Drumbeat: April 16, 2011

Oil Without Apologies: John Watson, Chevron's CEO, says Americans must stop taking affordable energy for granted. That means more 'oil, gas and coal.'

An economist by training, soft-spoken by nature, the 53-year-old Mr. Watson is hardly some swaggering wildcatter. Yet in a year of speeches, he has emerged as one of the industry's foremost energy realists. No "Beyond Petroleum" (BP) for him. On energy, he says, America "has a lot to learn."

Starting with the argument—so popular among greens and Democrats—that we are running out of oil. "Peak oil"—the theory that global oil production will soon hit maximum levels and begin to decline—is a favorite among this crowd, and it is one basis for their call for more biofuels and solar power. Mr. Watson doesn't dismiss the idea but explains why it remains largely irrelevant.

In theory, he says, "we've been running out of oil and gas for a long time," yet technology creates new opportunities. Mr. Watson cites a Chevron field long in decline down the road in Bakersfield—to the point that for every 100 barrels of oil "in place," the company was extracting only 10 or 20. But thanks to a new technology called steam flooding, Chevron is now getting 70 to 80 barrels. "Price creates incentive, and energy will be developed if there's demand for it at the price you can develop it," Mr. Watson says. In that sense, "oil and gas are plentiful."

Crude Oil Rises After U.S. Consumer Sentiment, Industrial Output Increase

Oil rose for a third day in New York as better-than-forecast U.S. consumer confidence and industrial data bolstered optimism in the economy of the world’s biggest crude-consuming country.

Futures increased 1.4 percent after the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan April preliminary index of consumer sentiment advanced to 69.6 from 67.5 the prior month. The Federal Reserve said U.S. production at factories rose 0.8 percent in March, the fifth straight gain.

Oil May Rise on Mideast Unrest, Saudi Arabian Output Cuts, Survey Shows

Crude oil prices may increase on speculation unrest in the Middle East will curb exports as Saudi Arabia reduces production, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Fifteen of 33 analysts, or 45 percent, forecast crude oil will increase through April 21. Nine respondents, or 27 percent, predicted prices will decline and nine projected little change. Last week, 49 percent of respondents said futures would gain.

Oil Prices Will Ease in 2012 on Stimulus Withdrawal, Russia's Kudrin Says

Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, expects the price of oil shipments to the global market to start decreasing next year as governments begin to withdraw stimulus measures, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said.

Urals, the nation’s major export oil blend, will stay above $90 a barrel for 12 months to 18 months, Kudrin told a press briefing in Washington, D.C., yesterday. The price will probably fall to $60 a barrel in the next two years and stay at that level for about six months, he said, reiterating a forecast he made a year ago.

US natgas rig count drops 4 to 885-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by four this week to 885, its second straight weekly decline, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

Iran called for foreign companies' cooperation in oil industry: minister

Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi, in the inauguration ceremony of an international oil show opened here Friday, asked foreign companies to cooperate with Iran in the oil industry.

Mirkazemi said that political stability and economic power of the country are privileges for engagement in Iran's oil industry.

Russia cancels tax break for Rosneft's Vankor field

(Reuters) - Russia has decided to cancel a tax break for Rosneft's Vankor oil field as of May 1, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said late on Friday.

Vankor, a key driver behind Russia's record-high oil production, was one of 22 east Siberian fields exempt from full export duty, set at $423.7 per tonne this month.

Ohio shale deposits hold potential for oil, gas, jobs

Thousands of feet below the surface of Ohio, encased inside a rock formation millions of years old, is a veritable ocean of oil and natural gas that could be worth billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs.

NATO Claims Unity on Libya Operation as Russia Questions Military Actions

NATO countries sought to bridge differences over their Libya mission as Russia said the alliance’s actions may be exceeding those authorized by the UN Security Council.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers today in Berlin that he’s confident his request for additional ground-attack aircraft will be met, even though the U.S. and France rejected deploying more planes.

Clinton: Allies looking for ways to fund Libya rebels

BERLIN (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that NATO allies were searching for ways to provide funds to Libya's rebels.

"The opposition needs a lot of assistance, on the organizational side, on the humanitarian side, and on the military side," Clinton told reporters after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin.

Obama Sees Libya Stalemate on the Ground, Qaddafi Ousted ‘Over Long Term’

Forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi shelled Libya’s rebel-held coastal city of Misrata as President Barack Obama said the conflict has become a “stalemate on the ground militarily.”

Qaddafi is “getting squeezed” in many ways, Obama said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I think over the long term, Qaddafi will go and we will be successful.”

Nigeria’s President Jonathan Eyes Election Win Against Divided Opposition

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will probably win tomorrow’s election in Africa’s top oil producer, bolstered by the opposition’s failure to agree on a single candidate to stand against him.

100 tons of readiness

If BP's Macondo well blowout happened today, oil companies say they would be far better prepared to respond than they were a year ago. One reason sits in an out-of-the-way fabrication yard in northwest Houston.

Here, nearly nine months after the idea was hatched, the Marine Well Containment Co.'s $1 billion oil spill-containment system is ready to go — and, with any luck, will never have to be used.

BP Won't Be Singled Out for Extra Conditions to Drill, U.S. Regulator Says

BP Plc, owner of the Gulf of Mexico well that exploded a year ago next week, won’t be singled out for extra conditions when attempting to resume exploration in deep waters, according to the chief U.S. drilling regulator.

New State Dept Review Affirms Keystone XL Pipeline Safety Standards

CALGARY -(Dow Jones)- A new environmental review of TransCanada Corp.'s (TRP) controversial Keystone XL pipeline expansion has reaffirmed an earlier report that the pipeline meets environmental safety standards.

The 320-page supplemental draft environmental impact statement appears to be a victory for the pipeline expansion, which would take up to 1.1 million barrels a day of crude oil from Canada 1,900 miles to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Qatargas boosts gas shipments to Japan post quake

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- A Qatari state-controlled gas producer said Saturday it has agreed to send Japan more than 60 extra tanker shipments of liquefied natural gas to help power the Asian nation in the wake of its tsunami disaster.

Power shutoffs to start Monday

About 55,000 We Energies customers are expected to face disconnection for failing to pay their bills, a utility spokesman said Friday.

The Milwaukee utility will begin customer disconnections on Monday, and has mailed 30,000 disconnection notices since March to customers who are in arrears, spokesman Brian Manthey said.

The number of customers who would be disconnected is up slightly from last year, but down from the peak of 60,000 in 2008, he said.

Peak oil stage

The economy of most countries in the 20th century was built on oil. For some, oil brought unprecedented wealth and power. For others it brought repression and new forms of economic colonialism. Few oil producing countries have used their wealth wisely. But in many countries oil has been a curse. But in the 21st century, we can see that our continued dependency on oil threatens the future of all of us, both rich and poor. As supplies fall further behind demand, the world faces economic crisis and western countries are scrambling to secure their access to the last reserves.

Gas sippers, new or used, command top dollar

A new Toyota Prius these days starts at around $22,000, which might prompt the cost-conscious buyer in this fragile economy to scout around for a used version.

But even a two-year-old model of the hybrid fuel miser costs almost as much, at about $20,800, according to National Automobile Dealers Association.

And don’t expect dealers to come down much on the price of either one.

Clouds Part for U.S. Solar Industry

Solar advocates mounted a last-minute push Monday to prevent sweeping cuts to a federal loan guarantee program for clean energy development in a Republican budget plan. The cuts would have essentially closed the program, which is popular with solar power developers, and rescinded billion of dollars in loan commitments for dozens of projects.

A bipartisan group of legislators joined the campaign to spare the program, and in a conference call on Thursday with reporters, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, announced that the cuts had been averted.

Sunshowers: Group to offer free workshops on installing solar water heaters

More people are looking at energy alternatives with a mind to ­reducing costs.

With that in mind, Post Carbon London — a group focused on helping Londoners act on issues surrounding peak oil and global warming — is offering a series of free work shops to provide the public with information about installing solar water heating.

Geothermal gains momentum

“Geothermal energy” was not on the syllabus when Brad Will earned his architecture degree at Cornell University in 1984.

Fast-forward to 2011 and Will, a board member of the Westchester-Hudson Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects and principal at Kingston-based Ashokan Architecture, has his architect’s stamp on 25 commercial geothermal structures and five private homes.

U.S. Expands Seeding of Biomass

This week the federal Department of Agriculture announced a host of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural America, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is touring the Midwest, seeding biomass projects as he goes.

Qatar to get national 'green policy'

DOHA: Qatar will develop a national policy to manage air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the broader challenges of climate change.

Industry Challenges Study that Natural Gas 'Fracking' Adds Excessively to Greenhouse Effect

"This study lacks credibility and is full of contradictions," Russell Jones, senior economic adviser for the American Petroleum Institute, based in Washington DC, said on his organization's website. "The main author is an evolutionary biologist and an anti-natural-gas activist who is not credentialed to do this kind of chemical analysis."

Online Calculator Allows Households to Track Carbon Footprint

ScienceDaily — Tips to reduce your carbon footprint frequently include buying compact florescent light bulbs, taking your own bag to the grocery store or buying local produce. But how much difference do these actions make?

A new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that who you are and where you live make a big difference in which activities have the largest impact.

G.O.P. Pushes to Deregulate Environment at State Level

In the past month, the nation’s focus has been on the budget battle in Washington, where Republicans in Congress aligned with the Tea Party have fought hard for rollbacks to the Environmental Protection Agency, clean air and water regulations, renewable energy and other conservation programs.

But similar efforts to make historically large cuts to environmental programs are also in play at the state level as legislatures and governors take aim at conservation and regulations they see as too burdensome to business interests.

Take it to climate court?

Global warming lawsuits are a misuse of the judiciary branch.

On Pinwheels, Networks and Resilience

I had an utterly minor experience today that helped reinforce my personal sense of where to focus if the goal is fostering a relatively smooth ride as human populations and appetites crest in coming decades.

Al Jazeera English has an interesting video this morning on Pemex. The claim of the video is that safety is quite lax, and another Deepwater is just waiting to happen.

EA - This isn't exactly new news. I've heard from expats for decades how unsafe PEMEX ops are. A number refuse to work for them for fear of their personal safety.

The blowout on Pemex's Ixtoc platform in 1979 was the biggest in the world before BP's blowout. The problem was the same though - a failure of the blowout preventer to cut the drill pipe. It put about 3.5 million barrels of oil (about 2/3 of the size of the Deepwater Horizon spill) into the Gulf of Mexico before it was capped 9 months later.

The oil caused caused extensive damage along the US coast with the Texas coast suffering the most. Mexico naturally compensated no one in the US for damage.

We still buy Mexican dope though ;-) Tragedy indeed.

Well, there are lots of efforts going on, particularly in northern California, to break America's "addiction" to imported dope, by growing it locally.

The fact that most of the dope imports come from a volatile, unstable country is quite a concern for the US. The price of the imports is controlled by a consortium of exporting countries called DOPEC.

The US does have a more politically stable supplier in Canada, which has been a steady source for years. But recently it has come under criticism because of the rapid development of the dopesands, which involves higher carbon emissions than conventional dope - and clearly the users are very concerned about their carbon footprint.

President Obama announced a goal to reduce dope imports by 1/3 by 2025, though was short on specifics as to how this would be achieved. The domestic industry claims it is being held back by a lack of federal approvals, and if only they would let them grow, baby, grow, they could solve the problem with all-American production.

No one is holding their breath for that to happen...

9.4 US Gallons of Dope in my Tank. $39 US. ;-) I have to say for this tiny little car, I have a double take when I see >$40 to fill 'ur up.

Cyclists roll their own..


From : Oil Without Apologies: John Watson, Chevron's CEO, says Americans must stop taking affordable energy for granted. That means more 'oil, gas and coal.'

In theory, he says, "we've been running out of oil and gas for a long time," yet technology creates new opportunities. Mr. Watson cites a Chevron field long in decline down the road in Bakersfield—to the point that for every 100 barrels of oil "in place," the company was extracting only 10 or 20. But thanks to a new technology called steam flooding, Chevron is now getting 70 to 80 barrels. "Price creates incentive, and energy will be developed if there's demand for it at the price you can develop it," Mr. Watson says. In that sense, "oil and gas are plentiful."

Perhaps when one's only tool is a hammer then everything begins to look a lot like a nail.

Though I'm a bit curious as to when energy became the same thing as oil, gas and coal, energy dense though they may be, they aren't quite the same thing...

And here we go again with that tired old canard, there are no limits to what we can achieve with expensive new technologies that will forever and ever allow us to extract more and more fossil fuels at a quicker and quicker pace from continually dwindling existing resources, as long as there is a demand for it. Yeah, right!

Somehow the logic behind "Americans must stop taking affordable energy for granted. That means more 'oil, gas and coal" eludes me. I guess I must be missing something and I'm just not capable of seeing the big picture that Mr. Watson is seeing!.

Anyone have any data on Chevron's production over the last few years? Has it been expanding production (not counting buying up competitors) to meet expanding global demand?

It must me reading this differently from you

"Price creates incentive, and energy will be developed if there's demand for it at the price you can develop it,"

a demand for it at what price he doesn't say.

Mr. Watson says. In that sense, "oil and gas are plentiful."

well yes in the sense that $500 per barrel means there's pleanty

- just you can't afford it

KSA - that bit about "theres no buyers for out oil" , " the market is well supplied"

so it will be if the price is $500 per barrel!

Isn't there a new , what do you call it , MEME going around now - oil is plentiful , loads of oil at this price mate...... no peak - just more "exclusive"

or is that a parrot's digem ? ;-)

just like the Gold , oil will become a rich mans game , pleanty of it for those who can pay . Eventually oil will be like a Rolls Royce used to be - if you have to ask the price - you can't afford it....


Seems to me we shouldn't be thinking in terms of a Peak Oil "curve", but rather a Peak Oil "surface", where the z-axis is $-to-purchase.

A good idea, I'd be happy to do the plot, can anyone point me in the direction of a good data set?

I imagine most longtime readers of the Oil Drum understand the layers of deception in this article.

Of all these issues, I agree with forbin's choice of the most important. The elephant in the crude room is the fact that oil already consumes nearly 5% of our GDP; this fraction will not double.

Is there enough historical data to put that 5% number in context? Eg, when grain was being ground by watermills, where we spending more or less than 5% on building water mills and canals and etc.

I imagine it would be tricky thing to quantify, but surely someone has attempted it...?

Check out this graph of average US miles driven versus gas price:

Not exactly what you were asking for but clearly related. Once oil price (or miles traveled) becomes historical, the surface plot of crude demand versus price (proposed above) condenses to two dimensions.

I believe the surface plot of future oil demand versus oil price is formally impossible. The surface plot would have to integrate the short and long term elasticity of crude oil demand. As each short term event becomes historical, a new long term profile of demand elasticity is created. There are Just not enough dimensions simultaneously available to the human mind for the proposed surface plot. Now the subconscious mind, perhaps.

Not to beat a dead horse, but it would also have to co-integrate short and long term supply growth and price.

Try to think to whom the the message might be intended. An oil company exec thinks about the shareholders first; an unimaginative CEO thinks that is his job #1. A Middle East oil producing national leader has considerations of "Resource Nationalism", not the pleasure of American motorists.

An oil company executive like Mr. Watson primarily concerned with his country would give comments in line with preserving the country's oil patrimony, commensurate with maintaining supply to the best of the company ability. -Awkward, unless the national policy sentiment was in line with extending the oil endowment as long as possible, instead of being exactly the opposite: to exploit, extract the stuff as fast as possible! It is NOT patriotic to use up national resources ASAP!

Manufacturing is so much built around the automobile, we have a vicious cycle of economic bondage that cannot be escaped. In a more rational state of affairs, we could look for private, apolitical resources to underwrite the infrastructure necessary to permit steady and measurable annual lessened dependence on imported oil.

Discipline, concentration and patience- Oh My!

As America transport mode shift (transport is the best place to see progress away from oil dependency) gained critical mass, we would soon feel comfortable about easing political pressures on exploiting legacy oil endowment with all due haste. Railway matrix as seen between the two World Wars is replicated here, including rebuild of dormant branch lines and enhanced capacity of existing rail mains.

For the years TOD has been performing service to the people looking for solutions as well as examining the problem of oil depletion and limits, the fact of Peaking Oil has only been made more evident. Growth in renewables is a fact, and China in particular has proven able to mount a broad spectrum approach to the energy emergency" witness Chinese massive oil storage program, largest renewable energy equipment manufacturing capacity expansion, and -oops- largest railway capacity expansion in history.

Motor transport shift to rail is at the heart of a measured program; determined and deliberate, corridor by corridor and considering traffic like agriculture, raw material and bulk commodities, and priority manufacturing plants enroute. TOD is where the energy savvy and engineering talent resides capable of discussing and bringing to action this important Peak Oil Plan B component.

American Short Line Railroad Association (ASLRRA)and reformed US Army National Guard rail logistics units in the continental US are natural partners in upgrade and return to service of priority rail branch lines. Boone Pickens' LNG truck fleet proposal is useful in the overall solution set, but railway must be seen as a National matrix imperative first and foremost. Private party investigation of legacy rail lines past & present can see "Official Guides of US Railways" circa 1920-1950 for maps and rail operations for assessment in the scoping.

Modern publications like the "US Rail Map Atlas Volumes" and website "Suntrain Transportation Corporation" are helpful. Christopher C. Swan has authored "ELECTRIC WATER" (New Society Press, 2007) giving a compendium of off the shelf renewable application to local economies and sustainable mobility. People like Oil Company Executives should spend some one-on-one time with people like Richard Heinberg and Christopher C. Swan. Large military/industrial energy supply line methodologies; centralized power distribution as seen in the Electric Coal and Nuclear industries are not as attractive as was the case prior to 911DAY.

"tahoevalleylines" looks at the stand alone aspects of railways in these deliberations: "Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform" is the US military rail logistics moniker for railways, and that must be a serious part of the decision making process. ALL the so-called modern tech approaches focused on maintaining happy motoring fail to deal with STRATEGIC NATIONAL IMPERATIVES. Oil companies need to think about more than the next board meeting.

"this fraction will not double."
It probably could double. We don't have adequate alternatives. For oil's share of GDP to double would require a real supply crisis, not a price bubble that could be broken with a 5% demand reduction.
The real issue is EROI. The currency we use to develop energy sources is not dollars, but other energy. That is why low EROI prospects like the Green River shale kerogen will probably never be developed.

DM, the Times is behind a paywall. Any way you can reproduce the graph for us?

Per Ken Deffeyes, oil at 15% of GDP is a back breaker, and translates to an EROI of about 5-6, on the cliff of the EROI curve. He said something about peering out upon the smoldering ruins of industrial civilization at that point.

While EROI is a fundamental limit, price (as a percent of GDP) represents a related but different limit. Before the US spends 10% of GDP on oil, recession and substitution (including nega-miles driven) will intercede. Wish I could reproduce the graph, but I don't know how (tried to look it up). Did edit the link.

You could always take it by force. How would society cope with such pressures without collapsing into anarchy? Will the have-nots stand by idly, starving? The masses of poor suddenly develop a some transitional plan with impeccable alacrity?

Though I'm a bit curious as to when energy became the same thing as oil, gas and coal, energy dense though they may be, they aren't quite the same thing...

The inability to distinguish between different things (forms of energy) is a common fault of energy analysts. I have ranted against this for a long time. It is the reason the fallacious concept of EROEI never dies.

The other error is treating energy, which is an abstraction for its various forms, as though it were concrete and exists separately from its forms. This is called the reification fallacy. Energy like grain and metal is an abstraction that refers to its component concrete forms. Energy only exists in its concrete forms, just as with grain and metal.

The characteristics of each form are critical in determining solutions to the liquid transportation fuel dilemma. A form of energy that can not be used by the transportation infrastructure is not a solution, such as natural gas. Change to natural gas for transport requires retrofitting the vehicle infrastructure at great cost.

And vehicle manufacturers fight making new vehicles to run on natural gas because it would make them more expensive and thereby reduce sales and profits.

That is why ethanol is a partial solution to the problem. But big oil fights it because it takes some of oil's markets share and inhibits the desire of gasoline refiners to raise prices and profits.

They would rather have higher gas prices than collect the blenders credit since the higher prices would apply to all of their production. The blenders credit is peanuts compared to raising gasoline prices across the board.

I found this quote very irritating:

As for bio fuels, "we would need to consume land the size of states" to hit the country's current ethanol targets. Chevron is investigating bio fuels, but Mr. Watson says the "economics aren't there" yet. Unlike many CEOs, " Mr. Watson insists on products that can prosper without federal subsidies, which he believes are costly and lacking in transparency when "consumer pockets are tight, government pockets are tight."

First of all, as far as I know land is not consumed just because the crop is used for ethanol. The impairment of land is the same whether used for ethanol or for animal/human food.

Secondly, the hypocrisy of "Mr. Watson insists on products that can prosper without federal subsidies, which he believes are costly and lacking in transparency when "consumer pockets are tight, government pockets are tight." is absolutely appalling.

Oil is heavily subsidized. These subsidies are large both in the tax code and in other forms. Oil has the oil depletion allowance to shelter income. Corn producers do not have a soil depletion allowance. There is no strategic ethanol reserve to remove product from the market which the Strategic Petroleum Reserve does.

But the really big subsidy is the cost of wars for oil security and the lives lost and ruined by injuries. These subsidies for oil run into the trillions of dollars.

To ignore oil subsidies and to claim that ethanol subsidies are not transparent when oil subsidies are the most opaque in the energy field shows that Mr. Watson is either ignorant or a conman trying to mislead the American people.

The inability to distinguish between different things (forms of energy) is a common fault of energy analysts.

The issue is one of fungibility, the extent to which one source of energy can be substituted for another. It is true, this is a problem that analysts often overlook - it is very difficult to substitute other sources of energy for oil. If you can't get gasoline for your car, you can't just substitute another energy source unless it is a dual-fuel car or a plug-in hybrid. Replacing the car itself with one that uses a different fuel is something that typically takes a decade or so, and replacing the fuel delivery system takes even longer.

as far as I know land is not consumed just because the crop is used for ethanol. The impairment of land is the same whether used for ethanol or for animal/human food.

The fundamental problem is that you are converting food into fuel. The surplus food is typically sold at low prices to third-world countries which are short of food. If you convert it to ethanol, people in third world countries go hungry so people in first-world countries can continue to drive excessively. In poor countries, this results in riots and government being overthrown.

Oil is heavily subsidized. These subsidies are large both in the tax code and in other forms. Oil has the oil depletion allowance to shelter income. Corn producers do not have a soil depletion allowance.

Don't kid yourself. Corn producers, and agricultural producers in general, get massive government subsidies. If they didn't, there would be far less corn grown in the US.

First of all, as far as I know land is not consumed just because the crop is used for ethanol.

Then you should be able to keep planing and getting the same outputs without any new inputs.

So, is that true? (or will this discussion be like the last one where you make a statement and then never come back to it?)

The impairment of land is the same whether used for ethanol or for animal/human food.

Then you admit there is a consumption.

Oil is heavily subsidized.
Rubbish. Oil production is taxed, refined products are taxed. Grow up.

Oil IS heavily subsidized!

Try doing a little research instead of making a general statement with an ad hominem finish.



The former CEO of Shell Oil, John Hoffmeister, recently said, "Big Oil doesn't need subsidies in the face of sustained high oil prices." The largest oil companies, between 2005 and 2009, have made a combined 485 billion dollars in profits. That's almost half a Trillion dollars.

I'm having a little trouble seeing these subsidies, too.

In my estimation, when there is a tax, an oil company writes a cheque to the government, and when there is a subsidy, the government writes a cheque to the oil company. I see a lot of cheques going from the oil companies to the government, but I don't see any cheques going from the government to the oil companies.

The argument seems to be that when the government gives a company a reduced tax rate in return for doing something useful, e.g. drilling oil wells, that this is a subsidy. By the same argument, the government giving me a tax break for doing something useful, e.g. giving money to my favorite charity, would also be a subsidy.

I find this particular "subsidy" a bit humorous:

in the 1950s, the State Department backed a Saudi Arabian accounting maneuver that reclassified the royalties charged by foreign governments to American oil drillers. Saudi Arabia and others began to treat some of the royalties as taxes, which entitled the companies to subtract those payments from their American tax bills. Despite repeated attempts to forbid this accounting practice, companies continue to deduct the payments. The Treasury Department estimates that it will cost $8.2 billion over the next decade.

What subsequently happened is that Saudi Arabia nationalized the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) and turned it into the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), completely removing it from US taxation. I think they're trying to argue that the US should be able to tax the Kingdom of Saudi Aramco, and I don't think the Saudis are going to accept that concept at all.

You have to realize that 88% of the world's oil is produced by the National Oil Companies (NOCs) and that the US government has no right to tax any of those companies. If it wants to tax oil, it has to tax it through the US consumer, i.e. at the gas pumps. That's why all the other developed countries have much higher fuel taxes.

Mining and exploration companies get access to real estate at very cheap rates. If one of us decided to have the same access, it would likely cost a lot more.


De Christopher said his bogus bid was intended to protest what he and other environmentalists see as a virtual government giveaway of valuable mineral rights under a poorly regulated program that leads to degradation of public lands.


All -- a l l -- leases are competitive bid. All -- a l l -- production permits on public lands are loaded with environmental impact studies, regulations that stipulate how many wells, where, with what clean-up regime and penalties for failure to do it. Jeez.

We are trying to define subsidy. On government-owned lands the public should reap the profit of the resources, but instead the companies pay a meager rent and retain profits. Therefore it is subsidized at the taxpayer's expense. Either way, it is some variation of socialism, public or corporate.

About competitive bidding, you did see the link I posted?

