Drumbeat: August 24, 2012

IEA may release oil reserves as soon as Sept - report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World oil consumers are likely to tap into emergency oil inventories as soon as early September after the International Energy Agency (IEA) dropped its resistance to a U.S.-led plan, the industry journal Petroleum Economist reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources.

The IEA, whose chief dismissed the need for emergency action as recently as a week ago, is now thought to have agreed to the idea, asking Washington not to pursue a unilateral release, the monthly journal reported in an article by editor Derek Brower, who also writes for the Economist magazine.

A release of as much or more than last year's 60 million barrel injection could occur as early as September, it said, citing market insiders. It said that the sharp decline in Iran's oil exports this year would be used as a justification.

World oil supply tightens in last 2 months: EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global spare oil inventories tightened over the last two months, a U.S. government report said on Friday, which could lend the Obama administration some support if it decides to tap emergency oil reserves as the West applies sanctions on Iran.

World crude inventories in countries other than Iran fell about 1.2 million barrels per day in July and August, due mostly to a seasonal peak in demand, said the report by the Energy Information Administration.

Tropical Storm Isaac Picks up Strength on Path to Haiti

Tropical Storm Isaac gained strength in the Caribbean Sea on a path toward Haiti and Cuba, a course that has forced shut-ins of some energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and may threaten the Republican National Convention.

The ninth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season will probably cross Haiti late today and move over eastern Cuba during the weekend, the National Hurricane Center said. It may reach the southwest coast of Florida on Aug. 27, the opening day of the Tampa gathering at which Republicans are expected to nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate.

US shed 16 rigs

The number of rigs drilling in the US fell by 16 this week for a total of 1898, according to data from Houston-based services giant Baker Hughes.

In a reverse of recent trends, it was oil rigs that suffered the biggest loss this week, while gas rigs gained for the first time since the first week of July.

Misconceptions Surrounding Peak Oil

So, Peak Oil is a myth...


Earlier this week, one my colleagues talked about how most people are uninformed and misled when it comes to total global oil production. They're unaware that it isn't really crude oil — that the 90 million barrels being produced daily is a combination of total liquids.

Canadian oil: a good choice for roller coaster fans

It has been among the most important uncertainties facing Canada’s energy industry, which has faced dramatically different views on whether Canadian oil is set for a big comeback, or mired in years of dismal pricing.

How about both? And how about both in just a week’s time?

Pipe Dreams

Why Mitt Romney can't free America from Middle East oil.

Americans toss out as much as 40% of their food, study says

Americans are throwing out nearly every other bite of food, wasting up to 40% of the country’s supply each year – a mass of uneaten provisions worth $165 billion, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

An average family of four squanders $2,275 in food each year, or 20 pounds per person per month, according to the nonprofit and nonpartisan environmental advocacy group.

Food waste is the largest single portion of solid waste cramming American landfills. Since the 1970s, the amount of uneaten fare that is dumped has jumped 50%. The average American trashes 10 times as much food as a consumer in Southeast Asia, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Such profligacy is especially unwarranted in a time of record drought, high food prices expected to get higher and families unable to afford food, according to the council. Efforts are already in place in Europe to cut back on food waste.

Fuel Costs Plus U.S. Drought Equals Higher Food Prices

U.S. consumers, already paying more for food due to the worst drought in five decades, may soon see prices at the supermarket rise further because of fuel costs.

“Gasoline is the wild card” of food inflation, said Chad Hart, an economist at Iowa State University. “Anytime you have oil and gas prices moving up, that will hit us on the food dollar.”

Oil Declines for Second Day as Storm Approaches Gulf

Oil fell for a second day amid concern of slowing economic growth in the U.S. and speculation that European leaders aren’t making progress on resolving the region’s debt crisis.

Futures slid as much as 0.9 percent earlier today. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she and French President Francois Hollande will maintain the pressure on Greece to overhaul its economy at meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Berlin today and tomorrow. Demand for U.S. capital goods such as machinery and communications gear dropped in July by the most in eight months, indicating companies are pulling back on investment.

There is little method in madness over oil

Oil futures dipped yesterday as tea-leaf readers struggled to make sense of conflicting signals.

Tightening supplies, including in the United States, have helped propel a run-up in crude prices in recent days. But a worse than expected trade deficit reported by Japan yesterday has revived fears that the economic crisis may eat into global energy demand.

Why oil bulls may get burned

Bullish fund managers are outnumbering bearish ones by five to one, but it's not clear why -- there are more signs that oil prices will retreat than continue to advance.

The Most Important Economic Event of Your Lifetime Is Now Underway

Porter Stansberry writes: You're not hearing about it in the mainstream press, but I believe the most important economic event of our lifetimes is now underway...

This event has been spurred on by a widespread belief that oil and natural-gas resources were in a permanent decline (the concept known as "Peak Oil").

Because of this belief, investors and corporations spent an unprecedented amount of capital seeking out and producing new hydrocarbons. Today, those investments are bearing out to a degree almost no one could have imagined...

Fitch: summer heat offers U.S. utilities chance to recover losses

Above-average summer temperatures are helping U.S. utilities partially recover revenues lost during the mild winter, although less so for natural gas utilities, according to Fitch Ratings.

When revenues are depressed due to mild weather, utilities seek to minimize the costs that management can control. These operating and maintenance savings are typically found through the delay of maintenance work or reductions to the temporary work force, among other cost savings.

Charges in Kurdistan cause DNO to slide into the red

DNO, a Norwegian oil and gas company with a focus on the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan, does not expect to be paid for its exports out of Iraq this year, adding further pressure to its already strained finances.

Among Digital Crumbs from Saudi Aramco Cyberattack, Image of Burning U.S. Flag

The computer virus that may be responsible for a cyberattack on Saudi Aramco was intended to overwrite computers with an image of a burning American flag.

...The hackers, who called themselves Cutting Sword of Justice, said they attacked Saudi Aramco to avenge what they said was the Saudi government’s support for “oppressive measures” in the Middle East.

'Havoc' on Baltic power markets shows flaws in dependence on Russia

Riga (Platts) - The surprise shutdown of a power line from Russia, which sent prices in the Baltic region surging, highlighted the problems of those countries' dependence on their eastern neighbor for so much of their electricity supplies, industry figures said this week.

"The shutdown of a 330 kv power line in the St Petersburg area this week came without warning from the Russian grid operator, and had a major negative effect on the Baltic power network," Taavi Veskimagi, chairman of Estonia's grid company Elering, said Friday.

Pirates release tanker hijacked off Togo: IMB

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Pirates have released a British-managed oil tanker, five days after hijacking it off Togo in the Gulf of Guinea, the International Maritime Bureau said Friday.

Nigeria fuel union calls off strike over subsidy

ABUJA (Reuters) - A Nigerian fuel union called off Friday's planned nationwide strike over the government's non-payment of fuel subsidies after fraud investigations into the country's gasoline subsidy scheme.

Nigeria tightens rules for oil product importers

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's fuel regulator said on Friday oil traders must pre-qualify before they can import oil products, in an effort to combat subsidy fraud, a problem that nearly led to a strike by a major union this week.

BP To Start Libya Oil Exploration Drilling 2013

BP PLC expects to start next year deep-sea drilling work off the coast of Libya, as the U.K. oil giant resumes it $2 billion exploration program halted by the rebel overthrow of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime last year.

The major oil company, which in May lifted a freeze on its activities in the North African country, will shortly begin the preliminary work needed before it can start drilling exploration wells, a BP spokesman said. Drilling itself will likely start some time before the end of 2013, he said.

Atomic Investigators Meet With Iran Over Access to Sites

United Nations atomic investigators are meeting with Iranian officials to try to gain access to disputed documents, people and sites allegedly linked to the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear work.

Today’s meeting in Iran’s embassy in Vienna is the first face-to-face discussion since talks over a so-called structured approach to the atomic investigation broke down in June.

Oil Donors Fete Romney Days Before Unveiling Energy Plan

While the presidential election isn’t until November, it’s already clear that Mitt Romney has won over America’s oil and gas industry.

Days removed from fundraisers attended by Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson and Continental Resources Inc. Chairman Harold Hamm, Romney called for the aggressive development of fossil fuels to make the U.S. an “energy superpower” in a 21-page plan released yesterday.

Romney taps the fundraising well in Texas oil country

ODESSA, TX – Mitt Romney returned to Texas oil country Tuesday to fuel his campaign coffers with nearly $7 million raised in just one day, largely with money from top energy industry executives.

So far this presidential campaign, Romney has extracted $13.9 million dollars in contributions from Texas, making it the second best fundraising state for the GOP nominee after cash-cow California. New York, with its massive financial sector, comes in a close third.

Romney debuts energy plan in oil-rich New Mexico

HOBBS, NM -- Mitt Romney returned to oil country this morning to sell his new energy plan, setting a goal of reaching North American energy independence by 2020 in large part by removing regulatory barriers to fossil fuel development in the United States, and increasing cooperation with fellow energy-producers Canada and Mexico.

Giving Reins to the States Over Drilling

By proposing to end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government lands, Mitt Romney is making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key Western states while dangling the promise of a big reward to major campaign supporters from the energy industry.

Romney Energy Plan Would Expand States’ Say in Production

Mitt Romney would seek to give states control over energy production on federal lands within their borders and allow drilling off the East Coast as part of his plan to reduce crude oil imports.

With rising gasoline prices again drawing voter attention to U.S. energy policy, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee highlighted his energy proposals today in Hobbs, New Mexico, including his strategy for obtaining North American energy independence by 2020, in which the U.S., Canada and Mexico would produce all their own oil.

Romney’s Energy Plan Ignores the Success of Solar and Win

Mitt Romney sets an ambitious goal with his pledge to achieve U.S. energy independence by 2020. It’s just too bad his plan relies almost entirely on fossil fuels and largely ignores the solid promise of clean energy.

Romney’s plan, rolled out Thursday in solar-friendly New Mexico, focuses heavily on oil, gas and, most unnecessarily, coal. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee promises to expand drilling on federal lands and to roll back environmental rules his campaign adviser Ed Gillespie says are “destroying the coal industry.”

TVA a model of failed progressivism

The Tennessee Valley Authority will have a new leader. President and CEO Tom Kilgore announced his retirement last week, giving hope for change at the New Deal relic. In our dreams.

Kilgore likely just missed an ignominious end. In April, Kilgore admitted TVA's "leadership forum" failed when announcing a second nuclear reactor at Watts Bar would cost twice original projections and take 60 percent longer to build, an egregious offense worthy of termination. That is, if TVA's board had the stuff to make the hard call.

BP stops sales of upper gas grades in Chicago area

WHITING, Ind. (AP) — BP said Thursday that it fixed a problem at its Whiting, Ind. refinery that led to a three-state fuel recall but has temporarily halted selling premium and midgrade gasoline in the Chicago area.

No US-style shale gas boom for Europe, says energy investor

Europe is unlikely to experience a shale gas boom similar to that witnessed in the US, according to a UK-based energy investor.

Europe's resistance to shale gas could boost renewables

Europe has been unable to repeat the shale gas revolution that has swept the United States, and that could prove to be the unlikely saviour of long-term EU efforts to spur renewables and curb greenhouse gases.

Greenpeace activists climb Russian Arctic oil platform

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Six activists from Greenpeace scaled Gazprom's oil platform in the Arctic early on Friday and aimed to stay there to protest against the Russian energy giant's plans to drill in a fragile area, the environmental group said.

Saving the Arctic is environmentalism's biggest challenge yet

The oil that flows from beneath the Arctic Ocean is destined to run out. It only holds three years' worth of global supply. If there was an oil spill, similar to the Exxon Valdez or Deepwater Horizon, it could be catastrophic for Arctic marine life.

We should now declare the destruction of such a unique place as an act of vandalism on an unprecedented scale and take action to stop it. And we must also invest in new, greener sources of energy and energy efficiency.

Japanese Leader Meets With Antinuclear Protesters

TOKYO — For the first time since antinuclear rallies began months ago outside Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s office, a dozen protesters were allowed inside on Wednesday for a half-hour meeting that the fledgling movement hailed as a victory. The meeting comes at a time of growing antinuclear sentiment in Japan, and with elections expected this year.

Catalytic converters turned into cash by brazen thieves in Chicago suburb

(CBS) PALATINE, Ill. - Someone in Palatine, Ill. is sawing the catalytic converters off the bottom of trucks and SUV's, and converting them into cash, CBS Chicago reports.

"High-profile vehicles" that thieves can slide underneath are being targeted in a parking garage near the commuter railroad station, for precious metals such as plutonium and rhodium that are used in the pollution control devices.

Tiny Hawaiian Island Will See if New Owner Tilts at Windmills

Since James Drummond Dole bought Lanai from a rancher 90 years ago, the island has undergone a series of wrenching economic transformations. Under Dole, it became the world’s largest pineapple plantation, known as Pineapple Island, with bristling fields and a colony of workers. When Dole moved its operations overseas in the late 1980s, Lanai turned to tourism, opening two high-end resorts where rooms go for as much as $1,100 a night, providing a new source of employment for this community.

But when those resorts struggled with the recent economic downturn and the challenge of bringing tourists to a remote island with single-propeller air service, the island’s owner proposed building a field of 45-story turbine windmills, across bluffs and beaches covering over a quarter of the island, to produce energy to sell to Oahu. The plan polarized residents, dividing those who saw the turbines as the economic salvation of their struggling island from those who treasured its wild and undeveloped isolation.

Turkish solar regulations to cost industry 50 million euros

Turkey's solar power industry has been rocked this week by news from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources that a “solar intensity” measurement must be submitted by each investor applying for a license to implement a solar power system.

The measure has drawn ire from investors. It is estimated that the move will cost the fledgling industry more than 50 million euros in total to have the solar intensity of subject areas measured for the government. Adding to the headache is the fact that only foreign firms have the know-how to perform measurements on solar intensity, and that each measurement costs around 10,000 euros.

ANALYSIS - US govt mandate or no, fuel ethanol is here to stay

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For the past five years, the U.S. government has paid fuel companies billions of dollars in subsidies to buy home-grown, corn-based ethanol, making it a viable part of the nation's gasoline supply.

Now you'd have to pay them not to buy it.

High price of corn forcing farmers to feed candy to livestock

MAYFIELD, Ky. - At Mayfield's United Livestock Commodities, owner Joseph Watson is tweaking the recipe for success.

