Drumbeat: November 4, 2009

World Need for Oil Expected to Ease: International Energy Agency Says Conservation Efforts Will Trump Any Global Economic Recovery

The International Energy Agency next week will make a "substantial" downward revision to its long-term forecast for global oil demand, a person familiar with the matter said, marking the second year running the group has slashed its view of the world's thirst for oil.

The forecast of slower growth in oil demand puts the IEA increasingly in a camp of contrarians bucking the popular view that crude demand will grow briskly in a postrecession world. That view holds that long-term demand will grow at a fast clip because of rising emerging-market wealth and consumption in places like China and India.

...A person familiar with the Paris-based IEA's plans said "demand-management policies" are having more impact than previously expected in the developed world, which accounts for about 55% of world oil consumption. The IEA outlook, a guidepost for industry trends, is scheduled to be released Nov. 10.

Peak demand: Going big?

The idea that oil demand might peak in the foreseeable future has been gaining ground this year — and not just because the recession is making it a dud year for oil demand growth. An Arthur D. Little report we wrote about in February floated the idea that energy security, environmental concerns and price volatility would have a far more powerful effect on long-term demand than is broadly thought. China’s plans for its energy future figured particularly strongly in this paper.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates chief Daniel Yergin, long sceptical of peak supply concerns, also maintains that global demand could peak in the next two decades.

Jeff Rubin: Why is oil already so high?

It’s always easier to blame supposed culprits than it is to face unpleasant facts. Take today’s oil prices. Consumers complain about price gouging by oil companies. Oil companies point the finger at government restrictions on drilling activity. Governments blame speculators, while the latter blame the ever-weakening US dollar.

There is certainly no shortage of blame to go around. But is there enough supply? No one seems to want to acknowledge the inconvenient truth that conventional oil supply (i.e. the type of low-cost fuel you can afford to burn) has not grown since 2005, and may never grow again.

Never believe the oil forecasters

If there is one thing OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri would really like to get rid of, it’s analysts forecasts of how much oil there is sitting in storage in the world’s biggest energy consumer the United States.

“The forecasts are always wrong,” he has told Reuters. “Why do you carry on running them?”

Saudi Aramco seeks solution to crude problem

Saudi Aramco is worried about the price of oil, so worried that it has turned its back on a long-established benchmark — West Texas Intermediate (WTI) — used to price crude oil sold in the United States.

But it is not worried about the price so much as how it gets it. Aramco is switching from WTI, the benchmark blend of crude that is traded in the NYMEX futures exchange as US Light Sweet Crude, to ASCI, a price index of Gulf of Mexico crudes published by Argus.

Venezuela agrees with Saudi Arabia's decision to abandon WTI benchmark

Venezuela' oil minister Rafael Ramirez mentioned today that he totally agrees with Saudi Arabia's decision to abandon the West Tax Intermediate (WTI) benchmark which prices oil exported to the U.S. and added that Venezuela may follow the Saudi's suit.

US Cash Crude-Slates take shape, sours rise

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Sours led by Thunder Horse light strengthened on the U.S. cash crude market Tuesday as big buyers began to set their December slates, traders said.

Thunder Horse sold for 45 cents under West Texas Intermediate after bargaining Monday featured bids at minus $1.00 against offers at minus 50 cents.

Shale gas blasts open world energy market

The Sabine Pass terminal was meant to take about one ship a day but since it opened for business 18 months ago only 10 ships have come in.

“This big shiny new terminal was one of the ones built as the answer to declining US gas production and increasing demand,” said Steve Johnson president of Waterborne Energy, a Texas energy consultancy. “Now it’s in mothballs.”

It is much the same story at America’s eight other LNG import terminals. They are running at only 10% of capacity.

“We have had so much new production come on stream that all of a sudden the role of these terminals has changed dramatically,” said Johnson. “They are getting the world’s leftovers.”

Insight: WTI is losing its glitter

Less surprising than the change in the benchmark for Saudi oil sales into the US, whereby Saudi Arabia has dropped the West Texas Intermediate contract, was that it took so long to happen. Neither Riyadh nor its US customers have been happy with using WTI crude as their yardstick, even though it is the most liquid financial instrument available for oil.

While it is almost certainly wrong to conclude that the move will deal a knock-out blow to the benchmark traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, it is right to say that WTI has lost a bit more glitter in its crucial role as an accurate reflection of global oil prices.

Sakhalin Energy halves LNG output until end Nov

MOSCOW/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Russia's Sakhalin Energy liquefied natural gas (LNG) group, one of the world's largest, has halved its LNG output until end-November due to planned maintenance, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

Watch Power Paths on PBS

POWER PATHS offers a unique glimpse into the global energy crisis from the perspective of a culture pledged to protect the planet, historically exploited by corporate interests and neglected by public policy makers.

It’s a dirty business — the new gold rush that is blackening Canada’s name

A giant mechanical digger gouges out a chunk of topsoil, grass and tree stumps, extending a neat furrow that stretches into the distance. Dozens of similar furrows run parallel with the regularity of a ploughed field.

Yet no crop could grow in the pitch-black surface exposed by the machine working 1,000ft below our helicopter. This is the edge of a fast-expanding open-cast mine in the Canadian tar sands, one of the world’s most polluting sources of oil.

Mexico Budget Bill Is a ‘Band-Aid’ Solution, Fox Says

Mexico is trying to avoid a credit rating cut as a drop in oil production swells a deficit Calderon said on Sept. 8 would reach 2.5 percent of gross domestic product next year including investment by state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex. This year the government’s projected deficit is 2.1 percent of GDP.

Chevron May Forego Arbitration in Venezuela Bids, Moshiri Says

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the biggest U.S. oil company pumping Venezuelan oil, is willing to work in the South American country under contracts that ban international arbitration in case of conflict, a company executive said.

“Attractive fiscal terms” are most important as the company decides on new projects, Ali Moshiri, president of Chevron Latin America and Africa, said yesterday in an interview at a heavy oil conference at Margarita, Venezuela.

Venezuela: Help needed to make Orinoco flow

Sitting on top of what President Hugo Chavez assures everyone are the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has attracted interest from foreign oil companies.

Indeed, when he swept through 10 countries in September on his latest world tour, Mr Chavez collected investment pledges worth some $36bn from Russian and Chinese companies alone.

But despite being keen to get a piece of the pie, traditional oil majors have been more cautious about committing themselves to a country whose socialist government has frequently shown hostility towards private investment.

Statoil sees no firm evidence of a recovery

Statoil, Norway’s national oil company, warned that it sees no firm evidence of a sustained recovery in industrial investment, private consumption and employment, and promised to continue cutting costs in spite of the upturn in the oil price.

Transocean posts 33% drop

Rig contractor Transocean's third-quarter profit slumped 33% as it wrote down the value of rigs held for sale because of weak demand as results missed analysts' expectations.

Most oil-services companies have been under pressure to reduce rates because of a sharp drop in demand. However, the deep-water drillers have been less vulnerable because the sector tends to have longer contracts and charges higher rates.

6 hot electric car start-ups

Each of these carmakers is gearing up to be the next big thing in electric automobiles. Here is how they're charting success.

Cameco hopes to supply uranium to India

Saskatoon-based uranium miner Cameco Corp. says a multimillion-dollar deal is in the works to supply its product to India for nuclear power plants.

The Philippines: Gasoline stations shut down, start rationing

MANILA, Philippines - Oil industry sources disclosed yesterday that some oil companies are forced to close several service stations due to losses in revenues caused by the implementation of Executive Order 839 that mandated a freeze of pump prices in Luzon following the devastation of recent typhoons.

Sources said several stations in Metro Manila have decided to close because of the dealers’ inability to absorb the losses brought about by EO 839, which directed oil firms to revert their pump prices back to Oct. 15 levels in areas placed under a state of calamity after the devastation caused by tropical storm “Ondoy” and typhoon “Pepeng.”

Oil producing nations take a different view on carbon taxes

Environmental policies such as a carbon tax, cap and trade and regulations to increase the efficiency of car engines, worry politicians from Qatar to Saudi Arabia, where national wealth depends largely on oil revenues.

Recently, Saudi Arabia dusted off its arguments against climate change regulation. Though the effort was largely belittled by environmental groups and laughed off by policy makers in countries that matter more than the kingdom in determining whether December’s climate summit in Copenhagen will be a success, it reveals a fundamental view shared by some – but not all – oil producers.

Coal: The big challenge for US CO2 emissions

At NRG Energy’s coal-fired electricity plant in Thompsons, Texas, a train from the Powder River Basin coal mines of Wyoming pulls in after a five-day trip from Wyoming, loaded with more than 15,000 tonnes of coal. It takes eight hours to unload the 130-car trains, and then the next train pulls in.

This plant burns 35,000 tons of coal on a hot day to provide electricity to cool area homes. And bulldozers must constantly shift the coal stockpiled in a giant mound under the hot, noonday sun to prevent combustion as it awaits its turn in the 2,200°F furnace.

Lester Brown: We only have months, not years, to save civilisation from climate change

For those concerned about global warming, all eyes are on December's UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. The stakes could not be higher. Almost every new report shows that the climate is changing even faster than the most dire projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their 2007 report.

Yet from my vantage point, internationally negotiated climate agreements are fast becoming obsolete for two reasons. First, since no government wants to concede too much compared with other governments, the negotiated goals for cutting carbon emissions will almost certainly be minimalist, not remotely approaching the bold cuts that are needed.

What are we really arguing about when we argue about climate change?

Members of the public are drifting into the climate change sceptic camp in recent months and years. How do we stem the flow?

Goldman’s Currie Says Oil Drives Dollar Down, Not Vice Versa

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil, which has risen 80 percent this year, is causing the U.S. dollar to weaken, driving metals and other commodities higher, according to Jeffrey Currie, head of commodity research at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

While oil has risen, the U.S. currency has weakened, leading to speculation that the dollar’s depreciation is driving investors to buy oil as an inflation hedge, thereby pushing up the price of crude.

“I would argue the other way,” Currie said in an interview yesterday in London. “I would argue that higher oil prices drive the dollar down and then the weaker dollar drives the metals and soft commodities up.”

...“Oil represents 40 to 50 percent of the U.S. current account deficit, so a higher oil price represents an outflow of dollars that pushes the currency lower,” Currie said in the interview, after attending a Chatham House conference on food security.

Crude Rises a Third Day on Economic Data, Weaker U.S. Dollar

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose a third day as a weaker U.S. dollar heightened the hedging appeal of commodities and economic data reinforced confidence in the global recovery.

Crude inventories fell 3.28 million barrels last week to 336.2 million, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. The U.S. Energy Department will release its own weekly supply report later today. Factory orders in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, rose for the fifth time in six months in September, the Commerce Department said yesterday.

