Drumbeat: June 18, 2010

John Michael Greer: Waiting for the Millenium, part 2: The limits of magic

That’s of crucial importance just now, because the thing that most people in the industrial world are going to want most in the very near future is something that neither a revitalization movement nor anything else can do. We are passing from an age of unparalleled abundance to an age of scarcity, economic contraction, and environmental payback. As the reality of peak oil goes mainstream and the end of abundance becomes impossible to ignore, most people in the industrial world will begin to flail about with rising desperation for anything that will bring the age of abundance back. Even those who insist they despise that age and everything it stands for have in many cases already shown an eagerness to cling to as many of its benefits as they themselves find appealing.

The difficulty, of course, is that the end of the age of abundance isn’t happening because of changes in consciousness; it’s happening because of the laws of physics. The abundance we’ve all grown up thinking as normal was there only because a handful of nations burned their way through the Earth’s store of fossil carbon at breakneck speed.

Today's Trends: U.S., Canadian E&P Spending Estimates Rise

U.S. exploration and production (E&P) expenditures are now expected to rise at a faster rate than previous forecast, with an 18 percent spending increase to $85 billion among 220 companies surveyed, according to the mid-year update to the Barclays Capital's Original E&P Spending Survey.

Crude storage facility for Kuwait on agenda

India is likely to offer to Kuwait a storage facility for its crude oil in return for assured supplies in the long term from the Gulf nation. The proposal may be put before Kuwait’s oil minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al Sabah when he visits New Delhi later this month.

Belarus says will sort out Gazprom row

Belarus (Reuters) - Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that he did not think his country had any debts outstanding for Russian gas, but would settle any disagreement over the issue.

Steve LeVine: Blackbeard's return

For some years -- and long before the Gulf of Mexico spill -- Big Oil has seemed to be in existential peril. These gargantuans have been starved of new resources and wrong-footed by state-owned oil companies like China's Sinopec and Malaysia's Petronas, which are also competing around the world for drilling rights. At stake has been not only Big Oil's good health -- after all, how many people really care whether Chevron or Shell thrive, apart from their shareholders? -- but also the power of nations. It's part of the narrative of the rise of the East, and the decline of the West.

Which brings us to the brouhaha that's descended upon Washington this week, and a Gulf of Mexico oilfield called Blackbeard.

Oil spill: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fears BP's 'annihilation'

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed concerns that the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill could lead to the "annihilation" of BP.

US Hypocrisy and the Gulf Oil Tragedy

US President Barak Obama has fanned the wind of public anger against BP for its massive Gulf oil spill. But the US could well reap a whirlwind for the manner of its official response to the disaster. There are several reasons.

The first is the sheer hypocrisy of US demands for mammoth compensation for livelihood losses incurred by its citizens, given the persistent refusal of the US (and other) oil majors, miners and assorted multinationals to compensate for environmental havoc they have created in other countries.

America rethinks its dependence on oil

"We are at a turning point in our history … This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation.

"The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them."

Barack Obama, June 15, 2010? No, these were the words of Jimmy Carter, spoken almost 31 years ago in an evening broadcast to the nation that became known as the "malaise" speech, a dour appraisal of the 1970s oil shocks and recession.

Oberstar points to road problem: a shortage of federal gas-tax revenue

WASHINGTON — The problem is simple, says Rep. Jim Oberstar, who chairs the House Transportation Committee: There simply isn't enough money coming in through the federal gas tax right now to meet the nation's current needs for road and bridge repairs.

And as fuel efficiency increases, drivers will invariably take fewer trips to the gas station and the amount of revenues generated by the gas tax will drastically shrink.

In the Senate, Seersuckers Seldom Seen

Even on the annual “Seersucker Thursday” in the Senate, the lighter suits that were once a summertime standard were hardly the uniform of the day, although more than a few were sported by lawmakers and staff members alike.

No wonder. Even outside, it was only in the mid-80s, and as a journalist visiting Washington I have been amazed all month that the air conditioning in Washington’s governmental buildings is generally set for a comfort zone of dark-jacket, snug-tie formality.

Interim leader: Up to 2,000 dead in Kyrgyz clashes

OSH, Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyzstan's interim president said Friday that 2,000 people may have died in the ethnic clashes that have rocked the country's south — many times her government's official estimate — as she made her first visit to a riot-hit city since the unrest erupted.

Stalin's harvest

The latest outbreak of violence in the ethnic boiling-pot of Central Asia will take generations to heal.

The Coal Age Continues

One way to keep perspective amid all the Beltway cogitation over how to keep a climate component in an energy bill is to pay attention to the global coal industry. Coal is the prime factor determining the pace of growth in emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide as human populations and appetites crest in the next few decades. And regardless of what happens in the United States, the industry’s leaders see nothing but bright prospects ahead. We’re still stuck on the coal rung of Loren Eiseley’s heat ladder.

Global scenarios for the century ahead: searching for sustainability

Building on earlier work of the Global Scenario Group and the Stockholm Environment Institute - Boston, this paper presents four updated and contrasting global scenarios for the twenty-first Century created with the PoleStar modeling system. These scenarios feature brief narratives and integrated quantifications across numerous economic, social, resource, and environmental dimensions. Alternative pathways for meeting a set of sustainability targets are evaluated, focusing on a comparison of conventional and transformative strategies between two of those scenarios: Policy Reform versus Great Transition. One basis for our overall evaluation of sustainability is a new Quality of Development Index (QDI) which is designed to take into account many of the dimensions modeled. The quantitative findings of these updated scenarios are compared and contrasted to some other major sustainability/climate studies. The need for a fundamental shift in the development paradigm for the future is stressed, including much greater equity and less material growth, in order to enhance the feasibility of sustainability.

The Long Disaster: Ecotherapy as Emergency Medicine

James Howard Kunstler calls these worsening conditions "The Long Emergency" because the traumas we now face aren't just one-time disasters like a beating, rape, fatal disease or even a single hurricane or oil spill. They just keep coming.

I don't think that therapists or the general public have truly awakened to the shocking reality of our rapidly devolving circumstances. This awareness alone could be an important psycho-educational healing tool in helping people who are suffering from multiple shocks make sense of what's happening to them.

Creating a game plan for the transition to a sustainable U.S. economy

The Obama administration should take advantage of the economic crisis to redefine the country’s social goals to prioritize sustainable human well-being and not just grow the economy. We should strive for a future that has full employment and more leisure time to spend with friends and family, thereby reducing conspicuous consumption and poverty. This article envisions what that society might look like with redefined goals, and includes specific ideas as to how to achieve this vision.

Neurobiological Cause of Intergroup Conflict: 'Bonding Hormone' Drives Aggression Towards Competing out-Groups

ScienceDaily — Researchers at the University of Amsterdam provide first-time evidence for a neurobiological cause of intergroup conflict. They show that oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the brain that functions as hormone and neurotransmitter, leads humans to self-sacrifice to benefit their own group and to show aggression against threatening out-groups. This finding qualifies the wide-spread belief that oxytocin promotes general trust and benevolence.

ANALYSIS - Britain: the pivot point for global LNG

(Reuters) - Britain will continue to play a pivotal role in balancing the amply-supplied global liquefied natural gas market this year, using its big new LNG import terminals and export pipeline to refill European gas stocks drained over a long winter.

British gas exports to continental Europe via the Interconnector UK (IUK) pipeline have surged around 70 percent, year on year, since May 1, as European companies buy gas in Britain's open market to stock up for next winter with cheaper fuel than they can get from long term supply deals.

$7-a-gallon gas?: The folly of O's oil-spill 'fix'

President Obama has a solution to the Gulf oil spill: $7-a-gallon gas. That's a Harvard University study's estimate of the per-gallon price of the president's global-warming agenda. And Obama made clear this week that this agenda is a part of his plan for addressing the Gulf mess. So what does global-warming legislation have to do with the oil spill? Good question, because such measures wouldn't do a thing to clean up the oil or fix the problems that led to the leak. The answer can be found in Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's now-famous words, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste -- and what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before."

'Long term-gas deals still the way'

Russia's top energy official Igor Sechin said spot gas deals were not alternatives to long-term gas contracts and he questioned whether US shale gas was economically viable.

Sri Lanka says buying back Shell gas stake

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government on Thursday said it plans to repurchase the majority stake of Royal Dutch Shell's local arm Shell Gas Lanka, in the second announced buyback of formerly state-owned assets in two months.

The government is to buy back at least a 51 percent stake of Shell Gas Lanka, to which it sold its Colombo Gas Company outright to Shell in 1996 for $37 million.

Crude Oil Falls Below $76; Survey Forecasts Rebound Next Week

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil futures fell below $76 a barrel in New York, extending their losses as the euro declined against the dollar.

Crude may advance next week after U.S. gasoline consumption climbed to the highest level in nine months, a Bloomberg News survey showed. The commodity lost 1.1 percent yesterday after the Labor Department said the number of Americans seeking jobless benefits last week climbed to a one-month high. U.S. crude inventories are 8.4 percent above their seasonal norm, according to the Energy Department.

Oil May Rise as U.S. Gasoline Demand Increases, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Oil may rise next week after U.S. gasoline consumption climbed to a nine-month high, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Eleven of 21 analysts, or 52 percent, forecast crude will advance through June 25. Six respondents, or 29 percent, predicted that it will be little changed and four saw a decline. Last week, 42 percent of analysts said there would be a gain.

Romania lowers Russian gas price

Romania has negotiated lower prices for some of the gas it imports from Russia and hopes to get further cuts by the end of the year, Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said today.

Fuel Oil Poised to Drop in Japan on PetroChina

(Bloomberg) -- Japanese oil refiners are about to face increasing competition in the market for fuel oil as PetroChina Co. buys cheaper supplies from Venezuela and sells it to shipping companies in Asia.

Steve LeVine: Paul Wolfowitz and the eternal return of energy optimism

This week, of course, has seen a much-discussed New York Times story on Afghanistan's purported $1 trillion in mineral riches, which my FP colleagues, including Steve Walt, have discussed. Again, the subtext is, "This nation can stand on its own two feet."

Perhaps the most famous example of this, however, was then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's suggestion before Congress in 2003 that Iraq's oil reserves would cover the cost of the country's reconstruction after a U.S. invasion.

Oil Prices: Two Ways to Profit From ‘Peak Oil’

America is about to get a sobering slap in the face.

And that slap will have to do with the country's passive, unimaginative and downright-haphazard national energy plan.

Crude Oil Realities

Without a doubt, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an environmental disaster. Unfortunately, as far as the global economy is concerned, Mr. Obama’s six-month moratorium on new offshore drilling is an even bigger disaster.

Remember, the supply of crude oil is already struggling and in order to offset the ongoing depletion, the world desperately needs to find new oil-fields. Thus, by stopping new exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the US establishment is wasting precious time.

Jim Chanos Shorts Oil Companies Based on Diminished Reserves; Peak Oil Impact on GDP, Standard of Living, Geopolitical Tensions

Jim Chanos, the hedge-fund manager who made money betting against Enron Corp., said he is short- selling shares of large oil companies because investment in drilling and exploration is eating up their cash flows. The founder of Kynikos Associates Ltd. said in a Bloomberg Television interview from his office in New York that his bearish calls on “some” energy companies, which he declined to identify, pre-date the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. That incident led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history and sent BP Plc shares down 49 percent through yesterday.

“If you look at their cash-flow statements relative to their income statements, you will see companies that haven’t replaced reserves in years, and haven’t seen any increase in revenues in years,” he said. “They’re borrowing their dividend. They’re in effect liquidating.”

On a Wing and a Prayer: Chevron’s Deep Well

One of the deepest offshore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico lies beneath 7,000 feet of water and under more than 20,000 feet of rock and sand. Estimated to hold as much as 100 million barrels of crude, the field was discovered by Chevron in 2001, and production began in 2008. It is less than 20 miles west of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

The name of the field, and the rig anchored above it, is Blind Faith.

Mining Deals Plunge in Australia After Rudd Tax Plan

(Bloomberg) -- Mining takeovers in Australia, the biggest shipper of iron ore and coal, are set to fall to a five- year low after government plans to increase tax on the industry kicked up a hail of protest from the world’s biggest producers.

The level of transactions has slumped to 47 worth a total of $914 million this quarter, compared with 89 deals worth $9.11 billion a year ago, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The figure suggests the smallest number of deals since the first quarter of 2006 and the lowest value since the fourth quarter of 2005.

Evasive BP CEO leaves Congress flummoxed

“I can’t answer that question.”

That was the gist of much of Thursday's Capitol Hill testimony from BP CEO Tony Hayward, who faced a severe grilling but shed little light on the company’s disastrous Gulf oil spill.

Despite major developments surrounding the catastrophe in the past few days that helped bring some legal certainty to Gulf Coast residents and BP investors, the most fundamental question faced by the company, lawmakers and the nation remains unanswered: When will BP's runaway well stop spewing oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico?

BP’s U.S. Future Teeters After CEO, Lawmakers Clash

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward’s failure to set safety standards to prevent the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may cost the company control over U.S. oil fields, refineries and pipelines that account for more than one- third of its sales, lawmakers and analysts said.

Moody's cuts BP by 3 notches, may cut again

LONDON (Reuters) - Moody's cut BP's credit rating by three notches on Friday, the oil major's third downgrade in a week, and said the company's $20 billion spill fund would not cap liabilities for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Moody's cut BP's rating to A2 and said it might downgrade the rating again.

Could BP’s Money Stop Flowing?

BP’s financial resources are finite and its broken Gulf of Mexico well is still spewing. Investors are wondering if the money could stop flowing before the oil does. Even with the gloomy possibilities, it looks as though the oil company will avoid a cash crisis.

BP 'shakedown' remark sets off US political furor

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A US lawmaker kicked off a political storm Thursday and embarrassed his own Republican party by apologizing to BP chief Tony Hayward for what he termed a White House "shakedown."

Five crucial moves by BP: Did they lead to Gulf oil spill disaster?

BP made five crucial decisions in the name of saving money that may have contributed to the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

BP's Dividend Cut: A Catch-22 (Of Sorts)

While BP has traditionally been known as a mainstay in the dividend market, the company announced on Wednesday that it will suspend its quarterly payouts at least through the end of this year. That will free up roughly $7.8 billion, which BP will contribute to the $20 billion compensation fund it has agreed to set up. But it will also punch a large hole in the market, particularly in Britain, where BP is based. Notably, among the 100 largest companies traded on the London Stock Exchange, BP's payouts had accounted for around 14 percent of the total dividends.

Drill Ban Means Hard Times for Rig Workers

In addition to the fishermen and hoteliers whose livelihoods have been devastated by BP’s hemorrhaging undersea oil well, another group of Gulf Coast residents is beginning to suffer: the tens of thousands of workers like Ronald Brown who run the equipment or serve in support roles on deepwater oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the Gulf: Lives forever in recovery

Just as the parish was recovering nearly five years after Katrina, fueled by $1 billion in federal disaster funds, it woke up to a new threat: the Gulf of Mexico spill. The deluge of the spill hasn't yet filtered into the parish's inner marshes but it still threatens a 200-year-old fishing tradition here.

The Gulf region is filled with similar predicaments. Lower Plaquemines Parish, which suffered $450 million in damage when it was slammed by a 20-foot storm surge from Katrina, was flooded again by Hurricane Ike three years later. Many residents were just beginning to recover from the devastation when the BP rig blew in the Gulf of Mexico, sending the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history headed toward Lower Plaquemines.

Why the BP Spill is Bigger Than You Think

Americans are notoriously bad at math, so it may come as a shock to learn that the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is 42 times bigger than many people might have believed.

It's not just because of the ballooning guesstimates of the size of the spill. It's also because the standard unit of measurement for oil makes the volume of goo sound smaller than it is, at least to the untutored ears of anybody who doesn't pump or process oil for a living.

Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns

NEW ORLEANS – It is an overlooked danger in oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem.

