Drumbeat: September 30, 2010

Study: Wind Power Is East Coast’s Best Energy Option

Wind farms could completely replace fossil fuel as the main energy source in at least six states, according to a study by a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.

The group, called Oceana, compared the costs of offshore wind energy with oil and gas. The study focused primarily on the east coast and concluded an investment into wind energy would create jobs, reduce pollution and in many cases create just as much energy as fossil fuels.

All told, Oceana concluded wind energy could produce 30 percent more electricity than economically recoverable offshore oil and gas on the east coast. The group said the investment it proposed would supply nearly half of the current electricity generation of East Coast states.

Is Windpower the Ethanol of Electricity? (Part II: Environmental Issues)

Such system-wide accommodations for wind not only add to the cost of an RES, but also undercut or eliminate the promised carbon dioxide emissions reductions (as well as NOx and SOx emissions that contribute to air pollution). This is proving to be the case in pro-wind nations like Denmark, where increased emissions from coal negate any savings from wind. And in Colorado and Texas, state-mandated renewable standards more aggressive than in Denmark have led to an overall increase in carbon emissions as coal and natural gas plants are inefficiently cycled to accommodate wind. This suggests that emissions increases will only get worse with a national mandate.

Thus, as with ethanol, the very problems that make wind more expensive also make it less environmentally beneficial than proponents claimed. The fact that wind needs a mandate in the first place should be a sign of both economic and environmental disappointment should it be given one.

Oil Advances, Heads for Biggest Monthly Gain Since May 2009

Crude oil rose, heading for the biggest monthly gain since May 2009, after U.S. second-quarter gross domestic product and weekly jobless claims beat economists’ estimates, a sign that demand may improve.

Oil climbed to a seven-week high as the signals of an economic rebound reinforced a government report yesterday that showed gasoline consumption last week increased by the largest amount since February. Equities advanced and the dollar fell, boosting commodities’ appeal as an alternate investment.

Natural Gas Extends Drop After Bigger-Than-Forecast Supply Gain

Gas stockpiles increased 74 billion cubic feet in the week ended Sept. 24 to 3.414 trillion, the Energy Department said today. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a gain of 68 billion. A separate survey of Bloomberg users showed an increase of 66 billion.

Natural gas for November delivery fell 14.7 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $3.815 per million British thermal units at 10:34 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.S. Issues New Regulations on Offshore Drilling

The Interior Department issued new safety and spill-response regulations for offshore oil and gas drilling on Thursday, but gave no hint of when the moratorium on deepwater operations will be lifted.

The new rules — governing blowout preventers, safety certification, well design, emergency response and worker training — provide offshore drillers with clarity on the terms under which drilling will resume when the current freeze ends.

Natural gas at or below $4/mmBtu along the East Coast is reducing coal demand at the margin, threatening to displace Appalachian coal demand in particular.

Current gas prices are pushing Central and Northern Appalachia emissions-adjusted coal power out of the money in the Southeast and Northeast. Coal economics are more favorable in the Midwest, where Illinois Basin and Powder River Basin (PRB) coals remain cost-advantaged to gas, but tougher environmental regulations could make older, unscrubbed coal plants less competitive in the future.

Why Energy Efficiency Does not Decrease Energy Consumption

Below, a leading energy economist, Harry Saunders, explains why energy efficiency does not decrease energy consumption in the way we conventionally understand it. In the process, Saunders clarifies the controversy over his recent co-authored study for the Journal of Physics, which reviews 300 years of lighting history to predict the impact of new solid-state lighting technologies (e.g. LEDs). Against the widespread belief that new lighting technology will reduce energy consumption, Saunders and his colleagues found that they will likely increase it -- greatly expanding the global use of lighting in the process, especially in developing countries. Saunders clarifies some important questions, and explains the basics of "the rebound effect."

With the new study, rebound has firmly moved from the theoretical to the empirical, and the implications of it must now be dealt with by all of us who were counting on efficiency to be an easy way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Germany to wean itself off fossil fuels

The German government has signalled its ambition to wean one of the world’s largest economies off fossil fuels by pledging to generate enough renewable energy to meet 60 per cent of the country’s energy needs by 2050.

At the heart of the plan – seven bills overseen by five ministries, agreed by cabinet on Tuesday – lies the extension of the lives of Germany’s 17 nuclear power stations, the last of which was meant to close in 12 years.

Barack Obama under fire for grossly underestimating Gulf oil spill

The Obama administration lost the public trust and may have sabotaged clean-up operations in the Gulf of Mexico by grossly underestimating the amount of oil gushing from BP's broken Macondo well, according to a White House commission appointed to investigate the spill.

US coal industry sees effects of investigation into Massey mine blast (Podcast)

Peter Gartrell, associate editor for Platts Coal Outlook, discusses the status of the investigation into the Upper Big Branch coal mine blast in April and the broader effects the blast could have on the coal industry.

Listen now.

Small nuclear plants may boost US economy but carry risks: panel

The deployment of small modular nuclear reactors could have significant economic benefits in the US, but the security of their use in countries new to nuclear power is still uncertain, according to speakers on panel convened in Washington Wednesday.

Stages of peak oil awareness

I’ve been a clinical psychologist for the past 22 years, have worked in a variety of settings, and with people of different ages and a variety of presenting problems, but nothing in my professional background prepared me emotionally to wrap my head around Peak Oil. Four and a half years ago, I began a research project to figure out what is a “normal” reaction to learning about Peak Oil, and this essay is a summary of what I’ve learned.

Review: Putting the Bundeswehr report in context

he recent leak of a German military report on peak oil has generated much interest among peak oil analysts. The study was written by the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, and is entitled, Peak Oil: Implications of Resource Scarcity on Security. While some analysts view the German study as significant, others have argued that it is mostly a summary of existing information and provides few new insights. This review examines the Bundeswehr report in the context of other publicly-available military analyses of peak oil and concludes that the new German report is highly significant for several reasons.

Lester Brown: Civilization's foundation eroding

The thin layer of topsoil that covers the planet’s land surface is the foundation of civilization. This soil, typically 6 inches or so deep, was formed over long stretches of geological time as new soil formation exceeded the natural rate of erosion. But sometime within the last century, as human and livestock populations expanded, soil erosion began to exceed new soil formation over large areas.

This is not new. In 1938, Walter Lowdermilk, a senior official in the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, traveled abroad to look at lands that had been cultivated for thousands of years, seeking to learn how these older civilizations had coped with soil erosion. He found that some had managed their land well, maintaining its fertility over long stretches of history, and were thriving. Others had failed to do so and left only remnants of their illustrious pasts.

Mozambique vies for Australia's coking coal muscle

MOZAMBIQE hopes to challenge the dominance of Australia's coal basins in satisfying the Asia-led demand for coal used in steel production.

The country's government is trying to revitalise the southern African nation's coal industry -- which dates back to the 1920s but fell into disrepair during a civil war that ended in the early 1990s -- and expects that eight new mines will be operating within the next three to six years as projects move into production.

Today's Trends: Shale Gas Production Reduced Gas Imports in 2009

Net U.S. imports of natural gas reached the lowest level seen since 1994, or 12 percent of total consumption, as the surge in shale gas activity continues to push gas production in the U.S. Lower 48 states, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported this week.

Dry natural gas production increased 3.3 percent compared with 2008 and was nearly 9 percent higher than in 2007. Recent gains in domestic production have made the United States is the largest producer of natural gas in the world. At the same time, U.S. domestic consumption decreased in 2009, which in turn contributed to a reduced demand for imports.

Although liquefied natural gas (LNG) gross imports increased almost 30 percent (from a 5-year low established in 2008), LNG remains a very small source of supplies for the United States, accounting for less than 2 percent of consumption.

Natural Gas Premium Drops to Record Low on Glut: Energy Markets

U.S. natural gas production at a 37-year high and forecasts for mild weather next year are crushing the premium on March futures compared with the April contract.

The gap, or spread, between those futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange narrowed 93 percent this year to a record low of 3.6 cents per million British thermal units on Sept. 28. Gas has dropped 29 percent this year with production predicted to rise 2.1 percent to 61.21 billion cubic feet a day, the most since 1973, according to the Energy Department in Washington.

Analysis: Middle East Gas Consumption Outpaces Production

Rapid economic growth in the Middle East has resulted in the consumption of natural gas outpacing production, according to the Ernst & Young report, The Global Gas Challenge. As a result, tension exists between the requirement to supply domestic markets to fuel economic growth and the desire to achieve higher revenues via export sales agreements.

Forty-one percent of the world's remaining proved (conventional) gas reserves are in the Middle East, with 73 percent concentrated in Iran and Qatar. However, Iran is a net gas importer due to international sanctions, which have hampered Iran's oil and gas reserve development. . .
Imported gas will be needed to meet short-term demand, which means that substantial investment in LNG regasification capacity is required in a number of countries. LNG import terminals can be built with relatively short lead times and they are unlikely to encounter the political difficulties that have historically beset proposed cross-border pipeline deals.

Questions about what's next as offshore drilling ban expires

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is getting ready to take his finger off what he has called the "pause" button on deepwater oil drilling, with environmentalists and oil industry executives alike worried about what comes next.

Thursday, Salazar will receive recommendations from Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, based on information gathered at public forums and private meetings in the wake of the BP oil spill. Salazar could act on the BOEMRE report well before the drilling ban's expiration date, Nov. 30.

Freak accident or frontier enterprise? Deep-water drilling is still a big unknown.

BP's internal report on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, released earlier this month, summarized the calamity as the result of eight separate breaches of physical and operational barriers, any one of which could have, and should have, stopped the unfolding disaster. The blowout, in the BP scenario, was very much a freak event. A long shot.

A graphic in the report showed the barriers arrayed like eight slices of Swiss cheese. All the holes, the report states, "lined up" to enable the blowout:

Will the oil spill make a drop of difference regarding our attitudes?

"For the companies, the regulators and the gulf residents, the spill has had a profound impact on their operations and ways of life. For the broader national population and the political debate, it has had a surprisingly small impact," said Jason Grumet, executive director of the National Commission on Energy Policy, a part of the nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center. "It is the modesty of the impact on the national energy debate that is in many ways most surprising."

For a time, it seemed that the spill might galvanize lawmakers and consumers. But consumers respond to gasoline prices, which have been unusually stable for the past few months. In the Senate, ironically, a climate compromise unraveled, in part because expanded offshore drilling could no longer be used to woo undecided members. The Senate probably won't even pass a narrow oil spill measure, which has been bogged down in disputes over such issues as liability limits for offshore drilling.

China says U.S. yuan bill could harm ties

China on Thursday warned that a House of Represenatives bill to penalize it for not letting the yuan rise faster could seriously affect bilateral ties.

In a relatively measured response, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Congress should avoid steps that could harm relations, saying Beijing was "resolutely opposed" to the bill. But she declined to say whether China would retaliate.

The House of Representatives bill, which many analysts say is unlikely to become law, is aimed at pressuring Beijing to let its currency, also called the renminbi, rise faster by branding it in violation of world trade rules.

Oil Heads for Biggest Monthly Gain Since February on Supplies

Crude oil rose, headed for the biggest monthly gain since February as shrinking inventories in the U.S. stoked speculation that demand may be recovering in the world’s largest consumer of the fuel.

Deep-Water Drill Ban Was Necessary Public Policy, U.S. Says

A deep-water drilling ban was necessary after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill because the industry had no good response to the disaster, U.S. regulators defending the moratorium told a federal judge.

