Tuesday Open Thread

It's cold in Moscow - help keep it warm here.
Green Car Congress comments on the latest IEA forecast of 2006 demand:


"The agency estimates that demand, driven by increasing consumption in China and the US, will average 85.1 million barrels per day, up from an average 83.3 mbpd in 2005. Demand in the US hit an all-time monthly high of 21.9 mbpd in December, growing by 1.7% compared with the same month in 2004, according to the IEA."

They also said: "The IEA noted that global oil supply reached 85.0 mbpd in December, up by 0.6 mbpd from November."

It will be interesting to see if the 85 mbpd figure can be sustained throughout 2006. I know some readers were skeptical that we would ever get this high.

It should also be noted that by "demand" they really mean "consumption" which is basically the same as "production".

It should also be noted that by "demand" they really mean "consumption" which is basically the same as "production".

You didn't really mean to say it that way did you? Production and consumption can be as much as 2 million bpd different in any given month.

The IEA are so endearing. "Global oil supply reached 85.0 mb/d in December, up by 0.6 mb/d from November". You'd think we were going from strength to strength. But then you remember that in November, they were reporting that supply "increased 1.3 mb/d in November to 85.0 mb/d, led by a recovery in North American output". I'll put the updated monthly supply graph up in a new thread in a few minutes so we can see this in context.
The chocolate ration will be increased by fifteen grams.

I noticed in the graph you posted under "IEA Monthly Report for December" that with a very few exceptions, "IEA corrected" has been consistently lower than "IEA raw." It might be worth looking at the earlier numbers to see if this period of overestimation has happened before. Could it be deliberate?


If 2005 was the peak, which I believe it was, we should be down by a net 4% of so from conventional sources, one year hence.  Let's assume that non-conventional kicks in 1% in new oil, so figure a net-net 3% decline--say a production rate of 82.5 mbpd in January, 2007.   How about if everyone makes their own estimate and we compare the estimates (guesses) a year from now?
I say flat. 2006 will be the same as 2005 when you average the whole year. You may be right about January 2007, but I think monthly figures will jump around a bit.
I was just listening to T.Boone Pickens on NPR, and he thinks 2006 will be a lackluster year too.
I like the idea and I hope we'll remeber to get back to make this check-up.

My guess is 85 mbpd and price in the range of 80-85$. This of course absent major political disruptions. I don't expect we will get significant declines the first year after peak, previous experience of declines was in the presence of spare capacity ready to kick in and producers did not have enough incentitive to tweak the hell out of the fields.

This is an excellent idea. I have often thought about polling members on the future price of oil. I'm sure we'd do a better job than most of the Wall Street analysts.

As far as production goes - put me down for 86.25 mbpd next January. What are we going to use as our benchmark?

Also, I have a question that is somewhat related to this post. What do we mean by peak, exactly? Are we talking about simply a high-point on the historical worldwide production chart, or are we talking about peak-oil which I believe involves new discoveries replacing used ones?

I'm sure Deffeyes discusses this difference in Beyond oil, but I can't find my copy. Now I feel silly for asking, I should know this.

I liked this idea so much it prompted me to make an account and join TOD instead of just reading all the intelligent posts here.  I also believe we are at or near peak and I am going to go with 2% decline on the year.  I think December's daily average output for the world will be 83.3 million barrels.  I believe that even in 2007-8-9 we will be bumping along the plateau and could well see slighltly higher monthly outputs if all the cards fall into place (ie, Iraq, Venezuela, and Nigeria all pump as fast as is theoretically possible).  I also will predict that the world will never (not this year, not ever) produce an average of 88 million bpd for more than one month.  
EnergyBulletin has an article about The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse:

"should the Iranian Oil Bourse accelerate, the interests that matter--those of Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Arabs--will eagerly adopt the Euro, thus sealing the fate of the dollar. Americans cannot allow this to happen, and if necessary, will use a vast array of strategies to halt or hobble the operation's exchange"

Thanks for opening up this topic, especially given the recent events. I hope some others comment. The article on which that EnergyBulletin posting is based is here

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous...Having said that, all options are on the table."
- President George W. Bush, February 2005

Quick background: currently, all oil is traded in US$ (hence petrodollar). So, the $ gets a boost as all nations buying oil first buy $s. If Iran opens up a Euro denominated market for oil, the dollar will sag - it's just a question of how much. Many speculate this is a factor in some of the US hostility to Iran. It's obviously not the only thing, but may add to the intensity of the response.

Does anyone have information on the current status of the proposed borse? Much of the information on the net goes back to a few article written in the middle of last year saying it would open early this year.

Also, some skeptics claim that with the sanctions in place against Iran, any contracts made there would not be enforceable/deliverable. Any insights??

Was due to start last year, but currently scheduled to open 20 March 2006.
This topic comes up twice a week and this is the third reference to the same article.

Rather than go over it again and again, I keep posting these two links, which I think largely debunk the idea that this is a significant problem for the US or the dollar. Oddly the Daily Kos says it best.


(scroll down)

In response Muhandis, says it is not debunked and posts these links:

(as a note, Al-Jazeera.net is a Qatari based company, Al-Jazeera.com is a British company.)


http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=28176&NewsKind=Business%20%26%20E conomy




My main points are that the role of the US dollar as a global currency is underpinned not by it shortterm use in transactions, but because dollar denominated assets are held for the long term by oil producers and other exporters. They do this because of return and exchange rate considerations.

The Iran Bourse doesn't change anything. It only translates the dollar price into Euros, then asks for that. This may cause some countries to stop converting other currencies into dollars for a few hours, but so what? I am pretty sure that the EU can pay Iran for oil in Euros anyways, the dollar price is only a price, not a currency requirement. It is fundamentally impossible to have two unrelated pricing schemes. If Iran created a Euro price that was anything other than a translation of the dollar price purchasers would just choose whichever one was cheaper.

I contend that no serious economists even consider this issue. Muhandis said that I have a US bias and claimed some Candanians do. I would welcome a link. Maybe the Daily Kos is American, but it is hardly the party line. I think you have to wander pretty far into conspiracy land to get people to say ths is a top tier issue.

I agree. I liked the part in the DailyKos piece by Soj that says billions of barrels of oil are traded every day. Guy seems to know what he's talking about, but when you're off by a factor of at least 25 on one of the two things you're talking about, how much credit can you give all the other details.
I take that back. Don't the Brits use billions to refer to millions? If it's the other way around, then he's even more wrong.
I believe historically we made one million million equal to one billion (certainly pre WW II), but through gradual removal of imperial systems, one billion equals one thousand million. Don't know when the change occurred - may have been 1970's as decimalisation occurred. I always think of one thousand million, rather than one million million.

I often find mistakes in serious papers where a typist has put a B instead of an M. It can be quite a common mistake as the typist seems to think it is a large number, what difference does a letter make?

So if he said Billion, he either doesn't know what he's talking about or made a typo, correct?
I assume that he is talking about billions of barrels/day in futures contracts, not actual barrels delivered.
Are billions of contracts traded every day? I thought a contract was for 10,000 barrels anyway. The NYSE barely trades billions of shares every day. I don't know.
A futures contract is for 1,000 barrels. Looking at the Nymex market, which I am pretty sure is the biggest, the Feb contract had 117,433 traded yesterday, Mar 113,394, etc. It adds up to 302,136 total oil contracts traded on Nymex yesterday or about 300 million barrels worth. This would also be about 2 billion dollars worth of oil, so maybe that is what the writer meant.
That's maybe a little bit of a stretch(as far as what the author meant), but I appreciate your research.
What countries would sell oil through the Iranian oil bourse? Anybody else than the Iranians themselves? And how much of Iranian oil will be on sale there? This cannot change the pricing, because the dollar quoted world prices will dictate also the price level in the new exchange.
About a year ago, the head of the Japanese "Fed" stated that they would love to get rid of their dollars, but while they would make a good profit on the first 10%, such a massive sale would make the other 90% worth very little.  Therefore, it could be said that any large holder of dollars is being held hostage to the value of the dollar.  This includes the Chinese, Europe, all of the oil exporting countries, and oh what the heck, the rest of the world.  Of course the holders of smaller amounts of dollars have the least to lose from a fall in the value of the dollar.  

Sure everyone (even Americans) hates having their dollars debased by the constant flow of paper from the printing presses, but what are they going to do?  At this point, there hasn't appeared to be a significant holder of dollars who is willing to pull the trigger.  So, what could cause such a trigger?  The USA has a good reason to really crank up the printing presses: devaluing obligations.  This includes the unfunded 50-75 Trillion dollars "promised" to retiring baby boomers.  Go ahead and toss in the deficit, business debt and personal debt.  And, just about every debt or obligation without an indexing that moves as fast as the printing presses.  Afterwards, when some time has passed, we will be able to start over again, and do the same thing.  It may take another 70 years, but people will forget, they always forget.

So, what could throw a monkey wrench into this already nightmarish future of hyperinflation and freezing baby boomers?  In response to hyperinflation, some holders will buy whatever US assets that are not nailed down; others will go for the ones that are nailed down.  But, what about those holders who don't want US assets?  They will have only one choice, buy something else with their dollars.  This is commonly called "Dumping the Dollar."

My guess is that the pain of devaluation, and the pain of driving down the price of the dollar will fight it out in most countries with the pain of driving down the price holding sway with the bigger holders.  Then there will be a smallish holder for which the pain of driving down the price appears to be low, so they dump their dollars.  However, this may cause a series of events which leads to the final situation called "The Collapse of the Dollar."

Is there any historical precedent for this?  Well, there are some who believe that the French dumping their dollars started the last stock market crash, and depression.  A very small trigger can unleash some very powerful forces, if those forces exist.

Ok, so this is just one future scenario out of countless possible ones.  But, I would like to think that it is responsible to consider such a scenario, and to do whatever is possible to prevent its occurrence.

70 years? This very same thing everybody fears from happened before as soon as 1970-71. This makes only 35 years and people seem to have forgotten it already damn well... Now the history is headed to repeating itself, and the fact that nobody wants to pull the trigger will only delay it to the point the pressure will become irresistable. There is a point that the market collectively reaches realisation that something is "cooking" and then the game is already lost.

Should this happen I suspect there is a plan to close all Forex and stock markets (just like they did at 9/11) and this is my only hope that it will not be that bad. And I agree that this is more everybody else's fear, what for the world will be a X trillion loss, for us will be a X trillion gain.

