Drumbeat: June 22, 2010

Finding the 'Weapons' of Persuasion to Save Energy

For example, people are swayed by authority: They are more apt to jaywalk if a fellow in a well-tailored suit leads the way. People find more appeal in things that seem scarce: They say a cookie tastes better if it comes from a near-empty jar rather than a full one.

Now, the professor has trained his "weapons of influence" on how people use energy. For two years, he's been "chief scientist" at OPOWER, a firm that studies utility customers, then advises the utility on how to save energy. Currently, 30 utilities have managed to cut energy use by at least 1.5 percent; some regions lead at 3.5 percent.

Compared with other strategies -- efficient appliances, upgraded power plants, new grid technology -- it has cost them next to nothing.

The key, according to Cialdini, has been reframing the pitch behind energy efficiency.

Austerity was a hard sell in the 40s. Today it's harder still

It's now pretty clear that the Keynesians have been defeated in the macroeconomic debate and that rapid, large-scale deficit reduction is the only game in town. In the 1940s the shortage facing most people was of goods, not money. This time it will be the other way round, but there is bound to be a similar sense of frustration and resentment as unemployment rises, standards of living at best stagnate, dreams and aspirations are put on hold, and the joy generally goes out of life. Or as another diarist, Vere Hodgson, prosaically but powerfully put it in 1949, "Oh, for a little extra butter!"

The lessons of history can be overdone, but the austerity of the 1940s – a largely successfully managed operation, with society remaining broadly stable and cohesive – has four to teach us.

Lloyd's Chief Ward Says Insurance Rates Offshore Must Rise After BP Spill

The BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will push up the price of insurance on offshore drilling, said Lloyd’s of London Chief Executive Officer Richard Ward.

“Rates have to go up quite significantly,” Ward said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In Business With Margaret Brennan” today. “Rates had fallen to quite a low level in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore energy. We’d been questioning the profitability of insurance in that region for quite some time.”

Deep-Water Drilling Likely to Continue

Willie Sutton robbed banks because that's where the money is. And oil companies venture into deep waters for exploration because that's where the oil is.

That's why -- even though President Obama has imposed a six-month moratorium on deep-water exploration drilling in the Gulf of Mexico -- the oil and gas industry is going to be back. And it's why in other countries, the deep-water search hasn't stopped.

Steve LeVine - Petrostates: What BP spill?

Going down the list of the world's petrocountries, I can't find a single one that is adopting anything approaching a tough new stance against offshore oil drilling by foreign oil companies. On the contrary, some, like Australia, seem to regard the spill as an opportunity to attract more interest in their fields. Perhaps this will change as the BP spill continues to drag on. But for most oil-rich nations, some noise about evaluating spill responses notwithstanding, it's business as usual -- which means the typical headlong rush to development.

US judge rules against Obama admin on drilling ban

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Tuesday ruled against the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a blow to the White House which had hoped the ban would provide time to ensure other wells are operating safely.

White House will appeal ruling on drilling

(Reuters) - The U.S. government will immediately appeal a U.S. judge's ruling on Tuesday against the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP: Mistake to Discourage Investment in Deep-Water Oil

It would be a mistake if the regulatory response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill created an environment in which investment in deep-water oil production becomes impossible, BP's Global Chief of Staff Steve Westwell said Tuesday.

"I don't believe it should stop all further deep-water production," he said at the World National Oil Companies Congress in London.

"Companies have been drilling in deep water in the Gulf Of Mexico for 20 years and until now have had a good safety record."

Oil drillers, users say world needs deepwater wells

(Reuters) - Energy chiefs defended deepwater oil as crucial to meeting future demand, saying on Tuesday that a prolonged U.S. drilling ban in response to the giant Gulf of Mexico spill could stoke costs and threaten security of supply.

Setting aside the technical difficulties, the United States had embraced deepwater oil as a secure domestic source until BP's disastrous spill began in April and prompted Washington to impose a six-month ban.

BP Adds Lobbyists With Gulf Lawmaker Ties to Washington Team

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc., coping with congressional investigations and criticism over its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, added lobbyists with ties to lawmakers from the region to the company’s growing team of Washington advisers.

Tropical Storm May Threaten BP’s Cleanup, Spread Oil

(Bloomberg) -- The first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season may enter the Gulf of Mexico as soon as next week, possibly disrupting BP Plc’s efforts to clean up the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

A system of thunderstorms in the Caribbean may strengthen into a tropical storm this week before heading into the Gulf between Mexico and Cuba, said Jim Rouiller, a senior energy meteorologist at Planalytics Inc. in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

House to vote on subpoena power for spill panel

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Democratic leaders plan to pass a bill this week that would give subpoena power to the panel investigating the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said House leaders plan to vote on the bill as early as Wednesday and he expects it to pass.

Notes From Wake of Blowout Outline Obstacles and Frustration

In the first frantic days after the blowout of the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, crisis managers in Houston, concerned about the potential for an even greater catastrophe, weighed the risks of using more aggressive methods to try to control the well or leaving it alone, according to meeting notes and other documents.

Feds, oil firms exploring new idea to capture oil

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Government and industry leaders are exploring a new way to capture oil gushing from the blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Tuesday they're looking into whether pipelines could be extended from the leaking well to several production platforms elsewhere in the Gulf where the flow could be captured or sent down to a different reservoir.

The Oil Spill: Where Are the Good Samaritans?

Companies that have the expertise to help BP clean up the Gulf need to be protected by corporate Good Samaritan laws.

BP gives proceeds from leaked Gulf oil to charity

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Energy giant BP PLC will donate proceeds raised by selling oil from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The British energy firm said Tuesday the foundation will use the money on projects that help wildlife along the Gulf Coast. BP is providing an initial $5 million to get the fund running.

Acute amnesia on oil

For those not old enough to remember, there was a period of time in our not too distant past when the fuel supply was short because of politicial indifference of some sort. The result was gasoline rationing. This resulted in long lines and short tempers at the stations.

Something else changed, though not so abruptly. The auto industry became inundated with what I call Japanese zeros — Corollas, Hondas, etc. — smallish, economical, reliable, smart, high-mileage cars. For the next two or three years, that's pretty much what people bought and drove. Then we found a new source of oil at the ocean's bottom, and oil became abundant again.

Stop Vilifying Oil

While we may be able to find green sources of energy to power our homes and factories in the future, nuclear, solar or wind, as a fuel in transportation, there is really nothing that can remotely compete for the cost, affordability, efficiency and reliability of petroleum. That is why it has been the life blood of the industrial world for almost a century.

George Monbiot: Don't cry for investors burned by BP. They were warned loud and clear

Call me a hard-hearted bastard, but I'm finding it difficult to summon up the sympathy demanded by the institutional investors now threatening to sue BP. They claim that the company inflated its share price by misrepresenting its safety record. I don't know whether this is true, but I do know that the investors did all they could not to find out. They have just been presented with the bill for the years they spent shouting down anyone who questioned the company.

Dark Conspiracies of the Gulf

Around the camp fire, humans tell horror stories. About goblins, and dark conspiracies of death. Soon after the shock of the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the cranks rolled out new tales that tell us a lot about the human mind, and how we react to environmental tragedy.

While the deadly rig explosion, the oiled wild-life, and the lost jobs are no joke, I can't resist rating the wildest theories, coming from non-existent mystics, far-out blogs, right-wing radio, and even mainstream TV.

The Perfect storm: what comes after it is our choice

We are in, what could be called "the perfect storm". All the forces of a collapsing financial system, combined with an economic system in its final transition from a consumer/industrial economy to a knowledge/service economy, creating major social upheaval and breakdowns in health, family and community resiliency along with environmental degradation and resource depletion reaching peaks that cannot be reversed are now merging together. We are challenged with dealing with not one crisis, but many. Solutions will need to be new, different and immediate and it is entirely doable. The question is not can we do it, but will we? We have the know how, we have the technology, we have the knowledge. Do we have the will?

Pakistan: Fall in local oil production leads to record imports

KARACHI: The fall in local oil production amid growing circular debt has led to record imports of oil products, according to an analyst.

As U.S. Troops Depart, Some Iraqis Fear Their Own

In Iraq, the pullout of U.S. troops is picking up pace. By Sept. 1, the number of U.S. forces in Iraq will be pared to about 50,000 troops, part of a massive drawdown to continue in 2011 under an agreement negotiated with Baghdad.

Fluor lands oversight role at Shah project

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has hired the US engineering company Fluor to extend its involvement with the Shah sour gas project by becoming its manager, as the emirate prepares to go it alone on the US$10 billion (Dh36.72bn) project.

Fluor said it was awarded a $160 million contract to oversee the project and provide management consultancy services for its main components.

Argentina: Into (or out of) gas

Over and above this problem with a major gas distributor, there is the underlying difficulty of a gas supply moving in the inverse direction to a populist pricing which theoretically broadens gas consumption (but largely for metropolitan middle-class households since shantytowns depend on bottled gas at market prices). The only sure way to reverse the downward slide of gas production is the encouragement of productive investment by offering prices comparable to the rest of the world (including neighbours like Brazil, whose fossil fuel reserves are expanding by leaps and bounds) — not subsidies.

'Why power cos using less gas?'

NEW DELHI: The oil ministry has asked the power ministry to examine reasons that could be forcing generation companies to consume less than their government-decided share of gas from Mukesh Ambani's Andhra offshore field when demand for electricity is high and there is no shortage in fuel supply.

In a memo to the power ministry, the oil ministry said the government had earmarked the quantity of Andhra offshore gas to the identified power plants so that they could work at 90% capacity. But only 85% of the allocated gas was consumed by such power plants in April when demand is usually high. The Central Electricty Authority said some plants reported loss of generation in April due to supply shortage.

Afghanistan to start oil-licensing round

Afghanistan will begin an oil tender process in July or August in a move it hopes will lure foreign investors and help revamp the war-ravaged country's economy, its mines minister said on Monday.

Oil production in the country has all but ceased due mostly to security concerns, and an earlier bidding round came to nothing.

East Timor pushes $5b hub for onshore gas processing

SYDNEY - East Timor, opposed to Woodside Petroleum's plan to develop the Sunrise gas project using a floating plant, has said it proposes a US$3.8 billion ($5.4 billion) oil and gas development hub on its southern coast.

Chinese reactors: NSG and US duplicity

Facing a staggering crunch of energy shortage, the reported Pakistan-China deal for the provision of two reactors (Chashma 3 & 4) for the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant is reassuring. But the question will the deal go through has become a knotty issue; thanks to the duplicitous double standards of the US and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Interview with Jeff Rubin

If we continue to commute 60 miles each way in SUVs, we’re going to get screwed. All of a sudden, peak oil will equal peak GDP; that’s not just an economic recession for a couple of quarters, that’s a world of no economic growth. The point of my book is that, while we can’t do anything about triple-digit oil prices, there’s a whole lot we can do to make sure that when we encounter triple-digit oil prices, they don’t have to be so devastating as in the past. We have to reduce, in effect, oil per unit of GDP, and the way we do that is to go from a global economy back to a local economy because a global economy is an extremely oily way of doing business. And that switch isn’t something that the Federal Reserve Board or US Treasury or the Bank of Canada or the European Central Bank is going to put in place; that is going to be the aggregate result of all the micro decisions that consumers make about what we eat, where we live and how we get around. I think triple-digit oil prices will lead us to make the right decisions on those fronts, and the result will be a very different economy than the economy we know.

Gazprom questions EU’s stake on renewable energy

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass) -- Russia’s gas giant Gazprom regards as uneconomical and environmentally inefficient the EU leadership’s stake on subsidized costly sources of renewable energy. A statement to that was voiced by Gazprom’s deputy CEO, general director of Gazprom Export, Alexander Medvedev, at a news conference on Tuesday.

The Costs of Natural Gas, Including Flaming Water

If you are predisposed to distrust big business and the bureaucrats who regulate it, then “Gasland,” a soberly muckracking film about the health and environmental dangers of the current nationwide rush to drill for natural gas, will light a flame in you. It might resemble the flames Mr. Fox films sprouting from people’s kitchen faucets or from the surfaces of polluted creeks, in places where methane has turned water into a fire hazard.

Kurt Cobb - Memo to Kurzweil: The human-machine hybrid already happened and the results are pretty scary

If you believe Kurzweil is correct about the vast expansion of human capabilities in the future, you must also believe that doing the same thing all over again--that is, increasing the power of humans by several orders of magnitude--will bring about different results than the previous fossil fuel driven increase. (I am reminded of the old joke that doing that same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.) The powers given to us by fossil fuels have put us on the path to ecological suicide due to climate change; soil depletion; fisheries depletion; deforestation; toxic pollution of the air, water and land; and ironically, depletion of fossil fuels which have enabled humans temporarily to overshoot by a wide margin the long-term carrying capacity of the Earth. But Kurzweil tells us that the results are sure to be better in the upcoming orders-of-magnitude ramp up in human power that he foresees.

