Drumbeat: October 3, 2009

Saudi Arabia: Kingdom fears fuel shortage

Endowed with the world’s fourth largest proven gas reserves, Saudi Arabia would appear to have ample resources of the sought after commodity.

But as the kingdom’s economy and population have expanded questions are mounting about whether it will have to face up to the unthinkable – a gas shortage.

The kingdom is now pursuing an urgent multibillion dollar search for gas that stretches from the Gulf to the vast, remote desert of its Empty Quarter. Gas consumption is growing at 7 per cent a year and this appetite is unlikely to slow in the near future.

Mexico's Troubled Oil Industry

IT IS bad enough that Mexico’s economy is in deep recession, triggered by its close links to the ailing United States. To make matters worse, the country’s oil industry, its fiscal cash-cow for the past three decades, is declining swiftly. As recently as 2004 Cantarell, the country’s main offshore field, produced 2.1m barrels per day (b/d) of crude. Now its output is just 600,000 b/d. There are no obvious replacements: 23 of the 32 biggest fields are in decline. Barring big new finds, the world’s seventh-largest oil producer is forecast to become a net importer by 2017.

New refineries put pressure on products

Dubai: Output from Qatar's new Ras Laffan refinery was expected to put pressure on diesel in coming months in the region.

Saudi heavy crude prices stay firm

Singapore: Saudi Arabia is expected to raise or hold steady the differentials for November official selling prices (OSPs) of heavy crudes due to firm fuel oil cracks but may cut levels for lighter grades on slow distillate demand.

Nigeria rebel leaders surrender arms in amnesty deal

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) - Hundreds of fighters loyal to two Nigerian rebel leaders surrendered their weapons and accepted an amnesty deal on Saturday after years of fighting in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

Greenpeace Activists Occupy Shell Site in Canada

(Bloomberg) -- Greenpeace activists occupied three stacks at Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Scotford site in Canada to protest against the extraction of oil sands.

Nineteen activists from Canada, France, Brazil and Australia scaled an upgrader that Shell is building on the site to convert oil sands into fuel, Greenpeace said in a statement. Two protesters have been detained, Greenpeace said.

Bill McKibben: 'The most important number in the world' -- 3 of 3

A young man asks how to approach issues of climate change with his conservative religious community. In response, McKibben shares his experience of people in faith communities who've come to see the "unambiguous de-creation" of God's world as a clear social justice question for the poor around the world, and how answering the call to defend creation is answering Jesus' call to love our neighbor.

Peak Oil, Revisited

In May 2006, I reported in reason that global oil reserves were ample to supply humanity's needs for liquid fuels until at least 2030, despite headline-grabbing predictions that our supply had already peaked. Afterwards, the world experienced an unprecedented run-up in oil prices topping out at $147 per barrel in July 2008, which led some negative prognosticators to get a little cocky. One of the leading doomsters, Houston investment banker Matthew Simmons, told CNBC in July 2008, "The idea that it's a bubble is all poppycock." He confidently added that the price of oil "is not going to collapse." Simmons advised Americans to move into villages and to buy locally produced foods and goods.

Following the July 2008 peak, the price of oil dropped to $33 per barrel; it has since leveled out at $60. Meanwhile, official estimates of proven oil reserves have increased slightly from 1.292 trillion barrels in 2006 to 1.342 trillion barrels in 2009.

The Chinese Oil Grab

The Chinese government is in a massive resource grab in Africa, which has huge ramifications for natural resource prices, not the least of which will be the cost of imported oil to the U.S., and ultimately the stock market and economy.

UK: Consumers let down badly by energy regulator

Millions of people are paying too much for their electricity and gas because Ofgem, the energy regulator, has failed to enforce a fair deal for the consumers it was set up to protect.

Citgo Workers May Be Endangered by Refinery Restart, Union Says

(Bloomberg) -- Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s plans to restart a unit at the Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery on Oct. 10 may endanger workers and neighbors of the plant, the United Steelworkers union said in a letter to federal regulators.

The company is accelerating the pace of the restart of an alkylation unit, damaged in a fire, and disregarding regulations, the union said in a letter, dated Sept. 25, to Michael J. Rivera, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration area director in Corpus Christi.

Oregon to get 2,000 electric car charging stations

Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. this week finalized a deal with the U.S. Department of Energy to begin developing and installing a charging network for electric vehicles across five states, including Oregon.

Green, but in the pink financially

Don’t be fooled, International Power is raking it in. That won’t stop the top 100 UK-listed multinational company putting its hand out for potentially billions in compensation from the Australian government for introducing an emissions trading scheme.

The company is using scare tactics to push its compo claim – threatening an investment strike, or a run-down of its brown coal-fired power stations such as Hazelwood and Loy Yang B, which might jeopardise Victoria’s electricity supply. These are frightening, but empty threats.

The end is near

The great global warming scare is over -- it is well past its peak, very much a spent force, sputtering in fits and starts to a whimpering end. You may not know this yet. Or rather, you may know it but don't want to acknowledge it until every one else does, and that won't happen until the press, much of which also knows it, formally acknowledges it.

Walruses Suffer Substantial Losses as Sea Ice Erodes

Half a century after Pacific walruses began recovering from industrial-scale hunting, marine biologists are growing worried that they face a mounting threat from global warming.

Ethanol May Not Need Its U.S. Tax Credit, GAO Finds

(Bloomberg) -- Congress should consider revising or ending the 45 cent-a-gallon tax credit for blending corn ethanol with gasoline, the Government Accountability Office said.

The credit “may no longer be needed to stimulate conventional corn ethanol production because the domestic industry has matured,” GAO said in an Aug. 25 report posted on the investigative agency’s Web site today. Ethanol production “is well understood, and its capacity is already near” a 15 billion gallon-a-year congressional requirement for conventional ethanol, the report found.

Ethanol-fuel program slammed in note

Ottawa's push to use high-level ethanol fuel in cars is doing little or nothing to cut Canada's greenhouse gas emissions nor will it, says a government briefing note prepared for Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and obtained by Canwest News Service.

Jobs data send oil prices tumbling

NEW YORK - Oil prices tumbled Friday as unemployment hit a 26-year high, sowing more doubts about the strength of the economic recovery and crude demand.

Benchmark crude for November delivery fell 87 cents a barrel to settle at $69.95 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell as low as $68.32 earlier in the day.

Heating oil and gasoline prices also fell.

Venezuela Assumes $40 Oil, 0.5% Growth for Budget

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela is basing its 2010 budget on assumptions that oil prices will fall and the economy will grow, President Hugo Chavez said.

The government will propose a budget Oct. 15 based on an average oil price of $40 a barrel, economic growth of 0.5 percent and inflation of 20 percent to 22 percent, Chavez said late yesterday on state television.

U.S. natural gas rig count climbs 2 to 712 for week

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States increased 2 this week to 712, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The U.S. natural gas drilling rig count has gained in 10 of the last 11 weeks but is still down sharply since peaking above 1,600 in September last year, standing at 832 rigs, or 54 percent, below the same week last year.

Natural Gas Fund Issues First New Shares Since July

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Natural Gas Fund, the largest exchange-traded fund in the fuel, issued 7 million new shares today, the first new units for the ETF since July because of regulatory efforts to limit market speculation.

Encana to launch new oil sands project

A year after dreary news blanked the oil sands thanks to a rapid-fire procession of project delays, EnCana Corp. yesterday said it plans to kick off the process to launch a new multi-billion project with a technological twist.

The recipe for the new project, called Narrows Lake, will be mostly steam-assisted gravity drainage with a dash of industrial solvent. Cenovus Energy Inc., which will be created as EnCana spins off its oil sands and refining business at the end of November, will use solvents like butane to help pump bitumen to the surface.

Oil sands firms disputing royalties: Alberta auditor

Alberta's auditor general says oil sands giants Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc. are challenging their royalty deals with the province and he suggests billions of dollars are at stake.

The two oldest players in the oil ands have special royalty agreements based on the value of the tar-like bitumen they process. All other oil sands producers fall under a new tax structure that took effect in January, but Syncrude and Suncor were allowed to renegotiate their long-time deals.

Gazprom starts U.S. trading operations in Houston

Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA, the U.S. arm of the world's largest natural gas producer — which is majority owned by the Russian government — is ramping up operations in Houston in a big way.

The company has signed deals for more than 350 million cubic feet per day of physical supply at several locations around the U.S. and is set to import Russian liquefied natural gas into the country.

Living on Chinese stocks

Another area that Whitman likes is energy. "The long-term outlook is still good," he says. "I'm one of those peak oil people -- I believe the world is running out of fossil fuels."

NY court rules in favor of Canada's biggest independent oil company in genocide lawsuit

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court in New York has ruled that a lawsuit alleging that a Canadian energy company aided genocide in its pursuit of oil in Sudan was properly thrown out.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan agreed Friday with a 2006 judge's ruling that found there was no credible evidence to support the claims against Calgary-based Talisman Energy Inc.

Scant Siberian Snow Points to Warmer New York Winter

(Bloomberg) -- Scant early snowfall in Siberia indicates Arctic wind patterns may reduce cold air flows into the Northeast U.S. this winter, contradicting forecasts that a weak El Nino will cause the coldest season in a decade, a climate scientist said.

Consuming Issues: How to save £600 on gas and electricity

Energy saving is boring, but one of its virtues is that once you've made the changes, you don't have to do them again.

First, free things you can do immediately. One very effective way of cutting bills is to heed the hoary advice of putting on an extra jumper and wearing pyjamas in bed. Why not keep the central heating off until November? That's worth £60.

State panel doesn't get the picture

A commission's proposal to regulate TV energy consumption ignores the power of consumer demand and market competition.

Let There Be (Incandescent) Light

It's true that compact fluorescent lights are widely appreciated among those with heightened "green" sensibilities. They are a welcome option for those who are trying to reduce their environmental impact. Replacing bulbs may be a small measure, but it is also something that can be done by people who may feel powerless or frustrated before the larger problems besetting our planet.