Spill May Have Taken Its Largest Victim Yet

Over the last weeks, the carcasses of oily pelicans, turtles and other animals have washed to shore in the Gulf of Mexico. Now the first dead whale has been found — a juvenile sperm whale floating 77 miles from the leaking oil well.

BP oil spill: MMS shortcomings include 'dearth of regulations'

The federal agency charged with overseeing the offshore oil and gas industry was ill-prepared to do its job because of a severe shortage of inspectors, a "dearth of regulations," and a "completely backwards" approach to investigating spills and accidents.

Big Oil's shoddy spill plans reflect industry's arrogance

It was almost comical to hear chief executives of major oil companies sheepishly admitting to Congress this week that most of them had virtually the same worthless, cookie-cutter plan for coping with oil spills. It vowed to protect walruses, a species that hasn't inhabited the Gulf of Mexico for 3 million years, and as part of the emergency response, it listed the phone number of a marine biologist who has been dead since 2005.

We will make changes

Since the tragic accident, our thoughts and prayers have been with our workers and their neighbors along the coast. Our focus, however, has been on helping to stop the spill, clean up the oil and — once the causes of the spill are known — prevent it from happening again.

Kevin Costner blasts Big Oil 'bureaucratic maze'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A company Kevin Costner founded worked for 17 years on a technological innovation now being used to help clean up the Gulf oil spill -- and it took almost as long to get Big Oil to pay any attention.

"The whole world is watching as America fumbles its way through the greatest environmental disaster in history," Costner told the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship at a hearing Thursday in Washington. "I believe there are other small companies out there in the private sector just like us. You should know that negotiating your way through the bureaucratic maze that currently exists is like trying to play a video game that nobody can master."

Obama’s Twist of BP’s Arm Stirs Debate on Tactic

With that display of raw arm-twisting, Mr. Obama reinvigorated a debate about the renewed reach of government power, or, alternatively, the power of government overreach. It is an argument that has come to define Mr. Obama’s first 18 months in office, and one that Mr. Obama clearly hopes to make a central issue in November’s midterm elections.

Former BP Exec Cynthia Warner Left Big Oil for Big Algae - And She's Not Alone

And that difficulty, she says, was at the heart of her decision to leave Big Oil. "They have to drill this deep because it's getting harder and harder to find new sources of oil. The harder you work to find additional crude, the more environmental impact there is. What this does from a big perspective is illustrate the urgency of continuing to work to get solutions that are more in harmony with the earth's cycles and more controllable."

Gulf spill could swing Obama's power play on energy policy

Will the Gulf oil spill finally lead to a more aggressive energy policy to wean America from oil — or to more far-reaching measures to reduce the risks of climate change?

BP Atlantis Whistleblower Drops Suit Against U.S. Over Safety

(Bloomberg) -- A lawsuit seeking to force U.S. regulators to temporarily shut BP Plc’s second-largest oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico was dropped at the request of the whistleblower who lodged the complaint, court records show.

Australian Prosecutors Get Montara Oil Leak Evidence

(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority presented evidence to prosecutors today as part of an investigation into a 2009 oil spill off the nation’s northwest coast.

Authorities are probing whether operators of the Montara well and the West Atlas rig violated health and safety laws, NOPSA said in a statement today. The federal government’s Director of Public Prosecutions will consider the evidence and determine what action to take, the safety authority said.

Coast Guard: Environmental disaster averted as oil removed from sunken cruise ship

The U.S. Coast Guard says it has recovered more than 100,000 gallons of oil from a cruise ship that sunk near Juneau, Alaska more than 50 years ago -- finally bringing an end to years of worry among local officials and residents who feared an environmental disaster.

India Boosts Imports of Colombian Thermal Coal on Demand, Price

(Bloomberg) -- Colombia boosted sales of power- plant coal to India as Agarwal Coal Corp. imported a second consignment late last month, according to a trader and ship- tracking data.

New CR-Z is awfully sporty for a hybrid

NEW YORK — Honda's about to take another swing at selling a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle as a sporty, performance car that just happens to have a hybrid drivetrain to save fuel.

E.P.A. Postpones Ruling on Ethanol

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday that it would wait until September to decide whether car engines can handle higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline.

Nuclear Agency Weighs a Plan to Dilute Waste

BETHESDA, Md. — A competition between nuclear waste dumps has pulled the Nuclear Regulatory Commission into an unusual reconsideration of its rules to allow moderately radioactive materials to be diluted into a milder category that is easier to bury.

Q-and-A: A Pay Model for Ecosystems

Q. In a recent article in The Guardian, you described the destruction of the natural world as “a landscape of market failures.” Please explain?

A. Ecosystems like coral reefs or forests are public goods. And we are drawing a benefit from these resources and some people may be drawing an income, but there’s no cost. In economic language, this is a market failure. There is no incentive to maintain that resource and so it suffers what is called a tragedy of the commons.

Oceans choking on CO2, face deadly changes - study

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The world's oceans are virtually choking on rising greenhouse gases, destroying marine ecosystems and breaking down the food chain -- irreversible changes that have not occurred for several million years, a new study says.

The changes could have dire consequences for hundreds of millions of people around the globe who rely on oceans for their livelihoods.

"It's as if the Earth has been smoking two packs of cigarettes a day", said the report's lead-author Australian marine scientist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

The DailyShow - June 16, 2010: An Energy-Independent Future

The last eight presidents have gone on television and promised to move America towards an energy-independent future.

Compare this with America's Energy Future

Thanks for the Daily Show link Energeek, I couldn't stop laughing. Jon Stewart hit the nail on the head.

But why have all those presidents been so wrong for such a long time? Easy, because they are all selling a pipe dream, pie in the sky, cornucopian pudding. That pudding will never be baked but they will keep trying to sell it anyway because so many people just don't have a clue as to what would be required to get us off oil, even off foreign oil with only a little pain without affecting our current way of life.

Most people really think it can be done. Isn't that quaint? ;-)

Ron P.

I wonder how long will it take for people to connect the dots. Unlimited growth on a finite planet running on finite fossil energy supply...

Great piece by Steve from Virginia connecting the dots very nicely. A very good balance to some of the misguided economic analysis currently being touted around TOD lately.


In it he quotes Herman Daily on marginal utility or the benefits of growth;

"I've called this the futility limit because when you are there you have so many goods to enjoy you that don't have time to enjoy any of them Consequently, adding more isn't going to do you any good because you can't use all the stuff you've already got. It's just futile no matter how little they cost."

Herman Daily is one of my favorite economists. I used one of his books for my Environmental Economics classes that I used to teach back in the mid-seventies and early eighties. (The course was then eliminated despite classes always being filled with students due to severe budget cutting during the early eighties.)

I find it hard to understand the class cutting process at colleges;most of the lower level courses that are cut cost hardly anything to run, as the people and facilities are in place.

Then you come across an instructor with two hundred students each paying four figures to take a course that consumes next to nothing except classroom space and his time.The bookstore probably nets another ten grand.

The astronomers will eventually find a black hole on every campus. ;)

I believe it's called the administration. At least that's what the professors I know call it.

And back in those times the nascent (but aborted) Green movement I was involved in recognized Daily's pinpointing the failure of traditional economics to provide inter-generational equity (ecological wisdom in terms of Green values) but his ignoring the problems of income/ownership distribution (social justice in terms of Green values). Though not directly connected, Greer notices that the problems and their solutions were noted at that time and then filed away.

OTOH one can always use bigger goods and bigger services while consuming relatively little or even no added time. Instead of driving to the beach a hundred miles away, fly across the country or to the Caribbean. Instead of flying to Europe once in a lifetime at most, the way it was 50 years ago, fly every year, or twice a year, rather than take most vacations more locally. And fly to Japan too. Or fly sleeper-bed, that takes no more time. Or charter a private jet, that even saves time.

If that's not enough, have the government add to it by piling on expensive mandates. Instead of driving a Tata Nano (or its old rough equivalent a VW Beetle), drive something big and impressive that's also crammed with almost more government-mandated "safety" junk than a Nano or beetle even weighs. Ditto for all the government-mandated stuff in houses, plus the government-mandated large lots and so on, plus the near-mandate to own a house when people would be vastly more sensible about how much they needed if only they had to lease it.

Oh, and instead of spending $10K putting off the inevitable on one's day of death, squander $1 million in a frenzy of "moral" fervor before deigning to notice that it's utter waste doing nothing more than futilely prolonging the pain and agony. And just in case someone might be too impure to see the sense in that, let's have the government mandate it too... oh, wait a minute...

Maybe Bill Gates has run into Daly's limit. But normal people - or even handsomely overpaid Congresscritters who never saw anything they didn't want to shower with money? I doubt it.

I run into the Futility Limit every damn day. I need more hours in every day to cram in work, sleep, Partner, other family, TOD, TV, model trains, cars, house building, web surfing, javascript coding, household chose, gardening etc etc.

What makes you think people generally will ever connect the dots? If they have not done so after 8 presidents over a 42+ year period, why do you think they will begin to do so now? Admiral Rickover and others talked about these same issues back in the 1950s. They were ignored and instead people focused on other aspects of the work of such people. It's the same with Lovelock and other ecologists. Their statements about the future of homo sapiens simply get ignored because people just don't want to contemplate that.

So why in the world would you expect any sort of change after multiple generations have already proven they are going to ignore this question? Indeed, even once peak oil has begun to bite in the post-peak slide downwards, I expect every other sort of excuse to be put forward. "We didn't invest enough!" "Environmentalists stopped us from finding more oil!" "War disrupted the Persian Gulf!" "The recession reduced demand so the drop in production doesn't have anything to do with peak oil!"

On and on the excuses will roll and the reality of peak oil will dissolve into the mists of history, to be forgotten as climate change and energy scarcity level civilization, leaving only token clues about how utterly stupid we deliberately decided to be as a species.

Outright stupidity is not the problem. The problems are denial plus ignorance. Ignorance helps reinforce denial, and denial keeps people from seeking and getting reliable information. Three of my four children accept Peak Oil; they all majored in economics. My fourth child is an elementary school teacher; she has not yet accepted Peak Oil, though she knows that I and her siblings have.

In every generation there are always a few who recognize the problem but their numbers are insufficient to change the status quo. You are no different than Admiral Rickover in this regard, just of another generation.

But even amongst those that "accept" peak oil, how much has really changed? Do you and your children still drive cars? Live in the suburbs? Still buy goods from big box stores that were made with near slave labor under economic and ecologic conditions in China that can only be called inhuman? Have you really changed? Have your children? And even if you have, how many peak oil aware people have actually changed as opposed to those who simply visit a web site like TOD and nod their head sagely while sipping lattes from a styrofoam cup while at the same time looking up how their 401K is doing on their IPhone?

This picture is precisely why global technological civilization is utterly and totally doomed. Not because of technology, because there is a way to live with some technology and have a much lower global ecological footprint, but because we lack the political will to actually change before the catastrophe hits. And the happy-face assumption that we will somehow "save the day" just in the nick of time begs logical to the point of insanity. Yeah, we might, but what if we don't? Yet instead of handling this rationally, like a real risk management problem, we tuck it away, focus back on NASCAR races or the World Cup, and merrily continue down the same doomed road.

Sheesh, even Freddy Kreuger's victims weren't this easy.

So GreyZone, do you wear clothes?
Do you have any idea at all where they all were made and under what conditions?
Are you really blameless to be throwing stones at others?

The standard you are suggesting that others hold themselves to requires a level of detailed awareness of the world that is unavailable to anyone, and if adhered to would cause them to be shunned outright in many quarters.

In the end we are all going to die. Our civilization will too. As some are overly fond of saying, our species will hava a finite lifespan as well. If you dwell on it too much it is easy to forget to live while you are here, and aren't we here to live?

Currently I live with my eldest daughter to save on housing expenses and to pay her some rent--which she needs due to high mortgage payments. In September I'm moving to the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, which is the most walkable city neighborhood I know of in Minnesota, and which has good bus transportation in all directions.

As I said earlier, TOD has changed my life for the better. I still use a car but drive relatively few miles per year, just to visit friends and family and go to the grocery store or the library. Of course I'm fortunate to have a generous Teachers Retirement Association of Minnesota pension and good Social Security income. I spend below my income and am ready, willing and able to spend less as living standards decline after Peak Oil hits.

Truly, TOD has changed my life for the better.

Consider the second URL cited above... Pickens and Turner talk about turning things around...

The combination of these domestic energies [refers to the 20% of total energy replaced by wind, and the rest by LNG] can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports. And we can do it all in 10 years.

Just think, in 10 years we can be using 33% less foreign oil. As if there is going to be any more than 67% available in 2020. this is part of the problem. No one wants to believe facts... no one in power wants to be the one to tell the American public, "Hey! You gotta stop that! Now! We cannot go on like this."

Best wishes for finding more oil... looks like slim pickens to me.


People often do not connect dots, and I'm speaking as a therapist, till they hit a wall of suffering. I hate to say that. But with the exception of those of us who, for whatever reason, can see the long term effects of things before that wall of suffering arrives, many will refuse to "see" and thus we all may be in for terrible times, before a majority connect the dots.

I personally hope to do my part - even if it's just from writing and trying to call for needed changes, which will have to bore down to our very values, both personal and national. This is going to be: ONE. LONG. SLOG!

TheraP: With your experience, would you say that a significant percentage of the 'wall-hitters' will go ballistic? A country wide 'Watts Type' of reaction, torches and pitchforks, tar and feathers; or will most people lie down and die?

Sorry I didn't catch this till right now. Honestly it is very difficult to predict what people will do once they hit a wall like that. Some may get very angry - like Tea Party people. Some may become depressed. Others may react with anxiety. And some, honestly, could go bonkers. Others, thankfully, will maintain their sanity and reason and join us in trying to find ways out of this.

People often do not connect dots, and I'm speaking as a therapist, till they hit a wall of suffering. I hate to say that. But with the exception of those of us who, for whatever reason, can see the long term effects of things before that wall of suffering arrives, many will refuse to "see" and thus we all may be in for terrible times, before a majority connect the dots.

I am not a therapist, but recently came to the same conclusion. Interesting to see you validate that idea.

Yes, my sentiments exactly. I have argued for years, on this list and elsewhere, that the vast majority of people are not convinced by arguments but only by events. It must happen before they will believe it. Rational arguments that oil, and other fossil fuels, will decline and our easy street way of life will disappear are simply not believed.

Several on this list have admitted that they do not wish to think about it. One even called it a "doomer meme" that peak oil will mean the end of the world as we know it.

Ron P.

I would add my agreement here. As a professional philosopher, I hate to admit that rational arguments less often change minds and behaviors than experiences do. But that has been my experience and that of many others as well. As a culture, we seem headed for the edge of a cliff with the accelerator to the floor. Doesn't seem as if we're going to ease up before we're airborne, despite no end of rational arguments and analyses right in front of us. Tragic, really. As a social species with an evolving culture as well as our evolving bodies, we have had so much going for us. But we have squandered so very much, and don't seem to be able to quit squandering finite resources or our good sense even as we race headlong toward the cliff.

As long is the lottery is going on you may be a winner :)

I don't think people are as bad as you think however they recognize that if they stop playing the game they will never be a winner.
Its not ignorance and it makes sense if you think about it. Quitting ensures you won't succeed. No one wants to quit.

Experience simply eventually exhausts you and your damned happy to just friggin quit. Indeed us quitters may overstate the situation
and claim the game is ending anyway so we are winners playing a new game not quitters.

However realistically every step I've made away from the old game although painful seems to have worked to be a medium not even long term win.
So I don't buy into the argument that not playing is quitting your just playing a different game.

There is some truth of course and us doomers that change and quite playing the old game may very well find out we quit to early and there
where a few rounds still left we could have played but so what ?

I don't care hell I wish I had made the decisions I'm making now back when I was 20-30 life would have been a hell of a lot more fun and rewarding.

I'm not unhappy with the decisions I'm made mind you seen a lot of the world and thats priceless but still I wish I had the vision I had now then.

But thats where good old experience comes in I doubt many can grok it without it. Some I thin can but they are a rare bird indeed.