The Coming Dark Age

Based on recent comments in this space, and also in my email in-box, I am compelled to provide an updated overview of my proposed agenda in light of the ongoing collapse of the world’s industrial economy.

Sew your own

We all know the benefits of growing our own food, but sewing our own clothes? Journalist John Paul Flintoff makes the case for the misleadingly humble needle and thread by placing sewing in a broad environmental, economic and philosophical context.

A Grim Outlook for Emissions As Climate Talks Limp Forward

Those who thought the failed Copenhagen climate talks last December were a diplomatic nadir, from which only recovery was possible, are in for a shock. Since then, efforts to refloat the talks have seen a lot of ballast thrown overboard — including most of the scientific underpinnings of a deal to protect the world from dangerous warming. If a deal is finally done, probably in South Africa at the end of 2011, it may prove a diplomatic success but a climatic catastrophe.

How the power of oil dogged former presidents, and could tar Obama

Roosevelt could not have led the U.S. to victory in World War II had he not ensured that the nation had access to oil, and its enemies didn't, says Richard Heinberg, author of "The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies."

The German army's march across Western Europe and Russia; Japan's decision to attack America and its subsequent defeat -- all revolved around the need for oil, Heinberg says.

"FDR was very much aware of the power of oil," Heinberg says. "World War II was very much about oil."

Chinese oil rivals smell blood in BP disaster

BEIJING (Caixin Online ) -- While a blowout well continues spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP's global rivals are circling like vultures, ready to devour any assets that the disaster-strained company might reluctantly shake off.

Big beast China is not going to corner the market in oil

Fears about China’s “locking up” global oil supplies betray a simplistic view of energy markets and of Chinese motives.

Oil is traded globally. If China needs oil it has simply to offer market prices to Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil or any other supplier. And if Canadian oil is shipped to Beijing, the US can buy from Nigeria or Mexico.

On the contrary, Chinese investment increases global oil supplies. Chinese service companies offering low-cost drilling and construction help to keep down development expenditure. China’s NOCs have invested in places that were off-limits to most western corporations, such as in Sudan and Burma.

Stephen Leeb: How Will China's Yuan Move Affect the World?

Yet, when it comes to vital creative tasks – such as capping a well on the ocean floor – computers aren't much help. Nor have we been developing new, non-fossil energy technologies on the scale needed to avert a severe energy crisis over the next decade. Nor have we figured out how to develop the few remaining fossil fuel deposits without risking an environmental catastrophe. To take another example, the latest issue of Scientific American contained an article on gas fracturing – a process of extracting natural gas from large shale formations, such as the Marcellus formation which runs from New York to Tennessee.

Natural gas has its advantages, but most experts agree that the fracturing process risks putting a huge amount of toxins such as benzene into the air. The process also uses a lot of fresh water, which is growing scarce, and generates a lot of poisoned water which may not be recyclable. New York State thinks fracturing is so risky that it simply won't allow it at all. But other states are not so cautious.

IHS CERA sees upturn in upstream costs

HOUSTON – The global costs of building and operating upstream oil and gas facilities showed signs of an upturn in the first quarter of 2010 following last year’s slump, according to IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

The Gulf Oil Disaster Will Not Change U.S. Energy Policy

And while long-term energy solutions are desperately needed, they will not come from the U.S. two-party system. Obama’s oval office speech made this clear enough: in response to the largest environmental disaster in the recorded history, one of two "solutions" mentioned by Obama was “higher energy efficiency standards for buildings.” Obama’s cuddling of BP results in part from another kind of investment of this mega-corporation: “The largest beneficiary of campaign donations from BP in the 2008 election cycle, for instance, was President Obama, who took in $77,000 from company executives and its political action committee.” (The New York Times, June 19, 2010).

A gas pipeline runs through it

The much anticipated, $7.6 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline looks all set to die a premature death. With New Delhi already backing out of the project dubbed as the peace pipeline due to several contentions and possible US pressure, it has now evolved as a Pakistan-specific project.

700 garment factories close in Bangladesh after days of violent protests for better wages

Garment exports earn the country $12 billion. The industry employs 2 million people in Bangladesh and is a mainstay of the impoverished country's economy.

It has been hit hard by the global recession, however, and manufacturers say they're being squeezed by a slump in demand and higher production costs due to an energy crisis and poor infrastructure.

Nigeria: We've No Money to Fix Power Sector

Even with President Goodluck Jonathan taking charge of the power sector, the days of darkness in Nigeria may yet be over as the Federal government says it cannot afford the $6billion required annually to sustain the country's power needs.

Iraqi electricity minister resigns after power shortages protests

Baghdad - Iraqi Minister of Electricity Kareem Waheed has resigned in the wake of violent demonstrations over the country's chronic power shortage, al-Sabah daily reported Tuesday.

Americans still upbeat, but less so than in past

For example, 71 percent expect cancer will be cured by 2050, 66 percent expect artificial limbs to be working better than real ones and 53 percent say ordinary people will travel in space.

But the message remains mixed, with 72 percent expecting a major energy crisis, 58 percent saying there is likely to be another world war and 53 percent anticipating a terrorist attack on the U.S. involving nuclear weapons.

'Front Porch' wins Knight award

MONTPELIER – Michael Wood-Lewis will soon see his "front porch" expand across the state of Vermont.

The 44-year-old Burlington resident is the co-founder of the innovative Front Porch Forum, a website that creates virtual neighborhood message boards where residents post missing pet notices, swap recipes or share news.

Energy crisis: Top scientists show how to make oil obsolete in two powerful documentaries

With all of the sad craziness surrounding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, are you ready for something different? Two inspiring video documentaries which provide powerful potential solutions to the global energy crisis are available for free viewing below.

Kuwait sees progress in talks with foreign oil firms

LONDON (Reuters) - Kuwait is making progress in talks on technical service agreements with international energy companies and discussions on one or more could be finished this year, a senior oil official said on Tuesday.

Kuwait, among the world's largest oil exporters and an OPEC member, is looking to expand oil production capacity to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) from 3 million bpd by 2020 and sustain the higher level for 10 years.

Belarus Cuts Gas Flow to Europe in Dispute with Russia

Belarus raised the stakes Tuesday in a natural gas payment dispute with Russia, cutting all gas flow to western Europe after Moscow stepped up gas cuts aimed at Belarus.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced the pipeline cutoff in Minsk, after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Mr. Lukashenko said the dispute is quickly turning into a full-blown "gas war."

Angola output hits 1.7m bpd

Angola's oil production is averaging 1.7 million barrels per day, a level it would like to sustain, Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said today.

PFI - Aramco/Total US$8.5bn loan signing

LONDON (Project Finance International) - The US$8.5bn project financing funding the Aramco/Total Jubail refinery scheme is signing today in London at the offices of Linklaters. Financial close on the deal, when the debt can actually be drawn down, is expected in a few weeks but the signing is a key event with lenders now committed to the project.

Reliance to spend over $3 billion in fertiliser push

NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries plans to invest more than $3 billion over the next four to five years to build capacity for its entry into the fertiliser sector, a source with direct knowledge of the plan said.

Gazprom's gas exports increase in first five months of 2010

Exports by Russian gas giant Gazprom amounted to 61.68 billion cubic meters in the first five months of this year, up 13 billion cubic meters from the same period last year, the company said Tuesday.

Gazprom lowered its 2010 gas export forecast to 145 billion cubic meters from the February estimate of 160.8 cubic meters, said Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of the company.

Wrapped in the flag

AMONG the many victims of BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the campaign to promote socially responsible behaviour among big companies. Ever since BP’s previous boss, Lord Browne, embraced the battle against climate change in 1998 and declared—in what then seemed a masterful rebranding exercise—that the oil firm must move “Beyond Petroleum”, it had been lauded as a leader of this campaign. Now, it is widely cited as evidence that attempts to persuade firms to behave better are inevitably doomed to failure.

Aramco refutes 'secret' spill talk

Oil giant Saudi Aramco today denied allegations reported in several news and media internet blogs about a ‘secret’ oil spill in the Arabian Gulf during 1993.

BP: 25,830 barrels of oil captured or burned Monday

(Reuters) - BP Plc said on Tuesday that its oil-capture systems at the gushing leak in the Gulf of Mexico collected or burned off 25,830 barrels of oil on Monday.

A big 'what if': damage to the well below the mud line

Many more months of oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico might seem like a worst-case scenario, but it's not. Months more of the well spilling at an even higher rate - say 100,000 barrels per day, and from a place that can't be sealed - that's more like a worst-case scenario. And it might be on the horizon.

Beach weddings canceled over oil spill

It's another ripple effect of the disaster in the Gulf oozing oil square in the middle of wedding season: Fewer and fewer couples are willing to risk holding their weddings in this stretch of Panhandle sometimes called "the Las Vegas of beach weddings."

Millions of dollars are at stake because the ceremonies bring thousands of visitors annually to the area. Some businesses say their bookings have been cut in half.

NOAA: S. Fla. may escape oil spill

Oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico now appears less certain to slime the Florida Keys and South Florida.

BP Magazine Discovers Bright Side to Oil Spill

But in Planet BP — a BP online, in-house magazine — a “BP reporter” dispatched to Louisiana managed to paint an even rosier picture of the disaster. “There is no reason to hate BP,” one local seafood entrepreneur is quoted as saying, as the region relies on the oil industry for work.

Indeed, the April 20 spill on the Deepwater Horizon is being reinvented in Planet BP as a strike of luck.

BP Falls to Lowest Since 1996 on Hurricane Concerns

BP Plc dropped to the lowest since December 1996 in London on concern the company’s oil spill cleanup operation in the Gulf of Mexico may be disrupted by bad weather.

IAEA ready to help Egypt with nuclear programme

CAIRO - The International Atomic Energy Agency is ready to help Egypt in the construction of nuclear power stations, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said on Tuesday during a visit to Cairo.

“The agency is happy to cooperate with Egypt in its nuclear energy programme,” Amano told reporters, adding that Egypt was close to finalising the project and its location.

X Prize cars back on track

The organizers of a $10 million contest for super-efficient cars are bringing two dozen teams back to a Michigan racetrack this week for the second round of trials. And this time, they're keeping score. You can keep track of the scores yourself during the Knockout round of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize.

Analysis: Ethanol blend rise may revive auto industry

(Reuters) - U.S. automakers oppose raising the blend of ethanol in gasoline from the current 10 percent, saying cars won't run as well on higher blends, but Brazil's experience shows their arguments are weak.

A fish tale: Aquaculture set to boom

DRACE, Croatia - Despite two decades of hardship, war and a loss of markets, Matko Jasprica has kept his Croatian fish farm alive and now hopes to start exporting sea bass and sea bream to the European Union.

It's just as well, because officials and researchers say fish farming, known as aquaculture, is set to become the world's main source of seafood over the next 20 years.

After BP oil spill, 'peak' oil seems nearer than ever: Without alternative supplies of energy to offset it, a decline in oil production would send shock waves through the world, rattling economies and politics alike.

The oil that's flooded into the Gulf of Mexico has created big concerns about the environmental and economic damage. Another serious outcome has gotten far less attention: peak oil.

By prompting President Obama to suspend deep-water drilling in US offshore waters, the Gulf oil spill is pushing up the date at which the world's conventional oil production peaks.

By itself, the United States suspension would bring forward that date only a little. But if other nations with offshore oil output or potential also stop risky offshore exploration and drilling, it could speed the arrival of peak oil at a more alarming rate.

We have entered the era of 'tough oil'

THE Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez every four days, was inevitable. This was no unforeseeable event created by equipment failures and human error.

With oil reserves depleting, it is a harbinger as oil companies drill in riskier ways. This goes beyond the incompetence revealed by BP chief Tony Hayward last week when he adopted the Sergeant Schultz defence and told the US Congress he was not involved in decision-making before the blast, claiming he had known nothing about drilling operations at Deepwater Horizon. In a piece of damage control, BP sent him back to London. Despite their outrage over his stonewalling, US legislators still have not acknowledged that this is more than an environmental crisis. It reflects a wider climate and energy crisis.

Tam Hunt: The Unipolar Moment Reconsidered

More recently, China has become increasingly aggressive in securing the resources it needs to continue its rapid double-digit growth, using its largely state-controlled companies like the China National Offshore Oil Corp. to snap up oil resources around the world. China knows full well the role that energy plays in economic growth and national power.

Less discussed as a challenger to U.S. dominance is Russia. Isn’t Russia old news, with its influence minimized since the fall of the Soviet Union? Well, yes and no. Russia is projected by Goldman Sachs to be the world’s sixth largest economy in both 2025 and 2050. However, beyond “mere” GDP comparisons, Russia’s influence will be magnified in coming years because of its huge hydrocarbon resources. Russia is now the world’s largest producer of oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Russia produced almost 10 million barrels per day of oil in 2009, beating the Saudis by about 800,000 barrels. The United States was third, with about 8.5 million barrels per day and Iran a distant fourth.