But many people also have a decided dislike of CFLs and will greatly resent the ban. While they may last longer than incandescent bulbs, the upfront cost is high; the light produced is not as bright as that of incandescent bulbs; they are slow to achieve full brightness; the bulbs don't fit in many old lamps; they can't be dimmed; and their lifespan is greatly shortened by using them for less than 15 minutes at a time. The manufacturers of compact fluorescent lights have made improvements on some of these issues, but their reputation is not yet vindicated.

Exxon says it didn't poison NYC's water with additive

Exxon Mobil Corp. didn't poison New York City's water wells with a gasoline additive meant to improve air quality, a lawyer for the company told jurors.

New York City accuses Exxon Mobil, the biggest U.S. oil company, of poisoning five wells in and near the Jamaica area of the borough of Queens with methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE.

High Speed Rail: A No-Brainer

Starting with a line from Madrid to Seville in 1989, Spain pursued an aggressive and determined commitment to high speed rail that, by 2012, will produce the longest system in Europe. This year alone, most of the country's €19 billion development budget will be invested in high speed rail. By 2020, López says, more than 90% of the country's total population will be within 31 miles of a high speed train station.

Here he put his country's achievement in perspective:

Shielded behind overly simple, short sighted cost-benefit analysis, critics complained with those arguments against high speed projects over years, until the success of each one of the new corridors proved them wrong and showed that in troubled economic times, the best investments for a society are the ones which improve equality.

History has proved rail's critics wrong in Spain, as economic development and rider enthusiasm followed it everywhere it went.

China prudent over tapping combustible ice: project leader

China will put environmental concerns as top priority in tackling ways to exploit combustible ice, a kind of natural gas hydrate, in the permanent tundra in its northwest plateau region, said a combustible ice project leader.

"We do not need to drill very deep to get the flammable frozen compound from tundra here in Muli Prefecture in Qinghai province. However, as the sample is taken out, methane gas is easily released into the atmosphere," said Wen Huaijun, chief engineer of the combustible ice project in Qinghai.

Review ... ‘Soil Not Oil,’ by Vandana Shiva

The basic message in “Soil not Oil” is that globalization and big corporations are ruining agriculture and creating poverty by imposing immense farms on the world that rely on pesticides, machines that guzzle oil and monoculture crops. Shiva argues that we should revert to small, organic farms that grow diverse crops and use human and animal power. The benefits are many: jobs, healthy and plentiful food, preserving the soil rather than depleting it and kicking our addiction to fossil fuels. Best of all, this helps the poor of the world.

But it goes further. Shiva sees soil as a metaphor for a decentralized and deep democracy. Soil teaches us how to be earth citizens and embodies “a culture of non-violence. … of permanence. … of dignity in work.” In contrast, the age of oil has brought “a rule of capital, of centralized control and coercive government, of pollution and non-sustainability, of injustice and inequality, of violence and war.”

CO2 limits coming, Duke exec warns

Limits on carbon emissions are coming either through legislation or EPA regulation no matter your beliefs on whether global warming is a serious threat, the executive overseeing Duke Energy Corp.'s programs dealing with climate change, renewable energy and environmental technology said this morning .

Emission Traders Oppose U.S. Limits on Carbon Credit Imports

(Bloomberg) -- Limiting the number of cheap carbon credits that can be imported from poor countries in a proposed U.S. “cap-and-trade” system will drive up costs for consumers, an emissions trading group said.

Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal Sept. 30 that reduces by half the initial limits on offsets from tropical rain forests and clean energy projects in developing countries compared with a plan passed the U.S. House in June.

Returning Coal’s CO2 to the Earth

Technicians at a West Virginia coal-fired power facility began injecting carbon dioxide captured from the plant into rock deep underground on Thursday evening, in an experiment to determine the costs and technical feasibility of carbon capture and storage.

Climate Bill Not Likely Law by December, Browner Says

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. lawmakers aren’t likely to enact climate-change legislation by the time countries meet in December to debate a new treaty aimed at controlling global warming, the White House’s top energy adviser said.

“Obviously, we’d like to be through the process, but that’s not going to happen,” Carol Browner said today at an event in Washington hosted by the Atlantic magazine.

A fine example of the social causality principle of inverted meritocracy (the scum always rising to the top in a decadent society), is the proposal of Blair as president of the EU. Less than 25% voted for his "labour" party at the last election and most of them were probably not voting for him but rather against other parties anyway. It's difficult to think of any person more reviled in the uk.
Anyway, you might wish to sign this Petition Against Bliar As EU President.
(Note that Bliar was stated on bbc to not wish to stand if he is too controversial.)
We, European citizens of all origins and of all political persuasions, wish to express our total opposition to the nomination of Tony Blair to the Presidency of the European Council. To sign the petition click here

Agree totaly. The idea that we get a EU constitution forced upon us without us ever having the chance to vote on it is repulsive enough. To then have that repulsive swine Blair given - without a vote! - the gravy train job of president is absurd. Some f****** democracy and exactly why I have no respect for the EU and refuse to be bound by is fascist laws. I would rather eat my own excrement than bow down to the EU. How dare a bunch of unelected swine tell me what to do. Seriously, screw the EU and Blair and the spineless tw@ts who sold us out to it over the years.. Starting with Heath

Hacland, Don't hold back. How do you really feel about it?

Treeman - do you have any idea how big a deal this is? And how utterly undemocratic this is? Do you? Are you British? European? The EU is a farce at the best of times but having a totally hated ex-prime minister parachuted into a gold-plated lucrative position by virtue of the fact that the Irish voted Yes to a constitution - on the second asking! - when we British haven't had ONE VOTE at all !!!!! This is about as democratic as Stalin. And you wonder why people in Britain are angry? This is evil, we are being shafted. We British tax payers pay a NET amount of 45 MILLION pound each and every day to the corrupt EU. And get this: the accounts of the EU have not been signed off for TEN years because of corruption. And now I am supposed to smile sweetly while a war mongering swine like Blair gets handed a job with A SINGLE VOTE being cast? Give over. And you wonder why we have no respect for the EU or the slime which works within it? It would be like Obama being handed the US presidency by the Chicago mob and expecting Californians to read about it in their morning papers, sigh and go back to munching their cornflakes.

I certainly understand why you'd be angry, as they've trampled all over your rights. But rights are just things societies agree on - and they can decide not to agree on them anymore too.

The politicians represent the interests of the moneyed elite, regardless of how they get in office. Elections are a device to get people to believe that they are participating and that they have some say in the outcome. Given the tiny amount of effort people put into learning about the issues, the vast amounts of money at stake, and the effectiveness of media and marketing, it can hardly be otherwise. In this case, they've skipped that step, leaving a lot of people disenfranchised and angry. So look at it as a good thing, as perhaps they've over-reached and will fail. But they were not going to represent you anyway.

Beyond that, you're obviously aware of the issues we're facing, and clearly the governing institutions we've got are not capable of dealing with those. In all of the social chaos that is likely to be in front of us, how likely is it that these institutions will survive for long in their present form anyway? Let them play their games and focus on those around you and what you can do for/with them.

The British Isles are often what I think about when I consider what happens after empires fall - a thousand years of one ambitious sociopath after another trying to take power and build a kingdom, only to be killed by his brother/enemy/former ally/outside invader/etc. How many people marched along under their banners, convinced in the righteousness of their cause? There's always another flag - let them wave it and get back to your own concerns.

Thanks Twilight -- that's a really nice little piece, and I am not being sarcastic.

It's really hard to know what will work -- going along is not the "answer", nor is armed rebellion. Ignoring the elites, and building up from where we are is probably as good as it gets -- until we become successful enough to be noticed as a challenge to the power elite.

HAcland, I quess it is hard to recognize sarconol when you are testy. I am about 12 time zones from you so the EU does not bring a virulent response. It really does not have much impact on my day to day life. (RANT ON) I do however think that the Chicago political mob had a great deal to do with Obama's election and I don't think it is much different anywhere else. The vast majority of politicians are in the game for themselves. Everywhere you go. If you are not part of the game, bend over. The only solice I maintain is that BAU is not going to last much longer. I do believe we will see a significant reduction in the production of liquid fuels in the next 10 years, possibly down to 65 million barrels per day, or even more if social disruption ensues, and that will truly change the game.
I quess what I am saying is I believe this reduction of energy availability is going to make many of the things we worry about moot. I also believe that it does not matter whether climate change is true or not, is a serious problem or not and should be addressed or not. The world will keep burning coal and all other fossil fuels until they are gone, or societal disruption stops production. About 5% of humans care enough about the environment to do something about it even if it adversely affects them. About 5% would do nothing about environmental concerns even if it cost them nothing, and the vast majority will do what is best for them, in their view. It depends on whose ox is being gored. I don't think we will change anything about our future by worrying about it or talking about it or protesting etc. other than by planning for our own future well being as best we can. This site gives me some of the knowledge and tools that I need to do that. If it makes you feel better rant on, bitch and moan, get pissed, (meaning angry in colonial english) or get pissed as in the kings english I just don't believe it makes a rats ass.( RANT OFF)

Ok, so we are both agreed: the best course is Anarchy by Apathy...

.. I do agree that in the years ahead the institutions we have built will be torn down but I will make any self apointed king like Blair wear two shirts before he mounts the scaffold. Most of us here on TOD know that we will witness fundamental change in how we organise our lives within the next two decades. But which ever continent we live on we let the Snake Oil men like Blair in to a position of power at our peril. These sort of meglamaniacs have mo thought for others. They only care for themselves.

Of course, if one is feeling a bit powerless in all of this, it's worth remembering that we do have the means to generate our own power, our own food, to elect (with great effort and usually expense) to take care of our own needs.

The response here is usually that if you try this, 'they' will just take it away from you.. but I don't actually hear about that happening. I tend to suspect that if the word got out that we have the capacity to take care of MANY of our own needs, and many of us snuck ourselves into that situation, that the powerful would find they weren't actually as powerful as they once had been, and the culprits would be so diffuse and insignificant, that they'd have noone in particular to target their remaining power onto..

I know, it's fantastical and unlikely.. but I'm willing to try it.

HAcland, there are plenty of elected hacks that will sell out their respective societies just as readily. The device by which any of these got their positions seems to be irrelevant.

Antoinetta III

That´s kind of like saying that the coup in Honduras is irrelevant because the elected president didn't please everyone with his policies.

