Monday Open Thread

I was going to set a final exam for the techie talks, but maybe I'll just take a break from them for a couple of weeks.  Have fun!
Bloomberg is still warning of a superspike

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Arjun Murti, who roiled oil markets in March by saying crude may reach $105 a barrel, now says that may be conservative if the ``peak oil'' theory is right and world supplies are running out.

The belief that the world's oil supply is close to an irreversible drop is no longer ``on the fringes'' of the market, said a research report by New York-based Murti, who forecasts oil of $50 to $105 a barrel until 2009. UBS AG analyst James Hubbard, a former oil engineer at Schlumberger Ltd., said an inevitable decline in supply will start sooner and be worse than expected unless investment increases for many years.

They are warning explicitly about "peak oil" for the first time.

Did you catch the following gem from that article?

"Oil-producing nations are seeking to extend the life of their reserves. Norway, which ranks behind Saudi Arabia and Russia in world oil exports, forecasts its production will peak in 2008. Oil and Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen in a Dec. 8 interview said he thinks it will come later."

Has anyone not bothered to pay attention to Norway's actual production for the last 7 years? Or are we in the era when "journalism" consists of taking politicians at their word, even when they make blatant errors like this?

/sarcasm on
If going from just under 3.5 mbpd down to just under 3 mbpd constitutes not peaking yet, then I wonder what the hell peak will actually look like?
/sarcasm off

The EIA historical records show Norway declining even if the EIA's forecasts still believe in the fantasy of Norwegian oil growing again, and yet journalists let politicians get away with making statements like the above.

Geez, is Norway still claiming they haven't peaked yet?

I thought I read somewhere that they had additional fields that had not yet been drilled.  The pressure from the environmentalists was such that the government was considering not exploring the area.  I am reciting this from memory, so don't take this to be the gospel truth.
This probably relates to the Barent's Sea, which is considered the final frontier for Norway. Environmentalists have opposed drilling there. Great claims have been made for potential reserves. Around 64 wildcats have been drilled, however, and only one very modest oil find has been made. The idea of vast reserves of oil is sheer speculation not yet born out. There has been some significant gas found.
Norway conventional oil production peaked in 2001 at 3,1 mbpd, and this was made officially by the head of Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in 2004.

For 2006 Norwegian conventional average daily oil production will be below 2,6 mbpd, and I have developed a forecast that suggests 2,0 mbpd by 2008.

The minister has been in office for ooonly 2 months and as he comes from one of the most windy places in Norway and perhaps earth, he probably needs someeee time to digest the briefings from his bureaucrats.

If going from just under 3.5 mbpd down to just under 3 mbpd constitutes not peaking yet, then I wonder what the hell peak will actually look like?

Think Wile E. Coyote and the cliff....

LOL, the coyote / cliff analogy is one I've been using for about six months now - but the pesky blighter is still up there in mid air.
Ooops I meant to say: 'the coyote / cliff analogy is one I've been using for the US economy for about six months now'
How about this for a starter today....?
Nice graphic.  Can you correct, "whiped out" to "wiped out" ?
Also 'globaly' should be 'globally'

'speeds' should be singular 'speed'

oceans 'become' empty, use 'are becoming'  or 'are emptying'

'at exponential rates' not 'with exponential rates'

'hopefull' should be 'hopeful'

'comming' should be 'coming'

Also, globaly=>globally, comming=>coming, hopefull=>hopeful.  Spell check, man! See today's for details.
Ok, Ok, you're right about the spell check. But no one comments on the message inside the picture.. so everybody agrees with it?
Sorry to be anal, but 'disapearing' should be 'disappearing' and 'comming' (fixed one, missed earlier one) should be 'coming'.
There's nothing anal about your comment. It's nice for a Dutchman to get some serious feedback on my non-native English writing skills here ;-). I think I should wait with posting a corrected version of the picture, until even the last punctuallity has been shown to me.

But rather, I would like to seen some comments on what I'm saying here. Well, I'm just going to forget it. It don't think it will happen anymore. Case Closed and happy flying to you all!

