting diode market.

Bacteria could help solve the energy crisis

They've developed a process that uses organic materials like switch-grass. But if that sounds like just another version of ethanol or bio-diesel, it's not.

"In our case, we made the molecule that can be converted into gasoline," said Voigt

The secret is an obscure bacteria first discovered at a waste-dump in France. The bacteria, which can be recreated in the lab, devours different types of agricultural waste, leaving behind a specific molecule that interacts with yeast.

Urban Farming, a Bit Closer to the Sun

THIS summer, Tony Tomelden hopes to be making bloody marys at the Pug in Washington, D.C., with tomatoes and chilies grown above the bar, thanks to the city’s incentives for green roofs.

Mr. Tomelden, the Pug’s principal owner, says he’s planting a garden to take advantage of tax subsidies the city offers in his neighborhood if he covers his roof with plants.

Philly's fresh-food triumph: Nationally admired program opens supermarkets for underserved

The program was aimed at addressing two related developments: the disappearance of supermarkets from struggling communities and the inner city, and studies showing a host of health problems among the poor related to too much soda, chips, and fast food and not enough fresh anything within shopping distance.

Facts and figures don't support the end of oil - yet

World oil reserves fell last year for the first time in a decade, according to the latest statistical review from BP, an oil company that has changed the meaning of its moniker from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum.

Does it herald the coming of the global apocalypse that peak oil catastrophists have prayed for? Will it bring about the end of globalization, as former CIBC economist Jeff Rubin predicts in his book, Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller?

Maybe. But oil markets are not static like theories are. Supply and demand fluctuate in defiance of our attempts to determine their direction.

Peak Oil pundits need to review their calculations after BP report

“The challenges the world faces in growing supplies to meet future demand are not below ground, they are above ground. They are human, not geological,” argued Tony Hayward, BP’s group chief in an introduction to the “Statistical Review of World Energy.” Here he sounded very much like an OPEC man, as this is what the producers have been stressing for years now.

Worldwide proven oil reserves, excluding the controversial Canadian tar sands, stand at 1.26 trillion barrels, enough for another 42 years of production at last year’s rates. There is thus enough gas for another 60 years and enough coal for another 122 years, the BP report underlined.

Gas price rally may try for 52nd day

NEW YORK - Oil prices rose to near $72 a barrel on Friday amid concerns that massive U.S. fiscal spending will spark inflation down the road, making oil and other commodities attractive investment alternatives.

Credit Suisse Lifts Oil Forecast, Rosneft, KazMunaiGas Targets

(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG raised its forecast for Brent crude oil and upgraded its target for stock prices on companies including Rosneft Oil Co. and KazMunaiGas Exploration Production.

Brent crude is estimated at $54.73 a barrel in 2009, 14 percent higher than previously forecast, analysts including Mark Henderson in London said in a research note dated today.

Oil industry cranks up lobbying effort

Oil and gas companies have accelerated their spending on lobbying faster than any other industry, training their gusher of profits on Washington to fight new taxes on drilling and slow efforts to move the nation off fossil fuels.

The industry spent $44.5 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies in the first three months of this year, on pace to shatter last year's record. Only the drug industry spent more.

Last year's total of $129 million was up 73 percent from two years earlier. That's a faster clip than any other major industry, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Workers Fired at Total’s U.K. Refinery as Labor Dispute Spreads

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s largest refiner, said striking contract workers were fired at its Lindsey plant in northern England as a dispute over job losses spread to plants across the U.K..

About 600 workers employed by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., the main contractor, and Shaw Group Inc., a sub- contractor, were dismissed, Emily Cooper, a U.K.-based Total spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview today. About 150 workers are protesting outside the refinery, she said.

Brazil pumps up output by 0.7%

Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras said domestic oil production rose 0.7% in May to 1.99 million barrels per day from 1.98 million bpd in April.

The slight increase puts the company's domestic oil output near previous record levels as it begins pumping crude from reserves buried beneath a layer of salt miles below the surface of the ocean off the Brazilian coast.

Nigeria militants 'attack Agip oil pipeline'

Nigeria's main militant group said today it had attacked an oil pipeline operated by Italian energy firm Agip, widening a campaign which has so far targeted Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell.

"A major pipeline which delivers crude oil to the Brass export terminal was blown up at the Nembe creek in Bayelsa state this morning," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in a statement emailed to media.

Angola to launch sovereign wealth fund in 2009

LUANDA (Reuters) - Angola plans to launch a sovereign fund in 2009 to invest the oil-producing nation's wealth abroad, Finance Minister Severim de Morais said on Friday.

Plans to create the fund, known as the Fundo Soberano Angolano, were announced in November by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, but the project has since been delayed due to the global economic downturn.

China: Oil price may hike again in late June

China's top economic planner could raise the prices of refined oil products as early as late June as the international crude price hits over $70 a barrel while the domestic oil price is only equivalent to $50 a barrel, experts have said.

According to a new oil pricing mechanism introduced by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in May, China will adjust domestic fuel prices when global crude prices see a daily fluctuation band of more than 4 percent for 22 working days in a row. There have been two such price hikes this year.

Oil's Tail is Supply

The simple fundamental reality of resources such as oil and natural gas is that they have decline rates. That is, the amount of oil that can be extracted from any field over time will naturally decrease over time, so for production in a region, or the world, to grow, the amount of new oil supply brought online must offset the natural decline rates that exist. The last five years show us that we have barely been able to budge the global decline rate. As a point of fact, global oil rig count hit a 20+ year high in 2008. This means that more wells were drilled and completed in 2008 than since any year in the past 20 years. Rig count has been on a steady up tick from the 1990s, and accelerated over the past five years. Once again, massive investment in production, but a very tepid increase in supply.

Beaufort Sea 'new frontier' for BP and Imperial Oil

Despite the glacial pace of progress of the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline, a new bright spot is emerging for energy development in Canada's North -- some of the world's largest companies are mounting in the Beaufort Sea the first deep-water exploration program in an Arctic environment.

Rosneft cuts debt, flags cost-cutting plan

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian top oil firm Rosneft's managers told a shareholders meeting on Friday they were upbeat on performance as heavy debt was being refinanced with a huge Chinese loan and cost were being cut.

"In 2008 some $16 billion in debts have been refinanced and partly repaid, in the first half of this year it was $7 billion. The company feels confident," Rosneft's Chairman and Russia's top energy official, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, told a gathering of some 740 shareholders at the annual meeting.

A coming natural gas bonanza?

Charismatic Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens talked up natural gas in a visit to Calgary this week, saying any new energy policy from the United States would inevitably be a boon to investors in Canada's vast gas deposits.

"It's going to be good for America, it's going to be good for Canada, it's going to be good for the producers, it's going to be good for everybody," he told about 770 executives on Wednesday. "I can only see that the only loser in this deal is foreign oil. And I don't call you foreign."

Is there a green fossil fuel?

From coal mining to obtaining minerals for lithium-ion batteries to casting solar panels to storing nuclear waste, we’ve no energy source that does not exact some environmental toll. We need a new calculus that takes into account the full costs of any future technology, even that of burning natural gas.

Shell Gas Find in Norway May Be Biggest in 12 Years

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, made a natural gas discovery at a record depth in the northern Norwegian Sea that may equal the size of Norway’s annual production of the fuel.

The find was made in the Gro prospect 360 kilometers (224 miles) offshore Broennoeysund in Nordland and is estimated to hold 10 to 100 billion standard cubic meters of recoverable gas, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said today. The country had net gas output of 99 billion cubic meters last year.

Anger fuels suits over underfilled propane tanks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The heat is being turned up on big propane companies who last summer quietly reduced the amount of fuel in canisters that are attached to backyard grills without telling their customers, according to a pair of federal lawsuits.

The propane companies named in the suits said they cut the amount of fuel in each tank to avoid raising prices last summer when energy prices soared. Propane prices have since plunged, however, yet the practice of putting 15 pounds of gas in a 20-pound tank continues.

GM preparing for high oil prices: chief executive

DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) – General Motors is preparing for oil prices as high as 130 dollars a barrel once the world economy recovers and will develop more electric cars and biofuels, GM's top executive said Wednesday.

"We're planning for oil in the 100 dollars per barrel to 130 dollars per barrel range," the bankrupt automaker's chief executive Fritz Henderson said at an energy conference in Detroit sponsored by the Detroit Economic Club.

"This is a structural change," he added, noting increased global demand.

Toyota gets 180,000 orders for new Prius hybrid

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. got 180,000 orders for the new Prius hybrid in Japan in just a month, far surpassing its target of 10,000 vehicles in monthly sales, the automaker said Friday.

The third-generation Prius, which rolled out a month ago, has been a big hit here, partly because of tax-breaks and other new government incentives that are meant to perk growth during the nation's downturn.

Senate passes cash-for-clunkers bill for new car buyers

DETROIT — The Senate passed a pared-down version of the so-called cash-for-clunkers program Thursday that will give rebates to new car buyers who turn in older, less fuel-efficient models and that supporters are hopeful will kick-start the anemic car market.

The program, offering $3,500 or $4,500 cash vouchers, was inserted into a war-spending measure. As passed, program spending is limited to $1 billion and expires Oct. 1.

Future-proof your business

Local business people have a terrific opportunity to hear an acclaimed US author & economist talk about the ways business can grow in response to the global economic crisis and other crises like climate change and peak oil.

From Crisis Comes Hope

Those individuals and organizations who have fought off the madness and ruin of neo-liberal policies for more than 20 years are now presented with the best possible time to present a vision of what is possible. Globalization is effectively dead: what characterized the world for the past 30 years, the suicidal policies of what was called the Washington Consensus, will never return, at least not in its old form. The climate crisis, the damage done to the real economies of the global North, the arrival of peak oil, the inevitable return of protectionism and state intervention mean that we have left that era behind.

Australia: Councils meet to 'chew over' food plan

ON THE same day the US Administration warned climate change 'is happening now and in your back yard', seven Northern Rivers councils met to nut out a plan to protect the region's food supplies.

Known as the Northern Rivers Food Link Project, its aim is to protect urban communities from the social and environmental impacts of climate change.

Will fertiliser scarcity harm farm economy?

Wills won't fertilise his fields this year. At $392 a tonne for superphosphate, it's unaffordable. To put that in perspective, in April last year it was $261 a tonne. For Wills, it's uneconomic to fertilise until superphosphate drops below $300.

He freely acknowledges he's running a risk. If Wills skips fertilisation for longer than one or two years, he risks significant damage to his fields, the engine room of his farm. Most other farmers around the country, according to agricultural analysts, are making similarly hard decisions.

Driving the price rises is resource scarcity, global demand for food (particularly among the rising Asian middle class) and growing thirst for alternative energy sources. Increased production demands greater fertiliser use.

Intel Shows Off Power-Saving IT

Information technology uses about 2 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. Intel says it wants to bring its share of that power use down.

Oil companies shop for discounted ethanol plants

FULTON, N.Y. — When Sunoco closed this week on the acquisition of a bankrupt ethanol plant for pennies on the dollar, it became just the latest oil refiner to step into the alternative fuels market.

Traditional refiners under pressure to reduce emissions are finding new avenues to meet evolving environmental standards, and finding big bargains along the way.

Ethanol-free gas rare but popular

Gasoline without ethanol has become a hot commodity for the only two vendors who sell it in Brevard County.

"We just recently started bringing it in because there's been such a hue and cry for it from the marinas," Ken Marshall, vice president of Glover Oil in Melbourne, said Thursday.

The Ethanol Industry's Persecution Complex

It's no secret that the ethanol industry is having problems, mostly, in my mind, due to a classic commodity squeeze: the industry has no pricing power either for its inputs (corn and natural gas,) or its products (ethanol, with a price which closely tracks gasoline.) This is why, and Mr. Bryan said, the industry could not get plants financed a year before the financial crisis.

Report: Nuclear plant a pricey plan

WASHINGTON -- A new study suggests that nuclear power plants such as the one being considered for Piketon end up costing far more than originally projected and are not a cost-effective way to combat global warming.

The report, released yesterday by the University of Vermont, concluded that electricity generated at a new generation of nuclear power plants would cost 12 to 20 cents per kilowatt hour compared with renewable-energy costs of 6 cents per kilowatt hour.

The report predicted that building 100 new nuclear power plants could cost as much as $4 trillion more over the life of those plants than simply using more renewable energy and adopting energy conservation measures.