I think that demanding the right to recall voting and referendums on important issues is a better way to keep politicians responsable than curling up in a ball and renouncing the right to choose in the first place.

If I was Brittish I would be angry too.

But wait!! How can Blair abandon his extremely successful post as Israel/Palestine liaison??? When he was making SUCH progress!!!! Boy he was so well-suited for that role, that was just handed to him on a silver platter, I'm sure his next 'gift' will be just as successful and lucrative.

Thanks for the link. I'm afraid I'll have to burn my EU passport if Blair becomes the president.

Three more banks closed Friday

That makes 98 for the year. Will we hit 100 next week?

Let's see, is that 100 or bust? Or, 100 and bust?

Greg in Missouri: On the topic of news relating to banks going bankrupt, is an article link below about how the dollar has plummeted 14% against a basket of currencies just since March.


China is of course continuing to push for a single world currency. I'm figuring they want to do this to spread the risk of their investment in US bonds.

"Why not keep the central heating off until November? That's worth £60."

Certainly wouldn't work in Canada and northern American states where winter is already beginning.

"Shiva argues that we should revert to small, organic farms that grow diverse crops and use human and animal power. The benefits are many: jobs, healthy and plentiful food, preserving the soil rather than depleting it and kicking our addiction to fossil fuels. Best of all, this helps the poor of the world."

Speaking as a farm boy who prefers to be a city slicker, I don't see this happening. The migration from rural to urban areas everywhere in the world isn't just related to jobs. Farming is hard physical labour outside in all kinds of weather. If you have livestock of any kind, it ties you down to the land. Harvest season is always a gamble because of the weather and commodity prices. Life is easier in the city.

Life is easier in the city.

Dale, I certainly agree from experience with your observations on why people would rather live in town than farm. However I don’t agree that life WILL be easier in the city. If the flow from agriculture becomes intermittent as well as other inputs, life in a town may well become a lot harder.
However most of the advocacy that Shiva and others take part in is well ahead of the curve of decline in my opinion. I think industrial agriculture will maintain some momentum for a good while and only gradually and unevenly decline as political and financial factors begin to take hold. In some areas it may look like collapse and others a slow contraction. So it will depend upon what city (and country) you are in. If I were betting I would say I would rather live in Toronto than London England. For me the ideal is living in a small town surrounded by somewhat farmable land where there will be possibilities for local solutions as the need arises. Hopefully this will be in a somewhat politically stable region.
In an event I think many of us under estimated the inertia of our present arrangements, expecting Willy E Coyote events when in fact we are seeing incremental events of differing scales adding up to a decline. The slowing of our economic arrangements will happen over a longer time frame. I am not opposed to any of these life boat efforts, however today most solutions apply to those rich in money and time. I believe they also underestimate the danger of the political and security environment that will be faced.
For those of us with more modest means we must think in terms of in situ solutions. Those of us who are older will continue to live and die in our present circumstances and any actions we take must be relevant to where we are and to what we think will happen here. Moving out of town either on our own or into designer communities is out of the question for the majority. As I have said before, it will be up to our children and grand children to work through the economic and political turmoil and hopefully develop a more stable, sustainable arrangement.

This is pretty much my vision of the future, too, boring as it is.

Your point about lifeboats is one Greer often makes. Building for an imagined future is risky. Whatever you're imagining the future will be like, you're probably wrong. Whatever you do has to make economic sense now, not just in your imagined future. Unless, of course, you're filthy rich like Rainwater and Simmons. Then your lifeboat is just one more diversification in your vast portfolio.

Rainwater and Simmons are straw men that you are using to argue that it is a waste of time to prepare - especially since one can

The Comment box is not working right. Maybe more later.


On the contrary. I do not think it's a waste of time to prepare. But as Greer points out, for most of us, the preparations must make economic sense now, as well as in our imagined future.

I notice the caveat 'for most of us.'

It may be true that 'for most of us', money is the only means we have to value things, investments, and activity.

But that is only because we have stripped any discussion of morality from economics.


I agree that preparations must, as much as possible, make sense for our present day lives as well as future scenarios.

When we decided to opt out of metropolitan life and purchase a remote farm in the praire, it worked for our family (young kids- wide open spaces- good schools and community) and for our work- both trained in agriculture sciences. I knew that with or without collapse, this was a good decision for our family.

**one of the downsides seldom discussed is the loss of "prestige" I've noticed having made the move. One of my colleagues, whose sole job is a rural activist (living in the urban core), said to me that if I moved away to the county I would "cease to exist in high professional circles." He ate those words because he realized his bread and butter is promoting rural area. Duh! But he was right. One of my clients said that he didn't want to hire me anymore since I lived "way out there." I have to remind myself that there is more to life than maintaining my rank inside the "in" crowd. But it is hard.

I have to remember and ask myself "what is a life well led?" I've dreamed of farming, of being a farmer... Now I am living out that dream. So I will finish my coffee and go harvest chamomile for tea and basil for the last big batch of pesto for the year.

This is pretty much my vision of the future, too, boring as it is.

Respectfully, I think your vision is glossing over too many important linkages.

When I would discuss the future, I often used this graph:

and then mentioned that a collapse could not be ruled out after we have descended some number of steps.

I've since become more confident that a collapse is almost 100% likely, essentially because the economic system we have now cannot work long in contraction phase. I believe the banks are likely insolvent now and the losses are being hidden. Their hope is for the economy to come back thus re-inflating their assets and in the meantime they simply tell everyone "move along, nothing to see here" and hope to get away with it as long as they can.

For instance, in the residential mortgage market, the shadow inventory keeps increasing because the banks do not want to write down their losses — if they did they would likely be shown to be insolvent. In the graph below the number of recorded trustees deeds is far below the notice of defaults — the banks are sitting on the properties waiting for the market to re-inflate or (more likely) the government to bail them out:

This problem will continue to get worse because we still have an enormous number of option-arms and alt-a's that are about to default:

The other shoe is about to drop with the commercial market, too, which has trillions of $'s of loans to renew...in a market that doesn't want to renew them.

Any bailout is just temporary because it would be needed again in three years time. One gets away with this only so many times before the FRN is worth no more than toilet paper.

All this is just the sideline show, though, because ultimately there is far too much money in the world for a dwindling energy base to support. It is often said that the fiat currencies we use are not backed by anything (most often gold being the preferred backing by the speaker) but that's not quite true. The currencies are implicitly backed by fossil energy, and particularly oil because of its pivotal role in enabling us to obtain the other fuels and resources in general.

With world fossil energy declining, the smart thing would be to begin a concerted effort to systematically reduce the fiat money in circulation, not increase it as is being attempted (the write offs are helping but every world leader is committed to "growth"). Eventually we could have the amount of money in circulation that can be supported by the energy remaining. Instead, once it is realized that growth is no longer possible, the system becomes unstable, with every investor waiting to make a little more money before getting out. In that condition all it takes is some fear-inducing world event and everyone runs for the exits, thus collapsing the markets.

That's the line of reasoning from the economic side (although I didn't even mention that every public company is overvalued if there isn't the energy for them to create future profits — I'll save that for another time). There is a similar line that comes from fuel shortages, political strife and so on that pretty much gets you to the same place.

I think a gentle decline or catabolic collapse or even the staircase model above are not likely at all. I think it will look more like what I'm calling the Early Staircase Model:

Some people say that it doesn't matter how much money the Fed injects because of the role of the FRN as the world's reserve currency but I think they are gravely mistaken. The system can take only so much smoke and mirrors before investor confidence is lost somewhere in the world and the other economics fall like dominos, including the much-vaunted world reserve currency. We are making the system more brittle, not more resilient. Brittle systems fail catastrophically.

I hope I'm wrong but at this time I think anyone who thinks we're getting out of this without the economy collapsing doesn't see how precarious the whole thing is right now.

More detail and history in the article below.

The Next Financial Crisis (It's coming and we just made it worse.)

Hello Aangel,

Thxs so much for posting that fourth graph, whereby instead of just a series of 'easy' stairsteps down [the first graph], the addition of cascading blowbacks and/or black swans could suddenly make a 'normal' 10-inch drop down into a 6-foot leap down. A shocking visual to mentally consider, I hope you can repost it often. Well done!

You're welcome, toto.

Here is another way of looking at it:

Notice that I have replaced the earth at the bottom of the pyramid with oil barrels.

Trace points out that we are in the largest credit contraction ever (he is peak oil aware) and I think he is correct.

Thxs for your reply. IMO, you could also replace 'economy' on your vertical with 'Peak Everything' as the economy is, of course, a subset of the Circle of Life. My feeble two cents.

I don't really disagree...except maybe in the timing. Eventually, yes, there's going to be a collapse and a corresponding drop in population.

But it's never been sudden before in the past, and expecting it to be sudden this time is probably not reasonable.

I do think the economy can collapse very quickly. That has happened in the past, in the very recent past, even. But I don't think economic collapse equals societal collapse. (Which isn't to say it won't be very unpleasant if it happens.)

Fair enough. But the y axis does say "economy." Perhaps I should point out that societal collapse is not the same thing to make that clear.

If you're right...then what Jografy (the original poster) said is even more true. As Sharon Astyk puts it, many if not most of us will have to "adapt in place." Or adapt in a family member's place. People can't sell their homes, let alone get financing to buy something else.


We've just finished a big conversation in the current UnCrash course on all the considerations around moving, staying put, etc.

I've just presented the point of view that if people have value in their real estate, they should seriously consider converting it to gold now before the value evaporates. In 10 years time 300 pieces of gold will make a person one of the wealthiest in their city. They can then start a micro-credit lending program so that people can start local businesses that bring prosperity to their community. That wealth can be put to very good use.

There's something I don't get about gold.
If we get to the point where what matters is what you can produce, who cares about gold?
The local currency movements e.g. Ithaca Hours, show you can have a believable currency without going to something so hard to produce as some rare metal, so why do you need it?

I agree. Like they say, you can't eat gold. It's not certain that you'll be able to trade it for food or shelter in the future, either. In recent crises, the value of gold has been mixed. It could be confiscated by the government. It could be of less interest than useful items like cast irons pots and soap. It could lose its value, like other commodities, as demand drops. I would keep some gold, but not put everything into it.

