ASPO-USA Conference, First Evening

The initial report on the conference papers was getting a bit long, so I split it into afternoon and evening parts, and the second follows.

Again, there were three sessions in the final afternoon part of the program and I chose to go to the one chaired by Ron Swenson on Energy Alternatives. The first speaker was Charlie Hall who pointed out that the neo-classical economists and those who advocated different political theories had found it easier to justify their claims in an environment where oil became increasingly available to support GDP growth. However we are now entering a period of oil supply decline, when perhaps the “biophysical economics” theories will gain more credence.

Largely his talk covered the considerations of Energy Cost on the production of fuel, and with rising cost and renewables not being viable in parts of the USA, he wondered if our best days were behind us.

The change in energy cost can be seen from oilfields that once produced oil but now produce water with a small oil content. The energy cost has therefore to be paid by an increasingly small fraction of the volume pumped. There are two impacts as the energy costs per unit of energy go up: the first impacts the industry, while the second impacts the consumer. As greater portions of income are required to meet fuel bills (travel, heat etc) then the amount available for discretionary spending is reduced.

Bill James talked of the need to go from the principles of Government Directives driving research to more properly taking advantage of “the nature of invention.” Cell phones have gone from non-existent for the common man in 1984, to the point where they are now ubiquitous. He noted that we don’t need “know-how”, but rather “know-what.” Based on the per ton cost for moving freight, driving to use $40 worth of gas in a car tank could be done on a train for a cost of $1.12. Yet we continue to pay to use the car. Increasing oil prices cut family discretionary income by $2,000 a year in the last three years. He quoted Edison’s lines:

"Sunshine is spread out thin and so is electricity. Perhaps they are the same, but we will take that up later. Now the trick was, you see, to concentrate the juice and liberate it as you needed it. The old-fashioned way inaugurated by Jove, of letting it off in a clap of thunder, is dangerous, disconcerting and wasteful. It doesn't fetch up anywhere. My task was to subdivide the current and use it in a great number of little lights, and to do this I had to store it. And we haven't really found out how to store it yet and let it off real easy-like and cheap. Why, we have just begun to commence to get ready to find out about electricity. This scheme of combustion to get power makes me sick to think of--it is so wasteful. It is just the old, foolish Prometheus idea, and the father of Prometheus was a baboon."

"When we learn how to store electricity, we will cease being apes ourselves; until then we are tailless orangutans. You see, we should utilize natural forces and thus get all of our power. Sunshine is a form of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy."

He feels that the next 12 months will be critical to facing the problems of peak oil, but that it is so far advanced that innovations must come.

While families might plant Victory Gardens, one of the major expenses ($10,300 a year on average) is for transportation. Yet in commuting one usually has to swap time and inconvenience for money if one changes to public transport. A bus, for example, will average, in town, a speed of 8 mph, and light rail only 18, while a car gets 24 mph on average. This he used as a lead in to the discussion of the Jpods concept a small, personal light rail commuting vehicle that can carry individuals, under computer control around a network. As he noted “rollercoaster mechanics in an internet network.” The pods will be small and light, in contrast with the heavy frames of current vehicles, thus requiring less energy to move, and which can be provided by overhead solar panels. While this is largely still conceptual (though a prototype was shown at the ASPO Conference in Sacramento 2 years ago), he noted the system in Morgantown installed after the 1975 oil shock, and which has run 110 million passenger miles without injury and 99% reliability. That system is now seeking to expand. Podcars themselves have become of sufficient interest that there is now a conference devoted to their use.

Carey King was the last speaker before the reception. He stressed the importance of ensuring that an analysis of energy costs be comprehensive. Adding different elements that are not always considered can significantly reduce overall EROI values. The example he gave pointed out that, for example, a wind turbine might have an EROI initially set at 30:1. But as one included the energy required to build the turbine, to run it in the field, and to manage it from the corporation headquarters then this number could easily fall toward 10. If one then includes other costs (which have an energy component) such as debt financing etc. the value continues to fall. Thus the final number has, for particular installations, fallen to a peak of 13:1 and a low of less than 1:1. This is not something that is just peculiar to wind, natural gas may start with an EROI of 30 and lose 30% of that when quality adjusted and service included. These charges become even of more impact when the raw fuel is converted, such as for example when coal is burned to produce electricity and where, unless the heat is otherwise used, it must be disposed of giving a 33% energy conversion efficiency.