Richard Heinberg: Deepwater Horizon: The Worst-Case Scenario

We all want the least-bad outcome here. But what if events continue on the current trajectory—that is, what if the situation keeps deteriorating? Just how awful could this get?

Beyond BP: Looking Past the Oil Spill

We know that U.S. oil production isn't teetering on the brink of collapse — it is collapsing.

Panel Is Unlikely to End Deepwater Drilling Ban Early

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan commission named by President Obama in May to study the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the future of American offshore drilling will hold its first formal meeting in mid-July at the earliest, most likely delaying the delivery of its final report into next year, a co-chairman of the panel said Friday in an interview.

The co-chairman, William K. Reilly, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under the first President George Bush, also said it was unlikely that the panel would recommend the lifting of the six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling before it completed its report. Such a move would require profound changes in industry practice and government oversight that could not be done that quickly, Mr. Reilly said in his first extensive remarks on the commission’s work.

Judge to rule on U.S. drilling ban in Gulf

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – A federal judge pledged to rule by Wednesday on whether to block implementation of a six-month government ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico imposed after the BP oil spill.

The lawsuit -- originally filed by Louisiana-based Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC and joined by more than a dozen companies involved in offshore drilling operations -- is the first legal action seeking to reverse the drilling ban imposed by the U.S. Department of Interior.

Oil execs in London slam Obama's drilling ban

LONDON (AP) — Oil industry executives on Tuesday sharply criticized President Obama's six-month ban on deepwater drilling, saying the world did not have enough other sources of oil to eliminate using deepsea rigs.

Gulf rig owner criticizes Obama's drilling halt

NEW ORLEANS – The owner of the drilling rig involved in the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico criticized the U.S. government's six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the area Tuesday.

On the sidelines of an oil conference in London, Transocean Ltd. president Steven Newman said there were things President Barack Obama's administration "could implement today that would allow the industry to go back to work tomorrow without an arbitrary six-month time limit."

BP getting close to cap switch: Coast Guard

HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP Plc is getting close to a critical step to create hurricane-ready oil-capture systems at the gushing leak in the Gulf of Mexico in the next seven to 10 days, the top U.S. official overseeing the response said on Monday.

That step will involve removing a containment cap now atop failed blowout preventer equipment at the seabed to replace it with a larger cap and seal designed to contain more oil, according to BP's most recent plan submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Answers From the Investigative Team

It is certainly fair to say that BP and the Minerals Management Service are two of the primary players in this incident. BP’s role is obvious, and the company has already accepted responsibility for the costs of cleaning up the oil spill.

Likewise, the Minerals Management Service is a central actor because it approved many of the key decisions that are now the subject of multiple investigations, including the well’s design and BP’s oil spill cleanup plan.

But there is a third key player, Transocean, the company that owned Deepwater Horizon and its blowout preventer. BP has pointedly insisted that Transocean bears responsibility for making sure the blowout preventer on Deepwater Horizon was properly maintained to the manufacturer’s specifications.

By the numbers: Oil leak wouldn't fill Superdome

WASHINGTON – Overwhelmed and saddened by the gargantuan size of the Gulf oil spill?

A little mathematical context to the spill size can put the environmental catastrophe in perspective. Viewing it through some lenses, it isn't that huge. The Mississippi River pours as much water into the Gulf of Mexico in 38 seconds as the BP oil leak has done in two months.

BP boss retreats as stand-in faces spill protest

LONDON/NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Beleaguered BP Plc boss Tony Hayward retreated from daily management of the oil spill crisis on Tuesday and dodged a conference appearance where his stand-in was heckled by angry environmentalists.

US slaps BP with new 51-million-dollar spill bill

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House on Monday slapped BP with a new 51-million-dollar bill, the third sent to the British energy giant and its partners for government expenses incurred in efforts to halt the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Officials have stressed that they would keep billing the British energy giant for all associated costs from America's biggest-ever environmental disaster, under a US law requiring oil firms to pay for cleanups.

States want BP to pay for oil spill loss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Eleven East Coast U.S. states have told BP they will hold it responsible for any losses caused by its still-growing oil spill in the Gulf, Connecticut's attorney general said on Monday.

"Even without oil actually reaching the Connecticut shoreline, this massive oil spill could still impose damage and destruction to the entire Atlantic coastline," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

BP fought off two US demands on oil clean-up: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Despite high-profile concessions to the White House over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP successfully pushed back against two key potentially costly US demands, a report said Monday.

Poll Finds Deep Concern About Energy and Economy

Overwhelmingly, Americans think the nation needs a fundamental overhaul of its energy policies, and most expect alternative forms to replace oil as a major source within 25 years. Yet a majority are unwilling to pay higher gasoline prices to help develop new fuel sources.

Democratic ad hammers GOP on oil spill

WASHINGTON – The Democratic National Committee has unveiled a new television ad that calls Republicans oil company loyalists who would rather apologize to BP than hold it accountable for the massive spill in the Gulf.

Are We to Believe Gulf Doomsday Talk?

Will the oil gusher in the Gulf eventually destroy all marine life, as oilman Matthew Simmons asserts, or will the disaster instead be contained once BP’s relief well comes online sometime in July or August? Simmons, a peak-oil proponent and no stranger to controversy, has been warning that a second well cannot alleviate the problem because most of the oil, now estimated to flow at around 60,000 barrels per day, is coming not from the well bore but from innumerable ruptures in the sea bed around the Deepwater Horizon site. Because of this, he says, there are only two possible options: allowing the well to run dry — a process that would take 30 years and destroy the Gulf of Mexico and the ocean; or nuking the site, melting the fissured seabed into a glassy cap.

The Era of the Oil Gusher

By some odd twist, oil gushers have come down in American cultural memory as a form of good news — evidence of riches found, like the popping of some geological champagne cork.

In the 1956 movie “Giant,” the last of the three films in which James Dean played a major role, he portrayed a young ranch hand whose fortunes were transformed by an oil gusher.

The truth, however, is that gushers, which plagued the early decades of the oil business, were disasters anywhere and everywhere they happened. They occurred when oil drillers penetrated a formation where oil and natural gas were under high pressure.

Salazar creates new agency to oversee drilling

WASHINGTON – A former federal prosecutor took over Monday as director of a new government agency that oversees offshore drilling and other oil and gas development.

Michael R. Bromwich, 56, a former assistant U.S. attorney and Justice Department inspector general, will lead a reorganization of the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service.

Oil falls to near $77 as 4-week rally stalls

SINGAPORE – Oil prices fell to near $77 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as investors mulled whether the global economy is strong enough to justify extending a four-week rally.

Shell Paying Premium Yields as Energy Debt Extends Losses: Credit Markets

Royal Dutch Shell Plc was penalized by the bond market in a $2.75 billion debt offering and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. notes tumbled on concern the worst oil spill in U.S. history will depress profits across the industry.

Pakistani PM ignores US warning on Iran gas deal

ISLAMABAD – Defying a warning from Washington, Pakistan's prime minister promised Tuesday to go ahead with a plan to import natural gas from Iran even if the U.S. levies additional sanctions against the Mideast country.

Gazprom reduces gas supply to Belarus by 30%

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia on Tuesday reduced natural gas supplies to Belarus by 30 percent after Minsk failed to settle a debt, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said'

"Belarus has not undertaken any action to settle the debt for Russian gas supplies over the past day," Miller said.

Belarus-Russia gas row must be fixed soon - Germany

(Reuters) - Russia and Belarus must resolve their gas dispute quickly to ensure Europe is not affected, German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said on Tuesday.

Lowest Ship Rates Since 2005 Boost LNG Stored in Tankers

Liquefied natural gas traders are taking advantage of the lowest shipping rates in five years and rising prices in the U.K. to store fuel on tankers and profit from higher values in coming months.

China Will Lift Ban on Imports of Argentine Soybean Oil, Ambito Reports

China will announce the end of a ban on Argentine soybean oil imports, Buenos Aires-based newspaper Ambito Financiero reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

Iran sends warning to IAEA

Top US lawmakers announced on Monday that they had reached a deal on a series of unilateral punitive measures aimed at piling pressure on Tehran.

The legislation targets firms that provide Iran with refined petroleum products - like gasoline or jet fuel. Oil-rich Iran relies heavily on imports of petroleum products because of a lack of domestic refining capability.

Prosecutor probes Swedish link in Sudan crimes

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden's public prosecutor opened a criminal investigation on Monday into allegations that Swedes working for a consortium of oil companies during the Sudanese civil war may have been complicit in human rights abuses.

The investigation follows a report published earlier this month by a group of agencies which accused the consortium -- led by Swedish exploration firm Lundin Oil -- of possible complicity in atrocities committed in Sudan between 1997 and 2003.

Afghan general McChrystal commander summoned to Washington

In the Rolling Stone profile, McChrystal is described by an aide as "disappointed" in his first Oval Office meeting with an unprepared President Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

"I found that time painful," McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. "I was selling an unsellable position."

Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. And the White House's troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.

Mercer study predicts 24,000-worker shortfall in energy sector by 2014

CALGARY — Energy companies should build talent within their own ranks before the next labour crunch hits rather than look outside when they’re in the midst of a shortage, a human resources consulting firm said in a report Monday.

Many in Alberta’s oilpatch adopted a “buy talent” strategy during the boom times between 2006 and 2007, scrambling to fill jobs with workers from across Canada and abroad. Salaries and wages spiralled out of control as energy firms vied against one another for labour.

The economic outlook for European airports

So it seems that the "Constant Shocks Syndrome" is just that, and for the immediate future at least, Europe will bear the brunt of it. On top of that there is never any real certainty about oil prices. The only certainties are (1) that oil is starting to run out (Peak Oil) – though that won’t be for a while yet and (2) more worryingly just now, President Obama has identified, in a way that his predecessors never could or would (and as a direct result of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico), that the world ‘cannot sustain this kind of fossil fuel use’ and must move rapidly towards renewable energy.

Planet Green Announces the Second Season of Its Reel Impact Documentary Strand

SILVER SPRING, Md. /PRNewswire/ -- Premieres of strong, provocative documentaries will continue throughout 2010, as Planet Green today unveiled the slate for the second season of its thought-provoking documentary strand, REEL IMPACT. The network has become cable's home for issue-oriented, award-winning nonfiction filmmaking every Saturday night at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) inside its VERGE primetime block.

Climate trial balloon proves explosive

The latest trial balloon for passing climate change legislation appears to be just as explosive as the others.

Electric utilities are divided over the prospect of a bill that caps their heat-trapping emissions while shunning mandatory limits on transportation and heavy domestic manufacturers, like pulp and paper mills and chemical plants.

President Convenes Senators for Final Chance at Climate Bill This Year

President Obama will attempt to seize control of the Senate's splintered climate debate tomorrow with a goal to achieve some greenhouse gas emission restrictions before midterm elections.

Study questions credentials of climate-change skeptics

The hundreds of academics who sign warnings for politicians to delay action on slashing greenhouse gas emissions do not have the same expertise as those who say human activity is causing global warming, says a new study to be released Tuesday in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Scientists.

"Despite media tendencies to present both sides in (the causes of global warming) debates, which can contribute to continued public misunderstanding regarding (human-caused climate change), not all climate researchers are equal in scientific credibility and expertise in the climate system," said the study, Expert credibility in climate change.

On Father's Day I had an interesting conversation about "peak oil" with my dad, who will be 93 next month. He told me that 75 years ago, when he took an economics course, as an engineering student, he asked the professor how long he thought the oil would last. And the professor practically laughed at him, as if that was the stupidest question anyone could ask.

Obviously as a young engineering student my dad could already see that the burgeoning "oil economy" was simply not sustainable forever. As an old man he looks back and can see that as a college student (specializing in electrical engineering) he recognized what his own economics professor could not.

I found it so interesting that my dad and I, who have locked horns politically so often over the years, are on the same page when it comes to "peak oil."

It's sort of the same with my wingnut dad. Other parents told their kids about starving children in Africa if they didn't like something; Dad told me one day I'd be grateful for anything on my plate. He told me oil would run out around 2000. He also told me about Malthus, and said he was wrong only in his timing. Dad chose his career accordingly: he's an agronomist. And he firmly believes in "the end of science" and limits to technology. He liked to talk about exponential functions, especially with regard to population, and still has world population graphic/cartoon prominently displayed in his office. (Don't ask me how a man who believes it all comes down to population can be a wingnut.)

Your dad has a few decades on mine, but I've noticed as my dad has aged, he's become less concerned about "limits to growth." Because the drastic scenarios predicted in the '70s didn't happen? Or just because he's reaching the age where it likely won't be a problem for him personally? I've talked to him about peak oil recently, and he agrees it will happen, maybe soon, but seems to think the main problem will be how to deal with higher gas prices. He talks about electric vehicles, but isn't about to trade his Expedition for one. I remember him as being far more concerned when he was younger.

