ASPO-USA Conference, November 2 - 5, Washington DC

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil-USA (ASPO-USA) is announcing its upcoming conference in Washington, DC on November 2 - 5. The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.

Many speakers are likely to be well known to Oil Drum readers. Oil Drum authors who will be speaking include Dave Murphy, Robert Rapier, and myself, Gail Tverberg. Art Berman will be moderating a panel called, "The Shale Gas Rush: Boom or Bust." Readers are also likely to be familiar with speakers Jeffrey Brown (westexas), Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute, and retired geophysicist-geologist Jean Laherrere.

Pricing is quite inexpensive for a conference of this type. For most people, the price now (with $100 early registration discount) is $345 for ASPO-USA members, and $395 for ASPO-USA non-members. (Note that this amount has changed. I misinterpreted the table when I originally wrote the post.) But there are also lower rates for students, and for academic, government, and non-profits. A Peak Oil Aware package is also available, which includes online access to all conference proceedings. Readers can get $50 off of the Peak Oil Aware package by using the code mediapartner.

Additional information regarding the conference is available at ASPO-USA Conference Site. Registration is at this link. A copy of the Agenda is shown below.

Agenda as of 9/19/2011 2:41 PM

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Time Session
9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Working with Congress—Orientation and Training
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Congressional Office Visits
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Social Events
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Welcome Reception
Opening Reception with Speakers and Attendees

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011
Time Session
7:30 AM to 7:00 PM
8:30 AM to 9:00 AM
Welcome, Overview

Jim Baldauf, President and Co-Founder, ASPO-USA
Jan Mueller, Executive Director, ASPO-USA

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Peak Oil Update: Timing, Trends, Consequences

An up-to-date analysis of the fundamental trends underlying the Peak Oil and resource depletion issue, and the implications for the economy, energy security, and global stability.

Chris Skrebowski, Founding Director, Peak Oil Consulting; Consulting Editor, Petroleum Review, Energy Institute (UK)
William Catton, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Sociology, Washington State University; Author, Overshoot: The Ecological Basis for Revolutionary Change
Jeff Rubin, Former Chief Economist, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; Author, Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller
Rear Admiral Lawrence Rice (invited)

10:30 AM to 10:45 AM
Break and Networking
10:45 AM to 12:15 PM
Adapting to the End of Cheap Energy: Critical Factors

Use less? Find Alternatives? Re-think Everything? A hard look at near-term and long-term options for adapting to an oil supply crisis, and choices facing businesses, government, communities, and citizens.

Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute: Author, The End of Growth
Chris Martenson, Former Vice-President, Science Applications International Corporation; Creator "The Crash Course"
Roger Bezdek, President, Management Information Services Inc.
Angelina Galiteva, President, NEOptions; Member, California ISO Board of Governors; Former Chair, World Council for Renewable Energy
Mark DeLucchi. Research Scientist, Institute for Transportation Studies, University of California-Davis (invited)

12:15 PM to 2:00 PM
Networking Lunch

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Out of Gas: Implications for Transportation

Transportation accounts for 70% of U.S. oil use, and depends on oil for nearly all its energy needs. This session examines scenarios of how passenger and freight travel are likely to respond as Peak Oil unfolds.

Mark DeLucchi, Research Scientist, Institute for Transportation Studies, University of California-Davis (invited)
Charles Schlumberger, Lead Air Transport Specialist, The World Bank
Joshua Schank, President, Eno Transportation Foundation

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Of Wells and Wall Street: Implications for Businesses and Investors

The current environment for businesses and investors is fraught with uncertainty. Learn how Peak Oil and other major shifts in energy market dynamics alters the calculus for business and investment strategies.

Jim Hansen, Ravenna Capital Management
Robert Rapier, Chief Technology Officer, Merica International
Chris Martenson, Creator, "The Crash Course"
2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
China and the Middle East: Implications for U.S. Energy Security

Dynamic changes in China and the Middle East, including rapidly rising energy demand, has huge consequences for the United States and other industrial economies. This session examines major trends in global energy demand and supply, and ripple effects for the U.S. economy.