Following the reception, the Keynote session for the Conference was chaired by Tom Whipple who welcomed delegates and introduced Congressman Roscoe Bartlett to give the Overall Introduction to the Conference.

Congressman Bartlett has been a staunch voice for the community since I started coming to the ASPO meetings. I was fortunate to hear him at the meeting in Denver in 2005 and his remarks have remained on target and of concern – to us, if not his colleagues, since.

He was glad to note that Admiral Rice was the first speaker since the JOE Report recognized the reality of the situation with its statement:

By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD.

He used the report to emphasize that China will not reach the levels of oil production anticipated in the general community by 2030. He noted that, within a decade, it is likely that Iran will be an oil importer. He noted that OPEC with 75% of the remaining reserves, has 42% of existing production; the Former Soviet Union with 12.7% of the reserves has 16.8% of present global production; and the US, with 2% of the reserves, has 8% of the production.

China has already in place a “Post Peak Oil” strategy. It includes conservation, domestic supply, diversification, environmental impact issues, and international cooperation. It already buys oil from all over the world, including that still in the ground, and has a major blue water navy under construction to protect those interests. They are graduating seven times as many engineers as we are. They know you cannot rebuild exhausted reserves.

Admiral Rice was, until last week, the director of Strategy and Policy at the Joint Forces Command. They put out the JOE report, under the command of General Mattis. Admiral Rice recently took over from General Mattis. Since then Admiral Rice has received considerable push back on the contents of the report including comments on climate change; peak oil, China and Russia – and since these came from both sides, he felt that General Mattis had gotten it about right.

The problem that the Armed Forces face is that of the reliability and continuity of the logistics of supply, particularly to forward troops. It can cost up to $400 a gallon to get that fuel to outposts in Afghanistan. But it is in the primary purchase of that fuel, and the cost to the country, that he sees the greatest threat. When we spend $386 billion on overseas oil, 39% of which comes from dangerous or unstable regimes who funnel that money for use against us, there is a problem. We pay Venezuela $60 million a day, enough for 2 modern fighter aircraft, and they have bought several. China is buying the fuel, resources and refineries they need to ensure their supply and to provide safe means to bring it to China.

Russia having rebuilt its economy on oil and gas income, is now aggressively rebuilding its armed forces. Our military recognize that they must change, because an overly great reliance on oil means that if a tanker sinks a fleet cannot move, or aircraft fly (unless nuclear powered ships). And so there is a move to include renewable power in facilities. This includes solar at Nellis AFB, and geothermal at China Lake. The intent is to get half the power from renewable sources by 2020. But, while the military knows and recognizes the problem, it does not know how to carry this message to the rest of the country.

Dr Michael Klare was the final speaker, and discussed the problem of energy security and conflict, topics on which he lectures. He noted that we are in an intense, unrecognized, struggle for power and wealth. The most recent significant change in this has been that China has become the #1 consumer of energy in the world. The USA led for the last 100 years, but have now been overtaken. And on our part having exhausted our own reserves, we are now trying to exhaust everyone else’s.

While China and the USA both now consume around 100 Quads of energy, by 2035 the US will increase demand to 115 Quads. China will increase power consumption, at present trends, to 180 Quads. They currently get:

  • 62% of their energy from coal.
  • 19% from oil.
  • 10% from renewables.
  • 5% from natural gas.
  • 3% from nuclear.

He sees the continued, or perhaps increasing, dependence on coal as being disastrous because of the climate change effects. He does not see how they can import 10 mbd of oil in 2035 when the global supply will be less than it is today.

As a result conflict appears inevitable. We must however hope that they will increasingly rely on renewable sources, but even there we must chase and beat them (they are already leading producers) to remain competitive and to ensure our future, and our children’s futures. It is essential that we accelerate change to renewable sources.