Q: What does the professional philosopher say to the engineer?

A: Do you want fries with that?

Socrates had an income of only 3,000 minas per year given to him by his rich friend. His wife, Xantippe, complained that he was not a good provider, and according to legend once dumped a chamber pot full of urine on his head. Socrates replied that she was in the right, and he was in the wrong for seeking and accepting a life of relative poverty.

When he was young, Socrates was a stone cutter and sculptor. He made a good income then. For many years he was a soldier and several times was bemedaled for outstanding bravery on the battlefield. Then he came back from the wars at about age 46 to find that he was structurally unemployed. Due to the ruinous expense of the wars there was no longer much demand for stone cutters or sculptors; the Athenian treasury was broke, and rich people had been heavily taxed to pay for the wars. Hence Socrates drifted into fulltime philosophy and got by accepting invitations to banquets from his rich students. I daresay he took leftovers home to Xantippe.

Q: What does the professional philosopher say to the engineer?

A: Do you want fries with that?

Then the engineer asks the philosopher "Do you know if they are hiring here?"

Some days I'm optimistic about the sucess of a sea change in people's lifestyles. I remember things like the seat belt campaign; when I was a child most adults I knew scoffed at wearing them. Now we have laws dictating their use.

Other days I find the inertia of the masses to be quite discouraging. I read the most astounding editorial in the Northside Sun (little community paper here) the other day. The editor was making light of the environmental effects of the oil spill. The gist of his editorial was an annoyed "nothing to see here, move along citizen". I put the paper down in disgust. :/

Oh, it will be done. But if history is any guide it will only happen under one of 2 conditions:

1. People using something else start living noticably better lives than those still dependent on oil.
2. We can't get the oil.

Odds are in favor of #2, oil is a tough act to follow.

Oh, it will be done.
1. People using something else start living noticeably better lives than those still dependent on oil.

Errrr... you are saying that if they just start using all ethanol, or turkey grease, or whatever, then they will be living much better lives and people will say "Wow, look at those folks who are not using oil, look how much better their lives are!" Of course they will not have tires for their cars, or plastic bottles or plastic cases for everything in their home. And they will not be able to use roads made from asphalt. And they will not be able to eat crops grown with the aid of oil and delivered with trucks using oil. And.... well so much for that piece of cornucopian pudding.


2. We can't get the oil.

non se•qui•tur  –noun
1. Logic . an inference or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises.
2. a statement containing an illogical conclusion.

If we can't get the oil then we will just automatically switch to all those renewables just lying around waiting for us to take advantage of. No, that is a non sequitur. It does not follow that if we can't get the oil there will automatically be something else to switch to.

Ron P.

Of course they will not have tires for their cars, or plastic bottles or plastic cases for everything in their home.

They can have plastic such as Cereplast

Cereplast's renewable plastics are an economically and ecologically sound substitute for petroleum-based products. All Cereplast resins replace a significant percentage of petroleum-based additives with starches made out of corn, wheat, tapioca and potatoes.

Although there will certainly be less plastic...

Right Energeek, we can create plastics from farm products. It will mean less food but we need the plastic. And we can substitute wood for plastic in a lot of cases, like cabinets for household products. Of course that will mean cutting a lot more trees.

Bottom line, there is nothing free. Every replacement for oil will come at the great expense of something else, or someone else, or habitat for wild creatures.

Ron P.

We have learned to live in a world where everything is either an investment intended to make money or a disposable intended to be thrown away.

The discount rate rules our lives, not because it is fundamentally important, but simply because we let it, under the lash of marketing.

The amount of wood used in a piece of throway furniture is trivial in comparision to the amount of resources that go into creating and getting bthe piece to the consumer so he can throw it away in a few years.

There is no real reason most consumer goods cannot be made well enough to last indefinitely, other than our desire for novelty and the cheap up front price of junk.

One of my nieghbors makes very nice furniture-slowly it is true-but there is no shipping , no warehousing, and no packaging involved.The customer picks it up at his store-er, shop, and takes it home, and passes it down to his children and his grandchildren, who will either do the same or sell the antiques they inherit.

My point being-we can have all the consumer goods we need without using up our resources if we change our style of consumption.

The general consumer lifestyle , however, has to go, as oil doesn't grow back like trees.

I think that by 2044 U.S. residents will be consuming about as much as they did in 1944.

How many of them do you think will still be around by 2044, Don?

Predictions are tough to make. We have our hopes; we make our plans. And we takes our chances.


My computer( the house's computer, but technically mine ) sits on a rolling table salvaged from the Store my Dad used to work for, it is steel and wood, likely to last a long time. The TV cabinet to my left ( about 6 inches) was built by my dad before 1975, he redesigned it by adding a shelf for a VCR. Beside it is a bookshelf he made as a class project in a cabinet making school he went too, though he had most of the skills already, he wanted to get a fine tuning on them by someone better.

Almost everything in this house was either salvaged from somewhere else, or was made by someone in the family. My dad taught that building something with your own hands, makes you keep it longer than buying it at a dime-a-dozen store. If something breaks, or gets loose fittings, you fix it, throwing away is for junk not things that are worth fixing.

The problem as you state is that we are a consumer driven culture, and you can't consume something unless it is gotten rid of somehow, many ways of that, including eating( we are heavy eaters and wasters of food); making things cheaply so they fall apart (one of the main ways to a consuming culture); throwing away, or selling, giving away, good things so you can get the latest and greatest; or filling your house with things that you'll never get back to using; amoung many others I can't think of right now.

Could we go back to a non-plastic world? Sure, we'd have to make a lot of things out of plant fibers( wood,cotton, bamboo, reeds etc ), animal fibers or parts, or dirt and stones.

In fact I am all for making houses with Earth, be it formed into bricks, adobe, filled into bags, tires, cans, etc etc, or cave like homes. Lots less use of wood, but also making them smaller than we have been used too all these grand kingly years having Mansions on every lot.

The dream is sell the trash, so they will consume it, and have to buy more, or else the increase in population can't fund our growth of wealth as much as we hope it can. Sell the big houses so everyone thinks they can be a king in their own castle, and have it all. Selling a dream of Heaven on Earth, because you can't take it with you, you don't have an afterlife, and you only live once, so buy it now, and spend it now, and live life large, be all you can be, and all those other dream making sayings and phrases you hear out there.

I have a big imagination and learned a long time ago I could dream so large, that I'd never be able to get the dreams I dreamt, but I could be happy living in a small tent, or cave like home, because outside the house was the whole world open to me, why try and box it in.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future, less stuff, more life.

Hugs from a balmy hot Arkansas.

You miss the point Ron.

We aren't going to just keel over and forget to breathe if we can't get oil.
We'll get by.

The British Empire was built without oil. People lived, loved, danced and sang without oil.

Yeah, it will mean the end of the current party, and life will suck a great deal for a great many people.

People will even die. Probably a lot of them, in my time I'll be joining them.

But it won't be "The End Of Everything". Just TEOTWAWKI, but I feel fine.

R4ndom, I don't think I missed the point at all. Your point was very clear. You stated:

1. People using something else start living noticeably better lives than those still dependent on oil.

I thought my reply was very generous and kind. I did not state that I was rolling in the floor with laughter, which I was. How would a family stop using oil or oil products. That would be impossible. Of course they could go back to nature, grow their own food, weave their own cloth from cotton they grew and make their own shoes. But I don't think their lives would be noticeably better. Their lives would require backbreaking labor and their medical care would be near non existent. Their lives would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

And for your #2, if we can't get the oil we will not just start using something else because there will be nothing else to use. That is the whole point. That is the point no one seems to get. If wind or solar or ethanol could replace oil we would be a long way down the road to converting to those "alternatives". The reason we are not is because those things will just not scale up to the level that we can replace oil. But that is a debate we have had for years on this list. I am aware that a lot of posters on this list have a different view.

And as far as dying goes, sure we will all die someday. But normal dying is not what we are talking about. We are talking about the dying that will ensue after oil, then other fossil fuels, decline to near nothing.

But... but... there will be survivors.

Ron P.

In real life the choice is not binary ("Use no oil" or "Use oil") for anybody in the US.

But many choices to use less oil are indeed attractive to many people. Who really likes sitting in a traffic jam in a metal box for 2 hours a day?
As the article below shows, youth today are choosing to drive much less than previous generations. As the article says no one knows what the future will bring, but increased energy costs and economic difficulties will not encourage more driving. http://www.pothole.info/2010/06/young-people-driving-less-now-%E2%80%93-...

Most of my children's friends in their 20s don't own cars and many don't have a driver's license. Walking, riding bikes, or taking the bus really is a more attractive alternative for this cohort in the US and Europe. Time will tell how this balances against the rising auto dependency in India and China, but extrapolating current car culture into the future is likely wrong.

In real life the choice is not binary ("Use no oil" or "Use oil") for anybody in the US.

No, it is not binary because there is really no choice at all. If we eat food from the supermarket we use oil. If we drive at all, we use oil. Everything in our homes was manufactured with the aid, and energy of oil.

It is admirable that some people choose not to drive cars. But unless they walk everywhere they go they use oil. Even their bikes were manufactured with the energy of oil. People "doing their part" is great but for all the difference it makes they may as well pee in lake Michigan to try to make the water rise.

It is a cold hard fact that oil production is in decline, or will decline, and rather steeply, in the near future. Other fossil fuels, because of their increased use due to the decline of oil, will follow in short order. We have no "choices", binary or otherwise, that can change that fact. And what we do as fossil fuels decline we will not do by choice.

Ron P.

And what we do as fossil fuels decline we will not do by choice.

Of course, fossil fuels are declining today, as they have been for centuries. And many things that we do we do by choice, sometimes adaptive and sometimes maladaptive.
People choose to buy SUVs and McMansions and pay the consequences. As fossil fuels get more expensive, those choices will get more expensive and less desirable for most people.

I think we tend to be on the same page most of the time, Ron. And, I think that the die-off will come since the worst problem we have is overpopulation. Malthaus was just a bit early in timing, having failed to anticipate what oil would do to enhance agricultural production.

Moreover, the worst of the immediate, short term, problems is going to be triage. Who is going to make the decisions? How will they be made? What will be 'allowed,' and what will be forbidden? Will we be led, or driven? By government or by economics? And, how will we react to whatever direction these things go.

Of course, our far-right Tea Bagger types will say, "let the market decide." Which means that the po' folks get no medicine, no transportation, and no food. Rich folks, well they're entitled, aren't they?

And, the fear that I have, and is shared by many, is that when these sort of decisions begin to be forced on us, those po' folks ain't gonna just go off and die. They are going to make it an issue, and many of them might even own firearms (maybe some of those rich NRA members will change their minds about that Second Amendment thingie, do ya think?). So, at that point, the die-off, if it isn't already well underway, might just get a real boost.

My point? Some people will keep using oil, or trying to. Some others will be upset about it, and try to either stop them or take it away from them. Either way, disaster could loom on the horizon. If this could be done slowly, over many decades, it would be possible for America to support most of its people. Of course, they would all have to live within 30 miles of where their food is grown, and many many would have to be farming on small, sustainable plots, and using animal power (real horse power, not ICE horse power). The amount of time needed for this sort of major paradigm change makes it highly improbable.

Best wishes for a binary future for you and Euler.


It is admirable that some people choose not to drive cars. But unless they walk everywhere they go they use oil. Even their bikes were manufactured with the energy of oil.

No, Ron you are still falling for the binary thing. At least in this century there will still be oil, just not in the quantities that current residents of the advanced parts of the world expect. So finding a way to use first, ahlf, then a quarter, then an eighth of current consumption ought to be able to take us to roughly the end of this century. Many TOD posters have already made it to first or second base, and the pressing need is not yet upon us. It is not about doing with zero oil, it is about doing with a lot less. The distinction between using a little, and using none is a huge one.

If wind or solar or ethanol could replace oil we would be a long way down the road to converting to those "alternatives". The reason we are not is because those things will just not scale up to the level that we can replace oil.

Another important reason Ron, is that oil was so damned cheap.

Oh, dear. In your eagerness to fly off the handle, you sure missed the point, which seems to be that (1) doesn't look terribly likely at the moment (and for the reasons you explain.)

[But if you really think people in general are going to choose (1) when there's a noticeably better (to them) alternative available for the time being, you might save on blood pressure by thinking again...]

I think what gets him is there is no case 1 right now, and he cannot conceive or accept there ever being one.

I don't think that it's likely, but apparently by being willing to entertain the possibility that there could be another layer of positive surprises I'm a crazy cornocopian.

There might just be a touch of that social-engineering thing I like to harp on, too. With respect to the exercise of supercilious political power I think Americans are often more like Greeks (but for different reasons) than like docile Scandinavians.

#1 happened over a decade ago, with the Dutch. But only Americans who have actually been to Holland took notice.

So yeah, it's #2 we have to wait for...

1. People using something else start living noticably better lives than those still dependent on oil.

"Let's take all their stuff!" :D :(

Also Colbert Report: Obama's Simplified BP Oil Spill Speech. Stephen here brings it down to the level of a preschooler, and "See Spot Run."

I think that the US is well on its way to becoming largely free of our dependence on foreign sources of oil--just not in the way that most people were expecting. My outlook for the US is that we are going to be forced to make do with a declining share of a falling volume of global net oil exports.

US net oil imports fell at 4.5%/year from 2005 to 2008, which suggests an annual rate of about 10 mbpd in 2010, versus 12.5 mbpd in 2005. In contrast, Chindia's net oil imports increased at 9%/year from 2005 to 2008, which suggests an annual rate of about 7.2 mbpd in 2010, versus 4.6 mbpd in 2005. If we extrapolate the two trends, Chindia's combined net oil imports would exceed US net oil imports some time around 2013.

Your Exportland model is in effect, although current popular misconceptions are that the US oil market is ‘well supplied’, at ‘comfortable levels’, and has surplus or excessive inventories. Those misconceptions were frequently being promoted in the media due to statements from OPEC, EIA, IEA, governments, etc., but since the GOM oil disaster, optimistic statements are becoming less frequent.

Oil imports into the US in recent months have curiously improved, after the first quarter 2010 showed net imports (oil + products) dropping off about 1 million bpd as compared to early 2009. But if we look closer at where the recent increase in imports came from, we see that they mostly came from Canada, and more specifically, it has been reported that the increase in imports is mostly lower quality ‘tar sands’ oil. That kind of oil takes a good deal of blending and improvement before it is viable to be used at a US refinery. Perhaps not surprisingly then, upper Midwest refineries have seen more their share of refinery maintenance as they attempt to process higher quantities of lower quality oil.

The resulting refinery down time has lead upper Midwest oil inventories to accumulate rather fast in 2010. In fact the upper Midwest accounts for more than 100% of the total increase in US oil supplies these last few months.

Unfortunately supplies of tar sands oil in the upper Midwest won’t do in a lot of US refineries, which are designed with some limited flexibility, to process certain types of oil. If for example, light sweet crude is not on its way to east coast refineries, well, there will just be that much less oil refined there.

As long as regional oil and product inventories are above minimum operational levels, we probably won’t hear much if anything about any supply problems. However local and regional supply problems may be much closer at hand than indicated by looking at total US supplies only.

Fantastic post sir !

And here I was ignoring all that Canadian tar sand crap pooling up in Oklahoma and the gulf :)


Date: Thursday, June 1 2006

Two existing pipelines whose owners reversed the flow of the lines to transport Canadian crude south to the U.S. are now in service.

In April, completion of a pipeline reversal project by Mobil Pipe Line Company (MPLCO), an affiliate of Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company, resulted in the
The crude being shipped to the Gulf Coast is produced in Alberta and staged at Edmonton and Hardisty. The crude then travels more than 2,300 miles through a network of pipelines before arriving on the Gulf Coast.

Travel time from Hardisty to Texas is approximately 54 days. Once the crude arrives on the Gulf Coast, it can be delivered to refineries in the Beaumont, Houston and Lake Charles, LA area.

Note the date.

