Drumbeat: October 22, 2010

Mexico oil production edges higher in Sept vs Aug

(Reuters) - Mexican oil production edged up in September from a month earlier as output from the giant Ku Maloob Zaap oilfield rebounded after summer maintenance.

Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex said production rose to 2.570 million barrels per day in September, up 0.4 percent from August. Total liquids production, which includes condensates and natural gas liquids, rose 10,000 bpd to 2.943 million bpd.

Japan eyes sending seismic ship to verify China's drilling in gas field

TOKYO — The government is considering sending an advanced seismic survey ship to areas near an East China Sea gas field over which both Japan and China have claimed exploration rights to verify the suspected start of drilling by Beijing at the site, government sources said Friday.

The dispatch of the vessel, which has advanced capabilities for conducting geophysical surveys of seabed layers, is intended to confirm whether China has commenced drilling at the field, which is called Shirakaba in Japan and Chunxiao in China, the sources said.

Petrobras to Declare Tupi Commerciality by Year-End

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, said it is on target to declare the commerciality of its Tupi field by Dec. 31 after finding more signs of oil at a new well.

Petrobras said a well drilled in the southern portion of the Tupi area found signs of light oil and gas and “reduces uncertainties” about the amount of reserves, the company based in Rio de Janeiro said today in a statement. The Tupi field is estimated to hold as much as 8 billion barrels of oil reserves.

U.S. natgas rig count falls 1 to 965-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by one this week to 965, its fourth weekly decline in five weeks, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The gas-directed rig count hit 992 in mid-August, its highest level since February 2009 when there were 1,018 rigs drilling for gas.

BP’s Azerbaijan gas venture to be spared EU sanctions

European Union governments have amended planned sanctions against Iran to spare a gas-production venture led by BP in which the Iranian government has a stake, a person familiar with the EU decision said.

Exxon says on track with Iraq's West Qurna plans

(Reuters) - U.S. oil major ExxonMobil said on Friday it was on track to reach its initial production target in Iraq's West Qurna Phase One oilfield next year.

French police break fuel depot blockade ahead of key pension reform vote

PARIS — French police have forced open a pivotal fuel depot blockaded by strikers opposing major pension reforms as the country's Senate prepares to vote on the measure.

At dawn, police descended on protesters at Total's Grandpuits oil refinery, which supplies fuel for the Paris area.

Any colour as long as it's black

Peak oil - also known as Hubbert's Peak, after the Shell geoscientist who first proposed the idea - has its zealots. They argue that oil production will peak sooner rather than later. Whatever the case, it hardly matters from an investment perspective. In practice, the most significant constraint on oil supply is not the quantity of oil available but the price at which it can be extracted. Most fields leave about 50 per cent of the oil in the ground because it's too expensive to extract. That means price is the primary constraint on production, not supply.

Salazar Says His Post in Obama’s Cabinet Safe After BP’s Spill

(Bloomberg) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, once criticized by President Barack Obama for taking too long to toughen regulation of offshore oil and natural-gas drilling, said he expects to keep his job after the mid-term elections.

NOAA reopens more of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing

NEW ORLEANS — More than 7,000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico south of the Florida Panhandle were reopened Friday to fishing after federal officials declared the area safe from oil.

Now, 96 percent of the Gulf is open to fishing, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Syncrude to pay C$3 mln penalty over duck deaths

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Syncrude Canada Ltd will pay a C$3 million ($2.9 million) penalty for the deaths of 1,600 ducks on a toxic waste ponds in 2008, a case that fueled international concern about the environmental impact of oil sands development.

An Alberta judge on Friday accepted the sentencing proposal, most of which includes contributions to wildlife and habitat conservation programs. Provincial Court Judge Ken Tjosvold found Syncrude, Canada's largest oil sands producer, guilty in the deaths of the birds last June.

Nissan starts production of 'zero-emission' electric car

TOKYO — Nissan Motor Co said Friday it has started producing a gas emission-free electric vehicle at its plant in Kanagawa Prefecture with an eye to putting it on sale in December in Japan and the United States and in January next year in some European markets.

Russians Take Another Look at Global Warming

Russia, the world's largest producer of oil and gas, has always taken a skeptical view of climate change. In the wake of last summer's fires, public opinion is shifting.

In the past, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has joked that global warming would mean that Russians would buy fewer fur coats and enjoy longer growing seasons. But after the fires, he and many Russians are taking a more open-minded view of the impact of humans on their climate.

US 'may become shale gas exporter'

As the boom in shale gas drilling continues to drive supply high and lower prices, the US could begin exporting gas, especially to areas of the world where prices are more closely linked to oil indexes, a BG Group executive told an energy conference in Houston.

“At the moment I don’t think it’s competitive,” Jon Harris, head of BG’s US upstream business, told Upstream on the sidelines of the Word Trade Group’s E&P Technology Summit.

But in the future, as technology brings down the cost of shale production, the equation could change, he said.

Statoil set for new Barents Sea drilling

Norwegian operator Statoil said today it has successfully tested its oil spill preparedness plans and is now ready to embark on a new round of drilling in the Barents Sea.

Coastal Chinese refineries normal as Megi nears

Coastal Chinese refineries were operating normally even though one plant had stopped fuel loading for several days a s Typhoon Megi approached China's coast, industry officials and sources said today Port activity at China's Maoming port in the western part of Guangdong, where Sinopec runs a 270,000-bpd refinery, resumed today after being halted for two days, with the latest projections showing Megi likely to hit east end of Guangdong and neighbouring Fujian province.

2/3 respondents back power pricing proposals

BEIJING - China's top economic planning body said Friday that 61 percent of Chinese respondents have expressed support for a proposed tiered electricity pricing mechanism aimed at saving energy.

BG says Tanzanian well encounters hydrocarbons

(Reuters) - British gas producer BG Group said a well off the coast of Tanzania showed a working hydrocarbon system was present, following the company's move into the East African country via a farm-in earlier this year.

French businesses start counting cost of protests

(Reuters) - French businesses may lose hundreds of millions of euros as a result of the protests against government pension reforms but economists, looking at past strikes, say the effect on economic growth will be minor.

But if the protest strikes and demonstrations last for an extended period, business confidence be affected, raising the risk of job losses and other blows to the fragile economic recovery, they say.

Diesel fuel supply shortage returns in parts of N.D.

WILLISTON, N.D. — Diesel fuel once again is in short supply in parts of North Dakota.

State Petroleum Marketers Association President Mike Rud (rood) says shortages often happen during the fall harvest season in the Midwest.

Hungary has toxic sludge, U.S. has red dust

Though U.S. plants remove and recycle much of the caustic soda, making the waste less acidic, the dust still affects the lives of nearby residents.

"It settles on your clothes, on your house, on everything else that you have outside," said Elexia O. Henderson, a 75-year-old retired school administrator who lives in Mount Airy, La., near the Noranda Aluminum facility.

Yet these plants also provide decent paying jobs, leaving residents torn between wanting a quality life and the desire for clean air and water.

Look to fertiliser alternatives

LACK of availability and high prices for chemical fertilisers would have a significant effect on farm systems in the future, warned Dr Robert Shiel of Newcastle University.

He felt some producers did not fully appreciate the value of farmyard manure and slurry as a partial replacement for bought-in fertilisers.

Halloween takes on a shade of eco-friendly green

When trick-or-treaters come knocking on her door in Westport, Conn., the 40-year-old mother will drop something different into their bags this year — boxed organic raisins, agave sticks, seashells and herb-seed packets. She doesn't mind spending slightly more on them than she would on candy.

"I just feel like candy is unnecessary," says Boyd-Mullineaux, a physician's assistant who has two children, ages 7 and 9. "You see the incredible volumes of candy collected — knowing that no one should eat that much — and it just goes into the trash. It just doesn't seem responsible to us."

China's LNG Imports May More Than Quadruple by 2015, LNG Shipbuilder Says

China may more than quadruple imports of liquefied natural gas in the six years through 2015 because of increased consumption of the cleaner-burning fuel, said an official from the nation’s only builder of LNG vessels.

Imports may rise to 25 million metric tons a year as the nation’s energy demand is climbing, Shen Ning, vice director of business and marketing at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., said in an interview in Shanghai yesterday. Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding has built all of the nation’s LNG tankers.

China’s LNG imports surged 66 percent to 5.5 million tons last year from a year earlier. The world’s biggest polluting nation wants to triple the use of gas to about 10 percent of energy consumption by 2020.

Oil hovers below $81 as traders mull Fed moves

SINGAPORE – Oil prices hovered below $81 a barrel Friday in Asia as traders mulled the possible effects of anticipated moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve to spur economic growth.

Oil May Drop as Slowing Chinese Economic Growth Curbs Demand, Survey Shows

Crude oil may decline next week after China’s oil processing grew the least in 18 months as government measures to cool the economy reduced fuel demand, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Fourteen of 30 analysts, or 47 percent, forecast crude oil will fall through Oct. 29. Eleven respondents, or 37 percent, predicted prices will be little changed and five estimated an increase. Last week analysts were split over whether futures would drop or climb.

JPMorgan Expects Oil to Rally, Sees Any Price `Setback' as a Signal to Buy

Any oil price fall should be seen as an opportunity to buy the contract as the next move in the market is likely to be a rally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said.

French Strike Pushes Europe Refiner Profits to 2-Year High

European oil refiners are getting the most profit from processing crude in two years as strikes in France curb production and winter heating-fuel demand rises.

Japan's top oil refiner JX to cut 1,000 jobs

(Reuters) - JX Holdings Inc said on Friday it was looking to cut 10 percent of the workforce at its downstream oil unit through early retirement as it grapples with fast-declining demand for oil products.

Energy costs drive inflation rate to 1.9%

OTTAWA — Canada's inflation rate rose in September, driven largely by higher energy costs.

Annual inflation was running at 1.9 per cent last month, according to Statistics Canada's consumer-price index released Friday.

Analysis: Court victory helps push pipeline ahead

The phrase "Dirty Oil" to describe the bitumen that comes from Canada's oil sands is one of the environmental lobby's great branding triumphs. Before 2004, you could find virtually no mention of the epithet in any major Canadian newspaper. In the last six years, however, it's been name-checked thousands of times. The point, of course, was to stigmatize oil sands output as undesirably foul and polluted. It's succeeded magnificently in many quarters. Except, it seems, in the U.S. State Department where it arguably counts as much as anywhere else.