Tim DeChristopher committed one of the most famous acts of climate activism in the nation: by bidding on a parcel of land that oil and gas companies were keen to snap up during a midnight hour auction put on by the Bush administration (and of course, being entirely unable to pay for it), he inspired the fledgling, next generation green movement to fight back.

On government-owned lands the public should reap the profit of the resources, but instead the companies pay a meager rent and retain profits.

The rents are not all that meager, and governments get a share of the revenue. OTOH, the companies don't necessarily make a profit - a lot of them lose a fortune (shale gas is a good way to do that at the moment. Oil and gas exploration is not really a license to print money.

Tim DeChristopher committed one of the most famous acts of climate activism in the nation: by bidding on a parcel of land that oil and gas companies were keen to snap up during a midnight hour auction put on by the Bush administration (and of course, being entirely unable to pay for it), he inspired the fledgling, next generation green movement to fight back.

Yes, but what he did was commit a fraud against the government, and there are laws against that. They just applied the same penalties against him that they would to a corporation. If Exxon had bid $1.7 million for a piece of land, and didn't pay up, they would have put Exxon's CEO in jail for a similar amount of time, too. They don't give breaks to activists for being idiots.

So it's all mutually subsidized. Perhaps subsidy is a meaningless term or at best it means risk mitigation. Companies get profits, and the government and its citizens get cheap energy.

It really is fairly depressing. A coal mining company can lease some land in the Appalachians, blow off some mountaintops, collect their coal and then their lease expires back to whoever owns the land. The top of the hill goes in the valley below and entropy marches on.

RMG, I always enjoy your posts, but have to briefly comment on this one....

If Exxon had bid $1.7 million for a piece of land, and didn't pay up, they would have put Exxon's CEO in jail for a similar amount of time, too.


They don't give breaks to activists for being idiots.

It appears he succeeded in what he intended to do, and is now inspiring others to do likewise.

Yes, seriously, they do put CEO's of major corporations in jail because they break the law. However, the CEO's have lawyers to advise them not to do anything stupid so it seldom happens (unless it is for embezzling large amounts of money).

Hopefully he doesn't inspire too many people to emulate him, because governments are not averse to put large numbers of people in jail if they get sufficiently annoyed.

I'm surprised at you Rocky. Ever heard of the Oil Depletion Allowance, which the US gives to oil producers (I think)? It works like the US individual income tax, which allows either Itemized Deductions or the Standard Deduction to compute taxable income. The result is that the check for taxes is smaller than it would be without the "subsidy". The US tax code is riddled with such "subsidies", which is one of the reasons people hate our tax system. It's so bad that we also have an Alternate Minimum Tax, for those who can claim enough exemptions to cut their tax burden too much.

Disclaimer: As a loyal citizen of the US, I did not write a check this year, thanks to the Standard Deduction. Unemployment sucks...

E. Swanson

Oil Depletion Allowance has nothing to do with "standard deductions" or business expense or anything else in your pissant experience. Try doing some arithmetic. Look at return on capital invested and net profit. Compare say Exxon and Google.

I'm very confused by this whole thread and don't really understand tax in the US or here in the UK for that matter.

But there's one overriding thing that's baffling me: If an industry is making record-breaking profits, why on earth should it be reasonable to subsidize them?

If an industry is making record-breaking profits, why on earth should it be reasonable to subsidize them?

Well, because they are generally not making excessive profits, and they get reduced tax rates (not subsidies) to encourage them to drill more wells.

Recently, Britain its tax rates on oil companies, whereupon Statoil, the Norwegian state oil company, and others packed up their drilling equipment and moved it out of the British sector of the North Sea. This is the usual consequence of increasing taxes on oil companies. They go away and don't bother to find any more oil in your country.

So then you would agree that the ethanol industry receives a reduced tax rate, not a subsidy?

I think I understand.. so you're saying that unless you make it even more profitable the oil companies will go elsewhere - a bit like the excessive bonuses here in the UK's finance sector?

But surely if they put their foot down and kept the higher tax eventually another company (perhaps a startup?) would be prepared to step in and take the profits? It's not like they're losing money is it?

No, they will go elsewhere if you reduce their net revenues. Most likely if they are there already, they like the existing system.

However, if they do go away, don't expect some other company to step in and take their place. Everybody runs the same economics on their projects. If it doesn't make money for them, they don't do it. Different companies have different ideas on what will be profitable, but nobody works for free.

I appreciate no-one works for free, but if they are taking billions in profit surely there's some slack in the system??

"Types of energy subsidies are:
Depletion Allowance - allows a deduction from gross income of up to ~27% for the depletion of exhaustible resources (oil,gas,minerals)."

"McClellan states that the assassination of Kennedy allowed the oil depletion allowance to be kept at 27.5 percent."

"Oil Depletion Cards: The player receives a $500 oil depletion allowance"

"Congress also felt the industry was not paying its fair share of federal taxes. The oil industry’s low effective income tax rates were due to the availability of two oil industry tax deductions: the percentage depletion allowance, and the provision which permits companies to expense (deduct fully in the initial year) the intangible costs of drilling."


Actually, it seems to have everything to do with business expenses.

At the word "pissant", an empty defense is announced.

"McClellan states that the assassination of Kennedy allowed the oil depletion allowance to be kept at 27.5 percent."

You literally quote crap like this to further your argument? Wikipedia is not a source and you've been guzzling too much conspiracy coolaid for anyone with brains to take you seriously KalimankuDenku.

It is quoted to demonstrate how deeply entwined the oil depletion allowance is within the culture, just like the Milton Bradley game is displayed.

'm surprised at you Rocky. Ever heard of the Oil Depletion Allowance, which the US gives to oil producers (I think)?

We didn't get in the Canadian oil industry. We had our own set of tax rules.

However, reading the IRS web site, I find an interesting thing: If YOU own gas or oil wells, then YOU can claim Depletion Allowance, but Exxon or Shell can't.

Black Dog's Oil Company, Inc. can claim depletion if it owns oil wells, or collects royalties on them, but only if it does not refine oil, or sell it through gas stations. It's a tax deduction reserved for small, non-integrated oil producers.

To me, it looks like an accelerated capital write-off for small oil companies, mineral owners, and timber cutters. It's a bit arcane and I suspect that very few people in the US understand it. I sure don't

I think the case is that the US has fairly high nominal corporate tax rates, but that few companies pay anything close to that rate. The most recent notorious example ls GE who allegedly paid no taxes last year (or maybe it was very little, I didn't write it down). Now I agree that a good case can be made for no corporate taxes, but higher individual rates. The corps are pretty much owned by the wealthier parts of society anyway. I don't think that would ever happen, thousands of lobbyists (not to mention tens of thousands of lawyers and tax accountants) make their living gaming the current system.

Thanks RockyMtn for saying it like it is. Unfortunately, those who have a "story" to tell could give a damn about the facts of the matter. No matter how many times you or I tell the truth about "subsidies" all it takes is another politician doing what they all do (LIE THROUGH THEIR TEETH) and pretend there is a subsidy and all the truth telling in the world can't keep up. Rhetoric is the new medium, facts are the cannon fodder.

@Hubble, there is NO WAY a coal company could destroy a lease holder's land and just "leave". If you had ever leased your ranch to an oil company as my relatives did, on the lease would be a stipulation to put everything back the way it was. There are also hold backs and monetary damages that can and are applied. Whether the EPA should be allowing what they are allowing is a different story, but let's not just invent a story because it suits our feelings at the moment.

@Hubble, there is NO WAY a coal company could destroy a lease holder's land and just "leave". If you had ever leased your ranch to an oil company as my relatives did, on the lease would be a stipulation to put everything back the way it was. There are also hold backs and monetary damages that can and are applied. Whether the EPA should be allowing what they are allowing is a different story, but let's not just invent a story because it suits our feelings at the moment.

Didn't you read what I wrote? A coal mining company can lease some land in the Appalachians, blow off some mountaintops, collect their coal and then their lease expires back to whoever owns the land. The top of the hill goes in the valley below and entropy marches on. That is coal of course, but RMG also knows full well that the tar sands area in his homeland is not left in its pristine state either.

The amount of energy required to replace a mountaintop or reconstruct a scarred land reduces the EROEI of the fuel they are excavating. As the amount of conventional crude oil wanes and the EROEI of new sources decreases, more and more of these decisions to leave the land in terrible conditions will be made. We were fortunate to have high EROEI crude oil sources for a brief moment in our history.

but let's not just invent a story because it suits our feelings at the moment.

I don't invent stuff, I tell it like it is. No one really seems to understand entropy and I just gave you some concrete examples. Perhaps you can travel to a different universe where entropy doesn't apply.

@Web, Whether you believe it or not, in Canada the oil sands companies are REQUIRED to convert the land back to its "pristine" state. In fact I was at a conference where the (vastly superior) Russian Larch, which had been planted had to be removed because it was not "pristine" enough to suit the Canadian environmentalists. Even though it grows faster, handles the cold better and in fact is superior by every measure (the animals love it), it wasn't "native" to the region originally so has been replaced with slow growing easily killed native species. Of course if 10,000 years ago the Eskimos who crossed the ice bridge of the Bering Strait had happened to have larch seeds with them, the Russian larch /would/ have been "native" and the reclamation would be about 300% better than it is. But it is reclaimed by LAW and that's that. Also as I've stated before on this site, the fact they are strip mining the oil sands is because it is also LAW that they recover a minimum of 90% of the OOIP and that recovery percentage is IMPOSSIBLE by any other means.

So as usual, politicians have created the mess with one law and "fixed" it with another.

Your entropy statement is unpersuasive to your argument. Actually by definition ALL mountaintops are "required" to find their way at the bottoms of ALL valleys. Or does "entropy" work different in the universe YOU come from?

Your entropy statement is unpersuasive to your argument. Actually by definition ALL mountaintops are "required" to find their way at the bottoms of ALL valleys. Or does "entropy" work different in the universe YOU come from?

Total lack of scale. That should happen over the course of millions of years. We accelerate it to happen within a year.

I like the way you UPPER-CASE words to somehow impart authority.

In fact I was at a conference where the (vastly superior) Russian Larch, which had been planted had to be removed because it was not "pristine" enough to suit the Canadian environmentalists.

They made them take out a Russian Larch? That's just cruel. The Russian Larch is a great tree! I planted one on my front lawn between my two Colorado Blue Spruce. It is spectacular when it changes color in the fall.

Of course, none of these species is native, but they are distinctly more attractive than the native species. I mean, once you've seen your first billion Alberta White Spruce, you begin to look for a little variation in your landscape.

Black Spruce aka Swamp Spruce aka Bog Spruce, are just plain dismal and depressing. It brings back memories of all the time I spent up north staring at the bogs and trees.

I remember one time when someone posted a picture of the oil sands area on this site and tried to tell me that the trees were dying from air pollution from the oil sands plants. They weren't dying, they were Tamarack Larch. They're supposed to look dead after they drop their needles in the fall. That's just the way the natural environment is supposed to look up there - like everything is dying.

I feel better now after my rant.

RMG also knows full well that the tar sands area in his homeland is not left in its pristine state either.

They don't blow the tops off mountains. That appears to be a uniquely Appalachian technique, not emulated elsewhere. It's something of a red herring in this context.

Oil sands companies are required to restore the land to as good as the original condition or better. If the companies decide to restore it to agricultural land rather than its original bottomless peat bogs and scruffy black spruce, that's okay with the government.

Agricultural land must be restored to agricultural land of the same quality. No exceptions.

decide to restore it to agricultural land rather than its original bottomless peat bogs

Just curious, is that why I can get cheap Canadian peat down here in Mexico?


They don't blow the tops off mountains. That appears to be a uniquely Appalachian technique, not emulated elsewhere. It's something of a red herring in this context.

DUH! That is why I said it was done in Appalachia. It is not a red herring because it is actually done, and is the only way to get an EROEI > 1. We will see more of this in the future as EROEI keeps declining. This is just not that hard to understand.

"a stipulation to put everything back the way it was"

And if they don't, you can sue them and THEIR army of lawyers by simply hiring your own at $750 an hour, each. There is no legal remedy available to the average citizen other than small-claims and ambulance-chasers.

I cannot begin to imagine the size of the army of "ambulance chasers" who would gladly give away their grandmother's false teeth for the chance to sue deep-pocketed oil and mining companies. I also cannot begin to imagine the jury awards those "ambulance chasers" would likely win against armies of corporate lawyers. It is really quite simple members of the jury. Here is the picture of the mountain before, here is the picture after. Please make 40% of the check out to wechaseamublanceslawfirm :)

And if they don't, you can sue them and THEIR army of lawyers by simply hiring your own at $750 an hour, each.

No, in Alberta the company is required to get a Reclamation Certificate on the property from the government, and the government inspects it to ensure it meets standards.

If a landowner has a complaint, he can file an Upstream Oil and Gas Facility Complaint Form with the government, and the government takes it from there.

Many subsidies to oil, hidden in plain sight:
military presence in the mid-East
particulate pollution
ground level ozone pollution



In theory, the planet's resources are finite. In reality, don't let that bother you. We will continue to produce lots of oil until we can't. The road to hell is paved with the clarion calls of the "realists". Get real. In the interests of "realism" we just need to get used to the fact that that climate change is proceeding at a much more rapid rate than most scientists projected even a few years ago.

I do agree with one thing,though. Americans are whistling past the graveyard if they take affordable oil for granted. They also should not be taking affordable food or water for granted either. They also need to get used to "dry spells" like are currently being experienced in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and elsewhere.

Yes, money can fix everything. And if you get a big enough lever, you can move the world.

From the realist point of view the obvious counter argument to "plenty of oil" is:

  • At what rate?
  • At what cost?

That second question is not limited to economic considerations alone (although that certainly is important to those tasked with making a project pencil out and/or show a profit), but is actually three questions:

  • At what cost to the economy?
  • At what cost in energy?
  • At what cost to the environment?

I've yet to see an oil executive or other cornucopian that will directly address any of those questions, never mind all of them. After all, to do so would call into question the very bedrock foundation of their world view, namely that BAU can continue on its current trajectory indefinitely, and that infinite growth on a finite planet is no problem at all.


Jerry - You might be a tad more cautious using the term "all". I've adrressed all those questions numerous times. In fact, I've made it clear that my new company was formed on the basis that BAU cannot continue. We plan to make a handsome profit on that fact.

Of course you won't see Rockman Oil TV ads floating out there like Chevron's. OTOH Chevron has no obligation to tell it like it is. In fact as a public company they have a great incentive to not do so. As long as they carefully skirt the SEC regs they are free to confuse folks as much as they like. Don't like that? Go fill up at CITCO next time instead of Chevron. LOL. Personally I like their gas as much as I dilike their ads.

As I've said before we ain't your mommy. Get over it and grow a pair. LOL. And elect political leaders who will explain the ugly realities. They have the obligation to lead...not us. We're just here to make a profit. And, of course, making statements like that is why Chevron wouldn't hire me to run there PR dept.

Hi Rockman, (again),

This is interesting.

What's your Co.?

re: "Chevron has no obligation to tell it like it is."

The obligation is ethical, primarily. Given the magnitude and consequences of "peak" - it's supra-ethical, actually.

re: "As long as they carefully skirt the SEC regs they are free to confuse folks as much as they like. Don't like that?"

OK - here's the question: How, exactly, does the average person know whether or not Chevron is lying or not?

That's exactly what deception is. And this is deception.

re: "As I've said before we ain't your mommy."

Ah, but Rockman - you are in possession of the truth about peak.

Mr. Watson is in possession of the truth about peak.

According to both Robert Hirsch and David Fridley, the current US Administration (that would be Energy Secretary Chu, POTUS, et al)is in possession of the truth about peak.

This means, they are hiding the truth.

How about this: It takes a "real" man to tell the truth.

"When a man cares, he is unafraid." - Lao Tzu.

Aniya - My company is privately owned and my owner doesn't care for publicity so I'll be mum on our name. Ethics: tricky point. Who made the rule that Chevron or any other oil company has to abide by anyone else's ethical code? There are laws they have to follow but beyond that their ethical responsibilities are with the shareholders. Let's say the president of Chevron expects a long tern downward slide for Chevron for whatever reason. ..let's say they won't ever be able to sustain their oil rates as we wander down the PO trail. So what do his "ethics" dictate? Express his concerns so the public knows his feelings on the matter? And in doing so damages the value of the stock held by the share holders? And if you lost a chunk of your retirement monies as a result how would you judge Mr. Chevron's ethics?

It's not lies that confuse the public. Most companies won't outright lie. But they can spin with the best political spin masters. So how does the public measure the situation themselves. First, educate themselves of the facts independently. I'll let you hold your breath until that happens to any significant degree. LOL. Beyond that we have a huge federal govt with tens of thousands of highly educated folks who can analyze the situation and explain the realities to the public. Again, I'll let you hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

Is Mr Watson in possession of the truth about PO? Heck, the president of Chevron in 1975, when I started my career, understood PO (or what we all called the "reserve replacement problem"). Are our political leaders hiding the truth? Depends how you spin it. Is not telling the public what you understand a lie? From an ethical standpoint I think most would say yes. But how many times have you heard the phrase "plausible deniability"? I think you know what I think of the poor state of our political leadership...equal between the R' and the D's IMHO.

Does it take a "real man" to tell the truth? Not really IMHO. It just takes someone who has nothing to lose by telling the truth. Mr. Chevron has stock value to lose. Our politicians have elections to lose. Me? I'm just an anonymous voice who ain't got nothing to lose by expressing my honest thoughts. BTW: I express myself the same even when folks know who I am. Makes my boss nervous...and that's half the fun of it. When we're with our owner who'll ask me a question I enjoy watching my boss hold his breath while waiting for my answer. LOL.

Hi Rockman,


re: "Who made the rule that Chevron or any other oil company has to abide by anyone else's ethical code?"

I suppose this is where "law" comes into play.

The only argument I can see for talking about ethics is that: well, do you want the other guy to do anything he/she/it pleases, with no appeal to ethics? So, we just wipe ethics out? And the only thing left is law, and even then, what one can get away with?

The main ethical principle, as I can see, is the "Golden Rule," in it's many expressions. One problem is: it's very difficult for people to put oneself in the place of "the other," it seems.

Also, there's a practical problem with relying solely on law and force and denying ethics a role. And that is: law can't really work, unless everybody goes along or agrees in some way. Force is limited - it requires supporters, at the least.

So, in the end, you really just have ethics and the ability and willingness of people to try to deal in an ethical manner.

re: "There are laws they have to follow but beyond that their ethical responsibilities are with the shareholders."

Mr. Watson is not being honest with his shareholders. (See example my previous post above.)

re: "Express his concerns so the public knows his feelings on the matter?"

So his *shareholders* know his feelings on the matter.

re: "And in doing so damages the value of the stock held by the share holders?"

In your example, the value is going to be lost, regardless. You are merely talking about adding to the loss, or causing a "premature" loss. OTOH, it may not be a "premature" loss in the bigger picture. People lose, they get out - it may be that they have just saved themselves greater losses down the road.

How do you know? You don't. Then, it becomes a matter of being honest enough to talk about the consequences of being honest.

If one makes the case that there has to be a reason to be honest, then, I'd say "peak" is of sufficient consequence that honesty is called for.

But honesty is valuable - the truth is valuable - for it's own sake. Because it's a deep, human need and the only way people can function as humans. So to speak.

People get out, they re-organize their priorities: all good. I'm just sayin'...

re: "But they can spin with the best political spin masters."

1) And this is wrong. I state this categorically, because in the case of "peak," there is so much misinformation and so little understanding, that to "spin" is *much* worse than to keep quiet.

Keeping quiet would be much more honest. So, for example, would...heck, I can't off the top of my head think of an honest alternative to the full peak truth. (I'll work on this.)

2) Do people, do the shareholders, recognize the "spin"? Or, are they expecting honesty?

re: "It just takes someone who has nothing to lose by telling the truth."

Now, here is the heart of the issue of "honesty," on the practical level.

Being honest allows the other party to make decisions, based on reality, not fiction.

Those decisions may not be ones the "holder of facts" (Party A) necessarily likes.

However, "would you preferred I lied to you?" might be a good appeal for Party A in this transaction.

Aniya - Thanks for the long response. But here's my short reponse. First, as you would probably agree: "ethics" is in the eye of the beholder.Beyond that there are natural conflicts. In the case of the Chevron statements, to whom do they owe their allegence: the public or their shareholders. Actually SEC laws require protecting the shareholders as long as they don't lie. We might not like "spin" but everytthing is spun to some degree.

Again, though I now it sounds harsh and even a bit cruel, but the oil patch (nor any other business) ain't your momma. I personnally feel no sympathy for the American public in general. We've sucked in the world's resources (with my help) lik the glutton we are. And the "ethics" behind this history: we did it just because we could.

Hello Rockman,


re: " ain't your momma."

So, people who know about "peak oil" - know full well - aren't going to talk because...

to be honest equates with being nurturing?

re: "as they don't lie."

I claim that the statement by Mr. Weston is a lie.

It's deceptive past the point of lying.

re: "we did it just because we could."

And now is a good time to do something different and take a different approach. Recognize the situation the species finds itself in and act so as to minimize suffering and promote good (and all that).

Q: Do you think there's a way out or a way forward?

re: "I personnally feel no sympathy for the American public in general."

Hmnn...this is something I'm curious about - what you mean.

"Oil Without Apologies"...What the hell does that mean?
Sounds vacuous, arrogant AND belligerent all in one hit; quite an achievement.

For the record, that was the title of the story, not a quote from the Chevron CEO. I suspect they chose that title precisely because it is all the things you described.

As for what the guy said, I actually agree with a lot of it, especially this part;

"We are a country" that for too long has taken "affordable energy for granted."

You have to keep in mind he is the head of an oil company - his job is to produce oil - not be the conscience of the country, or even set/guide the energy or environmental policy of the country - that would be the job of gov and people.

It is nor more fair to blame him or the oil co's for America's energy problems than it is to blame Jack Daniel's or Budweiser for some people being alcoholics. They are merely responding to an insatiable demand from the people - that is the very definition of a good business opportunity, and the CEO's job is to make the most of it - he will probably do quite well.

OF course, America may go broke buying his oil, but that is not his problem either - no one is forcing people to buy the stuff.

Paul – Valid points all IMHO. But I’ll also throw my support behind Martin’s statement: “Sounds vacuous, arrogant AND belligerent all in one hit”. I can’t speak for Mr. Chevron but I can offer the view of just about everyone else in the oil patch: it’s TRUE. We look upon the public with complete contempt with no sympathy at all. We are in the situation we have upon us today as a result of the political leadership (or lack thereof) the American public has chosen. It’s convenient for politicians to point fingers at those “evil bastards” be it oil companies, auto makers, etc. Because the public always wants to believe the problem has nothing to do with the choices they’ve made. And therein lays the real arrogance IMHO: the public’s.

We look upon the public with complete contempt with no sympathy at all.

And are you (the oil patch) apologetic for it? You will find the same opinion in the the telecom industry, cable tv, Microsoft, etc - pretty much any industry where the suppliers are disconnected from personal contact with the end users.

But the fact that this guy is willing to tell it like he sees it rather than the "beyond petroluem" approach is refreshing reality. Of course, those Chevron "we agree" commercials are the exact opposite! Let's see if he saves his money by killing those, or keeps them going to make the motorists feel better about buying at his gas stations.

Agree absolutely that the root cause is ultimately the choices people have made - but no one will lay blame at their own feet for the country's position. What really needs to happen is to get away from the blame game (the politco's preferred game) and into some collective action to change things, but that won;t happen until things are forced - which may be sooner than many people think.

Hello Rockman,

re: "Because the public always wants to believe the problem has nothing to do with the choices they’ve made."

Yes, the public may *want* to believe this. OTOH, they may simply be very, very uneducated (ignorant).

At the same time, the oil company, Chevron in this case, and including Mr. Watson, very much *wants* the public "...to believe the problem has nothing to do with the choices they’ve made."

Making ignorance bliss. For them - i.e., for Chevron. (And other members of the "iron triangle," to use the phrase of Jeffrey.)

re: "And therein lays the real arrogance IMHO: the public’s."

I believe I understand what you're saying, *but* the arrogance of the public is based on ignorance. (I believe it's fairly easy to make this case.)

To expand: People are born into and find themselves in particular circumstances, such as modern global industrial civilization, and then, in most cases, the immediate goal is survival within those conditions in which one finds oneself: get a job; if getting a job requires getting a car, get a car; etc.

OTOH, those who understand full well the situation of finite oil and, more important, what it means, are actually...let me go ahead and say it: lying.

Mr. Watson's stance as summarized by the author: “Mr. Watson doesn't dismiss the idea but explains why it remains largely irrelevant.”

This is not the truth. It is not the truth that "peak oil" is "largely irrelevant."

Given the scale and magnitude of the consequences of a misapprehension of the situation of "peak oil," "lie" is not too strong a term.

"Egregious, criminal disservice" might also be a label that applies.

It's the truth that matters.

Actively obscuring the truth greatly contributes to the inability of people to understand the fundamentals of the situation.

Without this understanding, there's hardly a prayer of anyone being able to make decisions that lessen the impact, and, thus, lessen the suffering we see now - not to mention the suffering that appears set for increase.

Point: The root cause is ultimately the choices people have made

CounterPoint: People are born into and find themselves in particular circumstances, such as modern global industrial civilization, and then, in most cases, the immediate goal is survival within those conditions in which one finds oneself: get a job; if getting a job requires getting a car, get a car; etc.

We laugh with contempt at Joe Sixpack for not "getting it" about Peak Oil.

But are we any different?
When it comes to our blind belief in the "free choice" story?

In fact, each of us never had much of a free choice.
We were born into the particular circumstances we were born into.

We accepted the myths and moronics of the culture we found ourselves in.
If that required professed belief in the Invisible Hand and freedom through long hours of servile work (Arbeit macht frei) then so be it.