European and Asian FX markets did not close.  They remained open where the EU central banks purchased enough USD over 3 days or so to reverse the (short term) plunge.
I believe peak oil, which we are at, will be covered up/over by world events- probably  initiated by a couple of oilmen- so that peak is never on the 6oclock news.
Simmons basically says that the 1973 embargo was a cover story while the Saudis let their fields take a rest so they didn't lose pressure. I would not be surprised if political events mask a real peak. I imagine headlines like "If only...[insert political distraction]...would give us more oil, we could have $2.50 gas again."
Where does Simmons say this?  In TWILIGHT?  That's one hell of a claim on his part.
I could be wrong but I don't think Simmons made that strong a claim.  At any rate, it's in Chapter 3 of "Twilight."  On page 50, he says, "By late 1973, it had become clear to the most knowledgeable Aramco technicians that these wells would soon need to rest, ..."  And on page 52, he says, "King Faisal accidentally solved the risk of overproducing Saudi oilfields for a brief period of time when he initiated the Middle East oil embargo."  I think Simmons is saying that resting the oilfields probably was not the primary reason for the embargo, but that they were well aware of this side benefit.
From the IEA report last month we have:

"World oil supply increased by 1.3 mb/d in November from October, to reach 85.0 mb/d."

From the new IEA report we have:

Global oil supply reached 85.0 mb/d in December, up by 0.6 mb/d from November.

We're going to reach 85..... oops it's actually 84.4 but this time we're really going to reach 85....

I'm not convinced that April was the peak, but didn't I see Freddy here pounding on the editors because December was going to be 85.  Well maybe next month?

All that matters is the trend.  We discussed the IEA stats last month and the fact that they are often revised.  What is important for the Peakster's to recall is that 2003 was 83.1-mbd.  And the Nov confirmation of 84.3-mbd will substantiate that extraction increased at least 1-mbd in 2005 in spite of he hurricane disruption and in spite of the Iraqi insurgency and in spite of African strikes and disruption.  I have no doubt that 2006Q1 will set yet another new quarterly record.  
If the militia in Nigeria packs up and goes home I would agree, but I doubt that will happen.
Betcha it will be below 2005 4th.
Mmmm. It's certainly true that the first half of 05 was up over the first half of 04. But by November, 05 is dead flat over 04 right? (Looking at the revised numbers, not the initial claim).
I think the liquid fuel peak will become murkier and murkier as ethanol and biodiesel initiatives are being approved everywhere. So the 'total' may be higher in Jan 07 than now but maybe not the net. Barring  political events I think we bounce around 30 billion barrels for several years and go off a cliff (down to 25bb) in 2010-2011.
Well this is my first post on Open Thread. If I understand correctly open thread is  open to any topics we want to post.

So here is a question I have.  If everyone believes that the effects of Peak Oil are near and serious then what has everyone done to prepare? That of course could mean a lot of things.... get out of debt, buy gold, buy a survival cabin... what ever.

I mean to distinguish participation in this site from actual preparations. I ask this not to be argumentative but to maybe raise a point. If everyone here as not done anything then who will? I doubt anything can be done to ease the effects of Peak Oil because no one will act until major effects are seen.

Just a point for discussion

Shawnot - welcome and thanks for your previous comment.
In my opinion, there are ALOT of people that are moderately to very Peak Oil aware that are biding their time, waiting for a signal ($100-150 oil?) and then set some back up plan in motion. Alot of us are working in alternative energy field (I imagine).

I still personally believe there is a period ahead when abstract wealth can be increased in traditional ways and then ultimately turned into real wealth (land, water, community, guinea fowl, etc). I have gone 20% down this path and will accelerate or wait depending on how I see things unfold.

national alternative energy solutions will not take place until someone can figure out how to make money from it. We are stuck with oil until we decide to stop paying for it. Self independence is the true way to go, using solar, wind, waves or other. or a combo of all.
I believe the peak is near -- although I keep telling folks I expect it "by the end of this decade"; I won't commit to a more precise prediction than that!

What have we done to prepare? We sold our completely car-dependent house last year and are now debt free. Echoing an earlier recommendation, we have significantly reduced our expences, although not quite by 50%. I have moved our retirement money into more conservative funds, but I am still in equities and bonds. I have not bought rurual land, and I have only a small amount of gold. We now rent in an old streetcar suburb (the streetcar was ripped up in the '50s, of course). Work is very close, and we can walk to school and the market. There is a high degree of social cohesion in the neighborhood.

I am not a doom-and-glooomer, and I believe that the back side of the peak will be gradual, at least for a while. Should things get bad, however, I do not intend to move to the bonnies and start farming. As some of you may have noticed with my Roman Empire postings, I've got a soft spot for history. In uncertain times, I would rather be in a town than in the countryside. There tends to be more security, more prosperity and a more interesting mix of people in towns. I'd rather be a medieval merchant than a medieval peasant.

But of coure, I don't really live in a "town"; I live in a vast urban conglomeration of around 7 million people, so maybe if the backside of the peak is severe enough we'll have a certain amount of urban anarchy. But I don't think the chance of that is high enough to go out and buy guns.... at least not yet!

A "soft spot"? Oh, come on. I don't want to say anything, but won't you be a little more forthcoming?
He's too modest to say so, but SouthSider1 has a history PhD (medieval, IIRC).

The 'get out of debt' thing is sound advice for everyone, really.  Learn to live a simpler life that doesn't involve buying lots of stuff.  Learn to reject consumerism.

Learn to live your life in ways that use less energy.  If you use less fuel, then the increased costs won't hurt as much.  This might involve moving closer to your place of work so you don't have to drive as far or so you can take public transit.  It could involve trading in a gas guzzler for a car with good fuel economy (which kind of runs counter to the 'get out of debt' thing).

To the rest of the stuff, I don't own gold, and I don't have a survival cabin.

I believe the peak is right now, but I also believe that we could have a plateau with steadily increasing prices over the next few years (barring any major geo-political event).

Personally, my family and I have taken the following steps:

  1. Increased our efforts with energy efficiency. This has included: biking/walking to work/school as much as possible; installing fluorescent lightbulbs; reducing our ownership or use of electrical appliances (the TV and video are gone).
  2. Changed from 2 petrol vehicles to one diesel vehicle.
  3. Started 'brewing' biodiesel with some friends
  4. Installing a wood-fired kitchen stove that also heats our water and some radiators. Along with solar water heater on the roof.
  5. Added insulation to loft and under-floor
  6. Trying to buy things that have been made closer to where we live
  7. The 3 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  8. Producing our own food (we now have chickens, fruit trees, bee-hives and a vege patch on our half acre town section)

I have also done a couple of presentations to groups about Peak Oil (I have PPT slides if anyone wants them), and generally tried to talk to most people about the subject.
I ride to and from work every day, 4 miles total. I live in a small, flat town where a majority of the population could do it easily - yet it appears virtually no one does, including all of my "enviro" coworkers, most of whom I bet are familiar with the peak oil concept. Some definitely are, they have heard it from me. But I don't bother trying to spread the gospel anymore unless someone asks me. People just don't want  to hear it, or more accurately, they smile and nod, but I don't think the reality sinks in.

Riding is so liberating when you aren't fearing for your life from cars. I can understand not wanting to if the only way to get to your destination involves busy streets. I do it now more for the love of riding my bike than for the gas savings, though that is nice. And you can carry a surprising amount of groceries in a milk crate on a rack on the back!

Ultimately, our life is spent pursuing those chemicals whose behaviors met with evolutionary success (though the vast majority of us don't see it as such.) The reason to change our lifestyles, in an evolutionary sense, is not to conserve or save resources for someone elses children, because Jevons paradox says someone else in the system will just use the energy and resources that we save.

The importance of making change is to right now discover the things that make one sustainably happy, and position yourself to attain those things. That way when TSHTF you will mentally be exactly where you want to be, rather than in a perpetually seeking dopamine loop. All we have is the moment then the moment is gone. Take a step back, and determine how you best enjoy your 'moments' and set up a life around that, if possible. For me, its walking in wet forests, with a dog, listening to loud music with a beautiful woman, growing my own food, and watching nature. Clearly Im not going to design a post peak oil life in Arizona or New York City. Money is only good in how it pays for things that I can sustainably enjoy.

Finally, we spend alot of time on TOD discussing the supply side of Peak Oil(bpd, EROI etc) - the demand side is equally if not more important - the HRoEI (happiness received for energy invested) clearly starts to max out at some point - look at 5th graph from the bottom at [http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/statistics/index.html].  Swedes, Danes, etc consume much less energy that Americans and are happier (they also pay alot more taxes).. The gini coefficient measures disparity in income where the higher the number the more variablity in wealth there is in a country. I havent done an analysis yet but would bet that people living in countries/communities with relative wealth equality are more happy. China has more than doubled its growth in past decade but people (according to worldvalues) are less happy - my guess is this is because their 'relative fitness' algorithm says that although they now have 10k vs 5k in income, they are now chasing some few billionaires that get all the chicks.

For the same reason I prefer Vermont to New York....;)

My family has made a concerted effort to face uncertainty with flexibility. We now have a system that could withstand a variety of shocks, and that could be further developed into something truly sustainable (barring horrendous social upheaval of the kind no one can truly insulate themselves against).

We live on a small farm just outside a small town, where we raise sheep, alpacas, chickens, bees and sled dogs (for outdoor, fossil-fuel-free recreation). Goats and the occasional cow might put in an appearance fairly soon. We do our own hay with the help of some farming friends and grow our own vegetables. There are also mature fruit trees on the property. Another farmer is currently growing crops conventionally on some of our land, but we could farm it the old-fashioned way if necessary, again with the help of knowledgeable farming friends. Various family members are skilled in fiber arts and have the equipment necessary for spinning and weaving. Tanning (the old fashioned way) is on my list of skills to acquire. Far from finding this lifestyle burdensome, we actually enjoy it a great deal.

As for energy, we heat with an outdoor wood-burning furnace which also provides our hot water in the winter. For the rest of the year, our hot water comes courtesy of a solar domestic hot water system. We can also heat with a high efficiency wood stove in the main house and a wood-burning cooking range in the kitchen. The latter can also deliver additional hot water. We have an old geothermal system that came with the house, but we don't use it often as it is an inefficient design and is therefore an energy hog.

We have the beginnings of an off-grid power system based on 3kW of PV with battery bank in the basement. We run the essentials (well pump, sump pump, circulating pumps for solar thermal and wood furnace, security system, fridge, freezer etc) off this all the time. We can charge the batteries from the PV panels, or the mains (programmable for time of day), or a gas generator or a diesel generator. The latter runs off our tractor, so it can be powered with agricultural diesel. We have a generator panel that runs the next most basic things from either generator, or from the mains. For the inessential things, we still depend on the mains, but we could live without the frills if we needed to. All the lighting is compact fluorescent or LED and the appliances are the most efficient available. The house itself is old and could be much more efficient than it is, but we're working on it.