"Just to be able to survive, we have to look at other sources for nutrition," he said.

His 1,400 cattle are no longer feeding off corn. The prices, Watson said, are too high to keep in stock. So earlier this year, he began to buy second hand candy.

Drought worsens in Plains, despite cooler temps

The U.S. Drought Monitor's weekly map showed that, as of Tuesday, just over two-thirds of Iowa, the nation's biggest corn producer, was in extreme or exceptional drought — the worst two classifications. That's up more than 5 percentage points, to 67.5 percent, from the previous week.

Nearly all of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois are in extreme or exceptional drought, with Illinois showing the most dramatic climb, spiking 17 percentage points in one week to 96.72 percent, according to the map.

Drought Disrupts Everyday Tasks In Rural Midwest

WILDWOOD, Mo. — The wells supplying people’s homes are running dry here at the heart of the nation’s drought, which the government announced on Thursday has spread to 63.2 percent of the country, centered in the parched earth of the southern Midwest.

For some residents outside municipal water districts, it has become a struggle to wash dishes, or fill a coffee urn, even to flush the toilet. Mike Kraus, a cattle farmer in Garden City, Kan., twisted the tap on the shower the other day after work and heard nothing but hissing.

“And that was it,” he said.

Lund twangs out country classics

It’s not an accident that storyteller Corb Lund opens his new album with a post-peak-oil apocalyptical scenario where “when the oil stops, everything stops,” with talk of “a rip in the social fabric” and rural retreat as the only salvation from a world about to go to hell.

On the surface, the rest of Cabin Fever is a collection of largely lighthearted songs about how “everything is much better with cows around,” and how “you ain’t a cowboy if you ain’t been bucked off.” But the characters here are all dealing, in their own way, with societal collapse, with escape and resilience, with history catching up with them. Even Bible on the Dash, a duet with Hayes Carll — about travelling musicians deceiving border patrols by claiming to “play Christian music, sir!” — is set in a theocratic country where religious allegiance erases any suspicion.

New York’s City Council Adds Climate Change Panels

The exodus of City Hall aides has already begun as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s term approaches its end next year, but climate change isn’t going anywhere. So in an attempt to continue Mr. Bloomberg’s environmental focus long after he’s gone, the City Council passed legislation on Wednesday that would make two panels advising the city on the threats of global warming a permanent fixture of government.

UN green climate fund, meant to aid poor, holds first talks

GENEVA (Reuters) - Leaders of a U.N. green fund meant to channel billions of dollars to help developing economies cope with climate change met for the first time on Thursday after months of delays.

Retaliation on Airline Carbon May Breach Law: Researcher

Nations that retaliate against the European Union’s decision to include airlines in its carbon market from this year may fall foul of international trade rules, according to a University of Cambridge researcher.

“If a World Trade Organization member restricts EU flights over its territory, or landing slots for EU flights in its territory, it is likely to violate WTO obligations ensuring non- discriminatory treatment of trade in goods, as well as freedom of transit,” Lorand Bartels, a lecturer in WTO and international law at the U.K. university’s Trinity Hall, said Aug. 21 in a phone interview from Buenos Aires.

Nationalize the Fossil Fuel Industry

Global heating is a process that is already in motion and can no longer be completely reversed. All we can do is to prevent it from getting much, much worse.

To gain control over this rapid feedback loop, we need to nationalize the fossil fuel industry and bring its assets, and its resources, under social control.

Migration in the Americas: On the run from water in Panama

In August, the first round of evacuations will force some Kuna to the mainland because of dangerous living conditions, affecting 65 families. Ultimately, all of the islands will be evacuated — affecting 36,000 people — and new dwellings are being built and funded on the mainland by the Panamanian government.

The inhabited islands are chock full of houses built of reeds and palm leaves and no match for storms and rising water. Historically, flooding was comparatively rare, but residents now regularly contend with surging water.

Experts say sea levels rose nearly seven inches over the past century, and levels could rise another two feet by the end of this century.

Climate vs. weather: Extreme events narrow doubts

Heatwaves, drought and floods that have struck the northern hemisphere for the third summer running are narrowing doubts that man-made warming is disrupting Earth's climate system, say some scientists.

Re: (Porter Stansberry) The Most Important Economic Event of Your Lifetime Is Now Underway (Uptop)

America is on its way to being the world's largest energy producer and one of the largest energy exporters. Nobody expects this. But it will absolutely happen.

Here are some recently updated (late July, 2012) Texas RRC data for Barnett Shale natural gas production and for total Texas natural gas well production (note that we are using a common data source).

From 2008 to 2011, the RRC (so far) shows that Barnett Shale gas production increased by 20%, from 4.4 BCF/day in 2008 to 5.3 BCF/day in 2011:


However, this increase was not sufficient to keep total Texas natural gas well production on an upward slope, and we have so far seen three straight years of declining Texas natural gas well production, with annual Texas gas well production down 6.1% from 2008 to 2011, from 19.3 BCF/day in 2008 to 18.2 BCF/day in 2011:


In other words, several years of year over year increases in Barnett Shale gas production could not keep total Texas natural gas well production on an upward slope (using a common data source).

I believe that Texas has the longest history of recent modern intensive efforts to develop shale gas plays. But the fact that rising production from Texas shale gas plays could not keep total Texas natural gas well production on an upward slope is not an encouraging model for US and global shale gas and shale oil plays, especially since the permeability relative to gas is higher than the permeability relative to oil, and in my opinion it suggests that the recent increases in US crude oil production will probably not be sustainable.

Link to related comments:


The article starts right off priming everyone by asserting that "you're not reading about this in the mainstream press".

This is just such BS - go back through these Drumbeats over the past year and you will probably find 500+ articles detailing how shale gas / shale oil etc etc. has produced this energy revolution that has essentially resulted in the topic of energy again being filed under the category of "not a REAL problem" (i.e. lots of wild-eyed proclamations of billions of this and trillions of that).

Now if he is focusing on a very narrow definition of the "mainstream press" - it's still BS because, although you may not be reading about the supposed domestic energy revolution, this really shouldn't come as any surprise since you are likely not reading about much of ANYTHING energy related...

The dead giveaway that this guy hasn't a clue as to what he is talking about is what he says about Leonardo Maugeri, who's recent report he uses as the basis for his prediction.

Maugeri spent his career in the oil and gas industry, tracking new fields and supplies for the Italian oil giant ENI. It's fair to say that no one knows more about the real capabilities of the world's oilfields than Maugeri. He built his database over several decades and has firsthand knowledge of these fields and the people who run them.

The Maugeri paper is a joke. He has every nation in the world except the North Sea and Mexico increasing production by 2020. Well he has Indonesia holding steady for the next eight years at one million barrels per day. Of course that is all liquids but in May Indonesia produced 940,000 barrels total liquids per day and their production, for the last decade, has been dropping by about 50,000 barrels per day per year.

I could say similar things for many other countries that Maugeri has increasing production. It just ain't gonna happen.

Ron P.

Here's something I found about Maugeri.

Thanks to high prices, investment in oil exploration and development has exploded during the last two years worldwide. A plausible forecast is that by the end of the decade the daily demand for oil will have expanded by 7 to 8 million barrels. If global production continues at present rates, it could grow by 12 to 15 million barrels per day in that period. In other words, there is more than enough oil in the ground.

That's Maugeri, writing in Forbes in 2006 just as oil prices were beginning to increase their ascendant secular rise.
Here's the source: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2006/0724/042.html

So he was forecasting a production boom of between 12-15 mb/d from 2006 to 2010. This is even more extreme than Yergin. Yergin, after all, predicted 10 mb/d from 2004/5 to 2010. So if you look at increase per year, Maugeri tried to outdo Yergin on extreme predictions and it seems he managed to do it.

Now what were the results?

The BP-definition of oil, which means no biofuels, 'refinery gains' and other gimmicks showed an increase from about 82 mb/d in 2006 to 82.8 mb/d in 2010. That's a net increase of 0.8 mb/d. If we take the exact middle between Maugeri's forecast range of 12 mb/d and 15 mb/d, we get 13.5 mb/d.

The difference between the exact middle of his forecast range for 2010 - 13.5 mb/d - and the actual increase, 0.8 mb/d, is only about well over 1000%.
Peanuts, in other words.

Maugeri has a long track record of offbase forecasts - some of whom are even worse than Yergin - that's why nobody should be surprised why his latest forecast in June was shot down.

The only question is why guys like him or Yergin get taken seriously time and again by the MSM after being proven wrong time and again.

In case anyone out there doesn't know, Mr Stansberry was successfully sued for fraud in 2003 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a "scheme to defraud public investors by disseminating false information in several Internet newsletters"


The old pump and dump. He's still up to his old tricks though. A friend of mine recently showed me a proposal from Stansberry to sell him a newsletter that is supposed to be a surefire path to wealth. The price? A mere $6000. Surely just a pittance compared to the untold wealth awaiting his shrewd readers.

Personally I wouldn't believe anything from Mr Stansberry, and I would suggest that the TOD should consider not posting any comments from such a source.


I heard Stansberry give a talk once to aspiring copywriters - teaching them the great business opportunity of selling investment newsletter subscriptions to greedy "investors" by promising them the moon. I found it to be disgusting. But that's just me.

I can recall getting an invite to Gilder's rag -something like a thousand dollars to get his newsletter. There were only two things shown in the blurb -absolute egoism on the part of GG, who was obviously ten times smarter than anyone else who had ever lived. And total crass greed, follow his advice and get dirty filthy rich.
Its possible that if you had got in early you might have made a killing, he'd recommend something and enough money would pile in to pump up the shares....

I believe that Texas has the longest history of recent modern intensive efforts to develop shale gas plays. But the fact that rising production from Texas shale gas plays could not keep total Texas natural gas well production on an upward slope is not an encouraging model for US and global shale gas and shale oil plays, especially since the permeability relative to gas is higher than the permeability relative to oil, and in my opinion it suggests that the recent increases in US crude oil production will probably not be sustainable.


I've seen that posted a few times, and each time I become more confused about your premise.

First, why would Texas natural gas production continue on its upward slope in the price environment we've seen since 2009, particularly this year? There's a glut. If there's no incentive to drill, operators stop drilling, and production drops. That's what's happening. I'm certain you've seen the natural gas rig count charts. The phrase "could not keep total Texas natural gas production on an upward slope" denotes failed efforts to increase production, when companies are intentionally reducing their NG production if they can, to the point of letting leases expire. I'd agree with your assertion if the natural gas prices were much higher, giving operators an incentive to drill.

Second, you show that the Barnett, the most mature of the shale gas plays, has increased production every year since it started producing. The rig cont has actually dropped substantially from 180 in 2009 to around 45 last week.
Though I should add that it will likely level off or drop this year as many of those rigs are targeting the liquids window. Anyway, you then argue that Texas natural gas production, which is heavy from shales, didn't increase, despite an increase in production from the Barnett (the most mature and largest contributor of those shales), which has in turn experienced a drastic reduction in rig counts. I'm seeing two contradictory assertions.

Apologies if I've misunderstood you.

Full disclosure: I'm not very high on the Barnett. Wells are relatively cheap in the realm of multi-stage horizontals, but other than the core areas, my own type curves and economics show most of the acreage needs at least $4-6 gas to make a 10% rate of return. And I don't like having to rely on local brittlness to make the odd good well outside the core area.

The rig cont has actually dropped substantially from 180 in 2009 to around 45 last week.

The recent decline in Texas natural gas well production started in 2009, as rising production from the Barnett and other shale plays, e.g. Haynesville, could not keep total Texas natural gas well production on an upward slope.

It's a very simple argument, to-wit, if rising production from shale gas plays could only produce a temporary increase in total Texas natural gas well production (and where we have the longest history of improved drilling & completion efforts in shale gas plays), why would the total US oil and gas production profile be materially different?

The Haynesville, Barnett and Eagle Ford are the only large resource plays in Texas. What made up the vast majority of natural gas production before the Barnett took off were conventional and tight gas sand reservoirs- Cotton Valley, Travis Peak, Bossier, Yegua, Wilcox, Pearsall, and dozens of others. If anything, your assertion is an indictment of Texas conventional and tight gas production.

But I don't think it's a big deal either way. This data is from the TXRRC sites you linked to:

2006: 6.377 TCF Total - 0.716 TCF Barnett = 5.661 TCF non-Barnett production
2007: 6.967 TCF Total - 1.104 TCF Barnett = 5.863 TCF non-Barnett production (Increase)
2008: 7.825 TCF Total - 1.612 TCF Barnett = 6.250 TCF non-Barnett production (Increase)
2009: 7.691 TCF Total - 1.776 TCF Barnett = 5.915 TCF non-Barnett production (5.4% Decline)
2010: 7.575 TCF Total - 1.847 TCF Barnett = 5.728 TCF non-Barnett production (3.2% Decline)
2011: 7.601 TCF Total - 1.936 TCF Barnett = 5.665 TCF non-Barnett production (1.1% Decline)

The declines in non-Barnett gas production are not severe, and mostly a function of the natural gas price. Those same declines/increases next to the yearly average Henry Hub spot price:

2006: $6.73
2007: $6.86 (Increase in non-Barnett gas production)
2008: $9.04 (Increase in non-Barnett gas production)
2009: $3.99 (5.4% Decline in non Barnett gas production)
2010: $4.39 (3.2% Decline in non Barnett gas production)
2011: $4.04 (1.1% Decline in non Barnett gas production)
2012: $2.58 (Will likely see a drop in non Barnett gas production)

The production dropped as the commodity price dropped. There's been no concerted effort to expand natural gas development with prices so low, so there's no reason for Texas natural gas production to have increased since 2009. The Barnett is an anomaly, and represents a lot of unprofitable drilling as a result of joint ventures and lease-holding efforts.

The increases in production corresponded to the increases in spot price, and the declines corresponded to drops in the spot price. The data you linked to demonstrate that perfectly. You wouldn't expect to see drops in production as the commodity price drops?

A fun little energy tool I've found, maybe it's been posted before but it's worth to take a look.

Part of it is similar to Mazama's Oil Export tool, but it also goes further than that. It's quite versatile, actually, and it even lets you compare different Peak Oil predictions made by various people/organizations on a timeline.


Ah didn't look at it for a while, it made serious progress !