And here

Enbridge to acquire BP's Cushing/Chicago Pipeline.
Publication: Pipeline & Gas Journal
Date: Monday, September 1 2003

Enbridge Inc. announced that it will purchase a 90 percent interest in the Cushing to Chicago Pipeline System (CCPS) from BP Pipelines North America Inc. for $122 million. Pending regulatory approval and acceptance of proposed tolling arrangements by Canadian

producers, Enbridge intends to reverse the flow of the pipeline to transport Canadian crude south from Chicago to Cushing.

Reversal of the 650-mile pipeline will cost approximately $20 million. BP will assist in the operation of the 22- and 24-inch diameter pipeline during the transition, which could he completed by the end of 2004. Enbridge will rename fire line the Spearhead Pipeline. Once completed, it will provide Canadian oil producers and shippers access to markets south of Chicago.

The system extends from Enbridge's main terminal in Chicago to a crude oil hub in Cushing, OK. The company will propose integrated tolls from all receipt points on its Canadian mainline through to all its existing U.S. delivery points, plus those accessible from CCPS, including Cushing. Enbridge and BP will also cooperate in a study to deliver Canadian crude to Gulf Coast markets.

Again note the date.

Here are some of the pipelines.

Ohh and I really like this one.


First quote

Historically, Oklahoma’s economy has been heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry. Several oil and gas exploration and production booms in the 20th century spurred rapid and sustained economic development in much of the State. Although the Oklahoma oil and gas industry has been in steady decline since the mid-1980s, the industry remains a considerable source of employment and revenue, in part because, in 1992, the Oklahoma State Legislature created the Commission on Marginally Producing Oil and Gas Wells to keep the decline in production to a minimum. The intent of the Commission is to help operators sustain production from marginally producing wells, which, in recent years, have accounted for over three-fourths of Oklahoma oil production and about one-tenth of the State's natural gas production. High prices for oil and gas also have slowed the decline.


The city of Cushing, in central Oklahoma, is a major crude oil trading hub that connects Gulf Coast producers to Midwest refining markets. In addition to Oklahoma crude oil, the Cushing hub receives supply from several major pipelines that originate in Texas. Traditionally, the Cushing Hub has pushed Gulf Coast and Mid-Continent crude oil supply north to Midwest refining markets. However, production from those regions is in decline, and an underused crude oil pipeline system has been reversed to deliver rapidly expanding heavy crude oil supply — produced in Alberta, Canada, and pumped to Chicago via the Enbridge and Lakehead Pipeline systems — to Cushing, where it can access Gulf Coast refining markets. Cushing is the designated delivery point for NYMEX crude oil futures contracts.

On the same page :)

And now on to 2008


Why The Oil Back Up?

The oil drilled from the Gulf of Mexico is transferred trough a pipeline from Texas to Oklahoma, Cushing. Apart from the refineries at Cushing, this oil also supplies the refineries to the north of Cushing. But since the demand for oil is less, much of it accumulated in Cushing itself, causing the backup.

Cushing has no port and is surrounded by land. It’s impossible to reverse the direction of flow of the oil in pipelines, meaning that the only way out would be to transfer the oil via tankers to other parts of the country. However, this would not be cost effective in the long run and the oil continues to accumulate in Cushing.

Now suddenly its impossible to reverse pipelines ????

Yet ...

ussell Gold, July 11, 2007, The Wall Street Journal - The future of the U.S. oil industry arrived last year in Cushing, Okla., moving along at two miles an hour.

It was the first crude from the Albertan oil sands to reach as far south as the giant Cushing pipeline hub, one of the locations where global oil prices are set. To get there, the crude traveled through a pipeline that for decades carried oil in the opposite direction.

A month later, a second pipeline was reversed and Canadian crude reached all the way down to southeast Texas, the world's largest cluster of petrochemical plants and refineries and the traditional front door for much of the U.S.'s oil supplies.

Why on earth is it piling up in Cushing again ?

Now I argue it was a hell of a lot of work to get the Canadian crude down to Cushing. It took planning. The fact that this leads to a large build a Cushing causing price depression of the WTI contract is simply something these guys never ever thought about. They started in 2003 well before oil was a problem right ?

Right ?

Check your dates and think about it.

Cushing is secretive but my guess is that Canadian oil is piling up in Cushing, and it has been clearly reported that is as well piling up throughout the Midwest - which makes a mockery of our oil inventory report which we are told indicates more than adequate supplies for our country.

but your point - yes, indeed there was a lot of planning in getting tar sands oil all the way down from Canada. Since tar sands oil is too heavy to flow by itself, they had to design upgrading stations or perhaps better called intermediate refineries. Then they had to reverse the oil flow from the Cushing to the Upper Midwest to the Upper Midwest/Cushing.

Again no doubt a lot of planning, great amount of coordination bewteen countries and companies, and massive investment was necessary to get this in place.

The most curious part about this is, well, yes it was started before Peak Oil. In fact the timing could hardly have been better. I would not be so quick to say oil companies and governments don't understand peak oil, obviously they can reading the writing on the wall (or TOD) - they just don't want to tell anyone about it.

Presently 'upgraded' tar sands oil (that will flow) is trading at a $15 discount to WTI. That could depress the price for WTI because refiners would have a great incentive to buy tar sands oil - even if they had to incur a little bit more down time or run a extra coker or some other process at their refinery.

As if I had to paint the picture where we are heading any more, Shell is closing a major refinery in Canada. I don't know much about this refinery but my wild guess would be they are not getting enough high quality oil and don't think it is worth the effort to process tar sands oil.

June 7, 2010

Canada : Shell to close Montreal refinery

Hundreds of employees are about to lose their jobs after Shell Canada decided Friday to close its Montreal refinery. The Calgary-based petroleum giant will convert the operations in the eastern part of the city to a distribution terminal after rejecting two expressions of interest that were submitted before its Tuesday deadline. The refinery is the largest operated by Shell in Canada. It processes more than 130,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Its closure will leave Montreal with one operational commercial refinery, owned by Suncor Energy Inc.

The most curious part about this is, well, yes it was started before Peak Oil.

Thats debatable.

Don't know if you read my blog but you should its in my bio.
If I'm right then these actions where taken at peak not before.

Perhaps one of the most important things about peak oil is only a few countries have both the resources and desire to determine
the real global oil production profile. Indeed probably only a single country in the world is setting on reasonably correct data
for the entire oil industry. Others would certainly have a good bit of the picture but only one is in a real position to actually
have all the detailed data.

Take a guess which one.

Peak can be lied about but its not exactly a hidden concept ask the Chinese what they think.
With my time line and this is why time is critical the actions of the various players is esp damming.

Look the US is not stupid it was a disaster of epic proportions simply dealing with US peak. I can assure you that
the US can readily figure out what would happen once the world peaked.

Also as far as I can tell the serious issue of peak oil has been surprisingly well contained according to my timeline.
I believe the US believes its a solved problem. Electric cars are all thats needed now given peak is obvious and thats it.
Not that they don't understand the seriousness of the problem but overall its in my opinion considered solved.

I don't think its solved any more than subprime was contained. Indeed the subprime blow up was with my timeline
a result of trying to solve the peak oil problem itself.

In the end the real problem is the arrogance of the US we think we can beat peak oil and to be fair we have
done a pretty good job so far. Even as all the signatures of peak are blatantly obvious simply lying about global
production and playing games with WTI has been enough to keep most people in the world questioning peak.
It did not take a lot. Sure we had a snafu but it was just a speed bump something that can be dealt with.
In fact in a real sense our problems now are not from peak oil itself but a bit of overreaction on the part of the US.
Assuming I'm right the whole housing bubble was allowed to develop to offset peak just it got out of control and could
not be easily stopped.

So in the end the only real question is did the US solve the global peak oil problem. Is deception, war, financial moves and out right
lies and a growing bet on alternative energy especially electric cars the solution ?

Are we going to get away with lying our asses off then hopping in our EV and riding off into the sunset as the world crumbles ?

I don't think so.

What I see is not a solved problem but ever more desperate measures to try and bluff our way through because we think we
have solved it. We have become so corrupted by our own belief they we solved the peak oil problem that we can't see
that the solution is shattering right before our eyes.

Sorry for taking off a bit on this tangent but its like a murder mystery we have all the evidence we have motive and we
have the bloody body ( US middle class) what people are not willing to see is who the murderer is.

Their ELM (oil) vs our ELM (food)? My cynical take on grain ethanol has been: "We can burn our food, can you eat your oil?"

The last eight presidents have gone on television and promised to move America towards an energy-independent future.

The problem is that we have a longstanding unbridgeable left/right divide on energy. The right thinks we can have all the coal/oil we want domestically once we grow enough Cahones to walk over the dead bodies of leftish environmentalists. The left believes in their own kind of magic as well. So we are basically unable to get any energy policy through the political gauntlet.

walk over the dead bodies of leftish environmentalists.

Like these places?

I don't think the gap is based on facts or opinions but on perceptions. I get these emails all the time from my relatives about how there is plenty of oil if only the environmentalists would let the oil companies drill. If only the environmentalists had such power. When I track down the real reasons why drilling wasn't possible (porosity for example) rather than feeling enlightened it is more like I spoiled their party.

I think the gap is more one of how we view the world. At least some of the left's thinking is based on provable fact whereas, near as I can tell, the right is tied up in something akin to Jungian archetypes or Ayn Rand's objects. They have a psychic reality which is not fact based but something they feel is immediately accessible. I'm not trying to say either side is right, just that they are different. Facts and rational thinking come from one part of the brain, the psychic reality from another.

One of the questions that BP raises is this is not only a top "producer" of petroleum.

It is a major contributor (via its dividend) to pension funds and fixed income earners in the UK and elsewhere.

It is also a major earner of foreign exchange.

Is there a risk to the UKP from a sharp drop in BP inward remittances?

Yes, there is a risk to the UK from a sharp drop in dividends and share price by BP. UK finances are extremely shaky compared to those in the U.S. The UK has recently devalued the pound against the dollar in hopes of boosting exports and overseas tourism. Their real estate bust may have been worse than that in the U.S.; it is hard to exactly measure these events.

Um, part of the problem here in the UK is that real estate hasn't burst yet.

You are right insofar as house prices and commercial real estate are likely to fall drastically in price in the UK over the next three years. Note that the UK didn't devalue the pound against the dollar just for fun. And major banks have failed in the Britain and Scotland.

I was talking more about your placing the "bust" in the past rather than in any way suggesting the UK isn't living way above it's means and storing up trouble for the future. This graph is the best I can find that isn't covered in "interpretation" that makes you wonder about their data selection:


There's been a minor drop and slight increase, but basically whats happened here is that mortgage availability, particularly to first time buyers has almost dried up but the "force" on existing homeowners hasn't been strong enough to cause enough repossessions/forced sales to significantly alter the prices. Things are stuck, people have their houses on the market but are waiting rather than dropping prices yet, and people are worried about how they'll make payments in the future if they lose their jobs, don't get a raise and interest rates go up, but the pain is still in the future.

Your other points are more about the severity of the situation that's being papered over and may well wreak havoc in the future. (To be fair, other than the housing market, this appears to my remote eye to apply to the US at the moment as well.)

Yes, there is a risk to the UK from a sharp drop in dividends and share price by BP.

The US and the UK both own similar proportions (roughly 40% each) of BP. So both countries will take a similar sized hit. Relative to the size of the economy the US hit will be smaller. Also the cleanup spending will be largely part of the US economy (although some foreign contract work will generate economic activity overseas). Of course any economic loses due to damage will be almost entirely US.

When are we going to find out more about the cracks and fractures in the floor of the Gulf of Mexico? If the well casing is not intact, even the relief well may be useless to stop the flow. I think BP and the Gov't know more than they are telling at this point. Congress is just blowing smoke too, and they should be the ones getting questioned by the people of the US. Congress allowed this to happen by not supporting the oil companies and providing proper auditing and oversight. When Congress blames someone else, you can bet they are at the root of the problem.

This could be the event that forces the South East US into permanent decline of business, resources and finances.

" I think BP and the Gov't know more than they are telling at this point. "

I think you are right. I wonder if Matt Simmons knows some of what the government and BP are not telling us.

I think Matt Simmons does know what's going on. And it gets really tiresome reading uninformed posters on the Oil Drum accusing him of losing his marbles or having ulterior motives.

Here is someone else saying the same things:

Gulf News; From Bad to Worse

Here's how the someone else describes himself:

With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 200 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Ummmm.... I'll go with the experts here!

I can't watch anything with oil covered birds. I know it's happening but it's just too hard to look at or know too much about.

Neither can I. Turns my stomach.

I am tolerant of many things in life, but I can't abide with dumb cruelty. I have no patience for it. And this oil spill - or blowout or whatever the experts want to call it - is especially cruel to vulnerable wildlife.

Every time I see the pictures, I get spitting mad. I hope never to be desensitized to it either.

All of this news gets very depressing. Not that I'm unhappy with these wonderful summaries each day. But I fear that as this crisis unrolls, all too many Americans will simply tune out. Somehow we can't let that happen as it could get in the way of many changes which, in my view, are so necessary in the coming years.

I keep thinking about how difficult it is for people to change. How even when consciously they want to make changes, unconscious factors get in the way. I keep thinking that what is required here is akin to a spiritual revolution - and I don't mean in a "religious" sense. But what else are these values that people need to espouse, in order to move us toward a future where we consume less and live more simply, than spiritual values?

I think of monasteries, places that build for the centuries and where common life is oriented toward reverence for every aspect of one's environment. Where even tools are treated with reverence. Where buildings are made to last. Where a way of life is oriented toward simplicity. I can't help but wonder if we might benefit, as a society, from considering communities, like those of monks, which have lasted for centuries, where personal growth and development is predicated on a communal model of common work, communal living.

If we're going to change, we need models for that. Models that have worked in the past. Again, I'm not assuming we have to live within a religious context. But we need something to counter the emphasis on greed and independence - as if people could really live on their own, independent of each other, as if what I do has no meaning to my neighbors, or the rest of my state, this nation, the entire world.

I am reminded, as I write this, of a TPM blogger, someone who likely died a year or more ago. Someone who inspired many of us who "knew" him through his blogs. He wrote under the name, Lux Umbra Dei. He was like a guru in a way. He had lived for some time in both Zen monasteries and with the Trappists. It is people like him who can change lives, I think. They have imbibed these communal, spiritual values. And I'm going to give links to two blogs of his, which pertain here, I think. One is called The Great Community and speaks to the interdependence of all life, all being. The other is called The Wind on the Bear Tooth Plateau - and that one was our favorite blog of his - a meditation on life, on beauty, on the evanescence of both.

Here is The Great Community and I offer it in all humility (as it was dedicated to me). This blog aims at what I am trying to say above:


And a large quote from that blog:

When we talk about morality and ethics and community and dignity we are sometimes unaware of the hillside from which we gaze out at these issues. That hillside is our definition of our own selves.

We have to re-examine what "human" means when it relates to moral dilemmas, community, and compassion.

Lets leave that term aside for a bit and look at the concept of personhood. Who qualifies? It is a little like expanding the voting franchise. From landed white males, to minorities, and finally to women and youths. Who falls under the aegis of our compassion and concern and our sense of right and wrong?

Perhaps the time has come to expand it. And if we do center it on a definition like: "that which can give rise in us of compassion and concern", then we might extend our ethical umbrella out to cover starfish, trees, and the very earth itself. And so too our sense of community.

When we do, we probably will find that there is a deepening of our concern for each others as persons and as humans.
It helps this enterprise if one does not center one's notion of one's truest self as something like "a human, born such and such a time, such and such a place, such and such a race, such and such a gender, such and such a nationality"

As we get older, these sub-categories can become less and less important and less relevant and consequently our true citizenship can expand wider and wider and so too the great web of love and life we find ourselves in.

And now a view of the endurance of nature that this man loved so well:

My favorite place in the world is the Beartooth Plateau. Hardly a year goes by when I don't visit. The wind whistles up there and the air is icy cold when a rock wall shuts off the sun. There is an upland meadow at about 3000 meters that I love especially. If you drive the Chief Joseph Highway and, reaching the pass, look northwest, you will see it: a vast table in the sky.