In addition, we've also added a few extra small things that would make living an energy constrained life easier. We have a couple of solar cookers, solar battery chargers and rechargeable batteries, stand-alone solar LED lighting, hand-tools, and a bicycle-powered generator with a battery pack and built-in inverter. We're hoping to put in a year-round greenhouse, and would like to have a small wind turbine eventually (finances permitting).

We did all this without taking on any debt purely by selling property in the UK (where self-sufficiency would have been much more difficult and the carrying capacity of the country had been very thoroughly exceeded) and moving to rural North America where real estate is very much cheaper. The price difference funded the necessary infrastructure upgrades. We are not wealthy people (we were only a couple of academics after all), but we have been careful with what we had and have invested resources in what we needed rather than what we, or our children, might have wanted. As we live in the country, our children do not have their noses rubbed in the materialistic lifestyle on a daily basis. They know no other life now and are very happy - a happiness which does not depend on spending money.

Bravo. You are way ahead of the curve, and I commend you (read: jealousy) on your foresight. May I ask what state you live in? Must be reasonably warm to have fruit trees, but cold enough to use sled dogs??
I'm in Ontario, where it's usually cold enough for dog sledding in winter, but not this year. It's been icy and hovering around freezing for most of the winter so far - very frustrating for avid dog-sledding enthusiasts (and for the dogs). Fruit trees (apples etc) grow perfectly well here as summers are very hot, although we couldn't grow oranges or anything exotic.
I'm curious -- what part of Ontario? I'm in Burlington. I'm thinking of moving out to the country, still southern ontario, maybe around Guelph or something. But another part of me says "go west young lad" and find myself in BC. I dont know what to do.

Do you know your neighbors or spend any real amount of time with them?

The countryside around Guelph is very nice - I have friends there and visit the area occasionally. I'm in Eastern Ontario myself and quite happy to be well away from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area for all the non-Canadians out there). I'd be happier in some ways to be living northeast of Lake Superior somewhere (more snow for sledding for instance, and cooler, less humid summers), but I came here because I have family in the area. The growing season is longer here and hardwood for heating easier to come by than it would be further north.

I know some of my neighbours, although I don't live in town so my neighbours aren't right next door. I'm trying to find a balance between fitting into the community and maintaining the degree of isolation I need to bring my children up with a very non-mainstream value system. We tend to associate with other people who enjoy the rural life, rather than the many urban wannabees who may live in the country but still spend all their spare time in front of the TV, or playing computer games, or complaining that there's nothing to do here. Kids attitudes are strongly influenced by their peers, so we live where we can chose their peer group. The older they get, the more freedom they will have, but by then their values will be established and less susceptible to being undermined by the lowest common denominator or the path of least resistance. Our closest friends live some distance away, but they're sledders too, so we could still keep in touch in a world without cars.

Could you keep in touch in summer? Are there 'mud-paths' of some such for the dogs?
The dogs are quite happy to pull a wheeled cart in the off-season, in fact in the fall that's how we get them in shape for winter racing. Helmets and padding are necessary as dog racing is a little like vehicle racing with the accelerator nailed to the floor, and bare pavements are not as soft to land on after accidentally taking a corner too tightly as snow would be :-).

It'd be cruel to make them run during a summer heatwave though. We could keep in touch with our friends for half the year with the dogs and the other half by cycling - a pleasant experience along our country roads. I have no experience with horses (unlike the friends in question who have 4 of them), so I'm not exploring equine possibilities for the time being.

a bicycle-powered generator with a battery pack and built-in inverter


I am wondering what you use the bike power generator for?

Running electronics and LED lighting are the only uses that I can think of.  

You're right that there aren't many uses for human power, but it can (limitedly) supplement a power system that runs only relatively basic things when mains power is not available. A portable power pack allows one to run some lighting in room not hardwired into the system for instance. As the power pack has its own inverter, it can run small AC loads for a short time (after a lot of cycling). Cycling to generate some power in the winter can also keep one fit for cycling in the summer, and that might be important down the line.
You've certainly got a good head start!  The wood fired cook stove is a big part of my plans - I just need to replace an un-insulated sun porch off our kitchen with a real room.  This should happen this summer if all goes well.  Power was out while I was away, and my wife is now in full agreement on the cook stove!  Other than that, I've got the wood stove set up in the basement, and that will heat the house as long as I can run the blower from the furnace - once the cook stove is in I'll be able to heat the other side of the house, and the hot water too.  I'll set up a simple solar hot water pre heater eventually.  I hope to ditch the oil-fired furnace and install an electric heat pump.  Problem is, it's a lot of money and would only be back up, so it's hard to justify.  

Our water is from surface wells, but they're heavily filtered.  I need to do more water tests to find out how good it is without them.  

Electric is a problem - I had not been planning to go off grid entirely, but I'm worried about the state of the gird & consolidation of utility companies - so I'm re-thinking those plans.  I considered a PTO generator, but I don't think I want to tie up the tractor that way.  I'm thinking about replacing the engine on my portable generator with a single-cylinder diesel so it will be more efficient.  I still think about the idea of a wood/coal fired steam or sterling generator.  If I reduce the power requirements far enough, it will become practical - especially in the winter when I can use the energy for both generating electricity and for the heat.

We finished the main barn renovations, fixing the structure and returning the bottom floor to horse stalls - these were for fun, but they'd be suitable for other animals, and the one pony is well trained for driving a cart.  It will need some siding work on one side, but that's going to be put off for a year or so.  We've got a couple of goats for pets, but the pen and shelter could handle several more.  We're up to about a dozen chickens now (my daughter is the boss of the chickens!), but they are in a temporary shelter until I finish the real coop.  We had a start to a flock of guinea hens until a fox got all but one - they are insectivores, and we mainly got them to help with the tick problem.  We're thinking about a cow.  If things really got bad, too many large animals would not be practical - they take too much food.  IIRC, it required an acre for each horse just for hay.  

The old orchard is mostly dead now, so I'll be replanting various fruit trees in the spring.  I'm still trying to figure out where I want to put the garden, but I'll be putting in some serious posts and wire to keep out the deer & other visitors first!  I do not have much good tillable land for traditional crops -about 5 acres if I really wanted to.  I would focus instead on more valuable produce ("truck farming"), and try to trade for other things.  

I'm not really planning on a total collapse of civilization, but we're trying to reduce our energy use, and learning to do a lot more on our own, and enjoying it as well.  If things should really get bad, hopefully we'll have the skills we need.  I have much work to do - now if I could only figure out how to get paid to work around my home!

I envy your evident ability to swing a hammer as if it were an extension of your arm, Twilight. I wish I were as naturally handy as you obviously are, but unfortunately that's not the case. Those skills are very valuable - be glad you already have them. Learning them belatedly can be a somewhat painful process, as I fear many people are destined to discover.

I've been researching greenhouse designs of late, and came across this one, which seems to be ideal for home use and a cold climate.

Meanwhile, I'm considering buying a commercial greenhouse outfit to grow organic produce year-round. There is a strong "buy local" movement here that I think might support the effort.

However, I wonder if I might be getting ahead of myself a bit, as PO has not yet manifested in higher food prices, and I would still be competing against cheap food imports.

Reading TOD on a regular basis lends a certain urgency to one's thinking about this subject, but "betting the farm" and buying a commercial greenhouse might be a bit premature, or even foolish. Any thoughts on that?

Consider any way of attaching a greenhouse to your home so heat can exchange. I have a small one, 7x7, and on sunny , cool days it heats the house a lot. Also when full of starts for the garden in spring I let the house heat it. I am gathering glass, etc. to expand to my east wall. I may put this expansion off due to not attracting folks looking for food if a major crash.( I am near a city and it would face the road) Good luck.
That's a hard decision George. I think putting in a greenhouse is a great idea if one can afford to do so (some might say that one can't afford not to). Your greenhouse design looks very interesting, but also expensive, especially for something on a commercial scale I would imagine. Would you have to take on a large debt to pay for it? If so, I think I'd go with something smaller and simpler if it was my decision to make. (This isn't a good time to be in debt in my opinion.) If you could do it without taking on debt (perhaps do it jointly with other like-minded people in your community who would then own a share of it if you can't afford to do it by yourself) it could be a good community asset down the road.
That's a sound opinion. I do know some people who would love to have a greenhouse to grow year-round fresh produce, but individually they do not have the resources to do it. Together perhaps we could pull something off, on a small, neighborhood scale.

As for "betting the farm" (maybe it's just winter cabin fever, but I have a hankering to do something dramatic) the commercial version I'm considering is with Crop King. They have a commercial greenhouse package for around $60K, that enables one to grow Organic Certified produce (tomatoes). They are differentiated from hydroponic tomatoes, which are already pretty common. The growing technique is like hydroponics but it uses an organic media. One buys the package from Crop King, and the annual growing supplies, and they provide technical and marketing support.

I'm attending a grow-local presentation at a local food Coop at the beginning of February, which will help me gauge the possibilities. I would want to get assurances from the buyers that there would be a market for this. In asking around, a local greengrocer recently told me that he opted out of selling local hydroponic tomatoes in favor of cheaper (Mexican? Californian?) tomatoes, since people are "pinching pennies", so PO is not yet a deciding factor.

I would have to go into debt to do this, but as I see it, people will always need to eat, and there will come a time when locally-produced food grown intensively in greenhouse conditions will become competitive (especially in winter - in summer you can't give tomatoes away around here, as I'm sure you experience as well!). Of course, get the timing wrong and I'll be one disappointed greenhouse owner, with a lot of tomatoes, and looming bankruptcy. Not a good position to be in, especially in down times, if that's what we're facing.

I think I might be inclined to aim for more variety than just tomatoes if possible. The more nutritional bases you could cover, the better off you (and potentially your neighbours) would be if you ever had to depend on what you grew. It might give you more options commercially as well.

It might be worth looking into simple preservation techniques (canning) that could be used on a small scale as a value-added aspect to the business. For instance in winter you could sell tomatoes and other vegetables locally, but you could eventually also sell George's Special Salsa or George's Tasty Tomato Relish or George's Homemade Spagetti Sauce all year round with relatively little extra effort.

My family started doing this on a very small scale over the last few years and it took very little extra equipment. So far we've done the cooking on the electric range that came with the house, but we could do the same thing on the wood-burning range if necessary, or even with a solar cooker for our family-scale operation. On a rather larger scale it might make a good project for a small community, especially if there's less cheap imported food to have to compete with at some point down the line.

You are right. Actually today I enquired about how much variety one could get into one of these greenhouses and still stick with the "program." I know they have a hydroponic lettuce operation (mostly in long trays with circulating water in the root system). Hopefully they will come back with a positive answer in this regard.