It has been low-key about it, but the Obama administration has looked a lot lately like a fairly reliable ally in Canada's campaign to ramp up oil-sands production.

Iraq province says foreign gas firms are unwelcome

(Reuters) - Authorities in a western Iraqi province rejected the results of this week's government-organised gas auction, which allowed a pair of foreign companies to develop a big deposit on its territory.

The warning puts Anbar province on a collision course with the government in Baghdad, keen to allow foreign firms to tap its oil and gas reserves, and adds to a sense of uncertainty about doing business in Iraq.

Turkmenistan eager to boost gas exports via Russia

(Reuters) - Turkmenistan is eager to boost gas exports via Russia, the country's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said Friday during a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Russia to keep gas imports from Turkmenistan flat

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan—Russia's energy chief says the country has no immediate plans to boost gas imports from Turkmenistan.

Gazprom may join TAPI pipeline project - Russia's deputy PM

Russian gas giant Gazprom may participate in a consortium to build the trans-Afghanistan (TAPI) gas pipeline for the transfer of Turkmen gas to Pakistan and India, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said on Friday.

Cnooc Said to Bid $5 Billion With GNPC for Kosmos Jubilee Stake

Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, and Ghana National Petroleum Corp. made a $5- billion bid to buy Kosmos Energy LLC’s assets in the West African country, including its stake in the Jubilee field, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Chevron takes first step into Gulf of Mexico, but others will follow

Chevron’s announcement that it will lead a $7.5bn investment in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico underlines how eager the industry is to get back out there despite BP’s accident.

Certainly the new permitting process will have its challenges, but the majors need the gulf to bolster production in a world of increasingly inaccessible resources.

Louisiana Builds Barriers Even as Oil Disperses

Three months after BP capped its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico, the state of Louisiana is still building a chain of sand berms off its coast to block and capture oil even as federal officials and many scientists argue that the effort will prove pointless.

New well backs up Tupi numbers

Portuguese explorer Galp said today a ninth well in Brazil's offshore Tupi area confirmed estimated recoverable volumes of 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of light oil and gas.

ExxonMobil defends Kipper-Turrum project

Asked whether ExxonMobil was concerned about so-called "peak oil", when production of oil peaks in volume while demand also increases, Mr Dashwood said only about one third of all oil ever created has been used.

"If you add to that total resource base what you might call unconventional resources, there is ahead of us three times as much as has already been produced," he added.

Can China and India Save the World?

A pillar in all bullish arguments for the global economy is that China and India will carry the weight of industrialized nations due to their insatiable demand for a better way of life. While they will certainly try, the risk of both nations hitting a wall is increasing as that insatiable demand consumes increasingly more resources.

France seeking nuclear energy deals with Libya

TRIPOLI - France wants to do business with Libya in areas including nuclear energy, a French minister said on Thursday on a visit aimed at narrowing Italy's lead in building lucrative trade ties with the oil exporter.

Review: Get a charge out of Chevy's easy-driving Volt

The Volt is a premium execution of a pleasant-looking, easy-driving small car — one you'd probably be satisfied to have as your only vehicle (assuming you don't need a big car or roomy back seat).

Masdar a testing bed for grid of the future

Masdar City, the carbon-neutral development at the edge of the capital, will serve as a unique test bed for consumer concerns about the electricity grid of the future, experts say.

China Targets 280 Million KW of Hydropower, Higher Wind Capacity by 2015

China plans to have hydropower capacity of 280 million kilowatts and wind power capacity of 90 million kilowatts by 2015, Caijing reported today, citing an unidentified person from the National Development and Reform Commission.

First Maine Offshore Wind Farm in 2016

Dagher has been a key player in the interest in and development of offshore wind technology. The late Matt Simmons, an oil industry financial insider and the founder of the Rockland-based Ocean Energy Institute, brought high-level policy makers and oil industry professionals to embrace the potential of offshore wind. Simmons' efforts helped bring money and national influence to bear in the offshore wind development efforts in Maine, which accelerated the pace.

US launches renewable energy initiative

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States launched a renewable energy initiative to boost biofuel production to create jobs, lessen the effects of climate change and wean the country off oil imports, an official said.

Part of President Barack Obama's Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is a "national imperative" to assist the biofuels industry, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the National Press Club.

"By producing more biofuels in America, we will create jobs, combat global warming, replace our dependence on foreign oil and build a stronger foundation for the 21st century economy," he added.

More working families getting government food aid

HONOLULU (AP) -- Lillie Gonzales does whatever it takes to provide for three ravenous sons who live under her roof. She grows her own vegetables at home on Kauai, runs her own small business and like a record 42 million other Americans, she relies on food stamps.

Gonzales and her husband consistently qualify for food stamps now that Hawaii and other states are quietly expanding eligibility and offering the benefit to more working, moderate income families.

Greening Oz

The government considers a carbon tax.

China greenhouse gas growth "daunting": U.S. envoy

China's push to reduce growing greenhouse gas pollution is impressive but the "juggernaut" nonetheless faces a daunting rise in emissions, the top U.S. climate change envoy said after what he called helpful talks.

Ireland: Emissions reduced due to downturn

Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions fell for the first time in 20 years because of the economic downturn, scientists have revealed. The recession led to an unprecedented drop in carbon dioxide fumes pumped out by cars, factories, power plants and homes - down almost 8% last year.

Bad weather 'threatens Britain's railways because of climate change'

Travellers could increasingly be affected by flooding to parts of the ageing network, the bulk of the which was built before anyone had considered global warming.

Lines cutting through the countryside with high banks either side of the track are particularly vulnerable to landslips, a report has warned, as are low-lying areas from flooding.

Asian cities endangered by climate change

Asia's coastal megacities will flood more often, on a larger scale, and affect millions more people, if current climate change trends continue, a new report warns.

The report Climate Risks and Adaptation in Asian Coastal Megacities examines the impact of climate change on Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila, under a range of different scenarios through to 2050.

Here's a story from today's Wall Street Journal about cutting defense spending. Presented is a graph of spending after adjusting for inflation. Notice that there has been a steady increase beginning in 2002, what with 2 wars, etc. Instead of cutting defense, why not institute a new road fuel tax to pay for about half of that defense budget, given that most of our overseas effort actually "defends" our friends who provide us with our oil imports? Remember tht it wasn't too long ago when the Republicans wanted toe users of government services to pay for them. For example, now one must pay to camp on National Forest lands, land which we "own", (in theory)...

E. Swanson

The actual US spending is roughly twice the amount in that article -- over a trillion dollars in 2010. It is amazing to me that the UK is cutting defense spending.

Wikipedia -- Military Budget of the United States

goghgoner -

Quite a huge number!

But it is actually even larger than shown, simply because the US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are not even part of the defense budget, but rather are funded through supplemental congressional appropriations. So, you can easily add a few extra hundred billion dollars per year to the numbers shown on the above graph.

Military spending at this level is clearly unsustainable, but there is virtually no serious efforts in Congress to reign in this spending. The most obvious reason is that in an election year members of Congress don't want to be portrayed by their opponents as being soft on national security. Plus military bases and defense contractors are scattered all over the US and therefore reside in many different congressional districts.

Nor is there much discussion coming from the general public or the mainstream media, as the main issue at hand is the bad economy. Of course this level of military spending and the resultant additional debt load is an important contributor to our economic woes. Furthermore, I do not buy the argument that military spending really boasts the economy, as it produces nothing of utility and merely takes money out of one pocket (mine and other taxpayers) and puts it into another pocket (defense contractors).

How much longer can we afford to have this sacred cow remain sacred?

It still works "stimulus" short term (since we don't pay for it out of current revenues). And I didn't see the billions spent on our vast intelligence network, which is just another part of our defense/security complex included in this total. Vast, indeed. But, beating the fear of terrorism drum, along with the lionization of our warfighters, makes any attempt at real cutbacks into political suicide.

And how about the paychecks for the tens of thousands of new security guards for airports, government buildings, etc., all lumped under "homeland security"?

Lawrence O'Brien, last night...attacked defense with a big axe...finally.

00:01:21 Now, I want to begin with senator hart.
00:01:24 Gary hart, you were the leader of the discussion on defense spending.
00:01:28 Tell us how you argued for the commission ending up with the cut of $309 billion in defense spending.

You could shut the entire defense department down and you'd still have over $700 billion per year in deficits.

While I agree defense needs to be scaled back, the entire entitlement system is out of control. Look at the math and look at the demographics. It's a ponzi scheme, all of it, and it will either collapse or radically change. Our entitlement idiocy is no more sustainable than the dream of eternal fossil fuels.

The younger you are the more of a Pawn in the SS Ponzi scheme you are, and right now those on top of the scheme are crying the loudest about fairness.

It kills me! People at all levels need to get scaled back to reason. Not just the young folks --who are always in the cross hairs. Of course, the way it works is that older folks get more than us in the end. I am resigned to that treatment. But we have been watching. We arent stupid -- we are just younger.

While Gen X is mocked in the media. I think we are not the insane generation. We actually are trying hard. Always have been.

The Boomers sure had an easy go to retirement. Let me right them a check -- each month they get their excessive cut from my paycheck. LOL

Hi Oct,

Pardon me if I'm wrong but aern't you one of the guys who think I have it in unjustly for liberals, as a result having been thoroughly brainwashed by the conservative establishment?

Your comment at 2:45 pm seems to indicate that you have a certain amount of understanding of one of the failures of liberal politics-the tendency to make extravagent but impossible to keep promises.

Remember that I am a conservative thinker-not a bau conservative.By this I mean no more, and no less, than an engineer means when he uses conservative margins of safety in his work-I try to leave out the wishful thinking and spin as far as possible and simply look the facts in the eye;niether the left nor the right does this as a general thing.

But various factions of the right and the left are apt to jump into bed for a little whooppee every once in a while, consorting with the enemy, in a manner of speaking, in order to pursue partisan goals that occasionally overlap in a practical way.

For instance in respect to immigration:most philosophical conservatives are against it on grounds of principle or prcticality;but bau conservatives desirious of a handy cheap labor supply are very much for it;hence defacto deals get cut between the liberals in favor as a matter of principle or philosophy.Niether side has thought thru the long term consequences, which include population growth, more pressure on the environment, and lots of uneducated locals who are forced to take considerable pay cuts in order to keep a job that would pay better if there were not so many applicants for it.