My dad has become very philosophical. He seems to be looking at the larger picture. Not in political terms. But he seems full of important questions. We may have far different views of politics but when it comes to resources and political theater, he can see clearly. When I was in college he worked on the Apollo project (which ironically was burning up a lot of rocket fuel; he worked on the guidance system) - but even then, even when his salary depended on it, he viewed it as "a political stunt" (to put a man on the moon).

Life is so complicated, isn't it?

If only it were possible to galvanize public opinion - in this and other crucial areas.

In defense of Rocket fuel.

The first stage was the only one that used Kerosene (RP-1), the others that you'd use later in flight used other fuels, most not based on OIL.

You waste more OIL burning it in a car than you do burning it in a rocket or a plane, in my opinion. Mainly because you get the most full use out of it in the Rocket, otherwise they would not be using something that wastes energy, because of the thrust needed, wasted fuel is bad news.

The getting there and doing that all aside, and it being a political thing is something that we can discuss in email.

Most Rockets are Fueled differently these days. My brother works for NASA via a sub contractor.

So I am kinda familar to the term Rocket Science( loads of high end math, and lots of chemical reactions and thrust vectors, etc etc).

We waste more Kerosene today jetting people back and forth to business meetings than we did sending people to the moon.

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

Don't forget about all the many rockets tested before anyone went to the moon! Decades of rocket testing....

Thanks for your informative comments.

Recall that the German V-2 rockets burned ethanol (from potatoes) and liquid oxigen. The boosters would have had to be bigger, but we could quite easily have used ethanol to get to the moon and back.

Yes, let's starve to death in order to get to the moon again... ;)

Recall that the German V-2 rockets burned ethanol (from potatoes) and liquid oxigen.

A multistage rocket is a geometric pyramid, each stage being a fraction of the overall weight of the one below. Essentially the fuel needed to reach a certain delta V goes up exponentially with delta V (as you gotta add more much bigger lower stages to get more deltaV), with most of the fuel being consumed by the bottom stage which only reaches a couple of thousand mph. Reduce the specific thrust (impulse per unit weight of fuel) a little bit, and the needed size of the rocket may increase manyfold.
That was why it was worth dealing with problematic hydrogen/oxygen rockets.
Of course we coulda made hydrogen. With no fossil fuels, but plentiful electricity (Nuclear or renewable) you can create rocket fuel.

The reason the Germans used potato-made ethanol is that it was relatively abundant due to the hundreds of thousands or millions of prisoners put to forced labor in the potato fields. They knew how to make liquid hydrogen and knew it would work well as a fuel, but ethanol was much cheaper and easier for them to make.

i leave rocket scientisting to rocket scientists.

Don - the main reason that I have read that ethanol was the choice of fuel was because of the limitations of the combustion chamber and nozzle that they used. They did not have the light heat resistant alloys that we have today and had to use mild steel. Water was mixed with the alcohol to limit the temperatures so the steel would not melt. The water/alcohol mixture was also a very good coolant for the engine.

Not an ideal solution and with more time they could have developed better cooling however they were working under strict time limits. The thing worked and that was OK. It was also simple and could be built by unskilled labour.


Werner von Braun liked ethanol because it was cheap, easy to handle, and readily available. If they had needed better combustion chambers and nozzles they could have built them, because the German engineers and metallurgists were among the best in the world--probably better than those in England and America, to judge by technical achievements such as a workable jet plane and the battleship Bismark, which took more than twenty torpedo hits before it sank, not to mention the superior armor on German tanks. Von Braun and the others were under great pressure to keep the V-2 cheap, not to overengineer it for its task, and to make large numbers of them as quickly as possible. The speed of development and deployment was phenomenal for the V-2 and also for the V-1, which I recall used kerosene as a fuel in its ramjet engine.

an old timer told me that wwii torpedoes used ethanol for fuel. and what is a torpedo if not an underwater rocket ?


this old timer had a thourough knowledge of ethanol - of the sippin' variety.

Life is so complicated

By the time you are old (and wise) enough to understand, it is usually too late.

It is not too surprising that many in the TOD readership are North of 50 years old.

What is heartening is that there are some young, and very wise for their age, under-50 people here as well.

I wonder how many high schoolers know about and understand Peak Oil?

At least one. We're providing permaculture training as part of a Green Economy Leadership Training program put on by a coalition of groups headed by Global Exchange. All of the participants are college age except one, who is not quite 17.

Nine weeks of leadership, solar energy systems, permaculture, etc.

It's a start.


I’m a boomer. I learnt about finite resources in high school from a fantastic biology teacher. He specifically mentioned oil. I brought this idea home, and my Dad, after some reflection (and looking up some things), agreed with it. He was a journalist and editor, but knew a lot of Science. He was thus very aware, and became in fact more concerned as he aged (human health, nature, end of the oil age, etc.) not for himself, but for his children and their children. On his deathbed he (against my wishes) gave his car to his grandson. We had a good laugh. RIP Dad.

Anyway, personal anecdotes apart, change and innovation - technological and cultural particularly - are traditionally spurred by the younger generations. Historically, several factors combine; rising education, more investment in it, more free time for younger ppl, later marriage, easier travel, more opportunities (better fit between occupation and skills), etc. One might add that opposition to the established order, or the traditional way of doing things, BAU in its widest sense, comes from visionaries (few and far between these days), the discontented or repressed (boy are we going to see some of that, but that is another story), and...the young. It also seems to be the case that young humans (children and adolescents) have an inherent need to create a society of their own, marked off, and different from, the adult society around them. This happens even in very traditional, highly codified, societies, though the innovation and rebelliousness may ‘die out’ or be channelled differently (e.g. by leaving the group.)

The problem with the younger crop of humans in the West (aged say 15 - 30) is that they are in a situation where growth, progress, innovation (except cultural change) rests on continuing, growing energy use. That holds even for the girl who wants to be a pop star, the boy who wants to study ants, the girl who wants to save whales and become a biologist, etc. etc. As a group, or a collection of groups, they don’t have a new model of society to propose, because no progressive ideas present themselves, except for fiddling around the edges. Identity politics? check. Women’s liberation or grrl power? check. Education if you’re good/motivated enough? check. Being free to marry whom you will? check. Getting rid of obstructionist old fogies? Happens naturally or is a personal, not societal, matter. I’d also add that western ‘democracies’ provide the illusion of the ‘best’ political and economic system, all others being laughable and inferior. They swim in that sea and can’t see the water. Progress is something they have to believe in. For this reason (around here anyway) many young ppl adopt soft green ideologies (organic food, saving birds, double glazing, etc. etc.) to...hmm..ameliorate the present state of affairs, not change it. Of course, this generation has been influenced by the media (and various kinds of propaganda) like none other before it.

If there is such a thing as a "natural audience" for the message of nonrenewable resources and Peak Oil I would think it would be the Boomer generation.

Campbell goes into this in some depth, the fact that "unsustainable growth" was a pretty hot topic in the early seventies.

I remember that very well. My high school in Wilmington, DE, got my entire senior class enrolled in a seminar at the University of Delaware about the world's diminishing resources. It was a lecture series held every Monday evening and it was a requirement that we attend. I wish I remembered more about the details regarding oil, but it was all so long ago (I DO remember the drag races my friends and I held on I-95 on the way back into town; me in my Pontiac GTO convertible, and my friends in their SS Chevy and Olds 425 Starfire. That was all so simple; Just Burn More Fossil Fuel!) It did however, make a lasting impression on me. When I bumped into "Olduvai Theory" several years ago everything came crashing back into my consciousness. That was when I started reading up on the subject again and found The Oil Drum.

I was struck looking recently at the Meadows "Limits to Growth" 1972 publication that the earliest they forecast limits being reached in their business as usual model run was about 2015-20. I am sure we all assumed when it came out that the forecast was for effects much sooner than this, and in fact I wrote an essay when I was at university in the seventies in which I think I criticised it on this basis. Looking back at it now it looks rather prescient.

Strange timing, I've been pondering this quite a bit. My dad used to be big into conservation, nature, habitat protect...all that stuff. Now he's 60, and he's like a completely different person. He scoffs at peak oil, global warming, conservation - I can't even hold an intelligent conversation with him regarding much of anything in the natural world. The conclusion I've come to is that he's old enough now that he just doesn't care, odds are most of it isn't going to affect him. Maybe there comes a point when you realize there's not much you can do but go along for the ride.

Yet again an article that talks about a possible worse case in the Gulf of Mexico, linking to a post by Dougr, which I read a few days ago through another link.

So What was thought of it amoung the Regulars, (Old timers, that post a lot about these issues, you know who you are.)?

I've posted the questions of when will the Oil Spill sputter out, due to collapse of the formation, never did get a good answer. I hope it is not the half way mark, of something like 3 to 10 times what has already spilled. Though if the caps work and they can suck off most of the oil still spewing from the well, something like 5,000 barrels a day might still leak out around the edges, so that is not as bad as it could be.

We all want the leak to stop yesterday, but what of all the talk about the bad things, how real could they be?

Curious minds still want to know.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world, one person at a time.
Hugs from Arkansas.

What is sadly lacking is any hard information on the geology of the formation, details of what it looks like, where the weak points are, and its stability and structural integrity as the well bleeds out.

We are also not seeing any data (not even guesses) as to how fast / much the wellbore is abrading.

Heading Out addresses what "the Admiral" has said in press conferences in his post today. Clearly, there is some concern about the structural integrity of the borehole, but it doesn't run to the speculation of dougr's post. You might check the comments on today's post, to see if readers have had more to offer on this question.

I also noticed that there is a Houston Chronicle blog report related to a NOAA report that concludes that there are naturally occurring seeps 7.5 miles from the Deepwater Horizon site. According to the blog:

These natural gas seeps are described as naturally occurring in the NOAA report, but it's such data that appears to be behind the concerns some observers have that the well is damaged below the mud line and oil and gas is seeping into the surrounding strata and finding its way to the surface.

Speculation is taking place in the absence and unwillingness of BP to put out hard technical data.

No one wants to speculate --- but without data --- could we do anything else but plan for the unthinkable?

For example, see this:

Question for BP: How Close Are We to the Unthinkable?

Jun 18 2010, 12:02 PM ET

"The question I'd like to ask Tony Hayward is this: To the best of your knowledge are we near the end of this spill? In the middle? Or perhaps, only at the very beginning? "


Link up top: After BP oil spill, 'peak' oil seems nearer than ever

Even as the world seems to get the message about peak oil they are still in the dark, thanks in no small part to the USGS.

In a geological sense, the world is still awash in oil. The US Geological Survey estimates 3,000 billion barrels of conventional crude are buried in the world, about a 46-year supply if no more oil is found, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis, a public-policy research firm in Dallas.

Of course that doesn't compute. 3,000 billion barrels at 30 billion barrels per year would last a lot longer than 47 years. But even the EIA puts the figure a lot lower, about 1.2 trillion barrels and that is way too high, owing to the fact that they are taking OPEC claims almost at face value. I say almost because they do not believe them completely. OPEC claims to have 1.2 trillion barrels themselves.

It is likely that the National Center for Policy Analysis is talking about oil in place, not recoverable oil. But quoting it that way without an explanation is misleading.

But they give us a choice in this article, we can pick when peak oil will happen, or happened.

1•Happened five years ago,
2•Will be reached within five years
3•Will happen around 2025,

I would vote for none of the above. We are on the peak plateau right now. Whether peak oil happened in 2005, 2008 or this year is not important because the margin of error is greater than the difference between any of these years. We are at peak right now! That is the important thing.

Ron P.

Good points Ron

As the oil price continues to inexorably rise despite the worst global recession in years we are now experiencing the era of new names. Since no one wants to acknowledge that peak oil alarmists were right they have begun to create new names for it – like “peak demand”, “oil bottleneck”, undulating plateau”, “oil shock”, and today’s entry “The Era of Tough Oil”.


Relying on other experts here, high quality light sweet crude peaked out about 2005. Thus to maintain ourselves atop this five year oil peak oil plateau, we had to dig deeper and deeper in to the bottom of the barrel in more ways than one. First, more lower quality oil is being used and second, as everyone knows now, we literally had to dig very deep underground.

It is an engineering marvel that the type of oil, if you can call it that, coming out of the tar sands of Canada, and from the sludgy gooey stuff coming from some of the newer oil fields in Mexico (in the southwestern part of the GOM), makes it to the US in a fairly usable form.

I say fairly usable since apparently there is more low quality oil available that can be effectively processed in US refineries. Refineries are struggling to profit from lower quality oil, even though recently for example tar sands oil trades at a $15 discount to WTI. Based upon the actions of US and Canadian refineries these last two years, where shut downs have continued, there is not a huge effort to rebuild refineries to adapt to lower quality oil.