I'm also wondering about the feasibility of growing soybeans this way, for the protein. Let's say that the chicken stocks get culled because of the bird flu, and that there is less meat readily available; or looking further down the road, we're relying on local agriculture more and more, and there simply isn't enough locally grown meat to go around. One cannot live on lettuce and tomatoes! Soybeans could be a potentially lucrative commercial crop for a protein-starved populace.

I actually did teach myself to can last summer. After a couple of botched attempts I did get it right. Two nights ago we had a nice chicken with a tomato and zucchini reduction from the harvest. It was great, and still some left in the basement and the freezer. Next year I will get more ambitious.

Great idea about the tomato products - has a nice ring to it! If I end up doing that I'll make sure to send you a carton.

Thanks George - I'm sure it would be delicious! Good idea about the soybeans by the way. A protein source derived from primary production (plants), rather than depending on processing plant mass through animal tissue, is a good bet. George's Vegetarian Chili maybe?
Currently I have no land, no money to speak off, and no general plan to bug out when the going gets tough.  I can not say that I will be here in this area by this time next year,  My plans have become totally flexible.

I have amassed a great deal of practical knowledge books and several books on doing things the old fashion, no power way.  And I have a lot of other useful books.  They will go with me whereever I go.  I have pared my home down to the barest number of items.  I have 2 bills a month.  And can live on less than 400 dollars a month.  I drive only when I have too.  I am single,  My second wife having left about 6 months ago.  But she knew about the Whole Oil Peak thing and why she left was personal not they way we were reducing.

If you were to wait to long to have the plans in place, you might be to late to get them done.  This is Because as we see the end approaching, so do a lot of others and supplies of those items you wanted will be greatly limited.

If you are going to get a gun I would do it now and not wait any longer, better safe than sorry.  Chaos can make guns hard or impossible to get and might even make them a crime.  This is not a doom and gloom idea, just a fact of life.

I still know where to get wild foods in my area, or how to find them in most places in this country, where ever I end up.  But things will be happening sooner than 2015, and likely faster than we would hope.

 Dan Ur,  aka Charles.

What's the best gun to have ammunition-wise? In a post-peak world, we're going to want the most "compatible" option. It's not going to make much sense having a 7.62 G3 when all we have is 5.56 rounds. If I wanted to go with 7.62 for its stopping effect, do all AK series assault rifles use the same ammo?
Search TOD for a reference to an article from PostCarbon, I think, by a fellow who lived through the Argentinian economic collapse, or as he calls it when the SHTF.  He writes:

The primary defensive weapon for the survivalist is his HANDGUN. It's the weapon that stays with him when he is doing his business around town or working on the field.
The survivalist IS NOT a soldier, even though you are a soldier or you once were the meanest mother on the battlefield, your home town is not a battlefield and it wont be, even if the SHTF. A LOT of water has to go under the bridge until the situation gets to a point where you can calmly walk down the street with a rifle on your shoulder.

He has a lot of interesting stuff.  I have the text if you can't find it.

Most AK series rifles (AK-47 and AKM family, etc) use 7.62x39mm Pact ammo, which is fairly common.  However, many of the newer AK series (since 1974) use either 5.45x39mm Pact (AK-74 family), which is hard to come by outside of Eurasia.
Some of the most recent models, made primarily for export, are chambered for 5.56mm Nato (AK-101, 102, various US-made derivatives, such as those from Arsenal in Los Vegas, NV).
As the most common assault rifle in the world, and legendary for its reliability, any of the 7.62x39 AK's would be an excellent general purpose choice.  

A rifle is far more useful, in a utilitarian sense, than any handgun.  Look back to what farmers, pioneers, and rural people had and used routinely, at least until the early 1900's: squirrel rifles and shotguns. Good for defense, better for hunting.
Handguns are pretty useless beyond 25 yards or so. You can't hit anything with them reliably.

Just wondering where one who lives in guncontrolled Canada might start looking for a nice AK (AKM?) that uses the 7.62x39mm ammunition, and of course the ammo itself? Any idea?

My plan is to stockpile canned goods. And then trade some of them, after such time that the grocery stores no longer have any inventory, for the fuelled functioning vehicle I'll need to get the hell out of town. Of course its been suggested that theres not much point in having a stockpile of food if you dont have the means to defend it. Thats why I am interested in finding this rifle. Maybe I should just focus on whatever firearms I can find, but I really had my heart set on an AKM

Personally, I think it MUCH more important to surround yourself by a community that 'gets it' and works together. There will always be someone better armed than you and someone with ill intent will be relentless, regardless if you have a gun or not.

For topics less macro and more micro peak oil lifestyle I suggest signing up for 1 (or more ) of the yahoo message groups runningonempty1, 2 and 3. good luck.

I'm so lost. Yeah I need to get out of my self-isolation and find a good eco/sustainability oriented community and try and settle down. Settling down would be a dream as would real friends.

I dont really want to deal with firearms, and certainly not by myself. Like the comments down below, its also clear that unless I could establish a watch I couldnt defend my food stockpile.

I need to get out there and make real relationships with real flesh and blood human beings, cooperate to do something useful and have a good life. I want a good life for my 2 year old too and I have no faith in the future. I have hope, but no faith.

I have spent most of my life studiously ignoring firearms, so I can't argue with you, but here is more from Argentina SHTF:
Forget about shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR. Leave that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids that pretend to be grown ups on the internet.
Some facts:
  1. Those that want to harm you/steal from you don't come with a pirate flag waving over their heads.
  2. Neither do they start shooting at you 200 yards away.
  3. They wont come riding loud bikes or dressed with their orange, convict just escaped from prison jump suits, so that you can identify them the better. Nor do they all wear chains around their necks and leather jackets. If I had a dollar for each time a person that got robbed told me "They looked like NORMAL people, dressed better than we are", honestly, I would have enough money for a nice gun. There are exceptions, but don't expect them to dress like in the movies.
  4. A man with a wife and two or three kids can't set up a watch. I don't care if you are SEAL, SWAT or John Freaking Rambo, no 6th sense is going to tell you that there is a guy pointing a gun at your back when you are trying to fix the water pump that just broke, or carrying a big heavy bag of dried beans you bought that morning.


After TSHTF in 2001, only the most narrow-minded, brain washed, butterfly IQ level idiots believed that the police would protect them from the crime wave that followed the collapse of our economy.
A lot of people that could have been considered antigun before, ran to the gun shops, seeking advise on how to defend themselves and their families.
They would buy a 38 revolver, a box of ammo, and leave it in the closet, probably believing that it would magically protect them from intruders.
Oh, maybe you don't think that firearms are really necessary or your beliefs do not allow you to buy a tool designed to kill people. So you probably ask yourself, is a gun really necessary when TSHTF? Will it truly make a difference?
Having gone through a shtf scenario myself, total economical collapse in the year 2001, and still dealing with the consequences, 5 years later, I feel I can answer that question.
YES, you need a gun, pepper spray, a machete, a battle axe, club with a rusty nail sticking out of it, or whatever weapon you can get hold of.
A LOT has been written on survival weapons. Everyone that is into armed survival has his or her own idea of the ideal gun battery. Some more oriented to a hunting point of view, others only as self defense means and others consider a little of both, and look for general purpose weapons.
Talking about guns, there is one special subject I want to rectify, and it's the point on what's the primary weapon for the survivalist, specially a urban survivalist that has to function in a society, yes, even after the SHTF.
The primary defensive weapon for the survivalist is his HANDGUN. It's the weapon that stays with him when he is doing his business around town of working on the field.
The survivalist IS NOT a soldier, even though you are a soldier or you once were the meanest mother on the battlefield, your home town is not a battlefield and it wont be, even if the SHTF. A LOT of water has to go under the bridge until the situation gets to a point where you can calmly walk down the street with a rifle on your shoulder.
People, if you are interested in real world SHTF situation, and you want to prepared for the real deal, then understand that this isn't black or white.
You wake up one day and listen on the radio that the economy collapsed and that the stock market closed indefinitely.
What do you do? You still have to go to the office/work/whatever .Kiss the wife good bye and walk to the office with your AR across your back, or across your chest, Israeli style, ready to shoot? You wont get far. Someone will shoot you or throw you in jail, or in a mental institution.
What I'm trying to explain, is that its ok to prepare for China invading you country, Germans and UN or Martians. That is the extreme, less likely worst case scenario.
There is an infinity spectrum of gray between the black and white. White being your average normal day and black being total TEOTWAWKI, lizard men invading the planet.
Rifles do have a place in the survivalist's arsenal, and a very important one. But you have to understand that 90% of the time, the handgun will be the weapon you have available when you need one.
You cant compare to a trooper in Iraq that has his weapon with him at all times.
I ask you how many soldiers do you know that keep wearing cammo and totting their M4s around town when they return home?
What works for war does not work for the survivalist, especially the urban survivalist.
Even if you live in a retreat far from town, you have to work, don't you? Or do you have employees that take care of all your mundane tasks, leaving you all day to keep watch with your rifle ready?
A soldier is part of a huge machine, HIS job is to carry that rifle, while others take care of other needs. A survivalist, one that is not part of a large survivalist group, has no one to cover for him.
When a new guy looks for advice on what to get for defense, some will recommend a rifle or shotgun as a first defensive weapon.
Lets say race riots start in this guy's city. He still has to go to work every day. What is he supposed to do? Shove his pump shotgun in his pocket? A handgun, even though less powerful, can be used for home defense AND go with you wherever you need to go.
If the place floods, he can still hop into an evacuation boat without leaving his weapon behind. I'm sure no rescue team will pick you if you are carrying a long arm. They'll ask you to leave it behind for sure.
What if your government, realizing that TSHTF and that they lost control of the events, bans all firearms indefinitely? Don't know about you, but if things are that bad, I'd like to be armed. You can hide a handgun under a jacket. You cant hide a long arm under your clothes.
I think it was Clint Smith who said that the handgun is only used to fight his way to his rifle. Man! that sounds "macho".
I'd love to see him walking into Walmart with his tactical M4, taking the subway, visiting the doctor or going to the bank.
"Over here Mr. Smith, you can hang you M4 right next to my coat" I don't think so.
Guys, unless you have your own shooting school, you do not get to carry your rifle to work.
OK, now that I got that out of my chest lets look at some options.

