DrumBeat: November 19, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 11/19/06 at 9:12 AM EDT]

US report says Saudi Arabia will raise oil output

DUBAI - The International Energy Outlook 2006, issued by the US Department of Energy, expects Saudi Arabia - the largest oil exporter - to increase its crude oil production from 12 to 18 million barrels per day by 2030.

Oil prices are expected to hover between $34 and $96 per barrel in 2030, the report said.

The Arabic version of the report, published by the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre, expects a gradual retreat in oil prices in 2006 and further decline to $47 per barrel by 2014.

Dems take aim at oil company tax breaks

WASHINGTON - House Democrats are targeting billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks for quick repeal next year. A broader energy proposal that would boost alternative energy sources and conservation is expected to be put off until later.

Kazakhstan to Block Chinese Oil Purchase

"We must take extreme measures to stop the agreement on the Karazhanbas," Baktykozha Izmukhambetov said in televised remarks, referring to an oil field that is the biggest asset of Canada-based Nations Energy Co. in the Central Asian nation.

Prodi urged to steer EU on energy

American economist Jeremy Rifkin urged Romano Prodi on Saturday to use his clout in Europe to push the bloc towards a future in which all its energy would come from hydrogen and renewable sources.

Analysis: U.S. nearing emissions control

In the coming months, however, the world will hear a lot from Washington about joining the insiders — the Europeans and other industrial countries committed to reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases. The weight of science, economics and politics is pushing the world's biggest emitter in that direction.

Ethanol production spikes corn prices

Ethanol production may be a two-headed coin for consumers, lowering the cost of fuel but eventually hiking the price of meat, an agricultural economist said Friday.

Al Gore: At stake is nothing less than the survival of human civilisation

Coming soon: a green Bill Gates

INTERNET STOCKS are surging again. And biotechnology still has great promise. But I’m betting that the next Bill Gates, whoever he or she is, will be an environmental entrepreneur. Why? Because despite the recent focus on the potential costs to society of climate change, solving this challenge may also present the greatest economic opportunity of our time.

Toyota plans diesel hybrid car

NAGOYA — Toyota Motor Corp plans to commercialize a diesel hybrid subcompact car as early as 2010 in cooperation with its ally Isuzu Motors Ltd, which is strong in diesel engine technologies, informed sources said Saturday.

From Energy Bulletin: a couple of links to YouTube videos about peak oil. Oil supplies? Don't worry! by Randy Parks, and the short and humorous ImPOssible Mission by Aerobarfilms.

Venezuela Bills Total $17.3 Million in Unpaid Taxes

Venezuela's tax agency said Thursday that French oil company Total SA owes the country US$17.3 million (euro13.5 million) in unpaid taxes from last year.

The company has 15 days to pay the amount owed plus a 10-percent fine, the agency said in a statement.

A Troubled River Mirrors China’s Path to Modernity

The polluted Yellow River is being sucked dry by factories, growing cities and farming - with still more growth planned.

Future without oil looks bleak

It took all of time until 1850 to reach the first billion people. The second billion arrived 80 years later in 1930, the third billion arrived 30 years later in 1960 and the fourth billion in 1974. It took 12 years to add the most recent billion.

These numbers are scary by themselves, but they are even scarier if we consider what allowed this rapid growth, and then ask two questions, can this growth continue? Do we want it to continue?

No platform in author's gloomy forecast of life without oil

When the applause died down, and guest lecturer James Howard Kunstler completed his talk Thursday night at Rutgers, a man had a question: Why don't you run for office?

Kunstler said he was content to be an author. What's more, he confessed, "I inhaled too recently."

Left unsaid was that his message is far too gloomy.

Speaking of Kunstler, here's his take on the CERA report.  Note the plug for TOD and Dave Cohen specifically.


The mainstream media last week swallowed CERA's PR hook, line, and sinker, without a single reflective burp. It even drove the prices on oil futures markets down a few dollars a barrel -- though the price was back up by Friday. The only cogent analysis of the CERA report took place on the Internet, and for the most part on a single site: TheOilDrum.com, which is the best-informed forum of debate on these issues operating in the United States.You can go directly to their initial response, composed by Dave Cohen by clicking on this link. It's worth taking the trouble to read.

Re: that column about my Rutger's talk in the NJ Home News Tribune.  The guy both misquoted and misunderstood what I had to say.  It's discouraging, but it's the way things are for now.
--Jim Kunstler
What did he misquote?
Hey Jim...thanks for the glowing endorsement above.
The revised CERA-nade (pronounced, "serenade") for Daniel is posted here.

My thanks to Vanessa for her vocal support.

(Paris helped with the lyrics. Tom & Kat wanted to pitch in but they were otherwise engaged.)

Thanks, Jim.

Jim Kunslter is the Robery Kiyosaki of Peak Oil - with his histrionics and warmongering, he's not who you want to listen to for the long term, but in the same way Kiyosaki gets people to think about personal economics for the first time at all, Kunkler does get people thinking about Peak Oil who'd not get exposed to the idea for a few more years otherwise.
Yeppers! Anyone get the chance, if they get into a party that good, ask JHK about Y2K.........
Leanan, thank you for your hard seven day a week service to the common information pool. I really appreciate the great job you do in getting us information!
I second again. This is the first thing I read every morning. Thanks Leanan!
Thanks from  da Rat, too. This may only be the second place I go, but it's the first place I steal links from.