In the end, it may be thqt immigration boosts the economy;but that is probably onlyarguably so if you believe in the perpetual growth paradigm-something not too popular here with the most scientifically aware commenters and authors;of course bau conservatives mostly believe in it;but for a wide awake liberal to believe in it, he must engage in some cognitive dissonance -otherwise known as believing in two mutually exclusive propositions at the same time.

Of course conservatives are ust as subect to the same sort of failings-even more so.But since there are very few in this audience, I feel it necessary to take up for the under dog occasionally and point out that the people on the other end of the political spectrum are not all idiots.

If anybody doesn't get it in reference to the idea that liberal thinking is subject to failure ansd should not be accepted as a matter of faith, I refer them to the current situation in France.Those poor students apparently actually do believe that they will be able to retire early with a full benefit package even though the birth rate in France is kinda low-but maybe they believe all thier immigrants will switch over to the traditional French rallying cry of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, and gladly adopt current French ways, abandoning thier own.

I will repeat my main argument-both ends of the political spectrum are in the vest pockets of the plutocracy , and have been, for a good while.It seems to me that the liberals are just as blind to this fact as the conservatives.

If I had my way, there would be a pox on both houses, and we would start over with a mathematically and scientifically and economically literate body politic.

(Most economic theory seems as if it would be sound enough to me, if it is modified to take into account the basic sciences of the mathematical, biological, and geolgical kind.)


The thing is, I think you have been tending to attribute various outcomes that you find undesirable to "liberals", but that are squarely part of the program of "conservatives".

Please note the quotation marks.

One point of my reply to you yesterday is that the liberal/conservative nomenclature has ceased to usefully describe anything, same with left/right.

We need more meaningful and accurate ways of describing political positions - terms that can disentangle the "social conservative" from the "fiscal conservative" from the "religious right" from the "lefties" from the "libertarian" from the "tea-partiers" from the "corporatists" from the whatever.

Right now it's an unintelligble mish-mash. Here in NH, most people that call themselves Republicans are really Libertarian - they do not care about who sleeps with whom, who smokes what, etc. Live Free or Die, know what I mean?

No, the political spectrum is not a spectrum, not a uni-dimensional scalar. It has many, many dimensions, and the sooner we can be intelligent about recognizing this, the sooner we can move beyond the retarded bundling of, for example, the sane notion of fiscal responsibility from some of the more fringe ideas about social issues - i.e., things that are nobody's business.

But we are not beholden to political correctness, the media is far from liberal, and carrying on as though this nation has not been slipping far far to the Right (whatever that means) is in my opinion absurd.

I'm going to ask you all to stop with the political rants. This is not the place.

This will probably be added to the official site guidelines soon.


It is IMPOSSIBLE to have a rational discourse based on American media content, anyway:
NBC, CNBC, Telemundo, Bravo, (in partnership with Microsoft): msnbc.com, (in partnership with Vivendi); Universal Studios, USA, Trio and Sci-fi cable channels are owned by G.E., as example.

I'm going to ask you all to stop with the political rants. This is not the place.

Isn't it? Well, there are political rants, and there are political insights. This is not the place for the one, but the other can be very appropriate to the issues that are of interest to TOD readers. If one could just tell the difference...

I find OFM's observations about political conservatism vs. conservative thinking to be quite insightful, not at all a "rant". Same for sgage's reply about the complexity of the political non-spectrum. I'd want to take it further, however, and say something about why it is that we're such suckers for artificial dichotomies, and how those who understand how we tick exploit that trait -- along with our general innumeracy -- to herd us in the direction their clients want us to go.

The story at the top of this thread is about the upward trend in military spending -- and by extension, its effect on the recession we're suffering through. I submit that without a good understanding of how the public consensus is shaped and manipulated by those who profit from the current state of affairs ... without that understanding, those of us who want to see some sanity restored and resources directed to the energy emergency have as much chance as the early Christians facing the lions. We're babes in the woods.

but the other [type of political rant] can be very appropriate to the issues that are of interest to TOD readers

I second that notion.

The largest hurdle in getting past our Petroleum Plummet Predicament is that of understanding the Politically Palpitated Primate mind and why it does what it does.

Why do their eyes glaze over?

Why can't we get them to understand? Before it's too late --about the PO thing?
Why can't they see that BAU is a race towards the edge of the cliff?
Why can't they sense that "muddling through it" just ain't going to happen?

"Conservative" is just another way of saying I yearn for the continuance of BAU of the past.

"Liberal" is just another way of saying I have faith in the innate goodness of my fellow man and that faith alone means we will somehow muddle through it.

The rational part of our mind hints to us that neither of these wants and wishes will be our true future.

And yet our guts tug emotionally towards one or the other end of the political chasm.

Moreover, every time there is a flame war here on TOD, we are reminded that "we" are no different than the rest of "them", the PO-unaware out there. We are human too.

The thing is...it's been discussed repeatedly, and the same things get said over and over again.

And there are a ton of other sites where American politics can be discussed.

Slanging matches between the generations don't achieve much except create needless hostility.
Generalizing about the experiences and attributes of various generations is not rational behaviour.
For every "Boomer" that has had a nice easy run you would find a lot more who have had a battle in various ways.The same goes for gen X,Y and so on ad nauseum.And I'm glad to hear that YOU are trying hard.

"The phrase "Dirty Oil" to describe the bitumen that comes from Canada's oil sands is one of the environmental lobby's great branding triumphs."

There are more, and PR folks take note. How about the 'Great Bear Rainforest' scam to describe the mid-coast BC? Of course there is no such thing.

Natives never referred to this area by that name, ever. I think it was called home, in one language or another.

With almost all economic development stopped, the area remains a bastion for wealthy foreign fly in fishermen at the luxury resorts, and a primo destination for kayakers who launch out of McNeil/Hardy after driving who knows how far in their expensive feel good Volvos and SUVs, roof racked to the heavens to hold the petroleum product kayaks and marvels of freeze dried/dehydrated food stuffs with nary a local product or hotel room purchased. And don't forget the motorized launches chasing orca pods.

Meanwhile, local loggers are an endangered species and younger locals are now forced to work at multi national fish farms raising Atlantics. Maybe, just maybe, if the logging wasn't wiped out there would not be such firm local support for fish farming. Talk about unintended consequences.

Dirty Oil? Is there clean oil? Cleaner oil? Aren't we all guilty except for those who have made a deliberate attempt to get by with less, bikes, walking, PV etc? Didn't someone say Suzuki has five kids just recently? (On TOD) I like the man very much but in some ways he is our localized Al Gore.

My rant is a plea for folks to clean up their own backyard. The oil sands, whatever you may want to call them, is one of the few things keeping our country afloat. And maybe, just maybe, it will help keep one or two aircraft carriers out of the Gulf and food on our table.


Paulo - You dog! LOL. Now you make me, a flaming conservative oil guy, defend those environmental wackos. I've seen the phrase "dirty oil" often during the last 35 years. Mostly it's a handle to indicate the price discount. Not all oil sells for the price you hear daily on the news. Add some suphur and you get hit with a discount for your "dirty" production. Same thing if the CO2 or nitrogen content is too high. And God help you if there's a bunch of vanadium in it.

But the ewackos are probably talking about the environmental impact of the oil sand recovery. But I can't really disagree with that position either. It is what it is. I don't consider the impact good or bad per se. There's an environmenal impact price to pay for almost every human action. The only question is whether the trade off is acceptable. And that's for each of us to judge IMHO.

I think you're glossing things somewhat Rockman. Sure there's a 'price to be paid for every hunan action'. But when you look at the Tar Sands projects it's a hell of a price. In fact when you look at the consequences of oil production in general it's also a hell of a price. It's not much worth paying the price if you lose in the long run - which is surely what Peak oil demonstrates to us? Ironically your position is like that of revolutionaries who also claim, "sacrifices have to be made" (ie deaths) for the greater good. When I look at the suffering of somewhere like the Ogoni people, http://www.ratical.org/corporations/OgoniFactS.html , there is no way I can imagine it's an "acceptable trade off".

Haiti's rate of fertility tripled - report

HAITI'S birth rate has tripled since the January 2010 earthquake, the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) said.

Igor Bosc, UNFPA representative to Haiti told journalists here that the rate of fertility has since jumped from four per cent to 12 per cent.

"It is of great concern to us and there is going to be a crisis in being able to respond," Bosc said........

Meanwhile, Gabriel Bedegian, Chief Technical Adviser on population development at UNFPA, said there has been a deliberate attempt by some countries to paint the Haitian man as a rapist. He said the increase is best explained by people seeking to use sex for comfort after the catastrophe and noted that promiscuity could also be a reason for the increase.

If this is how populations are going to react to the stresses caused by the dual catastrophes of Climate Change and Peak Oil the future will be even more ugly than many of us here envisage.

Alan from the islands

It has been discussed here that stresses on a biological population usually result in reduced fertility/reproduction, and that there are biological mechanisms that cause this to occur. This seems to be supported by this report:

"We know stress affects the top-tier reproductive hormone, GnRH, but we show, in fact, that stress also affects another high-level hormone, GnIH, to cause reproductive dysfunction," said lead author Elizabeth Kirby, a graduate student at UC Berkeley's Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. "This work provides a new target for researchers, a new way to think about infertility and dysfunction. The more we know, the more we can look for ways to treat it."

I have to ask, are humans the only species that, due to complex social factors, defy this aspect of evolution? Is there something more fundamental at work here? Perhaps the authors of this (and other) studies need to revisit this conclusion, at least in the case of humans in Haiti. Sociological/cultural or biological?

It occurs to me that, in cases of die-off and a stressed population, some organisms may in fact increase their reproductive rate, so as to insure the survival of the species.

As the oldtimers around here used to say; "We need to put saltpeter in the water."

Female humans are different from the females of most other species, who are sexually receptive only during estrus. Extended receptivity enables human females to cope with the extended dependency of their offspring by trading sex for support. During periods of social disruption, the lowered availability of contraceptives would also mean that this behavior increases the birth rate.