OPEC Crude Oil Production Fell to Eight-Month Low, Survey Shows

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ crude-oil output fell to an eight-month low in September, led by Iraq, where a pipeline disruption curtailed shipments, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Production slipped 145,000 barrels, or 0.5 percent, to an average 29.055 million barrels a day, the lowest level since January, according to the survey. Output by members with quotas, all except Iraq, dropped 95,000 barrels to 26.76 million, 1.92 million above their target.

Buy Energy-Stock Options Before ISM Report, Goldman Sachs Says

Investors should buy options on U.S. energy stocks before the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing report tomorrow because the shares may have larger-than-average swings, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Pemex to Cut New Wells Drilled at Chicontepec by 46% in 2011

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, plans to cut drilling of new wells at Chicontepec by 46 percent to 238 wells next year.

Russia, China Study Long-Term Gas Deal

China might offer Russia's state-controlled natural-gas giant a large loan as part of a new long-term gas deal between the two countries, an executive from OAO Gazprom said Wednesday.

Some analysts have said China is in less of a hurry to secure Russian supplies than it was four years ago, as it is increasing supplies from alternative sources, such as liquefied natural gas. But Russia is willing to compromise as it is eager to diversify gas supplies to Asia, China in particular, because demand for its gas has fallen in Europe—Gazprom's most profitable export market—amid an economic slowdown.

French Fos-Lavera Port Strike Ongoing, 37 Ships Delayed

The Fos-Lavera oil terminal near Marseilles in southern France was still blocked Thursday by a rolling wildcat strike that began Monday, preventing 37 tankers from offloading their cargo as workers protest French harbor reform, a port spokeswoman said.

In total, 15 refined oil tankers, nine crude oil tankers, eight gas tankers, four chemical products tankers and one barge were waiting off the terminal to unload their cargo, the spokeswoman said.

OIL FUTURES: Crude Falls In Asia After China Tightens Policy

Crude oil futures fell in Asian trading Thursday, as new measures adopted by China to bring down high property prices damped enthusiasm for a government report showing U.S. oil and fuel inventories in decline.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in November traded at $77.65 a barrel at 0606 GMT, down $0.21 in the Globex electronic session.

Pennsylvania House Passes New Natural-Gas Production Tax

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Wednesday passed a bill to tax natural gas extraction in the state for the first time, setting up a showdown in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Shell: Mars Platform Shows Bright Future For Gulf Despite Spill

The second facility, a tension-leg platform named Mars B Olympus, is expected to start production in 2015. It's designed to double Shell's prolific Mars field production capacity, which was first brought online in 1996 and is currently producing about 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. As one of the first fields to produce oil from deep water in the Gulf and a benchmark for sour crudes, Mars has a symbolic meaning for the region.

Exxon Mobil starts oil production at Russian field

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Wednesday that oil production has begun in a field that is part of a project off the shore of northeastern Russia.

The Odoptu field is expected to add up to 11 million barrels to oil production in the Sakhalin-1 project next year. Exxon Mobil said the new field began production on schedule and was brought on line within cost projections.

Petrobras Says Brazil Boosted Stake to 49% After Sale

Petroleo Brasileiro SA said Brazil’s government increased its total stake in the state- controlled oil company to 49 percent from 39.8 percent after completing the world’s largest share sale last week.

Drilling Plans Off Cuba Stir Fears of Impact on Gulf

The nascent oil industry in Cuba is far less prepared to handle a major spill than even the American industry was at the time of the BP spill. Cuba has neither the submarine robots needed to fix deepwater rig equipment nor the platforms available to begin drilling relief wells on short notice.

The prospect of an accident is emboldening American drilling companies, backed by some critics of the embargo, to seek permission from the United States government to participate in Cuba’s nascent industry, even if only to protect against an accident.

United States Oil Consumption and Reserves: A matter of exponential growth and finite resources

It is a well known fact that the United States has been importing Oil since the 1970's because the home oil production cannot meet the rising demand. According to 2009 yearly average, the U.S. Crude Oil consumption is around 21 million barrels a day and home production is only around 5 million. Why are things escalating so fast? Why are resources running out at such speed? We will try to answer these questions on this article. There is no simple answer but it is all pretty much related to one single concept: exponential growth.

Appraisal well off Angola tests 7,000 b/d

Partners in Block 15/06 off Angola reported an oil discovery in an appraisal well designated Cabaca Southeast-2. Drilled in 470 m of water about 100 km from the coast, the well flowed during production tests at equipment-limited rates as high as 7,000 b/d of 34º gravity oil, said Statoil, which has a 5% interest in the block.

Study: World's 'Peak Coal' Moment Has Arrived

Bottom line, say the paper's co-authors, Tadeusz Patzek, a University of Texas engineering professor, and Greg Croft, a St. Mary's College of California earth science professor, is that the 7 billion tons of coal the world is now mining and burning each year is about the best it can do.

"Our ability to produce this resource at 8 billion tons per year, in my mind, is a dream," Patzek said.

Chinese Imports of Saudi Oil to Reach 50 Million Tons

China’s imports of oil from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, will increase 19 percent in 2010 from last year, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Evolution of Energy Security in the Slovak Republic

The Slovak Republic is an excellent example of what can happen to a country when it doesn’t pay attention to its own energy security.

Sino-Russian Energy Relations in Perspective

The fundamental reality driving China’s energy strategy globally, and in its energy relationship with Russia in particular, is its inability to provide sufficient quantities of energy to satisfy its own domestic needs. Over the past two decades China has evolved from a net oil exporter to a net oil importer. This development underscores the important trajectory of Chinese energy expansionism from Latin America, to Africa, to the Middle East. Russia and the former Soviet states of Central Asia play an increasingly important role in China’s own energy security, and quid pro quo in those countries' own long-term economic security. Recent developments point to the veracity of this observation. China has long lobbied Russia for easier access to its resource commodities; Russia has long pursued strengthening the Asian dimension of its foreign policy to offset American power and to magnify its political, foreign policy and economic influence vis-à-vis the Europeans by giving the impression of looking east.

Excerpt 1: The Soot Road

China burns 42 per cent of the world’s coal and is adding the equivalent of nearly the entire U.K. power grid each year in new coal-fired plants. Northern China’s smokestacks spew a noxious cloud so gargantuan that satellites have tracked it floating over the Pacific. Mountaintop sensors in Washington, Oregon and California have detected sulphur compounds, carbon and other toxic byproducts from China’s smokestacks. The country’s coal plants have become the main cause of the rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Coal will remain king in the foreseeable future too: it represents 60 per cent of the world’s remaining recoverable hydrocarbon reserves.

Newcastle Coal Exports Rise as Ship Queue Lengthens

Coal shipments from Australia’s Newcastle, the world’s biggest export harbor for the power- station fuel, increased 14 percent last week while the queue of vessels waiting to load lengthened.

European Natural-Gas Trading Increased 11 Percent Last Year, Prospex Says

“The double impact of a financial market crisis followed by economic recession hit the U.K. market harder than the smaller and younger mainland markets,” authors including Nigel Harris of Kingston Energy Consulting Ltd. said in the report. “By mid-2009 the U.K.’s trading activity had picked up again and continued to grow in 2010,” they said.

Unemployment Surges in Nevada Cities

The report Wednesday said the jobless rate rose to 14.7 percent in Las Vegas, the city with the nation's highest foreclosure rate. That's up from 13 percent in August 2009. Las Vegas and Miami saw the largest unemployment rate increase among the metro areas.

Iraq Will Announce Massive Increase In Oil Reserves On Monday

"Iraq's oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani said he would hold a press conference on Monday to announce a "big increase" in projected oil reserves, according to Reuters.

Right now Iraq has proven reserves of 115 billion barrels, trailing Canada at 178 bbl and Saudi Arabia at 264 bbl.

In the past Iraq has claimed triple proven oil reserves -- leaving Saudia Arabia in the dust.
Of course, this could be a repeat of Afghanistan's bogus trillion dollar mineral discovery, which many suggested was a press op aimed to shore up interest in the US. 345 bbl in Iraq would change everyone's perspective on that war too. Likewise it could shore up support for the local government."


This is more fuel for the peak oil deniers. One of their favorite lines is: "Proven oil reserves have increased every year since 2000." Yes they have. Last year they increased by over 10 billion barrels primarily because Venezuela took a pencil and increased their reserves by over 12 billion barrels.

Now Iraq has sharpened their pencils and are preparing to show a massive increase in reserves. So the trend of ever increasing reserves will continue for at least another year.

But this may be a good thing for the peak oil folks. This sudden and dramatic increase in Iraqi reserves may give some people a clue as to what is really happening here. I mean if Iraq doubles their reserves, or some number close to that, then everyone will realize that they haven't found any huge new oil fields and that these numbers were just pulled out of thin air.

What I am saying is that some people who haven't a clue may now get a clue.

Ron P.

You're not holding out hope for that 'scholar and author' Raymond J. Learsy are you? My advice is to always be skeptical about anyone who , with an otherwise uncommon name still feels behooved to include his middle initial.

He still thinks that oil should be priced as if it were infinite and had no difference from corn with a cost of production plus profit pricing mechanism. His big beef seems to be OPEC which may be code for sending money to places that aren't, well, like us in looks or religion and have the audacity to actually charge for owning the stuff as well as producing it. If the US had a hammerlock on reserves he'd probably extol the virtues of pricing it to last in the world's best interests.

But then he also beats up on the IOCs for gouging while totally ignoring future and exotic F&D costs. Public moron #1. I'd be ashamed to write the crap he does, even if I were being paid to do it. Idiot or shill?, you decide.

Sorry for the rant but I just skimmed his morning missile.

My advice is to always be skeptical about anyone who , with an otherwise uncommon name still feels behooved to include his middle initial.

While an interesting observation.....

He still thinks that oil should be priced as if it were infinite

Infinite physical material on a finite physical planet should invoke the skepticism.

The US plays the same game.
Quote from this article:
Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming hold oil shale reserves estimated to contain 1.2 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, half of which the department says is recoverable. Eastern Utah alone holds tar sands oil reserves estimated at 12 billion to 19 billion barrels. If current projections turn out to be accurate, there would be enough oil and gas to power the United States for at least another century.

Using 20 Mb/d US consumption that would indeed give 82 - 125 years of supply. The above quoted reserves are greater than all the reserves in the world combined including the Canadian and Venezuelan oil sands! It is not surprising that, with the attitude of the DOE, the BAU is continuing that will lead to a very dangerous situation in near future.

As I've posted here before Iraq were making noises about tripling their P1 back in 1989, too. Will be interesting to see if the majors can crank output up a titch.

If memory serves, Iraq has to increase their total liquids production at about 3.5%/year, just to maintain current net oil exports (based on 2004 to 2009 rate of increase in consumption). They weren't able to match the increase in consumption last year, and the EIA shows a year over year decline in net oil exports from Iraq in 2009.

There will likely be many more wars in Iraq over the next 100 years.
It will be one of the last countries with oil left in the ground.
If we leave, someone else will move in on it quickly.
Kind of like the last watering hole left in the desert, with all the animals around watching....

And on the Climate Change front, a new National Climate Change Adaptation Summit report has been issued stating that the US must start adapting now...

"New report states US must adapt to climate change now"

"According to the report :

'Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to grow rapidly, and there is mounting evidence that the United States and other nations are already experiencing significant impacts from a changing climate, as documented in many reports, assessments, and analysis from the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other organizations."