And of course I must add my "Hear hear!", leanan is the reason I keep coming back, although of course other posters like Dave Cohen, oldhippie, Totoneila, and others who come here with solid, interesting, and well-written information are the life of this site also.
You forgot Elwood and o ceo
Oh, O CEO, yes, a constant reminder that ethanol is a farce.
Oh, I thought that was  RR's domain, and a damn good job he is doing at it.
Leanan, thank you:  I no longer need to search thru all the rubbish to find my subjects of interst. Also I would like to thank you for you pragmatic evaluation of many of the comments. It gives many folks a better understanding of the term, "Liberal Education". As in wide ranging.
Hear, hear!
(or read, read?)
G20 economic leaders call for energy investment and efficiency

http://futures.fxstreet.com/Futures/news/afx/singleNew.asp?menu=economicnews&pv_noticia=11639116 30-18a80f08-01440

Group of 20 (G20) economic leaders said strengthening energy markets and promoting investment and efficiency are needed to ensure the global energy supply keeps up with soaring demand

In a communique at the end of a two-day summit, finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the G20 said the expansion of energy supplies had struggled to keep pace with demand growth resulting in significant price increases.

Ahhhh..ye olden Doomer Mainfesto.

I recently purchased a Jeep Wrangler to replace my worn out 1988 Ford F-150.

Several reasons I had ,since it gets not too good mileage per gallon,yet better than my pickup was getting.

All were doom related. Ability to go almost anywhere , at least where the trees are wide enough, ability to hook implements to it and cultivate the soil. Tough as a hickory knot. Very easy to work on and repair,a nice inline 6.
Does not use high tech lubricants and has actual alemite grease fittings where needed. Uses u-joints in lieu of CV joints.

If I happen to be stranded when a gas crisis occurs, such as back in the early 70's when I was stranded on Interstate 70 in St. Louis trying to get back to the burbs, I can then take off crosscountry. I tried that in my VW bettle and soon blew out the steering worm gear. I made it home but would not have if I wasn't drunk as a greased owl. That allowed me to face the sheer madness that ruled and driving where no fool should have tried to drive in a VW.

That night and the rest of the week are still stuck in my mind as a reminder of just how fast things can go looneytunes.

I had a jeep when stationed in Hawaii and used it to drive the mountains hunting pigs, goats and whatever. That was a WWII made by Ford jeep. This one is far far better. I can also cruise at 70 if need be.

One odd thing (European perspective) is that diesels are so uncommon.  There are reasons for this (bad experience with diesels in America in the 70s, lower gas prices, tighter air pollution controls etc.), but for the very large size cars and trucks, it seems a natural.

If half of new European cars are diesel engined, I would wager it is more like 60%+ in the large, SUV class vehicles.  Pickup trucks this would be even more natural.

It seems to me that, depending on car insurance, the rational 'preparer for the future' owns an older, easily maintained vehicle like your Jeep, and a relatively modern very high fuel efficiency vehicle (like a Citroen diesel, or a Toyota/ Honda/ Nissan micro-wonder).

The latter for day to day driving, shopping and commuting, and the former for when/ if the world goes to pot.

I have a low mileage (84,700, 135.600 km) 1982 Mercedes Benz 240D is superb condition.  Manual transmission, 31 mpg in the city.  Tough enough (with right tires) to go down rough trails if one does not mind stratching the paint (I DO !), easy to maintain, legendary durability, best biodiesel car available (the fuel pump can push pureeed bananas).

My choice,


pureeed bananas

I have a '76 240D and a '87 300 SDL (which may be the greatest car ever made IMO) and while I have abused their fuel systems with varying grades of biodiesel, I have never tried bananas, pureed or otherwise.  Biodiesel below the cloud point yes, but never bananas.

The '87 SDL does not have 1) steel bumpers or 2) steel window windup handles.  And it is a bit too big and too low fuel economy.  A fine automobile none the less :-))

I asked several Mercedes mechanics before settling on an 81 to 83 240D, white, manual transmission, low mileage and then spent months on eBay looking for one :-)

The most durable and reliable car M-B ever made ! (i.e. the most durable & reliable car ever made). And economical with the manual transmission.

I burn ~6 gallons/month of oil products but can switch if I need to.  A mechanic gave me the "banana" comment.  Partially congealed biodiesel CAN be burned apparently.  Fuel lubrication not required.

My last car (accidents not withstanding).  And 30 mpg when I evaced for Katrina with 3 people w/o cars.  8 hours of stop & go traffic.  Sore leg from the clutch, but otherwise a perfect evacmobile :-)  Refueled north of Birmingham (hard to do till Tuscaloosa).

Best Hopes,


Hehe I can also vouch for the offroad capabilities of the 240D, it's fun watching the looks on the faces of people in Jeeps as you fly past 'em on backroads. The 240 lacks a bit in climbing ability since it's a fairly gutless vehicle, but it's a GOOD vehicle.
Jeez Alan, I wish I could type, or at least edit...'86 300SDL not '87.  No window regulators, steel or otherwise, but a steel bumper.  

That said, you're right; it is big...we call it "Das Boat".  240D's are dandy about town but the W126 is the ultimate touring car.  As to mileage in town: 22-21 mpg winter biodiesel, 25-24 mpg summer biodiesel.  But on the highway; we've gotten 31 mpg on one trip to Denver and 27-30 mpg is common for cross-county highway driving.  Plus the comfort and style!  It is cheaper(in diesel and money) to drive the whole family than to fly them.