Jeffrey Brown, Independent Consulting Petroleum Geologist
Michael Klare, Five Colleges Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, Hampshire College
Minqi Li, Professor of Economics, University of Utah

3:40 PM to 5:00 PM
The End of Growth?

The spectacular economic growth experienced by the United States and other industrial nations over the last 100 or more years was made possible in large part by access to abundant, affordable energy, principally from fossil fuels. Can growth as we have known it continue in the face of accelerating depletion of global energy resources?

Jean Laherrere, Consultant, former Petroleum Engineer, Total S.A. (France)
William Catton, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Sociology, Washington State University; Author, Overshoot: The Ecological Basis for Revolutionary Change
Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute: Author, The End of Growth
Jim Baldauf, President, ASPO-USA Board of Directors

5:15 PM to 7:00 PM
Dinner on your own
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The Shale Gas Rush: Boom or Bust?

Massive expansion of shale gas development has been touted as a cure-all for America's energy challenges. This special feature session takes a hard look at the prospects and pitfalls for shale gas.

Anthony Ingraffea, Professor of Engineering, Cornell University
Rob Jackson, Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
Robert Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University
Amy Mall, Senior Policy Analyst, NRDC

Moderator: Art Berman, Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.; ASPO-USA Board Member


Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011
Time Session
7:30 AM to 3:30 PM
8:30 AM to 8:45 AM
Interim Observations, Day 2 Overview

Kjell Aleklett, Professor of Physics, Uppsala University (Sweden); President, ASPO International

8:45 AM to 9:00 AM
Navigating a New Energy Reality – Concepts and Principles

A review of key considerations for adapting to the impacts of Peak Oil and resource depletion, and differentiating between meaningful and misguided responses.

Robert Rapier, Chief Technology Officer, Merica International
9:00 AM to 10:15 AM
The Post-Peak Economy

An examination of how rapid changes in the energy world will shape fundamental economic and financial conditions.

Charley Maxwell, Senior Energy Analyst, Weeden and Co.
Jeff Rubin, Author, former CIBC Chief Economist

Moderator: Jan Mueller, Executive Director, ASPO-USA

10:15 AM to 10:30 AM
Break and Networking
10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Living on a Renewable Energy Budget

Is it possible to run the global economy entirely on renewable energy? Do we have a choice? What are the opportunities and constraints for scaling up renewable energy development? What would the transition path look like? This session will drill down into the most authoritative and up-to-date data to address these critical questions.

Dave Murphy, Energy Consultant, EROI Institute, SUNY-ESF; Contributor, The Oil Drum
Angelina Galiteva, President, NEOptions; Member, California ISO Board of Governors; Former Chair, World Council for Renewable Energy

Moderator: Ken Zweibel, Director, George Washington University Solar Institute
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Lunch, Keynote Presentation: The Future of Food

Impacts on production and distribution of food is among the most serious concerns surrounding Peak Oil. Notable agriculture researcher and innovator Wes Jackson looks at the issue from an overall food system perspective and explores the key factors shaping the future of food.

Wes Jackson, President, The Land Institute

1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Smart Contraction

What does a contracting economy look like? How would a nation built on the idea of endless growth respond to a different reality? This session will discuss scenarios for the U.S. and other industrial economies and examine the historical example of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Dmitri Orlov, Engineer; Author, Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects
Gail Tverberg, President, Tverberg Actuarial Services; Contributing Editor, The Oil Drum

1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
At Ground Level: Adaptation for Local and Regional Economies

Strategies to adapt to Peak Oil may vary according to differences in regional economies and local resources. This session discusses how to assess different opportunities and constraints at the regional and local level in forming adaptation strategies for your business, your community, and your family.