Questions from the floor included one from Bianca Jagger on how we could get the public to adopt the military view (though how widespread the JOE report thinking is within the military remains in doubt).

Tom Whipple noted that ASPO-USA has changed its directors and is moving to Washington D.C. just so that it can have more influence, but it was Congressman Bartlett who realistically noted that we will need a major crisis for that to happen.

Unfortunately many of the “questions” in the remaining moments became statements of different viewpoints rather than questions to the Panel. So I will report back later on the second day of the Conference.

Thanks for the report.

While China and the USA both now consume around 100 Quads of energy, by 2035 the US will increase demand to 115 Quads. China will increase power consumption, at present trends, to 180 Quads. They currently get:

* 62% of their energy from coal.
* 19% from oil.
* 10% from renewables.
* 5% from natural gas.
* 3% from nuclear.

10% from renewables - how does this breakdown, I wonder. I assume that the lion's share is hydro? Anyone know?

The most recent thing I could find on this quickly was from '06, when 6% of their power came from hydro and only .06% from other renewables. I'm sure wind in particular has increased, but I doubt it is much over 1 or 2 % yet.

Three Gorges Damn alone produces 80,000 Gwh a year.

I see Wiki has '09 wind capacity at 25 GW.

10% from renewables - how does this breakdown, I wonder. I assume that the lion's share is hydro? Anyone know?

The above is for total energy, and the below is for Electricity, but you can see they already have attained a peak of 26.28%

Renewable energy in China continues to play an increasingly important and strategic role in the country’s energy development. Total renewable power capacity in China reached 226 GW in 2009, including 197 GW of hydro, 25.8 GW of wind, 3.2 GW of biomass, and 0.4 GW of grid-connected solar PV. This total was more than one quarter of China’s total installed power capacity of 860 GW. And, significantly, during the five-year period 2005–2009, wind power grew thirty-fold, from just 0.8 GW at the end of 2004.

China Added in 2009
 Wind    : 13.8 GW. 
 Hydro   : 22 GW 
 BioMass : 0.4 GW 
 GCPV    : 160 MW

A quick scan did not find nett new coal numbers, for comparison.
- but it doies mention this "China has begun building such (coal) plants at a rate of one a month."

How many members of the mainstream media are at the conference? As has been mentioned, there are virtually no reports about it in Google News (although I expect some media members would wait until the conference is over and write one comprehensive report).

It is hard to tell, really - I haven't seen any myself, but I know that the WSJ wanted to interview Rubin yesterday.

I can just imagine a mainstream journalist coming to the session with Hirsch, Martenson, and Stoneleigh - they would think we are all completely bonkers. I have said to some that all of this is like peeling back the layers of an onion. The inner layers don't make any sense until you understand and accept the outer layers. Anyone new to the ideas really needs to start from the outside, and work their way in, one layer at a time.

People are obsessed with growth -- it's intrinsic to their psyches. Consequently, they cannot "see" Peak Oil.

Look at how many stages of denial people go through:

1. Peak Oil is a crackpot "theory"
2. We can find more oil, we just have to look for it.
3. There are alternatives to oil, no big deal.
4. Technology will save us.

The biggest obstacle to getting people to even seriously consider Peak Oil is the fact the MSM and the government are not discussing it. It's very easy to dismiss and ignore someone when they are alone in their warning. But then the question is: why aren't the MSM and the government discussing Peak Oil when they are fully aware of it?

Bottom-line: People are unwilling to make sacrifices today for tomorrow. Why do you think we have Social Security?

Bottom-line: People are unwilling to make sacrifices today for tomorrow.

Why should you? If you opt to lessen your water use, the city claims you are stealing their water. If you opt to cut your gas use, you get accused of theft of service. (both has happened to me BTW - I await the city wanting me to meter the sewage as I'm diverting rainwater. Odds are I'll be accused of building code violations.)

Fiscal austerity is the reported reason for riots in the EU - why should you get a cut when others are not sharing the sacrifice?

I'm assuming you're being humorous.