I absolutely agree with you. While I've read many of the gloom and doom environmental treatises, I don't think they are really necessary. If you are ready to consider that the plane (or failed glider from the 16th century) might be doing anything but going up, the signs are all around us. The more I realize (and read) the clearer it is that the problem we face is not really one of education, but one of addicted, traumatized psyche's that cannot even see the trees, let alone the forest.

Have you read "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn? He makes a somewhat similar analogy (that civilization is a prototype glider that failed, and no matter how hard we pump our legs on the wing flapping contraptions the basic laws of physics/ecology will still hold and we will fall to earth--maybe just a little slower (or faster)).

Good graphic. Now lets make a bumper sticker and slap it on our cars, o wait that would be ridiculously hypocritical. Or would it? I don't know (I don't drive, but... I digress).

I took a few liberties, but tried to keep the spirit:

Globally, the trees are dying, animals are being wiped out with unprecedented speed, oceans are emptying of life, water tables are dropping, topsoil is disappearing, polar ice is melting and the depletion of our most important energy resources, oil and natural gas, has reached a peak.  At the same time, the human population is growing at an exponential rate.

Our society is like an airliner in free-fall.  Because of the forward motion, most people think we're flying.  But some of us know that we're also dropping down; they see the ground coming up to us, fast.

They're trying to get the message out there, still hopeful that some others will see the ground coming before we crash hard ....


I thought it was great.  I copied it and made it my Desktop image...until I noticed the spelling errors.

Please stick with it...

Rick DeZeeuw

I like the concept and the graphic is beautiful.  
Spelling:  That should be "coming on to us", though I would say "coming up at us" instead.

Factual:  Water tables are falling.

Imagery:  Airplanes don't free-fall.  They may glide, or tumble out of control.  But free-fall is something that's harder to do than flying.

Wallpaper version 1.3. Is this the final version??
F*ck! Not according to . So here is version 1.4
Looks good.  If you don't mind, I'll send it around as a New Years message.
I don't mind at all, that is what I'm going to do also.
You can print 4 of these pictures on 1 A4 paper (heavy paper) and send them around as postcards. Succes!
Thanks a bunch.


Very nice.  The background is beautiful, could you post a link to it?  I've seen it used other places - like the current CNN lead story on "intelligent  design."
A Pennsylvania school district cannot mention the concept of intelligent design in its biology classes, a federal judge has ruled. "We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents," said U.S. District Judge John Jones. Intelligent design supporters argue the theory of evolution cannot fully explain complex life forms.
What do you mean with "could you post a link to it?"
You want the picture without text?
The picture at is quite different, but nice too.
Yes, a link to the picture without the text.  Thanks!
Here it is:
Radio show containing some interesting discussion about the economics of foreign investment in Iraq's oil industry.  Contains some interesting info on the history of middleeast oil nationalization.


Evo Morales has won a decisive victory as president of Bolivia with over 50% of the popular vote, preventing any moves in Congress to deliver the election to any other candidate ...
voter turnout was an amazing 80% ...
In his victory speech, Morales has vowed to challenge the U.S., saying `long live coca, no to the yanquis.' As recently as two days ago, Morales vowed to be "the United States' worst nightmare." ...
Meanwhile, the excellent Knight Ridder reports that industrious Santa Cruz province is more defiant than ever about seceding, and taking its natural gas with it, setting a stage for potential civil war. Green flags of independence are being noted amid victory speeches in Santa Cruz.

Interesting times.

ANWR? Not to worry...
There is enough oil in the refuge, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said recently, to supply every drop of oil needed by New Hampshire for 315 years, or Maine for 299 years. Her department also notes that it's enough oil for Washington, D.C., for 1,710 years.

Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own
These numbers are just the administration's way of trying to sell ANWR as a much bigger source of oil than it is.

I think it's inevitable that ANWR, as well as the currently protected coastal areas in the US, will eventually be drilled.  If you believe the basic notion of peak oil and peak natural gas (meaning that they're real phenomena likely to hit in 0 to 10 years), and you know anything about politics, I don't see how you can reach any other conclusion.  I'm not saying it will make a major difference to our energy future, just that it will happen.