This situation supports the fertility opportunity hypothesis. Fertility has increased because of foreign relief aid. As miserable as life in a tent city is, Haiti was even worse before the earthquake. If the breakdown of family structure and moral strictures mentioned in the article is being accompanied by unlimited and secure access to food and medical care, then women could actually be interpreting that as an improvement.

It's well-known that birth rates soar in the aftermath of wars. Especially those with high casualties. Makes sense, from an evolutionary perspective.

I'd guess that the survivors of the Haitian earthquake are not feeling particularly stressed. People respond, emotionally, not to absolute conditions but to changes. Compared to earlier conditions and what they went through immediately following the quake, they're probably almost euphoric. They survived! The psychological environment would be very akin to what drives high birth rates after a war.

In the third world, many of the countries with the highest death rates also have the highest (even higher) birth rates. I think there is a deep understanding that procreation becomes essential when death is all around.



I've heard reports of a real boom in Sexual Assaults in the Haitian camps that were set up after the earthquake, as a cadre' of tents provides NO safety for women and children, and too many opportunities for distressed men(usually) to go out on the prowl... and there surely may also be factors of people having more sex as a response to this stress-laden catastrophe, yet very little access to birth-control materials, etc..

Larger than that, however, is the tendency for such stories to be painted about Haitians, as these people are left stranded by western societies to deal with conditions that are ripe for such problems. The disaster aid for Haiti has been unforgivably late and tiny, and the visceral response to SEX stories in the Western media, particularly around Women and Minorities (See also; Anita Hill, Krystal Ball), has the deft ability to upstage more vital concerns, since our lacy, Puritanical Undergarments are still so easily bunched up by the mere mention of our basic Animal Nature, and how much we are supposed to fear it instead of understand it.

"The disaster aid for Haiti has been unforgivably late and tiny, and the visceral response to SEX stories in the Western media, particularly around Women and Minorities (See also; Anita Hill, Krystal Ball), has the deft ability to upstage more vital concerns, since our lacy, Puritanical Undergarments are still so easily bunched up by the mere mention of our basic Animal Nature, and how much we are supposed to fear it instead of understand it."

It's not like some haven't tried, only to encounter this sort of thing:

IPPF [International Planned Parenthood Federation] has also sent out thousands of letters asking for donations to rebuild its clinics in Haiti which were destroyed by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

But Scott countered, “Planned Parenthood's deadly network wants to provide 'sexual and reproductive health to people affected by the disaster. While there are many organizations offering essential healthcare to the people of Haiti, Planned Parenthood wants to be sure that this includes birth control and abortion.”

....“Planned Parenthood looks at emergency birth control the same way most people view food, water and shelter,” Scott remarked. “And why do I think that not one person left homeless by a disaster was concerned about birth control?”

“I hate to sound cynical, but I am … and my cynicism is based on experience,” the LDI president said.


I'm trusting that Merrill includes this in his understanding of Human behavior around sexuality. (and Sorry to single you out, Merrill, it's really just a response to your comment above..)

Focusing on 'female receptivity' might be biologically accurate, but without considering the broader context, it also could play into a set of social stereotypes that undermines our ability to deal with and understand such problems in a productive way.

I don't know (or care) whether any other species has manufactured a similar kind of 'Religious Interpretation' that sets people up for such repeated manipulation, disasters, starvation, condemnation, racist belittlement and resource depletion. Some facts do too much to misdirect our eyes from more salient truths..

I'm not sure what you are driving at? Certainly the basic human sexual bargain is elaborated by a number of sociological mechanism such as the institution of marriage and inheritance, which globally take on a number of forms different from Late Medieval romantic love, modified by the aforementioned Puritans, the 1840s religious revival, Victorian middle-class inhibitions, and the late '60s liberation following the introduction of the pill.

Similarly, high-horsepower, low-mileage vehicles and 4000 square foot McMansions can be thought of as elaborations of the competition for mates and the nesting impulse.

Biology rules.

"Biology rules."

Yes, yes it does:

Haiti outbreak of cholera is most serious strain

– 29 mins ago
PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – The cholera outbreak in Haiti blamed for 135 deaths is of a strain that is the most dangerous, Health Minister Alex Larsen said Friday.

Larsen said tests by the World Health Organization confirmed that the outbreak is of the 01 strain of cholera which is the most deadly and is responsible for most of the outbreaks around the world.

"We are in a sanitary crisis, this is a new woe for the country which has not seen this disease in the past," Larsen said.

There was no immediate confirmation from WHO officials in Haiti who were carrying out tests, but the organization said it would be Haiti's first cholera outbreak in a century if true.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101022/wl_afp/haitiquakedisease .

Merrill -

If you have time, I strongly suggest you read "Sex at Dawn". The authors pull together a heap of data to argue that what I would call the "standard evolutionary psychology model", where a woman trades access to sex, and exclusive access to sex, for meat and protection, is NOT a correct description of how our ancestors behaved in the time from our split from our nearest primate ancestor to the invention of agriculture. Specifically, immediate return hunter gatherers tend to live in highly communal and cooperative tribes, and multiple partner, non exclusive sexual relationships are the norm. For one thing, we only recently figured out that one unique sexual encounter gives rise to each individual child, and for another, in a hunter-gatherer environment you don't really know who's going to be bitten by a snake tomorrow, or who will find the next beehive, so it makes more sense to have ties to lots of group members.

Anyway, check out the book, because I accepted the kind of narrative you describe in your posts, and so reading this more or less blew my mind.

In a multi-partner small group setting the sexual interactions still achieve the goals of maintaining male membership in the group (rather than the male going off by themselves after mating as is the case for many species with precocious offspring) and of obtaining support of the females and children in the group.

See for example Wild Chimpanzees Exchange Meat for Sex on a Long-Term Basis

I'm driving at a couple things with what I said.

One, your comment focused on Women's role in choosing to have sex, but didn't explore men's. Clearly, the way we have viewed sexual permissiveness has been consistently with a double-standard between men and women. (The Slut-Stud chasm, as it were)

Second, The rule of "Biology" gets treated like an Euclidean truth, and yet "Psychology" is a very wily piece of that organic mix which as we see from Ghung's post will constantly Usurp or Veto what might be the more understandable course that pure "Physiology" would have chosen had it not been interrupted or interfered with.

I know far too many females who have no interest in Horsepower or Mansions to let your final point be the shorthand for understanding how women choose mates.. particularly since I know a great many Men, even some of the finest ones, who are susceptible to such 'Matters of Size' not to have their role in this value-system be heavily considered at the same time.

The ability of women to independently support themselves and their children is a historically novel thing, more or less conincident with the rise of the oil-based economy.

Prior to about a century ago, most women lived on farms or rural villages. The division of labor was heavily sexist, with women caring for the house, garden, canning, sewing, small animal husbandry, and caring for the small children. The men did field work, logging, carpentry, blacksmithing, large animal husbandry, and the like. This was mostly consistent with the physical requirements of the job - throwing a work harness over the back of a draft horse requires considerable strength, for example.

In farming communities (and I'd believe herding and nomadic cultures as well) a woman's lot was better if she chose wisely and married a man who was strong, organized, intelligent, capable and diligent in providing for her and her children. In riskier times, the ability of the husband and relatives to protect the woman were also important.

A woman who did not chose wisely, who became a widow, or who was an old maid, was much more likely to have a difficult life.

A wise choice of a mate is probably one of the most important things a woman can do to prepare for post Peak Oil.

The ability of women to independently support themselves and their children is a historically novel thing, more or less conincident with the rise of the oil-based economy.

I don't think that's true. There's plenty of evidence among existing foraging societies that women could and did independently support themselves. Some anthropologists think the "natural" structure of human society is groups of women raising children, with men more or less passing through. (Hence, we are returning to that structure due to the fossil fuel fiesta...to the dismay of "traditional family" proponents.)

As Jim points out, in some societies it was believed that it took more than one man to create a child. The woman would have sex with more than one man during pregnancy, and the other fathers helped support the child when it was born. (Often, anthropologists did not realize this, because it never occurred to them to ask.)

If you think about it...monogamy doesn't serve the interests of either men or women when it comes to evolutionary advantage.

monogamy doesn't serve the interests of either men or women

I call BS on that one.

From a man's perspective, if that ain't my kid, why should I waste energy and time nurturing it?

If that woman isn't faithful/loyal to me, why should I waste energy and time nurturing her?

And BTW, why isn't "this" a political rant? (Gender politics)

From a man's perspective, if that ain't my kid, why should I waste energy and time nurturing it?

It might be your kid. You don't know. And your own children might benefit from another man thinking he's the father.

And there's a difference between monogamy and serial monogamy. Humans seem wired to stay together for about four years - enough time to raise a kid until it's old enough to walk. (That doesn't mean you can't stay together longer; we humans are very flexible when it comes to social structure.) You can be sure some kids are yours, while others are not.

Monogamy is pretty much a myth in the animal world. Even animals who "mate for life" turn out to cheat whenever they get the chance, judging from DNA analysis and other studies. Males and females both.

And BTW, why isn't "this" a political rant? (Gender politics)

It's not gender politics. It's anthropology.

It's not gender politics. It's anthropology.

You know Leanan, if we were living in another country, with a different kind of political view; a political view of where women "belong" in the social pecking order (think Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, those kind of places), talk like yours, or for that matter any hint of intellectual talk from a woman, could get you stoned to death.

It's all politics.
It's all about who has power, control and how they go about getting it and keeping it.

There is no clean dividing line between one area of study (anthropology) and others (religion, politics, economics, history, science).

Oh, come on, SB.

Don't tell me NitPicking is your middle name..

I'm sure Leanan isn't even saying that there should be NO talk of any politics on this site, as it clearly is a factor in our energy future.. but it's the recurrent hashing of Left-Right Cliche'-Slinging that has gotten to be a tiresome distraction for anyone who is looking for a more in-depth conversation than we can find in the Reactionary Comments at HuffPo, WashPo, or NewYorkPo.


(as She was right to pull the bickering between me and Ron yesterday. My Apologies for that..)

Exactly. Discussion of politics from an anthropological view would be fine.

And it's the staff in general that wants to cut back on political discussions, not me in particular (though I support their desire). You think I'm quick with the delete key. You should see the hundreds of posts deleted from the BP threads. It got to be ridiculous. To the point where we were seriously considering making TOD read-only, no comments.