It's done by "the shift project", which is a (non profit I think) organisation started by Jean-Marc Jancovici (a bit "mister peak oil" in France, and also member of ASPO France)

Boone Pickens on Romney's energy plan:

T. Boone Pickens Blasts Romney’s Energy Plan: ‘All They Talk About Is Oil’

In Romney plan, oil drilling unfettered by politics

In unveiling his energy policy on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped into the oil industry's giddy optimism about shale drilling to paint a rosy picture of U.S. economic renaissance fueled by hydrocarbons.

A 21-page energy policy white paper distributed by the Romney campaign is also notable for what it doesn't address: The document contains no mention of climate change, few proposals to curb U.S. fossil fuel demand, and sparse paragraphs on the merits of renewable energy.

The promise of a drilling frenzy takes center stage. After decades of failed plans to wean the world's top economy off foreign oil, huge new domestic oil and gas resources can now be easily tapped by high-tech drilling, the plan says.

... "it's a plan for oil production, not a comprehensive energy strategy."

It's written by the oil industry, major donors of his campaign. You're surprised that it is basically 'drill, baby, drill' with the name changed?

The one thing you have to say for the Romney campaign - they make it very obvious they are bought and paid for. If you want a policy it's obvious how you get it.

Americans waste so much food because it is so cheap. Food is less than 10% of expenditures now, compared with about 40% of expenditures in 1901. Meanwhile the percentage of budget that goes for transportation has increased greatly.

100 Years of Consumer Spending

The National Resources Defense Council report is Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.

It includes losses from farming, post-harvest and packing, processing, distribution, retail, food service, household, and disposal.

Fascinating data, well formatted.
A few surprises for me- for one, health care costs seem to be relatively stable from a percentage standpoint.
Food really has dropped as an expense. Small wonder the wastage figures, whatever they are.
Apparel has also gotten crowded out, I thought to myself, "...hmmm, Kuntsler may be on to something, we have become a nation of auto-addicted slobs..."

The increase in the transportation % does jump out at you, and this would be data compiled before the price run-up of the past couple of years.
This would imply there is a lot of latent consumer frustration over transportation costs, at least as much as about health care or housing... could provide an interesting sub-text to some of the political debate we will be hearing over the next few months.

Childcare and two jobs in the family increase reliance on transportation?
I seem to remember a lecture by Elizabeth Warren I think in 2006 when she was at Harvard that picked these points out, reinforcing the points that have struck you. She also checked out food and health care etc. The video is probably still available and worth watching.


The Jefferson Lecture at Berkeley 2007
The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

latent consumer frustration over transportation costs

Oil companies, gas station operators, new and used auto dealers, repair shops, tire dealers, and auto insurance companies are probably not consumer favorites.

Food is too cheap.

Yahoo recently had a story on the effects of rising food prices, where a family who figured they spent 5% of income on food found they could "no longer afford it". People will complain about the out of sight price of say organic milk, but forget that is less than the inflation adjusted price, or income percentage, their parents fed them on.

Cheap food is the encouragement for people worldwide to leave the farm. No longer able to feed themselves, they starve and clamor for yet cheaper food. In the affluent countries, people abandon gardening, and one of the few links they have left to the natural world. Not to mention their own food security or self satisfaction. It also becomes an issue of national security. With a Peak Oil board, that is readily apparent, but how often do we forget the contribution the victory gardens of WW11 made, or even more forgotten, that Britain in the same interval increased national food production over 90%, from small gardens. When you've done the work to grow and harvest, you won't be wasting much.

This is why developers can continue to turn farmland into housing estates. Flat, well watered land near population centres is at a premium, while food is still very cheap.

But there have been several articles here on people leaving the land. Farming is hard physical work, and people are understandably adverse to that. But more than that, physical work is often considered low status, whereas work with minimal physical requirements, office work, is often considered high status. Its a big reason why in America and other nations people continue to push their children into college and university at enormous expense, even when graduates continue to swell the unemployed.

Food is too cheap.

I think you are right and I would like to add that our attitude toward food has changed. It used to be thought of as sustenance for the body and soul and respected and blessed accordingly. Now thru the brainwashing of marketing/advertizing it has been subverted into "fun" that we have an entitlement to.

So do we count corn ethanol?

We sure should count corn ethanol, hard to find a better example of food waste than this...

Does brings to mind a new term I want to explore, "socially herd bound".

The tendency to support a mindset belief in spite of strong evidence to the contrary. Happens when the sub-conscious mind shuts out the conscious mind in order to safeguard and maintain social connection by maintaining conformity with the socially supportive group's mindset.

May not be the best explanation on why so many support corn ethanol but I am hard pressed to think up a better one.

The concept of "waste" might wind up being a slippery one, though.

For instance, an obese American might throw away a gallon of ice cream, or might eat it. Is is less wasted if that person gets a brain reward for passing it through his alimentary canal, despite the fact that it supplies no useful nutrition and maybe even does a little harm?

And then there's the whole "eating meat" thing, in which grain, water, land and antibiotics are brought together to make foods with maybe 10% of the original food value, but again, more deep brain stimulation for swallowing it.

Corn ethanol provides no nutrition at all, but also provides deep brain reward by allowing us to move around quickly and autonomously for no particularly good reason, while allowing us to pretend that we're being environmental. A two-fer brain reward at least.

Now of course, the whole human population overshoot will necessarily rebound badly to the low side due to destruction of the planet's carrying capacity, biodiversity, oceans & climate, so it could be that any food going to grow that population is wasted except for the transitory brain stimulation of popping out so many kids at one time and feeding them corn dogs & frosted flakes.

Then again, most of what we're eating now is fossil fuel energy for mining & transport of inorganic fertilizers and industrial ag, most of us are detritovores when it comes to calories supplied, and the origin of the nitrogen in our proteins (fixed mainly by haber-bosch rather than plants & the sun). Since the "net effect" of doing this, seen in retrospect, will mostly be heating the planet and further mucking up the sustainable carrying capacity of the earth, that energy (& hence food) will in retrospect have been wasted as well from the point of view of any panting survivors shaking their fists at the stinking green sky & cursing our bones.

In fact, it seems one could make a pretty good case that a very high percentage of food is wasted by ANY reasonable calculation and definitions. 95+% ? 99%? UNLESS we decide that creating and stimulating as many human brain pleasure centers at one time as soon as possible is our standard of utility, in which case none of it is wasted... it's just lifestyle.

I'd continue this, but writing it reminded me I have black walnut ice cream in the 'fridge. Wouldn't want to waste it.

All very interesting, but I was hoping for some feedback on the term "socially herd bound". Your post a few days back about the biology behind this got me thinking about how I have never been affected much by this. But then again I'm a Aspie, and I have always felt free to believe whatever, it never mattered whether or not anyone else believed it.

Now I am wondering if maybe this explains some of why Aspies "have" poor social skills?

Now there you go, there is some butter pecan ice cream in my fridge, I tell my wife not to buy it...

Sorry, I was just rambling on the subject of "wasted food" without any particular reason for doing so. Waste is an interestingly subjective framing-dependent thing.

Being "socially herd-bound" is a perfectly good term, and it's true enough. People believe what those around them believe, and act the way they act. It's probably necessary for eusociality - as in the social insects - in which the competitive benefit for the group is higher than the cost to the individuals. Evolutionarily, it has worked very well... up until we took over most of the niches and then went beyond into fossil-fueled overshoot.

So it's only "flawed" humans, outliers, who are dysfunctional enough to have a weaker bond with the herd. Even those outliers probably have some benefit for populations, since such "dysfunction" has apparently been so strongly conserved, even if it is not beneficial for the individuals.

I have no idea whether I'm an Aspie; all the males in my dad's lineage had that sorta stuff as well as some twitchiness, and I was a screaming head-banger as a kid. Definitely not standard wiring in my head, which is fine with me of course. I have utterly no doubt that the TOD readership is heavily weighted to people with such "dysfunctional" wiring. Indeed, self-awareness, logic, and introspection are an accidental emergent side-effect of our brain function passing certain thresholds. Just look at all the mechanisms the body and culture have created to repair them and shut that stuff down. Everything from religion to alcoholism to witch-burning to peer pressure.

I really did polish off the black walnut ice cream... I tell myself I'm buying it as coffee creamer, and it's darn good for that. But it's also too tempting to keep around on a slow hot day. Believe it, I struggle with intra-brain dissonance as much as anyone, I just try to be aware of it.

So my coffee gets creamed with soy milk from now on. drat.


I am trying to do metaanalysis based upon a hodgepodge of research on a different subject and I can appreciate their acknowledgement that they really do not know. Sometimes I feel I know less now than when I started. Doesn't stop us from writing articles though.

We still can’t answer with any certainty, “How much food is lost at each stage of the supply chain?”

As someone who 'puts by', and is deeply involved in food production by way of garden, orchard, wild harvest and very locally produced meats,i.e., purchase of 1/2 cow from nearby farm, I view food production as all about energy. From soil care to planting to harvest, to storage; canning, package and freeze, drying etc. If you do this even once, you may gain some appreciation of what a 40% wastage really means.

s Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill. It includes losses from farming, post-harvest and packing, processing, distribution, retail, food service, household, and disposal.

Whenever I see articles quoting the 40% they always make it out as if people are sitting at home eating half their meal and then dumping the rest in the bin. It's nice to see the read the original article.

But still 25% of food in peoples houses is being thrown away in America!

That is still hard to believe.

China Confronts Mounting Piles of Unsold Goods

GUANGZHOU, China — After three decades of torrid growth, China is encountering an unfamiliar problem with its newly struggling economy: a huge buildup of unsold goods that is cluttering shop floors, clogging car dealerships and filling factory warehouses.

The glut of everything from steel and household appliances to cars and apartments is hampering China’s efforts to emerge from a sharp economic slowdown. It has also produced a series of price wars and has led manufacturers to redouble efforts to export what they cannot sell at home.

The severity of China’s inventory overhang has been carefully masked by the blocking or adjusting of economic data by the Chinese government — all part of an effort to prop up confidence in the economy among business managers and investors.

With no due respect to that hack Porter Stansberry story above, I do believe that THIS is the "most important economic event of your lifetime..." - now underway...

Failure of China to maintain obviously unsustainable growth rates will be final nail in the coffin for the "we must perpetually grow the rate of growth" nonsense and shift the focus from being a "european problem" or "american recession" to the recognition that the economy is in for a major re-set, on a global scale...

Catskill, excellent point. I believe the current "growth problems" of the world economy is really the end of economic growth. Industrial civilization is still just a baby; yet people seem to think it has been thriving for a thousand years. A growth system is necessary for industrial civilization because of the credit needed to run it; in other words resources need to be allocated to the present discounting the future.

I believe at present the global economy is near collapse. Bailouts are the only thing preventing massive bank runs in Europe and each bailout seems to last a shorter amount of time than the last. The credit creation mechanisms need credit worthy borrowers and they are getting harder to find at the end of the growth of the global oil supply. The amount of debt being taken on currently by industrialized countries in general is completely unsustainable.

We must perpetually grow because that is the system that our culture built. It is like building an airplane and going on a long flight; then while at 35,000 feet deciding that we really would like a different model airplane. Well a different model can be built but it will have to be done on the ground... The airplane represents the industrial economic/financial system which gives lift to industry through credit. The altitude represents the massive population overshoot and ecological damage that industrial civilization has inflicted on the earth. And lastly the ground represents the sustainable limits of what the world can supply without borrowing from the future.


One important point being that the "developing" countries, such as China but also many others, are on a treadmill to hell, because the model that they are copying is the model which has proven itself obsolete (as is often the case for people who are late to a trend).

The result? Ruination for everyone.

Mark N,

You say: "I believe at present the global economy is near collapse."

I could not agree more. I believe you posted some similarly prescient comments yesterday as well. The signs are popping up everywhere. I may be stepping into some dangerous territory once again here, but...dare I say it?...No, they're not ready, they really don't want to know...but someone has to...Okay, Okay...(gulp)...I may be stepping out on a limb here, but...here goes:

I believe THE COLLAPSE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN!!! Damn, I said it.

All (or at least most) joking aside, I do mean this quite seriously. I know it is rather an extreme position to take here, but I really do believe we are no more than a few weeks or months away from the onset of a very serious economic crisis, quite possibly leading directly to a rapid, wide spread, systemic collapse.

So...for all you nostalgic oil drummers out there:

Who thinks the next Superbowl will be more important to people than the collapse?

For my part, I most certainly do. I suspect that people of past collapses were also equally more interested in the games than the collapse going on around them. Alternatively, they were incapable of doing anything about it anyways. I suspect it will be the same this time around as well.

So it goes...

The Wet One,

As far as I know there are currently no actual gladiators or games or any circus taking place in the Colosseum in Rome. As Rome fell those games eventually came to an end.

So, do you believe that the Super Bowl will be played on an annual basis forever? If not, when do you expect we will see the final game of all time? Which team do you think will win?


Actually some of us believe the collapse started some time ago but it's not worth getting into it on TOD.



You say: "Actually some of us believe the collapse started some time ago but it's not worth getting into it on TOD."

Why on earth not? Seems like a pretty interesting subject to me. And Leanan told me yesterday that this topic is fair game and perfectly appropriate for this forum. If you don't want to talk about it, fine. But some of us here believe that this is the most important topic there is. I really prefer not to get bogged down in a discussion about whether the discussion should or should not be free to happen.

By the way, I am one of those people who believes the collapse started some time ago as well. But let us not mix up our definitions of collapse here. I am saying that we are about to enter a world wide economic crisis that will make 2008 look like a picnic. I believe that positive feed backs will kick in and the collapse will accelerate, leading to the rapid and total collapse of industrial civilization complete with about a 90% human die-off playing out in a time span of no more than a decade or two. The collapse may have started some time ago, but it hasn't been noticable yet to most people. I am saying that that is about to change in an extremely dramatic way.

Hi Loren,

Why not discuss collapse on TOD? Primarily because the editors don't want to focus on that facet of reality although I personally find it more important than peak oil. And, truly, if discussed fully would over-power other issues. In my case, I've been sending out a weekly "Update" newsletter to friends and some TODers for several years and this satisfies my "need" to make people aware of what's coming down.

I also think it's important to take real-life actions; not just talk. For example, I got my Grange to establish The Grange Center for Self-Reliance to provide people with information and skills they'll need in the future. For example, I'm doing a seminar today (Saturday) on Soils and Plant Nutrition and had an open house at my place last week to show how seniors and others with limitations could still grow some crops.