Suncor answers critics with green targets

Faced with a growing chorus of criticism aimed at the "dirty oil" that environmental groups say it produces, Suncor Energy Inc. released a series of environmental targets yesterday that promised better performance but admitted to a widening carbon footprint. By 2015, the company pledged to double its reclaimed land area, cut 10 per cent from its total water intake and air emissions, and boost its energy efficiency by 10 per cent.

Carbon counter ticks up: A greenhouse sign of the times

Forget the National Debt Clock - the new number to watch is the Carbon Counter, which tracks the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

A 70-foot-high billboard was erected yesterday on the northwest corner of 33rd St. and Seventh Ave. - near Penn Station, across the street from the debt clock.

As of yesterday, the sign clocked more than 3.6 trillion metric tons.

Greening the apocalypse

Climate change should be countered by working with nature rather than relying on untried technology.

Was Global Warming The Culprit Of Sudden Collapse In Ancient Biodiversity?

Scientists have unearthed striking evidence for a sudden ancient collapse in plant biodiversity. A trove of 200 million-year-old fossil leaves collected in East Greenland tells the story, carrying its message across time to us today.

Results of the research appear in this week's issue of the journal Science.

The researchers were surprised to find that a likely candidate responsible for the loss of plant life was a small rise in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which caused Earth's temperature to rise.

Reps. Waxman, Peterson Inch Closer to Consensus on Climate Bill

House Democrats are within sight of agreement on a comprehensive energy and global warming bill, but it is still unclear if they have satisfied enough rural and fiscal conservative lawmakers to guarantee the votes for floor passage by next week.

Study: US technology key to China and climate

WASHINGTON – Finding an economical way to capture carbon dioxide from existing coal burning power plants is key to getting China to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as well as for U.S. efforts to combat global warming, says a study being released Friday.

Europe to offer China, India help in burying CO2 emissions

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe will next week start moves to help China and India develop technology to trap and bury carbon dioxide underground in the fight against global warming, according to a draft European Commission document.

Asia needs bold action on climate change: S.Korea

SEOUL (AFP) – Asian countries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of global climate change and must take bold action to reverse it, South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo has said.

In a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum on East Asia, Han said many major cities on the continent are situated along coastlines.

"Two thirds of the world's poorest live in our region, and they are the most severely and disproportionately affected by climate change," he said on Friday.

China Attacks Kyoto Carbon Trading With Greenpeace Approval

(Bloomberg) -- The market for trading rights to spew carbon dioxide, created by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce global warming, is under attack by developing countries and environmentalists as negotiators hammer out a sequel treaty.

2.1 million-year high measured for CO2 in atmosphere

Carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has risen to its highest level in at least 2.1 million years, according to a new investigation of the greenhouse gas’s role in ice ages over the millennia.

Checking the facts

Reserves are a flexible concept, since they increase not only as more discoveries are made but also as prices increase so as to make the more difficult-to-reach reserves economic to exploit. Thus, in the case of oil, the reserves-to-production ratio has risen with time (even as consumption has increased) and remained above 40 years for the last decade. Some economists therefore see fossil fuel resources as effectively infinite: as the price rises, so do exploitable reserves. Of course, once the price rises too far and remains there, the incentive to use other forms of energy increases greatly. So consumption of oil, gas or coal would be expected to fall steadily as it becomes more difficult to extract it at the same rate.

But there is another school of thought, which believes in the concept of Peak Oil. As a global concept, it is an extension of the (correct) prediction made by geophysicist King Hubbert in 1956 that US oil production would peak around 1970, even with the most optimistic view of likely reserves. Others have previously questioned the likelihood of IPCC assumptions on fossil fuel use being right, but Prof David Rutledge of Caltech has analysed the situation in some detail. (Readers can access Prof Rutledge's lecture and slides at http://rutledge.caltech.edu/ and form their own opinion.)

Someone help me out here. In the text of the above link touting the great reliability of BP as a reporting firm; Peak Oil pundits need to review their calculations after BP report, we find this:

And thus despite the fall in global oil consumption by 420,000 barrels per day (bpd) last year — the biggest since 1982 — crude demand in China and the developing world for the first time exceeded the combined use in the rich industrialized, OECD, economies.

Get that, world oil consumption fell last year by 420,000 bp/d. And since consumption basically equals oil produced, then production fell last year. But according to the EIA figures oil production increased last year by a whopping 1,064,000 barrels per day. (All liquids, the increase was only 784,000 bp/d if you are measuring C+C only.) That's a difference of almost 1.5 million barrels per day or 1.2 mb/d if you are talking about C+C.

Now unless gross storage increased last year by some half a billion barrels, someone's figures are off. But the article clearly states:

BP is definitely not OPEC. Its pronouncements carry weight...

Well, I guess that makes the EIA the one who's data is trash.

Ron P.

Edit, Correction. The top link states that oil production actually rose by .4% last year. That is an increase of 338,000 bp/d, all liquids. Well hell, I guess they did store a lot of oil somewhere last year, about 275,000,000 barrels. At any rate that puts the increase way less than the EIA states.

IIRC China started filling their strategic reserves in ernest once the price collapsed. 275 mb is 138 VLCC, so it's possible.

I have also noticed that EIA's global demand/production figures are consistently higher than IEA, and now BP (per these citations). I'm not sure who's right, but presumption of doubt is leaning against EIA. It might have something to do with how EIA folds liquids into their calculation.

Meanwhile, the article exults that reserves of oil can last decades at current rates, "despite the fact that the world’s proven oil reserves fell in 2008, the first drop in a decade, as per the BP statistics."

Let's think about this for a second.

NYMEX front-month crude averaged nearly $90/bbl in 2008 and proven reserves ... fell? The consensus fair price for incremental oil is $60-90/bbl (what a relief to have narrowed it down so much!) and proven reserves fell? Better get oil sands back into the reserves estimates. And tell the peak oil folks to sharpen up their fuzzy math....

Meanwhile, the article exults that reserves of oil can last decades at current rates

What I love about that is the blatant dishonesty of the statement in the context of the article. I have used the same sort of equation to make a point, not model realistic production curves. Because of the context, they are literally implying that we can produce the same amount of oil year after year until some point 40+ years from now it's instantly finished.

Absurd. Production just doesn't work that way. So, even if their projections of how much there is are accurate, they flow rate won't look anything like what they are implying and trouble will come long before that last barrel is pumped.



Completely agreed.

I take note also of the spin being applied to Hubbert modeling lately: "static, simplified." The very same spinners will then proceed to say 'at current rates of use, proven reserves will last us 50 years.'

Long division: so nuanced, so sophistocated!

And the wise-acre retort to this is to say "and at 1910 rates of use, proven reserves will last us thousands of years".

From one of my presentations...

Reserve Production Fallacy

Nice graph, aangel!

OK if I use it in my class?

No problem. Send me your email and I'll send the slide in Keynote or PowerPoint format.

aangel ( a t ) postpeakliving ( do t ) com

good visual, but wouldn't an extended time scale such that the area of the square is equal to the area under the curve be more accurate ?

It depends on what you are trying to illustrate - what is shown is likely closer to what people envision.

how about a reality based illustration ?

Yep, use real world data and above all else try and explain ELM - show a chart for that, the UK is a good example for both peaking, production of a country does NOT always follow a gaussian curve and ELM!

Let's be careful to acknowledge the usefulness of such a characterization in helping the layperson understand how much oil there is. I object to it here because it is being used in a context that would, in my opinion, leave the layperson thinking there is zero issue wrt oil production for the next 40 years.

That is, in combination, a real production curve coupled with the above in explaining PO should be effective, but as propaganda, it is dishonest.


If you look at the IEA figures for supply/demand balance (Table 1 XLS format) there's a balancing item "Miscellaneous to balance" which is described as "Includes changes in non-reported stocks in OECD and non-OECD areas"

That's been all over the shop in the last year or so.

2007  2008 Q109
-0.2  0.3  -0.9

So to balance supply/demand the IEA assumes untracked storage was draining at 200kb/d in 2007, filling at 300kb/day in 2008 and amazingly draining at a whopping rate of almost 1mb/day in Q12009.

Q12009 Production is given as 84.0 and demand at 83.8, yet reported OECD stocks + floating/in-transit increased by 1.2 mb/day in Q1 according to the IEA requiring them to apply their massive fiddle factor and assume some untracked entity(/ies) decided to dump 1mb/d of stored oil throughout Q1 at the lowest possible price so that OECD countries could get a bargain.

Alternatively the figures may not be very accurate...

Shame on you your not supposed to look behind the curtain.

I'm warning you if look to hard and you will end up like me :)

We're off to see the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

You'll find he is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz! there was.

If ever oh ever a Wiz! there was The Wizard of Oz is one because,

Because, because, because, because, because.

Because of the wonderful things he does.

We're off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Storage draining in 1Q2009? They are crazy. In 1Q2009 speculators were (and still are) renting oil tankers to use to store oil to sell it when prices go up. No way was there a big drain of storage onto the market in 1Q2009.

I consider the proliferation of articles by "experts" debunking peak oil to be convincing evidence that we are indeed now past the peak.

I stumbled on to a group at a grad party this week and they were discussing biofuels so I climbed in, (I knew a couple of the folks from my shop).

Turns out they are some of the top folks in the well funded Biofuels program here at OSU.

I brought up some of the constraints which I have learned through TOD and elsewhere and earned considerable respect in the discussion by having an above average understanding. Here is the jist of their thinking;

Biofuels have a higher ERoEI than FFs.

FF have negative ERoEI if you remove Gov subsities. (quoted DOE stats for ref.)

Most feedstocks can be grown in massive amounts, some with multiple harvests a year, with little or no inputs. (quoted DOA stats)

There are sooooo many new technologies being developed in biofuels that the liquid fuels problem is a non issue and I shouldn’t worry about it.

This all came out over such a short piroid of time I couldn’t even address them. I was reduces to a drooling, mumbeling lune o_0 and simply wandered off in search of the bar.

I shall attempt to make a case with linked references and forward it to the folks I know but frankly I am not hopeful

P.S. OSU just received a huge grant for what my friend Octav, a retired, world-renowned, ChemE professor calls "Pond Scum".

As in the movie "The Sixth Sense" (many ghosts don't know they are dead and they only see what they want to see), for most of us our auto centric suburban way of life is dead, but we don't know it yet, and we only see what we want to see.

Sugar cane seems to work for Brazil-I wonder why it isn't being expanded faster.

Sugar cane seems to work for Brazil-I wonder why it isn't being expanded faster.

I'm Brazilian and owned and used a 100% ethanol powered vehicle back in the 80's. The technology for the car and the production techniques for processing sugarcane into ethanol were already mature at the time. So I know it works in Brazil for their internal needs.

However you simply can't compare the ICE vehicle fleet size of the USA with Brazil and unless you figure out a way to grow sugarcane in places like Iowa no matter how fast you expand sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil and other suitable countries it is going to be a very very long time before it is more than a drop in the bucket of liquid fuel consumption here.

Check out this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil

The US produces more ethanol than Brazil does, even if it's at the expense of horrendus amounts of subsidies for marginal gains in net energy. The reason why Brazil can go with 100% ethanol cars is that the consume far fewer liquid fuels than we do.

Ummmm, Brazil is also equatorial--it gets lots of sun all year round--really good conditions for biofuels. Bringing up Brazil as some kind of model for the rest of the world is just...irrelevant is the nicest word that comes to mind.

And umm, that rainforest thing..... No problem there, right?

although we can match Brazils slave labor for harvesting here in the good 'ol U S of A pretty soon.

What's the rainforest got to do with ethanol from sugarcane?

Absolutely nothing, because sugarcane cannot grow there.

I lived in Maui for 10 years, which has a large sugarcane crop, and one of the most efficient (if you include energy and fertilized in the mix), in the world.
What a messy, water intensive crop,with the air filled with smoke.
I drove almost every day through miles of sugar cane.

Then perhaps I've been suffering from a misconception - I was under the impression that it was grown on land cleared from the rainforest. What is grown on that cleared land?

Actually, not much of anything. The rainforest (btw, deforestation the last few years is down about 60%) is logged for its logs. The Rainforest Hardwoods are incredibly valuable. Some of the most unique wood in the world.

The land, itself, after logging is not very fertile. They will, typically, bring in a few cattle for a couple of years, and then, "maybe," plant a few beans for a year, or so, and then let it go fallow.

There are about 150 Million Acres of land lying fallow, and ready for agriculture in the Cerrado, and on the edge of the Rain Forest.