I am enjoying it while there is still fuel to run it.

From a trans-Atlantic viewpoint... I think all the things you mention re: diesels are correct.

However, I think the major reason for the difference is that Europe got "clean diesel" and modern diesel engines so early (mid-1990s??). North Americans really haven't experienced how clean, quiet and powerful a modern diesel is.

I remember during that period...  all the car reviews in the UK raved about modern diesel engines... particularly how much mid-range torque they had compared to their petrol equivalents. If I recall correctly... particularly the 1.9 Tdi engine that was fitted to a wide range of vehicles... from Peugeot 205GTI to VW Golf and even VW Shahran people-carrier etc...

After driving a 2004 Passat TDI, I bought one.

There were things the saleslady didn't tell me, though.  Being able to haul a ton+ of trailer and payload up mountains without dropping out of top gear was one of them.  That 1.9 liter is a torquey little bugger.

Ps of course the military uses diesels (and multi-fuelled engines) because of the much higher flashpoint.  Petrol is actually a pretty dangerous substance.
Do you expect this crisis to occur in the next couple of years? Will things really get so bad within that time frame that 4wd vehicles will be suddenly unavailable?  

Once you get back to the "burbs" cross country, what will you do then?

tstreet asked "Once you get back to the "burbs" cross country, what will you do then?"

I haven't lived in the suburbs for almost 20 yrs.

I live in the outback in farming country. My vehicles are licensed as FARM use.

That incident was back in the early 70's.

Everyone around here who works at farming would not think of having anything but a 4WD , and mostly in pickups. Several times a week we are down in areas that require a 4WD. Across fields that are boggy, crossing wet fords, hunting pecan trees, etc.

My own experience with work vehicles (construction work, very hard on vehicles) has been quite different. My 1974 Chevy 4x4 v8 was a Friday truck with loose bolts everywhere. Also a rust bucket. The 1976 Scout Terra I replaced it with got better mileage (big 4 banger) but was an even worse rust bucket. Rusted out before it was paid for. In 1984 I bought a Toyota 4x4 diesel. Beat the shit out of it for 17 years. Best truck I ever had and it got 33 mpg. Wish I could get another. My experience has prejudiced me against American vehicles, which ironically are often not American made any more.
airdale you need to read that book about SUVs, "High And MIghty" or something like that.

Extensive psychological profiling of the average SUV buyer shows the same personality, fear of attack, fear of loss of mobility, etc. SUV buyers like to be up high, it's a reptilian brain thing. They like lots of cup holders too, and all kinds of asinine things.

The real "get the hell outta there" vehicle is probably a bicycle, motorcycle, or something utterly Un-American, one's own two feet, assuming one is in good physical shape and can walk some distance - as I said, utterly Un-American.

An old BMW twin (with the right tires - very important point, which a lot of the SUV crowd doesn't understand either) will get you a lot farther with less problems than any car - especially in the sense that a motorcycle can pretty much go where you can walk - forests, for example, are not much of a challenge for a rider. And if you carry a backpack on it, when you run out of gas, you just keep walking anyways. That is, if you have good boots - I generally rode with softer Sidi boots or my hiking boots.

A lot of people think of escaping to somewhere else, but in reality, it is more fantasy than anything else.

In a doomish scenario, getting stranded isn't for lack of asphalt, it's for lack of fuel.
Yep and you can run out of fuel biking or walking also, it's called "hitting the wall" (running) or "bonking" (biking). You can avoid the "bonks" by keeping fueled and hydrated, frankly it's not hard for a person to do a Century (100 miles) if they can stay in the saddle and putt along for 10 hours at MPH. Walking, hard to say. 4 MPH X 10 hours = 40 miles, but you and I and the Army know green troops can't do a 40 mile hike, they need to be trained up.

Given a sudden SHTF, I'd expect most Americans to basically sit down and die. Really!

Those who have experienced real poverty will be less shaken, which means a very very few whites in the US, and many of those much-maligned, justifiably malignable, but still present, 3rd world immigrant types.

Whoa...who do you know that can sustain 4mph walking for 10 hours?  That's shady side of jogging.  On mostly flat land, most in shape backpackers can do 20 miles per day (average 2mph for 10 hours).  Start adding hills and that goes down fast.  In steep terrain with an ultralight pack I'll burn out after 10 miles.  When I'm in decent-ish shape I can put in about 45 miles on a bicycle (mountain bike on roads) in mountain terrain before I'm pretty much fizzled out (and my butt hurts a lot) at an average of 9mph.  I would venture to guess I'm about average, there's plenty of people that can blow my doors off, and plenty I can blow the doors off to.  

As for motorcycles, I've seen too many videos on the news of destabilized areas and people getting yanked off their motorcycles and beaten.

yeah, had some people kinda half-assedly make to grab me off of a motorcycle once, so I know what you mean.

And yes, sustained 4MPH walking is really "on the shady side" of jogging. A marathon is 26 miles, and it takes quite a trained runner, without a backpack, to complete one of those.

What am I getting at here..... I can't define it.... let me say that I was amazed more Katrina "refugees" didn't simply take off across country. Most stayed put and waited for Mommy Gov't to take care of 'em. I think a number of people did take off across country but we've not heard about them, but it's tens out of hundreds of thousands. There's a reference on patrick.net of a poster's employee who basically walked to Baton Rouge. Was found with $10 in her pocket looking for a place to sleep. More gumption than almost everyone but still not enough to make it in a real SHTF scenario. (The poster on there loaned her enough to get by, the refugee started her own biz and paid back the loan, every penny - better than all but a vanishingly small percentage of us.)