I am trying to follow The Automatic Earth's plan for how to build a lifeboat.

Nothing is for certain but here is the logic.
Many people in the middle class have the majority of their value in real estate. This will evaporate as the real estate market declines (ok, one thing is certain).
So, to retain the wealth that a person has built up likely over decades, take it out and convert it to other real items. It's not just gold but also equipment if one is starting a post-peak business and personal lifeboat items (like solar panels, etc.). If one is community oriented (highly recommended) use some money to rent a space to start teaching people adaptation skills. This will build social capital.
Will gold absolutely be the currency we use? It's not certain but gold does hold a special place for humans as the backup money of choice for many reasons, not least of which is because it holds value in a very small volume.
Rent until the prices come down then buy again using the gold. Someone will sell for the gold, I am quite certain of that unless anarchy rules, and even then likely gold will be accepted by someone.

see my post below.
interestingly history is on u'r side re gold; but that is greer & leanan[i think too]'s argument that collapse will be slow.

i think since there is No consensus we need to plan some for both.

Here is my logic:

I will own my home in a few (4-5) years.
Own it.

It will not matter if the market then values it at $10,000.
It will not matter if the market then values it at $1,000,000.

I will own it in either case.
I will live in my house.
I will grow vegies in my garden.
I will grow apples on my fence line.
I will harvest electricity and rain from roof.
I might even get eggs from my chickens.

I will do these things because my home is my home and not an investment vehicle

But are you sure you can keep it? What if taxes increase exponentially, as local governments struggle to stay solvent? How will you pay them?

What if a meteor falls on my house?

What if a bus runs over me tomorrow?

What if ...?!?!?!?!

In the end, we all die.
We don't get to take any of it with us.
Not our homes. Not our gold.

My in-laws owned a nice little piece of property in the foothills north of Colorado Springs.
Today, it is part of the Air Force Academy.

Shit happens.
It happened yesterday.
It happens today.
It will happen tomorrow.
And then you die.

Find the things you enjoy doing today.
Try to help prepare your children for all the tomorrows.
But you can't control it all.
Heck, you can't even anticipate it all.

Having a flexible attitude and an acceptance of change is fundamentally more important than trying to plan it all out. No plan survives contact with the enemy Of course, that doesn't mean that plans aren't useful. They help organize activity aimed at achieving goals. If the goal is to build 'social capital', you don't have to do that by spinning real estate values into gold. If the goal is to build social capital, how about baking some zucchini bread and bringing it over to your neighbor. Today. Or walk over to an elderly neighbor and ask if there are any 'getting ready for winter' tasks you can help with. Today.

I'm working through these issues myself, now. I'm realigning my expectations of what retirement should be, could be, and is. In a world, in a nation, with declining per capita GDP (as I expect is at least 45% likely, way way more likely than I thought 10 years ago), chasing wealth just seems to be a sucker's game. But, hey, that is human nature. No hard feelings towards those who wish to play that game. Just making sure that the choice of 'opting out' is given a place at the table.

Please watch your language.

And I think the chances of being unable to keep up with taxes is much, much higher and more catastrophic than a meteor strike. It's something retirees faced every day, even before peak oil and the financial crisis.

This is why the TAE recommends renting, unless you have enough to pay off the property in full, and have a stash of cash to pay possibly spiraling property taxes. For most people, their home is a huge part of their personal wealth. That's what makes it risky. It's a financial monoculture.

I wouldn't put it all in gold, either, mind.

Regarding gold -You are entirely forgetting about all them shining gold-plated temples and places of worship that will be constructed when the real hardship sets in. The shinier the temple , the more glorious the blessings- Amen.

since u are in a position of 'advisor' i'd recommend a 'basket of goods-including some gold' since no one knows the 'direction this tree will fall. in fact sometimes trees being cut split in unforeseen ways, kickback, etc.
a storage unit/container with all the 'necessities' + a few tradeable goods, solar panels, etc. in the safest advice. I agree that selling for most is safest to allow for some mobility/liquidity; so i am disagreeing with the in situ as a good plan for most. surviving/enduring societal collapse in the most crucial hurtle to me.

i agree with u fully about eventual financial 'cliff'. we need to figure out the linkages to societal collapse, of course oil/electric/food are the evident ones the issue is measures. the ammo/gun sales, tea parties, racial divides to me bode poorly for the US.

thanks for u'r work.

Hi, creg, and you're welcome.

The point of view I explain above it just one point of view. Ron explains a different point of view. In the course I give people lots of views and then they pick the one that works for them. But I do try to challenge people's thinking because it's easy to get in a rut and not see all the possibilities. For people with a second piece of real estate, it may make even more sense to convert it to (something like) gold while it still has value.

And I do recommend other items in the basket, including some of the items you list.

But it's never been sudden before in the past, and expecting it to be sudden this time is probably not reasonable.

There have never been global climatic restraints before. They continue to be seen to be accelerating, as predicted, and will continue to do so. Sensitivity is far closer to 6C than 3C. You can take that to the bank. If it were closer to 3C we'd not be seeing most of the truly scary stuff e already are (as opposed to more moderate changes like rainfall patterns, etc.)

The Earth has a long history of sudden climatic shifts. Betting one is not on the way - or even that we are not in the middle of one, is a bad idea, imo. Just this past week or so there was yet another new report saying, "Heck, we were wrong a few months ago. We're pretty damned sure we'll see a 4C increase globally by 2050 to 2070, let alone 2100."

If you consider 50 - 100 years catabolic, then you can ignore this.


While global climate change is outside modern human experience, civilizations in the past have experienced local catastrophic climate change. Not to mention natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. And the decline was still slow.

Anyway, we're talking about preparations here; there's not much you can do to prepare for climate change (aside from move away from the coasts, but rising sea levels are probably the least of our worries). And they're predicting things might actually get better for North America, at least at first. I suppose keeping mobile in general would be a good thing.

I think for most people, 50-100 years is outside the time they are planning for. None of us will be alive in 100 years.

However, one reason I am reluctant to move home to Hawaii is my uncertainty about how climate change will affect the islands. Drought, increased hurricanes, and rising sea levels could make the current paradise very unlivable.

I think Hawaii is a trap...the only way it has access to the vast grain fields of the midwest will be via boat. What will it trade for that grain? Tourism will mostly cease. Perhaps pineapples but will it buy enough to feed everyone on all the islands? I think those islands are way into overshoot and can't support the number of people who live there.

I agree, but a lot of peak oilers seem to like Hawaii as a peak oil hideout. They seem to think that other people will move away as things get worse. They also note that while it could be a trap, its isolation will also keep other people from crowding onto their lifeboats.

I think they're mistaken if they expect people to move. Sure, the movie stars and millionaires will. But a lot of the locals have deep roots in Hawaii, and will never move unless forced to. And the military will not leave. Hawaii is in a very strategic spot. For that reason, I expect the boats of grain will keep coming. But it also means Hawaii will be a target if a hot war breaks out (as we found out with Pearl Harbor).

While global climate change is outside modern human experience, civilizations in the past have experienced local catastrophic climate change... And the decline was still slow.

Complex systems with cascading collapses on a *global* scale. It's the large scale structures that would fall first, or last the least amount of time. At the end of the Roman era, there were still people alive, farming and living off the land, no?

Anyway, we're talking about preparations here; there's not much you can do to prepare for climate change aside from move away from the coasts

I strongly disagree. Setting up energy systems that are either flexible and/or made to take advantage of expected changes; build homes that work in the widest possible climate conditions or are suited to the specific location you live; developing food sources that are as resilient as possible, developing skills needed in a chaotic environment.... etc.

Coastal changes are not the biggest problem we face, they are only the most visible most easily imagined.

I suppose keeping mobile in general would be a good thing.

Perhaps, but that takes resources, too, and makes one reliant on what others have already done wherever you happen to stop. If they haven't grown food, you won't have any, either.

I think for most people, 50-100 years is outside the time they are planning for. None of us will be alive in 100 years.

But I was asking you. Whether we will be alive or not is irrelevant unless we are fairly immoral people.

However, one reason I am reluctant to move home to Hawaii is my uncertainty about how climate change will affect the islands. Drought, increased hurricanes, and rising sea levels could make the current paradise very unlivable.

But this is true regardless of where you are thinking of going. Every location will have challenges.


Complex systems with cascading collapses on a *global* scale. It's the large scale structures that would fall first, or last the least amount of time. At the end of the Roman era, there were still people alive, farming and living off the land, no?

I have no idea what you mean by this, nor how it relates to my post. Are you saying you expect Homo sapiens to become extinct due to catastrophic climate change? Perhaps, but in that case, there's really no way to plan for that eventuality.

Setting up energy systems that are either flexible and/or made to take advantage of expected changes; build homes that work in the widest possible climate conditions or are suited to the specific location you live; developing food sources that are as resilient as possible, developing skills needed in a chaotic environment.... etc.

I think those are better suited to dealing with peak oil than climate change. IMO, climate change is probably too unpredictable (at a local level) to plan for. Also, you may have to move, so putting a lot of your resources into a home is not a good idea, unless you have resources to spare.

Perhaps, but that takes resources, too, and makes one reliant on what others have already done wherever you happen to stop. If they haven't grown food, you won't have any, either.

I realize that. But you're in that boat if you have to move anyway. If you have some skills and resources to offer, you'll be more welcome than if you're fleeing with what you grabbed as you evacuated.

But I was asking you. Whether we will be alive or not is irrelevant unless we are fairly immoral people.

I think we are fairly immoral people.

But this is true regardless of where you are thinking of going. Every location will have challenges.

Yes, but not every location has the potential to be an Easter Island-like trap that you cannot escape.

I have no idea what you mean by this

You were saying collapse is likely to be catabolic. I was pointing out things are much more interconnected, thus more fragile, and that AGW is likely to strongly reinforce cascading failures.

H. Sap.? No, not really. Civilization if we don't cap at 2C? Almost certainly. Pockets, of course, even regions will survive (think the Church keeping literature/info alive), but this structure we have now? Gone.