If land in this region IS farmed, it's usually in soybeans. The sugar cane land is 1,000 miles to the south. Oh, they've reduced the number of acres devoted to soybeans by 5 Million acres in the last five years.

Thanks for the info.

Yes, there's a problem with the rain forest too: We can't destroy a rain forest to open up space for sugar cane the way the Brazilians can. So the rain forest problem is real.

I think a better metaphor is being in an informal poker game where everyone's trying to drop verbal hints about how good they want you to believe their hand is. If you could concentrate on just one opponent you could probably see the inconsistencies in their performance, but there's so many different people that declaring with confidence that everyone at the table is bluffing is beyond anyone who doesn't take a deep interest.

"Biofuels have a higher ERoEI than FFs."

That one can actually be true, for example compare tarsands to palmoil (not counting urang utangs).

To be sure, in most cases this statement is BS.

Govt subsidies don't change eroei calculations... they only change the business case.

With logic like that, I'm not sure I would trust anything that person ever said again.

That was my take as well. You did right to duck and run, Soup.
'Bite and Smile, Bite and Smile.' (Common direction to actors in Food Commercials..)

But I really liked the 'DOA' stats. Is that really the Ag/Dept's Agronym?

"John Barleycorn must Die!"


Soup, I don't think this argument can't be won, because you're not actually arguing about the specifics of biofuels vs fossil fuels.

I feel your pain. The same thing would happen to me when I was hanging out at the university, only back then the hype was about hydrogen.

It didn't help that the university I was at had some 100s of millions of funding to develop the new hydrogen highway system. The PR machine was more powerful than I was, and the professors working on this all had more clout.

That said, if you want to go toe-to-toe against this I am sure you could make a great case.

Will fertiliser scarcity harm farm economy? ... Increased production demands greater fertiliser use.

Presumably lower fertiliser use means less production - soon inorganic phosphate production will be totally gone, not just 'peaked', but will organic fertiliser cope with our 'improved' crops developed over the last 50 years?

The rapidly rising prices of phosphate indicates that we are near world peak consumption rates, but since food is a 'gotta have' not a 'nice to have' which part can be given up thus causing the price to fall.

Plants evolved long ago and have proved that they are a sustainable system over the very long term by not depleting the inputs they require faster than they naturally replenish. They presumably do this by throttling back photosynthesis so that it is actually the Liebig's minimum, hence the apparently low capture rate of solar power by wild plants - it HAS to be this low to be sustainable!

Since the introduction of artificial fertiliser the energy capture yields of our crops have improved dramatically, but how do they cope if we have to produce all of our food organically? ... will they produce adequate crops sustainably forever, we can't add lots of manmade nitrogen from wind since the various inputs like N P & K need to be in balanced proportions, none can be allowed to deplete faster than replacement?

I believe, that is the question-- what happens next.

For starters, we end up eating a lot less meat, since a good fraction of the grain we grow goes to feed animals. That being said, animals that are entirely grass fed are themselves a part of a healthy ecosystem, but probably not in quantities that we would want to maintain BAU.

This business of grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef comes up a lot. How does the comparison stack up on a production-per-acre basis? Does anybody know of any handy stats of beef-pounds-per-acre for a pastoral model vs. a corn-and-feedlot model?

http://beef.unl.edu/ may be worth mining for
the big ag numbers.

One larger point is that ungulates didn't evolve to eat purely grains (much less chicken and cow parts...). Forcing them to do so creates all sorts of problems.

It depends where you are doing it---
Grass fed beef in Humboldt County (where most of my grass fed beef comes from), verse, say Kern County, one cannot compare acres, as they are different ecosystems, with productivity differences.

On grass fed beef, the amount per acre depends greatly on the location. In arkansas hills, we got about cow and calf. per 1.5 acres, but we fed them winter hay. If we just used pasture, i think it would be closer to 2.0 to 2.5 acres per cow and calf. A cow will dress out at about 50% beef, and figure a fall calf kill will be 800 or a thousand pounds, so say 500 pounds or beef.

This works out per about 250 pounds per acre per year.

As to corn comparision, this is not meaniful, because the land we grazed was too poor for corn. Maybe 5 to 10% of the land in the creek beds could grow good crops, and i doubt the soil would sustain this over more than 4 or 5 years.

The only way the you could sustain the farming of the land would be to have a large chicken house, lots of fertilizer or fallow periods for the creek bottom land.

I bet your in the northern part of Ark...in the Ozarks.

If so then yes I agree with all you state. The only viable land for hay or some small grain crops is creek bottom ground. What washes off the hills and leaves behind lots of rock.

I lived in the ozarks on 10 acres. I loved it. Why? Because of the above. No big ag. Just great hills/mountains and lots of privacy.

One could easily find very good water, enough creek bottom to grow hay and enough corn. Raise good cattle on the rest and live a very good life.

No big ag...ahhh I loved to float those clear rivers and drive through the outback as the mists was rising off the grounds. Pitch a camp by a clear running stream and jump in when the need arose. Hunt turkey and deer and never see another soul.

Eden it was to me. I had an offer to buy 300 acres for about $45/acre and turned it down. I should never have done that but I had a large computing corp to work for and had to travel extensively.

Airdale-those ozarks are some prime shutin ground...you do NOT mess with the locals ,,never never.

My personal opinion is that the most survivable area on earth might be right north of there up around Poplar Bluff, Mo. Maybe, a tad bit East of PB. You can grow something like 90% of the world's crops, there, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. Good rivers like the St. Francis, Black, etc. and good hunting.

Plenty of places to hide the "still." :)

I am fairly familiar with the land in that area. Even go to flea markets in PB on ocassion. I have spent a lot of time near the Black.

There is excellent canoeing rivers in this region.

My stepmothers folks are from the area just to the east of Rolla. A really tough but good landscape. One can harvest good flat creek rocks to build with. The oak trees grow prodigiously. Many nut trees except for pecan but good walnuts. The list is long.

I frequently cycle back to those haunts of my teenage years, back to Bell Mountain and thereabouts. Those oldtimers in the outback are tougher than a hickory knot.


I just finished the book "The One Straw Revolution" by Fukuoka (cir 1975, updated recently). He addresses a problem similar to Soup's bio vs FF argument. He is growing crops that produce greater yields than most farms and doing it without commercial fertilizer but cannot argue with the Government Ag departments because the fertilizer companies pay off the people. When he showed his actual results they said he was "interupting their meeting". He uses no-till farming with straw cover and by doing it in a very smart crop sequence (two different crops at once) is able to produce a good winter wheat crop and a good spring rice crop without the hand planting and flooding. He is farming more like sustainable nature. It does take a while to recover the soil's natural humus from the commercial fertilizer destruction.

I believe it would be amazing what green manure crops could do if given a real chance. I know as soon as I added grass clippings (mulch) from a neighbor to my garden, it will hold moisture twice as long as before.

BTW: I just picked up the wood to essentially double my boxed raised bed garden(s). I will be into "Double Digging" for a couple days and then I will plant some manure crop to get the soil ready for next year. This high desert soil is a real witch to get fertile.

Double digging is a lot of work. I don't recommend digging at all. Digging disturbs soil structure & destroys macroinvertebrate habitat. Stay off your beds so that they don't become compacted. Add all the compost you can and then some. It doesn't have to be deeply incorporated. Let worms do that work for you. Sheet mulch don't hoe - cardboard works well. It doesn't matter what your original soil was since you're kinduv stuck with it, so add all the composted organic matter you can haul and it'll be alright... eventually. Green manure crops are a good idea if you can afford the time & space for them. If you only have to eat what you can grow green manuring might be an unaffordable luxury. Certainly compost all human & other animal wastes. Compost everything that will rot. Judicious (as in perhaps half the recommended rate) application of I-NPK won't harm the soil or its fauna but certainly shun biocides of all sorts. Growing your own food involves a lot of effort however you cut it, so don't make unnecessary work for yourself by needlessly digging & cultivating. Work with nature not against it. Beds don't need to be raised.

I am not a gardener at all (but hopefully soon will be) and I keep hearing that people are getting perfectly good results without all the work of double-digging. I don't think Jason Bradford does it and the permaculturists don't do it. As for raised beds, they might be needed in certain high rainfall areas, as I understand it, but mostly they aren't.

Just picked up the book Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea and Japan and am looking forward to learning about their techniques.

Also don't forget about soil acidity. Depending on your soil type and desired crop or grass, liming can have a big impact on productivity.

Your local government ag bureau will test your soil for you, if you live in the USA.

Also remember too high a lvl of nutrients can also harm plant growth. This was a real common issue in arkansas for farmers who had chicken houses. They were killing there grass with two much fertilizer.

Hey Aangel, I love my 2 raised beds and am building more, 64 cement blocks stacked 2 high, in a rectangular shape. Lined with landscape fabric to prevent soil loss and filled with compost they are doing absolutely great. As a 52 year old the ability to sit on the sides and plant, weed, and harvest is priceless. I can reach the middle of the beds so I don't need to step on the soil. They took longer to build than a wooden version but they will be here for many many years. Cement blocks are $1.12 at Lowes so a box costs about $70. With snow and sugar pea pods selling for $3.50 per 6 oz. I have already about paid for my first one with a little help from all the spinach. Still have parsnips, spuds, squash, carrots and garlic to come. I have my regular garden but its time is running out during the next year I will complete three more and I think that will provide almost all we need.

Yes, that's one benefit of raised beds...a less sore back from leaning over!

Hear hear!

And, if you're planting in an area like mine, you have lots of broken glass, rusty nails and other detritus that your carrots, potatoes and such will grow around and/or absorb -- not pleasant. (I think a house burned down here long ago.)

There are indeed many reasons to have a raised bed garden.


You folks are so right about the LONG TERM labor benefits of raised beds !This is something that every one who loves gardening should incorporate into thier thinking right away,while they are still able to get around well-or at least better than they will get around in thier old age.And of course a bunch of high intensity growing techniques are much more practical in a bed than at ground level.

Hollow core cinder block -the kind used to build just about every shopping center,etc,for many decades are often available free for the hauling when such buildings are demolished,and are probably the best all around material given the low costs,ease of conctruction,ease of removal should it become necessary,and extreme long life.

Any single block about three quarters or more intact is just fine if you place them with a little thought.

The hardest thing about collecting them ,if you have a truck available,is getting permission to go on site.Contractors are very nervous about such activities,with good reason,given our oversupply of underemployed lawyers,theft,loss of productivity,etc.

So go at lunch,or catch a couple of hard mucsled young guys in older clothes on the way out-laborers make the least and are generally looking for an extra buck.You can afford to PAY THEM WELL and still get your block dirt cheap-the boss will not mind if they collect the block at quitting time,so long as he gets to see that there is nothing stolen on the truck they will load them on at quitting time a few days later once a good load is gathered up.An ice cold twelve pack of soft drinks is an appropriate and highly welcome ice breaker/tip in such circumstances.

And of course the wily laborer probably drives a truck anyway,and may haul them for you.

Sign me

An accomplished packrat.

I try to reduce resource consumption. My raised beds have dirt sides.

Had you said you had bought used bricks, or picked them up free somewhere, I would cheer endlessly. However, I must encourage everyone to keep in mind at all times all three aspects of the Perfect Storm: socio-politico-economic, energy descent/transition and climate change. Cement production is a large contributor to CO2.

So, I cheer, but not 100% enthusiastically.



I was going to respond similarly and agreed with everything until

Judicious (as in perhaps half the recommended rate) application of I-NPK won't harm the soil or its fauna.

Anyone who's read Fukuoka and taken his work to heart won't be adding any I-NPK.


While I agree with DD, I do understand about desert soils and would be hard pressed to recommend you not try to speed things up with tilling. However, it's one of Fukuoka's commandments to just never till. I agree with DD that, in the long run, your soil will be healthier if you don't.


It's not my intention to advocate for I-NPK application. I'm just saying that it won't harm anything if not overdone and may be useful if sufficient O-NPK isn't readily available. In alkaline aridsols it may not be NPK per se that's the problem, it may be micronutrient unavailability due to ionic bonding of nutrient cations to clay minerals at high pH. In which case some foliar feeding or fertigation with Miracle Grow or Peters or some other commercial product supplying Fe, Zn, Mg, Mn, etc., may be in order. Fanatical devotion to so-called "organic" standards is silly. The goal is to increase or at least to not deplete soil fertility so that the productivity of the soil remains high over time.

It's not my intention to advocate for I-NPK application.

Didn't intend to imply otherwise.