The report states that we can

"Adapt to observed and expected changes by making adjustments in behavior and management to limit harm and exploit beneficial opportunities" '


The report can be accessed here :- PDF warning.


The full Summit program including speakers and presentations can be accessed here :-


The report summary describes the need for the US to begin to adapt to climate change. There appeared to be no mention of a serious effort to prevent climate change. Does that mean that the US has decided that we can't/won't do anything to reduce CO2 emissions? I guess that's the end of the Earth as we knew it...

E. Swanson

Or is it an assumption that much of the damage is already done? Probably a little of both. Or a lot....

If adapting is anything near the struggle that prevention has been, then better to get an early start.

I have suspected for some time that the US can't/won't do anything serious about it. Chicago has a Climate Action plan - they first presented it 3 years ago, and it was mostly about mitigation strategies even then.

Very sad, if one values the biosphere as we knew it at all.

Maybe they agree with James Lovelock...We Can't Save The Planet

“… trying to save the planet… is a bunch of nonsense, because we can’t do it. If It is going to be saved, It will save itself, as It has always as done.

We are full of Hubris and think we can (save the planet).

But we are not clever enough to do it, and I don’t think we will be in time for this particular event.

So I think the sensible thing to do is to enjoy life while you can…”

Save the planet? Try this fellow


Up to the "Big electron".

Thanks Lynford. I never saw that brilliant bit by Carlin.

I bet Lovelock would get a good laugh from it too.

Yes, species go extinct in the natural course of things. Humans are ramping it up several orders of magnitude. I love Carlin, but I don't think he did a great service with that routine.

It was once warmer than it is now, so it doesn't matter what we do to the climate. Same crap reasoning.

Why can't people separate quality and quantity?

I was always inspired by Lovelock's highly original ideas and insights, but some of the stuff he says in those clips is just wrong. He expects the climate to readjust to a much warmer state, and he says there has been no warming this century, so we are going through a cooler spell before a rapid transition to hotter temperatures.

Well NASA says the last decade was the warmest on record, 0.2 C above the average for the nineties, in turn 0.2 C above the eighties. Lovelock also says we had an unusually cold winter, but that was a local effect with areas such as northern Canada being unusually warm, and combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for December 2009 - February 2010 was the fifth warmest on record for the season. Temperatures look as if they are rising in a pretty linear fashion if you allow for short term chaotic variations.

Of course, he may be right in his conclusions anyway.

One can recognize that adaptation will be necessary, while at the same time believe that we should do everything we can to reduce our emissions and impact. Change in climate is already quite evident, and choosing not to try and adapt would be foolish - and yet I do not believe that any effective action for either prevention or adaptation will occur on a society wide level. Efforts at adaptation will have to occur on local and personal levels. Peak oil and economic downturn are our best hopes for emissions reduction.

I agree with Twilight- effective actions will not be taken either preventive or corrective on a society wide level.

Some people on the right seem to believe that the military can fix anything if turned loose on a given problem, while believing that the rest of the govt needs help with its shoelaces and mittens. .

People on the left seem to have a similar faith in govt in general paired with a similar lack of faith in, orperhaps fear of, the military.

But every general and every sargeant knows that there are very definite limits to what he can ask or tell his men to do,and the circumstances involved in the asking and doing; beyond these limits he dares not venture, for fear of rebellion and mutiny.

Similarly every politician in power recognizes similar limits on his own powers, regardless of the system of govt prevailing;even a Stalin or a Hitler does not possess absolute power;such chaRActyers find it necessary to give thier supporters what they want and need or they find themselves murdered by thier very own body gaurds.

Such leaders as we have today are not really leading us, although they do exert some considerable influence on the direction we are travelling.

None of them can admit this truth publicly of course for fear of being seen as weak and irrevelant.

But the truth of the matter is that unless we were to somehow find ourselves living under the leadership of an all powerful and benevolent one world govt,governments in general are not likely to be able to do what is necessary to save us.

Our only real hope seems to be that the dice roll our way and we avoid the worst of the possible ill effects of collapse such as a possible third world war.

Climate change might wipe out a huge part of the natural world as we know it today, but it won't wipe us out.

Maybe we actually will run short enough of mineable fossil fuels to short circuit the green house world scenariobefore it ghets too far out of hand.

Or maybe Mother Nature will throw another sort of strike out pitch our way even sooner, such as a new plague or crop blight.

If we can just get our plants and animals to adapt as well, it will be all good. We can also learn to adapt to massive desertification. Pass out stillsuits. Drink our own fluids. Live in caves. Move inland. Abandon our coastal cities. The short term adaptation will be to just turn up the AC. Learn to walk very,very slowly.

Those in the fossil fuel industry will be at the forefront of encouraging people to adapt. We adapt. They profit.

Call me old fashioned but I kind of liked the planet they way it used to be.

"Call me old fashioned but I kind of liked the planet they way it used to be."

Yeah, me too.

I think some skills we will need to be learning are the following :-

1. Hand-pollination of flowering plants that can still do well outside, after we lose the bees
2. Hydroponics and aquaponics for everything else we want to grow
3. Start acquiring a taste for jellyfish (plastic-fed if wild-caught)


China leads world in Clean Energy Investment

Last year clean energy investment in China totaled $34.6 billion, compared with $18.6 billion in the United States. Last month, Chinese officials announced they will spend invest $75 billion a year on clean energy.

$75 billion per year should exceed the rest of the world combined by a large margin.

OTOH, $75 billion is less than a rounding error in the $4.33 trillion Chinese GDP (2008, over $5 trillion in 2011). China can quite easily afford this investment, and can easily double it again.

US GDP is almost $15 trillion for comparison.

There is a clear element of "learn by doing" in the Chinese effort. Looking over the history of technological development, the path of "learn by doing" is certainly the quickest and often the best way to develop new technologies.


Apparently the "False Fire Brigade" series has not been translated into Chinese.

Best Hopes for New Chinese Export Industries,


We might still just skinny by the coming energy crunch if some Chinese kid discovers a new way to manufacture pv panels that actually do cost less to buy, aside from subsidies, than electricity made by burning coal.

I for one am convinced that while adapting to intermittent shortages of electricity generated by solar and wind will be a real pain in the butt, we can do it and still live pretty soft lives by reorganizing our schedules around the peaks and valleys.

If the projections of the energy bears are correct, then we won't have to worry too much about building huge new peaking plants to cover the shortages;we have enough such plants running already , providing current base and peak load.

All we will have to do in a stagnant or steady state economy is maintain and update them.

Somehow most of the people who are hung up on meeting peak loads seem to have forgotten than it the longer run the real problem is not peak load capacity at all;the REAL problem is the looming shortage of fuel,mightily complicated of course by ACC.

Once fuel is scarce and expensive enough, we will find ways to conserve it by load shifting TO RENEWABLES rather than AWAY from renewables.

I can think of a dozen ways such load shifting can be accomplished to a large extent without interfering very much with the day to day life of a typical middle class citizen, and I'm only a reasonably informed layman.

Surely the engineers will be able to figure it out.

For instance the engineer who runs a local furniture manufacturing plant tells me he could save magabucks on electricity by simply running the plant at night.If electricity prices go high enough, he will eventually be able to pay wages high enough to profitably switch over to night time off peak operations while still attracting the necessary labor force.

Joe Sixpack generally has room for a two hundred gallon water heater somewhere in his McMansion;that will supply his family for two or three days and supply all his hot water from wind power or solar pv in a lot of cases with a smart meter control system;this WITHOUT modifying his house or lawn in any way or making any significant investment in collecters or panels, etc.

He could simply put in the bigger heater when the old one croaks.The utility will install the smart meter.

Not much hassle, not much fuss, not much extra cash outlay.

But a considerable savings of ng and coal.

We might still just skinny by the coming energy crunch if some Chinese kid discovers a new way to manufacture pv panels that actually do cost less to buy, aside from subsidies, than electricity made by burning coal.

Is not the challenge transportation (gasoline and diesel)?

I am not sure how plenty of PV will help with that area, but selfishly will be glad for every MW of PV added.

If we can reserve our fossil fuels for use as ESSENTIAL motor fuels, including coal to liquids, we will have plenty of time to gradually change over to a lifestyle involving public transportation, electric vehicles for personal transport,etc.

In a generation or so, a typical new house in a developed country will be so well insulated that in most cases it will need only a small fraction of the fuel needed for heat in a typical new house today.Lots of houses will actually export energy.

Cars will get the equivalent of at least a hundred mpg thru the use of hybrid technology if they use any fossil fuel at all.

People can and will change thier ways far faster than almost anybody currently thinks they will-once it becomes obvious that doing so is a smart move.With the right tax laws in place, a person with a good job could invest his roth or IRA money in a solar energy system and conservation upgrades for his own home;this would be just as useful to him personally as owning stock, and likely just as good for the economy as investing it anyplace else.

After ten years or so, even at current prices, he would enjoy a small but significant cash income and be forever freed from paying for heating and cooling his house, or paying for energy to cook or heat water for a bath.He could probably be charging up the battery in his plug in hybrid car or nieghborhood electric vehicle as well on a good day.

We have every reason to expect the costs of renewables to come down even as the costs of ff derived energy goes up.it is fashionable among many regulars here to belittle the power of the market, but the market can cause some amazing things to happen when the circumstances are right.

This argument assumes the economy doesn't crash of course.

"this would be just as useful to him personally as owning stock, "

It is.

"We have every reason to expect the costs of renewables to come down even as the costs of ff derived energy goes up."

They have.

"This argument assumes the economy doesn't crash of course."

It will.

Hi Ghung,

A crash does seem to be inevitable, doesn't it?

But the depth and speed of the crash are question marks.

I can see anything from a mad max scenario to a long slow decline with things remaining fairly stable from one year to the next but old energy intensive industries and lifestyles fading out and new low energy industries and lifestyles growing at a pace fast enough to prevent outright collapse.

My guess is that if we are lucky and can avoid too much actual fighting, we will make the transition successfully in the US and some other advanved countries;it will be tough and a couple of generations will have to live with declining expectations, but there is no real need for society to collapse, other than gross mismanagement.

Oil production will not collapse overnight and when it becomes obvious that ts is really in tf as far as energy goes, I believe we will see some real action on the conservation, efficiency, and renewables fronts.

But I spend a good bit of my time organizing things for a possible collapse;anybody who thinks it can't happen is simply uninformed in my opinion.

The real question as to our response seems to me to depend upon how long we have between the time we have a consensus that there is a formidable problem and the amount of time remaining before we are too poor to do anything about it.

With some luck we might have a decade or more or relative prosperity left once consensus is reached.

A lot happen in a decade;just think about how many houses that are old and decrepit and impossible to heat might be abandoned in upstate New York as the owners head for cheap old houses in mill towns down south where you can get by with a fan in the summer and a sweater in the winter.

A local church or other organization can run a bus or van on a daily or weekly basis to take care of its members needs, and store hours can be curbed.Fifty mpg cars can be mandated, fuel can be rationed, employers can be required to standardize schedules to accomodate carpooling and mass transit.

Tax credits can be made more equitable to help people with little or no money reduce thier energy consumption.

The last big hurrah of the stock markets can be based on a renewables buildout which might burst bubble style, but it will still accomplish something useful.

Wishful thinking?

Maybe, probably,possibly, who knows?

Tomorrow I may be as confirmed a doomer as Darwinian.