The current administration and their friends, like Alaska's Sen. Ted Stevens, want this drilling to happen more than anything.  There's no small amount of speculation that they want it not for the oil or gas, but to set a political precedent of the government getting what they want, regardless of environmental and other issues.  I'm not sure I buy that explanation, but the political right in the US sure is fixated on drilling ANWR.

(The "you" above is the generic you, not Dave, just to be clear.)

George Will wrote last week that ANWR should be drilled even if there's just "three thimbles of oil" in it, just to stick it to the "collectivist" environmentalists.

There is more than three thimbles worth of oil in the fat in George Will's head - would he be amenable to having people drill for it there?
Roscoe Bartlett voted to drill ANWR yesterday. This would be the same Roscoe Bartlett who said:

"Well I'm not going to vote for drilling in either one of these places [ANWR or the OCS] and my reason is that if you have only 2 percent of the known reserves of oil and use 25 percent of the world's oil and import two thirds of what you use, I'm having a hard time understanding how it's in our national security interest to use up the little bit of oil we have as quickly as possible. If we could pump ANWR and the offshore oil tomorrow, what would we do the day after tomorrow? This may be a rainy day. I think is going to be a rainier day. It's like money in the bank and money that's going to yield a big interest rate. Let's just leave it there."

Guess that was just a bunch of hot air.

There was not an up-or-down vote just on drilling in ANWR. House Republicans added a provision to open ANWR for drilling to a $453.3 billion defense budget bill. The choice was to approve the defense bill in its entirety or not.
My Republican Congressman, Vern Ehlers voted against it!

Rick DeZeeuw

Udall (NM) voted against it, so he deserves some points for integrity when the pressure is on.
Kudos to Vern, the only physicist in Congress and maybe the only rational thinker in the GOP.
Yup.  He's probably counting on the Senate to kill it.
"What kind of world are we leaving for our grandchildren and greatchildren? What will they say about us - what terrible people we were that we used up this rich endowment in such a short time?"
 -- Roscoe Bartlett

Of course Roscoe Bartlett wasn't part of the process which voted to suck down that endowment ASAP. He may have voted to suck it down ASAP, but he didn't really mean it. He was counting on the Senate to kill the bill, and they didn't come through. Damn Senators.

That's just spin. The bill clears drilling in ANWR, and he voted for the bill. Therefore he voted to drill ANWR.
Beat him up if you want; my point is that this sort of thing happens in Congress all the time. An important bill gets an irrelevant rider attached to it by a rep who knows that the provision would never win approval if voted on separately.

These types of votes then get used, devoid of context, in attack ads by both parties to excoriate their opponents.

Turns my stomach ...

I could care less about trivial, couch potato issues like the civility of public debate. The important issue here is ANWR, and Bartlett fumbled the ball. That turns my stomach.
I'm with you on this one JD.  Raw political power trumps what is right every time for these people.  But I'm not surprised at all.  It is no longer possible for me to be disapointed by the US political process.  I do think that ANWR represents killing the environmental oppostion for the admnistration, which is why they have pushed so hard for it when they know quite well it won't fix anything.  

There will be no help from this government.

While I'm willing to pound on the administration the real mover on ANWR is stevens.  He's amended or traded his vote for amending almost every bill up for consideration.  He's promised jobs and more revenue for his state with ANWR and it looks like he's going to get it.

Oh, jesus that's funny!  To extend this silliness a little further, they could supply my corner gas station for far longer - probably over 100,000 years.  Everyone else is screwed of course.

Given that this foolishness appears in the NYT, it wouldn't hurt for folks to write a letter to the editor.  No idea whether or not they will print it, but it never hurts to try.

If you're actually against drilling ANWR, it would probably be more effective to call your Senator, today:

Senate Switch Board: (202) 224-3121

BTW, where's Heinberg? And Al Gore? And all the other environmental bigshots? The Republicans do a stealth raid on ANWR over the weekend, and the opposition is totally asleep at the switch.

Was anyone else scared by today's Wall Street Journal article on LNG?  "Bidding War Chills U.S. Plan to Import Gas."