The thought of a No-comments OIL DRUM should put all of us on alert.

It's not only Corporations that have (should have) an obligation to 'Self-Regulate', before being forced to behave by their society or its government.

Thanks, Leanan and TOD-staff! This is an oasis.

The thought of a No-comments OIL DRUM

The thing that has made TOD so worthwhile reading is the comments of the many insightful commentators here.

A No-comments OIL DRUM will be a no longer TOD Drum

Ohmygod...are we now approaching "Peak Oil Drum" too? ;-)

I suspect a lot of people would say we are already past that peak, just as we're past peak oil.

Nothing lasts forever. People here should understand that, surely.

Time to pass the torch? ..... Leanan?

Perhaps. As I've said before, with peak oil in the rear view mirror, one of the main reasons for this site is gone. Of course there's plenty more work to be done, but I wonder if we're the ones to do it.

So adapt the site to the new conditions of peak oil as reality. More folks than ever will be needing guidance for how to cope. What better group, especially some of the regular commentors here, to discuss how to deal with peak oil as it plays out.

I can sense that the staff is weary, some have been conspicuously absent, so recruit some of the more qualified regulars here to do one or two Drumbeats per week each and consider some of the guest posts that have been offered. Staff can still jump in if needed, but do less of the heavy lifting. I'm sure that there are a few commentors here that you could trust to do a great job.

Just a thought. It would be a shame to just flip the switch on this great body of work. Too many other sites out are there determined to promote their reactionary disinformation.

Best hopes for more rest for Leanan, Gail, et. al. Bravo Zulu!

So adapt the site to the new conditions of peak oil as reality. More folks than ever will be needing guidance for how to cope. What better group, especially some of the regular commentors here, to discuss how to deal with peak oil as it plays out.

I really don't think we're a good group to do that. We're geeks. We don't have the kind of social, political, and communication skills for that role. Other sites are probably better at it. (Energy Bulletin/Post Carbon Institute, for example.)

There's also the fact that the belief that peak oil was imminent is the only thing the staff had in common. We're a very diverse group, with views of the future that range from "we'll all die off shortly" to "we'll make the transition to alternate energy without much trouble" and everything in between.

This is the real issue, not the work involved, IMO. Now that peak oil is past (or at least not supply-constrained), we don't have a common goal any more.

" ....we don't have a common goal any more."

We, the participants do.

I was under the impression that the goal, as stated at the top of this page, was "DISCUSSIONS ABOUT ENERGY AND OUR FUTURE". It's clear to me that the discussion continues, and the other sites you mention haven't come close to the level of TOD in their quality of discourse.

But you folks, conceived, birthed, and nurtured this baby..............

...................... what will they do now?

There's also the fact that the belief that peak oil was imminent is the only thing the staff had in common. We're a very diverse group, with views of the future that range from "we'll all die off shortly" to "we'll make the transition to alternate energy without much trouble" and everything in between.

I've only been here a relatively short time, but from what I've seen that diversity of viewpoints is one of the great strengths of TOD. Likewise, the range and diversity of views of comments. While I have disagreed with much, I have also learned much.

It would be a shame if you let it all go, but I can understand your viewpoint too. In the end, you gotta do what you gotta do.

It's not really the conflict in views that's the problem, at least so far as the comments go (nor the dealings amongst the staff - we've long known we don't agree on much, and indeed, were selected for that reason).

But when the mission of the site switches from "when will we hit peak oil" to "what to do about it," that diversity becomes something of a headache. As an example, some people want more "doomsteading" articles - how to set up a hideout in the hills, off the grid, where you grow your own food, make your own clothes, etc. Others think that kind of thing is embarrassing, and TOD should not be associated with it.

For that reason, I think in the future the site will probably be more narrowly focused on energy.

that kind of thing is embarrassing

"Embarrassment" is an emotional response, not a reasoned one.

If those in the camp that opposes the "zombie safe house" approach (and that includes me as an opponent) cannot come up with a long list of reasons for why "go-it-alone" (DIY) cannot work, then we are indeed in sad shape.

I know we have debated these issues time and again. But there are always new readers who haven't been exposed to the arguments.

The cholera breakout in Haiti is one good example of why the pastoral idea of living on your own out in the wilderness and off the fat of the land just doesn't play the way you thought it might when the stuff actually hits the reality fan.

One further comment on the importance of a wide diversity of opinion. This is probably obvious, but I think still worth explicitly stating. Talking with people I mostly agree with gets to be a sort of an echo chamber, I may feel better about my beliefs, but I don't learn very much. I nearly always learn more from people I strongly disagree with. It can be infuriating and frustrating, but also rewarding and enlightening. Again, I think that is one of the greatest strengths of TOD.

Peak oil ain't done till everyone's done using fossil fuel. There's still a lot to do educating people that the good old days are gone and BAU cannot continue. I came here because of thee GOM incident and stayed because I learned the answers to many of my questions about the future of energy.


"Got a wife in Chino, babe
And one in Cherokee
First one says she's got my child
But it don't look like me"

Jerry Garcia/John Dawson

I don't think that's true. There's plenty of evidence among existing foraging societies that women could and did independently support themselves. Some anthropologists think the "natural" structure of human society is groups of women raising children, with men more or less passing through. (Hence, we are returning to that structure due to the fossil fuel fiesta...to the dismay of "traditional family" proponents.)

Births to Unmarried Women in the USA starting from highest to lowest: Blacks --- Hispanics --- Whites --- Asians

The severity of social problems (crime, education, income, etc..) suffered by each group ordered from high to low: Blacks --- Hispanics --- Whites --- Asians

Is there a connection here or is this some odd coincidence?
Society now believes ***YES*** there is a connection here.

Whether (women raising children, with men more or less passing through) is (the "natural" structure of human society) is besides the point.
That's obviously not the most advantageous way to organize a society.

Correlation is not causation.

I think an argument could be made that it's the transition that's difficult, not necessarily the new structure itself.

Correlation is not causation.

So according to your theory the illegitimacy rates of blacks (the highest of any other ethnic group) has no "causation" for the fact they suffer the most from social ills (crime, income, education).
It's all just a happy coincidence huh? Simply just a "correlation"...but no "causation".
*looks around room and sees everybody shaking their head, NOBODY believes Leanan*
Well anyways regardless, the pendulum has swung the other way. Radical feminism is a dead ideology. The belief that a successful society can be created with fathers playing an absent role holds no credibility today. This isn't 1992 when Dan Quayle vs. Murphy Brown....caused a public debate. The debate is over. Your ideology Leanan has lost.

Sounds like you are looking around a room where you've painted a bunch of people agreeing with you.

The debate clearly rages on..

Do you understand what "correlation is not causation" actually means?

The classic example is Macy's Department Store. You might have a theory that people going through the revolving doors in front is what powers the escalators inside. The proof? Look inside when the doors are locked, and you'll see the escalators aren't moving!

It doesn't mean two things are unrelated; it means one doesn't necessarily cause the other.

In the case of having children out of wedlock, cause and effect may be reversed. Studies have shown that these women actually do want very much to be married. They greatly value marriage, even consider it sacred. They just don't want to marry the men that are available to them, considering them not marriage material.

And I'm amused that you think I have a feminist ideology. I suppose if you define "feminism" as the idea that women are human, then I'm a feminist. But "radical feminists" generally hate the anthropological view as much as Bible-thumpers do.

And I'm amused that you think I have a feminist ideology.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then...

The belief that a successful society can be created with fathers playing an absent role holds no credibility today.

Cherry picking data to support your a priori prejudices.

Sweden is a more successful society than the USA. Sweden has higher rates of out-of-wedlock births than the USA. Ergo, marriage is a bad idea for raising children if one wants a successful society.


Rates of out-of-wedlock births is probably the wrong parameter. IIRC there was a study a couple of decades ago regarding the fact that about 50% of Swedish brides were pregnant when they got married. Since Sweden has very good records on such things, the researchers looked back to the mid 1800s and they found that the percentage of pregnant brides was unchanged in the century.

The better parameter is likely to be the stability of families, wed or not.

America's Kids Less Stable in our Marrying Culture than Sweden's Partnership Families

Rates of out-of-wedlock births is probably the wrong parameter.

When I said "out of wedlock births" I assumed people here would have the intelligence to connect the dots and conclude that would most likely mean "single parent households" so therefore I shouldn't have to explain everything step by step.
oops I forgot this the internet never mind.
No internet discussion would be complete without a false allegation.

IIRC there was a study a couple of decades ago regarding the fact that about 50% of Swedish brides were pregnant when they got married. Since Sweden has very good records on such things, the researchers looked back to the mid 1800s and they found that the percentage of pregnant brides was unchanged in the century.

The better parameter is likely to be the stability of families, wed or not.

America's Kids Less Stable in our Marrying Culture than Sweden's Partnership Families

like I said before
"The belief that a successful society can be created with fathers playing an absent role holds no credibility today."
Radical feminism is dead.
your post simply reinforces my statement thank you.

There was a similar study in the US, that many found very surprising. The rate of premarital sex has not changed over the last century. It's more open now, but it's not happening more often.

Sweden is a more successful society than the USA.

huh what?
Where did this come from?
Let me guess you must be a bleeding heart Liberal and you look towards Sweden as a model of success because it has less income inequality.
Let me explain an inconvenient truth to you.
A lot of Liberals ignorantly believe that a lack of social welfare leads to a high Gini Coefficient.
A common comparison is the USA vs. Sweden.
oops but look at Japan they spend less on social welfare than the USA but Japan is more egalitarian.
It seems that the facts do not conform to the ideology or more appropriately stated the ideology does not conform to the facts. ^_^
The reason is simple.
Japan is ethnically homogeneous.
Everybody knows that some races are more financially successful than others so a multi-racial society would tend to create more income inequality such as the USA.

After a deficit last year, Sweden will be running another budget surplus this year.

Swedish unemployment rose to 7.8% in September. (Seasonally adjusted 8.2%)

Sweden has made and is making the investments to create an oil free transportation system.

Unlike, the US, where median incomes have been stuck since Ronald Reagan was elected, the bottom half of Sweden have seen rising after tax incomes.

Swedes live longer, healthier lives while paying significantly less for healthcare than Americans.

Etc., etc., etc.