Sigh. Mobility probably does matter, a lot. As "zero hour" narrowed down to a few hours for Katrina, I remarked to a neighbor I'd probably heist a Harley out of a dealership, and head on outa there - take it to a dealer a state or so away and say, "Well, I've taken quite a test ride, and I've decided not to buy right now", It's not that hard for inexperienced thugs to grab a person off of a bike....

Oops I mean not that easy.
Those that tried to walk out of New Orleans over the Mississippi River bridge (dry all the way to Baton Rouge that way) were chased back by gunfire from the Gretna police.

I have vowed to never spend a dollar in Gretna ever again.

I-10 East bridge over entrance to Lake Pontchartrain was collapsed in several sections.

I-10 West had several low spots under water, the deepest over 6 feet deep.

There were some side streets with no more than a couple of feet of foul water and some walked out that way.  Uncertainity stopped others.


Unfair stereotypes.

Looters sharing food & water with others kept most people alive.


My home was "looted" of a gallon of distilled water, a couple of wine bottles, canned food, cooked meat in the fridge, flashlight & umbrella.  Digital camera, computer w/LCD screen and pile of change in plain view were left alone.  Damage to door was minimal.

that's my point, a few got out through scuzzy looking streets with a few feet of water, "the path less taken" those may have been the winners in a real TSHTF scenario.

And yes, looting saved lives! My reaction to losing the things you state you lost out of your house would have been, God bless 'em and hope they enjoyed the food and water! I'm sure that roughly approximates your reaction.

I hope the wine gave them a few moments of pleasure :-)

The Lutheran Minister in charge of Camp Marigny (his church with ~80 people) had his Marine son (1 tour Afghanistan & 1 tour Iraq) handle security and looting of homes.

First all the homes of those at the church (drain hot water tank for water, icky but safe) and their food.  Then they broke into other homes for food, water, toilet paper, diaper substitutes and other essentials.  First relief on Sunday when they were forced out at gunpoint.


One point of trying to use a motorcycle to flee is to either outrun others or to avoid where the people are. You play to a vehicle's strengths, not its weaknesses - a motorcycle on a bike path or nature trail is unlikely to meet many people trying to flee.

Obviously, anyone planning to ride through jammed traffic by lane splitting or whatever is just being stupid.

The trick is to think like a typical car driver, and never do anything they would. For example - most deadends aren't deadends for a motorcycle.

As for backpacking - 20 miles with 40lbs also means broken in boots and some awareness of how to pack and wear a backpack. I don't think that some 42 year old without any experience (assuming they are even used to walking 5 miles at a stretch to begin with) could do 20 miles day after day with a pack and normal shoes (though well made running shoes are surprising good for walking in flat, gentle land). And that distance total starts to go way down not only in hills or rough country, but with blisters, lack of food, etc.

As someone that's been forced to take the wilderness backpacking experience a few years back...  Yeah, 20 miles a day would not be pretty for your average sedentary American.

I lost 40lbs in 20 days doing 160 miles of the AT (with major verticals, think maybe equiv of 250 miles of flatland?), completely green, with no backpacking experience whatsoever, as a  5'8 200lb otherwise healthy teenager, hauling 1 week's supplies(35lbs) at a time.  I still have scars many years later from pressure wounds in the hip strap area.  It took me about a week after taking off my boots to regain full mobility, after staging an emotional breakdown to avoid another three weeks (after three or four genuine ones on the trail).

Your completely AVERAGE American could walk, every day, perhaps 2-3 miles painlessly, 5-8 miles with some willpower, or 10-15 miles daily if it decided whether they starved or not.  Of flatland.  Carrying 10 lbs at most.  They're gonna sustain injury after 3 days without rest going the latter pace, or one day of >15 miles.

Interesting - my backpacking experience is pretty much Virginia/mid-Atlantic/Maine/Nova Scotia, though not exactly the AT - parts of it, but the AT was just various routes stitched together at the time, and not necessarily the most interesting ones.

What you write is a reminder of what is realistic today, as compared to my own guesstimates from the past.

Some sections of the AT are heavily traveled and heavily weathered, there's a section out near Charlie's Bunion where the trail is at least 2 feet below the surrounding land, and a friend of mine encountered an area in Virgina where the trail was roughly 3.5 feet below the surrounding land.  Hefty erosion.  Needless to say what's left is rocky with strange ups and downs in spots.
Wow - I haven't seen too many areas like that, to put it mildly, but then, my last U.S. hiking was done in the late 1980s.
Well I won't argue about the average cat doing 2 mph for ten hours, but thats without the proper motivation. When I first went into the army way back when, all it took was a couple of miles and my tongue was hanging out, seven weeks later I did 40 miles and an assault course in twenty four hours with about 40 pounds of gear.  Not easy you know but a mean 6' 2" DI yelling in your ear keeps those feet moving.  I am sure that certain death would motivate most everyone to try just a teeny bit harder.
Remember the old "Six Stages of a Project"?  

  1. Enthusiasm

  2. Disenchantment

  3. Panic

  4. Search for the Guilty

  5. Punishment of the Innocent

  6. Praise and Honor for the Non-Participants

Looks like "Project Iraq" is in Stage 4 now...