Rogers Says Roubini Is Wrong on Bubbles as Gold, Stocks Rally

(Bloomberg) -- Jim Rogers, the investor who predicted the start of the commodities rally in 1999, said that Nouriel Roubini is wrong about the threat of bubbles in gold and emerging-market stocks.

Many commodities are still down from record highs and equity markets aren’t on the brink of collapse, Rogers, chairman of Singapore-based Rogers Holdings, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television today. The price of gold will double to at least $2,000 an ounce in the next decade, he said.

Roubini, the New York University professor who warned in 2006 about the coming financial crisis, said on Oct. 27 that investors are borrowing dollars to buy assets and creating “huge” asset bubbles. Rogers said that he’s not buying stocks now, though he may buy more gold.

“What bubble?” Rogers said, when asked if he agreed with Roubini’s view. “It’s clear Mr. Roubini hasn’t done his homework, yet again.”

Total’s Profit Falls on Lower Demand, Weak Refining

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, said third-quarter profit fell 54 percent as the global recession eroded energy demand, slashing crude and natural-gas prices.

Baker Hughes latest oil patch firm to report profit plunge

Baker Hughes Inc., the oilfield- services provider that agreed in August to buy BJ Services Co., said third-quarter profit plunged 87 percent after energy prices tumbled.

Enbridge Third-Quarter Profit Rises to C$303.8 Million

(Bloomberg) -- Enbridge Inc., Canada’s largest pipeline company, said third-quarter profit rose to C$303.8 million ($286.3 million).

Petrobras seals $10bn China loan

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras said today that it has signed final agreements with China Development Bank Corporation for $10 billion loan, in exchange for exports of 150,000 barrels per day of oil.

The loans will have a 10-year tenor, which had been under negotiation since May, when the commitment was first announced.

Russia’s Lukoil May Start Trading Naphtha in Asia, CEO Says

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Lukoil, Russia’s largest non- state oil producer, may start trading naphtha and resume dealing in gasoline in Asia, a senior company executive said today.

The company stopped trading gasoline and focused on fuel oil amid a decline in refining profits for so-called clean products. When the “market structure” improves, this will change, said Gati al-Jebouri, Chief Executive Officer of Litasco, or Lukoil International Trading & Supply Co, a wholly owned trading unit.

Chevron in last stage of tests in Saudi oilfield

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - U.S. oil major Chevron has started the third stage of testing a improved oil recovery technique in the neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, it said on Wednesday.

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

Shell taking advantage of Nigerian peace to up output

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's largest oil company, said its Nigerian venture is taking advantage of a declared cease-fire to quickly restore 800,000 barrels a day of production lost to earlier militant attacks.

The Soku gas plant, shut down after sabotage, was restarted on Oct. 15, Ann Pickard, African executive vice president for Shell, told journalists in Cape Town today. The company is trying to ramp up production following an “indefinite cease- fire” declared by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main rebel group known as MEND, on Oct. 25.

Total, Chevron Stay Clear of ‘Mess’ Over Ghana’s Jubilee Field

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, and Chevron Corp. said they’re not pursuing a stake in Ghana’s 1.8 billion-barrel Jubilee field because it’s unclear how ownership is divided.

“It’s already a big mess and we don’t intend to increase this messy situation,” Jean-Jacques Mosconi, vice president of strategic planning at Total, said yesterday in an interview in Porlamar, Venezuela. “Jubilee is an attractive target, but then you have to understand exactly” how the rights are split.

Chinese firm buys US oil assets

Chinese energy giant China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has bought oil assets in the US for the first time.

CNOOC bought limited stakes in four deepwater exploitation licences in the Gulf of Mexico from Norway's Statoil.

Peak Silver and Mining by a Falling EROI

Mr. Moriarty stated that Mexico has so much silver, the country has barely been scratched. Even though it is true that Mexico has plenty of silver, it takes a great deal of energy to explore, develop, mine and produce this silver for market. Very few, if any analysts understand the falling EROI ratio and its impact on the future of the mining industry. To understand the EROI ratio, I would direct the reader to check my previous article: THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT MOST ECONOMISTS AND ANALYSTS FAIL TO RECOGNIZE.

Basically, the EROI is the net energy remaining after exploration, development and extraction has been factored in. When we just consider the energy coming out of the ground, this is called the EROI from wellhead. We also must factor in the refining, distribution and energy cost to maintain the infrastructure system to get a more complete EROI ratio. This will be discussed in a later article. But, if we just go by the basic EROI from the wellhead, Cutler Cleveland of Boston University reported that the EROI of oil and gas extraction in the United States has declined from 100:1 in 1930, to 30:1 in 1970, down to 11:1 in 2000.

Jaipur blaze challenges oil priorities

MUMBAI - The 50th anniversary celebrations of Indian Oil Corp (IOC), India's largest commercial enterprise, have become a blazing funeral with the devastating week-long inferno at its oil depot in Jaipur, the famed "Pink City" in northwestern India.

India's worst oil fire disaster has not only had the IOC golden jubilee birthday cake candles turning into fatal dynamite sticks, but again roused worldwide safety questions about locating industrial and residential areas near large oil storage facilities. "Big Oil" corporations can breed big fears.

Peak oil and population control

Dr Stanton happens to be one of the foremost proponents of population control in Britain, possibly anywhere, and has written articles and letters for anybody who will publish them, including his local paper and the New Scientist. But the latter stopped publishing him more than 20 years ago because - he believes - his views are regarded as being beyond the pale.

A geologist by profession, Dr Stanton has made a massive study of global population growth since the start of the industrial revolution, and suggests persuasively that the growth can be accounted for precisely by the advent of cheap oil. He contends that global oil production is at peak now, however, and that diminishing supplies will require the population of Britain to fall from around 60m today to just 2m in 2150.

T. Boone Pickens: Weening U.S. off foreign oil a security issue

NAPLES — T. Boone Pickens has put his energy – and a stack of his own money – behind a plan he says will help ween Americans off foreign oil.

He calls it the Pickens Plan and it finally appears to be gaining steam. He discussed the plan Tuesday at the Global Financial Leadership Conference, held at the Gulf-front Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

“It’s about America,” he said. “It has nothing to do with politics.”

Iranian police clash with opposition protesters

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian security forces beat anti-government protesters with batons and fired tear gas Wednesday on the sidelines of state-sanctioned rallies to mark the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover, witnesses and state media reported.

The counter-demonstrations were the opposition's first major show of force on the streets of Tehran since mid-September rallies that coincided with state-backed protests against Israel.

Iran Raises Uranium Output as Photos Show Need for Wider Checks

(Bloomberg) -- Satellite photos indicate that Iran has increased production at a uranium mine, underscoring the need for wider UN inspections to determine whether the country is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Evidence of stepped-up activity at the Gchine mine, near the Persian Gulf coast city of Bandar Abbas, is seen in pictures obtained by Bloomberg News and the Washington-based New America Foundation, according to four nuclear analysts who examined the images. The mine could produce enough uranium to craft at least two atomic bombs a year, experts said.

Crisis Compels Economists To Reach for New Paradigm

On Wall Street, Mr. Geanakoplos, now 54 years old, noticed what he saw as a serious market limitation: There weren't enough houses and other forms of collateral to back all of the large amounts of debt securities that bankers might want to create. So when investors demanded more "asset-backed" securities, bankers had to find ways to "stretch" the available supply of collateral.

Palm Oil Jumps to Highest in More Than 2 Months as Crude Gains

(Bloomberg) -- Palm oil climbed to the highest close in more than two months as crude oil advanced above $80 a barrel and soybean oil gained.

KLM to fly first passengers using bio-diesel

Amsterdam - Dutch KLM will be the first airline to fly a passenger flight using bio-diesel, the airline claimed on Wednesday. The Boeing 747 flight, carrying a limited number of passengers, will take off on November 23 using a mixture of bio-fuel and conventional kerosene jet oil.

The type of bio-fuel is camelina, a substance extracted from an oil plant. Studies have shown camelina-based jet fuel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 80 percent.

Energy Dept. awards money for electric cars

The federal government and some states are plugging into the future of electric cars with subsidies to develop charging stations. But their plans are generating opposition.

Australia, PTTEP to Probe Timor Sea Oil Spill, Blaze

(Bloomberg) -- Australia will set up an inquiry this week into a leaking oil well that may have spewed 30,000 barrels of oil into the Timor Sea, prompting calls for a freeze on new exploration permits from environmentalists.

Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the investigation will aim to find out what caused the leak, halted yesterday at the Montara field more than two months after it began. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said Australia should suspend all new drilling applications immediately.

Australian oil spill recovery plan could take 7 years

SYDNEY (AFP) – Monitoring the clean-up of a huge oil spill in pristine Australian waters could take as long as seven years, an official said Wednesday as environmentalists urged a wide-ranging inquiry into the disaster.

As many as 28,000 barrels of oil have gushed into the Timor Sea off Western Australia's northern coast in the 10 weeks since the West Atlas oil rig began leaking, raising concerns of an environmental disaster.

Is Buffett really betting on climate change? Or coal?

Freight trains could get a boost when carbon is correctly priced. But what happens when coal is the cargo?

Disney Co. spending $7M on conservation projects

WASHINGTON – Seeking to help fight climate change, the Walt Disney Co. says it will spend $7 million in partnership with three conservation groups to protect tens of thousands of acres of forest lands in the Congo basin, the Amazon basin and in two regions of the United States.

The projects announced Tuesday are designed to work with local communities to either plant trees or set aside forest lands for protection against logging.

SA builds 10 Eco-towns

At least $51,663,459 (R400 million) has been set aside by the South African government for the creating of 10 eco-towns. The towns being "created" under a project dubbed Buyesila (Give Back) is a direct response to efforts to protect the ecosystem and limit the damage brought about by climate change.

Oil and gas firms accused of failing to address physical climate risks

Oil and gas companies are not only major contributors to climate change, they are also uniquely at risk from the impacts of global warming. But despite the dual legislative and operational risks they face, many are burying their heads in the sand and failing to properly assess climate change risks.

Survey: Economists see threat in climate change

Researchers who deal in cold numbers rather than warming climates believe the "significant benefits from curbing greenhouse-gas emissions would justify the costs of action," a new survey finds.

In fact, the survey of economists finds 94% believe the U.S. should join climate agreements to limit global warming.

'Whitewash' could slow global warming: Peruvian scientist

LIMA (AFP) – A Peruvian scientist has called on his country to help slow the melting of Andean glaciers by daubing white paint on the rock and earth left behind by receding ice so they will absorb less heat.

Binding treaty no longer a realistic goal for climate summit, UN chief concedes

A legally binding agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions is no longer a realistic goal for next month’s Copenhagen summit, the UN Secretary-General says.

Senate Republicans boycott climate meeting

Their move, shortly before German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Congress to act on the issue, underscores the difficulty of negotiating legislation on global warming.

