Ideas for Posts - What would Readers Like to Hear About?

We talk about "Energy and our Future". But what, specifically would you, the reader, like to hear about?

Some ideas:

More introductory overview posts?
More about natural gas?
More about population and overshoot issues?
More about political issues--in the US or in the EU?
More about alternatives?
More about oil possibilities in Iraq and other places with potential for increases?
More about nuclear?

Do you have any specific suggestions for authors for guest posts on subjects of interest? Or e-mail me at GailTverberg at comcast dot net.

I'd like to hear about why TOD still doesn't have a usable comment rating system.

It used to, but was quietly dropped. It proved divisive, and simply accentuated entrenched positions. Posting became a beauty contest.


(No. On second thought, make that a +10)

+10 for a much-needed laugh.

I like the "More about population and overshoot issues" idea.

In order to deal with a future that seems to guarantee lower per capita energy consumption there would seem to be a need for a bit of "human engineering". I would like to see discussion on possible methods of re-engaging people with production of necessities; how to mentally prepare them to accept a paradigm shift in consumption habits.

The myths of our collective value system have been so successfully programmed in us that it will not be easy to get folks to buy into a scenario with totally different status symbols. Is it even possible under democracy? Will the present economic system scuttle any move to limit frivolous production. Is any form of deliberate human engineering unethical.

Definitely we have physical problems to deal with but they almost seem lesser than the psychological hurdles.

You have an excellent point Crofter. One of my best friends is an oil exploration geophysicist and he's appalled how little people are preparing for post peak oil. In fact it's largely being ignored. We've been speaking about just what you are saying.

My ideas are based on the concept of building social capital, with my basis coming from the Anabaptist and Mormon cultures. These cultures all have high degrees of social capital with the Amish and Conservative Mennonites leading the way. The conservative Bretheran also come into play here. To a lesser extent so do the Hutterites, although they are true communists, in a good sense of the term. While I am not an LDS or Mormon I live very near Salt Lake City, Utah. The LDS are big into having a years supply of food and other needs laid in and my neighbors even have some they plan to spare. Gardens and fruit trees are pretty standard landscape items here.

We could get off on survival techniques, but that is specifically what I don't want to do. Instead I'd like to draw attention to skills and group dynamics that are peaceful to pacifist. One does not have to be Amish to appreciate what the horse and buggy contributes to a very survivable lifestyle. One does not even need a horse and buggy but any simple transportation, say a bike. The point being that one thing that holds these people together is a general limit on distance that can be traveled, thus keeping group cohesion high. The next thing is group size function as when the group gets to a certain size they make another new group. Another important point is leadership structure. The Amish have Districts under some three leaders. The LDS have a bishopric system. When the group gets too big the group splits and another set of leaders appointed to lead the new group. Most importantly, while visiting another church service or group function is permissable, persons are held accountable to their own wards or districts or what have you. None of this has to be done in a religious context but looking at these groups can inspire ways to meet our upcoming needs.

Another way in which these groups find cohesion is by a distinct common bond. It can be linguistic, clothing, familial to name a few. Clothing is an interesting common factor in all these groups. It is a way to be "set apart" and unworldly. It also keeps everyone on a more even social level, much as school uniforms even the score in schools.

I know that this all sounds terribly restrictive but it really isn't. It also gives people a bond and "family". Just how far do you figure you could commute given that you had a job in a post oil world? What could you do that would contribute to the group? Perhaps have a job you even enjoyed?

I well remember the 1950's and I'm here to say that we did just fine. My hometown was a haven of orchards, truck gardens and small businesses. The roller mill for grain was electric by then, but mules were much in memory. We took a small rail line into Salt Lake City for major shopping. World Wars I AND II plus a depression taught my folks how to make do with much less that we "need" now. Long vacations saw us take a train or ship. Ships with sails and trains with steam weren't that far behind us. In fact there were still some steam engines running. It wasn't bad at all. The pace of life was much more livable. People need to start looking at how things were done in the not so distant past and get over the apocalyptic, violent and stupid ideas getting around out there. A sense of moral community is a big help.

My ideas are based on the concept of building social capital, with my basis coming from the Anabaptist and Mormon cultures

Timebanking is what I point to.

Software to run the thing.

William Catton, Donella Meadows, more information on why this is a complex systems problems. Maybe ToD some commentators could get over the Star Trek solution, i.e., 'Make It So' ... the world and its leaders aren't off Star Trek, no unless its a parallel universe where cat herding central to decision making.
Why solutions seem so often to take longer, more complex, not live up to expectations, under estimated by experts ....

As valuable as this site became to many during the oil gusher in the Gulf, I feel that we were caught a bit with our pants down.

How often had we had detailed discussions of the immediate environmental threats involved in oil exploration and production--on land or sea, including things like cancer alley in Louisiana and Tar Sands in Canada?

This could be as regular a topic as campfires, if not more so, since there are so many current and historic disasters around the world.

We could start with summaries of individual chapters of Peter Maass' excellent book "Crude World."

I know many of these will be controversial, but when have we shied away from controversy?

I would also obviously like more discussions on the PO/GW intersect, too.

I would also like to see more about over population and overshoot. And would like to see a good review of Matt Simmons writings on the size of oil fields (super giants, etc.).

One think I would like to see none of is politics. There are thousands of websites where I can read boring examples of lefties and righties calling each other names.

I agree with Texas and Cualcrees, more about population and overshoot. And I agree with Texas on the politics garbage. I get it 24 hours a day on TV and I just hate it when the political hacks start to rant on TOD.

I am basically a peak oil, overshoot man and believe political hacks are just like about 95 percent of the population, perhaps as high as 99 percent that don't have a clue as to what peak oil or overshoot really means. Therefore politics is basically news of the ignorant by the ignorant for the ignorant.

Peak oil and overshoot are two factions of the same problem. That is what got us to this point, (massive food production, massive employment, enabled by massive amounts of very cheap fossil energy), will not get us out of this problem.

Ron P.


While agreeing that political advocacy pieces would be tedious if not obnoxious, surely to address the population/overshoot problem involves the intersection of all social forces including politics. You would not exclude discussions of political hurdles to change would you?

George, exactly what political hurdles to change would you advocate? Don't answer, that's a rhetorical question just to make a point. The point is there is no point in such a discussion because there are no hurtles that would solve the population/overshoot problem, political or otherwise.

What one can do is to make one's own personal plans to survive, or attempt to survive, the coming chaos. But trying to change the political landscape of the nation is a total waste of time.

Ron P.


In some circles your statement would be viewed as a political one! Just making a point!

Perhaps, but many have had some success at working within their communities (however defined) and it would be interesting (to me, at least) to hear more about individual success stories/strategies...

Often on the local level you can get around the partisan politics that gridlock the nation as a whole.

I am a peak-oil agnostic but would welcome an intelligent discussion. I don't believe it is constructive or meaningful, however, to focus solely on the topic. A discussion about peak-oil is inevitably tied to global economics, AGW, national energy strategy/policies, bridge/transition energy sources, renewables and technology. The key, IMO, is to select the 'alpha issue' of the bunch, use that as the focus and then go from there.

Absolutist thinking seems to be a natural product of western culture , with its black-and-white view of the universe. Our legal system decrees that a defendant is guilty or not guilty; we vote either for one candidate or another; all too often, we can see only two ways of doing things, a right way and a wrong way; we are inclined to divide our tastes crudely into what we like and do not like. In relations with people who are not of our own kind, we think in terms of "them and us."

Over the Labor Day weekend, C_SPAN book review did one on "Climate Wars" by Dyer.

His contention is that all military departments (German, USA, etc.) are doing studies on near term resource wars (i.e. water/food shortage) expected due to climate change.

This is where Peak Oil crosses over with other resource shortage predictions including food/water shortage predictions).

There may be no point in arguing over which will kill us first, PO versus other resource.

The more valuable discussion will be to plot predictive curves for all of them versus time and geography.

The "Climate Wars" author was predicting that water shortage in glacier-fed Asia and in river-fed portions of Turkey/Iraq will be the first boiling over spots, leading to massive resource-refugee population trying to cross over into the better off geographic areas.


I would also like to see more about the overshoot issue (where is slider guider???). Exspecially interesting would be to have an overview about latest developments in the (human) food-supply. There is clearly an imminent problem with peak-fish. What about the food crisis from 2007/2008? When peak oil has already arrived, then the food situation should continously exacerbate. My news-radar, however, does not show any new great menaces - is food falling from the sky?

Another point that I would like to read more about are the "renewables", but not the normal hurray-articles, but critical standpoints that show the limits of all this - make clear that technique is not energy. I have the impression that a lot of people are willing to accept peak oil like a Karl May adventure where good has now to fight against evil. Because renewables are the solution, the only thing to do to keep our industrial society running is to switch to solar and wind and the whole thing reduces to a battle between evil electricity-providers and good environmental protectors.

Also interesting would be the financial crisis that follows peak oil. For me, the financial crisis from 2008 is a growth-crisis and therefore the first peak oil crisis. Now the US enters the double dipp, all others will, too, than we will recover a bit, than comes tripple dipp, etc, as projected here already several times. Maybe we can prodice a graph that correlates the dipps with oil production/demand gap.

What I am not so much interested in is the whole story about the GOM desaster because I am so far away in old Europe (the event is very interesting and I hope to see a summary with background and the consequences that this has on future oil production, Stuart Stanisford writes today that US-crude production is on a six year hight and most of it comes from the GOM, but daily details are too much). However I can understand that this event is of great importance to americans so pardon me when I skip most of it and only click when there are these amazing BP-illustrations.


The problem is Texas, that without politics nothing will get done. And nothing IS getting done. Where in the political spectrum do you even hear of discussions of the problems---that is the real problems, never mind the solutions. If people who understand at least some of the problem(s) can't get it into the political arena then it will remain a parlor topic, which unfortunately it mostly is.

I think for instance the Transition Town movement is a good example of people taking politics into their own hands. It would behoove them at some point to get at least municipal politicians involved with them.

I think with a tiny dose of political activism, this site could become quite a force.

If everyone on the site who believes corn-based ethanol is a crock (and that's pretty much everyone except x, as far as I can see) contacted their representatives about it and got ten others to do the same, we could probably single handedly (so to speak) sink the subsidies that go to support it.

Where there is such near-unanimity, why not try? My rep. says that most in the house hold their noses as they vote for it--they see it as rather detestable, but they aren't getting any pressure from constituents to do away with it, so they go along with industry lobbyists. Sometimes, a little pressure can go a long way.

Ideally, we would have something else (or a string of something else's) to replace it with. This might spawn interesting debates about the viability of other feedstocks (switchgrass anyone?) or of using natural gas for trucks...

As a 501(c)3 educational not-for-profit, there are very tight limits on what we can do regarding political activism.

Nonsense. You can participate in any kind of advocacy campaign as long as you do not endorse specific candidates or parties. You are even allowed to advocate for or against specific legislation up to certain financially defined limits. There is no prohibition whatsoever regarding taking broad positions on issues (e.g. "I am against subsidies for corn ethanol") or asking others to do the same.

Please educate yourself about this Gail.

There is a site for petitions. It is thepetitionsite google that. I don't like soil to fuel conversions. I think that is a crock of bad medicine. So I think that between this TOD and theautomaticearth and perhaps a few other like minded list serve sites etc. this could at least prove that we have some voice. There must already be some movement against this unsustainable subsidy. Let's do some research on how to best proceed, and talk first before just a quickie petition is formed. I can offer it to my main fisheries list, which is Fishfolk at MIT and maybe a few of us also have some connections. It would be a good idea to press the issue, and also to look at the Pro's and Con's of the corn ethanol issue. Perhaps a revisit first. Could we ask Nicole Foss to do a guest appearance? I'm just brainstorming here. Thanks. I vote for cornbread. Who will stand against cornbread?

I don't like soil to fuel conversions. I think that is a crock of bad medicine.

You do realize that the popular choice of coal is the result of old soil based process? Oil is also the result of old photons+biology (photon+biology is another way to say soil to fuel)

I vote for cornbread. Who will stand against cornbread?

People who are allergic to corn?

You run rings around me logically as per usual. I like coal and I like soil. A good question I now have is what percentage of the coal is soil based and what percentage would be water based? But I don't need to know. Who could be allergic to corn? Genetic questionable corn maybe?

I've spent this "holiday" filling the wood shed with cordwood, hoping to have the shed full before first frost. Splitting wood yesterday, it occured to me that, by the time it becomes fuel, I have handled every individual piece of wood at least 5 times. The wood heats the house and much of the hot water all winter and the only other input is solar to run the small circ pumps and passive solar. Sometimes while loading the woodstove (months later), I recognise a piece of wood, remember where it came from, even the tree that grew it. I have a very different relationship with my energy than most of you. Much of my food as well.

What is your relationship with the energy you use?

Hi Ghung,

I couldn't help but think that at some time in the future you are going to reach peak firewood production. Not from running out of trees(of which you may), but from aging and no longer being able to fill the wood shed. Actually, you may have already reached peak but can still fill the wood shed. So what happens when you can't fill it anymore? Your body like an oil well is going to get old and slow down. Sounds like you had a real Labor Day. I'm sure you have a plan.

Yeah, DTTLC, I'm already feeling it.

Plenty of oldtimers around here still put up firewood, it just takes a lot more of their time. We have plenty of deadfall/blowdown that just needs to be collected. While I'm not banking on it, I have offspring and hopefully they'll do for me what I did for my folks; keep the shed full (HA! If they don't I'll leave my property to the dogs). I have the option of propane but it's plan D or E. At least I have options that many may not have.

Your description of your relationship with your firewood drives me right to the difference between living and just existing. I expect that what you do feels so much more like a "full life" than most of us can imagine. Working physically in a healthy environment, sweating, getting physically tired, accomplishing something so obviously tangible is living. I find my way there only occasionally. There's an old story about the race car driver who lives more on one weekend than most people do in 50 years.

Much of modern technology has been about taking that away from us and substituting ease and comfort for it.

All I can say is that I enjoy my fire more than most folks enjoy their heatpump ;-) I won't go back to writing a check and flipping a switch willingly. Keep your stovepipe clean!

(BTW, I spent the day repairing my old log splitter, better'n new.)

Hi Ghung,

We enjoy a personal relationship with our firewood too, much as you do.

If you have never read Thoreau, I reccomend him to you as a man after your own heart in many respects;you will particularly enjoy his commentary on the subject of firewood in particular and self sufficiency in general.

Thanks Mac. I inherited my Dad's Thoreau library but haven't gotten to the part about firewood yet. Saving the best for last it seems:-)

I wonder what Thoreau would would write about my chainsaws and log splitter? I wonder what these ladies would think?

Hi Ghung,

My hat is off to you!

I had two cords of wood delivered before the weekend (I don't have a supply of trees nor could I properly fell, limb and buck the wood - but I'm learning) and it was a significant amount of work to build a storage structure and stack the wood.

I just wanted to add a link to a book I found very informative and entertaining for those like me who have no idea how to get started heating with wood:

"The Backyard Lumberjack"

  • It's a humorous and enlightening discussion on what it takes to turn a tree into firewood.

    If I have a choice between making a firewood pile and setting up a way to capture sunlight to stay warm with tech-nolo-gee (passivehaus/passive solar/active solar via evacuated glass tube) - gathering photons sure seems like less work.

    Splinters and blisters keep one humble, so why not do both.

    Two of my dogs just got snake bit. Copperhead. Time to go slay the serpent!

    Ah! You've got to love the rural life..........perhaps someone should do a post on the ups and downs of returning to nature.

    Did you ever see a snake bit Parti Poodle?
    They always get bit on the nose..... poor Dicey! A few dyphenhydramine and some antibiotics, she'll be good as new....

    None of "my" dogs, but family dogs VS skunk/porcupines.

    "Your description of your relationship with your firewood drives me right to the difference between living and just existing. I expect that what you do feels so much more like a "full life" than most of us can imagine"

    jjhman, very well expressed. I was deep in the local forest yesterday cutting and collecting firewood for the winter and hauling it home. It's hard work, but on the way home I had a deep feeling of satisfaction and of being alive. I was disappointed today when I couldn't get back into the forest because of the rain.

    Hello Ghung:
    I had the wonderful chance to live on a mountaintop for fifteen years. I loved the chores. They make life much more real: Gathering and breaking wood for the stove... fetching water from a distance... turning the solar panels by hand and hauling the car batteries(group 27)back-and-forth to charge and use. The animals that want to be around: The rats move in if the door's open... they are stubborn about their "place" or nesting spot... each has it's own personality - the local pair of ravens will visit just for the company and as well for the offerings - the coyotes will keep a safe but curious distance. If a snake bites anything you love, it's off to the vet/hospital immediately... even if they seem fine: the serpents have made a pact with the bacteria and the wounded flesh and much, much more can dissolve overnight. Firewood, a wood-stove, and a campfire every summer night under an open sky... "Good wood warms you twice" is the saying I recall.

    My pet idea? Boil-off the resinous content of organic materials (wood, plastic, road-kill)in a retort (like "Wood Gas")at less than 750 degrees Fahrenheit (to limit Dioxin production) and pass the stringy, tarry "gas" through a small plasma torch to reform it into smaller molecules that can then be burned cleanly.

    So, I'd like to see "The Amateur Scientist" entries like Scientific American Magazine used to have: "Here, Try This!". It would help rebuild the experimentalist base that we lost to Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Video Games.


    Good morning Gail,

    Many of us are reinventing the wheel as we try and work out our energy dependence, and forge ahead on prepping for reduced energy availability. A specific forum discussion on suggested designs and plans for a self-sufficient approach would be very helpful. There is so much out there, for those who have made wrong turns and have learned from their mistakes....well, it would be nice for others casting about to be able to tap into their suggestions and wisdom. Sometimes I want to contact folks but they have no email on their bios, and I think it is bad form to direct specifics on a forum, even though we all do it once in awhile.

    For example, many years ago I installed a constant head Michel turbine at a fish hatchery. It worked great. I have constructed small diversion dams anchored into bedrock, etc....+ pipelines. As a carpenter, building whatever.....

    However, I am researching PV and wind right now, and there are so many options and articles, a little distillation would be great to see from those 'who have been there'.

    As a political junkie, those with historical underpinnings are always very welcome in my reading focus....I love the ideas/comparisons of what seems to be happening now to different times and places in the past. Not just Easter Island allusions, but perhaps the Indus civilization, etc.

    Could there be a forum site on 'hands on' topics? Linked to TOD? For another example, years ago I built an epoxy boat with online plans. The site had discussion forums on everything you could ever want to know about building, glassing, outfitting, whatever... about boats. Those discussions could simply be linked to TOD. Ideas, home PV, limitations of?...., building a small car for local transportation, etc and whatever. Campfire is great, but tends to wander and can be hijacked by rants and responses. Individuals who post links help with this issue, but they are still specific chiming(s) on a worldwide stage.

    Thank you....Paul

    One of the issues on hands on topics is that we don't really have staff with expertise in many "sustainability" applications. Furthermore, it is not easy to add expertise in multiple areas, even if we wanted to. We might do better to link to sites where others have already done research.

    Gail, don't know if this book made it to the US. It has a refreshing way of quantifying energy consumption. It has been made available by chapter on the web at:-

    It may help solve the conundrum that is; why 20% of the planet's daily oil production is consumed by just 4.5% of the planet's population, and guess where they live.

    Seems like the only thing missing in the book is the description of a technology for which a renewable energy source (CAPE=hot air) is actually HARNESSES for electricity production--

    Perhaps a foray into Bio-dynamics or Permaculture would be a good place to start. As a chef, 22 years, 3rd generation, I see a major problem with how food is obtained, but also how it is produced, or in the case of a good portion of Americans, not produced, but bought already cooked and just heated at home. I studied sustainable living, Permaculture, for 6 years in Pennsylvania. Everything from animal husbandry to orcharding and a few other odds and ends along the way. Also got to grow up not only in Key West in the 70's, but also in a cabin tucked up in the hills on the Olympic Peninsula, no running water, no electricity, no phone, a truly sparse existence for a child,although in hindsight, it was freaking awesome :). I have studied food from the ground to the table practically my whole life, and it is where I see major problems spring from. Although you are correct, IMHO, that it is better left to other websites, there is nothing wrong with perhaps linking to some sites about certain topics, for example :

    The Nearings



    Alternative hydrocarbon procurement techniques( apologies for the website link, cannot find any other copy of this video)

    I tend to be of the thought that I live in a country where poverty is a only mindset.

    How could we be poor when we throw away more food in one year than some small nations consume ...?

    Growing up my family had a good size organic garden, and we had a herring run, which gave us both food from the herring roe, a little bit of pickling, and we used to put the herring under the corn, and wow, the corn was awesome. We gathered seaweed from the beach for the compost pile. We had a stand on Main St. to sell vegetables and flowers. One of my best friends as a boy came to Cape Cod from the Cape Verde Islands in the year 1900, and his first job was on a coastal whaler. Practical no-nonesense people like him raised me, and later in life while doing fisheries research, at the Nantucket Marine Lab, while commercial fishing: I came to realize how ignorant and sheltered people could be when faced with simple practical economic solutions that may have personally affected them in some small way. I say if it's worth having ... its worth working for. Lots and lots of energy is spent, and needlessly, foolishly wasted, on our food systems. We poison and deplete soil. Seed genetics are double edged swords, and are a possible cause of autism, along with many other environmental suspects. In my life as a fishery activist, and commercial fisherman, I advocate for the Market Quota System , a comprehensive system which includes energy considerations, as greener fishing takes much less fuel, and conserves habitat and stocks . A good fishery system would among other things drastically affect the fuel needed to catch fish. Because like farming or gardening the green systems are by far cheaper and better in the long run. Both fishing and farming built this country, and energy policy that reaches into these areas to me is entirely appropriate. Taken both together fishing and farming (and gardening) are big issues associated and tied tightly to energy system policy. So I think the oil drum list is well rounded to have Isaacnd200 and many others to round out discussion.