Keep plugging away.


I find it a bit funny to hear that we don't talk about collapse at TOD.. it's like that discussion nobody is having about Population, and which eats up a Drumbeat like nobody's business, usually with unproductive sidetracks about hyper-fascism and eugenics, etc. But a word-search and some kind of volume analysis would surely give Population and Collapse a solid pie-slice in the bandwidth of this site.

Not to say that the bad news isn't real and doesn't happen, but these discussions get SO mired in people's fear fantasies and then accusations and rebuttals. See the 8/22 thread with Greer for example, where I can really understand the value of moderating the discussion, or having the group make some calls on the boundaries.. and just damn the critiques of Big Brothering.. the distinction between leadership and dictatorship will frequently get mired in fraught perspectives..

The question would seem to be, 'What would be a useful and productive discussion on these things?' .. particularly when many of the productive suggestions get beaten on for their hopefulness, or gasp!, for the unforseeable downsides they would naturally create.

It's understandable that people will quickly tire of drawn-out bouts of handwringing, and want to get on to something useful.

"Collapse" is an emotionally laden word, and in of by itself is borderline meaningless unless one associates a timeframe with it. But even then its importance is contextual.
"This morning the germ population growing in my armpit underwent a catastrophic collapse when I took a shower".......


I am trying to associate a time frame with collapse. Fast vs. slow. As far as the context is concerned, if I were a germ that somehow suvived the catastrophic collapse that took place in your armpit this morning, I don't think I'd be sleeping very well tonight.


You say: "The question would seem to be, 'What would be a useful and productive discussion on these things?' .. particularly when many of the productive suggestions get beaten on for their hopefulness, or gasp!, for the unforseeable downsides they would naturally create.

It's understandable that people will quickly tire of drawn-out bouts of handwringing, and want to get on to something useful."

Beating on 'productive suggestions' for their hopefulness is an attempt to account for the influence of human optimism bias on the conclussions drawn. And pointing out the forseeable and unforseeable downside risks that would be created with the real world application of 'productive suggestions' is an attempt to account for Jevon's paradox and the diminishing returns of additional complexity. In both these cases I am directly critiquing the arguments presented. Frustrating for you, perhaps, but at least it is a real discussion.

When I bring up the current topic, it is criticised for being boring, already covered, unpleasant, depressing, too controversial, and 'unproductive'. It morphs from a discussion of something to an argument over whether to have an argument. I have never suggested that talking about 'productive suggestions' is an invalid topic. But you are saying that talking about fast collapse is an invalid topic and should be resricted or off limits somehow.

Do you see the difference?

Hello Todd,

I would be very interseted in receiving your weekly "Update". What do I do?

Todd does a great job scouring the web for pertinent information; his newsletter is very much worth getting.

Hi Loren,

Send me an email with your real name and where you live. I'll "introduce" you to the group in the next Update and send you a list of who the other people are and where they live (I think there are about 40 right now.). Just be aware that it isn't a forum and I don't really like email discussions. I just send out links that interest me dealing with government, finance, prepping, health, etc. and seldom put up a personal rant (although I am on the one I'm sending out Sunday). Also, recognize that I am a fast crash doomer who believes in self-reliance and preparation.

My email addy is detz2 at willitisonline dot com


PS - thanks Mark!!

Hi Todd,

Thank you very much. The newsletter sounds very cool. And by the way, Loren Soman is my real name.

Hello Todd,

I don't know if you will check back here or not but I tried your email and it bounced back domain name not found. I don't want to miss your newsleter so here is my addy:

lorensoman1 at gmail dot com

My real name is Loren Soman and I live in Dallas, Texas.

Thanks, I hope.

Perhaps revisiting the Olduvai Theory would be instructive:


The recent blackouts in Brazil, India, DC, and Japan (myriad seemingly "unrelated" factors few in the mass media and public connect) are symptomatic of the increasing fragility of grid and distribution systems and diminishing returns to complexity on a global scale.

If one looks at US peak crude oil production and plateau from 1970 to 1985, the world is now 7-8 years into peak and plateau of global crude oil production, approximately where the US was in 1977-78, which proved to be the peak and decline of US industrialization and the onset of financialization and feminization of the economy and inexorable decline in real wages and wages (labor product vs. financial capital) as a share of GDP.

The world now faces a similar plateau with falling crude oil production per capita until a precise date uncertain at which the world industrial economy falls from the plateau and commences its inexorable decline from a once-in-history event.


Note from the link above that human population grew at 0.07-0.08% (doubling time of 800-900 years) from the Stone Age and the early Roman Empire to the Dalton Minimum and onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Population growth thereafter accelerated with the warming climate, increasing agricultural yields, shift in Atlantic ocean currents encouraging westward navigation from Europe, and use of coal and liquid fossil fuels until the post-1950 period at which population is growing at a doubling time of just 40 years, or about a working lifetime (avg. lifespan in parts of Africa and Central Asia and in the West until the late 19th century). It requires at least 40-80 or more years for grasslands, forests, watersheds, and fisheries to replenish themselves; however, human population growth and consumption of resources are well into the bubble-like faster-than-exponential trajectory.

All bubbles burst and decline back to the level at which the faster-than-exponential trajectory commenced (the log limit bound, and sometimes overshoot below), implying, regrettably, that conditions in the decades hence will result in the eventual 85-90% decline in the human population.


Wow. Fantastic post.

You said: "All bubbles burst and decline back to the level at which the faster-than-exponential trajectory commenced (the log limit bound, and sometimes overshoot below), implying, regrettably, that conditions in the decades hence will result in the eventual 85-90% decline in the human population."

For all the slow, gradual collapsers out there, this is one of the main differences between collapses past and our current situation. That and our complete reliance on fossil fuels that are entering depletion. And our massively more complex and brittle just in time systems. Also, the financial system seems to be ending it's growth phase with no plan in place for how capital markets can possibly operate without growth. Also, the monetary system itelf is under extreme stress, with debt levels of cartoonish proportions. Also, we are absolutely dependent on industrial farming practices, without which crop yeilds drop to 30% or so of current levels. And also, this is now a world wide civilization and I don't think we can expect any bailouts from Mars.

These and many other very major differences between collapses past and collapse present make history a poor guide for predicting the shape our future unraveling. This is not just another collapse. Human civilization got it's start over 10,000 years ago and since then collapses large and small have been quite common. Thus this is like comparing regular rain storms to a 100 year storm or the hurricaine of the century. This is a once in 10,000 year event.

The coal trains have been rolling down the tracks for a long time and all of this civilization stuff has sprung from the ground. What happens when the coal trains stop running?

I was thinking about the changes that need to be made to adapt to lower energy availability. Besides massive alternative energy infrastructure, we will need to retrofit most of our buildings to something near passivhaus standards, replace most appliances with efficient ones and replace most of the transportation fleet. This probably adds up to well over $100,000 per capita at a time when we are in debt and still investing in the metabolism of a technological organism that is beginning to feel the scarcity of hydrocarbon food.

Absolutely every motion requires a degradation of energy, from our muscular efforts to the wind blowing in the trees - energy is required and heat is evolved. When we get cold, we shiver and release extra heat. As we begin to starve our metabolism will slow appreciably and frostbite will take hold of our noses, fingers and toes in the form of lost jobs and economic activity. At what core temperature will we freeze-up completely? Or alternatively, at what point does the gangrene on our dead periphery become so great that it poisons the remainder of the system? Isn’t it the response of a failing system to try and build a fire and throw more fuel upon it? Isn’t that what we’re trying to do now, to stave off the economic cold, to move energy towards essential organs while sacrificing the periphery? Get more fuel, throw it on the fire, keep the fingers and toes on the periphery numb and just above freezing and hope we can find a few more twigs to keep the heat on?

Many on the periphery have already experienced collapse and many more will be joining them in the frostbite zone - dead tissue. That magnificent brain, the President and government, will be spinning in circles, deliriously searching for additional fuel to throw on the fire, erecting police barriers against the systemic rot at the ends of their limbs. Which will happen first, a complete freeze-up or destruction of the system from accumulating poisons? Eventually, the system will be so crippled as to be unable to gather even the slightest bit of additional fuel. All efforts will be focused upon controlling the rot, which will fail.

I will gesture that failure will occur in a life or death fuel fight between nations that will exhaust their remaining energy and burst the nuclear lysosomes whose radioactive enzymatic content will digest the DNA of every living organism in their paths.

Collapse will not come catabolically, a normal process of metabolic activity in which larger substrates are made more simple using enzymes and energy, but rather as a result of insufficient energy to perform anabolic and catabolic reactions resulting in a freezing-up of all activity and subsequent short-term abandonment and long-term deterioration of remaining structures.

Rural areas have less systems reliance, but in the 21st century, the age of industrial farming, even the few local farmers will obtain most of their food from a grocery store that is supplied from infrastructure that is part and parcel of the “system”.

The good news, depending on how you look at it, is that the trains are still rolling and the gas and oil are still flowing. But for how long?

Technological life is a once in 4 billion year event. It's demise, if that's the way it goes, will be equally rare.

"For all the slow, gradual collapsers out there, this is one of the main differences between collapses past and our current situation."


If one draws a line at 2012 on the limits graph and looks left, any comparisons to previous collapse liabilities go off scale. This is what I think most slow collapsers ignore; at no time in history has our level of overshoot been so grossly out of balance with our bio-economic carrying capacity and our ability to respond or adjust our behavior. Our viable fallback position is orders of magnitude below our peak. Unprecidented is an understatement, and we ignore this to our own peril, and the peril of the planet. The rebalancing process that must/will occur will, at least, be proportional to the scale of the imbalance. Timeframes aren't subject to this rule. My intuition tells me that, in a stepped decline, any steps must be swift, frequent, and quite large. Matters little what one's definition of collapse is.

Our biosphere simply doesn't have enough carrying capacity or time to support a slow decline. Greer and others have conveniently ignored this, assigning magical abilities to societys' ability to respond.

Having said this, see Todd's cogent remarks, above. I stand my ground regarding the possibility of a speedy decline only to impart a sense of urgency to those who may be somewhat complacent in their response. It is critical to use this knowledge as an incentive to action rather than an excuse to do nothing. This is where I personally part ways with many of my friends here, whose response is no response at all.

This is where we may be arguing from different definitions of collapse. I look at "Industrial Production per Capita" in 2100 and do not see "Collapse". Some VERY rough times indeed, an end to BAU early on, but NOT collapse.


PS: I am laying out plans that can be implemented (many in <10 years) at the first sign of panic.

Looking at the population/industrial output ratio may be telling. That said, the LTG graph is one I only use as an illustration. I consider anything past @2030 to be questionable, since I think we're exceeding biophysical, bio-economic carrying capacity much faster than anticipated. If recent indications are considered as long term trends rather than fluctuations, I think most of the lines on the graph will morph into more of a shark fin curve. The effects of drought, ocean acidification, climate tipping points, etc., are underestimated, IMO. From this point, the timeframe may be dramatically compressed.

I would not be surprised that an American child born today will live to see famine in the United States - that is mass deaths from starvation. And even in a good harvest year, almost half of their income goes to food.

That is well past the end of BAU - but it is not necessarily Collapse.

Best Hopes for a "Not as Bad as it could have been" Future,


Indeed, I was catching up with the last "discussion" on the subject around Greer and Loren and I noticed that a lot of the disagreement was caused by the meaning of collapse being noticeably different to the different parties.

It is critical to use this knowledge as an incentive to action rather than an excuse to do nothing.

Agreed, it is bothersome to read post advocating the quick collapse as a solution to the issue at hand. Society needs to make some mindset changes, we need to understand how our sub-conscious mind is controlling us and how it can run badly amuck, we need to grow up, me included, and become adults. A quick collapse is highly unlikely to provide the setting necessary to facilitate these changes.


I am clearly not advocating a fast collapse as a proactive 'solution'. This not some kind of choice we can make, I am saying it is just the inevitable outcome.


My read is that sub-consciously you may well have an ego build investment in seeing this outcome manifest. Maybe not quite the same thing but the mental energy projected has the same effect.

It is a choice, sure it is way more a "we choice" than a "me choice" but we are choosing this path and we need to accept our part of the responsibility.

The outcome does seem totally inevitable if our group aggregate mindset stays as it is. The goal becomes finding a way to change the group mindset in such a way that it creates the most peaceful, sustainable world that we can possibly create.


You said: "My read is that sub-consciously you may well have an ego build investment in seeing this outcome manifest. Maybe not quite the same thing but the mental energy projected has the same effect."

I was pretty severely reprimanded recently here for suggesting that I could read the thoughts and motivations of another person (ascribing motive and intent). That technically is one of the key features of an ad hominem attack (though this one is quite mild compared to many I've seen and commited myself). The other is the 'halo effect' created by human cognitive bias. The implication here is that my ego built investment prevents me from being able to see the truth, thus invalidating my argument without even having to address it.

That said, though, I share your hopes for the best possible outcome.


Fabulous post.

You said: "I stand my ground regarding the possibility of a speedy decline only to impart a sense of urgency to those who may be somewhat complacent in their response. It is critical to use this knowledge as an incentive to action rather than an excuse to do nothing. This is where I personally part ways with many of my friends here, whose response is no response at all."

I completely agree with you here. I am in no way endorsing the no response response of some people that you speak of. I believe that realistically assesing the dilemma is the first step toward formulating effective and realistic responses.

Written by LOREN_SOMAN:
This is a once in 10,000 year event.

Because nature took millions of years to create the fossil fuels that are currently powering the human bonanza, I think it is more likely a once in 10 million or 100 million year event.

I've often thought that myself. That it began around 1974, Hubbert's Peak.

Most people just haven't noticed. Most people may never notice.

Yes, US industrialization and wages/salaries to GDP (and thus the material standard of consumption for the bottom 80-90% of US households) peaked around the Hubbert Peak for US crude oil production in the 1970s and when the Bretton Woods system ended with the US$ being removed from the gold exchange standard.

Since the onset of US deindustrialization and financialization, the US has added public and private debt equivalent to three times today's GDP. IOW, we replaced gains to labor product with increasing debt/income and debt/GDP to buy cheaper imported goods, which in turn permitted borrowing at lower nominal interest rates since 1981.