But on the chance you're not, there is a selfish reason why people should want to sacrifice today for tomorrow. If your neighbor is destitute and you're not, chances are you will be under constant siege. Now, of course, you could dig a moat around your property, put up barb-wire (or even better, razor-wire), install machine gun nests, lay land-mines, and have 24-7-365 video monitoring of your property. Unfortunately, to maintain this security apparatus, you would have to be very wealthy indeed. And of course, you would need to have security guards you could trust.

Good luck.

Bottom-line: People are unwilling to make sacrifices today for tomorrow.

Why should you? If you opt to lessen your water use, the city claims you are stealing their water. If you opt to cut your gas use, you get accused of theft of service. (both has happened to me BTW

Besides such anecdote verbal exchanges, there are very real financial flick-backs too.

Water is a good example, as most water supply companies have essentially zero input costs (rain into dams), and they have fiefdoms built over decades, with locked-in cosy salaries, and some Maint costs, usually based on pipe-kms, not water volumes.

The simple result (and this happens around the world), is any decline in water usage, gets divided into the inflation adjusted cost base, and the next water rate struck, sees a hike in price.

Sadly, saving water does not even save you money, unless you run ahead of the pack.
If you lag, someone else's savings can actually cost you.

I find this thread somewhat bizzare. Maybe you folks need to rethink your lifestyles :-/

Water is a good example, as most water supply companies have essentially zero input costs (rain into dams),

This is not always true. In southern California, most of the water utilities have to buy their water from regional wholesalers, who in turn have to buy it from the Metropolitan Water District of LA. And there is only so much water to go around down there. A water utility that sees its customers using more than its allocation then has to impose water restrictions.

In theory, an overall decline in consumption would lead to a price rise, but water is already very cheap, and how many places actually have declining consumption? There are very few cities that have an over capacity of water.

Saving water does indeed save you money, if you stay ahead of the pack. If the whole pack is saving, that is great, the price may rise accordingly, such that everyone in aggregate is paying the same while using less water. And that is a major achievement if the city is using less water. It will prolong the life of aquifers, maintain higher river flows, delay expansion of sewage treatment plants, reduce water imports from elsewhere (in the case of LA) and so.

It is the equivalent of everyone in the US paying double for gasoline and using half as much - the total amount paid is the same, but total consumption is halved, and the US would be oil independent. The goal here is not necessarily to save people money, it is to use the resource as efficiently as possible. UNlike oil, water is very difficult to get from somewhere else - much better to stay within the limits of what you have. if it costs more to do so, then so be it.

When most households spend more on cable tv, or cellphones, than they do on water, they have room to accommodate in increase in water rates. Water and sewer is the original and most important health care system - if you think it is too expensive, try living in a city that doesn't have them, and you will be prepared to pay almost anything for it.

Saving water does indeed save you money, if you stay ahead of the pack

Saving water that you have added energy to via warming - sure. But my troubles for:

Placing Stainless Steel pipes to move corrosive rain water and the upcomming legal fights over the theft of water charges and what is being termed illegal grey water use - it would be simpler to have just gone along to get along.

Upside - I have their own propaganda that says 'save water' - and I do intend to wave that about.

There's a Huffington Post article that mentions it. Not easy to find from their home page though.

From the Thomas Edison quote above:

"When we learn how to store electricity, we will cease being apes ourselves; until then we are tailless orangutans.

I'll cut Mr. Edison some slack given the views prevalent amongst the educated elites of his time regarding the place of man with regards nature.

However I believe it is high time we accept the prevailing scientific knowledge and vast empirical evidence that the fact of orangutans actually being tailless, notwithstanding, we, Homo sapiens (a misnomer if ever there was one) are descendants of great apes, are great apes ourselves and our descendants will continue to be great apes for eons to come, whether we like it or not.

In other words we would do much better as a species if we finally accept reality and the fact that we are a part of nature and not exempt for all natural laws despite somehow having managed to convince ourselves otherwise.

Not to disagree with your main points but would it be more accurate to say that man and the great apes descended from a common ancestor?