    The movement to buy local and organic can save us lots of energy money. I believe we should tax both chemical fertilizers and pesticides and then use that tax money to subsidize organic farm and garden operations. Tax the negative externalities and reward the sustainable, as economic and social policy benefits. I believe the chemicals have hurt the national interest, and cause health problems in the billions. But systems are the key. And energy systems have a lot of reach into fishing and farming, I think.
    I have been working on future bio-product designs using our #1 and our #2 bio-products. These are sustainable systems. Sweden is out front using #1 for crops. The #1 contains about all the garden needs as a fertilizer, and mixed with grey water (grapee) the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous produce about the same result. Some 90% of our total human waste stream fertilizer value is found in the urine. These are big energy numbers. This saves the energy to produce the commercial fertilizers, and on the other end it saves the eco-system from our bad habit of hiding our bio-products, as if they were poison. #2 is another story, for when I have more energy. (Tripe System project)

    Great post Stephen. Makes me want to catch the Fall leaves in New England this year.

    One of the key problems I saw developing, was the blurring of the lines, in terms of food labeling, ie: "natural" and "organic", but also the federal government's decision to step in and attempt to control organic certification standards.

    In the food and beverage world, farming and "slow food" is just coming back to popularity, funny since that's primarily what it was in the first place. Simple rustic meals became drenched in sauces, high-end exotics became commonplace, and local chefs soon forgot how to utilize local ingredients, or even how to keep track of harvest times. I have taken culinary apprentices from up and down the East coast under my wing over the years, as many had done for me in the past. It always peeved me that culinary institutions for the most part, completely ignore the connection to the ground that any good chef should have. I have seen many a "professional" chef freeze like a deer in the spotlight when placed on a farm and asked to something as simple as milk an animal, lol. And it's a hoot to watch somebody who's never done it before too, there's a tender awkwardness that comes with the first time you squeeze the nether regions of a goat.

    Another problem I saw, unfortunately, was the inability of the small farmer to support themselves, but again, it really came down to a choice of standard of living. Many people I met and worked with, had no real experience in using practical common sense in local networking, which , in the days of old, was how country folk got by. You knew your neighbors, your neighbors knew you. You were in touch with your surroundings and saw yourself as part of them, and not separate from them.

    Aquaculture - another necessary topic of conversation in light of sustainability and seafood, but I'll stop here, I'm tired.

    It would be nice to see the OD expand it's repertoire a lil' bit.

    Yes, more on the ag/fuel intersect would be nice. Locally, there are already tensions between those who want to use leaves, woodchips, food scraps, etc. for energy production and those who want to compost it for urban ag.

    Bio-fuels are an obvious other area where these priorities go head-to-head.

    I imagine that these tensions will rise in intensity and breadth going forward and it would be interesting to see some further reflections about it here.

    Tell me what you think about "ultra-pasteurized" milk being sold now in supermarket, even in "organic" brands such as Horizon. I read up on it a bit, and it seems to me that heating milk up to that extremely high temp. would destroy anything in it that is nutricious. Seems to me it ends up as "white liquid with added vitamins." Surely I must be wrong, but I suspect that calling it "milk" is a lie.

    Also, is non-fat cream not a mutually exclusive oxymoron? Cream is the FAT ingredient in cows milk, and when I buy non homogenized milk I sure do enjoy that it separates to be used in my a.m. coffee. So, what IS non-fat cream?

    Just thought you might know.

    I break aquaculture down into two components. The common aquaculture is private aquaculture, the future of aquaculture is public aquaculture.
    Private aquaculture of fish or shellfish, or anything else, raises up animals to market size. The problems with this are associated with disease invitations, often found in nature, but finding a host in the dense packed clams for instance, stressed and weak and prone: this brings on disease not only to the farmed bed but also spreading to outlying wild bed areas. Genetic pollution is caused by farmers who introduce fast growing stock, which then mixes with wild stocks. The wild stocks may be slower to grow, but often they have a better natural ability to withstand a tough winter, or predators etc.
    My deal is the public aquaculture. My philosophy is to use aquaculture to jump start or enhance wild stocks, thus letting mother nature do most of the work. Using the Market Quota System then the fisheries harvests are rolled over into this and R&D and other things. The ocean has quite a production history. During the 1920's and 1930's a dragger would go out and load up with fish, mind you low horse power, no electronics, and a small net, then they would try to "catch the market". If they got a price they would sell. If not they would steam out and try the market again, dumping the fish overboard. Methods gear and energy systems are of course all tied into this.

    Gail, I was thinking of asking for much the same as Paulo did.

    I would really like to hear from people with experience what they did to reduce their dependancy on Oil. But that could also include experiences from people who had to go through situations similar to those that can be expected in a PO scenario, such as Cuba during the special period.

    I think it's important to ask the people who have the most experience and not particulairly the Personnel of TOD. Guest posts from experts in a certain area. I can also imagine a team effort, where one expert editor is aided by serveral other vollunteers to write a (series of) articles covering a certain area of interest.

    You could start with a message on TOD asking for expert volunteers on different area's to apply. E.g.:
    "We would like to publish a couple of series on TOD about the following subjects:
    - On grid
    - Off grid
    - Economics
    - Legislation & Incentives
    - Small scale wind
    - Cooperative wind farming
    - etc.
    - Planning
    - Planting
    - etc.
    - ...
    If you feel you have knowledge and want to contribute to your fellow TOD'ers please apply at this mail address stating your experience. Thanks!"

    There are many technology platforms nowadays that easily allow cooperation. As long as there's a clear leader to each group this should produce some very interesting high quality articles.



    A few months ago we had a few comments in posts about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR´s) . I have never been pro Nuke but looked into it anyway. It really looks like a scalable, viable path. It could at least get us enough energy to become sustainable in other areas, like a bridging energy technology. I would like to hear more about it and see if this is the direction nuclear power is heading.

    Discussion already underway downthread a bit. Yes, it's viable, and I'm in favor of it.

    I personally would like to hear more about slow decline. Peak oil isn't going to happen overnight. In fact I believe the vast majority of people don't believe this is the oil crisis right now. They are convinced it is just a 'financial crisis' but as Elizabeth Warren clearly shows the financial crisis was from the 1970s on:

    People were 'just getting by ' until gas prices doubled and then tripled and when they tanked they took the whole economy with them. here we are still in hard times but gas is on it's way back to 3 bucks a gallon. Remember 'way back in 2000' when you could sometimes get gas for under a buck a gallon? Has anything else rebounded like that during this recession?

    I know it's hard to hear but I don't actually believe we are *ever* going to get out of this 'recession'. I believe this is it, and even if it's not we should treat it like it is. Time is running out, either way.

    I think you really should have said you want to hear more about the decline rate. Saying you wish to hear more about slow decline indicates you only wish to have your ideas confirmed by others.

    But I am with you Trouble, I also would like to hear more about the decline rate. Will it be herky jerkey or will it be gradual and smooth meaning no hording, no oil transportation problems, no war problems, no pipelines blown up, only everyone cooperating to keep production as high as possible as it graduuuaaalllyyy declines.

    Yeah, that's the ticket, I vote for the slow gradual decline. ;-)

    Ron P.

    Edit: Gail, this would be a great special thread by you. You should write a short piece on the probable decline rate and submit it for comments.

    Yes, I would also like to hear about the decline rate, its differences for each continent or country, how it is likely to change and how long it would last until some stabilization or equilibrium is met.

    But I do want the *fact* confirmed by others. This is already the losing side of Hubbert's Peak for *most* countries. Take the USA we peaked in the 1970s but haven't fallen off a cliff in our own production yet.

    Remember this graph?

    The world is *not* going to wake up one morning and say oh yeah "this is peak oil" like they woke up one morning and said "oh yeah this is World War II", at least I can't see how they are.

    This is going to take a couple of decades to sink in for most folks, as you should be able to tell from my first post I think this is the peak oil monster knocking on our door right now, not the 'Financial Screw up Recession' every graph I have ever seen shows the bell curve not a cliff.

    In fact seems to me that is the discussion we should be having right now 'Is the current economic crisis PROOF of Peak Oil?'

    In fact seems to me that is the discussion we should be having right now 'Is the current economic crisis PROOF of Peak Oil?'

    We sorrta had that discussion going on and it moved away when the automatic earth was formed.

    Well was there some sort of consensus that I missed? It would seem to me that might have made news at other websites.

    From what I have hear of the Automatic Earth she seems to think that way. Was this some sort split that I missed?

    It was probably the opposite--that it was too divisive for this website.

    I don't think so. I have been talking about the connection between peak oil and the financial markets for a long time--since before Stoneleigh left, and certainly considerably after.

    I listed some of my financial posts at this link.

    I am afraid I haven't been following Automatic Earth.

    Well I stand corrected on that topic of conversation. So it looks like there is general agreement here then that this is the beginning of the Long Emergency that Mr. Kunstler warned us about.

    With that in mind let's say (just for the sake of argument) that your local Planning & Zoning Dept. is in the process of making a new long range plan for you city or county. What would you tell them about Peak Oil?

    Would you try for the Bloomington In. method of a Peak Oil Task Force ( ) or something else, or better yet has this already happened to anyone and what did you say?

    Stoneleigh has commented on their moved from ToD to AE.
    Here's a recent interview she did.
    Maybe it helps your question.

    What a stunning mind Stoneleigh has. Thank you for that link. She must not have many friends in the establishment. She had a lot to say about health care systems.
    From my notes, one of my favorite parts is her explanation of complexity. Informally paraphrasing

    More complex = less effective, less efficient. This a benefit to rich - hurts poor - rich are allowed to cream off resources, elites benefit, at the center (of power) reform is hostage to special interests, position and privilege analogies to the Roman Empire, where the poor left their lands due to over taxation.

    I was very excited to hear such a brilliant mind, and the oration and diligence about her, and her sense of urgency, yet so cool, and hearing her version of the broader contexts of the many problems. After her was Anthony Froggett (sp) and that was luke warm, nothing really too interesting. A tough act to follow, and all that sort of rubbish etc. etc.

    Try the tripe. Please try the Tripe. Steven J. Scannell

    I too admire Stoneleigh. Here is a much better presentation by her:

    Thanks for that link, it was excellent. I will have to try her blog. In the mean time, let's just keep blowing up the balloon.


    Really poignant is what she says about 1/3 through about markets being based on perception and not reality.

    Too bad there are no PPT slides.

    Two considerations Trouble:

    1) The US experience is not a fair example of the phenomenon of global peak oil because the US was rich enough to begin importing oil when the decline became earnest. That, plus the eventual rise in oil prices helped to keep the domestic extraction buoyed. For example higher EROI oil from Saudi Arabia helped subsidize the lower EROI oil from Alaska and off-shore making it feasible to drill and pump.

    2) The more critical thing to understand is peak NET energy. My own work indicates that net energy peaked, perhaps as far back as the 1970s due to the now rapidly declining EROI. It is net energy that feeds the economic engine and will have the most immediate impact on economic production. What has made it seem as if the economic engine (particularly in EOCD countries) is the growth of financial instruments and the transactions for same. Those transactions were recorded as part of GDP even though they added very little to real wealth (hard assets, infrastructure, etc.). Models (like mine), based on physical constraints alone (e.g. best-first principle and geophysics) provide an upper bound on feasible extraction (assuming there were no above-ground factors). Such models show reason to believe that the down side of these peaks (gross energy like barrels of oil and net energy) will not be a reverse logistic as suggested by Hubbert's model. Rather the down side would be quite steep. Now if you add in above-ground factors, like the current recession's effect on demand, you might see a stretching out of the extraction rate curve, but those same above-ground factors could very easily reach a tipping point (e.g. financial investments in a capitalistic model become unprofitable and so no new exploration/extraction will be done) that would trigger a sudden drop off. Of course, if fossil fuel extraction were to be nationalized and funded by different mechanisms it might extend the extraction rate even more, but the product would most likely only be available for national priorities, e.g. national security.

    I like posts on human nature.
    What puzzles me is our seeming lack of understanding of ourselves.
    Over population, resource depletion, environmental destruction, conflict and the exploitation of other humans and animals is a result of our human nature.

    In Diamond's Collapse he describes what happened with the Maya, Anasazi, Easter, Pitcairn, Henderson islands and others. Humans are like any other animal, we breed and we enter overshoot. Some islands were able to extend their tenure (after the local resources had been thouroughly exploited) with trade and imports, eventually though succumbing when supply lines became too extended or transport technology failed to meet demand.

    Europe was saved when the new world opened, the new world was able to offer trade and population relief, it arrived just in time.
    For the last fifty odd years globilization and trade has allowed (due to the exploitation of new energy sources) humans to further populate and environmentally destroy our whole earthly habitat.

    What I'm saying is we are the enemy, we are responsible but we continue to rationalize. Some say "population growth is declining", "alternative energy sources will provide", "we don't need other fauna to share our habitat", "we are civilized now", "just buy a prius", "electricity prices can triple and nothing will change", "global warming is a scam" and so on.

    The most serious problem is, even if a majority came to understand our natural destructivenes nothing would change. Would we still behave like yeast or St Mathews Island deer or Easter Islanders?
    Could we ever accept that we are not more important than the next person, city, state or country. We all feel we are just as entitled to enjoy the pleasures of life as the next person, that is human nature and a trait we cannot hope to devolve. We are not born with experience. Our formative years are subject to our hormones and urges to copulate and breed. The understanding comes later and too late in life to make a differerance.

    So I say it's our own human nature which will destroy us. Arguing over slow and fast declines, overshoot and resource depletion is simply rationalizing our human nature. Fast or slow we are goin down, we will substitue one form of energy for another, one form of food for another, we will substitute the way and where we live, in the end everything will be used because our history says it will.

    The planet could be the size of Jupiter or a dozen Earths side by side and it wouldn't make a lot of difference accept that it may of accorded us the time to adapt, develop technolgy and the means to curb our excesses but personally I don't think so.

    What puzzles me is our seeming lack of understanding of ourselves.

    There is no lack of understanding.

    The real question is who is it that you are talking about when you say they (we) lack understanding.

    If you are talking about a classical engineer/scientist who studied only a hard science but nothing in the realm of human nature: neuroscience, biology, evolution, etc., then you may be right. That subset of "we" generally does not understand. (They merely think they understand.)

    The understanding comes later and too late in life to make a differerance.

    Alas that might be true.

    In fact seems to me that is the discussion we should be having right now 'Is the current economic crisis PROOF of Peak Oil?'

    but there are many peaks, and they vary from country to country, so trying to identify some magical 'peak moment', is going to be chasing a mirage.

    Oil is finite, and affordable oil, even more finite.

    It is smarter to think about the tail, and especially the shape of the tail

    It is not all bad news, as some countries already have some (tenuous?) control of their tail, and the smartest ones can decline oil, whilst growing GDP.

    If you want to quantify it, a better question is what half-life can be planned through, and at what half-life do countries loose control of their tail... ?

    The answer to this, will likely vary from country to country.

    "here we are still in hard times but gas is on it's way back to 3 bucks a gallon. "

    Too late; $3.06 Friday. Actually, it has been around $3 for a couple of months here.

    As for are we *ever* going to get out of this 'recession', only by redefining it away. Krugman says "It's going to get inconceivably ugly." and Shedlock thinks we will be wallowing around for at least 5 more years. And Denninger thinks we need to blow off another 40% of the asset valuations before we will have a firm base for a recovery.

    So welcome to the new normal.

    By the way, have you noticed that Ms Warren is being marginalized? This administration doesn't seem to like people who speak the truth any more than the last one did.

    I was thinking along the lines of...

    ...Discussions on psychological preparing, such as dealing with PO awareness induced depression and acceptance. I say this as I feel there are may be many who are aware of PO and feel that, given their skill set or financial circumstances, will not be able prepare so as to survive the slope.

    ...Discussions on political issues in the EU.

    ...Discussions on how communities will organize and fare against external threats in countries where the general population has no access to firearms. For example in countries where civilians are not allowed to legally possess firearms.

    ...Discussions on living off forest ecosystems, bushcraft and, food rationing and preservation. is a great site for help in dealing with the psychological issues of peak oil.

    A thorough vetting of the problems associated with scaling up various alternative energy proposals.

    What are the most likely alternatives? What breakthroughs would be needed for them to be deployed on a large scale?

    Right up my alley. The Tripe System will require some investment, but it does as a system allow alternative energy production to be stored and shipped efficiently, assuming any system is worth that, which I say is a safe bet. We are addicted to thinking in terms of electricity, and there are other forms of energy that do make sense and that also work well to conversions back to electricity. Hydrogen, the panacea can become the reality only if a good transportation and storage system can be (has been) developed, designed first though. You do ask the right question. How do we scale up say a wind farm off-shore, or a geo-thermal plant. The notion that our generation sources MUST be close to the end use is only valid until someone (me) designs a comprehensive system that introduces the old to the new, and splices them together, as it were. The common denominator that was wanted was a way to convert, ship, store, and re-convert energy. That is done using pipes. The Tripe System Report is the breakthrough you have been waiting for.

    Read it and see the illustrations. Cranks are more than welcome to complain: pipes leak, pipes have friction, pipes can't hold a train, pipes take too much polyester resin. I'm just shaking my head wondering if any of the oil drum folk have a brain, can read, or comprehend a system, etc. jimvj you could be the first to actually read the 11 page report, so far none of the brains aboard have dared to do that. (pride?)

    As a regular reader, I would like to read more about the science of thermodynamics and how energy plays a crucial role in everything we do. Why is usable energy as a concept important to the average Joe on the street paying 2.50 for a gallon of gas. More examples of thermo dynamics in every-day life (the messy room example maybe) and how society must play the game also but at a larger level.

    I would also like to read more philosophical type post about the meaning of our society and our individual lives in terms of thermodynamics and energy gradients.

    Just my two pesos . . .

    Practical, real, application of Post/Reduced Carbon (in general) and Post Oil (in specific) systems and methods. Things like:

    Electric Agriculture
    Electric Transport
    Solar A/C
    Net Zero buildings
    Adaptive Reuse and Recycle of existing Plastics, Glass, Tires, etc.

    Probably with a whole lot less DDQ (Doomer Drama Queen, that is), but I know that sells to this audience, so whatever else keeps the light on. :)

    Electric Agriculture

    We just did that. Lotta wanting to believe in 1/4 a million dollar battery packs. Not a whole lotta deliverables - more all research, tinkering and theory at this time.

    Solar A/C

    ISSAC systems. (ok ISAAC I mis-rememeber)
    Swamp coolers.

    Net Zero buildings

    Yair...I agree Eric, a lot of nonsense has been posted but we have been working on small scale electric crop production systems since 2002 and are looking for a bit of funding to fit P.V. panels and a traction system. See the unit here...

    It seems it's too big and expensive ($30,000) for the U.S. market so we are developing a smaller unit working on the same principle.

    I have also done a little work on a broad acre system using electric winches and a return to cable tillage.

    As posted and ignored on other threads I would be happy to have a discussion about sensible design concepts and the results of hundreds of hours of testing and many sleepless nights.

    The biggest problem I see with any of the systems is getting the energy levels (historically) needed to move soil about. Moving dirt is energy intensive.

    I'm guessing you could get a FPP about your idea - so long as it doesn't sound like a sales pitch. Sales pitch style FPP get ripped apart.

    (and yea, $30,000 is a lot of money for what, 1/2 an acre circle?)

    Yair...Eric,this is the problem I have all the's not just a half acre circle...the machine moves itself can be floodlit and work as many circles as you like 24/7...its intended to be a food production business working up to ten acres or so.

    Scrub Puller, that is an interesting looking tillage/planting system! Very 'out of the box'. Keep up the good work.

    I'll read more of your website in the morning. Thanks.

    to fit P.V. panels and a traction system. See the unit here...

    Interesting unit. You mention 1.5kW => 2.2kW.
    Spot solar PV prices are here:
    That would be ~$3400, for 2200W, as a ball-park power match.
    (depends on your power profiles)

    You look to have quite varying loads: So you could target plough (etc) at peak,
    and then tolerate less battery storage, for evening work.

    LED lighting would be a sitter for this, for the 'evening shift'

    Yair...appreciate the comments. Just trying to get this concept "out there" and maybe get a bit of diccussion going about different ways of doing things.

    You are spot on jg. To some extent we believe the work schedule can be tasked to fit the availability of power. As mentioned in the text we envisage an on board generator for cloudy weather.

    Load fluctuates greatly of course between tasks such as spraying or ploughing...and with ploughing the load and torque requirement drops off as the implement traverses inward.

    We actualy see the system as being ideal for a low till system and because of the extreme accuracy with which it operates we are working on a system of planting into four inch wide strips cut into existing close cut pasture (or lawn).

    We envisage the between row strips being mown with the clippings being deposited as mulch along side the plants while at the same time a set of undercutting blades trim off the roots affect it will be like having a continuous row of tuf (sod) laid out permanently between each row of lettuce or whatever.

    It's early days yet but iff it works power requirements will be minimal...not a suitable system for all crops of course.

    solar ac ...

    My experiment ...

    500 watts of PV

    I would like more discussion on how religion and politics interact to hamper or enhance are ability to confront peak oil.
    Some are starting to question capitalism (which was taboo only a short time ago, except for the economically and politically literate).
    I would like this to also happen with religion, and how it helps or hampers are ability to confront emerging problems.

    I second hightrekker's suggestion (Paulo and Crofter are pointing in this direction too). Most debates over how PO will play out inevitably wind up with the realization that we are dealing with fundamentally political questions - what is the nature of power and privilege, how are they distributed now, and how might PO force or open a space for redistributing power and privilege to enable people to adapt to energy contraction (scale, "collapse" questions)? Fewer debates get to the issues of culture (and we might add religion to that), that is to say how PO intersects our most fundamental beliefs about how the world works (or is supposed to work) and our values about community, nature, life - the shared expectations we have about the world.