"a long slow decline with things remaining fairly stable from one year to the next "

Mac, the PTBs' economic cooks are working desperately to keep the frogs in their pots. At what point will they have to slam the lids down because things have heated up too fast ;-)

Question on "catabolic" collapse.

If/when the economy goes into a state "catabolic" collapse, does that mean that we will become a economy of scavanging?
Has anyone done a study/run (detailed) models of how an economy would run in a catabolic state?

"Catabolic Collapse" implies a slow-gradual breakdown as opposed to "Catastrophic Collapse" which would be sudden and dramatic.

We really have no idea what the collapse will look like. Everyone is just guessing. My guess is that it will start slow and this slow collapse will continue for a few years then at some point thing will completely fall apart and we will have a sudden and dramatic collapse.

What the world will look like after the collapse is complete is anyone's guess. And I choose not to even guess on that score.

Ron P.

My guess is that it (will start slow) has started.

"Limits to Growth" modeled some downslopes. But they did not consider the impact of debt and debt defaults. To me, the debt and debt defaults makes the downslope sharper, partly because of the effect on demand, and partly because capital for new investment dries up more quickly. So this would be an argument for a steeper downslope.

Gail, that's an interesting point. Debt -- and more broadly, money -- functions as a system to manage (or, at the moment, mismanage) the distribution of nonfinancial goods and services. The way it's currently set up and managed, it only works when the economy of nonfinancial goods and services is expanding, which in turn depends on increasing energy supplies. Thus you're right that the disintegration of the control system is a very likely feature of the first round of catabolic collapse, and will worsen things a good deal over the short term.

Still, control systems can be replaced a good deal more readily than physical resources, and the collapse of the current debt system could simply clear the way for the establishment, in at least some nations, of some different economic system that would provide at least temporary stability. That sort of collapse-and-partial-recovery process, which Toynbee points out is standard in the decline of civilizations, is a core feature of my catabolic collapse model.

Gail, Just wondering what percentage of the US GDP is people relocating money electronically, as opposed to actually building things. How do these numbers compare to China?

Ignorant, my original paper on catabolic collapse (available as a PDF online at www.dylan.org.uk/greer_on_collapse.pdf ) includes a model, though it's not a detailed one -- I don't have the mathematics chops to produce a useful quantitative model, and so far nobody with the necessary skills has stepped up to the plate. My take, though, is that scavenging becomes an important part of any economy in catabolic collapse, because the existing capital stocks of a contracting economy become one of the few readily available sources of raw materials to hand.

Wasn't the Great Pyramid at Giza once covered with smooth, shiny white stone, reflecting the sun?

Materials in urban settings will not only be close at hand, but also at a much higher concentration than was found in nature even before the bronze age began. We can take it as pretty much a given that widespread scavenging will feature prominently in any collapse situation.

If we scaled up our perspective a little, isn't all this extraction that's getting us into this hole also simply a grand bit of scavenging already?

The point isn't whether we pick up and use what is at hand, but whether we use it in such a way that we permanently denude the land that feeds us.

Do we rip up any woody shrub that's peeking out of the soil and burn it away, just to partly heat one meal, or do we build a box with wood, aluminum and glass that will be solar roasting meals for a generation?

Do we rip up any woody shrub that's peeking out of the soil and burn it away, just to partly heat one meal, or do we build a box with wood, aluminum and glass that will be roasting meals for a generation?

Because the wood option allows food to be cooked on the humans timeframe of 'want now' - that is how it will go.

I'd also suggest things like
and the idea of using tattler canning lids and learning to cook/preserve in 1 qt jars with things like
(see that pressure cooker - All american's Aluminum is closest I've found.)


Which is to say, of course, that there are various 'we's' in the scheme of things. Even people who know they're resorting to 'some' short-term and dead-end solutions are also watching and waiting for moments to make little 'jumps-of-opportunity' to advance their position into more durable ways. (Just Keep Monsanto out of Haiti, and we might see some greenery start to sprout there again, one day)

I don't doubt that even a drowning person might be able to recollect that they run the risk of dunking the very person who may come out to save them, which is to say (probably clumsily) that people can also recognize a long-term option when it is presented to them, even in essentially hopeless times, and some lucky and 'Fit' ones will gradually snake their way through with such tools.

Hi, JM.

I have had the same problem in working on what I hope will be an extended thesis on what I call, "Convergence." I have begun studies in Math the remedy that; hopefully the collapse will wait until I have completed those.

I anticipate new industries involved in salvage. Imagine, if you would, iron workers taking off the tops of skyscrapers (not enough power to keep those lifts running) above the 6th floor? Hazardous work, but then so is building them.

If the downturn gets ugly, there will be scavenging opportunities in abandoned towns as well. Also, gandydancers may be in demand as rail transport becomes necessary for moving products and produce long distances. Look for new interest in river cities (Cincinnati, here I come) as well, as water transport is very economical. OTOH, I would not invest in airlines. All those planes made of aluminum (and other more exotic metals) will be recycled as well... and the US mothball fleets.

I don't really see metals as being the biggest problem for the future. The real difficulty is in population growth (which continues) and energy needs. Even a catabolic society will need energy for processing those recovered metals, and for transportation. And, when energy becomes inadequate, and food becomes scarce, widespread civil unrest is a threat. Perhaps a worst case scenario would be widespread governmental intervention in anticipation of that unrest. That is something that recent postings indicates is being discussed, if not readied both here and especially in Europe. Where that would go is problematic. One hates to imagine!

I will be watching below your post for any discussion on the mathematical models we are both looking for. The science here is still nascent; if there is any hope it is will be in refining established technologies and keeping the most relevant to survival. Here I am looking to smaller farms, organic and sustainable animal husbandry and the like. Plus, functional transportation paradigms to substitute for the failed suburban model of today.

Thanks for your continued inputs.


Perhaps a worst case scenario would be widespread governmental intervention in anticipation of that unrest.

dieoff.org has many different versions on such thinking.

Following analysis of things like REX 84, Agenda 21, et la will lead one to thinking about such intervention not to mention some wild theories about conspiracy - it may be best to know of the existence of drawn up plans and stop there lest you get sucked into the negative loops some of the wildness.

Craig, metal shortages will be the least of our problems; the average shopping center contains enough structural steel to keep quite a few blacksmiths supplied with raw materials for their entire lifetimes. Population is of course a problem, since there's no way that this planet can support seven billion people for long even with relatively abundant energy, much less with what we'll have as the age of cheap energy winds down; still, though it's not exactly a pleasant thing to contemplate, population curves have this habit of dropping suddenly in an overshoot situation -- check out the demographics of the former Soviet Union, for example.

From my point of view, you've put your finger on the crucial problem with the reference to refitting our existing technological knowledge. That's extremely vulnerable to large scale disruption, and it would be good for future generations if sensible technologies such as passive solar heating, say, were to make it through the rougher patches ahead.

I don't think the problem will be metals--it will be high-quality metals. Anything that is not too particular about the metal content, we will be able to make. But things like computers, and portable phones, and equipment to keep the GPS system going will require much higher grade metals which we are likely not to have. I also wonder about cars and trucks, whether they will be anything like we have today. Rubber for wheels is another question.

Rubber for wheels is another question.

Rubber trees will continue to grow, and dandelions and milkweed are viable domestic sources of natural rubber. Poland during WW II is one example. The Russian dandelion is 20% latex.


Question answered.


Thanks, ArchDruid, for the nice lead-in to my favorite subject- simple, effective technology. So far, I have made a very simple, small passive solar heated house- works great, takes almost no wood to heat, is very quiet (partially buried), and should last as long as its archetype cave.

And, next, a little luxury- a solar water heater that constantly amazes my wife by its unusual property of actually working, unlike my often quite nutty weekend adventures. This one works so well, and was so cheap ($120 for the rug-like roll out absorber) that I am advocating a variant of it to replace the whole roof of the local Friend's meeting, instead of the sheet metal they are contemplating. This could easily heat that building, and be an example to the poverty people it is imbedded in.

And then today, I just did some numbers on another idea, not quite so primitive- a small all-electric commuter car that would get me in and out of town on PV electricity only. Turns out this is easy, esp. when I do the simple PV system myself, and don't mess with grid connections.

The PV daydream is a traitorous act for me, since I have dedicated my remaining hours on this once-paradise to making simple thermal machines that run on sun or garbage. These work fine in the lab, and could easily be made by rude men and methods from recycled suburbs.

Since I am only one of millions with the same predilections, I agree with OFM that the future looks more like a slowly deflating blimp than a supersonic auger-in.

I've got two kids, both daughters, 6 and 7, and having become a Peak Oil believer, I've been thinking of their future in a different set of terms than I had been. I think that, especially when it's time to arrest the birthrate, there will be a higher value placed on beautiful maidens that will be extremely attractive to the new "aristocracy" that will come to be - these people will be the ones who were rich, and smart enough to establish themselves a safe area that will escape the ravages of the Post-Peak-Oil world.

This in turn may help my bargaining power - a reverse dowry of sorts.

An interesting concept and you may be close to the possible future.

I have three friends who are multi millionaires. They and their families have no clue of how to survive or respond to a major disruption. No bunkers in Sonoma, villas in Paraguay. or homes in Mustique. Where would they go ?

The concept that the uber rich will survive rests on the theory that they are smarter and richer than you. Perhaps, in a few cases, but their real advantage is being able to buy options, if they are clever enuf to do so now. And have plenty of willing helpers to sustain / protect them. Who will they trust ?

They have no success formula that we don't know about. They will need to take us with them or die.

Surrounding yourself with people you trust is the only solution.

These are the good old days

Many of the rich are rich in terms of the "must have" trappings of modernity. Their assets may well be worthless in a collapse situation, wealth will drop rapidly in the rush to convert useless assets to cash. Then there will be a second rush to convert soon to be useless financial assets and cash into real assets that are necessary for future survival. By the time the rich accomplish these two steps, if they're lucky, their wealth and power will be much diminished. A multi-millionaire may well be lucky to end up as a humble farmer.

Real assets require energy, human or otherwise, to turn them into consumable inputs for survival and so the rich will still be vulnerable to demands of workers or production companies. So being rich certainly isn't a free pass through the bottleneck. Their likely strategy will be to align themselves with those with the power to enforce their will on the populace, which means they will ultimately end up dangling from lampposts when the populace have had enough.

Interesting paper; what parts of your theory need modeling?

Anyways... I did an actual physical simulation as to what happens over a long-term when fossil fuel energy is removed, for instance:
- super-weatherized houses will become sources for problems when "optimal" energy inputs get reduced; and the "easiest" solutions won't be the obvious ones.
- lack of computer "distractions" will alter the way collective responses to problems are carried out (see articles writen by Nicholas Carr, et al);
- many unexpected perishable items will be given scanvanging preference over expected items.

However, nobody seems to be interested in this subject even though it will probably (I think) factor heavily in the organization of low-energy societies (or future remnant societies). SO what to do? Just rest comfortable in the knowledge that I have a theatre program to the events to be played out?

I find the phrase "unexpected perishable items" to be interesting. We seem to have this idea that we can make things that last forever, but almost within the span of a single lifetime just about everything made by man is perishable. Concrete and steel, plastic, wood, glass, whatever - show me something that is not broken down by the forces of nature. Sure, a few things get preserved by deliberate effort or by continuous rebuilding, and the materials themselves can last a long time (sometimes dangerously so), but everything fails. It's just something that I've been quite aware of for a long time and it catches my attentions when I see it. I work with my hands, often times rebuilding the things some other man made - usually things that they obviously tried to make last.

