Drumbeat: August 9, 2009

Do not discount the threat of peak oil

Last week, the government published a review of the UK’s energy security situation. In a report commissioned by the prime minister, Malcolm Wicks, the former energy minister, pronounced that “there is no crisis”.

His findings were in marked contrast to those of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, which concluded last year that the economy faces a clear and present energy-security threat. The taskforce, a group that includes Virgin, Scottish and Southern Energy, Arup, Stagecoach and Solarcentury, was set up in 2007 on the basis of our shared opinion that peak oil merited serious study as a business risk. Some began with the assumption that the issue was low-risk but high-consequence. Sadly, we are now of the collective view that peak oil is a high-risk, high-consequence issue.

‘Enough oil to keep the crude culture going’: Peak oil is nowhere in sight, if current inventories and reserves are any guide

RIYADH: The global oil scene is not bleak as pundits are now coming round the assertion that there is enough oil beneath the surface to keep this crude civilisation moving.

Wish you weren't here: The devastating effects of the new colonialists

A new breed of colonialism is rampaging across the world, with rich nations buying up the natural resources of developing countries that can ill afford to sell. Some staggering deals have already been done, but angry locals are now trying to stop the landgrabs.

China: Where Poisoning People Is Almost Free

HONG KONG -- In addition to its cheap labor costs, China has another comparative advantage as the world's factory: Companies often pay almost nothing to pollute China's air, water and soil and to poison its people.

Need pliant workers to handle toxic chemicals? Wages are just $2.60 a day. What if the chemicals contaminate a town? Compensating a family of five costs just $732. Local water supply contamination makes 4,000 people vomit? That's just $7 per household. Cost of bribing local Chinese officials to look the other way rather than adhering to safety standards? Well, that's unknown, but given the frequency of China's pollution atrocities, apparently it is cost-effective.

Are the Generating Alternatives to Coal-Fired Electricity Ready for Waxman-Markey Targets?

Just over a month ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey energy tax. Much of the debate focused on how much the bill will cost Americans. For example, the Congressional Budget office claimed the cap and trade section of the bill would only cost $175 a year in 2020, but this claim has been thoroughly debunked. The real question is how much confidence should we have in the modeling assumptions that the CBO and other modelers rely upon?

Can we really replace coal?

Cheap coal allowed us to build our modern society. Our wealth, health, standard of living, education and longevity we owe to coal through mechanisation and abundant, round-the-clock electricity. These are now essential components of our modern society and energy security is high on any government’s agenda. Some may rue the day the steam engine was invented but not many of us.

But could we replace coal and keep our modern society?

Why commodity inflation won't go away in a hurry

We are staring at Hubberts Peak (declining oil prices) here onwards. The Society of Petroleum Engineers (www.spe.org) endorses that view. So does the Association for study of peak oil (www.peakoil.net) and these are men and women who brave the elements to hunt for oil. Many myths have been floated by investment analysts -- primary one being technology making it cheaper to drill for black gold. Schlumberger (global leader in drilling equipment manufacturer) doesn't seem to endorse that view. Drilling equipment and other costs continue to zoom.

Nigerian Army Rejects Calls to Withdraw from the Niger Delta

The Nigerian army says it would continue to fight criminal gangs in the oil-producing Niger Delta while observing the terms of a government offer. The main militant group, which wants the military-led security task force to withdraw from the delta, has shunned the amnesty offer.

Kenya: The energy crisis is of our own making

The impact of power rationing in Kenya began to sink in at the weekend when many parts of the country went without electricity.

But it is too early to count the losses, which are going to manifest themselves pretty soon in terms of reduced production and job cuts.

Power rationing was inevitable following drastic drop of water due to prolonged drought.

Kurt Cobb: A thing of beauty

I frequently walk by a nearby lot on which a modest one-story home sits amid a vast sea of the greenest grass you will encounter outside a golf course. The man who lives there with his wife is often tending his lawn: removing weeds, watering, riding his lawnmower. There are a couple of small flower gardens. But mostly it is grass.

The man told me last summer that one month he paid $230 for water. For him the enormous resources in water, fertilizer, and gasoline seem well worth it; his lawn is a work of art. Possibly he learned his aesthetics from a lawn fertilizer commercial or possibly from wealthier neighbors who live not too far from him--neighbors who mostly hire other people to get the same effects. But the origins of these aesthetics do not matter to him. His lawn is a flawless piece of monoculture rivaling the best lawns to be found anywhere in the city.

Clinton on oil mission to Angola

LUANDA (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday shifts the focus of her Africa trip to business as she works to ensure a steady oil supply from key producer Angola and counter China's growing influence.

The top US diplomat was due to make a one-day visit to the southern African nation, which vies with Nigeria as the continent's biggest oil producer but where two-thirds of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

Peak Oil for Dummies

Over the past decade, a fierce debate has emerged amongst energy experts about whether global oil production was about to reach a peak, followed by an irreversible decline.

This event, commonly known as “Peak Oil” far outreaches the sole discipline of geology. From transportation to modern agriculture, petrochemicals and even the pharmaceutical industry all of them rely on one commodity: cheap and abundant oil. In order to sustain the needs of an ever globalized world, oil demand should double by 2050.

Nonetheless, geological limitations will disrupt this improbable scenario. In fact, a growing proportion of energy experts argue that Peak Oil is impending and warn about the extraordinary scale of the crisis.

Scottish Agenda: North Sea oil still has a platform for success

Drilling activity in the North Sea has slowed considerably, with a recent Deloitte report showing just 15 exploration and appraisal wells “spudded” between April and June, a 57% fall on the same period last year.

This is making life much tougher than expected in Aberdeen’s oil services sector, and there have been increasingly desperate calls for a more favourable tax regime.

Now the fallout is being felt. Last week, 36 people were laid off by Stable Holdings after the once rapidly expanding Aberdeen-based drill-bit provider failed to secure further working capital from Royal Bank of Scotland and went into administration.

Oh Canada: Top 15 Oil Exporting Countries to the U.S.

The Top 15 crude oil exporters to the U.S. for the month of May has been published by the Energy Information Administration, Department of Energy. The following table shows the list of these countries.

Chevron Reports Oil, Gas Discovery Off Angola’s Coast

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, announced a crude and natural-gas discovery off the coast of Angola’s Cabinda province.