Go to college.
Get a job.
Buy a car.
Buy a MacMansion.
Fill it with kids and plastic toys.
Drive the family down to Disneyland as your reward for all that free choice labor.
Rinse and repeat.

And so it goes.

With what I know now that I didn't know when I was younger I would have made a lot of different choices when I was younger, and be leading a different life today.

An outside observer may have told me to make a different choice at the time (and some did), but the sum of my choices led me to where I am.

I can change where I am, but to do so too rapidly would mean giving up a lot of the good along with the bad.

Anyone over 30 has seen the same thing in their own lives.

The same principle applies to society at large, not just to us all as individuals.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

If I knew then what I know now

Youth is wasted on the young.

HI Step

Well, there are two parts:

1) The responsibility (we might say) to Question - (including question authority).

2) Being deliberately lied to so as to misdirect one's inquisitive nature.

My main point is that being lied to doesn't help matters.

In fact, it makes continued questioning more difficult.

re: "We accepted the myths and moronics of the culture we found ourselves in."

I'm also saying that there's a difference between "accepting myths" and the necessity to provide food and water for oneself, at a minimum.

If one is in lowest financial percentile, (or, you can name a lot of limiting factors, including lack of education) - the choices are limited.

Or else, people don't see them - I mean, for eg., any neighborhood organizing to save money/energy could probably come up w. ways to do so, but people don't think about this.

Oh well.

The responsibility to Question - (including [to] question authority)

Hi Aniya,

IMHO, "responsibility" is just another game for putting the blame entirely on the victim.

How often for example have you heard the phrase, Caveat Emptor (Let the Buyer Beware)?

A closer look at the concept shows that society puts the store owner (usually a wealthy merchant) on a higher pedestal than a cheated customer. Even though the merchant was probably lying through both of his missing front teeth, TPTB place the blame (the "responsibility") entirely on the deceived customer (i.e. "It's all your fault that you weren't more careful and you didn't question more and you accepted the used car salesman's lie that the car was owned by a little old lady from a town in Southern California.")

In school, children are strongly discouraged from questioning anything their teachers (TPTB) unload on them. After a while, they simply stop questioning.

Example: OK so Christopher Columbus was the first human being to "discover" America and those brown skinned, two legged, two armed creatures that met him on the beach were not "humans" and thus could not have been earlier "discoverers" of the same place. And if I don't regurgitate that lie back to the teacher on the exam paper, I will not get a good grade, I will not go to college and I will be a complete failure the rest of my life. That's "free will" you can bank on.

OF course, America may go broke buying his oil, but that is not his problem either - no one is forcing people to buy the stuff.

No? A little background dirt on Chevron Corporation:

  • Chevron was originally known as Standard Oil of California, and was one of the 34 companies created by the antitrust breakup of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company in 1911.
  • Chevron started searching for oil in Saudi Arabia in 1933, and found Ghawar, the world's largest oil field in 1948. It created a subsidiary, California-Arabian Standard Oil Company, which later became the Arabian-American Oil Company (ARAMCO). However, Saudi Arabia took over Aramco in the 1970s, and renamed it Saudi Aramco - the world's biggest oil company.
  • Chevron was a member of the Great American Streetcar Conspiracy - the companies that were convicted of conspiracy to buy up and shut down US streetcar systems (others included General Motors and Firestone Tire).
  • Chevron was one of the original Seven Sisters that once controlled 85% of world oil production in the mid-20th century (actually, it was three of the seven sisters - Standard Oil of California, Gulf Oil, and Texaco, which later merged)
  • Chevron is now the fourth largest International Oil Company (IOC) in the world. However, nowadays the IOCs only control 6% of world production and the National Oil Companies (NOCs) control 88%, so it's not nearly as lucrative as it used to be.
  • Chevron owns technology and patents around coal-to-liquid conversion, which may be where their interest in coal comes from. (Most oil companies couldn't care less about coal).
  • Chevron controls a number of patents on nickel-metal hydride batteries and has been accused of using those patents to prevent EV manufacturers from getting batteries. (However, lithium-ion batteries are better, so that strategy may not be working that well).
  • In 2006, someone at Chevron deleted the entire Wikipedia article on "Biodiesel". Whoever it was apparently didn't realize that Wikipedia can trace the IP addresses of people who make edits.

I had not heard about the Wikipedia one before - that is funny and sad at the same time.

I'm not saying the company is an angel, and has not engaged in some aggressive gamesmanship - many American companies seem to do that (Microsoft, IBM in the old days, Fox, etc).

Even the streetcar thing - well, lots of cities around the world took out their streetcars systems in that era (30's and 40's) - Im not sure the oil co's had a hand in all of them . Some cities, like Calgary, have been smart enough to put new ones in, many others, not so much.

I am not endorsing the company - just highlighting the basic reason that it exists, and is big and successful, is primarily because American people want and demand lots of oil. Some very clever and questionably legal corporate activities certainly have helped, but ultimately, if there was no demand for oil, there would be no oil companies either.

engaged in some aggressive gamesmanship

Is 'aggressive gamesmanship' the new term for fraud? One sided contracts? Using lawyers to attack smaller firms?

Well, in Canada most of the streetcar systems were shut down in favor of buses, too - but the automobile and oil companies weren't actively involved in the process.

It is true that motor buses were more flexible for small cities, and that was the reason they abandoned their streetcar lines.

There were only two big cities in Canada at the time - Toronto and Montreal, and Toronto kept operating its streetcar system. Toronto also opened its first subway line in 1954, at a time when California cities were shutting down rail transit.

Montreal shut down its last streetcar line in 1959 and opened its first Metro line in 1966, so there was only a seven year gap in service.

I understand what you are saying and, to some extent I agree.
However, surely "not my problem" is the problem?

However, surely "not my problem" is the problem?

That is exactly the problem, but it matters who is saying it.

On the supply side, if Chevron decides it is their problem, and voluntarily reduces oil production, say their imports by 1/3 in line with Obama's goal, what does that achieve? Most likely an increase in prices and someone else steps in with more supply.

But if the consumers decide it is their problem, and make permanent reductions in oil use, then something IS being achieved.

Right now what we have is a game of chicken between users and sellers, and the sellers aren't going to flinch - its in their interest to keep the production pedal to the metal, right until the crash. In fact, the government is encouraging them to do just that.

For the users, well, get out of the game of using oil, and then watch the rest from the sidelines - but is America (or any other country) really prepared to do what it takes to give up on using oil? The evidence suggests otherwise.

I noticed on our local news this a.m. (Boston) a small mention of higher pump prices being linked to "low reserves" this time, not strictly to ME troubles.
It made me think of Matt Simmons comments about a rash of panic buying and hoarding "draining the inventory" leading to all the reserves being in peoples' gas tanks thereby leading to a real and sudden shortage.
It will just require the collective thought in the sheeple, that shortages are possible, to help it become a self fulfilling prophesy. IMO anyway.

I recall some analysis of the 73 oil embargo, and the "missing inventory" which showed that it was actually in everyone's fuel tanks.

With about 200m cars and say 15 gal each, that is 3bn gals of storage - or about 68m barrels - roughly equal to 10% of the useable capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve!

I also remember hearing about an extreme example of panic buying - was in Australia - where a family was buying all they could in jerry cans, then any containers, and storing it in their garage. Of course, something happened and there was a fire and explosion, someone died too, I think. Anyway, extreme events (or perceived extreme events) cause extreme people to do extreme things. Given that the US seems to have an abnormal supply of extreme people, I expect to see some extreme events happen if things get really bad, really fast.

The sad thing is, gasoline does not keep anymore. Not like in the old days. In 6 months now, the gasoline becomes almost useless. I was told this by a station owner in '89. Got the demo recently.

Re: Fuel shelf life questions and musings.

Are Stabilizers, ie Stabil that you buy at Walmart, effective in extending shelf life? Some of the issue may be storage in Poly containers, where some of the low molecular weight components do migrate thru the container wall in time, Steel may be better for long term storage. I assume larger tanks may last longer since Volume to Surface area greater. Will the Summer blends keep longer than the winter blends? Will it keep longer at lower tamps, perhaps below ground? How long will the current diesel blends last? Any of the Survival blogs have info on fuel storage other than burying propane tanks?

Gasoline never did keep all that well, it was just that people were not into hording it, so the problem of stale gasoline didn't come up very often.

I worked in my father's garage when I was a kid, though, and every spring we would see a bunch of people come in with lawnmowers that had burned-out engines. They tried to run them with last fall's gasoline still in the tank.

Today's gasoline doesn't "keep" because of the high ethanol percentage. MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) was an octane additive used to replace tetra ethyl lead (Ethyl), which itself was removed from all but aviation fuel. The ethanol (alcohol) in gas simply evaporates or bonds with water and is all gone within 3 months, leaving the octane level in your engine below 70 in many cases and your gas tank 15% "lighter". Pinging ensues or worse. Stabil can't help much.

No ethanol gas is popular now in Both Florida and Rural Arkansas, People have learned the hard way that you better use pure gas for 2 cycle or marine applications, I only am forced to use the 10% ethanol on trips. Maybe someone has an i phone pure fossil app coming. I sold a MF Tractor since it only ran well on the old red gas, so it's not only the ethanol, maybe it was the lead as much as anything else.

Oh. I forgot about the ethanol.

Yes that could be a problem in storing gasoline. Ethanol is hydrophilic, which means it tends to draw water out of the air. You don't want water in your gas.

In the seventies there was a shortage of sugar. Domestic hoarding was widespread. My mother kept a strategic reserve at the back of the cupboard for years afterwards.

Anyway, towards the end of the shortage an academic tried an experiment. He went on local TV with a warning - supplies of table salt were only just adequate. As long as no-one panicked, there was enough to go round. However, if people started hoarding, there would be shortages.

There was no shortage. A week later , you could not buy salt for love nor money.

I recall some analysis of the 73 oil embargo, and the "missing inventory" which showed that it was actually in everyone's fuel tanks.

I saw the analysis you refer to, in the form of a systems dynamics model, explained in the first session of MIT Sloan's "Introduction to Systems Dynamics" course back in the fall of 1999. The missing inventory really did go into the car fuel tanks.

Needless to say I was instantly hooked by the power of systems dynamics to elegantly "explain" complex events.

(or any other country) really prepared to do what it takes to give up on using oil?

I thought the Netherlands had gone some distance in this direction, and that there were efforts (of varying wisdom and success) in other parts of Europe.

China seems to be doing many things all at once -- much coal, much dam-building, much investment in green stuff, tremendous increase in auto use, but also tremendous increase in e-bike use. For example, from the "charts post" around the beginning of the year, if you follow the links, you find around 19 million E-2-wheelers sold in China in 2009 (exceeding motorcycle sales for the first time). That's well more than US auto sales.

Hi Paul,

re: "For the users, well, get out of the game of using oil, and then watch the rest from the sidelines - but is America (or any other country) really prepared to do what it takes to give up on using oil? The evidence suggests otherwise."

Well, another question is:

Can they - do they have the *means to* "give up"?

In other words, giving up completely ASAP = starvation and death. Yes?

So, then it becomes a question of:

1) What changes can an individual actually make? to "give up"?

1A) What changes can families individually actually make?

2) What changes are outside of the individual's immediate control?

3) How can individuals create more change opportunities on the larger scale?


My take on it is that we need an objective evaluation and some decent truth-telling by the NAS to both inform and share info on choices that may be possible for the larger scale (spending tax money, etc.)_

Hi Aniya,

In response to "do they the means to give uP?",, that is of course a relative question.,For example western europeans use half the oil per capita of the US, so they have found ways to manage their consumption, without a drastic decrease in standard of living.

For America, people decided to buy the large vehicles, vote in polticos that oppose urban transit, still use heating oil(!), still use oil to generate electricity in Hawaii and Florida, and on it goes.

There is so much wasted oil use in America it is not funny. All that is needed is to get per capita consumption down to Euro levels, and the US could meet its oil needs from domestic +Canada + Mexico, and get out of the mid east oil game altogether - that would be a very nice place to be.

So, to your questions, for individuals/families, drive a smaller car, and less often, better yet, give up one of the cars. Look at the things you are buying - and buy less of them. With food, look for local food. Someone in NY buying the organic wholegrain oats grown in Canada or the midwest and then trucked to Oregon to be milled, and then shipped to NY is contributing to oil use.

Changes out side the individual's control , are, obviously everyone else, including gov, but they can't control that, so don;t worry too much about it.

As for truth telling, and NAS to study peak oil, I'm not sure what, if anything that will achieve. Given they don;t have access to real oil info from Saudi and many other countries, how accurate can any study be? You know how the political parties will react anyway. You don;t need more studies to known the US uses far more than it needs to, and is very economically at risk because of this. The American way of life just uses too much oil, it needs to change before it is changed for them (by not being able to afford oil).

As for the Chevron guy, why is it his obligation to tell anyone about peak oil? Many companies do lots of research into their markets, and are not required to disclose such information, why should Chevron be any different? It is not the job of the oil co's to "safeguard America's future" or even to educate people about oil - that is for people, government schools, etc. This is just another example of the American way of not taking responsibility for ones own actions, and always looking for someone else to blame and/or sue..

Chevron is basically a company the produces and sells oil, and the CEO is right to focus on that. The societal implications of America's oil addiction are not for him to resolve. Once upon a time, many companies did business delivering coal for home heating. once people decided that was bad, and didn't want coal anymore, those companies changed their business or dissappeared.

So too with oil. It may mean giving up some personal luxuries, but that not really a big deal in the scheme of things. Sure beat having servicemen die in Iraq or elsewhere.

Oil is going to be scarce and expensive - The American people don't need any more studies to tell them that - they just need to take a good look at the world and see what's going on - something the American people, as whole, are not very good at doing.

So ther means are there, but a

Or as I recall putting it in another context (straining at gnats to generate the fastest possible code for a terrible programming language): "highways to cliffs for lemmings". (Yes, I am aware that lemmings leaping from cliffs is entirely mythical.) You can only do so much to educate your customers, if you want to stay in business.

Watson (CEO of Chevron) misses so many things, but he's certainly missing declining net exports.

Great Oil Squeeze

An oil CEO that has a better understanding (and is willing to speak out) is Total's de Margerie (from March's CERA conference keynote):

Though optimistic about near term supplies, de Margerie reaffirmed his belief that the world’s oil companies will be unable to push supplies beyond 95 million barrels per day, just 8 million bpd beyond where the market is now.

And that, he says, is Total’s optimistic assessment. (Emphasis added.)

Forbe's recent feature on de Margerie.

You'll have a hard time convincing anyone who doesn't already believe in peak oil with that graph, since all the scary curves are in the future. That figure is not supporting data, it's an opinion.

One I believe is true, or I wouldn't be here, but it doesn't make your case.

g - True to a degree. But just like the old joke: falling off a tall building isn't a problem. It's that sudden stop at the bottom that's difficult to live with. But are we to expect a large portion of our population that smokes, over eats and signs on to mortgages they really can't afford to accept cause and effects? Not a good bet IMHO.

i think all those who expect a rational diagnosis of the problems facing us fail to take into consideration that 60% of the population doesn't believe in evolution - in other words 60% believe in a fairly tale about how the world was created in 6 days. Essentially 60% don't believe in science. Good luck convincing them with any scientific argument.

This was on Democracy Now! Friday.. Inhofe at his best!

MARK HERTSGAARD: When all of the scientific organizations in the world and every political party in the world, but your own, admits that climate change is happening, it’s real, and it’s dangerous, why does your party keep insisting that it’s not? ...

... You know what one of the most famous Republicans in this country said? That when 98 doctors tell me that my son needs a life-saving operation, and two doctors say that he doesn’t, I go with the 98. So what do you say about that?

SEN. JAMES INHOFE: You know, when you ask that question about, you know, "what if you’re wrong?" stop and think about it. What if you’re wrong?


It's really more necessary than ever to simply reframe the discussion and persistently describe the American Conservative movement as being Desperately Isolated in this issue.. and until they can actually be part of an actual discussion on this, to have the discussion WITHOUT them.

Conservatives who want to be part of the real conversation must be forced to shun those who have held this discussion hostage for so long. We have to develop strategies to simply shut them out when these childish directions are brought up. Leave them behind, just like they're asking to be.. we have to catch up with our neighbors in the rest of the world and get to work.

One little problem. They essentially run the country right now. The power of no trumps the power of yes.

I think it's a mistake to look at it that way.

They've gained an advantage, and maybe they'll hold it for a few minutes, but unless you're sitting there paralyzed, don't overstate their power.

I think they're really doing damage, make no mistake.. but they're also isolating themselves from the world, and there's no reason we have to confine ourselves to the conversation as they've framed it. They have left all sorts of space open to do end runs around them, but that won't happen if we just stand around staring at them being idiots, and arguing with them.

Put them in the rear-view mirror.

joker - I figure some of the non-believeing conservatives just lack basic science training. Add that to the natural instinct to believe every liberal is a liar (just like many liberals view conservatives) and they have no choise but to reject AGW. OTOH I suspect many understand the science but pretend otherwise because it would conflict with their promotion of BAU.

Then there are we rare conservatives like me who fully accept AGW. As I've mentioned before, as an Earth Science major in 1970, recognizing significant global climate change potential was easy. As I've joked before, I understood it when most folks couldn't even spell AGW. But being a conservative I have no trouble accepting the fact that none of the industrialized nations, regardless of the rhetoric, will do anything significant to abate the situation. And for simple reason: to do so would be a bad business decision. In fact, I fully expect the situation will become even worse as coal becomes an even great part of our energy mix. Anticipating such a future doesn't mean I agree with such a course. But I have no doubt that the majorities on both sides of the political spectrum will not sacrifice their life styles to any significant level to alter this path.

Hi Rock;
I took a chance describing it that way.. I do know that you and many wise Conservatives DO get it, or that there are likewise some who will at least engage in this discussion without the nonsense end of the arguments. But I think there needs to be some redefining in the issue, and it must be somehow torn away from political party.. maybe much like it's done here, so that a bad argument just gets laughed out of the room.

'Show your Sources, and prepare to be boarded.'

You may well be right about people who will be trying to build out more coal.. but I think the opposition to it will also be getting much fiercer.. and I'll find a way to be part of it.. (if only to convince R4ndom that I'm serious in my opposition to BOTH this and Nuclear.)

Thanks for being so patient with my nearly incendiary jabs..

I guess to put it another way, we have to recapture the words like "Progressive', 'Conservative' or 'Patriot' from those who abscond and mutate them.

joker - I've been fortunate to know more than a few remarkable progressives (or "damn liberals" as we call them in Texas) conservatives and true patriots. All very remarkable and honorable folks. And thus wouldn't touch our political system with a 10' pole. Unfortunately that leaves us with politicians of the lowest common denominator.

Take whatever scientific and technical skills you have, whatever smart and appropriate mate you may find, whatever creativity that makes new things happen and money change hands, and take it away from this political landscape.

America's only value to the world is in its consuming horde. America's place in the world is made at gunpoint. The rise of religion into power does not have a happy ending for the intellectually gifted.

Religions are a means of control. The believers accept truths revealed to them by authority as fact. They love authority. They serve its needs. Any argument is lost: Its elements must come from an equal authority. To so attack their belief is perceived as an attack on them. They respond with derisive salvo calling into question beliefs and authority: a projection of their own foundations. The scientist is bewildered and amused, for neither have any bearing upon a truth discovered for one's self.

The way to control heresies, such as science, is by burning both its texts and its adherents.

Remove your value away from these sociopaths. Go somewhere that celebrates thought and acknowledges man's impact upon this little world.


my son send me this quote:

Don't argue with a fool - the onlookers don't know the difference!

Have no author or where it is from, but there is a lot of truth to it


Twain's version also works,

"Never enter a mud fight with a pig. You'll both get dirty, but the pig likes it."
(Also attributed to Abe Lincoln, Mother Theresa and Charlemagne, it seems)

But I'm not leaving the fight or the country. I might just rewrite the rules a bit.

I might just rewrite the rules a bit.

I'm listening!

Darn! I was hoping I could crib them from YOU!

Now I have to actually work on it..

I think there are ways to 'change the experiment' as they said in the Right Stuff. To not get drawn in and try to keep battling by butting heads up against the walls that are being continually refortified (ie, their Anti-AGW arguments), but step away from the argument area, and go through the divide over at say, 'Utility Bills' and show people who pay for these ('anyone') a house that costs next to nothing to heat or cool, and creates no pollution.

That might not be the best example.. I'm fried from my 'Poker Week', so out of the box thinking is tougher than usual right now, but when I say Change the Rules, I don't mean rewrite the 2nd Law or Change Human Nature or something, but to bring these topics into a context that lets them show themselves, instead of just lobbing endless 'Oh Yeahs' at the hardened opponents.

I like the World Social Forum model, where they've chosen to stop (just) yelling and protesting outside the fortifications of every WTO and G8 meeting, and have put much more of their energy into their own efforts instead.


I am grateful for your measured response. My intent was to leave it as my last post until the next disquieting energy event.

There are islands within the system to visit:

The beautiful remote place. It is beautiful. Natural dangers have greater access to you and yours. Lots of drunks and psychos, though. Really pretty. Really free. The work of gathering wood and fetching water feels real and satisfying. Intellectual companionship requires a large population center (it's a statistical thing), however.

Fleeing into academia. Lots of young energy. A sense of action and hope. Perhaps better enjoyed as a guest, contractor, or consultant.

The museum and art communities. Lots of interesting people. Practical knowledge finds odd application.

Weapons design. Be greeted with open arms. Stunningly beautiful and intricate technology made with exquisite care. Lot of very smart people. Just keep your third eye tightly shut.

My proposal is that it would be better to live integrated in a part of the world that more embraces rational thought. Otherwise, one's effort and taxes support the rising idiocracy.


Carlin on the American dream:

I have struggled to find a debating strategy with many of my co-workers, friends, and family regarding evolution and AGW. Many of them are intelligent but resist the overwhelming evidence supporting these two issues. The common denominators for those who tend to doubt are religiosity and a conservative point of view on issues. I have been successful in convincing only one person who doubted evolution to accept it as fact, my dear wife. That took twenty years! I have become very pessimistic that adults who have been indoctrinated for their entire lives with an antiscience world view can ever be convinced to reconsider long held beliefs. The only hope that reasonable people have for the future is with education and teaching children at an early age to question and think for themselves. Unfortunately, in the good ole USA, the trend is toward religious and home school indoctrination.

Perhaps the best I can do is try and influence my children and hope that ignorant folks aren't as sucessful at propagating their genes.

There is of course the hard way to learn science. We all get to live through the first stages of Global Climate Change I guess.

I find the religious links to the antiscience movement interesting. They seem to be useful to conservatives that deny AGW. Wonder if this was dumb luck or planned.

"hard way to learn science. We all get to live through the first stages of Global Climate Change"

Suffering through events does not teach people science. It is the easiest thing in the world to come up with religious explanations for anything happening with climate: "God is angry with the fags" seems to be the most popular one, but you can take your pick of any number of other choices.

Isn't it heartbreaking? We are so smart and so stupid all at the same time.

Yes It's heartbreaking, but also a little wrong. There are some, many even who are harder against homosexuality than ever, and yet there are also MANY more who have been allowed to meet gay people and have learned that this old fear and hatred was just a piece of bad teaching.

The exposure to people who are out and open about themselves HAS changed American society's narrative about it. The 'GOD HATES FAGS' crowd uses such harsh rhetoric simply because the old Hollywood 'Limp Wrist' way of portraying gays doesn't fit any more. The screamers are pretty much on the sidelines, when you have groups like the Log Cabin Republicans as openly gay conservatives in the political system.

Dinosaurs do sometimes fall over..

(McDonald's choosing to serve salads was a moment that helped convince me that anything is negotiable when public pressure is on your side)

I had an interesting day out yesterday. I had to drive to Wisconsin to pick up my package bees from the supplier, deep in farm country, sadly being consumed by McMansion developments and giant shopping malls.

On the way back, we stopped for lunch at a small, local restaurant, about midway between Madison and Milwaukee. What struck me was the uniformity of the people there - all white, mostly middle-aged or elderly, some with children and grandchildren.

If people are not exposed to other population groups, other ideas and other philosophies, it is no wonder that they become insular and distrustful of other groups.

I expect it will get worse as people are able to travel less.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
- Innocents Abroad , Mark Twain

In my time in Wisconsin (NW part), I remember one of the locals was considered to be a "world traveler" because he had once been to Minnesota.

Perhaps you can approach it obliquely with them.

I try to just point out to non-AGW peers that when I bought my 1st new car in 1992, gasoline was US$1.00/gallon.

Then I point out that even if I reduce the current price to US$3.00/gallon, that gasoline has basically tripled in price from 1992 to now, roughly twenty years.

Then I ask them to think that if the trend continues, that means gasoline will be about US$9.00/gallon in another twenty years...

So, very indirectly I am trying to bring to their attention just how expensive energy for transportation in our current BAU might be in 20years...
...then I try to point out that now, with all these cars driving, where does all the exhaust go?

So, basically I try to 'get their attention' on something that might be 'easy to understand' and try to relate it to something that is a bit nebulous to understand.

(For what is is worth on AGW debate, I actually try to avoid it. I am a hope-for-the-best-but-it-doesn't-look-promising doomer. My belief is that AGF will be corrected once humanity collapses due to FF depletion. It is only a belief, but wanted to share that I am not worried about AGW being the root cause of our current global civilizations collapse. I am worried about collapse due to FF depletion as the primary cause.)

And at $9.00 per gallon gas is still a deal. A steal of a deal.

It isn't the cost of ff, it is the fact that wages have not kept up with the devaluation of the currency as manufacturing faces off by migrating to lower producing countries in order to lower the costs....(race to the bottom anyone)?