It's not so much about "fanatical devotion to so-called "organic" standards" just for some claim to ideological purity. In my opinion, it's more about simply learning how to grow food in the days when iNPK might become unavailable/very expensive. "Organic" (and I think you're correct to put it in quotes) is not a groovy New Age concept - it's the way agriculture was done until the 20th century.

I feel (as a forest ecologist with many courses in soil science under my belt) that the best way to do this is simply by constant additions of organic matter. Livestock helps - IMO you can't beat horse manure. I know one grower around here who makes an annual pilgrimage to the shore to gather seaweed. There's rock phosphate, lime, greensand, wood ashes, etc. to work with if you need to correct a nutrient balance. All of which together of course constitute iPK, Ca, Mg, etc.

However, that said I surely realize that different soil/climate regimes have different dynamics. I guess I'm somewhat New England-centric - I know what works for me here.

I feel... that the best way to do this is simply by constant additions of organic matter.

Yes! But supplying sufficient organic material is a big job, even in this day & age of trucks & trailers for hauling it in, and of power mowers & rakes for cutting & accumulating it. The effort involved in feeding a family exclusively & indefinitely on food grown by the family sans iNPK or oNPK collected, hauled, processed & applied via motorized equipment, is formidable. The argument is made that subsistence agriculturalists have done so in the past and therefore people will be capable of doing so in the future when motivated sufficiently by hunger. I would contend that traditional agriculturalists possessed a distrubution infrastructure and knowledge base that is virtually wholly lost. In order, for instance, to grow three or four crops per year on the same land traditional Chinese farmers were obliged to irrigate even in regions of abundant rainfall. Precipitation simply couldn't keep pace with evapotranspiration under such an intensive cropping regimen. In order to supply irrigation water an elaborate system of canals was developed over the centuries. This canal network provided the additional benefit of being a convenient means of conveying organic materials via boat for composting. Instead of canals we currently have highways for moving such freight. How are we going to move enough organic material for supplying oNPK sufficient to feed our bloated population in the post-PO world? Gathering plastic bags full of your neighbors' raked leaves in autumn or asking your local park employees for mowed grass clippings won't cut it.

"Yes! But supplying sufficient organic material is a big job,"

Not for me, but I should mention that I have sheep, and a woodlot. Heck, just the spent hay from the sheep is a ton of OM. Not one single motor involved. But for sure, it's just my vegetable garden, not a commercial farm producing grain crops to feed the world. Just veggies for me and mine.

Of course, here in NH we don't worry so much about producing 3-4 crops per year. We're happy if we get one!

All kidding aside, I think you underestimate the reservoir of knowledge and skills that's out there. There are a lot of people around here very skilled with draft animals, e.g. I logged my woodlot with my horse until she died last Fall. In terms of the amount of land being farmed the old way, it's perhaps not much of a percentage right now. But the knowledge and skills are there. Just have a peep at the Small Farm Journal, and you will see what I mean.

And then there's the Amish ;-)

With the horses, goats, pigs, and chickens we have lots of good stuff for the garden - but can we keep the animals fed if we cannot keep ourselves fed? My property is not well suited for hay, so that must be bought or bartered for.

It seems like a slippery slope most of the time when I think of it. Without the dog the chickens would need to be confined, which would greatly reduce the quality and quantity of eggs, but I know very well that feeding a 100lb dog takes more than what the chickens provide. I'm basically skeptical that I can make the animals be a net benefit, poop and all.

Alfalfa use 20% of all the water in California--
Feeding animals is a expensive proposition.
(add rice and cotton, and the amount is staggering)

I'm with DD on this, I use all the compost (homemade) and manure I can get my hands on. I am not adverse to adding a little Miracle Grow or Peters to cover the micro's my soil doesn't have. I have read numerous reports that Rock Phospate that is approved for organic use typically contains much higer levels of Uranium than commerically processed Phospate as the processing removes most of the Uranium. If you don't like slightly radioactive food maybe thats a better way to go. (yea I'm probably stretching it a bit)
Hey DD just finishing "Blood and Thunder" by Hampton Sides. Lots of commentary and history on the Dine in the book. Knowing you live in the midst have you read and if so any perspectives?

"If you don't like slightly radioactive food maybe thats a better way to go. (yea I'm probably stretching it a bit)"

But the radioactivity adds such a nice zing to the flavor! :-)

Phosphate fertilizers also contain cadmium in amounts depending on the mine. It's hard to find good data on this, but WA and OR have websites that list fertilizer purity.


I see nothing wrong with high purity fertilizer.

To minimize salt injury to plants, avoid unnecessary salts like sulfate and chloride if possible. Thereefore, potassium nitrate is preferable to potassium chloride and urea preferable to ammonium sulfate.

Potassium, calcium and magnesium nitrates are not acid forming and are slightly alkaline. These along with mono-potassium phosphate are soluble (don't mix Ca and Mg with phosphate in the same solution) and can be found at eealers of fertigation supplies.

For concentrated storage consider di-ammonium phosphate (0-18-48), potassium nitrate (14-0-44) and urea (0-0-46) and mono-potassium phosphate (0-34-51).

For those of you with a wood fireplace, wood ashes will turn into excellent soil. It is great for parts of the yard or field that don't grow much of anything. Apply about 1 or 2 inches of ash, seed, and presto.

careful is what the oldtimers tell me re woodashes. depends on soil & if too much it kills.

I just want to second what darwinsdog said. I've been vegetable gardening "no-till" and totally organic here in Central NH for many years. Sheet composting (i.e., just throw stuff on the garden bed to rot there) works great, and the worms do all the work. Keeps the weeds down, too, and anyway all the weeds you pull just go on top of the stack to compost right there.

The normal activities of transplanting tomato and pepper seedlings, growing root crops, etc., is all the disruption my beds get. (Although I must admit, growing and harvesting potatoes can be rather disruptive, though I do it all by hand.)

A very nice benefit of no-till gardening is the abundance of volunteers that come up in Spring. The "background noise" on my beds in Spring consists of lettuce (several varieties), dill, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, garlic from scapes that I didn't clean up, etc. It's really quite amazing.

I make beds that are about 15feet long, maybe 3 feet wide (so I can hop over them easily). My paths are narrow, since real estate inside the garden fence is in high demand :-)

Feed the soil, and you'll feed the plant!

Right on DD. However I like raised rows. This keeps my garden from washing away in the spring floods. Otherwise I use Solomon's COF...with quite good results.


I believe most dirt farmers per the USA are maximizing either yield per man hour or gross margin in dollar terms. These priorities give you different practices than if maximizing yield per acre.

Fukuoka was a genius. It's too bad that more people don't pay attention here.

Be sure to get "The Natural Way of Farming" too. I think it is available in the US now. I had to buy my copy from a publisher in India.

I am working on making Fukuoka's "Happy Hill" rice variety available in North America. Anyone interested?

I agree with you econguy, re: Fukuoka. A big inspiration to me.

I, too, got my copy of The Natural Way of Farming from India. Just amazing stuff.

Alas, rice doesn't grow in New Hampshire...

Search around and found a web site on this - for those that are interested

The Fukuoka Farming Website

Fukuoka is ok but lets face it..this is NOT asia or the far east. This is entirely different.

I don't grow rice. I don't grow wheat, unless its buckwheat. I don't want to roll up little clay balls and scatter them about. I don't want to haul big bundles of wheat straw about on my back.

I do it as it works on THIS land and each area is different.

His preaching is not One Size Fits All. I have about 60 inches of rainfall per year. I don't intend to dig irrigation ditches or whatever.

This is the way I grow food and I have found that trying to steer a big ship to a tight turn based on something happening in Japan is not going to get it done.

So I have read his books then set them aside. I have read others too. I use a bit from all if it works or looks like it might.

I found Solomon's Gardening When It Counts to be somewhat worthless in many areas. He lives on an island for crying out loud in the Pacific and before in Cascadia...no way would his ideas work here.

No way and so its MY WAY for I will perish or live based on my own techniques and wits and do not trust them enough to waste a whole garden season. My soil and climate is NOT their soil and climate.

If you do not understand this then eventually you will surely be FORCED to.


PS. And his Do Nothing style of gardening where Nature Knows Best? Bullshit.

When the grass is taking your cucumbers, beans and tomatoes then you had best get out there and pull them out or else Mother Nature will TAKE them. Yeah its ok to trust mother nature when you have tens of years to patiently wait as she does 'her thing' but by then your dead meat. You might slip into it slowly but when there are like 40 zillion grass and weeds seeds in your soil you do what needs to be done...PERIOD or else starve when the stores shut down......is this not absolutely crystal clear? Really?

Fukuoka is ok but lets face it..this is NOT asia or the far east. This is entirely different.

His preaching is not One Size Fits All.

So I have read his books then set them aside.

My soil and climate is NOT their soil and climate.

I would no more blindly apply his work in cookie cutter fashion than teach with the same style in Korea, NYC and Thailand. It's quite strange. It's almost as if you read his books, but didn't. Fukuoka was all about working with the soil, with nature. There is no implication in his work, imo, that one size fits all, or that you should simply copy what he has done. I suspect this is why his work has been incorporated into permaculture techniques. It is the underlying principles that may be used in different areas, while acknowledging, as you rightly point out, that some techniques just can't be used with some soils and in some climates.

I was just reading a transcript of one o Mollison's workshops from years ago where he discusses sand and how it can be virtually impossible to grow in sandy soils, particularly deep soils where the water virtually flows down to the water table or bedrock leaving your plants high and dry. He advocates alternative choices, such as planting around large boulders and such where the soils are slightly different and altering the area in certain ways.

Portraying either Fukuoka or permaculture as inflexible, cookie cutter, or dogmatic is simply not accurate. In fact, Fukuoka explicitly discusses adding fowl droppings. Etc.

I don't mean to tell you how to farm. Your experience is far beyond mine and I am sure you know your wants, needs, abilities, soils and climate far better than I and are to be trusted in that regard. I speak only from the perspective of an educator in wishing for accurate transmission of material - because we need a lot more people doing this.


You speak of sandy soils. The bootheel of Mo. has a lot of that in places and I must say that there are many crops that thrive in sandy soil...So whoever it was that you got that info from is suspect in this regard.

I listen and have been on many many 'farm programs' hosted by Ag Profs and Extension Agents. They get on a jag about this or that and hype it.

Like feeding broiler litter to cattle. I said to one 'this is not good for cattle so how many can't eat it or have problems with it'...his answer was 'oh yeah you will lose some but after that they will eat it'...lose some? Yeah like it kills some.No thanks.

We should know better than this. Yet wrong headed stuff is constantly being proposed by these folks. At one time they fought for the land...but now they are part of the problem since they boost that which is destructive.

They were the ones who imported the Asian Ladybug...we now get to eat these in our food since they swarm into houses here in the country. By the thousands and millions. They will cover the side of a house. They find the tiniest crack and infest your house but you don't know it til the spring swarm. The fall swarm is as bad.

The rest of the time I rarely see them on my plants...not doing shit about eating the bad insects...

So this was sheer idioticy to loose these critters on the outback for the idea that they would be beneficial....

Each ag prof you must seriously measure as to what he is proposing.

One came to the farm shop back when I was soil sampling hundreds of acres. He looked at my soil maps and we discussed it. He then admitted to me and the farmer/operator that they really really didn't know all that much about the properties of N,P,K and lots of times the recommendations were not correct. He said likely we put way way too much N on crops and know very little about what is happening in the soil...just 'opinions' more or less.

Because much of the mapping, and the Univ did do the testing and give back the results to me to map, just did not make sense. Why was the P so high in this area? What was going on with K over there?

Ahhh he said,,,could be the effects of the soil being wetter, longer in that area but he could really propose no real reason...just that somethings seemed to be inexplicable. I then more or less trusted what he was saying from then on...but I always held some reserve back.

So each farmer can learn his own soil but if its new ground then he usually makes a lot of very expensive mistakes.

Nothing like knowing your own ground.

As to Fukuoka....he can be read as being very dogmatic, and almost shrill about some subjects. He forepiece is all about 'Do Nothing' to the point of being overbearing.

Yet I understand the part about nature..unfortunately NATURE will cause a lot of fast weed growth in bare ground and over years maybe some beneficial types may move in but NO ONE ,I mean NO ONE can fight Johnson Grass. It will and I have seen it takes fields totally over in two years. When it frosts on it then it forms poison and will kill your cattle. It spreds rhizomes that only a pig can root out.