    So I would really enjoy more discussion of these larger political and cultural (even religious) issues. That said, and crucial as discussion of these topics is, they inevitably bring out ranting and raving, as Texas points out above. These will be central issues to deal with and understand as the long descent unfolds; are we mature enough as a community to have civil discussions about such hot topics?

    One possible line to follow would be pieces about cultures which have historically lived with resource constraints for a long time.

    Island cultures (especially Polynesian) are an obvious choice, but mountain cultures like Bhutan are also interesting. What are these peoples' belief systems and psychologies ? The problem is, there is relatively independent and unbiased reporting on these.

    My comment above was really about how we, culturally, relate to our energy use. It is clear to me that most folks take energy for granted, an entitlement, unlimited, convenient and mostly affordable. If everyone had to chop their own firewood for a year (or freeze) this relationship would change (and there would be a shortage of wood ;-) Perhaps only shortages and high prices will change how folks (and the culture) view and use the energy they need.

    I agree that our collective energy conundrum is as cultural/religious as as it is economic. That's why I don't see much change without much pain. It's just the way "we" are.

    Fewer debates get to the issues of culture (and we might add religion to that), that is to say how PO intersects our most fundamental beliefs about how the world works

    Culture, religion, politics, psychology, etc.; it all boils down to how the human brain operates from a modern neuroscience perspective.

    The battles seen outside actually all begin from the battles within inner space (... within the randomly evolved --not intelligently designed-- human brain)

    My quest was simple when I started looking at Peak Oil: Why do their eyes glaze over?

    I think everyone thinks if there is an oil supply problem, the price will go up, the market will instantly do its magic, and we are all saved. Also, they tend to believe our leaders. If our leaders seem to be saying there is no problem, they believe them.

    Also, since oil prices going up are believed to save us, people believe that having a relatively lower price now (and excess supply) means that oil could not possibly be contributing to our current problems. They think that we clearly we have more than we need, so oil is not a problem.

    (What people don't understand is that the issue is more complex than they expect. Prices can't keep rising, basically because you start running in to energy return issues. We can't pay more for oil than what it really produces. So high prices stall out--it looks like at about $85 a barrel in the US. Also, alternatives don't come on line instantly, and tend to be at least as high priced as what they are trying to replace. The result is debt defaults, recession, and also lower demand, thus lower oil price. It is very counter-intuitive, so almost everyone misses it.)

    It is very counter-intuitive, so almost everyone misses it.

    We were all trained to believe in the magic of the "price" signal.

    We were all fooled. (Well at least 98% of us.)

    Stoneleigh does a good job explaining in the audio cast linked to below

    Oil is an international market. As hundreds of millions of Chinese, Indians and other residents of the third world buy cars for the first time in aggregate they are going to use a huge amount of oil. So prices will rise even though what you say about the U.S by itself is true.

    Anything about agricultural energy inputs or outputs.

    'Appropriate technology' in general.

    Distributed generation of electricity.

    Low energy transportation.

    Cultural or social changes related to energy use & availability.

    Energy in agri-food sector

    Lee, I'm interested in this issue as well.
    The first book on PO that I'm aware of was published in 1986: "Beyond Oil: the Threat to Food and Fuel in the Coming Decades" by Gever et al., 306 pgs. (I stumbled upon at a used bookstore in 1990.)
    Here's the prologue to 3rd edition:

    Second, USDA just did a pretty comprehensive study on energy use in US food production:

    I was hoping to find something on PO but of course, nothing.
    I wrote to the lead author who indicated that USDA still has not (to his knowledge) done any research on PO or even on (the more general topic of) the effects to the agri-food sector of "the end of cheap oil."
    Neither has Agriculture Canada or our provincial Ag Ministry here in Ontario.

    Meanwhile, the literature on fuel emergencies is unanimous on this point: a fuel crisis can quickly become a food supply crisis as well (eg. UK-2000).

    The Amber Waves does look like a good analysis. Perhaps we can do a summary of it.

    If you notice something we should be writing about, t doesn't hurt to write and made suggestions.

    USDA study

    Thanks, Gail.
    As I said to the lead author, they did a great job of what they covered, with the exception of their section on Future Energy Use, which indicated no hint of awareness of peak oil & gas, nor an acknowledgment of the net income crisis on family farms. Falling net income and rising input costs are clearly a recipe for trouble.

    It's not surprising that this report would have no mention of PO if USDA has never picked up where Hirsch left off.

    So this recent (May 2010) USDA study is as notable for what it left out as it is for what it covered, unfortunately.

    I'd like to hear a lot more about Natural Gas. Specifically Gas-to-Liquid technology. This seems like a very logical solution to our future energy problems.

    So, the solution to supply problems with one fossil fuel is greater reliance on another fossil fuel? an effective bridge during transition....


    Yep, no one seems to want to hear it (doesn't suit the greenies, doesn't suit the Doomers, irrelvant to non PO believers), yet it is already obvious that NG and LNG are the ONLY transition solutions - "The Oil Drum" barely covers such an important topic.

    MetalRules: I think using more NG and more Compressed air, taken together, is a proven winner. Compressed air isn't too efficient unless it is compressed off-shore. This I believe is true because off-shore you have depths of water to drag air down to, thus compressing the air. I think this efficiency for compressed air may be similar to pumped hydro. So I say don't forget Compressed air especially in conjunction with NG. Both are shipped in pipes. Both are there when we need them. Both can power a car, run a generator.

    When, if ever, will governments in developed countries, especially the US, officially recognize--and deal with--Peak Oil?

    One of the goals that I suppose most Peak Oilers have is to get government entities to recognize, and deal with, Peak Oil (and especially Peak Exports). A logical step would be an energy consumption tax at the retail level (used principally to fund Social Security/Medicare), offset by abolishing the highly regressive Payroll Tax. But what if this is a completely futile expectation? Governments at all levels, in virtually every part of the country, are desperate for money, and the gargantuan deficits that the federal government is running are well known.

    At least a few years ago, reportedly about 70% of Americans lived off the discretionary side of the economy. I assume that the percentage is somewhat lower now, but still well above 50%. This of course means that government revenues are extremely dependent on taxes derived from the discretionary side of the economy.

    I suspect that government entities can't afford to implement measures--like an energy consumption tax--to reduce consumption, because they desperately need the revenue from discretionary spending (and in all likelihood any elected politicians advocating such action would be voted out office in any case). So, at the very time that they should be taking aggressive measures to prepare for an accelerating rate of decline in global net oil exports, the federal government is borrowing money to stimulate current consumption--and effectively doing precisely the wrong thing, at precisely the wrong time. Look at the huge sums of money spent trying to bail out and stimulate the auto, housing and finance sectors.

    What if the principal problem we are facing, in trying to get governments to recognize and deal with Peak Oil/Peak Exports, is the famous Upton Sinclair quote?

    “If is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”

    Perhaps the most that we can hope for is to warn those who are willing to listen.

    In any case, is there any realistic chance that the US government will officially recognize, and deal with, Peak Oil/Peak Exports?

    Well stated west texas. The elites are so out of touch with reality that nothing will change in DC. As to your question,

    In any case, is there any realistic chance that the US government will officially recognize, and deal with, Peak Oil/Peak Exports?

    At 68 years old I don't see it coming to reality in my lifetime. As I see my lifespan getting shorter every day. No problem mind you on my part.

    When speaking to my middle aged children who drive like there is no PO, but nod their heads that something needs to be done. I try to tell them that it won't be the squeeze on driving, it will be the lack of food that will be the concern. And that the life that they have may never be there for their children's, children. For some reason, they just can't see (or care about) that far ahead.

    I thought the Staniford/Astyk debate/exchange of a couple of years ago on TOD largely settled the question of imminent starvation when PO hits our fossil-fueled industrial system. In short, not for quite some time. The food sector is about 10% of our ff consumption, roughly, and will certainly be prioritized as contraction tightens. The consequences for the non-food sectors will be big, however.

    As long as the underlying system (financial, transportation, government, etc.) stays together, and continues to operate as it does. I don't think Stuart proved that.

    According to the USDA 2010 analysis, linked above,

    A projection of food-related energy use based on 2007 total U.S. energy consumption and food expenditure data and the benchmark 2002 input-output accounts suggests that food-related energy use as a share of the national energy budget grew from 14.4 percent in 2002 to an estimated 15.7 percent in 2007.

    The USDA may use wider boundaries in its energy analysis than Stuart.

    The situation is extremely complex.
    You are correct about the 10% figure, and you are correct that it will be prioritized: the agri-food sector is on every list of Essential Uses that I have seen.
    But that's the easy part (putting it on a list).
    First, fuel is not allocated to Uses or even sectors, it will be allocated to Users/individuals who show at filling stations.
    How those individuals would be identified, verified and provided with certification/ID which is fraud-proof is another matter.

    Second, the latest thinking re managing LFEs seems to be to pitch the plans from decades ago, and dispense with trying to ration or allocate because it's a hopeless task: no bureaucracy could manage it, so there is little point in wasting money and expertise (both will be in short supply during an extended oil shock) in trying.
    Instead, we will have to rely on "full price pass-through" as the primary response measure.

    Farmers are on the priority list, along with the military and ambulances, so we would get priority should allocation be implemented.
    But we will all pay the emergency pricing.
    I don't know many farmers who afford to keep producing food under this model.
    An allocation is of no use if you are in no position to use it.

    Well, duh. Prices will go up for agricultural products.

    True, but most farmers are price takers, not price setters. If we continue to receive only a tiny fraction of the prices paid, it won't do us much good.
    Producing food usually isn't the problem: it's the inability to make a profit from it.

    Farmers are eaters, too, and we have to drive further to buy food (and everything else).
    Oil price spikes hit rural residents harder in many ways, since we have fewer transport options.

    "Farmers are on the priority list"

    Because they grow the grain the government will seize and sell to pay off the national debt (see Chairman Mao).

    Its the oil stupid !

    Oil is but a symptom.

    Overpopulation is the real problem.

    When yeast finds sugar there is a population explosion.
    We are the yeast, oil is our sugar.

    We convert 10 units of oil energy into one unit of food energy.
    This has enabled us to grow the population exponentially.

    Oil is the problem.
    Population is the symptom.

    And now we have used up all the easy oil.
    The population problem is about to be solved.

    I'm of the opinion that the elites know exactly what is going on and are responding. If you believe, as I do, that there is no substitute for oil, that our debt system will collapse without growth, that if presented with the truth the populace will at best vote them out or at worst panic, then the elites may in fact be executing optimal policies. How else could you explain doing nothing to reduce CO2, spending far too much on security and the military, fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, subsidizing corn ethanol, approving tar sands development, and encouraging foreigners to buy debt that cannot and will not be repaid?

    Lots of our policy on important issues are just completely screwy. Fisheries are so messed up. Elite may be one term to use, but I feel the people in charge of the mega balance sheets, who buy congress, who invest in derivatives to crush a company and scoop up what's left, these are just money people, no big deal, they are third and fourth generation gamblers with the money. Like you or I these have their different folk with strengths and weakness in many areas. Some may hug a tree or affect the occasional social policy, like you or I, but what they do is gamble with the money, that is what they do, and that is what they do. Elite, that's me, the pseudo-intellectual .... which means I know a lot .... but I just can't think of it. And Do I Know What's Going On? I'll get back to ya. I think the real important thing to keep in mind is this: The issues you list may well be important to the common survival and comfort of mankind: But these issues delayed mean oodles more profit for those money (elite as you call them) people, and that delay game is just one thing they need to do to make more money. It's an old trick. Delay. If the boat needs repair, keep it fishing, squeeze a couple or a few, or a few more trips out of her before we take her in for an overhaul, OH, the boat went down. WELL, I'm just SO surprised. That's the deal going on now, IM(h)O.

    People talk about "the government" as if it is one big entity. But actually, don't we all know, personally, some people who work for governments, local, Federal, state....I know quite a few.

    Some of them are doing private PO preparations, slowly. They are watching the situation.
    Some have no idea about PO but think economic collapse or depression might occur and are taking steps to make sure they have some land.
    Some have no clue about PO and wouldn't understand it or be interested in it at all.

    None of them have ANY interest in alerting their fellow man about the possible severity of the PO situation. More the opposite---why call out "fire" in a crowded theater when you are trying to sneak out and avoid the crowd and competition for space in the bottleneck of the hallway....

    The bigger issue is that noone wants to leave the theater---the FF-based economy---until the delightful movie really IS over. So even if you leave and go live on a farm, someone will take your place at your desk and earn money while you sweat and bake in a field. Collapse happens slowly enough (now) that only the connoiseurs of collapse can notice.

    You have to talk about the reforms needed in the oil industry so that next time their is a major spill we are better equipped to manage and mitigate the risk without letting it escalate like the BP spill. Why must people talk GOO (Get Out Oil) after the 1969 spill or Boycott BP after the 2010 disaster, if the industry players are not reckless and manipulative? In every industry be it aerospace or drugs or food there are accidents. Mistakes are bound to happen in the technology era. But do you ever see so much hatred and anger....anger against oil that we all need today and cannot do without?

    You have also to start talking about the transformation from oil energy to futuristic alternate energy..... Whether you like it or not, it is going to happen.... The oil drum will not last for ever....but the energy drum will continue to beat as long as humanity lasts. After all it is we energy engineers and experts in oil and coal that must explore and build the future of energy, not poorly informed economists who will give inadequate solutions like carbon trading to the world energy problems.

    The intersection of Peak Oil and Climate Change.

    They must be considered together to respond appropriately, and the interaction between them is interesting ground - they complicate each other.

    Someone on TOD had responded to me that Climate discussion is discouraged here because it quickly gets nasty - I am stunnded that the majority of folks with the acumen to grasp the truth of one issue do not grasp the other! We must have this discussion; if you're looking at PO only you're not seeing the whole picture.

    One person who has put a lot of thought into this interaction is Homer-Dixon.
    His 09 book, Carbon Shift re "twin crises of oil depletion and CC" is an excellent collection of essays by Canadian analysts, including Dave Hughes, a recently retired government geoscientist who does an excellent analysis of the prospects for various forms of energy.

    Unfortunately, such progressive analysis by Canadians has done nothing to shift the position of our lead federal department, which continues to state, "There is no imminent PO challenge," despite having done no formal analysis.
    As long as this department continues to hold this view, other ministries (eg. Ag Canada) are unable to conduct the urgently-needed research into PO for their sector.

    In USA you have Roscoe's PO Caucus, UK has APPGOPO, Australia has had Senate hearings.
    Here in Canada, our MPs will not utter the two words, the media are disinterested, so the public remains very unaware.

    Yeah! Great book, I like the format - series of essays that don't totally align; leaves the reader to do some thinking. Hughes is one of my favourites, perhaps our best on PO in Canada.

    I hope the government is exploring it in secret at least. I appreciate that gov't can't come out with it publicly and not risk annihilation in the next election, or destruction of generous corporate party donations.

    So, personally I've given up much hope of any government response and thrown my eggs in with community action.

    Dealing with just massive inertia it's really daunting.

    I second that.

    Technical issues on fossil fuel subjects are good. Who, how, when, why, projections, reports, reserves or resources, sizes shapes and locations.

    Leave the fantasy crash scenario's, general population questions, politics, "my small farm lifestyle is better than your bunker" debates for the crackpot websites and hope that any commonality between those places and this place isn't as easy to notice as it has been in the past.

    I second this. I appreciate the oil drum for those responses that contain technical details and opinions informed by actual data. Politics, though important, is not what brings together the large preponderance of technical specialists at TOD.

    I'd like to hear credible and practical strategies for transitioning to a post oil world. At this point I'm convinced we're staring this transition in the face... so now what.

    I have my own ideas, but it would be great to hear other credible ideas about how to start the transition now, while we still have 'abundant' resources.

    My suggestions, from several years ago, the ELP Plan (note the "Tiny Houses" reference):

    (Just wish I could persuade my lovely bride to consider at least a smaller house. I call it SNS, Spousal Nesting Syndrome, but I am at now at least reducing my office commute to about 15 steps.)

    I've been a TOD member for a long time and I think it is useful to remember what TOD used to be like. Most key posts were technical in nature and responses were few (a huge day was 60 comments) and there was no Drumbeat for more general news. TOD was also far more civil with few snarky replies. In addition, people stayed far more on topic with few thread thefts for OT stuff.

    I agree with most of the comments up thread in that TOD has probably covered most of the technical aspects of PO and, perhaps, it is time to start to cover real life issues in more detail while continuing TODs tradition of technical writing. These would include governance, those who are "doing it" and societal issues. In a way, what I am suggesting is more along the lines of EB but with original material.


    I think that one of the issues is that technical posts forecasting the future path of oil production based on curve fitting techniques aren't really very accurate in their predictions. They are only approximately right (in that they generally forecast a decline within a few years of the actual date. The percentage decline rate may or may not be in the right ball park.) This didn't matter as much when the peak date was a ways off, and also when oil prices were lower (see next paragraph).

    Some of us reviewing the situation (including Dr. Adam Brandt of Stanford University in this recent post and myself) think that the future decline rate will be determined by a combination of financial and geological factors. Geology probably sets an upper limit for what can be extracted. But financial factors, reflected in maximum prices that consumers are able to pay before there is recession and a big cut-back in demand, plays an important role as well. The maximum price is closely related to EROI limits. These should theoretically be included in analyses, but HL and other curve-fitting techniques look only at geology, and omit any financial or EROI limit.

    I think spending a lot of time on HL and other curve fitting approaches tends to make us look naive to outsiders looking in, because these approaches consider only one variable. We will probably continue to run some posts of this sort, but many analysts have stopped doing them.

    I think spending a lot of time on HL and other curve fitting approaches tends to make us look naive to outsiders looking in, because these approaches consider only one variable. We will probably continue to run some posts of this sort, but many analysts have stopped doing them.

    A new-and-improved non-heuristic TOD would be nice.

    I'd be interested in hearing more about consumer responses to higher energy prices and contingency planning for fuel shortages at the community level. What lessons were learned from our past, e.g., Second World War, the UK coal miners strikes, etc., and what can we expect in the years to come?


    During the UK miners strikes in the 60s and 70s there was a massive boom in cheap imported hurricane lamps. I suspect the fire brigade was overworked putting out fires started by candles. The public still reacted compliantly to government edicts. After all, it served them well in WWII...

    In the miner's strike in the early 80s the government triggered the strike and had stockpiled enough coal to starve out the miners. No adaptation necessary.

    The fuel delivery strike in 2000 led the UK to the brink of food shortages in little more than a week. The government caved in.

    The UK is now populated by consumers, not citizens. There is no planning at any level except the miniscule transition movement. We consume therefore we are.

    I second Paul's request for historical analysis -- "what lessons were learned from our past." KLR's "From the archives" posts are delightful.

    I agree, Paul

    Most of my research focus for the past few years has been on government plans for liquid fuel emergencies (LFEs).

    The most progressive work seems to be occurring in Australia (Alan Smart has done extensive work for their federal gov't) and in UK which revamped its entire emergency system (legislation, command structure, etc) in order to localize response capabilities.
    Many individual agencies in UK are required to have fairly detailed fuel emergency plans:

    But here in North America, there has been no comparable activity.
    Canada's federal plan dates from decades ago, has not been reviewed or updated, and is clearly unworkable.
    The inadequacy of the US plans (including the 1980 Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan) was the subject of numerous studies by the GAO, all of which cited numerous problems.

    There is no evidence of LFE/oil supply being a concern (or even on the radar) of DHS or Public Safety Canada, part of whose function it is to coordinate the federal response to major emergencies.
    I have made several enquiries at DHS over the years and have so far drawn a blank.
    Public Safety Canada told me repeatedly, "A fuel emergency is not in our mandate."
    Both agencies provide plenty of info on Critical Infrastructure, pipeline security, etc, but that is a different issue.
    There is no comparable evidence of concerns about what's IN the pipelines (eg. Jeff's warnings about export decline), nor how we might maintain essential services during an oil shock.

    If anyone has additional info on any of this (esp. if it's to the contrary) please advise....

    But here in North America, there has been no comparable activity.

    There are claims of ration tickets already printed waiting in warehouses.
    And if there WAS a plan - don't you think it would be branded as 'secret' - thus beyond us mortals to know?

    Secrecy re LFE plans

    Possibly, but the Australian studies repeatedly stress the need to keep the public well informed.
    Citizens need to know that an oil shock is not only possible, but they also need to be aware of how their gov'ts intend to respond to them. Two common expectations are:
    1. prices will somehow be managed/capped to ensure that they remain reasonably affordable, and
    2. that if an allocation system were imposed, that they should qualify as an Essential User.

    Citizens will surely be blind-sided if they are not well aware of all three points (oil shocks can and will occur, interference with market pricing is not recommended, and most people will not qualify as Essential Users).

    There may well be ration tickets sitting around... they would go with that 1980 plan that's also sitting around, despite its uncorrected flaws.

    Possibly, but the Australian studies repeatedly stress the need to keep the public well informed.

    Whole different attitude in America. Propaganda re-branded as Public Relations. Remember the Maine as two examples that won't raise the blood pressure of others 'round here.

    If there was not the culture of deception, wikileaks could not exist.

    It is true that there is planning for a fuel emergency in the UK. However, this is based on short term management in the event of a sudden shortage, due to infrastructure failure/attack, or industrial dispute. When asked about peak oil the only response from government has been to say that consideration of the issue would lead to panic and financial instability and so they are not going to consider it.

    When David MacKay (author of 'without hot air' and senior government advisor on future energy issues) recently asked for government policy documents on peak oil under the freedom of information act, he was refused.

    I agree, Ralph.

    But at least the UK has put some real effort into planning for LFEs: we all need viable plans, PO or no PO.
    Details of the UK plan are still restricted, but at least you have a plan that contains info which is sufficiently detailed that it's worth keeping secret.

    The North American plans are usually so vague that there is no reason to keep them secret. They claim that these plans need to be vague so as to retain flexibility to adapt to the specifics of the situation, which is true to some degree, but there are many tricky aspects which could and should be firmed up well in advance, and which the public should know long before an actual emergency hits.