Why Nigeria Earns Less from Oil

Despite rising oil prices, Nigeria, a major oil producing country, is not reaping its due. But in addition to the often cited reasons is the issue of Production Sharing Contract (PSC) that has been fuelling controversy between the Federal Government and oil producing companies over the Petroleum Industry Bill.

Fresh Radical Group Emerges In Niger Delta

A SEEMING new left wing socio-cultural and political movement has emerged in the volatile Niger Delta, Nigeria's main oil and gas region. The new group which calls itself Niger Delta Patriotic Front (NDPF) says it is determined to purge the oil region of criminal elements who are giving the struggle for justice a bad name.

Saudi Arabia to Post ‘Small’ Fiscal Surplus on Oil

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, will post a “small” fiscal surplus this year compared with an earlier forecast for a deficit, EFG-Hermes Holding SAE said as it raised its estimate for oil prices.

“The strengthening in oil price will be extremely positive for the hydrocarbon-dependant GCC countries, which will see high oil revenues,” the Cairo, Egypt-based investment bank said in a research report. “We have revised upward our GCC macro forecasts inline with the changes in our oil price forecasts.”

Some fear hydraulic fracturing will harm the drinking water

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A Halliburton Energy Services representative defended hydraulic fracturing Saturday as a practice needing no more regulation, while a researcher said analysis of health concerns is hampered by a lack of disclosure of some chemicals used in the drilling process.

“Without data we feel like our hands are tied,” Dr. Roxana Witter said during a forum in Glenwood Springs about the process.

No black gold rush

Last month saw a live auction of contracts to develop six of Iraq’s giant oil fields become the latest offering to the reality TV generation.

The uncharacteristically public process was driven by the underlying sentiment in Iraq that oil companies are out to pillage the nation’s resources. As misunderstandings of a critical issue go, it’s a big one and it required an elaborate, but ultimately unfulfilling day of television.

Foreign, particlarly Western, involvement in Iraq’s oil fields is contentious to say the least, and dangerously divisive amongst an already fractured population.

Citigroup Said to Weigh Giving Up Control of Phibro

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. may give up control of its Phibro LLC energy-trading business to outside investors, a person familiar with the matter said, as the bank faces what may be a $100 million payday for the unit’s chief, Andrew Hall.

Oregon: Blurring the urban-rural line in Damascus

The region's growth regulators seeded the new city of Damascus on Thompson's 77-acre farm. In Thompson's vision, the city can be a place where urban development and agriculture entwine like his graceful marionberry canes.

Part of the farm could be developed for housing, he suggests, while he continues to farm the better soil. The farm's crops could supply an "eco-restaurant" at the top slope of the property. Along the road below could be a fruit and produce stand. Next to it could be a community kitchen and education center where customers could preserve the berries they just bought or learn how to improve their home gardens.

You Say Tomato, I Say Agricultural Disaster

Here’s the unhappy twist: the explosion of home gardeners — the very people most conscious of buying local food and opting out of the conventional food chain — has paradoxically set the stage for the worst local tomato harvest in memory.

Clubs Celebrate the Flashy S.U.V., and Adopt a Purpose: Doing Good

A few of the Trucked Out Divas — Strawberry, Carmel and Black Beauty — were waiting in front of their clubhouse, a former strip club in Brownsville across from a weedy lot and a Family Dollar store. They wore sleeveless leather jackets, some with Velcro side closures like those on bulletproof vests, and they had the name of their club printed in hot pink on the back, like a girlish version of the Hell’s Angels.

Nearby, parked on every available inch of sidewalk and curbside at this Brooklyn crossroads, gleamed immaculate Ford Expeditions, Lincoln Navigators, Cadillac Escalades and other behemoths of the American automobile industry. The Divas and their male counterparts, Trucked Out SUV Club, ride city streets in vehicles often linked in the popular imagination with gas-guzzling suburbanites, soccer moms, or money-flashing drug dealers — but more on that later.

Tourists, faithful fans keep RV business from screeching to halt

Sales of recreational vehicles continue to skid -- an expected 40 percent this year, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. And that's after a 33 percent decline from 2007. A perfect storm of tight credit, high unemployment and still-pricey gasoline is to blame.

So why do we still see so many RVs on Las Vegas roadways? The answer seems to lie in a strong rental market.

China Starts Building Nation’s Biggest Wind Farm, Xinhua Says

(Bloomberg) -- China started construction of the country’s biggest wind farm, a “Three Gorges in the Air,” Xinhua News Agency reported, quoting Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration.

The 120 billion yuan ($17.6 billion) station in Jiuquan, northwestern Gansu Province, will have installed capacity of 5.16 gigawatts by the end of next year and reach 12.71 gigawatts by 2015, it said.

So where's the nuclear power?

America is paying a hefty price for more than a generation of "no nukes," not the least of which is a painful attempt to wean itself from the dirtier energy sources that contribute to climate change, threaten economic growth and sometimes dangerously influence foreign policy.

New era may end need for fossil fuel

While utilities are forced to reduce the amount of power they sell, they also are under mounting pressure to provide more energy from clean sources. Delaware has required that 20 percent of energy sold in the state must come from renewable sources -- wind, solar, biofuels and hydro-electric -- by 2019.

Those forces weigh heavily against the likelihood of greater use of coal, oil or natural gas to generate power for state residents.

100-year-old woman recalls state's homesteading days

Daisy married Myron Swenson, a homesteader from Wisconsin, in 1929. They moved into a one-room shack on a farm in Turner, where they farmed the land and split the crops with the landowner. The shack was 12 feet by 15 feet, with no insulation, no electricity and no running water. It is here where she raised her first two children.

Money was tight, and food was hard to come by.

Because of the lack of trees in the area, they had no wood to burn in their stoves, so the only thing they could burn was cow chips sprinkled with coal dust. The couple felt blessed to even own their cow, which was given to them by their parents.

To keep milk and butter cool in the summer, they had to lower the food into their well in a bucket.

Climate change: is population the problem?

Concrete examples disprove the assumed connection between population and environment destruction. For example, Japan’s population peaked at the end of 2004 at about 127.8 million and is now in decline.

According to the January 2 British Guardian: “Health ministry records estimated the population fell by 51,000 in 2008. The number of deaths hit a record of 1.14 million ... and the number of births totalled 1.09 million.”

However, ABC Online said on November 12 last year the Japanese government had announced that Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in the year ending March 2008.