Today the total compounding interest to term for the US total credit market debt outstanding is equivalent to annual GDP. IOW, there will be no "growth" of (un)economic activity indefinitely hereafter after price changes per capita until, or if, debt and asset values are written down or paid off by 50-60% per capita over time. Such a decline would constitute a debt-deflationary crash, which is what the central banks and banksters the world over are panicked about and desperately trying to prevent. There is no precedent in capitalist history for a debt-deflationary contraction being prevented going back to the Tulip mania of the 17th century.

Moreover, the typical 20-34 year-old male today receives income of just 60% of his generational predecessor in 1970 after price inflation, higher payroll taxes, and the higher cost of housing as a share of income. Women's gains have been comparatively large but from a lower base. In effect, women's gains have come at a loss for men, i.e., net zero sum. Only about 10% of males earn enough alone to support a spouse, children, and savings for retirement and college costs. Only 2-3% of women earn enough for a similar lifestyle, whereas 30-35% of women now earn more than their husbands.

Half of jobs in the US are jobs to earn an income to be able to afford to work; that is, have a car or second car, child care, work wardrobe, meals out at work, etc.

The US economy has not created net new full-time private sector employment since the late 1970s to early 1980s. The US economy no longer creates net new private living-wage employment.

There are now fewer than two Americans working for every one American on Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, disability, or a dependent or survivor benefit recipient.

The US gov't is headed for a fiscal cliff or brick wall. The next recession risks a US fiscal deficit approaching 100% of federal receipts after Social Security and Mediare receipts, whereas by no later than '16-'19 net interest on the US gov't debt will approach 25% of receipts, which historically is the de facto insolvency threshold.

Then add to all of this the accelerating adoption of labor automation, robotics, smart systems, etc., and the structural job losses that will occur across sectors.

Most of us do not know just how close we are to fiscal insolvency, financial and economic collapse, and a breakdown of US-China trade and diplomatic relations and squandering imperial treasure on a last-man-standing war for remaining resources.

P.S. It took 260 years for the human population to increase ~10 times. By the anti-bubble trajectory following a faster-than-exponential trajectory, the crash phase for population will occur over approximately 75-80 years; that is, by the end of the century the human population will have declined 90% as a consequence of famine, disease, racial/ethnic/religious violence and genocide, war, rising infant mortality, and declining lifespans. The population will return to the level of the early to mid-18th century. The fastest decline will occur from the 2030s-40s thereafter, in part because of those being born since the 1980s-2000s will have much lower or falling fertility rates from economic contraction, social unrest and instability, failed states, etc. In the meantime, population will peak and begin a descending (bumpy) plateau into the 2020s-30s.

Well said I think that is a good summary of the problem. The most chilling chart I have ever seen was population growth overlaid on oil consumption...

I doubt the human population would go down by 90% for multiple reasons. The first is that over 35% of the world's population is in China and India. Places that simply aren't as fragile and over reliant on modernity as the US.

The second reason is that a reduced population would begin to resolve a lot of the issues overpopulation has caused.

Also, if the economy collapses, people aren't going to stop having sex. They simply won't have easy access to condoms and abortions.

I expect the population to get younger on average. But a 90% reduction for the entire world in a human lifetime is very unlikely.


I agree with you that most people haven't noticed yet. If the collapse continues to proceed at a slow pace, most people will probably continue not to notice. But if it speeds up like I think it will, I'll bet a lot more people will begin to notice.

Hi Loren, I believe that the collapse of industrial civilization began when peak oil per capita hit; I believe it happened in 1979 but the U.S. decline began when the U.S. peaked in 1970. As for timing I tend to think about Nate Hagens when talking about the debt overhang predicted in ten years there will be no stock exchange. It is impossible to know what the trigger event will be or when it will occur and only when the credit creation mechanisms are destroyed will things truly collapse. 2008 could have been the collapse but we still had a healthy enough financial sector to create around 14 trillion in bailout credit.

I tend to think that discussions of out right collapse do not go over well here; no one seems to like it and they will let you know. I recommend you come over to the Doomstead Diner there is a David Korowicz Trade Off thread already going that I would love to see fill up with commentary.

Loren it is funny to me that we are both musicians and instead of talking about solar panels and industrial hemp we are hardcore doomers.

I would extend the Doomstead Dinner invite to anyone here; it is a free speech zone with plenty of noise and plenty of signal in my opinion but it is easy to stick to threads one finds interesting and ignore ones you do not.


Hi Mark,
You said: "I tend to think that discussions of out right collapse do not go over well here; no one seems to like it and they will let you know."

I certainly have discovered that to be true! But I think that their response is in itself very interesting from the standpoint of social theory and basic human nature. The way the conversation is deflected begins to produce patterns of denial that are very distinct.

The Doomstead Dinner sounds pretty cool. I will definitely check it out.

As a musician, I know that even the best songs eventually come to an end.

"As a musician, I know that even the best songs eventually come to an end."

Well said and the reason I believe that industrial civilization is collapsing is that the facts as best as I can interpret them point that direction. My believe is that credit creation through debt is the main reason that we are already not well into the post-industrial world. The timing of a final trigger mechanism is very hard to guess, but we should not just close our eyes and ignore the threat.

I hope you come by the Doomstead Diner you would add much value to the conversation.

Any links to your music or a facebook page? I would love to hear your music.



You said: "...My believe is that credit creation through debt is the main reason that we are already not well into the post-industrial world. The timing of a final trigger mechanism is very hard to guess, but we should not just close our eyes and ignore the threat."

I think that is exactly right. I believe that in the late 1970's we were faced with two distinct and mutually exclusive options. Jimmy Carter's voluntary power down or Regan's credit expansion bubble. I am a lifelong liberal and a democrat so I chose power down. But the majority chose credit expansion. We don't know for sure what would have happened if we had gone the other way. But, as hard as it is for me to admit it, I have come to believe since then that we may not have really had the option to choose in the first place. I now think that, ironically, powering down in the 1980's would probably have lead to a collapse much sooner than the one we are facing now!

Thanks for the interest in my music. Unfortunately I don't have anything very recent up anywhere. But here are a couple of old drum things I put on youtube a few years ago. The sound quality is bad and these are really just sort of technical exercises. But, in any case, here you go:



Also, here is a link to my old animation and effects reel just for fun:


I am definitely going to check out the Doomstead Diner and I would also love to hear your music as well.


Loren, I truly like Jimmy Carter though I was just a little kid when he was President. His attempts to address resource depletion in even the smallest ways were soundly rejected by the populace. I think the inertia of industrial civilization was to great for any leader to stop once it got rolling. Also we must bear in mind that had the U.S. powered down the other industrial countries would have treated us a third world country for resource extraction. It was an impossible situation...

I would be interested to know what if any steps you are taking in preparation for the unwinding of the industrial ponzi scheme we know must come at some point. I am taking some pretty radical steps myself and I purchased remote land in the Ozark Mountains that border a large national park. I will be pursing sustainable living through re-wilding and permaculture while living off of the grid. After years of research I am acting on my beliefs; even if I am wrong I have lived off of the grid before for years and loved it. Now is the time to prepare and find interests that can survive the break down of modern life; electric blues guitar won't do it for me long term.

Here is my current band the Nicholson Brothers although we are winding down as I am moving to the Ozarks from Virginia.



Great drumming in your vids, are you a jazz player? You have the chops for it.

"Now is the time to prepare and find interests that can survive the break down of modern life; electric blues guitar won't do it for me long term."

Don't sell your self short, Mark. Musicians and bards have a long history of surviving hard times, along with prostitutes, brewers and distillers ;-) Nice playing on the vids, BTW. I used to help Stoney Brooks (formerly of JuJu Root), out of Atlanta, publish "Blues Ink", now being archived at Ole Miss.

There's always a gig somewhere, even if it don't pay much...

Ghung, thanks for the solid advice. I am not giving up playing electric blues until the lights go out. I just wanted to develop other passions should the grid go down. Developing primitive skills is something I have loved since I can remember and Native American cultures always fascinated me.

I will check out some "Blues Ink"! I am a lover of all things blues music. I plan on getting in the Arkansas blues scene as soon as I get there. I have been talking to some folks online already and the guitar player I play with now is from Little Rock and says the blues scene is much better than in Western Virginia.

You don't have a blog do you Ghung? I would subscribe if you did.

No blog; too busy building solar trackers, chicken coops, compost piles, weeding, canning, watering, splitting wood, etc.,, and keeping my peeps focused on what matters. I imagine you'll be doing the same, which is a good thang, IMO. TOD is one of my few electronic indulgences.

Blue Ink is defunct now, but was a great resource back in the '90s. Lots of blues history there.


You said: "I would be interested to know what if any steps you are taking in preparation for the unwinding of the industrial ponzi scheme we know must come at some point."

This is personally a very hard question for me to answer, especially here. I fear being terribly misunderstood, but, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll take a shot at it anyway.

Sadly, I am currently not involved in preparations for collapse, although admiting this here will likely draw some pretty severe criticism. About two years ago, I stopped commenting on TOD, sold everthing I had (not much anyway), and my girlfriend and I headed off to the forests of the Pacific Northwest to try our hands at learning primitive living skills (paleolithic style). My basic idea was that if humanity is headed toward a much simplified existance anyway, we might as well get a head start. Over about a year long period we got pretty good at making bow drill fires, building shelters, identifying useful (or dangerous) plants, making simple tools, tracking, hunting with bow and arrows, trapping, foraging, etc. Basic hunter gatherer stuff. (I think the permaculture thing is cool, and that was part of my wilderness education, but I have some doubts about trying to adopt a settled existence during a social collapse) The only problem was that I massively underestimated how difficult that transition would be for a person raised in a modern, technological society. Anyway, that outcome is very common for anyone who tries what I did. Transitioning to a wilderness life is definitely a non-trivial act. Paleolitic peoples lived in groups that had a cultural continuity that is essential and very difficult to replicate. Their children grew up learning wilderness skills as naturally and effortlessly as kids today learn computer skills. Even the most experienced teacher at the wilderness college I attended, a guy with super impressive skills who has many years of experience at wilderness living, will admit that he would have a very hard time if he had to walk off into the forest and live for the rest of his life with no modern technology whatsoever. Long story short, we ran out of funds and returned to civilization. I hope and believe the skills we did learn will probaly come in handy some day.

I am 50 years old. Surviving into much older age has become much less important to me now than getting the most out of every day in the here and now. I am quite happy and content philosophically speaking. I'm focusing now on my music and learning everyting I can about my world before it ends.

I do wish you the best of luck making your transition. My only advice is don't underestimate the difficulty of what you are attempting.

But now back to music. Yes I do play jazz. I grew up playing jazz in a touring Dixieland jazz band starting at the age of 10. Nowadays I play all kinds of music (jazz, rock, blues, funk, whatever). I also give drum lessons and I host the longest running drum jam in Dallas at the Across the Street Bar.

I am a slow typist. Now that I finished this post I am going to listen to your music.



I think you have nothing to feel bad about your attempt at rewilding. Like you say we do not have any cultural continuity and basically all rewilding skills must be figured out on the fly. That is truly a massive undertaking.

I wish you the best in getting the most out of each day and life is in the living they say. The skills you learned in your rewilding adventure will stick with you and may come in quite handy.

Due to the daunting nature of my off the grid homesteading project I am trying to ween myself of the industrial tit in stages. I am going to keep playing music and will probably need a part job as well. I grew up in Appalachia so for once my economic and social background will help; I spent more time hunting and tracking in the woods than anything else for periods of my childhood. Your story resonates with me and I will try not to underestimate the difficulties of the task.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with me; it really gives me some things to reflect on.


That is really quite impressive, especially given your age. Not many people in that stage of life would try what you tried. Kudos.

It's also interesting in that your view is probably among the most doomerish of all. People who are building "doomsteads" in the wilderness are considered hard-core doomers, but you think even they are being too pollyanna-ish, opting for a settled existence.

On the other end of the spectrum...I know some who think that learning things like farming is dangerous, because we have not yet reached "peak social control," and you might end up an Epsilon in the Brave New World.

It seems we all have our own views of what the future will be like.

It's also interesting in that your view is probably among the most doomerish of all. People who are building "doomsteads" in the wilderness are considered hard-core doomers, but you think even they are being too pollyanna-ish, opting for a settled existence.

Something to learn for them from 'Survivorman' on TV from Bear Grylls. Might that be necessary in the future, you won't be alone in those remote places on earth !


Thank you so much for the kind words. But I don't tend to think of my expirience as a rousing success.

You said: "People who are building "doomsteads" in the wilderness are considered hard-core doomers, but you think even they are being too pollyanna-ish, opting for a settled existence."

I need to be very clear here:

I do not think that the doomsteaders are being too pollyanna-ish. Quite the contrary, actually. Assuming the doomsteader chooses the right location to start with (all the necessities in abundance, and far from any populated areas), the doomsteader has the only viable plan available that gives a probability of suvival greater than chance. Obviously, a bunker in the city is a bad idea and I don't think that being Rambo and becoming a warlord in a major city is a realistic option for most. The first phase of any collapse would take out city dwellers first, due to lack of food, and that gives the doomsteader a slight edge. People would begin fanning out of the cities and into the country-side in search of food and fleeing ever increasing violence. I did quite a bit of surveying and the most ideal doomstead locations are extremely rare. Way too much population desity everywhere. Thus the doomsteader may not be able to maintain his settled condition indefinitely. He has some advantage over the first interlopers due to being on his own turf and he or she might be able to resist for a while, but likely the doomsteader will have to abandon the doomstead in favor of hunting and gathering. Once the population is sufficiently culled, people will begin to form cooperative settlements once again, but nothing much bigger than a village because of the degredation of the environment and it's much lowered carrying capacity. So, all in all, the doomsteader has a way better shot at surviving than any other idea I can think of. But it still is not very good odds for any given individual doomsteader. I think the hardest part is the step into hunting and gathering. It is hard to explain unless you try it.

Also, I'm a big fan of hybrid survival schemes that involve combining some modern tools and weapons with good old fashoned (paleolithic) wilderness skills. This gives some valuable extra adaptation time before the modern impliments fail.

Also, there is the potential for tribe formation, i.e. cooperative group survival, and it has it's own trade-offs, pluses and minuses.

If I had the funds to do it, I'd have a doomstead in southeast Alaska. Near, but not too near, to Sitka, or Ketchican. But, alas, I do not.