Okay, I'll try.

stone tools
building structure made of stone e.g. pyramid
stainless steel tools/objects
gold and silver that were mined

most of these will last a long time even if they are subjected to constant erosion e.g. placed in a stream

Yes, in some climates and conditions. On the other hand I've spent a lot of hours fixing buildings made of stone that were not yet 200 years old. And I was not the first to work on them. Without that intervention the stone would still have been fine, but the building would have been rubble. Sandstone can last a long time in a dry place, but in some conditions weathers very fast - throw in some tree roots too. I've also spent a lot of time digging up redware pottery shards from the old pottery works on my old property and from various refuse dumps. I've never found an intact piece, and it is amazing how the effects of water and freezing break down the bits.

I bet good quality stainless will be very valuable in the future - provided anyone can work with it.

My Houses are both from the 1850's (young by Euro standards, I suppose),

Stuff doesn't have to last forever.. we're not going to stop working and fixing, casting and milling things.. But a few decades is pretty decent, like the Drill Press and Bandsaw that I still depend on.

Not often remembered that glass is a super-cooled liquid. In old houses, the windows develop wavy patterns as the glass slowly melts down.

Actually it's an amorphous solid. The "flowing" in old stained glass is because the sheets at the time were irregular and a skilled craftsman put the thicker, heavier side down so it would sit nicely.

The ripples in old window glass are much the same. They were always there, we got better at making glass so now people care more about the ripples.

Yes, and mine is a bit older, and with a constant input of labor and energy it is still a viable structure. Given the way it was built it can be kept up for a long time to come - me and my energy slaves are all over it. If I could name my greatest skill it would be "fixing things" - from masonry walls to mechanical systems to microelectronics. But that has taught me that everything has a failure mode, and everything is perishable, often on surprisingly short time scales. That was my point - I think that as a society we've come to believe in the myth of things that are permanent. This in turn leads people to major mistakes - such as seriously considering the idea of making containment systems for nuclear waste that will last for ridiculous time periods.

Nuclear Containment..

That's got me hearing 'Tick, tick, tick' .. only the seconds seem to accelerate. Might take a little while, but it'll seem like no time before we have to be repacking that supposedly valuable waste.

I am a bit confused. Does sustainable eliminate the concept of building a product which will easily last 100 years ? How are we to know at what level we can sustain ?

Are we talking about going back to 1840 or 1890 or 1934 ?

When the Summit tunnel of the original Trans-Continental railroad was taken out of service in the 1990s, the original rails were still in place. And the tunnel continues today as a Hike & Bike trail.

The Hoover Dam will likely still be there 1,000 years from now.


I bet the Hoover Dam won't last even close to 1000 years. Let's check in about 900 and see how it's going - winner gets a good bottle of Merlot.

You're on... meet me at Milliway's. I understand the light show there is tops.


Agree, for two reasons.

1) silt built up along with extreme snow melt can cause catastrophic failure (1000 years is plenty long for this to happen)

2) concrete reinforced steel is corroding as we speak, nevermind 200 years from now. forgettaboutit

I own a lot of things that might not last forever but they will last with due care and reasonable repair for generations, depending on how much and how hard they are used.

Included are glassware, stainless steel and high carbon steel hand tools, cast iron cooking utensils and cast iron tools such as a corn sheller and vise,firearms, a well gravelled farm road,
stoves lined with firebrick constructed out of heavy steel plate,a steel framed shop, a masonry house and barn,heavy solid wood furniture once considered junk but now considered antiques,hand laid field stone retaining walls,a ( very) small lake spring fed and not subject to overflow due to flooding.

Just about everything really necessary to the survival over the long term of my family living in this area could be locally manufactured as needed using 17 or 18 century technology except iron and gunpowder;there is no sulfur or iron ore to be found in the immediate nieghborhood.

Most people seem to think that the highway system will not last, but it will-at least in a form suitable for travel by horse and wagon.

If a suitable use is found for it, I expect that almost any steel and masonry building of the type built for use as warehouses and big box stores can be maintained in serviceable condition for hundreds of years, if it was originally built on a good solid dry site so long as it is not hit by a hurricane or tornado.

The "trailer" end of a tractor trailer is built out of thick aluminum and steel capable of withstanding constant travel;if one were to be set up well off the ground and kept clean, it might easily last a thousand years used as a house or storage barn.

There's buckyballs and carbon nanotubes. These carbon structures are practically eternal. Imagine sheets of nanotubes fluttering around in the breeze ... forever.

Ignorant, my dream modeling project would be something on the order of The Limits to Growth, but applying a range of quantitative estimates to the variables in my catabolic collapse model -- production, capital, waste, and so on -- and seeing what happens when the behavior of the whole system is modeled under different conditions. Like Limits, a study of that kind would yield analytical tools and a sense of basic patterns rather than any sort of precise predictions, but to my mind that's a benefit rather than a drawback.

As for what to do, what does your study suggest would be useful steps to take now in response to the conditions you've projected for the future? Get that information into circulation in the peak oil blogosphere, and it might have an effect.

... includes a model, though it's not a detailed one -- I don't have the mathematics chops to produce a useful quantitative model, and so far nobody with the necessary skills has stepped up to the plate.

I really don't think that a useful quantitative model can be generated.

There is the old idea of taking baby steps when solving any problem.

Somebody should come up with a quantitative model for oil field size.

No one did (I have one)

Somebody should come up with a quantitative model for oil discovery over time.

No one has one (except me)

Somebody certainly has come up with a quantitative model for oil extraction.

Sorry, only heuristics (I have a non-heursitic model)

I draw the line in predicting collapse. There is too much game theory involved. You won't be predicting the quantity of a finite countable resource like oil, instead you are predicting individual and collective human behavior, which is provably impossible.

So you think that given the reality that people can't even do the baby steps of something as easy as statistically counting oil, that someone will still be able to do the much harder task of quantitatively describing collapse?

When doctors test for a disease they often don't look for the disease itself. They look for markers, byproducts or effected systems. Over time, patterns emerge that create a "fingerprint" for that disease.

What are the symptoms of collapse? At what point do increasingly disfunctional systems become inviable? Which ones are critical to the survival of the primary system?

What are the fingerprints of collapse?

Yes, I do not doubt that there are proxy measures and metrics that can detect when bad things will happen.

That is probably a better way to handle it and would certainly advocate that approach before I tried a collapse model. Its not about conservation any longer, its more about detecting and then taking evasive action. And that's what metrics are good for; in the project management world, metrics monitor the "glide path".

..... or we could use the Asimov approach:

The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology (analogous to mathematical physics) devised by Asimov and his editor John W. Campbell. Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale;


"The early stories were inspired by Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

No sense in re-inventing the wheel, to borrow a cliche`.

Thanks, I had run into that link before on TOD. The only thing I got from scanning the Foundation literature is the idea of "Alternate Histories". This makes some sense especially in terms of Monte Carlo simulation. You can easily generate a statistical anomaly where a Super-Super-Giant oil field appeared in the results and you wonder what could have resulted from that. Yet, in the long run Monte Carlo is about taking a statistical average over these alternate histories and you get a most likely outcome.

This is pretty much saying the same thing as looking at things on a large scale and taking the average.

See this post;

So it can be done in this case, but how do you average alternate histories where there is no meaningful average or semblance of convergence? The choices society will take are all over the map.

You posted above that you have developed several models. We have many models to draw on. Perhaps you need to develop a "grand model unifier".

I will pass on that, thanks.

Yet, in the long run Monte Carlo is about taking a statistical average over these alternate histories and you get a most likely outcome.

Ideally from Monte-Carlo runs you would get an idea of the statistical distribution of results. So to make a very simple model, if there is a bifurcation, Monte-carlo might be capable of telling you the probablity the modeled system will take branch A rather than branch B. You end up knowing more than just the average, but you end up with information about the variation of outcomes.

I found the most interesting theme of the Foundation Trilogy +2 (through Foundation and Earth) series of books to be the contrasting options of:

- technological-human individualism,

- mentalic-human individualism, and

- 'Galaxia' (all of humanity merging into a collective super-organism [I'll put aside the 'all other life forms and even inanimate objects idea for now])

as competing paths for human evolution to establish long-term stability/sustainability (no war...Utopian vision).

The protagonist (Golam Trevize, IIRC) chose Galxia (collective super-organism working together in harmony with the galactic environment) as the best model...even though he continually expressed his great distaste for the loss of individualism...

I also recommend 'The Ocean of Years' and its two sequels in the trilogy, by Roger MacBride Allen.

The books can drag a little for some, but the grand themes of over-population, resource depletion, government conspiracies to hide the truth, and cornucopian dreams seems reminiscent of the challenges of Earth-bound humanity.

Wabi Sabi:

Nothing is perfect.
Nothing is forever.
Nothing is complete.

Just like you and me.

other observations about such a collapse would be Dimetri Orlov. There is a person who wrote about what happened in Argentina - talked about wire and pipes being taken.

Even the WWII metal collection efforts or the China 'collect the metal for the revolution' effort may provide some clarity.

It is a problem, and not just in Argentina!



You should start with some consideration of the new field of catatonic economics. These are the economics of people whose neuroplasticity has been hardened by the incessant repetition of a few thoughts to the extent that the work of historical and contemporary leaders in economic thought is all lumped and dumped into something they perceive as a dark force and which they name 'mainstream' economics.

Their views are, when the rhetoric is stripped away, simplistic and inevitably deterministic. Marxist economists would blush at this level of determinism. For example, the catatonic hold with the utmost certainty that declining oil supply will usher in an age of death and destruction even greater than the death and destruction which characterized the era of expanding oil supply.

Those in the grip of catatonic economics are inclined to extreme negativism, which appears to bifurcate into either immobility or extreme motor activity. The latter, in contemporary times, is often expressed at the keyboard on blogs such as TOD.

What relevance does your comment have to the original question?

He is trying to say that all the models are deterministic. I agree strongly, so in fact use only stochastic elements in my models of oil depletion.

Unfortunately, in spite of toilforoil's rant, I still get the result that available oil will decline in a quite predictable, albeit statistical, fashion.

He is casting stones at economists but there is nary an economist here on TOD, only people that apply logic and science.

You got all that out of it? I think he just mixed up two similar words. ;)

Actually, Catatonic Collapse might be a decent description of official policy..... It's easy to model anyway.

.........I still get the result that available oil will decline in a quite predictable, albeit statistical, fashion.

Can you plot a graph (time on x axis and production on y axis) of what your model predicts?


Yes I can.

Of course I know you can. What I meant was can you show it to us (TOD readers)?

I'm kinda into tectonic economics in which we split off into a whole new/old system. Unfortunately, most of humanity gets to fall into the fault which opens up.

Almost all progress is begun after someone takes an extreme, "reducto ad absurdum" approach to present actions. Deterministic? Yes. Negativism? Not when used for productive thought.

So... my first question, TFO, is, "What, exactly, do you propose that will help the situation?"

My second question is, "If you hate TOD so much, why do you keep reading and posting?"

Either shit or get off the pot, man.


You know, Toil, I think most of us learned in high school debate club that when somebody is reduced to this sort of name-calling rant, they don't have any more meaningful arguments left.