It said that European and Asian users are out-bidding the U.S. for LNG.  I was very surprised to read that there has been "a global building boom" in LNG terminals, so that there currently are enough terminals to handle twice the current LNG capacity.

Isn't this the Catch 22 of Peak Oil in a nutshell?  We need massive investments in infrastructure to drive prices down, but those same future lower prices mean that you can't economically justify the investment.

What I find amusing is that they're blaming Europe and Asia.  Meanwhile, in the U.K., they are blaming their record high natural gas prices and possible shortages on being outbid by United States.  

BTW, the article can be read here, for those who don't have subscriptions to the WSJ:

Thanks for the link, maybe I'm just stoopid can someone explain how buying a company increases production
High prices are one reason big producers are looking to boost North American gas production. Last week, ConocoPhillips said it would pay $35.6 billion to acquire Burlington Resources Inc. in the largest energy acquisition in years. Eighty percent of Burlington's assets are North American gas.

Was Burlington just sitting on the gas and now that Conoco bought them it's to be produced......

The things that are passed off as journalism...

We are all familiar with Stuart's (correct) view that after the oil shock of 1979/80, the US took the pressure off oil demand by switching (partly) to natural gas for power plants, home & commercial heating, industrial uses, etc.

But now, 20 years on or so, in the US our goose is cooked anyway--except it's natural gas and not oil that is the immediate concern. And so it goes with exponential growth.

The thinking that we would just build some LNG terminals and everything would be just fine thereafter has always been naive, just as this WSJ article demonstrates. Jimmy Carter said "be efficient & conserve, invest in new infrastructure" but Ronald Reagan said "Yippee tai-yai-yai-yo! more is better & much more is best!".

So, now what do we do?
It's 15 degrees outside and the thermostat is as low as it goes.
You get to 15?  

We are lucky to get above 0 right now.  Burning a lot of wood.

75 in Southern California today. In fact, it felt more like 80. 74 again tomorrow! Winter? What's Winter?
Driving past the West Columbia (Texas) field on Saturday, I noticed new roads and drillpads being bulldozed and cleared.
I have been over a lot of the ground between Denver City, Texas and Artesia, New Mexico the past 3 years.  I was there for non oil business but have watched the oil business through the windshield.  It has been a constant building boom.  Rigs, pads, roads, water lines, and service vehicles.  The infill drilling has been impressive.  The Permian basin is a beehive.  The oil patch is booming.  

Lots of people are making money, even as the black gold gets scarcer.  Lots of new pickup trucks.  Another of the reasons I'm nervous about the peak.  It's not like the capital isn't being used to find more oil.  There just isn't much there to extract.

At what point do we start making and distributing plans for PO?  I'm thinking a handbook style PDF for each of the "Impact Levels" posted in a comment on this site recently.

To me, it feels like we're going to stagger around for a couple of years, cutting back on energy usage primarily to combat our ever-rising energy bills.

I think that will last for perhaps 5 to 10 years (Optimist!) and then we'll experience a rapid drop-off - a petroleum cliff, so to speak.

So what do we do?  I know posting on PO makes me feel better :-), but it doesn't build a greenhouse or learn how to raise chickens.

What resources are out there that will allow us all to prepare as best we can?

Frankly I'd rather look stupid in 20 years' time than for PO to send us into the 1800s again :-)

(and is it worrying that a lot of people are now talking about "what to do", rather than "will it happen".)


But any set of plan is only usefull for some people on some places.  I think these plans belong on internet where the can be debated and refined. The process of finding good ideas might be more valuble for manny then a fixed set of plans.

We do not know how PO will affect people. Some regions might even benefit from PO.

A discussion propped up at work today to which the subject was how much of the population had to be 'displaced' before it led to a systemic failure of that society.

One person made the point that oil, while even in decline, would be enough for society to make a transition to other fuels, as painful as that may be.

It was my contention that if enough people got displaced during the transition, then the whole system would collapse. By displaced I mean, people society can no longer deal with. Right now virtually nobody is displaced because everybody who lacks the basics is either in a homeless shelter, on welfare, or in jail. If somebody NEEDS to get a meal, society WILL deal with them one way or another, even if that means sending them to jail for stealing.