Thirty years ago I bought a great Makita saw...close out sale.... for 125 dollars. I can buy the same saw for less than 125 bucks in today's devalued dollars!! When I used to drive my mom's vw back in 72 an empty tank was 3.65 to fill up and a case of Canadian expensive beer was around $3.00, and I bought smokes for under $4.00 per carton at Kmart. My pay as a high school student in a mecahnics shop was $2.50 an hour. In other words, 2 hours filled the tank, or bought some smokes, or provided a great Friday night. Bonfire by the river, beer in the hand, "suzie Q on the 8 track, and maybe just maybe....... Today's kid makes $8.00 an hour.....3 hours work after taxes for the beer, 10 + hours for the smokes, or 8 hours to fill the tank with gas.... Forget buying the house I did when I was 23....Good luck.

Gas and the work it does (FF) is still cheaper than Borscht. The old pay cheque numbers are simply forced to compete with Bangladesh, or wherever, and we know what that buys? When Globalization wanes and lazy ones finally figure out you actually have to work hard in school and at life to get by....(no more free credit for the I want it right now crowd), life will get better in a smaller footprint and comsumption way.

Does anyone remember the layaway method of buying things you didn't have the money for? It was a better life then, easier to understand, and less about "look at my latest smartphone...therefore I am" Does anyone remember when kids read for entertainment and knowledge?

As John Prine said "Blow up your tv...plant a little garden... eat a lot of peaches?...and build us a home"

If AGW and increasing costs for fossil fuels and repetitious recessions get us back to a simpler life, there will be nothing to mourn over for the loss of this hollowed out life of consumerism. IMHO. Or, the cliche of 200 channels and nothing on tv. That is what this society has become.

I guess in simple terms I am trying to say that we need to get rid of all the crap we think we should buy, and guess what? Folks might actually have the coin to fill up the truck. Now, if you just buy a truck that had a heater and windshield wipers and wind up windows...and a small 4 cyl motor, (and none of that luxury crap commercials are telling us we need in order to 'be the stud'), that mortgage might just also be affordable. Expectations and that sense of entitlement has hollowed out our humanity. There was a time Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" was high school reading. As a high school teacher i can tell you very few kids actually read anything, anymore. They might be hell on wheels scrolling the smart phone, but they sure don't read.

Maybe it will be easier to rebuild the mess than trying to reform it. (Now, time for those homemade blueberry pancakes, bacon and eggs, all designed to get that garden in.)


Have you got some West Coast maple syrup to go with those pancakes?

I had some at some place in Duncan a couple of years ago, and it was great. Less "woody" than eastern maple syrup.

Looks like a new little industry springing up from these trees that grow as (large) roadside weeds;


Thirty years ago I bought a great Makita saw...close out sale.... for 125 dollars. I can buy the same saw for less than 125 bucks in today's devalued dollars!!

Can you really get the same saw?

The model number may be the same, but I'm guessing the parts are different. Thinner. A few made of plastic that were not before. A brass bushing VS ball bearing.

I have struggled to find a debating strategy with many of my co-workers, friends, and family regarding evolution and AGW.

Barbara Kingsolver wrote a wonderful essay against Genetic Engineering with the simplest good explanation of evolution ever, A Fist in the Eye of God.

Thanks for this gem.


An exhibition of evolution was held at the Natural History Museum in London.
I had never thought about the subject much and excepted evolution as fact. One of the scientist had a row of fossils which he used to explain evolution to people. Fossil molluscs and jellyfish and fish, I asked where were the other fossils, obviously jellyfish do not suddenly give birth to fish with complex skeletons do they?
He replied their were none.
I asked. So how do you know fish evolved from jellyfish then?
He replied because he did not believe they were created.
There was a fossil reptile and a bird also. I asked over what period of time did reptiles evolve into birds. He said it would have taken millions of years and hundreds of thousands of genetic mutations to turn arms into wings and beaks from mouths etc.
So where are all these missing steps I asked.
He said they did not have any.
Now I thought science needed proof, that was the first day I questioned evolution.

It's a question of finding the relevant transitional fossils.

Archaeopteryx, for example, represents a classic transitional form between dinosaurs and birds. Jellyfish are soft-bodied, and so their existence in the fossil record is sparse.

Yes, and genetic evidence has shown that Tyrannosaurus Rex was closely related to the modern chicken. Just a lot bigger, and probably a bit meaner, but I've know some pretty mean chickens, too. Neither of them can fly very well. T. Rex probably tasted like chicken as well.

Who are you calling chicken? T. rex's closest living relative found on the farm

Just be glad that chickens evolved from the theropods not the sauropods.



Apparently they have been looking for transitional fossils from


to this


since Darwin's day. Can you imagine what a creature half way between a lizard and ARchaeopteryx would look like, neither could Dr Paul Taylor.


Do you realise the likelyhood of a lizard developing wings is the same as humans developing wings, exactly the same genetic mutation rate.
If they found a genetic mutation in a lizard that produces some feather structure or hollow bones


this is the scientific evidence I would like to see wouldn't you.

I would certainly enjoy seeing it, but I am not surprised at not seeing it. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution, all over the world, and we have comparatively few fossils to show for it. If life spends most of its time refining itself around stable-ish points, transitional species will be rare indeed.

Tweek your genes, you grow a tail.
Tweek your genes again, you get webbed hands and feet.
Tweek, a library of viruses appears.
Tweek, all your offspring, and theirs, are obese.
If you follow the stored viral theory of schizophrenia, four tweeks and your kids are fat, web-footed psychotics with tails. Happens real fast.

Look at the two lifecycle options of the t-4 bacteriophage: one option is to hide in the hosts DNA until the time is ripe.

Please do not confuse lizards and reptiles with dinosaurs, they are not the same.


Do you realise the likelyhood of a lizard developing wings is the same as as a mammal developing wings?

Oh, there's a bat flying by!

And the missing links showing the gradual evolution of bats with perfectly formed wings and all the attendant muscles and tendons, from a mammal that has limbs to run are completely absent.

This is where many people have been fooled, they do not know what an intermediate link should look like, because none have ever been found.

What would you call a fish which is half way between evolving lungs, i.e. half lungs and half gills......Dead. as neither would work, you cannot have a oxygen and Co2 transfer structure which works in water and air. That why we never see any, it is impossible.

Same goes for an egg, it either works in water or in air, therefore the transition would have had to occur instantaneously, not over thousands of generations.

Not so much the miracle of creation but the miracle of evolution, perhaps not the science that people keep calling evolution more of a belief system.

You should read more, a damn lot more.

All you need is an education.
Dawkins would be the anti-christ to you I'm guessing.


Is that the reflection of all your learning?
Since you have firmly made up your mind, why bother reading you are no longer capable in asking if you are right or wrong. You cannot even begin to answer in a logical and scientifically proof founded way concerning the points I made.
The reason for this is you consider something a fact without any real evidence this leads to atrophy.


Dawkins is a clown as above clearly shows.

Well that video is patently taken out of context to further the editor's aims.

He was saying that there is a possibility that Intelligent Design (by another life form that itself is a product of evolution elsewhere in the Universe) could explain life on Earth but that the possibility is vanishingly small. Yet, in his opinion, that vanishingly small possibility is still more likely than if 'God' (a being that is not bound by the laws of the Universe) had created all life on Earth.

But that doesn't mean that he believes that Intelligent Design is the most likely reason for life on Earth, not by a long shot!


One of the laws of the universe is that information cannot come about by a mindless random process.
If you type a letter and randomly change letters at no point is the information in that letter enhanced.
DNA information which creates a perfect three dimensional living creature cannot form via mindless random chance. Just saying it does is not science, if you take DNA out of a cell it degrades, fact, so how did DNA survive long enough to make a protective cell. Speculation is not science.

Jaz, you're getting confused between the information (or entropy) of the universe as a whole and localised information/entropy. Whilst the entropy of the entire Universe can only increase, the laws permit entropy to decrease locally under certain conditions.

You're also underestimating probability. If you took a typed document and randomly rearranged the letters trillions upon trillions of times then the chances are there would be a case when the information contained would be enhanced.

In fact, to look at in another way: imagine a sheet of paper on which you somehow managed to arrange a jumble of letters, completely unintelligible to any human and then randomly rearranged those letters. All it takes is for a few of those letters to fall into a pattern of a word that we would recognise, e.g. 'The', and the information contained would therefore have increased via a random process. It doesn't matter if the 'author' behind the words didn't intend them to have a meaning, they still function the same from the point of view of an external observer. Do it enough times and you'll have a sentence, and then a paragraph. It's the same with genetic coding - DNA doesn't intend to serve its purpose, it just does.

So, you see, a lot of it is to do with how unintuitive things seem on a human scale and how hard it is to grasp with heuristic analogies.

As for the creation of DNA - retroviruses are constantly creating new DNA from RNA. If something as simple as a virus can make such a step then it shows just how flexible the system can be.

But, as much as I'd love to, I don't really have the time/energy to go into the whole history of mankind's science here!

You'll just have to do some reading around - there's lots of interesting stuff out there! :-)


If you run a random computer program you will find odd words popping up I agree. However a random process will never form a sentence in the right order. The reason for this is any word mindlessly and randomly created is just as quickly mindlessly destroyed.

The virus is a living thing, I am talking about a fragment of DNA that is not alive will simply break down, scientific experiments prove this to be the case.

Also entropy is more talked about with regard to energy and again putting more energy into a system never increases information.

Also entropy is more talked about with regard to energy and again putting more energy into a system never increases information.

You may not be able to increase information/order in a closed system as a whole but when you look at localised areas within that closed system an increase does occur - otherwise you'd have to argue that the information we're exchanging right now is not an increase in terms of the conversation. Granted mass has been converted to energy somewhere along the line to allow us to do so, but that's the whole point. Entropy only goes in one direction, but you can temporarily swim against the tide by utilising energy to reduce disorder - of course it's a losing battle in the end.

This is basically a rehash of the age-old 'Evolution of the Eye' conundrum. I.e. what's the use of half an eye?

Fortunately we now have a much better understanding of the science behind it. Furthermore the intermediate stages can be readily found in living creatures in the current day world.

This vid is fantastic - only 8 mins. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb9_x1wgm7E

P.s I think you chose a bad example with the fish - check out the Lungfish.

Edit: After a quick google here's a rebuttal to your other example: Transitional frog lays eggs both in water and on land

Back to the drawing board for you.. ;-)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy
-Wm. Shakespeare

The universe is not only more complex than we imagine, it is more complex than we can imagine, which is why I find science so very satisfying.

It's perfectly fine to question evolution. That's how science works.

However, hopefully you learned the whole body of evidence that gives evolution its explanatory power and thus discovered that even without transitional fossils evolution is overwhelmingly the best theory for our current biological condition.

If you can find transitional fossils, like Archaeopteryx that spring_tides points out, that's fabulous but the theory has so many sectors of science supporting it (like DNA analysis, artificial selection, fossil dating, and much more) that we no longer need transitional fossils to make an air-tight case.

If you are still questioning evolution you haven't done enough research or are willfully ignoring all the evidence, just like the climate change deniers do.

Thanks for clarifying my point. Once one has an understanding that there are transitional forms, one can extrapolate from known evidence to fill in a lot of gaps, without having the physical fossil in one's hands.

Every good scientist is a skeptic. Questioning the latest scientific orthodox is the path thru which science progresses to new levels of understanding. But, when you started your questioning of evolution, did you consider the geological stack, upon which the present understanding is based? Do you understand that there's been a vast period of time over which evolution appears to have occurred, as shown by the age dating techniques which put the age of the Earth at 4.55 billion years? Do you understand that the evolutionary "tree" is composed of species found at different levels within the geological stack, thus there is a verifiable progression in time from one species to the next? And, do you understand that this progression simply could not have happened in the short time period claimed by the fundamentalist in their creation myth?

E. Swanson

Failure to prove isn't Proof of Failure..

He might have been missing proofs for that particular connection, but that doesn't disprove evolution.

Nonetheless, it's fine that you question it, I just hope you are also open to whatever answers you really find.

He might have been missing proofs for that particular connection, but that doesn't disprove evolution.

The tour guide probably just didn't know where the missing pieces to the puzzle were.

As I explained to the Brits when I visited the British Museum, "Sure you have some pretty nice dinosaurs in the museum here, but we have lots more of them back home." I grew up 15 minutes drive away from what is now the biggest dinosaur museum in the world, the Royal Tyrrell Museum

Where I grew up we had all kinds of missing pieces just lying around on the ground. When I was a kid in school I used to spend my lunch hours on the playground, breaking open rocks to see what kind of weird critters were fossilized inside.

I'll never forget the day I brought a dinosaur bone I had found to Sunday School and asked them to explain how it got there. They told me to shut up and not ask any more questions like that. It was a learning experience, and what I learned was that they didn't have the answers to my questions, so I had to go looking for them myself.

There are all kinds of interesting answers to the puzzle lying around, if you only know where to look. The mountains around here are a good place to look, (e.g. "How did a sea shell get on top of this mountain?" is a good question, and, no, "God put it there just to test my faith," is not a good answer.)

Jellyfish don't leave fossils. Vague markings in the rock perhaps...

Also from what I remember fish didn't evolve from jellyfish as they belong to 2 different chordata. They may have had a common ancestor that was boneless but i'm not sure "jellyfish" would be the correct term.

There are much, much better examples of evolution from fossils than what was apparently on display. This sounds more like "creative history" on Jaz's part as I wouldn't expect the Natural History Museum to be so naieve about a major display.

I asked where were the other fossils, obviously jellyfish do not suddenly give birth to fish with complex skeletons do they? He replied their were none. I asked. So how do you know fish evolved from jellyfish then?

Jellyfish only fossilize under unusual conditions, so transitional fossils are rare. To see some, you need to go look at the Burgess Shale. It's full of weird critters that are on their way to being something different. Many of them didn't make the evolutionary cut and were dead ends. The classic example is Hallucigenia, an animal that is so weird that scientists can't figure out which side is up or down, or which end is front or back.

Steven J. Gould popularized it in his book, "Wonderful Life". Gould hypothesized that it was all experimentation and most of them were evolutionary dead ends, but other researchers have deduced that a lot of these thingies did end up being some sort of modern animal - it's just not always clear how they got there.

So where are all these missing steps I asked. He said they did not have any.

One of my buddies at University (who had been indoctrinated in creationist dogma) made the mistake of asking a professor that question in relation to apes versus humans. So, the prof pulled out a row of skulls, with an ape at one end, a modern human at the other, and about six different fossil skulls in between, and patiently explained the transitional differences from skull to skull between the ape and the human. My buddy was totally crushed and came back completely disillusioned with what his elders had told him.

that was the first day I questioned evolution

When was the first day you read about that there "DNA" stuff and mutation experiments with fruit flies?

When was the first day you learned that every year, the Lord "creates" a new mutation of the flu bug?

Step Back

Yes the thousands of fruit fly experiments conducted by scientists were done to prove that new characteristics could be produced via countless number of genetic mutations.
All they produced was fruit flies which were deformed.
Looking at this coldly I would say genetic mutations only cause harm, what questions do you ask.

Flu bugs also change by mutation, by losing not by gaining genetic information.

Flu bugs also change by mutation, by losing not by gaining genetic information.

Ooh, dangerous territory!

Evolution myths: Mutations can only destroy information

Flu bugs also change by mutation, by losing not by gaining genetic information.

Your random assertians about what you think "evolution" can do have been noted. It is fortunate for us here today that evolution doesn't care.

Something for you to think about. A random mutation that makes a creature more productive in a cold environment but less in a hot environment. Is this a beneficial mutation or a harmful one? What makes it so?

Coevolution: The real world is far more complex than the theory of the radioactive one happy meal and the resulting 50 foot woman (warning: she "attacks")

I've let this discussion continue because it's been civil and perhaps somewhat informative for some.

In general, though, this isn't the place for discussions about whether evolution is real.

I agree but I have seen many comments equating non belief in evolution with being mindless, years ago I would have been one to say so, I now know things are just a little more complex than that.
My next target will be people who think CO2 is bad, I have several very interesting facts to show it is actually very good.
Global warming is not caused by CO2, or at least it is not the main cause.
Saying CO2 is bad is a bit like saying water is bad when you heard someone drowned.
Too often we look at problems from the wrong angle.

My next target will be people who think CO2 is bad, I have several very interesting facts to show it is actually very good.
Global warming is not caused by CO2, or at least it is not the main cause.

Yeah, we all know that the sun is the main cause. CO2 just traps the solar energy. No need to educate us further :) :) :)

Please take it to RealClimate or someplace like that if you want to debate the effects of CO2. This isn't the place.

I suppose that you didn't notice that there were some 241 tornadoes with that last storm/cold front which roared across the US last weekend. That would appear to be a record number, from historical data. While one can not blame single events on AGW, what we see here is typical of the changes in climate which might be expected to result from AGW as the amount of energy transported within the atmospheric circulation increases...

E. Swanson

I’ve thought about evolution quite a bit. I find it to be the most elegant explanation of the diversity of life on earth that I've ever considered. It is also overwhelmingly supported by available evidence. Even if there were no fossils the evidence is such that I would still be convinced. In my neck of the woods, the Bible Belt, there is an aversion to evolution that I feel is rooted in religious belief. That may not be the case for you but it is a fact of life here in the South. I never learned about evolution in high school. Please consider that for a moment, the central tenant in modern biology was not taught to me because, I assume, I might question Christianity. My college chemistry professor was openly critical about evolution because it didn't mesh with her Christian faith. Several people I know that have graduated with Biology degrees question evolution not because they disagree with the evidence but because they are conservative Christians. All of these people are good and decent folks but they choose not to accept scientific evidence.

I sometimes have to reconsider my trust in the scientific method when faced with the magnitude of doubt I encounter. Whether it's the A/C repairman questioning CFC's damaging the ozone to the electrician questioning the moon landing, many of our neigbors are skeptical of modern science.

I was raised in an environment where most people believed in science and evolution. Once I got out into the wider world I had a really difficult time understanding that people were actually serious when they made creationist comments. It took three major events before I could realise that people could be totally competent in their area of expertise, even a science dominated field, and yet be completely convinced that the bible contained the best explanation of how the world is like it is.

1) Bursting out laughing at someone who confessed that they were studying biology but were more and more convinced of creationism because they simply couldn't stand being related to monkeys...only to find out that every other person in the room agreed. Not just that they blurred the fact that humans might share common ancestors with other primates into a statement that specific people shared first cousinship with capuchin monkeys but also that everyone in the room agreed that you could change the facts if you believed hard enough. As if you could believe that god littered australopithecus skulls through olduvai gorge hard enough, you would be able to erase those pesky lemurs from your family tree. Only the unbelievers would be stuck with the social embarrassment of family ties with orangutangs.

2) Discussing evolutionism vs creationism with a respected colleague/mentor only to realise that she could sum up the tenets of "god created the world old and left those fossils there to give us la puzzle to figure out" much better than I could sum up the various proofs of evolution. I just didn't know and remember enough about strata and fossilised mud that probably was made by the first cynanobacteria and the progression from RNA to DNA to sound good when I said it.

3) Hearing a respected biology Prof explain to the class on Day 1 that God's primary act of creation was to put the "spark of life" into the first eukaryotes in such a way that "his design" would unfold over the next X million years. For her that was un-deniable proof of not only creation but the omniscience and power of God.

Sad to think that so many people wall themselves in with unnecessary crazy belief. Scary to think that it is a behaviour pretty common to all humans and you and I probably do the same with some other "belief"

I had a really difficult time understanding that people were actually serious when they made creationist comments.

The world can be divided into two extreme kinds of people:
1) Those who lie all the time
2) Those who tell the truth all (most) of the time (where "truth" is their idea of "truth").

... and of course all shades of gray in between.

A person who knowingly lies all (or most of the time) would assume that everyone else does the same thing. Why not? And therefore anything that anybody says can't be taken seriously.

On the other side of the spectrum, a person who tries to tell the truth all (or most) of the time would assume that everyone else does the same thing --express their view of the "truth" truthfully. Why not? And therefore anything that anybody says should be taken seriously as their honest version of the "truth".

The problem is you never know which end of the spectrum each speaker belongs closer to.

So when someone professes deep belief in creationism, you don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Probably you should do both (but quietly and to yourself).

The world can be divided into two types of people:
1. Those who divide people into two types.
2. Those who don't.


Seriously though, I have known people who believe deeply in creationism on Sunday then believe in evolution the other six days of the week. To find that people can deeply believe in two absolutely contradictory points of view at the same time was one of the deep shocks of my life.

My wife's uncle was a high school science teacher and a Church of Christ Deacon. Once I asked him about the conflict between his science and his religion. His reply: "No, no, I have to keep them separate. I cannot connect the two. I have to keep them totally separate." From that day on I just thought of the man as a fool and never broached the subject with him again.

Ron P.

The world can be divided into 10 kinds of people.

Those that understand binary and those that don't.

The world can be divided into 100 kinds of people.

01) Those who can count in binary
10) Those who can count in decimal
11) Those who can count in both
00) Those who cannot count

The world can be divided with one kind of people.

That is so true.
From my first memories of being at school (in England) I remember being struck by the rank contradictions and outright hypocrisy of the religion we were fed and the science we were taught.
It somewhat undermined confidence in the veracity of anything I was taught; which, may, in the final analysis, have been a good thing. :-)

"No, no, I have to keep them separate. I cannot connect the two. I have to keep them totally separate."

We have many cognition centers inside our brains.
Each is pre-programmed to survive and keep surviving no matter what.
(Never give in, never give up.)

If survival means splitting off into an isolated and separate cognition entity, then one does what one "must" in order to survive and perpetuate one's continuance. It is an evolutionary imperative, a prime directive.

Several people I know that have graduated with Biology degrees question evolution not because they disagree with the evidence but because they are conservative Christians. All of these people are good and decent folks but they choose not to accept scientific evidence.

There is a quirk.. Contemporary observer is unable to distinguish between the world that has evolved for X billion years and world that was created 6000 years ago give or take, with all the ingredients in place. It ends up with an assumption of certain level of "Belief" vs. agnosticism, or materialism or solipsism. There is a fundamental issue of belief and rational discussion is not possible. A smart fundamentalist could always say "God created all these intermediate DNA and fossils" and extreme solipsist will refer to all of it as his thoughts.

A creationist can not - by definition - be swayed by preponderance of evidence, same as a scientific mind can not be swayed by religious arguments.

As far as my tongue in cheek take on two positions...if you go to a religious service, you will be asked for a donation. Every Museum of Natural History has a donation box too.

Mind you, if we find a dinosaur bone with a rusty nail embedded, evolutionists will have some explaining to do ;-)

Solipsism is a very peculiar thing. It can't be proved or disproved in any sense that could even vaguely be called scientific, because science just doesn't intersect with it. Instead, it's customarily rejected on the grounds that it's intellectually sterile, i.e. it leads nowhere; but that attitude is of course ultimately a matter of taste, even if it's an almost universally shared taste. Some of this other stuff similarly lacks any intersection with science, so it's not merely untestable, it can't even be framed. Which is why arguments over it tend to go ad hominem, emitting much heat and no light.

Pols that are funded by oil and coal have a hard time understanding AGW for some reason.

Actually dovey I think many of the politicians who are the more vocal deniers actually do get it. But their radical statements have the same goal as many of the more vocally liberals: to fracture the debate into a “them vs. us” format. As long as the public is focused on the opposition’s buttholes they aren’t noticing that their politicians are just as ineffective. IMHO we really don’t have a two party system. Its one party of professional politicians whose primary focus is saying whatever will get them elected. And you have to admit they’ve been very successful splitting the public vote and thus assuring they each control about half the positions. Basically they’ve gotten a nice predictable rotation of power working for at least the last 30 years.

Rockman -- I've had my differences with you on some issues, but let me say that this comment of yours is 100% right on. Truer words were never spoken. Plenty of baby boomers in both parties understand what the potential implications of continuing on this course are, but few are willing to sacrifice irregardless of the consequences -- mostly to future generations.

Cat - Good to hear from you...been a while. And don't feel bad about not always agreeing with me...no one's perfect.

And there is another condition:

AGW is real, but the solutions offered up are nothing more then a money making attempt by various parasites like Investment Bankers.

Why should 70% of the funds spend on Carbon Reduction schemes not actually go to Carbon Reduction and is "just overhead"?

Quite! And it is impossible to get these people to sit back and ponder, in quiet seclusion, any notion that challenges the shibboleths that they cleave to with blooded fingernails. They disparage science and yet proclaim fantasies and folktales as absolute truth. And throughout the world they, in their various forms - be they sectarian or statist - are in the ascendant.

Unfortunately, it's irrational to expect political decisions to turn on rationality.

Even the most "rational" of goals has no chance in the political process without relying on primarily non-rational support. We're not a population of philosopher-mentats, we're apes in overshoot, with gas pedals and credit cards.

By deploring non-rational support, idealists often put themselves at a huge disadvantage out of the gate. Is that rationality or self-indulgence? Hmmm.

But are we to expect a large portion of our population that smokes, over eats and signs on to mortgages they really can't afford to accept cause and effects? Not a good bet IMHO.

We've seen what our ruling elite have done. I'd put my money on the insolvent drug-addicted gluttons.

I was talking with someone the other day who made the assertion that "there is tons of oil out there". So I ask him - where exactly is all of this oil? He says there is still tons of oil in Texas (he seemed to stammer a bit - I suspect he never expected to be challenged on this) - I told him no, that Texas has seen the best days already. But he wasn't convinced - he still believed that there was all kinds of oil out there.

If you talk to the guys who work on the drilling rigs, it may appear as if there is oil out there, and strictly speaking there is still some out there that one can drill for. But for one to accept peak oil, one needs to look at the totals for regions and totals for the world, and to some people that type of argument is too abstract to really get anywhere..