UN climate talks focus on how to cut emissions

BARCELONA, Spain – African nations pushed wealthy countries at U.N. climate talks on Wednesday to explain how they intend to cut their greenhouse emissions under the landmark global warming agreement being negotiated.

Yet as delegates from 192 nations retreated behind closed doors in Spain, fears arose over just what will be accomplished this year on fighting climate change.

Obama urges action as Europe ups pressure on US

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama stood shoulder to shoulder with Europe pressing to "redouble" efforts to combat global warming, but opponents in Congress made clear there would be no smooth path to a climate deal.

Russia Still Dragging Its Feet on Climate Change

Russia doesn't seem to care two bits about global warming, and it's not hard to see why. Most Russians would probably be happy if the country was a little warmer. Officials even joke that once climate change has run its course, people may start pouring in to Siberia instead of trying to escape it. If the polar icecaps melt any further, Russia would also be able to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean, where it's believed to have huge fossil fuel reserves. For the rest of the planet, however, the picture is not so cheerful.

Deep-sea Ecosystems Affected By Climate Change

ScienceDaily — The vast muddy expanses of the abyssal plains occupy about 60 percent of the Earth's surface and are important in global carbon cycling. Based on long-term studies of two such areas, a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that animal communities on the abyssal seafloor are affected in a variety of ways by climate change.

Interview with Dr. Michael Byers

It is still rather unclear how sovereignty over the North will be asserted by Canada. The North is hot right now as a political issue—whether it's Stephen Harper's visits to the North or the Russians planting flags under the North Pole. Your book largely dismisses most of these incidents as political posturing and theater that has more to do with election timing and political communications than anything to do with substance. Many politicians are using the "use it or lose it" approach to the North. What is Canada doing well and what could it be doing better in the North from an economic, social and political level?

Asia peatland loss 'helps drive warming': scientists

BARCELONA, Spain (AFP) – Scientists pointed the finger on Wednesday at Southeast Asian countries for draining wetlands for palm oil and cheap timber production, warning the practice was stoking dangerous global warming.

In fact, the survey of economists finds 94% believe the U.S. should join climate agreements to limit global warming.

Just when I thought the climate change group was gaining credibility.........

In the words of the Sharon Astyk,,,,"it's already too late".

So, it will not matter. Get a big board and ride the wave the best way you can for family and friends.

Nothing will be done, by anyone, until the crash removes the rose colored glasses.

We only have to give them a little more insights.

Why do we need a stable sociëty to function?

Most people need to leave their home to make a living. At some point when things go out of balance the decision for leaving your family and go to work will deminish the reliability of what we have.
We think that the people that keep our necessities going, aren't important anymore. But the strain on these people is growing, members of their family and friends are getting affected, this affects them also.
The offshore sector needs a stable homefront to function properly, when that fails the onshore sector will be affected also. This could cascade pretty fast.
The old knowlage is leaving our energy sector at this point in time, they are replaced by the powerpoint generation. They no longer have profound knowlage of our systems. Money to train them properly isn't and won't be available in the coming years.
Our shareholders are first in line and want all the money for themselfes, this affects maintenance and the joy of work in general. Worried people can't do their jobs properly. It is visible in my part of the world already and I don't think that's an exception.
Our highly automated energy sectors, are all chains of millions of big and small parts. To keep them spinning all sorts of sensors deliver the input to run and safeguard the installation. When they fail you can mostly continue by overriding that sensor. Managers are in charge of the replacements nowadays, these people are bonus driven and also worried.
We are capable of thinking away any risk that might arise. But we are slowly going from, 1 in 1000 to 1 in 100 to 1in.., the operators on the ground are the ones on the line, not the managers.

To displace a ton of sand you can use your hands, or a handwoven basket, or you could invent a wheel and make a wheel barrow, or a cart with oxes/horses, or a cart on rails with a boiler and some pistons attached to the wheels, or a cart with some controlled explosions chambers, Or a fire driven windmill glider. But thinking that we can do without the starting point will be a fatal error.

It's only multiplied human leveraged energy that got us here. (clever thinking)

Thinking that we don't have to think anymore because we have invented a machine that we think of as being smarter than us. Might have some flaws.

Thinking that we can solve all our problems by studying the thinkings of clever past people, who were thinking in their realm with the knowlage of that time in place, will never work in times like this. I only use them to get confirmation on my own thinking proces.

In my opinion it's time, just like we incorparated oil in our steam era, to incorporate the slower pace we have lost over time. Thinking to go faster and bigger will save us, has come to an end. We need improvements to keep us going. Improving older simpler ideas with present day knowlage/technology can keep us busy for a long time. Thinking smaller is all it needs.

Next step: how to solve the tribe thing, it's heating up as we speak.

Thinking without the bounderies of time and money is the most rewarding thing I ever encountered.

Ride the wave.

Save yourself.

No amount of information is going to change the minds of people who want to believe what they want to believe. It's not rational, we're not rational.

We're rationalizing animals.

This is only a specific sample of economists that, IMO, don't represent the general population of economists.

The survey approached the 289 economists who had published climate-related studies in the top 25 economics journals in the past 15 years. About half, 144, responded, and 75% agreed or strongly agreed on the "value" of greenhouse-gas controls.

“It’s about America,” he said. “It has nothing to do with politics.”

i think he means democrats are as gullible as republicans.

There have been several historical men named "William Stanton" but I was not aware of Britain’s William Stanton until I read the link up top; Peak oil and population control. Stanton and his wife, like Garrett Hardin and his wife a few years ago, tried to commit double suicide. His wife succeeded but he did not. A neighbor intervened before he could be successful. They should have taken poison like the Hardins who succeeded in their efforts.

I did as the article suggested and Googled William Stanton. I had to add the word “Population” to the search bar in order to weed out most of the other William Stantons. Anyway it was worth the search. I will try to find out more about this William Stanton and his ideas. From one article published in the ASPO newsletter and later discussed in the Energy Bulletin:

So the population reduction scenario with the best chance of success has to be Darwinian in all its aspects, with none of the sentimentality that shrouded the second half of the 20th Century in a dense fog of political correctness. . . . The Darwinian approach, in this planned population reduction scenario, is to maximise the well-being of the UK as a nation-state. Individual citizens, and aliens, must expect to be seriously inconvenienced by the single-minded drive to reduce population ahead of resource shortage. The consolation is that the alternative, letting Nature take its course, would be so much worse.

The scenario is: Immigration is banned. Unauthorised arrives are treated as criminals. Every woman is entitled to raise one healthy child. No religious or cultural exceptions can be made, but entitlements can be traded. Abortion or infanticide is compulsory if the fetus or baby proves to be handicapped (Darwinian selection weeds out the unfit). When, through old age, accident or disease, an individual becomes more of a burden than a benefit to society, his or her life is humanely ended. Voluntary euthanasia is legal and made easy. Imprisonment is rare, replaced by corporal punishment for lesser offences and painless capital punishment for greater.

Hardin hinted at much the same approach. Of course what Stanton suggestes is really out of the question. The public of any country would scream in disbelief and protest at even the hint of such measures. People think freedom should reign above all other principles. They simply take "survival" as a given. If they only knew.

In the arrangements of nature, freedom is relegated to an operational position that is secondary in importance to survival….. In a competitive world of limited resources, total freedom of individual action is intolerable.
- Garrett Hardin, The Ostrich Factor, page 140

Ron P.

Stanton's articles in the ASPO Newsletter caused a huge ruckus in the peak oil community, and were discussed quite a bit here and at PeakOil.com.

Hi Darwinian,

Most of us have undoubtedly heard of Edward Abbey ,a well known conservationsist and author of several books-a couple of them are very popular.

But most folks don't know the real or COMPLETE should I say Edward Abbey.

On the question of immigration he favored closing the borders-but suggested that each and every Mexican turned back be supplied with a rifle, a pistol and a case of ammuntion, saying they knew who thier enemies are.Any one who wants to know just how serious he was in this respect will have to read Abbey for himself and draw his own conclusions.

He also favored overhauling the tax system here in the states to punish rather than reward childbearing.

I have just finished a couple of his lesser known works "Abbey's Road" and "One Life at a Time".

He is a far more nuanced and silmantaenously radical environmentalist than most people dream and I reccomend the books mentioned as entertaining, eye brow raising serious early commentary on our present day problems.

Two of my favorite Abbey books.

"Society is like a stew, if not stirred frequently, the scum rises to the top"
--Edward Abbey

He is a wonderful clear voice who deserves all the credit and more that he has received.

Abortion and infanticide compulsory, come on. Some serious disabilities such as autism don't show until later and reduce fertility anyway. Other things like missing fingers are immediately visible,
practically non handicapping, and non-genetic to boot.

Though I don't think humans can carry out a truly good program of eugenics. I mean, what abilities do we really want in humans anyway? Lack of irrational altruism, the ability to follow orders, and limited capacity for discontent? Probably not.

If we were to do so it would be better to sterilize teens rather than kill babies. I don't think babies are particularly good to eat anyway.

New technology like DNA analysis could take care of that.

Not that I'm in favor of it, but I could see it happening. The strides we've made in genetics are unreal.

The problem is that "bad" genes now might be "good" genes in the future. There's a reason we have them. The genes that cause everything from sickle cell anemia to high blood pressure to diabetes may have had advantages in our past. I suspect preserving genetic diversity would be a good thing in the long term. Just in case.

The problem is that "bad" genes now might be "good" genes in the future. There's a reason we have them. The genes that cause everything from sickle cell anemia to high blood pressure to diabetes may have had advantages in our past. I suspect preserving genetic diversity would be a good thing in the long term. Just in case

There are of course some "bad" genes that are present at some frequency because in some situations they are good. There are also "bad" genes which are never adaptive, but for which the slow weeding out process is balanced by new mutations. Consider a mutation that occurs at some rate R, and is fatal if you get two copies, and of no consequence otherwise. The rate this gene is removed from the gene pool is 2*c*c (where c is its relative frequency), but the rate it is created by new mutations is 2*R. If R is say one in a million then you get an equilibrium concentration of one part in a thousand, and this gene NEVER does any good.

So what would you guess is the ratio between genes which confer some unknown adaptive advantage (at least at one time) and those which are truly useless recessive alleles?

I don't know what the ratio is but the number of useless or harmful mutations far exceeds the ones that prove to be useful.Selection can preserve a useful mutation such as sickle cell if the gene is expressed and the environment favors it-sickle cell is protective against malaria and very useful in a natural misquito infested environment.It is harmful in it's net effect otherwise and would eventually become very rare in a bug free environment.

Stanton is (reported to) consider a sustainable UK population to be 2 million. Since it has been several times that throughout most of recorded history I do not understand where he gets this figure from. Perhaps he is folding in severe climate change and man made degradation of the environment.

