Drumbeat: November 18, 2010

IHS CERA study says oilpatch costs rising

CALGARY - Oilpatch capital costs are slowly rising back to precession levels, according to a report by a prominent U.S. energy think-tank.

According to IHS CERA's downstream capital cost index -- the group's version of a consumer price index -- the costs of building a large processing facilities such as refineries jumped three per cent from the start of the year and are just four per cent below the 2008 peak.

According to IHS, a combination of factors including higher oil prices and a weaker U.S. dollar contributed to the rise, along with a stronger global economy.

John Michael Greer: The sincerest form of reverence

Recent headlines note events that most people would have considered cataclysmic not that long ago. The price of oil is bouncing along above $80 a barrel, the International Energy Agency has now admitted that peak oil happened in 2006, the United States is openly covering its debts by means of the printing press, and agricultural commodity prices have jolted upwards to unprecedented levels under the paired pressures of an increasingly unstable climate and a disintegrating global economic system, just for starters.

If I’d presented a scenario for 2010 ten years ago that included these details, most people who read it would have dismissed me as a wild-eyed prophet of doom. Yet here we are, and most of us in America, at least, are paying more attention to the upcoming holidays than we are to the accelerating dissolution of the only world most of us have known, and the rapid approach of a future that a great many of us will find very unwelcome indeed.

Kjell Aleklett: Peak coal in China

Coal is very vital to China and decreasing exports, together with increasing import clearly show that they have a supply problem. But whether this is due to resource problems, production problems or infrastructure bottlenecks is hard to say yet. A more comprehensive study of the Chinese coal assets needs to be done.

The forecast estimates that Chinese coal production will reach a peak in 2020, perhaps even earlier if the reserves are backdated to 1992, when the last actual update took place, and corrected for cumulative production. So China might be very close to its maximum coal production unless the reserves are larger than reported or a significant amount of resources can be transformed into produced volumes in the near future. Unless something dramatic happens to the Chinese reserves the future production will very soon end up under reserve constraints.

'Peak coal' to see prices soar (interview with Richard Heinberg)

This week, science journal Nature says the world is on the verge of exhausting its cheap coal supplies. With rising demand and dwindling supplies of high quality usable coal, prices could be much higher by the end of the decade. The finding could also have implications for the controversial technology, carbon capture and storage.

Coal crash coming?

One global coal player, Peabody, recently told the World Coal Conference that it assumes demand for coal will increase by over 50 per cent by 2030. The IEA on the other hand tells us that if we are to have a reasonable chance of limiting warming to 2°C degrees, coal demand will have to peak by 2020, and by 2035 will have dropped to levels last seen in 2003. These are dramatically different views of the market and the implications for company valuations, and therefore for investors and corporate strategy, are considerable.

Deutsche Bank Says Crude Prices May Reach $100, Gas May Touch $6 by 2015

Oil prices may reach $100 a barrel by 2015, Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank, said today at a conference in Houston. Natural-gas prices might reach $6 per million British thermal units in that timeframe, he said.

Why 2011 will be a good year for investors

The “peak oil” predictions of a few years ago are still fresh in investors’ minds. After oil hit $100 a barrel, many investors and advisors became convinced that oil would soon reach $200 a barrel, and go higher from there. So far, the world economic setback seems to have quelled those fears.

Oil peaked near $145 a barrel in 2008, then fell to $35 or so the following year, and is now around $88.

After an oil boom like the one we had in the second half of the past decade, consumers and businesses get smarter about their oil use. They tend to put a lot more effort into energy conservation. This cuts demand.

Middle East experts call for industry to start address on gas issues

In the Middle East, rapid economic growth has resulted in the consumption of natural gas outpacing production while uncertainty over the level of future global gas demand is at its highest in decades, according to "The global gas challenge", a new report from Ernst and Young.

Fuel stockpiles used to avert shortages

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's largest oil and gas producer, has used gas from its stockpiles to meet the rising demand for winter energy, company sources said on Wednesday.

The company took 5.7 million cubic meters (cu m) of gas from its Dagang storage facility in Tianjin on Nov 15, and then used a further 8 million cu m on Tuesday, because of extra demand for heating in Beijing and Tianjin, CNPC said.

Malaysia Mulls Allowing Private Firms to Tap Marginal Oil Fields

The Malaysian government is seriously considering dismantling the decades-old monopoly held by national oil company Petronas and allowing private oil companies to explore and extract oil from the country's marginal oil fields.

Credit hurdles remain hindrance to Iran oil trade

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil trade with Iran remains more difficult following tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic, industry sources said, despite a message from the European Union that such operations are legal.

Saras, an Italian oil refiner, said last week that transactions with Iran have become more challenging as banks are reluctant to get involved. Other European oil companies have made similar remarks privately.

Penn State Forum Focuses on Future Pipeline Regs

The rapid development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale has raised questions about who, if anyone, will regulate the construction, safety, and utility status of the pipelines necessary to carry the gas from wells to market.

BP's Russian Joint Venture Expands Into International Trading

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC's Russian joint venture TNK-BP Ltd. plans to expand trading activities on global markets, as part of a new international growth strategy--a move that may collide with operations of its U.K. shareholder, company executives said in an interview.

Successful hostage rescue a sign of change in Nigeria

Nigeria's military launched a co-ordinated air, naval and ground assault to free 19 hostages held on militant camps in the oil-rich southern delta, apparently routing the gunmen without causing any casualties.

Such an operation in the OPEC-member nation has been unheard of in the four years since a low-level insurgency have targeted oil pipelines and expatriate workers in the creeks of Niger Delta. Botched rescue missions have, in the past, killed hostages and left many private firms to negotiate through the murky back channels that run between criminal gangs, militants and local politicians in the region roughly the size of Portugal.

'Nigeria needs reforms before new round'

Nigeria will not hold a major oil licensing round until wide-ranging reforms to Africa's largest oil and gas industry are passed into law, an aid to the country's president said today.

The Future of Renewable Energy Sources: What Will Actually Succeed?

Despite the aggressive moment towards renewable energy sources, fossil fuels will remain the main source of energy for at least the next two decades. However, many renewable energy sources are soon going to be able to be competitive with those fossil fuels without the always controversial subsidies. This, according to a new study from Boston Consulting Group that examined all seven sectors of the major renewable energy market in order to give investors an idea of which investments may show faster return and which, well, may not make people money any time soon.

Australia: Ethanol producers 'doomed by imports'

ETHANOL producers are crying foul. Their peak body says they may all end up in receivership next year because of a flood of cheap imports.

Wind energy, solar power face cloudy future

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After years of rapid growth and darling status among many in Washington, the future of the American renewable energy industry is uncertain.

That's because the government cash it has come to rely on may dry up on Dec. 31.

KSA has vast potential for solar energy

DHAHRAN: The vast potential for solar energy in the Kingdom was the subject of the Saudi Solar Energy Forum held recently at the Saudi Aramco Conference Center Plaza.

Driving an electric Leaf is a smooooth move

REDMOND, Wash. — Accelerating from a dead stop in a Nissan Leaf is a beautiful experience. The car surges forward with the kind of thrust you can only get from an electric motor: smooth, linear, almost silent. If I didn’t have a digital display in front of me showing me just how much I was depleting the batteries with each 0-70 run, I’d do it all day long – it’s very addictive.

The Death of Common Sense

Although we have been confronted with significantly increased prices for oil, gas and food, spurred by growing world-wide competition for available supplies, we not only seem to be unable to act but are knowingly doing so. Solutions to our energy problems are clearly understood, most everyone is pretty much aware of them, yet we don't seem to be able to bring ourselves to take appropriate actions to deal with a growing crisis that has now turned critical.

History of Crises: The First Global Energy Crisis of 1973-1974

1973 saw the first and severest energy crisis brought about by OPEC countries who reduced oil production. The economic crisis that started in the US in late 1973 significantly surpassed the global economic crisis of 1957-1958 in terms of the number of affected countries, duration, severity and devastation and, in certain aspects, was similar to that of 1929-1933. Besides, over 10 million people were shifted to part-time or laid off by companies. Real income of population fell everywhere. However, the 1973 Oil Crisis boosted oil exports to the West from the Soviet Union and heralded the independence of the USSR and, later, Russia from the oil pipeline and oil dollars.

Oil shock warning for UK government

The cost of food, heating, travel and retail goods will all rise if there is not a ‘strong and coordinated response’ from government to act against rising oil prices, an industry group has warned.

The report from a group including Richard Branson’s Virgin, Kingfisher and Stagecoach Group calls for a ‘contingency plan’ to address the risk of Peak Oil – the point at which oil production plateaus and then drops.

The Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security says ‘we are running out of time’ to protect the UK economy and make the necessary switch to sustainable energy sources. It has previously warned that peak oil could come potentially by 2015.

Bosses fear 'oil crunch' within a decade

Delays to deep water oil production in the wake of the devastating Gulf of Mexico spill could reduce global capacity by one million barrels of oil per day, inflating fuel prices and hitting the economy, British company bosses will warn today.

An average delay of six months could reduce spare capacity by 2015 to 2 million barrels a day from 3 million. The findings are published in a report by the Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security, whose membership roster includes the likes of the transport company Stagecoach, the utility Scottish & Southern Energy, the retail specialist Kingfisher and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

Oil shock warning to government from UK business

An industry taskforce has called on the government to act to protect the UK economy against a new threat of rising oil prices.

A consortium of British business, including retailers Kingfisher and transport group, Stagecoach, say the UK must prepare for the next oil shock.

It says not to do so would present energy security problems.

Big names warn of danger of UK's 'addiction' to oil

A NUMBER of senior business leaders have joined forces to warn that rising oil prices could be as dangerous to the UK economy as the bank crisis unless the government makes concerted efforts to reduce the country's "addiction" to oil.

Protect us from peak oil, says Richard Branson (and others)

In February, a group of business leaders (including Richard Branson) came together to issue the government a warning: we’ve had the credit crisis, the next crisis will be a peak oil crisis.

Their message to government was to stop listening to the over-exuberance of oil companies who promised great things from their upstream operations and start thinking seriously about how to move away from the UK’s dependence on oil.

Now they have repeated that call, with an additional warning: Macondo has made the situation even more pressing.

Impact of Mexico spill prompting ‘oil crunch’ fears

The knock-on impact from the Gulf of Mexico disaster could be enough to tip oil production below international energy demands and spark an “oil crunch”, a cross-industry group has warned.

The industry taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security cut its projections for spare capacity between what is being extracted and what is being used from three million barrels a day to just two million in 2015.

After Gulf spill, peak oil risk grows

Despite the progress we’ve made in expanding renewable energy supplies, we’re simply not moving fast enough right now to make a difference when it will matter. And we’re not just talking about bringing down carbon emissions to avoid dangerous climate change. We’re talking about having a Plan B ready should Plan A — fossil fuels — suddenly begin to fail.

Peak oil is less than a decade away

Peak oil is meant to describe that future time when supply of oil goes into permanent decline. It’s the date some fear, others dismiss, saying it’s a very long way of indeed. But, both sides of the peak oil debate agree on one thing. The day it arrives will be a bleak day. And now a task force has claimed that peak oil is less than ten years away, could even descend upon during the life time of the current government, and the problem has been compounded by the BP oil spill. Is it time panic?

Oil groups press Congress for Interior funding

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Oil industry groups on Wednesday urged U.S. lawmakers to allocate more money for the federal offshore drilling regulator to speed permitting and environmental reviews.

Regulations imposed by Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the wake of the BP oil spill have slowed the process for greenlighting offshore oil and gas projects for development.

Oil Rebounds From Four-Week Low After Surprise Drop in U.S. Crude Supplies

Oil rebounded from a four-week low as the growing prospect that Ireland will get a rescue bailout from the European Union stoked gains for stocks and commodities around the world.

Crude rose as much as 2.1 percent, snapping four days of declines, after Ireland’s central bank governor said he expects the country to seek a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Yesterday’s Energy Department report showed crude inventories unexpectedly dropped the most since August 2009.

OPEC's earnings to surge with a weaker dollar

OPEC's export earnings are expected to jump by a third, or US$177 billion (Dh650.06bn) this year, according to the latest figures from a US government agency.

Crude oil is just one of several commodities to have rallied in the face of slow global growth, partly driven by the decline in the value of the dollar and expectations of growing inflation. These factors make assets such as oil, gold, cotton and sugar more attractive to investors, since they become cheaper in other currencies and are believed to provide protection against rising prices.

Gas in U.S. Cheaper Than Canada's Signals Imports to Slide

U.S. natural gas has dropped to its cheapest level in 11 months relative to Canadian supplies as production surges, threatening a slump in imports from the nation’s northern neighbor.

China's Unipec Plans to Increase Diesel Imports in December on Shortage

China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co., the nation’s largest oil trader, plans to boost diesel imports for a second month in December to ease a domestic shortage of the transport fuel.

China International, or Unipec, plans to import 120,000 tons for December delivery, compared with 80,000 tons in November, according to an official with knowledge of the transactions, who declined to be identified because of company policy.

Iran does not insist on supplies of its gas to Europe - president

BAKU, November 18 (Itar-Tass) - Iran does not insist on deliveries of its natural gas to Europe and comes out against making these deliveries dependent on its nuclear program, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a news conference in Baku on Thursday.

“It is Europeans who need Iranian gas. As for us, we don’t insist on sales of gas to Europe,” he stressed. There are a lot of countries wishing to buy Iranian gas, the president added.

China, Russia still divided on natural gas price

BEIJING—China and Russia are still divided on the price of natural gas that Moscow wants to sell to its energy-hungry Asian neighbor, a senior Chinese energy official said Thursday.

Efforts by China and Russia to establish gas ties have been stalled for years, mainly because of disagreement over prices. Russia is eager to link gas prices for China to oil prices in the way it does in Europe, but China views any European-level prices as too high.

Think tanks see higher crude consumption

BEIJING - China's oil consumption will increase by three to four percent next year as the economy continues to expand, according to research from a government think tank.

Han Wenke, director of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, made the prediction at the sidelines of a news briefing on Wednesday.

Crude oil consumption in China hit 388 million tons in 2009, an increase of 6.3 percent from the previous year.

E.P.A. Finds Gas Mileage Improved in ’09 Fleet

WASHINGTON — Recession, it turns out, is good for fuel economy.

Gas mileage for 2009 model cars and trucks showed the largest increase since the oil crisis of nearly three decades ago, according to an annual report by the Environmental Protection Agency released on Wednesday.

The report found that the average fuel economy in 2009 model cars, vans, pickups and S.U.V.’s was 22.4 miles per gallon — an increase of 7 percent, or 1.4 miles per gallon, over 2008 figures.

Nigeria frees hostages, seizes oil militant camps

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigeria's security forces reunited 19 foreign and local hostages with their employers on Thursday after freeing them from militant camps in the creeks of the Niger Delta oil region.

The hostages -- two Americans, two Frenchmen, two Indonesians, one Canadian and 12 Nigerians -- were rescued late on Wednesday in a major operation, said Charles Omoregie, commander of the JTF military taskforce in the Niger Delta.

Sinopec Makes Gas Discovery in Myanmar - Official

The news is another sign of China's growing role in developing resource-rich Myanmar's extensive reserves of raw materials, at a time many Western countries are obliged to sit on the sidelines due to their restrictions on economic ties to the country.

GOP victory in Pennsylvania could boost natural gas drilling

The Republicans’ big election victories in Pennsylvania and on Capitol Hill could be Christmas-come-early for the drilling companies that are rushing to exploit the Marcellus Shale, the biggest known deposit of natural gas in the nation.

Does the rare earths mania have further to go?

There's no doubt that the easy money in rare earths has been made. The low-hanging fruit has been plucked. But that doesn't mean the boom is over. A lot will depend on general investor sentiment and the conditions of global stock markets. But I see many similarities between this rare earth boom and the uranium boom which ended in 2007.

Neste Oil starts up its new renewable diesel plant in Singapore

Neste Oil has started up the world's largest renewable diesel plant in Singapore. Production of NExBTL renewable diesel will be ramped up on a phased basis. The plant was completed on-schedule and on-budget and marks a major step forward in Neste Oil's clean traffic fuel strategy.

Coal Plants, Rising and Retiring

Regardless of whether the Environmental Protection Agency polices carbon dioxide emissions as planned in the face of threatened challenges from some incumbent and newly elected lawmakers, experts predict that plant retirements will be accelerated by E.P.A. regulations on conventional pollutants, including mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates. The Energy Department has laid out a timeline, covering 2010 to 2020.

Should we be planning for the end of cheap coal?

The recent IEA report on global energy use trends contained a bit of a surprise. If oil prices remain high and governments make progress on their emissions goals, there's a possibility that the world has already hit peak oil, and that the next few years will see its use plateau for a while before dropping again. Using these same assumptions, the report also said that we could hit peak coal somewhere within the next 20 years. In today's edition of Nature, a commentary suggests that, even skipping those same assumptions, we may hit peak coal before too long, simply because the best and cheapest sources are vanishing fast.

The authors of the comment unquestionably have an agenda; they come from the Post-Carbon Institute, which clearly has an interest in promoting consideration of a world that doesn't run on fossil fuels. And that agenda is obvious in the article summary, which concludes, "Energy policies relying on cheap coal have no future."

Peak Oil Reality

There's a peak oil heckler outside my office.

I pass him every morning in the parking lot. Like a gnat, he buzzes around and refuses to leave me alone, no matter how much I swat... My own personal fan, as I like to call him.

Each verbal prod or poke causes me to react in the same manner. I laugh all the way to my desk.

My mirthful response is due to the fact that he shares a very common trait with many of the antagonists I come across on a daily basis: denial.

Key Skills For Sustainable Small Enterprises On Offer At Northtec Site In Rodney Next Year

NorthTec tutors Betsy Kettle and Gawain Sharp will be providing Rodney residents with the skills to set up their own small enterprises next year as part of the level four programme in Sustainable Rural Development that will be delivered at NorthTec's Koru Grove site near Silverdale.

"Many people have a dream of living off the land," said Betsy Kettle. "We will be providing people with the knowledge and skills to make a partial income from their lifestyle block land."

Consumers must cast off 'victim' culture if governments are to hit climate targets

Julian Rush, environment correspondent for Channel 4 News said: "If you are going to try and change social attitudes to energy consumption, you are on a very, very long-term project.

"People in Africa, India and China living very poor, very difficult, very rough lives, see our lives and think: 'I want some of that'. It is going to be very, very hard to convince them they should have a different ambition." David Hone, Shell's senior climate change advisor, spoke about its controversial exploitation of the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. "The public questions why we go to oil sands, but it is also a public that demands more energy and lower energy prices," he said.

LSU prof's global warming lecture sparks criticism

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An LSU professor who says he was challenging students to think about the consequences of global warming says he is being targeted by conservative bloggers with video out-takes of his climate change lecture.

Astronomy professor Bradley Schaefer says he wasn't marginalizing global warming skeptics by telling them "blood will be on their hands" if they support a policy that would have the U.S. doing nothing to restrict greenhouse gas production. Schaefer says he was provoking discussion and gave equal criticism to students with other points of view.

Donors failing to deliver aid for climate adaptation - report

LONDON (AlertNet) - A promised $30 billion in "fast-start" climate change aid will go largely to emissions-curbing projects rather than efforts to help vulnerable nations adapt to more extreme weather and rising seas, new research suggests.

China Studying Cap-And-Trade System to Help Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The world’s fastest-growing major economy has pledged to reduce its carbon-dioxide output per unit of gross domestic product by as much as 45 percent through 2020 compared with 2005 levels. The cap-and-trade study is still in the early stages and is being considered among other options including a carbon tax, Zhang said.

US can slash carbon emissions with natural gas: Report

WASHINGTON: The shale gas boom could help the United States reduce greenhouse gas emissions even if Congress does not pass broad climate legislation, according to a Deutsche Bank report.

US natural gas prices have fallen sharply over the last two years as supplies expanded due to the unexpectedly swift development of technologies to tap the fuel in shale formations a mile or more underground.

Climate change and disease will spark new food crisis, says UN

A food crisis could overtake the world in 2011, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, an agency of the United Nations.

Climate change, speculation, competing uses such as biofuels and soaring demand from emerging markets in East Asia are the factors that will push global food prices sharply higher next year, claims the FAO.

Climate shifts will produce food 'winners and losers' - scientists

LONDON (AlertNet) - Higher temperatures and more variable rainfall associated with climate change will produce agricultural "winners and losers", threatening a 20 percent rise in worldwide malnutrition and increasing the need to move food supplies around the globe, leading agricultural scientists said on Wednesday.

Northern countries will likely enjoy boosts in production through 2020 as a result of global warming, while southern regions including East and West Africa and India's breadbasket will suffer declines, particularly in rain-fed crops, said Andy Jarvis, an agriculture policy expert at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, based in Cali, Colombia.

After an average increase through 2020, the global "potential to produce food" could decline by 5 to 10 percent by 2050, Jarvis said.

Agricultural Commodities Face `Explosive' Future on Demand, Prestbo Says

Agricultural commodities face an “explosive” future as increased demand and the effects of global warming exacerbate supply disruptions, according to John Prestbo of Dow Jones Indexes.