--Amusing tweets about the frigid conditions at the ASPO=USA convention hotel. I recall regular meeting at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. A sweater and a coat were required no matter how hot the weather

I thought it was just me that was cold. I saw a woman last night wrapped up in something or another in an attempt to stay warm.

would it be more accurate to say that man and the great apes descended from a common ancestor?

No, actually it wouldn't. Humans *ARE* great apes. Though you are correct in that all great apes, including humans do descend from a common, great ape ancestor.

The Hominidae (anglicized hominids, also known as great apes[notes 1]) form a taxonomic family, including four extant genera: chimpanzees, gorillas, humans, and orangutans.[1]


According to the Tree of Life ( webpage -- and again according to the Lycos Taxonomy Webpage ( -- chimps, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas are [b]all classified as part of the family Hominidae, along with humans!

But my point wasn't really about the hominid family tree but rather about the fact that we need to accept our place in nature and stop pretending that we are some superior and special creature that's exempt from natural laws.

But my point wasn't really about the hominid family tree but rather about the fact that we need to accept our place in nature and stop pretending that we are some superior and special creature that's exempt from natural laws.

Oh so true, and we also need to accept that we can and are changing the planet, not only depleting its finite resources but also causing an increase in GHG moving us towards dangerous tipping points.

I mention this because over the weekend our inlaws were in town and one claimed we (humans) cannot possibly alter the world, therefore there is no such thing as global warming. Where did he get this strange bit of non-science? Fox News. I tried in vain to explain that Fox is not a source of Science, but instead a source of biased political opinions. He looked at me in such a strange way - it was as if in his mind he was looking at the devil.

In my opinion we can do whatever we think is best, deploy as much renewables as we can muster, but the descent from peak oil and its economic ramifications, along with the breaching of an AGW tipping point are inevitable. And when it is experienced, people will once again remember we are not exempt from the natural laws and will be forced to take responsibility for our actions. The actions of overshoot in population and resource usage, along with the collective attitude of having ignored the consequences of assaults on the oceans, land, air and other lifeforms.

Reminds me of the huge 1955/6 multi-author book from the Werner-Gren Foundation, Mans Role in Changing the Face of the Earth.

we (humans) cannot possibly alter the world,


Before and after humans

One thing that we need to understand is that the two items mentioned: Peak Oil and Climate change are not the same thing. They have different consequences and different tipping points. We may, as a species decide that we need to trade one against the other rather than have them both be satisfied. -- Unless we choose nuclear power, which may assist in solving both problems, we will likely have to face the fact that peak oil is the nearer and more dangerous of the two concerns.

I realize that I am making a judgement call here as to which tipping point we reach first. (My opinion only.)

Peak Oil and Climate change are not the same thing.

True, and which one hits a tipping point first is unknown. However, it is interesting that we do seem to be pinching in towards a bottle-neck whereby both are having their influence simultaneously. Oil plateauing or if you prefer peaking, is having economic ramifications, while increasing GHG's are also hitting the homefront. Burning FF has led to AGW, so it seems fitting that we should reap what we have sowed on both fronts. And what difference does it really make if we hit peak oil say 5-10 years before an AGW tipping point or vice versa? Humankind still has to cope with it and both will drag down the economy.


It would appear that we are in interesting times. My orientation is that of the scientist who cannot say for certain that CO2 levels are the main culprit of GW. Initially one said that the ocean’s tendency toward being a thermal sink could grant us 100 years before we reach a “tipping point” (This was an article in SA, I forget the date). Peak oil will be here sooner and if the climate is warmer, perhaps some minor problems will develop that can be resolved by changing where we grow food and walling more of our beachfront. A more recent study seems to blame surface albedo for the current warming and this consists mostly of H2O.
Thus, for me, the truth about GW is confusion but I am willing to grant that warming is occurring, just not when we reach some permanent climate altering point. But the truth behind peak oil is valid, only the time frame is at issue and we seem to be on a plateau that will extend until the final tipping point is reached. While I hold that nuclear electrical energy can delay the inevitable (and cut FF usage as well), the economics of peak oil will almost certainly be on us sooner than any major effect of GW.