Or, another oil price shock will knock the world economy down another notch. A few nations might collapse freeing resources for the majority to plod along. Economic effects dominate people's perception of the shock. When crude oil production starts down the falling edge, the frequency of the shocks will increase, increasing stress on the system, until the inflection point is passed. Nations are not affected equally during each shock. Dominoes fall slowly over years and decades, not days and weeks. Anthropic climate change and resource wars will make the view murky by creating their own shocks.

Collapse of the global economic system causing massive starvation and population collapse while the resources and infrastructure to extract, process and distribute them remain intact... no way.

We will find out which is correct in retrospect.

You raise some excellent points BlueTwilight. I think we are already seeing countries like Greece being squeezed out of the global oil markets freeing up oil for wealthier nations. This conservation by other means does not guarantee that the economic/financial systems that support industrialism will not collapse.

I feel the economic and financial systems are under constant and increasing strain from lack of GDP growth that is not fueled by debt. I feel if a large sovereign nation like Spain had a massive banking failure, triggering credit default swaps that caused counterparty failures, contagion could rip through the global banking system causing serious breakdowns in global trade. David Korowicz in his paper "Trade Off" does a fantastic job of detailing some possible worst case scenarios. If the current global financial and economic systems were to be damaged enough I believe it is possible that they could not be fixed.

Bear in mind I am not talking about the collapse of individual countries; I am talking about the collapse of the global financial/economic systems that industrial societies have become interconnected with and dependent on. One big domino if you will. The resources that remain can only be utilized if the industrial financial and economic systems are functioning. I believe a decent sized part of the remaining resources may never be exploited due to the fact that industrial economies were built for growth; and they have been failing for sometime as debt based growth is not sufficient to keep the systems from failing. The next 2008 style crisis could be the last.

Just my 2 cents...

If you are interested here is a great paper on the topic


If readers are interested in what's ahead for China, please refer to the following:


China now faces a Great Depression-like contraction (and the "middle-income trap") after the greatest bubble in credit and fixed investment as a share of GDP in history (save for perhaps the Egyptian pyramids and their historical predecessors' construction of the Great Wall).

If the Kondratieff or Long Wave and World Systems rhythm plays out as it has for 250-300 years, US-China diplomatic and trade relations will become increasingly strained and eventually break down, leading to US firms' repatriation of capital, blockades and embargoes in Africa and South America, and eventually a last-man-standing Long Wave Peak War for the remaining resources of the planet.

Every 50-60 years since the late 18th century (White Lotus Rebellion, Opium Wars, Boxer Rebellion, and Mao), westerners have flocked to the Middle Kingdom in search of riches, only to contribute to overinvestment and malinvestment bubbles, financial scandals, cultural "corruption", and co-opting and corrupting of elites, resulting in financial and economic collapse, social unrest, gov't reaction, xenophobia against "western devils", and turning inward from the world to deal with domestic instability.

Expect the People's Liberation Army (PLA) generals in Beijing to assert increasing influence and eventual takeover of the gov't during the coming era of social unrest, xenophobia, and financial and economic collapse.

China is a four-letter word: SELL!!!

Maybe that explains:

RESOURCES Minister Martin Ferguson has declared the mining boom over as BHP Billiton shelves its $US30 billion Olympic Dam project.

As usual, no one is looking at diesel supplies in the mining sector

BHP Billiton's Australian oil reserves in long term decline

"Americans toss out as much as 40% of their food, study says"

I find this hard to believe and see no mention in the article how this statistic was arrived at?

If it was simply a consumption subtraction from total production I could see it as would incorporate food spoilage at all levels including the filling of grocery store dumpsters. Even that number would be hard to arrive at.

Has anyone here even met anyone who throws out almost 1/2 their food stores?

I have no experience with this and simply don't believe it is possible.


Looking at the paper [PDF]...I think you are correct, the 40% figure is all losses, from farm to table. In-household losses are only 25%.

In our household I can see what is happening. My wife, who grew up in a family which lived from paycheck to paycheck and never had any reserves of food, nor any leftovers, is terrified of not having enough to eat.

As a result, she insists on buying and cooking quantities of food much larger than are needed for the three people in the family. So we always have fresh vegetables rotting before they are used, meat left uneaten and unfrozen too long, bread going moldy before it is eaten, and leftovers forgotten at the back of the refrigerator.

If we eat out the quantities of food typically served are too large for us to eat. We usually take the leftovers home, but they are often left too long before being eaten.

Wastage of 25% would be a conservative estimate in our household.

But food is one of the smallest items in our household expenditures. Taxes, insurance, and interest charges are our three largest costs, perhaps followed by transportation, but I suspect medical costs (other than insurance) would be larger if we added it all up.

I confess...I am terrible when it comes to food wastage, too.

For me, it's more a matter of laziness than fear. I'm trying to reform, but basically, I don't like meal planning and I don't like going to the store. So I end up buying more than I need, just in case. And then it gets lost in the fridge and I forget about it. Or I cook it, and don't like it enough to eat all of it.

And yes, I'd imagine restaurants are also a big source of waste. The portions are huge - enough to feed two or three people. Some things just aren't good re-heated, and if you're on a trip and don't have a fridge in your hotel room, you can't take the leftovers home.

Ird - I truly appreciate your wife's emotions in such matters. I was into my 30's before I stopped having minor panic attacks when I saw a waiter clear plates with food left on them. I still tend to take the last piece of bread and wipe my plate clean. So your family must make up the average for mine. LOL. I actually can't remember the last time we thru food out. Probably like many of the older farts here throwing away food is considered a sin. Maybe being hospitalized for malnutrition when I was 6 yo explains that attitude...as well as the extra pounds I carry around. LOL.

Food hoarding, and subsequent spoilage, is rather common in those who have been through severe hard times. One of my oldest friend's mother was a Holocaust Survivor. My buddy often comments on how their cupboard and refrigerator was always full of food that was spoiling or way way past the "use by" date. My own mother grew up during the Great Depression, and while I was growing up we also hoarded a lot of food, which subsequently spoiled. What I see happening today is that many people eat out more, and the portions are huge. Take a look at the dumpsters in the alley behind a resturant.

Some call it compost.

I'm much more forgiving of rotten fruit and vegetables now that I compost. Paradoxically, though, we probably actually have less waste now that we pay attention to it and have a use for it.

Chickens are a great solution as well as they eat almost everything - even chicken!

Another aspect of this, at the middle-class end of the scale, is the concept of never running short of specific choices- that if someone wants seconds, it should be available. Not a question of fear of being hungry, but as a status indicator that we can afford to provide the choice.

I do most of the cooking, so I usually can keep a lid on this, but when my wife cooks for parties or gatherings, she insists on cooking twice as much as required, so that no selection runs out.

The one area she has control in, our son's school lunches, typically results in about 40% of the food coming home (our school has a "litterless lunch" rule, so I see what's left in the containers.)

I'm horribly wasteful when it comes to food. Today I threw away a few half-full cartons of milk, 1/2 cottage cheese and some still-fresh sweet corn. I rationalize by saying I'm still not as bad as the ones who drive autos. A $60 ticket gives me free bus, metro, tram and train rides within the city perimeters.

It seems the comments here have been increasingly moving toward outright pessimism the last weeks. The 10 years of good times I had been convincing myself that I have left are vanishing in the sand! The sense of urgency is escalating radically.

I often think some starving kid in Africa or wherever could live quite nicely on the food I throw out.

Truth is, I just don't eat that much and I'm REALLY not willing to risk food poisoning at all. I've imposed a "One Midnight" rule on leftovers (on the second midnight the food may not be eaten). A lot of food doesn't get eaten fast enough.

Sounds like I should get some chickens.

Haha, you'd scream yourself silly if you had to live with me. I've got meat in the fridge I cooked 4 days ago and I had it with a potato that was definitely looking a bit green.

I've watched our local Starbucks scan unsold food at the end of the day and throw it in the garbage. We're talking half a garbage can full every couple of days. They used to give it to the food pantry but corporate told them not to.

Which is a shear waste. I wonder how many people go into those dumpsters on a regular basis.

It is a bit harsh but food banks aren't getting as much as they could if the food producing or cooking companies would donate overages or leftovers to some group that gets them into the hands of the poorer folks, or the hungry elderly. Some cities do that, some areas have grassroot small scale setups doing just that.

There must be some hidden legal issues where these businesses live that prevents them from giving away the food. Places that don't want to be labeled as having a problem with the homeless or poor, as it would bring down their status in the area or state, Bad Publicity.

For Shame we'd let someone go without, to save our own status.


As I'm sure you've heard, some grocery stores pour bleach over discarded food, to keep people from dumpster diving.

Supposedly, the reason for this (and the reason many grocery stores and restaurants don't want to donate their surpluses) is that they're afraid of being sued if someone gets sick eating food that's past its sell-by date and/or hasn't been stored properly.

Supposedly, the reason for this (and the reason many grocery stores and restaurants don't want to donate their surpluses) is that they're afraid of being sued if someone gets sick eating food that's past its sell-by date and/or hasn't been stored properly.

This is really sad. Just goes to show how litigation has crippled the society. The other day I happened to see my coffee cup, on it was written. "May contain hot liquid, take caution".

Spills hot coffee into lap while tilting cup to read warning.


Our local grocer used to donate some of it's expired non-perishables to the church food pantry, putting full boxes in carts near the back of the store for a weekly pickup. I ran into my friend who does the pickup a while back, coming out of the store with a cart full of empty boxes. I asked if he needed help loading the full boxes (assuming there would be some), and he said "this is it, empty boxes". Seems the new policy is that they can have the boxes but not the food. The expired non-perishables are now auctioned off.

I wonder if the food pantry is handing out empty boxes now.

The paper is pretty short on numbers overall, and they admit upfront that the studies are not particularly good or comprehensive. As with most things, the study is far more conservative than the headline.

If you google "USDA food waste in America" some good links (including USDA reports on the issue) come up. Someone's done the study.

Shocking isn't it? I had heard that the waste amount was 50% not so long ago, so if it's an actual improvement (i.e. now it's only 40% waste) that's a darned good thing!

There was a fitting story on NPR last night about the overuse of 'Use By' dates on food, and how some of them are accelerated beyond reason for projeting a freshness image.. such as Vinegar, which should hold well for (they say) 7 years, but it gets a 1 year date from mfr, 'just because'. So they have auctions for folks willing to walk the fine line and get some deals!


We're lucky that our unused or turned food goes into compost or to a neighbor's chickens, and we get that back as eggs every now and then. Very effective recycling! But we really use up our leftovers pretty well, too.

That is my system as well; any waste food gets recycled via chicken. Anything they do not eat is composted although they tend to eat almost anything.

Still Tasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide

According to Still Tasty, distilled white vinegar keeps indefinitely. Other vinegars lose quality after 2 or 3 years, but remain safe to use indefinitely.

I saw a couple of gringos in our local supermarket, checking out cans (loudly)

H "What's the date on that one?"
W "Next year."
H Looks at ingredients, shrieks "There's no preservatives, that date is a lie, it can't possibly keep that long, put it back!"

Ho, hum.


I imagine they count losses during packaging and processing. Years ago, when I worked in a tomato packing house, the rejection rate was huge; filling several large container trucks in a 12 hour shift. It was used as feed or tilled back into fields. If it was counted as waste, then used as animal feed, it would be double counting in a sense. I suspect much of what may be counted this way may find other uses.

I routinely buy a large amount of #2 (aka cooking) tomatoes at the Farmers & Fishers Market in season. Cheap ($3 for small basket, about 1/3rd retail), first day 15% to 20% waste, grows to 33% in a few days. Peaches as well.

I do not fill guilty about my "waste". Unfortunately, no chickens :-)


I tried a half-hearted attempt to trace that methodology. The best that I got was from their bulletin:

"Food waste is a complex problem with losses occurring throughout the supply chain from "farm to fork." Crops are sometimes left unharvested because their appearance does not meet strict quality standards imposed by supermarkets. Food can be mishandled or stored improperly during transport. Large portions, large menus, and poor training for food handlers contribute to food waste in restaurants."


Their aim is decrease consumer waste. But their eye grabbing figure includes all.

Waste today occurs on farm from poor quality, and storage. Several years ago, grain was piled in municipal parking lots throughout the high plains because of a shortage of rail transport. Not enough cars, or so they were told. In that instance, it coincided with a very dry fall, and most was salvaged. Looking back, losses have been very high due to improper storage or lack of transport. At the time of Khrushchev's visit to the US midwest, Soviet waste was felt to be over 50%, due to vermin, rot, lack of transport, etc. Tractors weren't the only thing he was interested in. As recently as the 70's Soviet grain waste was still considered over 30%. I doubt present day grain waste is near that- less than 5%?. That's the magic of grain. Easy to store, handle and transport.

Saving the Arctic is environmentalism's biggest challenge yet

That is because, while it may take a village to raise a child, it takes a civilization to save the Arctic.

This year breaks some records for loss of ice in the Arctic, as well as record methane releases.

Turning the melt of the Arctic around is a global effort incumbent on all of us, not just Greenpeace.

You'll need to look hard to find an ice loss record that doesn't get broken this year.


The 6th domino falls today. The lot are likely to go this year.

What disturbs be is that the 2007 record-lowis broken several weeks ahead of time, and there is still no sign of the melting speed loosing power. How bad will it be? I can't even guess where it will land in september when freezing sets in again.


"To gain control over this rapid feedback loop, we need to nationalize the fossil fuel industry and bring its assets, and its resources, under social control."

I always wonder when I see such statements if these folks even understand the basics of the US oil industry. I think most here already know it but Mr. Exxon doesn't own that company. Nor does Mr. Conoco own his. They are owned by their shareholders. And the great majority of those folks are not even the 1%. The biggest single class of ownership of the US FF industry are folks holding those securities in their retirement and investment accounts. And a significant portion of that group are union members.

I'm not even sure what "bring its assets under control" means. Is that reducing output to less than capacity? It apparently does mean redirecting the profits to other alternative energy sources. All well and good but I doubt the large portion of the American public that would lose $trillions in stock equity would be pleased. As far as having "social control" I assume they mean govt control and not some citizen-based committee. But the "people' already have a good bit of social control: by far the largest oil/NG owner in the US is the federal govt.