The tumult of this autumn never reaches that place, just the wind whistling in the little stands of trees that punctuates the grass expanse. One can look south toward the Sunlight Basin from there and see the austere peaks rising...what does it mean to them that we are entering a new age...perhaps a golden age at that?

I am weary, feeling my age multiplied by illness and responsibility, seeing the changes coming, and knowing how much distress they will cause some on the short term. But the Plateau endures and so shall our species; we are contemporaries after all, and all this tumult is so much wind, so many fleeting photons ghosting through the ringing air.

From here: http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/m/r/mr_beebers/2008/10/t...

Some people can change. Reading TOD has changed my life for the better. For others, reading Matt Simmons's TWILIGHT IN THE DESERT (or some other book) can be a life-changing experience. I'm buying used copies of THE LONG DESCENT and handing them out to family and friends in hopes that they will read, learn, understand, and change. Plus I routinely plug TOD to most everybody I know.

Of course people can change. But as you say, it often takes a catalyst. Could be a person. Could be a book. Could be a horrific event. Could be some other type of suffering. But something needs to intervene - for people to conclude that (a) change is needed and (b) that change involves themselves. Plus, I'm concerned that "change" be viewed both in its long term and in view of "the great community".

The next political change in the U.S. is likely to be transition to dictatorship. I expect this to happen as a result of the election of 2020 or shortly thereafter.

As both Plato and Aristotle pointed out, democracy typically leads to tyranny. Our politics is essentially the same as that of ancient Greece or the Roman Republic shortly before the accession of Julius Caeser (same word as Kaiser in German) to power. With luck we'll get somebody as good as Julius and Augustus Caesar. With bad luck we'll get another Hitler. Or the future could turn out to be similar to the one Robert Heinlein invented in "Revolt in 2100," a populist theocracy.

You've voiced my own fears.... In so many ways we look like a waning empire.

With luck we'll get somebody as good as Julius and Augustus Caesar. With bad luck we'll get another Hitler.

Interesting that everyone always only lists for the bad Hitler and almost never Stalin?

OK Oil Drummers, "The Election" has arrived and you have candidate A is going to be another Stalin and Candidate B is going to be another Hitler. There are no other choices on the ballot (except suicide), so who are YOU going to vote for? Or are you going to abstain from voting and let someone else make the decision?

I am afraid the above will be the best situation our nation can hope for in the 2016 or 2020 election cycle (If we last that long?). And then again, maybe the current BAU situation can go on forever?

There is always other options. You might call it sucide to protest, but I would figure if the choice was a hilter or a stalin, I'd protest and try for something different.

Why does the election to be have to be 2016 and not 2012? Some people thought it was 2000, or 2004, and even 2008.

Unless something changes between now and then, there should be more than 2 choices, Or a massive campaign to ban both from getting to the elections in the first place.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.
Hugs from a third party in Arkansas.

'democracy typically leads to tyranny.' of course the other ones start out as tyranny and get worse. Besides don't all institutions tend to tyranny?

No. Aristotle described this question at length in POLITICS and came to the conclusion that what he called "polity" need not decay and end in dictatorship. Polity is a mixed political system, with some elements of democracy, some of monarchy, some of plutocracy. Aristotle thought that this mixed system was a great improvement on pure monarchy or pure democracy or pure plutocracy, and I agree with him. The pure types all decay over time and become perversions of the original; e.g. democracy decays into mob rule, then mob rule creates a dictator or tyrant. Aristotle was an empiricist, and he based his conclusions from his comparative study of the constitutions of a few dozen Greek city states.

Don, you might be interested in a book I read last year:

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America

Sort of chilling, but it may be an accurate portrayal of life post oil.


Typical talking points, completely wrong.

Athens was a real democracy and NEVER elected a dictator. The closest thing was Pericles elected as war leader.

It was Athenian democracy which Socrates, Plato and Aristotle rejected.
Socates/Plato proposed a totalitarian Republic composed of 'Guardians' who would completely control the people down to abducting children to be reared in State schools.

Plato later advised the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionyseus
who he thought could be taught to be a 'philosopher-king'--and was lucky to escape with his life. Aristotle, Plato's student, was tutor to the greatest megalomaniac of his time, Alexander the Great.

The Roman Republic was not a democracy, not even close.

The Res Publica was really just the Senate which was populated by the richest of the 1000 patrician families in Rome. The presidents of the Senate were the two consuls chosen from and by Senate and ratified by the plebians(the mob). The plebians also got to elect two tribunes who could veto but not propose legislation--usually the one tribune got bought off and they cancelled each other out.
All legislation originated with the Senate.
Elections were held every 6 months so there was a lot of political anarchy.
This was solved by rule by military strongmen making shadow governments starting with Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Julius Caesar(dictator for life) and Augustus(emperor).
Julius Caesar who was under the threat of a prosecution
crossed the Rubicon with drove out the Senate and Pompey(later imitated by Mussolini) but that was hardly new as Sulla did the same thing against Marius a generation earlier.

Augustus indulged the people with elections but his successor Tiberius cancelled all elections as undignified and ran the government with a terrified Senate. Tiberius was murdered by his nephew Caligula.

There was zero democracy in ancient Rome.

Instead as Rome grew it became much more dependent on the armies and its veterans (starting with Marius)--this was the real mob. In the end, it was just succession of military dictators.

Julius Caesar said in his 'Civil War' that he brought a mutinous legion in Africa back to discipline with one word. He merely addressed them as 'Citizens'.

Have you read THE LAWS by Plato? I think not. To judge by what you have written you probably don't know any classical languages and have read relatively little about Greece and Rome. By the way, I do read Latin and have read their historians and commentators in the original language. Furthermore, I got an A+ many years ago when I took ancient history from a noted scholar.

Before the emperors, as you must know, Rome was a republic. Indeed, the Constitution of the U.S. is to a large extent based on that of Republican Rome. Of course they did not have democracy. Slaves and women did not vote; only male Roman citizens voted. The plebians had their own legislators (not to mention the tribunes, who supposedly protected the rights of all Roman citizens and also Roman women) and the aristocracy had the Senate. The consuls were elected. The Roman republic lasted hundreds of years until it was destroyed by civil wars. It cannot be considered a failure. Note that both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire extended the rule of law--which was in scarce supply in ancient times.

Note that the Roman Senate kept meeting and voting for hundreds of years of the Roman empire. Of course they were mere figureheads, and their decisions meant nothing. I expect the U.S. to go the same way to dictatorship, with the House and the Senate, the Supreme Court and the president in the White House. In other words, we will continue to preserve the forms of a republic, but ultimate power will be in the hands of somebody like Huey Long. Somebody like Huey is much more likely than someone like Hitler or Lenin for our first dictator.

G.W. Bush was more dictator-like than Huey Long (who never had any power) with setting up concentration camps and gutting civil liberties, but he didn't want it bad enough. Had Cheney been president, we'd have a Pinochet type Banana Republic military dictatorship by now.
These kind of military dictators are more common than Hitler or Stalin.

Furthermore, I got an A+ many years ago when I took ancient history from a noted scholar.

Many, many years ago I got a C- for penmanship. It was my first low grade.

Relax, Don. It'll be okay.

My lowest grade as an undergraduate was a B that I got in Military Science, back when two years of Military Science was compulsory at UC Berkeley. I never learned to march in lockstep with the man ahead of me in a file, and hence I got demerits. Fortunately, I don't think that marching in time is a skill that will be of use to me in the future.

...back when two years of Military Science was compulsory at UC Berkeley.

Military Science was compulsory at UC Berkeley? Wow... today that would be the equivilent of a compulsory marajuana growing class at the US Army Command and General Staff College.

Correct, after Pericles the reactionaries took over.
If it wasn't for the Catholic Church, Epicurus, an atomic materialist, would be the dominate Greek Philosopher.
Socrates was a creation of Plato (in real life a minor character, and many consider him a baffon).
Aristotle and Plato got just about everything wrong, especially science and human nature.

What if you feel like you have always been in this place? I have this mind's eye view of being a member of the world family, not member apart from the whole, but a family member, a brother of everyone else. It might stem from my early memories of family stories. Of how my Dad's Mom( really his Birth father's sister) would feed any and all comers to dinner. At times he would talk about all the never do well cousins, but also the poorer than they were people who would show up for dinner, upwards of 30 people. His task was washing all the dishes, which he said he grew to dislike, but our house was never messy. He learned early on how to cook, how to sew, how to clean, how to shoot, how to fix things. But the stories of how his family was always taking care of others sticks with me.

For so long that I can't really say when, very early, at an age under 6 I remember being aware of other people all of them being family, even non-family people. I guess part of that was growing up on military bases where everyone was family, but it is more than that, I remember being responible for others from an early age. I view everyone as equal to me, give everyone the benifit of being equal and no different than myself, if they need help, the hand is already reaching toward them.

So it is really distrubing to know that parts of the world is so uncaring for others, makes me sad to realize not everyone else is in that same place.

BIoWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.
Hugs from Arkansas.

If it can be done,
the monastery should be so established
that all the necessary things,
such as water, mill, garden and various workshops,
may be within the enclosure,
so that there is no necessity
for the brothers to go about outside of it,
since that is not at all profitable for their souls.

Rule of St. Benedict

Ora et Labora. It's a good motto!

Well, that's quite a lot of beautiful poetic abstraction - and it will probably reinforce this bit:

I keep thinking about how difficult it is for people to change.

After all, the devil is in the details, and there seem to be almost as many prescriptions for "change" as there are would-be social engineers. (Along one axis those range from herding most people into crowded cities, all the way to shooing the residents of said cities out into the countryside.)

I guess it echoes the Obama campaign tagline about "change". "Change" by who, in what direction and manner, and to what end? "Change" in the manner of a Procrustean bed, one monastery fits all? Or "change" that is more diverse, which almost guarantees that some people's "change" will anger others, especially the many who seem inclined to be busybodies?

After one stands around awhile in the freezing cold of the Beartooth Plateau, one might decide it's time to go inside before the feet freeze up completely and future standing is ruled out. After one spends way too much time navel-gazing over a tool, or a pretty rock, or whatever, one might decide it's time to move on and do something more useful in a quotidian sense - among other things one will be needing to grow food at some reasonable rate of labor productivity in order to have any time at all for navel-gazing. One wonders, in these days of ever more intrusive crowding and government, how much of that sort of thing would be deemed enough, and who would be privileged to decide...

This man, as I noted above and you would see in the link, was dying. Thus to be pondering, at such at time, and not to be doing "practical things" (as you might be doing) makes total sense. The fact that a dying man was also wanting to pass along wisdom was admirable, in my book! Cultivating a contemplative mind-set does not rule out practicality - but what it does do is "ground" the practical.

Do the monasteries still work if they are co-ed?

Colin Campbell and I were on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's The Current this morning along with Michael Lynch.

I am unhappy neither Colin nor I could rebut what Michael said...he made some outrageous statements but the format was such that we went in order: me first, then Colin then Michael.

Michael is really no different, in my view, than all the other people who have denied there was a problem with the housing market. They ignored or laughed at the people making the warnings. Of course we now know that the people making the warnings were correct and the establishment experts were dead wrong.

Peter Schiff was Right

I agree. I listened to the program and felt that it was almost a set-up so that Lynch could get the last, unrebutted, word. Maybe this is another example of denial that was discussed up-thread. He was smooth, and I bet a lot of listeners were taken in by his comments.



I also heard the broadcst this AM. The audio link is now up here:http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2010/06/june-18-2010.html

edit for link http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2010/06/june-18-2010.html

aangel - Listened to the program and it taught me a great deal. Not about peak oil...I've been proficient on that topic for years. What was instructive was the power of "the putdown". Both you and Campbell made reasonable presentations. When Lynch came on he summarized your arguments as "Chicken Little claiming that the sky is falling". Secondly he labelled your kind as being "amateurs making basic mistakes" and "environmentalists and geologists not professional forecasters" (such as he). Thirdly he tied you to disgraced theoreticians such as "Paul Ehrlich" who everybody knows he was "wrong" on the crash due to over-population. "We solved the food problem."

I recognized the technique. When I was a kid my dad would argue with my mother about everything under the sun and whenever he was threatened that he was losing the argument he would attack my mother as "an hysterical woman with no real experience of the world." At the time my mom was a stay at home mother. It would usually cut her off at the knees. What my father knew is that if you marginalize your opponent you needn't worry about refuting their arguments. Like my father Lynch is a bully, and a successful one. The only way to stop his ilk is when the facts are irrefutable but by then he'll be long gone and well paid in the meantime...


Agreed, Joe. It taught me how to set something like that up better in the future. I view it as a learning experience.

I have read all of Lynch's writings and have had arguments with him on PeakOil.com where he used to go by the handle of "Spike".

His most common argumentation technique is to go after weaknesses in his opponents numbers. Anything that looks like it has the flavor of a plain extrapolation or naive curve fit he will attack. He is clever in that way as I always find a grain of truth in what he says. Yet the arguments that Lynch attacks can be strengthened and that's the approach I take. So analysis of reserve growth, creaming curves, asymmetry in the Hubbert curve need to be done properly and without relying on heuristics and hand-waving.

"environmentalists and geologists not professional forecasters" (such as he).

Grain of truth there as well. I don't think that geologists are a match for Lynch because they don't even have a derivation of Hubbert's Peak as part of their education. Environmentalists use these carrying capacity arguments, which don't get to the crux of actually estimating remainig resources. Like I said, he attacks his opponents weaknesses.

Look forward to listening to the radio-cast.

His most common argumentation technique is to go after weaknesses in his opponents numbers. Anything that looks like it has the flavor of a plain extrapolation or naive curve fit he will attack.

What is a naive curve fit or a plain extrapolation?

As an example, somebody will take a curve and just continue the line from the past few years and continue that into the future (i.e. extrapolation). The problem is that you have noise on the data and sometimes a curve heading downward is temporary. Lynch makes a living digging out curves that have started increasing after someone said that some area was at end-of-life.

A naive curve fit is for example saying that the Hubbert Peak will be symmetric. Lynch shoots holes in this because he will present many curves that are asymmetric. And then he states that the people have no theory or that he just disproved their "theory". he is a very crafty analyst.

Lynch makes a living digging out curves that have started increasing after someone said that some area was at end-of-life.

Oh, he does much better than that. I'm quite sure he has noticed, just as everyone else has, that all of the worlds oil rserves in 1980 have since been used and are gone. Except for the 1.3 trillion OTHER barrels we managed to come up with, wrongheaded claims of world discovery peaking in the 60's to the contrary, let alone the backdating exercises to hide when and why it is happening, and the accompanying volumes.

A naive curve fit is for example saying that the Hubbert Peak will be symmetric.

No...naive is thinking that resources can only follow a Hubbertian peak. Or two. You wouldn't happen to have the residuals on your shock model versus actual global oil production would you? I couldn't seem to find that particular exercise on your website.

I don't have to put reslduals on a model that explains what is hapenning. If somebody else wants to, fine. I do the explaining, the rest is noise in the system. That is the way that science works. The sad thing is that a clever academic geologist or petroleum engineering professor could have come up with this model long ago. But they do not seem to care, and I see no intellectual curiosity.

Kudos to you,Rulz, at least you show some curiosity.

I don't have to put reslduals on a model that explains what is hapenning.

It strikes me that the behavior of residuals as you predict forward would certainly give us a clue as to the validity of any of your models. And your models don't "explain what is happening", they generally are just fitting some data which has a natural inertia anyway, and therefore can be expected to continue in the future as they have in the past, for the near term anyway.

If somebody else wants to, fine. I do the explaining, the rest is noise in the system.

I would be careful to not confuse "explaining" with "understanding". Focusing on fitting your favorite equation to whatever data you happen to have in front of you might be "explaining" when it comes to your model but certainly isn't related to "explaining" the topic involved. Interesting for someone fascinated with models to be sure, but it certainly doesn't instill much in the way of understanding of the underlying issues.