This is not to say that a tipping point could be reached sooner in GW, but as a user of computer models, I believe any model that predicts an actual tipping point is highly suspect. And as a believer in the peak oil models, I believe that they too have their biggest problem in the prediction of an actual tipping point. Thus I would contend that we are in the peak oil era, like it or not, but that an actual crisis point cannot be determined with any accuracy today. We are in a minor warming period with no specific way to determine accurately the event that will put the earth in economic peril comparable to the economic peril that will be introduced by peak oil. Where is this opinion most likely to be wrong?

What difference does it make if they are both about to reach the tipping point? Not much except that one tipping point in my mind is more severe. Running out of FF should stop CO2 emissions but GW may go on for a century. We well may not care at that point because life as we know it will be already changed permanently. Any significant return to an agriculture based lifestyle (with attendant population reduction) would seem to affect people more urgently than a 6 inch rise in sea level or a .3 degree C rise in average temperature. So that is the point I am trying to make. In the reverse case, suppose our summers were warmer and we lack the energy to run Air Conditioners – we move to cooler climates or take siestas during the hottest times of the day. Perhaps our farm lands have to be relocated. Perhaps we have less rain? But the devastation to our civilization that will occur due to GW is going to move with turtle speed compared to the like devastation due to running out of FF. Another way of looking at it is if we have sufficient FF we can go on thumbing our nose at GW but not the other way around.

"Thus, for me, the truth about GW is confusion"

That is only because you wish to remain confused. There is no controversy about AGW among the top climatologist. All but one acknowledge that it is real and dangerous (and one does not a controversy make).

The basic facts are quite straightforward and un-contestable:

1) CO2 is a greenhouse gas (established over a century ago)
2) we have been dumping some 30 billion tons of extra CO2 into the atmosphere
3) atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen from below 300 parts per million to nearly 400ppm
4) global temperatures have increased

Which of these dots can't you connect? Which do you find "confusing." Obviously the finer point of global atmospheric dynamic can become hugely complex, but that's exactly when we turn to the people who spend their lives studying such details. And again, there is consensus among them that this is a very serious issue.

Your ignorance is further displayed when you say "running out of FF..."

Peak oil is not "running out of" oil, much less of fossil fuels. If we burn every bit of coal, tar sands...we will absolutely doom ourselves, our kids, and most life to destruction in the not too distant future (next few decades to centuries.)

As it is, if sea bed methane accelerates its decay at the rate that those most involved in the study of it say is likely, we are likely all doomed anyway, and in short order. Even Chindia cleaning up its dirty coal plants is likely to remove the sulfates that have artificially been allowing the world to avoid .5 - 2 degrees of warming that would already be here if not for its shielding effects.

In any case, there is no scenario under which we will be able to "thumb our noses at GW."

"Which of these dots can't you connect?"

The "CO2 is everything" hypothesis can not explain the Little Ace Age or the Medieval Warm Period, or a host of other pre-industrial climate changes. It can't even explain the mid-20th century cooling trend. At best it is only one input into the real climate model.

What they thought they knew about the sun was total guano too.

I think you may be confused. There are *no* claims that CO2 is everything. The solar study is interesting but highly preliminary and quite possibly wrong; in any case it has little to no impact on the role of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in warming the earth.

Good points, well put. There is a discussion at about that recent solar study. It looks to those experts like a slight glitch in the instruments for a couple years after launch. The satellite is now showing the same data as others. Note in any case that over 100 years of climate science cannot be overturned by a couple apparent data points from one satellite.

There are the natural cold and warm cycles. Simplistically, and for the moment, depict those as a sin wave. Lets say we are in a natural warming cycle. Now lets inject contributions from CO2 emissions on it. There could be a critical region where these contributions add strongly and create a spike in the upward trend of the sin wave. There is this meteorological saying that the flapping of a butterfly wing in Africa can cause the initiation of a hurricane in the Atlantic. This, of cause is just a metaphor for chaos theory where small changes at a given critical injunction will cause large effects.