Embittered insiders turn against Bush

Most troubling, he said, are his shattered ideals: "The whole philosophy of using American strength for good in the world, for a foreign policy that is really value-based instead of balanced-power-based, I don't think is disproven by Iraq. But it's certainly discredited."

search for the guilty    start at the top and work your way down  including 5 justices of the supreme court   the 40 something % who voted for the befuddled one (in 2000 i mean) most of congress      and about 85 % of the american public who (alledgedly) favored invasion    in '03  and dont forget all those dumb fuckers who voted for the befuddled one again in '04     but count me out   my only support for the war is in the fact that i pay my taxes
and oh btw   good sunday morning to one and all
Leanan -

So true!

I don't recall who said it, but I think the following (approximate) quote is apropos:

'Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.'

I take some perverse pleasure in seeing these neocon cheerleader of the Iraq war, like Richard Perle and Ken Adleman, turning on Bush and acting like bratty school kids who got caught and immediately start denouncing each other (It's not my fault ..... it was his idea ....he told me to do it!)

As far as criminals go, these neocons are a pathetic bunch of pansies. The old-fashion mobsters had far more class and wouldn't dream of ratting each other out just because the going got tough.

What gets me is in that quote is that bit about a "foreign policy that is really value-based instead of balanced-power-based."

IOW, value-based instead of reality-based.  

The article leaves me wondering if the neocons have finally accepted that you do have to take reality into account when planning world dominion.  Or do they think Bush screwed up, and reality still doesn't matter?

I'm afraid that when the True Believer is confronted with the reality that his belief has led him to failure, he never questions his fundamental belief, but rather explains away the failure by saying that he either didn't pray hard enough, try hard enough, or go about things in the right way.

These people still want to give the Middle East an Extreme Makeover, and down deep they still believe that with enough money and political will power they can do it, God willing (and of course He is willing).  

No, their faith is hardly shaken. That is why I think an attack on Iran by  the US (or by Israel with US acquiescence and support) is definitely still in play.

Remember, as late as early 1945 Hilter and some of his inner circle still thought they could win the war, even though most of Germany lay in ruins and most of the German army no longer existed.

That is why I think the remaining two lame-duck years of the Bush regime are going to be very dangerous ones indeed.

Could be.  I'm sure that applies to some of the neocons.  

But some seem to be actually wondering if they themselves are to blame, and not just Bush or Rummy.  

Understanding the Neocons ...... well.... if you're a Neocon, which are you going to believe, news headlines you know are doctored because some of your group are doctoring them, or the Babylonian Talmud you were raised on, which tells you that you and yours are destined to indeed rule the world?
Regardless of how strong one's belief is, when it comes down to the tension between staying faithful to your belief and saving your own ass, saving your own ass usually wins hands down almost every time.

When things get tough, self-interest almost always trumps ideology. Except for fanatics and psychotics.

Only psychotics and saints hold to an obviously losing cause to the bitter end.

And most of us are not saints.

The article leaves me wondering if the neocons have finally accepted that you do have to take reality into account when planning world dominion.  Or do they think Bush screwed up, and reality still doesn't matter?

The other apropos proverb might be "when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail", or in this case, if you have the world's most powerful war machine, there is a tendency to use force as a solution.

Unfortunately the lessons derived by the architects of war are usually a) must get more/better weapons and/or b) must get better tactics, training etc. The overall strategy of using force is not questioned, it's assumed the strategy was good but the execution went wrong.

I can't see what Bush/Rumsfeld should have done differently. Adelman suggests they should have set up a coalition government of exiles immediately, but setting up a puppet government is surely not going to be accepted by the Iraqi people.

The problem stems from the Neo-con's ideological belief in democracy, as a force of good in itself. They will put it on the back shelf for now, but not abandon it.

In general, ideological belief will always take precedent over reality.

Yes, the Neocons have the belief in the good of "democracy" but remember, "democracy" is a code-word, it does not mean democracy at all, which scares the shit out of them, it means Capitalism. International capitalism for international bankers, and the race to the bottom for the rest of us! This is stated eloquently in the recent movie "Why We Fight", shown on TV in the rest of the world, and effectively banned in the US (I was able to down a low-resolution version from the BBC when it first came out). We have to be there, in every little country on the globe, because they have natural resources, because we can sell them Coca-Cola, we can hook them on IMF loans, etc.

Notice that "we" does not include most of the American people. In fact most of the American people have more "stuff" and an OK job for now, but the Neocons don't consider us to be anything but Zimbabweans of a generally lighter color who just happen to be closer and just as easy if not more so to prey upon, especially as Government and Populace become more separate.

i believe what you are describing is caveman diplomacy
While I certainly hope this rebellion put the nail in the coffin on pre-emptive wars and geopolitical meddling, I won't hold my breath just yet.

Cynics and students of the dialectic (hey, gotta use my minor in philosophy for something) might say that the general goal of U.S. hegemony in the middle east requires sort of a good cop - bad cop routine wherein the neocons are given the assigned task to use their natural compunction as bad cops in Iraq and Afghanistan to get the ball rolling so-to-speak (recall the recent terms creative destruction and constructive chaos).

So now, after the debacle the neoliberals ride in on their white horses with a much better plan: U.N. control and restructuring of the region (via trade agreements, WTO, IMF, etc.).