Essentially the US and Canadian refining industry are saying – “that’s all folks” – and it doesn’t get better from here.

Charles, there are the generalities of "oil production", "tar sands", "refinery utilization" and so forth. Then there are the specifics of refining what where and how does it get there. For example, the North Slope is tied to the Alberta tar sands because the Alaska pipeline sends oil to Alberta to dilute the gunk coming out of the tar sands enough to move it by pipeline. Then the combination comes down to our corner of NW Washington state for refining. The Anacortes refinery burned during the switch to summer gasoline and is still being rebuilt. So that's capacity that is off line, and it cannot be replaced with capacity in Texas or New Jersey.

The northwest is mostly isolated from other parts of the country's oil infrastructure. We supply gas and petroleum products to this region and Alaska. The region is only loosely coupled to world and national markets. For example, the price of gas is consistently higher here. Flow dropping below minimum operating levels in the Alaska pipeline would have all kinds of repercussions. I'm not privy to Plan B, but just based on public source material, getting the tar sands oil in Alberta down here to refine will present a challenge.

Your example indicates why refiners may not be planning on using processed tar sands oil (where tar sands oil is accessible by pipeline). From the refiner’s point of view, reliability of supply may be their biggest concern. If future supplies can not be relied upon, a temporary profit may not be worth some unplanned down time later.

There is an additional implied problem here as to just how commercially viable tar sands ‘oil’ is if it is not ‘upgraded’ (mixed) with better quality oil (from Alaska or elsewhere) before being sent via pipeline to the US. It appears that a long and complex pipeline system stretching from Alaska through Canada, then through the US Midwest and all the way down to Cushing, Oklahoma, was at least partly reconfigured under the assumption that tar sands oil is commercially viable. However I suspect the issue of EROEI was not considered by any of the parties involved, well at least not until they actually tried to deliver and process the oil. Or in other words, I do not think there is a Plan B.

Interesting its almost like and oil extender. Certainly should not be classified simply on a per barrel basis.

I wonder about the economics of using it at all. Obviously you just refine the oil used to upgrade.

Once one considers refinery issues it seems open to question to me. Smells distinctly like corn ethanol which is just a complex way to convert NG to liquids.

It will be interesting to see how just how viable ethanol, tar sands, etc., will be if and when natural gas costs about the same as oil on a relative BTU basis. This last year or so have been somewhat unusual due to the present situation in North America of abundant and relatively cheaper natural gas, resulting in especially good times for those industries relying on natural gas as an input but selling their output based upon the price of oil.

Well not sure they will ever be exactly equal but equal minus a sort of fixed discount and they could compress. I.e more NG powered cars or direct substitution would lower the discount rate i.e increase the value of NG vs Oil. Same for that matter for the holy EV's :)

But yes I basically see the same thing energy going to a BTU basis with a physical form discount that becomes "fixed".

Also I might add I think this is when alternative fuels finally become viable they would in my opinion trade at a small discount and much lower profit margin.

For fossil fuels like oil getting them is the issue more than price and they would I think trade at a small premium vs alternative fuels.

But this is well after the oil age is really over when overall demand has been reduced to the point that alternatives could actually be a significant energy source. For example if one excludes really expensive sources of oil and focuses on what we could pump in a crashed world I'd argue its something in the 10-30mbd range.

To put that in perspective it would basically take us back to 1940-1960 vs today. Alternatives would add I think about the same or 10-30mbd by this I mean equivelent use i.e local food hauled by horse replaces food moved all the way around the world not always BTU equivalence.

On the high end that gets us to and economic levels perhaps around 60mbpd or 1970's 1980's. But population wise its 4 billion then vs 8 billion now thus half the per capita energy level. Or basically half the standard of living.

Going with minimum wage.


Its 1 dollar in 1960 and 3 in 1980 so perhaps guess the equivalent of 1.50 and hour in a 1980 world.

This suggests that the population of people not in abject poverty would be very small. The number actually quite similar to 1960 or so.
So perhaps 500 million or less would have anything. This suggests that the wealth demographics would follow third world with 90% of the wealth in the top 10%.

Obviously America would not escape unscathed although it would do much better I think then the global average your still probably talking at least 100 million Americans in abject poverty and perhaps another 100 basically in what we consider poverty now. A better spread above that is probably likely but given the demographic changed perhaps only 50-70 million people still in the middle to upper middle class brackets with less then 10 million at the top.

This looks very similar in a lot of ways to china the changes in the number at the bottom don't really change things once its a "big" number.

Thus your basically talking about a return to the traditional slave economies with the only real difference being it seems you have room for a larger educated service sector.

It seems to me that its the crush at the bottom that becomes and issue regardless of the exact demographic once you have a large population of desperately poor people democratic processes fail.

For many today outside of the US the change won't be that much surprisingly and the number of people that actually experience a substantial change in their living standards is in my opinion surprisingly small. Basically about 400 million to 1 billion would experience a sharp drop in their standard of living by say 50% or higher. People at the bottom or near it won't exactly see a large change in absolute standard of living just little hope of ever doing better.

Their problem is more one of the fact they would be living on the edge of starvation so any disruption could send millions over the edge.
A lot more people would be a lot closer to this with a lot smaller change in conditions.

So yes I agree we are heading there but when we do actually get to BTU pricing and renewable nirvana that people talk about today it looks distinctly like hell on earth to me.

I was born in 1940, and at that time global population (if memory serves) was close to two billion. Note that the censuses in various countries at that time were incomplete and in some cases nonexistent, so all we have are "best guesses" as to what the true population actually was.

Even the U.S. census of today has a serious undercounting problem, as well as a bias by ethnic origin of who is counted and who escapes being counted, e.g. most illegal immigrants.

So it seems in regards to the question, why hasn’t the peak oil plateau been more disruptive to the US economy (as if 17% functional unemployment was not bad enough), we have been indirectly supported by relatively low natural gas prices on a BTU basis. If we go back to just $10 natural gas (double today’s price) – even with oil staying more or less the same price, I would think the consequences would begin to reflect some of these dire scenarios outline here.

Well that and Chinese coal and coal imports from Australia for that matter. The close coupling between China and the US means that on and economic/energy basis you need to consider the impact of imports.

But yes I agree the combination of a base subsidy from coal energy imports and falling NG prices have worked to keep things stabilized. Cheaper NG keeps fertilizer costs down etc.

However whats really ironic is:


Its going to be really hard to split out what I claim will happen from peak oil from whats already happening.

The lynch-pin will be if we see a return to rising oil prices and thence rising NG prices. As far as China goes at some point in the future even these imports will begin to falter.

The stage is now set so we shall see what happens next.

All that has to happen in my opinion is a decent rise in oil prices to see if it accelerates the situation.

Also on the NG side if the rapid depletion of the NG wells is a real issue then falling NG production should become a factor anytime now.

Overall I continue to believe we are now in the midst of the period where we find out if the system is going to enter a fast collapse or a slow decline based on a multi-year housing decline but with energy remaining cheap. The second scenario a slow decline provides ample room to play monetary games that would work to keep overall decline even lower than the natural decline rate. Effectively the system could sort of flatline.

However it looks like housing is in for serious problems regardless and new construction is now getting so low that the impact of construction on oil consumption is becoming minimal. A further contraction of the FIRE economy should have a even smaller effect on oil consumption.

So now we will see if fundamental energy usage is going to decouple from the FIRE economy if it does then energy costs will rise even as FIRE collapses and indeed should hasten the collapse.

Or not :)

Even as the world seems to get the message about peak oil they are still in the dark, thanks in no small part to the USGS.

If you are aware of anything more comprehensive which is actually based on the geology involved, at the scale of the planet, I'd love to hear about it. Being free is just icing on the cake of course, but until someone comes up with an equivalent study in terms of depth, sound geologic basis, and scale, thaqt gang is about the only game in town.

Maybe IHS offers something similar for $50G's a pop? So, when people reference the study in question, do they do it because its free to everyone, or because there aren't any competing products, at any price?

Rulz, you are free to come up with a textbook passage from any petroleum engineering course which explains global oil depletion.

Last I heard, engineering schools don't require you to shell out $50,000 for what amounts to a textbook or reference book.

BTW, MMS is way better than USGS in how they present their data. IMO

Rulz, you are free to come up with a textbook passage from any petroleum engineering course which explains global oil depletion.

So now its global which matters? Suddenly good old oil depletion isn't good enough?

Do you seriously think that petroleum engineers, outearning all other bachelor degree's in the US upon graduation, somehow aren't taught the following, or can't figure it out for themselves?

FieldOilDepletion(1) + FieldOilDepletion(2) +FieldOilDepletion(3) = Total OilDepletion

I understand your opinion of petroleum engineers, but we ain't paid $100G's a year upon graduation at age 22 because we missed this particular math class......in the 2nd grade.

Now say that each of those values of FieldOilDepletion is a variate drawn from a probability distribution. Add a little formality to it with various rates and you have just solved the dispersion approach that I have been researching the last few years.

See, even Petroleum Engineers can learn something new.

Unfortunately, find one passage in any Petroleum Engineering textbook that quotes "The Law of Diminishing Returns" in the very real context of reduced supply and you will be out of luck. TOD is the only place this stuff gets discussed.

Now say that each of those values of FieldOilDepletion is a variate drawn from a probability distribution. Add a little formality to it with various rates and you have just solved the dispersion approach that I have been researching the last few years.

So....petroleum engineers have been solving this problem probably before you were born, using some version of your idea, and you claim that your idea is....new?

Unfortunately, find one passage in any Petroleum Engineering textbook that quotes "The Law of Diminishing Returns" in the very real context of reduced supply and you will be out of luck. TOD is the only place this stuff gets discussed.

Petroleum engineers know better than anyone how fast supply from a well or field winds down, and certainly don't confuse reservoir dynamics at that level with someone elses grand unified field theory of oil supply.

As far as TOD being the "only" place things are discussed, well, I think that opinion says more about you than it does TOD.

Yes it is new. I am just feeding you the missing pieces that will allow you to eventually get to the "Aha!" moment.

A grand unified model is the goal and I think possible. It is essentially the difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Petroleum engineers are very good at the microeconomics by analyzing individual fields, but who then does the analogous macroeconomics? (which is essentially the grand, unified model of the aggregate)

It is the age-old Macro versus Micro. That distinction is huge in certain disciplines, but does not creep into this one unfortunately.

Web, note that even physics has failed to produce a Grand Unified Theory of physics. Actually, economics now does have a GUT that integrates the standard model of microeconomics with a modified Keynesian model of macroeconomics. I'm not saying that the model accurately reflects reality, but it is there. The economics textbook by Colander explains this integration of macro and micro better than any other accessible book I know of. You can get a used old copy from amazon.com quite cheap.

The fact that economics has a "Grand Unified Theory" but you say that the model doesn't accurately reflect reality makes it COMPLETELY USELESS by your own terms.

COMPLETELY USELESS. That's loud for you, Web.

I'd say it makes it flawed. Just how useless, like most issues here, is a matter of degree or or the 'character' of these flaws.

There might actually be some babies in that bathwater. Dump with care.

Economic theory has dozens of good healthy babies and also a few toddlers. Karl Marx was the last one to try to put together a grand synthesis of economics, political science, sociology, and history. Nobody since Marx has had the balls or the intellect to attempt another grand synthesis.

In today's world, there is no excuse for college grads not to know the basics of supply and demand, and to know what GDP actually is. More than half the comments on TOD about the GDP concept show a woeful ignorance of how the term is defined. About half the posters confuse wealth and income, which are two distinct and radically different concepts.

I blame the teachers of economics in college, and I blame most of the textbooks too.

I just shove it back in his face, as his arguments are not consistent.

We are at what Robert Rapier calls "Peak Lite." In other words, global oil production cannot be increased to match the economic growth of the world at about a 3% annual rate. Peak Lite, IMO, is way more important than the absolute peak, which may not be known for sure for another six years or thereabouts.

Furthermore, I'm a believer in westexas's ELM2.

Nevertheless, I sleep well at night.

Given the conventional oil production curve of the past 5 years it's starting to look like we are on Peak Oil even if we haven't reached Peak Fuels yet, and I'm starting to wonder if the "conventional oil" production isn't being stretched to include any hydrocarbon fuels that come up out of the ground.

I haven't seen a breakout of "light sweet crude" production yet. I'd bet that shows a clear peak already.

For those who haven't read it yet:

GOM oil after the US peak

Western Australia's battle for offshore oil
Crude Oil dropped by 27% in 2009

BP Statistical Review June 2010: Oil reserves and production don't match

Crude oil 2010 vs. 2005 (1st quarter)

I've been pondering the interesting "psychic split" evidenced among people who live by the Gulf. On the one hand, many are clearly traumatized by this oil spill, by the ruination of their beloved gulf and beaches, birds, fish, their way of life, the future unknowns related to this ongoing disaster. Yet, at the same time so many are upset that new drilling is suspended and clamoring for more drilling.