Political climate for energy policies cools

Recent surveys show Americans cooling to global warming, and they're even less keen on environmental policies they believe might raise power bills or imperil jobs. Those sentiments could mean a tougher road ahead for elected officials looking to fund investments in renewable power or install a carbon cap-and-trade system.

Profile: Bjorn Lomborg

Single-handedly, Bjorn Lomborg caused global warming pundits to overheat beyond safety levels. The Danish heretic has been called a Nazi for his denial of the pundits’ cherished beliefs and his life has been threatened. But his latest crusade could make his own supporters explode.

Gas levels to explode by 2020 Federal prediction

THE Federal Government is putting more pressure on the Coalition to support its emissions trading legislation, releasing a report estimating Australia's output of greenhouse gases would be 20 per cent above 2000 levels by 2020 if the scheme is rejected.

The report, by the Department of Climate Change, concluded Australia would need to avoid the creation of the equivalent of 138 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 to achieve a 5 per cent reduction target on 2000 levels.

The upper range of the Government's target – a 25 per cent cut – would require Australia to avoid the creation of 249 million tonnes of emissions.

Lomborg told The Sunday Times: “A lot of people really, really hate me.” His dismissive tone did not help. A pending fuel crisis? Hysteria, he said. World hunger? Baloney: food was increasing. Species extinction? Rubbish. Disappearing forests? Tosh: forest cover had increased. Indeed, he proclaimed, nearly every indicator demonstrated that man’s lot had vastly improved. “The world in decline is a litany we have heard so often that another repetition is almost reassuring,” he said. “There is just one problem: it does not seem to be backed up by the available evidence.”

Tell me again which galaxy this guy lives in? The author of the article also disses all real scientists by calling him one.

My favorite Lomborg quote:

And it is estimated that within 25 years we can commercially exploit twice as much in oil reserves as the present oil reserves. Should the oil price increase to $40 per barrel we will probably be able to exploit about five times the present reserves.

The total size of shale oil resources is quite numbing. It is estimated that globally there is about 242 times more shale oil than the conventional petroleum resources. There is more than eight times more energy in shale oil than in all other energy resources combined – oil, gas, coal, peat and tar sands. This stunning amount of energy is equivalent of our present total energy consumption for more than 5,000 years.

Bjorn Lomborg: The Skeptical Environmentalist, page 128. (1998)

Ron P.

No, no, no. You don't understand. Lomborg never said all those things people will be bringing up from his books and interviews and articles. Nope. Never happened. He's always been extremely concerned about peak oil and climate chaos, among other issues, and has only (ONLY, I tell you!) been interested in finding the most efficient ways to deal with those problems.



And then he'll sprout wings and fly to the fairy city on the far side of the moon.


In its 2007 report, the UN estimates that sea levels will rise about a foot over the rest of the century ... sea-level increase by 2050 will be about 5 inches.
Thanks to this modest sea-level rise, and the possibility that developing countries will have the money in the future to protect their land with levees, he concludes, "a rich Bangladesh will lose only 0.000034 percent of its present dry-land area" (p. 48).

No to mention further sullying the "e" word. I've been a lifetime environmentalist, but words get re-defined and one has to abandon them. Fer'instance, I think I also should be called a conservative, but that word has been appropriated by people who ain't.

The annoying thing isn't that some weasel would decide to be a bizarro-world enviro, it's that the regular world is so dang receptive to it.

Friday, I attended a conference at a local community college with the grand title: Repowering our Region: Building Profit by Being Green. The word "green" was mentioned so many times that the meaning was clearly lost. Also, the word "sustainability" was thrown out, with a brief attempt to define it's meaning from the newly appointed Director of Sustainability at the local state university. I'm afraid that the word "sustainability" has lost much of it's original meaning, judging by the day's presentations.

Going back to the late 1970's, there was lots of discussion about the concept called "sustainable development". Since then, the concept has been hijacked by the financial media, morphing into the often repeated phrase "sustainable GROWTH". Those of us who have followed the questions of Peak Oil and other limits to growth situations know quite well that growth is the problem as growth in real consumption must eventually stop and then begin to decline.

Yet, we now see the words we have so carefully used to discuss the problems have lost their meaning. Perhaps this is part of a planned effort to undermine the discussion before things even begin to reach the popular mind. How can we even begin presenting the problems to the wider audience beyond the academic world to reach the average person, when the words which are available can no longer can be used?

E. Swanson

Actually, the words we use make a big difference... unfortunately.

When planning an advocacy campaign, I try to create and define new terms to frame the discussions, and they have a definite half-life. It's necessary because those on the other side of the issue will have already worked to undermine the existing terminology. Then even after creating new terms, you'd bloody well best achieve your pre-defined objective before the definitions drift too far.

If a term has been around for a while, the odds are it's not useful for changing anything.

"peak oil" for instance is a great term; and it's past it's prime. It doesn't much matter what it really means if everyone who might care thinks they know what it means.

Fer'instance, I helped coin the term "dolphin safe" for tuna as a temporary stopgap; currently there are multiple NGO's which describe it differently, an oft-amended wording drafted by congressional committee, a version pushed by the US dept of Commerce, a still different version promulgated by the IATTC of which the US is a member, and another several versions in Europe. Various of these are subject to legal challenge, and some nations are trying to get the WTO to change it. Point is, the term "dolphin safe" is now robust, printed on cans around the world, but it means different things to different people. (In some places, it appears on cans which are exclusively caught with high dolphin mortality.) And this was predictable - and predicted - all the way back in '83, but trying to get most activists to think ahead is like herding cats. Without something like trademark and tight control, the words evolve in whatever direction serves disparate interests.

I the suggestion of trademarking a term has merit. State clearly the term, and its definition - and get it trademarked. Then if someone attempts to redefine it to mean something else, hit them with a trademark infringement suit.

Even better if you can get them to agree to a licence to use the term, similar to the way 'organic' has been hijacked from a perfectly good English word to something that can only be bestowed by a particular organisation.

I don't believe it is a planned effort to undermine, more like the normal response by our totalitarian economic system. Any deviant activity that threatens the central economic thrust is captured, redirected and brought back into line via commercialisation. Every time some previously non-commercial activity is monetised there is a monetary reward from the economic system to whoever achieves it. This is all it takes to undermine any human activity and bring into the realm of the totalitarian economic system that controls our lives.