The sad thing is that a clever academic geologist or petroleum engineering professor could have come up with this model long ago.

To decide to come up with something new requires a need. Certainly there is no need for yet another reserve growth model, beyond allowing two sets of modelers to argue about who's R^2 is better or why, when perhaps neither actually understand much about reserve growth.

As far as the validity of your production rate model, it seems only reasonable to test it on more than one datasets, which just happens to be well behaved. Do you have an example for how well it fits all natural gas discoveries in the US and all natural gas production rates? Including residuals and some backcasting to show that it has any predictive abilities whatsoever? If a model is just a wonderful equation which can be tuned to match any particular past behavior, the ability to match the past does not determine its value, but its ability to use what it has "learned" and cast it forward. Using a 100th degree polynomial to beautifully match a curve of some sort does not instill foresight.

I do the explaining, and you do the understanding. I think people understand the difference between the two words after I explain it to them.

Tough look on your part that you don't understand it after I have explained it to you. This is a new type of mathematics that I have used and it works for lots of other applications. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that geologists haven't figured it out since many other mathematicians and scientists haven't either.
Using entropy to solve problems

Tough look on your part that you don't understand it after I have explained it to you.

Oh, I don't have a problem with your explanations of what you think you are doing, its the actual relationship between those equations and reality where the entire thing comes unhinged. Your reserve growth equation for my single field example you provided being a prime example of course.

This is a new type of mathematics that I have used and it works for lots of other applications.

Well, when are you going to show that it works for the oil and gas industry? Trend fitting the past does not explain it, and without the residuals showing the validity of a models projection capabilities it is difficult to make the case for its ability to project.

The statement, "The sun is coming up tomorrow because I have this great sine model showing that nearly every 24 hours, give or take, it rises in the east" does not explain nuclear fission. If the question being asked relates to nuclear fission, you can see that the obvious explanation of some trend related to the topic might not be offered up as a coherent explanation without more than a little snickering in the background.

Just an observation from one of dems underejeecated oily votech types.

US oil recovery has a distinct peak with a long tail.

The tail is where the residuals end up. They aren't enough to hold the peak.

US oil recovery has a distinct peak with a long tail.

The tail is where the residuals end up. They aren't enough to hold the peak.

I'm not sure what you mean. When I questioned Web about residuals, it was the statistical form, used to study the behavior of models.

US oil discovery does have a peak, either around 1930 because of East Texas, or perhaps in 1969 with Prudhoe Bay. I can't find the smoothed graph right now to verify either. Gas discovery in the US peaked around 1917 or so, with the discovery of the largest gasfield in the Western Hemisphere, outside the Orinoco associated gas anyway.

US natural gas production has now peaked twice of course, the one Hubbert predicted in the early 70's, and another one here recently. 4 decades apart. I'm still searching for the Hubbert paper on how he viewed this multi peak thing, haven't found it yet. :>

Production is the time derivative of reserves remaining. That can have any kind of shape imaginable. I explain it in the Oil Shock Model.

Production is the time derivative of nothing. I can, and have, produced oil and gas with no reserves at all, Ryder Scott told me so.

So if you are capable of explaining how I can get a positive volume of production from the derivative of 0, I'd be more than happy to listen.

I don't think that geologists are a match for Lynch because they don't even have a derivation of Hubbert's Peak as part of their education.

A normal course of geologic study also doesn't include a course in the psychology of the criminally insane. Both have about the same value to the average geologist.

A normal course of geologic study also doesn't include a course in the psychology of the criminally insane. Both have about the same value to the average geologist.

We should understand that Petroleum Engineering is probably the only engineering degree that has a built-in obsolescence. It WILL eventually disappear from the curriculum. Every potential student should be instructed that his education may turn out unnecessary. What the heck is wrong with that?

Other engineering disciplines and science won't disappear because they are based on fundamental concepts. For example, all of physics and electrical engineering consists of the study of boundary or initial conditions and constraints (total energy, etc). If we had known that something we had was constrained by our environment we would have learned about it.

Geology and Earth Sciences lands somewhere in the middle, as it won't disappear yet they are also not very fundamental. They would ordinarily be just a subclassification of chemistry and physics because there is nothing fundamental in geology besides the fact that it is limited to this tangible feature we call Earth, and really nothing more. No fundamental physics or chemistry, just a study of what caused the composition of the Earth and the mechanics of forces. So since it is about the Earth, you would think that constraints on the earths resources would make a fair topic.

So how else do we explain why Lynch goes after geologists? If we saw a "professional forecaster" going after some real physics topic, he would be ridiculed beyond belief. Yet, Lynch keeps on pummeling "those who know something about oil" with little formal response.

We should understand that Petroleum Engineering is probably the only engineering degree that has a built-in obsolescence. It WILL eventually disappear from the curriculum. Every potential student should be instructed that his education may turn out unnecessary. What the heck is wrong with that?

Absolutely nothing. Oil is obsolete. It just doesn't know it yet. My children will certainly not be encouraged to follow in my footsteps, at least in terms of where they begin their career....my oilfield experience is too much a legacy product which will certainly see me through to retirement, but not them.

And of course, we aren't taught about Hubberts peak either. It would be the equiavlent of taking a class explaining the physics behind how reindeer can fly. Amusing perhaps, but irrelevant and pretty stupid otherwise.

So how else do we explain why Lynch goes after geologists?

Because their responses are much funnier and more apropo than if he poked fun at the mathematicians?

Yet, Lynch keeps on pummeling "those who know something about oil" with little formal response.

TOD did a formal response to his NYT op-ed a year or so back didn't they? It was pathetic. I wonder why? Do those kernels of truth Mike throws out there have more value than just the kernel the peakers would like to believe?

Speaking of the Grand Dame (NYT a.k.a. New York Times), Collins has a new editorial out about the oil industry and The Dream:

Representative Joe Barton, a Republican of Texas, has a crush on the oil industry of a size that’s seldom been equaled outside of “High School Musical.”

Last year in a committee hearing, Barton attempted to show up Energy Secretary Steven Chu by suddenly asking him to explain, as briefly as possible, “How did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic ocean?”

While the startled Chu started to talk about shifting tectonic plates, Barton beamed smugly. “I seem to have baffled the Energy Sec with basic question: where does oil come from?” he twittered.

On the question of cleaning up the mess, she concludes:

If you believe hard enough, things will work out. (Also, Justin Bieber may ask you to the prom.)

psychology of the criminally insane

What drives many here deep into frustration about the 'bullying' tactics is that we subconsciously recognize we don't need an advance course in human psychology.

We already know that our fellow humans are irrational and insane.

That is why the Lynch ploy works.

We simply don't want to admit to ourselves that most of our species mates are irrational and insane.

It pains us to be one of the few sane inhabitants in the asylum.

Andre, heard this morning your interview with Hanna Gartner. You and Colin Campbell did TOD proud. Good to put a voice with your handle, aangel.

What is promising is that a reputable news program broached the subject of peak oil and treated it without ridicule. While you didn't had an opportunity to rebut Mr. Lynch's comments, information was laid out for public review. The CBC tries to be fair in its presentations - bowing to political correctness, it often gives equal credence to very divergent viewpoints - and it just so happened the cornucopians were given the last word. No point in upsetting the natives too much.

Michael Lynch's argument is a naive one: that since peak oil is unprecedented, it can't happen. The future will be just like the present, only later. Industrial man has never run out of food or fuel or resources so therefore he won't. Jimmy Carter was wrong, ergo Barrack Obama will be wrong, too.

The logic is airtight: since I'm not dead, I will never die. Of course this will remain valid until it is false.

While there is some truth in the adage, they stone the prophets, prophets are also heard. Time will reveal all.

Meanwhile, well done!!



Thanks, Tom. We did get to say our piece, which is good. After all, even if people don't agree with us, at least they are in our conversation.

Hi aangel,

Listening and re-listening to the recorded show right now.

Radio is a game of tonality.

Although Gartner's words themselves might read as respectful, her tonality is a mocking one. Example: so you're storing foood away? [for the Chicken Little moment you're predicting and BTW where is your tin foil hat?]

She pre-labels Lynch as "knowledgeable people" who challenge the PO theory.

To Colins: 'What are you saying, we'red DOOMED here?'

About Lynch: he is a long time industry analyst ... you've heard from two people (ha ha) who predict ...

It would help to transcribe Gartner's subtonal laughters.

Gartner is way more respectful in tone to Lynch than to you and Colins

A good book to read to understand meeting dynamics is 'Quick Thinking on Your Feet' by Valerie Pierce. People like Lynch use many powerful rhetorical techniques. If you go into the ring with them without even some basic training in such dark verbal kung fu arts, you've lost even before you started.

Some timing marks I made upon re-listening to the show:

3:13/21:59 = Gartner calls us "Peak Oil Theorists"
3:19 = She says aangel is "one of them"
4:27 = well ehh what do think about this "collapse", when eh is it going to happen?

pointer: hit the pause button as you listen through a second time and record the moment of each tonal mock and the nature of the mock. Do the same for the respectful gestures given to Lynch. It will be an eye opener (actually an ear opener) All this stuff happens very fast. You need a slow motion replay to catch it. You might think the audience doesn't catch all these sub-tonals. Wrong. Their brains do.

Step Back, you rightly point out that Gartner was sympathetic to Lynch. The CBC, like every other MSM, shows deference to the professional expert, "long time industry analyst" (whatever the hell that might mean), over that of a mere blogger and grunt geologist, "theorists" obviously.

There was a period of time, for about a decade, when I boycotted listening to the CBC period. The mother corporation was very selective in what it profiled (whatever the cause célèbre fashionable in Toronto was on any given day) and dismissed readily - usually by intonation - other points of view as archaic or jaundiced or dimwitted. At one point of time I seriously wondered why I had changed so much (growing in my household, CBC radio was on constantly in the background) until the 1995 strike. Then it was revealed that the market share of listeners had fallen precipitously from a majority of Canadians to a small minority. What was more significant, the trust level had dropped from a whopping two thirds to less than one quarter of Canadians. It came a startling revelation to both management and staff, at the time, that had a move been made to shut down the public broadcaster, it would hardly have been missed by the beloved public.

Fortunately, it has has somewhat made a comeback with some very balanced and hard hitting journalism. And the morning programme, The Current , has built a fairly sturdy reputation for tackling some heady issues with critical analysis.

It was a bit unfortunate that PO was given air on a Friday when the guest presenter was Hanna Gartner (vintage 1970s, 1980s Toronto journalist) and not the regular Anna Marie Tremonte. Tremonte would likely have given all three a tougher interview, but she would have painstakingly avoided her own spin on the subject.

The good news, Step Back, is that a lot of the listeners know the styles. These are well-known personalities on the Canadian broadcasting scene. The fact that PO received attention is a major breakthrough in and of itself. It means someone is starting to pay attention to the white noise in the background.

Remember the British Raj in India was dismissive and contemptuous of Gandhi until "the man in the diaper" was too prominent to ignore.



Thanks for the feedback.
I know nothing about this CBC station and show.

It sounds to be something akin to the CSPAN network we have in the USA except that they allow for highly biased moderation whereas CSPAN would never allow for such a thing.

On thinking a little more about the Aangel versus Lynch show, it seems to me that almost everything the "moderator" Hanna Gartner did was pre-scripted.

Somebody had fed her all the anti-PO talking points ahead of time. Somebody had prejudiced her into thinking, even before she talked to Aangel, the he was a tinfoil kook. That would be one of the few explanations for her little nervous laughs as she challenges Aangel on various issues like, What! You store 5 weeks of FOOoood? (heh heh heh).

Probably at the time, Aangel was too nervous to pick up on these clues. It all happens very fast.

Probably even now Aangel is too emotionally tied up with how the show went to be able to dispassionately do the Sherlock Holmes part and deduce that the whole thing was a set up. Everything was pre-scripted.

In professional show business, there are no surprises. Every move, every eye wink, every smile is carefully pre-scripted ahead of time. Only the audience is fool enough to believe it is a "reality" show.

Maybe Aangel can cue us in on how Hanna Gartner came into possession of her various talking points, like, "Peak Theorists"?

It sounds to be something akin to the CSPAN network we have in the USA except that they allow for highly biased moderation whereas CSPAN would never allow for such a thing.

CBC is less like CSPAN and more like BBC in Britain or Radio-Télévision Française in France. In a strange way it's not unlike CBS or NBC or ABC or PBS except it is, in part, funded by the government. There is a radio service and a television service, English (CBC) and French (Radio-Canada).

Does CBC show bias? Yep. It is meant to be a vehicle to reflect Canadian opinion and values to the home audience.

Is Hanna Gartner scripted? Yep. But as a long running host of a CBC investigative journalist flagship, The Fifth Estate (think 60 minutes or ABC Nightline), she is no shrinking violet. Dollars to doughnuts, I would wager she does her own homework and quite thoroughly. Ms. Gartner is known as a bit of a bulldog by times and she would professionally know how and when to use intonation to get her point across.

What The Current responds to very well is feedback. Each Thursday, a portion of the show is dedicated to phone calls and emails from listeners who agree or disagree with the week's discussions. Reasoned responses from interested parties on TOD would get probably get some airplay. CBC can be reached through the following contact page: http://www.cbc.ca/contact/

If you think Ms. Gartner was a little hard on Andre and Colin and soft on Michael, or if you take umbrage with Mr. Lynch's remarks, I would let them know. The more responses the program elicits, the more likely the issue will get attention.

Public Relations need not be always a one way street.

Canada may be small potatoes, but the CBC does have potential to reach 35 million people.



It is like watching people talk to you, you can see the clues to them listening to you by where their eyes and hands go and do.

Me When I talk to someone I am always staring at them to the point of getting them to stare back at me, If I can get them to actually stare back at me, I know I am getting their attention. It is when they start to look away that the attention starts to drift, though it can be good for a little while, staring off thinking about what you said, you need to pause then and let them think. Talking and conversations and story telling are all forms of communication that are best in person, where you can see your audiences and know what they are thinking.

It is hard to see the subtlities of Radio, so you have to listen.

Good BreakDown StepBack, thanks, When I listen to it later, I'll hear(look) for it.

To many times in Person, you can get the clues people leave about how they feel about you, you can see the body language, the subtle things that they do with their hands, face and eyes that if you watch people you can almost see what they are thinking.

I like the Program "Lie To Me" but it is better to have had loads of first hand experience on the subject. I used to be better at it online than I am now, I seem to have missed some of the subtle online clues I used to pick up on. Maybe that I just don't spending nearly as many hours in MPORPGs as I used too. (12 to 20 hours a day for weeks on end, sometimes as a Sys Adm, or Online Help Desk)

I have never gotten into Texting, and have always used mostly Whole English Text while online. Smiles, and Laughs, for :) and LOL, just not how my brain works, maybe because I was a writer before the online world and YOU had to have words to tell what the character was doing, and it is how my mind still works, Smiles.

Be glad the shows host did not hand each of you a sword and have you duke it out. Now you have to realize that the word is sharper than the sword and get better at slicing the other person to ribbons.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world,
Hugs from a Fan in Arkansas.

I happen to think Peter Schiff falls into a class of eternal pessimists. These people constantly predict that there will be a equity collapse and currency collapse next year, and have done so for decades. Once every 20 years or so we undergo some sort of economic upheaval and some of these types get trotted out as geniuses, not taking into account that they are only right 5% of the time. It is the old saying, a broken clock is right twice a day.

Mr. Schiff also runs investment funds. The performance of these funds bears out my contentions - they are terrible because Mr. Schiller gets one part of the scenario right, and people gloss over the rest of his predictions which are all wrong. However the fund results don't hide these failings.


Hi, StA. I'm not an expert in Peter Schiff so I'm happy to defer to your knowledge of him. I merely wanted to point out the kind of treatment the messenger often gets when delivering a message different than the prevailing thinking.