I'm still not entirely certain what he was defending. Or attacking. Perhaps he's just mad as hell and not going to take it anymore? By the by, JMG, aren't you supposed to be on a beach somewhere with a pitcher of Margaritas or something?

Aren't we all?

Some of us find it best to order by the drink because the pitchers force one to rush the pleasure.

Also no cocktail umbrellas by the pitcher

Link up top: OPEC Crude Oil Production Fell to Eight-Month Low, Survey Shows

“Both the Iraqi and Saudi cuts are probably temporary and not a sign of an enduring trend,” said Peter Beutel, the president of energy advisory firm Cameron Hanover Inc. in New Canaan, Connecticut. “Iraqi production has been erratic for years so we’re used to it. The Saudi numbers are of more interest, but are probably due to seasonal maintenance.”

Not that the Saudi drop in production really means anything but Beutel doesn't have a clue here. Saudi does not have a maintenance season, they do maintenance year around. And there would likely have done less maintenance due to Ramadan, which ended on the 9th of September and then the three day Eid holiday's began. It is likely that the Saudi's did a lot less maintenance in September than any other month except August. Ramadan began on the 11th of August. They would have done no maintenance during Ramadan.

But I do think it probably means something that OPEC production, in the last few months, have stopped their gradual increase in production that was apparent after their deep cuts in late 2008 and early 2009. The cuts reached their lowest point in February of 2009 at 28,070,000 bp/d, (crude only). OPEC production rose gradually until it reached 29,296,000 bp/d in February of 2010. That was an increase, from the bottom, of over 1,200,000 bp/d. Since February the trend has been gradually lower. OPEC produced 29,147,000 bp/d in August with a drop of another 100,000+ bpd in September.

Ron P.

If anything, opposite of the North Sea, wouldn't they do maintenance during the winter, such as it is there?

Well you might see the workers working harder in the winter than in the 100+ degree heat of summer but the maintenance is done mostly by expats who work year-round. Other places, like the North Sea and Alaska do seasonal maintenance because of the weather. But to my knowledge places without weather problems do not usually do seasonal maintenance.

But if you think about it for a moment it makes no sense that Saudi would have a production drop because of maintenance. If they actually have 4 million barrels per day of spare capacity then when they shut one well down for maintenance they could just open up another and keep production flat.

Ron P.

About a month ago the Saudi King was reported as saying he told engineers to leave the new oil discoveries in the ground because "the next generation of Saudis will need it". This is exactly what an insecure dynast in his position would say if his oil fields were in terminal decline.

In Jan 2008, President George W. Bush was speaking off the cuff to reporters after meeting the Saudi King, who wanted to know if the Saudis would open the spigots to provide relief from $100 oil. Bush said "if they don't have a lot of additional oil to put on the market, it is hard to ask somebody to do something they may not be able to do"

The work here on TOD (satellite over the desert, Stuart Staniford, etc) have shown that the Saudi production peak can't be far off. If the Saudi King and the former US President are hinting in the same direction, well, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.....?

Even though I despise Republicans, especially since they pretty much destroyed America during the 2000-2008 timeframe, I have to admit to slowly developing a sort of begrudging, morbid admiration of W.

I mean basically he was handed the gift of 9/11, and he, Cheney and a small group of other mostly neoconservative and oil industry folk, who put 2+2 together and were well aware of our energy situation, decided, more or less, "Fuck it, we're invading Iraq."

And in retrospect, you have to stand in awe of the chutzpah. I mean, it was insane and criminal but they did it anyway.

And one thing I've realized is that there is actually no one way, no one correct solution, either individual, group or nation, for peak oil. So if W. decided to invade Iraq, who am I to argue or think we could have done better?

Maybe, maybe not. The point is the guy took action. You simply cannot make the argument that W. failed to act on peak oil.

Welcome to the world of the realists, wherein you play the cards in your hand as best you can, or as you think best.

You 're right;W at least did SOMETHING, even if it was arguably the wrong thing.

History and nature don't do redeals.

Our invasion of the Middle East may or may not have bought us another couple of decades of bau;personally I tend to think that the invasions were successful in this respect but that the price has been very high indeed.

Nevertheless we did , if this interpretation is correct, gain another couple of decades during which there was a great deal of progress made in the science and engineering of renewables.

If we had another decade or two of time cushion available, I expect solar and wind would actually and truly be cost competitive with fossil fuels.

It's a real pity we didn't put BOTH the military and renewables pedals to the floor back then, rather than only the military pedal.

Yes W did do something. No one ever claimed that sociopaths were incapable of taking action. Will you cheer their bold action when their boots are on your children's necks? They don't act for your benefit. Why is it taken for granted that "doing something" is a good thing? So many of the things we do leave us much worse off for having done them.

The point is the guy took action.

One of the West's most cherished fallacies is that action is always better than inaction.

See Inaction Quotes for numerous quotes by Westerners extolling the virtues of action and the evil of inaction. The Bush administration strategy is completely in line with that Western way of thinking.

The Chinese masters have a different take on things.

This summary of the Tao Te Qing has:

Lao’s main and most important work is the Tao Te Qing (or Daodejing), The Way of the Tao. In it, he outlines his philosophy of the importance of knowing when to act. To Lao, inaction and passivity are as important as action and activity, and a wise man is one who knows to choose between doing and not doing, leading and following, expressing an opinion and withholding it.

Similarly, Thomas Cleary's translation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War has this to say in the forward:

Sun Tzu reemphasizes the pursuit of certain victory by knowing when to act and when not to act. Make yourself invincible, he says, and take on opponents only when they are vulnerable: "Good warriors take their stand on ground where they cannot lose, and do not overlook conditions that make an opponent prone to defeat."

The Bush administration gambit in Iraq was an example of stupid action which has been, demonstrably IMHO, far worse then inaction would have been.

Reviewing the Eastern and Western attitudes toward inaction, we should not be surprised that America finds itself poorer, tireder and less influential in the region whereas the Chinese are quite the opposite.

Best Hopes for intelligent action wherever possible and intelligent inaction when necessary.


"Strike while the iron is hot" is both an urge to action when it is time, and an admonition to wait until the time is right.

Our invasion of the Middle East may or may not have bought us another couple of decades of bau;personally I tend to think that the invasions were successful in this respect but that the price has been very high indeed . . .

It's a real pity we didn't put BOTH the military and renewables pedals to the floor back then, rather than only the military pedal.

These statements - indeed, the whole perspective - reflect an American callousness and sense of entitlement that is truly breathtaking. I guess upwards of a hundred thousand Iraqi deaths would have been worth it if they bought "us" a few more decades of BAU or had been accompanied by a parallel renewables effort?



Blood. Blood on our hands ... it's a human thang.

Not necessarily.

As anybody who reads my posts knows, I am pretty much one of those "Hate America First" liberals that were bullied into silence for the past ten years.

But I can recognize that human beings are what we are at all times, and all places - we gladly massacre each other when we are hungry or get bored.

Maybe there are some peoples who are more enlightened now, but only because of the threat of nuclear warfare - mutual annihilation is too much to stomach, even for us bloodthirsty apes.

Speaking of nuclear bombs, America's one great crime was Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Everything else had precedent and was nothing new under the sun. But dropping the nuclear bombs - now that was pretty low.

Yair...Oldfarmer or some of you other blokes. Could you set me straight.I'm just an old Aussie bushman/dozer driver... and whatall I just dont understand.

If Saddam was still in control of Iraq wouldn't the oil end up on the world market anyway...and another thing, I saw a picture somewhere of a convoy of shiny new Kamaz seismic and oilfield trucks "heading for Iraq"...errm...aren't they Russian?

Sorry, Oilman.

I get your point, but there is Nothing impressive about that Chutzpah.. and as with Vietnam, I'm sure the costs we as Americans are even paying right now and no longer even notice are a far greater expense than anything those sorry adventures have brought us. The supposed jockeying for Middle-east Control will, likewise, not really show themselves to be anything but illusions built on fear and greed. It could be it was somewhat inevitable.. just a result of the course of all these energies.

But it is a tragedy and a waste of really unimaginable proportions.


As usual you get it when you use the words "could be... inevitable " and so forth.

I don't disagree with either of the above comments , in any particular fashion, which were written in rebuttal to mime concerning Bush doing something.

I have read Sun Tsu, as well as many other books.

My point is that all discussion of past history and morality can be no more than a guide to whatever person is in power and making decisions at any given minute.

If I were to find myself in charge of this country tomorrow, I could learn from and be instructed by all the mistakes made by our previous leaders;but I would still be COMPELLED TO PLAY THE CARDS in my hand;crying about the idiocy of past leaders who turned us into the worlds greeatest nation of debtors wouldn't get me a redeal;crying about the fact that our economy is utterly and totally dependent on imported oil wouldn't get me a redeal;bitching about coal and co2 emissions would not change the fact that if we stoppeedd burning coal the lights would go out.

Maybe W was wrong;argueing otherwise here in this forum where any conservative politician is viewed with the same mistrust and suspicion as greets the devil at the church door is a foolish waste of my time;the audience are true believers in another sort of politics, and is no more willing to consider the use of military power in a disinterested fashion than my pastor is willing to consider evolution in a similar fashion(no, he doesn't know I'm an athiest commie, and yes, he has some comforting things to say every time we take another family member to church one last time).

I'm not argueing that war is right, or that w was right, but simply that war and oppression are a part of what we are and that people who believe otherwise are perhaps not as smart as they think they are.It is not a sign of great intelligence or erudition to display a great understanding of a large part of what the scientific community has to say to us while selectively rejecting the facts as they are known to be and accepted by the people who study human behavior in a dispassionate and realistic frame of mind.

Sociologists, political scientists, most anthropologists probably,certainly most mental health professionals, are generally and willfully blind to what thousands of years of history and a couple of centuries of biology have to teach us;namely , that we are a violently territorial and clannish species, always ready , willing, and able to grab whatever resources are available.

Eventually they will all die or retire and the textbooks will be written by evolutionary psychologists.

I suppose it is simply beyond the mental capacity of the average peace loving liberal individual to comprehend the following facts:at the end of WWII, the US mostly brought home her troops and mostly devoted great wealth and expertise to helping her former enemies regain thier health and prosperity;whereas the USSR actually did mostly remain as an occupying power in most of the territory under her control for the next half century, and gave every edivence of intending to expand.it was virtually impossible for an average citizen to get a visa to visit any place except a few select cities anywhere in the old USSR;whereas while American troops were still in many countries, people could generally come and go as they pleased in those countries.

As it happens,we Yanks won the cold war, if it could be said that anybody won it.

I'm not glad there was a WWII, or a TOTALITARIAN police state USSR, but I am not so stupid or blind as to deny the existence and the causes of the same, or so stupid and willfully blind as to pretend that these same causes no longer exist a few decades later simply because the existence thereof makes me uncomfortable.

Maybe it wasn't a case of "them or us";I'm intellectually capable of admitting that;but I run into very few if any America bashers who are capable of dealing with the flip side of the coin.

The world might be a very sorry place indeed if Hitler or Stalin's successors were in control of it today.Since there was a Stalin and a totalitarian USSR, and there was a great power struggle between us, I am quite happy and unabashed to say that I am glad I was LUCKY enough to be born on the winning side.

I make no cliam for american moral superiority , but as great powers go, we are pretty much softies, compared to all the other great powers of history.

The people who don't like it would probably like it even less if the Russians, the Chinese, the Germans, the French, the English, the Spanish, the Dutch, or the Italians were more or less running the world.