The illustration by Aangel won't come to pass, because of the reasons put forward by Westexas & others, but it is still useful as a projection. That is, if everything keeps on the present course, this is what is going to happen. Since it won't get to that point, it stands to reason that other factors will come into play before that time and the closer it is to the crossing point, the greater the pressure will be.

The single most disastrous policy in an oil exporting country would be to keep domestic prices low for petrol & other oil products, since these policies act to embed high consumption in the social fabric. It would be much better to let domestic prices reach parity with the world market and have the revenue thus generated split between improving the lifestyle of the population and developing the economy more generally. The biggest obstacle to a realistic policy like this would be the dominance of cornucopian thinking in the public arena.

Hopefully, the world will become more accepting of the theory of Peak Oil and cornucopianism will experience a crisis. I've been seeing Peak Oil being mentioned more frequently in the mainstream press here in Australia in the last couple of years. It's still very much a minority view, but it may be approaching critical mass. If it can break through here, it probably won't be long afterwards before it breaks through in the US. And if the Peak Oil becomes accepted wisdom in the US, the rules of the game will change completely.

The illustration by Aangel won't come to pass.

As you mention, of course it won't. When I present that graph, I always say, "Now, this won't happen because things will fall apart long before 2040 but given the current trends this where the two lines meet."

It is clear now that we will not be ready when world oil production starts to decline. It was easier to be an optimist several years ago because assorted technological advances might be hoped to happen rapidly. But technology hasn't advanced fast enough and people have not changed their lifestyles fast enough.

The spike up in SUV and pickup truck sales last year showed that the masses still did not get it. Only now with gasoline prices once more up to 2008 levels have the car buyers started competing for the limited supply of hybrids. More years of wasted opportunity where the mix of manufactured cars was far from ideal.

I tell friends to lower their living standards and shift to lower energy lifestyles before they have to. That way it will be easier to do and less stressful. I've only convinced a few of people to do this. One has just decided to move much closer to his job and adopt a minimal lifestyle. Most do not want to admit we are coming to an end of an era.

Last night I explained Peak Oil to the richest guy I know. Told him about King Hubbert of Shell and the basic outline of Peak Oil. He's smart. He asked questions. I heard back from a mutual friend that he was very impressed by my arguments. I get the impression he's not hearing this from anyone else. It is still very much a fringe position.

Only sustained high prices will wake people up.

Youth at environment summit unhappy with Obama policies

Al Gore gave the keynote speech at the Power Shift Conference in Washington last night. I listened to the webcast, in which Gore recited the usual problems of extreme weather. He did point out that one extreme event doesn't prove (or disprove) that the climate is changing, but that there have been so many such events recently that all point toward warming that it's time to get going with "clean" energy (what ever that means). I hate to say it, but Gore seemed rather stilted, giving his speech rather like a machine. Oh, well, at least, Obama has loosened up a bit in his presentations...

E. Swanson

I have a lot of respect for Gore's attempt to wake up people in the United States except that he might have been a bit more successful if he were a little bit better at walking his talk. However, unless he has changed his tune recently, the main problem I have with him is his apparent belief that we can have it all. We can continue to use just as much energy as ever by just substituting renewable fuels for fossil fuels. He still seems to be on the oxymoronic sustainable growth band wagon without any change in our level of consumption.

" but that there have been so many such events recently that all point toward warming"

or cooling.


"Famine in the Medieval European context meant that people died of starvation on a massive scale. As brutal as they were, famines were familiar occurrences in Medieval Europe. As an example, localized famines occurred in France during the fourteenth century in 1304, 1305, 1310, 1315–1317 (the Great Famine), 1330–1334, 1349–1351, 1358–1360, 1371, 1374–1375 and 1390. In England, the most prosperous kingdom affected by the Great Famine, years of famine included 1315–1317, 1321, 1351, and 1369. "

A century of climate instability has happened before industrialization began. It really doesn't matter if it's global warming, global cooling, or just one of the planet's normal cycles, not that interglacial periods have even been the normal for the last 2 million years. If this is more than a 3 to 5 year blip it's going to be unduly interesting.

PVguy, your link offers this comment:

The Great Famine was restricted to Northern Europe, including the British Isles, northern France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, Germany, and western Poland.[2] It also affected some of the Baltic states except for the far eastern Baltic which was only affected indirectly.

In other words, the change in climate was LOCAL, not GLOBAL. The scientific evidence shows little overall long term variation on a global level over the past 1000 years or more. The really big changes on a global basis were the Ice Ages, during which the temperature appears to have been only 5 or 6 degrees Celsius below that of the present Interglacial period. Model projections indicate that global temperature may increase by 2 to 4 degrees C over pre-industrial levels with forcing equivalent to a doubling of CO2. We're looking at REALLY BIG CHANGES here...

E. Swanson

But the local result of your global warming has been cooling. Last year the cold spring wiped out the apricots. We are well below normal this spring again. The recently departed and unlamented winter was even worse east of the Rockies.

The failure to deal with changing climate has crashed many previous civilizations. It may happen again. No, let me restate that. The climate will change again. Whether the current civilization collapses or not has yet to be determined, but if it does it's going to be really spectacular this time.

PV Guy,

Before telling us what an awful winter it was, how about digging up some data like at www.ncdc.noaa.gov? Choose "Monitoring."

Well, snowfall data, for example, ends 12/2010 so nothing much pertaining to this last winter yet. I guess NOAA has yet to catch up with "internet speed" even if the IRS sort-of has. But one supposes that asymmetry to be very much expected.

For most folks, subjective severity will have something to do with snow, especially snow that seems unending. After all, you wouldn't have to shovel mere cold, nor would it cause you to slide from the highway into the ditch. Here in southern Wisconsin the last four winters have been way snowier than average ("normal"), with 2007-2008 being a doozy, almost two and a half times average and far above the previous "record". The last nearly-average winter was back in 2005-2006.

Global or national numbers need not mean much yet at any particular locality (including yours or PVguy's), especially with global average temperature said to have changed only 1F or so within (generously defined) living memory. A little bit like that is completely lost in local noise, and pales utterly against the customary old-timers' tales of walking uphill both ways to school. No one but scientists or hyperattentive agriculturalists would notice it happening over a lifetime.

Back in the here and now, a few days of false spring have now been followed by snow flurries. No early veggies in the gardens or at the farmers' markets this year; jokes about needing a shot of global warming entirely apropos. In ordinary experiential terms warming simply doesn't exist here yet, irrespective both of national statistics and of any wishes that by some magic people in general ought to notice it anyway. (N.B. (1) noticing it experientially in the face of mountains of snow, and (2) being told of it by magicians and wizards who may or may not be convincing when they report what they have seen as spectators at computer screens, are two different things.)

Way snowier, yes. And that is what people react to.

But increased snow and other precipitation is, of course, one of the primary anticipated results of global warming.

Which only helps make it ridiculously easy to forgive folks seeing it as a catch-22: "Looky, it's snowing a helluva lot, must be AGW." "Looky, it's not snowing, must be AGW". <=> "Looky, there's weather outside, must be AGW."

No, it means that folks who say "Look, it's snowing a helluva lot, must be NO AGW" don't have a point.

This winter in North America was snowier and colder, because of La Nina, and it has been known since summer 2010 that, that
would be the case.
Next winter will be lighter.

Yup. It's a weather phenomenon, noise with respect to a climate signal. Which is quite compatible with what I've said; it's not either/or. The simple problem is that no one, or hardly anyone, has yet had any provable experiential dealing with AGW, nor are they likely to anytime very soon; it's just too subtle. So, like it or not, it remains, in most of the public/political sphere, an abstract pronounciamento of wizards and magicians [in the Arthur C. Clarke sense of any sufficiently advanced technology (such as models so complex that they must run on supercomputers) being equivalent to magic.] As such, it pales into utter insignificance against more mundane and concrete considerations, such as huge numbers of people not having income from jobs.

Not sure what you mean by an "experiential."

The killer heat wave in Europe in '03 was certainly an experience, one so far outside of historical norms that it is highly unlikely that it would have happened without GW. Same with the flooding in Pakistan.

But one problem is the places being most dramatically and permanently altered by GW are some of the least populated regions in the world--the Arctic.

But that doesn't mean that changes in the Arctic will not have an effect elsewhere.

Far from it.

The difference between a mostly ice covered late summer Arctic Ocean (for the last millions of years) and a now mostly open ocean is causing changes in atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns that scientists are still just trying to fathom, but changes that will have/are having profound effects on at least the climate patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, at least.

And the effects on the tundra and the seafloor methane deposits will likely spell the end of most life on earth, perhaps within just the next few years, if what the scientists most active in the study of these areas reflects anything like the truth.

But please, don't pay any attention. All those AGW people are just liberal nuts trying to scare you into giving your money to GS. It's all alarmist crap. So go back to sleep. Nothing to worry about.

After all, life itself would be impossible without CO2!

(Cue sounds of tropical island paradise and various eco-porn images...)

But please, don't pay any attention.

If the Lord had wanted us to pay attention, He would have intelligently designed us with eyes that can truly see and brains that can truly comprehend.

The utility bill arrived today It has a comparison of the average temperatures for the last three months;

Jan 2011 was 6.4 degrees cooler than in 2010;
Feb 2011 was 8.4 degrees cooler than in 2010;
Mar 2011 was 4.5 degrees cooler than in 2010;

Will someone turn the sun back on?

The good news is the snowpack is in really good shape.

Please compare this with what is happening in the Arctic.

Local does not equal global.

Local does not equal global.

But if you take away regional variations, how can they possibly mount an argument against Global Warming? "See, here, this teeny weenie patch of daffadils are not blooming yet, but usually they would have started blooming on April 12th." That kind of country bumpkin anectodal chewing on a piece of straw type arcane analogy to explain worldwide weather patterns is all they've got! Dohboi, leave them their quaint local stories or they will become catatonic out in a field somewhere.

Same could be said for some of the amateur peak oil analysts on TOD. They strain to read the tea leaves in every weekly or monthly reported movement in oil production, not realizing that it is the long term trends along with a realistic model that really explains what is going on.

Determining what is signal versus noise is tightly interwoven with the matching of the horizon of analysis vs the horizon of projection.

The usual way to reduce the effects of noise is to perform a model-based Bayesian update, but I don't see much of that being done. This balances the addition of new points with prior analysis knowledge; this is much less brain dead than just running a time series filter.

I get the feeling that many people are watching the short-time-scale effects because they want to use that to their advantage in the commodities market. Lots of effort goes into studying random walk noise in the markets, because as you imply it can give some idea of where the markets are heading or in hedging risk. See projecting correlations with the copula function, for example.

I just don't think that is as strong an observable as the relentless trend of the cumulative.

On the other hand, all these extra factors that go into the data, such as other forms of liquid fuel aren't really noise and we have to be diligent about tracking that data. I would call this contaminated data rather than noise.

There is also the problem with revisions on recent data. For many reasons, I am just not a big advocate of chasing the numbers at that short a time frame.

The obvious problem is that nobody directly experiences average temperature and thus a change in global average will be imperceptible. The usual day-to-day and seasonal variations will swamp the rather small change in the global average. Extreme weather is much more visible and regional changes in important parameters, such as the decline in sea-ice over the entire Arctic, can be demonstrated with available instruments, so these are pointed to as evidence.

More than 30 years ago, I thought that AGW would result in increases in tropic to pole circulation, which would then produce greater extremes in mid latitude weather. That was before I learned more about the problem, especially about ocean circulation and the changes which are likely to occur in the Arctic. Since then, I have taken a great interest in the Thermohaline Circulation (THC), which exhibits natural variations and has the potential for major change. If the THC were to shutdown due to AGW, as is thought to have happened in previous time periods, the resulting impact would be a cooler Europe and other areas around the Nordic Seas, though the impact over the rest of the Earth would be different. There is some evidence that the THC has weakened in recent years and our recent NH weather patterns may be the result...

E. Swanson

James Hansen says we're on track at a global temperature rise of
0.15 C/decade so in 2050 we should be 1 degree F warmer than today. That's slightly less than the observed rise of 0.17 deg C
per decade over the last 50 years. It appears to be following the modest GHG growth 'B' scenario.
Deniers are maintaining that there will be no growth in global temperatures over the next decade.


If we are experiencing more cold weather than expected, it is probable that we face more dangerously hot summer days, weeks of
+90 or +100 degF temperatures per year.

James Hansen says we're on track at a global temperature rise of 0.15 C/decade so in 2050 we should be 1 degree F warmer than today.

It could get out of control because of the feed-back mechanisms. Something similar could happen with oilproduction and oilexports, but here for geopolitical reasons.

And it'd probably have to rise a bit faster even than that, before most people could notice it experientially as opposed to noticing merely that magicians and wizards have pronounced the existence of a problem. Therein lies the rub, or at least a rub.

Oh, and labels such as "denier" are probably unhelpful on the whole - they're inherently, intentionally, and transparently political, so even if they serve nicely as handy robotic argument-suppressors they simply help legitimize the politicization of even the purely scientific aspects. (Societal responses WRT mitigation or adaptation are a different story, being inherently political in a way that cannot be helped.)

I prefer to use the word "denialist", which I picked up from the usenet years ago. I use that word to refer to that small group of people who actively engage in efforts to subvert the scientific process by intentionally spreading political disinformation regarding AGW. With that definition, I suppose that you are correct that my use is political. That's the result of the fact that the campaign by this group is political, not scientific, even though these guys make their disinformation appear to be based on valid science.

See my comment below for some discussion of the latest in disinformation. In this case, Alan Carlin (an economist by profession), has repeated claims from other denialist, thus attempting to build a case against AGW regulation via the EPA...

E. Swanson

By that logic, Japanese being bombarded by radiation should not be
warned until their hair falls out in clumps.

I can't think of a more polite label for people who deny science than 'deniers'--morons, dimwits, dullards, fools, etc. being considered impolite.
People who believe the earth is flat based on their perception that the horizon extends to infinity are 'Round Earth' deniers. Of course, if they'd fly in a jet, they'd see the curvature but died-in-the-wool Round Earth deniers
would say it was an optical illusion, but they'd probably refuse to test their faith by flying to altitude (airplanes are dangerous).
There used to be 'deniers' who didn't think tobacco smoke was dangerous because they saw the tobacco companies ads showing doctors and movie stars smoking. Seeing is believing.
Also, they enjoyed smoking addictive tobacco.
The political result of their 'faith' was government health regulation for toxic tobacco products.

At the present time, there is no government agency with clear jurisdiction over the health aspects of cigarettes. The Federal Trade Commission can act on matters of advertising and package information. The Food and Drug Administration concerns itself only with foods, drugs, solids, or liquids that are eaten or drunk. Tobacco is neither a food nor a drug under current legal definitions. Nor are cigarettes eaten or drunk; they are inhaled.


To stand up for real scientists and to
correct the silly notions of fooling children, is the diametric opposite of crowd-pleasing politicians.

There comes point at which you need to speak truth and clear the air before moving forward.

Otherwise you don't move forward.

Actually, I take the "denier" label to be a co-optation of "Holocaust denier", which seems to be a thought-status-crime punishable by heavy jail sentences and stiff fines in Europe. On that measurement, it's much like labeling someone a sex offender, another politicized emotional allegation against which even the truth of the contrary often fails as an effective defense (which is one reason why schoolteachers need strong unions.) That's why I called the label a robotic argument-suppressor.

WRT the Japanese, I'm not seeing the connection except maybe as a rhetorical device. Compared to anything connected to climate/AGW modeling, Geiger counters and even scintillation counters are models of simplicity. Hook one up to an audio device and move a reference source closer and further away, and the association is obvious even to elementary school students, even if the detailed inner workings are not. (Compare that to a silent imperceptible 1F temperature rise over a lifetime.) People can and do argue about the long term effect of background-level radiation, but nobody's really going to hide it or successfully deny its existence.

Lying and arguing are not the same thing.
A real argument involves honesty not denial, in fact they are opposite.

The Holocaust is an established fact. There are dozens of extermination camps all over Europe which you can visit.
All the documentation has been preserved and there are survivors still alive around the world you can talk to if you're really interested.

The real holocaust deniers are mostly anti-Semites who want to cause pain or revive hatred.
I therefore assume that people who question the Holocaust have the same motives.

A good example of a denier is the Rev. Terry Jones who last month burnt a Koran and thereby caused the deaths of 25 people in Afghanistan. Jones denied that he was in anyway responsible for the resulting deaths.
Who does he think he's kidding?


co-optation of "Holocaust denier"

Thanks for correcting my misconceptions.

I always thought denial was a river in Egypt.

Nice again.

The fact of the matter is that we all wallow in some level of denial.

Some are just more machiavellan about it than others.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) requires the calculation of averages for consecutive periods of 30 years, with the latest covering the 1961–1990 period. However, many WMO members, including the UK, update their averages at the completion of each decade. Thirty years was chosen as a period long enough to eliminate year-to-year variations.


It was actually a pretty good winter if you are a skier, or in the hydro-electric business, or in the Mexico holiday buiness. Every (snow)cloud has a silver lining for someone.

The recently departed and unlamented winter was even worse east of the Rockies.

We can only wish it was recently departed. Here, high in the Canadian Rockies, it is snowing like stink. Heavy snowfall warning, 15-20 cm expected.

One of my nephews, who lives in Calgary, made the comment on Facebook yesterday, "I just finished shoveling half a foot of global warming off my driveway." I detected a certain note of sarcasm in his comment. Hope he enjoys today's shoveling.

Snow in Calgary in spring - I don;t miss that!
it's so sunny today on the Sunshine Coast that I am going to take my canoe for its first outing of the year. I am in favour of local warming - the snow can stay in the mountains where it belongs.

Well, here it can snow any month of the year, so you just have to be prepared for that to happen.

However (and this is one of the things that gets lost in the whole Global Warming debate), the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has a huge effect on weather systems - much more than any increment due to CO2 levels. So, if you check the ENSO status you can tell what is going to happen months in advance.

The World Meteorological Organization El Niño/La Niña Update predicted the current condtions well in advance:

25 January 2011

A significant La Niña episode continues in the tropical Pacific Ocean, with effects extending into adjacent ocean basins. Atmospheric indicators show this episode to be one of the strongest of the last century, while oceanic indicators have been at moderate to strong levels. La Niña conditions are likely to continue through the first quarter of 2011.

There is also the US National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center


7 April 2011

Synopsis: A transition to ENSO-neutral conditions is expected by June 2011

La Niña weakened for the third consecutive month, as reflected by increasing surface and subsurface ocean temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. All four Niño indices ranged between –0.3oC and –0.8oC at the end of March 2011...

Collectively, these oceanic and atmospheric anomalies reflect a weakening La Niña, but with ongoing global impacts.

Nearly all of the ENSO models predict La Niña to continue weakening in the coming months, and the majority of models indicate a return to ENSO-neutral by May-June-July 2011

So, things should be back to normal by June. Here, June normally has cold and wet weather, so we will be travelling somewhere warmer and drier. The effect on the US will vary:

Potential impacts in the United States include an enhanced chance for below-average precipitation across much of the South, while above-average precipitation is favored for the northern Plains. An increased chance of below-average temperatures is predicted across the northern tier of the country (excluding New England). A higher possibility of above-average temperatures is favored for much of the southern half of the contiguous U.S.

When I lived in Boulder, I remember snow in June (and that was mid seventies). I spent a few years in the New Mexico mountains, our last snow was usually in May. The east slopes have always had some late spring snows.

The population of England hit carrying capacity right around 1300. The last couple of decades of the 13th Century had warm weather and good harvests. When the weather cooled at the beginning of the 14th Century, there was no spare productive capacity and famine ensued. The Black Death in 1348 arrived on top of a population stressed by two generations of scare calories. Population levels stayed below the peak until the 17th Century Agricultural Revolution. Rediscovery of Roman practices of crop rotation and green manures, along with the Dutch practice of using roots for winter fodder, allowed the population to blow past its Mediaeval carrying capacity and alarm Malthus.

So I've got a question about the "export land model" which was inspired by aangel's post above.

Does the export land model consider the internal economics of exporting nations? For instance, suppose Oilistan is your classic petroleum rich desert country, with no significant exports other than oil. Agriculture, in particular, is nonexistent. The ELM tells us that as Oilistan's production declines and its internal consumption grows, its exports will shrink to zero much more rapidly than you'd expect from looking at production alone.

But can internal consumption continue to grow indefinitely? If exports go to zero, Oilistan has no money to buy food and other necessary imports, and starves to death. To survive, they have no choice but to keep exporting, even if it means reducing their own oil consumption.

There are plenty of examples of nations which have transitioned from oil exporters to importers, but all of them (to my knowledge) have other major sources of revenue, or at least food production.

That's a point I have raised myself a couple of times. There is yet another point, and that is a financial one. An exporting country would have a lot of cash flowing into the country that it could use for a variety of purposes. They could enrich the ruling class, use it to pay off the lower classes, subsidize gasoline prices and other such things. But as exports drop to zero, their ability to do such things also disappears, and that could lead to social unrest.

Thats why I think simple extrapolation of internal consumption breaks down. As exports near zero, so does export reveunue. So the pressure to consume less, so there is something left to sell/export should grow. It probably means net exports won't go to zero. But, I expect they could end up at half to a third of current totals.

There is another possibility: Net exports go to zero because social unrest, triggered by the financial strain of decreasing net exports (e.g. the powers-that-be can no longer sufficiently appease the masses), causes oil production to collapse. This idea fits with the Orlov scenario of post-peak production declines: Relatively sudden, stair-step like reductions in available oil production, probably (mostly) due to positive geopolitical feedback loops that have negative consequences.

Also, WT has addressed these concerns: From a historical standpoint, countries such as Indonesia have gone to zero exports. It can happen. This does not mean it will every time, nor does it mean that it is certain to happen in a post-peak scenario where many observed trends might be expected to change. But it does inform that it is possible for a producer to find itself with no net exports, in part due to increasing internal demand for oil.

On an unrelated note, free Marc Emery. (Talk about a waste of valuable resources--prison costs can be very high, pardon pun.)

I'm not at all convinced that the incentives for an exporting country approaching zero net, will be the same post peak as pre-peak. For the pre-peak cases (say Indonesia or the UK), oil is still cheap, and the incentives to reduce domestic consumption, so we can make big bucks selling it, weren't present then. But if you are Saudi Arabia in say 2025, and your choice is to export a barrel for $300, or give it to some local cheap so he can drive his Hummer everywhere -but then have no cash to import food with!

I've suggested that we will see Phase One and Phase two net export declines in specific countries.

In Phase One, generally rising oil prices will offset the declining volume of net oil exports, resulting in stable to increasing cash flows from export sales.

In Phase Two, generally rising oil prices will not be sufficient to offset the declining volume of net oil exports, resulting in declining cash flows from export sales.

But in any case, here is the key point: Given a production decline in an oil exporting country, unless consumption falls at the same rate as, or at a rate faster than, the rate of decline in production, the net export decline rate will exceed the production decline rate and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time. Interestingly enough, given a production increase, in most cases the rate of increase in net exports tends to exceed the rate of increase in production:

A look at global net oil exports from 2002 to 2009 (BP + Minor EIA Data):

A Nine mbpd Shortfall, Between "Expectations" & Reality

One of the interesting aspects of "Net Export Math" that I had been overlooking is that while production is increasing in oil exporting countries, the rate of increase in net exports, in most cases, tends to exceed the rate of increase in production. We just went back and looked at the 2002 to 2005 global data. Here are the 2002 to 2005 global net export data (2005 net exporters with 100,000 bpd or more of net exports, Total Petroleum Liquids):

2002: 39 mbpd
2003: 42
2004: 45
2005: 46

From 2002 to 2005, production by these countries increased at 4.6%/year, but net exports increased at 5.1%/year. At 5.1%/year, global net exports would have increased to about 54 mbpd in 2008, but let's look at what actually happened:

2006: 46 mbpd
2007: 45
2008: 45
2009: 43

Given that the market was "expecting" about a 5%/year rate of increase in net oil exports, I think that the shock of going to a zero rate of increase, and then actual net export declines was quite severe, probably more so than we initially thought. And then we have the so far relentless increase in Chindia's combined net oil imports, increasing from 11% of global net oil exports in 2005 to 17% in 2009.

Be all that as it may it leaves still wondering about the original question. If "oilistan" is an Indonesia, that's one thing, but if it's Saudi Arabia, which essentially has, relative to its population size, absolutely nothing but hot dry sand and oil, that's quite another. How does a Saudi Arabia even eat, if it allows net exports to go anywhere near zero?

Here is a representative sampling of 16 oil exporting countries showing multiyear production declines, relative to a prior peak rate, which may or may not be the final peak, and in some cases, e.g., Colombia, they are showing increasing production in the past few years. The exponential rates of change in production, consumption and net exports are shown (relative to the years shown in parentheses):

Note that only one country showed a consumption decline rate in excess of the net export decline rate, and it was Equatorial Guinea (whose consumption basically rounds to zero). Also note that the Rule of 72 kicks in. At a 5%/year net export decline rate, the net export volume drops by 50% in 14 years; at 10%/year, it drops by 50% in 7 years and so on.

As more and more countries enter "Phase Two" declines, when generally rising oil prices can't fully offset falling net exports, I don't know what is going to happen in each specific country--no one does--but in my presentations I generally suggest that various countries are going to "approach" zero net oil exports.

Here is a graphical illustration of the challenge facing post-peak oil exporters. The graph shows the rates of change in consumption, production and net exports for "Export Land," by year, relative to the peak year, with Year Zero being the final production peak. In order for the net export decline rate to be at or above the production decline rate, the rate of change in consumption has to be pulled down to, or below, the -5%/year mark. As the above chart illustrating the rates of change for 16 oil exporters shows, so far there is not much evidence of this happening.

How does a Saudi Arabia even eat, if it allows net exports to go anywhere near zero?