So yes Mother can do strange things and correct things but on a time scale that can scarecly be used by someone with a short lifetime.

How does Mother bring back a badly destroyed woodlands from logging?
Takes many many years,lifetimes maybe. Same with a wornout field.
Its slow...if broomsedge gets in your fields? Better put down some lime. Or else spend years waiting on Mother Nature to correct it over time.

If we had all been doing it correctly then this would not be needed but we do NOT do things in concert with Nature. We try to kill nature.

So he is right but wrong also. We can improve on Nature if we are very very careful. But destroy it rapidly if not careful.

I understand his philosophy and its valuable but ....


Sandy? In this case it was very deep sand. Perhaps I misremembered, but I read it here:


He wasn't saying you can't grow in sand, he said there are challenges with nutrients and water.

As for the rest, I don't think we are disagreeing, but most of what you say is true of any kind of farming, not just Natural Farming a la Fukuoka. I mean, shit happens and mistakes are made, eh?


Hi Lynford,
Don't be put off by the detractors to doubledigging upthread, it's good exercise!
Doubledigging has generally been accredited to the ancient Greeks who noticed how exuburant plants grew in soil deposited by fresh landslides, Greece being active geologically.

Doubledigging merely attempts to recreate this most natural of processes.

John Jeavons refers to a bed dug this way as a double dug mini landslide bed.
The landslide effect is obvious the first time you dig a bed.
My method involves wooden frames as well, since my yard is prone to flooding in early spring.
If you are planning beds that are rectangular, mine are 25' x 4', it is a good idea to use "stringers" every 4' or so to keep them from bowing out as the soil settles or is subject to frost/freeze.
Also you might want to spend a bit more on some linseed oil and apply it to your wood, to help it last longer.
Happy digging!


What you are trying to do as I understand it is breakup any 'plow layer' or hard surface beneath that even a rototiller can induce.

This allows the roots to sink deeper into the soil..

Ok..but what if you soil has NO hardpan..or fragipan? Mine does not. Its the type that doesn't usually form unless very heavy equipment has compacted it while wet. Didn't happen. It was rowcropped for years but still no hardpan.

Yet what I did two years ago, since I was moving my garden to this new plot was take a 'subsoiler' and pull it all over my garden plot. This does two things. Breaks up the soil way way down, adjustable it is, and doesn't disturb the surface much.

Now I never have to do that again. A good chisel plow will accomplish the same but takes a bigger tractor cause a subsoiler is just one deep toolbar with a flat shovel on the bottom of it. Hooks right up to your 'three point' hitch. Or a small one can be used on say my IH 140 which has only 25 hp.

So I eschew double digging and forget the part about exercise. Each days hand hoeing and weeding and so forth is plenty enough exercise for this boy.

I do not use 'raised beds' either. I use hilled up ROWS. Raised beds I have tried and in containment also...like stacked up landscape timbers...it was a waste of time. Never got good water, weeds kept infesting it. Couldn't get any implements into that bed. So on.

To each his own. I try to use the rototiller only when absolutely necessary and when I get to full sheet composting soon then no more rototiller. Not quite there but after this falls harvest of covercrops then perhaps.

Airdale-my soil is not your soil so each must find his own best approach....this is mine

To hell with hugging NPK...have you hugged a TREE today? No then you should. That is more important in the long run than NPK....

Hi airdale,
I agree wholeheartedly that each must find their own best approach, Lynford shouldn't be discouraged from finding his.
Some of the posters above were stating that doubledigging was somehow unnatural or harmful to the soil which simply isn't true.
Anaerobic conditions can exist in soil that can limit root growth and the potential root growth of common garden plants can extend way beyond the 6" normal cultivation reaches.
Doubledigging loosens and aerates the soil to a depth of 2ft., it also provides a way to introduce ammendments to the subsoil.
Which is another reason I choose to doubledig, this past Fall I was able to mix in a substantial amount of charcoal ammended compost to both the upper and sub layers of one of my beds.
Right now the crop in that bed looks magnificent, disease and pest free too.
The heavy blue clay that passes for soil here now has taken on a darker, more reddish hue and the aroma....!
I'm sure that sheet mulching and the Fukuoka method improve the soil too but at what rate? After all you are counting on soil fauna and flora to do the work of cultivation for you. That may be OK if you've good soil already. Doubledigging can certainly speed that process.

If I had a few acres and the farm implements I certainly would consider wide rows.
BCS makes a very good tiller that can pile up the soil into wide rows as it tills.
Several market gardeners that I know use this method.
But I think the scale Lynford refers to indicates he has at most a large lot to work with.
A garden that has 10, 100 sq.ft. growing beds would still benefit, IMO from the double digging process and would be about all a gardener in reasonably good shape could manage. At least one who gardens in their spare time.

(Edit for additional comment)

Some of the posters above were stating that doubledigging was somehow unnatural or harmful to the soil which simply isn't true.

I really must object to the above. Your statement is declarative with zero allowance for any other reality, and that is what is simply not true. We are all on the same side here, but let's not just toss out any old thing that fits our agenda.

You used the example of a landslide. For criminy's sake, we're using a landslide as the best example of how to farm? Of course there was a response from vegetation because all the nutrients were exposed rather than the roots growing down into them. All you are doing is releasing a lot of carbon and messing with whatever mini-environment that existed in the soil before.

There have been studies done that actually look at the soil up close and personal-like, and disturbing the soil needlessly is just not the best approach. It does reduce biota and does increase microbial activity which does release carbon. How can either of these be good? You are taking a very short-term approach to long-term problems.

Yes, there are always exceptions. Time, for example. Do you need to get a poor soil producing ASAP or starve the next winter? OK. Begin your no-till the year after. But just because you are making additions that give nutrients directly to your plants does not mean you are not at the same time diminishing the colony already in the soil. This will have to be rebuilt via no-till practices in the future. But if you have time, your plant roots do a great job of doing all that deep tillfor you, and make excellent mulch as you leave them there year after year.

AFAIK, we are not here discussing someone in an emergency situation, but someone dealing with long-term issues of health and fitness. So, yes, I must encourage those practices that meet all their needs, but also limit negative impacts that go beyond their acreage, or this year. Even if you wish to ignore the research and observations of various people who have studied the issue of till vs. no-till, you still have the CO2 to deal with. Bio-char? Fine. Add it in. Sequester some carbon that way. But if you also no-till then you are keeping even more carbon sequestered.


No-till has carbon sequestration potential through storage of soil organic matter in the soil of crop fields [16]. Tilled by machinery, the soil layers invert, air mixes in, and soil microbial activity dramatically increases over baseline levels. The result is that soil organic matter is broken down much more rapidly, and carbon is lost from the soil into the atmosphere. This, in addition to the emissions from the farm equipment itself, increases carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

In no-till farming the soil is left intact and crop residue is left on the field. Therefore, soil layers, and in turn soil biota, are conserved in their natural state. No-tilled fields often have more beneficial insects and annelids[22], a higher microbial content, and a greater amount of soil organic material. Since there is no ploughing there is less airborne dust.

No-till increases the amount and variety of wildlife[23]. This is the result of the improved cover because of surface residue and because the field is disturbed less often than conventional fields.

If you don't like Wiki:





Regards the pasted material from Wiki on No-Till.

I have been around no-till since it began here in KY. The statement is made by ag folks from UK that the real startup of No-Till was in Ky for various reasons, some being the types of soil and its propensity to erode rapidly and severely.

But there are two sides to No-Till...yes the plant debris is left on top of the soil. Yes it does increase OM sometimes..yet it is subject to washing off and being deposited at the lowest grade level. I have seen huge piles of chopped up corn stalks and the barren field above where it came from...its a matter of HEL..or Highly Erodable Land...which needs to be given consideration yet in todays 'plant,plant,plant and we wont' watch' setup by the USDA much HEL is disregarded as is waterway and grassystrips and HEL...

If you do not put your land under the USDA(take the program) or just part of your land..then you can jolly well do as you wish but if that land is under the USDA programs then they can dictate,,etc....yet might turn a blind eye as the politicos decide.

As to soil life? It would be great except for the spraying. The constant never ending spraying. And the huge N,P,K inputs...so from what I have seen,,,sitting beside my 18wheeler grain truck waiting for the auger wagon to dump on me,,,what I saw when I dug into the soil or swept aside the cover was ZERO life.

It might be there but my land was no-tilled for years before I brought it and some thereafter til I threw them off it(the acted like it was there land!!!!)...and I could not find a single earthworm anywhere on it..over 100 acres...nor did the soil look particularily full of life...pretty much dead looking with some OM on the surface and a tad below...

You see they do not till the debris in. It sits on the top. Can blow away or wash away. Can decompose as it sits but most is not down in the soil...

They do put choppers on the flail blades in back to cut it up. Perhaps that should be better regulated but its mostly 'chop or not'..as the corn header comes by trash is being expelled in a huge cloud. Soybeans are different..yet the decompose on the top and more easily blow or wash away...

So it not just that NOTILL is the way to go..you need to use common sense but still there is the constant spraying...sometimes 3 times to burn down weeds, then more treatments as the grass starts up and your using RR corn/beans...and then spray for insect infestation and so it goes.

Its my opinion that burying the crop residue slightly below the surface would be far better. Sometimes the farmers run a bushhog over corn stalks that are still about 1 foot high(they don't run the corn head into the ground) and sometimes they will run a disk over it...
the soil and moisture and whatever leads them to do this or not.

So if its creek bottom ground and the creek floods the ground as it surely will then you lose all that residue to washing. And with them constantly cutting down the woodlands there are fewer and fewer windbreaks..so you get immense wind erosion.

The wiki does not go into all this...you only discover this with your nose and hands down in the dirt. Ag Univ papers can be pretty useless as the devil is in the details.

As for the home garden? I spread everything I can and sometimes use a chipper to do it better...and I never never spray bad chemicals...Sevin at 5 percent is the most I ever use.

My garden is full of soil life. Full of worms. The adjoining corn fields are NOT.


The short answer is: why in the name of (whatever) would you be doing no till, but not natural farming/organic farming/permaculture?

All your points are givens for me, iow. One of my standard planks is that Big Ag needs to go to the Big Castle in the Sky. And stay there. I think RICO or Anti-Trust legislation applies. Break 'em up.


Why do No-Tiil?

Ok let me give an example.

When I brought this farm some almost 30 years ago it was in row crops and NoTill at that. There were big gullies forming and the fences had been bulldozed down and the ponds broken. Reason? The 'operators' want to make it so you can't go back to cattle or livestock..

I told them to leave after I found they were cheating me badly. One year of two crops(3 crops on a 2 yr rotation) they said I owed them money!!!!! Blantant thief. I told them to leave for good.

Now they had never sprayed enough to kill the rhizomes in the understory roots of Johnson Grass and that summer they grew like gangbusters...I was in a sea of huge Johnson Grass.

I sprayed them with roundup. Killed it dead and then rented a No-Till seed planter. Not the corn or bean type but a pasture No-Till seeder and put down a good rate of Kenland Red Clover and Orchard grass over all my fields.

That fall it came up good and I never used No-Till again. If I had not that time then I would have had to spray anyway and then plow all the fields and then disk them and then harrow them and they broadcast seed to sow them down...a huge amount of fuel,time and energy and money....

I then fought the Johnson Grass after that as it appeared by judicious clipping with my 9 ft sickle bar mower...over the years I stamped it out.

Now I sold some of my land to my neighbors and told them I didn't want to see it go back to crops..so they did cattle...BUT this year they turned it back to the 'operators' that I had thrown off and now its back in corn and lots of spraying.

My beautiful pasture is gone...I have some of my farmland left and let no one trespass or even talk about it.

So I sold my three bottom plowset, and my big tractor and implements at an auction...now it is just gardening from here on out. I am too old to be working fields anymore anyway....but No Till is a Godsend if done right. For restoring/renovating pastures its the only way to go.

For wheat one can still broadcast. I also used a broadcast spreader to keep my pastures in good shape and dragged a harrow behind the broadcast seeder(pto driven) ...once you got just pasture then the big equipment is not needed so much. Its easy from there on.

I prefer cattle and livestock anyday.


I really must object to the above. Your statement is declarative with zero allowance for any other reality, and that is what is simply not true. We are all on the same side here, but let's not just toss out any old thing that fits our agenda.

Man talk about the kettle calling the pot black! From your bio:

I see stupid people!

Should anyone post something that is not inline with the peculiar global warming theories you read about on the net, they are instantly branded a "denier".
Your shrill attacks have led me to believe you must be an academic, the same kind that shouted down Copernicus, Galileo and Wegener.
But I digress.