Agriculture, or soft, commodity prices will become more subject to growing consumption in developing economies and increased incidents of bad weather damaging crops, Prestbo, executive director and editor of News Corp.’s Dow Jones Indexes, said in an interview in London yesterday.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Did We Vote Ourselves to Extinction?

The disconnect between the American body politic and reality grows larger every day.

Regarding several Drumbeat links on food prices, another article on this in the Financial Times is interesting. It show a graph of the Food Price Index. Take a look - the index looks surprisingly like a plot of world oil price. Yet the article never mentions that energy might have anything to do with it.


Crank up the tillers, and start plowing up the back yard.

Food and energy costs are tied together hip to hip.

Best hopes for hunters and gatherers!

Quick and dirty graph. Black is oil price, brown is imf food price index.

A few days ago on another drumbeat, there was a video of a guy talking about how people were going to be putting their money in commodities, driving them up into a bubble.

With the climate playing with where we will be growing food crops, there won't be a dull moment in the future concerning food.

Even growing it in your own backyard has it's issues, so you best be forewarned about that too.

Not every crop is easily moved.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

In much of Europe, the price of diesel is similar to the cost of vegetable oil. Since most diesel engines can run directly on veggie oil or at least on biodiesel, any increase in the price of diesel increases the use and therefore cost of vegetable oil and by extension any crop displaced by the growing of oil crops.

Boone Pickens: Cut OPEC In Half

Boone Pickens told Squawk that in seven years, the U.S. could get 8 million 18-wheelers on gas, it would “cut OPEC in half,” saving 2.5 million barrels of oil a day against the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ 5 million-barrel-per-day production.

This link also has an embedded video of Pickens on CNBC yesterday. He trashes Harold Hamm's figures from the day before. This, and Hamm's figures, was discussed on Drumbeat Tuesday.

Ron P.

Go Pickens!!! We need people like him for President!

How long would it take to get 50 million cars on natural gas?

What are annual car sales? 10 million

Simply sell only natural gas cars, and no gasoline powered cars.

It would take 5 years.

Yeah, that's simple. Poof. We're the Politburo and you're making/buying what we say. We order you to retool all your factories yesterday. Same for you foreigners who want to sell within the borders of motherUSA. You over there, selling gasoline, here's what you're doing tomorrow.

Here's a hint, Cool One. Cluelessness does not help.

Neither does needless rudeness. Please, can we have a kinder, gentler TOD here?


I love you Leanan.


How long would it take to permanently remove 50 million cars from the road?

We shall see as $80 oil has something to say about it.

BTW; the article about Saudi Arabia's cash flow notes the bigger number but does not reflect that the worth of each dollar is less.

Neither does needless rudeness.

So by default we can then assume that you still find necssary rudeness acceptable, right?

I guess what I'm alluding to is the fact that we're all adults here, and if suggesting that someone is clueless is rude then perhaps we need to allow the person addressed as such to defend their point of view or if they can't take the heat, then they should get out of the kitchen.

To be clear I'm not attempting to pass judgment on the merits of either of the comments, just saying they should be allowed to duke it out between themselves.

I am not personally in favor of an overly sterile bland and PC environment, I find it takes away much of the spice that gives our interactions their special flavor and keep people on their toes. On the other hand I certainly don't condone foul language and blatant personal attacks either.

Come on Fred, you are nitpicking, you know perfectly well what she meant. I too find there is no excuse for rudeness. I say that knowing full well that I have myself been rude in the past, sometimes on this list and sometimes in real life. (That is not to say that this list is not real life.) ;-)

However every time I have been rude in the past I always found myself deeply regretting it. I have always wished that I could go back and change my words. Sometimes the sadness of my rudeness follows me for years. I remember once, years ago, being very rude to my landlord. I can still see the deep hurt I saw in his face. I would give anything if I could go back and change that but he is long dead now.

I am not personally in favor of an overly sterile bland and PC environment,...

Neither am I. I hate PC like God hates sin. But contrary to popular belief political correctness has nothing to do with rudeness.

Ron P.

However every time I have been rude in the past I always found myself deeply regretting it.

Now that's wisdom. Better understanding from experience. We all have moments we'd like to redo in a different manner.

For those arguing pro and con for being rude, disagreeing with another person's post can be as simple as stating, 'Not sure you're right on that one because blah blah blah'. Confrontation can be subtle and the fine art of doing so should be pursued. Remember, life is a feedback system and if Leanan says its so, then it is, because the staff here does a great job which we should all be appreciative of and do what we can to abide by their code of conduct.

Agree. It's always better to argue the merits and not cast dispersions on the person. It just leads to endless escalation of insults against insults, counterattack against counterattack. Like Darwinian, I have learned that from painful experience. No sense in finding another way to raise one's blood pressure.

Having said that, TOD is kindler and gentler that just about every place I have been which allows comments. This is decidedly an adult forum.

Long live TOD!

('Long' is increasingly relative, of course!)

It's always better to argue the merits and not cast dispersions on the person.

That's all I do is work with dispersion.

The Aspersive Discovery model is a piece of junk developed by the boneeheads at CERA. It promises huge quantities of oil for years to come.

That is a dispersively cute retort.

Alas the Count of Monte Carlo is not amused.

Madge: "You're soaking in it."

The mind goes lipid with such out-of-my-depth insights.

Carlo -> Cristo -> Crisco -> Palmolive

now that is a series of connections

LOL! Thanks for the much needed laugh, WHT.

The question remains, if there need be a forced dispersion of those whose comments are judged as aspersions by those who care not for diversions nor deviations from the norm? Some chaotic activity might indicate a proclivity for attraction to strangeness with less chance to adorn. Because as we know that would cause us all, sadly to mourn...
Still I'd much prefer to sing Coulton's Mandelbrot song, though I presume I'd be told, I was 'Fractally Wrong' >;^)


Music being math, you might be able to do it, if you have the voical cords that is, or should I say prefect pitch.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world, where music and humor are still practiced.

NOt chaotic activity. Achaotic!. It grows inside the earth by mysterious means.


As Gail hinted downthread...changes are coming. Among them will probably be a greater insistence on civility.

Letting people duke it out among themselves results in the internet version of Gresham's Law. The ones who can "take the heat" aren't necessarily the most valuable commenters. Survival of the rudest does not produce the kind of site we want this to be.

As Gail hinted downthread...changes are coming. Among them will probably be a greater insistence on civility.

I don't want to come across as being against civility, I'm certainly not, furthermore it is your view of what civility is that counts on TOD not mine but I would hope that you find a way to allow for diverse manners of expression and even occasionally rude comments. BTW what is construed as rude by one person may be acceptable to another. I myself have been ridiculed and even personally attacked for my views on this and many other sites, some would call that rude and uncalled for. I can choose to reply and engage in a dialog with such a commenter or not.

Anyways I'm not endorsing rudeness, just hoping that common sense will prevail.

Fred, out.

and as such, I feel that her comment to TOIL was both common-sense and appropriate. Toil is notable for this tone of voice, and I'm glad people are calling him on it.

(They've done as much with both of us, as well.. and yet we're not being censored or booted.. so far.)

I think we need to be very clear about the distinctions (yes, often subjective) between Brutal Honesty and mere Brutality.. and other such antisocial modes. Maybe that thought of mine will be strongly objected to as well.. what can I say, it's just my Brutal Honesty talking, and damn the Torpedoes! But I didn't trash TOIL or you or anyone in doing so, just stated what I think was out of line in that sort of comment. (ie; his, not yours..)


This is an interesting situation. The ruling elite at TOD, seemingly supported by majority opinion, opposes the use of brutal language, for example calling clueless comments an example of cluelessness, when it involves two or more people posting here.

On the other hand and without comment from editors or gentlefolk, the practioners of economics, or the practioners of political science or pick another person or group not posting here, can be openly reviled in any sort of language not referring to bodily parts or sexual functions. Evidence or logic not required. If the objective of TOD is to move forward the public discussion of the issue of peak oil, one would expect to see some concern about the brutally ignorant commentary from undisciplined minds frequently found here.

On the third hand, I have to admit that the tendency to dislike a brutal assault on stupidity, ignorance or both by one poster on another does provide more evidence of the vacuousness of a common doomer description of human nature.

On the other hand and without comment from editors or gentlefolk, the practioners of economics, or the practioners of political science or pick another person or group not posting here, can be openly reviled in any sort of language not referring to bodily parts or sexual functions.

Toil, I submit that there is a tremendous difference between calling a third person, say George Bush or Dan Yergin, an idiot and calling a second person an idiot to their face. You cannot be rude to a person that will never hear or read your words or ever know anything you said. You can only be rude to a person to their face or in correspondence directly or indirectly addressed to them and with the full awareness that they will hear or read your words and know of your rudeness.

Yes, I know there may be a very remote chance that George Bush or Dan Yergin may read your insult on TOD but the odds are so remote that they can safely be ignored.

Ron P.


When I publicly call someone an "idiot" I am acting in a rude way that reflects poorly on me. At least that's how I see it. Rude means unrefined and boorish.

The important issue, I think, is how one wishes to be viewed by others. Stop for a minute and reflect on how you respond to someone calling someone else an "idiot." Is that the kind of response you want from others? My experience is that when I rant about others I lose credibility (and I don't have enough that I can afford to lose any!) with those who have the misfortune to be in earshot.

When you call GWB an "idiot" your listener may agree in which case nothing has been gained or lost. But someone who likes GWB will, from that point on, dismiss you and your opinions. Possible influence has been lost. Far better to criticize specific policies that blaspheme the man.

A lot depends on whether we are content to "preach to the choir" or have an interest in reaching out to those people who can be somewhat influenced by reason. It's much easier, I admit, to "preach to the choir." And it's a lot less work. But it accomplishes nothing.

Don't get me wrong - I suffer fools about as gladly as a root canal and you'd be hard put to find a more dedicated recluse. But when I look at the situation we're in (totally hopeless) and consider the alternatives I conclude that we might as well go down swinging. TOD should have a "Bureau of Lost Causes" so we can each register our particular brand of utopianism.

As an experiment I invite you to take today's comment section of Drumbeat and try to put yourself in the position of a reasonably well educated middle class professional who has been reading about Peak Oil and wants to take a little closer look. When I do that the result looks like a lot of loose opinionated mumbling about this and that.

Part of the problem is that the software isn't really set up to encourage focused debate. A thread may get going with fifty or so subsections but then it terminates and a totally new conversation is started. The result is a hodgepodge. This is a somewhat separate issue from rudeness. But it combines with rudeness to send our middle class professional away with a bad taste.

I'm not a suit and tie guy but in a way I'm starting to see that what is said on this website could be important in changing minds out there who want to learn and come to the site with a reasonably open mind. For that we should take what we say seriously though not grimly.

I've followed your comments and it seems to me you have a sincere interest in spreading the word that we need to start backing away from business as usual and think carefully about how we can best prepare for an uncertain turbulent future.

Coming across as kind and mild without losing your spunk can only help, don't you think?

When you call GWB an "idiot" your listener may agree in which case nothing has been gained or lost. But someone who likes GWB will, from that point on, dismiss you and your opinions. Possible influence has been lost. Far better to criticize specific policies that blaspheme the man.

This has really bothered me.

Since TOD is a science-oriented blog, I wonder why no one has really talked about Bush's blatant plagiarism. If Bush was a scientist and he had pulled a stunt that obvious, he would be discredited and banished from the scientific establishment eternally. All a scientist has is his reputation.

It doesn't matter that Bush's book may have been ghostwritten. Now every student that gets caught copying will say "Well, the president does it too!"

I admit to being a bit lost here. Are you referring to content in his book? I haven't read it and probably won't. I assumed the book was ghostwritten - does Bush actually try to claim the writing is his own?

That is the point. You haven't heard about it because it gets covered up really well by the media. Yes, it is plagiarism in his memoirs. Bush had it ghostwritten perhaps, yet even then it contains no citations. Blocks of writing from Bob Woodward's book have been copied verbatim. It gets so bad that Bush had copied the sentences adding ellipses (...) signifying places that Woodward had extra words that Bush removed without citing. It doesn't get any more blatant and lazy than that.

And yes of course he claims it as his own.

I have something in the works of like 700 pages and wish I could get away with that kind of carelessness. Keeping track of citations and references is wearying and think how nice it would be to not care what anyone thinks.

Yup. Seems readers of that kind of book spotted a few passages that were copied.

How they got in there - no idea.

I beleive Bush had help in the book writing and even said so before this kefluffel.

Since TOD is a science-oriented blog

TOD is not, in my opinion, a science-oriented blog. It is simply a forum for "Discussion about energy and our future", which the editors often cite as guidance when the topic of the blog's purpose and focus come up.

It is ideally a fact and analysis-based forum in which science is one of the important areas of focus, but not a predominant or unequal one. No subset of contributers should try to take it over, be they scientists, economists, doomers, or even poets. TOD would suffer greatly if it were to become a purely science-based blog.

Well it certainly is not a poetry-oriented blog.

This is a blog about energy. The Department of Energy secretary has a PhD in Physics.

Economics is called a soft science, I would agree

The other topics we cover geology, chemistry, ecology, climate science.

Call it what you want, TOD is by far the best blog on practical matters of science that I have run across.

And the context is that even if it wasn't science, journalism and policy analysis has some standards against plagarism as well.

The educational background of the current head of the US bureaucratic agency is charge of energy seems a bizarre and unscientific criteria for defining an intellectual focus for TOD. That would appear to imply that if he successor has a PhD. in economics, we should then shift to follow that. What about other countries big bureaucrats?

My point is that science does not own analysis. TOD should strive to develop an environment of rational, fact-based discussion on the topics of energy and the future, as per the blog subtitle.

Science will always remain a core, essential and valuable piece of this. I would hope and expect that the energy science discussed on TOD would remain excellent, as I do for the discussions of energy economics, energy policy, etc.

I would strongly argue against some kind of a proscribed science focus or a system in which, either formally or informally, scientists are allowed to declare themselves superior to other posters. Arguments must stand on their own merits, do on the academic degrees that their makers hold.

Declaring war on economists and cheering bad economic research just because it was done by scientists doesn't help much either:


I am strongly pro-science. But some people here do tend a bit towards the I am a scientist therefore I am right approach. I've been pondering the concept "Love the science, hate the scientist" a bit lately. I not sure I want to let myself get too carried away with it, but do think it is meaningful.

Arguments must stand on their own merits

When you insist on that sir, I get a sick feeling you do not grok the dark art and science of rhetorical argumentation.

But some people here do tend a bit towards the "I am a scientist, therefore I am right" approach.

This is known in the rhetorical arts as the simple tactic of "Appeal to Authority".

I strongly urge you to get a hold of Valerie Pierce's very short book, Quick Thinking on Your Feet. She does a good job explaining some of the basics of rhetorical manipulation.

They don't teach rhetorical manipulation in engineering and science classes.

And that is why many tech-geeks are born again suckers and fools who fall for even the most obvious gamings of this ilk.

Call it what you want, TOD is by far the best blog on practical matters of science that I have run across.

I second that thought.

We may have our jokesters (guilty) and doom/gloom prognosticators,
but the bottom line is that we have a lot of depth in terms of
science based and civil discussion.

I certainly don't agree with all that is said and ranted about here,
but I do spend time listening to the other side.

I know that I don't have a monopoly on being right
and more often than not, I'm at least 1% in the wrong.

With all that said, GWB was and is an idiot.
I'm sorry for that. We're all sorry for that.

I think we try to follow "scientific method" here. Theories or ideas can be proposed and discussed. When someone finds and presents arguments that invalidate these proposition, well, they are dead, and we look for better ones.

That is the point with his MaxEnt/dispersive idea. If theory predicts observations it is good. If the theory explains and matches observations, good. In principle it is difficult to question the MaxEnt derived results. One could argue about the correspondence of MaxEnt in macro processes vs. statistical mechanics and probability theory, but this discussion would be outside of TOD scope.

WHT, being a scientist, has to think in these terms, but (WHT, no offence, please) after 5-6 years of blogging his tolerance for bs starts to look like oil discovery curve...

There are probably going to be some changes on that front as well. In particular, we'd like to cut back on the useless political and religious stuff. Nobody's mind is going to be changed, no new insights will be discovered. It just annoys people.

That's why I didn't delete your Bush-bashing post the other day, or the discussion it engendered. A last hurrah, if you will.

Please Leanan! Don't you think there should be some latitude allowed when discussing people like Bjorn Lomborg, Dan Yergin, Raymond Learsy and other peak oil deniers?

I know, I know... all you and the editors need to do is make a list of adjectives and nouns that we are allowed to use to describe the blooming idiots that deny peak oil. Just make a list of permissible adjectives and nouns and another list of forbidden adjectives and nouns. Just give us some guidance. ;-)

Err... I am a little confused here. Is "blooming" in this instance a verb or an adjective? Does it describe what the idiot is doing, hence a verb or what kind of an idiot the idiot is, hence an adjective. You just might have to add verbs to the list.

Ron P.

There are probably going to be some changes on that front as well. In particular, we'd like to cut back on the useless political and religious stuff.

Good. Editorial strictness is a positive way to make redundant brutal rudeness as a check on self-indulgent posturing. In the absence of regulation, some of us are burdened from birth with the moral duty of raising the cost of participation in other ways. It may be a genetic abnormality which leads us to assume this burden. But it's not fair, and to be honest I can no longer bear the emotional scars that come from doing the dirty work.

I hope you also cut back on the useless economic stuff. For that matter cut out all the economic commentary, as evidence of the competence to determine what is useless and what is useful in this domain is scant.

I appreciate the practical information and inspiration the likes of Paul from Halifax contribute, and the informed perspective of the kind that Westexas offers on the oil trade, Rapier offers on bio-fuels and many others offer on hydrocarbon production. I hope this is the kind of material that will be the focus of the new TOD.

useless political and religious stuff

The human brain is a plastic and easily manipulated organ.

Practitioners in the arts of religion and politics are masters of manipulation.

I enjoy the craftsmanship of master painters at the Louvre ...
and I enjoy the craftsmanship of master BS artists on K Street, C Street, Madison Avenue and in the Vatican.

BS is best dealt with by exposing it to plenty of sunshine.

But if you want to hide it in the basement and let it grow like mushrooms, hey that's your choice.

It's in no danger of being hidden. Quite the opposite. It's taken over many another web site. Let them be the ones to expose it to sunshine.

The politico/religion flame outs on TOD help dispel (disperse?) the notion that "we" are any more rational than any other human beings.

It may be unpleasant to see the naked ape truth in this way, but it is necessary to expose it.

If we don't address the underlying issues, we are just as much in denial as everyone else.

"They" don't want to hear about Peak Oil or Climate Change.
And "we" don't want to hear about the true nature of the human animal.

Where is Nate Hagens when we need him?

Nate, I would guess, doesn't see the need to expose it here at TOD.

Our eyes then, remain glazed over just like everybody else's.

[ i.mage.+]

"On the third hand, I have to admit that the tendency to dislike a brutal assault on stupidity, ignorance or both by one poster on another does provide more evidence of the vacuousness of a common doomer description of human nature."

Thing is, TOIL, if you dive into an unrestrained rant or slam about how ineffective someone else's thinking or position is, what in your response shows us that you have something better to offer? I thought that Cool's idea about mandating 10mill 'ideal cars' a year or whatever was pretty unproductive in its extremity, but it really seemed like he was just misinformed, not really thinking it through.

What did you do? Leave him thinking 'To hell with this place, what a bunch of clowns!'.. and left many of us thinking that about you as well.

I think that kind of comment you left makes YOU and US look worse, and doesn't achieve it's apparent goal of 'Championing Right-thinking by stomping out Wrong-thinking (By stomping on someone's head)'

It's ineffective, and worse, counterproductive.. ie, 'WASTED ENERGY'

"Being Tough.." it may be cathartic, but I don't think it's nearly as functional as many like to believe.

Ah hell, call 'em like ya see 'em. A spade is a spade, and an ace is an ace. No need to henpeck -- we're (mostly) adults here, right?

That being said, I liked Darwinian's comment about "rudeness remorse," to coin a phrase. Seems to me that a thoughtful individual would type first, then re-read, then post.

You may quote me ;)

Re. Rudeness Remorse and type, then re-read, then post:

That reminds me of Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people." In it he tells the story of how Abe Lincoln wrote a very harsh letter to a general who lost a critical battle.

He set it aside, re-read the letter the next day and was appalled. He recalled the losses this general had experienced in a major battle a few days earlier and then wrote and sent a kinder, gentler letter.

I don't recall anymore details, but I think I will read Carnegie's book again for a refresher.

The ones who can "take the heat" aren't necessarily the most valuable commenters. Survival of the rudest does not produce the kind of site we want this to be.

Thanks for saying that, Leanan. There are days when I just stop following the Drumbeat altogether when it starts getting snarky. I used to make a comment about it, but now I just go away.

I enjoy the Drumbeat when there is what I consider to be a high signal-to-noise ratio of useful information to opionions/snarky comments. When the S-N ration gets too low I also "just go away".

I am exploring the possibility of creating a site of my own, or at least an email list (by invitation) of the sort of people who have something useful to say about the issues and problems commonly discussed here-with (mostly) polite language being a requirement.