However, at what % of displacement does society become completely incapable of dealing with the desperate people and the whole thing decends into anarchy? In a city of 1 million people, if you suddenly had 5% of its population (50 000) hungry and desperate for good, could that society's infrastructure deal with it?  My contention was that even a small % of displacement would lead to systemic collapse. (3% at the most).

I strongly agree that it only takes a very small part of the system to get out of whack for it to cause the whole thing to implode, and I think this is particularly true about the 'displaced persons' scenario you speak of.

I stronly suspect that your guestimate of 3% is far too optimistic. If you look at any major civil disruption, such as the urban riots in the US during the 1960s, you will see that even though only a very small fraction of people were actually participating in the rioting the effect was to essentially shut the whole city down.  

This phenomenon is not sufficiently appreciated by those who plan to prepare  for a post-peak world by  going off into the country to grow their own food and fuel their homes with wood, etc. What happens when bands of hungry, desperate urban dwellers start foraging over the countryside and find your nice cozy well-stocked cabin?  Though this might sound like the script from a bad post-nuclear sci-fi movie, it does have a historical basis in fact (just read accounts of plagues and famines).  Desperate people do desperate things.

The entire population of New York can't become Amish farmers.

[sarcasm on]
God bless the guy that made weapons in USA legal.
[sarcasm off]
In the near term, "bands of hungry, desperate urban dwellers foraging over the countryside" IMHO is very low on the probability scale.

For those of you seriously considering moving to the country as a survival option or as part of those bands of urban raiders, please consider the following:


IF there is a collapse of the social structure,

  1.  Everything inside the urban areas and for a radius of of 200-300 miles would be picked clean in a matter of days or weeks---not a good place to relocate. Chances of large numbers of marauders diminishes quickly with increased distance after that first tank of gas is gone--most of which is lost in massive traffic jams. If raiders are reduced to walking, then their range and effectiveness is greatly diminished.

  2.  Survivability increases dramatically in rural agricultural areas away from large population centers where many of the rural population still maintain the skills, resources and equipment needed to stay warm and fed.

Additional considerations:

Many or most rural communities maintain supportive community bonds, have a high proportion of serious hunters with scope sighted hunting rifles and may quickly form local militias and roadblocks to turn away outsiders.

3. Most urban refugees would head for warmer climates and few, including marauders could survive their first harsh northern winter without considerable knowledge and preparation.

THEREFORE IMHO, if you are seriously considering moving to the country because you are concerned about social collapse:

  1. Relocate into rural food producing areas as far from urban population centers and main roads as is feasible for you.

  2. Integrate into the rural community of your choice for as long as possible to gain acceptance, support and protection from your neighbors in times of trouble.

  3. Welcome 'Winter' as a friend and ally for your personal protection against being invaded by the masses. The masses won't choose to head in your direction and if they do, they will be thinned out quickly especially in an age of limited energy.

It's not for nothing that people up north say:
       "forty below keeps the riffraff out".

The native Lakota (Sioux) also have a saying:
       "Winter teaches wisdom"  in other words 'PREPARE'.

Last friday I turned another day older, but 1 year older on the forms.  My brother took me out to dinner, and told me of the sparkling future awaiting for us in the Space Program and in Energy.

 Though I know that nothing will stop the slide (fast or slow it doesn't matter it is all down hill) over the edge of a PEAK.  I listened and took mental notes.

 Energy;  Using an Solid Salt to fix Hydrogen too, that can eliminate the need to store the Hydrogen as a gas. Using a chemical reaction to OutGas the Hydrogen into the fuel system.  And just recharging the Solid Salt.  ANHO4 if my memory serves me was the Solid stuff, but don't quote me.