Handguns: Revolver or Pistol?
Pistol. All the way.
Yes, I saw the video of the guy that accurately emptied his S&W in ½ a second. I also saw the shooting range and the crowd behind him, watching the event. Can he shoot and reload that way if he is in his car, driving with one hand and shooting with the other, while a bunch of scum bags in another car are shooting at him?
Hey, maybe he can. I know I can't. Can you?
Generally speaking, the revolver is more difficult to master than the pistol. The double action is hard and it affects speed and accuracy. It can be done, but I found that pistols are easier, as did many shooters.
Also, even though they seem to be more simple, revolvers are not as rugged as service pistols, the mechanisms that cycles the cylinder and cocks the hammer is both complicated and fragile compared to auto pistols.
Before anyone starts casting evil voodoo spells at me for insulting their prized S&W or Ruger: I own revolvers and like shooting them, I just don't think they are the best option for self defense, and I see that everyone I talk to in my country who is worried about security as I am also chooses pistols.
Quality pistols resist sand, mud and dirt in general better than revolvers, where a small pebble locked in the mechanism may render the revolver inoperable.
I personally had a problem with a new stainless steel Taurus Tracker .357 magnum. After shooting it a couple of times I reloaded it and shot all 7 rounds as fast as I could and when I tried to empty it, I found that the empties were stuck because they expanded because of the heat. I had to wait until the gun cooled a little so I could empty the gun. Stuff like this can get you killed, even more in a 7 round handgun.
I once saw a man walk into a gun store wanting to trade his 357 magnum revolver for a 9mm high capacity pistol.
He said he was driving when thugs from another car started shooting at him. He was chased for a few blocks.
He said that he pulled his revolver and started shooting at them, and ran out of ammo real fast. He wanted more capacity and fast reloading. I could not agree with him more.
Some will consider this "Spray and pray", thinking that all rounds should hit the target and if some don't then it means that you need more time at the range.
Those same people will tell you that they intend to use bolt action rifles as defensive rifles, making each shot count, without ever missing their target, one shot one kill.
I don't agree with this. One shot one kill is ok for snipers, but the survivalist should have other alternatives.
I don't see anything wrong with shooting four or five rounds at a chasing car. If those rounds make them think twice about their intentions, they are rounds well spent in my book, even if they don't kill the attacker.
Suppressive fire is possible if you have a high capacity pistol. I wouldn't doubt on using such a tactic if it serves my purposes, or if it buys me time to get out of there.
Also keep in mind that criminals are cowards and therefore attack in groups. The survivalist should be able to face more than just one attacker. Getting into a gunfight with two or three armed men while packing a 6 round revolver is rather hard to deal with. A high capacity pistol can load about 15 or 19 rounds, and that can certainly make a difference in a gunfight where you are outnumbered.
A forensic doctor that used to live in my neighborhood got killed last year. He was ambushed when he exited a restaurant by 5 or 6 men. Even though they did kill him he managed to kill 4 of them and severely injure another.
He shoot regularly and carried a Glock .40. I'm sure he was lucky but I also think that his choice of weapon was also important in the outcome.
If anyone is wondering, people in my country that are serious about self defense carry Glocks. Those that don't have the
money for a Glock carry Bersas, FM High Powers or 1911 surplus .45s.
At first I wasn't sure about the Bersa, but once I tried them I saw that they are very descent guns. I now own two Bersas and am pleased with they performance.
The caliber choice calls for endless debate and it is not my intention here. Lets just say that 9mm , 40S&W and 45ACP are the obvious choices.
40S&W seem to be the most adequate, both in FMJ and HP, while 9mm lacks some stopping power and hollow points should be used if possible.
Though the 9mm lacks power compared to the 40S&W, it is more popular world wide, a factor to consider seriously when choosing a handgun for SHTF. Besides, 9mm can also be used in a number of carbines and SMG, another important fact to be considered.
SMGs and carbines chambered for 40S&W and .45 ACP are also available, but they at not nearly as popular as those chambered for 9mm.
Whatever you choose keep 500 or better yet 1000 rounds of quality ammo for your handgun at all times. 100 rounds wont last much if the crisis lasts long. Also consider that once the balloon goes up, governments tend to restrict guns and ammo.
I previously stated that the urban survivalist will be using his handgun 90% of the time he needs to defend himself and family from attackers.
I didn't pull this figure out of thin air, it is quite accurate based on what happens here on daily basis, even a little optimistic. Cold harsh reality has shown us that most attacks occur when entering or exiting your home, when you are more vulnerable.
Almost no one is stupid enough to try to enter a barred house with armed occupants. Believe me people, the gene pool will clean itself rather fast once the SHTF.
So, is a rifle necessary? Of course it is! There is still that 10%, and that 10% can still ruin your day. And this percentage sky rockets if you intend to use that same rifle for putting meat on the table.
If you have to settle with just one rifle, go for a semi auto. Ideally you should have a bolt action one and a semi auto rifle. A bolt action and a semiautomatic 308 would make a nice combination.
Whatever you choose, try to keep it within military calibers, and military weapons if possible.
It may seem that I have something against bolt rifles but I don't. I think they are fantastic weapons, but I think that semi autos are much better fighting weapons.
The idea of "picking them out" 300 meters away with your bolt rifle, as they come in a row blowing whistles and firing warning rounds is laughable at best.
Bolt rifles do have advantages over semi autos, accuracy not being the most important one.
Bolt rifles such as Mausers last forever and are harder than rocks, THAT'S important. They are simple, easy to repair tools that will serve you (within their limitations of course) longer than any other weapon.
For example, the coil spring on my Mauser 1891 safety broke into 3 separate parts, after almost 100 years of faithful service. I dug into my tool box and found a spring left over from a kitchen shelve door. I cut it approximately to the length of the previous spring, replaced it and the rifle was fixed.
There are not many weapons that allow this. And it is a very valuable attribute once the SHTF and spare parts are no longer available.
Stick to common calibers, 223, 7.62x39mm, or 7,62x51 (308).
.223 vs. 308? I'm not going there. If you prefer 223 because it has less recoil, it's lighter, or you favor the AR rifle go ahead.
If you think that 223 is more powerful than 7,62.. sign up to Physics I.
Just remember what I said before, a survivalist is not a soldier serving in Iraq, and you don't have the entire USMF to back you up. You are on your own.
You are not going to pin your attackers down with a questionably effective round and wait until someone hits them with artillery. .
About ARs... I wouldn't trust my life to a rifle that has more versions than Rocky sequels... the way I see it, it means that the basic design was the problem and there is no solution.
On AK ... all has been said. The most popular rifle on the planet. And popular not because of politics, but because it works. It also fires an intermediate power, effective round, available world wide. SKS are also good, but I'd rather have removable magazines.
Again, don't use voodoo on me because I say I wouldn't trust my life to a AR. If you keep your weapon clean, know it's limitations and feel comfortable with it, go for it please. A couple of rounds of 223 will kill anyone just as well.

If you want a rifle that can do a little bit of everything relatively well, do yourself a favor and get either a M1A or a FAL in 7,62 (308) with a carbine length barrel. Preferably with a red dot scope and some kind of light mount. Leave full length barrels to hunters and bench rest shooters.
Do your homework on both guns and you'll see what I mean.
Choose 308 not because of the added range you can get out of it, but because of its power at all ranges, choose it because it turns cover into concealment. Think about all the possible cover material you can find in a city, like cars, trees, low walls and other structures. The 308 will go right through it, or destroy it after a few rounds. It's a proven cartige through out the years.


Shotguns are good general purpose guns. The main advantage I see is the devastating stopping power and the ability to use special ammo, like slugs and less than lethal ammo. I'm not so sure about the role as an "inside house" gun. The muzzle blast is great and quick follow up are not easy, especially when adrenalin is pumping through your system or, even worse, when someone is shooting back at you.

Pistol caliber carbines and SMG.
If possible , I'd choose a SMG reduced to semi auto (only if necessary, of course, full auto selector is better if possible ) or other kind of short, small, pistol caliber carbine.
The combination of a 9mm handgun and a 9mm carbine or SMG reduced to semi auto or full auto class III has lots of advantages in my book and is a fine combination.
Some think that full auto is a waste of ammo. I don't think so, not if you know how to use your head, and use this feature wisely.
If you can get a short barrel and collapsible stock, you'll also have a weapon that can be hidden under a heavy coat.
A red dot scope would enhance accuracy a lot.
The advantage of having the same ammo for long and small arm is not to be taken lightly. From the logistical, survivalist point of you, this is one big thumbs up!
Think about cowboys and Americans that lived in the west, they also knew the value of using the same ammo for rifle and handgun. They had single action handguns and lever action handguns chambered for the same ammo, the modern survivalist can have the same ammo for his auto pistol and his sub-rifle as well.
Some think that a pistol caliber long arm is just one big clumsy pistol or a rifle sized gun that delivers pistol power and accuracy.
This is BS. Anyone that ever fired a pistol caliber rifle or SMG knows that they are much more accurate, hitting torso targets at 100 yards is easy, and a little more if you have a red dot scope.
Also, SMGs can manage hot ammo specially made for such guns, much more powerful than the one for handguns. Even if you use regular handgun ammo, the added barrel length adds a few extra feet per second making it more powerful. Just check the information on boy armor. Body armor that is rated to stop 9mm, for example, is not rated to stop the same 9mm ammo out of a SMG or carbine, because the added speed will make that same round penetrate the vest.
Anyway, +P ammo is more than enough power out of a SMG or carbine, you don't have to go looking for special SMG ammunition.
If you can get full auto, that one nice feature to have. Not worth it if you are on a tight budget, but if you can get it, it may come in handy someday.
Full auto SMG are giving police in my country a lot of headaches. A criminal with little or no training will put 3 or 4 cops armed with pistols and shotguns on their toes, just because of the sheer volume of fire these high capacity 9mm deliver.
There was this case of a bad guy standing in front of a patrol car full of cops on a red light stop, pulling a 9mm SMG out of his coat and emptying it on full auto. The cops didn't have a chance, he killed them all. The car looked like Swiss cheese with 40 9mm holes all over the vehicle.


All I'm going to say on this subject is : Have one if you can. That's it. I'll leave the rest of it to your imagination, don't make me say it.
Today it may seem like a "nice to have" feature... after the SHTF, it may be a "O God I've got to get a suppressor!!" feature.
I'd buy a good suppressor instead of a ultra high dollar scope like the ACOG. Buy a good quality scope, but don't spend a fortune on it, and use the rest of the money on a suppressor.
If you are serious about preparing for SHTF, you'll thank me one day, just trust me on this one.
9mm and 45 suppress quite well. Not as well as .22 , but there is much more power on the big bore ammo.
Combined with a full auto SMG, the possibilities are much greater.
Sometimes it's just better to go unnoticed, specially in a SHTF crisis.