Alan, I wonder how many of those investments will be hurt by the decline in oil?


Not many.

The bridge/tunnel between Sweden & Denmark carries 400 electrified trains/day now. An enduring economic asset.

Likewise the ongoing electrification and capacity improvements to their rail system, new commuter trains, urban rail, bicycle paths & parking, electrical grid improvements, etc.

Best Hopes for Sweden,


Everybody knows that some races ...

A false assumption. Not "Everybody" is a racist.

The dichotomy lies elsewhere than race.

Only to the extent that society makes race a major issue (such as "separate but equal" schools, employment opportunities, continued racism today, etc.) is race a major issue.


From your Gini map, please note the other "purple" nations besides the USA.

Mexico (but not Canada)
Dominican Republic
Sri Lanka

Not a SINGLE developed nation (OECD) nation on the list.

The USA has devolved to a 3rd World type economy.

Thank you for pointing this out to me.

Useful data.


Mexico is OECD (1994).


Correlation is not causation, but it does sometimes waggle it's eyebrows furtively and gesture "over there!"

I think in this case, however, you have your most likely causal relationship reversed.

It is much more likely that the social ills are the cause of the unwed births than the other way around.

Men who are spending half their lives in jail are poor prospects for marriage, after all.

Yes. Research has shown that both the liberal and conservative views on this issue are wrong.

Conservatives want to encourage marriage, but there's really no need for that. These women want to be married. They just don't want to marry the men who are available to them. Trying to convince them of the benefits of marriage won't do any good. They're already convinced.

Similarly, liberals often think the problem is lack of knowledge of or access to birth control. That's not it, either. These girls are pregnant because they want to be.

The problem is that motherhood is the way to adulthood for these girls. Middle class girls set their sights on college and/or a career as a source of esteem and proof of adulthood. For poor girls, those aren't seen as viable options; instead, they aspire to be good mothers. Good mothers are admired in their neighborhoods, and unlike a college degree, it's something every girl can aspire to.

"A wise choice of a mate is probably one of the most important things a woman can do to prepare for post Peak Oil."

I'll pass this on to my wife.....

I know far too many females who have no interest in Horsepower or Mansions to let your final point be the shorthand for understanding how women choose mates..

money and power

LOL ! Good one.

The theory I have heard oft repeated is that females seek out males who appear to them to be near the top of the social pecking order (the alpha/ bad-boy male).

'That's funny, she doesn't look Drewish..'

China quadruples LNG imports.

The implications for the UK ?

Germany & France et al have long term Dutch & Norwegian gas export contracts. Russia is a long way away, unreliable and the UK is at the end of the pipeline.

LNG is the logical option (until enough wind turbines and nukes can be built).

But if China is buying all that it can (an easy way to extend coal and improve air quality), what option for the UK ? Bidding war for LNG ?

Best Hopes for HV DC to Iceland,


That's why I'm glad, despite all the problems, that the US has shale gas. Being reliant on LNG for the long term future is a scary prospect. England should be building renewables and nukes ASAP.


At the ASPO Conference I gave a talk titled: "Natural Gas Net-Export Trends".

After reviewing a lot of data, explaining visible patterns and describing various factors that affect production and consumption growth I ended with a slide of predictions for the next 10 years. Three of the predictions I am quite confident of are:

  • China will become a huge net importer. [of natural gas]
  • LNG will become increasingly expensive.
  • The UK Gas Balanceing Alert will be triggered multiple times.


I have as a house guest a Professor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Iceland who has a grant from the Nordic Ministers to study -

- Increased renewable generation in Iceland (especially wind, now zero) with existing summer surplus (avg 150 MW) of hydropower
- Exporting power via HV DC to Faeroe Islands, Shetland Islands and on to Scotland (and I argue Ireland as well).

I think that Peak electricity will be priced at the cost of LNG, and LNG will be expensive. EdF sees this already (see two new nukes under construction in France just across from England, talk of building more nukes in England).

Iceland can plan on getting top pound/euro for sales to Scotland and Ireland as NG shortfalls impact them.

Any comments ?

Best Hopes,


Between existing geothermal and hydro and plenty of wind potential Iceland definitely has renewable power to spare. The only real question is whether it makes financial sense to build the cable today or wait until tomorrow. Although I am confident that spot LNG prices will go up substantially in the next decade, I cannot be so certain about piped gas within Western Europe. There is still so much we don't know about how well the NordStream pipeline will work and whether Nabucco will get started any time soon. There is still a lot of gas in Russia, Algeria, Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, etc. that may end up getting piped to Europe, keeping prices for gas and gas-generated electricity low.

For many reasons I would love to see an HVDC cable laid between Iceland and Scotland/Ireland. But I'm not sure I would invest in such a venture today.



The link above, US launches renewable energy initiative: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101022/pl_afp/usenergyenvironmentbiofuels
....seems to indicate that much of the focus will be to create biofuels from perennial crops and biowaste, etc. Somewhat encouraging.

I met up with a friend (at the gas pump) last week who is trying to be "environmentally aware and live a sustainable lifestyle". She was taken aback that, for the most part, I didn't consider today's biofuels, especially corn ethanol, renewable or sustainable. I explained my feelings about soil and water depletion, the requirements for fossil fuels in their production, and that under current production methods, I don't consider biofuels renewable or sustainable at all. Just a case of kicking the can, so to speak. I warned her that we need to use care when using lables such as sustainable and renewable in absolute terms. In some ways, these have become "feel good" discriptions of what may only be less environmentally harmful processes. She was a bit dismayed to learn that, in absolute terms, the only possibility for a truly sustainable human existence would be a small, stable population of hunter/gatherers in balance with their environment. "This of course is an ideal that will never be achieved by modern humans, so just keep it as a reference when prioritizing your choices". I think she got it.

She said that I should write this up as one of my submissions to our local paper. In 500 words or less? Good luck with that. I recommended some books on the subject.

Best hopes for clarity of terminology (and fewer annual crop biofuels).

She was a bit dismayed to learn that, in absolute terms, the only possibility for a truly sustainable human existence would be a small, stable population of hunter/gatherers in balance with their environment.

Not sure I quite agree with that statement as I can imagine a technologically advanced steady state ecologically integrated civilization that is a good steward of it's resources and understands both the need and has the methods to control it's own population. I'm not suggesting that this will actually happen any time in the near future but as a thought exercise it is something that think is at least theoretically possible.

Having said that, the fact that your friend was only a bit dismayed is a pretty good sign.

"I can imagine a technologically advanced steady state ecologically integrated civilization that is a good steward of it's resources and understands both the need and has the methods to control it's own population."

Uh,,,,, Fred, I was discussing Homo Sapiens Disfunctus here. I know it's hard for a Sapien like you to relate ;-)

It strikes me that we need some more creative works imagining such a society, without turning it into a utopia.

It would require essentially total recycling of all non renewable resources and essentially NO use of any fossil fuels or nuclear fuels since these are not renewable on human time scales.

Re: US 'may become shale gas exporter'

"as technology brings down the cost of shale production, the equation could change, he said."

Read "as more costs are jettisoned to the environment and public, the equation could change."

After two years of eco-living, what works and what doesn't

After experimenting with solar panels, gray-water systems and chickens for two years, a budget-minded consumer takes stock of what worked and what didn't.

Item by Item with costs and links.

Interesting, but it seems like those numbers would be very depending on where you live. For example, water is much cheaper in the northeast than in California, and many people have their own wells and septic rather than using city water and sewer. That would probably change the economics of graywater.

I'm not surprised the economics of chickens didn't work out, but I am surprised she had so much trouble keeping them. Chicken keeping is very popular around here, and though people occasionally lose one to a hawk, critters breaking into the henhouse at night isn't a problem.

Racoons are an issue here in Connecticut - even in a quasi-urban area. They have become naturalized, even in dense suburban settings

Oh, there are a ton of raccoons around here. Ditto skunks, possums, coyotes, foxes, etc. But they don't bother the chickens at night.

One word: weasels.

I lost 6 hens in one night to a weasel.

I've also lost hens to fishers, red-tailed hawks, and foxes.

But weasels are the worst - they're so small they're hard to keep out of the henhouse. And they are NOT strictly nocturnal in their killing.

Around here, without a secure chicken house, loss of chickens to nocturnal varmints is a sure thing. Our original small hen house was several hundred feet from our home and we had possums and racoons climb the coop fences to get eggs and terrorize the hens at night. It was hard to get the chickens to go home in the evening after that, leaving them exposed to other predators. I eventually moved them nearer to the house, adjacent to the dog runs, and bought one of these on clearance from the local home center:

7'x7'x7', perfect for 10-12 hens (and their mighty rooster). Double walled heavy plastic, with floor, easy to clean, secure, with ventalation built in. I added a doggy door and two vinyl 2x2 windows, also from the clearance rack. Some chicken wire screens, 5 gal buckets for nesting boxes and a couple of old wooden curtain rods for roosts, the hens never had it so good. We haven't lost a chicken since I did this. The important thing is to close them in at night and let them out in the morning. If this is troublesome, there are automated chicken doors for this (about $150). I have >$600 in the whole thing (not including fencing). The "chicken door" opens into a 70'x100' chicken yard, fenced with chicken wire and topped with electric wire. Well worth it if you want to keep chickens. Some folks do chickens halfass in the beginning, lose birds and get discouraged (sort of like getting a nice dog and letting it roam to get hit by a car).

Our layers mean a lot to our extended family and neighbors. Selling eggs more than pays for feed, etc.

Hi Ghung, I presume you are either allowing your hens out to forage or feeding them some household or farmstead leftovers rather than buying all your feed-or maybe you are getting a premium price for your eggs?

Most folks who buy feed at retail-meaning in fairly small quantities- find it cheaper to buy eggs.

Around here a good tight coop is a necessity but most folks can still allow thier chickens out during the day, especially if they have a good farm dog.

Change of subject but perhaps very important to some readers:

One of our nieghbors lost three cows due to thier eating acorns this week;this has never happened except at very long intervals here-nobody I know can remember the last time a cow died from eating acorns locally.

But with pastures drying up and a heavy acorn crop where cows are be able to get to them-well, some cows LIKE ACORNS, and fresh acorns in large quantities are acidic enough to kill a cow.Emergency lay man's treatment is to drench with a gallon of vegetable oil to blow out constipation and clear digestive tract, but it might be too late.