I do accept that 60 million is an uncomfortably high figure in a post-oil world, but I do not think we need to panic into the extreme authoritarian methods just yet. We are in a demographic bulge, most of the recent immigration has been economic and is likely to leave again in the next few years as the UK economy implodes like Iceland. We are very inefficient in our wastage of food, and as prices rise a little old fashioned wartime spirit would go a long way to cut consumption. It would reduce our rates of obesity.

It may be in 10 or 15 years, that we find that we are having trouble importing enough staples to feed the poor. At that time we may need to reconsider.

The UK will be facing severe hardship in the coming decades. There will be widespread starvation in the world. I do not expect serious starvation in the UK for at least 20 years.

IIRC, Stanton thinks 2 million is the maximum number that can be maintained with a reasonably high standard of living.

His view of "Life After Oil" was laid out in the April 2005 ASPO Newsletter (MS Word file).

This theoretical exercise is an attempt to calculate, roughly, how many people could live sustainably in the United Kingdom when crude oil, natural gas and coal are no longer obtainable in useful quantities by any means. The date is around 2150, and Earth‘s population is greatly reduced (Stanton, 2003). The UK is chosen for the exercise because its main component, England, has a longer population history than any other nation and, as Churchill said, “The further back you look, the further forward you can see.”

Today, UK population is about 60 million. In 1750, when the Industrial Revolution was beginning, it was about 6 million. It had never exceeded this figure, although during the Dark Ages and after the Black Death it fell to one or two million. Most people lived and died in poverty. Pre-industrial farmers were pushed to the limit to feed so many. The population increased slightly in years with good harvests, but starvation and malnutrition cut it back to the 6 million norm when harvests were bad.

So he concedes that the UK could support a lot more than 2 million. But he's assuming we don't want to live like medieval peasants.

Whether the final number is 6M or 2M really doesn't matter much. How you get from 60M to 10M, and in what timeframe, is the interesting part. Just not having offspring could readily accomplish that in 100 years, if only we as a people could somehow accomplish that. But getting there in 50 would take another mechanism entirely.

Well as someone living on the south coast of England - the South East which is one of the world's most densely populated regions - I can see what he means. Take away cheap, reliable energy at the current supply level and things would turn very unpleasant indeed. Throw into the mix that the UK is actually anticipating the population to rise by 10 million more souls over the next 15-20 years (most of whom will want to live in the south east and perhaps you can see why people like me and other like-minded folk are very gloomy about it all.

The US may have its problems, but at least it has lots and lots of open space. Cram too many people into one place, take away their creature comforts and no amount of stiff upper lip will stop them from scratching each others eyes out.

I am by most standards a bit of a doomer but I am not so much of a doomer to think that the UK will revert to medieval standards of scientific knowledge, general education and built infrastructure in the next 41 years. The UK population got by on sharply reduced food and energy inputs during WW2 and I am sure we could transition to a sustainable population of say 20 - 30 million population using the agricultural knowledge of organic / permaculture practices available today. UK farmers are highly educated these days and they may be a dying breed, but

There are too many variables facing the UK in the form of future wars, political extremism and climate change to predict the future with any reliability but I remain optimistic that it will take more than peak oil and a mere global financial melt-down to reduce the UK to such dire levels.

That said, there are rumours of a new 'black death' circulating....


I think Stanton is a bitter old man.

He may be a bitter old man - he's dying of cancer - but that doesn't mean he's wrong.

I actually think he's rather optimistic. His post-oil scenario is 150 years in the future, and he thinks we'll be able to maintain a fairly high level of technology. That makes him not really a doomer in my book.

That makes him not really a doomer in my book.

What ? A man who seas a population decrease from 60 million to 2 million is not a doomer ?

Not if it happens over 150 years.

Realistically, I can't see how peak oil won't mean a drastic drop in population. The only question is the time frame.

Peak oil is only a problem for major importing countries at first - that means the whole of the European Union at least!

The problem in the UK is almost certainly going to be a complete lack of adequate sources of energy, minerals and food.

Nearly all our trees were cut down centuries ago, judging by official statistics domestic oil, gas and coal will essentially be gone in maybe as little as 10 years, not 150. ELM, world population growth and a lack of finance will likely ensure that imports are mostly not available at any price soon after. The UK doesn't appear to have a plan B.

Back in WW2 we had half the current population barely supported by 100% organic farming and, despite the war, we still had adequate amounts of coal - totally different to today! As always, rapid change for the better is easy to cope with, rapid change for the worse is very difficult.

hi xeroid,

I totally agree with everything you just said. I would add two things:

1. During WW2 we had a lot more arable/pasteur land available. Since then a shed load has been built on. So not only do we have double the population, we have considerably less land to use for growing food. Also it is worth mentioning that a lot more folk back then knew how to farm than today.

2. Even if TS does not HTF, what are we going to trade the outside world for their energy? They ain't going to want our cruddy little fiat currency paper tokens if they can't use them to buy stuff back from us. Not only are we about to experience Peak Oil and Peak Credit, but we are going to have a ringside seat when the world final realises that persistent trade and current account deficits really do matter.

I get gloomier by the day about the UK's prospects. We are on the edge of the abyss.

Also consider that world grain reserves have recently been as low as 27 days. Should a Black Swan event occur that wipes out a growing season in rice, corn, wheat, soybeans or some combination, we will have hundreds of millions, if not billions perish from starvation and coincident pillaging and warfare. Some say the market will take care of it, many will die and demand destruction will take effect while higher prices paid by survivors will spur production. The last few years of exponential growth are going to be real eye openers. Don't forget to stock up and buy some oversized clothes to make it seem like you've lost a lot of weight.

Britain during WW2 was fed mainly by US imports.
The UK future is desperate.


Deep-fried locust, anyone? Insects may be the answer to our looming food crisis

Sustainable and nutritious, it's time insects were seen as another source of protein. The problem is how to make them desirable

I happen to know people who won't eat shrimp or lobster either just because they have so many legs...Idiots, I say, but at least there's more left for me!

You can eat'em till you vomit-for a few days, if you happen to be in the right place.

What will be next on the menu?

A major crop failure world wide could only be managed by all the waealthier countries slaughtering most of thier livestock and exporting the feed grains for human consumption.That MIGHT solve the problem-depending on the size of the shortfall.

My guess is that war, either organized or civil, would erupt would erupt in many places.

The odds of that bad year are getting higher every year and it will probably make it's appearance in plenty of time for most of us to experience it.

I will be laying in another years worth if fertilizer soon and anticipate the possibility of growing organically by necessity within the decade.I know how but it sure is a lot more work.

But such a crop failure could possibly be the wakeup call which I have repeatedly said is necessary to get our attention and get us started changing our ways.

I'm rather afraid that w/o such a wakeup we are going to be in for some extremely nasty long term tough times.

With it, things will be pretty tough but we should be able to get by without starvation and murder in the streets at least here in the states.

1816 - The Year without a Summer


Repeat in, say, 2012 and consider the results.


You can eat'em till you vomit-for a few days, if you happen to be in the right place.

What will be next on the menu?

Why would it make you vomit to eat insects as opposed to shrimp for example? Unless you mean they have been laced with toxins due to pesticide use. Protein is protein. You could make protein meal out of insects and serve them in a form that looks like hamburgers if you like. we do it already with soy in the form of veggie burgers.

There are plenty of places in the world where people eat insects on a daily basis. It is certainly a more energy efficient means of obtaining protein than eating corn fed ground up cow served in a drive through. You want to vomit go to a typical slaughter house.

As for what will be next on the menu? Dunno, how about processed jellyfish protein.

My point is only that we still have some untapped options.

I don't think he meant that they would make him vomit. He means you could overeat on them until they made you sick. You can do that with any food, if you eat enough of it. He's talking about locust swarms.

Yep, I think you are right, that's what happens when I don't have my coffee before posting responses ;-)

Leannan said it better, and first.

Not if it happens over 150 years.

Leanan, an optimist would say: in 150 years we could still squeeze about 10 mbd of oil out of the ground, produce 10 mbd from algae, 10 mbd from jatropha, and get rid of all the unnecessary transportation and luxury.

Besides, you wrote this about Stanton:

His post-oil scenario is 150 years in the future, and he thinks we'll be able to maintain a fairly high level of technology.

If one believes there will be a quite high level of technology, you don't have to believe in such a drastic dieoff. I know technology doesn't replace energy, but now there is a tremendous waste of energy, especially with liquid fuels.

He's not a cornucopian. But he's an optimist compared to those who think there will be massive dieoff within a couple of decades.

If one believes there will be a quite high level of technology, you don't have to believe in such a drastic dieoff.

I mean relatively high technology. He's talking solar and geothermal and wind...not sticks and stones and living in caves. Or even wood-burning stoves in pioneer-type homesteads.

What? A man who seas a population decrease from 60 million to 2 million is not a doomer?

A man who sees a population decrease from 60 million to zero is a doomer.

Since that outome is not out of the question, it also makes the '60 million to 2 million' man an optimist.

Stanton thinks 2 million is the maximum number that can be maintained with a reasonably high standard of living.

So there we have it. Get rid of all the undesirables so that the ubermenchen can have all the lebensraum they need to maintain the good life.

The problem is their good life requires a whole lotta 'undesirables' to help keep wages down and provide a labor pool.

How is that different from how it is now?

Thanks to fossil fuels, we are maintaining a much higher population than we ever could in the past, but people still die due to Malthusian causes - hunger, disease, warfare.

And it's not the wealthy and well-connected who die. It's always the "undesirables."

If you starve to death, that is a tragedy. If I kill you, that is a crime. There is a difference. I have no doubt that many people are going to die, prematurely, and probably unpleasantly, over the course of the next century or more. That does not change the fact that those who actually go out of their way to deliberately kill them are murderers, and that is criminal.

Life is going to be tough, and short, for a lot of people. Nevertheless, each of them should still be allowed to be free agents, with the right to attempt to pick their own path through the obstacle course, no matter how steep the odds against them might be.

What if the reality is that somebody gets to design the obstacle course such that many people die from unfortunate tragedies, without anybody having to commit a verifiable crime? That seems to be the reality we're headed toward. I'm not sure it even takes active intent -- just playing the modern game will suffice.

Most of those who will need to tragically die from starvation or disease will probably do so quietly, at a comfortably ignorable distance. Starving third-world children make almost no ripple in the world at all.

Interesting observation WNC. As unpleasant an exercise it might be we could look at some existing situations as models for a potential future. Consider a country with a population that currently cannot be maintained in a manner close to what most would call reasonable. There are abundant energy resources but they are controlled by a small but powerful minority. Due to poverty and disease the population is declining. And doing so in a very heartbreaking manner. There are global resources which could aid them but no desire on the part of the haves to share with the have-nots. The population does not have a physical means to change their condition.