As for what we can or can't prepare for, that is a constant, thus not a point of contention. Survival in either the best or worst case will be a matter largely of chance. We all have to take our best guess and act on it. I find the debates about catabolic vs. fast and how to deal with them a bit like debating whether a sweater is better for tomorrow's chill or a light coat. It comes down to individual choice, circumstance, values, beliefs, skills, etc. There is no this way or that way. Hawaii will be great for some, death for others.

Much more useful is to simply share info and take from each source what works for you and the choice you end up making.

As to what is better suited for what, see above. There is no better or worse. It's very situation specific. I see everything I listed as being dead-on important for climate change. Your form of shelter, for example, will be very, very important. I preferred a place with a basement that showed no signs of seepage or flooding. It's a natural A/C. Luckily, we found it. At least, if our escrow goes through and we stay long-term where we are.

Boat? How many have boats? Not many. Cars? Far more. Good luck to them getting fuel, rubber, hoses, batteries.... There is no right answer. I'm in the settle in and prepare crowd, but I have a diesel 4x4 so can go away if need be - good roads or bad. I'm fairly well covered compared to many, I suppose. (Especially considering up to mid-July I was living in a concrete jungle with no way of prepping for anything and now have the 4x4, (likely) a home we can fit a goodly number of family and friends into, land nearby to expropriate for food production and a network of people who are at least on board with the food production bit.)

Immoral? Yes. Collectively stupid as rocks, even more so.


"I think industrial agriculture will maintain some momentum for a good while and only gradually and unevenly decline as political and financial factors begin to take hold. In some areas it may look like collapse and others a slow contraction."

There are two factors that I look at here in Alberta, climate and Peak Oil economics. Even in the 1980s, agricultural production's centre was slowly shifting northward in the province as dry summers became more frequent in southern Alberta. If I were a young man graduating from university today, I would settle in the Edmonton or Peace River districts instead of going south to Calgary as I did in 1978. Southern Alberta still produces crops but more and more land is going to rangeland pasture. I won't live to see it but I expect the area south of the Trans-Canada Highway will be entirely cowboy country in the grandchildren's time.

Peak Oil has a couple of aspects, actual supply and price, that will affect Alberta farmers. Supply won't be a problem because we have the oilsands, but that oil is not sheltered from world prices, so future farmers of Alberta will suffer the same financial problems as their American counterparts.

Easier in the city? Shiva wisdom will likely be proven when food becomes scarce and commands the price it deserves. The main hardship for farmers is economic. Hard physical labor within limits is good for us.

Our (USA) free enterprise economic system has good features but it is not the economic miracle it is made out to be. The sociopathic nature of our economic system has been devastating to the farming community.

Shiva basic proposal has a healthy long tern focus while our myopic short term food production system is a slow painful road to disaster. Our system works if the goal is to get a few people rich. Shiva works if the goal is to have a health farming community.

From a medical standpoint, I would say that hard physical labor does introduce random variation - if the farmer gets hurt in an accident of some sort, then the entire family will suffer if there is no safety net and few alternatives. Hard physical labor (this is especially the case for carrying heavy loads and repetitive actions such as painting houses) will result in early disability from back pain and shoulder problems.

I agree though that having to make a large profit farming in order to compete with goods made via industrial agriculture is the single largest hardship for small farmers in the US right now.

The FDIC is Out of Money – Now What?

What is this all about? Why not tap the Treasury credit line? Other than the admission mentioned above, there is a battle between FDIC head Sheila Bair and the Treasury’s Timothy Geithner. Bair wants the FDIC to be delegated more authority to handle the financial crisis, while Geithner wants to invest even more authority into the Federal Reserve (that has really worked well).


Without getting into the myriad data and numbers related to all this – many of which are dubious at best – the answer to the question of “now what” that I included in the title of the article, is we can only wait, like all the government entities. They’re playing their final cards, and if the economy doesn’t turn around any time soon, which it won’t, there will be a reckoning,[ED: emphasis added] and it’s unclear as to how deep that further reckoning will go than it already has, as government and banking accounting data are being fudged in order to keep things from looking as bad as there really are, so we can’t really count on the numbers being told us as to the real state of the industry.

I haven't seen this posted here but if it has been, call me an idjit - I don't mind. The whole article reads like something from one of the more doomer-ish folks and I had to keep check the URL to make sure I wasn't on LATOC or Market Ticker but no, this is a blog run by some group named American Consumer News. They seem to think it's all Obama's fault which of course overlooks (or misrepresents?) the real history of this disaster but it's interesting to see this being laid out so plainly in what appears to be a blog for bankers. It makes me wonder just how much more they discuss out of public view.

Obviously if the FDIC needs more money it will be provided from some Govt. source because it is a form of insurance that stops people from making a run on the banks. I keep seeing these type of articles and they are a full court press by the right to discredit Obama, with the hope of winning future elections.

But keep in mind Obama has only been President since the end of Jan. this year. The mortage meltdown damage initiated with a major piece of regulatory control eliminated in 1998, tucked into the latter part of new legislation (by a Republican) being voted on just prior to Congress leaving for Xmas. That regulatory control that was nixed had been put in place since 1933 to counter what had lead to the Depression. Do you see the what happened here? After Bush Jr. was elected then more regulations were nixed and we had what amounts to another form of the same old depression we had before.

So just keep in mind when you see articles like this that the right is trying to move the blame to the other guys.

Prove your premise that there are "other guys"-two groups fighting for control of the USA economy. Which team does Bernanke play for-how about Geithner, Paulson? Greenspan?

Obviously if the FDIC needs more money it will be provided from some Govt. source...

Try reading the article before commenting on it. Or perhaps you read it and missed the part (even though it was the central theme of the half the article) that Geithner would love to loan the FDIC billions of worthless dollars but Bair is doing everything she can except to accept that because such a loan will come at the cost of ceding control to Treasury. The point the author was making (and which I highlighted in the quote) is that the FDIC strategy is to hang on until the economy recovers and hope that the Chinese keep buying US debt but A) the economy won't recover and B) the Chinese assumption of US debt is, long term, surely going to stop.

Yes, there's a pro-Republican, anti-Obama spin at the END of the article; I pointed it out in my post. But if you had read the article, you'd know that it's not Obama vs. ??(well, no one on the Right has a different plan than what we're already doing so Obama vs a hypothetical other plan) it's about Bair vs Geithner and how nothing either of them does is going to matter because the economy is going to stay in the toilet and the Chinese will eventually stop buying the US debt and then to quote the handle of someone I haven't seen in awhile here, estamos jadidos. Is that news to anyone on this site? No, of course not. What made it interesting to me is the fact that this isn't coming from one of the sources we'd expect to make statements like this. The fact that it's some right winger writing on a blog site aimed at the banking industry is the very thing that makes it news.

And: Whenever anyone points out reality some Obama fanatic jumps in and starts yelling. Nice summary.

How is it that you seem to not mention that Clinton had to sign that bill in 1998?

And Welfare Reform
And a really nasty forerunner of USA PATRIOT act.

And probably lots more I don't know about.

DMCA was a largely Democratic Party initiative.
Welfare reform was mainly Republican driven.

Both parties are out to get us, by my reckoning.

Re: Ethanol may not need its U.S. tax credit, up top:

The report was requested by Sen. Boxer from guess where and Sen. Collins of Maine. These two states are the biggest losers when it comes to energy policy. California has fought ethanol for years and Maine still heats with mostly with oil. Neither state is remotely self sufficient in energy.

Add to that the idea that ethanol gets the tax credit is not correct. The credit is called the Blenders Credit for a reason and goes to blenders who mix it with gasoline. They are for the most part oil companies whose product is heavily subsidised:


Removing the blenders credit is a death sentence for cellulosic ethanol and any other kind of ethanol because ethanol does not have tags on it as it moves through the economy. Any ethanol gets the blenders credit. That is the reason there is a tariff on ethanol from Brazil. If the tariff on Brazilian ethanol did not exist, American taxpayers would in effect be subsidising Brazilian ethanol rather than American ethanol.

Removing the blenders credit means Brazilian ethanol will be cheaper and thus will take the market that it can from American ethanol. So saying that ethanol is mature is irrelevant. It will not stay the same with the blender's credit removed.

Why not remove the oil subsidies first? They are much bigger. It shows that Boxer and Collins have an ax to grind.

The report's conclusions are just as true for oil as for ethanol. Let's replace a few words in the report:

The credit “may no longer be needed to stimulate conventional oil (corn ethanol) production because the domestic industry has matured,” GAO said in an Aug. 25 report posted on the investigative agency’s Web site today. Oil (Ethanol) production “is well understood, and its capacity (has) is already peaked (near)”

If ethanol does not need the Blender's Credit then neither does oil production need all the credits and subsidies it receives.

I recall reading that the President supported removing tax credits favoring oil production.

Any news on that front?

I am all for removing credits for both oil and ethanol but have a question. Do you know what the subsidies / credits / tax breaks come out to on a per gallon basis for gasoline versus ethanol? This would be a good comparison number as opposed to overall subsidies which do not take into account volume used.

Peak Oil Revisted (Bailey, linked uptop)

So why are people still worried about a petroleum crunch? Two words: resource nationalism. As I noted three years ago, the sad fact is that nearly 80 percent of the world's oil reserves are in the hands of government-owned companies. Even though there are no geological or economic reasons to expect imminent peak oil, the world could easily experience "political peak oil."

Most of the government-owned oil companies are badly run, technologically backward, and being systematically looted by corrupt politicians. Under the direction of the Castro wannabe Hugo Chavez, for example, Venezuelan oil production has dropped from 3.3 million to 2.4 million barrels per day.

As I have explained countless times, we saw Resource Nationalism in effect in Texas and the North Sea--Midland, Texas based Communists and tofu wielding Vegan North Sea terrorists respectively caused Texas and North Sea oil production to respectively peak in 1972 and 1999.

Unfortunately, there are early signs that the two groups have joined forces, with a radical blend of collectivist vegetarian activism, and they are presently attempting to seize control of the Canadian tar sands production--which caused Canadian production and net oil exports to drop by over 2%/year in 2008.

"Unfortunately, there are early signs that the two groups have joined forces, with a radical blend of collectivist vegetarian activism, and they are presently attempting to seize control of the Canadian tar sands production--which caused Canadian production and net oil exports to drop by over 2%/year in 2008."