It is perfectly obvious to anyone with even minimal interpersonal skills that people with very different ways of seeing the world may find common ground and ways of working together if they are mutually treated with common courtesy and respect;but if the ones who think differently are subjected to frequent verbal abuse, they will simply never even consider the posssibility that the people insulting them might be right insofar as physical realities are concerned, from peak oil to evolution to fiscal responsibility , or whatever.

Now I just recently heard a relative who is a hard core fundamentalist explain to his grandson what dinosaurs are-or were-and he got the basics right.This man will insist that he believes in a seven day creation if pushed and "buck up " on the issue, but he does not really believe in a young earth, or put very much stock in any particular portion of the Bible-excepting the overall idea of God , salvation, and so forth.He is certainly displaying a high level of cognitive dissonance, but so do we all to some extent.

He is uneducated, but he is not stupid-he's actually pretty bright in a lot of respects-he plays a mean game of chess for instance.

He is a committed conservationist- because he understands enough ecology as a result of seriously pursueing his hobbies of hunting and fishing(he owns a fifty thousand dollar salt water capable sports fisherman and a nice truck to haul it) to understand the importance of preserving the environment.

He is not intellectually opposed to the concept of peak oil-as a self employed cabinet maker working with premium woods, he says that only an idiot could believe there is enough oil to continue to burn it over the long haul-"I have plenty of trouble just getting good wood anymore and it GROWS BACK-some places some of the time at least".

But he is convinced there is plenty of oil for now, and for the forseeable future-simply because the people telling him otherwise in the forums where he hangs out ARE SMART ENOUGH to avoid calling him a superstitious idiot.

This guy spends significant amounts of time on the phone and in person and emailing working to make sure his passions -hunting and fishing-are safe and the lands and waters he uses, and hopes to help preserve for the use of his grandchildren,forever, are kept clean and undeveloped.

He has only two kids-and he currently has , and is likely to have, only three grandchildren.Stereotypes just don't always fetch it folks.

He would be a good ally-another good foot soldier-in the common cause of setting our society on the road to sustainability , but after reading a few remarks from insensitive nitwits making fun of his "imaginary skydaddy" he has visited TOD for the last time .

Incidentally, I can amiably discuss evolution with this man, who believes in dinosaurs and deep geologic time,(a moment to the Lord is as a thousand years to a man")as well as Jesus, so long as I politely acknowledge and/or remind him that "God works in mysterious ways" and so forth.

Like it or not , tens of millions of people believe Reagen was a good president and that Clinton got the credit for the economy growing out of a deficit situation -as Reagen insisted was possible-
tens of millions more of people believe (as I do, and as the Clintons and Pelosi and Obama obviously believe) that our very survival, short term , depends on our continued military occupation of the Middle East)and lots of other things anathema to many regulars here.

Whether these people are right or wrong is not the issue-the issue is whether we as a society-as a civilization- get our act together and start making the changes , double time, that should have been made beginning back when I was a child.

You guys want allies in this undertaking, which has at best only a slim chance of success anyway, or MORE enemies?

I suggest that everybody visit the Der Spiegel website and read the article running today about Japan.There is a lot of food for thought there.

I think you're spot on! TOD has to decide if it's a closed enclave or engaged in educational outreach. Part of the problem, as I just posted to Ron, is that the format is wrong for outreach. We need more of a wikipedia format with specific topics holding together focused debates. A newcomer needs to have a starting point where he can get an overview of the situation which then easily allows moving on to more specific areas of interest. These areas should be refereed by the appropriate experts and it would be great to have a link section that acts as a dynamic bibliography.

The fellow you describe sounds like at heart he's a rock solid pragmatist who has his "stories" but doesn't let them interfere with common sense. He is exactly the kind of person who, if convinced of Peak Oil and its import, could talk with and bring around 100 others who share his "story."

Regarding your idea of a private website: I hope TOD can incorporate some changes that will allow it to have both a private and public face. One of the difficulties with a wholly public website is that it's hard to keep out noisy troublemakers. I would like to see the capability of starting "invitation only" threads that everyone is able to read but only members can write to. Sort of an outer room inner room arrangement. That would allow newcomers to have a voice but only on the patio, so to speak. This would give newcomers a valuable insight into the kind of dialogue that is expected if they wish to "come inside."

I also subscribe to the "optimistic pessimism" school of thought. According to it, we are doomed and it's very unlikely anything we do or say will have much effect. Therefore we are free to give it our very best without much concern for the outcome. I call it the "go down swinging" philosophy.

I would like to see the capability of starting "invitation only" threads that everyone is able to read but only members can write to. Sort of an outer room inner room arrangement.

Hey, let me guess:

You have already concluded with 101% sureness that you are going to be one of the "insiders", yes?

If you don't like the comments, don't read them.
There is a comments off button you know.
Look for "Show without Comments".

Come on, that's not fair. LJR hardly ever posts. I doubt he's pushing for a situation where he gets to post and most others don't.

"If you don't like the comments, don't read them" is not an option. However, as I said before, we were at one point seriously considering making the entire site "no comments." If this doesn't work, that may be back on the table.

I guess the problem is determining what it means to be rude? I suggest that attacking the person rather than the idea is usually rude. If I submit a post that says that something said by someone, say Darwinian or FMagyar, was stupid or dumb or crazy, that attacks the idea. Saying that Ron or Fred is stupid, dumb or crazy, well... that attacks them and says nothing about the idea under discussion.

One of the things I like most about TOD is that there is a variety of opinion. Conservative, liberal, and even weird and crazy, all find their place here. Sorting out ideas can only be done if the ideas are presented.

Don't know if that makes any sense to you, but I hope so. Perhaps it is the failure of readers to click "Flag as inappropriate" at the end of each post that has allowed things to get out of hand from time to time. Or, the increase in readers that began with the Gulf Crisis? Whatever, I will watch with interest.


That's sort of what my mom always said. Attack the idea, not the person holding it.

However, I'm not sure saying "Your post is stupid" is really attacking the idea. The implication is clearly "and you're stupid for saying it." I would prefer a response like, "I disagree, and here's why."



I think this is a very nice and civil site. I have ranted and raved (I regret) but someone here always makes me feel a little better about today's problems in the end.

The ones who can "take the heat" aren't necessarily the most valuable commenters. Survival of the rudest does not produce the kind of site we want this to be.

Amen. That's basically the reason my posting frequency here fell to almost nothing. I got tired of the rudeness.

..And if that doesn't seal the point, I don't know what would.


While I acknowledge the danger of censorship, that we have lost some of the best contributers and readers from too much tolerance for

1. Rude and aggressive comments without any facts or analysis (low signal to noise ration, low knowledge to conviction ratio, strategy of shouting down opponents)

2. Huge subthreads on non-related topics or corny jokes. As Toilforoil's example at the top of a recent thread shows all you have to say is "Isn't George Bush dumb" and you can 100 people piling in.

3. Attacking people, not ideas. In the old days, I directed before to TOD saying that it was a forum in which only the good ideas survived. When anyone would make an unsubstantiated claim, it would be cut down intellectually. Now we fall too quick back on "You are an idiot".

I think a lot of us old timers have cut back out TOD time and stopped referring people to the site because the first thing they may see is some 9/11 conspiracy argument, kindergarten level political fights, or argument by insult sessions.

None of us are perfect. I am sure I will bump up against the new restrictions, but strongly support TOD's changes, based on what I have heard so far.

If we can go back to making this a bog a competitive marketplace for ideas, it will all be worth it.

Science is a contact sport. What exactly do you expect?

If the objective is science and a byproduct of the process is contact, I have no objection to it at all. I would only make the point that all forms of argument, fact-finding and analysis are contact sports so science, as a subset, shares their characteristics.

But frequently the contact is the objective, serving as a technique used to avoid examination. Many people don't like an argument, but can't refute so they fall back on insults to shut people down. Robert Rapier, for example, is to my mind, an excellent scientist and analyst as well as having pretty thick skin, but he says above that he has been chased out of here. Others have said the same.

I would also advise you not to see contact and assume it is the byproduct of science. A violent manner does not signal a great mind.

Nobel scientist Stephen Schneider wrote a book called "Science as a Contact Sport".
When it comes to the intersection of science and politics and policy, we have no choice.
Sometimes you have to grind the bastards down.

Science is a contact sport. What exactly do you expect?

A little more civility.

Actually, there's nothing nastier than two scientists arguing about Etruscan pottery, or some other topic that nobody else in the world cares about. Some scientific debates descend to a level that would result in a fistfight if less erudite intellects were involved.

OTOH, if it's two diplomats arguing about the disposition of some foreign territory, which could result in the death of millions of people if the disagreement got out of hand, they will be unfailingly polite at all times.

We probably want to take the middle course, but I would lean toward the latter end of the scale.

Maybe the two pottery experts argue so hard because there's so little to lose. :)

Unfortunately, many people here think personal attacks are some kind of legitimate debating method. They are not, they are considered a logical fallacy and contribute nothing to the debate. See: ad hominem fallacies

The fact is that many people here have not a clue how to conduct a logical debate and turn the site into a cornucopia of logical fallacies, which they apparently think of as legitimate arguments. And then they get upset because nobody sees the point of their arguments - which of course nobody does because they are illogical.

If you want to participate in a logical debate, you should first learn how to do it. Don't follow the example of the politicians, because their statements often contain nothing but logical fallacies with no factual content at all.

Here's a list of fallacies for people who want to clean up their debating techniques. You can start with the ad hominem fallacies.

Many times the 'appeal to authority' argument is used. But without that appeal, what is left that other 3rd parties are going to accept as a "truth"?

I can see that we disagree over the merits of rudeness, or perhaps when rudeness passes from needed to needless. But you're the boss and that's fine with me. So I'll try to bite my fingernails the next time my digits get that murderous itch. Better yet, my coffee is done and I've got a bathroom reno to finish, so I'll go and see if the intake and the outtake are still arguing over which one has a better view of the end of civilization.

Come to think of it, maybe my whole attitude to life is shaped by plumbing: you're often dealing with unneccessary blockages and backflow because some people think themselves above the hard work of chewing properly before opening their orifice. And then there's a certain number who appear to lack a digestive apparatus, and among them a group of whackos who are proud of it.

On the other foot, there's not much in this world that accomplishes as much as a properly functioning bathroom. And it's food for thought to consider that in circumstances of close community dwelling the private bathroom is suboptimal without the reliable provision of clean water and a system and facility to recycle waste, which we learn through evidence and analysis are most economically organized on a socialist basis, thus providing a pretty good example of the need for both a private and public sector. But I digress from rudeness.

If you're ever up in this neck of the maine woods Toil, we've got a nicely turned out 2-holer you can use. Nice view of the back field, well ventilated, nice bucket of wood ash and sawdust to drop in after you're done. Got the required Sears catalouge, an old Bangor daily news, and of course the latest Victoria Secret mailing. In mid-winter the 2-holer is nice because the building warms up a bit with two people in it. I'll leave out why the chunk of 2x4 is in there, but I bet some folks know why.

Don in Maine

If I come in winter, I'll bring my cutout piece of pink rigid insulation. No point in abandoning all the comforts of modernity.

Well if this blog is going to turn into a daily activity report of others bathroom habits, I'm done washing off my shoes from being here and I have a phone number of a good plumber (if someone plumbing problems are affecting their bloging problems).

How very polite. This looks like an art form like Twain.

I agree. While I appreciate the lively conversations and interchange on TOD I find the acrimonious exchanges distressing. There's much of that everywhere. And its so easy and emotionally satisfying to drop into it.

It might help if we all hold foremost that this is a forum discussing a crucially important topic and for every commenter there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of viewers. If one of the important goals of TOD is to present a balanced interchange of ideas regarding our energy future then it behooves us to behave in a manner befitting public display. It's tempting to think that a quick, sardonic retort is clever and this boosts self-esteem but suddenly there it is for all to see, and it seldom looks appealing from the outside. In other words we need to understand that what we say matters - we're not doing it just to entertain each other but to help give the world a different POV on energy.

People on this board have strong feelings about the shape of the future and what our collective response should be. I hope we can preserve that passion while keeping in mind that this is a public conversation and we need to present ourselves as a "better way" than the conversations we hear on Fox.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't have spirited debates. But it does imply that there is a world of difference between saying, "You're an idiot," "You're just flat out WRONG, WRONG, WRONG," "You don't understand what I'm saying," and "Let me rephrase what you just said because I may not be understanding you."

Now this all smacks of the dreaded Political Correctness - and I hate PC with all my heart: not because it is civil but because it's fake. PC takes all that inner nastiness and turns it into neutered gibberish. People who engage in it lose their souls.

For an example of a comment section that is strictly controlled you can visit www.thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com. I find Greer to be somewhat overbearing and I hope TOD doesn't take as drastic an approach as he has. Realistically we can't because Leanan and Gail can't spend all their hours reviewing posts before allowing them to appear - and that's what Greer does. I have to admit that I find the level of discourse that results is very high. But so is the level of censorship. That I don't care for.

It may help for all of us to think of our motley and variegated selves as members of an extended family. We don't always agree and sometimes disagree vehemently. But if we think of ourselves as friends with opposing ideas engaged in a very important conversation read by many thousands of people, the need for vociferation may well diminish of its own accord. As our manners improve so also our tolerance and equanimity.

One other peril on forums like these is that certain personalities start getting too ego involved. They have a lot of time on their hands. Often retired, they miss the responsibilities and authority they had in their work life. It is very natural for these commenters to seek alpha status through a combination of bravado, bluff and bluster. I view this behavior as one of the most difficult to restrain. On the one hand these strong minded individuals bring a lot of energy and useful insights to TOD - they are always here and they stitch the conversation together with a needed continuity. But they can also tend to use the board to assuage an inner emptiness by seeking to lord it over others in a manner that I find offputting. They seem to have stretched the question marks in their lives into exclamation points and to hell with dissent. Since this is a natural human tendency it often is completely invisible to those engaged in it. They view their actions as simply sharing the wisdom of a life well spent. And while they might be an effective village elder, they come across to me as overbearing and authoritarian. The problem is that we don't need authority figures because we really don't have any answers - we are questing for them. Different people have their own areas of expertise. They will naturally dominate threads pertaining to what they know. For instance, Rockman and Heading Out are obviously the ones to speak and educate when an oil well blows out. This is a natural authority and not brought about because they seek a following. And the thought of Heading Out being overbearing is too ridiculous to contemplate.

I'd like TOD be the kind of place thought of as both spirited, educational, informative and welcoming. A place where a newcomer can make a first time comment without the fear that someone is going to tell him that he is stupid and naive. As the Firesign Theater pointed out many years ago, "We're all Bozos on this Bus." And we ain't got to Goshen yet.

Much of the success of TOD is due to the unrelenting, tireless efforts of Gail and Leanan. We are soooo fortunate to have these two tough, intelligent and emminently fairminded women overseeing the forums. I don't want to embarrass them with praise but I think substantially everyone here would agree that we are blessed to have them. All of us being civil makes their life easier. And I'm for that.

LJR, I wouldn't want to see TOD adopt the same policy for its comment pages that I use on The Archdruid Report, because they're not anything remotely like the same kind of blog. The Oil Drum is a general peak oil news and discussion site -- the best on the internet these days -- while The Archdruid Report is a one-man show, a place where I post my weekly essays and host discussions about their content. Different projects, different policies.

That said, I think it's pretty clear that an anything-goes policy on the internet, where there are no consequences for even the most appalling behavior, results reliably in a worst-common-denominator culture of nastiness, and I applaud the decision of the Oil Drum crew to move in the direction of requiring civility from commenters. There will doubtless be some whinging as a result, but my experience has been that having and enforcing some kind of civility policy draws more people than it repels, and makes for better conversations to boot.


What is needed is a middle way. Do you think an "inner room" "outer room" approach might work? The "inner room" would be comprised of focused topic threads to which only members may contribute in a non-moderated fashion. The "outer room" would consist of a more general conversation like Drumbeat open to all. Think of the "inner room" as being like working groups in professional organizations.

Anyone might apply to the working groups by simply submitting content. The content, if deemed appropriate would be incorporated into the thread. Enough accepted content would result in the commenter being invited to join the group.

I see this having two good effects. It gives everyone a chance to see how the inner groups work and it provides a "moderated" approach, much like on your site, so that non-members can contribute and eventually be recognized as members. Once a member their content is no longer moderated. This provides the incentive to become a member.

Seems to me that one of the main impediments to creating vital and productive internet based groups is the lack of appropriate software. The bulletin board format is really long in the tooth and the whole field of software design now seems to be owned by graphic artists.

Cool one,

I think you have the right idea, but I would go one more step. Call for the end of production and sales of all new non-renewable powered passenger vehicles in the near future. Let's say in 8 to 10 years ( the next product cycle ). Twist the arms of all the other leaders in the world to follow. This will lower the price of oil (then tax the crap out of it). For all the disbelievers out there that think this will not work, they will have a period of time to buy all the gasoline vehicles they think they need for the future (a big ecomonic stimulus for the world which is needed).

We can plan for the future or we can live from crisis to crisis like we do now

I think it's clear that we CAN'T plan for the future in the US. Our brand of "must-have-higher-stock-price-this-quarter-the-future-be-damned" capitalism is utterly incapable of longer term planning. Combine that with the growing "all-government-is-bad" religion of the right-wing, and we will certainly be lurching from crisis to crisis for a long time.

The way I see it, todays PO is a transportation Velocity issue. Without leadership and planning it will become a life sustainable issue. What is the sustainable speed within our current transportion system and technology? 20,30,40,50 MPH ? I don't know, but I can tell you it's not 70 or 80.

I totally agree with your comment

I think the issue is more "our current transportation system and technology" than how fast. So long as we rely on individual ICE vehicles (or EVs), no speed is sustainable. Inherent inefficiencies are the greater problem, though the greatest is still the overall number of human beings to be transported.

Is your suggestion that we keep our present paradigm and lower the speed limit (again) to 55, or 45, or 35? Why not increase delivery of tranportation facilities by expanding mass transit, convert existing highways to tollways (self supporting, don't ya know), and deliver transportation at high speed, city center to city center, using the most efficient sustainable source of power?


Excellent points 42, but I will disagree with you on the "no speed is sustainable". I can maintain almost 20 MPH on my bike, a solar powered golf cart or a biodissel vehicle are all sustainable. There is a 100 years of investment in roads in this country and no matter how much mass transportation expands there is still going to be a need for individual vehicles. But when my individual vehicle only goes 20 mph, I will be jumping on that high speed bus to get from Huntington Beach to Santa Monica. I'm all for sustainable mass transit.

To get to sustainablity we are going to have to slow down. The soon we learn this the better our quality of life is going to be in the future.

The Low Tech magazine has some great articles on speed vs energy consumption:


And how electric cars with very long ranges are entirely possible. But at lower speeds.


This is where I place my hope: Slow, low power, rough road tolerant electric vehicles for urban and rural travel until mass transit via rail can be slowly built out.

Slow, low power, rough road tolerant electric vehicles for urban and rural travel

Slow is all based on where you look from.

Is 2x times human walking rate good enough if you got to sit most of the time while moving?

How about 2x a cyclist?

Or 2x a horse on a trot?

Is 100 miles over an 8 hour day good enough?

At some point, 2X a human walking while sitting with a very large load will be considered "just fine". (assuming no magik)

When I went on SunRayce (solar powered cars) in 2005, we were going 25-35mph. In the 2007 and 2009 races, the top cars were hitting the speed limit (55 or 65 mph) more then they were hitting energy limits. I was absolutely amazed that a team of college kids could put together a vehicle that went that fast on nothing but solar. (granted, a lot of them used space-grade solar cells, but in practice, what mattered more was mundane things like did the brakes rub)

Regardless of solar or not, all I need is less than 5 acres to make more fuel that I'll ever personally need.

But even in the USA there are only about 2 arable acres per person, and worldwide only about 1. So on its face, this can't possibly scale up.

To make energy you don't need arable land.

Capture photons via PV or a wind machine are 2 'does not need to be arable' option.

what mattered more was mundane things like did the brakes rub)

Yeah, I'd say that would probably be pretty important.

But I'm going to venture a guess that the fastest cars were designed by teams that spent a lot of time doing computer modeling so they could work on the aerodynamics and reduce their drag coefficients. I'll bet they also incorporated lightweight components made from materials such as carbon fiber.

In any case, more solar power to em!

issue is more "our current transportation system and technology" than how fast. So long as we rely on individual ICE vehicles (or EVs), no speed is sustainable.

I respectfully (can't risk being rude can I) disagree about the speed issue. At least regarding EVs. It is easy to make extremely efficient EVs. Its just that it is not easy and cheap EVs that can safely commingle with big ICE vehicles traveling at high speeds. If we had commuter routes with enforced lower speed limits (I'd be happy with a parallel route, let the speed demons do their own thing on their own road), then all sorts of small
highly efficient human and/or battery powered vehicles would be viable and affordable.

DownToTheLastCookie: Quote: "This will lower the price of oil (then tax the crap out of it)" How so if the cheap oil is gone and the rest is very expensive to produce. Oil can never become cheap anymore since the oil producers would close those oil wells that are uneconomical if the oil price falls. This would produce a demand squeeze and the oil price rises.