If the foreigners will respect the securities owned by the contries soveign wealt fund, they can try to live off investments made during the oil export boom. If not, then they are out of luck.

How does a Saudi Arabia even eat, if it allows net exports to go anywhere near zero?

Once things degrade to the point when that type of question is based on a reality, is when everybody is so concerned with their own unstable local situation, the only one's asking that question are the Saudi's.

As enemy.o.s. just said above, the exports can go to zero, but Oilstan can go on buying food till there is money in the local sovereign wealth fund. It can be 1 year or 100 years: a lot will depend on what kind of "money" the fund contains. In this regard, the prospects of FIAT money are not extremely rosy for the future and phenomenons of high inflation can destroy considerably the value of these reserves. No surprisingly, many wealth funds are increasing their position in physical gold, silver, etc.

No surprisingly, many wealth funds are increasing their position in physical gold, silver,

The University of Texas Investment Management Co., the second-largest U.S. academic endowment, took delivery of almost $1 billion in gold bullion and is storing the bars in a New York vault, according to the fund’s board.

Hopefully U of TX hires someone to physically check the bullion once a day.

Given what has repeatedly happened with securities bubbles over many, many decades, they'd better have a Plan B. Plus, with the passage of time, the world will tire of carrying them. The time will come when no one cares any longer about some bargain made by their ancestors in the distant past.

In a post at this tinyurl http://tinyurl.com/3opxbns The poster writes :
"...Donald Trump but I heard him say the other day that there is a lot of crude afloat in tankers that can't be sold or placed ashore. True?"

I did some searches but cannot find any such information. Do any of you know if this assertion by Mr Trump is true or not?

There was a blogpost by cornucopian Steven LeVine not long ago claiming this very thing, see here:

It might be worth pointing out that he also endorsed a guy by giving him a platform on his blog, where the guy was essentially saying that the Federal Reserve was responsible for a $50 dollar premium on the oil price.

I wouldn't take Mr. LeVine or his blogguests very seriously, but of course, who am I to disagree with a non-petrolium engineer and a financial conspiracy theorist?

As for 'aangel', the total supply on his graph is below 85 mb/d for 2011, but in reality we're at 88-89 mb/d, which shows that graph is hopefully off, but it also shows that aangel probably does not have an elementary grasp of the factual supply reality, even if you take the benevolent view of him 'just proving a point'. Proving a point is quite undermined if you get even the most basic facts wrong by printing a graph so out of date it's beyond alarmist.

Up until January, the biggest supply of floating storage was thought to be offshore Iran for obvious reasons - it was subject to sanctions.

During the chaos of the MENA revolts, even Iran managed to dump some of its tainted oil in the Mediterranean on desperate buyers. Shippers now report very low demand for using tankers as storage, although it is quite possible that China or some other Asian nation have managed to store some offshore in tankers - as their oil purchases appear to exceed their level of imports.

In regards to the type of high quality oil most desired by US refiners, well, there doesn't appear to be much if any floating around somewhere. So talk of extra oil being readily available for US refiners is - untrue.

the total supply on his graph is below 85 mb/d for 2011, but in reality we're at 88-89 mb/d, which shows that graph is hopefully off

Leiten, the graph is only crude oil I suppose, and remember what you posted one week ago from the seminar in Stockholm:

Aleklett also looked at an in-depth mathematical study that they did at the Uppsala University(basically one of the best Swedish universities) in 2005 or 2006 and compared it with actual production data all the way through 2010 and he saw that it was essentially closest to the 'worst case' scenario, even two years after the crash. They had 'worst case, standard case, lower best case and best case'.

Well, it can't be crude only. Crude production is below 75 mb/d, his graph was portraying just below 85 mb/d, almost a 10 mb/d shortfall.
So I stand by my statement.

As for ASPO, here is the ASPO 2002 graph that Aleklett used in his recent April 2011 presentation to the Swedish Greens(a political party for those outside Europe).
(Don't be fooled by the numbers to the left of the graph, it's not the usual mb/d benchmark)

He claimed that he/they were 'really close' in their estimate.
I think it's best for everyone to decide for themselves if they think that's true or not.

It's true that I should update that graph and I might consider doing so.

However you are correct that the point of my graph or Kjell's graph is not the exact numbers but if you wish to miss the larger picture, by all means be my guest. I showed that graph to a senior executive of an oil major just two days ago and he saw immediately what the graph was conveying.

We proceeded to have a conversation about net oil exports and he didn't once mention that the numbers were off. The discussion was restricted to the Export Land Model and wasn't derailed by unnecessary detours. In our conversation it was quite obvious that he was well acquainted with total world production.

This looks like a curve of crude for a production URR of about 2000 billion barrels.

I looks like they projected about 31 Gb/year for 2010, which would be about 85 mbpd. Since it doesn't look like they were counting biofuels, I suppose the closest approximation to their graph would be the BP data base, which counts total petroleum liquids. BP puts the annual total petroleum liquids peak (so far) in 2008 at about 82 mbpd.

BP Global Total Petroleum Liquids (rounded off to nearest one mbpd):

2005: 81 mbpd
2006: 82
2007: 81
2008: 82
2009: 80

Since this metric tends to track C+C pretty closely, it's a pretty good assumption that the 2010 rate was around 82 mbpd, versus the ASPO projection of about 85 mbpd.

Well, it can't be crude only. Crude production is below 75 mb/d, his graph was portraying just below 85 mb/d, almost a 10 mb/d shortfall.

Indeed, but if you look at the year 2040, production in both graphs is about half of what it is now. If KSA and other oilexporting countries are not starting now to diminish their own consumption then long before 2040 oilexports are (close to) zero. Iran's program (started a few years ago), leading to only dual (gasoline and gas)-fuel vehicles on the road in 2012 is remarkable, but probably not enough to make a big difference in oil exports.

He claimed that he/they were 'really close' in their estimate.

Apparently close to their 'worst case scenario' as you wrote and looking at this graph from ASPO for about 3 years now, the difference between their worst and best case scenario must be small.

From: Oil Prices Will Ease in 2012 on Stimulus Withdrawal, Russia's Kudrin Says

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Urals, the nation’s major export oil blend ... will probably fall to $60 a barrel in the next two years and stay at that level for about six months, reiterating a forecast he made a year ago.

An interesting forecast. It seems surprising that Kudrin hasn't revised his forecast based on the oil price increases that have occurred in the last year.

I think he may be right, but it's probably going to come in a way he is not foreseeing.

On the other hand, I am very curious to see what happens after June when QE II is done with.

We're seeing nascent signs of demand destruction in the U.S. but this time we have a massive stimulus in the U.S. economy which is preventing further contraction, we didn't have that in 2008.

But the stimulus is not going to save America, it is merely prolonging the inevitable. I wonder if there will be a QE III from June onwards, considering the heated debate on the debt right now in America, and if there is a QE III what will happen to the political stability.

And if there is not new QE, coupled with much higher gas prices(we're likely to see the old gas records to be broken this summer), will the American economy actually be able to handle the enormous pressures without the stimulus?

There will be a half-genuine, half-manufactured crisis this year after QE2 ends. Stocks and commodities will be sold off and unemployment will increase. This will then be used as the justification for QE3.

If it doesn't happen this year, it happens next year.

At some point, the U.S. federal government will be forced to make drastic cuts to health and defense expenditures to bring some sanity to its budget. In addition, the federal reserve will be forced at some point to raise interest rates.

When this point comes, gold and silver will be sold off. Don't believe it though! Net energy decline ensures that the financial system of the world is insolvent.

The U.S. dollar collapse / Treasury default has to occur before I would even consider selling gold and silver. Only when the financial system has been reconstructed should you move back into paper assets.

And even then, it better make sense, and the world better have a plan to deal with energy.

If it doesn't you still win with gold and silver, because we enter a new dark ages.

I hope I've made a good case; just keep on accumulating gold and silver.

U.S. federal government will be forced to make drastic cuts to defense expenditures

I'll believe it when I see it.

(And I'm betting Ron Paul who has complained about the bases all over the world would fail to pull the bases if, for some bizarre reason got to be Pres. I'm guessing all the rest of Congress along with a whole bunch in front of him would have to be dead and by the right of succession gets the #1 spot)

I am afraid eric is correct...

I read the 4 April 2011 Aviation Leak and Spy Technology magazine, and on page 56 is a nice little cheer-leading article called: Naval Aviation: 100 Years and Going Strong

Here is the money excerpt (the words here are verbatim from the article, emphasis and ellipses are mine):

As naval aviation moves into the era of(...)there are several major issues the Navy must resolve, including how to:

- Fund the technology needed to maintain air superiority against every conceivable opponent, now and in the future.


- Balance its aviation resources with surface and land warfare capabilities to optimize all three.

Failure to resolve these issues is not an option. Because America's worldwide commitments seem destined not to diminish...

Notice that since this article is about U.S. naval aviation, no mention is made of the subsurface naval fleet and its funding needs.

Now understand that the US Air Force, Army, Marines, Dept of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (the folks who make and care and feed the special weapons), the Dept of Homeland Security, the CIA, NSA, EIEIO all feel equally ENTITLED to as much of our tax and 'printed from thin air debt' money as they feel is justified to gird against every conceivable threat now and in the future.

Every threat, real (mostly from self-inflicted blow-back from foreign oil dependency for our bloated non-negotiable lifestyles) and imagined.

Until and unless Congress offers substantive reduction in Military Industrial Complex (MIC) spending, they can stick their social security and Medicare cuts and continued and enhanced tax breaks for the wealthy in their pipes and smoke them.

Didn't the British government just agree to ~ 25% cuts in non-MoD spending and up to ~15% cuts in MoD spending over the next fiscal cycle?

Paul Ryan et al are not serious about balancing the budget. Neither are the Dems...cuts must come from entitlements AND the MIC, AND tax increases must be enacted, to balance the budgets and pay off the debt expeditiously (say within ~ 6-7 years).

And where the heck were all these folks back when tricky Dick Cheney said in an interview, out of his crooked mouth, that "Deficits don't matter"?

This is all about making everyone vassals of the top 2%, even much more than at present.



Despite recently updating the kill-vehicle (making it Raytheon’s most advanced anti-missile device) it has only passed one out of three tests. The original and updated versions have failed seven out of fifteen tests. I wouldn’t bet my security on a 53% success rate.


I’ll add that you and I contribute financially to each test, which run about $150 million an attempt.


The Government Accountability Office has called on the Missile Defense Agency to continue reforms in transparency and accountability in order to demonstrate system performance before the missile defense production and acquisition resumes. That’s great, except you and I have already bought at least 52 of these kill-vehicles from Raytheon at $20-$25million a head. Carlton also would not say how many more kill-vehicles the Missile Defense Agency contracted Raytheon to build.

I bet you all didn't know that some years back the U.S. created from whole cloth what I consider to be essentially the seed of a fifth armed service...The Missile Defense Agency (MDA).


Out of sight, out of mind...your tax (and debt) dollars keeping a lot of folks in high cotton.

I like the star-and-crescent logo

It is very aspirational, as it depicts a successful missile intercept.

I wonder how much we taxpayers paid for someone to design this logo?

Deficits don't matter I guess, as long as the money goes to welfare to support highly-paid engineers and scientists producing systems of questionable utility to mankind.

Oil Prices Will Ease in 2012 on Stimulus Withdrawal,

Wow, he really thinks a lot of the magnitude to which stimulus is holding up the economy. 60 dollars as representive of a percentage of economic activity in relation to current price is about 1/2 if compared to Brent oil. So he thinks the stimulus is maintaining 1/2 of the world economy?

To get back down to 60 dollars would take another massive recession, and it might happen if oil price keeps rising, but I doubt it will occur due to a reduction or even elimination of stimulus.


Thursday, April 28, 2011 9:30 a.m.

Briefing on the Status of NRC Response to Events in Japan and Briefing on Station Blackout (Public Meeting)(Contact: George Wilson, 301-415-1711)

This meeting will be webcast live at the Web address-- www.nrc.gov

This will probably get dug up by the 'abiotic' folks. Best to have the facts of the study handy before they start running off at the mouth.

Hydrocarbons in the deep earth

A new computational study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals how hydrocarbons may be formed from methane in deep Earth at extreme pressures and temperatures.

...They found that hydrocarbons with multiple carbon atoms can form from methane, (a molecule with only one carbon and four hydrogen atoms) at temperatures greater than 1,500 K (2,240 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressures 50,000 times those at the Earth's surface (conditions found about 70 miles below the surface).

..."Our simulation study shows that methane molecules fuse to form larger hydrocarbon molecules when exposed to the very high temperatures and pressures of the Earth's upper mantle," Galli said. "We don't say that higher hydrocarbons actually occur under the realistic 'dirty' Earth mantle conditions, but we say that the pressures and temperatures alone are right for it to happen.

S - Interesting but good to bear in mind they shoot themselves in the foot with respect to those long chain hydrocabons reaching the surface. To reach the surface, where they would be usefull for usins, the pressure encountered would be below the point of stability. Thus the long chain would break back down to methane or perhaps be completely destroyed. Proving that trillions of bbls of complex hydrocarbons may exist in the mantle to which we have no access doesn't do much to change the outlook of PO.

Agree completely

That's right. Even if long-chain hydrocarbons (e.g. those in crude oil) were formed at extreme depths, they would be destroyed by conditions on their way to the surface. Volcanic lava just isn't a friendly environment for oil to survive in.

Rocky - But it would make a good Movie of the Week. Unfortunatly the majority of our citizens would believe it's true. Especially if it included finding the secret hideout of Elvis where he's been stashed away all these years by the CIA. Hey...it could be true. My cousin overheard a guy talking about it one night in a bar.

An amusement for


Random numbers sourced online from noise




Energy dollars fueled campaigns of Democrats who defected on EPA vote

The 19 House Democrats who sided with the Republican majority last week in favor of preventing the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases received almost as much money from the coal, oil and gas industries as all other Democrats combined during 2009 and 2010, federal elections data shows.

Surprise, surprise.

Again this allows me to beat that dead horse again: we have a one party system composed of politicians whose primary goal is re-election. That may be denying AGW one year and embracing it several years later. Doesn't matter what they really believe IMHO. A R will support the EPA if that's gets him re-elected just a quickly as a D will condemn it if that's what it takes to get the votes. What frustrates me even worse is how so many folks buy into this sham and really believe it's "us against them".

Yep. we have been living in a one party state for 200+ years.
Pepsi, and Pepsi Lite.
Not that there are not differences when it comes to women's, workplace, or, if it doesn't get in the way of business, the environment.
But same economic system based on total delusion.

That poor dead horse! It IS us against them, of course, but, as you say, it is tough to see today's D party (Geithner, Summers, Rockefeller, etc.) as "us." And let's don't start with the R's. No wonder US voters stay home half the time. We have this great legislative democracy, yet it's impossible to get a government that reflects most people's interests or deals with pressing problems.

Ran across an interesting insight from an Interagency Teaming to Counter Irregular Threats Handbook. Although the handbook is targeted at coordinating multiple agencies regarding irregular threats, Section 3.10 captures a number of aspects that we seem to see when looking at 'BIG PROBLEMS' like peak oil, climate change, collapsing economy, etc.

Here's a snippet (excuse the long post)

Sec 3.10 Wicked Problems
Nancy Roberts of the Naval Postgraduate School: Government officials and public managers are encountering a class of problems that defy solution, even with our most sophisticated analytical tools. These problems are called “wicked” because they have the following characteristics:

>1. There is no definitive statement of the problem; in fact, there is broad disagreement on what “the problem” is.

>2. Without a definitive statement of the problem, the search for solutions is open ended. Stakeholders—those who have a stake in the problem and its solution—champion alternative solutions and compete with one another to frame “the problem” in a way that directly connects their preferred solution and their preferred problem definition.

>3. The problem solving process is complex because constraints, such as resources and political ramifications, are constantly changing.

>4. Constraints also change because they are generated by numerous interested parties who “come and go, change their minds, fail to communicate, or otherwise change the rules by which the problem must be solved.”

Roberts distinguishes wicked problems from other types of problems:

>Type 1 problems, or what I call “simple problems,” enjoy a consensus on a problem definition and solution. For example, a group of machinists agree that a machine has broken down and they also agree how to fix it. Problem solving is straightforward engendering little if any conflict among those involved. Given their training and experience, these problem solvers, within a short period of time, recognize what the problem is and activate established routines and standard procedures to deal with it.

>Type 2 problems introduce conflict to the problem solving process. I call them “complex problems”. Although problem solvers agree on what the problem is, there is no consensus on how to solve it . . .

>Type 3 problems engender a high level of conflict among the stakeholders. In this instance, there is no agreement on the problem or its solution . . . Nothing really bounds the problem solving process—it is experienced as ambiguous, fluid, complex, political, and frustrating as hell. In short, it is wicked.

Many problems faced by the interagency team, particularly those relating to irregular threats peak oil, climate change, or collapsing economy, fall into this third category. Depending on their perspectives, each team member may view an irregular threat peak oil, climate change, or collapsing economy in a different light and have a different view of the solution.

An attempt to leap into the solution space without first agreeing on the problem can lead to the kind of disjointed approach observed by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR): “the [Coalition Provisional Authority] approach to reconstruction [had] a disjointed and ad hoc quality: Get the oil flowing. Stop the smugglers. Get the electricity up and running. Clean out the sewers. Rewrite the textbooks. Change the currency. Employ more Iraqis. Focus on the cities. Focus on agriculture. Focus on security . . .”

Table 2. Characteristics of Successful Interagency Team Members (Sec 4.3) has some useful insights also.

"If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would take 59 minutes to define the problem and 1 minute to solve it." - Albert Einstein

"If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would take 59 minutes to define the problem and 1 minute to solve it." - Albert Einstein

Nice quote. :)

Sadly, in reality we would argue 59 minutes who's fault it is that the world is going to end (Dems? Reps? Gays?), some of us would even argue that everything is fine, no need for panic.
In the final minute we would just watch it burn, and some guys would try to make the last quick bucks out of it... :P

Most interesting. Even as I was just starting to read the thing, I could see exactly where it was going, and the relevance to peak oil and climate change was stunningly obvious..

Seraph. All we ever do is 'define' the problem and recommend solutions. Meeting after meeting. Treaty after treaty.

Peter de Noronha (1897-1970)
The safest refuge when dealing with urgent, ticklish problems is sought in shirking responsibility, in gaining time by the formation of Committees, with the requisite Sub-Committees to tackle the problem. It is the well-known practice of Promise, Pause, Prepare, Postpone and end by letting things alone. But this cannot last for ever. Now the secret of these Committees is that they consist of a group of men, who individually can do nothing, but collectively can meet and decide that nothing can be done, whilst they know that the best Sub-Committees consist of three persons, two of whom are always absent! Further it is mentioned that if you want to kill an idea in the world today, get a Committee working on it. Adds J.B. Hughes, "If Moses had been a Committee, the Israelites would still be in Egypt."

I seem to remember a salient quote. " A camel is a horse designed by a committee"

That Einstein quote looks to be something one might wish he said, rather than anything he did say...

Actually, struck me as kinda weak if it's one of his. I guess they can't all be gems.

What about the set of solutions that take >1 minute?

Good point. That set of solutions ... er ... remains a problem.

Those are the kind of problems we have Deciders for:

Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''


Probably nothing to be concerned about

Presidential Directive on “National Preparedness”

The Obama Administration today released the text of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8 (pdf) on “National Preparedness.” The Directive, signed by President Obama on March 30, generally calls for development of systematic response plans for natural and manmade disasters, and seeks to enlist broad engagement in the process.

Fom Wiki: Presidential Directives, better known as Presidential Decision Directives or PDD are a form of an executive order issued by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the National Security Council. As a National Security instrument, the PDD articulates the executive's policy, carries the "full force and effect of law",[1] and throughout the terms of presidents, have taken on various titles or intents towards national security policy.

and http://www.fulton-umc.org/Shake-out.pdf

To put this document in context, one should have available the earlier documents which are referenced and which this document largely replaces. Those would be HSPD-8 (2003) and HSDP-8 Annex 1 (2007). There's the possibility that this directive represents an improvement compared to the ones signed by Gee Dubyah...

E. Swanson


The Random.org from KalimankuDenku and the Wicked Problems reference from Seraph are winners today!

All the TOD conversations and perspectives are interesting, but these types of nuggets are super!

I am going to share the wicked problem post with a team of analysts Monday!


Note that the "wicked problem" formulation dates back to the early 1970s among urban planning theorists; it is not something that the folks at the military school came up with.


Next week PBS is airing a new episode of the science show "NOVA" that the denizens of TOD may be interested in:

Power Surge: Are we finally on the brink of a clean energy revolution?

Can our technology, which helped create this problem, now solve it?

Good question! I should probably reserve judgment until I see the episode, but based on the website I suspect it will be an epic fail. Why ask the right question from the start and then waste the entire hour not only failing to answer it in any meaningful way, but just mindlessly cheerleading for the same old litany of techno-boondoggles?

Oh, right, I forgot about their major corporate sponsors.


Power Surge: Are we finally on the brink of a clean energy revolution?

Based on recent evidence, I am leaning toward the "epic fail" scenario, too.

Hunker down and get ready. Stock up on candles. Don't buy a car with more than four cylinders, and only buy that if you can't buy one with fewer. A bicycle and a good set of walking shoes might be useful as well.

It will probably be interesting, but I suspect you are right that this will be cornucopianism on parade.

Can you imagine the PBS series called, "Epic Fail - we are running out of cheap energy"?

Wouldnt the conservatives cut the remaining 1% of Public TV funding then.

Oh, right, I forgot about their major corporate sponsors.

Yes, I can't expect them to go against the interests of the Koch brothers. I don't plan to watch it, I hate the BS.

Hello All

I'm in need of 'TOD eyes' to confirm or deny the following assertion:

Next big moves in Natural Gas exploration will be Ohio and Michigan. Lease acquisition teams have already been dispatched.

- OilfieldGuy at Word Up Blog.

I'm pretty much a daily reader and this is new to me. My searches, to date, have been ineffective. This assertion was made on a NC blog where a local community is organizing to assess local fracking proposals to commence.

Thanks for any assistance or information provided.

The way they are going it seems like the earth will someday soon have had its entire crust blasted to smithereens in the search for puffs of gas.

The way they are going it seems like the earth will someday soon have had its entire crust blasted to smithereens in the search for puffs of gas.

Hey, don't discount those puffs of gas. Even if we have to carpet bomb the entire planet with thermo-nuclear bombs to do it - BAU at any cost! Just keep trying to prove the peak oil critics wrong, and while we are at it lets continue to provide opportunities for a select few to become billionaires while doing whatever is necessary to get those puffs of gas to market. After all what is a world without a tiny percentage awash in piles of gold, silver, platinum, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, helicopters, islands, lear jets, million dollar wardrobes, collector cars and yachts the size of destroyers? Stay focused!

Radioactive Frack Waste Dumping Prohibited

W.Va. bans wastewater from being let loose in rivers, streams, wells
April 8, 2011
By CASEY JUNKINS - Staff Writer With AP Dispatches , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - West Virginia environmental regulators do not allow natural gas companies to dump radioactive frack water from drilling sites into streams, rivers or injection wells.

Pennsylvania regulators are preparing to screen the frack water for radioactive elements such as uranium and radium.

These elements are found in fracking wastewater because they are naturally occurring in the earth.

Mountain State officials said such rules are already in place in West Virginia to prevent these elements from entering the state's water supplies.

Perhaps the natural gas folks need to get with TEPCO and find out how to release such wastes into the ocean? It seems hydrocarbons and nuclear are linked in oh so many ways. I have a better idea. Quit taking radioactive substances from the ground when you do not have to.

TFHF - Wow...amazing. Took my Yankee cousins just a few years to bring themselves up to oil field waste water disposal regs we have in Texas...and have had for over 50 years. What will they think of next...indoor pumbing?

Yes...I'm being a tad sarcastic. But for a couple of years I've been pointing out the real danger of frac jobs: surface disposal of produced frac fluids. Until very recently PA municipal water treatment plants were allowing these fluids to be dumped into their systems. Get caught doing that in Texas and there's a fair chance you'll get a little vacation in the state pen. Texas did have its very bad oil field pollution days. But that was many decades ago. It's pretty easy to fix: screw up a little and you get a very heavy fine. Screw up big time and you lose your business, never allowed to drill in Texas again and, if really bad, get a little prison time. It isn't that difficult to control.

Good hearing from you Rocky. Texas is trying to be first again but is this new bill DOA? I hear produced frac fluids can be quite the toxic brew.

Texas Fracking Disclosure Bill Could Change Regulatory Landscape

Date Published: Friday, March 25th, 2011
A bill in Texas that would require the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing could become a model for other states if it is adopted. According to a report in The New York Times, the bill, which was introduced this month by Republic State Representative Jim Keffer, has gained the support of environmental groups like the Sierra Club, as well as the energy industry.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals into shale deposits under high pressure to release natural gas, is generally exempt from regulation under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result, the federal government does not require natural gas drillers to disclose the ingredients in their fracking fluid, and most regulation of hydraulic fracturing is left up to individual states.

TFHG - Maybe the Halliburtons are concerned about such efforts, The rest of us could care less. Virtually all oil field waste water here is disposed by injection into deep salt water formations. Granted some disposal companies till make illegal surface dumps. But some folks my be surprised to know who reports most of those activities: oil field hands. Think about it: most live in the country and drink well water. My 12 yo daughter drinks well water evey day. I've mentioned it before: I helped bust two "midnight haulers" over the years.

BTW: the state has had legal access to all oil field fluids for decades and could have them analyzed for content anytime they wanted.

BTW: the state has had legal access to all oil field fluids for decades and could have them analyzed for content anytime they wanted.
Not zero in on you but when I got to Yahoo, I saw this. Are the deep wells an issue?