Would that be Greenpeace or Total? Personally, I blame Goldman Sachs and JPMorganChase.

Even though there are no geological or economic reasons to expect imminent peak oil, the world could easily experience "political peak oil."

The peak oil deniers are already preparing themselves for peak oil. They will blame everything on politics and nothing on geology. They will never admit peak oil even if peak oil is two decades past, everything will be blamed on nationalism an inept buffoons running the their oil production program.

Ron P.

No, of course not. What does geology have to do with peak oil? I'm obvioulsy being sarcastic.

I'm amazed at how some people will accept the expertise of certain professions but not others. For example, if someone has a persistent short in one of their home circuits, they call an electrician. If they have a toilet that isn't working they contact a plumber. But if they want to know about oil, they reject geology. If they want to know how old the Earth is they accept religion, not geology. Why is geology a field of science a lot of people cannot accept? I don't pretend to know geology, so I defer to their data and conclusions instead of drawing them myself. Doesn't that make sense?

It's become a common pattern:

There is no global warming ...
Wait ... you meant 'that' global warming ...
That's natural.

There is no peak oil
Wait ... you meant 'that' peak oil ...
That's political.

It's a semi-conscious rejection of the idea that there are physical 'limits to growth.'
When a limit is accepted as 'real' there can be a variety of responses:
Okay, there is a limit. But that limit is off in some distant future
Okay, there is a limit but technology will provide a long term solution to this short term problem
And sometimes 'they' are right, if you exclude the fact that human population/economy will just grow until it hits the next limit.

It makes great sense Earl. Geologists are the last folks you want trying to convince others of PO. They are obsessive and anal to the point of producing region wide comas. I should know...I've been a petroleum geologist for 34 years. Just last Thursday I was beginning an even more detailed explanation of why I thought we should drill a particular well. My boss looked at me and said: "Please...stop throwing any more facts at me...my head is beginning to hurt". Honestly, that's what he said. And I'm spending his money.

IMO no geologist, engineer, etc will ever convince the general public about any aspect of PO. We argue with facts. Facts that we argue about amongst ourselves. The public won't listen to this chatter. They will listen to the spin of the politicians. And the politicians will spin whatever gets them re-elected IMO.

Mexico's oil extraction industry was nationalized in 1938, yet Mexico managed to increase its oil production until 2004 when it peaked. How could Ronald Bailey, the author of the above article, rationally be able to explain this peak since according to him the cause of peak oil is nationalization, not geology? Someone should ask him.

Mexico's oil extraction industry was nationalized in 1938, yet Mexico managed to increase its oil production until 2004 when it peaked. How could Ronald Bailey, the author of the above article, rationally be able to explain this peak since according to him the cause of peak oil is nationalization, not geology?

Nitrogen injection. They put Cantarell, their biggest oil field, on nitrogen injection, and injected about half of the nitrogen produced in the world into that one oil field.

Of course, as reservoir engineers could explain, this is much like increasing your beer production by chopping a hole in the side of the beer barrel with an ax. You get a tremendous gush for a short period of time, but at the end of it your beer gusher dribbles to a pathetic end.

Of course, PEMEX has other oil fields that it could put on production to make up for the decline, but they are much tighter and technically more difficult. Getting reasonable levels of production out of them will require drilling more oil wells per year than PEMEX has drilled in its history, drilling wells which are technically much more difficult, and at the same time cutting costs to a level that fit within its budget. This is far outside PEMEX's area of expertise (which is drilling a small number of simple wells at huge cost while keeping huge numbers of non-productive people on the payroll), so I don't expect them to do well.

It is an area of expertise that American independent oil companies excel at, but Mexico's constitution precludes them from drilling there. Look forward to Mexico becoming a net importer of oil in something less than a decade.

Did they have a lower tertiary trend on the Mexican side of the GOM?

Rainey -- Yes they do. Unfortunately PEMEX is way behind the cuve on DW drilling. Until recently I beleive the deepest water they operated in was 300'. The Eocene play is in 2000'+ depth. PEMEX did have 3 drillships under construction last year. Not sure when they are scheduled for service.

Shell Oil and others have been drilling right up to the Mexican border in the western GOM by international treaty Mexico signed long ago. Even when the drillships show up they still the $'s to drill. BTW....don't buy the spin that PEMEX and other NOC's don't have the technical expertise to handle such operations. Those ops are handled for them just like for all the big US companies: expats like me. PEMEX has access to the best DW drillers in the world. They just have to be able to pay the invoices. But their success is still tied to management decisions...and that's all internal.

" this is much like increasing your beer production by chopping a hole in the side of the beer barrel with an ax."

the american oil industry has been chopping holes with an ax since the dawn of the oil industry by excessive developement by rule of capture and voodoo pv economics.

Re: The End is Near

This is quite ironic, coming from Canada's 'Gamma Gazette'.

The elites no longer need to be told about climate change. They already know, and will make preparations if they choose.

The cattle no longer should, be told. It toughens the meat.

At least more Indians cannot immigrate to Alaska from NE Asia as the post Ice Age warming has closed the Ice Age land bridge. The Dutch have been living below sea level for some time as have New Orleaners. In the case of New Orleans if there is flood they will blame the Federal Gov't. for not providing billions of dollars more in levee construction, but complain if their gasoline goes above $4.00 a gallon due to environmental restrictions.

By and large, New Orleanians welcome higher oil/gasoline prices.

We use far less than the rest of the USA (New York City is the only comparable for VMT by residents). Large and quickly growing bicycling mode plus our streetcars (more planned).

We are the low energy transfer point for North America, so higher energy prices increase the value of this advantage.

We are a major support base for GoM oil & gas exploration and production, so some $ trickle down.

BUT higher oil prices hurt tourism.

Best Hopes for $4 gasoline and more streetcars,


New Orleans is also the low energy transfer point for imported I-NPKS to be offloaded from ocean ships, then barged upriver, or moved by RR. That alone is a huge business, and will grow increasingly strategic as the GoM crude and gas peters out postPeak. In the other direction: downriver barged grain exports get transferred to the ocean ships.

I'm sure that Las Vegas and the folks who expect that it's perfectly natural to live in distant wilderness with a truck as an umbilical to the world will be howling first.

Lawrence Solomon is just another petty denier of anthropic climate change with the same tired, dishonest arguments. He exemplifies why population collapse is the most likely outcome of modern human society.

The scientist-scare-mongers, seeing the diminishing returns that come of their escalating claims of catastrophe, also know their stock is falling. Until now, they have all toughed it out when the data disagreed with their findings -as it does on every major climate issue, without exception.

I quickly shot Lawrence the following e-mail (online E.B. is free with a library card here in Red Deer, BTW). (My reactionary brother-in-law just sent me a copy of Green Hell by Steve Milloy, so I'm in a bad mood)

"How can you say that the globe hasn't warmed over the past decade? That's not what I see from the very first graph on the Encyclopedia Britannica's online article on the subject. I see the upward blip from 1998 (from the strongest El Nino on record) and an otherwise upward climbing graph."

"here in Red Deer, BTW"

Red Deer, Alberta? The farm I grew up on was on the north side of Highway 11A between Highway 2A and Highway 2.

I was actually born in Eckville (50 km west of Red Deer) and my father originally settled there because he had been told there had never been a drought in its history. In the early 2000s, the first drought ever recorded there cost old family friends a good chunk of the their crops.

You must have been right near the C&E trail north of the city. I travel there quite a bit in my duties as Engineering Coordinator for the county. Lots of flooding between C&E and Hwy 2A in 2007. Looks like next year might be the opposite.

I received a reply from him (below):



My organization will soon have a feature on its site, called Ask the Deniers. With your permission, I'll make yours the very first question that I tackle.



I responded in the positive. Then I looked him up in wikipedia. He seems intelligent and well intentioned. (unlike the total dickhead, Steve Milloy). Of course, I'm yet to be convinced that AGW is a sham. But I will give his arguements a careful read (unlike those of the total dickhead, Steve Milloy). (Steve Milloy, incidentally has received funding from the tobacco industry and continues to argue vociferously about the benign nature of second hand smoke.)

new exhibition one block away from white house, found on yahoo news http://www.corcoran.org/burtynsky/

Green, but in the pink financially

Some more convoluted thinking from the lobbyists who want emissions to continue; apparently owners of coal fired power stations feel entitled to compensation for loss of income under cap-and-trade. Next bank robbers will want compensation for income lost while in jail.

If someone loses their home because it is in the path of a highway then compensation seems fair. In this case a producer of a unhealthy product (CO2) is being subjected to a slow phaseout. Give them nothing or better still make them pay for environmental damage. These brown coal (lignite) power stations produce up to 1.4 kg of CO2 per kilowatt hour of electricity. Australia was already supposed to be under cap-and-trade but it has been postponed to next year if the legislation can get through Parliament. The thinking was the Obama administration would take the lead but not so.

Hello TODers,

If this actually occurred: I bet this was an extremely intense confrontation:

Israel names Russians helping Iran build nuclear bomb

Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has handed the Kremlin a list of Russian scientists believed by the Israelis to be helping Iran to develop a nuclear warhead. He is said to have delivered the list during a mysterious visit to Moscow.

Netanyahu flew to the Russian capital with Uzi Arad, his national security adviser, last month in a private jet.

His office claimed he was in Israel, visiting a secret military establishment at the time. It later emerged that he was holding talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, and President Dmitry Medvedev...
IMO, just the fact that this secret meeting was released to the MSM indicates that the intended or desired results didn't occur.

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

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A confidential analysis by staff of the U.N. nuclear watchdog has concluded that Iran has acquired "sufficient information to be able to design and produce" an atom bomb, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The Times report was posted on its website hours after Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, arrived in Tehran for talks on a timetable for inspectors to visit a newly disclosed unfinished nuclear enrichment plant.
I would imagine that a lot of Mylanta & TUMS will be required, for both sides, as these talks get underway.

I have sufficient information to be able to design and produce an atom bomb

Not the most efficient or smallest, but give me enough 90% enriched Uranium (or Pu) and I can punch a big hole in a city.