 Space; ( the final frontier ) We will get man back to the moon, because if we don't the Chinese and Russia/ESA will be the first to set up bases.  The Russians and the ESA and Japanese are doing their own building to get crews and stuff to the International Space Station, because well you know, we aren't doing much but looking at foam and going " Uh, is that stuff that bad?"
      We will have a CLV (Crew Launch Vehicle) Very soon if the Monies stay in hand, this is a get to the Moon "vehicle" not a get man back and forth to the Space Station.  Which NASA admin would love to fall into the Private sector and not out of NASA budget.

 All in all a rosy future awaits us, so sayth my brother, who works at a firm that works for NASA.

 Just thought you would all love a good laugh on a Monday morning.

So when are you leaving? :-D
You really shouldn't laugh. Technically, all that and much more is possible. And technically, all the peak oil problems can be solved. The technical side of it is the easiest part of all for both peak oil and getting our species off this planet. The real problems are political, philosophical, and psychological. And I expect neither the space program nor peak oil to be able to change those 3 areas fast enough to make the technical solutions happen.

Imagine if all transport except raw mining was done via electric vehicles. Imagine if we jumped feet first into nuclear power. Imagine if we managed to constrain use of hydrocarbon fuels to be extremely limited, and thus fulfilled via biofuels. It's completely possible to imagine a feasible future for some form of technological society. It may not involve rampant consumerism, suburbia, or endless exponential growth, but it is possible to imagine without huge dieoff.

The real problem is that we, as a species, lack the guts to do what needs to be done to allow that future to happen. Instead, we'll get exactly what we deserve. As Professor Bartlett noted in his talk on exponential growth, it all boils down to population and choosing to control its growth. We can either let nature select from its vast array of population lowering mechanisms, or we can do it first, of our own volition and in a controlled manner. Those are our choices and I fully expect humanity to be stupid enough to let nature make a random choice rather than taking responsibility for that choice ourselves.

What's wrong with laughing? Recently, someone mentioned the late southern comic, Brother Dave Gardner, and quoted one of his joke lines. Here's one I think is appropriate, as best I can recall it.

"I believe the human mind is wonderful. I mean, you can think about a whole lots more than you can get."

Both mankind and MOM have a prodigious capacity for constructing obstacles.

At 2:40 Monday afternoon, I was not in the best of moods.
 My second Wife was admitted to the hospital with blood clots in her lungs and right leg, and she is 4 years younger than I am.  It's in God's hands.

As to the Techincal side of things, don't get me wrong I love the idea of space travel, have even been working on several story ideas and one big sci-fi novel these last few weeks.   The thing I know a little about is human nature, and that knowledge leads me to * LAUGH * at it all.  We COULD AND SHOULD do it, but we won't on any grand enough scale to make much more than a dent in the gap that we are heading for in the future.

We could build a Kingsbury-Arnold spaceport in orbit and start building space colonies. A reasonable doubling time is a year. Thirty years is one thousand tonnes turned to one thousand, thousand, thousand, thousand tons which is enough to house the world's population.
Do we have thirty years?
Am I crazy if I figure it would be a good idea to invest in roads?

If peak oil in a decade or three will make the cost for heavy construction work much higher it seems like a not to bad idea to build more and better roads.

Over here (Sweden) the road network is fairly ok but lacks maintainance.
There are bottlenecks in some cities and uneven standard on manny fairly large roads.

It would be nice to before the peak dig up and redo weak road bodies, upgrade unsafe 50 and 70 km/h stretches, level out steep inclines and get rid of bottlenecks in cities.  That is get a road network that is a nice one to have indefinately, if well built it well it will last a long while, especially if the maximum load for lorries is lowered. It would be natural to add more bicycle lanes when complementing within cities. We need the road network indefinately to get to the forest biomass and the rail network will never be as closely knit. There will probably also be a lot of smaller lightweight cars.

More investments in the rail network to get a larger capacity in anticipation of saving the economy of long haul lorry freight and more passangers is of course needed in parallell.  But it seems reasonable to do both when the rail network already is fairly ok.

The rail network over here is not OK - it was largely dismantled.  IMHO now the situation is very lopsided, and we need to build a new rail system much more urgently than we need more roads.
At least rail can be rebuilt with steel, crushed stone and treated wood; it's most easily done with heavy equipment, but it can be done by hand if necessary.  If we scrap a few million old cars at a ton apiece, we'd get plenty of steel for new rails.
The roads of most Modern cities won't last more than a few decades after the collapse.  There will be long streches that look almost good as new, but natural systems have a way of reclaiming things.