WASHINGTON – Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009, a report by three House Democrats said Saturday.

The report said 29 of the chemicals injected were known-or-suspected human carcinogens. They either were regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act as risks to human health or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Methanol was the most widely used chemical. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The report was issued by Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado.

TFHG - "Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009". And this is a very good thing. Those nasty chemicals are injected into salt water filled formations thousands of feet below the surface. In reservoirs that will never be produced to the surface. Far below the drinking water aquifers. The best place in the world to dispose of them IMHO. Better there then Mobile Bay, eh?

Reports like that seem to want to expose some sort of great hidden conspiracy. Texas operators have spent 100’s of $millions disposal of such fluids in just this manner. And not because they wanted to. TEXAS STATE LAW REQUIRES IT BE DONE. LOL. Maybe Waxman and the boys should run down to Texas and arrest our regulators. I doubt you would hear much complaint from the oil patch. LOL

Methanol was the most widely used chemical. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Oddly enough, if this was the *only* contaminant, then the frac water could not only be safely disposed of in a sewage treatment plant, it would actually improve the process. Methanol is a commonly used additive in "advanced watsteater treatment;

Denitrification is accomplished under anaerobic or near anaerobic conditions by bacteria commonly found in wastewater. Nitrates are removed by two mechanisms: (1) Conversion of NO3 to N2 gas by bacterial metabolism and (2) conversion of NO3 to nitrogen contained in cell mass which may be removed by settling.

In order for denitrification to occur, a carbon source must be available. Most commonly, methanol is used. The methanol must be added in sufficient quantity to provide for cell growth and to consume any dissolved oxygen which may be carried into the denitrification reactor.

[from http://water.me.vccs.edu/courses/ENV149/advancedb.htm ]

Note that by judicious use of methanol, the presence of nitrates in effluent, which contribute to algae blooms and the like, are removed.

Methanol can also be used directly on plants to improve growth and yield. From the abstract of a study on soybeans [ http://www.scipub.org/fulltext/ajbb/ajbb54162-169.pdf ]

Foliar application of 14 and 21% (v/v) methanol
increased leaf area index, crop growth rate, pod growth rate, leaf area duration, pod yield, seed yield,
weight of 1000 kernel, mature pods per plants.

Methanol may not be safe for humans to drink, but it is far from being a serious environmental pollutant. keep the frac fluid clean of other stuff and you might be able to sell it to a farmer!

A classic case of a "pollutant" simply being a resource in the wrong time or place.

As for the rest of the stuff in frac fluids, I have no idea, but methanol alone is not really a problem.

And there is the interesting claim by the folar feeders that Methanol added in small parts to the leaves of plants will make 'em grow better.

One man's toxin is anothers biological helper at low levels.

"Even if we have to carpet bomb the entire planet with thermo-nuclear bombs to do it - BAU at any cost!"

Pyromaniac Monkeys for Perpetual Growth & Planetary Domination (Members Only)

Search for info on Collingwood/Utica Shale.


Lots to work with there !

Thanks, kalliergo.

RBM - Ohio and Mich have been a significan't part of the oil patch for over 80 years. Maybe you're hearing about some "new" shale gas play heading their way. In particular the Antrim Shale. Although the Antrim Shale has produced gas for more than 70 years, the play was not very active until 25 years ago. During the 1990s, the Antrim became the most actively drilled shale gas play in the US, with thousands of wells drilled. To date, the shale has produced more than 2.5 TCF from more than 9 thousand wells. Go here if you would like more details:


And almost all those wells were frac'd. Bet no one remembers much stories about that 20 years ago.

Right, but now they're starting to work a formation 8-10K ft. deeper.

k - Yep. As NG prices rise the wells drill deeper. Pure economics: more $'s out allows more $'s invested.

Today's question, what burns more fuel, a Nascar Race Field or a MLB team playing in Japan?
As far as I can tell it is not close.
According to ChaCha
How much fuel does an airplane use on a transatlantic flight?
Using a Boeing 777, the flight is approximately 3350 air miles and burns approximately 16,300 gallons of jet fuel. Thanks, ChaCha!

NASCAR officials estimate their sport consumes about 6,000 gallons of specially refined racing fuel during a typical race weekend, including practice sessions, qualifying and the race.

Of course I am missing many things, like one is jet fuel the other 110 octane gasoline. The fans have to get to the event. Assume lights for baseball and none on the tracks for Nascar. What other significant energy differences can you think of? Does these events use much more energy than just staying home and running around town in the car?

The members here just like to pick on Nascar to flaunt thier eco creds.

Nascar is to the best of my knowledge the ONLY self supporting major spectator sport in the US-I have not heard about any city or state building any race tracks for them.

Stories about mega millionaire baseball and football team owners taking thier ball club and leaving town unless they get a free new facility on the taxpayers dime are as common as crabgrass.

I've been to big time races, such as the ones at Charlotte , NC, and big time football games-the crowds are roughly comparable, although the Nascar folks are more likely to show up in motor homes and stay for the weekend , as there are typically competitions on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The really big difference is that while there is only one Sprint Cup event(the top level and the bigggest draw by far) on any given weekend, there are NUMEROUS professional football, basketball, and baseball games drawing combined audiences many times as large.Needless to say, a goodly percentage of the fans of these other sports obviously drive to the games.

The fuel consumed at a race is obviously only a small fraction of the fuel comsumed by the spectators in getting there and back home.
The last time I was at Charlotte, I estimate that there must have been AT LEAST ten thousand cars in the various parking lots, probably a lot more, maybe twice or even three times as many.

Most of the spectators live at least a forty to forty five minute drive away.Lots of them live several hours away.

All this having been said, I do grok peak oil-as the regulars here know.

I fully expect to see the American's infatuation with the personal automobile come to an end if I and lucky enough to live another decade or two.

My personal guess is that a college football game played by a top ten team with a big fan base results in about as much fuel being used as a typical automobile race, all things considered.

I fully expect to see the American's infatuation with the personal automobile come to an end if I and lucky enough to live another decade or two.
Perhaps, but do not count out the stoners and rednecks racing something!

In 2010, the NHRA approved electric powered junior dragsters (EPJDs) to race against gas junior dragsters. NEDRA expects more interest in the sport as a result of the change in the NHRA rules and we are here to help those who are interested in building these vehicles.

NEDRA Junior Dragster Class Records
Electric Powered Junior Dragster Class Designation begin with JR/xy.

where x = Age Class and y = Voltage Division.

For example, a junior racer who is 14 years old and racing a 72 volt dragster would be in Class JR/BH

Is the NHRA Top Electric class far away?

There is already a world championship for electric motorbikes, and it is entering its third year;

Of course, racing renewable powered vehicles is nothing new, from sailboats to Ben Hur's chariots.

Drag racing is a particularly good one for electrics as you don't need a lot of battery storage. The high current supercapacitors are ideal for this.

Perhaps but the NHRA are targeting the young. What vision. Hope it turns out better than Major League Soccer.


"Critics of wind energy often charge that wind energy is too "unreliable" to generate a large portion of a nation's electricity and suggest that base load needs "reliable" sources of generation such as nuclear power.

While wind is a "variable" resource, that is, the wind doesn't always blow and when it does it doesn't always blow at the same strength, wind is far more reliable than the critics charge. In fact, wind is fairly predictable on long time horizons, especially from one year to the next.

In contrast, nuclear power is "reliable" until it isn't as the units at the Fukushima nuclear power plant so dramatically demonstrate. "


Of course we are comparing one reactor to thousands of DISTRIBUTED sources but that is the point. The real capacity factor of complex generation system is product of many variables. The rate of innovation for distributed generation is many times of fossilized centralized generation, so we can expect continuous gains in output from RE bases distributed generation.

I was searching around to find any current readings on global rad levels, and went to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty site, and found this Multimedia Film that shows a representation of all the Nuclear Explosion tests from 1945-1998 (2053 total)

It was interesting to see the tests by France, coincident with their great buildout of Civilian Nuclear power.. a relationship?

In any case, the US Southwest has sure had a lot of action.. (much of it underground, but still)

"First we got the bomb, and that was good,
cuz we love peace and brotherhood;

Then Russia got the bomb, but that's OK
cuz the balance of power's maintained that way .. Who's Next?..

France got the bomb, but don't you grieve,
cuz they're on our side, (we believe) ... " - Tom Lehrer "Who's Next?"


Apr 25, International organizations to re-assess nuclear emergency response framework

VIENNA - “The CTBTO stands ready to further cooperate with and provide expert advice to the IAEA and other relevant organizations and for its global monitoring system to continue contributing to disaster prevention and mitigation,” the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Tibor Tóth said today

The Hasimoto video would not play.
Here is the media directly:



...It was interesting to see the tests by France, coincident with their great buildout of Civilian Nuclear power.. a relationship?

Yes there was (though it was the other way around). You might find this an interesting read.

CIA Intelligence Assessment: French Reprocessing Spent Fuel to Plutonium


Emphasis added.

Japan TEPCO says aims to bring radiation down in three months

TOKYO, April 17 | Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:07am EDT

(Reuters) - Japanese nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) aims to bring radiation levels at its damaged Fukushima Daiichi facility on a downward trend in around three months, the company said on Sunday.

The company also said it aims to greatly limit radiation leaks in three to six months, and that it later plans to cover the reactor building.


Fukushima - that sounds familiar. Yeah, I think I remember something about that - something in Japan, right? Isn't that a volcano or something?

You gotta move on dude, that is old news. Nobody talks about that anymore, there are much fresher, more exciting things to think about. And besides, that was far away and they said everything was OK over here, so what's the big deal?

Got the sarcasm. But for those with really long attention spans, able to remember what
Fukushima was all about, there are these links of possible interest:

For financial fans:

This, for other fall out:

And at the bottom of that link is a link to some interesting photos here:

Thanks for the info - as I was sarcaticly pointing out, I think the biggest news is how quickly this story has disappeared.

"These are not the droids you are looking for"

Thanks for the link. Obviously this is still a situation that bears watching.

World Bank president: 'One shock away from crisis'

In addition to the obvious ramifications of higher food prices in developing nations, I found this an interesting concept:

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn raised particular concerns about high levels of unemployment among young people.

"It's probably too much to say that it's a jobless recovery, but it's certainly a recovery with not enough jobs," he said.

"Especially because of youth unemployment... there is now a risk that this will be turned into a life sentence, and that there is a possibility of a lost generation," he said.

"Especially because of youth unemployment... there is now a risk that this will be turned into a life sentence, and that there is a possibility of a lost generation," he said.

Well it shouldn't take a genius to figure out that that is precisely what you might expect if you keep stealing the resources of future generations. However, what I think they are still missing in terms of insight into the big picture and what can already be pretty clearly read on the walls, is that a large part of that generation they're giving up on as lost may be somewhat reluctant to just roll over and play dead. Witness what is happening even now with political unrest in the ME and elsewhere.

I agree. So far the Western youth are still being pampered enough not to rise up. I don't know what it would take for them to do that. The thing that worries me is that if they did rise up I'm not sure that they'd really know why they're rising up or even what they're aiming towards!

Well, you're absolutely right! Perhaps you should lead the charge?

Sorry, but I just find it hard not to resist to poke at some people complaining at the 'pampered' states of others while usually doing very little themselves.
I understand you have some sort of physical condition(or so did you seem to suggest beofre) but one can spiritually lead a revolution from one's home too, perhaps as a part-time job ;)

Haha, good points. But let me be clear - I am one of the pampered youth and, despite having a more scientific background than the average person my age, I don't even know what I'd be aiming towards! Sometimes the best intentions... and all that.

I was just trying to explain that the reason the youth in the West are not revolting as of yet is because their lives are comfortable enough to not worry about things (what I meant by pampered). They're not really feeling the true sting of hunger/oppression etc.

Here is the latest peer reviewed article from Alan Carlin of the U S EPA on the economics of global warming http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/8/4/985/pdf

The pull quote is

The risk of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming appears to be so low that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it, including geoengineering.


—–Original Message—–

Sir John Sulston, Chair
People and the Planet Working Group
UK Royal Society
March 31, 2011

Dear Sir John Sulston:

Your recent comments regarding the review of research on the human population and its impact on the planet we inhabit by a high level panel of experts give rise to hope for the future of children everywhere. Thanks for all you, the Planet and the People Working Group and the UK Royal Society are doing to protect biodiversity from massive extirpation, the environment from irreversible degradation and the Earth from wanton dissipation of its finite resources by the human species. I am especially appreciative for two quotes from you,

…… “we’ve got to make sure that population is recognized…. as a multiplier of many others. We’ve got to make sure that population really does peak out when we hope it will.”

…….”what we want to do is to see the issue of population in the open, dispassionately discussed…. and then we’ll see where it goes.”

Inasmuch as you and an esteemed group of professionals with appropriate expertise are examining scientific evidence regarding the unbridled increase of absolute global human population numbers, please note there is research that has been summarily dismissed by many too many of our colleagues regarding human population dynamics and human overpopulation which I would like to bring to your attention. For the past ten years I have been unsuccessfully attempting to draw attention to certain evidence that to date remains both unchallenged and ignored by virtually every top-rank professional. They appear unable to refute the evidence and simultaneously unwilling to believe it. Their unexpected conspiracy of silence has served to conceal certain research by David Pimentel and Russell Hopfenberg. How else can it be that so many established professionals with adequate expertise act as if they are willfully blind, hysterically deaf and electively mute in the face of scientific evidence of human population dynamics and human overpopulation? The conscious denial of what could somehow be real about the growth of the human population in our time is not doing anything that can be construed as somehow right and good for future human wellbeing and environmental health, I suppose. It appears as if we could be witnesses to the most colossal failure of intellectual honesty, moral courage and nerve in human history.

Peer-reviewed professional publications, letters to the editor, slideshow presentations et cetera can be found at the following link, http://www.panearth.org/

Thank you for attending to this request for careful, skillful and rigorous scrutiny of research from two outstanding scientists. Please know I am holding onto a ray of hope that the research of Hopfenberg and Pimentel is fundamentally flawed; that human population dynamics is different from, not essentially similar to, the population dynamics of other species; and that human population numbers are not primarily a function of an available supply of food necessary for human existence. That would be the best news.

Sometime soon, I trust, many scientists will speak up with regard to apparently unforeseen and unfortunately unwelcome science of human population dynamics and human overpopulation the way people in huge numbers in the Mid-East are calling out for democracy now.

Respectfully yours,

Steve Salmony

Human beings with feet of clay are in possession of all that is needed to change the world. All that is required is for us to speak out now here loudly, clearly and often with one voice. All that the self-proclaimed masters of the universe... among us control now will change. After all, the masters of the universe are a few million in number; whereas, human beings with feet of clay number in the billions.

Speaking out about what could somehow be true is the requirement for change. Otherwise the endless production of ideological idiocy and self-serving logical contrivances by the overly educated sychophants and absurdly enriched minions of the masters of the universe will continue to be streamed into the mass media... as if such specious thinking represented what is real and true.

As things stand now here and in many other time-spaces, the silence of human beings with knowledge of what is somehow real could not be more deafening, nor the dark clouds gathering before all of us more forbidding. Elective mutism by the knowledgeable has vanquished 'the light' and the hope for a sustainable future that only science can provide to the human family.

Rachel Carson was correct years ago, I suppose, when noting,

“We stand now where two roads diverge…… The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road-the one “less traveled by”-offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

I fear we will not choose to take 'the other fork of the road' until it is too late to make a difference that makes a difference for the future...

The United Nations' Rio+20 Conference occurs next year, 455 days from now. If circumstances are favorable, I will find a way to attend the conference just as I found a way to attend the Earth Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. I do not know why I went to South Africa then and do not know why I will go to Brazil next year. Perhaps there will be a chance to speak out.

The human community has enormous human-induced global challenges looming before us, ones that could likely descend with a vengeance upon our unaware children, if not before, and we refuse even to talk about the “mother” of these global challenges. Ecological threats to human well being and environmental health are already visible in the offing, but we choose silence over science; ideological idiocy over evidence-based research.

To leave the children unaware and unprepared to address and overcome global challenges because their soft, sanctimonious, silly, selfish and stupid elders refused to so much as acknowledge the best available science regarding human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth seems somehow not quite right.

A single generation has shown itself to be quite ready, willing and able to ravage the Earth and leave the mess made in the process for the children to clean up. What are we to say, finally, about a generation that mortgages the future of its children, threatens their very existence and chooses in every present moment to willfully deny their adult responsibilities so they can keep greedily doing just as they like, come what may?

If greed-mongering rules the world, the world we are blessed to inhabit, the one we are borrowing from our children, does not “ruffle some feathers” and arouse us to speak out, then what is the point of speech? We have evidently chosen to forget the words of an ancestor who reminds all of us, even now, "Speak out as if you are a million voices because your silence kills the world."

Not to pick on Christians specifically, but we need to get past this sort of thing:

Genesis 9:7, various translations:

New International Version (©1984)
As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."

New Living Translation (©2007)
Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth."

English Standard Version (©2001)
And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it.”

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it."

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Be fertile, and increase in number. Spread over the earth, and increase."

King James Bible
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.....

... Bible in Basic English
And now, be fertile and have increase; have offspring on the earth and become great in number.

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Yeah Steven, the part where God said: " ...and when you get to around a couple of billion, you can stop." must've been lost in translation. I guess he knew, at some point, we'd figure it out for ourselves :-/

...that's why I love mankind..


Since we digress, to be fair to The Book, I think the injunction to stop is here:

Genesis 1:28 (King James), “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth….”

[replenish: to fill up again; fill or stock in abundance] IMHO the key word is fill, and how you interpret it.

And if you care to keep reading:

Revelation 11:18 (New World Translation), “But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, … and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”

In other words, “If you f**k the place up, there will be consequences.”

Regardless of the merit of the article, I find it worth noting that this class of "peer reviewed" article is starting to proliferate on the internet. MDPI.com is an open access publishing house that has very minimal requirements for entry. You just know the reviewers don't spend much time with the contents of the submitted papers. It's really becoming either (1) a big sham or (2) a mechanism for breaking out ideas from people that normally don't have access to the prestigious print channels.

My preferred approach is just to get the information out there and if it is good work, it will rise to the top. Scientists should know good work when they see it and need to start pushing insightful ideas regardless of where they appear. Saying something is peer reviewed doesn't hold the same water it once did.

Fun reading!

There is little doubt that proposals to mitigate the threat of climate change, sometimes referred to as catastrophic anthropogenic climate change (CAGW) or global warming ...

CAGW is bs terminology invented on the internet without scientific definition used for political propaganda purposes. When I see "CAGW", its an automatic signal that the science content is likely poor.

And as a humorous aside, note that his acronym doesn't even match his labeling phrase.

This article was initially motivated by personal discussions with two of the principal economic analysts on this subject concerning the validity of the physical science inputs that they had used. One said that he had never examined the physical science inputs he used from the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) efforts since he assumed that they were valid. The other said that he believed there should be a division of effort and that since his expertise was not in the physical sciences this should be left to experts in this field, which he felt included the UN IPCC.

An anecdotal paragraph without citations. Any facts here?

According to my definition of valid science in Section 1.2...

A personal definition of valid science ... okay ....

The various UN IPCC reports broadly argue that the authors cannot think of any reasonable source of global warming other than the increasing level of some GHGs, so that must be the cause.

Really? The IPCC authors argue that they cannot think of any reasonable source of global warming other than increasing levels of GHGs? How is this shown?

One is that climate researchers have long been mystified by the fact that the Mauna Loa CO2 measurements can only account for about half of the anthropogenic emissions (as shown in Figure 1), so they have long sought a ―missing sink for CO2.

Again, broad claims without any citation. Scientists are not mystified and CO2 sinks are not "long sought" or "missing."

I think that's enough.

Bruce, have you read this article with a skeptical eye? Are you able to? If so, why in the name of God are you trying to push this schlock? And if not, why in the name of God are you trying to push this schlock? :lol:

Again, broad claims without any citation. Scientists are not mystified and CO2 sinks are not "long sought" or "missing."

As far as I can tell, the only question is what the historical baseline for CO2 is, with a consensus average somewhere around 280 for the period leading up to the industrial revolution.
I think it is 294.

This is the same Alan Carlin who's insightful report and its subsequent "Suppression" by the EPA made him a darling of the climate zombies and Fox News. Some analysis of his so called research (which evidently is drawn primarily form climate denialist websites) can be found at both Real Climate and Deep Climate

Peer review indeed!

John Carlos Baez from the Azimuth Project put together a crackpot index:
I read through this once in a while because we all have to be aware of emerging crackpotsmanship.

Look at the order of Nouns in the Title..

Evaluating Environmental Disruption through the Specialized Porthole of Economics is like evaluating Public Schools by asking the Classifieds Editor.

You might as well ask a Marriage Counselor to come to work with a JackHammer.

'CO2 emissions reductions are economically unattractive since the very modest benefits remaining after the corrections for the above effects are quite unlikely to economically justify the much higher costs unless much lower cost geoengineering is used.'

Or.. you could keep lookout for Icebergs by watching CNN from the Lido Deck's Bar TV..

I'd actually say it spills the beans quite nicely.

It explains the economic justification for denying AGW exists, or if it exists that it is a problem.

No, the "pull quote" comes from the abstract (emphasis added):

The economic benefits of reducing CO2 emissions may be about two orders of magnitude less than those estimated by most economists because the climate sensitivity factor (CSF) is much lower than assumed by the United Nations because feedback is negative rather than positive and the effects of CO2 emissions reductions on atmospheric CO2 appear to be short rather than long lasting.

If this statement is incorrect, then the rest of the report is wrong as well. Carlin's paper is quite long (47 page PDF), and from the very start, it appears he is attempting to demolish the science, as an economist without the usual scientific background. Carlin draws this conclusion from work found in work by Lindzen and Choi and also work by Spencer and Braswell, both of which have been debunked. Spencer's work was especially bad, as shown HERE. The most obvious rebuttal to the claim that the feedback is negative is that it's obvious that there were Ice Ages in the past, for which there is no explanation without a positive feedback to amplify the slight variations in solar energy which result from the changes in orbital cycles found by Milankovitch.

Carlin begins by demanding experimental proof and rejecting modeling efforts out of hand. Trouble is, we don't have another Earth upon which to conduct such a "valid" experiment. So far, the lab work appears to support the claim that increasing CO2 will warm the Earth. What more does he need? One would assume that Carlin thinks his economic models are reasonable, even though it's even less likely that these models can be "verified" the way which Carlin demands for the physics based models used in both weather and climate forecasts.

Also, Carlin does not claim to be presently employed by the EPA. He was apparently so employed until he wrote a similar report, apparently causing considerable controversy in 2009. Carlin has since worked for the Competitive Enterprise Institute and runs hid own blog. Note the acknowledgments at the end of this report:

The author would like to acknowledge the many helpful comments of the anonymous peer reviewers and the original encouragement of Fred Singer to undertake an article on this topic.

Fred Singer is without doubt the leading denialist in the US...

E. Swanson

Here's a random sample price for regular gasoline in Vancouver. My neighborhood Chevron station is now charging 1.389 CA$/liter. This works out to: 1.389 CA$/liter * 3.785412 litre/gallon * 1.04161 US$/CA$ = 5.48 US$/gallon.

This is within 10% of the all time high reached in 2008. This is making me think twice about doing frivolous car trips, and I assume some other people are thinking along the same lines.

This is making me think twice about doing frivolous car trips...

Frugal,I guess then that you also wouldn't be in the market for the new V-10 Dodge Viper "Supercar", is that right?

Chrysler vows new Dodge Viper supercar due next year

A previous version of the Viper was EPA rated 12 mpg-US (20 L/100 km; 14 mpg-imp) city and 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) highway.

No, he wouldn't be in the market for a gas guzzling American made supercar when he can now buy a Canadian made one;

HTT Plethore,
made in Montreal. With 750hp and a $500k price tag you can deplete both the planet's and your own resources faster!

From the media story, the name is French for plethora, meaning overabundance. Clearly, an overabundance of money, not oil.

Actually, I drive a Toyota Yaris which I thought had great fuel economy when I bought it. At these prices however, it's feeling more and more like guzzler ($55 to fill the tank). I wish they would start importing some of those subcompact European diesels to North America. I don't understand why nobody's done that yet.

I wish they would start importing some of those subcompact European diesels to North America. I don't understand why nobody's done that yet.

Per Wikipedia & my comments about the Ford Fiesta:

It appears with the lower fuel costs here that there is not enough consumer demand for the cars to justify the expense of importing the cars into North America.

I think we'll probably set a new record this spring. The price by summer could be considerably higher. Where it stops depends on what point demand destruction sets in, because the global crude oil supply is certainly not keeping pace with demand.

And in London petrol price £1.36 x 1.63 (exchange rate) x 3.785 (litres to US gallons) = 8.39 US$/gallon.

There don't seem to be many fewer cars on the road:-( I'm looking forward to 20 US$/gallon and perhaps some empty roads to make that Ferrari something worth buying:-)

Anyway I put £20 in at a time so it doesn't affect me:-)

But seriously, I now have the smallest most economical car I've ever had even though i drive < 2,500 miles per year so the price doesn't really affect me directly.

I recently paid £1.48 for diesel. That tops $9 /US gallon.

Or about $0.16 /mile. $1,600 a year. I can live with that.

Saudi says they cut oil production by 833,000 barrels per day in March!

Saudi oil minister says market oversupplied and cuts output

"The market is overbalanced... Our production in February was 9.125 million barrels per day (bpd), in March it was 8.292 million bpd. In April we don't know yet, probably a little higher than March. The reason I gave you these numbers is to show you that the market is oversupplied," Naimi told reporters.

That differs considerably from what had been reported by others.

A Reuters survey estimated Saudi Arabia produced 9 million bpd in March, up from 8.65 million bpd in February.