"Sustainable development", "green living", "organic", "Permaculture", "survival" and even "collapse" have been or are in the process of commercialisation and redirecting people by stealth back into the economic system via consumerism.

Eventually, every individual will be totally isolated from the natural world and each other, all contact and communication with either will be through the economic system only (ie. will be paid for). Every attempt to be free and live life in a more natural and fulfilling way will be corrupted. Which all sounds very dystopian, but via the process of normalisation most people will never even realise it, unless they attempt some degree of freedom. Few make it.

Read up on the demise of 'The Big Green Gathering' here in the UK. It became too successful, so the authorities required it to jump through legal and security hoops at great expense that it neither needed or wanted, and then forced it to shut down two days before starting over administrative details, forcing it into bankruptcy. The police made secret that they did it because it was a threat to the established order. The event had an almost unique record of low crime and environmental impact.

Local councils seem to be turning into mini-authoritarian states in their own right, backed up by the police. It does seem that the tactic now being employed against loose coalitions of like-mind groups, that cannot be co-opted by traditional means, is to pre-emptively shut them down.

There's nothing that the State fears more than Anarchy (ie. self determinism) which undermines its authority and its ability to control. And the State is beginning to see ever more groups of people falling into that category (which includes Muslims).

The Peak Oil for Dummies article up top is as good as any I have read. In light of Prof Goose's Campfire yesterday, it got me to wondering what TOD readers are doing to educate their communities. Do you post on facebook? Do you pass out articles? Do you share CDs, DVDs? Do you give presentations? All ideas welcome.

Running with the theme of peak oil education, I ran across something this morning that looks to me like the most impressive collection of sustainable living technologies that I have ever seen in one place.


I came across it after noticing someone had clicked into my blog from that link. Look at the range of subjects covered:


There are 133 books on sustainable agriculture alone, and another 78 on agricultural tools. For something more specialized like beekeeping, there are 9 books - all together in one library.

These are the sorts of things I am going to be involved in when I move to Hawaii (this week in fact). The group I am working with is developing an agricultural park that will try to help reverse the loss of sustainability that the islands have seen.

Thanks Robert for that great resource. This is exactly why I keep coming back to TOD. I have just finalized arrangements for Larry Santoyo to give a presentation on permaculture design at our library. Thanks to following other links I have fallen in love with Gene Logsdon's posts on organictobe.org.

Wow: Talk about information overload. I guess if you are teaching these sorts of things it would be worth $495 for the set but OMG 150,000 pages of Appropriate Technology. Though of course books are important I find I learn a lot more about gardening in my garden and a lot more about woodworking in the woodshop. Different folks ... different strokes.

BTW: I got this solar cooker book last week …


And it is a good one. I'll give a full report after I have it built and tried it out. In another book …


Is a solar tracker that looks worthwhile and again I'll report after I have made and tested one.

The glue should be dry by now. Today I am building a very nice tea box for a customer. Woodworking Tip: For final finish rub Briwax Original into the wood with a maroon 3M pad for that great tactile custom furniture feel.


Some freebies for the bibliophile: the Old Knowledge Database, courtesy of LATOC member MidWestHerbalist. Searching around for that I found this page linked from LATOC as well.

What we clueless types need for prepping is a wiki, not more books, not that I'm speaking from experience, but input like what Airdale and others posted here about bike tires on the 17th of last month just isn't to be found in tomes, including the Haynes manual. This should be handled in-house, free from the editorial constraints of the public wikis. I've brought this up before to no avail or interest so I'll just commit what interests me in these DBs and Campfires to a text file for printing.

Bike Tube talk: Permalink

Those links are great. I bookmarked both. It is similar to the information at the link I provided, except it's free! Now I need to spend some time going through and saving things that I might need.


In Colorado we are blessed with a lot of activity. There is Transition Colorado and its local varieties, Transition Denver, Transition Boulder, etc. They have regular meetings usually twice a month, a potluck and something else. It attracts 20 - 60 people to each meeting. There is also ASPO-USA which has its base here and many of them have been helpful to Transition and to everyone.

We have a small group that started after the first ASPO-USA conference in 2005 ("Denver Energy Awareness"). We get together monthly and look at DVDs, talk, or whatever. Lately we've been watching and discussing Chris Martenson's "The Crash Course." (He was here in person in Denver a couple of weeks ago, and drew a crowd of about 70 to his two-day seminar). I downloaded his free DVD, which is quite good. When Transition was organized about a year ago, I thought they would put us "out of business," but somehow it didn't happen.

My thought is that there is still room for a lot of people who are concerned about this to just get together and watch the latest DVD or talk about it. There are so many DVDs now that you could keep going for at least a year just watching DVDs -- End of Suburbia, Power of Community, What a Way to Go, Colin Campbell and Richard Heinberg interviews, Crude Impact, and now The Crash Course, which I've been passing out right and left -- I've give away about a dozen so far to various people. One DVD that most people haven't seen is "Pandemic Prevention" featuring Michael Greger -- it's a good DVD on a key side effect of industrialized agriculture, namely animal factory farms. Another thing I have noticed, is that while watching these DVDs does get sort of depressing after a while, it has a different effect on different people and at different stages. Some people are actually energized and feel better about the situation -- it's as if they think, "somebody besides me actually gets this!"

On the specific article you mention, Peak Oil For Dummies, I have seen so much of this, and so many times, that it is hard for me to evaluate. It's really a question of understanding the human psyche and figuring out which argument will work relatively best. But, for many people, the hard part is seeing that peak oil is a plausible and relevant topic. There is just so much information washing around here these days, and people often depend on other people they know. So I'd suggest passing out "The Crash Course," because you can download it for free and then copy it, as a conversation starter. "Hey, you ought to check out this DVD on the financial crisis, this guy really makes a lot of sense." Because the financial crisis is more of a tie-in to things that people are actually concerned about, I think it is easier to start with this than "hey, here's a DVD on peak oil."

Just some thoughts. Thanks for raising this issue.


Keith, one DVD you might want to get is Dmitry Orlov's: "The Collapse Gap" It is a radio broadcast, one hour long. However this station only archives programs for 14 days so this one will disappear in about 10 days.

I too listen to many podcasts and watch many videos on my computer. I have seen all but a couple of those you list above. But this radio interview by Orlov is the very best podcast I have ever listened to. It tops them all.