I know areas of Arkansas highways in the Ozarks that have to be repaired every year or there is no way of getting over them besides horse or walking.

I also see sections of old road beds in forests that have finally ground back over what was once a busy road.

Roman roads still live today, so maybe in 1,500 years someone will look at I-40 ( US main highway East to West )and see a nice flat sectiion and wonder "Hey this would make a great dancing area".

Nothing much lasts "indefinately".

Anyone else see Oil and Gas Journal's take on the US senate inquiry into peak oil?
(subscription only - Dec 19th issue)
They had an article highlighting only CERA's input to the inquiry:

CERA: Crude oil production capacity to grow 25% in 10 years
Sam Fletcher

Not only is the world not running out of oil soon, but widespread development of unconventional resources will boost global crude production capacity by 25% in the next 10 years, a representative of Cambridge Energy Research Associates told a US House of Representatives subcommittee hearing.

"We see no evidence to suggest a peak [in crude production] before 2020, nor do we see a transparent and technically sound analysis from another source that justifies belief in an imminent peak," said Robert Esser, CERA's senior consultant and director of global oil and gas resources, to members of the House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee. "It will be a number of decades into this century before we get to an inflexion point that will herald the arrival of an `undulating plateau' of global hydrocarbon production capacity."

This was followed by an editorial saying that while it was OK for the senate to look into the issue they certainly shouldn't be encouraging any alternatives:

...There would be much wrong, however, if Congress embraced the most fretful side of an unsettled scientific question, worked itself into a panic, and rushed into law a series of energy mistakes. That's what usually happens with legislation motivated by alarm. Whole industries dedicated to economically hopeless energy forms yearn to be given life through the unholy consortium of exaggerated problems and activist politics.

Well, there's no point in panicking until it's too late to do anything constructive ;)
So the article states it would be wrong if "Congress... rushed into law a series of energy mistakes..."

Doesn't that sounds like a spot on description of the ridiculous energy bill that Congress DID rush into law ?

You truly can't make this stuff up...

Unrelated to the running thread, but I believe a news item of some relevance is the Reuters news release that Honda is planning to invest several billions of dollars to manufacture solar cells at the site of a car plant in Kumamato.

Honda expects that once the plant is up to full  production it will be capable of an annual solar cell output of 27.5 megawatts of solar cell capacity.  The interesting thing is that this venture into solar cells has nothing to do with its hybrid auto program, but rather is an attempt to eventually become one of the world's largest manufacturers of solar cells.

What I think is highly significant about this move is that Honda is currently doing quite well in the car business and does not need to diversify into other areas ...... unless it has read the handwriting on the wall and wants to ensure its long-term survival.

 Just contrast this forward-thinking posture with the bumbing and stumbling of Detroit, which is so myopic that it can't see past the next quarter. Companies like Honda deserve to win, while fossils like GM deserve to lose. It's corporate natural selection at work.

To paraphrase, What's bad for GM is bad for America. Do you really think the corporate masters of Congress will let GM or Ford go belly up?
I'm not sure they can do much beyond delaying it a bit.
Ford and GM are really going to have to re-invent the wheel so to speak. Honda and Toyota are leaving them in the dust. Congress will continue throw money at GM and Ford to keep them afloat, just like they have at the airlines. Unless Honda and Toyota buy out GM and Ford.
The big three automakers in the US is now Ford, GM and Toyota.  
Article at Energy Bulletin from 17th december:

"The Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson, has founded a non-political committee with the intent of making Sweden fossil fuel-independent by 2020."

"The hearing began with a speech the Prime Minister stating that we are about to experience the oil peak ... "

Could he be the first head of state to say that explicitly?

Now what should I try to get my opposition party to propose that is even better?  Göran Persson has chosen a goal that is easy to communicate but impossible and probably not the right one to get the strongest economy while developing energy resources and saving power for export.