Somebody is going to be the dominant power at any given time, and act accordingly.A failure to recognize this simple fact is simply childish.

A lot of people have trouble with reality as it is, rather than as they imagine it to be.

The people in power during the Bush era might have done the wrong thing, but we stayed on top thru thier watch.Certainly they failed us in not pushing conservation and efficiency and energy self sufficiency to the max.

To paraphrase some football guy, in the game of survival, winning isn't everything;IT'S THE ONLY THING.

blow-back will be a bitch.

Asymmetric warfare...

"Johnny, tell 'em what they've won!"

Mac. We didn't win.

We're shadow-boxing because so far we've got the cash and the naivete' to continue doing so.. but we're stuck there.

Shrugging your shoulders and giving Bush the apologetic for a massive set of proud and unquestioning blunders is not 'cool-headed realism', any more than trying to tie it in with the Berlin Airlift, or our Subsequent Subsidizing of these Great Industrial Powers who foolishly fell into blatant fascism when a Happy-faced, Managed-Market-Democracy is so much more palatable and efficient at extracting and exploiting the world's resources. Just hand 'em a coke and a few guns and they'll sing your marches as you rape their lands.

If you want to talk about our mental capabilities, talk about the wars we're in, not the legends of the ones you grew up with.

You're a good guy, but you play into this set of cliche's about 'Liberal Peaceniks' without much filtering. Going into Iraq was a blunder, and it promised us debacles there, and then in Afghanistan as well, having dropped our focus before we ever really knew our objectives. Maybe you're tired of hearing how badly the Bush/Cheney Adm. muffed it all up, but believe me, the crying will be going on for a long time.

"Tell me about the rabbits George." --Of Mice and Men

crying about the idiocy of past leaders who turned us into the worlds greeatest nation of debtors wouldn't get me a redeal;crying about the fact that our economy is utterly and totally dependent on imported oil wouldn't get me a redeal

But, you would do it. Not for a redeal, but to try to get a second turn. For the people expect that things will get better in short order. If they don't they will consider it to be your fault, not the fault of the cards you were dealt. So unless you can deflect their ire towards said cards, and away from yourself you will be voted off the island before you have a chance to prove yourself.

The people in power during the [GW full-of] Bush era might have done the wrong thing, but "we" stayed on top thru their watch.

Ya think?

image to the right: Being on Top (King Kong)

"The point is the guy took action. You simply cannot make the argument that W. failed to act on peak oil."

Kind of like Hitler acted on overpopulation.....

He (GW), Cheney and a small group of other mostly neoconservative ... decided, more or less, "Fuck it, we're invading Iraq."

Yeah, but they had no plan for seizing the spoils of war ... and they didn't.

It's as if Julius Caesar said:

I came, I saw, I conquered, ... and then I left the f***ing booty behind

I have to admit to slowly developing a sort of begrudging, morbid admiration of W.

Excuse me, excuse me, I really need to use that bathroom first if you don't mind. Bbbbuuuiiicccckkkkk!!! Sorry folks, but something hit me wrong and I just had to hurl.

OPEC output was more or less on a plateau from March to July 2010, but seems to have steadily fallen week by week since then. This is confirmed by the OPEC tanker tracker, Oil Movements - which for newcomers here is accepted by OPEC itself as being fairly accurate.

Generally the production drop is blamed on Iraq, but that doesn't entirely make sense. A steady drop like this with Iraq as the culprit could only occur if things were getting gradually worse inside Iraq. If so, this is an event not well reported by the media.

A more likely explanation is that fringe members without spare capacity are having a harder time keeping up output.

Generally the production drop is blamed on Iraq, but that doesn't entirely make sense. A steady drop like this with Iraq as the culprit could only occur if things were getting gradually worse inside Iraq. If so, this is an event not well reported by the media.

When Saddam was running Iraq oil production before the Bush jr. invasion it was 2.5 mbd, but had been as high as 4.5 mbd prior to sanctions. After things settled down after the invasion to rid Iraq of WMD (cough-cough) oil production worked back up to 2.5 mbd. However, my understanding is that Iraq's oil production is now down to 1.35 mbd. So you may be right that the story of what is happening inside Iraq to its oil production is an untold story.

But we also should question huge oil production projections for Iraq. If sabotage on pipelines is occurring due to infighting between different factions, then getting higher output may not have anything to do with what is technically feasible.

In the last few days oil prices have picked up sharply. Tapis spot price is now over $86. US demand is showing modest recovery, China is racing away, and OPEC output is lowest for 8 months. Nobody is talking about floating storage.

Call me cynical, but the last time prices were testing $90 Greece was pulled into line by their credit rating being sharply reduced, causing the oil price to fall $10. Could Ireland be next?

(Takes tinfoil hat off).

I notice the headline today for Ireland is Anglo Irish Bank to Need €34.3 Billion

Ireland's financial crisis loomed large again Thursday as the government said additional costs of propping up the country's banks could stretch its government budget deficit to nearly a third of the country's total economy—a record for any euro-zone member.

The Central Bank of Ireland said early Thursday that the state-owned Anglo Irish Bank Corp., Ireland's most troubled financial institution, will need total capital of €34.3 billion ($46.75 billion) in a worst-case scenario.

Shortest Washington Post editorial EVER


Projected change in natural gas consumption worldwide from 2007

to 2035.


Best Hopes for Questioning Assumptions and Projections,


That's just under 1.4% CAGR unless I'm missing something. Well below most forecasts of global economic growth or overall energy consumption growth, as far as I know.

Although forecasting anything out 28 years is pretty rough.

Nabucco venture sees Iraq as top supplier

The Nabucco natural-gas pipeline venture sees Iraq as the “most real” supplier for the pipeline, which will ship fuel from the Caspian Sea to Europe. Iraq is bigger and less dependent on Russia than Turkmenistan or Azerbaijan, Head of Corporate Affairs Dimitar Abadjiev told reporters in Bucharest Thursday. “That’s why I expect to have the first gas from Iraq,” he said. The 7.9 billion-euro ($10.8 billion) pipeline is designed to carry gas more than 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles) from Turkey to Austria to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia. The venture on Sept. 6 said it may get as much as 4 billion euros in loans from the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank.

Today I made a chart of Russian foreign exchange reserves:

and it occured to me that the dramatic increase in the rate of growth around 2005 coincides with the onset of the current plateau of oil production. When demand outstripped supply, the price of oil became disconnected from the production cost, filling Russian coffers with easy money.

Interesting graph, thanks.
I'm not afraid to ask a stupid question- what accounts for the steep 2008 dive?

Sellout of Russian assets and withdrawing money to home/safe harbour. Russian stock market dived -70%

Ireland reveals full horror of banking crisis

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan laid bare the full extent of state bailouts for the troubled banking sector -- the Anglo rescue bill alone equals the annual taxation revenues -- and insisted Ireland was coming to terms with the "nightmare."
"Anglo Irish developed to a size where its balance sheet, its annual turnover, was half the national wealth and it became in itself a systemic threat to the financial viability of the state," Lenihan said.
"That particular nightmare the government has had to live with, the Irish people have had to live with, and I've had to live with since September 2008. We're now bringing closure to that."

Turkmen gas reserves available for EU: president

AFP - Turkmenistan's president said on Thursday the isolated Central Asian state had the capacity to almost quadruple gas exports in the next 20 years and was ready to meet demand from Europe.
The country's giant South Yoloten-Osman group of fields alone were now believed to contain a total of 18 trillion cubic metres of gas, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said at a rare news conference.
That compared with 14 trillion found in a 2008 audit.
He said that Turkmenistan's total gas reserves were estimated at 24.6 trillion cubic metres.

Long article on rare earths - Pentagon Loses Control of Bombs to China Metal Monopoly:

Just how far U.S. manufacturing has waned is apparent at a factory in Valparaiso, Indiana, where dogs skitter across a bare concrete shop floor, their nails clicking. This brick plant on Elm Street once made 80 percent of the rare-earth magnets in laser-guided U.S. smart bombs, according to U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana. In 2003, the plant’s owner shifted work to China, costing 230 jobs.

Now the plant houses Coco’s Canine Cabana, a doggy day care the current tenants started to supplement sagging income from their machine shop. On most days dogs outnumber the 15 metalworkers, said Kathy DeFries, co-owner of Excel Machine Technologies Inc.

“When things got slow for manufacturing, we had this big empty shop floor,” said DeFries, nuzzling a floppy-eared puppy. “It’s a great stress reliever.”

Remember when Kruschev (sp?) told the world that we would supply the commies with the rope thew would use to hang us?

I found it attributed to Lenin as: "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

That was Lenin.
The USSR was far into the process of ideological corruption by K's time.
Marx would not have survived 1935 Moscow.

Thanks guys, I should have checked the source instead of relying on old memories.

As I brought up PR/Propaganda I now present:

Over the last five months, BP has had a prominent presence along the Gulf Coast at various local government meetings and outreach centers - but this time, BP has made its way into the Terrebonne Parish school system.

Eighth grade students of Oaklawn Junior High School were able to sit in on one of four scheduled science demonstrations last Wednesday prepared by BP and Gary Ott of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The demonstrations were designed to better educate the students about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and give them the most current information available.

Remember - Toxic Sludge is good for you!


"There are changes that are very slight, that might not be documented for years, or we might see fish with tumors coming up in the next three or four years, or fish with mutated gills or mutated fins, things like that. So we don't know what we're going to see," said Dr. Paul.

The fishery associated with the Exxon Valdez is still messed up.

The Exxon oil spill resulted in profound physiological effects to fish and wildlife. These included reproductive failure, genetic damage, curved spines, lowered growth and body weights, altered feeding habits, reduced egg volume, liver damage, eye tumors and debilitating brain lesions.

And because of the science!

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman spoke with Henry Red Cloud, a Lakota Sioux who is making Solar Heating Panels at Pine Ridge Reservation, and training other Sioux and Navajo how to build solar equipment. http://www.treeswaterpeople.org/tribal/info/tribal_lse.htm (Lakota Solar Enterprises)

An afternote was this question about Uranium.. as if I didn't have enough reasons to oppose fission.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, uranium mining, what does it mean on reservations? What’s happening?

HENRY RED CLOUD: It’s terrible. It’s, first of all, our water situation. You know, water is going to be—it is mni wiconi, the water of life. Everything needs water—things that we eat, our souls, our livelihood—and it’s affecting our water. So water is—it’s terrible.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Affecting the water in terms of contaminating?

HENRY RED CLOUD: Drinking water, yeah, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: When they mine uranium.

HENRY RED CLOUD: Yeah, when they mine.

AMY GOODMAN: And the tailings that—

HENRY RED CLOUD: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Communities are—it’s just, you know, terrible. We need to stop what we’re doing and start looking towards alternative—the natural.


One short blurb article on this often un-reported issue. (Voiceless much?)

I didn't catch the connection, but I did have his 'Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television' for years. Wasn't nuts about the type of arguments he used.. but even as a videographer today, I have to say that I weekly express my revilement towards TV. (except All in the Family, I,Clavdius and The Muppet Show)

Oh, here's the connection..
"In the Absence of the Sacred, Mander goes beyond television to critique our technological society as a whole. In this provocative work, he challenges the utopian promise of technological society and tracks its devastating impact on native cultures worldwide."

Strange days, .. Windows-Will Gates is in China asking their wealthy to give their money to charity, Jim Cameron is fighting for South American and Canadian Indigenous rights against Energy Encroachment with a Chart-topping Techie Blockbuster. The snake wraps all the way 'round and holds his tail, eh?