This one is dedicated to Darwinian;

"Human race 'will be extinct within 100 years', claims leading scientist"


And most other "leading scientists" disagree. Professor Fenner says: 'We'll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island and that: "The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we've seen disappear." No that is impossible.

Easter Island held an isolated population. Other than during the great extinctions which were caused by massive volcanism or a meteorite crash, species which went into extinction were also isolated populations.

I agree that the human population is in for a dramatic crash, perhaps to half a billion or so. And it could be even less, only a few million left is a distinct possibility. But there will be survivors. The human population is just way too widespread. We occupy every niche on the planet. A huge dieoff would leave a few alive somewhere.

But within a hundred years? This guy is expecting the earth to cook and very soon. I just don't think that is going to happen. The earth has undergone periods of intense global warming before.

Most of the oil we pump today had it genesis in huge worldwide plankton blooms 150 and 90 million years ago, during periods of intense global warming. It is worth noting that none of the earth's great extinctions fell during those two periods. My point is that global warming will not cause the extinction of Homo sapiens. It will cause the extinction of a lot of species but only 10 to 20 percent of them because of global warming. All other extinctions will be because of humans killing for food.

Ron P.

Extinction of humans will be caused by water pollution due to fuel leaks and burning of fossil fuels.

Easter Island held an isolated population.

We, OTOH, live on a planet that's within easy traveling distance of other Earth-like planets which can supply us with everything that we need.

Um, wait...

Wabac, please don't try to make it seem like I was trying to say something that I most definitely was not. No, we will never populate other planets anywhere in the universe. But the earth is very, very large when compared to the size of Easter Island.

A few thousand people occupied Easter Island and they did not go extinct in spite of their isolation. But isolated species stand a far greater chance of going extinct than a species that occupies every possible niche possible.

Even if 99.9 percent of the people died off that would still leave 7,000,000 people alive.

But if you have an argument why everyone would die I would love to hear it.

Ron P.

But within a hundred years? This guy is expecting the earth to cook and very soon. I just don't think that is going to happen. The earth has undergone periods of intense global warming before.

That is true Ron but during those periods of intense warming most complex life forms went extinct. Within any species there is a range of tolerance which include moisture, energy and particularly heat. When the planet heats on a massive scale most of the biological systems that humans are dependent on are likely to fail. With the current trajectory of rising CO-2 in the oceans and atmosphere I think that can easily be equivalent to an episode of Volcanism or a massive meteor such as happened 65.5 million years ago (see Luis and Walter Alvarez). It wiped out the dinosaurs. Humans are resilient but a more apt example than Easter Island (they declined due to habitat destruction) is the Greenland Norse. They went extinct due to climate change. (The Little Ice Age)

If life on earth is approaching a bottleneck event it is doubtful that complex life forms will make it to the other side. Let's hope I'm wrong but I think that life systems on the planet are in exponential decline.


Joe, I am a great fan of your posts, I read all of them and agree with over 90 percent of them. However in this case I think you are totally wrong.

None of the five great extinctions corresponds with periods of intense global warming. The extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs was caused by the Chicxulub Meteorite and/or the Deccan Traps volcanism. And the greatest of all mass extinctions, the Great Permian Extinction 250 million years ago, was caused by the Siberian Traps volcanism. There is evidence that volcanic dust caused global cooling, not global warming.

The greatest periods of intense global warming, in the last 200 million years were the global warming 150 and 90 million years ago. There is no evidence that either of these periods of very intense global warming caused mass extinction other than sea life killed by the massive plankton blooms.

There is evidence that global warming has the exact opposite effect as you maintain. The global warming 55 million years ago enabled life to bloom.

Global warming 55 million years ago caused migration to North America

What is becoming clear, however, is that this warming, which began in the late Paleocene period and continued into the Eocene, brought on the dawn of the age of mammals, said Beard, the Carnegie's associate curator of vertebrate paleontology.

The defrosting of the normally frigid northern latitudes opened the way for mammals, including early primates accustomed to tropical and subtropical climes, to migrate out of Asia to North America and Europe, Beard said.

Edit: For those wondering how primates and other animals got from Asia to North America there is a good explination. 55 million years ago North America was connected to Europe and Europe was then, as now, connected to Asia. South America was not connected to North America 55 million years ago.
The First Primates

Ron P.

Edit: All climate changes are not equal. Global cooling would be far more destructive to life than global warming. History has shown this to be true for humans when the Mount Tambora eruption caused The Year Without a Summer. Deep history would also show the same thing for all animal life.

Also global cooling sometimes happens very suddenly, usually caused by a volcanic eruption. Animals have no time to adapt or migrate. Global warming comes on far more slowly and gives animals time to migrate to more moderate climate areas as in the global warming of 55 million years ago.

None of the five great extinctions corresponds with periods of intense global warming.

Perhaps not long-term warming, but in the short term (i.e., at least long enough to cause a mass extinction), you are wrong. I happen to work on the P/T and it is coincident with a CO2 spike on the order of 3000 ppm and global warming of at least 6 degrees C, probably more (also, you are massively oversimplifying its causes). That is but one example.

There is evidence that global warming has the exact opposite effect as you maintain. The global warming 55 million years ago enabled life to bloom.

Maybe after the associated mass extinction (PETM). It was an unusual one, and not one of the five biggest, but is clearly associated with a large turnover of mammals on land as well as an Oceanic Anoxic Event and huge dieoff in benthic critters. Didn't do them many favors.

Must recommend a book called Under a Green Sky. Quick/easy read and I think you will find the paradigm of a "greenhouse extinction" quite interesting.

Of course there was a very high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere during the Great Permian Extinction. But there was also a tremendous amount of volcanic dust as well. And the global warming came after severe global cooling. The initial global cooling was likely what killed most animal life, or at least that is the opinion of scientist who wrote this article.

The Permian extinction: National Geographic comes close to the truth

Rather than a series of local catastrophes, some geologists invoke the mother of all catastrophes—a global disaster that started with an asteroid impact in Australia, where a 120-km-wide crater was recently identified and attributed to a Late Permian impact.1 The ‘clouds of noxious gases’ and dust thrown into the atmosphere blocked out the sun for months, triggering global cooling and acid snow and rain. Thus, almost all the plants and photosynthetic plankton were killed, disrupting the food chain so drastically that the plant eaters and their predators vanished. Fires and rotting trees then raised CO2 levels and induced acute global warming which allegedly lasted for millions of years....

The National Geographic article reveals a similar division of opinion for the P/T extinction. The less catastrophically inclined compare the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps and blame both the P/Tr and P/Tr extinctions on paroxysmal volcanism. In this scenario, volcanic gases filled the atmosphere generating sulfuric acid and acid rain. Sulfate molecules blocked the sunlight inducing such intense global cooling that glaciation immediately started building caps and sheets of ice. The ocean level dropped dramatically, killing marine life in the shallows, and severely reducing biodiversity. They propose that methane escaped from the ocean while the level was low and, combined with CO2 from the volcanic eruptions and decaying organic matter, brought on severe greenhouse warming.

So we had, if the National Geo is correct, a period of very intense global cooling. And then a methane esape which, combined with the CO2, caused a swing to global warming that lasted for millions of years. But as indicated in the first paragraph quoted above, it was the global cooling that was responsible for the great extinction.

Thanks for the book reference. I will check it out. I also have a book suggestion and a great video which you can watch.

Princeton Public Lecture Series and click on:

December 4, 2002 - Public Lecture Series (a Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture)
Vincent Courtillot , Universite Paris 7: "Mass extinctions in the Phanerozoic: a single cause and if yes which?"

And his book is: Evolutionary Catastrophes: The Science of Mass Extinction

I loved them both and it changed my opinion as to what caused the K/T extinction.


I also recommend Under a Green Sky.

I would like to point out that the Vikings in Greenland may not have died out from Climate Change. Actually, from what I've read, there is no definitive explanation for their disappearance. Yes, the climate changed, but the archeological evidence suggests that they may just have moved away. Or, they may have been attacked by "fishermen" from Britain, aka, pirates.

One must recall that they were a living as a colony and thus depended on regular imports of goods to survive. After the Black Plague hit Europe, there was less interest in such colonial activities and the Greenlander's main export, walrus ivory, went out of fashion. The last written record from Greenland is dated at 1408. The Plague hit Iceland and killed perhaps half of the population in 1402-1404. The people of Iceland were farmers and almost overnight, half the farms were without people. Iceland was the Greenlander's nearest trading partner. What would the Vikings (who came from Iceland, by the way) do with such an opportunity? I'd bet they just moved back "home".

E. Swanson

The Inuit in Greenland survived quite well at the same time that the Norse were in decline.One of the reasons that the Norse were in trouble were that they apparently did not learn from the Inuit and their methods.

Seems like a cultural blindness and stubbornness led to local extinction.Could be there are some lessons there for us.

Humans are resilient but a more apt example than Easter Island (they declined due to habitat destruction) is the Greenland Norse. They went extinct due to climate change. (The Little Ice Age)

But, did they? I saw a documentary that claimed that the nearby Inuit villages had some blue eyed people among them. The implication was that some of the Vikings went native, and contributed to the surviving (Inuit) genepool.

I guess I overdid the snarkiness there. Sorry.
But then I never said that the Easter Islanders went extinct, either.
Some survived, albeit (always wanted to use that word) under pretty wretched circumstances.

The Enigmas of Easter Island by John Flenley and Paul Bahn provides a sobering example of Greer's discussion of ritual, as in "Drill Baby Drill!"

When the Easter Islanders began running out of wood for canoes, running out of fish, and running out of chickens they came up with a practical & down to earth response: Build More Statues, or what you might call a policy of The Moa The Merrier.

But it did take several hundred years for the island's population to crash in the late 1600s. By the time the first Europeans arrived on the scene in the 1720s the survivors (maybe 2,000, down from maybe 20,000) were living in heavily-fortified caves and going in permanent fear of being kidnapped, killed and eaten by other islanders. Their statues now consisted largely of scrawny and emaciated people.

So who says consciousness can't change?

brilliant writing by Greer as usual, that's one smart druid.

his writing itself incorporates ritual - intentionally I'm sure. It lends a certain power, but I think it also acts a bit like a golf handicap, keeping the substance of his ideas from being more broadly embraced. Of course, he's a self-aware kinda fella, so this must be intentional. A subtle game.

I can agree entirely with the points he's making without thinking his assertions are correct - was Hitler really pre-doomed to military defeat, or was he only defeated by a sequence of events which was far from inevitable? I'm not sure that would survive a lot of scrutiny, but for the purposes of today's essay, it doesn't have to.

and I see that by his definition, I'm a mage as well! Methinks the given definition of "magic" is a bit of an awkward tapdance between tradition and science. I see he defines it as "the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will". There are many other names for this pursuit. Even if we re-name it "the force" or "cheese", I'd agree it's powerful and equally utilitarian for selfish or altruistic ends. If calling it "magic" could cause altruists to remove their thumbs from their rectums and accept the moral hazard of engaging the tide of events in pragmatic probabilistic ways, that would be a trick worth doing.

thanks for featuring links to the column on Drumbeat, I read every word every time. The way the essays are going, I may find out one day that I 'already are' a druid. I already disbelieve in the requisite spirits.


"the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will"

Sounds like "therapy" to me. Some can do this with ease. And they are a joy to work with. Some have the will but no way. Some get in the way (of themselves and others). Some have inner reservations they're unaware of but with some insight they can make progress.

This will not be easy. But I find myself in this middle group between the extremes that Greer speaks of. It's a matter of facing reality and viewing change as a challenge. It reminds me of the factors that seem common among people who are described as having the quality of "resilience" in the face of stress. Things like self-confidence, a realistic outlook, flexibility, positive emotions:

Psychological resilience is defined by flexibility in response to changing situational demands, and the ability to bounce back from negative emotional experiences (J. H. Block & Block, 1980; Block & Kremen, 1996; Lazarus, 1993). Notably, trait-resilient individuals experience positive emotions even in the midst of stressful events, which may explain their ability to rebound successfully despite adversity. This suggests that trait-resilient people may understand the benefits associated with positive emotions and use this knowledge to their advantage when coping with negative emotional events (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2002; 2004).

Taken from here, a huge, long summary of research on this:


Greer's latest writings have been outstanding. I always look forward to reading his newest on Thursday mornings.

Question for TOD editors: Would it be possible to have the Druid's blog given a link under Blogroll on the left side of TOD? IMHO, John Michael Greer is one of the best peak oil writers in the business and a frequent contributor here.

I think some updates to the blog roll are planned in the near future.

Check back in a hopefully a few days.

Greer touched on something I've had to deal with a lot since adopting renewables and going off grid; trying to impart to people that I am not attempting to maintain their "age of abundance" as they know it. Folks find it hard (some impossible) to accept that I gave that future up long ago and accepted that we will all be living with much less. Perhaps my magical thinking is that I could begin the transition early and avoid some of the shock.

Greer says: "the faith that the future will be better than the past or present, has become a delusion."

This is a faith that I never needed and never shared. It seems that just surviving another day to watch a flower grow or spend a few moments with a friend is plenty. My "bargain" with the future is not one of bettering my lot in life, it's more an attempt of lessening the burden of what's to come. If I have a little power for running an electric grinder to sharpen my axe, that'll give me more time and energy to pull weeds or chop the wood. Anyone who see's it as an attempt to mimic their life of abundance is missing the mark.

Hitler was doomed to failure because the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had way more oil than the Nazi's could produce from Ploesti and from coal to liquid factories.

Like BP and Macondo, Hitler's reach exceeded his grasp. He tried to take over The World, but he could likely have taken a few nations and stopped.

Hitler was doomed to failure because the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had way more oil than the Nazi's could produce from Ploesti and from coal to liquid factories.

Mr. Sailorman, I'm a fan of your posts here, but your assertion is simply wrong. I recognize how important oil was and is; but it's still human behavior where the rubber meets the road. A disadvantaged combatant still has a finite chance of winning in a complex world.

Just look at me, I've logically bested both you and Greer with only a fraction of the intelligence and writing talent.


I think my assertion is right. Nazi Germany was way outnumbered by the Soviet Union plus Britain plus the U.S. The U.S. in particular (but also U.S.S.R. plus Britain) had way more industrial capacity than Germany. But oil was the key factor. During the U.S. air bombardment oil facilities was a #1 priority, because we knew for sure that oil was Germany's weakest link in the chain of industrial production. The bombing significantly reduced the output of Ploesti (at a great cost in B-24 crews and planes), and the "pinpoint" bombing using the Norden bombsight also significantly reduced output of liquids from their many coal to liquid facilities.

Always check your historical facts.

One question that occurs to me: would Germany's oil/CTL have been sufficient if not for the Allied bombing?

Could this be framed as a lack of German foresight regarding Allied bombing capabilities? I think it's fair to say that Germany didn't expect the war to last nearly as long as it did, which allowed the US to ramp up it's air force (and for Germany to run out of oil, and bullets, and soldiers, etc). Similarly, when was the Norden bombsight developed?

Always check your historical facts.

Always check your simplified historical narratives for validity. Everything which occurs seems inevitable in retrospect; it's the way humans think. It just isn't even faintly true. The universe, down to the most subatomic particles, is probabilistic; and the single outcomes we experience in the complex and chaotic world are a function of the "frozen accidents" of path dependency.

Were the actions of Churchill and the RAF predestined to succeed? Was it inevitable that the German high command didn't initially believe the D-day landing was at Normandy? Did the capture of the enigma cipher and machine, and keeping it secret, not count for anything? The cracking of Japan's code? The development of radar in time to help save Britain? Nothing mattered except relative access to oil?

Reality is very finely granular, and the chaos of "results" inherently unpredictable. If one could run back WWII and replay it multiple times with only minor changes, the outcome would not always be the same.

The statement that hitler was "doomed" to fail is self-evidently false unless one invokes absolute predeterminism, in which case it isn't even sensible to make the argument. Sure you want to hitch your wagon to this premise?

The RAF did wide-area night-time bombing; I don't think they had the Norden bombsight, because it was a top-secret U.S. monopoly. It was developed prior to World War II, but it was improved and produced in substantial numbers during the war.