Dear God! Buy body armor PLEASE!!
It's dirt cheep in USA.
Preferably, get the police concealable kind( class II) Then continue to work on it and get class III A military armor and some rifle plates, just as you do when you start buying guns.
You'll end up with 2 or 3 sets of armor which are great to have for family members and spares.
Just so you know, I got so desperate about body armor I ordered it from USA through internet (bulletproofme.com), I ended up paying a total of nearly 600 USD for body armor that costs 200 USD in USA. Buy it while you still can.
When the SHTF you'll end up wearing it, believe me. I don't wear mine all day long but I do wear it when I have to go some place dangerous, deal with people I don't trust, or when I have to go teach Architecture Representation late at night, and must travel through a much dangerous road at 12 PM.

I'm more interested in peak natural gas because I have an improved line focus photovoltaic power invention. I expect to make a lot of money supplementing natural gas for peaking power. Now if only someone doesn't invent some kind of high efficiency plastic solar cell you can just nail to your south facing roof or wall...
First you need to be mentally prepared for harder times. Second, stay healthy, or become healthy (good food & exercise)

Remember that all a person needs is food, water, clothing and shelter.

I have a vegetable garden, and living near the seaside, do quite a bit of fishing. I wish I had more time to do this, but my job is probably going to disappear once, so that will give me the time :-)

I am slowly but steadily collecting quality hand tools. I collect rain from the roof in a big barrel. I plan to heat my house with washed-ashore wood. And I plan to generate power from the wind and sun.
I am building a seedbank.

And I have a plan B. Except for living at sealevel the location I reside is just fine in a post peak world, but we ( that's me , my wife and 2 kids)can move to the rural community in Middle Europe where my wife originated. Fertile, not overpopulated, high potence for sulfsufficiency, bearrable climat, lots of trees and game, watersources, houses build to last and so on. Did I mention the wineyards?

Good question and it's interesting to hear what others have been up to.  My family (2 adults and two young kids) has been making changes based on our belief that climate change is a serious problem and peak oil is either near or has passed.  Regardless of when oil peaks, we are at a period in time where supply will have continuing difficulty meeting demand and prices will have to rise.

We live in Ann Arbor MI, a small city in a fairly agricultural county, but with one of the most dangerous metropolitan areas in the country nearby.  The Detroit area is a powder keg with a burning fuse.  Our neighborhood is on a city bus line, we're within walking distance of our kids' elementary school, and we're within biking distance of their future schools.  Ann Arbor also has both east-west and north-south active rail lines, and we're the busiest Amtrak stop in Michigan.  Ann Arbor has a fairly moderate climate and we have adequate water supplies, with food and game within a reasonable distance.  

We bike most places we go, using our car mostly for trips out of town.  This is probably our biggest preparation for peak oil, though we bike more for exercise and because of climate change than because of gas prices.  I've been working for many years to make Ann Arbor and Michigan more friendly to nonmotorized transportation and transit, with mixed results.

We have made a number of financial changes in the past few years, in part based on recommendations in "The Oil Factor" a book on investments in a high energy cost age.  I won't go into the changes we've made, but if you read the book you'll get the idea.

Finally, this year we bought a woodstove and the tools to get wood for it without using fossil fuels.  We added a significant amount of insulation to the house as well.  We have a number of rain barrels to catch runoff and store over 200 gallons from a good rain.  We have a vegetable garden and we're trying to convince neighbors to set up a community garden in unused space in our neighborhood park.  We buy most of our purchased produce from a local co-op, a co-op farm, and our farmer's market.  I'm also working to establish a "Post-Carbon Outpost" in Ann Arbor.

kjmclark -

I live in Ann Arbor too, with my husband and two young children! I live within walking distance of King Elementary School.  I would like to get in touch via email (c_mccracken [at] hotmail [dot] com) to talk some more about how I can help locally. The local PO Yahoogroup became inactive right around when I joined.

Gaia scientist James Lovelock says it's too late to stop a global climate crisis. Accelerating global warming will kill billions of people no matter what we do with the oil, so peak oil is just a minor side issue:
I've seen several articles on Lovelock's view, but nothing that hints how he came to this startling conclusion.  Was it via extensive computer modeling of the atmosphere?  Something else?

I'm also surprised that he's talking about it getting ever warmer in Europe--what happened to the theory about the thermohaline conveyor shutting down and triggering a new ice age in Europe?

This isn't meant to belittle Lovelock in any way, but I firmly believe in the notion of extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof.  And so far, all I'm hearing is a tall tale plus the casual announcement that he has a new book coming out.

If he has solid science behind this prediction of an inevitable catastrophe, then I'll believe him--what other rational response could I have?  If he doesn't, then he's just another guy pushing a sensational book and making those of us who know peak oil and peak NG are coming look like nutjobs.

In 1999 certain predictions were made regarding global warming. These predictions reached out decades and towards 2100. By 2005, it was clear that some of these predictions, for the 2020-2040 time frame were already beginning to occur. Lovelock's concern is that the acceleration of global warming is non-linear and may be near the knee in the curve. Upon exactly what data he bases this, I am unsure, but that is, I believe, his fundamental argument.
Some people might argue that there already is solid proof.  I personnally think that when your material wealth (not you personnally, just the general you) is threatened then you will take notice and not before.  As long as it is someone elses pain you won't care much.  In fact, you already do some things to help ease the problem, and this assuages any feelings of guilt.  Still your efforts are voluntary and you will barely suffer even though some will pay for our excesses with their lives and the lives of their children; you know... the brown people.  When proof becomes truly irrefutable, it will indeed be too late. Too late for you and too late for me, and too late for our children.
I'd like to invest in companies that are involved in building LNG terminals, or otherwise involved in LNG imports, since it seems like that's what the future holds for satisfying the U.S.'s energy needs. Can anybody recommend any stocks?  Is this even a good way to go?
I would take a serious look at independent tanker companies. Tsakos(TEN), TK, Frontline, etc. Look at their annual reports to see what kind of ships they own/lease/manage and if the have any new LNG tankers being built.
I dont think a discussion of individual names would be appropriate for the type of idea forums at TOD. But the way I look at things, most natural gas companies have about a $2 cost to pull gas out of the ground so at $8 nat gas they are making huge money - if nat gas goes to $20+ and stays there you make 100-150% in futures contract but probably 500%+ in nat gas stocks. If you really believe that the peak is soon, oil and gas companies still have HUGE leverage, especially domestic ones. But be nimble, because the first real price spike will cause a recession or worse, and the mother of all demand destructions - I beleive we will both see $35 and $150 in the next 3 years, due to the  market being priced at marginal barrel. If a global recession hits when we are still north of 80m bpd that marginal barrel can get awfully cheap.

And to the poster who believes the peak is near, why would you be in any equities other than oil/gas/commodity? Oil depletion, at least after the peak, spells the end of growth.(as we know it)

I know this will sound radical, but if you think about it it rings true - the all time forever highs of the stock market were seen in 2000. The Nasdaq will never see those levels again (unless in 2015 its made up entirely of alt energy companies or [blacklightpower http://www.blacklightpower.com/ ] is for real

if nat gas goes to $20+ and stays there you make 100-150% in futures contract but probably 500%+ in nat gas stocks. If you really believe that the peak is soon, oil and gas companies still have HUGE leverage, especially domestic ones.
Yep, my feelings as well, domestic companies will do much better then LNG in the short/medium-run.  Lot's of speculation in the LNG industry, no one really knows what is going to happen.
Because I've read Benjamin Graham and I think it is very, very hard to beat the market over the long haul. As for energy stocks in particular, I agree with your point that we could see "the mother of all demand destructions" and I don't want to guess which particular energy stocks would continue to prosper. I also agree with you that we may have already experienced "peak stock market." So I favor value stocks rather than growth stocks, not becuase I think they will necessarily go up over the next decade, but because I hope that they will go down less. If oil depletion spells the end of growth (and I'm sympathetic with you here, too), then the game for long-term asset allocation is to lose less rather than to gain more. I don't deny that some (including some here) will make money in short-term speculation, I just don't want to play that game myself. I've never been very good at market timing.
'the game for long-term asset allocation is to lose less rather than to gain more. '

if you really believe that, you have some persuasive stockbrokers. There is no game. If you believe stocks will net net go down, do something else with your money. Dont buy the wall st mantra that 'the best investment over time is stocks'. That may have been true (actually its not, lumber was the highest since the 1930s)in the past but I doubt for much longer (except of course some solar/new energy stocks will go up 1000s of % - wish I knew which.. What I really hear you saying is that youre not convinced the peak is soon and you dont want to time it. And I feel for you there - no one knows.

By the way, Im not sure why - probably (lack of) yahoo earnings after the close, but the market is due for a big spill tomorrow open - nasd futures down 35 tonight already.

Sasquatch, I really don't think we have much of a disagreement. I don't buy the Wall Street mantra and I'm not 100% in stocks by any means. It's not just stocks that will go down post-peak, it's all asset classes. Commercial and residential real estate, down. Bonds, down. Commodities, down. (Down in real terms -- God knows what will happen with inflation.) That's why I believe in asset allocation -- but as a defensive strategy. If anyone can imagine an asset class that will do well once TSHTF, by all means share your views with the rest of us!
No one knows weather we will will get inflation or deflation.

Strategies are different for both cases if we get run away inflation the best strategy would be to have as much debt as you can get. Borrow untill you can borrow no more buy phyical things solar cells, farm land, wind generators,gold,oil etc.

On the other hand if we get deflation you want cash in the bank, no debt.

Whats going to happen that is the million dollar question,

I have gone for farm land high rain fall, not to hot not to cold region low imput grazing. Near a resonable size town but a long way from major centers. Invested is fencing, sheds, and other energy intensive items. Maintaining cash and storing physicals. No debt.

Weather this is the correct strategy only time will tell.

Write this one down.  

When peak oil comes, US interest rates will be extremely high.

Now just go out and buy whatever it is that will increase in value when US interest rates go ballistic.  

Bank stocks!  Could the answer be anything different?  If they arn't collecting money to repay the loans, they're out increasing their holdings through foreclosures.  Win-Win!