Naomi Davis, Founder and President, Blacks in Green
John Michael Greer, Author, The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age
Aaron Newton, Land Planner and Director of Environmental Services, Outdoor Living Inc.; Co-Author, A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil
Peter Kilde, Executive Director, West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency

Moderator: Megan Quinn-Bachman, Reporter, Yellow Springs News; ASPO-USA Board Member

3:00 PM to 3:15 PM
3:15 PM to 5:00 PM
What Next?: Strategies and Synthesis Discussion

There are no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all responses for Peak Oil, resource depletion, and the economic, social, and political challenges they present. Individual businesses, organizations, public institutions, communities, and households need to decide for themselves what specific adaptive strategies are most appropriate. But what general principles and elements can be distilled from the conference sessions and discussion thus far? A diverse panel of conference speakers and special guests will explore that question.

Social Events
6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Speaker’s Dinner

Annual fundraising dinner with conference speakers. Program and discussion topics to be announced.
Cost $200 (included with Peak Aware conference registration package)
*Pre-registration required*


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011
Time Session
9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Session I

Investors Roundtable
An exchange of key information to guide financial decisions in a world of Peak Oil and energy uncertainty
 Charley Maxwell, Robert Rapier, Jim Hansen, Charles Schlumberger, and other experts

Community Adaptation and the Post-Peak Economy
Individuals have already begun reducing their dependence upon the energy-intensive global economic system by working cooperatively in communities to provide for their essential needs — food, shelter, healthcare, security and credit — closer to home. Discuss relocalization and monetary reform strategies with on-the-ground activists and create a plan for a post-peak economy.
Featuring: Megan Bachman, Dmitry Orlov, John Michael Greer, and other experts

Bringing Peak Oil into the National Policy Debate
Federal policies affecting energy, the economy, transportation, infrastructure and other critical areas already faces huge policy and funding challenges. How does the prospect of rising fuel prices and potential fuel shortages change the debate for these interconnected issues? Does our vision for the future fit economic and energy reality?
Featuring: Joshua Schank, President, Eno Transportation Foundation and other experts

Innovative Communications, Writing a New American Story
Journalists, media experts, and others lead a discussion on creative ways to communicate overwhelming and complex issues regarding energy and the economy, and how to work with traditional and new media.
Featuring: Jim Baldauf, Sharon Astyk, Chris Martenson and other experts
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Session II

Investors Roundtable (continued)

Community Adaptation and the Post-Peak Economy (continued)

Bringing Peak Oil into the National Transportation Policy Debate (continued)

Innovative Communications, Writing a New American Story (continued)

12:30 PM to 1:00 PM
Lunch on your own
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Educators & Students Workshop

Saturday afternoon is dedicated to students and educators. Some conference speakers and ASPO-USA members will be in attendance and part of the program


The point is: who in the conference will go into the details of using gas as a transport fuel? Some countries like Australia have gas, but are squandering it. This is very important as these LNG export contracts lock-in a country for 20 years

I am especially pleased to see William Catton as one of the speakers. His book "Overshoot" truly gave me a new language with which to understand the predicament of mankind. His recent book "Bottleneck," which details the nature of man's current dehumanization under population and competitive pressure, was also very enlightening.

I plead with those who will organize and attend the conference, would someone PLEASE record each speakers on video, in full, from beginning to end and with Q&A at the end, and post the videos for free online? In 2009, the videos were posted on the ASPO site behind a paywall. I've just discovered that the 2010 videos are only now being posted and updated.

I think it is EXTREMELY important to make these videos readily available and for FREE, preferably as soon as the conference ends. If ASPO truly wants to get its message out it must have a greater presence online and make the videos readily available when people desperately want to view them.

I am sure ASPO-USA staff members will be reading this thread, and see your message.

I think that part of the "other side" of the issue is that the registration fees for the conference don't really cover the conference costs, including the cost of making all of the videos. If ASPO-USA can charge schools and others for the videos, they are able to make enough money from the videos to come out closer to even financially with the whole conference.