Two Saudi-based industry sources told Reuters last week the kingdom had cut production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in response to weak demand.

OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report says that Saudi increased production by 57,000 barrels per month in March over February. Of course they say that was from "secondary sources", meaning those are not really OPEC's or Saudi's numbers.

So who do you believe, OPEC's Secondary Sources, Reuters Survey, Two Saudi-based industry sources or the Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi?

Ron P.

The reason I gave you these numbers is to show you that the market is oversupplied

Saudi says market oversupplied? I am completely confused now. They purposely reduced output by 833K barrels a day in March? I wonder how much oil price will rise in response to that announcement tomorrow?

That will depend on how much importance MSM places on this announcement. This should be headlines on every newspaper and every TV talk show and especially CNBC and Bloomberg TV. But they will probably ignore it altogether, either that or give it very little play. But this should scare the bejeebers out of everyone who realizes the significance of this announcement by the Saudi Oil Minister. But I doubt that it will.

Ron P.


Well, at least CNBC is reporting what's going on in the KSA. I'm not sure but it seems very likely other MSM outlets will report on the Saudis reportedly cutting 800 kb/d as well. This is such a shocking development I believe we will be hearing more about this tomorrow and in the next few days.

Initial glances at upstream show prices falling as of 10:30 BST...

Correction: I stated above that OPEC's Secondary Sources said Saudi increased production by 57,000 barrels per month. That should have read 57,000 barrels per day.

Ron P.

So... hmm, well that's a tad confusing. I'd like to know what the Saudi oil minister's explanation would be to the following simple question:

"If demand for oil decreased during March, why did prices increase?"

That's all. Just give me a nice, concise answer to that please!

Unless.. well if they really did cut production then it would surely expose how prices are ludicrously dependant on speculation?

i - Chicken vs. egg. The KSA statement is correct: demand did decrease. And for a good reason: prices increased. IMHO if folks want to understand the KSA statements they need to start thinking like producers...not consumers. The market is over supplied: there are not enough buyers for the HIGHER priced oil. Demand is declining: can't "demand" to buy oil you can't afford to pay for. This is how a well run business is operated. Doesn't matter if your selling oil production or a Prius...it's just good business.

Thanks Rockman, good explanation!

So I guess the real question is: how long can the high price be sustained or, rather, how long can the global society hold their breath without being able to afford the higher priced oil?

So, in that regards it would seem like the Saudi's dropping production is akin to a glaring red warning flag - right?

re: Saudi says they cut oil production by 833,000 barrels per day in March!

Consumers have urged the exporters' group to pump more crude to put a cap on oil, which surged to more than $127 a barrel this month, its highest level in 2 1/2 years amid unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.

They know that 1 million bpd of Libyan production is off the market due to civil war, they know that Chinese consumption is up 1 million bpd since last year (because they're selling much of their oil to China), they know the consequences of the uncontrolled price rise in 2008 (economic crash and demand destruction), and yet they are cutting production.

My interpretation is that their explanations are all smoke and mirrors. The myth of surplus Saudi production capacity is coming to an end, but the Saudis are trying to keep the smokescreen up as long as possible to discourage people from investing in new sources of energy for as long as possible.

My biggest concern is that their oil fields are in even worse shape than they admit to themselves, and the production crash that is coming for Ghawar (the biggest oil field in the world) will be very steep - something like Mexico's Cantarell field, which fell about 22% a year from its peak in 2004, and is now producing less than 1/4 of what it did back then.

Most likely it won't be that steep, but production could easily drop by 500,000 bpd per year if they have screwed the field up sufficiently badly. All in all, I would says the signs are not looking good.

Just when you thought it couldn't become more farcial:

The Saudis: The Oil Market is 'Oversupplied'

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Sunday the global oil market was oversupplied and that the world’s top oil exporter had already reduced production due to weak demand.

OPEC officials have strongly rejected responsibility for high oil prices in recent weeks but Mr. Naimi’s words are the clearest indication yet that the group is unconvinced there is a need for more oil and that OPEC may well leave its policies unchanged at its June meeting.

“Why should OPEC increase production in June? There is no need, the market is oversupplied and the price is not high because there is a lack of supply,” a Gulf OPEC delegate said on Sunday.


" ...the price is not high because there is a lack of supply...

...it's that pesky excess demand that's the issue."

...it's that pesky excess demand that's the issue.

Oh, I thought it was omnipotent, all-seeing Speculators.
Silly me.

This is really a stunning disclosure.

Technically there may be a small amount of truth said about demand, however it should be added that lack of demand appears to be a lack of demand for the type of oil KSA has made incrementally available, and also, the price for which it is made available.

Apparently if the al-Naimi is speaking the truth now, he managed to fool just about every one making a 'survey' of what they 'estimate' KSA output to be. How little we really know.

Keep in mind that output is not the same as exports, and as I have stated for more than two months now, KSA reduced exports from mid-January to mid-March, followed by a two week 'surge' that in retrospect came from storage and not an increase in output.

OPEC exports in late April will be at the lowest levels of 2011, per tracker 'Oil Movements'. Going forward, OPEC exports in early May will probably be even lower.

Hi Charles, glad you're keep updating us on the oil movements.

I have a few questions:

Considering the data you have gotten from the Oil Movements in recent weeks and months, how well does it stack up with the statements of Al-Naimi versus the Reuters surveys, OPEC's monthly oil market report and/or other sources?

Which is the Oil Movements data closest to and why do you think that is so?

Also, you say that OPEC exports in May 2011 will be at it's lowest in the entire 2011(since it's lower than late April which would be lowest until that point), do you think this will continue?

And adding, was it possible to predict the Saudi 'stealth' increase to 9 mb/d in February via the Oil Movements since it wasn't something I've heard or read about until well, well after the Libyan fallout.

Finally, where is the Oil Movements data available? I tried to google it up but no luck or avail so far. Is it free or do you need to pay for it?


Since KSA was mostly talking about output and not shipments, the statements didn't match up well with actual shipments. In fact they output statements were frequently the opposite of what happened to shipments.

Therefore one can not jump to the conclusion that KSA exports will decline 800,000 bpd since they didn't increase exports as fast as output. So far they are only down 400,000 bpd from one month ago. I will be looking at expected shipments in early May to see if they are on our way to a further loss, but again, the total export loss may eventually be about 600,000 bpd (from mid March) since they did not export all the incremental output when they were at higher levels.

The only place you can get a good summary of most basic OM information for free is if you wait until OPEC issues their monthly report. (Noted here on page 46 as 'sailings' http://www.opec.org/opec_web/static_files_project/media/downloads/public... ).

Oil Movements has become rather secretive lately about discussing their reports in public but it is very influential since OPEC itself uses their data.

Public summary data is released about 11:30 AM NY time on Thursdays, sometimes without much if any public comment - although sometimes not available very quickly in the major media. I temporarily received the actual (expensive) report but now get a summary through a subscription service that is somewhat better than what eventually comes out in the public internet within a day - but faster. If you can't find it elsewhere go to Bloomberg and enter in search "oil movements".

The work you are doing is greatly appreciated. Please continue to post.

You already know my position on this, Charles, but it bears repeating.

Charles - I think Americans have a difficult time viewing the KSA statement since they are thinking only as consumers. I may not be interpreting the KSA correctly but here goes. The world is over supplied with oil in the same manner that the X Motor Company is over supplying the world with the Z Model. They are selling every Z off the show room floor at full sticker price just as fast as they arrive. Just like the KSA is selling ever bbl of oil they have just as soon as it hits the stock tanks. Obviously X Motors has priced its Z cars too cheap: everyone who wants one can afford. Even more folks out there who want one but can’t afford it. Obviously X Motors needs to raise its prices until supply is slightly smaller than demand.

This isn’t a theoretical case: There have been many car models, such as the new Mustang, which sold at prices above sticker price. At least for a while. So X Motors is justified in saying that its Z car are selling too cheap…they should raise their price. IOW they are over supplying the market. Same with the KSA…they should raise their prices. But the KSA is in a different situation than X Motors. They have a finite amount of oil (whatever that volume really is) that they can ever sell. X Motor can keep making Z cars as long as the demand is there. But what if X Motors, for whatever reason, can only produce 300,000 more Z car and then no mores? What should they do…sell them all at sticker price (or even a little higher)? Or tell the public that that they no longer plan to over supply the market AT CURRENT PRICE LEVELS. They just sit back and let the demand pressure push prices higher down the road for the Z cars they have left.

I suspect most on TOD would take the same position as the KSA if they were running the business. After all…it’s just business…nothing personal ya know.

Well put.

The Libya situation, with exports expected to be offline for some time, gives KSA the best opportunity in the post peak oil era so far to optimize income by withholding supplies. That is the price of oil increases enough to more than make up for a lower volume of sales.

While it is not clear if their plan will eventually fail due to negative effects on the world economy, it appears for now that they are going to risk finding out.

The media have reported that the Saudi king is upset with Obama over the US's lack of support for Mubarak and other "friendly" MENA regimes.

The lack of movement on oil supplies could be a message to Obama that he better get on the same page as the Saudi's.

Charles - I had expected the KSA to keep oil prices down to prevent such a global recession. OTOH I can make a case that they might not fear it as much as we might hope. Consider: they have that nice little savings account to fall back on. They also don't have the competition from the other OPEC countries they once had...can't lose market share to a country that has no spare capacity to bring to the market place. And most on TOD feel the KSA is closing in on significant production declines...easy to cut back on production if you don't have it in the first place. And lastly, folks point out how much the KSA depends on food imports. A global recession would surely drive down the KSA food import bill. And recessions don't last for ever...or happen at all if your China. If the Chinese can continue to buy all the oil the KSA wants to offer than how would a global recession really hurt them?

I wonder how they'd react to The Bernank inflating that nice little savings account away...

Paul - Maybe they'll inflate the price of their oil to offset Mr. B's deflating the $. Hey...wait a sec! Maybe that's what they been doing all along. Those dirty bast...

Funny how almost no one talks about inflation per se with re: to rising oil prices. It's always the damn oil companies/greenies/speculators/Arabs/ect.

Good points. Available shipping information since last November 2010 indicates that China's percentage of Persian Gulf exports has risen considerably.

It doesn't appear that China is buying any less oil at $120 than at $90. That's quite a good customer to have if you want to send a 'message' to the US, or perhaps more simply, if you just don't have enough oil for your other customers.

And recessions don't last for ever...or happen at all if your China.

ROCKMAN, when the oil exports start to decline severe it could become worse than a recession, also in China and lasting for a long time.

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Sunday the global oil market was oversupplied and that the world’s top oil exporter had already reduced production due to weak demand.

I always wondered what the Saudi's would say after they had peaked. Now I now.

"Oil without Apologies", what can I say? This is the usual tactic of mixing facts, half-truths and outright lies of oil companies, and in this case backed by the right-wing media mechanism, courtesy of Rupert Murdoch. It is not true that the Democrats talk about Peak Oil, or that it is a trend--it precisely because it is the exact opposite that sites such as the Oil Drum exist, to compel people to want to talk about it. It is also not true that the moratorium is endless--it lasted a mere six months, and while Mr. Watson moaned that Chevron was losing "200,000 to 300,000 barrels a day", he neglected to mention that oil production everywhere else in the US continues. This ceasing of production is a minor inconvenience, probably equivalent to a cut knee, nothing more, oh, boo-hoo.

Now, anybody with half-a-brain knows that he cannot say anything against the interests of his company, so he would never admit to the "systemic" failures in the industry, nor would he leave without portraying EPA as solely trying to get in the way of growth and prosperity. It is obvious Mr. Watson has never even considered the hidden costs of the production and consumption of oil, nor does he truly grasp what peak oil is. Nobody argues that there is plenty of gas, coal and oil in the ground, but like a saturated sponge squeezed dry, there may still be a lot of moisture in it, but eventually you will squeeze harder and harder, less water will come out, and there will always be some left in the sponge, no matter how hard you try. There may be a substantial amount in the sponge, but you cannot release it. So simple, and yet so difficult a concept to grasp.

Ladies and gentlemen, the reason the concept of Peak Oil is not spreading as we hope is partly we do not have speakers who can appeal to a large variety of people, nor do we have a widespread media network like Newscorp, which is why deniers and unscrupulous businessmen are getting their way at every turn, maintaining the bubble of illusion that all is well. Of course, the currently corrupt political landscape (when was it ever clean?) makes it even more difficult for us to convince people of our impending predicament.

Ladies and gentlemen, the reason the concept of Peak Oil is not spreading as we hope is partly we do not have speakers who can appeal to a large variety of people

The main reason is that the message is not very popular. It basically tells people not only to live within their means, an unpopular message in of itself, but it tells people to actually live on less than within their means as time goes until we find a solution - which could take many years - nobody really knows how long except that it will take a long time - and with no clear deadline.

Has there ever been a worse message in political terms? People rail about politicians, but politicians as we know them exist because people keep voting them into power. And the craft of politics have been polished over the years to become what it is today based on what works with people.

So in short, people will generally elect individuals who:
1. Make them feel good about themselves
2. Only offer rosy, optimistic scenarios
3. All these optimistic scenarios will come with minimal sacrifice
4. The politican is omnipotent and will fix everything.

If people would have a strong preference towards candidates with a fact-based concept of reality, as opposed to being religiously influenced or just irrational, and place an emphasis on rational debate, and not on emotional one-liners and petty ideological divisions and tribalism, the leaders running the countries would be of a far higher quality.

But aside from the unpopular message, it's also an unsellable message for the big corporations. It's essentially the end of growth, or at least end of perpetual, growth by debt where the big corps can privatise their profits and socialise their losses. It would also mean that they would have to actually start doing something with their capital for the environment and the peoples living in the countries that they come from as well as countries that they work in(think of Shell in Nigera).

I've more or less given up on hoping that somehow people will 'wake up'.
Climate change had giant exposure but there's still a lot of denialists.
Even in Sweden there's a lot of them, the numbers are quite staggering so don't think stupidity is limited to the republican base in the U.S.

The only entity capable of doing something about this is a technocratic, mildly authoritarian government. For example: China.
And they are now leading the world in construction based on renewable energy sources., such as wind power or solar. (Although Germany should also deserve an honorary mention)

I think one of the reasons the PO message has not caught on with the public to a greater extent is that, even though we have had some recent upwards movement in fuel prices, prices are still a bargain in the U.S.

Prices are a bargain, and there are no shortages...no rationing, no odd and even daze, no closed stations.

The idea of demand destruction leading to stagnant wages and high unemployment and thus controlling fuel prices, although easy to grok to TODsters, is likely hopelessly hard for John Q public to grasp, due to some folks' limited intellect and much more so due to many folks' denial-ism that BAU may not be a valid/possible situation in the future.

For those who do break away from the Matrix Soma of Nintendo and American Idol etc, and take a look at oil (likely presented as 'All Liquids' production info, they will see the plateau since 2005.

Many would likely assume from that plateau graph that we are 'well supplied'.

Again, only a fraction of those curious enough to peel back the onion even one layer will not likely spend more time and effort to peel back other layers to look at EROEI / increasing production costs from deeper wells and more exotic technologies (tar sand etc), rising demand from places such as China and India, reserves vs. flow rates, environmental damage, etc.

Far easier to blame speculators, environmentalists, socialists, or the media-offered red herring of one's personal fancy.

I think one of the reasons the PO message has not caught on with the public to a greater extent is that

The media obtain a large chunk of their revenues by running automobile advertising. You can't expect them to kill that golden goose could you? So false assurances are frequently given instead.

It doesn't help that almost an entire political party and a good part of another are in denial about oil production and purport to believe that we can drill our way out of this problem if only we would open up federal land and seriously relax environmental restrictions. To admit that there is peak oil would require a change in this meme and it would require that we actually start conserving and becoming a lot more efficient.

But there is always something that is going to save us around the corner such as shale gas, tar sands, or oil shale. Obama's call to reduce our dependence on foreign oil fell on deaf ears and engendered the claim that he is purposely making gas prices rise so that force people to drive less and help the environment. And then there is Donald Trump who thinks we can get oil prices down by asking Saudi Arabia in the right way to reduce prices. Just ask.

The main problem here, besides ignorance and stupidity, is mendacity. Mendacity in the pursuit of power at all costs.

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
Burl Ives and Paul Newman
Scene starts at the top of the stairway:


I perceive the Drill Baby Drill meme is just another wedge. It allows any opposition to the "obvious" solution to be smeared. It offers a route to the dismantling of regulations. The majority do not know that the easy oil is gone. The leadership plays these games in lieu of facilitating the pursuit of happiness by common citizens: Work, Love, Health, Community. They contravene the basic contract.

"If you would just let the kids sell the household furniture and such on e-bay for cheap, why, they could make some money right away and have jobs, too! ...you and your regulations... "

Rock Candy Mountain:

The main reason is that the message is not very popular.

Exactly. Most people do not have the capacity for critical, independent thinking which is why I keep coming back to TOD because posters here are not afraid to look truth in the eye so to speak, whether that truth is pos. or negative.

I find the people that cannot accept peak oil hold their position of cornucopianism like they would stop breathing and pass out if they for a moment held the idea of a finite resource that had peaked. I think that's where speculation comes from to easily fit as the blame game to assert its only a technical problem of how oil trades, not a short or long term supply problem.

An interesting take:
Climate, Communication and the ‘Nerd Loop’

Mass communication is not a science. How many times do I have to say this? The more you think it is — or even let yourself talk about the science side of it without allocating EQUAL energy to the art side of it, the more you are doomed to take it deeper into the hole of boredom and irrelevance.

I only agree with this if you have a good foundation to start from.

Difficult watching. Very hard to watch. It takes it out of the "video game" long-distance helicopter-shot realm of the previous videos. The people are on a slope and on a street behind their hillside homes watching the sea rise and sweep in from the distant coast. The destruction, loss, and dread are visceral, immediate and obvious as this thing rampages below.

Such a contrast to the pall spreading from man's broken machine by the sea. Nothing for the eyes to see. Not a sound is made. The fearful thing is only revealed to the mind.


The guy in the dark jacket about five seconds from the end is trying to help someone and gets swept away

It's Sunday, so its a good day to poniticate some thoughts on oil. I'm not sure about anyone else posting here today, but I'm starting to get an uneasy feeling about where the economy is heading in the near term. All that has to happen is for a few small things to start the momentum the other way. Rising oil and food prices digging into discretionary spending, which leads to layoffs and businesses shuttering, profits drop, stock holders get gittery, which leads to some panic, which leads to a lot of panic selling. The price of everything drops which would seem good, except the economy has entered the doldrums and we hear that word again, liquidity. Have lots of cash on hand for bad times. Wait a minute - it's a bad time already? What happened to our so called recovery? It's the inevitable step downs that will take place on our way to either collapse or an economy we hardly recognize. Get ready for a very big step down, numero dos. Dos will be big one IMHO because without sufficient stimulus the slope down will cause an ongoing disenfranchisment of some percentage of the pop. per annum.

Just starting to see these next 3-4 weeks could start the next unwind. Maybe that's too pessimistic, maybe its more like months if we are lucky, but its coming just like that recent Japanese tsunami. Powerful and relentless.


I read this article about how the price of gasoline has passed four ducks a gallon in several states:


I went and read a couple of pages of comments and had to stop.

The vast majority of folks blamed evil oil companies, Obama, Democrats, environmentalists, speculators, socialist plots to get folks to trade in their SUVs for compact fuel-efficient cars,etc.

Very few comments about oil being a finite resource, let alone any comments about flow vs. resources, EROEI/the cheap oil has been discovered and produced, etc.

If this represents the spectrum of thinking from John Q. Public, Darwinian is absolutely correct...we are doomed!


Where is the outrage against Obama over this? When gas hit this mark during the Bush administration, people were calling for his impeachment, being he and Cheney were "oil men" and that they were the cause of the rising prices lining the pockets of their cronies.We sure don't see the outrage against Teflon Man II. Things like this just roll right off of King Obama. And his response is to tell a family of 4 to get rid of your SUV and buy a new more fuel efficient car. What an idiot. Yeah...hope and change.


At $4 a gallon for gas, that is the end of the economy that was recovering without jobs, etc. The blame sits with Wallstreet and it's investors who have ran oil so far up, it will ruin the economy!

From your link.

Retail surveys suggest motorists are reacting to higher prices now by buying less fuel.

Gasoline consumption appears to be more price elastic in the US than in Europe, although I have no data to prove this. Low US gasoline taxes amplify the percentage uptick in gasoline prices when oil prices go up. When taxes make up two thirds of the gasoline price, a doubling in oil prices only adds another third to the price of gas. In the US where fuel taxes are close to zero, gasoline and oil prices move together in lockstep, and a doubling in oil prices leads to a doubling in gasoline prices.

So all this Tea Party talk of lowering gasoline taxes won't make much difference in lowering prices, but it will make a huge difference in road upkeep. I love listening to Americans complain about roads turning into gravel and rant about gouging at the pump in the same breath.

Earl, what we have to do, is get our collective heads around the concept of "No More Growth". No more growth for everyone. If there is spasmodic surges of growth it will only be at the expense of another country, corporation or individual, as they desperately try to be last to the bottom.
Richard Heinberg has a new book, available September http://www.amazon.com/End-Growth-Adapting-Economic-Reality/dp/0865716951...

Richard Heinberg’s latest landmark work goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, explaining how and why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes. Written in an engaging, highly readable style, it shows why growth is being blocked by three factors:
Resource depletion
Environmental impacts
Crushing levels of debt

Stockmarkets appear to rise and fall on the expectation of profit forecasts and/or declarations. How will they cope when those reports are mostly negative?

what we have to do, is get our collective heads around the concept of "No More Growth"

Approved. No more growth for collectivists.

Human beings are (generally) social animals.. Why despise collectivism? It's natural.

Energy and Human Evolution

People who believe that a stable population can live in balance with the productive capacity of the environment may see a slowdown in the growth of population and energy consumption as evidence of approaching equilibrium. But when one understands the process that has been responsible for population growth, it becomes clear that an end to growth is the beginning of collapse. Human population has grown exponentially by exhausting limited resources, like yeast in a vat or reindeer on St. Matthew Island, and is destined for a similar fate.

Ron P.

Earl, what we have to do, is get our collective heads around the concept of "No More Growth". No more growth for everyone.

I understand the limits to growth via declining net energy, but have difficulty seeing how the economy can remain viable on a downward slide without growth. It just seems like a gigantic interconnected situation that so depends on growth, it's hard to fathom leaders giving up on growth to as best they can manage the decline. Just seems like it will need to dissolve, collapse, and then rebuild to something that does not depend on growth.

Yes, Heinberg is a great communicator of information.

B - If I may I'm going to appear to pick on you to make a point: "No more growth for everyone". This has never been true so it shouldn't be a shock that the future holds the same. Growth has alway be reserved for those who can exploit resources most effectively. Notice I said effectively...not efficiently. As you say some countries will be able to continue such "winning ways" while others will lose that ability. And societies that never had the ability will continue their downward slide.

This is the new reality that most Americans can't imagine let alone accept and start adjusting to. Perhaps China's formally low status has allowed them to see what needs to be done to improve their lot while Amrica's predominance has led most to feel this is the natural order of things.

Rock (and all):


This article calls attempts to call into question China's effectiveness/investment wisdom.

I don't know what to think about this...any smart cookies out there want to comment?

H- And I've seen similar stories about China building entire cities with few folks moving in. A combination of govt monies and speculators. Good or bad move? Time will tell. Was the US stimulus a good or bad move? Opinions vary widelt.

@Heisenberg, The issue is a communist government following central planning diktats. What makes it worse are the provinces acting on their own. If you read the financial press on this, China has problems with regional banks (effectively owned by regional governments) making massive loans and "investments" in regional pork projects. Even after the central party demanded that they stop building steel mills, 12 regions went ahead and built them anyway, because the bigger problem for China is coming up with employment for 4 million new workers a month. Otherwise they have social unrest problems and if you think you've seen unrest in Egypt and elsewhere, you ain't seen nothing until you see literally MILLIONS (capitalized just for you Hubblescope) taking to the streets in China. The communist party is less than 3% of the population, they can be overrun at any time the proles lose their temper. This is why the Greatfirewall of China buries 100% of queries about unrest in the MENA neighborhood. They don't want the locals getting any ideas.

Bullet trains are nice, but the locals can't afford to ride on them. Roughly 3% of their population control 99% of their wealth. That the 3% neatly lines up with party membership is nothing but a coincidence, nothing to see here, move along. Every now and then we'll execute some official for "corruption" just to show we're on the job, just don't look behind that curtain Dorothy.

Of course you are right.
The fact is though everyone thinks or thought growth was a natural state of affairs. Failure would be a failure of judgement, luck or circumstance.

The adjustment to understanding that growth has reached a natural limit imposed by overpopulation, resource depletion, overwhelming debt and environmental degradation is not appreciated.

The common feeling is that right now we a going through hard times, the economy is beginning to recover and normality will again rule and support a bull market. If you don't believe that to be true ask a Realtor, Fund Manager, Stock Broker, Banker or Politition.

A block of Velveeta was nine bucks. Put it back.
White onions $1 each. Bell peppers $3 each.
Half-length loaf of bread $5.
Can't shop easy anymore.

How do we feel about Thorium reactors? I hope this is the drumbeat thread?

Don't hold your breath. I've read about them for several years now. I doubt we ever see one in the US before Depression 2.0 hits. We'll be lucky to turn off the old clunkers we have running now.

Cute: They can be implemented as liquid-fuel reactors: One way to shut them off is to dump the core into long, thin vessels under the reactor.

Bad: They still suffer effects from gross human incompetence and loony raving madness.

Too late?: Is there the time and money to implement them and their infrastructure of international mines and reprocessing facilities before the carbon economy that is to spawn and underwrite them falls off its perch?