Before listening to this Orlov interview I was on the fence about whether there would be a fast collapse or slow collapse. I am now firmly convinced that it will be very fast, taking five years or less.

Ron P.

For you

I already had it Porge but thanks anyway. There is some great stuff on that site, especially if you click on "Older Posts". On March 9th there is an 11:36 minute video interview on Russia Today Called "America will collapse" that is really great.

I could not find this one in his older post however. So just in case you don't have it:

Dmitry Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices

It is an hour and a half video of one of Orlov's lectures and in places is really funny.

Ron P.

Likewise on being familiar with Orlov.
His creditability with me stems from his unique perspective of being on the ground during the Soviet collapse and also understanding both societies.
I also like the fact that he is an engineer like me.

I'm firmly with you on a fast collapse. I think the various TOD members who believe in catabolic or a "slinky" collapse will be blindsided.

All of my own preparations are predicated upon buying time so that rational decisions can be made when things unwind. To my mind, believing that a slow collapse will occur establishes a mind-set that there will be not only time to take action but also that resources will be available. I see this as a very serious mistake.


Actually Todd, one more step down might just do it. The Real Unemployment Rate is at 16.3 percent. That is the way unemployment was measured during the great depression when it reached 25%. So another whack like that and we are 30 percent or higher.

I don't think people realize just how fragile the economy really is. Bad news out of China would create a situation that would send interest rates soaring make more borrowing for anything would be almost impossible. That would do it in my opinion.

As for me I am scared, damn scared. Most people don't realize that we are sleepwalking right into a nightmare.

Ron P.

Orlov, when asked what is the strongest correlation between the collapse of the FSU and the USA:
His answer: The inability to grow the economy resulting in debt that has to be taken on at an unsustainable rate.

The inability to grow the economy resulting in debt that has to be taken on at an unsustainable rate.

Geithner Asks Congress to Increase Federal Debt Limit

Just two comments from the press release:

Increasing the [debt] limit is important to instilling confidence in global investors, Mr. Geithner said.

It is critically important that Congress act before the limit is reached so that citizens and investors here and around the world can remain confident that the United States will always meet its obligations

Let me get this right. In order to instill confidence in global investors towards the US economy it is critical to allow the country to go even further into debt.

And the second one just leaves me dumb-struck! If I read it right, global investors (China) and citizens need to be reassured that the US will always meet its obligations (investors: interest payments, capital protection. Citizens: health care, social security, strong military etc). In order to reassure these two constituent groups it is necessary to get the US even more into debt.

You couldn't make it up. You ready couldn't. The US is in a complete mess.

Nate has an essay of mine that will probably go up some day as a key post on establishing priorities. People who haven't taken the time to do at least some serious thinking about how the future might play out are going to be screwed - if they don't die when it comes down.


The unemployment rate doesn't say much about if a recession is ending ( unemployment usually continues to increase well after the economy starts to grow again.) . Early indicators are stock market recover, a slowing of unemployment increase, growth in new jobs, and hours worked.

You have been predicting for a while that this recession is going to spiral into a depression. This prediction is looking less likely by the week.

"As for me I am scared, damn scared. Most people don't realize that we are sleepwalking right into a nightmare"
You might be jumping the gun this time, perhaps when gasoline starts to become expensive( ie more than milk).

Rubbish, trillions of taxpayers dollars have been pumped into the economy via bailouts and stimulus packages and sure enough it has had an effect. Much of the liquidity created has gone strait into the stockmarkets as speculative investment and little has gone into the real economy which is too risky. Apart from some inventory rebuilding little has changed in the real economy and with massive deleveraging yet to take place, things aren't really going to improve. The Government's artificial rally will undoubtedly fail as private enterprise is in no state to take over the financial strain, especially when private enterprise itself is on life support via government spending. When government spending is exhausted the next leg down will commence.

"Hey, you ought to check out this DVD on the financial crisis, this guy really makes a lot of sense." Because the financial crisis is more of a tie-in to things that people are actually concerned about, I think it is easier to start with this than "hey, here's a DVD on peak oil."

Reminds me a bit of black humor joke I heard once...

A couple goes away for a vacation and entrust their pet cat to the neighbor and unfortunately it runs out into the street and gets run over. The neighbor promptly informs the owners and is a bit taken aback by the reaction.

The traveling couple is deeply hurt by the loss of their beloved cat and tell the neighbor that he should have better prepared them by not telling them directly what has happened.

They suggest that he should have made up a story and parsed the information over a few days... Like the cat went up on the roof, it has been up there a few days, it can't come down, finally it starves and falls off the roof.

A couple of days go by and the travelers again contact the neighbor and inquire as to how their elderly mother is doing... The neighbor replies "She has climbed up on the roof"

Whereas I've absolutely no objection to people getting the message out there. I do wonder sometimes whether the effort is worth it.

I think we've all seen the blank stares and quick subject changes whenever the various topics are brought up in conversation. The tedious arguments with someone in denial who will never accept the fact that life as we know it may change in some meaningful way. But, nether-the-less, the very act of introducing them to the term "Peak Oil", etc. means they will recognise it next time they come across it. Eventually the concept will sink into their subconsciousness.

But what then? Even here on TOD where everyone knows almost everything there is to know about what's looming in our future, there is massive inaction to the threat by many. Accept for a few token gestures, mainstream life goes on unaltered by the knowledge of the various world changing problems, or so it would seem for most TOD'ers. So if the message gets out there to the broader public, will the results be any different?

Better to take the time networking in the local community and establish a web of contacts that can be relied upon to keep providing essential goods and services when things go pear shaped. They don't even have to be peak aware, they just need the right skill sets, resources and contacts to function when everything else becomes unreliable.

Change is coming, regardless of whether people receive the message or not. If they do receive the message, they're unlikely to do anything of significance to avoid being washed away by the tidal wave of change anyway.

We all spend time wondering whether anything we do will make a difference but many of us still try whether for the dopamine or some other reason. Irrespective, I get excited when I see the TOD readers sharing ideas and information. Sometimes it's just a matter of giving people an opening to participate. Thanks everyone for your great links.

I just returned from behind the Orange Curtain, and am in awe that you can maintain the equanimity that you do living under such conditions.
Keep up the good fight and learning curve.