I agree. It would be great to have the videos available for free, if that could be worked out financially.

Why the interest in videos? Is this a generational thing? About the only thing I like as a video is a movie or TV drama/comedy...; otherwise I prefer plain text with appropriate charts and graphics. I have never been interested in the "talking heads" video format.

Can't the ASPO-USA get some foundation/grant support for what it is doing? Charging money massively cuts the audience reached.

What I would like to see is TOD inviting each of the presenters to make a post to TOD. The discussion would be as useful as the presentations.

Pasttense, we'd welcome your suggestions and assistance at raising funds and getting grants - ASPO has the ability to produce a lot of materials that would be available, both video and other media, but we need financial help to do it.

Folks can certainly volunteer their time and suggestions for fundraising to us (you can email me at and attending the conference is a huge help - not just in keeping ASPO financially stable, but also lending your voice to our press conference and congressional visits. We need your presence, your energy and your desire.

Sharon Astyk, ASPO-USA Board of Directors

Why the interest in videos? Is this a generational thing? About the only thing I like as a video is a movie or TV drama/comedy...; otherwise I prefer plain text with appropriate charts and graphics. I have never been interested in the "talking heads" video format.

I do read a lot. But videos have a certain vividness and presence. They bring words to life somewhat. I would love to hear what Catton thinks about the current age. In 1980, he wrote "Eventually had already come yesterday." Here we are, 31 years past too late. For all those who lived as well as felt in the decades past, what is the new meaning of life now that so much of Nature has been cleared away and we have taken several giant leaps further towards the precipice?

I guess perhaps it IS a generational thing. I know that the visual medium tends to create bad habits which atrophy the powers of the mind. But it is still a convenient substitute for being everywhere at once. I unfortunately will not be able to attend the conference as I live on the other side of the world. So I would like as much as possible to know everything that happened without having to sift through lectures slides posted online.

Audio is the least resource/bandwidth intensive media for these lectures and discussions. While text can be labor intensive and I'm sure there would be volunteers to transcribe the discussions [raises hand], inclusion of graphs and charts can be problematic and uses more bandwidth. MP3s are efficient, but it's often difficult to determine who's speaking during discussions. Producing quality video/sound really requires expertise that can be expensive, and poorly produced video detracts from the message. Perhaps some students could be recruited for these tasks. Apologies if this has been addressed.

I would love to attend but it's financially not possible. Perhaps a doomer discount could be arranged ;-)

I don't feel like I do much around here. I would be happy to transcribe a presentation or two.

What I would like to see is TOD inviting each of the presenters to make a post to TOD. The discussion would be as useful as the presentations.

This is something we always mean to do, but some work is required to convert a ppt to a post, and for some reason this seldom happens. Having a video which readers could watch and then discuss might work.

I do like to have slide decks made available. I'm afraid all this needs to be made available for free. Here are all the presentations from ASPO9 in Brussels earlier this year.

We probably could work something like this out - not everyone would do it, but this makes a lot of sense. Since I edit the Peak Oil Review Commentary, I'd probably want it to run simultaneously on TOD and in POR, but that's no barrier, I would think? I'd be happy to organize a post-plan with PPT slides with TOD folks so that we can bring this material to the largest possible audience.

Sharon Astyk
ASPO-USA board, editor Peak Oil Review Commentary

Something to discuss with Art, Tad and Gail. I'd love to come this year, never been to Washington, but with 2 boys at University, family budget is a bit stretched.

Freedom! We were emancipated about three years ago, when our daughter graduated, and this is the biggest point, became gainfully employed.

We have done this in the past with some speakers and I agree it is something that should be done more extensively. Also, all slide images from ASPO-USA conferences are provided publicly at the ASPO-USA site after each event unless a speaker specifically requests otherwise.

Hi Shox,

The 2010 Video is available here and have been available for nearly a year. ASPO-USA made these videos available to members and Peak Aware registrants free from the point they were posted and released them publicly over the course of the year.