The example of the landslide was used to give a historical reference as to where the idea of the deep cultivation of soils originated.
I mean really, who would undertake such a task without a great results?
And to be precise, I was replying to Lynfords post about his having "just picked up the wood to essentially double my boxed raised bed garden(s). I will be into "Double Digging" for a couple days", not his comments about "One Straw" farming.
But now that you mention it I would rather see our young peoples energy put into double dug mini farms than the waste of competitive sports or ego enhancing gym sessions.

There have been studies done that actually look at the soil up close and personal-like, and disturbing the soil needlessly is just not the best approach. It does reduce biota and does increase microbial activity which does release carbon. How can either of these be good? You are taking a very short-term approach to long-term problems.

There have also been people who try things for themselves than read about it on the net or in a book or magazine.
Since my own experiences aren't convincing enough, try the good folks at Ecology Action whose agricultural methods, that center on doubledigging, have outproduced other methods consistently, all the while building the humified carbon in the soil, for 35 years. Short term indeed.
The majority of their garden/mini farm space is devoted to compost cropping.

Getting to the last point about no till; my own experience has not led me to believe it holds any outstanding boon to crop yields, at least compared to doubledigging, in spite of the nod from Rodale.
The open texture of the crimped cover crop I use (cereal rye, hairy vetch and fava beans)is an ideal environment for pests, mainly slugs and earwigs, that cause significant damage and can destroy a crop completely.
Any organic mulch I use is lawn clippings from my push mower, the closed texture is seems to favor spiders, especially one high speed black cruiser, whose activity must be supported by frequent meals of pests.
But I learned that from my Grandmothers' gardens who both passed from this Earth long before there was an Internet.
So my challenge to you would be Try it for yourself, before posting again on the subject.

Oh by the way, airdale has it right. Mention no-till to any of my conventional farming acquaintances and the next word from them is Roundup. One of them said to me reassuringly that it "breaks down in acouple of weeks" when I expressed concern about the practice.
To Rodales credit, they ARE trying to interfere with this mentality.


I expect you and Hightrekker and Xeroid know the score already,but those not acquainted with the sustainability debate or basic biology mostly don't have a clue-yet.

As far as phosphorus and food is concerned one line is enough to say every thing necessary to the technically literate.


(unless it's a subsistence farm)

So eventually we eat one hell of a lot less of every thing unless it becomes possible,technically and financially, to recycle the phosphorus hauled away with the crops.There are other hard limits but this is likely to be the first one that can't be finessed and the one that fixes things so that the other limits are mostly of academic interest,from an actual on the ground production pov.I say this with the qualifer that water shortages and the price of synthetic nitrogen could play out as earlier hard limits.

My reasoning in this respect is that there is still a lot of land that COULD be brought into production,such as the rest of the Amazon basin,and that the people dependent on fossil irrigation water in India,etc,may have suffered a population crash.I expect that a lot of marginal land up north will also morph into good wheat and rye land within the next three or four decades as the climate warms up.
My guess is that land further south can be switched to more heat tolerant and if necessary more drought tolerant crops and that production in such areas will not crash.
If it becomes necessary many millions of acres lost to sprawl can and will be brought back as gardens or minifarms with high labor costs but high efficiency as to transportation,storage,and processing costs,as they operators will be selling locally for local consumption.

I am opposed to clearing the rain forests,but if the choice is between widespread starvation and clearing it,well....Brazil may become a major military power, and then who is to say?Maybe they decide to fight to preserve it,and maybe they decide to exploit it to the limit.

I don't think anyone has any real idea what the price of synthetic nitrogen will be twenty or thirty years down the road.

It may be that it will be highly subsidized,even at the expense of shutting down non essential industries to in order to make the necessary ng and/or electricity available to produce enough to squeak along.It is also demonstrably possible to produce huge amounts of food with relatively little or no synthetic nitrogen,but the cost of production will very likely be up a hell of a lot.Otoh,what WON'T be up that depends of cheap energy now?


My reasoning in this respect is that there is still a lot of land that COULD be brought into production,such as the rest of the Amazon basin,and that the people dependent on fossil irrigation water in India,etc,may have suffered a population crash.

Sorry, but that is an unsupported misconception. I happen to have a few native Brazilian soil scientists and agronomists in the extended family and I have personally worked in the Amazon region.

The optimal medium for agriculture is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Aside striking a harmony between porosity and permeability, this mixture yields greater soil stability than that of homogenous soil. Soils of the Amazon Rainforest generally consist of fine sands, silt and clay. In the Amazon particle size decreases significantly with increasing in soil depth, such that a predominantly clay layer is within inches of the topsoil5. Hence, only the top few inches of soil in the Amazon are capable of maintaining nutrients and supporting root structure.

One final consequence of the particle size distribution in the Amazon Basin is the leaching of nutrients from the topsoil. Leaching causes nutrients from the upper soil layers to seep down into the clay layers below. Soil in the Amazon Basin is thus deficient in many nutrients, including K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, and inorganic phosphate. However, this does not imply that the Amazon ecosystem as a whole is nutrient-deficient. Unlike many other ecosystems, the nutrients of the rainforest can be found primarily in the plants. This condition evolved from the high demand of nutrients by the biomass.

This is a good example as to why it is so important to understand ecosystems, in the case of the Amazon if you cut down the forest or worse burn it, you have just lost almost all of your essential nutrients and whatever crops you plant will soon fail. Not smart thinking at all.

Fmaygar,what you are telling me jibes pretty well with what I was taught way back when by my ag professors.It WAS my understanding up until a few minutes ago that since then techniques have been developed that allow this land to be farmed successfully,although it's supposed to be a little tricky.

Obviously I am out of date.

There certainly seems to have been a lot of farm expansion down there onto land formerly considered uneconomic-so I accepted the wecandoitnow(which I read some time ago) reports w/o checking before I posted my comments.

I am not an academic,nor am I involved directly in international ag affairs as a trader. I try to keep up but it's not easy to find the time to upadte yourself on every thing.I am professionally qualified but my expertise does not extend to rain forest soils.Nor am I a professional writer.This will help me remember the phrase "due diligence".

I am glad to hear that there are still substantial technical barriers that will serve as last ditch stops to the destruction of the remaining wilderness.It's sad that the trees make such nice furniture and floors.Lets Hope Brazil remains prosperous enough to resist the loggers and save most of whats left.

One of my favorive scifi stories depicts a researcher working in a rainforest who isolated a wonder drug from a local plant and joined in the struggle to save that particular tract from a dam .Later one of the more powerful backers of the dam showed up desperate to get help for his dying child.The researcher had to tell him that the plant was not known to exist anywhere else other than on the newly flooded land.This sounds old and dusty today but fifty or sixty years ago years ago it was cutting edge stuff.

Even normally reliable news sources such as the ag journals get carried away and build mountians of progress out of molehills worth of facts sometimes.Actually the journals have probably revisited the subject and published the newer data,but I don't read them any more.

It's sorta like the oil debate-we are both running on empty and in fine shape nothing to worry about depending on which expert you listen to.And which day month and year.

Sign me off

A redfaced old farmer


Must disagree. Old dog, meet New Trick:




noun, plural: ecosystems

A system that includes all living organisms (biotic factors) in an area as well as its physical environment (abiotic factors) functioning together as a unit.


An ecosystem is made up of plants, animals, microorganisms, soil, rocks, minerals, water sources and the local atmosphere interacting with one another.


Middle-Aged Dog

Yeah I knew you would catch him on that. I was going to reply but ......

Sustainable or not its still an ecosystem.


On fertilizer and todays crops.

It isn't that the plants are better. They in fact are smaller and yield smaller ears and stalks and so forth.

What is different is that they are planted extremely close. Called 'population' and the rows are very narrow so the result is that you must drench them with enormous amounts of I-N,P,K or else they will not produce that 100+ bu/ac.

Go to a big corn field. Get down and look closely. A rabbit would have to pack a lunch to naviagate that field of corn.

This is why....I grow open pollen corn for my own consumption. It has huge ears and the stalks can go to 12 feet easily but I plant them at normal spacing. They yield all I need. In fact I got three years of corn kernels saved and can't use them fast enough so that some I need to dispose of to make more room.This is on a homestead smallish garden. Right now three rows about 25 feet long. Way way enough.

If I had a few mules? Then I could just double up and be fine.

What you see today in the corn fields defies nature. Its just a growing medium. Not real nature at work here.

Fact is that I believe one could grow enough corn without I-N,P,K as I have not put a single handful of it on this corn. I use Cottonseed meal for my N and wood ashes and covercrops for the rest of my nutrients. My corn is now chest high and green as a gourd. Fine crop. No I-N,P,K.....


I believe that without INPK you can produce around 40 Bushels/acre. With chemicals we are up to around 120-150.

So you can imagine what the supply/demand gap will do to the price of corn and corn products. The obvious outcome is that we will be forced to quit feeding the corn to the cattle, grass feed the cows and eat less meat. Stop putting corn syrup in everything we eat. Quit the corn ethanol boondoggle. It will probably reverse the obesity epidemic here - thats what happens when you stop eating fossil fuels. The sad part is what happens elsewhere in the world.

Good chart - that's what I intuitively thought, it looks like modern agriculture in Indiana is becoming more unreliable.

If we go back to my grandfather's days 100 years or so ago we also have to lose quite a bit of the land, maybe a quarter, for bio-energy. In those days it was horses, now it could be oilseeds of some sort but anything non-human-food makes any solution to the problem significantly worse.

I think, in 2007 we planted 91 million acres of corn and produced about 7 Billion gallons of ethanol.

This year, we're planting about 83 Million Acres, and we'll produce about 10.5 Billion gallons of ethanol. Oh, and field corn is selling for a touch over $0.07/lb.

We've got PLENTY of corn, folks.

The USA is not the world!

I was referring to the world. Anyone in the world can buy all the corn they want for about $0.07/lb. How many pounds of corn can YOU eat per day?

1,000,000,000 people won't get enough to eat today because they can't afford it - and you advocate feeding it to SUVs? Sleep well.

Feedig cereals to cars makes selfish sense if it keeps the local farmers overproducing and thus creats a buffer in the local food supply. Creating that buffer withouth hurting others via market crashes or dumping is hard. Unfortunately has much of the damage already been done, manny poor countries have become dependant on countinous supply of cheap food that sooner or later wont come due to crop or market failures in rich contries, lack of fertilizer, lack of money for subsidies, stricter environmental regulations or new markets like wehicle fuel.

400 plants would get me through the year without fertilizer but using rotation

12-18" spacing

Eating germinated corn , beans, seasonal fruits and vegetables,etc every day

Assuming all goes as currently charted, I'll be home in the next 30 - 60 days and will gleefully buy some of that seed grain.

Keep some aside, if you would.



Originally (1974),seed was given to us by a Cherokee man in Oklahoma

Each year since, selected seed from the healthiest most productive plant

Sold! Think I'll take a bit of both!


I'm not new to gardening, but am to farming (or soon will be) and to permaculture. Being as yet uneducated, I've been toying with ideas for design of my little patch of heaven and have wondered at the difficulty of essentially cultivating the range of soils needed to grow a wide variety of foods. Let's say, for example, soil testing indicates my soil isn't very good for corn. How hard would it be to get soil set for growing corn, etc?

I envision a patchwork of chaotic little gardens making up a farm with different compositions making up each area so crops can be rotated through them such that each season would be completely different from any before or after. Ideally, the untrained eye might not realize there's a farm there at all...


The answer to your soil dilemma is NRCS. All soils have been classified and mapping is there to view if you can Gee and Haw the NRCS database.

NRCS Web Soil Survey....I picked this up from the fella that was building the DB for all of Ky...at a meeting last winter.

If corn has ever been grown on a field then data on yields is in the DB.
I live on silt loam...some of the best there is but if you rip it open it will leave you in a heartbeat and you will never recover. It flows like butter in rain..if left exposed. You do NOT expose hillsides to rain yet when driving this is what I see many stupid ignorant arsehole farmers doing.....folks who say..'we will just dump some fertilizer on it'....yeah...


Excellent resource! Thanks a billion. Seriously. Since I'm currently doing my land searches on-line I have no way to know what the soils are like. This will save me making inquiries on lands I can't use.

A bit much for a soil ignoramus such as myself, but an hour or so with it last night got me most of the way I need to go, I think.