I'm sorry to say Gets It that I completely disagree with you. In my view, bank stocks would have to be one of the worst investments one could possibly choose. Banks burdened with staggering amounts of bad debt and foreclosed real estate they can't sell even at fire sale prices would not be a safe bet during a depression, even for savers (deposit insurance notwithstanding), let alone investors. Banks fail (sometime en masse) during depressions.
Especially if the curve is inverted at that point - low economy yet high short term rates will cause negative carry load for most financial institutions.
I agree with you about the stock market having peaked in 2000. I see the declines which bottomed in 2002 being only the first step down and the recovery since then as a dead-cat bounce. The bear market seems set to reassert itself shortly, and where the market leads, the economy (and therefore demand destruction) will follow. DJIA 4000 within a couple of years wouldn't surprise me at all, hence I wouldn't touch stocks with a bargepole. I think we're facing deflation, which means liquidity, and no debt, are paramount (although in an ideal world, hedging your bets with as great a degree of self-sufficiency as possible is also a good idea as long as it doesn't involve taking on debt).
I agree that liquidity is important. The key question is: what vehicle? Fiat currencies (dollars, sterling, euros, yen, whatever)? Government debt (e.g., T-bills)? Precious metals?
I'd recommend short term government debt for the time being. Long term government debt may not stay liquid if interest rates rise for new bond issues. No one may want to buy the older low interest bonds if you decide you don't fancy the odds of a bankrupt government paying you back in 30 years time. The risk premium probably wouldn't be high enough (although they'd probably still be a better bet than other kinds of bonds as credit spreads widen during a flight to quality). Dollars may be alright for a few more months, but after that I'd probably say something like Swiss francs, or perhaps euros.  I'm expecting the dollar to implode, perhaps over the next couple of years or so.

Physical ownership of precious metals (and no other kind of ownership may be enforceable during a dpression) can be problematic. Gold was confiscated without compensation during the last depression. You could own physical gold (illegally) if that happens again, but that's potentially dangerous and trading it becomes an issue so owning it may not help you much. I'd say silver would be a better bet if it's metals you're after, but at the end of the day you can't eat it and it doesn't keep you warm directly.  Capital preservation is the important thing, but it helps if you can store value in a tradable, transportable form that you're legally allowed to own.

Banking stocks.
It's different this time, because it's always different. The 1900, 1929, 1966, and 2000 stockmarket peaks all failed in different ways and took shorter or longer times to finish collapsing, and with different deflation or inflation waves along the way.
I think it's not going to be deflation like in 1900 and 1929, or a slow inflation like 1966, I think it's going to be a fast, fast, hyperinflation scenario taking a week to a month. Cash is all I would be interested in for that.
A thousand in gold, a thousand in silver coins, a thousand in cash, some credit cards, a checking account, and a money fund. A diversified stock portfolio and a house in a village outside a nuclear target zone wouldn't hurt.
And a basement ready to hold a shitload of stuff you bought at Walmart (for cash) and a van to carry it home in wouldn't hurt.
Why would you want cash in a hyperinflation? Why wouldn't you instead go into debt up to your eyeballs?
Because it's going to take several days for cash to become worthless and if you panic several days before everyone else does, you can do okay.
Just remember, panic first.
Also, watch the immigrants. They know what a hyperinflation looks like because they've been there, so they will panic before you do.
Probably not the best way to go.
Calpine was involved in LNG and look what happened.
The terminals that are in the US now can't get enough LNG to even run at 50% capacity.
If you want to go that route I would suggest BP, it appears their LNG numbers for the 4th quarter will look good after the UK situation.
For start up companies in the US I would stay away for now, LNG is just too expensive to compete with conventional NG/coal/hydro/wind, at the moment.
For the Darkhorse LNG investment......Gazprom.
Calpine failed because when faced with debt and high NG prices they sold their oil and NG production assests and kept their NG electric generation facilities, exactly the opposite of what they should have done if they would have realized that NG prices would go higher still.  They didn't have substantial dollars tied up in their LNG facility so it wasn't much of a factor in their demise other than it made them look desparate.

Low current capacity is due to the fact that global LNG supply is not keeping pace with demand.  Production cost of LNG is higher than conventional US production but generally less than unconventional (coal bed methane, tight shale, deepwater, etc) and would tend to bring down US prices if we actually paid cost not market price.  LNG sellers were pretty happy with $3 per million BTU up until 2000, and although production cost have gone up since then they haven't doubled or trippled.  Unfortunately global LNG supply looks like it will lag demand for some time to come, so the going price will be much higher than producion cost.  And if peak oil occurs or gas-to-liquids catches on before LNG production catches up to demand, LNG prices will stay high permanently and LNG won't look like such a great growth industry.  High LNG prices aren't necesarily bad for an existing terminal owner, but the terminal owner won't be making the bulk of the profit either.

I agree that it is risky to bet on LNG terminals, not only becasue of LNG price/supply concerns but also because of site licence risks.  Better to find public companies with rights to large supplies of quickly appreciating stranded NG.  BP is a candidate, though you will have to balance new NG with declining oil resrves.  Gazprom is a pure play with massive reserves, but how much do you trust the Russian gov to run the company with the the shareholders' interests in mind?  I'd stick to smaller western NG producers with the deepest reserves.

BP is also building one of the new LNG terminals in Baja California.
Look at LNG and RRC.
Sorry, I meant LNG and MMR.  
Thanks to all for the information. This has helped me focus my research.
I have a technical question about the way oil pipelines work - this has been bugging me for sometime.  Take, say, the Alaska pipeline.  When the day comes that they completely shut down the drilling operations in Prudhoe, ANWR, etc., the pipeline will still be filled with oil - nearly 1000 miles worth of oil, in fact.  Is there any way of getting it all out without pumping more oil in at the front end?  Do they pipe in some kind of solid piston using air pressure to squeeze all the oil out?  How does this work?
Woo hoo...A technical question that I can answer.  So I can stop lurking and start contributing.

Operating pipelines usually do not have a physical barrier between different liquids.  e.g., in a products line propane is followed by butane is followed by gasoline (multiple grades) is followed by kerosene is followed by diesel.  And then back in reverse order.  Turbulence provides an adequate and economic barrier between the different fuels.  The small amount of dieselly-gasoline and gasoliney-diesel that is caught in the interface between products (called transmix) is separated out and sold to bottom-feeder refiners.  Crude pipelines are even more forgiving...it's destined for a refniery in the first place.

But there are physical devices, called 'pigs', that can be inserted into pipelines and pushed along for a variety of reasons.  'Brush Pigs' are used to keep the inside of crude lines clean, while 'smart pigs' (I'm not making this up) have sensors, electronics, and data storage to inspect the entire length of a pipeline for anomolies such as corrosion.  More often they find the dings left from lucky backhoe operators.  The unlucky ones sometimes die.  One guy on a road grader cut into one of our lines while propane was going by.  Propane is pumped as a liquid under pressure, but is a vapor under atmospheric conditions.  Steel pipe gets cut open..propane depressurizes..vapor cloud billows forth..finds ignition source..it's a road grader engine..POOF..'nuff said..call before you dig.

As regards a final cleanout of a pipeline as long as TAPS, you bet they will get out as much as they can.  When that day comes it will be too valuable to leave in place.  They'll likely stick in a 'batch pig' and push it out with another fluid.  I have been involved in pipeline retirements in Louisiana, but the Artic would pose some challenges.  Water has some obvious phase-change issues, although that can be controlled.  Ocean water is reasonably local, cheap, and present in sufficient quantity.  Who cares about corrosion at that point?  Compressed air can be used, but creates its own problems, and requires (big) new equipment.

Now that I think of it, I read once that TAPS (Trans-Alaska Pipeline System) uses a novel mini-refinery technique for creating power out in the boondocks.  A small slipstream of crude is refined enough to get a mild diesel cut.  The diesel is used to power generators.  Not sure if that system is in use anymore, but wouldn't it be ironic if someone had to airlift large amounts of (then) exhorbitantly expensive diesel out to the pumping stations to get the last drops out???



Cool! Thanks for delurking with such great information.
Thanks guys, for both that question and answer. That's what makes this site such a gem.
The mini refineries most likely have tanks for storing refined diesel to make it possible to do mini refinery maintainance withouth stopping the pumping engines.
Ocean water with corrosion inhibitors probably with some glycol to prevent freezing.  The first segment of significant length, maybe 20-25 miles or so between block valves, will be filled with the seawater ahead of which will be placed a series of batching spheres to keep the water separated from the crude.  The spheres prevent excessive interface mixings when the flowrate needs to be stopped or slowed down below the laminar to turbulent flow transition zone.  The water will then be pumped to the block valve that begins the next segment.  No more than two segments are active at any given time.  All oil is eventually displaced down the pipeline until a pig receiver station is reached, usually at a pump station, where any damaged spheres are removed and new ones inserted at the next pig launcher just downstream of the pump station.  Eventually the watered segment reaches the end of the pipeline where it is drained into road tankers and (hopefully) properly disposed of.  The evacuated pipeline is then filled with dry nitrogen gas, if long term preservation is required.

I heard that the reason they are called 'pigs' was that they made a squealing sound as they went by in the pipeline.  I imagine that it depends on the type of pig.
I've seen one of these mini refineries. They are quite amazing. The whole system fits onto 2 semi trailers. The operators said there were only 2 that small in the world. One in Siberia and that on in Eromanga, Central Australia. Behind the refinery was an oil well, and in front of the refinery were several bowsers to fill your car up (the bowsers had water sprayers fitted to stop the fuel evaporating in the intense heat out there). It was a real Mad Max scene!
The Tapline would have significant salvage value. Also, it won't be salvaged till they run out of ANWR oil, and also after the natural gas liquids and GTL has been shipped out if we build a GTL for the stranded natural gas there and in the Mackenzie Delta. We might just ship the gas out by pipeline instead. Perhaps the Tapline might be used for natural gas on that route after being dismantled, but the size is probably wrong for that use.
It is extremely rare if ever that any buried pipeline was salvaged.  I don't know of any major pipeline that was ripped up and sold for salvage.  Costs of digging it up is far too expensive on a $/mile basis in relation to the relatively minute amount of steel recovered.  Pipelines are mostly a very long hole with a tiny wall of steel around it.  The trend over the last 10 years has been to recycle pipelines in-place.  The valves and pumps are removed, which is pretty easy in relation to salave value, and the pipelines themselves are filled with ... fiber optic cables.  Pipelines have an existing right-of-way that do not require new Environmental Impact Studies or new construction permits to pull fiberoptics.  The existing pipeline routes commonly run between many cities along the way so they are very convenient for installations of telecommunications networks.  Williams Pipeline Company has made a lot of big bux slowly turning themselves into a telecom backbone provider.  In fact, this can also be done in pipeline right of ways adjacent to active pipelines.  Normally there is sufficient room to lay a fiberoptic cable alongside or even between the existing pipelines.
Tapline is mostly above ground, not buried.
Stratfor.com just sent out an e-mail suggesting that Iran is making a bid to be the chief power broker in the Middle East and that they in effect view the current situation as a win-win opportunity.  If the U.S. and/or Israel do nothing, Iran is viewed as being too powerful to attack--and Iran ultimately gets nuclear weapons.  If the U.S. and/or Israel attack, it will further inflame Muslims around the world against the U.S. and Israel.  

BTW, author Tom Clancy wrote about three terrorist attacks on the U.S.:  (1)  a 747 flown into the Capitol Building; (2)  a bioweapons attack and (3)  a nuclear device.   We have had two out of three--everything but the nuke. In regard to #3, the underlying purpose of the nuclear attack was to provoke a nuclear strike on Iran--permanently inflaming Muslims around the world.