As Gail mentions there is a large cost to video production. Video products in the past have been sponsored by generous individual donations to ASPO-USA. We are looking into options this year and welcome any support and ideas. You can contact us by email at or 800-681-9655 x9

If it turns out to be necessary to sell the videos online at a price, that's fine with me too. Just so long as they are available online. I hope all will be done to record this years conference on video. I am looking forward to William Catton's address.

I am also pleased to see William Catton as a presenter.
This is finally going into an area that has previously been off limits.

Ditto on the videos - PROVIDED it's well done! (Good, clear sound and steady vision please!!). Chop them down to manageable lengths even better; that is, "forwardable" to family and friends...

Seen this BTW? - Traders in it for the dollar, not the economy?? Say it isn't so!

I'm coming up to 4 yrs here; not much has changed for the better that I can see. :(

Cheers, Matt
Happy little Doomer.

Looks like a good program, lots of good speakers. But where is ROCKMAN? Surely any discussion about oil depletion is not complete without him at the table - even if he needs a mask to keep his identity secret!

The conference fee is amazingly cheap - no wonder they can;t afford the videos for free - too bad that doing a trip to DC is so expensive, if you are paying for it yourself and not the company...

Paul - I'd be thrilled to make it but my schedule is unpredictable. At this very moment I'm on a well in Cameron Parish, La. and will be working thru the night. Didn't know I was going to be here 12 hours ago. If I get to go it will have to be a last minute jump. My wife would be up for it. Last trip she didn't get thru the museums as much as she planned: Boy Scout Jambore was in town.

Don't need a mask: with my big mouth everyone that knows me knows my opinions. Some more thn they would like. LOL.

I'd love to go but am unsure if I can afford it and take time off of work. What is the deadline for early registration?

Pepper, Early registration ends Oct 7, 2011

I am a long time lurker here and have never been to an ASPO conference. I would like to attend and would like to know if it is common or not for individuals with no business or political connections to attend. Is there a dress code? Thanks!

I have been to 3 ASPO USA conferences - Boston, Houston and Denver. The first in Boston was quite simply one of the best conferences I ever attended since back then (5 years ago) I knew very little about the whole subject of energy and society and was on a very steep learning curve at that time.

ASPO conferences are a strange mix of academics and Cassandras struggling to get a "message" across. The conferences are usually very informal and and a very nice bunch of folks involved. Many /most of the delegates are just ordinary folks with an interest in energy and society - maybe ASPO can post stats on the delegate profile. Wear a suit, jeans or if you want to get yourself noticed your uniform.

The challenges that ASPO (and indeed TOD) face include largely preaching to the choir and defining what the exact message is that is being broadcast. To what extent is peak oil implicated in "the Arab Spring", the English riots and the immensely weak state of the global economy? If we could answer that question what could we do about it?

I'd really quite like to attend myself this year since this allows me to stay in touch with US colleagues - but these are austere times;-(

To what extent is peak oil implicated in "The Arab Spring"?

Yes, this is a critical topic. Ever since it started I have collected statiscis and here is a list:

War overshadows peak oil in Libya

As we are bumping along the crude plateau, we forget what peak oil means in some key countries in terms of socio economic changes, subsidies, oil exports/imports, budgets, strategic shifts etc. I hope the conference deals with these latest developments.

It is possible I may be able to bring a bit of this into my talk (with Dmitry Orlov) in a session called "Smart Contraction."

I took my daughter and son-in-law to the 2009 conference, and I took my wife to the 2010 conference, and in all three cases they found the conference to be very enlightening, and they enjoyed the interaction with a diverse, and very interesting, group of people. Incidentally, last year I noticed that there were people in attendance from both the World Bank and the IMF.

Jeffrey J. Brown

Airline Pilot, the conference is a wide and interesting mix of people with folks from business, industry, academia and also those just passionately concerned about peak oil. There's no dress code, although people tend to dress neatly - but yes, everyone is welcome and encouraged. There's simply no other place you'll get to see all these people together and we want you to join us.