Simple economics, reduce the demand and you will lower the price. I'm not saying that the price will stay down forever. But it will always be lower than if demand is not reduced. Look what happen two years ago when demand dropped off. If you move down the demand curve prices are lower. It's very simple.

DTTLC - yes...very simple. Just simply had to have all those millions lose their jobs, diminish pay rolls (and the taxes collected from them) by trillions of $'s and contibute to the largest loss of home equity (many trillions of $'s) in our history. Declining demand is just one way to reduce oil consumption. Declining ability to pay for oil is another. Lowering the price also reduces supply...another economics truism as a rule. And reducing supply tends to push prices back up. And that's just another trap the world economies have step into IMHO. Assume by some magic design the consumers can decrease their consumption without killing their economies too severely. They would be reducing the incentive for further oil/NG development just as the older fields are reaching the last phase of life. "Drill, baby, drill" won't stop the progression of PO's negative effects. But "Shut down, baby, shut down" isn't going to make the transition easier to deal with either.

Well if your answer to jobs is more of the same(BAU). Then it time to bring back the phone operator, meter reader, secretary pool, gas station attendent and any other dinasour job out there. You want jobs or do you just want to keep your job? If you really want more jobs than take that $600 billion dollars a year this country spends on foreign oil and spend it on technology (and labor(new jobs)) advancements to eliminate the uses of oil.

The future of oil is coming to an end. Either you prepare for it or run full speed off the cliff.

I haven't said lower the price. I have been saying lower the demand and you will lower the price. There is a big differance.

Then it time to bring back the phone operator, meter reader, secretary pool, gas station attendent and any other dinasour job out there.

Well, actually I _do_like_ the fact that the state of Oregon has all gas stations with people that fuel your car. It is nice, and their fuel cost to the consumer is less than here in California, too.

Point well taken, but if full service stations where popular, I would think we would be seeing more of them in other states. There is no law against them.

Some states like Missouri have no infrastructure to distribute the nat. gas. St. Louis has no public outlets for filling a nat gas powered vehicle, and with the complexity of filling a high pressure tank I doubt many companies want to assume the liability for such a facility. Also, the storage capacity of having our company pickup truck (Chevy 3/4 ton) run on nat gas would limit range to about 100 miles, if we still want much space for hauling stuff.

So to build the nat gas infrastructure is possible, but would the general public be able to handle the procedure for filling the vehicles and would they accept the range limitations? I think not. They would rather pay for higher priced gasoline.

If we have a glut of natural gas and want to get off oil we should just convert it to methanol and convert their cars to flex fuel alcohol, ethanol/methanol. The conversion of natural gas to methanol is 65% efficient so there would be some loses(oil refineries are 83% effoicient so it's not that bad). The infrastructure is simple, a 2000 gallon tank of methanol and a 2000 gallon tank of gasoline( right now gas stations have a premium tank and regular tank) and make whatever mix you like, eg M10 to M85. I would favor ethanol because it is net energy positive.

However, Boone is talking about NG for long haul tractor trailers, not cars and light trucks. Alan Drake, who wants to ban long haul freight in favor of electric locos, can argue that one with Boone.
Methanol beats CNG IMO.

convert their cars to flex fuel alcohol, ethanol/methanol

sounds good on paper. how does the auto industry keep up with all the permutations of fuel availability ? and how do fuel stations keep up with the same ?

unfortunately, i think we are already sliding down the slipery slope "on" ethanol.

You realize that a flex fuel vehicle can burn all percentages of alcohol from 0% to 85%, right?

unfortunately, i think we are already sliding down the slipery slope "on" ethanol.

Cue spooky music and flashes of lightning.

EIA says that unconventional oil, CTL and biofuels will amount to 20 mbpd(boe) in 2035(fig 38) in the high price case. In 2008 they were 4 mbpd. That means if conventional oil drops 1% per year, the EIA high case projection is that unconventional oil development can support 86 mbpd of consumption.

The IEA says conventional oil production in 2035 will be
and oil prices will be about $200 per barrel.
Aspo-Aleklett says IEA estimates oil production from existing fields will be 52 mbpd in 2035(which he agrees with).


52mbpd + 20 mbpd = 72 mbpd +? from new discoveries, new production from oil fields = 86 mbpd.

86 mbpd -->72 mbpd in 25 years is an overall decline of .8% per year.

Unconventional oil, biofuels and convention oil can hold production fairly steady for the next 25 years.

86 mbpd -->72 mbpd in 25 years is an overall decline of .8% per year.

Unconventional oil, biofuels and convention oil can hold production fairly steady for the next 25 years.

Majorian, that are just the 'cold numbers', though Aleklett is too optimistic about future conventional oilproduction say some experts. When conventional oilproduction starts to decline then geopolitics and ELM can and probably will trump everything else.

If you have a glut of natural gas, you should just convert your cars to natural gas. It's not hugely expensive, and at additional expense you can put a CNG compressor in your house to fill up at home. Duel fuel conversions allow you to switch to gasoline or diesel at the flip of a switch if you run out of NG while driving down the highway.

The only real problem is where to put the CNG tank. In a pickup truck there's lots of room to put in or above the bed where it won't interfere with cargo. In a car you might have to sacrifice some trunk space.

I worked for several oil companies that converted their field vehicles to natural gas, and it seemed to work our fairly well. Mind you, the companies got their NG more or less for free (solution gas coming off the oil separators), and they already had the equipment necessary to compress it and put it into tanks. If they hadn't burned it in their vehicles they would have been fined for polluting the air with it, so it was a no-brainer.

"and at additional expense you can put a CNG compressor in your house to fill up at home"

That will be pointless since there is no natural gas service here.

It looks like the real range on the Leaf is about 70 miles. If I give up the back seats to a booster battery it would work. They really are close to practical. Give me 90 miles real world range, (130 to 140 "EPA/marketing") and I'm in business. And the carport already has a welding outlet (30 Amps at 240 V.)

Gas use would be down to 3 or 4 thousand miles a year on the pick up, and maybe 20 gallons for the outboard, lawnmower, chainsaw, rototiller, etc. My gas usage would be 1/3 of current consumption.

Give me 90 miles real world range, (130 to 140 "EPA/marketing") and I'm in business.

...what about a towed 1+kw solar array? It would not weigh much, and 1kW might help extend range as long as you were driving where there was good sunlight.

For pure EV driving, I can hope that range extenders, like trailered kW PV or trailered tiny diesel generators would become popular.

A 1kW array might get you 4kWh a day. At 200Wh/kilometre, you'd get 20km out of it. Of course, you'd probably drive those 20km in about 20 minutes. Much better idea to either put the Array on your roof and buy more batteries.

That will be pointless since there is no natural gas service here.

The first question I would ask is, "Why not?" This is not an idle question since, with the current glut of natural gas, it is an ideal way to heat your home. I have no idea where you are so I can't guess why it is not available.

The second question is, "What are you doing to bring natural gas service to your community?" Again, it's not an idle question. If I didn't have NG service where I am, I would be working to bring it in. I'm a politically active kind of guy so I try to make things happen.

The third question is, "How is your electricity generated?" Hardly anyone seems to know the answer to this question.

Every second natural gas processing plant I have driven past lately seems to have a brand-new power station sitting next to it. It seems to be the current quick-fix to electricity supply issues. I've also seen a lot of wind generators, but most of them seem to be sitting idle, waiting for the breeze to pick up.

I like to point out to people that it is more efficient to burn NG directly in an engine than it is to burn it in a power plant to generate electricity, transmit it several hundred miles, and then use it to charge up an expensive lithium ion battery.

I like to point out to people that it is more efficient to burn NG directly in an engine than it is to burn it in a power plant to generate electricity, transmit it several hundred miles, and then use it to charge up an expensive lithium ion battery.

Are you sure about that ?

I think the answer is "it depends".

I did find out that the electricity to compress NG for CNG for a Pickens CNG truck is about the electricity to move that same freight by electrified double stack rail. The NG burnt would be a waste in that case.


Re: LSU prof's global warming lecture sparks criticism

Here's a similar story from the Huffington Post, which includes one of the videos. Notice that students appear to be drifting into the lecture while it's underway.

The Tea Party Global Warming denialist camp must think that their wins on election day give them a right to censor science. I can only hope that they are wrong. Fortunately, the tactics they used to win elections aren't very useful when applied in a university setting where one must provide a truthful presentation of facts and evidence...

E. Swanson

The answer to global warming is stop burning fossil fuels....
The answer to peak oil is stop burning fossil fuels....

What is so hard about that?

Cool - Presumably the hard part would be for those 10's of millions of folks losing their paychecks when stopping the burning of ff puts their companies out of business. It's taken many decades to build ourselves into this trap. IMHO it can't be fixed for many decades. Unfortunately many who'll lose ther jobs are at the low end in the skill department. Many can drive fewer miles ot take mass transit to work. But 10's of millions of jobs in this country alone depend upon someone burning ff's to keep them in business. And yes...often these business aren't not ecessential for our economy. But that also makes the folks employeed in those business non-essential also.

I think it's actually worse than you suggest. We have an economy which is based on growth and without growth, the fact that the working population is going to increase means more unemployment. We had an opportunity after the Arab/OPEC Oil Embargo in 1973 to turn things away from the growth model and adapt to a Limits to Growth point of view. Every President since Nixon has issued a call for energy independence, yet, our imports of oil and our use of coal have both continued to grow. Having been indirectly involved with Project Independence in 1974, I've been continually aware of the mess we've made for ourselves. We've wasted the past 35 years, ignoring the problems while continuing with BAU, building ever more energy consuming real estate developments and other capital investments, all based on the presumption that the cheap oil would continue to flow. After Peak Oil, a large fraction of those developments based on cheap oil which can not be retrofitted will simply be abandoned, unless some alternatives appear. With more than 35 years of searching already behind us, it looks like there's no easy way out.

Worse yet, the younger fraction of the public, say, those born after 1967, didn't experience the 1973 and 1979 oil problems as adult consumers, so they likely don't understand the seriousness of our situation and thus won't be willing to sacrifice their lifestyles for the benefit of the entire country, let alone to deal with the global problem of Climate Change. Looking at that video clip, the student who made it already had placed himself/herself in the denialist camp and the students who showed up in the middle of the lecture weren't even interested in the subject, which was visible in the chart on the screen...

E. Swanson

One advantage I see to a very sudden crash - something resembling Kuntler's "World Made By Hand" - is that there might be "full employment" rather quickly, leaving no time for all of the political fighting and social unrest that would happen in a slow-mo collapse.

With a sudden collapse, locals would be more interested and preoccupied with the essentials (body temp, water, food, etc). Locals would be forced into forming "spontaneous communities" (see Dmitry Orlov).

With sudden collapse, the the Glen Becks and class clowns like Colbert and Stewart could entertain their locals without doing too much damage to the rest of the world ;)

One thing that interests me is how the Empire responds to internal pressures, and solves them through solutions that seem fine at first, but at the expense of deterioration over the longer term.

Our solution to chronic poverty, crime, drugs/guns/gang culture was mass imprisonment. It wasn't particularly elegant, but it worked. But it can only work as long as wealth can be extracted from the private world to pay for it. As soon as this wealth extraction slows down, the solution fails. With the decline of state and local revenue, and the inability to be bailed out a la Wall Street, one wonders if the mass imprisonment solution is starting to fail.

My gut tells me that our solution to unemployment will be an increase in the security/military state. Army recruitment, TSA, etc. One can already see this happening; military recruitment is steady, the oafs who man the airport scanners, etc. This is basically our solution.

It will work at first, it will keep unemployment contained, keep the mouths of restless males fed. But like the mass imprisonment solution, it fails when the money starts to dry, when there are literally no more upper middle class Americans or Chinese peasants who can enter to play and support the game.

Independent of the liquid fuels situation, I think the problems really begin to appear, and accelerate, around the 2015-2020 timeframe. We are in trouble.

Good post today over at Dave Cohen's blog:


Yes, excellent points. They usually let the prisoners out early on in the collapse. And unemployed kids are easy bait for the military commercials at half-time, featuring video-gaming warriors...

And thank you for the link to Dave's blog.

I agree with you Dog. I didn't want to slam down on him too hard. When I start running down how much of our complex society depends on exorbinant expendatures of fossil fuels it get depressing very fast. I really meant TRAP. The worst part is that a fairly large number of folks depedent upon these wasted expendatures have limited skills and need the low end service jobs to survive. All I can think of is a malaysian monkey trap you've may already know about: cut a hole in a coconut just big enough for a monkey to slip its hand in. But a nut inside and wait. The monkey can't pull its hand out without letting go of the nut. Most won't so they stay trapped. Even when the majority of the public signs on to PO to some exent, it's easy to imagine many unable to let go even though common sense tells them they must.

When I start running down how much of our complex society depends on exorbinant expendatures of fossil fuels it get depressing very fast.

For whom is it depressing and why?

What populations would see this as a good thing ?

I'm not being sarcastic. I just think all of us need to think about this more deeply.

This is the time of the semester when in every class the students:

1. Ask for Extra Credit to make up for the 3 or 4 exams they failed, and
2. Ask for "re-take" off one or more exams that they failed.

I tell them MOTHER NATURE does not give extra credit or retakes.

This Transition is depressing for Industrial Peoples.

Mother Nature says, "Too bad, you've had time to study and prepare for the exam, do not whine now that you sit here unprepared for the test."


I agree... we do need to think more deeply. And, in fact, what we really need to do, in a very literal way, is to change our minds. That is what paradigm change means, isn't it?


Roger that.

aardy - I primarially referring to the service industry employees in the US. Like me you see dozens of them daily. Next time you see one of them imagine what they would do to keep food on the table and the rent paid if their job were permanently eliminated. For the last 6 months or so I've had a mini-preview of this world. I travel often to S. La. and know a great many folks over there. Granted it's a very small portion of the US population but the service industry over there took a big hit. I don't have the numbers but I would bet almost as big as the oil industry. I know dozens of families no longer able to pay the rent, dozens of their kids who had to drop out of college, etc.

Tell me what we should be thinking more deeply about. I don't really think it takes much deep thinking to be honest. A large potion of our society (that's also relatively poorly skilled) depends upon society wasting ff on non-essential purchases. We can agree all day long that waste is bad. But what if your pay check is dependent upon that waste? It's easy to say they made a bad choice in career paths. But even those of us in better position are still affected: we will be supporting those unemployed folks to some degree. and perhaps for a very long time.

dozens of their kids who had to drop out of college, etc.

That is the scary part of the picture! What will the future hold for those kids? And for the rest of us as a less literate mass of workers becomes increasingly unable to find meaningful employment?


I am of the opinion that a college education is not the only qualifier of literate.
I am a firm believer in vocational education and formal apprenticeships as being equal to (or better than) college education for a very large number of students.
Our local schools are dropping "vocational classes" so they can keep "extra curricular sports" in the schools.
Because of unfunded mandates by the Federal Government our schools are spending large sums on "educating" people who will never become independent or productive, while at the same time dropping classes for the advanced students.
We are becoming a very socially empathetic nation that is rushing headlong towards catastrophic failure.
And 90+% of the people don't give a darn.

Not the only qualifier, but today a major predictor of success. And, if comments by several friends who have Masters and PhDs can be considered, the kids coming out of high school today are about as literate as those entering it 50 or so years ago, so that 'some college' would be one qualifier at least.

I agree that sports are a poor substitute for even vocational classes. The problem there lies is at the high school level. Other nations of the world educate their children and consider it an investment in their futures. Indian college grads come here with no debt, and compete with US students who have huge non-dischargeable Sallie Mae loans. All part of BAU today!

And, if those students are not educated, how can they become independent and productive? Who determines which ones will "become independent or productive"? And, why is dropping classes for the advanced students an acceptable alternative to providing education for the rest? I object!

Our local JuCo has many classes that are really vocational in nature. Two-year AAS degrees (applied science) that do not transfer to BS programs because they contain only practical knowledge and result in certificates of competency have become standard fare. I feel certain that the kids referred to in the parent post are largely in such classes. How we, as a nation, can refuse to pay to educate our workforce, and then complain that they are unemployed strikes me as a part of the insanity today. So many factors interact in determining our economic future; short sighted insistence on low taxes, and catastrophically distorted inequities in relative wealth, are going to, IMHO, drag us all down. Even, and especially, the once great middle class of America.

Then, when our nation collapses as a consequence, there will be no cheap energy to help restore our once and former life styles, and those manage to get through the draw down will have to learn to deal with our new reality. Not because some bogey man forced us to do it. No... it will be done by force of nature that is completely amoral and classless. And, there will be no buying your way out of it. No creating your own reality by speaking it into existence. And we will have ourselves to thank for it.

We are indeed heading for that catastrophic failure of which you speak; the collapse will be due, not to social empathy, but rather from greed - which I submit is rather the opposite of empathy.


I am of the opinion that a college education is not the only qualifier of literate.
I am a firm believer in vocational education and formal apprenticeships as being equal to (or better than) college education for a very large number of students.

While I can see the need for vocational training for 'a very large number of students', I think it has been a huge educational tragedy that the concept of a Liberal Arts education has been so trashed and degraded over the past several decades. It seems we are turning out graduates who are more ignorant of the world outside the USA than ever. Ignorance of how the world works (or doesn't work) is, IMO, the major contributor to the generally ham-handed way the US acts upon the world stage. I'm disappointed to the max that some in-depth knowledge of other cultures (including multi-lingualism, what a concept!) is thought of by very many Americans as being 'elitist'. I normally try and eschew the sound bites, but the bumper sticker saying "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance" sums up a lot of truth.

Having said that, I realize that this might be perilously close to a simple off-topic rant about education, hence deletable. Putting it into TOD context, it would make sense for Americans to be educated about countries/cultures on whom we depend for our fossil-fuels. For example, Ron Patterson has made a point about the characteristics of Saudi culture and how these affect their relations to the rest of the world, especially with reference to their oil industry. We Americans would do well to educate ourselves about such things and these things will not be learned in tech school.

Ron Patterson has made a point about the characteristics of Saudi culture

And others have pointed out they are racist.

Arguments could be made about the difference between the religion and the culture ... and that will lead to the shouting matches about religion with one group thinking they are getting the short end of the oil dipstick.

I'm betting one could beat the culture VS welfare state arguments also.

Rock - I hear you loud and clear.

" Next time you see one of them imagine what they would do to keep food on the table and the rent paid if their job were permanently eliminated"

That is a problem I have thought about long and hard - when the former rational people I knew become irrational and drop all pretense of "morals, ethics" etc and just start swinging their fists.

A large potion of our society (that's also relatively poorly skilled) depends upon society wasting ff on non-essential purchases.

Rock. I think it depends upon your time horizon (discount rate). Short term
something approaching BAU with respect to FF does the least damage. Longer term, it sets us up for serious problems a few years from now. So we have to find a way to begin making the needed changes, that preserves the ability of society to function well. You can't totally separate the time horizons. A shift away from FF will be painful for some, and in terms of winners and losers, more of the losers (from a faster shift) are in the near future, but there are a huge number of losers down the road if we don't get serious about it.

EOS - I agree about the time element. Unfortunately I think we may have missed the point in time (around 30 years ago) when we should have started the long term adjustment. Given the timing most folks offer for the worst of PO materializing, we don't have a generation to adjust. I have serious doubts we can manefest even short term adjustments that would have a significant effect. IMHO we're beyond a planning stage and will be mired in a reaction phase. IOW we'll be so focused on the immediate that planning for the future not be addressed. In fact, society may take actions harming our future options so they can lessen the present pain. The current political landscape would seem to support that pessimism. Look how the scene has changed in 2 years. How can we mount an effective response to PO if TPTB are cycled every 2 to 4 years? And that assumes, of course, any one political brand can mount a logical and effective response.

The problem is few people realize what life is really like, at least in the Western world. If you live in a place where your food was grown by you, or you gathered it from somewhere, you might realize things that most westerners don't. But how many people are still that close to the land really?

Look at China and India, where they have a lot more people living in cities now than they did 50 years ago. How many people under 30 know how to grow food anymore?

Peak Oil is not the only thing in this either, we have vast areas where we have literally torn down mountains to get at the minerals inside, wasted rivers, torn out rain forests and still more of it going on each and every day. When will we get to that point where the water tables have been ruined, the rivers ruined and the only safe water is from the sky, when it does rain?

We have hit MAX Overdrive and now we are going to pay a price that we will not be used too.

But mankind has been wasting the resources it has been given long before we modern man showed up, but we did not learn from anyone else's mistakes.

If 250 of us at TOD think deeply about this for weeks, what difference will it make? Actions speak louder than words in this case.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

I work in operations at a coal-fired power plant, and this statement rings true. Not only are my coworkers undereducated but entrenched in the area by a mortgage and family. I may be able to uproot and move to a non ff power plant, but most could not.
Coal-fired plants employ 60,000 people. This does not include associated services like transport of ash and coal. That is just operations and maintenance.

Unfortunately many who'll lose ther jobs are at the low end in the skill department. Many can drive fewer miles ot take mass transit to work. But 10's of millions of jobs in this country alone depend upon someone burning ff's to keep them in business.