Could this be a viable model for the future as different segments of the global community come under a direct assault from PO? As I say, not a pretty picture when you envision real people suffering in our future views. BTW: the country I use for my model is Equatorial Guinea. Short of international intervention or a very radical (and very unlikely) change in the political leadership EG may well serve as one model for our future.

If I kill you, that is a crime.

What if I'm an enemy soldier on the battlefield? Or a convicted murderer facing the death penalty?

Killing is only a crime when society decides that it is.

What if I just buy the grain you need to feed your kids, and I eat 1/3, feed 1/3 to my designer poodles, and put 1/3 in the trash?

Or I buy the gas you need to farm your field and feed your family and instead I drive my daughter to dance competitions in the next county?

Or I simply neglect to donate 1% of my income to buy penicillin for you, and your family dies of a treatable illness?

Or if my share of lawn chemical runoff kills off some Gulf of Mexico fish you would normally feed your family?

Or if I work at the super-computer company which builds the machine to optimize the next neutron bomb which is then used to destroy 1M lives in an instant?

There are so many ways we can kill each other, many without really even trying.

What if indeed.

At the very least, we might pause a moment before calling ourselves "leader of the free world".

Our political elites for at least the past few decades now have considered themselves free to do pretty much anything they want. So yeah, within that sense of "free", I guess the US is the leader of the "free" world.

What the US is not, and hasn't been for about those same recent few decades, is leader of the Just world.

Or what if I simply invent some convenient, nice sounding end to justify whatever means I wish to employ? Does it happen? Yes, all the time. Is it right? No.

One of my favorite "Texans and their guns stories" was an incident in Fort Worth, circa 1990, when a man witnessed a murder in the parking lot of a local mall. The witness was sitting in his car, apparently waiting for his wife, when he witnessed a murder. I think that a guy shot his girlfriend as she was coming out of the mall. In any case, the shooter then walked back to his car. The witness retrieved a 44 magnum pistol from his trunk and walked up behind the shooter, who was sitting in his car, about to drive off, and executed the shooter with one shot to the head. The grand jury no-billed the witness; no charges were filed.

Good Story, and I have been to Texas and seen bullet holes in the glass windows of an upscale restaurant in Houston so it is with that experience as a backdrop that I ask, is that for real or is it just an urban myth?

True story.

An earlier incident concerned a Texas state trooper who was shot and killed during after he pulled someone over on the highway. The shooter was standing over the slain trooper, not realizing that a rancher at a rest stop, at a higher elevation above the highway, had witnessed the incident. The rancher took out his hunting rifle and executed the shooter. In this case, the state trooper association gave the rancher an engraved Winchester rifle.

Of course, it was only a year or so ago that a guy in Houston executed two burglars who were hauling some stuff away from his neighbor's house. He was on the phone with the 911 operator telling the operator that he was going to shoot the burglars if they police didn't arrive. If memory serves, the phone line was open (maybe he had his cell phone with him), but in any case I think that the guy could be heard on the recording yelling "Freeze!" followed about a nanosecond later by two shotgun blasts. The grand jury no-billed him.

(I tend to be a very polite driver. I assume that most drivers of pick-up trucks are armed, drunk and they just lost their job, their wife just left them and their dog just died).

(I tend to be a very polite driver. I assume that most drivers of pick-up trucks are armed, drunk and they just lost their job, their wife just left them and their dog just died).

But where is their Bible?

(I tend to be a very polite driver. I assume that most drivers of pick-up trucks are armed, drunk and they just lost their job, their wife just left them and their dog just died).

LOL! I live in south Florida and it ain't too different around here. I no longer work in an office but I'd suggest most people follow those assumptions with the guy in the next cubicle as well!

As of July 1, 2008, Florida became a "Take your gun to work" state. ...

"An armed society is a polite society."

One more absolutely true Texas gun story. About 20 years ago I saw the local news story in Houston about a fellow that shot and killed a car thief. The guy was in his apartment ansaw the other fellow breaking into his car. So he took his deer rfile out of the closet and shot the thief dead from his apartment window. At the time it was legal in Texas to use deadly force to protect your property. I'm not sure but I think they changed the law later.

BTW...the story only ran a day or so. It wasn't considered a big incident. Unless, of course, you were the one shot.

"An armed society is a polite society."

Sorry, but certain Loaded Truisms need to be checked at the door.


LEBANON, Pa. — A soccer mom who was thrust into the national gun-rights debate after taking a loaded pistol to youth sports events was killed by her husband in a shooting witnessed online by her video chat partner, authorities said Friday.

I don't think this single story proves the opposite, either.. but politeness is not an automatic response to having or being surrounded by automatics.

Is it valid to refute a baseless truism with a single-point example?

Now, if you really want to have an argument we should go for statistics, because we all know they don't lie. ;)

My favorite part:

...that reducing the number of black women 40 years old or older (who are rarely either perpetrators or victims of murder) substantially reduces murder rates. Indeed, according to Lott's results, getting rid of older black women will lead to a more dramatic reduction in homicide rates than increasing arrest rates or enacting shall-issue laws.<\blockquote>

Now that's some good detective work, Lou!

No, that wouldn't work for me, because statistics seem to send me into a murderous rage..

You could tell me all about Switzerland. I'd listen.. but trying to sell me on a heavily armed, polite populace using the US is just begging for trouble.

Oh, dang! I thought I had already euthanized myself from this thread..

Nearly all my liberal buddies are unaware that Edward Abbey was a "right wing nut" when it came to personal firearms.

I will go to my grave convinced that when all is said and done we are far better off with plenty of guns and ammo in circulation.

The next time we really need our guns as a society may well be when it is necessary to see that our public servants don't align themselves too closely with the rich when tshtf-which seeems kind of likely these days.

A few flat tires and broken windows might be all that is necessary to keep your rich nieghbor from using the fuel you need to grow food for your daughter to drive his daughter to dance practice-but he might need more convincing.

Seriously if thhtf most of us will have to rely on ourselves to look after our own.Anyone who thinks the police or even the military has enough manpower to control this country, or any once free country,during a period when people are starving is deluded.

Things work that way in North Korea-but the people there are helpless-if I could I would drop about five million assault rifles and a few clips of ammo for each one all over that country.

I expect they would be free people in a week.

You'd love it in Somalia, then.

Most places have danced with that particular devil at one point or another.

I present the 30 Years War as evidence.

I'm not sure rampaging Hapsburg and Swedish armies should count quite the same as armed freed men.

Though I was actually thinking of the Hundred Years War and the French civil war in that time frame I think my statement stands.

Chivalric war fighting standards such as we try to adhere to today are very much the exception historically, and the situation in Somalia isn't so much different from European history as many would like to believe.

Chivalrous war standards ... like killing 100,000 or more people at a time with mass incendiaries or nukes (air attacks on Japan 1945). Or maybe the 3? million dead as a result of Vietnam. Or the 100,000+ dead Iraqi civilians since gulf war 1.

Renaissance Europeans had nothing on 20th century slaughter. And machine guns and poison gas are cheap to make. Which I guess means I agree with you that conflict in a (formerly) modern country would be very bad. Yugoslavia is probably a good example of what to expect.

(I tend to be a very polite driver. I assume that most drivers of pick-up trucks are armed, drunk and they just lost their job, their wife just left them and their dog just died).

. . . AND listening to a C&W song on the radio, turned up full blast, that is about all of those same things!

I guess the second guy was lucky no late-arrival witnessed the second shooting, but not the first.

Great point!

My thought exactly. If I had killed the witness after he executed the first guy, would I go free? What if there is a shoot-out in progress, are you just allowed to pick a side and start firing away?

The justification for the use of lethal force by the police forces or the military forces is exactly the same: to protect innocent people from the aggression of those who would do them harm. I am not a pacifist, but that is the only justification that I recognize for the use of lethal force against others. Killing outside of these very narrow parameters is indeed murder, and is indeed a crime, whether society says it is or not.

I disagree. But then, I'm a cultural relativist. I don't believe in absolute right or wrong, good and evil.

Agree with your points - Stanton seems odd.
The population trajectories of Scotland, Wales, and particularly Ireland are rather different cases, but the 'ceiling' for England's population before the Agricultural Revolution, and before the beginning of the Industrial (coal-based) Revolution, that is before 1750, was probably around 5.6M. This 'ceiling' based on earlier agricultural methods, was reached probably x3, first in Roman times, again around 1300 and then 1750.
The Agricultural Revolution after 1750 sustained population increase, just about, to 16 -17M by 1850, ~80% of whom by that time were not engaged in agricultural production. This was achieved by what we now call 'organic agriculture', using biological N fixation, with horses to leverage manpower. After that we needed ever larger food imports. WWII saw England/UK increase staple food production sufficient to supply about two thirds of a population of ~48M, or sufficient for about 32M. This needed a doubling of mechanization and synthetic N and PK. With modern cereals and continuing input of NPK and mechanization, the present population of ~60M could be fed from UK resources, but probably often needing import back-up from continental Europe.
Although Britain/UK passed through the demographic transition by 1945, it is not well-placed. The case for accepting a gradual decline in population is not helped IMO by idiosyncratic scenario building such as Stanton's.

Of course this past data was on a planet with oceans full of fish, and several continents to plunder, and we were still in our "Long Summer" of perfect weather for 11,700 years.
That has all changed, and things will be a bit more "Challenging".

The UK has lost significant lowlands to sea erosion. They don't grow much wheat in the Pennine hills..

If that is what is necessary for the human species to survive, a basic question that must be asked is: Why bother? Is the mere continuation of the human line so damned important, if what "survives" becomes so monstrously inhumane as to become unrecognizable as belonging to the same species? Is that really what we want to become?

Also unanswered: If the implication is that for the vast majority of us, our chromosomes are not going to be passed forward, then what's in it for the majority? Why should the majority of the population cooperate in a scheme that is designed only to assure the "survival" of the offspring of the fortunate few?

Get rid of the unproductive oldsters? Right. How long do you think it will be before those offing the oldsters figure out that it won't be all that long before their time has come, and they are next? And what makes them think that it is going to still be so "humane" and "painless" when their time comes?

If you start breaking social compacts that have developed through the long millennia of cultural evolution, you just might find that pretty soon you don't have any "society" left, just human against human. Since we were biologically evolved to co-exist as social animals, this scheme to "save" the human race just might result in its assured destruction instead.

The "long millennia of cultural evolution" included "social compacts" to control the population. Everything from not allowing people to marry unless they had a certain amount of wealth to infanticide, suicide, and euthanasia.

Yeah, lots of experiments were tried, and have been discarded. We have a pretty good idea at this point what actually does work, and what doesn't. There is a little room for flexibility, but that doesn't extend to killing everyone beyond a certain age.

They weren't discarded. They are still in use in many societies. Because they work.