Sharon Astyk

Thanks for the info! Ive been here at TOD reading for many years. Im a moderator over at and am seriously considering attending the conference this year. Understanding the ramifications of PO are vital to MY future or lack thereof.

I would suggest that you seek out Charles Schlumberger, with the World Bank:

He is the Lead Air Transport Specialist of the World Bank in Washington DC, and he is also an active FAA and EASA licensed pilot and certified flight instructor, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

I was able to spend a few minutes talking to him last year, and he is a very interesting person. He noted that the official position of the World Bank regarding Peak Oil is that "The World Bank has no official position," but he does have his own personal opinion.

All, Jan Mueller from ASPO-USA here. So this will be my first conference as staff and executive director, and I must say, I'm pretty darn excited about it.

We made a concerted effort to build a program and bring in speakers that would help create a coherent, shared understanding of what the real crux issues are, and how we as an organization and network of engaged individuals can move forward to address them in a constructive and strategic way.

To address previous comments regarding transportation, which is of course critical to the whole discussion--we will be focusing on transportation, from not just vehicle and fuels side, but also from a transportation systems perspective.

Using natural gas as a transportation fuel will be
addressed in both natural gas and transportation sessions. The most interesting issue there, I think, aside from environmental impacts and challenges of a gaseous fuel, is the ol' scale and time question. We'll be addressing that as well.

Hope to see and meet many of you there. Please feel free to email me with other questions or comments.

Regards, Jan

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but money aside (interested parties could each purchase a video and donate it to the community?), I like the videos because it's more human than just text/ppt slides, even if it can be less clear. This kind of serious stuff, seeing the speaker actually delivering the message gives something intangible that other formats cannot. Perhaps a "video only" attendance level could be sold to help pay for video as another idea for those unable to fly?


Personally I am obligated this year to be somewhere else, although I will be home most of the time at night..

If anybody who is a regular here wants to drop in overnight on the way, coming or going, they are welcome.I will be glad to supply a good dinner or breakfast or both, and a good bed in exchange for some serious conversation.We live near I77 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and have room for a couple and an individual, or three individuals if two will share a bedroom, plus acres of nice primitive camping spots.It is possible to stay longer if you wish if you are camping.
Please note that this is still about a six hour drive to DC, if you allow for rest stops and so forth.

gmcmillian0004 and email and vccs and edu

You guys are smart enough to figure out the dots and "at" location,I'm sure.

Missed last year due to a death in the family-got my fingers crossed for next year.

Sorry to hear about the miss this year. I was hoping to meet you "in the real world" :-(

Best Hopes for 2012,


I'll be in that. I'm not going to travel to DC, but I'd love to hear the talks and don't mind contributing a little financially for the privilege.

I just made a reservation for five nights at the Hyatt . I have relatives in the area and have stayed there in the past. The location is excellent, especially for the museums. The American Indian museum is a short walk and an interesting place to eat lunch.

See you there. R Wilson (former internet liaison for the late L.F Buz Ivanhoe.)

Glad to heard of this and hoping people find much more resources which can substitute for coal and mineral.

Is the early bird member registration fee $245 or $345? Gail's article says $245 but the registration page says $345. I went ahead and registered and it looks like I'm being charged $345.

I checked with ASPO-USA, and you are right. I interpreted their rate table to mean, "Subtract $100 from these amounts for early registration," when it really meant, "These are the amounts, after the $100 has been subtracted." Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I will change it in the text.

I apologize for the mistake. As a speaker, I didn't have to pay myself, so I didn't have that point of reference.

I'm a little behind in the news, but I just read Bill McKibben's article in Rolling Stone Magazine. It mentions a plan to encircle the White House in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline on November 6, the weekend of the ASPO-USA conference. I don't suppose this is just a coincidence.

Is anyone planning to join the November 6 protest?