Do you think the only jobs in alternatives are high tech? Lets think about the distribution of job skills, along with the number of jobs needed for alt energy. I claim the number of jobs will be higher, and that the vast bulk of them will be low skilled. Lets think about a few examples:
When I had solar panels installed on my house, the biggest by far number of man hours were by the guys who had to drill/cut roofing tile and install the mounts (6 days). Second was electricians (1day) a skilled position, but it doesn't require a college degree. I don't know how much labour was office workers pushing paper.
Then think of some alt eng types for larger scale power.
(1) lets say we went big for geo-thermal.
Wouldn't employment look a lot like for oil drilling.
(2) Solar thermal:
Construction, site preparation. Operation, taking care of high temperature steam lines, maintaining turbines and generators, and cleaning reflectors. Sounds pretty similar to the jobs on a modern FF plant to me.
(3) Wind:
Mostly construction and manufacturing, but also some maintenence jobs. Much of this is at the tradeschool level of skill or less.

And if we go conservation:
(1) Insulating old buildings. Sort of like general contractor stuff, with a lot of subcontracting of grunt work.

Energy, in general is going to require a mix of job skills, and just like FF energy the skill pyramid will be widest at the lower skill levels. Perhaps there will be a bigger portion of R&D jobs as well, but mostly at the deployment level it should be a good fit to our population.

And if we go with a lot of energy from flows, as opposed to stores (with flows being renewable nature stuff, like water and wind currents, or sunshine), most of the jobs will be where these things are found, the rural countryside.

Of course for any given person with a current FF job, the question "will I be the one getting the new job?", is always relevant. Perhaps many of the new jobs will go to people currently outside the energy industry. But, I suspect those already in the energy industry have a leg up skills wise.

The answer to global warming is stop burning fossil fuels....

The answer to stop burning FF's is a global economic depression and a massive dieoff.

What is so hard about that?


"Nigeria's security forces reunited 19 foreign and local hostages with their employers on Thursday"

Oh my darling employer, I am so glad to be back in your loving arms!!!?? Please, I must insist on a pay cut.

The norwegian word for employer is "arbeidsgiver", which translates literally as "workdonor" (or "labourgiver", if you wish; anyway, the implication is that work is a gift given to the employed by the employer).

"Peak oil is less than a decade away"

Guess that they are referring to peak liquids....
Peak crude is already here now.

Can anyone think of any examples of countries that hit a production peak/plateau--and that failed to show a new production high within three years--that subsequently had a new and higher production peak?

Russia/ FSU?

The absolute Russian peak was (so far) back in the 80's. Regarding the remainder of the FSU, I don't know.

Iraq, but due to the war.

The absolute Iraqi peak was, so far, back in the late Seventies.

It would appear that global crude oil production through 2010, inclusive of slowly increasing unconventional production, will probably have been at or below the 2005 annual rate for five years. The question I am asking is are there any examples of countries that have shown this kind production profile, for several years, i.e., declined and/or stopped growing, and then subsequently gone on to new production highs?

As noted above, one difference in the global picture is a slowly increasing contribution from unconventional sources.

saudi arabia total "oil" production (all liquids) ?

I think that the absolute Saudi peak was back around 1980/1981, but I think that the more relevant apparent peak was in 2005, but in either case, recent production data don't contradict either peak.

i am basing this on eia data. saudi arabia's ability to exceed 1981 total liquids is tied to their steadily increasing - what else - ng production.

Based on EIA data, Saudi Arabia did manage a new peak in "All Liquids" in 2005 but did not manage a new net export peak.


Btw, I think that recent Saudi production numbers are exaggerated anyway but that's just my unsupported view.

You guys are right. The absolute Saudi crude oil peak (but not total liquids) was, so far at least, in 1980, but as noted above the more relevant peak was 2005, and the model we are talking about would support 2005 as the final Saudi peak.

The United States when Alaska went on line.

Nope. The absolute US peak was in 1970:


Great minds think alike.

I recently had some access to some very interesting global production data and comments, from a firm that I sometimes consult for, that was quite eye opening. I suppose I'm not at liberty to disclose all the info, but in any case, one of the items discussed was the three year observation mentioned above. I figured I could discuss that. Funny how I don't recall any of us asking a question like this before.

Basically once a reasonably mature producing country stops showing increasing production, for a multi-year period, are there case histories showing a new higher production peak? One would think that there must be at least one or two case histories, but on the other hand, it would seem that the overwhelming majority of the historical regional analogues would support 2005 as the final global crude oil production peak, at least for conventional crude.

Oh go on, you can tell me. I won't say anything :-)

Of course the UK did show a second higher peak but that was due to the Piper Alpha disaster not geological constraints.


It would seem that the apparent exceptions, like the UK, would tend to prove the rule. Absent extraneous events like political unrest and accidents, it would seem that once a mature producing country shows a multiyear flattening or decline in production, the chances that the region will show a new higher production peak are pretty low.

Of course, this analysis strongly suggests that the only remaining limit on oil prices is demand. Substitutes like natural gas will help, at least for a while, but that will be reflected in the overall demand for oil, and exchanging dependence on one finite fossil fuel for dependence on another finite fossil fuel doesn't seem like a winning strategy.

I am reminded of my proposed "Peak Oil Song," to be set to the music from "Music of the Night,"

"It's over now, the lifestyle we once knew. . . "

Canada, as an exception, definitely proves the rule.

Canadian conventional oil production peaked in 1973 but Canada has oil sands reserves equal to the rest of the world's reserves of conventional oil, and is capable of putting it on production, albeit at a very slow rate. The only other country in a similar situation is Venezuela, which also has oil sands reserves equal to the world's conventional oil reserves.

The rest of the world may very well follow your rule. The development of oil sands is completely different than conventional oil and will follow its own rules.

The Venezuelan production curve may eventually follow the Canadian one, but that involves a lot of assumptions. Canada has the technological expertise and access to capital markets to develop its oil sands, but Venezuela does not. It's much, much more difficult than conventional oil and even Canada is having trouble doing it.

Canada has the technological expertise and access to capital markets to develop its oil sands, but Venezuela does not.

Rocky, Venezuela has both now. Read about the 'oil sowing plan' 2005-2030 on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orinoco_Belt.) This was also in a press conference on Venezuela t.v. channel in the beginning of this year. Japan, India, Vietnam and Russia are among the countries that put money and expertise in it.

Rocky, Venezuela has both now.

Only in their dreams. Hugo Chávez fired most of the non-conventional oil experts, including all of the PhD's, and they are now working for international companies everywhere in the world except Venezuela. The banking and retail systems are a total mess and despite the vast reserves of non-conventional oil, oil production continues to decline. I image the economy will self-destruct in a few years.

That's just a personal opinion based on the available economic data and financial theory, of course. As a matter of personal preference I would not like to have any money in Venezuela when the economy blows apart, so I will avoid the place. Most investors will do likewise.

I would not like to have any money in Venezuela when the economy blows apart, so I will avoid the place. Most investors will do likewise.

Time will tell what the contracts with mentioned (companies from) countries are worth.


From what I've gathered from your posts, you know oil sands industry intimately.

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers predicts 3.4 Mbpd from oil sands in 2025, so it is only 1.7Mbpd more than today. Even current level of investments causes employment, real estate etc. chaos in Northern Alberta.

1.7Mbpd in 15 years in not much., that is not going to save the world.

Now what if...If development of oil sands becomes strategic priority for let's say OECD and very large financial, logistical, expertise, support etc is "thrown" at the problem (comprehensively and systemically. How quickly could production be ramped up, considering existing labour, expertise, manufacturing, transport etc available globally.

How quickly could production be ramped up, considering existing labour, expertise, manufacturing, transport etc available globally.

Not very rapidly. Oil sands projects are huge in scale. Building more than 1 oil sands project at a time causes an immediate shortage of manpower and infrastructure in Western Canada. The oil sands area is not very heavily populated and simply doesn't have the people or the infrastructure in place to support massive developments.

It's quite different from conventional oil. You can't simply move in a bunch of drilling rigs from elsewhere, punch down a few thousand holes, and start producing oil. You have to build everything from the ground up. The sheer scale of the construction frightens people.

Not very rapidly. Oil sands projects are huge in scale. Building more than 1 oil sands project at a time causes an immediate shortage of manpower and infrastructure in Western Canada.

Yes, half Newfoundland lives in Fort McMurray now :-)

I did not ask clearly. I meant what are the limits of global engineering, manufacturing, construction capacity. What if we considered oil sands an "Apollo" or Manhattan project; building from the ground up: infrastructure, accommodation, roads, rail etc...or for a lack of better word, the way Chinese build their powerplants, rail, dams, airports, wind farms, factories, bridges.

How much could we make if we really wanted to and really had to,

It's already construction on the scale of the Apollo or Manhattan projects. You're proposing something much bigger than that. Basically, digging a hole the size of England.

If you you could build oil sands plants in China, yes, they could do it a lot faster because they have a lot more people. The real constraint on oil sands development is the availability of workers - the population of the area is only about 100,000 people, whereas China put 2 million people to work building the Great Wall of China.

You can build the equipment elsewhere, but then you have the problem of moving it to Northern Alberta. At this point in time ExxonMobile is trying to move 200 loads of equipment from Korea to Fort McMurray. The loads are up to 24 feet wide, 30 feet high, several hundred feet long, and weigh over half a million pounds apiece.

They are moving them by barge up the Columbia and Snake rivers to the port of Lewiston, Idaho, but the people of Idaho and Montana are having a problem with the idea of moving 200 loads that big over two-lane highways of Idaho and Montana to Alberta. They can't be moved up the Interstates because they won't fit under the overpasses.

This is just for one oil sands project. Imagine trying to build a dozen of them at once. Nobody in Idaho, Montana or Alberta would be able to drive anywhere because of all the 24-foot-wide trucks on the roads.

Can anyone think of any examples of countries that hit a production peak/plateau--and that failed to show a new production high within three years--that subsequently had a new and higher production peak?

Canadian production is anomalous because there is an early peak of conventional oil production in 1973, following which conventional oil production fell off, resulting in a low in the 1980s. Then oil sands production came on line, resulting in production climbing to a new high which has not been reached yet.

Any idea what conventional production looks like by itself?

The powers that be won't really care about peak conventional oil as long as all liquids are showing increases. That, assumes, of course, that the powers that be don't care about the serious environmental consequences of liquids that come from places like oil sands. Now that peak crude oil has been pretty well established, who really cares?

Conventional Canadian production is also rather anomalous since it rose to a sharp peak in 1973 and then after a sharp decline dribbled off very slowly, much more slowly than in other oil producing areas. Probably most of that results from government incentives and sophisticated enhanced oil recovery techniques extracting more oil than you would normally expect.

There's also a secondary peak of east-coast offshore production in 1997. The structure of federal-provincial equalization grants and unemployment insurance were such that the Canadian government could either subsidize offshore oil production and the associated jobs, or they hand the provincial governments and unemployed workers the equivalent in cash. The cost was about the same, so they chose the former alternative.


Can anyone think of any examples of countries that hit a production peak/plateau--and that failed to show a new production high within three years--that subsequently had a new and higher production peak?

Interesting question. As I have a spreadsheet handy that's set up to answer just these sort of questions, and some spare time...

All figures in Kb/day, Crude Oil NGPL and other Liquids 1980 - 2009.
Source data: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/contents.html

Australia Peak 1985 @ 640 then 2000 @ 792
Canada - outside of the range of my data, as mentioned here- peak 1973, trending up since 1982
Estonia 1997 @ 7.34 then 2008 @ 7.60 1997 is start of record. (a)
Kuwait 1989 @ 1888 then 2008 @ 2728.58 (c)
S Korea 2000 @ 13.00 then broken by 2007 at 13.92 (as part of a climbing trend) (a)
Libya 1991 @ 1523.15 then 2008 @ 1875.83
Nigeria 1980 @ 2055 then 2005 @ 2627.44
Pakistan 1990 @ 64 then 2002 69.04 (a)
Russia 1992 @ 7861.93 then 2009 @ 9918.33 (1991 is start of record, previously part of FSU)
Saudi Arabia1981 @ 10248 then @ 2005 @ 11090.14
South Africa 1998 @ 199.18 then 2004 @ 217.03
Turkey 1982 @ 50 then 1991 @ 88.34
United Arab Emirates 1991 @ 2531.6 then 2008 @ 3037.27
United Kingdom 1985 @ 2675 then 1999 @ 2922 (c)

I have discounted countries like Malaysia which has shown a new peak 4 years on (1998 & 2004) that is not substantially different from the earlier peak.

There are 108 countries that have produced oil for some period over 1981 to 2009, of these 14 (listed above) show the conditions stated.*
It'll be interesting to see how many have arguably peaked, but that's a bigger job. If anyone's interested I'll try to make the time.

a) National production peak so low that modestly sized additions to supply (i.e. from small number of wells) could create local peak. (?)
I'm not sure about typical well outputs so have put a question mark against this.

b) Did not strictly break the previous record, but the new peak was substantially delayed and almost as high.
Iraq 1989 @ 2951 then 2000 @ 2585.68 not a higher peak.
Netherlands 1986 @ 104 then 1994 @ 103.23
New Zealand 1997 @ 65.7 then 2008 @ 62.82
If included this would make 17 / 108 countries.*

c) Clear non geological factors identified:

Estonia - became independent 1991, yet figures start 1997 ,production fell to 1999, then rose with no production reported 0 in 2001. This may be an artefact of how the data is obtained/stated.
Kuwait - 1991, Iraq's invasion.
Russia - Post collapse of Soviet Union - economic contraction, investment problems.
United Kingdom - Post Piper Alpha - Piper Alpha alone contributed to 10% of UK North Sea o/p - was there also a decline in overall o/p?

* Potentially what could be considered double counting due to changes of countries, e.g. the break up of FSU.

Here is a list of the countries that were producing 250,000 bpd or more (smaller countries are heavily influenced by changes in one or two fields):

Australia Peak 1985 @ 640 then 2000 @ 792--Correct

Canada - outside of the range of my data, as mentioned here- peak 1973, trending up since 1982--As noted above, correct

Kuwait 1989 @ 1888 then 2008 @ 2728.58--as you noted, due to invasion

Libya 1991 @ 1523.15 then 2008 @ 1875.83--appears to be correct for total liquids, but not crude (EIA)

Nigeria 1980 @ 2055 then 2005 @ 2627.44--correct

Russia 1992 @ 7861.93 then 2009 @ 9918.33 (1991 is start of record, previously part of FSU)--as you noted, obviously due to political factors, but in any case Sam Foucher puts the absolute Russian peak back in the 80's.

Saudi Arabia1981 @ 10248 then @ 2005 @ 11090.14--true for total liquids, but not for crude

United Arab Emirates 1991 @ 2531.6 then 2008 @ 3037.27--correct

United Kingdom 1985 @ 2675 then 1999 @ 2922--as you noted, due to accident

I have highlighted the countries, producing 250,000 bpd or more*, in bold that showed new crude peaks, not due to obvious non-geological factors. Based on these criteria, I count four countries that showed new crude production peaks. If we eliminate unconventional contributions, we get three--Australia, Nigeria and UAE.

*My premise is that we are looking for global analogues. We should probably use 500,000 bpd to one mbpd as a cutoff.

So how many countries, producing at least 250,000 bpd or more, have (so far at least) not shown new crude production peaks, after showing at least three years of lower production?


"So how many countries, producing at least 250,000 bpd or more, have (so far at least) not shown new crude production peaks, after showing at least three years of lower production?"

Set of all nations where:

1) most recent production was > 250k Barrels/day,
2) peaked before 2007
3) with no significant peak after the first. I have judged significance by looking at graphs, not mathematically.

Grouped in decade of peak.

United States 10635 in 1985 7332.4 in 2005 uptick to end of series

Argentina 896.68493 in 1998 464 in 1987
Colombia 820.8 in 1999 147 in 1982 uptick to end of series
Egypt 942.67 in 1996 612 in 1980 minor peak 2006
United Kingdom 2922 in 1999 1446.60 in 2009
Syria 605.304 in 1996 160 in 1982

Australia 792.56557 in 2000 422 in 1982 plateau-like
Congo (Brazzaville) 292.13 in 2000 65 in 1980 uptick to end of series
Denmark 389.15 in 2004 35 in 1982
Equatorial Guinea 375.48 in 2005 Production figures start 1992 not a clear peak - large jump 2003 to 2004
Iran 4240.29 in 2005 1389 in 1981 just a marginal peak, generally rises to end of series
Malaysia 850.35 in 2004 264 in 1981
Mexico 3825.00 in 2004 2787.3 in 1986 Plateau-like, falls off at end
Nigeria 2627.44 in 2005 1241 in 1983
Norway 3414.573 in 2001 531.74 in 1982
Oman 974 in 2000 284 in 1980 rise at end of series
Saudi Arabia 11090.14 in 2005 3763.01 in 1985 after early peak falls then rises to plateau from 1991

I think the clustering of these in the 2000s makes these less useful. I'll have a look at them tomorrow and see if the end figure vs peak may be a workable measure, e.g. Denmark falls off significantly after the peak yet Equatorial Guinea's 2003-2004 jump is of such a magnitude that the subsequent drop is negligible.

17 Countries in all.

I'm using Excel's databasing functions in my spreadsheet, but it's a spreadsheet I've been thinking of improving upon. Email me if you want and I can send you the sheet I'm using, chris886222 I'm at btinternet.com.

I orginally did the sheet to examine the Export Land Model.

The Prague Post-Running on Empty

Even optimistic studies conclude that conventional oil production has peaked, and unconventional petroleum sources are not a viable option...

"If conventional oil production is at peak production, then projected unconventional oil production cannot mitigate peaking of conventional oil alone," concluded a study by University of Newcastle chemical engineer Steve Mohr, published in Energy Policy...

If the IEA is right about everything, we are in for a rough ride. But if, as the above suggests, the IEA is right about us passing the peak of conventional oil in 2006 but almost fanatical in its faith in the prospects for expanded production from unconventional sources, then we are in for an even rougher ride.

Bold mine. Seems that the word is getting around. And so is the skepticism of the IEA's "fanatical faint" in the expanded production from unconventional sources. The article mentions that the EROI from many of these unconventional sources is infinitesimal when compared to conventional oil.

Ron P.

I posted that article a few days ago. It originally appeared at Le Monde diplomatique, and has been reproduced at a few other sites, like this one.

I don't know that I'd take this as evidence that word is getting around. Le Diplo is not exactly a mainstream paper.

Well the Prague Post, the Czech Republic's English language newspaper isn't exactly a local gossip rag. But things are happening even though you may perceive them as happening very slowly. I have noticed a plethora of news articles on peak oil since the IEA's 2010 World Energy Outlook was released on November 9th. They have been appearing at several times the frequency they were before that release.

I have been Googling "peak oil" (with the quotation marks) on Google News for several years now. When I click on "Sorted by Date" I now get everything released in the last two hours or so on the first page. A year ago I would get everything released in the last two days or so on the first page.

I would say things are a changing.

Ron P.

If you do a Google trends for "peak oil" you get:


Unfortunately, the Y-axis has no quantitative markings. So, "peak oil" seems to have peaked in 2008. Of course, Google Trends isn't the arbiter of reality and there seems to be a growing consensus that peak oil isn't a lunatic fringe concept, but personally I was a bit surprised about the drop off in web hits.

I wasn't. Interest in peak oil tends to follow energy prices.

Google trends, as far as I know, reflects searches from Google and not Google News. (I am sure you will correct me if that is incorrect.) I have not searched on "Peak Oil" on Google for years, though I do it several times a day on Google News. I cannot imagine why anyone who is peak oil aware would search for the term on Google. You would get hundreds of hits that you read years ago.

And Google trends does not reflect the number of newspaper articles or blogs that discuss peak oil. I pay attention to that and since November 9th there has been a virtual explosion of articles on peak oil.

Ron P.

Google trends for bicycling searches I do periodically show people are not as interested in biking as they were when oil spiked in 2007.

I hope it's not too skewed a sampling, though...

I still can't get google from my bike. (Silly, I know.. but all I ever DO online WRT bikes is check out what's on Craig's list.. I have to wonder what the Trend Site will actually reveal..)

"Bike fix" is the only upward trend I could find, which is interesting perhaps. people dont buy new bikes but want to fix their older one in the deadbeat economy.


I discovered using google timeline this a few years ago.
Look at how accuracy it determines coal discovery peak. This is "wisdom of the crowds" at its finest:

It was so long ago that some of the images disappeared from the blog. Instructions how to do it:

I also found that "Bike Lane" is still on the rise.

Maybe there is hope for a little more biking in the future.

people are not as interested in biking as they were when oil spiked in 2007.

I have a book with a 1980 dedication date talking 'bout how the bicycle revolution is now.

Don't you think that, eventually, when you see EROEI < 1, the remaining oil will be extracted at a negative energy cost for the purpose of providing stock for lubraicants, pharmaceuticals, plastics, etc.? It would only be when either Oil = 0, or available energy = 0 that no oil would be available for use.

Of course, what this says as to the cost of plastics, lubricants and pharmaceuticals is ominous. But at least they will be available for important purposes.