A special feed supplement consisting of cotton seed meal, soybean meal, and plenty of molasses , PLUS one half pound of hydrated lime well mixed, about five pounds total, will serve as a preventative if feed daily-this is the only practical way to get a cow to eat hydrated lime.

After the acorns are off the trees for a few months they apparently are no longer acidic enough to harm a cow-plus she probably wouldn't find so many anyway.

Hey Mac. Our hens have access to a couple of acres of pasture that I rarely mow; blackberries, sumac, other stuff to provide food and cover. We have a co-op that sells feed in bulk (55gal drum for $22) locally sourced, about 140 lbs. Lasts about 2 1/2 months. I also feed some Layena crumbles for variety, about 1 bag/6 weeks ($11). I add oyster shells to this for calcium. We sell 3-4 dozen a week at $2.25 per, so the hens pay their way. They eat less feed spring thru fall; grass, bugs, weeds,worms (and leftover veggies) are their prefered diet. I plan to add 6 more hens next spring due to demand for eggs. Golden Comets, I think. Really nice eggs.

Our mast crop this year is phenominal. Huge acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts. Not sure why. We had over 72" of rain last year, semi drought this year, and a hot summer. We kept cattle for over 35 years and I don't think we ever lost any due to acorn OD, though they had limited access to the forest. Our microclimate is quite lush, so they may not have had any incentive to eat many acorns. Good grass year round. I would search for University studies on the problem. UGA and UNC have a lot of great AG/cattle stuff. If I had this problem I would be running my portable electric fences ASAP, and feed hay if necessary. Cheaper than losing cows.

We're planning to bring cattle back next spring if the economics work. My wife was un/under employed for 2 years (realestate related), but got a new gig (finally). The pay's not great, but beats unemployment (and she's much happier). It'll be nice to have cows doing my mowing again. Maybe a few goats as well. I took a course on rotational grazing and have a good plan (on paper anyway). Wife wants sheep, but she nixed my free donkeys, so I'm nixing her sheep. If she wants to train herding dogs we'll revisit the sheep thing ('cause I love lamb chops ;-)

Best hopes for locally sourced, high quality food sources!

BTW, chickens love over-ripe apples.

Our neighbor just started out with 5 hens, and now our compost is going right to them. Quick way to turn our cutting-board scraps into eggs.. if the girls survive. Glad my daughter has some more fluffy critters to enjoy experiencing as well..

Interesting way to make compost:

In the Apple Capital of Ontario a giant pile of apples by the highway is certain to attract a lot of interest and questions from the public.

For the past few weeks there has been a massive pile of apples adjacent to Highway 26 just outside of Meaford on the way to Owen Sound. The pile of apples has attracted the interest of the public with questions about what is happening with the pile of fruit.

Mark Grahlman of Sunrise Organics explains, "We make compost and that's what we're doing with those apples," he explained. "We had an opportunity to grab a good amount of bio mass. We're going to make a really good batch of compost," he explained.

The pile of apples is left over product from last year that a local company was clearing out. A total of 1,000 bins of apples were dumped on the property to create the pile. Each bin weighed approximately 800 pounds.

Think of the bees that pile has attracted! Can't believe a bear or 10 hasn't showed up to feed.

I "waste" food all the time too, but mine doesn't go into the garbage, it goes into the compost bin. In the future, the compost that comes out of your backside will also go back into the garden.

Would have been even better if they had pulped the apples for the juice, put the waste into an Anaerobic Digester, and the resulting methane into a micro-CHP or Fuel Cell....


Hard cider ;->

I'll bet that pile of apples is gonna stink to high heaven when it ferments and rots :-(

You can bet your last dime that pile of apples was dumped at a very serious(to the grower) loss because there was simply NO market for them.

Some of our nieghbors didn't even pick thier crop this year;we did, but I wish we hadn't.

Over half of the crop will have to be disposed of "over the road bank"-meaning we haul them to a spot where we can dump them easily-on our own property of course.

This business of farming isn't necessarily all the starry eyed dreamers make it out to be.

Around here the unsold apples get made into apple brandy. Sort of a cottage industry. Down the road in Ellijay, GA, the law tends to look the other way as long as things are kept local. A "local tradition" ;-) They make great fried pies as well. They freeze beautifully!

I guess the supply of apples in relation to the size of the local population is meager in comparison to my neck of the woods.

There are a few little copper stills around here even today-they used to be plentiful, and apple pie is a staple rather than a treat. A single pickup truck load of apples will keep an artisinal brandy maker producing for himself and a couple of good buddies busy all fall.

Our apples are still gonna get dumped-nobody wants them bad enough to pay for the containers and hauling.

It seems there would be a way to dry or preserve these apples as a feed supplement. A lot of nutrition lost there. Apple fed beef/pork/chicken. You guys need to create a new market (besides brandy) for this resource. Opportunity is where you make it. We used to fatten the deer on apples. Mighty fine!

There's one of the classic conundrums eh?

When you've got people who can't afford decent food, or enough food, and then you've got a surplus like this, how could an intersection of these needs be formulated? Similar to those folks who are homeless, and this great abundance today of empty-forclosed housing stock, just rotting.

Not saying make it a giveaway, but find a way, like Habitat for Humanity, where you have to earn your new home with sweat equity working on other folks' new homes in the area.. and a surplus asset isn't just rotting over a bank somewhere.

I was chewing over my potential version of this, where I have a tenant who loses a job and their ability to pay rent. While I might have to evict them soon, it could also work that I extend their stay by putting them to work helping me do the big 'Superinsulation Job' I would like to do for my two buildings, or to help construct a couple/several more Solar Hot Air panels.. I might not get full 'payback', and may have a bunch of on-the-job training to offer, but at least there would be a mutual benefit, plus an overall benefit (of less energy required for my buildings, and one more person who knows how to build something useful)


Link up top: Any colour as long as it's black

Most fields leave about 50 per cent of the oil in the ground because it's too expensive to extract. That means price is the primary constraint on production, not supply.

Get that? Normally you get 50 percent of the oil in the ground. But with more investment you can get the other 50 percent.

Why do people publish such carp as this? That does not even remotely approach the true facts. That such ignorance as this can be posted, and believed, by the majority of the public is truly a shame. That is just one reason that only a tiny minority of the public is truly aware of the peak oil situation.

There is no hope. I give up.

Ron P.

Why do people publish such carp as this?

Yeah, I thought the statement was "fishy," too.

(My sentiments, exactly, in the closing, btw. I'm currently rereading Morrison's book.)

Yes, unfortunately some people believe that the more money you spend, the more oil you will get out of a field.

Recovery factors range from 0% to 80% depending on the characteristics of the reservoir. There are various enhanced oil recovery techniques that can often improve the recovery percentage, and this improvement varies drastically from field to field. In some fields they are highly effective, in others they don't make much difference at all. But at some point it will take more energy to recover the additional oil than is contained in the additional oil (EROEI < 1), so at that point you may as well give up.

Yes, unfortunately some people believe that the more money you spend, the more oil you will get out of a field.

Well, it should be true. Try the following thought experiment. Take some hopefully tini-tiny oil field, and then offer a million dollars per barrel for any oil someone can squeeze out of it. I bet the recovery rate would be close to 100%. I also bet EROEI would be much much lower than one. But, it would be possible, and profitable to mine all the source rock, crush it, then chemically treat it to get out over 99% of the stuff. Of course the overall economy would be a loser, but it just means that if the price is high enough a way will be found.

Well, it should be true. Try the following thought experiment. Take some hopefully tini-tiny oil field, and then offer a million dollars per barrel for any oil someone can squeeze out of it.

Yes, but they would likely spend several hundred barrels of oil equivalent worth of energy to get each incremental barrel of oil out of the ground. Just because you can get something to happen with subsidies doesn't mean it accomplishes anything useful. This is a common problem with government subsidies.

But, it would be possible, and profitable to mine all the source rock, crush it, then chemically treat it to get out over 99% of the stuff.

But, rather than sink a mineshaft into an existing oil field, it would be a lot cheaper to go to Wyoming, where the stuff is lying out on the surface, and just scoop it up with a power shovel. It's called oil shale, and there are hundreds of billions of barrels of it in the US alone. The EROEI is a lot better on it, too.

However, Canadian oil sands are even cheaper, to the point of being economic without government subsidies, so that is what is going to come to market first - Just not fast enough to compensate for the decline in conventional production. Oil sands are actually cheaper to produce than many enhanced oil recovery schemes on conventional oil fields.

Link up top: Can China and India Save the World?

Japan is probably the most economically vulnerable nation in the world. Now that the US, and Europe, are also financially insolvent energy consumers, the world is turning to nations such as India and China to drive global growth. However,...

However indeed!

If peak oil is realized within the next five years, then growth prospects in India and China will be reduced drastically. The result will be negative global GDP growth and a reduced standard of living for virtually all nations.

Peak oil has already been realized therefore growth prospects for India and China are drastically reduced. So we will have negative global growth and a reduced standard of living for virtually all nations. Well, not "virtually all nations" but "all nations". We will have negative growth rate, because of peak oil, and the coming decline of all oil production.

So exactly what does "negative growth rate" really mean? Just a little worse lifestyle for everyone? You think so? Well no. A negative growth rate means all industries will earn less money, they will shrink. People invest in the market for growth, not shrinkage. Almost everyone will sell their stock because it keeps going down every day. This will result in the mother of all stock market crashes.

Does anyone remember what happened when this happened in 1929. Of course not, none of us, not even us really old guys like me, are that old. But when that happens all money for anything dries up. Millions are out of work. And they will stay out of work until oil production, the life blood of industry, begins to increase again. But if it continues to shrink instead? Well, we will soon find out.

Ron P.

Ron, whether or not the result is a stock market crash in the short term, you've touched on a crucial point. All current industrial economies depend on the assumption that the future will be more prosperous than the present; the logic behind borrowing at interest, after all, is that wealth always breeds more wealth. If that stops happening -- if the future is going to be less prosperous than the present over the long term -- then nearly all current financial arrangements grind to a halt in one way or another. Now of course there will be attempts to keep them on life support -- current attempts at balancing the budget via the printing presses, under the euphemism of "qualitative easing," come to mind -- which will make things a bit more complex; I doubt very much, though, that these efforts will have much effect except in the very short run.