Yeesh.. out of the mouths of babes.

You think we have the slightest resemblance to a socially mature society that has ".. a pretty good idea at this point what actually does work, and what doesn't." .. I don't.

We've tried to replace ancient social institutions with economics, technology and new political Ideologies, and are truly now making it all up again, as we go. ..Which is probably fine, but we are a VERY young culture, and we seem to be so intent on making things disposable, that we throw much of it out and keep reinventing again and again. I don't know that we're holding onto things that grow from old wisdoms, or that we are necessarily looking for our models by asking 'what is and was wise?'

Agreed. Our new morality is a reflection of our new circumstances (fossil fuel fiesta!). When circumstances change, what works will change as well...and we will adapt to that new reality.

A stable population requires some means of keeping it in check, which would normally be things like famine, disease, injury, and violence. These are all likely to make a come back.

The large nation-state will die, to be replaced I expect with ever changing tribal groups, sometimes organized into kingdoms and larger groups. Sometimes larger empires will arise for a time, but these are still made up of different tribes that are constantly changing. Just like all history in other words - constant fighting for limited resources.

In that process the population will have to reduce to a level that is sustainable (Darwin'sDog thinks this that level is zero).

Generally, those that are a burden on a society with limited resources don't last very long, but to plan it out in some Utopian horror like Ron describes would fail utterly anyway. The idea that one can know with certainty who will be a net benefit to the community at birth, or that those who don't fit some predefined idea of perfection do not provide a net benefit, is stupid. Under some circumstances those that appear to be too burdensome can have exactly the right skills or knowledge - and no one can predict this stuff.

While I have a few minor nits to pick about what Greer writes, in the end he gets it. You cannot plan or control this - we are entering a long period of decline and massive change, and it will take whatever course it does. You can only guess in general terms, try to do things useful given those assumptions, and keep your eyes open for unexpected twists.

One of the things I assume is that crackpots will come up with stupid schemes like Stanton. But we are not in control anymore.

I'm reminded of Jared Diamond's Collapse. The most interesting part of the book, to me, was not the part about societies that failed, but the part about societies that succeeded. He noted that they all had ways of controlling the population. Indeed, it was often a hugely important element of their cultures. They embraced zero population the way we embrace freedom, democracy, and the American way.

One method was glorifying "explorers." These were people who built boats, then took off into the unknown, usually never to be seen again. Some of them may have eventually found new islands, but most died at sea. It was basically an approved method of suicide.

It was often the young who undertook these journeys, and from a population control point of view, this may make more sense than putting grandma out on an ice floe. It's young people who have kids, not the old.

I was thinking of exactly that chapter as well! However, those people lived in isolation and did not face competition from other human groups. So in a sense they were making up for the lack of violence, and if they lived in contact with other groups those kinds of practices might not have been needed - war would have done the same thing.

It's hard to project the future out of the present, since the present allows opportunities that won't likely exist twenty years from now.

An expanding economy, expensive medical care and sanitation are reasons why people live a long time. What happens when these complex systems stop working efficiently?

The life expectancy in Russia for men is currently 60 years.

Life expectancy for men has stagnated for quite some time, and a major culprit has been high levels of alcohol consumption. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, alcohol and tobacco use have risen, as Russians have struggled to adapt to economic change, health experts say.

The transition from a system of state ownership to a market-oriented economy has not been easy for many Russians, according to Mireia Jofre-Bonet, a health economist at City University London.

When the Soviet Union fell and the state disappeared, unemployment soared, and a significant portion of the population was pushed into poverty, she told CNN.

Research suggests that those most vulnerable to alcoholism tend to be men with the lowest levels of education and the unemployed.

Stress will take many lives along with cheap, plentiful alcohol. If you want to start a booming, post- peak oil business, start distilling liquor. You will have many customers.

Social control before industrial development included less politics and more church - as opposed to religious - influence. That will also make a oomeback as the church(s) are catchall institutions that can adapt to local yet universal needs better than can governments.

Get rid of nursing 'homes' and the infirm aged will perish as a matter of course. There is something perverse and cruel about keeping someone alive past the point where they can sustain themselves.

The current generations of Americans are not well- suited to living in a high stress, low support environment. There are too many obese, out of shape, over medicated adults and children who will suffer from stress- induced maladies who will be edged away from increasingly expensive medical services.

Another 'method' could be the ritual that is the basis for Shirley Jackson's classic short story The Lottery. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lotry.html

Don't remember when I first read it but I was young and it kinda creeped me out. The last line stuck with me...

"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.

Many cultures have practiced ritual sacrifice, but I suspect for most, it wasn't enough to impact population.

And it was usually seen as an honor, not something creepy at all. At least, within the culture.

Honorable death during battle is part of the same approach. As is a celibate (or non-hetero) life in a monastery or convent. Perhaps sidelining procreation while providing societal value is step one, then killing people off is step two?

Ritual sacrifice=complete social complicity in murder=individuals totally internallizing all the beliefs that deem such sacrifice needed=mutual strangle hold control of the masses by the priests and of the priets by the masses.

Hmmm is there a major modern religion that really took off after the ritual sacrifice of the person after which it is named?

""if what "survives" becomes so monstrously inhumane as to become unrecognizable as belonging to the same species?""

And you think what exists today is humane? Really? One should not look thru the eyes of an american, in regards to humanity. How many humans have the U.S. killed alone, in the wars of the last 200 years? The U.S. killed over 1 million Iraqi alone in the last 10. Just because a U.S. bomb did'nt fall on their head, they were still deprived of their "humanity". Add in all the others....quite a big number.

We are "social animals" only to the extent that our Tribe is the right one. I would suggest looking at history in a little different way, namely from a survival standpoint.

Survival, is what it's all about. Some choose to not, others have that choice taken from them. That, is "humanity".

I believe the Japanese hold the record for genocide over the 100 years below 1945.

After that who knows? Russians, Germans, Chinese, US, etc..

The US is small fry when it comes to killing people.

# Bosnia-Herzegovina: 1992-1995 - 200,000 Deaths
# Rwanda: 1994 - 800,000 Deaths
# Pol Pot in Cambodia: 1975-1979 - 2,000,000 Deaths
# Nazi Holocaust: 1938-1945 - 6,000,000 Deaths
# Rape of Nanking: 1937-1938 - 300,000 Deaths
# Stalin's Forced Famine: 1932-1933 - 7,000,000 Deaths
# Armenians in Turkey: 1915-1918 - 1,500,000 Deaths


Why did they leave out Mao's Great Leap Forward when upwards of 30 million died of starvation?

Ron P.

That site seems to undercount in several areas, especially for internal situations.

This site is much broader....it's pretty sick how many millions have been killed in just the last 100 years.


The sad thing is, even death on this level does no more than put a dent in the exponential growth of our species over the same time frame. When the collapse does come, these numbers will be exceeded one way or another.

The number of people who died in the U.S.S.R. gulag prison camps between 1918-1956 was estimated at 15-20 million by western sources (Wikipedia). According to Solzhenitsyn in his book Gulag Archipelago, 40 million people died in the labor camps, most during their first seven year prison term. Many died of hunger or exposure in unheated spaces during the Siberian winter.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: 100,000 (all THREE sides killing each other, with two of them NATO favourites)

Rwanda: Active US resistance to UN intervention. UN ambassador Albright went on to kill Serbs to redeem herself.

Cambodia: Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge takeover was the direct result of US bombing and this butcher was removed from power by the commie Vietnamese.

USSR: Nazi-loyalist death estimates inflate Soviet crimes to reduce Nazi crimes. Forced famine can be just as easily used to describe the British policy of food diversion for export in India that resulted in 30 million deaths (google "Heart of Smugness"). There was "forced" export of food from Ireland during the famine. In the case of the USSR, collectivization policy which amounted to expropriation of private farms was met with guerrilla resistance where crops were burned and livestock was killed. The people actively resisting the state were as much to blame for the famines as Stalin. This did not occur in India.

The people actively resisting the state were as much to blame for the famines as Stalin.

"blame the victim" moral is abhorrent.

Its a sneaky trap to refer to it since it is usefull and common in the smallest scale.
As when a parent tells a child that it is the childs own fault ther there will be no TV
tonight since the child did somethig dumb that leads to a known consequence.

But the same reasoning can be used by abusive parents and as an excuse for all kinds
of violence within a relationship. Such as a beaten wife is as much to blame for the beating as the abusive husband since she did not do as he wanted, she would not have been beaten if she had complied.

It is common that this is even worse. That there in reality isent any way to complie and the violence a human is asked to kneel to is random or based on hatered. Its even worse to try to submit to random violence then succeding in submitting to domination, random violence is an effective tool for breaking down humans. And the ultimate end of the violence is given if it is based on hate. Back in the large scale the did the Jews who submitted to every order of the nazi regime achive nothing, at best they got a useless sense of dignity while being transported to their death. What could humans in groups that were hated by Stalin achive by following his orders.

Stalin hated almost every human and every power base that could compete with him, near the end of his life he even had a campaig against medical doctors. I suspect there were no way for the farmers to survive by following his orders, following an order to give up your food is suicide, not following it makes you a criminal in Stalins law. One option left is to try to impress the violator or killer by helping them in their deed. I question how well that worked since Stalin is famous for distrusting traitors.

Another scary part of this is that I do use this kind of reasoning myself. When crazed football supporters or political activists start demolishing a part of a town I conclude that it is
their own fault when the police rounds them up and transports them away to get sober and
stop the carnagie. This is siding with the police and this makes it important for me to be sure that the police are good guys that tries to solve problems and not create them. Thus it is unsettlig with rumours that there in other countries are police provocateurs that tries to initiate conflicts.

Here I wonder why you side with Stalin since he obviously is one of the most destructive humans that ever have lived.

If that is what is necessary for the human species to survive, a basic question that must be asked is: Why bother?

Because if we just allow nature to take its course I think there is a good chance we will cause the greatest catastrophe the planet has seen since the Permian extinction event (>95% of all species gone). Personally I have no children and don't care about humanities ultimate fate. But I hate to see a perfectly good planet turned into a virtually lifeless radioactive ball of rock. I give Stanton credit for proposing a humane alternative to that.

When, through old age, accident or disease, an individual becomes more of a burden than a benefit to society, his or her life is humanely ended. Voluntary euthanasia is legal and made easy.

Unfortunately this actually goes against our 4 million or so years of human evolution. I just watched a PBS Nova documentary.


One of the fossil skulls they discuss is of toothless old creature who had to have been kept alive by the kindness of his extended group. We evolved this behavior because it was adaptive and helped us survive.

Perhaps this behavior will no longer help us survive and we shall evolve away from it. That is what Darwin's Theory of evolution suggests might indeed happen. Nature is what it is it doesn't care. Stanton at least is rational and unsentimental enough to understand Darwinian evolution. The masses of people actively deny this reality. C'est la vie!