So what's going on? Seems to me both sides of what I view as a psychic split (an unrecognized conflict) are related to loss. People respond very powerfully to loss. And in this case there are all the losses related to the spill. But on the other hand, even if drilling has risks of further spills, the suspension of drilling or the end to the oil flowing also represent further losses.

I'm mulling all this over. And "loss" seems to me the only explanatory factor for why people who live by the Gulf want more drilling - even at a time when the risks of drilling are so powerfully evident. And this is in contrast to Americans who live in other parts of the country. They apparently see the oil spill as a powerful lesson and are more opposed to offshore drilling, particularly in the deep water.

Seems to me that ultimately even those who live by the Gulf will need to face the depletion of oil reserves and the need to adjust to a way of life which balances the environment and the end of oil as a source of employment. So either they will face that now or they will face that later, but one day no amount of upset and noisy complaints will bring back the oil or the jobs it entailed.

Not that I have any solutions here. But I'm fascinated with the way people can mourn two conflicting losses - both due to the same event - wanting assistance for the immediate crisis as well as wanting future drilling. How both relate to loss. And how ultimately it seems necessary to face the loss of a culture of oil, employment within that culture - for the oil can't last forever. Whereas we can learn a lot about the need for safety and redundancy - as well as the effects on the environment, people, tourism, etc. from the oil spill crisis and its long term effects.

TheraP, I don't know if you have seen the quote "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair.

I had never seen the quote - till coming here! And yes, it pertains. Which is why solutions must take into account those whose livelihoods would be threatened by any necessary changes in order to ensure safety, clean air, land, and water, and the survival of all of us.

That quote is why Petroleum Engineering courses will not discuss global oil depletion at any length. To do so would tacitly admit that their profession will eventually become obsolete

That quote is why Petroleum Engineering courses will not discuss global oil depletion at any length. To do so would tacitly admit that their profession will eventually become obsolete

That may well explain the psychology, but it isn't logical. During the first decades post peak, where there is still some oil to be found/produced, maximizing the utility of them will be a big deal. I would think the petro engineering degrees would be a hot commodity.

That quote is why Petroleum Engineering courses will not discuss global oil depletion at any length.

Global oil depletion is an answer, not a question. Engineers are taught all about depletion, if you want to discuss the aggregate answer, you add them all up.

No point in confusing the issue and pretending that the aggregate answer is somehow unrelated to the sum of its parts.

So just one reference to a Petroleum Engineering textbook that says this. Please?

Not happening any time soon. The question that they dare not answer, let alone even pose.

So just one reference to a Petroleum Engineering textbook that says this. Please?

Not happening any time soon. The question that they dare not answer, let alone even pose.

I think you are assigning intent where none exists. Certainly petroleum engineering has been, and will remain, a niche specialty for the foreseeable future. Its not like the remaining couple of trillion barrels of oil in the ground are going to grow legs and walk themselves out of the reservoir.

I just find it amusing that an electrical engineer would be extremely concerned if he knew that the quota for transistors could not be exceeded, as if they were a constrained resource. Somebody would be right on the spot writing a program to figure out how best to allocate the remainder.

Yet the petroleum engineering discipline as taught seems to revel in their single-mindedness. I did find one massive reference book called the "Petroleum Engineering Handbook" edited by Franchi & Lake, that had a section called the 21st Century Energy Mix (See page I-831) which actually talks about limits and specifically refers to Deffeyes number of 2.1 trillion (and also Laherrere). So they punt and actually defer to the "peak oil theorists" that you have derided previously, yet the author still doesn't try to derive this number, which I still scratch my head over. It actually has a section called Ethical Considerations for Energy Distribution, as well. I predict that you may say that no one uses this textbook.

Its not like the remaining couple of trillion barrels of oil in the ground are going to grow legs and walk themselves out of the reservoir.

So when you say a couple of trillion left in the ground, you realize that still gives us a peak of today, as opposed to the future, don't you?

21st Century Energy Mix (See page I-831) which actually talks about limits and specifically refers to Deffeyes number of 2.1 trillion (and also Laherrere). So they punt and actually defer to the "peak oil theorists" that you have derided previously, yet the author still doesn't try to derive this number, which I still scratch my head over. It actually has a section called Ethical Considerations for Energy Distribution, as well. I predict that you may say that no one uses this textbook.

I am not familiar with it, but it has been quite some time since I was buying textbooks.

You have got me thinking however, I wonder how many petroleum engineers actually have skin in this game? Not petroleum geologists or geophysicists, like some of the real peaker references (versus the other kind), but actual engineers? There may not be many...can you think of any? Perhaps one of the heads of oil companies which has bought into some piece of peak oil? Considering their prevalence inside the industry in question, you would think there would be more than a few out running around, getting some decent visibility. I wonder what that means?

So when you say a couple of trillion left in the ground, you realize that still gives us a peak of today, as opposed to the future, don't you?

Says you anyway. I simply don't care. This fascination with a particular production profile doesn't have much in the way of value to anyone that I can see. Except those selling website subscriptions, books, honorariums, freeze dried food or personal consultations on how to survive "it", now THAT part makes perfect sense...but really has nothing to do with peak oil.

There are a list of physicists who have done some interesting analysis work.
David Goodstein and David Rutledge from CalTech.
The late Rick Smalley from Rice University.

I noticed the scarcity of names from the geoscience field raising their voices as well. Deffeyes has a reputation, partly because he was the subject of a book on geology called Basin & Range by John McPhee written in 1980.

The thing about the production profile is that it has value for planning purposes. From the handbook I referenced above:

18.5 Ethical Issues in Energy Distribution
According to Cassedy and Grossman,1 future energy distribution will be affected by the distribution
of energy between nations with a large per-capita energy base and those without.
Traditional ethics would favor a policy of helping those nations without energy resources, but
opinions differ on how to proceed. Two of the more important ethical positions being considered
are “lifeboat ethics” and “spaceship ethics.”

David Rutledge from CalTech.

I've talked to him. He seemed nice enough, but anyone curve fitting creaming curves (he provides residuals) is just blowing smoke, from a geologic perspective. Electrical engineer if I recall correctly?

Deffeyes is an expert in basin and range geology. But he isn't a petroleum engineer either. Not that the basin and range of Nevada has much in the way of oil and gas production of course.

No petroleum engineers you can think of?

No petroleum engineers you can think of?

Looking at sites from Shell, etc, engineers are writing about promising tertiary EOR techniques that will be able to raise URR a lot. Will help way past global peak, if the economy hasn't collapsed by then.

Looking at sites from Shell, etc, engineers are writing about promising tertiary EOR techniques that will be able to raise URR a lot. Will help way past global peak, if the economy hasn't collapsed by then.

Well, thats a ship that sailed what....5 years ago now? You would think I would get at least a decent raise, what with how deep into the post peak world we are now. :>


The weather is calm. The sea is as flat as a mill pond. **

Despite the warnings from some 'worriers' that there may be some sea ice out there, WE don't see any.. so let's fire up that last boiler and get this boat moving! (They're probably just trying to cash in on their lucrative 'Lifeboat' businesses, clever little sheisters!)

**(as is the Global Crude Production graph for 5+ years now)

What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. So why don't peakers all rush out and go worry about THAT.

Except those selling website subscriptions, books, honorariums, freeze dried food or personal consultations on how to survive "it", now THAT part makes perfect sense...but really has nothing to do with peak oil.

With what it has to do ? With peak stupidity ?

As far as TOD being the "only" place things are discussed, well, I think that opinion says more about you than it does TOD.

Then show at least one other site were it is discussed.

Except those selling website subscriptions, books, honorariums, freeze dried food or personal consultations on how to survive "it", now THAT part makes perfect sense...but really has nothing to do with peak oil.

With what it has to do ? With peak stupidity ?

PT Barnum had this one covered a long, long time ago.

As far as TOD being the "only" place things are discussed, well, I think that opinion says more about you than it does TOD.

Then show at least one other site were it is discussed.

What in the world would ever lead you to believe that any of this takes place on a website? This is social hour science. Internet "experts" lap this stuff up.

Have you ever been to a national level geoscience conference? Given a talk? Poster? AAPG? GSA? IAMG? When we do this professionally we hash through more in 20 minutes during the speakers breakfasts than the internet experts have ever learned in their lifetimes. Where do you think the real science references used in articles around here come from? Someone has to do the science so that others can have cocktail party conversations.

I apologize if you weren't aware of this previously, IMHO the internet has nearly ruined amateur social discourse on the topic because it assigns the same value to everyones opinion. People say something ridiculous and presto....its in Wiki, and its wrong, and actual experts can't get it removed because, on the internet, actual experts look just like the McDonalds employee who posted the nonsense in the first place.

It certainly has displaced journalism to a large extent. People with the nose for news know exactly where to go for the most in-depth reporting.

We won't invoke the time machine and work our way backwards. Might as well go along for the ride.

Thera -- Not disputing any of your points. But I'll offer a different perspective that many folks in the country haven't considered. We'll start with the proposition that most Americans are truly sad about the economic losses to the Gulf Coast region by the drilling moratorium. Combined with the damage done to the local economies by the oil pollution it's truly tragic. But now that we know the gov't and the oil industry underestimated the risk we should step down for a period of time to make sure the system's safety standards are improved. Having worked in the oil patch for 35 years and having seen much first hand I really can't argue to strongly against that position even though I do think it's a bit of overreaction.

But shouldn't the rest of the country be equally concerned about the safety of the current 1.6 million bbls of oil being produced from these same offshore areas? We're watching the nightmare of one well spewing tens of thousands of bbls of oil per day into the GOM. What about a platform failure that could spew hundreds of thousands of bbls of oil per day into the water? The safety of these facilities has been qualified by the exact same folks who considered the BP operation to be an acceptable risk. Everyone comfortable with that little bit of news? If we consider the safety assumptions of the gov't and industry to be insufficient with the drilling phase should we not be equally concerned, if not more so, about potential production catastophy that could make the current oil spill look minor? FYI: there are no BOP installed on producing wells. yes...other control devices but not the so called "last line of defense".

So, should the gov't order a 6 month shut down of GOM production while it evaluates potential safety issue? It is the start of hurricane season after all and has been forecast as a potentially very bad season. Certainly doing so would cost the national economy many billions of dollars as well as many thousands of jobs. But that's the same price the folks in the Gulf Coast are being forced to deal with today. And that's on top of the economic losses they are suffering from the oil spill. At least the rest of the country has been impacted very little by the environmental damage. Just did a quick estimate but, proportionally speak, such a production shut down would hurt the national economy a a good less than the drilling moritorium is hurting the Gulf Coast. And there could actually be a little side benefit: a short taste of a PO future. Who nows: might start a serious national conversation that's long overdue IMHO.

As someone once said:"Occasionally great personal sacrifice in needed. And as long as I'm not the one sacrificing I OK with it".

Rockman, I am in total agreement with everything you've stated. And I had not realized that producing wells had no BOP protection. Wow, now that's scary!

I am by nature a very cautious person. And my instinct at this point is the very one you point to. We must ensure that all oil being extracted is done so as safely as possible. Both for the workers as well as for our long term environmental safety. So if that means less oil in the near term in order to prevent loss of life and future spills, then that's what should happen. I agree that puts people's jobs at risk and would likely affect transportation etc. Nevertheless, in my book safety should come first, last, and always.

At the same time, if we as a society are planning for the long term, then of course people need to be compensated if they are without work during safety lulls. Additionally, people who are currently making a living from the oil industries need assistance in gradually moving into other career areas.

The more I learn about the lack of safety precautions and the ease with which corporations have succeeded in evading regulation and finding loopholes and getting exemptions, together with the lack of redundancy, the more horrified I am (in a sense) with how filling my tank (over many years) has risked the safety of workers and has permitted so many other oil spills, etc.

I suspect there is a huge learning curve going on across the country. And few people would endorse deliberately risking lives or the environment. However, as you rightly point out these same people might not be willing to "sacrifice" their way of life, their use of petroleum products, etc. - even if they see the powerful connection between the risks of drilling and the very oil products they depend upon.

So it seems to me that we will need to depend upon govt intervention along with a lot of education and encouragement, to ensure safety, to compensate and/or retrain workers, to protect the environment - and all of that both in the short run and in the long term.

I can see it all. Everything you're talking about, how this affects those who live nearby, who might visit, or who simply sit in their living rooms wringing their hands in horror at the enormity of what is occurring and what it all means.

"Sacrifice" - as you rightly point out - is what most people try to avoid. And cushioning that is what we need to be thinking about. For in one way or another change is going to come. And far better that we look ahead, realistically, trying to balance all the competing needs, than that we each hang onto our own personal little "requirements" - however important they may be to us individually - in ways that put our collective long term well-being at risk.