Thus the feds already control a large portion of US production, especial re: oil. How big? A few quick parameters (www.americanenergyalliance.org/images/aea_offshore_updated_final.pdf): jobs: 1.2 million. Wages: $70 billion. Fed tax: $54.7 billion. State and local tax revenue: $18.7. Royalty revenue: $14.3 billion. That's almost $160 billion of cash flow annually. Perhaps it might be a good idea for the govt to take complete "social control" of those assets before trying the experiment with the private sector. After all, no company has the right to produce oil/NG/coal/uranium from fed land. It's granted by the govt. Anytime they want to call a halt to the process they need do nothing but stop issuing permits...just as they did after the Macondo blow out. Then all those billions of bbls of oil and tcf of NG would be there for the sole development of the govt...complete 100% social control.

Curious as to how many folks would develop warm cozy feelings towards such a change. Certainly there are variety of valid complaints about the private FF industry. But there's an expectation the govt could do a better job? Everyone here can make their own mind up as to that likelihood.

I think that this was the article you quoted (uptop):

Nationalize the Fossil Fuel Industry
By Nina Moliver

Interesting contrasting viewpoints, Porter Stansberry, projecting that the US is on track to major net energy exporter, versus a call to gradually shut down the US fossil fuel industry.

I've put it this way, regarding energy policy proposals*:

The GOP wants to drive to the edge of the net energy cliff in a H2 Hummer, as we increase our consumption of virtually unlimited fossil fuels.

The Democrats want to drive to the edge of the net energy cliff in a plug-in hybrid, as we transition from virtually unlimited fossil fuels to cool new green sources of energy.

But almost no one in either party, at least in public, questions the sustainability of our auto-centric suburban way of life.

Meanwhile, our data base shows that at the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the ratio of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE) to the Chindia region's Net Imports (CNI), the Chindia region alone would theoretically consume 100% of GNE in only 18 years.

*Although at least Moliver is calling for an expansion of mass transit infrastructure

wt - Yep. And some folks wonder why Joe6pack has difficulty understanding the situation.

Well, when you put it that way, the Democrats seem marginally saner than the Republicans, which has been my observation for a while.

tj - As a diehard oil patch conservative I wish I could disagree with you but I can't. I don't know how much more "help" I can stand from the far right. LOL.

If Exxon Mobil were nationalized, what would happen to the bulk of the company, which is outside of the United States?

Would other countries also nationalize their shares of Exxon Mobil as well?

Merril - By "nationalized" I assume you mean the govt would take away ownership from the shareholders. Thus I would assume those overseas properties would still belong to XOM which would be owned by the US govt. In a perverse way that could be one plus: it's one thing for Country X to take private property away from a corporation...anything to try to take it away from a sovereign nation which also has one of the strongest military forces ever amassed.

Which is also why I suspect the Chinese govt isn't too worried about nationalization. I doubt many govts would like to see 50,000 Chinese Marines show up on the doorstep one day. Which, IMHO, would likely happen. Just one more "negotiations" advantage Chinese companies have over US companies.

I am in total agreement with Westtexas - the issue is AUTO ADDICTION not the fossil fuel industries per se which is actually a lot harder for Auto-addicted Americans to face and deal with, even alleged Environmentalists.
We already have a huge transportation budget but 90% or more goes to cars, trucks and planes. This is ALREADY under Federal, State and Local government control.
Yet neoliberals like Gov Cuomo are wasting more billions on a new Auto Addiction Tappan Zee bridge to take a prominent example in my region while Green Transit is forever strapped for funds.
For fossil fuels, James Hanson's proposal is probably the best and simplest - just impose a gradually increasing carbon tax which gets refunded per capita to all American citizens. This would allow the market to cut fossil fuels to save money and provide a cushion for all Americans who god knows need some assistance through the Great Contraction.

orbit - Sad but true. When have we ever seen a viable solution that actually addressed the primary cause of the problem? As far as a carbon (or any other) tax I always have trouble imagining how well it would work if the rabate is included. If the public gets back most of the additional cost then where is their incentive to use less? And if it's added on somewhere in the supply chain across the board it will just be passed on to the consumers. That might help curtail consumption but as a result of decreasing household purchases in other areas of the economy...just as the higher oil prices have.

The idea of the carbon tax with a rebate is that it simply makes carbon emitting more expensive hence leading naturally to less use of carbon intensive processes versus green processes. In some ways I am also not necessarily so keen on a direct rebate but this could make it popular while also keeping bureaucrats and lobbyists from mucking with it as they are always wont to do.
As the carbon tax goes up as well as prices it would give a great pull to a Green Transition allowing consumers and businesses their own choices. Of course where this does NOT work is Green Transit which has to battle against heavily subsidized Auto Addiction.

For that a gasoline tax would work directed towards Green Transit instead of Auto Addiction.

More people would have an incentive to change their lifestyles - or a least get a higher mileage car.
I use directly @ 60 gallons/year (more in the years I evacuate). I would get a nice check back.

Marginal costs drive many decisions.


"I always have trouble imagining how well it would work if the rebate is included"

It could work. after all, I I use less gas, then some of the rebate money could be diverted into something else I want. It may not be low-carbon though. If fact, it could end up releasing just as much CO2, but in a different way.

Supporters of revenue neutral carbon tax like to think there will be a year by year switch away from high carbon to low carbon that will have a major cumulative effect. I think what happens there is a onetime adjustment that flatlines thereafter. Suppose the retail price of coal fired electricity goes up 10% due to carbon tax. Consumers might cut their electricity use 5% and pocket the increase in their take home pay or welfare. Little changes in subsequent years.

Possibly the switching effect would be greater if the price was much bigger. For example some say Australia's carbon tax should be $40/tCO2 not $23. Other strange things could happen like a temporary shift from coal fired to gas fired baseload. When the price of gas gets too high it's back to coal as we see in Germany with not so much reduction in emissions.

I prefer a no-freebies cap and trade system with a steadily shrinking CO2 cap. There has to be the political will to make it tough.

There would not be "just a one year impact". One is equipment replacement. On the residential level, one does not buy a new car, or a new furnace, every year. A carbon tax is to speed up the replacement cycle and chose the higher efficiency option.

Another is to motivate lifestyle changes. Living in TOD has 1/4th the carbon impact of living in Suburbia. Becoming a carbon tax "winner" will motivate some to move, but not all in one year.

And more "time delay" on other impacts.

IMHO, the carbon tax should steadily increase, on a predictable timetable.


And its not just on the consumer side of things. True if you get conservation (behavior change) from the tax, it probably comes early and stagnates or trails off. But the accumulation of better appliance choices will build up over time. Even the utility company will see the new tilted playing field wrt. coal/gas/wind, but their plans for new generation are spread over many years. It would help, but I doubt the changes would be dramatic or fast.

"Another is to motivate lifestyle changes. Living in TOD has 1/4th the carbon impact of living in Suburbia."

Sorry, Allen, I'm home alone tonight and doubt any TOD neighbors would appreciate that I'm piping Roy Orbison into my old Mcintosh, pushing a couple of 35 year old Klipschorns (and another pair of relatively new Yamahas). The Coyotes down on the hill seem to love it though; singing right along.

Not anticipating a lifestyle change any time soon ;-)

"Living in TOD has 1/4th the carbon impact of living in Suburbia. Becoming a carbon tax "winner" will motivate some to move, but not all in one year."

It would take more than a year to build the new housing, and even longer to build more rail lines, or roads to the new TOD if you want to use buses.

Here's an article from an Australian pronuclear website that also doubts c.t. will achieve much


You commented:

"To gain control over this rapid feedback loop, we need to nationalize the fossil fuel industry and bring its assets, and its resources, under social control."

I always wonder when I see such statements if these folks even understand the basics of the US oil industry.

And I always wonder how one determines "the basics" of that industry.

If it is an industry accurately described as a powerful group that will not change their business model even to save millions of lives, or as Admiral Titley speaking at the Pentagon characterized it, Thelma and Louise driving their vehicle off the cliff of reality (Has The Navy Fallen For The Greatest Hoax?).

If fossil fuel use will destroy the environmental conditions civilization depends on for survival, and those in the fossil fuel industry refuse to believe it, then if we want to survive we have to grab the steering wheel and remove her foot from the gas pedal.

That would be a hell of a lot quicker than trying to persuade Thelma to turn around and go back and buy a hybrid as the approaches the 100' mark from the edge of the cliff going 100 miles per hour wouldn't it?

The analysis of how much gas is in Thelma and Louise's gas tank, the quality of the engine, the paint job, the music playing on the radio, how good the oil in the engine is, and how sexy they are all seem so irrelevant as they rapidly approach the edgy with eyes wide open.

It is looking more and more like "the basics" refers to psychology, not geology, civics, politics, or economics.

Dredd – You seem to be suffering under the same delusion many folks do. Maybe its guilt induced. “If fossil fuel use will destroy the environmental conditions civilization depends on for survival, and those in the fossil fuel industry refuse to believe it…” You seem to be expressing my point exactly. Your own words: “…fossil fuel use”. It don’t matter at all what the FF industry believes or not. The FF industry uses very little hydrocarbon based fuels to carry out its business compared to all other users. The govt actively promotes (and benefits greatly financially) the production of FF and does so with the encouragement if not the absolute command of the citizens. Citizens who have shown little or no desire to reduce “fossil fuel use”. I cannot tell how funny the comment from the admiral strikes me: the largest single user of fossil fuels on the planet, and thus the largest producer of GHG, wants to point fingers at someone else. I would more likely expect such a skit on Saturday Night Live than coming from the Pentagon. Again, maybe it’s that guilt that drives him to make such an ironic statement.

Every bbl of oil, every mcf of NG and every ton of coal produced in the US is done so with the written permission of some govt regulator. And done so to appease the American public’s gluttony for energy. Yes: the oil patch runs the ice cream stand. But we don’t get to determine how much the public or the foolish admirals in the Pentagon get to eat. As I said earlier if the country wants to decrease the production and burning of FF it could be done very easily: the citizens need only tell the politicians in DC to stop leasing the mineral rights the public owns or they’ll vote them out of office. An even quicker plan would be to have the president order all troops and ships deployed overseas back home immediately. And the ships and jets set on standby mode. That would reduce the appetite of the world’s single greatest contributor to AGW. I’m sure the admiral and the rest of the boys at the Pentagon would just jump at the chance to get behind that plan. LOL.

Every bbl of oil, every mcf of NG and every ton of coal produced in the US is done so with the written permission of some govt regulator.

That is why anarchist thought needs to be embraced and taken seriously.
Very few are literate enough to approach the subject.

Maybe its guilt induced

Sure seems that way. We can not accept responsibility for our on actions, poor us, our sub-conscious controls our actions so we cannot help ourselves, so others must protect us and keep us from shooting our fool self in the foot...

If we can somehow get those "others" to take care of business all would be fine. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! At some level we know this and this leads to the feeling of guilt. We do have absolute social control but it will only happen if we all, each and every one of us, get our feet off the pedals.


That is the typical propaganda ploy to blame the victim. Ayn Rand blamed the 99% for harming the billionaires.

You characterize the oil industry, rightfully so, as if they were drug peddlers. And they are.

Drug peddlers are notorious for saying "if they don't want me to be a drug dealer, they can kick their habit" anytime. It is the user's fault. They forget that the first one is free, and that they are drug evangelists.

I know that it has been said by Napoleon that "history is a bunch of lies agreed to", but serious historians can get to the bottom of a lot of things.

The oil companies are the ones who originally sold dirty oil to everyone else at the end of the 19th century and thereafter, via evangelizing it exactly like drug dealers do to "customers". They spend as much money to advertise / evangelize dirty oil as some countries spend in toto.

I do not think the oil barons knew, at first, what addicting civilization to a finite resource would eventually bring about.

But when Hubbert came along it was time to get real. That was 6 or so decades ago. Since then the addiction has greatly increased.

Some think it is infantile for the dirty oil business not to face up to reality, to blame the addicts they supply, but it is more than that, it is psychopathological.

... investment from GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, Mack Trucks, and the Federal Engineering Corporation—bought over 100 electric surface-traction systems in 45 cities including Baltimore, Newark, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland and San Diego and converted them into bus operation.


My collaborator, Ed Tennyson, is the last living member of the team that prosecuted GM for restraint of trade (they won, GM was fined $5,000 and a GM executive $1).

The hands of the oil industry are not clean. The API knows who I am, and does not like my efforts. They offered me a junket (step 1 in buying me I thought) which I politely declined.


Re: Catalytic converters turned into cash by brazen thieves in Chicago suburb in the DB ...

... High-profile vehicles" ... are being targeted ... for precious metals such as plutonium and rhodium

Must be one of those ‘new’ modified 1981 DeLorean DMC-12's with the 1.21 gigawatt plutonium powered "flux capacitor" time displacer.

Did they mean to say Polonium? Or Platinum?

I'm gonna guess 'palladium', a common catalyst....

Rhodium, Platinum and Palladium are all platinum group metals (PGMs), and all are frequently used. The good news is that some manufacturers are starting to employ catalysts that depend less on these PGMs and can get the same high-performance effects with transition group metals and those in the lanthanide series. In the relatively near future there may be less of a business in stealing these things. Honda, I think, is using some of these new catalysts now.

I have never wasted that much food. I lived in poor household growing up, food wasn't something we took for granted. My Mother didn't have a lot of money for food, and I never knew my father. But do they count farm waste, or resturants that can't sell food after the day is done?

With the Mississippi so low, farmers are putting grain and beans under tarps the newpaper said, will that count as spoiled food if they have a big rain shower and lose a lot of it due to no storage?

Reminds me of an article of a few years ago, some country bought huge stockpiles of rice, only to have it rot in storage, as they had nowhere to put it or any way to use it, it was an asian country.

I try very hard to eat the leftovers before I fix to many other new dishes. I live alone and don't eat out often. I can't see a lot of poorer people wasting a lot of food, unless by mistake.


Good point.. No way the over 45 million people on food stamps are wasting much food.

Electric Car Owners All Plug In at Once

Brewster McCracken, executive director of Pecan Street, and Chris Holcomb, data scientist at the organization, have just analyzed the first set of data, taken from 10 households over two months. "What we assumed turned out to be true," Holcomb says. "People come home at the end of a day and turn everything on." That means the television, computer, air conditioning, other appliances—along with plugging in their electric car for a recharge. The pattern held up across the two months—even on weekends, when it might be easy to plug in during the morning hours, and even though dozens of charging stations have been installed at convenient locations in and around Mueller.