    The UK government (or rather the cabinet office) have plans associated with fuel emergencies (after getting caught with their pants down with the tanker interdiction). However they tend to be focused on temporary issues, are concerned with the maintenance of the status quo, and ignore the wider system level knock-on effects.

    Better than nothing, and a reasonable way of allocating supplies in the short term, but no replacement for actually knowing how the economy will work and warp in the face of a recognised, sustained decline. In essence, as in so many things, its the ignorance of the treasury that causes the problem. They aren't really fit for purpose.

    Strategic focus:
    Track progress in commercializing cost effective solar fuels.

    See Sandia solar fuel research

    Sandia’s Sunshine to Petrol project seeks fuel from thin air
    Team to chemically transform carbon dioxide into carbon-neutral liquid fuels

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Using concentrated solar energy to reverse combustion, a research team from Sandia National Laboratories is building a prototype device intended to chemically “reenergize” carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide using concentrated solar power. The carbon monoxide could then be used to make hydrogen or serve as a building block to synthesize a liquid combustible fuel, such as methanol or even gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

    Alliance formed to commercialize technologies that convert waste CO2 into diesel fuel using solar energy

    June 1, 2010 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An alliance of industry, academic and government organizations, formed to commercialize technologies that will utilize concentrated solar energy to convert waste carbon dioxide into diesel fuel, was announced today.

    The alliance team members include Sandia National Laboratories, Renewable Energy Institute International (REII), Pacific Renewable Fuels, Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne (a United Technologies Division), Quanta Services, Desert Research Institute and Clean Energy Systems. In addition, commercial partners have signed on to advance work on the first round of commercial plants. . . .
    A solar reforming system is currently being demonstrated in Sacramento, Calif., and demonstrations will continue both at Sandia’s facilities in New Mexico and at a power plant project site in Bakersfield, Calif. Planning for the first round of commercial plants is under way at several locations in the U.S. The project team anticipates that deployment of the first commercial plants can begin in 2013.

    DOE Establishes Research 'Hub' For Solar Fuels

    The U.S. Department of Enery announced an investment of $122 million over five years to establish a a so-called Energy Innovation Hub to develop revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight.

    The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), to be led by the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), will bring together multidisciplinary researchers in an ambitious effort aimed at simulating nature's photosynthetic apparatus for practical energy production. The goal of the Hub is to develop an integrated solar energy-to-chemical fuel conversion system and move this system from the bench-top discovery phase to a scale where it can be commercialized.

    See: Fuels from Sunlight hub summary

    JCAP Fact Sheet

    JCAP Technical Summary

    Using concentrated solar energy to reverse combustion, a research team from Sandia National Laboratories is building a prototype device intended to chemically “reenergize” carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide using concentrated solar power.

    Here is a question that I have posed. Wouldn't this method* be a way to store the energy from wind and solar sources during peak generation periods, for use later? You basically produce (carbon neutral) synthetic hydrocarbons when the output from solar and wind sources exceeds the demand.

    *My understanding is that what is required is an energy input, water + C02.

    Yes thermochemical is one way of storing energy. This may be useful to go from wind to fuels. see Matt Simmons' Ocean Energy Institute.
    Energy as a complete system which shows ammonia production

    Electricity to Thermochemical to electricity is more difficult because of the low conversion efficiencies in each step.

    For solar, I expect thermal energy storage will likely be cheaper.
    See DOE Thermal Energy Storage or David Mills at Ausra.
    Solar thermal energy

    PS See
    DOE 2010 CSP Storage overview

    I am interested in what could happen and is happening in cities to help transition away from reliance on the automobile, especially those run by internal combustion engines. I know there are already sites devoted to carfree cities and am familiar with the fine work done by J.H. Crawford, starting with his first work, "Carfree Cities". However, I would like to see that kind of vision introduced and discussed at TOD. After all, there is a direct relationship with Peak Oil, energy use, and the use of the ICE in our cities. I have lived in and visited cities where a substantial part of the city is car free or virtually car free. Less use of oil whether imposed by nature or government, if looked at positively, could be a source of liberation, not necessarily of doom.

    I recognize that most people are resistant to the idea of a future with less use of oil and energy. But there is some progress being made. Of course, there is cause for frustration. I was riding my bike to work in Sacramento 35 years ago and thought I was part of some new revolutionary wave that would eventually transform the nation. Wrong!!!

    I would like to see more articles on the fringe. Methods generating power from wind turbines, solar, and dams have been beat to death. There has been in the past serious investigation of negative resistance and energy from the atmosphere. Some of these ideas may have an outside chance of working if serious thinkers could get exposure to the research.

    Typically rejected as technofix wishing. You can post 'em in drumbeats if you feel the mass of TODers need to know.

    more articles on the fringe.

    I am with you on this one.
    Some people on TOD are harder of hearing than the Peak and Climate denialists.

    Egos are pinned to world views. The facts become irrelevant when the ego is threatened.

    May I suggest that you tread softly, or you will be drawn into a stupid game of who has the biggest ego.

    All progress has come from the fringe. That is where we must look for our solutions.

    The English decided to eliminate insanity by using eugenetics. The list of families that were affected by insanity were drawn up. And then quietly dropped, as it contained all the talented houses.

    Madness and genius are closely allied.

    Well of course I wouldn't know anything about that, but if you really believe it's true then check out my Tripe System Report at my web page
    I'm just a practical middle of the road type guy, not fringe type material. My dad was quite an accomplished public servant, and so was my mom. To me working on issues is as natural as taking care of one's own hygiene. Thinking myself clever and appropriate, back when I first ran for public office on Nantucket, I held the door open greeting voters with: "Thank you for voting" Some of the pre WWII generation really gave me a glare. I could have just as well said: "Thank you for brushing your teeth". Look to those who do the work, that's all.

    Talking with friends, we had the feeling that it should be possible to continue business as usual with 10% less energy at almost no cost. I achieved this at work mainly by replacing light bulbs, turning off systems when they are not needed and changing water temperature in the air conditionning/heating system of the facilities (an IT company). All investments had an ROI of less than 12 months. More saving are still possible since very few computers have the right power saving parameters. I also did this 10 years ago at home.
    It can be interesting to share these experiences because it gives us a little bit more time to adapt to peak oil.

    I enjoy very much all the technology talks, regarding the past, the oil and the renewables.

    I believe that only politics can organise the transition. If you're the only one in the county to be ready, guess how your neighbours will look at you once we'll be in trouble.

    I would like to know why the Gulf is being reported as safe to swim in and the fish/shellfish ok to eat? I would like to know what kind of person believes this bunk? I would like to know why no one in the media is reporting on this any more. I would like to know the TRUTH about how safe it is to be a gulf resident right now. How can you possibly have an oil spill this size and the amount of toxic chemicals poured into the water and it not have an effect on the gulf, gulf sea life and the people living near the gulf. When will we get some answers? Is my family safe? These are questions I would like some real answers to.

    I would like to know why the Gulf is being reported as safe to swim in and the fish/shellfish ok to eat? I would like to know what kind of person believes this bunk?

    The people eating the seafood and swimming in the water? Not a snarky reply, just pointing out the obvious.

    I would like to know why the Gulf is being reported ....

    I have a whole list of "I'd like to know why" or "I'd like to know the truth about ...." kind of questions. Alas, you are starting to stray into the 'now you have a theory about a conspiracy' and those never end well.

    If you don't feel safe, use the fact that there are other States in the Union and start looking for employment far, far away from the gulf. Then stop eating the seafood or even eating food you didn't have some control over. The more involvement you have with the food - the better for you it seems.

    Everett Green, who runs an 80-head cattle operation just outside of Picher, didn’t leave and says he lets his cows graze on chat-grown grass and drink from mill ponds before selling them at auction—after which they could be distributed across the US. “Of course, we hardly ever eat one of our own cows,” he says, chuckling.

    (get that? heavy metals in the cows sent to slaughter. Kerr-McGee's placing the post-processed nuclear material on farmland as fertilizer would be another example)
    Canned Mushrooms being radioactive and stopped at the border - an example of international assholery WRT food.

    Well... since I am worried about how fracking shale will affect water-tables...

    I'd like one of those old fashioned Robert Rapier debunking pieces that tell us what the real deal is. Should I worry about the water or not?

    I also request a tar sands update. Have any producers actually done the restoration work that's promised? Or will we look at waste lagoons in perpetuity?

    I too would like to explore the effects of Natural Gas / Unconventional gas frakking has effected the water tables. Encana here in Alberta Canada as well as the US has in my IMO not been responsible as they claim regarding the facts about the process. Lots of rural people up here not too happy with Encana's heavy handed control over thier operations. As a dominate player here in the WCSB they should be held accountable for thier activities.they where formed after all thru the public purse. Ie: Alberta Energy & PanCanadian,(Canadian Pacific Railways) both granted huge tracts of mineral rights along rail roads and provincial lands respectivly
    Perhaps a forum to assist us or guide us to hold them accountable.

    I did see a program on this, and the state of Wyoming was not looking good. This would be a good area to know about. I agree. We could get names and take testimony on TOD and get facts. Bad water is not good, and not worth the gas, as it's hard to fix.

    I would start by looking at the fundamentals of contaminant movement. What you always find is that the geologists don't have a lot of bright ideas concerning how to model any of the basic behaviours. They tend to get way over their heads in the math and don't have the sense to work out some elementary principles.

    That's the reason Rapier is able to debunk much of the wankery out there. He just uses some basic logic and cleans up.

    I would like to hear more on HOW the gov. will response to future energy needs of our society.

    They will be responding to the following report.
    What inputs can this community have on our future energy needs?

    Accelerators for America’s Future - June 2010

    Their conclusions

    Many barriers stand in the way of deploying accelerator technology for the study and development of materials for future fission and fusion applications.

    First is the requirement for research and development, as well as demonstration.

    Second, limited funding within the domestic Fusion Energy Sciences community has not provided the capital required to build one.

    This points to a third barrier, the need for inter- agency, interoffice and even international cooperation.

    Finally, such a facility requires particle accelerator technology that is not familiar to either the fission or fusion community.

    See the following if you are interested in the slides or video of the actual discussions and presentation which occurred

    October 26, 2009..

    I'm sure that, during their coffee breaks, they must have discussed the financial crisis and the implications.

    I'm looking for more than a discussion of EROEI?

    The decision makers will do As usual ... Spend now ... then figure out ... later ... if they had miscalculated the EROEI.

    The decision makers are being guided by these kind of reports.


    Subcritical Reactors

    Natural thorium, a widely distributed natural resource three to four times as
    abundant as uranium in the earth’s crust, is a potentially valuable fuel for an
    accelerator-driven subcritical reactor. The thermal power released in a subcritical
    reaction is typically 100 times the power of the accelerated beam, offering the
    opportunity for significant energy production. In an accelerator-driven subcritical
    thorium reactor, the neutrons produced by the proton beam hitting a spallation
    target breed 233U and promote its fission. Such fission reactions can serve either
    for power generation or destruction of actinides from the U/Pu fuel cycle. Turning
    off the accelerator simply and quickly stops the fission reactions.
    An accelerator-based thorium reactor has clear advantages: the use of
    thorium instead of uranium reduces the quantity of actinides produced; the
    thorium cycle produces only half the amount of long-lived radioactive waste
    per unit of energy as mainstream light-water reactors; the thorium cycle produces
    much less plutonium than mainstream light-water reactors, and what it does
    produce contains three times the proportion of 238Pu, lending it proliferation
    resistance; the thorium cycle coproduces a highly radioactive isotope, 232U ,
    which provides a high radiation barrier to discourage theft and proliferation
    of spent fuel; and at today’s rate of power consumption there is enough thorium
    available to sustain such systems for more than ten centuries.

    Accelerators for fusion energy

    Nuclear fusion is potentially a clean and safe energy source. Two approaches are
    being developed worldwide: low-pressure/long-confinement-time devices using
    magnetic field confinement; and very-high-density/short-confinement-time
    devices using inertial confinement.

    Magnetic fusion

    For magnetically confined plasma fusion reactors such as the International
    Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, currently under construction
    in France by an international consortium including the U.S., or the subsequent
    planned demonstration plant, DEMO, fusion scientists expect ion beams to
    contribute to the mix of plasma heating techniques. While different schemes can
    achieve core heating of the plasma, it appears that the plasma current drive
    required for steady-state operation depends strongly on the high current drive
    efficiency of ion beams. The ion-beam requirements are quite daunting: tens
    of amperes of negatively charged ions of about 1 MeV kinetic energy, subsequently
    neutralized and injected into the plasma.

    Heavy ion inertial fusion

    In heavy ion inertial fusion energy, or IFE, high-energy charged particles from
    an accelerator heat a small inertial fusion target containing thermonuclear fuel.
    When compressed, the fuel ignites, releasing energy to generate electricity.
    Inertial fusion energy has different challenges from magnetic fusion, including
    the pulsed nature of the energy production, the required high rate of target
    production and target placement in the reactor chamber, and the reactor-driver
    interface. In all IFE concepts, the driver and the reactor chamber are separate.
    Compared to magnetic confinement fusion, this may lead to savings in cost,
    improved access, ease of maintenance, and reduced concerns for safety and
    radiation damage and contamination.

    Inertial fusion energy accelerator design efforts have converged on multiple
    heavy-ion beams accelerated by induction linear accelerators. After acceleration
    to the final ion kinetic energy, the beams, which are nonrelativistic, are
    compressed axially to the 4-30 nanosecond duration (a few hundred terawatts
    peak power), required by the target design. Simultaneously they are focused to
    a few-millimeter spot on the fusion target.

    We don't need more energy. We need fewer people.

    Are you suggesting "death panels"? Are you suggesting to be on a "death panel" thereby being excluded from being "selected"?

    Perhaps, a discussion on how "decision makers" are trying to influence "Mother Earth" in doing "her selection".
    A variety of H1N1 comes to mind.

    I'm not suggesting anything. Evolution will fix it. Fusion, et al are only extra-evolutionary attempts to defy nature and live beyond the ability of the planet to support more over-evolved pond scum, "going about their short, pointless lives". Besides, I'm really enjoying the show ;->

    "extra-evolutionary attempts to defy nature and live beyond the ability of the planet to support more over-evolved pond scum, 'going about their short, pointless lives'." = Wow?

    Hope the Copperhead didn't do too much damage - or, received more than it gave?

    Off grid for 15 years is impressive. You do any work with dynamos and storage of DC? There is an implied topic here for my suggestion under thread topic ";-^)

    We need the production / consumption ratio to change.

    What did you produce today to get what you consumed ?
    Like food ??

    example ...
    I typed on the computer and consumed 2000 calories of food produced by a diesel machine of various types.

    I would like to hear more on HOW the gov. will response to future energy needs of our society.

    Poorly is how.

    Nuclear fusion is potentially a clean and safe energy source. Two approaches are
    being developed worldwide: low-pressure/long-confinement-time devices using
    magnetic field confinement; and very-high-density/short-confinement-time
    devices using inertial confinement.

    You are skipping over 'cold fusion'.
    The less woo-woo
    You can get woo-woo and a t-shirt to let others know you'd like cold fusion now from

    (and yes I've noted that A. Robley here on TOD has mentioned lenr-canr also and has gotten about as much discussion as when I've mentioned it.)

    Please see my comment above about the need to consider the fringe.

    All progress comes from the fringe.
    With monotonous regularity it is resisted as a threat to the ego.
    And then accepted as self evident.

    "We see a need for, say 5 computers worldwide." IBM
    "Any fool can see the sun goes round the Earth". Annon
    etc. etc.

    Skepticism maintains an open mind.
    Pathological cynicism just that.

    One should not allow certainty to fall into dogma.

    I would like to read more about the intersection of multiple problems. While it appears like our societies are running headlong into a brick wall which is composed of peak oil, soil and water depletion, ocean degradation, fisheries collapse, deforestation, climate change, population overshoot, likely decline in agricultural production, and severe economic problems, it is not very frequently that authors map out a course that will address problems in tandem. I have seen some good charts showing the overlap in ways of addressing economic well-being, climate change and peak oil. I'd like to think there are similar strategies for addressing other issues. The human race is possibly screwed, but not definitely. We have some time to address important issues.

    I note that many TOD respondents are frustrated with discussion of politics. I understand the frustration as the discourse in the body politic is coarse at best, degrading and exasperating primarily because there is so much focus on gaining advantage and attacking those who disagree as opposed to discussing issues, possible solutions, and paths toward sustainability. I don't see how we reach desirable goals without extensive political discussion. What I would like to see is civil discussion between those with differing political views on alternative ways of reaching desirable goals. What I don't want to read is how "everyone else is stupid because they disagree with me." Our problems are much too complex to believe that any one individual or group has all the answers. I think we could make a very important contribution if we could host civil discussions of politics related to peak oil, economics, and resource issues. Such discussion would necessarily be based on people with opposing views working to understand the other's position and how they arrived at their beliefs. This requires patience, empathy, and thoughtfulness--qualities which will increase in value as resources become diminished in supply.

    YES to "the intersection of multiple problems" topic, reberg42. Each of those crises and "potential threats" you list have been studied as case scenarios; and most or all have been offered feasible solutions. Taken individually each looks "fixable" with current resources (ignoring for the moment political powers with contrary agenda). But when you add up all the problems, two new problems loom large: (1) The total monies, skills and material resources needed to fix all is way above what is available on earth. (2) these problems are often knotted together such that you cannot solve one without treating some bundle of them simultaneously.
    Depending on how you slice your pie there are about 100 fatal errors of western civilization, any one of which can bring about the collapse of humanity. There are not many humans that can face all of them together, simply because of the great complexity. So each of us chases our pet demon, largely ignoring most of the rest. It takes a polymath to recognize the joint implications. All polymaths please raise their hands ????
    Whole systems treatments are very difficult; please refer to other comments concerning complexity issues. Evidently, it makes people's heads hurt so bad they just don't pursue the "whole". We need our best systems analysts, modelers, and "non-linear" thinkers to start hacking away at the ... not dilemmas, not trilemmas, ... but polylemmas?? that stand before us.
    To come out of such efforts would be urgencies, priorities and synergies. And hopefully several best paths for viability.

    Can I just say, I've been focusing on the large scale system issues for years now. While the complexity is large, in the way of all CAS there tend to be 'islands-in-the-stream' of repeated and steady characteristics that pop up again and again and allow you to get a handle on the issues (eg its not chaos).

    For instance, unequal distribution of production is a common factor. In a oil decline the fall won't be uniform. Certain areas will maintain availability while others fall to zero VERY rapidly. That inequality can be forecast, as can the consequent strains on society and the fallout. You can therefore say that solitary car based commuting will disappear overnight - relatively.

    I personally would like a realisation here that the plausibility of peaking and current issues are done deals. The real focus should be on the shape of the decline, the interrelated factors that will shape viable policies, and the many 'gotchas' that result in trying to implement simple quick fixes to a wildly changed game. The continued future of whole countries will be built how smart they are at picking the right route, and that's where we can add value to the wider discussion.

    Maybe I should write a document summarising some of the attributes of this post peak world?

    While the complexity is large, in the way of all CAS there tend to be 'islands-in-the-stream' of repeated and steady characteristics that pop up again and again and allow you to get a handle on the issues (eg its not chaos).

    IMO, high complexity leads to disorder and the filling of available states in the system becomes predictable in a probabilistic sense. Some call this dispersion, randomness, variability, etc. but it all boils down to entropy at work. Its not chaos yet it is not aperiodic or shows steady characteristics either.

    In a oil decline the fall won't be uniform.

    IMO #2, the dispersion in decline rates is something economists and most everyone else neglects to include in their models.

    I would be interested in this topic as well, but more from the perspective of ripping apart ideas that any kind of self-organization arises out of complexity.

    rdberg42: It's sitting right under your nose, here on the oil drum. Has one person on the oil drum list read the Tripe System Report? It is only 11 pages, and illustrated, and professionally edited, because my writing is too ... Steve.

    Systems, our own bodies, or an energy system, have a core and a base foundation of philosophy. I would say the energy system we have now has a core of direct use of electrical transmissions, secondarily the portable power needs of cars, boats, trains, and planes have a base of the direct burning of fuels. The base philosophy seems to be to keep going and use the same system, which we've had for 100 years. The base philosophy also is let business alone, which is a problem because they depend on us to leave them alone while they make money. The philosophy of allowing externalized negatives to go on unabated and uncompensated, rather taxed, is a base. If someone who thought out side the box were to come up with a new core and a new base foundation of philosophy, could we recognize it for it's potential, ? or are we so married to the old ways that we would shut it down, as an idea, as an intellectual form of self defense?

    I look for synergies in the systems I design. But the systems I design all have a core and they all have a base foundation of philosophy. Machines are based on science and need and philosophy, or art. My Tripe system has multiple services, because the tripe, which stands for track pipe, has multiple conduits, it can and should carry multiple services. Big systems need big purpose, and cash flows. The Tripe is really the mother of all systems in this respect. As a pipe is one of the best structural designs in nature, we can use a pipe as a core, to carry things we need. As a base foundation of philosophy, we are actively transitioning to less old style polluting systems, and design needs to follow that theme. We need energy, and a pipe can obviously carry that in many forms, oil, gas, compressed air, hydrogen, and other energy gasses and fluids. The future may hold the promise of super conductors to transmit electricity with little loss, and I would suppose they need a chill and a vacuum, which again would be a pipe as a way to pull the vacuum. Pipes can carry mono-rail transit systems, from city to suburb, to country side. Pipes can carry fast trains, mag-levs, and larger cars if wanted, and pipes can be put out side of heavy steel rails, not to carry weight, but to carry just some weight on the edges of a larger car. Pipes can carry urine. Pipes can carry grey water. Pipes can carry broadband. Pipes can be used structurally for bridges, structures, tram-ways, bike paths, roads, and housing. If you can think of the tube structure as good, and then find synergies, then the more uses you can plug into pipes, the more synergies and cash flows result. There is such a thing as a positive cascade effect.