And I just returned from Vermont...it is sooooo tempting. But you try to "bloom where you're planted."

In order to help educate our northern Michigan community, we host the Conference on Michigan's Future: Energy, Economy and Environment www.futuremichigan.org

We also try to work with business and governmental leaders and discuss peak oil, collapse dynamics and related topics. It is a slow process to focus people's attention on these issues as we all know here. Even after our major auto industries have gone into collapse we are still seeing comments like this from our auto industry leaders.

"It remains a fact that the American public buys big, high consumption, cars," he said.

"It is completely wrong to hope that Americans will massively rush to economical vehicles."

"The mass movement towards 'green cars' is only taking place in the media," he added, pointing to "poor" sales of hybrid vehicles, other than the one offered by Japanese rival Toyota, and their small share of market."


As Ayn Rand once said: "You can ignore reality but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality."

Ethanol and the Environment in Brazil:


Clubs Celebrate the Flashy S.U.V., and Adopt a Purpose: Doing Good

“I don’t care how high gas prices go,” said Scott Killiebrand, known as Skee, who evaluates high school transcripts for the City University of New York and is vice president of the Escalade Krown Holdaz. “I’m always going to buy an Escalade.”


Other Las Vegans will drive their RVs no matter what gasoline costs.

I believe these are empty words. Once gas prices get high enough, even these diehards will change their tune.

Sad thing happened here in Reno on HW 395 near the Grand Sierra Hotel and Casino. A pickup lost a matress and the small car behind swerved to miss it, lost control, rolled over the median barrier, hit a big SUV straight on. Three dead in the small car, two injured in the SUV. This doesn't prove anything but at coffee Friday morning the discussion favored big heavy cars, vans and pickups and just hit the matress ... then sue for any damage.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as a safe vehicle or a safe road, and you're taking a risk everytime you ride in/on one. The number one risk factor is driver behavior, not vehicle design. Of course someone else may kill you even if you're a good driver, but I still think "bad" drivers are more likely to get killed or injured than "good" drivers. Just look at the stats comparing teenage drivers versus middle age drivers.

Oh, something I forgot to mention about the accident. The pickup driver is being considered for manslaughter (3) by the police after the investigation. He should have had the matress tied down better.

On the flip side, looking at it from the perspective of projectile vs projectile, the SUV killed three people, the small car injured two. Big and heavy definitely makes an effective projectile.

I have a question I've not seen addressed on TOD. In light of the apparent growing influence of Islam in Europe and elswhere, is there an identifiable attitude of these folks toward global warming and oil depletion? American conservatives (mostly Christian) seem to be dismissive. Is this a trait of conservatism or religion? Is Islam, being very conservative and religious also dismissive? I have no idea.


A different question is how will they react when the reality of it all becomes impossible to ignore. The Christian fundamentalists aren't likely to realize they had it all wrong - I think they are likely to look for scapegoats in the usual places (gays, atheists, Muslims, Democrats, etc).

The article is pure scaremongering from the English gutter press, I read it yesterday. They claim that by 2050 Muslims will be 20% of Europeans. As I am a great scientist in comparison to them -I know how to subtract :-)- it means that 80% of Europeans will be nominally Christian, and as Democracy is (as J L Borges said) the Dictatorship of Statistics, if the 20% become too bothersome it will be the concentration camps for them. As you know in Europe we have some experience in building them.

Specially laughable where Adrian Michaels says

"The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain's population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent."

It so happens that the majority of those 13,4 % New Spaniards are Latinoamericans, from Ecuador, Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, etc. Children and grandchildren of Spaniards who moved to Spanish America when times were tough and likewise came over here, other are descendants of settlers from olden times, or their relatives.
I should know: It is the case of one of my nephews and of my son.

Most of the rest came from Eastern Europe, specially from Romania, but also from Russia, Poland and other exotic lands. Spain opened its borders to Romanians when the rest of Europe didn't, and offered them an opportunity in life, something they didn't have at home -a very harsh deal, I must say. A few are criminals who fill our jails -half of those in jail in Spain are foreigners, but do not be too racist about it, as very many of them are British- most Eastern Europeans, Ecuadorians, etc found hard and dangerous work during the building boom and now find themselves unemployed.

Some are from what we call El Maghreb, the North of Africa, they are the Moors or Muslims that the Telegraph fears so: Oh, shades of Tariq and Muza, the Conquerors of Spain in 711 AD! They are miserably exploited by Spanish farmers, many live in conditions I wouldn't wish on a dog and like all poor people are no problem at all, or a problem that the Police knows how to deal with.
See how we shake in fear of the Moors, in Spain !

And as to peak oil they haven't even heard of it.

Islamic radicals in Saudi Arabia definitely believe in oil depletion. Al-Qaeda, etc. That is one of their big beefs with the House of Saud. They think Saudi princes are selling the country's birthright too cheaply.

Saudis are selling way to cheap.

3. How Much Energy is Used to Construct a Car?
I. Calculations as Done By Matt Savinar:

"The average car will consume during its construction 10% of the energy used during its lifetime.
Source: "Automobiles: Manufacture Versus Use," published by the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assesment;
How many barrels of oil does it take to equal the energy consumed during 10% of a car’s lifetime? Let's see:
In the US, the average car has a median lifetime of 17 years. (Source: Matt Creenson, Associated Press: "Is This the Beginning of the End?" )
On average, a car will consume 750 gallons of gas per year.
17 years x 750 gallons of gas per year = 12,750 gallons of gas consumed during the median lifetime of an American car;
1 gallon of gas = 125,000 BTUs;
12,750 gallons consumed x 125,000 BTUs per gallon = 1,593,750,000 BTU’s consumed during the median lifetime of an American car.
1,593,750,000 x 10% = 15,9375,000 BTUs consumed during the car’s construction;
159,375,000 BTUs consumed during construction divided by 5,800,000 BTU’s in one barrel of oil = slightly more than 27 barrels of oil. Twenty seven barrels of oil (42 gallons of oil per barrel) contain 1,142 gallon of oil.
II. Calculations As Done by Michael C. Ruppert:
Michael C. Ruppert, editor of From the Wilderness and author of Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of The American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil, has estimated the construction of the average car consumes 42 barrels of oil. In a private email (reprinted with Mike's permission), he provided the following calculations/observations:
"When discussing 100 mpg vehicles one must absolutely figure in the amount of energy required to make these “new” vehicles. I have good numbers showing that it requires 12% of all the hydrocarbon energy a vehicle will use in its lifetime just to make the vehicle in the first place (ore mining, raw material transport."