Mind you, it's entirely possible to run an economy on different principles in an age of contraction; it's just that all current economic arrangements, and most of the paper wealth that's now in circulation, will have to go by the boards in order for that to happen. In the near term, then, things are likely to be very messy indeed.

Still, there's at least one way that some nations could hope keep their standards of living more or less level, at least for a while: see what they can do to help a certain nation that uses far, far more than its share of the world's energy supply come a cropper in a big way. It's not as though the nation in question lacks a bumper crop of critical vulnerabilities, too...

Thanks John, I read your interview over on the Energy Bulletin and loved it. I agree, most Americans do not believe anything really catastrophic can happen in their lifetime. They look at us as if we were some kind of nut in sackcloth carrying a sign saying "The End is Near".

But back to the subject at hand. It is not just that the world runs on debt, but the other side of debt is investment. Without investment there is no money to lend. The two go together. And when both dry up the money supply dries up and the economy crashes. I think things are a lot more fragile than most people believe.

And I believe it has already started. Of course it would start very slow at first and that is exactly what is happening. I am getting very nervous.

Ron P.

Debt is really a funny thing. Mostly people think it is borrowing from the future. But, really it is an exchange of promises, you give me some present resource, and I promise to pay it back plus interest. So if it becomes excessive and non-sustainable, the paying back part can't be fullfilled. Overall, if I'm not party to the deal I may not care. But, in reality, if the confidence in such sort of deals is badly damaged, then it becomes that much harder to fund stuff.

Debt is really a funny thing. Mostly people think it is borrowing from the future. But, really it is an exchange of promises...

Chinese Professor

But, really it [Debt/ money/ investment] is an exchange of promises



We frame our discourses in twisted economics language.
However, at the end of the day, we are making promises to each other.

... Promises that we can't keep when the oil (cheap oil) runs out.

I'm not party to the deal

Oh yes you are.

You just don't quite understand yet why you are.

No man is an island. We are all participants in the implicit promises that we, as a social group, make to each other.

Almost everyone will sell their stock because it keeps going down every day. This will result in the mother of all stock market crashes.

I wonder what would happen to oil stocks once the world accept the reality of peak oil; while the stock market may crash, I imagine massive amounts of money will move into the energy sector; it will be something like when the markets opened after 9/11 everything was crashing except security & defence companies.

Of course none of us knows exactly how the collapse will play out, but I just don't see oil prices going through the roof or the oil companies making billions. A far more likely scenario, to my mind, would be that as the depression takes hold, demand will drop much faster than the oil supply.

Right now eighty dollar oil is keeping growth down and unemployment up. If oil goes higher then things will get worse and knock the economy back down again. I really don't see demand going much higher than it is right now. All those folks expecting runaway demand to drive prices through the roof... well, it just ain't gonna happen. At least that is my opinion.

Ron P.

Right now eighty dollar oil is keeping growth down and unemployment up. If oil goes higher then things will get worse and knock the economy back down again. I really don't see demand going much higher than it is right now.

I'm on the same page with that scenario as well. This economy is stuck. The price of oil remains within a high tight range, the Dow keeps staying in the range of 9800-11,200 which means it will probably dive again soon, unemployment is constant at a contrived govt. estimate of 9.6%. The fact that foreclosures continue to occur at the rate they are is bad news. It reflects high unemployment, but also indicates the recession is only over in the eyes of the Feds, in an effort to try to cajole us into spending lots of dough.

This coming election will probably create a perfect storm stalemate on Capitol Hill, with worse than ever unwillingness to reach agreement on anything. It's so hard to watch those idiots bang away at each other in no positive direction, while apparently oblivious to the impending (some year soon) descent of oil supply.

When the descent does ensue, both party's will blame the other dating the problem back to either a Dem or Repub Prez, both sides will block the other's attempts to do something about it, and the mess will just get worse. I'm not emotionally connected to the outcome any longer. I know S will HTF sooner or later, so why fight it? Just roll with the punches, read Cluster**** Nation from time to time to get a laugh and don't take the fall from grace too hard.

China and India have been drastically expanding their coal production, and building huge numbers of coal burning power plants, so it is really coal energy that is fueling their expansion. They have also been electrifying their rail systems, and China in particular is planning to build a huge number of nuclear reactors.

So far, high oil prices don't seem to have had much effect on their industrial expansion, which by and large is based on cheap human labor rather than cheap energy.

I believe Darwinian and JMG are -in a general sort of way-drawing the correct conclusions.

They may even have by shrewd thinking and maybe a little lucky guessing come up with the likeliest scenarios of what things are going to be like once the oil supply gets really tight on top of the financial mess we are in.

If I were placing bets , I would bet with them.

But we are going to a place where we have never been before.

We might find ourselves living in or under command economies similar in many ways to the old soviet economy as the situation worsens for instance-this would mean the end of the stock and bond and real estate markets as we know them today-but it might also prevent a mad max collapse scenario and mean fewer and less viscious resource wars.

In such a situation,we would have a little less oil every year but it would be used mostly where it would contribute the most to the survival of the society.
Private ice engine passenger cars could disappear while fuel is still made available for critical infrastructure maintainence and for food production and for essential services such as law enforcement.

In such a situation, demand could gradually shrink as the real price of oil goes on up due the expense of extracting it or buying it as the supply falls off, but demand would likely never simply fall off a cliff due to an abrupt collapse of industry and commerce.

Such societies might be more stable than we would think; they could persist for decades or centuries-but of course I wouldn't want to live in one.

Over the longer tern,Darwinian is probably right about oil stocks, and a general crash-but sometimes old ships shot full of holes float longer than anybody expects them to.

I wouldn't be suprised to see oil stocks jump right on up there in the next two or three years;there might be a little life left in bau after all, although it do see bau as a dead man still walking over the longer term.

I wouldn't be suprised to see oil stocks jump right on up there in the next two or three years;

I've got my money (some of it) in oil sands and uranium. The problem with conventional oil is that the vast majority of it is in the hands of the National Oil Companies, and private companies don't get to develop it. They are stuck with some extremely risky plays, like Deepwater Offshore. Realistically, a lot of the big multinational oil companies are not going to be in existence a decade or two from now. Many of them are gone already.

Remember the "Seven Sisters", the seven big oil companies that controlled world oil production? They are down to four sisters (under different names) now, and they don't control much world oil. The modern "Seven Sisters" according to the Financial Times are:
1. Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)
2. JSC Gazprom (Russia)
3. CNPC (China)
4. NIOC (Iran)
5. PDVSA (Venezuela)
6. Petrobras (Brazil)
7. Petronas (Malaysia)

You can't invest in most of them, and investing in the ones you can is an exercise for sophisticated investors with an appetite for risk.

You can't invest in most of them, and investing in the ones you can is an exercise for sophisticated investors with an appetite for risk.

Blackrock has recently increased its participation in Petrobras to over 5 billion US dollars, so I'd say many american citizens unknownwingly do invest in at least one of them. And, one week prior to presidential elections, Blackrock - and other big boys - are pushing the paper down based on the ever working "political risk" card, only to be able to buy even more.

"I've got my money (some of it) in oil sands and uranium."

I'll keep that in mind every time you promote these industries, as you do rather constantly, for tar sands, particularly...not exactly a dis-interested observer, eh?

I believe too many here make the quantum jump from bau to the command economy economic depression, without looking at what is likely to happen in the interim.

Before we get to the world waking up to less oil, we will get the price rises, just like '08, but perhaps much higher. Slowly but surely this will start to suck the life out of economies as people and businesses spend a greater percentage of their budgets on fuel. Of course the ever diligent central banks will raise interest rates to combat the inflation higher oil brings. Bang, you have the double whammy that sinks spending, forcing businesses to lay off more workers and potentially close themselves.

The thoughts that oil will not get more expensive than the '08 peak, are probably not accurate as the attempt to continue bau will force the price higher until demand drops. If supply is dropping then the relative demand from around the world will stay high. I will not be surprised to see prices go to $400+ per bbl before the real crisis digs in.

I believe too many here make the quantum jump from bau to the command economy economic depression, without looking at what is likely to happen in the interim.

The reason why so many people naively support a "command economy" is because they ignorantly assume they will be the one in command.
*knee slapper*
How about a "command economy" where big oil, big auto, and big finance are the ones in command. oops don't we already have such a system?
There are two tragedies in life, the first is not getting what you want and the second is getting what asked for.

China is also

- Building more wind than anyone else
- Installing more solar hot water heaters than the rest of the world combined
- Planning the largest solar PV in the world
- Building 40 GW of pumped storage
- Building one high efficiency (44% vs. 34%), base load coal fired plant/month
- Promising "an iron fist" to promote energy efficiency

I see a reaction to a looming coal shortfall in these policies, but other explanations are possible.


"China is also
- Building one high efficiency (44% vs. 34%), base load coal fired plant/month"

I have also read that they have been closing old, less efficient plants at the rate of about one per week.

China reminds me of that famous opening line to "Tale of Two Cities" (paraphrased): It was the best of countries, it was the worst of countries.

Only about 60 percent of the new plants are being built using newer technology that is highly efficient, but more expensive.


It is my understanding that the closed plants are smaller and 27% to 30% or so efficient.

If the replacements are 35%-40% efficient (40% of total) to 44% efficient (60% of total), a definite step up !


If the replacements are 35%-40% efficient (40% of total) to 44% efficient (60% of total), a definite step up!

Isn't this an example of Jevons Paradox? The more efficient the energy usage, the more energy that gets used. The new plants are more efficient, but they are building more new plants than the number of old ones being closed. So the net effect is more FF being burned to make energy.

A valid POV, but I see a rational allocation of a limited resource. Improved efficiency, and increased use of alternatives, to stretch out a fixed volume.


Good point. And isn't Jevons idea more suited to something like a 'free market' system rather than a (largely) planned economy like China?

The down side of these cleaner plants for GW is that they will produce fewer sulfate aerosols, particulates that have been keeping the globe .5 - 2 degrees cooler than it other wise would be. We may see a rather dramatic jump in global temps in the next few years, especially if India and others follow China's lead. This is one of those impossible conundrums, since it is obviously really bad to have a lot of really inefficient, polluting plants too, and spewing aerosols in no good long term plan for addressing GW.