This is the challenge we face, both individually and as a society. How to transition - because ultimately we must - when so many will drag their heels every step of the way.

In spite of all the problems, it's a joy that TOD is a place where we can ponder and discuss and learn - and hopefully consider how these transitions can best be done, so that the sacrifices are shared - to the degree they can be. So that people don't lose jobs without compensation or retraining. So that lives are not put at risk due to money-saving short-cuts. So that we preserve the beauty and abundance of our environment. So that we learn from this current crisis and find ways to convey how finite are our natural resources without terrifying people at the same time. So that we enlist people's energies in tackling these things together rather than pulling apart and fighting over everything like a bunch of kids on an unsupervised playground.

Big Task!!! Little us. Good place here!

Oh, dear. You surely do understand this would pose a huge practical/political problem even if it fits the logic of the present moratorium. As long as it's only a minor (in the national picture) regional tourist economy that's tanked on account of the spill, those involved can be kept (marginally) afloat by stipends from "elsewhere" if need be. But once you tank the whole national economy, which is already doing poorly and might be knocked over again by a feather, there's no longer an "elsewhere" to provide relief.

Thus, one must consider political logic rather than logical logic. The present moratorium is on new stuff, so the politicians can bloviate, posture and drag it out for some time with only minor consequences. Any real nasties lie in the future, on somebody else's watch. That's never a problem for a politician.

But if they shut it all down abruptly now, spot gasoline and diesel shortages would follow quickly, on their own watch (after all, even if the Saudis really do have the capacity to make up the difference, it might take some time to rejigger the logistics.) That would be a problem for a politician. The sudden hit to the balance-of-payments would be nasty too. It might conceivably upset the world bond markets enough to put Uncle Sam in IMF-"reform" territory, which would send a lot of luscious goodies the Feds have promised all and sundry up in smoke. That would be a staggering problem for a politician.

So there would be many obstacles. One would be the election due Real Soon Now. Deliberately re-tanking the economy would be a huge vote-loser except among a handful of hair-shirt greens. Another more ironic one would be the tourist "industry", the darling of every governor and mayor utterly clueless about nurturing any sort of real economy, which would be screaming bloody murder with fuel shortages on top of depression.

I'll say it again. Oil: can't live with it, can't live without.

I concur Paul. With one exception: it's hard to find that "logical logic" you refer to. Is that from some old fairy tale? Sounds charming. LOL

LOL if you need to, but ding, ding, ding you got it right. An old fairy tale indeed - more precisely, a medieval one.

Recall that in medieval times, the basics of learning were held to be: Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic. That grouping was called the trivium, whence the word "trivial" in its modern everyday sense. But of course, times have changed.

In these modern days of narcissistic self-indulgence, the prime directive in basic "education" is to hand out unearned A's to the feckless and stupid in the sacred name of almighty "fairness". It follows that logic is no longer trivial - i.e. we can no longer take it utterly for granted that a person who has received a basic education will understand it. And our politicians, many "educated" at great expense, often furnish archetypal examples of the problem, along with a good many of our MBAs, all "educated" at great expense...

It's hard to know whether to LOL or cry...

FYI: there are no BOP installed on producing wells. yes...other control devices but not the so called "last line of defense".

Say, this is something I hadn't thought about. Rockman, care to drop a paragraph on what is used instead?

Is there a down side besides expense to adding some sort of BOP to production wells?


Maybe no BOP as such, but there is still a stack of valves called a Christmas tree containing fully tested gate valves rated for the well pressures.

Also there is a Sub Surface safety valve, (SSSV) which is the often mentioned fail safe valve, usually requiring 5000psi hyd pressure to keep it open, loose pressure, valve closed. This valve is several hundred feet below the well head, below any hydrate zones.

It was these valve that stopped a greater disaster at Piper A Platform in the North sea than what it was. Platform, burnt down, valves closed. Call Big Red

In Kuwait as most of the wells were old, they did not have SSSV, but if they did then when they were blown up flow would have stopped. End of problem apart from broken steel.

All offshore wells have them, can't say about land wells. Maybe a land lubber can help out.

I hope this settles your nerves.


My blood was a boilin' today after listening to that ridiculous shill - The Hoff-Meister - formerly of Shell... He was on CNBC claiming that the moratorium on deep water drilling was purely politically motivated (!)

WTF ? - how do people like this not get their ass kicked on a regular basis ? We have a leaking oil well for two months - probably an unprecedented ecological disaster - and the Hoff-Meister thinks that delaying drilling by just 3x as long as the oil has been leaking is somehow politically motivated, as if it's inconceivable that there's any actual justification for it. I'll say it again - WTF ?

I'll say this too - I REALLY hate these people.

He was on CNBC claiming that the moratorium on deep water drilling was purely politically motivated (!)

In this particular case I would agree with him. Politically motivated as in "if Obama didn't declare a moratorium, he would be considered to be a tool of the evul oil industry". The situation on the ground (sea) and especially on the TV screens is such that such as action isn't discretionary for any politician who wants to retain his credibility.

Of course Hoff-Meister makes some pretty bad claims, such as pushing the meme that we would have all the fossil fuels we could want if only the enviros would get out of the way. That is basically going to set the country up for strife when we find we don't have the oil our economy needs, and half the elecorate thinks it is the other halves fault.

Of course Hoff-Meister makes some pretty bad claims, such as pushing the meme that we would have all the fossil fuels we could want if only the enviros would get out of the way.

SOmetimes I think it would be 'better' if we 'wacko enviros' just aid "OK, do whatever you want", knowing full well the Oil isn't there anyway.
Not that this would help. The BAU Oil-at-any-cost crowd would still claim the 'enviros' were getting in the way, even if they weren't.
In any case, maybe the Oil Co's and their paid shills might want to actually drill on the leases they already have, before complaining that some poorly-specified and loose-knit group are stopping 'us' from getting what's rightfully 'ours'.

Not that I have any solutions here. But I'm fascinated with the way people can mourn two conflicting losses - both due to the same event - wanting assistance for the immediate crisis as well as wanting future drilling.

If you take the view that the spill was a one-off due to an exceptionally bad actor; BP, things would be reconciled without having to invoke irrationality. Clearly the spill means that rational folks have to re-evaluate the risks of deep water drilling, but that doesn't imply that those risks are unacceptably high.

I suspect deep water drilling can still be done with an acceptable amount of risk, just much more carefully than had been the practice before. So, it may not require a great deal of denial-ability in practice. But it seems to me politically unthinkable to not have a temporary ban while the spill is still ongoing healine news. Once the spill is stopped and the worst of the effects begin to dissipate, and more importantly get out of the headlines, I expect some deep water drilling to resume.

I'm no economist, but I suspect that if the necessary safety precautions, along with stepped-up inspections, etc, are actually put in place, that some companies (and some societies) may find the drilling and extraction of oil in ever deeper waters as too "costly" on a number of levels.

Partly we're discussing morality, ethics. Partly we're discussing safety concerns. Partly energy. Partly careers. Partly environmental. Partly societal. Partly economic. It all plays in here. Probably spiritual as well - for I hope we are concerned with the "quality" of life - and that does not necessarily mean being wealthy or having tons of toys that require petroleum.

Your view that this spill is a "one-off" is not a view I can take. That, to me, and forgive me because I'm not trying to offend you, sounds to me like propaganda. And as such it obscures the myriad of problems we must face.

Instead of a "one-off" I see a "canary in the coal mine" kind of situation. A warning. On so many levels.

You can dispute that, of course. But that's the perspective from which I'm seeing this. As if it's a nodal point - from which many strands can be traced to a variety of other problems, which are all interconnected.

Your view that this spill is a "one-off" is not a view I can take.

I wasn't describing "my view", but rather a view that if held eliminates the psychological incompatability (being concerned about the spill damages, and wanting deepwater drilling). My view, and my observation and/or speculations about other peoples thinking are different things.

Sorry for misunderstanding your point. Thanks for the clarification.

So you're suggesting that the people who want to keep drilling are imagining this is just a one-off. Wow! That's way more worrisome to me - to think people who actually work on these rigs would not realize the risks they are taking? Or maybe are so desperate for work they simply don't want to "see" that.

In that case, you've provided an alternate explanation. Thanks!

Calculations of profitability under risk and uncertainty are not typically done by economists. The people who actually do them are mostly MBAs in Finance (like me) from a Department of Business Administration perspective. There is no love lost between departments of Business and departments of Economics. The MBA's and Ph.D.'s in Business Administration (especially in finance) tend to make a heckuva lot more money than do M.A.'s or Ph.D.'s in economics. Indeed, economics Ph.D.'s are in such gross oversupply that many new graduates have to take jobs at community colleges. From UC, Berkeley I know of at least one doctor of economics who became a career mailman--and enjoyed it!

One might think that the discipline of economics would know about oversupply of a certain degree leading to falling wages and unemployment, but the grad schools keep grinding out ever more Ph.D.'s. I daresay the same thing happens in graduate psychology departments.

It's happening in the professional schools of psychology - and there I think it's a desire to keep schools going, thus a need to admit students, give them loans, train them, throw them out where they suddenly find that they can't get licensed without experience and they can't experience without a license! Too simplistic, but indeed there are way too many schools that keep going by admitting students who will have no jobs to go to when they're done.

Amazing that economists in particular would not see that!!! But the profs need jobs and to keep them, they need students. ;)

Somewhere resently they were talking about just this fact that, schools are kicking out more and more people that can't get jobs, just to keep themselves busy and funded, that students would have to come back to get a higher degree to get a job and then back again to stay in the job. Now Where did I see this? Maybe on a TED talk or on a video I watched, it was a visual thing, not a written article. Because my memory is of a person talking. Ponders, been too many places recently to pin it down.

The problem is that there are not enough jobs for college grads, and colleges need to have students or else they don't have a job to do, to many colleges have become businesses, and need the funding to stay in business.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world, hugs from arkansas.

The B.A. degree is the new high-school diploma; it weeds out the lower half of the I.Q. distribution.
The MBA or Law degree is the new college degree.
The Ph.D. is practically meaningless, now that there is such a huge surplus of Ph.D.s in most disciplines. It is no longer a ticket to a university job.
Post-doctoral work and publications are now a prerequisite when it comes to hiring assistant professors.

The U.S. puts way too many resources into higher education. No other society even comes close, though India also has more than a million people with degrees who cannot get white-collar jobs. In my opinion, one of the biggest drags on economic efficiency is the 1,000,000 or more excess lawyers in our society. Japan gets greater productivity out of its workers than does the U.S., and it has higher living standards (longer lives, much lower infant mortality, far less crime, less unemployment, less poverty) than does the U.S. By no coincidence, they have a tiny fraction of the number of lawyers that the U.S. has on a per capita basis.

No mystery here. These people see their livelihoods as dependent upon continued drilling. It is a cash cow that keeps on giving and as far as they are concerned, will keep on giving through their life times. I am not dependent on continued drilling, at least directly for my income. To be honest, I might very well feel differently if my next meal or mortgage payment depended upon income from oil.

There need to be opportunities presented to these people to get them beyond their literal dependence upon oil. Their needs to be a transition plan, to include an infusion of capital that could employ these people in areas like solar, wind power, environmental restoration, localization. But all those areas would probably entail lowered income. Oil, is like gold, of course, associated with riches. They are mainlining oil and it will be difficult to transition to the less powerful, softer stuff.

Obama recently celebrated all the roads we are building and repairing with the stimulus money. Another example of capital misallocation. Why would you spend money on a doomed and worthless infrastructure?

Exactly! You can't just pull a plug. First you need to lay the groundwork for the folks who will be affected. Otherwise you'll have a rebellion on your hands. On the other hand, eventually the goose that lays the golden eggs will be no more. Whether careful plans are laid or not.

Sure seems like all too many people refuse to see what my 93 year old dad could foresee 75 years ago.

Sometimes I think most politicians cater to madness. (and as many have noted upthread, so do many professors) All too many people just wanting to keep their jobs... kicking the can down the road.

We need people willing to state the truth - even if it costs them their jobs.

No, no, no...the worse things get, the MORE worthless, unneccessary, doomed things will be built. Tainter explains that as the collapse process gets underway, people redouble their efforts to maintain the status quo, and they have only one option...going forward...even if it`s the fastest path to collapse. I think maybe people feel scared enough that they want to (if they can afford it, and at the beginning of collapse, they still can) surround themselves with busy activity that mimics the hum and thrum of the real boom that is now history.

I live in Japan where this kind of building of unneccessary and doomed infrastructure is only just now (speaking of the canary in a coal mine!) starting to FINALLY be considered unaffordable. Finally! It has taken 20 years, though, to get here! But I think Japan`s case is extra long and drawn out. The mourning process (and a transition) where people kiss their old bubbly, breathless economy good-bye....is just a sad state of denial for other people who know better.