The result is a paradigm shift for the American electorate as to what is acceptable foreign policy.  That is the dialectic, presenting two radical views, one far more radical than the other so the less radical one seems reasonable when it otherwise would seem unacceptable.

If the neoliberals had been open and frank with Americans before Iraq telling them they wanted the U.S. to use its role as empire to coerce/force neoliberalism on a restructured middle east and that this was necessary to maintain the current economic order given the looming problems associated with peak oil then we can all imagine the resulting panic, disbelief, and resistance.

I think it is more helpful to think of the leadership of the two parties in terms of a continuum - a difference in degree rather than in kind.  The neocons gravitate towards the stick and fascism while the neoliberals are ideological socialists and rely on the carrot (but will use the stick when necessary).  As adherents of the current economic paradigm of growth and elitist rule, they have much overlap in their political philosophies.

I am certain a scholar on this topic could have explained the above far better than I, but I hope TOD readers retain a healthy dose of skepticism, demand responsible behavior from elected officials, and ignore the usual rhetoric, posturing, and fog of media.

don't forget the looting of the treasury as a motive either
Pretty damn good for a non-scholar.
The message from TPTB is loud and clear. Peak oil is not a problem. TPTB have no intentions to take actions to mitigate the adverse effects of a problem that doesn't exist. In addition there is no reason for anybody to take personal action to conserve energy. So turn up the thermostats and go for a ride in your new SUV.

Now is the time to panic for those who falsely believe the government is going to take action to save us.

Stay the course.

Haha, I never knew what course he was talking about! Of course!
In polite circles we speak of it as "dis" course.
Dubya cut and ran from "stay the course".  LOL
Now, he's just playing the course.

No, he didn't. He flip-flopped.

The Iowa agricultural economist's projection of the impact of the diversion of corn to ethanol production is on-line as a pdf:

The Long-Run Impact of Corn-Based Ethanol on the Grain, Oilseed, and Livestock Sectors: A Preliminary Assessment

Amani Elobeid, Simla Tokgoz, Dermot J. Hayes, Bruce A. Babcock, and Chad E. Hart
CARD Briefing Paper 06-BP 49 November 2006
Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University

The ongoing growth of corn-based ethanol production raises some fundamental questions about what impact continued growth will have on U.S. and world agriculture. Estimates of the long-run potential for ethanol production can be made by calculating the corn price at which the incentive to expand ethanol production disappears. Under current ethanol tax policy, if the prices of crude oil, natural gas, and distillers grains stay at current levels, then the break-even corn price is $4.05 per bushel. A multi-commodity, multicountry system of integrated commodity models is used to estimate the impacts if we ever get to $4.05 corn. At this price, corn-based ethanol production would reach 31.5 billion gallons per year, or about 20% of projected U.S. fuel consumption in 2015. Supporting this level of production would require 95.6 million acres of corn to be planted. Total corn production would be approximately 15.6 billion bushels, compared to 11.0 billion bushels today. Most of the additional corn acres come from reduced soybean acreage. Wheat markets would adjust to fulfill increased demand for feed wheat. Corn exports and production of pork and poultry would all be reduced in response to higher corn prices and increased utilization of corn by ethanol plants. These results should not be viewed as a prediction of what will eventually materialize. Rather, they indicate a logical end point to the current incentives to invest in corn-based ethanol plants.

Food or fuel?

As long as the U.S. is exporting some corn, U.S. prices will equal the world corn price minus transportations costs. This means that as U.S. corn prices rise, world corn prices will also increase. U.S. livestock producers will experience higher feed costs and this will cause some to exit the industry. This reduced production will cause an increase in market prices, and domestic and international consumers will pay higher prices for U.S. livestock products. The impact on pork and poultry producers will be most severe because these sectors are least able to switch from corn-based diets to DDGS-based diets.

Effect of tax policy on market signals:

The results are most sensitive to the price of crude oil and to the tax credit that is provided to ethanol blenders. The results are not particularly sensitive to the import tariff alone, the release of Conservation Reserve Program acres, or to the prices of DDGS and natural gas.
At this price, corn-based ethanol production would reach 31.5 billion gallons per year, or about 20% of projected U.S. fuel consumption in 2015.

Couple of points:

This number should be 20% of US gasoline consumption. And if you account for the lower ethanol energy content the real number should be more like 15%.

The thing that this analysis is missing are some externalized costs. Only the ethanol subsidy of 51 cents/gallon means that by 2015 the US tax payer will be paying for it $16 bln/year. Corn subsidies and tax deductions for bi-fuel vehicles will raise this high above $20bln/year. All of this to aleggedly replace 5-6% of the US oil consumption. Which on a net energy basis (corn will also consume fuel to grow!) will be more like 3-4% if not even less.

Give $16 billion/year in new federal subsidies to Urba Rail (with some local matching, 10% to 20%) and dozens of US cities will be transformed with two decades !

More $ than $16 billion will do more faster, but that $16 billion is enough to really make a difference !

Best Hopes,


Yes, and the savings and benefits will go far beyond 3-4% of our oil consumption. Eventually these subsidies will be reduced or eliminated, while ethanol subsidies will likely go on forever.

The real problem is that those that want mass transit don't have a powerful lobby in the Congress, and of course can hardly determine the outcome of any elections... Maybe we need to establish a new urban development party, what do you think?