    You have a list of multiple problems that you would like to see addressed synergistically or in intersecting ways. This is my specialty. "We work on the puzzle" is my company motto.

    Peak Oil: The Tripe system transports and stores energy. The energy could be Hydrogen, perhaps from a geothermal plant of my design. Or the energy put into the track-pipe could be compressed air from one of my hundreds of designs for wind, wave, tidal mills. Oil is fleeting. Waves, wind, tide, are ever at our service, if we have the grace to accept these gifts. Easily generated compressed air can be piped to power plants, to super charge them. Cars can run on a sip of gasoline comparitively if only we can read the tripe system report and get going and get the compressed air to the vehicles, of my own design. Let's use pipes for that job. What money is it worth to significantly cut use of the oil?

    Soil Depletion: The pipes carry grey water and urine to the farms or bio-products treatment facilities. Bamboo is a grass. Have you seen the nice green spots on a lawn from the dog? Well, we are poisoning our perfectly nice fertilizer gifts ... bad bad poo poo, this is nonsense and rubbish. Don't want cultural change? Don't want change? Too smart for it? Wrote the book already? We need these "Gifts" to improve soil, grow good crops, (Carol Steinfeld "Liquid Gold" read that book). Organic soil building can be quickly accomplished using the tripe system. How much money is good soil conservation worth to us?

    Water Depletion: Separation of our waste streams is the key, allowing recycling of the grey water and urine together, or "gra-pee" to the object of photosynthesis. The tripe system is a second to none water delivery system. Can you see that in the pictures? What are the money numbers on water systems that battle every day against our own pee and poop? What is a clean well worth. What is a clean pond, brook, marsh, harbor worth to you? Don't like pipes? Are you sure you don't like pipes yet?

    Ocean Degradation: Our mess sits next to the ocean, our mess sits next to the sea, Oh some one give us a potion, so I can have a mess of clams from the sea. The sad stinkey fact is we are wrecking the coastal resources, and hence the whole pond. The tripe system handles water and waste, and can even ship oyster spat to a bay from an inshore man made salt pond hatchery. I've done hatchery work. The tripe system interfaces with the need for a healthy ocean, and I especially know how to bring this about. My fisheries, aquaculture, water systems designs, sewage systems designs are many. How much is a good meal of seafood worth to the world? Only the rich eat good seafood, and sometimes fishermen like me too. What's it worth? Is it worth a few pipes? How much?

    Fisheries Collaps: The Tripe system can be fed by the Georges Bank Mega Mill system, one of my designs. These wind and wave hybrid machines have reefs designed in, to act as fisheries production systems. Fishermen and I don't get along on a political level. I am a cultivator. Most fishermen are only foragers. The value of fisheries is not in asking " What do the fishermen want to do? " The value is in good public resource stewardship, divorced of the fisherman's rancorous never ending needs. The assets of habitat and stocks are primary and should be treated economically as such. The systems the tripe needs to input are codfish magnets, of my design of course. How much money is a good fishery system coupled to a good energy system worth to you? Is it worth a few pipes?

    Deforestation: A different kind of a log: My poop, mixed with 85% humus from any source, the woods, a farm, Pressed and put in the forest this equals cash for wood. Good systems transport good usable bio-products, and the values are realized, also in one fell swoop erasing the negative value of trying to poison the poop. Rail systems that have pipes can feed blimps, like spreaders, or watering jugs in the sky, the forests shall give bounty and health to the atmosphere. How much is a well cared for stand of diverse timber, teaming with deer, bear, quail, worth to you in dollars? Is that worth a few pipes? Or, are pipes just too much to even think about, because we don't do pipes? How much money?

    Climate Change: Water systems driven by the tripe core will bring green to the earth in a hurry. We will snap out of this mess if it is possible to do so. The life of the eco-system earth is at hand before us, as we prattle, and money can't be an object, if we do have a chance to fix the issue we should, at any cost.

    Population Overshoot: The tripe will produce money. We need money to incentivise and tax excess babies. It is possible. I have social services tied into the tripe energy, utility, and transportation system, because I'm just that type of a nit wit who will attempt such lunacy. But my designs are .... mine. So I can draw up any damn thing I want. I want to use the tripe eventually twenty years out to pay down the reproductive capacities of the main offenders. How much money and infrastructure savings are we looking at now?

    Agricultural Production Decline: No more real need for lots of chemicals, we can do well with holistic organic farming systems, and these of course can be industry based. Local gardens and farms can use gra-pee to water and fertilize, along with the teas. If you could use less salt in your diet, my gra-pee will thank you. The Tripe system moves stuff. We need stuff moved. How much is that worth. Agriculture is all about moving stuff, and doing it with a green thumb. I have that. How much would it be worth for us to all eat organic? For our farms to be pristine? The tripe can bring this form of prosperity.

    Severe Economic Problems: I personally am enamored of sound infrastructure projects. Yes they cost money but their pay off is great. The Tripe System is such, and also jobs, that's the job, The tripe system, that's the job. A man needs a good job. And a wife needs a good man who has a good job, and this is about as priceless as it gets. Good economics like a beautiful garden brings joy to my heart.

    Do you have a simulation of the system in action?

    No. I only have lots of sketches. This includes the Tripe system and wind and wave systems etc. The system is comprehensive, and will require much modeling. I don't think there is too much question that the basic concept is good. But it would be costly to do. But it is a totally new green grid, and I say let's look at it, and model it, and if we like it then go for it. The idea has not been critiqued, as no one has read the report.

    Let's not be ignorant about defining the energy problem that we do have. I see the problem as a need not so much to create the energy, as to ship and store the energy and in what particular forms. The way we frame problems, such as to think we need better electric grids, which are married to fossil fuels, may not be the correct question to pose to get the result we need, which is a green energy system.

    This system will be easy to model and proto-type up. I wish I were a better salesman.

    Perhaps some more energy tech talk series along the lines of the oil well drilling and coal mining series of articles.

    I suggest similar series of articles on: large-scale wind power. solar PV: large-scale and roof-top. Solar water heating (rooftop). CSP. Commercial nuclear power generation (various current and proposed technologies, including wast storage and re-proce3ssing and/or re-burn).

    Histories, theories of operation, current state-of-technology, deployment, policies, pros/cons, future options and costs/benefits. State-of-play not just in the U.S., but selected examples from the World.

    Same types of articles regarding energy efficiency and conservation technologies and lifestyles.

    A survey of home, business, and industrial lighting technologies, to include natural lighting, for example.

    Articles which survey advanced in transportation, such as EVs, more efficient ICE and hybrid vehicles, passenger and freight rail, buses, etc.

    Often times interesting information on the facts of how these things work is found in the comments by people such as Alan from Big Easy (wrt trains) and many others, but this interesting info is scattered about amongst many threads on different days and ends up lost in the sauce of TO history.

    Discrete 'series articles' on planes, trains, and automobiles (and buses and bikes etc) discussing working, histories, policies, current state, and future possibilities, with pros and cons and requirements for supporting infrastructures and skill sets, would be great additions to the oil and coal extraction serial articles.

    Your choice, but I would prefer not to see articles on zero-point energy, negative energy resistance, harvesting energy from the air, and similar 'out in the aether' ideas which I think would be more of a waste of time than useful.

    One last: It would also be prudent to for the Editors to stay away from (even inadvertently) hosting comments regarding (even obliquely) pre-or-post-collapse means of violence.

    I am sure there are other places on the Internet where folks so inclined can discuss that to their hearts' content.

    Here, it would drive reasonable members and readers away, and taint the otherwise productive, useful conversations and ideas...

    Ideas for a functional society, not for doomer survivalism please.

    Same with the zero point or space aliens will save us - technofix wishing. No need to go down those roads here.

    I'm not sure there isn't anything WRT energy that has not been covered, save the out there or the more theory-laden 'these actors did this for that reason' kind of thing.

    Perhaps a better handle on exactly how BAD the electrical grid is....a nibbling around the edges is common with 'old eq' or 'this report to congress gives a D' happens. Yet I'm guessing real knowledge is 'trade secret' or 'national security' and thus will not happen.

    Fission power and nat gas will devolve into its good/not its not good with flammable water and Chernobyl.
    Population devolves into 'you are a buch of eugenic nazi's.
    Politics - we get sheeple and guverment loving liburls/world destorying rethugiclans kind of discussion.
    Oil elsewhere boils down to 'congratulations! You found X days of worldwide use, with X being less than 100'

    Alternatives would seem to bear the most fruit, but you'll still have the 'its not economic' arguments or 'nice you'd like to grow/do X - that won't work here because of the snow/lack of snow'

    I'm tending towards:
    Introductory overview posts - as newcommers won't go back over 5 years and read. Plus things that might have worked 5 years ago won't work now or perhaps some new technological do-hickey makes the unworkable now workable.

    But really, I don't get much of a say as odds are I won't be passionate enough to write any of 'em. And really - if readers want to see something they should write about it.

    Hire this guy as an editor.

    And tell us the juicy gossip.


    And I believe others would agree with the No.

    (and you get most of the interesting bits in Drumbeat posts But here's one.
    A magnet motor that claimed testing graphs sure look like puts out more energy than it takes in.
    That 'gossipy' enough for ya?)

    I want the cornucopians to show how it could be done using; forecasts data etc and showing all their working out in the margins

    They all seem to assume that the oil price can go up forever, without any huge harm to the economy. If you can assume that the price goes up forever, you can extract any kind of oil, as quickly as you want.

    The catch is that recession sets in as price gets too high--essentially as EROI of the oil extracted becomes too low. This puts an end to their neat ideas.

    They all seem to assume that the oil price can go up forever, without any huge harm to the economy. If you can assume that the price goes up forever, you can extract any kind of oil, as quickly as you want.

    The catch is that recession sets in as price gets too high--essentially as EROI of the oil extracted becomes too low. This puts an end to their neat ideas.

    If we assume the tail half life is faster than usual consumer responses can follow, then we move more to a war-economy model.

    There are historic examples, of what war economies can achieve, but a difference now, is we have the internet. ( which will be a double edged sword, and may need to be regulated : too many flakes ? )

    Now, rather than a linear price, you get what I'd call step functions, and 'sectorising', or rationing.

    Then, Price matters less than Supply, and the important sectors will have allocated fuels. Food supply goes to the front of the queue, and 'optional use' like recreational use, tourism, [or freighting Plasma TVs ;) ], go to the back of the queue.

    Of course, the focus of a common enemy helps motivate a war-economy, and it may be the lack of that, sees society fraying as some seek to grab more.

    Indications so far, are the tail is not going to need such a drastic response, but such a response is possible. We have done this in the past.

    I wish they would expand on the simplistic viewpoint a bit and demonstrate how this price accordion isn't a problem or whatever. There is AFAIK not single solid projection that takes these effects into account or address.

    if we (you actually i guess ;-)) could reach out and persuade someone to come forward and explain why these sort of concerns are ill founded by using the data?

    or at least why they can't address them?

    how can these market force ideas maintain such a stronghold on thinking in a field completely devoid of any evidence to support it? What's more how can they keep ducking the question?

    I think we are letting these ideas get a free pass because we do not impose the same standards on them as we place on projections of depletion.

    how did that state of affairs come about?

    I wish they would expand on the simplistic viewpoint a bit and demonstrate how this price accordion isn't a problem or whatever.

    About half way through this, Stoneliegh explains that "price" is the wrong thing to look at

    It is the current price/affordability ratio that counts

    Also of interest is Stoneleihg's explanation of how money is a lubricant and how an ICE engine can seize up when it lacks lubricant

    yeah spending power per capita as a function of the number things we can buy.. whatever.

    I'll give it a listen the problem here is its an explanation from "its all f**ked" side of the court. which doesn't help calling people out

    Don't pre-judge a book even before you open its cover.

    The point is that the "price signal" is a false god to worship.
    Price can drop to zero and yet no one can get the stuff even at that price
    Consider what has happened to "credit" even with its price at 0% interest

    It's not just about price
    It's also about whether you can now afford it at the given price
    If you have no job and zero cash, then even a price of 1 cent is out of your reach

    well yes... but it doesn't really address my proposed topic idea in this subthread whether its valid or not. so interesting and insightful as it was (listened to it all) doesn't help me in my quest

    The point I am trying to make is for someone mainstream of an opposing view would be invited to explain it all away and our eyes are then opened to an infinite universe of possibilities we never envisaged because we spent to much time caught up in facts and stuff......

    for someone [from the] mainstream [and] of an opposing view [to that of the TOD stream, to] be invited to explain it all away [to us TOders] and our eyes are then opened [to all that we were missing regarding the] infinite universe of possibilities [that will save us]

    Surely you are pumping some heavy sarcanol with that idea.

    You want someone from the mainstream to "explain"?

    Perhaps first your should beg the Loc Ness Monster to emerge and show herself.
    Or may be Big Foot should walk out from the forest with a big grin on his face knowing he has won this game of hide and seek he has been playing with us all these years.

    Mainstreaming means not having to "think" let alone having to "explain"


    He who is at the center of the herd grazes in peace and blissful mindlessness

    you want someone from the mainstream to "explain"?

    yeah I do

    I think no one can..and so do you.


    I would like to see the best in class cornucopian(s) turn up and detail

    Lynch gave it a go at and got owned.. but he is small fry

    yeah I do

    In that case we will have to fabricate our own Cornucopian
    Because none with a brain would be willing to set foot in this viper's pit
    of Doomers, Gloomers and wishers for the end of humanity

    The Imaginary Cornucopian might argue this ...

    Like rumors of my demise, the claims that Peak Oil is now, are premature.

    The Earth is a very large planet and we are far from having explored every inch of it. Look at the vast amount of oil that gushed out from just a single unfortunate spill at the Deepwater Horizon. There are millions of square miles of unexplored sea bottom that can hold billions of barrels of yet untapped wealth.

    Moreover, the technologies are constantly improving and advancing for recovering more oil from wells that have been bypassed because we wrongly thought they were played out.

    Back in the 1800's Malthus thought the end is near. He has been proven wrong time and again.

    The free market is a robust process that always provides new solutions that only a few years ago were unimaginable. Just think about how far we have come with Moore's law and the internet. We've gone to the moon, we've fixed the BP oil spill, and we can meet all new challenges as they arise.

    Scientists are constantly working on new technologies and nuclear fusion or some other breakthrough could be just a hand reach away without us yet knowing it. A beautiful bright tomorrow is just one sunrise away and we should never despair. Despair is for loosers and we are winners.

    Check List
    What did I leave out?
    1. Argue the Earth is almost infinite in size? Check
    2. Argue technology will save us? Check
    3. Argue the market will save us? Check
    4. Argue that unknown genius scientists will save us? Check
    5. Argue history/ Malthus always wrong? Check
    6. Use psych ops to put PO theorists in the marginalized doomer corner? Check

    hmmm but those sorts of comments never really firm up into anything more than posts in comment section.

    I'm sure you are right that potential candidates are put off by the culture of this place

    Perhaps someone could be beguiled or tricked into posting?..

    I suppose the nearest was some guy talking about energy transition economics

    ... can't remember when but a ways ways back it was. TBH I didn't understand his argument well enough to critique it.. either that or (s)he was talking nonsense. or I'm stupid... or some combination probably. not sure what he was saying but then I am an idiot.

    What pisses me off is we have all these dudes here hammering the issue with brainy maths and stuff and the rebuttal is "that doesn't count because I say so" that doesn't do it for me. I want; graphs, insights, busy spreadsheets and the like dismantling WHT's et als analysis (or attempting too)..

    instead its just nothing.

    its like nothing to see here move on... its annoying because I have to take on faith some posters analysis because I don't bloody understand it well enough to see the flaws (ok i do a bit, in fact more than a lot of people here pretend too IMO).

    I want this opposing school of thought to be held accountable for its lack of rigorous rebuttal

    What pisses me off is we have all these dudes here hammering the issue with brainy maths and stuff and the rebuttal is "that doesn't count because I say so" that doesn't do it for me. I want; graphs, insights, busy spreadsheets and the like dismantling WHT's et als analysis (or attempting too)..

    I would love for people to hack away at whatever premises and assertions I make. I regularly do that to other scientific work I read and find that half the fun.

    I have started to post a bit in because more people are willing to get their hands dirty with some serious back-and-forth, yet TOD is very useful because you do get the variety of insights.

    Lynch is indeed small-fry. He does a passable job of criticizing PO arguments but the frustrating thing about his own work is that it lacks any substance. He probably realizes that if he did any serious math then he would be quickly dissected. So he is cagey in that way; he attacks the weaknesses in opposing arguments but he keeps his own arguments vague and ambiguous making them more defensible.

    He probably realizes that if he did any serious math then he would be quickly dissected.

    well if he knows he cant get is X Y and z axis to get all aligned then he needs therapy.. The frustration gets transmuted by the realization that the depth of denial boarders on some sort of mental disorder..

    "I know I am wrong but have so much of my identity emotionally invested in my position I'm just going to carry on rather than have a complete mental breakdown."


    I have started to post a bit in because more people are willing to get their hands dirty with some serious back-and-forth, yet TOD is very useful because you do get the variety of insights.

    get them to come over here on a sabbatical or summit

    will try, but gradually.

    potential candidates are put off by the culture of this place

    Actually, a few years back, I attended a live Peak Oil debate at Stanford University (Northern California).

    Part of what I mouthed to you above was the actual talking points of the anti-PO debater.

    If I hadn't made fun of it in my critical thinking check list, it probably would have sounded pretty good and pretty convincing to at least some people if not to you as well

    , a few years back, I attended a live Peak Oil debate at Stanford University (Northern California).

    Part of what I mouthed to you above was the actual talking points of the anti-PO debater

    well seeing as this sort of argument is even considered worthy of the prestigious and academically acclaimed Stanford university in Northern California (as opposed to the less prestigious Stanford University at Yedor in the Minbari federation) you make a good point.

    If I hadn't made fun of it in my critical thinking check list, it probably would have sounded pretty good and pretty convincing to at least some people if not to you as well

    well as I said I am an idiot

    as opposed to the less prestigious Stanford University at Yedor in the Minbari federation

    Every university, no matter where located, has its various kingdoms (departments) of study and its anointed priests (professors) in charge of maintaining holy dogma within the church of that kingdom.

    In other words, Stanford of Palo Alto, California has its economics department just like other universities have, and its political science department, and so forth.

    I don't recall precisely who the debaters were, but if memory serves, it was these two professors:

    One of Gorelick's opposites on this issue is geophysicist Amos Nur, the Wayne Loel Professor of Earth Sciences, Emeritus. The two appeared together at a 2005 event titled "The End of Oil?" with Nur taking the position that production is irreversibly declining.


    cheers. I'll give it a look

    Gorelick is the guy we want to engage in a debate instead of the cornucopian Lynch. I can rip Gorelick to shreds much more easily than Lynch because Gorelick has a left a paper trail.

    Everybody is entitled to change his mind.

    I don't know if the Gorelick of 2010
    believes in the same things that Gorelick of 2005 did.

    As I recall it, the cornucopians of 2005 were predicting that the production graph would keep shooting up on a linear trajectory way above 80 mbbpd, to 100, 120 and beyond.

    Take a look back at:

    In hindsight we all know that did not happen.
    Instead we hit the "undulating plateau" --as the Jedi mind tricksters of CERA framed it.

    There are all kinds of excuses for why production flattened out:
    the economy did it,
    above ground factors did it,
    it's just a temporary resting spot,

    The one thing they, the cornucopians dare not utter is: we have seen PO and it is now.

    the thing about the above ground factor excuse is it can only make production go down and if the world is full of these above ground factors... and I think it is, it follows pointing this out doesn't really help the 120mbd crowd.
    what is more if they are sure the oil is there to be had they must be able to identify the above ground effects in some detail and forecast the effects of there removal.


    you should be able to stick some numbers on the size of these excuses.

    you should be able to stick some numbers on the size of these excuses.

    That's a great line.

    well they should shouldn't they..

    they should also know what they are! because its an unstated assumption of their argument! If they claim they can't identify them in detail then how do they know the underlying potential oil production capacity?

    doesn't make sense without the figs to back it up.

    There should be a list of things that can be addressed above ground and the effect of mitigating them... and examples of above ground mitagation matching forecasted production growth!

    the closest decent analysis of an above ground issue was Stuart's Iraq potentially holding off peak post.

    SS is the poster child for the term balanced view IMO but even so i think we would all classify his analysis as coming from inside the PO community.

    BTW I didn't buy the iraq 12mbd thing.. was a bit devils advocate if not geologically unlikely never mind the political stability issue.... if you ask me.

    Funny that SS doesn't post here anymore.

    may have become tired of it...quite demanding I would think

    he has his blog and that.. he was good on the radio (WS) I thought.

    For some years, I've been saying to my colleagues that we ought to be recovering NG from hydrates. My reasoning is not so much that it's a gas source, but that MH has the potential to become a global problem as temperatures rise. Every pound we use is a pound that won't end up as methane in the atmosphere. The answer I usually get is that it's too dangerous to mess with hydrate deposits because they could suddenly destabilize. Watching the DWH story unfold, I could clearly see that concern is overblown. Some of the hydrates even clung to the FailBOP on that long journey up. So I'd like to hear ideas on how MH could be utilized.

    I'm also rather familiar with the Green River shale deposit and the really impressive amount of exceptionally good oil it holds. You guys know what the problems are. Could they be solved? I tend to favor ideas that involve in-situ recovery because, well, I really don't like trashing the environment either. I know that has been attempted without success, but hey - there are some really good minds here!

    We've seen an in-situ shale post.

    If you want to see a hydrates post - then write it. If you do write it, please address:
    "Sounds complicated and a whole lot of tech/methods that have not been tried. And in the end its still a finite resource that right now is 'locked up' carbon. Wouldn't it be better to work on the acknowledged conservation and unlimited as long as there is a sun/biosphere solutions offered by capturing and processing protons?"

    That question does work for almost any technofix post.....

    I'll search for the shale post later.