If true,the cash for clunkers program will go down as another dumb idea in energy efficiency, but good for increasing the indebtedness of the Country (fast approaching $12 trillion) and increasing consumer indebtedness. Of course, if a person didn't really want a small car, they could buy one with the 30-40% subsidy, hold the car for a short while and trade up to a better ride, using the balance of the subsidy value as the down payment.

He must be talking about energy equivalents. Manufacturing is mostly done on electrical power of which oil is a very small percentage as a power plant fuel. Most shipping in the auto industry is by rail which is much more efficient than trucking. Steel is made using coal derived coke as fuel and aluminum is mostly extracted via electrolysis of bauxite. I'd dare say that most of the oil use by the auto industry is the fuel used by dealership salesmen and mechanics driving to and from work.

In addition, supposedly 95 per cent of a vehicle's weight is recycled or salvaged for its parts, which further reduces the amount of energy and raw materials consumed. For example, recycled scrap aluminum requires just 5 per cent of the energy used to manufacture new stock; recycled steel requires 75 per cent less energy.

Who knows?, maybe a little piece of one of these fine vehicles lives on under the hood of your current drive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1VtnXcqgi8 (sweet dreams, all you Acura owners).


He must be talking about energy equivalents.

And since the C4C tradeins probably only had a couple of years of service left in them the manufacture energy should be prorated by the fraction of use left. My guess is that if you do that energywise C4C is probably roughly energy neutral. Not a big win for the environmnet, but not the environmental disaster that so many seem to paint it as either.

"but good for increasing the indebtedness of the Country"

So fully paid up clunkers will be replaced by new cars many of which will have bank loans. Why/how else do you think it would be given the go-ahead by the politicians? The banksters who own the politicans want as many new scams to make up for no more liar loans etc, they need something to keep up the looting so they can make huge bonuses and donations.

From a car sales point of view this will merely bring forward some sales from the future. From memory, a similar thing happened several years ago with interest free loans when 20m cars were sold, this figure was never exceeded.

From an efficiency/pollution/CO2/oil import point of view wouldn't it be much simpler to impose an outright ban or hefty tax on gas guzzlers or European level taxes on gas??

By the way, how does borrowing money from the Chinese to buy mostly Japanese or Korean cars benefit the US economy??

I wonder what effect this is going to have on short and long term oil prices?

They have their own stimulus programs which are having an effect..

Car sales have risen more than 45 percent for the past three months after the government cut retail taxes and began handing out subsidies to reverse a demand slump.

Still, what this story tells us is that the Chinese intend to blindly copy the rest of us, whether it makes sense or not.

| | | | | |
Civilian labor force ....| 153,993| 154,912| 155,081| 154,926| 154,504| -422
Employment ............| 141,578| 140,591| 140,570| 140,196| 140,041| -155
Unemployment ..........| 12,415| 14,321| 14,511| 14,729| 14,462| -267
Not in labor force ......| 80,920| 80,547| 80,371| 80,729| 81,366| 637

The BLS reported Friday That 637,000 people decided in June that they would not like to be in the civilian labor force anymore even though they they were previously largely unemployed. I am sure glad that so many decided that they had so much money that they didn't need to work ANY MORE.
Of course if this estimate of what 637,000 people really want is wrong, then the unemployment rate would have been 9.8% in July. I guess all Governments and Wall Street want to show that things are great, even if they are not.

Hey, looks like I could get to test out my grid-down battery backup system, the current track has the weakened hurricane Felicia going right over my house.


Hello TODers,

It would appear, that not only is the train still accelerating full-blast towards the cliff, but we will do our damn best to make sure that every seat in every passenger-railcar is jam-packed full with innocent youngsters & babies:

Babies Are In: Fertility Rates Increase in Developed Nations

..“In advanced societies, children are very desired and couples are willing to sacrifice to have them.”

..“In the moderate stages of development, there are strong tradeoffs and children are given up,” he said. “As societies advance, the tradeoffs become less severe.”

..The findings prompted Stanford University researcher Shripad Tuljapurkar to ponder, in a commentary accompanying the study, “Perhaps babies will be ‘in’ again in the richest countries.”

[60-page PDF Warning]:
Population Media 2008 ANNUAL REPORT

[from page 3 of 60]:
I cannot think of a better way to articulate the importance of taking action than to quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King:

"There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily
available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims."

[info below from page 34 of 60]:

• The world is growing by 225,000 people every day.
• Of the 210 million pregnancies occurring each year, nearly 80 million are unintended.
• One-half of the world’s population is currently under age 24. To put that in perspective, there are more young people in the world today, than all people living in 1960.
• Every day 3.2 billion gallons of water are removed from aquifers that are not replenished by natural processes.
• Over 15,000 plants and animal species currently face a high risk of near-term extinction as a result of human activities.
• Dwindling natural resources have helped spark many of the 73 civil wars fought since 1965.
• The U.S. is now the third most populous nation in the world and has the fastest growth rate of any industrialized nation.
• High levels of consumption multiplied by unprecedented human population numbers have induced the climate crisis and the largest species extinction event in the last 65 million years.
Will 0bama heed the words of MLKing and jumpstart massive Peak Outreach? IMO, if MLK had become the First Black President: he would have never allowed himself to be corrupted by Congress, lobbyists, Wall Street & Goldman Sachs.

President’s Message:

A startling analysis of the numerous global problems caused by population growth concisely itemizes the various problems facing the planet and presents extensively referenced evidence of the central role of population growth in driving these problems to the crisis stage.

The crumbling infrastructure of many urban centers in the less developed countries underscores Sundquist’s conclusion that each one percent growth of population requires a capital investment of 12.5% of a nation’s gross national product just to keep its educational, industrial, commercial and transportation infrastructure, plus housing, land development and utilities at current per capita levels.

Worldwide, developing nations now require about $1 trillion per year in new infrastructure development just to accommodate their population growth – a figure that is very far from being met and is effectively impossible for these countries to generate. This explains why developed-world humanitarian aid and loans to developing nations of $56 billion per year have been ineffective in improving their infrastructure and why the infrastructure of the developing world is sagging under the demands of the equivalent of a new Los Angeles County in additional population numbers (9.5 million) every six weeks.