Excerpt from Stratfor.com:

Intra-Islamic Diplomacy

If the Iranians are seen as getting too close to a weapon, either the United States or Israel will take them out, and there is an outside chance that the facilities could not be taken out with a high degree of assurance unless nukes are used. In the past, our view was that the Iranians would move carefully in using the nukes to gain leverage against the United States. That is no longer clear. Their focus now seems to be not on their traditional diplomacy, but on a more radical, intra-Islamic diplomacy. That means that they might welcome a (survivable) attack by Israel or the United States. It would burnish Iran's credentials as the true martyr and fighter of Islam.

Meanwhile, the Iranians appear to be reaching out to the Sunnis on a number of levels. Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of a radical Shiite group in Iraq with ties to Iran, visited Saudi Arabia recently. There are contacts between radical Shia and Sunnis in Lebanon as well. The Iranians appear to be engaged in an attempt to create the kind of coalition in the Muslim world that al Qaeda failed to create. From Tehran's point of view, if they get a deliverable nuclear device, that's great -- but if they are attacked by Israel or the United States, that's not a bad outcome either.

In short, the diplomacy that Iran practiced from the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war until after the U.S. invasion of Iraq appears to be ended. Iran is making a play for ownership of revolutionary Islamism on behalf of itself and the Shia. Thus, Tehran will continue to make provocative moves, while hoping to avoid counterstrikes. On the other hand, if there are counterstrikes, the Iranians will probably be able to live with that as well.

Iran has no nuclear weapons, not even a program. It might hope to gain one sometime, but this doesn't count. They are an American ally, as are all Islamists in general. There is much loose talk but the facts show that there is no fundamental conflict between Islamist foces in ME and the US. The real problem are the nationalists. The nationalists want to keep oil and gas in national control and industrialize - ie. increase domestic energy consumption. An interesting point here is that the Iranian nuclear power program is undoubtely a nationalistic program, not an Islamic. There are no Islamic electricity or industry, oil or gas, but there are mnational.
Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, the world's biggest natural gas producer, may cut supplies to power plants in central and western Russia by as much as half because of a nationwide cold snap.

``A number of power stations in the European part of Russia have gotten notification about the possible limits,'' said Tatiana Milyaeva, a spokeswoman for RAO Unified Energy System, the national power utility, in a telephone interview today from Moscow.

Interesting news from the BBC today

Italy hit by Russian gas shortage

Italy has had to dip into its gas reserves to make up for a shortfall in supplies from Russia, Italian energy group ENI said on Wednesday.

Russia has denied reports that it is holding back gas for its domestic market because of freezing conditions.


In case you didn't have enough to worry about, here's a new one: Peak Copper! From Scientific American:


Also being discussed on slashdot this morning:


The SciAm article writes:

Copper is used in everything from automobiles to ordnance. Copper allows electricity to be generated, transported and conducted to the various outlets in a modern home. Copper is also relatively scarce compared to other metals like iron or aluminum that make up a good portion of the earth itself. So copper serves as an excellent metallic bellwether for potential future resource scarcity, according to a group of researchers who compiled data on its extraction, use, recycling and discard to estimate whether there is enough copper available to make a developed standard of living available to all the world's people. The short answer is: no.

...residents of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. required an average of 170 kilograms of copper per person. Multiply that by overall population estimates of 10 billion people by 2100 and the world will require 1.7 billion metric tons of copper by that date--more than even the most generous estimate of available resources.

Total copper resource estimates are 1 to 1.6 billion metric tons. The situation is even worse if we remember that like oil copper will not be produced at full volume until it instantly runs out. Instead it will hit a peak as it becomes more and more difficult to extract. This should occur well before 2100.

And the situation is even worse:

The same dynamic also holds true for other critical metals such as platinum, required for catalytic converters and other pollution control devices, and zinc, used to galvanize steel. While iron, aluminum and other more abundant metals could conceivably be used as substitutes, more research would need to be directed into such technology shifts...

But as we have seen with energy, it is easy to talk about converting coal or oil shale to liquids but the technological costs to implement it may make it uneconomical at best.

Yes, there is plenty to worry about, except in the unlikely event that future society develops technology better than what we have today, in which case it is impossible for us to say what will be difficult for them and what will be easy.

I heard about this on NPR last night.  What about recycling and scrap reclamation?  Copper doesn't get consumed like oil, although conversions to new uses have energy costs of course.  Perhaps new uses can gain similar benefits from less copper?  The same applies to other metals of course.

I am not nearly as worried about this as I am about energy shortages and climate change.  What do you all think, am I right?

Aluminium and aluminium alloys are very good for replacing a large number of other metals in a lot of applications.

It is not much to worry about as long as we have plenty of electricity.

Btw, Studsvik in Sweden has started a recycling business for nuclear steam generators. They have been able to separate out more then 85% of the steel for reuse in their first scrapped steam generator from Ringhals. And they plan to melt the radioactive part of the scrap to get the volume down to 20-30 m3 in conveniently sized containers.

The value of the scrap will not pay for the work but it makes an outsize nuclear waste problem a lot easier to handle.

I have for a number of years advocated that nuclear powerplants realy are mostly recycleable so it felt realy good to read this in Ny Teknik, a local engineering newspaper. (There should be traces of it in netnews archives. )

The only strong reason for not using aluminium for nearly all power distribution is that you need gas tight splices with metal-to-metal contact to not get an oxide layer in the way for the current and a risk for overheating.

This means that you need more complicated splices and connections. This makes it much easier to work with copper wiering when wiering up a car or a house.

This is old and established technology that not yet have replaces all the high current copper use. It can free a lot of copper in use. It can also replace copper wiering in new houses or cars with a higher cost in connectors and labor unless someone figures out a realy smart connector.

The specialized copper uses I can think of immediately are space limited ones such as motor and generator wiering and high tension cabling with expensive insulators such as HVDC undersea cables. And where you need special mechanical properties such as copper alloys for switches and ovearhead wiers for electrified trains.

The only big problem is that you need enourmous ammounts of electricity to make new aluminium. I think Iceland will be a Saudi Arabia of aluminium refining, they are already well on their way.

I've lived in the US Pacific Northwest most of my life.  Historically we have refined a lot of aluminum here using the very cheap hydropower from the Columbia River and its tributaries.  What is Iceland using to get cheap power, geothermal?
Mostly hydro power and some geothermal power.


Iceland is the only country in Western Europe that still has large resources of competitively priced hydroelectric power and geothermal energy remaining to be harnessed. Although electricity consumption per capita in Iceland is second to none in the world, at about 28,200 kWh per person, only a fraction of the country's energy potential has been tapped. Total economically viable electric power potential is now estimated at 50,000 GWh/year. About 8,490 GWh/year of this power had been harnessed in 2003, i.e. only about 17% of the total electrical energy potential.

Competitively priced electricity has already attracted foreign investors to Iceland in fields such as production of aluminium and ferro-silicon. Export-orientated power-intensive industries now consume more than half the country's electricity production.

Hydropower in Iceland  
Economically harness able electricity from hydro resources is estimated at about 30,000 GWh per year. The first hydropower plant was constructed in 1904, generating 9kW. In 2003, the total installed hydropower is 1,155 MW and the hydropower production was around 7,100 GWh. The largest single hydropower plant has a production power capacity of 270 MW.

Geothermal energy in Iceland  
Icelanders are world leaders in the use of geothermal energy for domestic and industrial purposes. About 87% of the population enjoy central heating by geothermal energy at a price that is generally less than half of the comparable cost of oil or electric heating, thus contributing to making Iceland one of the cleanest environments in Europe. Geothermal steam has been used directly for a number of industrial processing applications in Iceland for decades now, and has also been developed for electricity generation on a small but growing scale. In 2003 the total installed geothermal electric power was 200 MW and the production around 1,420 GWh.  

Home insurance costs go ballistic.  Fire related deaths not expected to peak anytime soon.
Has anyone found a copy of this on the web? I can't. (Aside rant: I'm starting to hate academic publishers. At this point in history, they add no value whatsoever to the distribution of papers. All they do is hinder circulation of the work and charge money for the privilege of overcoming the artificial hindrance. Surely the academic community, conservative and hidebound as it is, can find a way to get rid of these guys). In computer science at this point you can pretty much safely ignore any literature that you can't find on the web, but unfortunately it's not true in other disciplines.

Sorry no.

I've also noticed the problem you mention with the research paper and data resellers.  Lots of the docs & data in their coffers that I'm looking for can still be found for free, some even on government web sites publicly available downloads, if you're willing to look long and hard enough.  To minimize my search time, I skip page 1-19 of the <search engine of choice returns> and start reviewing at the 200th item on the list.  

It gets worse... I haven't found the paper even though I searched the PNAS archives, using prof. Graedel as keyword. There is a paper with the title "Twentieth century copper stocks and flows in North America: A dynamic analysis" (Spatari, S., Bertram, M., Gordon, Robert B., Henderson, K., Graedel, T.E.) in Ecological Economics (an Elsevier journal, with paid contents).
The Energy Bulletin has now published the recent Fortune article on rapid climate change (along with my comments on the article).


Cloudy with a chance of chaos
Eugene Linden, Fortune

Climate change may bring more violent weather swings -- and sooner -- than experts had thought. ("the most apocalyptic thing I've ever seen in a U.S. business publication")
published January 19, 2006.

John Browne, chief executive of oil giant BP PLC, believes the UK is getting enough gas from the North Sea and elsewhere to meet domestic demand, calling fears of a possible supply shortage "exaggerated".

Am i alone on the idea that executives are out of touch with the common man? Since they (the CEO's) live in the land of excess.
Something tells me John Browne is not experiencing price increases enough to affect his lifestyle.

Quite the contrary. The price increases are effecting his lifestyle - just in the opposite way they effect everyone else's.
I've put it this way:  are the angry soccer moms going to be rioting at the gates of the mansions of the energy producers?  

I have only half-kiddingly suggested to my oil patch brethren that we blend in by driving old lime green Volvos with Greenpeace stickers.

BP public relations is completely out of touch with what goes on in their OWN projects, but I suspect that the other divisions know very well.

To avoid BP's environmental responsibilities as they themselves advertise publicly, the Turkish segment of the BTC Pipeline was provided to the BTC owner's conglomerate under a separate contract where (technically) all responsibility for meeting BP's supposedly high environmental construction standards were handed off to BOTAS, the Turkish State's pipeline operating company.  That left BP free of any actual responsibility, their standards hoisted high, but basically unenforcable and generally ignored inside Turkey.