Hitler doomed the Third Reich when he lost the battle of Stalingrad. Stalingrad blocked the way to Middle Eastern oil. Also Rommel failed in North Africa to seize the Suez Canal and points east where the Saudi and Iraqi and Iranian oil was.

The triumph of the Allies was inevitable for many reasons. For example, during the Battle of Britain the Brits had gasoline with tetraethyl lead in it; the Germans did not know of or use this technology. Hence British Hurricanes and Spitfires could outperform the Messerschmit 109s and the Folke-Wulf 190s.

The allies had overwhelming numbers, vastly superior numbers of factories, and generally superior technology. For example, by 1943 at the crucial battle of Kursk, Russian tanks were superior to German ones, not only in number but also in quality--better armor, more powerful guns, more speed than most German tanks.

Thus Germany lost for a lot of reasons. But oil was the key limiting factor to Germany's military machine.

Say, let's call a halt to this back-and forth, we're talking past each other. You're describing rough tactical and strategic bullet points and I'm describing the nature of reality.

I get it - really - that hitler lost. No argument there.

The essay I originally commented on - which comment you disagreed with - said:

Once he went past those goals to pursue the fantasy of military conquest, though, [Hitler] passed out of the range of effects that could be accomplished by changes in consciousness, and into a realm that depended on the hard material realities of oil, steel, and geography. Once he crossed that line he was doomed; magic can transform a failed state into a unified nation, but it can’t make a world empire in an industrial age out of a modestly sized European state with few resources, no petroleum, and no defensible borders.

My point - which stands - is that it was in no sense predetermined that Hitler's forays into aggressive conquest were doomed from the start. The USA wasn't even IN the war initially; and he might have decided against waging war on two fronts. Etc. The eventual outcome was the result of a myriad of tiny decisions, twists of luck, espionage, and the internal politics of all nations involved. The notion that, once unifying a nation, Hitler was doomed to failure in real-world military conquest is silly. Indeed, he started with a string of successes. The outcome wasn't decided until it was decided. Neither was Gandhi's success assured in advance, as Gandhi certainly was aware.

But defending a self-evident side-remark to my initial comment has lost its already-minimal appeal for me today, so this will be it. Cheers & no hard feelings.

Hitler was doomed because World War II was Germany, Japan and Italy against the rest of the industrialized world.

Antoinetta III

Yeah, if it had just been Germany and Japan he would have had a fighting chance.

Sorry for the cheap shot, Benito!

Another reason Hitler was doomed was because he drove all the Jewish physicists out of Germany and Hungary and Denmark. They came to the U.S. and devised the first atomic bombs: The bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was called "the Berlin bomb" after its intended first target in 1944. Nobody had expected the Russians to advance as fast as they did, and there was considerable doubt about the probability of success in the Allied invasion of France before June 6, 1944.

Ah, I think I see. You're conflating the terms "doomed" and "disadvantaged".

best hopes for correct use of language.

Hitler was not doomed; he just didn't win. There's a world of difference.

And this difference is salient to the "doomer" worldview as variously caricatured and self-applied here.

The failure to adopt a probabilistic view of possible outcomes leads many to drop into a nihilistic inaction. Hitler was doomed, we are doomed, so no need to get bent out of shape.

Well, Hitler was so much NOT doomed that he was actually hard to beat.

There are some flavors of doom which are dictated by the nature of time, thermodynamics, and probability. Hard physical realities which set broad limits around what is allowed to occur. However, within these limits there is a near-infinite degree of freedom in how things turn out.

The way we think about history is flawed, and for that reason the way we think about the future is often flawed. Narratives are useful bookmarks for retroactive sequence and outcome; but they offer no absolute predictive value.

He was doomed fairly early in the war. Defeat in the Battle of Britain meant that Hitler could not successfully invade Britain. Sinking of the Bismark proved the superiority of the Royal Navy to the German Navy. Advances in antisubmarine detection and destruction during the second half of 1942 doomed the U-boats to decreasing effectiveness and eventually virtual annihilation. Then Hitler did the dumbest thing he did in his whole life: He invaded Russia in June 1941. Then he did the second dumbest thing: He declared war on the U.S. right after Pearl Harbor. Before that there was no stomach for a war against Germany in the U.S.: the America Firsters, Father Coughlin, Gerald L. K. Smith, and Lindbergh were all strongly against war against Germany, as was the substantial number of German-Americans. Probably FDR would not have dared to declare war against Germany until Germany declared first.

Ultimately, oil shortages brought the German war machine close to a halt. In 1945 the Germans were still using horses to haul much (probably most) of their artillery. There was no point in building more German tanks--even if that could be done--because there was no additional diesel fuel available for them.

It's clear that Hitler made quite a few mistakes. Perhaps the greatest was his thinking that he was a great general and could run the war without taking the advice of the other generals. All a part of his megalomania, I suppose.

Before he invaded Russia on 22 June 1941, he invaded Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941 to punish the Yugoslavians for a coup ousting an Axis friendly government. That move set back the date of the Russian invasion, which left the German army still trying to capture Moscow as the brutal winter of 1941 killed the unprepared German troops and immobilized the German machinery. If Hitler had captured Moscow by the start of Winter, it's likely that the rest of Russia would not have been able to resist as later happened.

Then too, it's been said that Hitler didn't provide Rommel with as much support as might have been required, again a consequence of being bogged down in Russia. Hitler may have been a great politician, but ultimately, that may have doomed him. I think that Hitler thought the Allies would knuckle under when he invaded Poland, as had happened with his previous takeovers based on pure bluff and bluster. He was seriously wrong.

E. Swanson

No its right. The portable energy of oil matters - its why 'we' are here.

Starting out - the US and the USSR were not on the list of the people he was fighting with. But as long as the US and USSR would be willing to sell oil and oil products to others these 2 nation states could have kept 'em fighting and paying for a long time.

Greer's article was interesting. But on reflection I think he has missed the "magic" that has been going on under our noses. I speak of the "magic of the market" that we can have low interest rates, pension funds that yield 9%, wages that don't go up but home prices and corporate profits go up forever and everything can be solved by just borrowing more- consumer or government

One doesn't even have to venture into the realm of peak oil or resource depletion and environmental destruction to appreciate the magic.

This finding qualifies the wide-spread belief that oxytocin promotes general trust and benevolence.

Sounds like a candidate for Huxley's soma(http://www.huxley.net/soma/somaquote.html) , for the current age....

Excellent article JMG. Magical thinking has no place in this hard, dying world. And dying it is - even as the killers' energy source is also depleting.

If there was a magic incantation that could be used to accelerate the process, I would be chanting it day by day. In fact I do, by posting little notes on all those foolish blogs like "New Energy and Fuel" and all the fusion forums. These little notes remind the herd that their pipe-dreams are just a waste of taxpayer dollars, an attempt to maintain the unmaintainable. A way to keep their filthy automobiles running down pedestrians and cyclists. A way to keep their massive, inhuman and inhumane dictatorial governments and corporations humming along like so many killer wasps, whose sting is felt all over the world by the multitudes of oppressed who will never see freedom until there is total revolution.

There will be no ITER, Polywell has been and is a failure - though if it succeeds it will be used by the largest and most vicious group of murderers and torturers the world has ever known - the US military - to further their vile ends.

It's time to stop giving money to this murderous thing called 'civilization' and its lethal institutions to develop more tools and more energy to continue its vile pogrom against the majority and the environment itself.

Excellent article JMG. Magical thinking has no place in this hard, dying world. And dying it is - even as the killers' energy source is also depleting.

Give it to them hard Future one. I'm hopeful for either total economic collapse or crazy GW induced weather on a scale that will shut down this failed experiment, Homo-Collosus. Failed in almost all respects, as that experiment affected other species including the fauna, the water, the terrain, the airable land, the air we breathe, even the ice in the arctic.

Like the Agent talking to Morpheous in the Matrix says, "You are a plague".

Like the native woman in Avatar says, "You are but mere babies", meaning we are not conscious enough to understand what life is or what it means, let alone how to connect with it deeply, spiritually.

Humankind is like a teenager with a fossil fuel allowance it couldn't spend fast enough. And when it loses its BAU, it will whine and mope around like a toddler.

The chase for bigger McMansions, huger trucks, louder after market mufflers, more massive burgers with more saturated fat will turn into a deadly game of musical food chairs as the food supply drops away from the oil age which made it all possible.

The rage Mother Earth will pour down will fade our ill planned venture into a carcass on a dusty plain, from which it will be rendered powerless to rip the Planet apart again. And then the animals and plant life will begin a slow but sure growth and expansion in a balanced eco-system of which the few remaining hominids will find niches here and there.

Another oil age will be out of the question because the easy to get to oil will be gone. Rendered impudent by a failure to respect the bounty provided. Forced to live in harmony with Nature in much, much lower numbers.

Well, at least I can hope.

I think thoroughgoing pessimism is a mistake. Not only is it - to some extent - self-fulfilling, it is IMHO true that we can at least soften the changes and have a tolerable if changed new world. The green building movement is reducing energy requirements of structures, electric vehicle technology etc. keeps improving, and the Great Oil Spill of 2010 seems to have galvanized many people into realizing something must be done to change. It won't be truly good enough of course but if we don't try to keep things from being rotten, then they certainly will be.

Many companies are finally "getting it". The below is a past event but gives you the idea:
Green Leadership Conference


I would like to think that you are on to something...but I have seen two commercials lateley that make me cringe...one is for Audi cars where a sports car on a dyno revs the engine to the point where a crystal goblet shatters (a voice-over states that Audi has achieved 'automotive perfection')...the other is a slo-mo depiction of a driver peeling out and laying rubber in a Dodge Charger with a voice over saying: "Cars made by people who love cars, for people who love cars, to drive past people who don't like cars"

With us involved in wars in the Middle East, with the possibility of more ME wars, and with flat oil production, and with recent examples of the environmental costs of our energy use, and with a stagnant/weak economy, we still are bombarded with ads to entice juvenile, selfish people to buy unnecessarily over-powered and/or over-sized hunks o metal to feed their over-sized egos...

I don't see the green revolution very much yet...

The Green Revolution is just not spending it's money on ad dollars. The Big Cars, Big houses, Big BAU is spending money on the ADS because they see themselves dying out, and they fear that they will lose market share.

Seeing the Ads and knowing what you are seeing, does not mean you are going to go out there and buy a Car does it? Treat ads like the entertainment they are and forget them like you do every other bit of information that comes hitting your eyeballs every day.

Think about it, you are in a park, you see green grass, green trees, flowers and the good easy life. That is a minute of Ad space not paid for, but you are getting the same bit of information that the Car ad on TV gave you, just in a different way. Everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel during the day impacts how you live the next little bit of your life. You'll have memories made with those markers that bring out emotion in you, and key the memory to your worldview of everything.

One reason I don't watch many commericals on TV, though I watch TV I try for a limited AD experience. Too many things can influence you if you let them.

Got to think positive to be positive. To live positive you have to practice positive, to practice you have to train yourself to think positive.

Ever do any Martial Arts, or Relaxation exercises, you have to do them over and over and over again, building muscle memory, it is the same with positive attitudes.

I can not change the past. Looking back at it, I only see what my filters let me see, I can not see the whole picture, unless I actually was looking at a whole picture and trying to remember it, things will be vague and fuzzy in the past. I can not see the future, only the now, and a possible path a few steps ahead. I choose to be positive, walking in a positive manner and thinking in a positive way.

And here I was just telling my dad about all the grasshoppers in the yard.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world,
Hugs from Arkansas

Either the NY Post article is a Faux-style fraud (it could well be considering the source), or the Harvard studiers really don't get externalities. They say Obama's plan would lead to (or the equivalent cost) of $7/gal gas, but pretend there are no externalities to the gas usage itself. Sure, we don't know for sure what the chances or risks of various climate change scenarios are, but it would be absurd to blow the Es off as "zero" and pretend that ameliorative actions are just wasted effort.

Furthermore, they don't take into account that conservation also reduces demand, and that lowering of cost must also be taken into account.

In general, Harvard is known for the weakness of its quantitative research in both its economics department and in its graduate school of business administration. MIT is much better, and so is my old alma mater, U.C., Berkeley, where externalities and how to measure them was a big topic way back in the 1950s.

But even if Harvard is a bit weak, are they wrong? It seems like whenever the President and the Congress have stuck their noses under the tent-flap - doesn't matter which party or what issue - they almost always lowball the cost by an order of magnitude. And once people discover the real cost, the lobby groups are so invested in the handouts (implicit or explicit) that there's no backing out. Why should anyone believe the cost estimates for cap-and-whatever when Medicare, the Iraq War, and everything else one can think of has ballooned wildly? Maybe we should believe the estimates when Amtrak finally pays its own way as had been promised (rightly or wrongly) time and time again.

Death by fire in the gulf: Sea life incinerated alive in ‘burn boxes’

Here on the open ocean, 12 miles from ground zero of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the gulf is hovering between life and death.

The large strands of sargassum seaweed atop the ocean are normally noisy with birds and thick with crustaceans, small fish and sea turtles. But now this is a silent panorama, heavy with the smell of oil.

There are no birds. The seaweed is soaked in rust-colored crude and chemical dispersant. It is devoid of life except for the occasional juvenile sea turtle, speckled with oil and clinging to the only habitat it knows. Thick ribbons of oil spread out through the sea like the strips in egg flower soup, gorgeous and deadly. ...

"Ordinarily, the sargassum is a nice, golden color. You shake it, and all kinds of life comes out: shrimp, crabs, worms, sea slugs. The place is really just bursting with life. It's the base of the food chain. And these areas we're seeing here by comparison are quite dead," he said.

"It's amazing. We'll see flying fish, and they'll land in this stuff and just get stuck." ...

But the burn operations have proved particularly excruciating for the turtle researchers, who have been trolling the same lines of oil and seaweed as the boom boats, hoping to pull turtles out of the sargassum before they are burned alive.

Much of the wildlife here seems doomed in any case. "We've seen the oil covering the turtles so thick they could barely move, could hardly lift their heads," Witherington said. "I won't pretend to know which is the nastiest."

I like reading Darwinian's comments because I think he hits it on the nail nearly every time.

I have this nagging feeling that there is no technology that would ever exist to allow colonization of other planets out there. I think we're stuck on this planet. All the more reason to try and manage it better.

We have a population problem that is starting to show up in difficulties to feed people in certain parts of the world. Our entire modern society is completely dependent on oil to basically do, well, everything.

There doesn't seem to any real solution to this and alternatives are years away but as I understand the problem, nothing through any combination can replace oil in the way it powers our entire civilization and I think the powers to be behind the scenes know this.

We're going through resources fast and we're destroying good portions of habitats and eco-systems while we plunder what's left out there. The oceans are dying, there isn't enough fresh water for everyone and privatization of water is compounding the issue.

Deserts are growing as we destroy the topsoil and climate change seems to be underway and I'm one of those that firmly believes that human activity is the driving force behind it and it's just sheer denial to suggest otherwise.

We have economies that are built on endless growth and consumption, with everything designed to be replaced and tossed as soon as possible. And we have a generation of people who are conditioned to think they are entitled to whatever they, whenever they want regardless.

This does not make for a pretty picture in the coming decades and I tend to think there isn't a real solution to bail us out. Something has to give and it's going to be us.

We've been sheltered from the realities of keeping our system going and the average person simply does not comprehend how to get by with less and most probably lack the necessary coping skills since they've been so used to having their needs met for so long.

I don't see a rosy outlook for this down the road.

Now, while I think our modern global society is probably going to be shortlived in it's current form, that doesn't mean everything is going to collapse and everyone dies.

People are adaptive and societies will survive but on a much smaller scale. I think the physical limits of nature will just force this reality onto us and we won't have a choice in the matter.

But man, will a lot of people cry and complain as this unfolds....

While I am deeply supportive of Space Exploration, I don't think we should colonise other planets, because we clearly can't be trusted with this one.