Therefore PO (& peak net energy) have a significantly higher probability for near term negative impacts on global civilisation.

And yet the population at large, the political classes & the MSM don't see the picture.

One thing that we need to understand is that the two items mentioned: Peak Oil and Climate change are not the same thing. They have different consequences and different tipping points. We may, as a species decide that we need to trade one against the other rather than have them both be satisfied.

It does not have to be a OR choice, but raising the dual issues we face, does underline the importance of investments that have a real double benefit .

It is vitally important to make real changes, and not be distracted by illusion of action fluff, where money is merely churned locally, with a worse than useless overall result, where emissions energy use is merely exported, to countries with lower energy efficiencies, and no emissions limits whatsoever.

That lunacy empties the finite fuels bucket faster than before, AND costs money, AND raises Global CO2!

A few days ago I was talking to my 70-yr old dad about the economy. I said the price of gold was high and hyperinflation seemed like it might be on the way. "We can grow our way out of this" he said "with another stimulus".
"No we can`t" I said, "because of peak oil".
"Peak oil is RIDICULOUS!" He yelled, getting emotional. He was just as angry as he was a few months ago when I defended Jimmy Carter and said Carter had gotten it pretty much right.
Some people just fume at the words "peak oil"....the topic of PO (to some)seems like some sort of red flag waved at a bull, causes sputtering, incoherence and deep deep anger. "Growth" seems like a religion here.

Peak oil means are right and he/she is wrong.

Yankee ingenuity will save us like it did in the past (Jimmy Carter)

whoopsie. (Stupid computer!)

Yankee ingenuity will save us like it did in the past (Jimmy Carter)

How I wish that were true.
But our only slim hope was killed at birth. The reason it was killed is due to the predominance of the left brain.
The left brain has a narrative that it generates and sticks to. It will lie to it's teeth to maintain it's certainty.

There are numerous examples of this phenomenon. A split brain subject, to whose right hemisphere a photograph of a nude in a suggestive pose is projected becomes flustered and laughs in an embarrassed fashion. When the experimenter asks why, her verbal left brain has no idea. She therefore makes something plausible up- someone in the room is upsetting her.

p80 of The Master and his Emissary
Or as Granny would say. "There are none so blind as those who will not see"
So. . . .
Tell the garrulous, dominating, self justifying left hand brain to take a back seat and allow some humility in and read about CANR/LENR.
Your life depends on it.

Let's not forget that Carter, like Ehrlich, was absolutely correct yet oh so wrong. All you have to do is make a prediction about the near future that famously fails to be borne out and you are discredited. We need both visionaries with a bit less hubris and a bit more willingness to acknowledge the contingency and, well, unpredictability of the future, and a public a bit less inclined to conclude "it hasn't happened, therefore it won't". Where will we get these things?

I can be sure of one thing in these comparisons to our Hominid Cousins...they'll be greatly offended if they find out!

The total number of non human great apes is currently estimated to probably be no more than 400000, where only fifty years ago it was at least 2 million.

They way things are going there soon won't be any left to be offended...

The existing great apes are distant cousins. We have killed off all our closest cousins in the Hominid family, including, most recently, Neandertalis and Florienses.

We have recently been able to perform a DNA Sequence on the Neanderthal Genome. Although this was compared to just a handful(5?) of "modern human" DNA with no really close matches, I would lay money on high statistical probability that a close match would indeed be found if the study numbers were increased to at least a few hundred or more random samples, and would place another bet that the degree of similarity would be highest among football players and Republicans...although this again may be doing a great disservice to the Neanderthals.

1-4% of us is Neanderthal: Neanderthal genome reveals interbreeding with humans - life - 06 May 2010 - New Scientist Now, where's that bone club? Unk ag.

As one of the cadre of Fanboyz at, I remain hopeful that the EESU will appear one day soon and show us how to store 500w/kg.

Then we will be gods :-)

kind regards

EI, don't be lazy.
I had to find the links myself.
No one will take your post seriously if you don't do some footwork for them.
Good luck with the Caps.
We do so need solutions.