One of the tricks with Darwinian 'Fitness' is finding the difference between what we expect to be FIT, and what actually is a trait that will promote survival and reproduction.

Reality sure bites, sometimes, and then it turns around Kisses at other times, but when we've been traumatized by those bites, we sometimes end up thinking that the only 'real things' are the hard, cold and nasty bits. That, for me, is what makes the idea of Euthanizing for Darwinian Fitness of our own choosing particularly chilling to me.


I'm not sure I was clear as to what my point was.

Altruism and acceptance of other individuals within a tribe is a trait that was adaptive and promoted survival of our species under certain environmental circumstances. If that trait for some reason ceases to be advantageous for the survival of the species then Darwinian evolution predicts one of two outcomes. One, extinction or two, selection of individuals who are less and less altruistic and over time therefore the population as a whole evolves new adaptive less altruistic traits. Consequently the species as a whole changes and perhaps becomes more brutish but survives.

BTW this does not mean I actually think that altruism is no longer an adaptive trait for the survival of the human species, only that if it indeed becomes maladaptive it would be weeded out by natural selection.

Best wishes for a kinder gentler more rational human race...though nature may or may not agree to grant it.

I don't think it's quite that simple. Yes, we care for the old, sick, and handicapped when we can. But when we can't, it's just as much in the realm of natural human behavior to abandon or kill such tribemates. We see it happening even now, when we are so wealthy it's not a matter of life or death.

But when we can't, it's just as much in the realm of natural human behavior to abandon or kill such tribemates.

I'm not a biologist or an anthropologist but it seems seems the science does not support that assertion. If you watch the Nova program I linked up thread they discuss this particular issue from an evolutionary standpoint.

If science doesn't support that assertion, science needs to look out the window once in awhile.

Science (ethnography, archaeology, history, geography) does indeed support the assertion.

And a few skeletons of people who died at an advanced age do not constitute disproof. This is not mathematics.

Fred clearly hasn't done much reading in the subject, just as WNC Observer hasn't done any reading in ethics, with his kindergarten-level distinction between killing directly and at a distance.

It'd be nice if before posting, people said to themselves, "I can't be the first person to have thought of this... I wonder what others have said about it?". And then went and looked.

Think of it this way, people. I have quite a high IQ - near the 99th percentile. That means there are only about 70 million people smarter than me. "Only" seventy million. What are the odds that not one of those seventy million has written about my topic of the moment?

Fred clearly hasn't done much reading in the subject,

Since I did state that I was neither a biologist or an anthropologist it might be fair to make that assumption. However I was specifically referring to the Nova documentary in which they discuss how humans evolved traits that made them more social than other great apes. This seems to have conferred a rather significant advantage to the success of the species Homo over all the other apes. Which is also why I said that science doesn't seem to support Leanan's assertion.

This in no way means that individual humans never attacked,abandoned or killed their tribe mates but overall they evolved to do it less than other social apes, therefore the advantage.

BTW I do read quite widely and my IQ is pretty high, not quite genius level but high enough to figure out that there are plenty of people quite a bit smarter than myself, though I'm not quite sure that you happen to be one of them.

I think that did come through, FM, I wasn't being clear enough that my little rant was about the original post/article that talked about such euthenizing, based it seemed on our own presumptions of 'fitness'.

(I have to steer clear of population threads.. they seem to be self-fulfilling overpopulation prophesies! I have to wonder, a bit perversely, how many generations of subthreads get spawned that complain that 'nobody ever mentions population!')

ok, Self-terminating. Ow!

RE Peak Silver and EROEI

This is a strangley mixed up article. EROEI has nothing to do with mining silver. Sure, the cost of the energy required to mine one unti of silver might go up the harder it is to get to but quite why he mentions EROEI as a factor is beyond me.

EROEI only makes sense when applied to mining/producing energy, not other minerals.

Very good comment. Also the forms of energy invested and produced must be the same as with oil where oil is the main input form and also the main output form. Otherwise EROEI is invalid.

IMO he wants to make clear that when EROI declines, it becomes more difficult to keep doing all the things that need energy input. Mining is a very important one.

HAcland -

I fully agree!

For quite some time now I've been harping on this tendency to conflate the concepts of EROEI and energy efficiency and thereby treat them as if they were interchangeable. I see this happen even amount some of the comments at TOD.

I feel quite strongly that the term EROEI should only be used when considering all the direct and some (but not all) of the indirect energy inputs associated with primary energy production, such as in the production and bringing to market of oil, coal, or natural gas.

Beyond that point, once one already has the energy in hand in the form of a fuel, it only makes sense to talk in terms of energy efficiency, because almost by definition the EROEI is effectively zero. That is, once the energy is used, it is gone and there is no energy 'return' at all.

Thus, in the article about silver mining, the author should have been speaking in terms of the energy efficiency of silver mining in terms of unit energy input, such as BTUs per 1,000 oz. of refined silver. (In this case the term 'energy content' would also be apropos.)

This is more than just semantical nit-picking, because the confusion of terms reflects sloppy thinking.

This proposition will probably make X apoplectic, but first off, the article's mentions of EROI are largely about mining and otherwise accessing actual energy supplies, coal, oil, etc.. It almost seems like he's sneaking a Peak Oil argument in under the Precious Metals byline, to keep the usual hackles distracted. Then, he moves into mining of these 'Currency Metals' in antiquity, and the question of ore-grades as they degrade (clearly with an energy cost, which would be multiplied by energy being supplied at a degrading EROI) ..

But not far beneath the surface, one might also find the concept that precious metals' primary role has been as a form of currency, which is in fact a symbolic form of stored energy. (Proxy for Work done, for Food, for buying 'Actual' Energy supplies) So as long as a Gold Standard or Silver Standard exists, or even a basic, accepted Valuation for them.. then there will still be a relationship between Mining these metals, and the amount and adjusting value of the energy that goes into each ounces procurement.

Sure, it's apples and oranges.. but when you're simply hungry, there are important similarities between those classically opposed fruits, and the silver dollar you might have to lose to get one of them.

(I do concede that he is playing fast and loose with the term, and that this is not 'right' in any strict reading of the units involved.. but I'm really more interested in the relationships expressed than in 'strictness' .. I know Joule and the other scientists will ( and have already) disagreed heartily.. but to me, the point is to get the general concept across. Crossing T's and Dotting I's can be a great chance for additional learning moments with those who are just getting it, and to show some transparency and humility in the process..)


100 Gb of oil on the wall, 100 Gb of oil, take one down, pass it around, 99 Gb of oil on the wall, 99 Gb of oil, take one down, pass it around. . . .

Still playing around with net export decline rates versus depletion rates, but here are some numbers I came up with. I'm thinking of adding net export depletion rate curves to the model and case histories.

Sam's best case is that the (2005) top five net oil exporters post-2005 cumulative net oil exports (CNOE) of 132 Gb will be 52% depleted at the end of 2013 (four years hence). Subtracting out what has been (net) exported in four years, gives us around 100 Gb in remaining CNOE as of 12/31/09 (best case). This suggests an exponential depletion rate of almost 12%/year over a four year period from the end of 2009 to the end of 2013 (versus a projected 2005-2013 net export decline rate of only 1.7%/year).

However, since the actual net export rate is falling below the best case, circa 2006-2008, the CNOE as well as the projected annual net export rate going forward is probably too high, but a lower annual net export rate along with a lower CNOE number would probably still yield a double digit depletion rate from early 2010 forward.

In any case, Sam's modeling suggests that, calculated exponentially, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE will be depleting their post-2009 CNOE at the rate of about one percent per month from the end of 2009 to the end of 2013. Incidentally, this is about one-third of the way toward projected (2005 top five) zero net oil exports, around 2032.

The Indonesia, UK, Egypt (IUKE) case history showed that their post-peak CNOE one third of the way (at the end of 1999) from a combined production peak (in 1996) to zero net oil exports (in 2005) were 53% depleted, an exponential depletion rate of 25%/year (two percent per month), versus a net export decline rate of only 3%/year, from 1996 to 1999 (EIA data). (The ELM showed, one third of the way into the production decline, a CNOE depletion rate of 31%/year and a net export decline rate of 17%/year.)

Looks like the cliff of the US import decline agrees with you. The downside of the curve should be much steeper than the climb, eh?

Well, The US is (correct me if I am wrong) the world's biggest oil importing nation, among the most profigate in its use of oil, has some of the least efficient road vehicles in the world, is in the middle of a massive recession and is deep and ever deeper into debt with the rapidly industrialising BRIC nations.

So, where will ELM be felt first and most acutely?

The recent 10 year (1998-2008) trend shows that as annual oil prices rose at 20%/year, most OECD countries, e.g. the US, showed virtually flat to falling consumption (US oil consumption intially rose somewhat, but 2008 consumption was back to the same level as 1999) while most non-OECD countries showed increasing consumption, e.g. China. I expect to see this pattern continuing.

Objection, your honor! Leading the witness! ;-)

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 30, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.0 million barrels per day during the week ending October 30, 233 thousand barrels per day below the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 80.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.1 million barrels per day last week, down 764 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.6 million barrels per day, 1.5 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 197 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 335.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.4 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 1.4 million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.4 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

10/09/09 10/16/09 10/23/09 10/30/09
Net Imports (Incl SPR) 9,374 9,200 9,542 8,836

Gasoline Extends Gains as Stockpiles Decline Unexpectedly

(Bloomberg) -- Gasoline futures extended their gains in New York after a U.S. Energy Department report showed stockpiles decreased unexpectedly last week.

Inventories of gasoline fell 287,000 barrels, or 0.1 percent, to 208.3 million, the report showed. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a gain of 400,000 barrels.

Refinery use rates fell 1.2 percentage points to 80.6 percent. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a gain of 0.1 percentage point.

Gasoline demand was 9.02 million barrels a day, up from 8.86 million the previous week.

I've been following this site for years and I had no idea supply was on such an edge. So there are 200 million barrels of gas, we use 9 million per day, which equals 3 weeks supply?


I mean this might sound silly, but has it always been this way?

I understand the logic that if there was a "swan event" everybody and their sister would be at the station to fill up which would elimiate all gas in a matter of hours. But I didn't realize the just-in-time supply was that close.

This whole situation is like a badly penned sci-fy movie of the week.

We have 1,300 million barrels of oil including the SPR. Subtract the minimum operating level of around 200 million barrels and you have 3 or 4 months worth.

The most commonly used number for Minimum Operating Level (MOL) for gasoline is 170 mb, so gasoline inventories of 200 mb would mean that we have about three days of gasoline supply in excess of MOL.