..“Saving a gigaton of carbon by reducing our 2050 population by 1 billion, through education for women and family planning information and services, would cost 1,000 times less than any of the other technical options – nuclear power, renewables, or increased car efficiency.”

John Guillebaud of Oxford wrote, “One less baby in the family, in the UK, equates to NOT driving 3 million miles (in a low carbon Toyota Prius!).

There is no more cost-effective use of charitable dollars than in preventing unplanned and unwanted births and reducing birth rates worldwide through information and motivation.
I hope TODers will take the time to read more than just my posted excerpts above because mothers are crying as their babies are dying..

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


We have little hope to avert catastrophe unless this is repeated over and over by the Vatican, the Mormon Elders, Fox News, Sara Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

Since the people in these circles will out-shout, out-vote, and out-breed people who are not idiots, we are indeed doomed.

David Suzuki part 5 of 5 [4:14]

"We are on a suicidal path...

... We can't keep pissing around, we have simply got to start putting our bodies on the line." [the closing remark]
I hope all TODers will view this brief video, especially any TOD newbies. IMO, the audience clapping politely at the end DID NOT emotionally internalize his message--they would all be upchucking their lunch en masse if they REALLY Comprehended what he is explaining about what will be required to save the biodiversity on our little blue marble.

Bob - Thanks for the post. I want to highlight some of your points:

• The world is growing by 225,000 people every day.
• Of the 210 million pregnancies occurring each year, nearly 80 million are unintended.
• One-half of the world’s population is currently under age 24. To put that in perspective, there are more young people in the world today, than all people living in 1960.
• Every day 3.2 billion gallons of water are removed from aquifers that are not replenished by natural processes.
• Over 15,000 plants and animal species currently face a high risk of near-term extinction as a result of human activities.
• Dwindling natural resources have helped spark many of the 73 civil wars fought since 1965.
• The U.S. is now the third most populous nation in the world and has the fastest growth rate of any industrialized nation.
• High levels of consumption multiplied by unprecedented human population numbers have induced the climate crisis and the largest species extinction event in the last 65 million years.

re: the last point in your post: "...the largest species extinction event in the last 65 million years." Scientists have already named the latest extinction: It's called the Late Quaternary : humans precipitated extinctions in many parts of the globe through combined direct (hunting) and perhaps indirect (competition, habitat alteration) impacts.

My question for you Bob is: Aren't humans simply behaving as any other species that will exploit any given habitat until it exceeds the carrying capacity?


Yep, that is Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision Theory in a nutshell. I hope we can somehow spread Peak Outreach sufficiently that 'Optimal Overshoot Decline Strategies' can become widespread enough that a somewhat smoother transition through the Dieoff Bottleneck can occur. I have lots of postings in the TOD archives briefly detailing some of these strategies & tactics. The rise of the Earthmarines is just one small speculative idea:


Time will tell..Thxs for your reply [BTW, thxs to any TODer that replies to my postings as I don't always have the time to read and reply to all responses.]

Chatham House report: Asian Companies' Thirst for African Oil

The report finds that fears in Western capitals about an Asian takeover in the Nigerian and Angolan oil sectors are 'highly exaggerated' - the oil majors still dominate production and hold the majority of reserves. Indeed, in Angola, there is growing fatigue among officials about the West's fixation with China's engagement with Angola.

Regarding Japan's emissions continuing to increase even as their population shrinks (slightly). This should not be entirely unexpected. Japan's population is rapidly aging, so the number of workers should be shrinking more rapidly than the overall population. To maintain the same level of overall per-capita output (per-capita here including the entire population), those workers will have to be more productive, which in turn requires a greater application of external energy (all else being equal).

I expect the Japanese population, like most developed countries, will yield their current standard and style of living only when forced to by the actual inability to obtain energy supplies.

Chrysler's corporate head office and technology centre in Auburn Hills, Michigan is a relatively new complex (circa 1996) and, from all accounts, quite energy efficient in terms of its design and operating practises. However, as this video shows, there's always an opportunity to do better and the company has recently reduced their utility costs by several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5fZ7eEsqBY


I don't get it.

Do not discount the threat of peak oil
Last week, the government published a review of the UK’s energy security situation. In a report commissioned by the prime minister, Malcolm Wicks, the former energy minister, pronounced that “there is no crisis”.
His findings were in marked contrast to those of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, which concluded last year that the economy faces a clear and present energy-security threat. The taskforce, a group that includes Virgin, Scottish and Southern Energy, Arup, Stagecoach and Solarcentury, was set up in 2007 on the basis of our shared opinion that peak oil merited serious study as a business risk. Some began with the assumption that the issue was low-risk but high-consequence. Sadly, we are now of the collective view that peak oil is a high-risk, high-consequence issue.

...when compared to this article:


"Britain is running short of power too—so quickly that some economists claim, only just tongue-in-cheek, that the economic slowdown is useful. “A recession is the best demand-reduction policy ever invented,” says Dieter Helm, an energy economist at Oxford University. Many power stations are due to close over the coming decade (see chart 1), and supplies are getting tight. The government reckons that, of a total of around 75GW in generating capacity, 20GW will disappear by 2015."

I realize the one is about oil ant the other about electric power, but there is a connection here...?

Yes, our government (I'm British..) is completely useless when it comes to energy issues.

(Similar to environmental, economic, privacy, transport, cultural and practically all other issues. However, when it comes to defending the rights of the financial elite to keep drawing eye-popping bonuses whilst being propped up by the taxpayer, let me assure you that our government leads the world)

The plan is to make ourselves utterly dependant on Russian and Quatarian natural gas, and then complain very loudly when the lights co out, acting all surprised when the Russians fail to act like free-market democrats.

IMO the only sensible action is to admit ASAP to the UK predicament and rapidly lower our need for all energy - this will happen anyway, as we won't be lent the money to buy imported energy sources of any kind, and that includes windmills - so, better to plan proactively for an more orderly descent, the sooner we start the esier it will be.

Do not discount the threat of peak oil - a tip for articles in the FT. If you are blocked becuase you don't have a subscription you can use the article's title to search from Google and view that way:-)

"...our government (I'm British..) is completely useless when it comes to energy issues...." Seconded, the past few years have seen our windfall recklessly spent expanding government instead of improving our infrastructure for the long term.