There must be more than Oil to prvide for those items. They claim that you can make plastic out of Corn, not sure on the energy involved with that. Medicines have to be made out of something, but more plants can be involved in that than is now in the west, or else health care will only be for those that can afford it.

I can't see people standing around in a bread line, complaining that the bread is not wrapped in plastic when they get it.

What kind of Plastic do you see them wanting so bad that they will haul out a bunch of slave labor to make that oil come up to the surface for?

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world,

ps.Lots of things done without plastic 200 years ago, can still be done without today, even though they might not be right now.

Steve Mohr's report cited by NM Ahmed says that his best guess is that there is a developed URR of 13429 XJ of conventional oil so if we are at peak today then 6714 XJ remains.
His best guess(Case 2) URR of oil shale 5885XJ, extraheavy 1719 XJ and 2770 XJ of bitumen which adds up to 10374 XJ of unconventional oil.


The idea that the developers of unconventional oil are 'fanatical' is nonsense.
The real deniers are those who believe unconventional oil cannot be developed because of the scary thermodynamics aka EROI or unimaginable expense when
we are only at the begining of an oil price spike they themselves are predicting.

This from the Phillippines :-

"More oil price hikes loom"
"DoE says fuel prices may hit $100 per barrel in world market"

"MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DoE) told the public to brace for the continued rise of international oil prices, which is among the local oil companies’ point of reference in adjusting their pump prices.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras pointed to the current trend in the international market and cited the marked increase of petroleum products, particularly diesel. “What worries me is the fact that diesel went up twice that of crude and all the other products.”

“We did inquire from the international market why such a situation occurred. And the explanation is a significant drawdown in diesel inventories and they're pointing to China,” he said.

The DoE said unleaded gasoline imported from the region went up to $94.70 per barrel from $91.30 per barrel the previous week, a difference of over $3. This is equivalent to a P1.51 per liter increase in local pump prices....."


Afterthought : wouldn't it be refreshing if our own US DoE started to come clean with people about oil prices ?

Could someone post the current prices for the various grades of crude oil other than WTI?

BBC shows WTI and Brent front month futures


Many grades to not appear to be traded in futures markets. However, this site has regularly updated spot prices


WTI used to be a premium grade. Today US oil is the cheapest in the world.

Tapis spot price was $96 about a week ago.

Thanks, RalphW The data helps shed light on why the crude oil imports are down to 7.9 m/b/d this week.

WTI used to be a premium grade. Today US oil is the cheapest in the world.

This is true for similar grades. I would like to know why but right now I haven't a clue. Perhaps it's those damn speculators driving the price down. ;-)

This Week in Petroleum ,Crude Oil Estimated Contract Prices

Total OPEC 	 	86.27 	
Total Non-OPEC 		83.61 	
Total World 		85.13 	
United States 	 	82.01 	

By the way, WTI is still a premium grade.

Ron P.

You probably will notice the lack of listing of staff members and the lack of a post today.

These are not random omissions.

Determination of content in the future will be a group decision, in which I will be one of several involved in decisions on posts. In the current interim period, I am not involved in determining content for the site.

Changes are being made, which you will be hearing about in the future.

Sounds a bit ominous.

Can I ask who is determining content for the site at the moment? Or do you mean nobody is currently?

I hope that these changes will result in an unbiased presentation of our energy situation, including the environmental impacts which result from energy consumption...

E. Swanson


Changes are being made, which you will be hearing about in the future.

I guess us pions get no input on these changes?

Only the ones who can spell

*Hangs head in shame*

The longest-lived pions (the charged ones) decay in about 26 nanoseconds. No time for them to provide input. ;^)

Re: Oil shock warning for UK government

The report comes alongside coalition government promises for a ‘seismic shift’ in UK energy investment, with energy secretary Chris Huhne yesterday saying the ‘current market framework is not fit to deliver the investment we need’.

Well, duhuh!

That's because the people who support the current market framework are still beating the now, obviously decomposing carcass, of the horse of economic growth. Expecting it to get up and pull the massively overloaded carriage upon which the wealthy continue resting their lazy fat derriers, while sucking up more than their fair share of resources . It ain't gonna woik no more folks.

I have been posting this link to: Enough is Enough and will continue to do so with the hope that a few people might read it and decide to join CASSE in their quest towards the acheivement of a steady state economy. BAU is dead, economic growth will no longer solve any of our problems. To ignore this reality is to be a part of the problem and IMHO that is no longer acceptable. It's past time to either lead, follow, or get out of the way. If you don't, then you also will be held responsible for a rather large bill, to be submitted in short order, by the Piper, aka Mother Nature...

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

The Times They Are A-Changin
Bob Dylan

I think its fair to give the link to Huhne's speech:


If you look at whats happening in the UK we have big(gish) government setting an infrastructure and utility market framework that will give the private sector the returns and certainty it needs to access international investment funding to decarbonise UK energy generation and reduce demand.

This is all part of the pathways to 2050 approach to achieve CO2 reduction of 80% AND achieve energy security.

Will they achieve it, no one knows.

But as my old boss used to say, you wont succeed if you dont try.

When I look across the pond, and see Sarah Palin touted for president, makes me wonder whether the US has just given up.

Excerpeted fromr the transcript:

This is not just about smaller government or less red tape. Instead, it is about making government work smarter – for British business, and for the taxpayer.

Our job is to create the right framework. One that can meet our challenging emissions reductions targets, but also allow innovation and growth to flourish.

They are still pushing the right lever but in the wrong direction! *THE PROBLEM IS GROWTH* we have already surpassed a number of critical thresholds which make further growth unsustainable. We need to start seriously thinking about the degrowth of our economies. See my link in the previous comment. Continued insistence on growth is suicide, pure and simple!

Oh, my.

(1) ever-growing population
(2) ever-growing entitlements - to ever more limitless medical "care", ever bigger houses, ever more flights to Europe, ever more millions squandered to get 10 cents worth of "safety", you name it from an infinite list
(3) shrinking economy

Problem: you can't have all three; pick at most two. Then scale it up enough so that anyone needs to care. Scaling will be a nasty business. Many countries have some measure of democracy; even some of the dictators pay some minimal heed to their populations. So persuade other folks also to pick two. Indeed, persuade most of them to pick the same two: if, as usually happens, they all choose differently, then the deadlock remains.

Oh, well, I suppose it's not as simple as waving the trusty old magic wand after all. It seems as though most folks are deeply committed to both (1) and (2), with their commitment to (1) and to a good many aspects of (2) driven by nearly immutable religious considerations. While nothing of this logically rules out (3) as a possible outcome, it absolutely rules out (3) as a choice.

While nothing of this logically rules out (3) as a possible outcome, it absolutely rules out (3) as a choice.

Quite the contrary! Read the downloadable PDF titled 'Enough is Enough' at the link I provided above, or least watch the first video of Peter Victor's presentation, he clearly makes the case why the choice to degrow the economy is the only thing that makes sense. He has also modeled how this might be accomplished.

Best hopes for a new paradigm.

Well, OK, maybe I was unclear. It's ruled out as a politically feasible choice. The road from academic handwaving to social or political implementation can be very long indeed.

That doc is more than a bit long for right this minute, however a skim turned up this handwaving gem:

"Develop, adopt and implement a non-coercive UK population stabilisation policy;"

This instantly raises questions about whether the doc is in-touch with reality. Has any culture of significant size in the entire history of the world ever successfully controlled its population "non-coercively"? I know there are romantic stories about certain tribes, but the social coercion in tribes and villages can be, in its own way, some of the most stifling and oppressive coercion around; not that it matters, since most modern states are orders of magnitude too big to govern as tribes or villages. And I would insist that the religious commitment to (actually or in effect) population growth runs almost ineradicably deep in some quarters.

The doc seems also to be very much oriented towards beating people down to a lowest common denominator, for example in the general vicinity of page 62. There certainly exists a body of philosophical support for this sort of thing, but if one combines it with a steady state economy, it's hard to square it with notions such as unboundedly increasing entitlement to ever more, and ever more futile, medical and disability "care". Nothing tangible, no matter how tear-jerking or Politically Correct it might be, can grow exponentially for an indefinite time within a steady-state economic system. Not medical care, not population, not travel, not ski hills in the Arabian desert, not anything.

"Develop, adopt and implement a non-coercive UK population stabilisation policy;"

This instantly raises questions about whether the doc is in-touch with reality.

I believe that he is originally from the UK and that may be a reference to one of his lectures given there, however his economic models are based on the Canadian Economy.

Has any culture of significant size in the entire history of the world ever successfully controlled its population "non-coercively"?

Not that I'm aware of!

I don't in any way want to imply that that his approach is the final answer, nor that I think it is a blueprint for any future economy in the real world. I have only suggested looking at these ideas as a starting point for thinking about and doing some brain storming on other ways that we might construct a functional steady state economy that allows us to live in a stable equilibrium with our natural support systems. So this is only a starting point for discussion.

Given the fact that we have clear and unequivocal evidence that our current growth based economic model has outlived its usefulness we are left with few alternatives that will avoid what look to be some very bad consequences. Victor makes a pretty clear case that even if we do not take into consideration the negative effects of growth on our basic support systems, that the growth model, is failing on its own grounds, even in those things where growth is purported to have had its most beneficial effects, i.e. reducing poverty and raising the standard of living for the majority of people in the world. He shows why growth per se is a false mantra and an excuse for avoiding the responsibility of actually dealing with the underlying problems. Its just a way to consistently kick the can down the road for someone else to deal with.

I have no idea if or how any of these ideas might come to fruition. All I'm saying is we'd better start talking about other ways we might change our current paradigm and that we all need to roll up our sleeves and start the work. We won't find out what works if don't experiment and we have to accept the fact that experiments are subject to failure. The one experiment that we already know has failed catastrophically, is the one known as BAU.

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Both quotes from Albert Einstein

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

Possibly true. But that line in the doc about population just seemed so utterly starry-eyed as to place the rest of the doc under a cloud of suspicion. IOW, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

But that line in the doc about population just seemed so utterly starry-eyed as to place the rest of the doc under a cloud of suspicion.

I get your point.

Though I will assume you at least agree that population growth will stop at some point regardless of whether or not we try to do something about it or not. I'm also going to guess you're on board with the fact that continued growth on a finite planet is not possible forever.

I'm curious to know if you think that we will simply not try to do anything at all about population growth and will let nature take her course? Or do you believe that we will eventually, meekly submit to some form of coercion from whatever ruling entity has power over us? Do you see any possible scenario at all where there might be some form of democratic process that finds a way, by means of a combination of carrots and sticks, to curb and stabilize current growth trends in population?

If you personally had both the wisdom and the power to change things today what if anything might you propose?

Quite the contrary! Read the downloadable PDF titled 'Enough is Enough' at the link I provided above, or least watch the first video of Peter Victor's presentation

I didn't find the link provided above, but I think I did find it by googling (after many clicks).
To save others the trouble here it is:
The hot-links to download the PDF and to view Prof. Victor's talk are both on this page.
Prof. Victor's bio can be viewed at:

On the issue of non-coercive population reduction:

Prof. Victor does discuss planned population reduction as a policy option which he models on a computer, but says nothing about implementation (of the option, not the modeling).

The PDF claims that several countries have successfully implemented such policies, but in a document containing over a hundred numbered references there is no reference to support this claim.

IMHO, non-coercive population reduction might work at the level of a single cohesive tribe in an environment where there are limited resources and NO COMPETING TRIBES nearby. But if the resources are there and the tribe is in need of young warriors to defend its territory, the population will grow and the tribe will encroach on the territory of its neighbors. This thought is not something I want to defend with any great vigor. It is just a comment on how I think our evolved, but primitive mind works.

As a gardener, I see the shrinking of my garden every year about this time. When frost kills things.

But mixed in with all that death, we have several plant speices that are in full blown growth, some just little ground plants that crop up when it gets cool and damp. (most of you all would call them weeds)

In my late forties now, I can readily see a steady state Environment. Growth only to die again each fall(plants), and not much growing as I did as a child(human). So maybe I am jaded. In that I can imagine a culture where there is not much Growth, and everything stays in a steady long term state.

But most people can't see it that way (Though I did even when I wasn't a middleaged guy, I was not the norm). WE have had almost a hundred years of Growth is Good in our banking systems in the USA. In fact almost everywhere you look, Growth is good. Be it the sheep herder, or the Palm tree grower, Or the midwesterner household with 3 kids( you wouldn't want them to stay 3 years old all their life now would you?).

Mankind is short sighted as well, anything longer than 5 years, let alone 45 to 50 years just boggles the mind. When people are told that something will happen in X number of years, they think a bit about it and go on about their lives, it does not sink in. In My Opinion it can't much sink in, humans just don't have a long collective memory function, or at least can't think beyond a few "Here and Nows", for any length of time.

For example, All of you readers, tell me in exact detail what you were doing at 3:45 Pm August the 4th 1996, without looking at your journal.

See where you have the problem, if you were a computer you could have pulled up the data and told me what was going on then. Humans for the most part can't. Unless there was something producing a strong memory about the time and date.( It was random in my case, heck if I know what I was doing them, though I was likely driving somewhere for the job, that I had back then.)

Now to top all this off, you are asking people to limit their growth, Asking anyone older than 25 is okay, but anyone younger is still growing so the concept might be a little hard for them to wrap their heads around, though they might be the audience that you want to choose for your message. You can't expect banks or other businesses to even be able to handle the issue, you have to start with the people who are the basis of our world.

I could see a no growth world in the future, but it'll have happened to them, not them having had a choice in the matter. Right now the big growth Ballon in the room is Population, it is way above replacement. From the hockey stick graphs I've seen up until the FF era the world was pretty much a level Population figure of under a billion.

What will the place be like without all that extra energy stored up for us to use? How many people will the world settle out to hold in 100 years? I don't know, It is not that I don't care, but I haven't the foggyest idea, beyond a bunch of neat Sci-fi stories I could write about it. I'll be willing to bet though that if it is not a hard copy of something, all the CD's and DvD's will be toasted by then, just most pretty round disks some guy's collect for scarecrows out in their feild.

I'll go back to writing on clay tablets now, they might be around in 100 years.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

FMagyar -

And remember:

The vagabond who's rapping at your door,

Is standing in the clothes that you once wore.

Bob Dylan

Todd gave me a simple preparedness plan for dealing with shortages at our Doomer Lunch in da Park a few weeks ago. $10/week. It's a project still in the works; 16 weeks so far. You can link to a spread sheet.


Bravo Rat and Todd: What a wonderful idea to equate $10 per week to preparations for when TSHTF. I will pass this link on to all my friends then they either take note or not, their call.

Re: Oil shock warning for UK government

The report comes alongside coalition government promises for a ‘seismic shift’ in UK energy investment, with energy secretary Chris Huhne yesterday saying the ‘current market framework is not fit to deliver the investment we need’.

Well, duhuh!

That's because the people who support the current market framework are still beating the now, obviously decomposing carcass, of the horse of economic growth. Expecting it to get up and pull the massively overloaded carriage upon which the wealthy continue resting their lazy fat derriers, while sucking up more than their fair share of resources . It ain't gonna woik no more folks.

I have been posting this link to: Enough is Enough and will continue to do so with the hope that a few people might read it and decide to join CASSE in their quest towards the acheivement of a steady state economy. BAU is dead, economic growth will no longer solve any of our problems. To ignore this reality is to be a part of the problem and IMHO that is no longer acceptable. It's past time to either lead, follow, or get out of the way. If you don't, then you also will be held responsible for a rather large bill, to be submitted in short order, by the Piper, aka Mother Nature...

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

The Times They Are A-Changin
Bob Dylan

Change sure seems to be in the air, Fred.

People argue, TOD acts. (Axe?) Knock wood! (I'm going outside WITH an Axe to knock apart a bunch of Pallettes for firewood, as it happens..)


Could be!
Who knows?
There's something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye,
Bright as a rose!

Who knows?

Re change:

I think JMG says it best in 'The sincerest form of reverence' linked above...

Even when drastic changes break over a civilization, the people who are affected normally have to spend so much time scrambling to make ends meet that the scale of the transformation becomes evident only in retrospect.

I’ve come to think we’re in the middle of such a process right now. Recent headlines note events that most people would have considered cataclysmic not that long ago. The price of oil is bouncing along above $80 a barrel, the International Energy Agency has now admitted that peak oil happened in 2006, the United States is openly covering its debts by means of the printing press, and agricultural commodity prices have jolted upwards to unprecedented levels under the paired pressures of an increasingly unstable climate and a disintegrating global economic system, just for starters.

I think we are indeed already in the midst of cataclysmic change, we can either grab the rudder and at least try to steer it somewhat, as best we can or we can give up and just be swept away. As a certified rescue diver I was taught that sometimes to save someone you must slap them really hard to bring them to their senses. I think we are in that position now.

I hear you, Fred.

I'm just starting to 'PreCompose' (before I decompose) 'the letter' to Friends/Family, which will let them know where I think we're at, and how many new voices have joined the choir recently.

Even as resistant as most folks are to hearing that they possibly need to 'get up off the couch' and do something.. I feel I need to suggest once again that they just check the batteries in the smoke detectors at the front of the theater, 'just in case..'

Silence might feel a bit safer, but it's ultimately still complicity.


(EDIT, and I have to remember to be a good deal less obscure than what I just wrote up above.. I AM capable of it, but it's work.)


Steady state? That is as irrational as steady growth. Perhaps, once we have found an equilibrium state, we may one day have a steady state economy. The problem is living through the drawdown.

Several comments today have made me wonder... is a sudden collapse less dangerous than a gradual one? That would be an excellent topic for a Campfire discussion one day.


Thanks for saying it Zaphod. Everytime I hear the words "steady state ecomomy" the two words that come to my mind are "pipe dream". It's a long way down.

Yeah, we'll be getting steady state economies around the same time communism becomes fully acceptable within the realms of human nature as they stand. And then I will finally have my flying car.

we'll be getting steady state economies around the same time communism becomes fully acceptable

At the risk of coming across as being rude, let me just say that a steady state economy as I understand it is the antithesis of 'Communism' and has nothing to do with that failed ideology. At least read the Enough is Enough document and criticize it for what it contains, not what you imagine it to be. Communism in this case would be a strawman ...

I have just downloaded the Enough is Enough document and intend to skim it. But I don't think it is fair of you to demand that people read one specific 130 page treatise before being allowed to discuss the merits and viability of economic growth.

If you provided a short summary we could discuss that.

Everytime I hear the words "steady state ecomomy" the two words that come to my mind are "pipe dream". It's a long way down.

Would that be more or less of a pipe dream than expecting continued Growth to solve our problems? What do you suggest instead and how would you go about implementing your ideas?

Fred, I think you miss the point. No one is suggesting that continued growth is not a pipe dream also. But that does not mean that "steady state economy" is not a pipe dream either.

Just think about it for a minute. How can you have a "steady state economy" when the oil supply is declining... forever? How can anything be steady and steadily declining at the same time? Oil is the lifeblood of our economy. If you have less this year than last year, then less next year, and less the next year, then that screams that the economy is not steady. It would be in free fall.

It is a real no brainer Fred, just think about it for a minute.

Oh yeah, and one does not have to supply an alternative when he says that a "steady state economy" is a pipe dream. I say a steady state economy is a pipe dream and I have nothing to suggest as an alternative. Well, that is unless you think die-off is some kind of alternative.

Ron P.

Yep. Declining Resources = Declining Economy.

Just think about it for a minute. How can you have a "steady state economy" when the oil supply is declining... forever? How can anything be steady and steadily declining at the same time? Oil is the lifeblood of our economy. If you have less this year than last year, then less next year, and less the next year, then that screams that the economy is not steady. It would be in free fall.

Ron I do think that puts it in a nutshell. If you start from the premise that the only economic model possible depends on oil as its life blood, and obviously the one we now have does. Then you can't. No argument from me on that point.

What I'm saying is we need to at least explore the possibility of building an economy that doesn't depend on oil and attempts to achieve sustainability. I'm not for a moment suggesting that it is a given that this can even be done. If nothing else I clearly understand why the political feasibility of such a plan is highly doubtful right from the get go. I'm only asking that people open their minds to the exploration of alternative ideas. I get the impression that there is at least a general consensus that what we have now is no longer working. That being the case we can either resign ourselves to going over the cliff or we can try something different that may have never been tried before.

Saying it won't work because just because it has never been tried before is not an argument I'm ready to accept.

How many times did Edison fail before getting a light bulb that actually worked? I think It's time to go back to the drawing board...

" As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

It's time to take the first step toward a steady state economy!

FMagyar - I think of growth and steady state as 2 seperate cogs on the same gear. The growth cog being way up on top where we currently are (?) and the steady state cog being way down near the bottom. Now I agree that the steady state cog could be moved up a bit if we all worked together but even then I think "It's a long way down" to that steady state cog. They are both pipe dreams in my view unless we accept that the steady state economy is a very, very small fraction of what we currently enjoy.

I can only speak from my world view. In my world view the earth and it's biosphere is the foundation of "everything" we have. From it comes our resources (what we have to work with). It is finite therefore resources are finite. From these finite resources springs our economy. Eventually finite resources become scarce, decline and become more expensive. What can the economy do other than contract?