Officials there believe this "new" disease is actually a combination of persistent flu's being absorbed by a community already compromised by other ailments including the pollution caused from: mining regions, former Chernobyl province, Chernobyl cloud, etc), The Ukraine Government has looked into possibilities, and fear they are being given the vaccine, and medicine by parties who know that it will not work, and could do more harm than good to the people of those regions as they are already being of compromised health.

Huh. Who'd a thunk that fission power failure could have helped with a new flu scare eh?

Data point: the Chernobyl accident was bad.
Lessons learned:
By people afraid of nukes: Don't build nukes!
By everyone else: Don't build nukes that way!

Subtle, but important, difference there.

Goldman’s Currie Says Oil Drives Dollar Down, Not Vice Versa

Curry is right, of course, and so is Andy Xie:

Surging oil prices could be another party crasher. This could trigger a surge in inflation expectation and crash the bond market. The resulting high bond yields might force central banks to raise interest rates to cool inflation fear. Another major downturn in asset prices would reignite fear over the balance sheets of major global financial institutions, resulting in more chaos.

The dollar/oil relationship has reached a point of inflection, where further increases are unsustainable. A consequence is that the dollar has become a defacto 'hard currency' with a strong and stable relationship with crude oil.

Talk is about the 'cratering dollar'. Cratering against what? Certainly not against crude oil. So far, the race in price to $80 a barrel has caused sell offs in stocks and supported the dollar against other currencies. The crude- to- dollar relationship - dollars priced in oil - does not allow for the further devaluation of the dollar.


Edited to remove excessive quoting.



Dollar & Oil...
Dollar & Oil...

I'm surprised that no one is addressing/analyzing the Chinese demand and its affect on oil prices...
...it does have an effect, doesn't it?

I would think so Ignorant. I recently saw a chart which indicated a huge ramp up in Chinese consumption since the first of the year. Really shocked me. their consumption rose almost 505 in a matter of a few months. Makes sense: the Chinese are fueling their economy with imported oil. And oil dropped to $38/bbl. Why wouldn't they (the Chinese gov't and its companies) go on a shoping spree? They have our $'s to do the buying. Imagine how low the price of oil would be today if Chinese consumption had remained comparably low to the rest of the industrialized world.

For quotation collectors, it seems that what Churchill actually said was:

The longer you can look back the farther you can look forward.

Royal College of Physicians, London, March 2nd 1944


Elsewhere it has been commented that modern society suffers from HASDD - Historical Attention Span Deficit Disorder.

There - that's filled up a bit of a talk I've got to write...

Has anyone tried the online game FarmVille?

Millions of people are running their own virtual farms....

Apparently it`s quite addictive and number one in popularity right now.

I've not tried it. Running a real but extremely tiny real veggie field with a few rabbits and guinea pigs to help supply fertilizer (also job, doing stuff around house, etc.) keeps me too busy for online games. I can`t really wrap my head around the concept of an online farm, actually. What`s the use of harvesting raspberries if you can`t eat them, pulling the fruit carefully off and enjoying the flavor right there at the edge of the garden? What`s the point of experiencing nature at such a remove? And paying electricity bills for this pleasure!

Is Farmville a sign that society as a whole is getting tired of the office thing and thinking about a new work paradigm, one that involves farming? And in the collective unconscious Peak Oil could be some sort of catalyst here, people who don`t know a thing about petroleum somehow sense an important species-wide limit being reached and respond in the only way they now know how----by switching on their computers!!

And will Farmville lead to real farming in a few years?

I looked at it a bit. I see it is connected to Facebook, and you add real friends as you play.

RE: Lester Brown, we only have months to save the planet..

Plan B aims to stabilise climate, stabilise population, eradicate poverty, and restore the economy's natural support systems. It prescribes a worldwide cut in net carbon emissions of 80% by 2020

Not a hope in hell. This is about the most absurdly fanciful, castle-in-the-sky, drug-induced hallucinogenicly preposterous wishful thinking I have ever seen!

Sorry Lester, you need to sit down and take a deep breath. Then go see your shrink.

He might be correct. This might well be exactly what is required to save the planet from frying to death but it ain't going to happen. Let's get some rationale back into the debate. First get the dumb-assed politocos to stop banging the "back to GDP growth" drum. Then think about reducing carbon emissions.

Trying to reduce carbon with out first putting a stop to the debt-based GDP growth fueled monetary system and exploding population is like jumping into the river just above Niagara Falls and trying to paddle to safety using a tea-spoon.

80% worldwide cut by 2020! Don't! Stop it! It hurts from all the laughing..

He's probably well aware of your perspective, HAC, and knows this is an impossible request. He just chose to read the numbers as they came off the chalkboard. Nothing else seems to be getting anything happening.

"There's no greatness without audacity." Oscar Wilde


"Gussy did alright. Sometimes you get a pooch that can't be scrood.." - Yeager in 'The Right Stuff'

Higher temperatures will harm many crops, report says

"The grain-filling period" - the time when the seed grows and matures - "of wheat and other small grains shortens dramatically with rising temperatures. Analysis of crop responses suggests that even moderate increases in temperature will decrease yields of corn, wheat, sorghum, bean, rice, cotton and peanut crops," according to "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States," a report based on a comprehensive review of scientific literature and government data by a team of American scientists.

Like I said,

It's already too late.

Everybody just seems to beat the same horse here.

So, since you're here, what should we be talking about?

Perhaps, since we're going down, how to do it in style?

My favorite is here (I'm not being sarcastic): http://sharonastyk.com/2009/10/20/the-ark/

Indeed. Just posting these simplistic statements with no supporting argument or evidence is huge waste of time. I suspect posters such as greenriver are doomers by ideology, not analysis.

Greenriver's viewpoint is not really any different from a commenter saying that it doesn't matter because Jesus Christ will come and save us all. Sure, you can believe that if you want, but interjecting it over and over in the middle of rational discussions is really just intellectual vandalism.

Picked up this quote from paleoclimatologist J.P. Steffensen, from one of Orlov's essays:

You can ask, Why didn't human beings make civilisation fifty thousand years ago? You know that they had just as big brains as we have today. When you put it in a climatic framework, you can say, "Well, it was the ice age. And also this ice age was so climatically unstable that each time you had the beginning of a culture they had to move. Then comes the present interglacial — ten thousand years of very stable climate. The perfect conditions for agriculture. If you look at it, it's amazing. Civilisations in Persia, in China, and in India start at the same time, maybe six thousand years ago. They all developed writing and they all developed religion and they all built cities, all at the same time, because the climate was stable. I think that if the climate would have been stable fifty thousand years ago it would have started then. But they had no chance.

Well now it looks like we're entering into a climatically unstable period. No doubt nothing new for the Earth, but for 7 billion humans used to benign conditions. Well that's a different matter.

You know that they had just as big brains as we have today.

Another example of when your only tool is a hammer.
To this "paleoclimatologist" it's all about climatic framework.

He forgets that 6,000 years ago,
Einstein hadn't said E=mc^2,
Newton hadn't said F=ma, and
Alexander Bell hadn't said, "Mr. Watson come quickly, I need you"


Oh yeah, and Drake hadn't said, I think I'm going to drill a hole deep into this Pennsylvania soil.

Pretty smart guy-he can tell us exactly why civilization started 6000 years ago (it must have been the weather)-hopefully it wasn't the angel aliens landing and monkeying with the subhuman DNA.

Well, I'd say he has a point except for one minor glitch:

Synergy of ideas is necessary for civilization. If all those civilizations started at "about the same time" due to the weather, why were the American civilizations so long in coming? http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/TIMELINE.HTM

More likely is that traders between pre-literate civilizations carried the idea of writing around Asia once somebody had the idea. Since the traders weren't likely to be teaching the locals how to write (if they even knew themselves) each area was left for somebody to decide that writing was a good idea and come up with their own version. At a distance of thousands of years even decades of difference tend to wash out of the record, so what was on the ground a slow spread of an idea looks nearly simultaneous to us.

Writing is not obvious if you have never heard of it. If it was everybody would have been doing it.

Diamond, in Germs, Guns and Steel, observes, correctly in my opinion, that the relatively open east-west routes of Europe and Asia did, indeed, allow for movement of ideas, practices, plants and animals. The Americas, however, have poor north-south migration and trade routes.

Reason enough for a good part of the delay. Not to mention all those edible animals running about. Oh, and the lack of large domesticable animals was also probably a factor.

My own supposition added on would be that generations of movement through the continent would have diluted the addition of advanced knowledge already held at the time of movement into the Americas. That same nomadic element would have slowed the development of complexity.

What nomadic peoples ever developed high degrees of technological advancement, after all?


Jared does seem to be onto something big in 'Guns, Germs and Steel.' Unfotunately that particular book could have been about a hundred twenty pages long and illuminated the idea as effectively as the 450 pages did. I hope he writes another major work on that theme. Diamond has loads of data and insight and now a bit more experience as an author. The subject matter is very important.

US farm loans have dived 95%, credit giant says

Loans by America's biggest agricultural lender to farmers have collapsed by 95% in a year, as pig rearers joined dairy farmers and ethanol plants on its black list of poorer credit performers.

The Farm Credit System said that growth in its loan book slowed to $763m in the July-to-September quarter, from $15.2bn a year before...

...US agriculture's travails were also reflected in a jump to $256m in Farm Credit funds set aside to cover bad debts, four times their level of a year before.

Tropical Storm Ida On Track To Gulf Of Mexico

Hmmm... maybe I'll be spending some time over at Storm2k this year after all.

Is Bill Clinton getting senile?

Clinton Urges Middle East to Create Energy-free Economy

He said dependence on oil is required for some things but the UAE can reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by maximising the use of energy from the sun and wind and energy-efficient building materials. "There are thousands of things that you can do here," he said.

Creating an energy independent economy will in turn help democratise education as more children will need to attend schools and go to university to create a workforce. "You can't possibly achieve this unless you give people opportunities in education," he said.

I thought UAE was energy independent since it exports oil.


Is Bill Clinton getting senile?

Clinton Urges Middle East to Create Energy-free Economy

No, that is a very sensible suggestion. UAE may export oil but Dubai doesn't have much oil left now, which explains why it is how it is.


And UAE is just a very small part of the Middle East, it is mostly very hot desert, without oil most of the population can't live there any more if they have nothing to trade for food and fresh water!

From an article posted above:

'Never believe the oil forecasters'

If there is one thing OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri would really like to get rid of, it’s analysts forecasts of how much oil there is sitting in storage in the world’s biggest energy consumer the United States.
“The forecasts are always wrong,” he has told Reuters. “Why do you carry on running them?”

Did it ever occur to anyone that the forecasters were always wrong because they are playing the market? They could quite easily claim storage amounts are expected to be much higher than they know to be true, plunk down a margin call on oil futures, then sell it when realization of a drop in inventories sends prices higher.

It wouldn't be the first time money was made by way of corruption. It seems to be the way Wall Street works.