    You do know that one theory for the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event involves the destabilization of MH because of rising temperatures, right? Methane is a far worse greenhouse gas than CO2 ever thought of being. Unless we can somehow mitigate global warming, MH in permafrost will start contributing to it. You then get a feedback loop that, IMO, might not be possible to stop. I'd point out that the Triassic in Western North America is characterized by enormous aeolian sands - that is, desert deposits. My concern is more to deplete the deposits that might destabilize, while using the NG as a cleaner fuel to save a bit of man-made greenhouse contribution as well.

    I'm aware of the theory.

    There are mass-destruction things Man could choose to do something about:
    Fission/Fusion weapons
    That island that has a loose rock face that if it was to come loose a 20ish foot tidal wave could hit the Eastern Seaboard of the US of A.

    Humans have noted both of these. And plans have been drawn up to get rid of the weapons/disassemble the island - yet there they are.

    The extinction argument isn't good enuf in a world of making the next quarters numbers it seems.

    My concern is more to deplete the deposits that might destabilize,

    And they might not. *shrug*

    But that is how you make a FPP - look into these matters, make a few graphs, tie it together with words.

    One way to get me to shut up is to suggest I do some work. Heh.

    Maybe I should have said "may start to destabilize at any moment". If global warming continues (and despite the environmentalist claims, that's not universally agreed upon), the MH in permafrost will come out. How much damage it would do is uncertain. It would depend mostly on how fast it happened. But it is pretty clear that such an event has the potential to trigger a disaster.

    Edit: Fixed an HTML boo-boo.

    I would like to see an article about the characteristics and economics of natural gas distribution to rural areas. In the town of 300 people I live in there is no natural gas; people overwhelmingly use propane. Nine miles away a town of 1300 people has natural gas. Why? Why not? What would it take for natural gas to be extended to much more of rural America? I have heard of natural gas cooperatives (apparently popular in Alberta, Canada...). What about them?

    It would be interesting to learn more about political/business/regulatory forces that keep pushing us in the wrong direction and keep us from making sane transitions.

    For example, getting rid of old inefficient power plants has been hampered by the Clean Air Act and public utility commission's desire to keep utility rates low. Old existing plants were exempted from the Clean Air Act, while a retrofit or new plant goes through the full regulatory review and requirements. To avoid the hassles, it's easier (and cheaper) for the company to keep the plant limping along.

    Buying a new-efficient plant also triggers the need for rate payers and their public utility commission to agree to higher rates to build the new plant. The old plant is already paid for so it's much cheaper.

    It's certainly far more complicated than this. I simplified things just to show a quick example.

    I'm sure that the experts here know of many similar examples. While there are plenty of technical challenges to transitioning, the non-technical challenges are probably even higher.

    It would be interesting to learn more about political/business/regulatory forces that keep pushing us in the wrong direction and keep us from making sane transitions.

    That one might not be bad.

    Tax law prevents you from deducting any expenses from worm farming. (due to the worm scams of the 1970's) Tax law also lists PV panels and small wind from being 179 deducted. I've never examined the WHY of the no 179 deduction as I felt there was no way to change it if the why was known and 'bout all I can do is write the reps and ask for a change to allow it. (My guess is some kind of scam back in the 'day got the exemption added. Seems reaction is how most things change in the law)

    I'm guessing there is other things to look at WRT the long deduction times for telcos and power providers.

    I believe that TOD has done a fantastic job of painting a broad-brush picture of what Peak Oil might look like and how overall energy descent might affect people. The varied comments on every post show that there is healthy debate even amongst Peak Oil believers as to how things will play out. However, much of the commentary is too broad-brush to be considered "actionable information".

    My own personal opinion is that response to Peak Oil will be just as heterogeneous across the globe and even within a single city as the amazing diversity we see across those nations and cities right now.

    PO Dubai, AE ≠ PO Seattle, WA ≠ PO Dallas, TX ≠ PO Caracas, VE ≠ PO Uppsala, SE

    I would like to see occasional posts that focus on specific communities and provide a geologic, historical, political and energetic overview of what Peak Oil may hold for the folks in that particular community and how they are preparing or what assets they could leverage in response to Peak Oil.

    It is my hope that this will help identify locations that have made good choices leading toward sustainability and that this information may act as motivation for others to push their own local governments to take similar decisions where appropriate. Local decision makers need actionable information.

    Best Hopes for learning from others.


    Two things interest me. The ramifications of energy shortages will not be felt equally. Taking the US for example we can observe a continuum with folks living in rural areas and already having developed their own infrastructure of garden patches, wood lots, poultry and animal husbandry facilities and water supply at one end and those living in high rise apartments or housing developments at the other. I think describing and grouping this continuum while evaluating what will be needed to make life possible while giving people time to find their way to whatever kind of life they can manage.
    I can't think of very many groupings beyond rural, small town, suburban and city, but when we begin to include other factors like terrain, climate, nearness to railroads and etc we can come up with quite a range.
    The other thing that interests me is how we will cope with the psychological aspects of more or less look at someone and tell them that they are pretty much on their our own now.

    I think it would be useful to move beyond Peak Oil and also begin to talk about envisioning a sustainable future, however difficult or impossible that may seem.

    How about some discussion along the lines of the Great Transition Initiative (Paul Raskin) and bending the cost, resource use, population growth, etc, curves?

    Here is a quote from Gus Speth about this:

    “The road map to the future that Paul Raskin and his colleagues have presented in Great Transition is accessible, insightful and compelling. It's unique. I've used it in all my classes.”

    Gus Speth
    Dean, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
    Yale University

    Regionalization. A random sampling of questions follows. I've used specific examples, although it is clear that the questions could be asked in a much more generic fashion.

    • Should overshoot be considered a global question, or a regional one? India and China together account for more than one-third of the world's population, but have relatively small per-capita energy resources. Canada has only a small fraction of their population and relatively enormous per-capita energy resources, both fossil and renewable. India and China have overshot; Canada, quite possibly not. What responsibilities, if any, does Canada have to India and China?
    • Same argument, only within the United States. The West has far greater renewable resources (and if you count coal, fossil resources) than the East. Should regionalization be based on current national boundaries, or should big countries be broken up? Is it legitimate to consider that the East has overshot to a much greater degree than the West, and if so, how should the consequences fall?
    • If the US were to reduce coal production and consumption by one-third (just to pick a number), should coal-producing states be allowed to serve their local demands in full first and make the cuts only in "exports"? In other words, does (or should) the export-land 2.0 model apply within the country?

    Thanks to a quirk of the ice ages, Canada and Russia are two large nations that were cleaned out of humans about 11000 years ago, so got a fresh start thereafter, and are still on a warming curve to recovery. Evidently, all nations anywhere near the equator were not so affected and remain saturated with humans, constantly increasing population as technologies so enable. Perhaps the number one ethical obligation that Canada and Russia (and Scandinavia) have is to not repeat the mistakes of those before them. Learn from others and proclaim loudly how you will not over populate, not over exploit natural resources, and will acheive sustainability before it is too late. Acting as such a model will be a great service to the rest of the world, make them long for your ways, and they will eventually begin to realign their cultures more toward sustainability. This is especially so IF they can do the one-child per family until populations wind down to sustainable levels.

    I would like to hear more about the EROEI=40 solar panels.

    Small scale wind turbines.

    Very efficient small motorcycles and vehicles like the Aptera.

    And comparison of alternatives for ENERGY STORAGE.

    Wind turbines that can crank out power at 5-10mph and survive tropical storms.


    There are some interesting designs for vertical axis turbines, at both ends of the scale.

    It seems the modeling software might now be getting good enough, that they can simulate almost any design they choose ?

    One example:

    VAWTs would be a good topic (particularly for their higher capacity factor), other innovative designs as well. I borrowed a textbook from a friend of mine entitled "Renewable Energy" from 2004 and found a number of diagrams including one for a multi-rotor tower, which is what it sounds like, three standard horizontal-axis rotors mounted on a single tower, which in this case looked pretty similar to the steel lattice towers used for high-voltage transmission. Hmm...

    "Unconventional Wind Turbine Designs" could be the title of a post...

    More on energy storage systems for sure, and I'll vote for more on the electrical grid as well.

    Those two items are the main problems with using more wind and solar power.


    The techofix crowd is still waiting on super-duper-capacitors from EESTOR. Seems they latest hope is from some FOIA that had government types being asked to come and see whatever it is they have.

    Given theantidoomer isn't around - someone has to watch EESTOR.

    How environmentalism / environmental permits is hindering the rate of both fossil and solar commercialization.

    Slow permitting is likely the key constraint on oil sands in Alberta.
    So too solar electric systems in California. e.g.

    U.S. Decision on Pipeline Is Delayed

    Wall St. firm behind slow solar pace on federal lands? "Goldman Sachs subsidiary bought lots of leases — but hasn't used them"

    I always enjoyed the posts that Nate used to do, examining the evolutionary basis of human delusion & logical fallacies, our dysfunctional relationship with our own future and the living world. The fundamental problems arising from using our cognitive faculties mostly for rationalizing decisions pre-made in the our unconscious.

    Marry that to evolution and the actual behavior of complex interacting systems, and examine what might approximate the optimal habitation of earth over the next million years by our species and others. Perhaps work towards a practical vision of the human future by the synthesists who gather here, a deep future for the planet.

    In other words, expand upon the "and our future" part of the site's mission.

    Just a thought.


    Yes, mindset issues will decide if we have a meaningful future or not/none. I would also like to see some post on this topic.

    I do not remember the old Nate post you speak of, maybe before my time, any leads on searching for them.


    Looked up all the stories Nate posted and from the titles I think I can figure which are on topic. This one looks good, , so I can start there...


    One of the things I respect most about TOD is the general good behavior of the participants while discussing divergent views on a broad number of topics. When politics gets brought into any forum, the level of civil discourse begins to erode. Therefore, I recommend treading lightly around political topics.

    Unfortunately, the majority of the problems that civilization is facing can be attributed to either political inaction or inappropriate action. At some point in time, government leaders across the globe are going to have to face the imminent threats of over-population, peak oil, climate change and declining economies.

    Gail, if you could present 10 charts to every member of Congress, what would you say??

    Gail, As many others here on TOD I love this website and I do understand your needs on feedbacks to keep the content of TOD at this high level. Interesting aspects of the oildrum are and should be continued:
    A) Info on Global oil prospects;
    B) Its international public, with comments of english speaking communities from around the globe.
    C) The techtalks on specific tools and technologies for mining and drilling
    D) The developments in energy consumption of China, India or Brasil and the possible impacts of it for OECD countries.

    A wish may be, is the development of a more positive attitude to wind and solar power systems. Poeple are working on it, but it takes years to make it available as a important contributer to national grids in the different countries.


    Renewable- and EROEI analyzes.

    LFTR. Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor.

    The concept seems to be too good to be true.

    Can anybody tell me definitively why the technology won't work?

    But think about the two first words in the name.
    And tell me in your question, when, do you mean it should work or not work?
    And should it be a commercial reactor working?

    So if you pay now you might get 1 GW in 20 years?
    Thats good - but not many wants to pay...
    The man with 10 billion $ thinks he gets more return in an other investment.

    There's no reason it won't work, the concept is proven. It's just a matter of getting a commercially viable system online. Unfortunately, that's going to take some time, and we may not have enough of that commodity.

    I'm fully in favor of nuclear power. It's proven technology, waste disposal being the only real bugaboo. Being a geologist, I'd be in favor of introducing the waste into a subduction trench and letting the mantle recycle it. In a few million years, it will turn up as new uranium deposits. But I suppose it's more glorious to build massive and costly underground storage facilities - I'm not a politician, what would I know?

    Edit to add: There might be a problem getting "the people" to accept it though. The idea of liquid fluoride and blazing temperatures will surely start a lot of nonsense, and we've just seen how readily the public will accept nonsense. It will likely be a hurdle getting people to realize this type of reactor is far safer than conventional ones. Note: I live within a short drive of the Palo Verde Nuclear station in Arizona, and that doesn't even intrude into my thoughts. If anything, I'd love a tour of the place!

    How could an working economic system after PO look like?

    Who will invest, if most of the buisness are likly to shrink?

    Whats the best way to distribute the limited resources for best benefit of society? Market forces vs. centrally planned economy?

    For robust systems a reduction of complexity is often proposed. Meaning short production chains. Locally sourcing...
    But on the other hand, technology might help to meet the challenges in energy production and conservation. These technologies often need high tech equipment for best results. E.g: computer simulations for component optimization
    How to ensure that these powerful engineering tools are still available in a world with reduced complexity?

    Understanding PO and it's implications is critical to every thoughtful person's long-term planning.
    My premise is that we were right, peak is now in the rear view mirror and yet the reality of this fact (let alone it's implications) has not sunk in to most informed people yet.
    So I would like to see more connect-the-dots type of posts.
    I think TOD could do with a little more swagger about now, a little more confidence. A little more poke-Yergin-in-the-eye "we were right and you were wrong".
    I think there are a lot of people who post thoughtful commentaries on this board whose reputations are daily enhanced by news about production, about reserves, about macro and micro-economic effects from the fact of PO.
    I think the credibility of the site has been enhanced over the past year.
    Why be timid? What's to be gained? The academic community is paralyzed by process as events unfold, both in climate change and PO. sites like TOD can play a useful role.

    I have seen a lot of posts where readers are turned off by the idea of including politics into the discussion of PO. I can see why this would be, as the current political parties just seem to not get it, and trying to deal with them regarding Peak Oil issues can be extremely frustrating.

    However, how would readers feel about talking about a new political party that is specifically devoted to dealing with the issues of Peak Oil? Would that be a little more palatable? There is one, a new poltical party, called the Foundation Party of America. We are dedicated to rebuilding this country, not taking it back. We focus on agrarian issues, relocalization of economies and infrastructure, reducing urban sprawl and finding other ways to deal with global energy and economic contraction.

    Anybody interested in that?

    Regards, and have a wonderful Labor Day.

    How about addressing the political hurdles of implementing some of the ideas here? If we investigated the politics of allowing windmill erection, for example, we might come to know some useful aspects of the political process, and alternatively, some nasty obstacles that render some good ideas not do-able at this time.
    Is it true that Windmills were considered as unacceptable eye sores until the British Royals did a feasibility study showing 7 year paybacks? Then BP put serious money into clearing zoning permits and, for example, is putting 1100 of them in NW Indiana alone.

    Yes, sounds like a group of good common sense type people, like those of the Ross Perot times. I think it may make a better Club than a party, and may make more sense in that venue. I'm a Republican, so such as it is I have a party already. But I think they hate me, but at least I have a party, which may be one step below having a pet rat. In the grand scheme, etc. A Belated Happy Labor Day to You.

    I think the general emphasis and area of focus is good and appropriate. However, a couple of specific suggestions:

    1. Viable economic systems that respond to resource constraints/depletion and/or incorporate externalities of energy and resource consumption. I know there have been some pieces by Herman Daly, etc. on envisioning steady-state economics; what I would really like to see is a roadmap for transforming institutions, financial and otherwise, where perpetual-growth models have been "baked-in" and how system-wide collapses might be avoided in a post-peak world. Are measures such as local currency or cashless/gift economies helpful, and how should they be advanced? Should we create banks whose primary stated purpose is to provide financing for energy transitions? There has been a lot of good work by Gail and others on the intersection of energy and financial institutions, so it seems evident at this point that a currency backed by debt is going to create serious problems even in the ability to finance alternative energy systems, but are there any potentially viable solutions toward which we should be working? I'd also be interested to see some discussions of environmental externalities of fossil fuels (including subsidies) and whether/how they should be included in energy pricing.

    2. Renewable energy and nuclear energy given the same level of in-depth focus and technical analysis as conventional energy sources. That is not to say the current technical focus should be abandoned, just that it should be extended to these other energy sources as well; for instance, what is the EROEI of different types of nuclear reactors and how is it calculated? How viable are enhanced geothermal systems as a scaleable option for baseload electricity? Are there any (not merely promotional) studies available on the viability of thorium? Wave power? How should governments approach the problem of alternative energy? Also more on resilient electrical transmission and distribution systems and what kind of infrastructure is needed or helpful in avoiding systemic breakdown. If liquid fuels are going to become increasingly economically and ecologically expensive and unreliable, perhaps to the point of systemic collapse, then we need to know more about electricity, since it looks to be the only viable energy carrier that could, at least in theory, maintain the scale of present development (and hence the demands of 7 billion persons). And if we can't feed or otherwise provide for 7 billion-plus, what are humane and politically/morally acceptable methods of reducing population?

    3. Alternative transportation systems: how to build them and where they might be viable, and to what extent they help in transitions. Is mass transit helpful, and how quickly can it be built to the scale needed? What are ways of overcoming political opposition? Can and should motor fuels/transportation be taxed and/or externalities priced to subsidize the construction of alternatives? Also, how to deal with the transition from the environment of suburbia built on a foundation of cheap and happy motoring to something sustainable? The geography of the transition seems to be the key here - it is all fine to envision transition towns, smaller, denser and more economically-localized communities, but how do we get from Point A to Point B when the far-flung suburban "community" has already been built and is where most people in the developed world live? Also, what are some non-oil-based transportation alternatives that might be viable for rural areas?

    As stated above, I would avoid radically changing the structure or focus of TOD as a few of the comments have suggested, as I think it serves its stated purpose well as is. The above are merely suggestions for topics that I think deserve a bit more attention.

    Are there any (not merely promotional) studies available on the viability of thorium?

    Very few of the 'lets analyze this tech' posts come off as non-promotional. And yes, I'd like to see such that includes the giant sucking voids of problems whatever said tech has.

    I can remember the India/Thorium-gonna-save-us pitch from the last 1970's. India still has its energy needs and yet Thorium reactors do not dot the countryside. Either there is a problem with the Thorium tech OR the issue is with lots of fission reactors. And regular TOD readers know my positions of fission reactors.

    What could or would America look like without imported energy?

    Another version of that - how could the US military function on a no-imported energy budget?

    There is a major question about the format of this site. I don't think the format of this site is compatible with having the very broad array of subjects people are interested in discussing. So I think the site should either maintain the current format and have a narrow focus or switch to or add traditional discussion forums.

    I think that better indexing would go a long way toward fixing the problem.

    I understood that the improved indexing method we had went away, and was going to come back in the near future, but it is not here yet. I will need to ask where it went.

    No, that is not what I was meaning. If there are only four or so new topics a day and if these cover a much broader area of interest the traditional technical readers on this site may find that there are fewer and fewer technical articles of interest to them. So they may well leave.

    I second those that wish to see articles on our future. We know the problems so lets start looking at the solutions. Particularly solutions that people can partake in themselves rather than grand schemes involving governments, corporations and global finance which will probably fail abysmally.

    Small-scale tech, methods and solutions that we can all put into effect. Rather than hand-wringing and waiting for grand schemes to be actioned by a failing economic and political system. Whether nuclear, alternate energy, bio-fuels, etc. succeed in saving us or not requires no input from me, what will be will be. I'm more interested in what we can do for ourselves, under our own control.

    I thought your observation the other day about how even here no one can really agree what to do was depressingly insightful.

    I hope your survival bible request does not portend the future but I have to confess to the closet doomer with-in at times

    I would have thought there were good sites for this already.. perhaps a good article on these sites as a internet phenomena and their comparative merit could be written by those guys and gals who frequent them?

    I'd like to see more polls and graphs. Sure we have other experts opinions on when oil will descend from peak plateau, but we don't have a consensus from TOD posters. TOD use to do that with future oil price guessitmates, or maybe even still does every six months, then why not post peak plateau (beginning of) descent mo/yr predictions?

    Also, why not a bar chart with a line across the middle, with countries past peak below the line and those yet to hit peak above the line. Some better way to visually see how many countries are yet to hit peak.

    I am interested in the Quality of Life of sustainable cultures. In the US we are taught that anything but high consumption is "the stone age". Yet the finest of music comes from a pre-industrial Mozart and Beethoven; the finest of sculpture from 400 BC Greece; the finest of silks from way back in China; the finest of Philosophy from Socrates; much of the finest food, including olive oil, wine, cheese, and beer refined BC; the most classic of architecture in ancient Greece; Running water and flush toilets in ancient rome; Fresh food of 100 varieties every morning at the market; spices from 1000 miles away; Fresh fruits, jams jellie and pies; Down blankets, pillows and coats; The finest of leathers and furs; the finest of furniture (see french circa 1700); There were great auditoriums, arenas, stadiums - for drama, plays, puppets, opera, sports - all achieving the peak of their arts. Perhaps most importantly the concept of coming to the acropolis or parthenon to stand under the columns to argue out all conflicts - until an "understanding" was reached.

    The vast majority of things on the list of that which adds to the quality of life were developed long before the age of oil.
    And while all of these things were available, pollution was near zero. Land was so abundant it was given away (to "homesteaders" and soldiers). Water was abundant and clean. Wood was free. Fuel was free (wood). Life was more vivid, colorful and social.

    When we describe our idea of a great vacation, most people refer to things that were developed pre-oil: mountain lodge, log cabin, sailcraft, beaches and tiki huts, swimming, canoeing and hiking.

    Of course, those who do not study history have been led to believe all pre-modern life was brutal and abysmal in its poverty. But how then did such thousands of great arts get conceived and embodied? There is plenty of anthropological evidence that ample resources and freedom from coercive government led to a very good life for most people.
    But most city folk today have lost any appreciation that such quality of life is at all possible.

    If we were to reenact the possiblities of those earlier days, and work out how the best of them can be fit together in a sustainable way, then that would be a model for people to aspire to. As long as we allow the past to be protrayed as impoverished, then no one will cooperate in the "movement" to sustainability.

    I agree that our present measure of "quality of life" is all warped and a high percentage of the valued things you mention, from a less material time would not even get a sniff from the masses today! The Hollywood pop culture has instilled a totally unrealistic view-- past, present and future. That is not going to be easy to undo especially when there is no perception of need on the part of the view holders. If the powerful perception changers got on board with the right projection the scene could unwind quite differently. Probably there is something like the "critical mass" requirement and collectively we are not ready yet. (present company excepted!) Man really is abysmally poor at guiding todays action with much thought to the future. Like a child, he needs a thoughtful mentor with a prod.