What do I suggest instead? The unsuggestable. Let nature take it's course. Do I look forward to this? No. I have read through the summary at your link and in it I see lots of ideals but very few (plausible) ideas. Just my opinion of course.

What do I suggest instead? The unsuggestable. Let nature take it's course. Do I look forward to this? No. I have read through the summary at your link and in it I see lots of ideals but very few (plausible) ideas. Just my opinion of course.

I'm willing to accept that actually attempting to actively change what will happen anyways, may be a hopeless endeavor. I actually agree that to do so may even be the equivalent of grasping at straws. But at this point what have we got to lose by trying? Perhaps it might only serve as a way to fool ourselves into thinking that we have half a chance.

Of course we are also all free to roll up in the fetal position and await our fate. It does sound like that is what you are suggesting. Why fight it? We have lost!

Do you accept as a fait accompli that there are absolutely *NO* plausible alternative ideas that might work?

Speaking as one who does try, I think there is an excellent chance of making things "a bit better than they would have otherwise been".

I think it is feckless to not try because the world will not be as nice as you would like it to be.

Best Hopes,


Steady state means equilibrium state.

I agree that the road for getting from here to there is something that is very hard to imagine being possible. After all we have been brain washed with the 'Growth is the solution' mantra for a very long time. Not to mention that the path is indeed fraught with peril.

If you get a chance watch the Peter Victor video or read the PDF, let me know what you think and why.

Perhaps I'm allowing myself to have hope where none should exist. The only thing I'm 100% sure of is that this ship is going down. Perhaps it is possible to build another one perhaps not. I'd like to be trying to build that other ship even if it never gets a chance to be launched, either that or I have to admit that it's time to throw in the towel, I wasn't quite ready to do that yet


There are several examples of steady state ecosystems, Rain forests being one of them. If the climate does not change over a given time period, say 1,000 years then the ecosystem reaches a balance.

I'd hope that a steady state world were possible, it'd make designing things a lot easier. I could see getting a hunk of land and trying to set up a system that lived within the ecosystem and still afforded people a way to live without destroying the ability to have childern live on the same land in a 100 years. But some sort of population controls would have to be in place, either death by disease that was more common in centuries past, or everyone healthy, just not that many childern.

Our problems are that we find ourselves here in this place, with full view of the handwriting on the wall, knowing full well that in the years to come we will see upheavels that make anything of the past look like shadow play.

We could buy up all that spare cotton they can't sell, employ a bunch of out of work people gin it all by hand, and learn how to make cloth the old fashion way with weaving and kniting and such. Giving them something to do, and paying them with food and a roof over their heads. How long before someone tries to sue us for torturing them?

If you had to make half the stuff you have in your house, by yourself, how much stuff would you have?

I keep seeing the guy sitting on his mattresses on a table in the recent flood in Haiti. Both my Mom and Dad slept on beds filled with straw, how far away in the generation after me to sleeping that way again?

A steady state lifestyle is waiting around the corner for everyone, it is just not going to be easy for some to face, and it won't be nice for them at first. When your choices are alive or dead, who will pick alive and sleeping on a straw bed?

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

This has been in the works for sometime, but it's now official. Break out the brandy glasses!

Historic hydro pact signed between N.L., N.S.
Lower Churchill to flow past Quebec, promises decades of stable prices

The premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia on Thursday announced a $6.2-billion deal to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric megaproject, bypassing a historical roadblock at the Quebec border.

"It's a huge milestone," Premier Danny Williams told reporters in St. John's, as he and Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter revealed a complex deal that will generate power on the Churchill River, and supply energy to both provinces and possibly beyond.


The deal effectively allows Nalcor to generate energy for Newfoundland and sell surplus energy to new markets, and provides a consistent source of energy to Emera, which already has commercial stakes in the Maritimes and the northeastern U.S.

Both parties stand to profit from potential sales to other markets.

The deal will see a 834-megawatt plant built at Muskrat Falls in central Labrador, with a power supply of about 4.9 terawatt hours per year.

Emera will receive about 20 per cent of that energy, and in return is paying for the construction of the link.

And this is just the start; there will be further developments to follow...

No more coal-fired power plants!


I take it that the provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have decided to play hardball with the province of Quebec by building an offshore power transmission line that completely bypasses Quebec and goes direct from Labrador to Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, and potentially to the USA.

It's always been possible, but the decision to cut Quebec out of the loop is going to make the Québécois very, very unhappy. They have become accustomed to buying electricity cheaply from Labrador and selling it expensively to the USA.

I believe 2041 is going to the year that the merde hits the fan. That's the year Newfoundland's 65-year agreement with Quebec expires, and it will be "Let's make a deal" time again. And I think Newfoundland's position will be, "Do you want to bring a lot more money to the table, or would you prefer to freeze in the dark?


This alternate route is a smart move on the part of Newfoundland and Labrador, as it can only help strengthen the province's hand leading up to 2041. H-Q is in a better position to answer this, obviously, but I doubt the loss of the Churchill Falls will cause the lights to flicker out in Québec as they have adequate in-province resources to meet domestic demand, plus there's some 2,500 MW of hydroelectric capacity and another 4,000 MW of wind energy coming on-line in just the next five year. That said, it would be one swift kick to the danglies in terms of the utility's profitability.

All in all, very welcome news for Atlantic Canadians and a major step forward in freeing this province from its dependency upon imported coal and oil.


But why?
Why more, more, more?

Time for a new direction. Time to get off of the Techno Merry-go-round.

Time to learn to live in Nature.

Nature has all the time in the World.

We have run out of time.

The Martian.

I hear you, Martian.

We have applied ourselves very diligently these last couple of thousand of years to a certain project. We did fairly well at it, in many respects.

But, alas, it turns out it was the wrong project.

Why? Because it will help lessen our province's demand for coal and oil. Right now, ninety per cent of our electricity is generated through the burning of fossil fuels and the goal is to cut that to 60 per cent within the next ten years. Bear in mind this electricity won't come cheap, so three cheers for our good friend, Mr. Price Elasticity, if your ultimate goal is to curb demand. Speaking of which, Nova Scotia Power's various DSM initiatives reduced provincial demand by 4.7 MW in 2008, an additional 10.3 MW in 2009 and our target this year is 30.9 MW. Next year, our goal is 44.0 MW and that increases to 63.5 MW in 2013 which brings our cumulative demand savings to 163.6 MW. To put this into perspective, total demand, as I type this, including exports to neighbouring New Brunswick, is 1,453.7 MW.

"More, more, more?" Hell, yes!


Someday, maybe, you will understand how wrong all of this is. If not, then the next few generations of Humans will.

I see Slim Pickens ride the Nuke down...

Times up.

The Martian.

You may need to haul the socket puppets out on this one, but reducing our dependency on imported coal and oil and helping folks use electricity more efficiently is wrong in what way? Thanks in advance.


Time for a new direction. Time to get off of the Techno Merry-go-round.

That's an example of the Perfect Solution Fallacy

The perfect solution fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when an argument assumes that a perfect solution exists and/or that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it were implemented. This is a classic example of black and white thinking, in which a person fails to see the complex interplay between things, and as a result, reduces complex problems to a pair of binary extremes.

You're assuming that a perfect solution exists to all the world's environmental problems, when the immediate problem is to get Nova Scotia off burning coal and oil to generate electricity. Holding hands and singing Kumbaya is not the solution to that problem.

I respect your past comments on this site, however, it is unfortunate that you are on that Carnival ride as well. I do not, assume there is a "perfect solution" to the environmental problems Humans have created, but there is a solution and it's really quite simple. Learn to live with the Natural World, or perish. Nature with deal with these issues forthright. Humans will be gone, and Nature will continue.

To address the Techno Babble of Mr. Halifax, here is the issue. I have two light bulbs and I want to cut my energy costs by half, 'cause I'm burning too much Black Death from the depths of the Earth. What will he do? Spend millions of Dollars and try to invent controllers and power stations with HVDC lines and Dam a few more rivers for extra juice to cover all the studies that need to be done, and the government workers to approve, and the EPA, and ain't it cool to look at, and on, and on,,,,,,

I turn off one of the lights.
Most things, really are that simple in life. Sorry you guys don't get it. Most don't.

The Martian.

Glad you're in your happy place, Martian. Shame the wisdom of the gods is wasted on mere fools like myself.


I might as well add another shock to the list:

We have passed the peak of sanity.

That is true whether or not one believes we have reached peak oil.

I passed peak underwear too ;-)
Everything has peaked.
Except total bicycle miles ridden perhaps.

Except total bicycle miles ridden perhaps.

Careful. Total oil consumed has not reached a maximum either, and never will.

Pet peave of mine is the use of peak in the wrong contexts. Most of those other contexts can be disproved (and often are) thus diminishing the authority of non-renewable resource peak arguments.

Total oil consumed has not reached a maximum either, and never will.

Well, it would do if we either used every last drop or completely weaned ourselves of the habit. So not strictly true to use never there either.

Although I guess you could argue that perhaps, at some arbitrary point in the future, someone will find more on another planet, or synthesise a little for a bit of fun.

So, I guess I concede :-)

Sorry WHT, I know Total bicycle miles ((((per year)))!!!

I knew it after I posted it but I was too lazy to edit it ;-O

Food pantries struggle to keep up with growing need

Lisa Cain has watched some of Metro Detroit's hungriest and most desperate people faint in line as they waited up to an hour for the limited amount of food her Rochester Hills pantry can provide them.

"There will literally be people who are starving," said Cain, founder of God's Helping Hands. "There are days that are that bad."

Her staff now keeps at the ready juice, peanut butter and cheese crackers to serve the recipients — seniors with medical conditions and self-sacrificing parents, some of whom have missed meals for days.

More cities offer homeless free storage to ease mobility

Finding a place to safely leave possessions is one of many challenges homeless people face each day, homeless advocates say. Some cities, including Portland, Ore., St. Petersburg, Fla., New York, San Francisco and Chicago are trying to help people in Black's situation by offering free storage space to the homeless.

This month, Portland became the latest city to begin offering free cubicles where up to 50 homeless individuals can store a shopping cart and other possessions, city Housing Commissioner Nick Fish says.

Seems like a good idea. Many homeless who don't want shelter do want someplace to stash their stuff, and it seems like it would be a relatively inexpensive service to offer.

OTOH, I was struck by the comment explaining why they'd stopped offering it in DC. People never came back for their stuff. Apparently, even the homeless have a bunch of stuff they never use.

I was once told that Little Rock was the worse city in the nation to be homeless. There was talk of a building they could have used for a day center, only to have NIMBY folks nix that.

These days the only homeless I deal with are on this side of the river. Little Rock has gotten to be mean lately.

Of the four food pantries we have taken people, they only give out food to you once a month. So unless you juggle them you only have about a week's worth of food, or less.

If you are homeless you get about 200 dollars in food stamps a month, which is not a lot especially if you have no storage space, or fridge room. It is even worse if you have no place to cook food.

Everyone we help has at least a place to store food and cook it.

Will policies change when the USA starts looking like Haiti? Or before?

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.


Add to what you said the fact that food stamps cannot be used to purchase prepared foods (cooked meals, etc.). How do homeless people prepare their raw meats and veggies? Or do they just eat chips and cookies?

A large part of our national obesity problem stems from people eating junk food - and cheap carbs are mostly junk food.

Hence we see that we have a problem with food stamps creating malnutrition and obesity. Which in turn creates a health care problem. And, of course, homeless people cannot purchase health insurance, even if it is mandated. So... our emergency rooms become the health care alternative for the homeless.

The problems continue, and multiply. And, guess who pays the bill?


The successful replacement over time of all paper food stamps by EBT cards enabled the U.S. Congress to rename the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as of October 2008, and to update all references in federal law from "stamp" or "coupon" to "card" or "EBT". This was effectuated on June 18, 2008, by U.S. House Resolution 6124, The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, enacted as Public Law over U.S. President George W. Bush's veto.

One of my daughters has an EBT card and I have taken her to the market a couple of times. Seeing first hand what can and can't be purchased with the SNAP (EBT) card is frustrating. While I'm not sure exactly what the criteria are for different foodstuffs to qualify for purchase, it's clear that the intent of the system is to promote the purchase of more nutritious products, that the technology supports almost any level of refinement, and that it could be improved upon; something as specific as allowing folks to buy only whole wheat bread, fresh fruits and vegetables rather than processed with sugar added, and prohibiting the purchase of higher priced cookables such as beef tenderloin. Why my daughter can by hot dogs to take home and cook but not a nutritious prepared salad from the deli section escapes me. She can buy a pound of fatty, salty balogna, but not a rotisery chicken, about the same price.

IMO, your homeless person should be able to go into a Subway and use the EBT card to buy a SNAP approved sandwich (e.g. turkey and cheese on whole wheat with fruit juice, water or skim milk) or a salad. Just an example, but it seems doable.

There should be classes given for use of the EBT cards, what to buy, which foods are better for you, how to work around not having home cooking skills, things like that.

But it all boils down to the people listening to the advice given.

I know one lady, that no matter what advice given her, if she does not like it, she'll stop listening to you. Even though buying soda pop on food stamps should have been banned long ago, you can still do it.

Given that more people are depending on food stamps for meals, change should be a big issue on what you can or can't buy on the card. NYC is trying to get some of that changed, I don't know how well it is going though.

I do wonder when the issues will come to a head though, when 1 in 3 are on food stamps? But each state has a say in what requirements you have to meet are.

One good thing is that they are now electronic, if you lose the card, you can still get back what you lost, without to much hassle.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world, somewhere that the need of food stamps is not an issue.

Even though buying soda pop on food stamps should have been banned long ago, you can still do it.

Because they have good lobbies in the halls of political power.


"I was once told that Little Rock was the worse city in the nation to be homeless ..."

I have been told that more than once. It was a lie each time.

The worst place to be homeless is the only planet you can live on.

If you f*ck that planet that up, as the oilords are commanding us to do, you are in the worst place you can be in the entire universe.

Little Rock is about the size of the lizard brains who would lead you to other conclusions, compared to the rest of the universe. Way small.

Stay thirsty for knowledge my friends, because the peak of sanity has passed us by, whether or not peak oil homelessness has yet.

I have told several people that I'd never be homeless, because I live on earth.

But the point is that some cities are better places to find oneself than others, if you have to live on the streets or forests around town. The US has too many laws saying that if you don't own the land you can't sleep on it, without a premit or premission, or in some cases without living in a house even if you do own the land.

Not many people are as sane as they would like you to think they are.

In the above article the two kids were holding Xboxs, not dolls, not food containers, not backpacks full of clothes, but game systems that won't feed them or help them stay warm. As you say a form of insanity.

I see guys and gals, hoarding tons of things when they are homeless. I have a time or two gone through my room, throwing on the bed everything I'd want to take if I were going to be homeless for any length of time. And I find that even taking the needed things to live in the wild can get to be a heavy load.

Maybe we need to send our childern off to live nomadic lives with the Bushmen for a few months of years so that they can learn how to survive and learn what is important about life.

Though today's youth and younger adults, might just go crazy not having a cell phone handy to use. Then again I should talk, I once ran down my cell phone battery, using the calculator feature on it.

I don't think humans were ever very sane. We only think we are.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

Yesterday I mentioned that, per the EIA weekly oil inventory report, US imported 7.9 mpd of oil last week, as compared to the 9.2 mbpd average for all of 2010. There were indications by shippers and tanker trackers that OPEC had indeed increased exports by about 300,000 bpd lately [please note that an increase in exports does not necessarily reflect a change in total output, but maybe just less used domestically or taken from domestic storage].

Well today’s Oil Movements report does not give us much hope that US imports will quickly return t he 9.0 mbpd or so needed for the smooth functioning of the US economy. Exports are headed East, OM says, possibly to help reduce a country wide diesel shortage in China:

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will increase crude loadings by 1.2 percent this month on rising exports to Asia, according to tanker- tracker Oil Movements.

Shipments will rise to 23.65 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Dec. 4, compared with 23.38 million barrels in the period to Nov. 6, the consultant said today in a report. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola. It’s the sixth consecutive month-on-month increase, according to the weekly reports.

“Everything is going east,” Oil Movements founder Roy Mason said by phone from Halifax, England. “China is obviously a big part of it, but the whole region is going up. Japan is limping but still moving up seasonally.”



looks like we losing the bid on declining Net Exports.

How many Yuans are you getting for a Kilolitre of your production down your way?


China diesel demand and French refinery blockages and declining exports are not a good combination for the winter months. But the NYTIMES said everything is A-OKAY in USA. I trust them ;-)

Yep :) Gasoline up 7 cents/gallon, which is much more than would be expected based upon the change in the price of oil today.

Jim Ritterbusch, head of oil research firm Ritterbusch & Associates, said as the influence of macroeconomic issues wanes, investors focusing on oil supply and demand fundamentals will likely help send futures higher. Demand for products is improving, particularly diesel in China.

"With Chinese diesel demand and lower gasoil stocks in Europe, heating oil could help lead the charge higher," he said.

Front-month December reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, settled 7.04 cents, or 3.3%, higher at $2.2283 a gallon. December heating oil settled 4.32 cents, or 1.9%, higher at $2.2951 a gallon.


I wish I could Bail Out sometimes.

Irish Republic to get bail-out loan, says central bank

Irish Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan has said he expects the Irish Republic to accept a "very substantial loan" as part of an EU-backed bail-out.

Mr Honohan told RTE radio he expected the loan to amount to "tens of billions" of euros.

The final decision will be up to the Irish government, which has said it has not agreed to a loan from Europe.

The comments come as a team of international officials meet in Dublin for further talks on the debt crisis.

I guess this is why the stock market is shooting up.

Meanwhile, jobless claims are up, and the House didn't pass the extension.

I love the idea that borrowing more money will get the Irish out of their debt problem.

Oh... from the Banks. That is different, how? Anyone? Buhler?


The bailout goes to those who lent money to Ireland or to Irish banks. The Irish taxpayer is on the hook for the balance of €50 million.


I expect serious violence from this bailout. The Real Irish Republican Army has taken minor actions against banks in Ireland. They promise more actions:

"Let's not forget that the bankers are the next-door neighbours of the politicians. Most people can see the picture: the bankers grease the politicians' palms, the politicians bail out the bankers with public funds, the bankers pay themselves fat bonuses and loan the money back to the public with interest. It's essentially a crime spree that benefits a social elite at the expense of many millions of victims."

But security sources in Northern Ireland point out say the Real IRA lacks the logistical resources of the Provisional IRA to prosecute a bombing campaign similar to the ones that devastated the City of London in the early 1990s or the Canary Wharf bomb in 1996. Although the Real IRA has access to explosives it has yet to carry out large-scale bombings.

The terror group stressed in a series of written answers to the Guardian's questions that future attacks would alternate between the "military, political and economic targets". It is the first time the Real IRA has engaged in such open anti-capitalist rhetoric or focused on the role of the banking system.


The next bailout target is Purtugal with Spain waiting in the wings. Spain's debt profile is similar to Ireland but multiplied by 10. Bailing out Spain is an impossibility for the Eurozone and the IMF combined.

The Teabaggers will not countenance the Fed bailing out Spain as the Fed bailout Euro banks in 2008 by way of euro swap lines.

The outcome is either more deflation in Europe or a form of quantitative easing (QE) on the part of the European Central Bank. Right now the ECB is tightening while the Germans are demanding bailouts free of any more German liabilities. This is not a good combination.

Europe needs to do the same thing the US needs to do; cut energy consumption and delink from the almighty auto. Small business that doesn't require energy waste that employs large numbers in craft centered occupations needs to be supported in place of finance and gigantic offshore corporations.

The Eurozone seems willing to throw everything overboard to maintain auto use and high rates of fuel consumption, sending 5% of GDP overseas. Not sensible ...

Mish posted a 1 minute video editorial from the Dow Jones newswire that says all that needs to be said about the EU bailouts.

This has come up in previous threads. It appears Congress has taken interest:

Computer virus Stuxnet a 'game changer,' DHS official tells Senate

Washington (CNN) -- A highly complex computer attack that may have been targeting Iran's nuclear power plants is posing a serious security threat to critical infrastructure worldwide, according to government and cyber-industry experts testifying Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The computer worm known as Stuxnet was discovered this past July and specifically targets computers that run critical infrastructure such as the electric power grid, water treatment and oil and gas pipelines.

this has been a real head scratcher for me. Who would set this thing free? A government, a group or an individual?


Who would set this thing free? A government, a group or an individual?


Yes. Of course the Government involved would blame 'some group or individual(s)' who are, of course, 'not in our control.'


Rumor has it...the Israeli government. It seemed to be targeted at something in Iran. Taking out their nuclear plant via the Internet instead of bombing it.

It's so sophisticated that it has to be a government behind it, or so the theory goes.

I've followed the story a bit and the scope of this exploit is awesome. It uses three Windows vulnerabilities that, at the time Stuxnet was discovered in the wild, were unpublished. It entailed stealing highly secret passwords from the makers of the target PLC system to allow the infected code to penetrate the actual PLCs. This means that the exploit has to include code that runs on both systems. If you think Windows programming is difficult you'll find wandering around in the "failsafe" multitasking environment of a distributed real-time control system impossible. Here is a very thorough analysis (pdf download) by Symantec.