Merrill - "... even though dozens of charging stations have been installed at convenient locations". I suspect a more accurate statement would say "... LESS convenient locations..." Difficult to change human nature. For some reason your post reminded me of a story long ago about some municipality having difficulty dealing with a sudden water drawdown when half time hit at the Super Bowl that year: apparently a lot of folks went to the bathroon at once and flushed. Over taxed the system. Wonder how that might work out when there are enough plug-ins in a cummunity to add to that early evening surge.

We have a contingency for this type of situation in the UK.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station

However, we will need many more of these in the UK if we convert transport and heating from fossil fuel to electricity. Our current interim solution (proposed) is to use natural gas-fired power stations. Not surprisingly, there are difficulties with capital investment for an intermittent service and retrofit of carbon capture.

But does it have the spare capacity after Coronation street and East Enders?


I have seen a YouTube video (by BBC ?) showing exactly that. The Brits all put their tea kettles on at the same time. There is a TV working above the dispatchers station, so he can queue power exactly.

The dispatcher lines up pumped storage, Scottish hydro & French imports. The French do not supply all they promised (those dam Frogs !) and so he dials up more pumped storage.


The UK has about 80GW of installed electrical supply (not all of which is available at any one time), and has peak winter demand of about 60GW, average winter demand of about 52GW, with an average summer demand of 23GW and a summer minimum of 19GW. N.B. We do not have much demand for air con in the UK.

There is quite a lot of discussion about intermittent supply, from renewables in particular, but not so much about intermittent demand for energy (maybe intermittent demand is a specific UK issue?).

I'm currently inclined to think that our developed world way of life is dictated by type of energy supply and not vice versa.

Have a look at the demands on the Edmonton water supply during the Olympic gold medal hockey game:


Farming Loved but Misunderstood, Survey shows

A YouGov Cambridge poll has revealed widespread affection for agriculture, even though there is a surprising level of ignorance about the sector and its contribution to the economy.

... A majority of people (72%) feel that they do not know much, or know nothing, about the sector. That appears to be substantiated by the fact that most people dramatically underestimate the proportion of land used for farming, while overestimating its economic contribution.

Only 10% of respondents knew, to within 10 percentage points, the actual amount of land that is farmed nationally. The mean estimation put forward by those taking part in the survey was about 35%. In fact, farming takes up about 75% of available land in the UK. On the other hand, the mean contribution of farming to the national economy was reckoned to be about 24% by most participants. In truth, farming contributes closer to 1.5% of GDP.

Most people also clearly see the countryside as being under threat, although not from farming. The most troubling incursions were seen as being those of new building projects, roads and airport extensions, as well as the dumping of rubbish.

... I betcha if that 1.5% of GDP was missing from people's plates one year the other 98.5% of GDP would be missing to.

I'm reminded of that graphic of a reverse GDP pyramid with agriculture and mining/oil&gas representing <5% of GDP supporting the rest of the economy. To an economist the whole economy rests on the financial/banking sector.

Great graphic! Any idea of its origin?

Would love to build a time series. We would see the bottom rungs expanded in earlier years, shrinking in later years, due to the injection of fossil fuels and technology into the economy.

I don't have a link handy, but I've seen data that over the last few decades the manufacturing sector has shrunk from approx. 20% to 10%, while the finance sector has grown by the same amount: from 10% to 20%.


Google image search gives you


Some pages link to the picture.

>>... I betcha if that 1.5% of GDP was missing from people's plates one year the other 98.5% of GDP would be missing to.<<

Nope, we'd just import it. Let's remove agricultural subsidies (like New Zealand did) and see how it turns out. My guess is that that food, land and housing would all be cheaper.


Upside Down Economics, by Kurt Cobb:



For those with some time on their hands there is a new online course starting next week that may be of interest:

Introduction to Sustainability
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
School of Earth, Society and Environment
Dr. Jonathan Tomkin


Just received this in my confirmation email:

This course examines the global forces that will determine our sustainable future, so we’ll try to answer the really important questions. What are our society’s biggest challenge - is it loss of biodiversity, climate change, or population growth? Is "peak oil" real, and can renewable sources bridge the energy gap? In short, where are we headed – and do demographics, economics, science and policy point towards a prosperous future?

Is "peak oil" real? Oh boy, I can't wait to sink my teeth into that one!

As with other Coursera offerings this class is free and open to all. Remarkably, the class text is also freely available online:

Free Online Textbook for Sustainability


If peak oil isn't real then somewhere there must be a portal to an alternate universe made entirely of petroleum.

See what Banks with $Billions on the line are capable of ...

Tracy Lawrence: The Foreclosure Suicide America Forgot

... Despite the somewhat increased media attention given to these tragic stories nowadays, there is one suicide directly tied to foreclosure fraud that has been completely ignored by the media. Her name was Tracy Lawrence, and for a brief moment last year, between the moment she turned whistleblower and her untimely and bizarre suicide, Tracy Lawrence’s testimony threatened to blow the entire fraud-closure criminal enterprise wide open, with repercussions that could have easily reverberated all the way up to the major banks and GSEs complicit in one of the greatest crimes this country has ever experienced.

In the months since Tracy Lawrence was found dead in her Las Vegas apartment at the age of 43, her story has only taken on more significance—even as her death has been forgotten.

... this was no suicide

Collapse of New Bridge Underscores China’s Infrastructure Concerns

HONG KONG — One of the longest bridges in northern China collapsed on Friday, just nine months after it opened, setting off a storm of criticism from Chinese Internet users and underscoring questions about the quality of construction in the country’s rapid expansion of its infrastructure.

... 50% of the concrete used in the U.S. comes from China. Just sayin'

Maybe 50% of the cement comes form China. 4 or 5 sacks of cement to the cubic yard, sand and gravel the other components. Concrete has to be batched and mixed (water added) just before using, as close to the usage destination as possible.

Methinks the Chinese problems have more to do with cutting corners, poor design, and bad construction.

.. 50% of the concrete used in the U.S. comes from China.

Where did you get that figure? I find it highly unlikely. Very little cement is exported (let alone concrete) and China has been experiencing a growth boom, not the US.

It seems illogical that China could provide anywhere near this level of cement to the US.

I'm guessing the stat which got mangled was: '50% of the world's cement is produced in China.' In 2011 USGS had that up to 59%. The U.S. used only 2% of world production and 94% of that was made here (despite production declines of 1/3rd or so from 5 years ago).

In 2006 CEMENT - Mineral Resources Program - USGS, page 40

Total imports of cement and clinker (especially clinker) rose owing to continued high demand; imported cement accounted for about 24% of the total cement sales.

In 2008, according to PCA Cement Industry Overview:

United States consumed 93.6 million metric tons of portland cement

11.5 million metric tons of imported cement and cement clinker.

About 90.2% of cement and clinker imported in 2008 came from five major countries: China, Canada, Columbia, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea.

Imports of cement amounted to about 12% of consumption during the recession in 2008.

Sinkhole Update ...

Louisiana sinkhole draws stepped-up state homeland security response

The Louisiana Governor Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said on Aug. 22 that a slew of state agencies were ramping up round-the-clock operations at Bayou Corne, as the owners of salt caverns, Texas Brine, began drilling a well casing for an exploratory well near the sinkhole to gauge the integrity of a nearby salt cavern that had been plugged in the 1980’s after being used for 30 years. Officials think the cavern may have been compromised, leading to the sinkhole’s formation. There is also a concern about low levels of radioactivity seeping from the sinkhole.

DEQ test results from Bayou Corne, posted by the LEANouisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), revealed elevated radium levels and airborne chemicals associated with highly volatile butane stored by Crosstex in a cavern near the sinkhole. ... The information about radium is buried in a state news release, poorly written, "and goes out of its way to downplay the results," Smith said Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Smith joined the Louisiana Bucket Brigade in calling for the EPA to intervene and assume responsibility from DEQ because the agency was "overwhelmed and "in the back pocket of the businesses it’s supposed to be regulating."

"Radium in the body is absorbed because it is chemically similar to calcium. The normal maximum guideline level for radium in surface water is 5 picoCuries per liter, (pCi/L). The state’s testing found 82 pCi/L in the water of the growing sinkhole. Radium gives off 'alpha' radiation. This form of radiation is extremely dangerous if inhaled or ingested, and less dangerous if exposed by skin contact."



The Assumption Parish Police Jury (don’t ask about that name. Just think of gods taking human form) discussed Rockman’s well with the state regulators and have concluded there will be no danger from our drilling. Spoke with them this afternoon and we're a go.

Now all we got to do is find the grease.

Bring a raincoat - looks like rain.

Report warns of India nuclear power safety

NEW DELHI, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- An Indian government auditing agency criticized India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for not being truly autonomous and for its lack of a radiation safety policy.

India's Comptroller and Auditor General, in a report released Wednesday, warned that a Fukushima or Chernobyl-like disaster could occur in India if the government doesn't address nuclear safety, NDTV reports.

The report says that in the 13 years since AERB's safety manual was issued, "none of the nuclear power plants in the country, including those operating for 30 years, and those which had been shut down, had any decommissioning plan."

The auditing agency also said that AERB had no radiation safety policy in place.


Our 40 million gods will save us /sarc

Defra scientist's grim warning on climate change

The planet could be facing a catastrophic 5 degree temperature rise, and we are losing time to address the threat of climate change, one of the government's leading scientists tells Channel 4 News

Because I just can't resist, there are freeze warnings up for NE Washington State tonight.

Summer is over, and so I've used the air conditioning mode of the heat pump 4 days in July, and 6 days in August. I kept track this year out of random curiosity.

The heat pump should be on heat mode from late Sept until early next May, although I had to fire it up for a couple days in June this year when a late Arctic blast came through.

Are you are implying there is no potential dire GW future, or suggesting we should envy you due to your usually cool/cold weather geographical location?

IEA may release oil reserves as soon as Sept - report (uptop)

(Reuters)The IEA, whose chief dismissed the need for emergency action as recently as a week ago, is now thought to have agreed to the idea, the industry journal Petroleum Economist reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources . . .

The Petroleum Economist, part of the Euromoney group, reported that France and Britain, both of which had signaled their support for releasing reserves during an earlier round of discussions in the spring, have endorsed the strategy. It cited a diplomatic source as saying a British cabinet official had discussed the move in Washington in recent days.

Last Friday, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said there was "no reason for a release," and that no other IEA member was considering such a measure. She said then that she had not been in contact with the White House over possible intervention. The Petroleum Economist article said that the IEA had changed its stands after "lengthy talks with U.S. Department of Energy officials in Washington earlier this month".

Pretty hard to justify based on a supply disruption argument.

Latest four week running average of US refined product exports is 2.8 mbpd:


Net product exports about 0.825 mbpd:


Note that the 2004 to 2011 increase in US total petroleum liquids production was 600,000 bpd. With an additional increase in production in 2012, it seems likely that the post-2004 increase in total petroleum liquids production has been pretty much offset by US net product exports. In other words, because of the decline in US demand, it seems to me that the post-2004 increase in total petroleum liquids production is effectively being exported.

The switch of the US from being a net product importer to a net product exporter has occurred rather quickly over the last year or so, and in rather dramatic fashion.

There are no signs the product export boom is abating; this for two reasons - (1) other countries are importing more products from the US, mostly due to increased demand from Latin American countries and (2) a less noticed limited supply of available products for imports into the US.

Note below even Venezuela, which formerly exported gasoline to the US, is now importing gasoline.

California is going to great lengths to make up for lost products due to its Richmond refinery (also below), and only succeeded by paying up for supply.

Overall even as US refiners and distributors used about 400,000 bpd less oil than last year, net imports/exports of oil/products fell by 1.2 million bpd. The deficiency in oil supplies was addressed last year by withdrawals from the SPR, and the same thing (SPR withdrawal) may well occur before long.

Venezuela Imports Oil Despite Having Huge Reserves
Published August 24, 2012

The United States now sells large volumes of oil to Venezuela, with the country importing 1 million barrels of processed gasoline in December 2011 alone, which, added to the its purchases from the United States of crude oil and oil derivatives totaled 2.21 million of barrels.


Tesoro to ship jet fuel from Asia to US West Coast

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Tesoro Corp, the largest independent refiner on the U.S. West Coast, is set to ship a jet fuel cargo from Asia to the United States, traders said, marking the first such move by the company this year.


Huge blast stops Venezuela's main oil refinery Amuay

A huge explosion at Venezuela's biggest oil refinery has killed at least 24 people and halted production for two days, officials say. At least 50 people were also injured in the blast which started a fire at the Amuay plant in Falcon state in the north-west of the country. State Governor Stella Lugo said nearby houses had been damaged by the blast. The fire is said to be under control. The refinery, one of the biggest in the world, produces 645,000 barrels a day.

Offline: how's it going?

It's all anybody asks me. I tell them I'm not using the internet for a year, and they just need to know: "How's it going?"

"It's going great," I say.

"Yeah?" they say, dubiously. Their eyes glaze over: they're trying to imagine what it would be like for them to leave the internet for any span of time. They probably read some article recently that made them feel bad about their Facebook habit. "I don't think I could do it," they admit.

Israeli biblical park outfits donkeys with Wi-Fi routers

Call it back to the future: an Israeli attraction meant to immerse tourists in a biblical experience has outfitted its donkeys with wireless routers.

At the historical park of Kfar Kedem, visitors dressed in biblical robes and headdresses ride donkeys through the rolling hills of the Galilee, learning how people lived in Old Testament times.

But they can also surf the web while touring the land of the Bible on one of the oldest forms of transportation. The device slung around the donkey's neck like a feedback is actually a Wi-Fi router.

Ya can't... Ya can't make this stuff up...

I was hoping you all could comment on this paid advertisement that was just posted in my local paper (Seattle area). Does the writer have a grasp of thermodynamics or not? I can't make any sense of it:


Their climate "scientists" like to incorrectly use temperature as a metric for heat energy which the media get excited about. The heat capacity (enthalpy) of the atmosphere varies considerably with humidity. An Edmonds day starting with fog which then "burns off" to a warm afternoon actually has no significant change in atmospheric heat content. Is atmospheric water vapor providing positive feedback to support the co2 "cause"?

The co2 "agenda" types know that atmospheric water vapor metrics do NOT support the "cause" so they keep everybody arguing about temperature measurements and adjustments of temperature measurements (see GISS) to prevent the gullible from realizing what is NOT occurring. Ask the "greens" where all their heat energy is hiding?


FUBAR, have you seen this? It's in the Beacon this week.