When I was an undergraduate in Physics, there was a "joint after class project" to design an atomic bomb for the exercise of doing so. Easy, and then came optimization, more difficult. Then a hydrogen bomb, which is significantly more complex to design. I had a moderate level of confidence our H-bomb would have had substantial yield.


Hello Alan,

LOL, but don't spread the word. We need you for RR & TOD, not kidnapped somewhere to be forced to work on bombs. I would rather hear "clickity-clack, clickity-clack" than "click-BOOM".

I'm with Alan. Given, say, 100 lbs of U235 or Plutonium making a fission bomb is not a big deal. I think 90% of the engineering going into these things is about yield. That was really important when you could barely make an inter-continental missle and bombers had fairly light loads by modern standards. In the day of smuggling boxcars full of dope a big clumsy bomb would work just fine.

So I guess my point is that making a big fuss about Iran "learning how to make a bomb" is just more MSM and nationalistic noise to distract the masses.

With 75k of 235, I could make one.

Does anyone out there wonder how Israel got its alleged weapons capabilities?

Serious stuff here indeed. Could you go more into why you think the meeting did not go well. Just because it made MSM doesn't seem to me anyway to mean things went south. The BIG question is will Russia back up Iran.

Hello Ryeguy,

As the saying goes: "this is well above my pay-grade".

FWIW [not much!], the disclosure of this meeting probably results in public 'loss of face' for both parties. My hunch is that Russia loses more face than Israel overall in a global context, but it depends on how a person leans politically. IMO, it justs looks very bad to be seen as helping any other country nuke-weaponize in this day and age. ICBMs need to go extinct into nuke-genplant fuel, we certainly don't need more of these weapons.

See Leanan's DB toplink of KSA natgas shortage, then consider if KSA could be induced to help attack Iran with its Royal Saudi Air Force, along with US & Israel, in exchange for Iran's offshore fields. That would be a nightmare scenario for Iran/Russia/China. VERY High Speculation on my part to be sure, but I bet the SCO-org of Iran/Russia/China have talked about it. The Global Chess Game is very complex, no doubt.

According to Zfacts.com, the Federal Debt will reach $11.9 trillion tomorrow sometime. This would represent 87.5% of our GDP. We are increasing our Federal debt at about a $125 billion a month rate. This does not count the TARP baggage and other off book tricks of Federal Agencies. Whatever Washington does to prop up housing, car sales, unemployment benifits, tax cuts,lower tax revenue, or any other business or real estate welfare, the Federal debt will increase at a faster rate.
IMHO Keynes did not envision a fix for an economy that has been stimulated for eight straight years. Stimulation in this environment is like "pushing on a string".

So what do you think is going to happen? Hyperinflation? Ever deeper depression? Some kind of "dislocation," as LEAP 2020 puts it?

IMO, it depends on what the Federal Government does. If we run the "placebo" play again, we risk a run on the dollar, higher costs and higher inflation. If we try to get banks to loan on terms higher than 2.8 times family income or 10% capitalization rates on commercial real estate, we might face a Japanese long malaise. If the Government put in policies to increase savings (decrease debt), increase conservation, and stop its war spending, we would probably get a contraction in the economy, but could regain fiscal responsibility and set up a better future.
The Government must provide a "safety net" for our people no matter what the consequences however, and that presently complicates all options.

In my view, those are all games that can be played while we are on or near the current fossil fuel production plateau. They stop being tenable three or four years from now. We will either have to rip out the various structures we have put in (social security, etc.) or the system that supports them will collapse on its own. I'm thinking we'll try to keep the current system going until it gives up on us.

No one knows what will happen even tomorrow except in a very limited way (sun will shine somewhere, etc).

We live in interesting times.

"What is going to happen?"

The big question!

According to the Web Bot project (Clif High) October 25, 2009 sees an "implosion of the planetary banking system", with origins in the USA and the dollar being rejected by all 10 days later. (I`m quoting a thread from LATOC called "Urgent WEB Bot update 10/25).

According to Clif High, US govt officials will try to "get the rest of the planet to loan the actual wealth needed to restart the US banking system". It`ll be frenetic, frantic crisis much more scary than the 2008 dress rehearsal.

If you recall that "energy flows but matter cycles", then this crisis will be a well-managed necessary shadow play designed to knock out high-material flow to a greater segment of the population, without them raising objections.

High-rate material flow means food in plastic packages, cars with gas, books and magazines and nice clothes. One segment of the population had their access to high-rate material cycling largely CUT OFF last fall. These were construction workers and mortgage finance people and a host of other unfortunates, such as the auto industry.

But the process has just begun. And in order for high-rate material cycling to be PRESERVED for the wealthy and connected and powerful (the govt) a larger segment of the population will have to give up its access to high-rate material cycling.

It is a known fact that most people (except us TODers) WON`T willingly give up their access to high-rate material cycling. (Shows up as convenient food, shampoo, nice shoes, shopping, vacations, "middle class lifestyle", etc.) So how does the "higher status" group get the people below them on the food chain to give up what by definition people won`t give up----out of Darwinian competitive drives?

They need a huge crisis, one which spells "DOOM" if you don`t give up your high-rate material cycling (while allowing those at the top to continue theirs a while longer).
Well, they`ve got one coming....it has been building a while and there are suggestions they`ve been prepping for a while (the US embassies were asked by US govt to exchange currency in large quantities).

You can be absolutely SURE that they will exhibit ALL manner of CONCERN for everyone! (Just as they exhibited so much emotional angst over the financial crisis). This will be their spiel: "Oh you poor things! You will have to adjust! Oh we`re so concerned! We`re sending out food trucks, the Nat`l Guard is on alert to help you! We`ll fix this crisis in a jiffy if you just give us a chance! And if you don`t we`ll ignore you anyway or lock you up for disorderly conduct.....Oh we are SO trying to help you, so just stay calm. The food trucks are on the way now."

This stage will last for a good long while, I believe. It will kick off the major adjustment phase of this crisis, because it will finally remove the strong emotional resistance (and STIGMA) to get fully into low- rate material cycling lifestyles.

In other words: it`s low-speed material cycling or starvation and since everyone will be facing the same choice, there`ll be no more STIGMA to choose the low-rate material cycling lifestyle. By low-rate material cycling lifestyle I mean permaculture farmer, scavenger, recycle shop worker, etc.

The govts of the world know about all this---it`s probably in all the little information packets they give to starting govt employees.....they will make all sorts of noise when the crisis breaks but just watch who gets left with high-speed material cycling privileges when it`s all over....it will be the military and the top people. But really, who cares actualy??? This process continues and leaves them out of gas too eventually so nevermind.

The Pharox60 from Lemnis Lighting is yet another LED offering making some pretty bold claims....

World's #1 Consumer LED Lighting Company Launches First Dimmable LED Bulb

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Lemnis Lighting, Inc., the leader in LED lighting innovations, announced the consumer launch of the Pharox60 LED bulb available exclusively online at www.mypharox.com. The Pharox60, the first true replacement for the incandescent bulb, represents a transformative technology for consumers looking to cut electricity costs and realize a quick return on an investment in the most efficient residential lighting solution on the market.

Based on a breakthrough and patented technology, the Pharox60 is up to 90% more energy efficient than an incandescent and lasts up to 25 times longer, with an estimated 25-year lifespan. That's six times longer than a CFL.

See: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/worlds-1-consumer-led-lighting-c...

This 6-watt LED is said to provide the same amount of light as a traditional 60-watt incandescent. In truth, it produces 336 initial lumens, whereas a 60-watt incandescent provides 860 to 900 lumens -- in effect, you would need three of these LED lamps (at $50.00 each) to match the light output of a single 60-watt incandescent. By comparison, a 7-watt Osram Sylvania CFL mini-twist which retails for $2.00 to $3.00 supplies 375 lumens.

There's so much dishonesty surrounding LEDs it truly boggles the mind.


The Zetalux is in that same realm at a lower price, but does not claim parity. The Evolux comes closer to 60W output, and is a similar price, but has the irritating (and I believe likely failure-prone) integral cooling fan. In my office I went from 2x60W plus a 60W lamp to 2xEvolux plus a 2xEvolux lamp -- From 120W/180W to 26W/52W total. Not a bad savings but it would have been cheaper with CFL.

Only the Cree LR6 lives up to its advertising, of the LED bulbs I've tried. IMHO, at 12W it is better than a 65W incandescent or 22W (IIRC) CFL in every way except cost.

The LED bulbs do have several significant advantages over CFL, though. They have no short-cycle service life impact, they can have a very good CRI, and they are completely "on" in an instant.

It is also important to note that LED lighting is only now reaching main-stream performance, and costs are dropping while performance increases. In 5 years the technology may well be competitive in every way -- time will tell.

Zetalux - 350L and 7W - http://www.earthled.com/zetalux-led-light-bulb.html
Evolux - 1000L (optimisitc) and 13W - http://www.earthled.com/evolux-led-light-bulb.html
Cree LR6 - 650L and 12W - http://www.creeledlighting.com/downloads/LR6.pdf

Thanks, Paleocon; this information is helpful and I look forward to learning more about your hands-on experience with this technology. I suspect the next five years will push things forward considerably, as you suggest.


LED lighting is one of the few bright spot (pun intended ) technologies I see. The other are I see a lot of room for advancement is in high capacity capacitors. Note both areas are filled with con artists which seems to have become the norm these days so you just live with it. The sad thing is your typical investor can't split the wheat from the chaff so good just the best technologies could lose out lets hope not forever.

Another area which right now is really not getting a lot of attention is ceramic fuel cells out of the limelight a lot of strong advances are being made.

A very good bet on the future is that electricity in most areas will be limited and flex fuels important.

One area I've very skeptical about is solar cells this is because I think the engineering problems are large and will take a long time to solve before cheap solar cells make it. Its one of those technologies that always seems to be just in the future and never really today.

Overall I think that high technology can continue to provide communications and computing technologies the are usable under constrained power situations as long as we are capable of making these sorts of technologies.