"While China and the USA both now consume around 100 Quads of energy, by 2035 the US will increase demand to 115 Quads. China will increase power consumption, at present trends, to 180 Quads."

I find this to be an incomplete analysis. How much of China's energy consumption is embedded into goods purchased by the US? Who the net consumer? Has the US actually increased its FF consumption via outsourcing.

Could someone give me a rough idea on the size of the ASPO conference in delegate numbers please.

A thousand? Two thousand? More?

And are the delegate numbers increasing over the years?

I live in Australia and would love to be there but !!! Long way to go.


And HO many thanks for all your work. Much appreciated. The summaries are fantastic.

I would guess 200 people attended. Certainly not thousands. But that's just my guess.

ericy, thanks.

I envisaged more attendees. Probably the single most important issue of our times and only 200 people attend. Amazing.

It boggles the mind and makes me wonder if we (I) really am crazy. I went to ASPO Sacramento and found it to be one of the most eye-opening, impressive conferences I have ever attended. My employers were happy to send me to Denver, but I kept saying "thanks, but no...I kinda get it....YOU need to go. ( Or at least read and think about some of this.)" But no...just a pat on the head, and a quick prayer to the gods of BAU and growth. And don't scare the children.

Hard to believe that there aren't thousands of attendees and even harder to fathom the lack of MSM coverage this far into pickle.

aye yi yi.,

There is a subset of the attendees who appeared to be hedge-fund types who want to know when the next speculative bubble will be. Whether or not they care about the fate of humanity remains to be seen - they are looking for an opportunity to make some more money.


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The number I have heard is that there are a little over 325 people registered. But not everyone stayed for the whole time. There were probably 200 people there this afternoon.

The question to Roscoe Bartlett and Admiral Rice was when would the military change its doctrine; equipment, missions and training? When would the government get serious, before or after the military bankrupted the country?

Does that read like a question or a statement to you?

The Admiral and Congressmen were actors playing parts spamming for the status quo. The military cannot solve its problems of vast energy consumption with a few solar panels. Only by eliminating excess operations and fuel guzzling equipment can it reduce its (gigantic) energy footprint. Congress cannot address fuel depletion with speeches from the floor of the House that nobody listens to or reads.

Writing reports is not enough. What is needed is action. Right now it is just as likely that the US military is planning to allocate all domestic fuel to its own and do so under a 'Security' rubric. This is against a backdrop where the same military fails over and over at indescribable cost.

Will the country eat?

Congress is just as responsible. Our high- tech military with trillion$ in gadgets is losing two wars against barefoot militiamen with carbines and RPG's.

Fire the Admirals and hire some barefoot militiamen with carbines and RPG's of our own. Good grief!

Change like that can't come from within the military. The job of the military is to do what is asked of it by the President.

It would have to come from above - from the Congress and the Executive branches, and ultimately from the populace. We have to give up this notion of being an empire, and once we give that up, then giving up a lot of the military becomes a lot easier. But there are a lot of people in the country who beat their chests and proclaim the greatness of the USA at every opportunity - to them it is unthinkable that the USA stop trying to maintain an empire. And military spending means lots and lots of jobs - defense contracts that Congress wants to bring home to their districts, and Congress doesn't want to give that up.

Regarding the US military, there is the crude adage "use it or lose it". The USA cannot afford to maintain such a large military with declining oil imports and a wrecked economy, at least not for much longer. The safest thing to do is to "lose it", scale it down, withdraw from our many outposts and use some of the troops to protect our borders.

The status quo seems to be to camp out in Iraq and Afghanistan, with our fleets patrolling nearby. All kinds of excuses are put up for this stratagem. The real reason, never to be stated in public, is to protect our oil interests in the ME, especially from anyone else who might want to grab it. That threat would not be Russia, a major oil and gas exporter, so you only get two guesses as to which country we are strategically blocking. Hint: major oil user, starts with a C. India and Pakistan nicely cancel each other out, but bear watching.

Lots of posturing going on, which is better than attempting a land war in Asia (never a good idea) and then the loser gets sore and literally goes nuclear on the opponents.

Hye guys.............
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