I just saw three Kestrels 'Kee!'ing above my house and diving and attacking each other.. an unusual display.. I only get a Kestrel sighting every six months or so around here.. but Three of them in contest was a really rare show.

I think I need to listen to the Local Hero soundtrack tonight..

Northern China’s smokestacks spew a noxious cloud so gargantuan that satellites have tracked it floating over the Pacific. Mountaintop sensors in Washington, Oregon and California have detected sulphur compounds, carbon and other toxic byproducts from China’s smokestacks.

The cold war is back cyber warfare ha! ha! eat our waste your suckers.

Probably not a great or terrilbly intelligent approach. Kind of like blowing yourself up to cause your enemies to experience your fallout. We all suffer so no one is going to win this particular war, which in any case is not a cold war.

But yeh, we experience some of the negative effects of our own consumption which is a kind of a justice for shortsightedness and stupidity. It also just goes to show that one nation cannot decide to have clean air on its own without international cooperation or global governance of some sort. Alternatively, we should tax China's goods and keep raising the tax until they clean up their plants. But we won't do that, of course, because we are addicted to free trade and cheap goods.

Since China is swamping all their efforts at renewable energy with more power plants,what really is the point? The point can't be to clean up the environment. You can't simply get there if you keep building more coal plants.

I was 5 years off on when that would make a re-appearance as a concern.

Of course its only being mentioned here, on TOD so perhaps the issue will slumber some more.

Or a mighty quaking of the land will bring down the tall towers of smoke.

We sent our pollution to the other side of the planet, but it came back anyway. I guess there really is no place called "away".


New report on street lighting technologies available from NLPIP

The National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP) released its latest Specifier Report, designed to provide objective performance information on existing street lighting technologies -- including light-emitting diode (LED), induction, and high pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights. This report comes at a critical time when many municipalities, some with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are in the process of replacing HPS streetlights with LED and induction models.

... According to NLPIP, when replacing the pole-mounted HPS streetlights on a one-mile section of collector road with the LED or induction streetlights used in the study, it would take twice as many of the pole-mounted LED or induction streetlights to meet the lighting criteria as defined in RP-8-00.

The LED and induction streetlights we tested required narrower pole spacing. As a result, the life cycle cost per mile was dominated by the installation cost of the poles, as opposed to the initial cost of the streetlights or any potential energy or maintenance cost savings, as one may assume," said Leora Radetsky, LRC lead research specialist, principal investigator and author of the report.

The National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP) (and a lot of other folks) are missing the primary question to ask:

Do we really need all the lumens we are now casting into the darkness?


What studies exist to justify the current amount of outdoor artificial light?

What studies exist to justify the current amount of outdoor artificial light?

Crime statistics.

The last break in I had was by kids during a thunderstorm after the power went out.

Upside - the electric bike they stole needed the brushes replaced and they didn't get the battery pack.

Any thoughts on the review of the Bundeswehr report (link above)?
I view the leaked German report as very significant, but others may feel differently.
Please share your observations.


Is there an English translation anywhere on the internet ?



Is there an English translation anywhere on the internet ?

Maybe try bablefish

Not that I'm aware of.
We have the Table of Contents with leading paragraphs which was posted here (and subsequently at Energy Bulletin), translated by Robert Rapier's anonymous friend.
Bec Lloyd in Australia kindly provided me with translations of two additional sections: Tipping Points and the Conclusion.
A third translator has come forward, also offering to assist.

Hopefully we will eventually have the entire document available in English.

-- Rick

Wow. Good news (so called) on the employment front, at least that is what we heard today. The markets are taking off! So is oil.

My prediction: pseudo-recovery news prompts a bit of productive activity... activity requires more oil... oil price gets to $90 plus/minus a few dollars... oil price shuts down economy... back to square one.

Until everyone 'gets it' that without oil we are in deep doo doo, the cycle will repeat. I am still trying to piece out how the economy will look when we start to reshape it. I fear insanity will rule for quite a while to come; up/down/up/down, with each low a bit below the last, each high a bit below the last high, and each up cycle called a 'recovery' by the MSM, complete with 'happy days are here again' messages all around.

Is this how the end will come upon us? When the numbers get low enough, people won't be able to afford food... either they will go out and take it, or they will be so weak they will just die where they are.

I add to my earlier list of jobs in the new economy that of 'mass grave digger and unclaimed body interment specialist.' Or will we outsource that as well?



US gasoline and diesel demand was unexpectedly very strong last week. As to why the increase for last week only, I don't specifically know - but diesel demand has been very strong for four months now, and now gasoline usage has suddenly increased.

With US, and indeed, world oil supplies so finely balanced between supply and demand, it would take only a small increase in demand to push the price significantly higher. Of course, the reverse is also may be true.

I tend to think that the US has gotten use to a price about $80, so it will take a price of $100 to eventually throw the US back in recession. Even them the effect of $100 may act with a substantial lag time. I also think that at least in the US, being a bulk grain exporter, people won't actually die from food shortages caused by lack of supply, but food shortages caused by lack of fuel supplies to transport food to market.

That may take a year or two yet.

The media said it was the best September that Wall Street has experienced since 1939.


This just goes to show everyone how meaningless the stock market actually is in representing the performance of the economy.

the best September ... since 1939

It's time to break out the champagne
and join all together in October-festive song:
Spring Time for Hitler

This just goes to show everyone how meaningless the stock market actually is in representing the performance of the economy.

Not sure about that. At least in our necks of the woods (Northern CA) the economy has picked back up. My business and my wife's business are suddenly this past couple of months getting lots of orders as well as the community of other people we are in contact with that are part of this genre of business. Many are swamped with work.

Also, the traffic levels have increased dramatically. Suddenly we're getting stuck in traffic again. It's almost like someone turned the taps back on, or a Jungian collective unconscious decision took place deciding it was time to get back to work again.

However, even if the recession is over and business is BAU, it may only last until the price of oil rises high enough to cause another step down.

On the radio I heard a news story that the September 2010 market was 'the best September market increase (percentage) in 71 years!

Happy Daze are here again...unless you are unemployed, or underemployed...

But we can still have our stuff made in foreign countries for 80 cents/hour so that patriotic American folks can move their businesses 'over there' and take advantage of globalization and comparative advantage...and they can always get citizenship in and have a P.O. box in Costa Rica if their taxes here go up by one dollar in the U.S.!

On the radio I heard a ... story

"Stories" is what the infotainment news industry is all about lately.

"False narratives" is what Taleb Nassim of Black Swan fame calls them.

The other day, Nassim claimed that the Federal Reserve is flying our economic jumbo jet without even knowing how the plane stays up in the air and what "risks" may bring it crashing down:

"It's like someone flying a plane without understanding how to fly. --Nassim"

A pediatrician once told me that 100 years ago many children used to get pneumonia and die every winter because they were just slightly malnourished. "That doesn`t happen anymore", she added.

I don`t see starvation over days or weeks----I think there will be a lot of food around (expensive, though, and rationed, though) I see lots of government people in charge (so that they can get in the line first, of course! Of course, they will have and grant access to medicine too, and other things, so people will grudgingly accept them.) But I do think that little by little, year by year there will be lots of diseases like pneumonia that are not deadly now but will be again. Even a little less food (vitamins, nutrition, calories) will make a huge difference when someone has bronchitis or a sinus infection.

But year by year, we will produce less garbage and less pollution, and in the end that will save the strong and lucky---and their descendents---who make it through.

Ecuador coup attempt? President Rafael Correa attacked in police revolt.

What a coincidence, Ecuador just happens to be one of Latin America's largest oil exporters http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN3012919720100930

This may be a worthy article to post on tomorrow's DrumBeat:


'The Japan Syndrome'

The article discusses how China may 'become the next Japan'.

I did not see resource constraints (sources and sinks) and over-population mentioned as issues...

When China's working-age population peaks in 2015, it will be 20 years after Japan's crested the wave, but it will do so at a much lower level of prosperity than was Japan's at that time. The harsh reality is this: Japan got rich before it grew old, and China will grow old before it gets rich.

If, due to LTG, countries start getting more 'prosperous' and indeed experience lower GDPs, what will that do to the idea of demographic transition?

Plainly asked: Will declining wealth lead to higher fertility in some or many countries (more kids to work the fields and provide for parents in their old age?)


I believe you have posed one of the most critical of all the questions needing ansewers;what will happen to birthrates as economic growth slows and reverses?

My personal guess is that in the more advanced sociteties where very few people still live and work in traditional rural occupations such as farming, the old cultural model wherein parents have lots of kids to ensure some support in thier own old age is dead and forgotten.

But in countries where the transition to industrialized urban life is incomplete, or in some religious societies, the large family model may survive or make a comeback.

In some places it is still alive and well of course but as I see it, except for the sake of the local people suffering, these places hardly matter in terms of the big picture.A few of the locals may manage to emigrate, and the majority of the rest will die off at some point-probably when there is a bad crop year and the food aid on which they have become dependent fails to arrive.

I have not seen it mentioned here, but it is remarkable how fast the subject of foreign aid has slipped off the national radar screen as our own problems have worsened.

Stages of peak oil awareness

Was very interesting for me as many regulars here may realize, this is an issue I have been pondering over a lot for some time now.

The issue of isolation is particularly relevant to meat the moment. In one case, a good friend has become more or less bored with his current business and wants to bet the farm on a motor-sports facility, one location for drag racing, circuit racing (SCCA or Formula 1 type track as opposed to an oval track), go-karts and dirt biking. He has even drafted my help in putting together a business plan for the facility with which to secure financing, sell concessions, sell advertising space and the like. I feel like such a hypocrite helping him to do this when, I'd really like to tell him that it's really bad timing for an idea like this because of how close we are to Peak Oil but, I have a feeling that would not end well. I have already tried to tell him about Peak Oil but, he still seems hell bent on building his race track in partnership with one of his other friends who, is a real head in the sand, BAU type of guy. I keep hoping that something will happen to convince my friend of the folly of his dreams but, then maybe it's my ideas that are folly (not).

Another associate of mine who I have also introduced the concept of Peak Oil to, is trying to convince me make a significant investment in some of the latest technology being used in my current line of business. It is very tempting but, my current business does not fit in with the Jeffery Brown edict, "get thee to the non discretionary side of the economy". As far as the "get out of debt part goes, I won't be getting into debt but, I will be spending money that could be much better spent on Peak Oil mitigation. On one hand I could pass on it and not realize the potential income from my current business while, the most stressful impacts of Peak Oil take years to materialize (ha!), making investments in the business I intend to go into premature. On the other hand I could make the investment only to watch some black swan event make the market for my current business dry up while at the same time leaving me with less money to get "to non discretionary side of the economy" and giving competitors in the business I intend to go into a head start. Of course there are a couple of positive outcomes but, nobody's going to lose sleep over positive outcomes. What to do, what to do?

I guess I just wish that something would just happen to make a whole lot more people acknowledge Peak Oil, how close we are to it and what the ramifications are. Whether it is past or in the future doesn't really matter, people need to change their behavior and priorities now. I would much rather remove the uncertainty surrounding such issues as the two outlined above than to continue to grapple with it. I guess I am beginning to suffer from Peak Oil Fatigue.

Alan from the islands

It's all about time frames.

Plan ahead, live now. 24 month payback business investments are still realistic unless you are already struggling for business.