Tstreet wrote: They are mainlining oil and it will be difficult to transition to the less powerful, softer stuff.

Monkeys will self-administer cocaine until they kill themselves.

Generation: Government policy for renewable energy doesn't pay enough for producers to be viable, farmer says

Corey McQuarrie literally has tonnes of manure he'd like to burn for energy, but says the government won't pay him enough to do it.

The Sackville-area beef farmer has 1,800 cattle, which together with his cousin's 1,000-cow farm down the road produce up to 25,000 tonnes of manure a year.

By heating the smelly waste, the carbon within would decompose into methane, which could be burned in a natural gas generator. The biogas could produce up to 170 kilowa[t]ts, enough to power 80 homes with clean energy, as ironic as that may sound.

But the $2-million project wasn't viable despite getting $1 million in grants because neither banks nor investors would front the second million, says Fredericton-based agriculture and energy consultant Cedric MacLeod, who works with McQuarrie.

"The rate of return was so marginal," MacLeod says. "Because of that low feed-in-tariff we couldn't sustain it on a long-term basis."

See: http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/front/article/1104270

A provincial loan guarantee might help renewable energy projects such as this move forward, and secure these environmentally preferable supplies at a more reasonable cost to ratepayers.


If it costs $2million to get $170 KWatts, that is $12/watt. How does that compare with say wind? Or even nuclear? Installed solar PV is cheaper, although that is per peak watt, which should be discounted by a capacity utilization factor. One might be able to make a cae based upon eleiminated methane emissions (which could be must more important than the carbon emissions saved by the generated power). But, then you need to find a mechanism to provide funding based upon greenhouse gas emissions savings.

I would much rather see us pay for externalities avoided, such as global warming potential, and other environmental issues, then provide hidden subsidies like loan guarantees.

Hi EoS,

You raise an interesting point with regards to subsidies and I'm not sure I can provide you with an acceptable answer. My initial thinking is that I'd rather guarantee a loan for "X" dollars than to provide a non-repayable grant in the same amount, with the hope that the pledge is never exercised prior to the discharge of the loan or, if it is, that the level of exposure has diminished with the passage of time.

The cost per kW is unquestionably high, but we're told that some $333,000.00 or nearly $2,000.00 per kW is related to the hook-up to the distribution system -- an amount that seems excessive given that 170 kW is not exactly your Grand Coulee Dam.

I have no sense of the expected capacity factor, but I'll assume for our purposes that it's 80 per cent. That puts its annual production at approximately 1.2 GWh which translates to $112,500.00 in revenues at $0.09445 per kWh.... an amount unlikely to cover the carrying costs of the loan.

It would be great to see 25,000 tonnes of manure converted to low-impact electricity and high value liquid fertilizer each year, rather than have this methane released into the atmosphere, but it can't work at these numbers. Personally, I wouldn't mind paying a premium for this kind of energy, especially if it helps the farming community, but I fully appreciate not everyone shares my point of view. It's a tough call.


AUSTERITY seems to be the operative word as countries around the world try come to grips with spiraling out of control debt loads in relation to GDP.


'Hoyer Says Middle-Class Tax Cuts May Be Unaffordable'


'Budget risks spiral of decline, says Scots government.'


'Greek parliament backs tough austerity bill'


'Italian economists slam austerity measures'


'UK needs 'drastic austerity measures' to prevent debt explosion'


‘US austerity measures’
US Debt To Top $19.6 Trillion By 2015


'Japan to brief finance chiefs on austerity measures at G20 meet'


'China's Austerity Measures - Impact Western China Housing Markets'

It appears the mentality of just throw more dough at the problem has finally hit the fan as many nations are taking strong austerity measures to reign in spending.

What we have to wonder is if that infers a double dip recession as stimulus fades away and belts get tightened.

In a recent post, Gail suggested world economies could only borrow so much before it reached a 'Snap' point and the borrowing stopped. Are these news stories above the 'Snap' she was referring to, and if so, then what happens now?

To review: Flat or plateau oil production starting in late 04 leading to the 08 collapse, followed by huge trillion dollar stimulus plans by the US, China and the EU, now followed by Austerity measures to slow increasing debt loads.

So what happens now? If we go by history, the aftermath of the 1929 stock crash, not enough money was spent until WWII to bring the country fully out of the Depression. Will history repeat or is there some other scenario that can play out?

i dont know much about oil buisness.

i think theres a problem, oil doesnt carry the energy, oxygene does.

without oxygene no power from oil. and if oil aint limited oxygene is.

if heard about abiotic oil and that peak oil is just a legend to raise prices. dont matter, theres enough fossil fuel to use up all the oxygene in the air, and then what ?

can u breath an atmosphere without oxygene ?

can u breath air with co ? how much co do u need in the air to kill all higher life ?

burning carbohydrates is suizide.

What we have to wonder is if that infers a double dip recession as stimulus fades away and belts get tightened.

Whatever one may think about the long term wisdom of the creation of new debt to ameliorate a downturn (Keynesianism), it should be uncontroversial that austerity leads to less spending, which leads to less profits and employment. Clearly this new environment means that the downward pressures on the economy are greater than would otherwise be the case.

From a physical perspective, austerity means lots on hands sitting around with nothing to do. For a small segmnet of the economy, austerity can work, as the larger economy is unaffected and our small segment can draw on the vitality of the larger economy to pay down its debt. But, when you apply it broadly across most of the world economy, then there are no customers left to buy anything that can be produced. Probably stimulation via printing money, would be a less harmful means of kickstarting declining economies. To the extent, that newly printed money simply replaces lost wealth, it need not contribute to inflation.

If the rate of printing money greatly exceeds the growth rate in real GDP, then it will contribute to a significant rate of inflation that rises over time. This is true even when there is substantial unemployment, e.g., see later years of the Great Depression 1935-40.

True. But if unemployment is too high for social/political stability that result would be far worse. So the only options that I can think of are borrowing or printing money. If our economic system can no longer provide a socially acceptable result, then we either have to change it, or artificially stimulate it. It can't imagine our divided electorate agreeing on a plan to change the way our economy functions, so we are left with either artificial stimulation of depression.

Politicians favor inflation over depression, because inflation reduces the burden of old debts, while a deflationary depression increases that burden. There are far more debtors than creditors (e.g. one bank could have 10,000 debtors, while it is a single creditor), and so the political pressure to relieve debts will, in the long run, always triumph over the deflationary influences.

Sooner (one year?) or later (six years?) the U.S. will return to increasing rates of inflation, just as water eventually runs downhill. Economists advise, politicians rule.

History repeating itself assumes that what is happening is all under the rubric of continuous cycles manipulable by the right combination of monetary and fiscal policy.

If one overlays a permanent discontinuity like oil shortages, energy shortages, resource shortages, water shortages, soil shortages, fertilizer shortaes, and global warming, we may be entering a period of human history for which we are ill equipped.

Most people still believe that the economy always snaps back; it is just a matter of how and when.

Those who support zero growth as a necessary palliative in an era of declining resources may be better equipped to recommend prescriptions other than the traditional tools and monetary and fiscal policy. Those who argue more stimulus or austerity still agree on a basic tenet; we need to grow, the only question is how do we grow.

What we need is to get outside the monetary/fiscal box, the one that just leads to the same old arguments about which is better. We need to ask, "better for what and for whom".

At some point, we need to evaluate what is to be know based upon the assumption that the economy does not come back and does not grow. Starting to ask the right questions has a better chance of yielding the right answers.

Not a single U.S. legislator or Senator dares to "ask the right questions." It would be political suicide to do so in public.

question ?

anybody watching grain futures at chicago ?

might give u a glimpse off what those people belive in who are dealing with the food for the people of the world

"Americans still upbeat, but less so than in past"

I see they polled people about immigration in 2050, I think it's nonensical to believe really any significant immigration would be allowed if you extrapolate upon present trends. However I highly doubt BAU will last that long to extrapolate on present trends. As if you can have 440,000,000 people in what is today the U.S. and not have any negative effects. It's nonsensical some people think mass immigration must be ongoing perpetually, disregarding any social effects or resource constraints.

Then again, the rapture polls are telling, 41% sounds like some sort place where a chemistry book is illegal. Personally I doubt the U.S. will exist as the political entity it does today.

At the very least, even if BAU of some form continues China and India will have larger economies, and since miltary might is dependent upon percentage of GDP spent on military, by virtue of having larger economies they will be stronger. So yes, the American century is rapidly coming to a close as it loses the status of being a superpower in relationship to other nations.

Those who support zero growth as a necessary palliative in an era of declining resources may be better equipped to recommend prescriptions other than the traditional tools and monetary and fiscal policy. Those who argue more stimulus or austerity still agree on a basic tenet; we need to grow, the only question is how do we grow.

What we need is to get outside the monetary/fiscal box, the one that just leads to the same old arguments about which is better. We need to ask, "better for what and for whom".

At some point, we need to evaluate what is to be know based upon the assumption that the economy does not come back and does not grow. Starting to ask the right questions has a better chance of yielding the right answers.

I agree. Mostly the economist types are assuming we aren't going to be resource constrained in the near future. Trying to claim we are runs into the rhetorical headwind of trying to explain why "this time, honest it really is different". I think that is a tough debate position, however grounded in physics/geology it might be. I think at least some in the stimulus camp are being exposed to limits of growth arguments (I've been pounding on Krugman/DeLong). Even if we do get consensus of Mathusian limits, trying to transition to something else will not be easy to do. If the transition involves 40% unemployment, then a revolution lead by the frustrated and angry mobs could lead to really nasty consequences. So social and political stability, as well as economic and resource constraints all have to be met.

problem is the political kaste and the economic leaders are rather trying to build a military defense against the majority. they dont want to adress the problems of the system because the system as it is empowers them.

they prefer gated communitys and bodyguards that help them ignore the real world.

real for most. unreal if u stay in ure limousine with bullet proof glass.

what kind of people dont want to have freedom just a golden cage ?

in germany they want

1. an end to military service, a professional military

2. they want to legalize the use of military force in the interior.

makes me ask myself if someone is thinking about military dictatorship

democratic elections are a joke because no politician has to keep his promises

once in power they all do the same.

if there was a will to change it would be no problem to change energy production to solar power in 5-10 years.

problem is that would be decentrelised and not under controll.

i belive that the energy system is not beeing changed because the alternatives cant be controlled.

the current system has a lot of points in which it can be controlled.

therefore it is a primary force for controll.

energy is just a tool to controll people.

oil is perfect. very limited supply controlled by a few.

I suspect that Paul Krugman does know about Peak Oil but has chosen not to write much about it.

This issue reminds me of a dialogue I had with one of my all-time favorite favorite economists, the late socialist Robert Heilbroner, way back in 1995 (or thereabouts) at a critical thinking conference held in Sonoma, CA under the auspices of one of the main leaders of the critical thinking movement.

After Heilbroner's talk, I asked him a question: "Professor Heilbroner, your recent books seem somewhat more cheerful than some of your older ones. (He wrote with great success for a popular audience and made some millions in royalties from his textbook, THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM and also a moderately long list of other books that did well in sales.) Why is that?"

He gave me a short answer in front of some hundreds of people, but after lunch he stopped by my poolside table and gave me a longer and more correct one. The jist of what he had to say was that he had a certain responsibility to his readers not to be too pessimistic, not to drive his readers into deep despair and clinical depression. Hence he had left some things out of his recent books, basically for marketing reasons.

If you're looking for a short and easy economics text, get the book I wrote. If you want to read the best undergraduate text in economics, get cheap a relatively recent (nineties) edition of THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM, by Heilbroner and Thurow. Thurow is also a socialist economist.

Krugman did write about PO. He referred to it as the great "oil crunch".

Looking at eBay for books last night, I was surprised to find that "The Road to Serfdom by Bruce Caldwell" by Friedrich Von Hayek was the first book to appear on the opening screen. It happened that I was interested in that book after watching the BBC piece, "Tori!, Tori!, Tori!" on Youtube, which was mentioned in a post last night. Apparently, Hayek is the "bible" of the Libertarians and Thacherites. Without reading "The Economic Problem", I suspect that Heilbroner and Thurow would disagree with Hayek...

E. Swanson

Hayek was not a lightweight. He earned his Nobel Price. The economist the libertarians point most to is Ludwig von Mises, followed by Milton Friedman.

Hayek and Friedman added interesting ideas to the economic spectrum, but have failed to produce theories that have worked in real world situations.

While not going so far as to return Nobel Prizes (which happened after Friedman received his), if it wasn't for the Straussian neocon ideology that arose after the 1960s, they would of been minor minds in a big pool.

Elon student to travel U.S. in prototype trike

“After studying aboard in Denmark, I have completely changed my views on the need for automobiles,” Schriber said. “I see America's addiction to them and I see how we can change the mindset surrounding that. It provides an efficient and creative alternative to automobile transportation that does not rely on oil.”