    Really I think this aspect of the coming adjustment is going to be harder to think through than the physics of it. I also think that human relations is by far the most unpredictable wild card in guessing how painful and destructive things will play out.

    When the student is ready the teacher will appear.

    Many of these things were only made possible through the leisure obtained by owning slaves.

    YES aardvark, you raise a very important point. Egypt had slaves, Greece allowed slaves and Rome had slaves. However, all through those times less than 1% of the people of earth lived in cities, and only cities maintained sufficient force of arms to retain slaves. Big architecture, like pyramids, often used slaves. But the Pueblo and Anastazi build large cities and highrises without slaves. Their cultures were specifically groups of equals. And it was 1 million villages throughout the world that developed the crafts. Everywhere, each village excelled in one to three specialty items: a type of cheese, a style of chair, a biscuit, boat making, etc.

    Furthermore, our use of the word "Slave" confuses the many different meanings over history since Sumer. Some city-states meant "war debtors" (captive until paid for damages). Some meant servant class (as in India). Some meant "animals". Some meant "Chattel", beasts of burden. Some meant something more like "employee". Some meant "unqualified for skilled work".

    Thankfully, most of the greatest achievements were created completely unrelated to slavery. Can you coerce a slave to create music better than Mozart? Most of man's achievements arise from inspiration, not coercion. And thankfully we still have over 1 million villages on earth that conduct their lives in a sustainable manner, have no slaves, and continue creating great crafts contributing to our quality of life.

    Significantly, slaves were most likely to be used in the most unsustainable of practices: the wasteful, the intimidating, the war ships, the monumental, the assaults on others, the fictions of life after death. To forever rid ourselves of the things that slaves were coerced to build will make the world better, not deficient.

    First post. Two suggestions: First, regarding the truly excellent coverage of the Macondo well blowout in the Gulf, there have been many references to cement. Could someone knowledgeable please explain this in a bit more detail? Cement and concrete are two different things. It's fairly common for people to use the term cement when they really mean concrete. While I will not be surprised to learn that "cementing" well casings and plugging wells requires highly specialized formulations, are we in the end talking about concrete and not cement? The latter is a component of the former.

    Second, I was tantalized by a recent thread that touched ever so lightly on the potential of thorium reactors. I'm fascinated by this subject and would love to see more attention paid to it on this fabulous and so very informative web site. Thorium seems to be available in sufficient quantities to meet our needs for quite some time and it seems to be truly difficult to make nuclear explosive devices out of the stuff. The radioactivity decays much quicker than conventional nuclear waste.

    I suppose there is no magic bullet that will save us from ourselves when it comes to energy. But Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors (LFTR) seem to hold considerable promise.

    I cannot say enough good things about The Oil Drum. It's been a favorite "go to" website of mine for a couple of years. I prefer to read what others say rather than post. But Gail did ask for suggestions and I felt obligated to respond. Thanks again to all who make this site so special.

    BSV - Cementing is an almost endless topic depending on the detail one wants to get into. The links are a very basic start to that end. Drop by the blow out thread if you have more specific questions once you bone up on the basics.

    Re: cement, PG did a nice job with this one a while back:

    Stuart also did a piece on it earlier, link is the article. I wonder if this shouldn't be updated again--I would imagine the proportions are even more striking--and perhaps India is moving up.

    I'd like to see a discussion of the current state of natural resources economics. My sense from reading economics blogs is that the mainstream view of the economics of oil is that as oil becomes scarce, prices will rise, as prices rise, innovation will occur, innovation will discover equivalent alternatives, and life will continue on as before.

    Is this an accurate view of the state of economics? How many economists think about the possibility that no suitable alternatives exist or that they will be much more expensive (and the transition will be very expensive)? Are the economics of peak oil ever included in long-term projections of things like Social Security or GDP?

    Apinak - My very prejudiced view based on working in oil/NG exploration and development for 35 year: rising oil/NG prices will encourage drilling more wells for riskier and typically smaller targets. Higher prices in the last 10+ years have allowed development of relatively large reserves in the Deep Water plays. And more will develop in the near term such as DW Brazil. But even though these plays add a boost they cannot replace declining production for very long. Most of these big discoveries will be nearly depleted with the first 8+ years of their life. Compare that the production lives of major onshore fields of 40+ years.

    The best example I can offer is the boom of the late 70’s. At the peak more than 4,600 rigs were drilling in the US. And the boom was driven by the high prices as a result of the embargo days. But I promise you at least half those rigs were drilling crap. If you research production gains during this boom you’ll see a very disproportionately small gain. And when prices collapsed many hundreds of oil companies went under as a result of drilling with unrealistic expectations of future prices. More recently the collapse of NG prices divested many of the shale gas players. Companies will remember and IMHO won’t start throwing capital so wildly as they did in past price peaks.

    And one more very prejudiced opinion: don’t concern yourself about any future reserve numbers you see tossed about. PO, IMHO, is nothing about reserves in the ground. It’s about production rates. A hundred billion bbls of oil in the ground being produced at 4 or 5 million bbls/day won’t change the future…just delay it a few years…if that.

    PO, IMHO, is nothing about reserves in the ground. It’s about production rates.

    hypothetically, would you be interested in investing in a well producing over 1000 bopd (one thousand barrels oil per day)?

    yup, I red everything down to here. many still have hope, others are struggling with mates who don't have a clue. Its the psychological thing we need to get accustomed too. Who knows whether it will be next year, next decade, etc. But if you have been paying attention, you know the jig is up. We are, at 6.8 billion, far into overshoot. We are not a kind and gentle species. Freud saw this very clearly in his later days. Jay Hansen seems to have looked at this predicament about as closely as anyone, and I think most folks would benefit from his stuff. No, It ain't pretty, but why don't you just post some of his stuff and moderate some of the hope BS. Me, I'm glad to be in the twilight years. You younger folks are f..ked. Have a nice day. Incidentally, if you got a wife that don't seem to get it. Try one more time to explain reality. If you are unsuccessful, move on. Our culture made them this way and they ain't gonna change. If you stay with them, you will just be one of the earliest that don't make it out of the first bottleneck. My guess is that the intellectuals that frequent this site will be among the first to go. We Cretins will stand on you as the first wave appears. Darwin was right.

    I have been peak oil aware since 1999 (Scientific American article). Like many here I thought humanity would figure it out and act appropriately. I now realize that I was completely wrong. Humans are no smarter than yeast. As proof, I recently saw that someone other than the current president was slightly ahead in some reasonably plausible poll. This same candidate is well known for believing that humans and dinosaurs wandered the earth at the same time. When the populace and the leadership is this scientifically illiterate, I see no possibility of actions based on rational, scientifically verifiable plans. One of the other leading candidates though that it was a good idea to make the constitution secondary to some rules derived from some rules cooked up by Egyptian sun god worshipers - good grief. Anyone doubting the intelligence of our populace, should search "walmart people" using Google and get a good laugh at the images on the top hit. I have intentionally left out names to avoid some sort of raging political or religious debate. I am just pointing out that science and ration thought holds far less sway over Americans that one would reasonably expect.

    Being peak oil aware has allowed me to make a variety of investments that have far exceeded the inflation rate and live a better life than I would otherwise be able to do. Many arguments can be made that this wealth is temporary and an illusion. However, it has allowed me to drink great wines, live in a nice house, eat good food and even prepare somewhat for the downslope over the past ten years.

    Why is cashing in on peak oil so taboo on this site? The dunces don't care about peak oil, SUV purchases are up. They may actually need them, something like 30% of our population is morbidly obese and another third or so is simply obese. Anyone travelling internationally knows what I mean when I say, you can always spot Americans at the airport. I know I am cynical and that the titanic will sink, but I would love to discuss investments in the context of peak oil with others. It isn't as simple as buy oil, potash, phosphates, the unstable financial system is at least as big a factor. If everyone thinks that this is the wrong place for this sort of discussion, does anyone know of a site where this sort of discussion does take place.

    For preserving wealth: The Automatic Earth
    For profiting from collapse: Zero Hedge
    For monitoring main stream peak oil sentiment: Financial Sense Newshour

    George Ure's urban survivalist is respectable.

    Thanks - I have followed 2 of the three - but no zero hedge - thanks.

    Most important is a clear rational friendly discussion of how we are going to solve the overpopulation problem.

    Second, I would like to see an article and discussion about propane. Where it comes from (oil/nat gas liquids?) What future availability might be. And of a big interest to most who live in the country, why does propane cost so much more than natural gas per btu? Why it is lagging so far behind oil, gasoline etc in inventory builds (in the weekly reports it always seems to be much lower in inventory position for that time of year vs the other petroleum products)

    Lastly, let me say that I treasure the last 4+ years I have been reading TOD and the all the useful knowledge I have gained as a result. A big THANK YOU to the folks that keep TOD up and running for all the rest of us.

    We talk about "Energy and our Future". But what, specifically would you, the reader, like to hear about?

    Besides the good near-term discussions, how about some over-the-horizon topics.

    A good topic candidate here, would be Nuclear Fusion.

    For high temperature fusion, are we confident enough yet, in the software modeling, and control, and materials, to define firmer time lines ?
    That news seems to advance the software modeling, and control aspects.

    Even 'Cold Fusion' [LENR, Low Energy Nuclear Reactions] refuses to die :

    and a good paper here

    Data there suggests they are getting Excess powers well above any noise floor.
    Values toward 7% Excess, are plotted.

    The next question is, when will they have enough of a handle on the process, & actual mechanisms, to push that even higher ?
    Or, will this sub-sector be a bit like Superconductor Research ?

    A couple suggestions:

    1) Would like to see some deep systems thinking and analysis on the inter-dependencies of energy, economy, and climate. My reading of climate change suggests that my kids are screwed (with drought and its affect on crop yields having the worst impact). I have been wondering if a deep depression (caused by debt overshoot) and subsequent oil decline (which will prevent us from growing out of the depression) might be enough to restore CO2 to a safer level. On other hand, wondering if a quick drop in economic activity and atmospheric particulates may cause a rapid jump in temperature.

    2) Some brainstorming discussions on useful small-scale products/services to earn a living post-peak.

    My reading of climate change suggests that my kids are screwed

    Naw - they are between Iraq and a hard place because Carbon capture/taxes will be used by the money class to capture for themselves a good hunk of the economics of trying to 'save the planet' and that saving will be mandated - a forced transfer of wealth.

    30% of the cash flow for actual carbon fix'n
    30% to the monied interests - "Investment Bankers" in this case.

    15% Shareholders of the companies putting the offset project together tend to take 15 percent in profits.
    15% Taxes, bank interest and fees.
    10% The margin normally taken by the retailer of carbon offsets, who sells them to corporations, individuals and other entities.

    So long as 70% of the money is just a wealth transfer and doesn't actually *DO* any meaningful Carbon work - why should the Carbon capture work get supported?

    And - to be honest - what have you done to actually capture and sequester some Carbon? Have you made any TerraPerta?
    (Me, I've personally buried a whopping 20 lbs of charcoal. I've buried some 25 tons of spent brewers grain - but that isn't the same....)

    Yes Eric I think the same.
    Unless carbon cap and trade, tax etc actually leads to leaving the stuff in the ground and unburnt then we are going nowhere.
    Of course in the end the only stuff that won't get burnt will be determined by EROEI, nothing else.

    The substitution is well underway, fleets of LNG powered vehicles, fleets of Priuse's (taxis) and now fully electric vehicles. We are doing everything we can to further the illusion of BAU.
    These decisions are not made for environmental reasons (but most claim it), the decisions to substitute are economic or a hedge and also with some, fashion and show.

    Because of the decline in EROEI and growth, over time people will become vegetarians, they will use public transport, they will work close to home, they will use less electricity, store water, recycle more, wear their clothes until they are worn out, dine out and travel less and move in with family, accept less education, trade and sell belongings. These decisions will be of necessity and economic. Like most businesses right now, people will try to outlast the next fellow. They will merge (move in with family), takeover abandoned property, accept less of almost everything and run at a loss until bankrupt.

    I agree carbon cap/trade/capture will not work. The only thing that will work is to replace all coal plants with nuclear plants and stop deforestation, yesterday. This will never happen. That leaves hoping that a permanent economic crash might do the trick. But a crash may make things worse in the short term due to unmasking of the aerosol effect. We thus may also need some geo-engineering in the short term.

    Personally I am traveling and consuming a lot less, and am enrolled in a farming school.

    Go read the article - its not cap and trade. This is the money flows in things like wind farms or capturing methane from a dump to make electrical power.

    Cap and Trade just creates LAW for a 70% waste system.

    Oh, and replacing all coal with nukes just trades one bad idea with another. Nuke plants are demonstrated targets. 9/11 hijackers, Israel and Iran are all examples of statements of targeting and the Israel/Iraq bombing and actual targeting. What happens when a plant fails badly - Chernobyl. Face it - mankind isn't grown up enough for having the landscape covered in them.

    I believe I stated the only feasible solution that will maintain a working electric grid. Your response reconfirms to me why it will never happen.

    Many intelligent environmentalists now support nuclear. See Stewart Brand's new book, for example.

    Many intelligent environmentalists now support nuclear. See Stewart Brand's new book, for example.

    And in this book, there is a compelling argument to address:
    1) Man's inhumanity to man combined with addressing asymmetric warfare so that nuke plants won't be targets?
    2) Man can now make machines that will not be subject to Man's flawed nature so that the plants are better than Man and won't fail? One demonstrated failure resulted in 20 KM being unavailable to Man. 20 square KM here, 40 KM there - rather soon you have a patchwork of no-go areas along with more Man's inhumanity to Man over the still OK to be there areas.

    As an added bonus if the can show the 1950's Peaceful Atom program is a success it might be worth my time to see their arguments.

    I am familiar with all the arguments for and against nuclear. And yes, I believe Brand addresses those issues. You might also find this talk by a former anti-nuke activist interesting:

    Our discussion is probably moot because I don't think we can afford to swap out all coal for nuclear. Too bad because it is the only feasible non-crash solution to global warming.

    So long as 70% of the effort to address Carbon mitigation is ineffective - I know I won't support the 'take cash and pay for it' plans.

    20% as overhead, I'll grumble but it won't be a cause-celeb as the only 70% waste is.

    (Oh, and somehow replacing coal with something else won't address the already stressed systems nor the debt as money needing to constantly grow problem)

    I would like to see more on the macro-economic side of peak oil ; what it means for tax policies, monetary policies, financial policies. I believe that crude assertions like "the financial system will collapse" or "fiat money will not buy anything" don't do justice to the complexity of what is going to happen. We have to think more about peak oil (and more generally peak "currently used" fossils) in the framework of classic inter-temporal economic calculus (especially the discount rate), not just in qualitative terms, but in quantitative terms.
    Economy is the discipline aimed to allocate scarce resource optimally, and scarcity is really what the "peak" debate is about.

    Thanks for the invitation Gail!

    I would like to see continued coverage of the intersection of finance and energy constraints as we go forward. Similarly an occasional post of how the Net Export model is evolving.

    I am curious as to how the large exporting countries are using their "profits". Are they investing in alternatives, expanding discovery/development/production/refining/transport of their exports, spending it on programs to maintain support within the populace, etc or something else?

    Finally, I hope to hear the breaking news of the unlimited and perpetual energy source right hear on TOD! ;)

    P.S. Having Nate, Stoneleigh, Chris Martenson, Sharon Astyck, and a few others for a podcast or round table discussion around a few topics would be great.

    I had a very interesting experience a couple weeks ago. After reading this site for some months now (Macondo noob) I have become convinced that we're looking at a rocky road ahead. So I printed a few copies of the Hirsch report, the German military report, the US military report, and the UK business group report, and took them to a gathering of several dozen friends. The gathering wasn't for this purpose but there's kind of a tradition of show & tell amongst us.

    I intentionally limited the scope of my comments to two points
    1) Peak oil and the state of our infrastructure is going to mean possible shortages as occurred in the 1970's. Possibly including brief, temporary shortages of consumer goods.
    2) The amount of debt that is now carried by government, industry, and private citizens assumes good times ahead. Considering point 1, that is doubtful so look to your investments.

    That's it. Just those two points. They heard me out I'll give them that, although one wise guy heckled me as the boy who cried wolf. Some glanced at the data but most not at all. Several tried to argue that civilization was not going to fall (which I stated many times was not what I was talking about). The final consensus seemed to be that I had become a nutcase. This can't be real. Surely the government and the energy industry would come up with something. Everyone was focused on quarter four of this year and the fate of a double dip recession and that's about it. At one point all that information was actually seriously being considered against the jokes the heckler was throwing out - and the jokester was winning.

    That was a real eye opener for me. I don't think I reached even one person. And I would like to stress these are not stupid people. In the room were physicists, biologists, chemists, teachers, a whole spectrum of folks. Not one really looked at the data (although the reports did go home with some folks so maybe there's hope). And they all know I'm an engineer who has worked in the oil industry.

    I concluded that people just are really, really attached to their comfortable little lives to the point of ignoring the true facts in front of them. This is the first time that my professional opinion has been totally laughed off like this. So as a topic for discussion I would like to know if any of you have successfully passed on the message about peak oil, and if so how the heck did you get through to them?

    Yes I think many have that experience. I mostly focus on my own lifestyle now. I have a physics degree and work in an Architecture/Engineering office. I've spent half a decade+ trying to prod a few people at my office in a more sustainable direction. I've had a few modest successes and several lip service promises, but most just look at you like you have two heads and turn to run. You'd think with the way this collapse has proceeded to date that people would be ripe to make changes, but not so in my experience. A few neighbors have seen what we've accomplished at home and have made some changes. Don't give up, but don't expect rave approval either. There won't be a "Cassandra metal" waiting to be pinned to your chest in any event. Select your targets carefully, confined to an audience that you feel may be receptive. One on one seems work best. Do it your selfer's and eco friendly types seem more receptive in general. The toughest part is taking that first step. Once they do it, it begins to build their confidence and makes them feel more secure and self reliant which they like. The dream of converting masses to this cause is in my opinion HOPELESS. I content myself with knowing what is coming (since it's just outside the door at this point), and have more useful things to do with my time than procelitizing to those in denial. Depending on how nasty things get, you might be better off not drawing to much attention to yourself anyway. Best of luck to you. Dalriada

    "The dream of converting masses to this cause is in my opinion HOPELESS."


    And by extension expecting the politicians, who are followers and not leaders, to do anything constructive is also hopeless. Those that understand the implications of Peak Oil, financial collapse and Climate Change are essentially going to have to act alone to mitigate the effects the best they can. And due to resource constraints (mainly money), they can only reasonable influence their own mitigation plans and not other people's.

    There's little time left to do anything as it is.

    I haven't been able to get through to some people no matter what and I've been trying all my life. I think some subjects like population overshoot and resource depletion scare most people so much they refuse to process the data. I know brilliant people who refuse to accept any possibility of social collapse.

    Your predicament is nothing new, and judging by the two previous responses, you can see that many people here at this forum have thrown in the towel already when it comes to trying to share the message of Peak Oil with others. That is why many folks in the Peak Oil community tend to keep to themselves and stock-up for the inevitable collapse.

    I, on the other hand, have had great success (about a 75% success rate so far) in talking to new people about the effects of Peak Oil. The primary strategy I use is to avoid talking about the future - I talk about the past and the present. When people talk about the unemployment figures, I shift their attention to the financial crisis, the credit crisis, and the housing bubble. Then I usually work that into the FACTS about how much oil the the world uses and how it is defying the common consesus of all the top economists that we should be facing $75-$80 a barrel oil in the middle of the third year of a recession in the US. Those are facts about the present that people can't argue with. I then work that into the fact that last year we (the world) discovered 11 billion barrels of new oil, while at the same time we used 31 billion barrels of oil. Then I mention how we have been upside down on new oil discoveries since 1980, and that it is simply a matter of the laws of physics and simple math that you cannot indefinitely sustain a system that uses more of a resource than you find replacements for the used product. At this point I generally have 100% agreement, because I am only speaking about the past and the present.

    I usually leave the first discussion with the thought that despite a downturn in energy usage in the US, oil is still trading well above what should be expected, and that as long as it trades higher we cannot expect either major political party to follow thru on their promises for economic recovery anytime soon. Additionally, I mention to them the fact that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are all increasing their fossil fuel usage, so the situation with oil (and natural gas and even coal to some extent) will worsen. This is a lot of information for the novice to gather and process, so I usually leave the conversation at that point.

    Once I revisit the topic with my friends, I will usually discuss the concept of Peak Oil as it has occured in the past. I talk about how the US peaked individually in 1970 and how we had the oil crises of the 1970's. Everyone can agree on that. Then I bring up the fact that out of the top xx oil producing countries, xx number have also hit their individual peak (this argument usually defeats any comments from conservatives that our peak oil in the US is the result of environmentalists getting in the way of patriotic Americans trying to keep us off of foreign oil).

    At this point, a lot of people start to worry a bit and they almost invariably ask me about what will happen in the FUTURE. That is where I back off, because predicting the future should be avoided at all costs. This is the fallacy of most people who have had bad experiences with sharing peak oil with others. No one knows for sure SPECIFICALLY how peak oil will affect society, countries, or even individuals. There are people who talk about Utopian "solutions" and those who talk about imminent collapse ("Grab your gun and your Bible and head for the hills with me!"). I personally believe that we will face something in between, as that has been the historic trend with other societies that have used up their major limited resource (e.g. the Maya).

    What I DO warn my friends about is to not take their current lifestyle for granted. I caution them in general to avoid getting into any new debt, thinking that their job will hold indefinitely, or that they will get that promotion down the road, so they can "move up" to that bigger house they wanted. I talk about how throughout most of human history, people have have worked in a "pay as you go" situation, which should just be common sense for anyone out there. To some of the friends who are more inclined to study up on the situation I refer them to Collapsists like Kunstler or Savinar, or to Declinists like Hopkins or Greer. And for anyone really interested I suggest learning new skills that enhance self-sufficiency. Eventually, most of the people I speak with thank me for setting them on the right course.