I haven't kept up with it but here is a relatively recent synopsis by Bruce Schneir - a renowned expert on computer security issues.

Stuxnet is magnitudes more sophisticated than any other computer worm I've ever read about and I'm convinced it was the work of a government who were targeting a very specific nuclear installation and who had a great deal of insider information about how these arcane PLC systems work. Well beyond the reach of any individual effort, I think.

Interesting. Bruce Schneir tries to debunk the Israel/Iran thing.

But the Symantec update says Stuxnet specifically targets rarely used frequencies. The only vendors who make equipment vulnerable to Stuxnet are in Finland and Tehran. Kind of hard to believe someone was trying to sabotage Finland.

I also find it hard to believe this is one of those "look what I can do" worms. People who do that tend to want people to know who's behind it, so leave clues in the code. This worm has apparently been scrubbed clean. They can't even tell what country it originated in.

I think the Symantec summary puts it well:

Stuxnet represents the first of many milestones in malicious code history – it is the first to exploit four 0-day vulnerabilities, compromise two digital certificates, and inject code into industrial control systems and hide the code from the operator. Whether Stuxnet will usher in a new generation of malicious code attacks towards real-world infrastructure—overshadowing the vast majority of current attacks affecting more virtual or individual assets—or if it is a once- in-a-decade occurrence remains to be seen. Stuxnet is of such great complexity—requiring significant resources to develop—that few attackers will be capable of producing a similar threat, to such an extent that we would not expect masses of threats of similar in sophistication to suddenly appear. However, Stuxnet has highlighted direct-attack attempts on critical infrastructure
are possible and not just theory or movie plotlines.The real-world implications of Stuxnet are beyond any threat we have seen in the past. Despite the exciting challenge in reverse engineering Stuxnet and understanding its purpose, Stuxnet is the type of threat we hope to never see again.

And if the summary isn't enough, try this:

Code complexity

The 417 code and data is much more complex than the 315 code. For example, FC 6063 contains 1400 lines of decrypted STL code, and FC 6065, which contains the main logic for the attack, contains about 900 lines of decrypted STL code.

State machine

Similar to the 315 attack code, the 417 attack code is structured as a state machine. However, the 417 code has eight different states, numbered from zero to seven, with zero being the initial state. Basically, states are iterated, with the exception that state four may be reached directly from state two, rather than going through state three. State seven leads to state zero for the next round.

State one is where the recording of input values takes place. Up to 984 inputs are recorded for up to 15 seconds.

The core attack is executed in states two to six. During the attack, pre-recorded input is played back to the process image that the legitimate PLC code works on. States two, three, and four are executed pretty fast. Transition to state six takes place at latest 2 minutes and 53 seconds after beginning the attack. Transition from state six to state seven takes place at latest 6 minutes and 58 seconds after beginning the attack.

MITM, input values, output values

As had been published earlier by us, the man-in-the-middle position is achieved by disabling automated process image updates in the S7-400’s execution environment. This is done by manipulating system data blocks (SDBs) at infection time, as it cannot be done at runtime. Thereafter, the copying of input and output images is performed by calling SFC 26 (update process image input table), SFC 27 (update process image output table), and SFC 20 (block move).

The up to 984 input values are structured into a multi-dimensional array of six records containing up to 164 entries. We have reason to believe that the number of six has no relation to the six Profibus interfaces that are accessed by the 315 attack code. We will publish intelligence on the 417’s input data structure soon. As mentioned above, the 6 x 184 inputs are recorded for up to 15 seconds.

Output manipulations as identified so far are primarily affecting digital outputs, i.e. “on” and “off” values are manipulated.

It is clear to me that we are dealing Israel. No one else has the raw brainpower to handle this kind of complexity. It makes me dizzy thinking about it.

My guess is that the code functions to stress the centrifuges sufficiently to break them without making the sabotage look obvious.

It is clear to me that we are dealing Israel. No one else has the raw brainpower to handle this kind of complexity. It makes me dizzy thinking about it.

Discussions elsewhere harald a change in TOD management policy restricting what may be freely expressed on TOD. The emphasis is on banning rudeness, but rudeness can come in many forms. Well disguised rudeness will not be immediately obvious to the censors while it is obvious to its target. It is difficult.

I perceive here, an antisemitic statement. I believe that LJR did not intend an ethnic slur, but particular word usages have histories. People can pick up a phrase or an idea in casual conversation without realizing what it was crafted to mean. The slur is embedded in the culture. I commend TOD management for good intentions, but I think it will be hard to deliver. Very hard.

I think it works both ways.

From Repub Congressman Eric Cantor's office:

“Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington. He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.”


They wonder if this is right to do.

We're talking about a powerful member of Congress engaged in foreign policy, vowing to a foreign government to oppose the administration's policies regarding that government. Ron Kampeas from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news agency said he can't remember any U.S. official ever doing this. "[T]o have-a-face to face and say, in general, we will take your side against the White House -- that sounds to me extraordinary," Kampeas said this week.

Many people say this is odd showing allegiance to another country. Other people say that it is all about ambiguity and misinterpreting the actual message.

So you, geek7, are accusing someone of anti-semitism based on some innocuous statement, while several people are accusing Cantor of being a traitor to the USA based on some coded words his office released.

I was curious about what LJR meant by that myself.

There seems to be widespread belief that either Israel or the US is behind this. Why rule out the US? I think it's likely that Israel is the source, but I wouldn't go so far as to say no other country could do it.

Because it is unlikely that an American programmer would have dropped in a Jewish/Hebrew reference in the code. "False flags" are generally planted against your enemies - not your allies.

But maybe that's overthinking the "myrtus" issue.

I think that is overthinking it (and it's addressed in Bruce Schneir's analysis, linked to by LJR). Schneir argues (convincingly, IMO) that once you have a conclusion, it's easy to see patterns in random noise that support it.

I find the apparent date May 9, 1979 (execution of Habib Elghanian by firing squad in Iran), to be possibly more of a clue. But then, as I've previously commented, DEADF007 could point at James Bond :)

Anyone could code in these magic numbers and dates pointing to Isreal to make it seem like a particular party was doing the virus coding.

The sophistication likely points a bigger group of players and a "spy-type" operation probably government based.

the whole idea may have been to make Iran repurchase the equipment, thinking it was faulty. Then the spy agencies could see who was the suppliers and who were the purchasers to apply pressure on those groups and governments.

The supply chain is pretty important. Iran lacks the technical capability to make these sophisticated machines at the end of the day.

Finally, it shows that the western-built equipment is prone to infection, making the Iranian officials question using Western equipment, which may be unsafe.

Because it is unlikely that an American programmer would have dropped in a Jewish/Hebrew reference in the code.

Right - because no "American"

1) Could be Jewish
2) Understand Hebrew
3) Be instructed like a good worker to do as told and use such a reference

And none of the people who write a check to have an illegal act done would never, ever go with:

Lets you and them fight.

About anything that has been said about this that I'll accept as a truth - this was not the typical work of most explotitave, illegal code.

Plenty of actors to blame based on their past behavior.

Being easily offended is not a virtue, and I do hope that the new policy does not protect sacred cows. WHT noted higher up in this thread that science is a contact sport, as is all analysis, and in pursuit of the truth, people may get hurt.

Taking offense to things is often a way of protecting ideas from examination and a core tactic of conservatives and fundamentalists.

I am broadly sympathetic to Israel, but am horrified by the suggestion that any critique of the country (which can be rational) is the equivalent of a racial prejudice (which is not)

So, while I am against unnecessary insults and bullying, I am in favor of heretics, blasphemers and iconoclasts (at least the modern ones).


But people ARE easily offended. And I did not suggest that taking offense is a virtue. This is an aspect of the problem of how best to administer TOD. I think it will be very hard. I can envision changes that have unintended consequences. I think we really agree on what I perceive to be the 'core issue': An excess of concern for hurt feelings can do real damage to a discussion group. But what amount of concern is OK? Opinions differ. It is very hard to get it right, IMHO. Even the language we use when discussing the issue of rudeness and tone can have unintended interpretations. I think that has happened to some of my posts.

All true.

I think we have gone too far one way, and can try a shift back the other a bit.

This is a six year old website and not to the first time these issues have come up. I don't think the editors are going to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Check out this tentative explanation. Langner is one of the lead German investigators on Stuxnet.

Only a government funded/sponsored body could have written this in my opinion. It targeted highly specific frequency converter drives of the type likely to be used in uranium enrichment (regulated for export in the United States by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and apparently altered the frequency from time to time. Possibly in a way that would not have been easily detected - ie no "BANG" to alert something was wrong.

It also used multiple previously unknown security flaws in Windows and valid signed security certificates as well as requiring an intimate knowledge of industrial control hardware and software.

Latest Analysis by Symantec http://www.symantec.com/connect/fr/blogs/stuxnet-breakthrough

Hackable Reactors, anyone? What could possibly go wrong? ("Hey, we wrote that software to dismantle THEIR rod controls, not OURS!!")

I know, I know.. this ship is unsinkable! I shouldn't doubt.

But I did just get the Smart-Meter installed two days ago. (Wasn't an option.. they just came and did it..) I'm not worried about the RF, if my research was right, it's the same freq. as my cordless phone or my wi-fi, and is a great deal farther from my body than those sources.. but the idea that my powerbox might now be hackable is another mild, chronic discomfort to add to a bevy of bothers in modern life.

The more I can make my parallel system of PV power take care of essentials in my house, the better...

I think about the only control function your smart meter may have is "off", and that operation mode will probably be happening quite a bit anyway in our future.

True enough, but Off would be pretty much the most inconvenient, even if you've done a lot to prepare. The point is that it's more hidden code, hidden controls, accessible data flowing from our homes to anonymous recipients.

In the future, I know there are plans to have smart grid be able to drive adjustable demand items in the home, like your hot-water heater, etc.. and a 'malevolent' could simply drive it hard to run your bill crazy, or control a broad area to induce an overload, perhaps..

Nah, no overload.

Just a little 'save 10% on your energy bills' plug in box marketed on late-night TV infomercials. It doesn't really *do* anything.. Except once in awhile move a couple of KWH from your smart meter to the neighbors. All funded and paid for by organized crime, who have will have moles in all the major energy companies, and have access to all the certificates, and quite likely pay off an intern to insert a couple more backdoors into the silicon chips used in the meters.

The meter vendors will block any attempt to figure this out because
a) they look bad
b) to truly address the issue, you'll have to make the complete design (including software) publicly available for review, which exposes all the IP to lower cost competitors.

Thus my conclusion that ANY secure smart grid system MUST be based on completely open-source software and verifiable hardware designs. Any 'proprietary' black-box stuff anywhere is basically a big target waiting to get abused for profit.

When the smart meters get going it will be time to get off the grid I guess

"Only a government funded/sponsored body could have written this in my opinion."
Of course no government actually designs and writes sophisticated computer code. Only people, special people, do that. What a government can offer is an environment in which a small, qualified group of people can work in secret. And, a very large bureaucratic organization with world wide operations as a cover for occasional international travel of some of these special people. Maybe Israel. But also maybe CIA or NSA, or latest incarnation of NKVD, or ... a non-governmental organization of similar size to Israel, like ... BP ? or Shell ?

IMO, Israel is a very small country with very big problems and a lot of very talkative citizens. I think the sponsor is some other less obvious organization. Not picking on oil companies, but they are large enough to qualify. Maybe a mining giant --- BHP Billiton?

The problem with a commercial company is that they should not have people working for them with knowledge of multiple previously unknown Windows critical security flaws. Microsoft would be one possible exception to that of course.

Why should a commercial company not have such people? Perhaps they have a side line of front running on some trading market. Perhaps they have reason to believe that some government is trying to infiltrate their internal network. Perhaps they are privately held and don't trust outsiders. Perhaps ... lots of reasons. But it shouldn't be a company whose publicly announced business is commercial development of software. That would be too obvious.

So how do you get hold of people with knowledge of such vulnerabilities? And, I'd imagine that if you could somehow get hold of such people, the security services would take enormous interest in any commercial organisation employing them to create, and actually deploy, offensive cyber-warfare capabilities - especially ones that use multiple Zero Day Critical Flaws, "stolen" valid security certificates and target uranium enrichment centrifuges. The only way a commercial company could be involved, in my opinion, is if they were working with some "official" agency to begin with.

Or to put it another way. Whoever/whatever wrote Stuxnet must be considered potentially highly dangerous. If that danger is not already "contained" within some ultimately government controlled entity, then that is a bigger issue than any physical sabotage caused by Stuxnet itself. In my opinion anyway.

There was a long, interesting article in the New York Times Magazine Section last Sunday about a young man named Albert Gonzalez (not Alberto Gonzales of Attorney General fame). Albert is serving time for major commercial software break-in and theft. There are a lot of people like him. They find each other. They are, in a way, more dangerous than state sponsored terrorism because they do what they do for the fun of it. Sometimes they pretend to be under the control of a government. Sometimes not. Read Albert's story. I am not of that world, but I know it exists, just as surely as I know bin Laden's world exists.

Proof? I really don't have any proof that bin Laden exists. Do you?
About danger. Yes, the world is a dangerous place. With or without governments, both.

From a quick read of the Wikipedia article, the level of knowledge and sophistication of coding used by Albert Gonzalez - SQL Injection, ARP spoofing, etc is trivial compared to Stuxnet. You can easily find people with the capabilities to do that sort of stuff - basically just looking for then exploiting specific examples of well known generic weaknesses - which good programmers have to be aware of and code defensively against. Stuxnet needed much, much, much, more. That's what a zero day vulnerability means - a previously unknown flaw - and this attack used several. Whoever wrote Stuxnet basically had multiple effective "master-keys" to Windows.

And criminal gangs use hacking techniques for monetary gain. Having worked for a very large multinational in IT, if someone in the company asked me to do this (not that I could) I'd want to know what would over-ride my fear of spending a large part of my life behind bars or worse. I would also report it appropriately.

Whoever wrote Stuxnet basically had multiple effective "master-keys" to Windows.

My guess is they had access to the source code.

My understanding is a few Nation States have been "given" the source code. And parts of the source code was posted to the Net a few years ago, plus, as I remember, Microsoft had some kind of 'get source code at your school' program.

Nation States have histories of modifying source code. The 1985 exposion in Russia is an example. Other Nation States have official groups within the government that operate with the motto 'We'll wage war via deception'. So to blame a State - fits past behavior.

I agree Undertow - I'll bet it's from the US - Cyber-war has been a hot item the last few years.



Self-fulfilling prophecy.. everyone give a warm Andy's Room welcome to,


Stuxnet may have some interesting effects. In the electric utility industry there have been some major changes in communications between substation devices happening, with Ethernet finally becoming accepted - but there are also a large number of serial communication systems and older proportional analog SCADA systems out there. As well as many distribution subs with pretty much no communications at all. The expertise and comfort level with this stuff also varies considerably from utility to utility.

Recently there have appeared some rather onerous security regulations out of DHS and NERC, etc. The response to these proposals and regulations has varied from ignoring it to panicking - to the point that one of my co-workers suggested dressing up as an Ethernet port for Halloween, as that is clearly the most scary thing around. There are several utilities where the engineers cannot connect to devices with their laptops to retrieve data, as the IT departments run everything and they are not permitted. Also, they do not have any control over their laptops to do basic things like change the IP address range to allow them to connect to local subnets, etc.

The response to Stuxnet is likely to push all this to the forefront, as it is an illustration of the possible and perceived vulnerabilities. There will probably be a period of relative chaos until this settles down - many devices will need to be redesigned to allow connection to allow much more complex password and security functions and/or connection to password server systems. In some cases this may take more processor power than the basic function they need to perform, and obviously raise costs.

I find it humorous that a climate of fear over a fake terrorist threat was created to make the public malleable and accepting, and now this fear has become institutionalized. In turn one example of blowback is that such irrational responses will cost a lot of money and will delay implementation of grid improvements that everyone seems to want.

Think for a second like a mastermind world is my footstool kind of mind.

Create a bad virus, get a few computers sick. Scare everyone silly. Employ tighter security rules, and reign in all those people who think that the internet is a free place.

It looks on one hand like an inside job, on the other like a bunch of mastermind computer hackers finally getting better control of something that they had no idea how to control, but wanted too, ten years ago.

From my reading, the Stuxnet virus only works on Mircosoft and Siemens software, though they are big players, aren't there others out there that are not affected by it?

My out in all this is that I have written a few "World Mastermind" stories, so I have a bit of a tendency to lean that way when thinking about such issues. Or it might be the comic kid Lio, just having a bad hair day and making a mistake.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world( not so many computers in that world though )

This Buttonwood column from the Economist is an indication that many of the issues discussed here are receiving wide exposure.

Of particular note in this column is the prospect that there is a one to one relationship between the decline in EROEI and the effect of this decline on global GDP.

Of course, they are quick to retreat to a position that 'the dangers are overstated.' BAU must never be denied.

...“The Gathering Storm”, a new book, argues that the global ratio of energy return on energy invested is around 20, corresponding to energy’s 4-5% share of global GDP. Mr Lees thinks the ratio might fall to five over the next decade, implying that energy’s share of GDP could quadruple. That is probably too extreme a forecast. Nevertheless, the direction of change seems clear. If the world were a giant company, its return on capital would be falling.

Too extreme? More likely it has been understated.


Oh, no Zaphod! The truth is "always somewhere in the middle." Don't you know that?

What "they" don't know is that their nightmares are kiddy stuff -- Hollywood zombies, slashers in hockey masks lurking in the shadows, their favorite "star" getting kicked off of "Dancing..." -- compared to the things which may well await us just a few years hence.

The talking heads like to talk about "paradigm shifts." Well, I think industrial society is about to undergo one.


IN this environmentally conscious college town, thousands of bicyclists commute each day through a carefully cultivated urban forest whose canopy shields riders and their homes from the harsh sun of this state’s Central Valley.

The intensity of that sunshine also makes Davis an attractive place to generate clean green energy from rooftop solar panels. And therein lies a conundrum. Tapping the power of the sun can also mean cutting down some of those trees.

“Davis has spent many, many decades getting trees planted and improving energy efficiency by virtue of shade trees that cool houses,” said Mitch Sears, the city’s sustainability program manager. “But if you want solar energy, it’s not rocket science that you need the sun.”

Now a San Francisco company, CleanPath Ventures, is promoting a solution to allow homeowners to keep their trees and go solar at the same time. CleanPath plans to expand its existing solar farm on the city’s outskirts and then sell “garden plots” to homeowners who would own the electricity generated by their patch of photovoltaic panels. Apartment dwellers and other residents whose homes are not suitable for rooftop solar arrays would also be able to own a piece of the power plant.

Note the graph of declining GDP in the uSA since 1960s.


Liz Peek at FoxNews.com congratulates me for writing about the importance of economic growth. So in the spirit of maximizing growth, I want to pose a question: Why should we believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will provide a big lift to growth?

Those tax cuts passed in 2001 amid big promises about what they would do for the economy. What followed? The decade with the slowest average annual growth since World War II. Amazingly, that statement is true even if you forget about the Great Recession and simply look at 2001-7.

The competition for slowest growth is not even close, either. Growth from 2001 to 2007 averaged 2.39 percent a year (and growth from 2001 through the third quarter of 2010 averaged 1.66 percent). The decade with the second-worst showing for growth was 1971 to 1980 — the dreaded 1970s — but it still had 3.21 percent average growth.

The picture does not change if you instead look at five-year periods. Here’s a chart ranking five-year periods over the past 50 years, in descending order of average annual growth:


Another blog post about taxes and GdP.

Of course declining oil is the real driver in the decline.

Can someone from .au please explain what's up with the ethanol industry there?

BusinessDay understands that 350 million litres would be required for all NSW service stations to meet the 6 per cent mandate.

This sounds like Hawaii.. They have plenty of sugarcane, but building a single competitive ethanol plant would produce significantly more ethanol then they can use.. thus nothing gets built. In the US midwest, *small* ethanol plants are 50 million gallon per year, or 200 million liters. The big ones are 100 million gallon per year.. (400 million liters).. Thus my conclusion is that the existing NSW plants are all too small to compete, just because the number of people on salary a small plant needs is not that much different than a big one.

Thailand has several sugar cane to ethanol facilities between 100 - 200,000 lpd (36.5-73mn liters per year) in size.


I don't think ethanol production is especially labor intensive. The issues tend to be around prices for fuel or sugar. In the US, sugar is subsidized and so diverting it for ethanol removes revenue from the gov't handout. In Thailand, high market prices for sugar can make ethanol a less attractive market. Mandates are pretty powerful though, and have been big market drivers in both of these countries.

I don't think ethanol production is especially labor intensive.

That's why pre-machine history had slaves doing all that sugarcane harvests in the Islands like Haiti.

Thailand still harvests sugar cane by hand, but largely on smaller farmer-owned plots. Sugar cane production is clearly a labor intensive process.

The question I was responding to, however, asked if labor was a factor in the scaling of ethanol plants. I showed it is not.

Can someone from .au please explain what's up with the ethanol industry there?

Part of the reason is that nothing gets done in this country without a government subsidy or reduced company tax rate. Then Business and Industry complain about Government interference.