On the power side I see two different area's are a big fork. Mobile power pretty much cost be dammed primarly for the military and some civilian usage and overall low energy storage for operation of communication equipment and a few nice LED's and maybe much smaller fridges/freezers. Very similar to offgrid solutions today but more and more mainstream. Event though I ragged solar cells they can already meet these requirments today so although I don't see the great PV future many seem to think will happen I do see the technology we have to day doing what we need it to do and it steadily getting better/cheaper over time.

Other stuff like EV's suburbia etc etc well lets see what happens with the infrastructure. Over even 10-15 years esp if the economy is in shambles failing roads and bridges will be the problem not EV's. Here all the hidden socialized costs we don't even think about become very very important and overwhelm the simple assumptions made by EV enthusiasts. Any look at the road infrastructure in most third world countries should convince you if you have money problems you don't have roads.

So electric or unfortunately coal/ng fired rail is probably going to be important. Even though I'm a huge fan of electric rail I suspect what we probably will see is a move to NG/diesel or perhaps ceramic fuel cell powered trains with electric rail coming in a bit slower.

This is H2 based but a CH4 solution makes a lot more sense.



And of course even shorter term modified diesels to burn NG and or pluverized coal or basically anything from diesel to SVO.

From a bigger picture depending on how things unfold one can see that what will probably happen is we will return increasingly to using water transport and abandon many of our cities that don't have excellent ports either river based or on the ocean. I can readily see us easily simply give up on major commerce of the water. Assuming population will steadily decline one way or another it just seems like a contraction back to the fertile river valleys along naturally or easily maintained navigable rivers and the ocean makes the most sense. With the inland areas increasingly reverting to wilderness with only the best farming regions remaining populated with train connections but maybe not.

We have to get our population under control no matter what and once we do it just seems to make sense that we probably will return to the Nile so to speak with the population distribution pattern reverting back to what it was thousands of years ago. When this happens is unknown but it really seems like eventually and that could be hundreds of years we will live in balance with mother nature certainly taking the best places at least for us and the most fertile soil but in exchange we return the majority of the land and seas back to nature to run their course without our intervention.

And assuming that technology remains and I see no intrinsic reason for it to disappear our computers will keep getting better and better and our energy foot print lower/constant and we will ourselves be changing steadily. Biotech will also continue to develop and of course nanotech will mature. Although at this point we are still human for the most part I think you can easily consider that the groundwork is laid for what ever species we will evolve into assuming we make it I think we will become self evolving modifying our own DNA to create a better us thats eventually simply not human. And very possibly melding with our computers.
That sounds scifi but if you think about it once we give up on raping the planet we will seek our challenges inwards and focus on our own shortcomings and why we have problem esp given the assumption we licked the population problem we are not going to stop bettering ourselves at that point. And probably finally really look outward to the stars to cover our innate need for adventure. If things go well earth will become a bit of a garden of eden a sort of evolving gene bank or nature preserve.

Or we manage to exterminate ourselves and just depending on how wrecked the ecosystem is some other species may or may not rise to intelligence.

Whats amazing is despite my fear the we will have serious and horrible problems in the short term I still see a bright future in the longer term. It may be delayed a bit maybe a thousand years or more but its out there. If you think about past civilization collapses you see that they set the clock back but not all the way and eventually we seem to get back on track a little bit better off and wiser than before.

I think we either make it in basically the way I outlined or we exterminate ourselves and eventually we will be forced to make this choice.

Either we control population and steadily shrink to a very sane level or we don't I just don't see any other outcome as viable. Sure we could make say break throughs in fusion or more probably deploy lots of fission reactors coupled with some massive renable project. Basically manage to solve our energy problems without really changing but then we will simply hit the next wall almost certainly clean water food and the effects of climate change. If we do try and save our civilization I just don't see us doing it without extracting as much of the remaining coal and NG and the last of the oil deposits as possible. So if we do the transition it will be with very little fossil fuel sources remaining in the end. We are not going to leave it in the ground. So whatever worst case scenario is possible for global warming will be the one we are dealing with and no way our land/water/fisheries etc can continue to support the ever growing population.
Right after oil we face even larger and more difficult problems and growing problems from not only global warming but pollution in general. BAU is certain in my opinion going to result in the earth turning into a poisoned shit hole with a collapsing ecosystem and depending on when it finally collapses 8-20billion people. So if we do dodge the energy bullet our literal extinction becomes far more probable or a collapse effectively back to the stone age.

Sorry for going so far off but I think looking way out into the future then working your way backwards helps you realize whats important and whats not. I love electric rail but outside of local use I see sea ports as far more important.

Makes you wonder why I moved near a city called Portland in one of the worlds most fertile valleys :)

Makes you wonder why I moved near a city called Portland in one of the worlds most fertile valleys

Yes, that's why that's my chosen landing spot, too.

So if we do the transition it will be with very little fossil fuel sources remaining in the end. We are not going to leave it in the ground.

If society doesn't collapse, I think we will eventually use all the easy stuff to get — it's just so concentrated an energy source it truly will be black gold. But if high tech proceeds at the rate you think is possible (I have serious doubts about that — I think we're going to see most of high tech go away, can you explain what need humans have for further advances? Do we seriously need more computing power? Aren't we just doing things now because we can?), we could get quite good at using renewables for our newly downsized requirements.

As for your point about reaching out to the stars, I think we had one shot at that and we blew it. Perhaps a manned mission might go exploring but not any appreciable number of us. Keeping people alive in a closed system for a long period is turning out to more difficult than we first thought (c.f. Biosphere).

This guy was a staff member under LBJ and Carter.


They're actually starting to talk about this in the MSM - the fact that there's a lot of resistance to Obama among the military brass. And unprecedented gulf, someone said.

Of course, they said similar things about Clinton.

An interesting side note is just because an officer gets out of the military, there is no sworn oath to no longer support the constitution.

To many civilians that oath is just a bunch of BS talk like politicians do, but to this retired officer and I believe most others, it is quite meaningful since time after time we have (and still are) put it all on the line for this country and it's constitution. This is something that may not be understood by many and to them, I say, it is their loss.

Another facet of our interesting times.

John Perry is a traitor to the Constitution.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say,
“We can always worry about that later.”

Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble
the national survival on such political whims?

OK, do I really have to state the obvious rebuttal here?

If anyone doesn't agree with President Obama's policies, then they are welcome to vote him out, and as many other politicians as they care to get rid of. They can contribute as much money to their political organizations and candidates as the law allows, hold signs and use bullhorns at live protests, and write their newspapers, television shows, ans Internet sites to voice their views. They can distribute leaflets to homes and folks on the street, and post flyers around the neighborhood, buy space on billboards, write and publish books, and on and on. They can file Constitutional challenge law suits aimed straight for the Supreme Court. They can petition their Congresspeople for investigations and Impeachment hearings/proceedings.

If a President is thought to be acting outside of the Constitution, then Congress can conduct Impeachment, and can in the interim, can zero-fund any activities it considers illegal; the Supreme Court can also strike down legislation and also Presidential executive orders that it finds unconstitutional. This is the system of checks and balances.

What folks in the military absolutely cannot EVER do, or even speculate about, is conduct a coup, bloodless or otherwise.

We are not some damned banana republic.

For every active and retired military person who would engage in treason, there would be 10 others or more to oppose them.

The Constitution clearly states that the military answers to civilian government, NEVER the other way around.

Anyone who believes otherwise has failed in their civic responsibility to understand their own history and concepts of governance; if such a person is in the military, they deserve to be dishonorably discharged.

Perry and his ilk are attempting to foment a second Civil War because they obviously hate American democracy, and wish to impose their ideas on America in an authoritarian manner.

Shame on them. Oppose (legally) their evil machinations.

And oh yea: Where in Hades was this guy and his nut-case like-minded idiots when GWB kicked off the bankster bailouts...and when GWB and the Dark Lord Cheney lied out their arses to invade Iraq to implement their plan to create an American protectorate in the ME in order to control access to the region's oil?

I don't recall anyone publishing a screed for the military to overthrow GWB. If someone tried, they would have been charged off as terrorists and been dissapeared.

And the fact that President Obama is black has nothing to do with anything. Trust them...

Good post up until the last line. IMO this Perry guy thinks Obama might be an obstacle to continual expansion of USA military activity (a spoilsport when it comes to sucking an increasing amount of blood from the USA taxpayer) so he is upset. I hope he is right, I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't.

Arctic seas turn to acid, putting vital food chain at risk

With the world's oceans absorbing six million tonnes of carbon a day, a leading oceanographer warns of eco disaster

Carbon-dioxide emissions are turning the waters of the Arctic Ocean into acid at an unprecedented rate, scientists have discovered. Research carried out in the archipelago of Svalbard has shown in many regions around the north pole seawater is likely to reach corrosive levels within 10 years...
At the rate things are CC-changing: Peak oil and eco-collapse will soon be in a dead heat [pun intended].

I find those who think there was ever a race between PO and AGW funny in an, "Yes, I'm high on acid, but I'm pretty sure that guy's coming at me with a knife - but that can't possibly be tru... urk!..." sort of way.

AGW has always been moving faster than all but a tiny percentage have realized, and has always been a likely civilization ender. Just because most didn't get it didn't make it not so. PO, on the other hand is merely a massive inconvenience. Were we facing only PO, it would be a **relatively** benign transition without too terribly much in the way of collapse and die off. And it would be much slower.

As I've said before, PO may knock s on our collective arse, but AGW has the capacity to end us (any sort of organized, global-like civilization) outright.

If significant numbers of people don't start thinking in terms of system wide responses, we are in deep, deep, deep, deep trouble. (As opposed to just FUBAR.)

We don't go more than a few weeks at a time, it seems, without an announcement that the science announced a few weeks/months earlier was understating the problem.


PO and AGW are both the result of burning so much oil. The more you burn, the less you have, and the worse the CO2 problem is. They cannot race each other when both are outcomes driven by the same forcing.

The effects of PO will be felt in the next few years-when do you feel the effects of climate change will bother the average person? Specifically, how is climate change going to end civilization and when?

I think climate change will bother the average person when it cuts our food supply. It may already be bothering a lot more people than peak oil is.

Most worrisome for me is that we can expect a period of extreme weather unpredictability as we settle into whatever our new climate is. Unpredictable weather is the farmer's worst enemy, whether it's ADM or a subsistence farmer in Africa.