    Have to run to dinner now.

    Cheers and good luck!

    Truth doesn’t have many adherents. The human mind is mostly in search of material and sensual satisfaction and covering voids with pleasant beliefs. I’m afraid people will herd behind any authority figure promising a return to “good times” even though good times have been twisted into an orgy of consumption in the creation of a fantasy world that cannot last.

    The fantasy world of our own construction has held sway while we’ve eaten ever-larger quantities of fossil fuels. Soon entropy and overshoot will outdistance our ability to delude ourselves any longer. Most of the population may end up just as confused and looped-out as Glenn Beck now seems, and that’s frightening.

    I’ve read TOD to confirm my ideas or find any evidence to the contrary and think that most at TOD want to avoid the tragic nature of our predicament. Like a terminally ill patient we hold out hope for some miracle treatment that will propel us further into overshoot or at least delay our collapse.

    Sometimes I would like to see a deeper truth told on TOD, but then I realize that it would be psychologically depressing or completely rebuffed by those with a congenital sunny outlook. So maybe we just tell each other that things are going to be O.K. even though we surmise that the human technological experiment is deeply flawed.

    Like a terminally ill patient we hold out hope for some miracle treatment that will propel us further into overshoot or at least delay our collapse.


    "peak oil" is a bad way of framing the truth

    better would be:

    "Our Px Predicament",

    where Px equals
    a) Petroleum
    b) Population
    c) Progress promise making (finance)
    d) Perception, deluded kind
    e) Popular belief paradigms of the sheeple
    f) Politics, self destructing kind
    g) P_____ (you name it)

    How about advice for people who have now way of getting their hands on a decent piece of land.

    What about, you lose your job and they repo your house, what do you do?

    How does a burger flipper survive in a no-money economy?

    If your only knowledge of engineering was playstation racing and horse power statistics, how would you build a life from nothing?

    You're a loyal fan of a sports club. You'll defend each other to the bitter end. But do you have what it takes to feed yourselves? Do you know what it takes?


    What about, you lose your job and they repo your house, what do you do?

    Hopefully at the repo part you decide 'this is a legal matter' and you examine the contracts and the law and see if there is a flaw in the paperwork and you put up an actual fight.

    I believe at some point we will have to confront the reality of overpopulation. By 2050 there will be over 9 billion people on planet Earth. Look around the world today and you can see the effects of desertification in areas that were once fertile and massive floods in other areas where little rain normally falls.

    There is a presumption often made by global warming deniers that all that doesn't matter because other parts of the world that were normally cold are now heating up and able to sustain agriculture. One National Geographic issue looked at Greenland where some of that is occurring now. Problem is, there are more calamities with flooding than there were with severe cold. It's not just a matter of shifting geography around as if there is arable land everywhere.

    That brings up another problem: ignorance. I can't believe the number of people, not just young people, many whom I have no doubt have high IQs, but couldn't tell you where Brazil, India or South Korea are. Some if you ask them which direction you'd go if you wanted to go to Mexico , and I kid you not, don't have a clue.

    With finite natural resources which are dwindling, how do we treat the growing numbers of have nots? How do we deal with the ethical questions when we listen to those who say every single fertilized embryo must result in another "God's little miracle" while in the same breath these pious folks talk about Mexican women who come across our border and "drop a potential little terrorist?" How much do we really value life and should we value every life no matter how degraded the quality of that life becomes? Look no further than Somalia, Darfur or Ethiopia or Haiti. When I see that, it's hard to sit in a pew and say, "Well, that's all God's plan. Yes, God's plan is to let millions starve and be slaughtered each year."

    We turn back boatloads of Haitians coming to escape poverty in their own country while we have an absurd policy for Cuba called "Wet foot, dry foot," where if Cubans can make it to shore they are accepted as refugees but if they are interdicted at sea they are turned back to Cuba.

    Population control will, in my opinion, be the only way we can live in the future peaceably in a shrinking world of resources. Perhaps a pandemic will "solve" that problem or maybe there is an ancient genetic mechanism in our evolutionary past that will trigger mankind to turn to lemming behavior.

    (corrected) Stephen J. Gould's thoughts on adaptive radiation come to mind and perhaps we'll find new exo planets on which to continue to populate the Universe. Of course, we will look far different on Pandora than on Earth. Some how, I don't see that happening. Have another beer.

    I'd like to hear about how some of the Oildrum staff and writers live their lives with regard to their sensitivity to resource depletion and population overshoot. I read many a blog, i.e. Kunstler, Greer, Energy Bulletin, etc. and have a hard time seeing how some of these authors have time enough to write their blogs, respond to comments, and yet find time to garden, write their books and still live a simplified life. Kunstler ironicly seems to motor around a good part of the time and comments on all of the societal decay that he claims to observe (he was particularly harsh on the denizens of ME, NH, and VT recently; where many average Joe's actually live a much simplified life!). Practice what you preach.

    I hold down a conventional job, raise chickens, ducks (as well as children), cut and split (by hand) 4 to 5 cord annually for home heating, hunt, tend and expand my veggie gardens and fruit & nut orchards. I have photovoltaic and evacuated tube systems, a hybrid car, and am looking into a wind system. Next spring I hope to raise a few geese and will be raising my own pig (a friend has done it for me the last two years and we butcher them together). I'm also ready to start fencing my pasture which I stumped myself for a few goats or sheep. My wife hangs out a lot of our laundry on the line and and has started some canning. Who has time to write articles, or drive around observing decay and whining about it. I barely have the time to even log a comment now and then!

    P.S. Many of your readers could perhaps have solar sytems and such themselves if the would only stop throwing away money into ponzi 401k's and such. What better use for your retirement resources than a paid off house, free electricity and free hot water. Your money just devalues in their corporate ponzi schemes anyway; they get rich and you get the shaft. Take a loan against that depressing 401k and buy some solar, while all the while you repay yourself the interest instead of giving it to some debt-serf loving bank. Stop allowing those middle east sheiks to live like your defacto "Kings" by paying them tribute with your hard earned money and sweat. Kick (or vastly reduce) that petrol habit today! Let me tell you it's pretty cool to see a $32 monthly power bill when $12.95 of it was the "delivery charge".

    "Let me tell you it's pretty cool to see a $32 monthly power bill"
    My bill for Aug of -$12.25 is much cooler, and I only have a 1.4KW system.

    Good for you! Glad to hear it. In my state the power company won't pay you for overproduction unfortunately, but I oversized my inverter to add more panels easily if I desire in a future installment. Alternately I have been considering adding a wind turbine to utilize the remaining inverter capacity to diversify my resource. When it's cloudy it can also be windy, so diversity builds resilience. In a pinch I could always couple some 12v car batteries together using my generating capacity to keep some lights on in any event!

    What better use for your retirement resources than a paid off house, free electricity and free hot water.

    Now that is a simple message I can understand.

    Apologies, if this has already been said, but I have not seen a lot of discussion about the impact of living closer to your work as we used to, and how much travel energy that would save. And how many face to face meetings are wasting fuel getting there, when the sales guy does not really want to see you and you do not need to see him. Changing to a hybrid may be a good idea, but making the journey shorter or uneccessary is even smarter.

    I have drastically cut my own energy spend by cycling to work most of the time and using a motorcycle when I need to travel further, and a car only when it is essential. For fun I have a sailing boat which must be the best use of renewable energy I have found.

    The link between dealing with the end of fossil fuel, reduced atmospheric polution and climate change.


    I would like to see more energy graphs with the noise smoothed out.

    Please can we make short term extrapolations of 9 months. These would be accurate enough for rule of thumb prognosis but not so short as to be affected by noise.

    eg. Where is China going to be in 9 months time?
    Hard, I know, but I don't demand accuracy just good faith.

    I would like to see an article on Water. There are two aspects to this. Firstly there is the issue of peak water in urban areas. I think this issue can be largely dismissed, because most areas suffering water stress can reduce their consumption by 25% by simple updates to their infrastructure and by fixing leaking pipes. The second issue is how the high relative cost of oil/energy/electricity will affect water availability for agriculture, and what knock on effects this will have. For example, areas where the energy costs of irrigation are already significant.
    It would be nice to get some facts, because most of the 'Peak Water' crowd appear not to be very technical.

    Well, at least I could make useful contributions to such a topic. The Ogallala Aquifer, ground subsidence, technical considerations in pumped aquifers, that's stuff I understand.

    I have done some original research on groundwater transport that I will post shortly. It simplifies much of the analysis.

    I'd like to read more about economics - specifically, a system of economic management which can function without fossil fuel input and a serious discussion on how it can be implemented.

    Post-Peak Economics

    In other words, at one point the money problem will be everything, and a few decades later, the money problem will be nothing, because there won’t be any. Money is only a symbol, and it is only valuable as long as people are willing to accept that fiction: without government, without a stock market, and without a currency market, such a symbol cannot endure, as George Soros has pointed out [10]. Money itself will be useless and will finally be ignored. Tangible possessions and practical skills will become the real wealth. Having the right friends will also help...

    ...In terms of the exigencies of daily life, part of the solution is to give up the use of money well ahead of time, instead of letting the money economy claim more victims. Barter would allow people to provide for their daily needs on a local basis, without the dubious assistance of governments or corporations.

    But it looks like it was really gift economies that preceded our current system, not barter.

    Barter works moderately well over short distances, but it would be difficult for international trade. Nevertheless, I think we may be headed more for "bilateral trade" -- I'll send you oil if you send me wheat--since that gets rid of the credit risk. But whatever change we make, I think it will greatly reduce the amount of trade.

    I would like to read more about population overshoot, complex systems interactions, and scalability issues with renewable energy sources and alternative technologies. I would also like to read more on how to prepare for a post peak oil world in every way. Thanks!

    Hi Gail,
    I am a long time reader and occasional commentator. My account does not reflect that because I lost my login credentials along the way!.

    While 'Energy and our Future' seemed a good slogan way back then, it seems to me that TOD has gone a long way into pursuing further issues and their consequences. My suggestion is to expand 'Energy' into 'Energy & Resources'.

    I say this because the Logistics function, which is the basis of the Peak Oil idea applies equally to all the fixed Geological assets. The connection to energy is close, particularly in regard to the the base metals and the rare earths.


    How has it all come together?
    How will it all develop?
    What are the likely future scenarios, of the whole picture?

    Given the following -
    1) Baby Boomer Retirement
    This has already started to lower Demand in many areas, as Peak Spending is between 45-55 years and after 55 people save more.
    The Boomer generation start "officially retiring on January 1st, 2011, but their Demand started to slow 10 years ago.
    Boomer retirements are set to rise considerably over the next 10 years and will continue for 20 years.

    2) Peak Energy, Peak Food, Peak Fresh Water
    Global Oil Production Peaked in 2005. Oil & other related Energy costs have increased dramatically in the period 2001-2008.
    These cost increases were a large factor involved in the GFC and they will continue to be a massive drag on the future Economy.
    How will Peak Energy flow on to Peak Food & Peak Water?

    3) Gloabl Over Population & Population Decline
    The existing Global Population is already too high, given the likely effects of Peak Oil & Climate Change!
    That said, Demand growth has also being slowing and will continue to slow, for a very long time, due to a slowing Global Population Growth rate, which has been in Decline for over 50 years.
    This trend is now closing in on ZPG and within 20-30 years, the Global Population will go into actual decline.

    4) Interest Rates already at or near Zero, in many major Economies.
    There is little room to move, even if it made Economic sense, which it does not and nor does QE.

    5) Debt & Deficits already thru the roof, in many major economies.
    In the USA, even if "official" GDP figures remain "positive at around 1-2%, if Deficits remain at artificially high levels to stimulate/boost GDP, then the increased Deficit to GDP % should be taken away from the "official" GDP, to arrive at the correct NET GDP.
    In other words, we should look at the GROSI, which is the Gdp Return On Stimulus Invested.
    If this criteria were followed, then the net (real) US GDP over recent years would be well & truely negative!

    6) Climate Change looking to curtail the Usual Economic expansion.
    The Net loss to the Economy from the changes expected from Climate Change are massive, as is currently being shown in increasing Food Prices, arising from the recent Russian Heatwave & fires.
    How will Climate Change flow on to Peak Food & Peak Water?

    7) Real Estate markets are De-valuing, Financial markets are De-leveraging & Currencies (particularly in the USA) may be De-valued & Sovereign Debt (including the USA) may De-fault.

    My first post. I would really like to see a detailed Peak Oil update. The last major update I can find is dated July 2009.

    We should do that.

    Topics I'd like to see more on.

    1. Will the decline of global oil production past Peak Oil be rapid or gradual, smooth or stepwise?

    2. Will the peaking and decline of oil and coal production make taxation or regulation of carbon dioxide emmissions unnecessary?

    3. How will the decline of oil production affect international finance and trade?

    4. What uses of liquid hydrocarbons cannot be discontinued, and how much fuel do they require?

    5. What alternatives are available to fill these needs and at what cost? This should include biomass, coal to liquid, and so forth.

    6. What is the required size of investment in non-oil energy generation alternatives that is needed, and what is the macroeconomic impact? This should include all non-oil sources, such as coal, gas, fission, fusion, wind, solar, biomass and so forth, whether fossil fuel or not and extractive or sustainable.

    7. What is the required size of investment in alternative transport and other business/social changes needed to reduce the use of oil? This should include commuter rail, electric bus, electric car, reduced footprint settlement, substitution of communications for transportation, online ordering and delivery versus physical retail, and so forth.

    8. What actions have been taken by governments to address Peak Oil?

    9. What are the most economical energy conservation strategies and technologies for individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments?

    Topics I'd like to see less on.

    1. Population issues, since the trajectory of population growth for the next 40 years is essentially fixed by the existing population and the projected fertility of child bearing women and girls already living.

    2. Politics around what actions are being proposed and discussed by governments and NGOs, since it is all just noise until a decision is taken.

    3. Survivalist strategies for individuals or small groups, because we don't know whether they are necessary and they are unlikely be successful given a breakdown of social order, such as in Somalia or Central Africa.

    4. General climate change and environmental issues, since that is a huge topic and dilutes the discussion of energy issues per se.

    Regarding your question No. 1,

    Nobody knows if the decline will be slow or rapid !!
    Collapses of monetary systems, geopolitical conflicts, or other problems could make the decline very quick.

    If the decline is NOT quick, maybe you can expect the following:
    World oil production in the year 2027, about half of what it was in 2008.
    World oil production in the year 2035, about 1/4 of what it was in 2008.
    The end of the transition period (in most countries) by the year 2050 approximately.

    With us Boomers aging, what are the traditional roles of older people in society? If we do not want to be part of the problem then we need to become part of the solution. I see us as being the "even keel" from doing jackass things but then where were the Board of Directors in the Enron mess? We should be the ones who put pressure on our Congress critters to do the right things.

    But physically we tire more easily, yet we should be smart enough to figure out how to do things more efficiently and effectively from all our experiences.

    The TOD has been a big help in understanding what is going on but most farmers my age are thinking of selling the farm and ways to keep from "buying the farm" as they ease into retirement. Instead, all the comments point us toward taking up farming and we may not have the strength, energy, endurance to do so. Yet, the elderly have been revered in various societies.

    What role have the elderly played?


    I have been following this site since 2005 and assuming that the Peak Oil is imminent as has been rather convincingly argued, I would like to have some prepared articles of the reasons why this issue is not seen as more important by the decision makers, or is something done by governments secretly, or are there some forces against it and what are the motives?

    I'd like to see more about some of the other concerns of Dr MK Hubbert (my hero!), especially the relationships between money, energy and food; this harks back to Frederick Soddy (another hero!) and others. Can you get a guest blogger who is a good writer and also an ace ecological economist? Or is that too difficult?

    Noticing the other thread on ASPO, perhaps we could have a thread on peak oil and related organizations.

    A lot of comments and I only skimmed so not sure if this was mentioned or not.

    Fast decline or slow decline I don't believe that anything will be orderly, most especially regionally speaking. My interest lies in the future of places at the state, county, city level. The world is going to get a lot smaller IMO.

    JHK famously gives his opinion of what the future of places like Phoenix and Atlanta might be, however he doesn't get into the technical aspects of it. I would like to see an analysis of how smaller regions will fare in a time of energy scarcity. For example, could a place like Alaska with a high energy production per capita stop their exports and hoard energy for their own population? Or would those living close to the SPR storage be better off, faster served, from a drawdown of those stocks? Could some regions decline less fast, etc.?

    Basically I'd like to see a detailed analysis of downstream distribution and expert opinion of how it will all fall apart. For those of us that do travel quite frequently I sure don't want to get stuck at some airport when the pipelines are shut down and a city is left to panic.

    speculations of the future have such a rapidly dropping probability with distance forward that I consider them mere sport, fun, but not of much if any real use.

    I go along with the suggestion for more "this is what I tried and this is what worked, and didn't work" That goes for everything, not just hardware.

    So, here goes. With hardware.

    Solar water heaters. First I just put a coil of black plastic pipe on the roof and threw a couple of old windows over it. Worked, wife didn't gripe out of the shower. But needed more gas backup than I thought right. So I went and bought ( and buying things is not my style) a so-called, swimming pool heater. A thin plastic rug 20 ft long and 2 ft wide, with a lot of little water tubes running lengthwise. I was astounded to see how well this cheap thing worked, even with no insulation under and no glazing over ( warm summer weather, 40 north, near Ohio river.). Everybody was happy.

    But I stupidly put it on the roof and soon made a profound discovery- the sun moves from day to day! And if this month it is behind tree x, next month it is behind tree y. So, after chasing that sunny spot a while, I took the whole shebang off the roof and put it just south of the house, on the ground along the road. I had not put it there at the start because township mower man might mow it to smithereens. But mower man says he is forbidden to mow anything, no matter how enticing, that is right in front of a house, for fear of mowing (a-la machine gun) people with the gravel his mower is slinging all the time.

    I will tell you about bike transmissions another time.

    But- I beg the editors to encourage anyone talking about costs to follow Mackay's suggestion- put it all into bits people can digest- $/kW-hr PER PERSON. Anything else is indigestion.

    And another thing, always refer to costs as % OF GDP. Example, "alternative energy is too expensive, after all, we are spending 5% of GDP on it, and that is too much". That forces the remark to sound as idiotic as it is.

    I believe that digging in and buttoning up in place-so long as you are in a good place-is the best you can do.

    Put your investment money in insulation, raised bed gardens, solar hot water,a shed full of tools and books on thier use;these things are gauranteed to hold thier value in a way other things can't.

    Ten to twenty five large may seem like a lot to get away from relying on a water and sewer authority, but a well and septic tank correctly installed in good ground are VERY CHEAP to maintain, and you can use as much water as you like for the trivial cost of pumping it.

    We need to become skeptical of the seductive dream of compounding interest or dividends on investments, because such thinking got us into the mess we are in today.Part of the savings account needs to be invested in skills and goods that might not" appreciate " at all , but simply not depreciate.

    Long term country/small farmer types have a never ending to do list of projects that gradually make the old home place a little better place.Most business oriented types would consider most of these projects to be of dubious value, in terms of "profits" on the time and materials invested.

    But as a practical matter, time is ALWAYS SPENT,and for most people, money has a way of sort of vanishing down a rathole of recurring bills, unanticipated expenses, and if any is left, modest luxuries such as a six pack or a meal out.In the long term, only what is invested has any enduring value.

    I helped my brother excavate a root cellar/pantry in a nearly solid stone outcrop near his house this summer;the "return on investment", measured conventionally by business standards would be so low as to be a joke.

    But we could have spent the time watching football, or fishing or just visiting, or working for money to spend on taxes and more junk.That cellar is built to Roman road standards and barring a direct hit by meteor or a nuke, it will last thousands of years.If my brother lasts ten more years, he will save enough to recover his cash investment in concrete and diesel fuel by having a securce space to store staple goods purchased in bulk.Apples and potatos will keep a very long time in such a cellar, and in times to come, that extra storage life might be priceless.

    In ten or twenty years he will save enough in TIME alone to recover the time we invested this summer.Now this may not look like a very good deal to a businessman, but otoh, his investment is absolutely not going to disappear due to inflation, market changes, or any other cause-barring the meteor.

    Overall it seems like the posters here think the Campfire should be about 10 times its current size.

    I'd like to see some discussion or study done to come up with, oh say, 30-100 trackable indicators that can be used to mark the progress of peak oil, and then start charting the index.

    I'm in the camp that said fluids production is not the only, or best way to watch this unfold. Maybe some combination of energy stocks, energy commodities, population, food, standard of living, etc.

    I'd like a better understanding of our petroleum makeup and how it relates to asphalt supply (ie: potential shortage). our city had to take many lumps by homeowners wanting road resurfacing when oil was at $140 (and housing was at a peak bubble). the u.s. seems to have moved strongly toward light sweet crude, but from college chemistry, coke has historically been the unwanted byproduct of distillation refining (so much so that I suspect if we had to landfill it, it would be classified as hazardous waste). we seem to find "uses" for these unwanted byproducts (another example, spent coal makes up those black specs in some regions of the country where Concrete Masonary Units are referred to as "cinder blocks"). to get back on point, does our marked change from refiners handling sour heavy to only light sweet crude change the available supply for road paving asphalt? what about the advent of tankers shipping already refined gasoline (does that only occur to countries local to say, saudia arabia). how much, if any, do we receive by this method and how long is gasoline good for in an ocean going voyage?
    related areas are the new interet in "brown asphalt" as a means of reducing solar heat absorption. And I hadn't posted this before, but always thought bp should have explored taking their tones of oil tainted sand and put it though asphalt reprocessing rather than landfill it (that caused tfhg so much consternation). similar things are routinely done now with say, cleaning up the sand of a diesel spill, or the past decades where gas stations converted to non-steel storage tanks and the tainted sand had to be dealt with.