There are many features with the Soil Web that are not immediately obvious and you have to dig a bit...say you want to know how it would do for corn...then the program will give you a good estimate based on soil types and how they do historically.

So any plot of land that can be cropped has a history and has been classified...you do not want a lot of bad soil types are you will just waste yourself...however....their are likely many hidden areas ...say in the Ozarks of Mo and Ark that are likely not in the DBase or not classified...so be careful...but if your looking at a working farm? then you should have plenty of data via the NRCS WSS....you click on the little green ICON of WSS and away you go....neat...
and watch the sidebars to the left side of the screen for options and so forth.


Before inorgainc fertilizers most soils were depleted and starvation was widespread, even until the early 1900's. Crop yields were perhaps 20% of today's. Julius Caesar mentions barbarian tribes invading their neighbors to get more fertile land (The Conquest of Gaul).

There is not enough organic matter to go around. China was forced to use all organic farming until recent decades and hunger was common.

Traditional Asian farmers added 5 - 7 tons of finished compost per acre to their fields per crop per year. Since they sometimes grew four crops annually on the same fields this means 20 - 28 tons of compost per acre was applied. Their methods for producing compost were elaborate and included both anaerobic & aerobic decomposition, depending on the nature of the raw compostable materials & intended use. A coworker of mine recently accused traditional Asian farmers of spreading raw compost (including human waste) directly on their fields, contributing to water borne disease. Nothing could be further from the truth. Asian farmers have had a deep appreciation for millenia of the fact that crop plants and saprophytic microorganisms compete for water and nutrients so that compost must be prepared before application, often at great expense of human labor. Since finished compost may be only 1/3 the volume of the raw organic compostables or less, it's clear that a tremendous volume of raw organic material was involved. In the post-PO future, how will this volume of material be transported, processed and applied? In traditional Asian agriculture it was moved by canal barge, wheelbarrow and in buckets balanced from carrying sticks. Will we have the will, the energy, the know-how, the large families... for accomplishing this effort? I doubt it. I think we will starve instead.

Watched "Zietgeist: Addendum" a couple of days ago, just wondering what anybody else thinks of it. Basically, it shows how the monetary system is based off of debt, how US hedgmonic power economically and through covert means keeps developing countries poor, and that the current monetary "profit system" makes corporations to create artificial shortages to keep prices and their profits high. It advocates a "resource based economy" where machines would make everything for us, and use the almost infinately abundant resources so nobody would have to work and people could get everything they wanted and there would be no crime and stuff like that.

To me, most of it sounds like a buch of crap. Most of the things they say about the fractional reserve banking system can be found in any high school economics textbook. They say there are more than ample supplies of all kinds of resources, but if that were the case, why would there be deforestation and fishery depletion, let alone depletion for other resources like oil. To say automation has advanced to the point where people don't have to work anymore and we can have as many, if not more, of the goods and services we have to day is disingenuous at best, although the technology is advancing every day. Even if this "resource based economy" could produce all the goods and services we could want, there are still limitations of other sorts that people would fight over. Not everybody can have a villa on Miami Beach, even if there were enough resources to build everybody one, due to a lack of land. How would you distribute the land amongst people? This ultimately leads to the problems this supposed economic system claims to solve. It has some interesting points, but mostly just seems like a load of cornicopian BS to me.

Briefly, yes.

Yes as in you agree with my analysis?

It's not a load of *cornucopian* BS. It's populist BS, often pushed by doomers on this very forum. Some of the TOD staff is into this debt-based nonsense and general physicalist goldbuggery.

Huh? That sounds like a contradiction in terms to me. Doomers by definition don't believe we can all live lives of luxury without working and without dieoff.

Of course. The financial doomers use the same kind of thinking but reach opposite conclusions. Two sides of the same coin.

I really don't understand what you're trying to say. I think what you're calling a doomer, most of us would call a cornucopian.

What I call a doomer is someone who's got an apocalyptic worldview, particularly if it's resistant to reason.

The financial and monetary varieties reason that solutions to our predicaments won't be implemented because there's too much debt or because there was too much debt or because there won't be enough debt or something. The general idea is that fiat money and debt are at the root of the unsustainable decadence of society, that rightful punishment is on its way and that dollar weakness is a sign of the end times.

EDIT: in case it wasn't clear, the monetary cornucopians have a similar premise but argue that evil must be defeated, that sound money (silver, gold, energy, whatever) will flow, that no one will be indebted again and that everything will be good in the world thereafter.

The general idea is that fiat money and debt are at the root of the unsustainable decadence of society, that rightful punishment is on its way and that dollar weakness is a sign of the end times.

Who, on what list, espouses such nonsense? I have heard the term "fiat money" thousands of times but never that society deserved punishment for using it or that it was at the root of unsustainable decadence. Perhaps you heard this in church. Are you a Pentacostalist?

EDIT: in case it wasn't clear, the monetary cornucopians have a similar premise but argue that evil must be defeated, that sound money (silver, gold, energy, whatever) will flow, that no one will be indebted again and that everything will be good in the world thereafter.

I have never heard that argument from anyone before either. I think you are just making up crap HFat.

Ron P.

Briefly, yes.

By cornucopian I mean the idea of this idea "resource based economy" is cornicopian, not that the world we live in is. They actually put a very negative perspective on the world we live in today. For example, they say people only work because they are "slaves to debt". I wouldn't call that a cheery way of looking at it.

Yeah, I know. They don't say that all is right with the world but rather that the endless bounty is right around the corner.

It seems to me that all cornucopians are that way. It's just that the subgroup who blames the state of the world on some evildoers such as jews has a tendency to overdo the evil thing so that their world ends up looking quite bleak. You might call them messianic cornucopians. ;-)

It's populist BS, often pushed by doomers on this very forum. Some of the TOD staff is into this debt-based nonsense...

The fact that we have a debt-based economy is not nonsense but common sense. All the other stuff on the film, (I have not watched it), may be nonsense but that we have a debt-based economy clearly is not. Debt creates money. Money is borrowed into existence. I am not saying this is either good or bad, just a clear and simple fact. Without debt, that is if there were no more loans of any kind to anyone, the economy would completely collapse. Almost everything in this country was built with borrowed money. That money was deposited in banks and loaned out again, and again...

That is common knowledge to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of economics. Too bad you seem to have none.

Ron P.

Can't afford health care? Barter for it

In these cash-strapped times, bartering is gaining popularity - even for dental surgery and prescription drugs.

That's kind of funny. I am building a knotty pine table for my dentist which will pay for dental health (insurance)for about a year. I have an open order from my doctor to build a harvest table when they finish their remodel that will pay for my health care for about a year. We are using the money system but it works. But I work several hours to build a table that they work many fewer hours to pay for it. Then again, I like to work in the shop but I don't know if they like what they are doing.

Well, well, well. We see the non-peer reviewed, non-climate scientist's simplified-beyond-reason assumptions about climate being embraced by.... a hardcore pro-business, members-only club.

Imagine that....

In their warm embrace of Rutledge's seriously flawed work we see a complete failure to address

1. that his paper (where, exactly, is that peer review you've been promising, Dave?) is not a scientifically sound paper as it's assumptions about climate are completely inappropriate given the information currently available

2. that his acceptance of CO2 450 ppm is a level considered extremely dangerous, if not fatal, to civilization by not a few climate scientists... in fact, according to the polls we have posted here, a very large majority

3. that Rutledge is using one model with one data set and a very conservative forcing consideration, whereas, as they note then ignore, the IPCC relied on multiple models with a wide range of initial conditions, forcings and sensitivities

4. that Rutledge gets to 450 without considering a number of feedbacks

5. that the amount of carbon in the permafrost alone is 2x the total in the atmosphere currently, which means you can kiss 450 goodbye, because if we get to 450 that methane is also coming out somewhere down the line - and likely already is

yet, I say again, the flaws have not been addressed. One must ask, why? As a scientist, isn't such feedback welcomed? Since it has been roundly ignored, what are we to conclude? That Dave has time to present his paper at various venues, but doesn't have time to update the work? (He once stated it takes a long time to input the data. Well, that might be true of the reserves data, but not the other inputs. I can run various scenarios at various sensitivities in minutes. Yes, I have run the software.)

This paper is dangerous because it allows people to think BAU, full bore ahead, is OK and leaves us in no danger. This is simple: treating climate change as if depends solely on CO2 is, at minimum, misleading.

CO2 + permafrost + sea bed methane = far, far higher CO2 than 450 ppm. Since this is a simple and unavoidable conclusion, it is incumbent upon the author to explain why he would 1. produce such a paper, 2. allow it to be used to make a case against mitigation when it logically *cannot be used that way*, and 3. not update the paper to deal with the very obvious flaws.

Serious thumbs down.

This is a dangerous paper. Not jsut flawed, but falwed and dangerous. To wit:

This fits with my intuition: We face such a huge looming problem with fossil fuels exhaustion that we should be thinking about moving away from fossil fuels due to rising costs and lowered production rather than because we might melt the polar ice caps. We need to embrace solar, nuclear, and wind because we just do not have as much fossil fuels left as the climate doomsters think we do.

If the Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas, and Peak Coal folks are correct then why do the IPCC types spend so much time talking about climate catastrophe? My guess: Human-caused climate disaster makes for a far more dramatic moral story of human sin. Talk of using up all the coal and oil doesn't satisfy the need to see human action in such sinful terms.


Let us hear David speak out on the mis-use of his work.


Not to detract from your crusade but I distinctly remember you posting a poll which didn't amount to what you claim. Have I missed others?
If 450 really spells doom, we want to know.

The understanding of feedbacks and the reality on the ground is changing fast, so if you haven't tried hard to keep up, 450 may still seem a reasonable number.

The sad fact is it is looking as though 390 (where we are now) may be spelling doom.

Just look at what has been happening to methane in the last two years. After stabilizing at historically high levels for the last ten years or so, methane is now on the rise again, especially in the far north. Given that this is exactly where methane is being seen bubbling out of melting tundra and out of the Arctic Ocean, it is probable that this enormous feedback system has now kicked in.

Anthropogenic Global Warming, as it turned out, was a trigger for a much larger "gun" that is now going off. And the gun is pointed at our collective heads.

If the tipping point has been crossed, then we should stop worrying so much about reducing CO2 emmissions, and focus on adapting to change.

The current edition of Science has an article purporting that the end-Triassic mass extinction occurred abruptly when CO2 reached 900 ppm. According to IPCC models this level may be reached by 2100. 80% of biodiversity was lost in the T/J extinction. Just exactly how do we "adapt" to an 80% loss in biodiversity?

By enjoying life while we can and squeezing some juice out of the lemon while it still has some. I am not sure if you have noticed, but your fearless leader has put Goldman and JP Morgan in charge of solving the climate change problem through the miracle of capital markets trading and these guys are not in the planet saving business, so there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Happening near the same time does not prove causuality.

blondie wrote: "If the tipping point has been crossed, then we should stop worrying so much about reducing CO2 emmissions, and focus on adapting to change."

If the point at which my grandmother can never recover from the wounds I've already inflicted on her has already been reached, then I should stop worrying so much about reducing the amount I am kicking her in the face, and focus on having more fun doing it and on how I can do it longer.

Well stated.

We should maintain a healthy respect for our own level of ignorance. The tipping point may be tomorrow or a year from Wednesday.

Or they may be no such tipping point... if we're truely ignorant and not selectively so.

And you're not a denialist, eh? Now you're denying that climate itself exists.

Rest assured, tipping points will come. They always have and always will. The question is only when. A year? Thirty? Three thousand? Who knows? What we do know is that they always come and that the relative stability of the last 11k years is unusual, not usual.

Fear not, they will come.

We are witnessing the main tipping point right now as the arctic ice disappears, the tundra melts, and the clathrates start bubbling to the surface. Check the relevant NOAA sites. It is all happening right. Now.

This is it, folks.

This is it????

Ok,,I am ready..let the future begin...

What to say that makes sense then?

Happy hunting? Bon Voyage? Kiss your mule?

Airdale-I have waited long enough. Let the melting begin.

Can you gimme a link?

"What to say that makes sense then?

Happy hunting? Bon Voyage? Kiss your mule?"

Are you really asking me to tell you what the proper sign of for the end is?

Mule kissing is about as appropriate as anything, I suppose, though many of us have restricted access.

I'm not sure which or how many links you need or want, not knowing how well you are informed about the amount of clathrate in the ocean and methane in the tundra, or the power of methane as greenhouse gas...