When the high cost of fuel affects the mobility of a signinficant portion of the labour force, then you will have a powerful lobby in Washington and in other seats of government for public transit. In the end, capital is useless without labour (and labour barely productive without capital).  If it takes public transit to make the labour market operate efficiently, then that is what the business elites will demand.  Maintenance of an efficiently functioning retail market will also motivate business elites to demand a shift in social resources to public transit, though I think that this will be off secondary import.  Despite talk of telecommuting, this form of communicating productivity will never be large.  In comparison, decentralizing retail is easily obtainable.  

The lobby is already there, only at the moment it voluntarily remains under the sway of the liars of CERA and their ilk.  And so the emphasis for the transportation file is on highways, bridges, airports and so on.

How will electrified rail/street cars be paid?  On the backs of the working class (I think it's called the middle class in the US, perhaps to distinguish it from the underclass).  That part of the lobbying effort won't change.

The way I see it the need-for-mobility lobby is heavily counterweighted by the lobby that benefits from Suburbia the way it is - oil&auto industries, construction companies, bix box retail stores etc. In addition for the majority of employers getting to work is a workers problem (which acts like some sort of a hidden tax). But I agree with you - if things turn bad this will change - I just wonder how bad should it be before this happens.

How will electrified rail/street cars be paid? On the backs of the working class

Certainly. What is troubling me more is who is going to pay for all the existing infrastructure that will turn out to be unsuitable for the changing modes of transportation and will quickly lose its value... yes, you got that right again.

Good dKos piece on Energy Independence: Retrofitting Outer Suburbia:

Retrofitting outer suburbs does not mean trying to cram everyone into some local replical of Manhattan. Instead, it means recreating the option in the outer suburbs of living in conditions like a compact small town.

The first step to retrofitting an outer suburb is to have a dedicated transport corridor. . . . A dedicated transport route is much less flexible than the public right of way relied on by motorist and transport cyclists. And that is a very important virtue. That means that development can be planned around stops on the dedicated transport route. Clustering higher density housing...around those stops means both walk-up demand (from local residents) and walk-past demand (from park and ride users of the public transport) to attract local entrepeneurs. That means that traffic can be attracted to those stops by the establishments in the vicinity. And that is when it becomes a virtuous circle.
The Pdf is interesting. Several important issues are either not addressed or erroneous.

  1. What powers the ethanol distilleries?  

  2. Is it hydro-logically possible to increase corn production to the levels indicated by the price analysis?

  3. Will our soils support increased corn and wheat production and decreased soy bean production?

  4. Does the level of fuel replacement (ethanol replacing gasoline) accurately reflect the fact that ethanol has 28% less energy content?

It is logical that the first commodity group displaced is food. More ethanol from corn means less meat from corn. It also means prices rise for all cereal grains. This will be an interesting conundrum for the food industry. Will they  support this direction as ethanol erodes their margins?

Remember the farmer is quite dependent on oil for producing. So the rising ethanol costs will raise the price of gasoline pushing up the price of diesel. Raising the price of planting ...

Basically when you couple a negative EROI input into your fuel distribution you end up with costs spiraling up.

The reason the EROI is negative is twofold. First the direct energy costs are negative today. Next and more important most of the ethanol that's burned now no longer contributes to increasing the real GNP.

The reason for this is that suburbia expansion has finally stopped we have lived for almost 70 years on the economic growth caused by ever expanding suburbs. As long as they expanded the increased fuel usage was more than made up by the building of homes office parks and strip malls.

Now that suburbia is no longer a growth industry all of this economic activity becomes negative not just home prices. I don't think many people have really thought through the full effects of the cessation of urban sprawl. Since most of the American economy has reduced itself to a support system for urban sprawl we are in for some rough times ahead.

Thus most ethanol use is now on the negative side of the balance sheet since its no longer contributing to growing the national economy. The associated oil use is of course negative and might be a larger drag on the economy. But less of the underlying infrastructure costs go negative with oil than with ethanol since its cheaper to produce or we import the oil so we don't pay the costs. Its funny that its better to import oil if its used in a situation that does not grow the GNP but true.

And this end of suburban expansion is not related to the recent economic games with intrest rates although they basically accelerated the end. Its because it was simply a matter of time before rising costs/distance for suburbs and stagnant wages resulted in no net benefit. Economic games simply accelerated this probably by about ten years.

Next obviously the auto industry is now a net negative on the GNP since sprawl was the direct underlying reason for growth of the automobile industry.

Along with this associated industries such as road building etc.

Even the airline industry is now negative since it implicitly depended on home ownership which caused companies to have multiple branches and globalization to support industry free suburban living.

So the end of suburban growth spells a disaster for hugh swaths of the OECD economies.

1.) All construction road building.
2.) Airline industry
3.) Auto Industry
4.) Hospital and clinic expansion into the suburban towns.

The moment a end product i.e the suburban house is no longer being produced all of this economic activity becomes negative.

Think of it as a mega dot com bust. As long as some of the dotcoms were able to show economic growth i.e they produced products people wanted expansion was subsidized via investment the moment it became obvious that the growth could not be sustained and real returns were not forthcoming boom a bust. The same with suburbia today either we can't afford the product a house or the commute distance has reached its maximum. As with the dotcom bust it pushes all supporting industries into the negative side of GNP but today this is a huge part of OECD economies.

Again games with interest rates only caused this economic implosion to happen sooner than later but it was coming anyway as globalization with resulting stagnant wages and non-industrial suburban growth resulted in no one able to buy a home.