If you know about the threat that these sources pose, looking at the "time sequence" for "ch4" for the northern-most stations here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/
should lead you to be concerned.

But you post suggests that you are perhaps unaware of the magnitude of significance of these developments, or are simply inclined to be glib in the face of ultimate catastrophe.

Happy mule-kissing,

If 450 really spells doom, we want to know.

If that were true, you'd have never typed that sentence because it implies an understanding of the climate situation that is way out of date.

Feel free to show where I am wrong.


My understanding may well be out of date.
But telling me I'm a liar when I tell you I don't know what paper you're talking about isn't going to educate me. Naming the paper or linking to an abstract might.
It's not about me: there's an audience out there. If I've been left behind in spite of my efforts, what about the average reader? Maybe my case is hopeless. But you can still educate those who haven't tried.

I haven't seen your case yet (besides what you have already discussed) so I can't point at the wrongness.
For all I know, you might be right. I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe you are so far, that's all.

The burden of proof is on the person who wants the assumption accepted, not the person who is skeptical. The "450 is doom" needs support.

No, the burden of proof is on denialist nutjobs. The evidence is so far beyond proven it's frankly sickening that people even attempt to lie about it.

You recall the posts and the polls. You're claiming they were other than they were, that is, lying. I have no reason nor responsibility to dispel your lie.

The polls were posted and discussed by me pretty extensively. Use the search function and prove your lie, if you seriously think you can.

I accept your silence in advance.

I recall a single poll (not several) as I clearly stated.
I'm not saying you're lying. There's a saying according to which one should not attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

I have no interest in "proving your lie". But I'm interested in learning something so I used the search... and found a poll (the one I recalled):
As I had already told you, there is no emissions scenario in this poll. Presumably the respondents determined what scenario was most likely on their own. Therefore it has nothing to do with sensitivity or with 450.

It wouldn't be very hard to reference what you're talking about. Yet you choose to post endless rants on Rutledge for using middle-of-the-road values instead.
No one is going to learn anything as long as you keep refusing to show your evidence. Even if you misread your sources, chances are that going over them would be instructive for some of your readers.

As I had already told you, there is no emissions scenario in this poll. Presumably the respondents determined what scenario was most likely on their own. Therefore it has nothing to do with sensitivity or with 450.

See if you can figure out the context of the poll. And that was the second one.

Hint: let me just point out that 2C and 450 are not generally regarded as well-correlated. Not anymore.

Malice? All this has been done over ad nauseum and you've been posting on the topic threads, no? You reference them in plural. So, if it ain't ignorance...?

I don't enjoy playing denialists' little mind games. You know the context, you know the data, you know what's up.

I repeat: what was the context of the poll? More so, what was the general nature of the comments in the associated slide show? Now, if you want to imply what I said was incorrect, you are, in fact, responsible for doing so. You are saying I am either wrong or lying when I am neither.

Prove your case or shut up about it. Simply saying 450 wasn't explicitly mentioned isn't good enough. You doomers love to hang on discreet data points out of context. Screw that. Just another kind of lie.

Looks like Peak Oil is bad news for whales...

Europe to hunt more whales than Japan, figures show

Europe plans to hunt more whales than Japan for the first time in many years, dividing EU countries and dismaying conservationists who say that whaling is escalating in response to the worldwide recession.

Figures seen by the Guardian before a meeting of more than 80 countries next week, show that Norway, Denmark and Iceland propose to hunt 1,478 whales compared to Japan's 1,280 in 2009. This would be an increase of nearly 20% by Europe on last year.

WTF? Do Europeans and Japanese really need to survive by eating whales?

What? They aren't satisfied with ground up cow and chicken nuggets like Merikens?

How F'n sustainable is whale hunting anyway?

I propose open hunting season on the Japanese and Scandinavians, there's a hell of a lot more of them than there are whales and I'm sure we can come up with a few recipes to make them a little more palatable. How about tender roast honey shank of Norwegian on a spit over an open fire? Maybe with a little barbecued Japanese prime rib with hot sauce on the side. Nham! Nham! Nham!


This paper (dated August 2008 and linked in DB above) is a pretty balanced summary of resource optimist/pessimist arguments. It is probably old hat to peak oil veterans, but a good mid-length treatment for analysts newer to the scene.

As the blocked quote indicates, the review 'splits the difference' in guessing that we don't have peak oil now, but may in a decade or two. This leaves ample grey area for partisans on both sides to weigh in:

If we think declining production is as imminent as 1-2 decades, shouldn't an urgent push for alternatives (shale gas, renewables, nuclear) begin while we have time? Or is the timeline far enough over the horizon that we should simply check back in 5 years and see if human ingenuity has bought us some more URR?

URR has nothing to do with peak oil, it just tells you when you will run out of it for all uses.

EROEI tells you when the crude oil will no longer be used for energy.

Geology, limits to technology and the absolute need for the producers to make an adequate profit explains why oil will get ever more expensive to supply as time goes on - it is this fact that causes world peak oil.

The price of crude rising much faster than wages indicates the presence of an imminent peak in demand - but it may not be the final peak as there is a significant lag between rising prices and any new production it may encourage - plus there are other significant factors that affect the world economy besides oil. We will only know we have had the final peak several years after the event.

World crude oil flows peaking is about the inability of consumers to afford the price, (there is still a lot of oil in the world but it isn't cheap any more) - the trouble is we don't know what they can afford or if the oil will be subsidised in some way in the future or if the remaining oil will be hoarded for some reason.

All we know is it will (or likely already has) reach a final peak at some stage and the vast majority of the world's population won't cope well with the severe consequences!

That article was posted in the TOD Energy Journal Roundup: June 2009 the other day, FYI. Thread below this one is on the same topic.

from the institute for defense analysis(brent fisher):

"lynch contends that backdating discoveries in this way is a fallacy analogous to planting trees over 20 yrs, observing that the average size of the most recently planted trees is small compared to older ones, and then concluding that timber resources would soon be scarce(lynch 2006, pp 1-32)

wtf ? is lynch an economist or what ?

Enough with the economist bashing, said the economist who's spent over five years writing about energy and environmental issues and trying to convince people how serious peak oil and climate chaos are.

As for Lynch, I suspect he's making some very unflattering assumptions about the audience for his remarks.

Michael Lynch - Disputing Peak Oil. 123 pages of it in fact, with Q+A from ML in the early stages (username "spike" - must be a Tom Petty fan).

Perhaps it's time to update The Oil Drum | Cornucopians - A Guide for the Perplexed from 2006. Not that they've given much ground or changed their tune.

Michael Lynch will, if pressed, grudgingly accept that fact that regions like Texas and the North Sea have peaked (I debated him and an ExxonMobil rep in 2006), but his premise is that the sum of the output of regions like Texas & the North Sea will result in a virtually infinite rate of increase in production.

As I previously said, Lynch's premise is analogous to expecting that the production from an oil field, which is the sum of the output from a group of individual wells that peak and decline, will increase virtually forever.

How about bankers - are they still fair game?

Enough with the economist bashing, said the economist who's spent over five years writing about energy and environmental issues and trying to convince people how serious peak oil and climate chaos are.

Unfortunately one good apple in a barrel full of rotten ones doesn't make the others better.

i am sure there are some economists who abstain from koolaid.

this lynch guy spent a large part of his career in advertising, he has probably drank(or should i say drunk ?) barrels and barrels of koolaid.

World hunger 'hits one billion'

One billion people throughout the world suffer from hunger, a figure which has increased by 100 million because of the global financial crisis, says the UN.

The sad part is this is just the beginning. Wait until oil shoot up to $200 with the high cost of inorganic fertilizer on top of total collapse of world economies ---- did someone say "2002"?

Correction. The article says one sixth of the world is suffering hunger. It actually one seventh as we approach seven billion. (6.787 billion)

Another interesting point was this:

"It's the first time in human history that we have so many hungry people in the world," said FAO spokesman Kostas Stamoulis, director of the organisation's development department.

"And that's a contradiction, because a lot of the world is very rich despite the economic crisis."

I wonder what the world GINI index would look like? I truly have no conception of a billion hungry people. A hungry person in my town can go to any number of shelters and get a meal...if they choose. Hardship even now in the western world is equivalent to no mint on the hotel pillow.

Speaking of CO2 emissions--there's now preliminary data that both CO2 and methane atmospheric levels are showing unusual increases. I covered both recently on TCOE:

Methane checkpoint

CO2 checkpoint

Thanks for the links. These are the most important data in the world, much more important than what the drunken gamblers are doing with the stock market, but they get essentially no press.

At http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/ linked on your first site, look at the most recent and furthest north posts, Alaska and Nunavut, Canada, and you see a sharp increase in methane. This is very worrisome, given the recent observed bubbling of methane from lakes in the Siberian tundra and from many parts of the Arctic Ocean.

I guess it could be some sort of short-term fluke, but the most likely explanation is that the off-gassing from these sources is now high enough to show up in marked rises in atmospheric levels. Since this off-gassing increases powerful gw gases which causes further release, it is not likely that this death spiral will turn itself around.

Things are looking grim.

"nuclear power plants...end up costing far more than originally projected and are not a cost-effective way to combat global warming."

Need more be said? The expense alone puts this option off the table.

You forget the exponential function.

They expect to make up for their unexpected overages through Volume sales.

Jeez-the deluded French think these nuke plants can be used to generate electricity.

Jeez--the deluded Americans think these nuke plants can be regulated to be safe by their government better than their gov regulated the banking industry, the mortgage industry, the dikes around New Orleans..............

Return to Babel

An interesting thought experiment, but the author doesn't give much consideration to Rosetta Stones; for instance Old Irish was preserved by being included in the margins of a Latin text. Why couldn't we print up Lovelock style books with multiple languages in the text - or universal translation or pronunciation guides in the appendix, at least? Disciples of this tome would take that much more caution in preserving how the language was spoken knowing its value too, I'd think.

Greer actually criticized Lovelock's All Seasons Book plan, too, worrying that it would ossify critical thinking. The obvious reposts to that were brought up on his blog: How Not To Save Science, from 2006, and Saving Science from a year ago.

PEMEX has released Cantarell's output for May 2009. I have compiled the last 17 months. Decline,decline,decline...

1243000 1.2008
1192000 2.2008
1110000 3.2008
1074000 4.2008
1038000 5.2008
1017000 6.2008
1010000 7.2008
988100 8.2008
940020 9.2008
901796 10.2008
862060 11.2008
811000 12.2008
772000 1.2009
744778 2.2009
754063 3.2009
713036 4.2009
692925 5.2009

Nothing to worry about, the rate of decline is slowing, just like the recession.

the rate of decline is slowing, just like the recession

:-) Sadly, unlike economies, that's what post-peak oil fields do - it's normal, not the 'green shoots' good sign it might be for an economy!

Some real Doomer Porn, the trailer for the movie 2012, to be released this fall:


"Mankind's earliest civilization warned us this day would come"

Apparently just natural disasters and somehow tied into the Mayan calendar. I don't have much patience for this sort of stuff..

Kudos to the special effects team...might be worth watching just for that.

I don't have high hopes for the plot, though.

Wow. Kinda puts On the Beach to shame, eh?

I guess we shouldn't say "What are the odds?" on 12/21/12.

Are there any numerologists on TOD? They would have a field day with this.

I was looking at Rembrandt's latest issue of Oilwatch Monthly earlier and was wondering has Nigeria been added to the list of countries that are past peak?

"And the government is not helping so people are thinking that they may suddenly have a day where there's no food had to. Have been the question of the economy is perfect people and they are concerned and you know we'd like survivalist. I want more than a lot of people who would like. You don't -- watched -- preparing of sort of sort of laughter you know. How are now like actually safe haven here or can go get a budget survival supplies and if people felt like across the spectrum not just the..."

From the Hannity bit above.

That makes even my syntax look coherent!

Hello TODers,

DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) – General Motors is preparing for oil prices as high as 130 dollars a barrel once the world economy recovers and will develop more electric cars and biofuels, GM's top executive said Wednesday.
I would think that GM would like to manufacture cheap, but Hi-Tech bikes like these to negotiate heavily potholed roads [see photos inside]:

The whole package weighs in at just 89 pounds with a 100cc motor.

Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPKS today?

King Of Rock

..The U.S. expects to exhaust its reserves within the next 40 years. Already, two of the leading U.S. fertilizer firms, Mississippi Phosphates and Agrifos Fertilizer, procure their phosphate rock from OCP.

..He calls the impending phosphate shortage "the sleeper issue of our time."