Peak oil and expensive fuel are also intertwined the reason is that to further the sprawl we needed to create massive high speed highways in the US to open up more land for sprawl the lack of cheap oil aborted this endeavour.
Boston's big dig is probably the last mega-highway project in the US. Thus higways and underlying cheap oil was the lifeblood of urban expansion.

Whats even more interesting is this economic implosion will probably hide peak oil effects for a few years as the world economy unwinds. But I think you will find 5-10 years from now that it won't restart as economic growth tries to resume pushing oil prices skyward. But on the otherhand it will take a long time for our suburban fueled economies to unwind we have not choice for now but to allow wealth to continue to drain out into supporting suburban sprawl at least for a few years so demand cannot in a sense drop without causing the whole suburban card game to unwind faster. The end result is a tie I think as suburban housing and buisness leases fall to keep the status quo trying to find a level that growth will resume. So I think in the short term i.e the next three years you will see suburban costs especially home prices tumble. This will prop up oil prices for a while
basically your trading suburban equity for oil to keep suburban life viable. But I think you will find that this time peak oil is going to prevent any restart.

I don't think many people have really thought through the full effects of the cessation of urban sprawl.

Well then... they should get acquainted with JHK <g>.

In my Utopian dream, we tear it (sprawl) down, recycling as many materials: wiring, PVC, shingles, wood... as possible for urban in-fill. Then we build greenhouses over the remaining basements, using the existing utility connections, like water and electricity, to grow food.  

Imagine suburbia converted to tens of thousands of glittering greenhouses. What a sight!

"Basements" ???

What an odd term.  I am unfamilar with the concept.

I have heard of some literary mention of "basement" as an uncomfortable room that one went "down to".  But all such literature was written decades ago.

Certainly none in New Orleans (we bury our dead aboveground).  And in Phoenix where I will spend this Christmas, there are none.

Slabs in Phoenix, raised homes in New Orleans.

Are "basements' still being built ?  If so, where ?  Or are they obsolete and now removed ?



Alan, I think he is talking about those areas that survive post-peak.  Not the areas that will be abandoned as hopeless.
Yes, Alan I have heard of these "Basements" also, some sort of room you go "down into" somehow. Built below earth level??? Seen them in some movies, and referred to in books.

I did live in a house in Colorado, room I rented was halfway below earth level. Perhaps this was a partial development of this "basement" concept?

I have never been in a real "basement" and it would be quite an experience to actually go into one. It would be very exotic - like the time I got to ride in an actual subway once, in Germany.

Burying people in the ground is indeed exotic too, a long-past custom from a much more affluent time - both my parents cremated as who can afford anything more expensive than that? One sprinkled in the Pacific Ocean and the other buried under a tree, for reasons of "honor and respect, places they liked while living" but in reality just as much because ash-urns take up space in the tiny living spaces we live in nowadays......

Basements, I hear tell, are primarily built so the male of the species has someplace to hide from his spouse and offspring.  ;-)

They are definitely useful in the northeast.  There are all kinds of problems with building homes on slabs, and raising houses up, like they do in the tropics, is not a great idea if you have cold winters.  

Let's see, what's the Northeastest I've been? Hmm..... St. Louis.

Leanne, you are correct about the male of the species...

Nottingham, England is built on sandstone. Quite strong but easy to excavate... In 1976 I had the opportunity to buy a house where the owner had dug a basement into the sandstone... and had installed a huge stereo system... he lined the basement stair walls with carpet... result: totally sound-proof!!

BTW: one of the oldest pubs in England "Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem" 1189 AD; is built into the sandstone walls of Nottingham Castle and Robin Hood supposedly had an escape tunnel from the castle emerging 2 miles west...

Apologies...Leanne = Leanan

Damned autocorrect in MS Word... your name now added to my custom dictionary!!

Leanan: "There are all kinds of problems with building homes on slabs"...Can you elaborate?  I am thinking of building a house on a slab.
In the northeast, it's the cold.  One of my friends has a house with a half-basement.  Half the house is on a slab, half is over a basement.  You can feel the difference.  The part of the house built on a slab is a lot colder in winter.  

In warmer climes, the problem is bugs.  When the house is sitting directly on the ground, it's too easy for critters to get in.  Ants, worms, roaches, centipedes, you name it, they get in.  

It's also harder to get at the wiring and pipes if the house in built on a slab.  (For repairs and such.)

"Raised ranches" are a popular alternative to basements or slabs around here.  The house is built on top of the garage.

  I think my spouse appreciates my getting out of the kitchen and down into my basement workshop.  My Daughter wants to come down and play with the robot, (my small contribution to 'complexity') but is restricted due to possible lead exposure down there.  Don't be taking my basement from me, now.

  My parents built a passive solar house on an insulated slab in the White Mountains in Maine in 1980, and the slab served as the heat-mass that absorbed sunlight from the south windows..  current owners still say it's the cheapest house they've ever heated, and their other houses were in New Jersey!

  If I get to build again, it will likely be a semi-underground building, within a south facing hillside.. so it will be ALL-basements and some Patios!


The cold I got handled with radiant heating plastic pipe in the cement.  But the worms?  Eeeeyuuu!  And out here we can have rattlers.
Lots of basements in my part of Seattle, mostly 20's era Craftsman-style houses. I'm not sure of the reason for them, as we don't get tornados like the midwest does. Some people have water issues, depending on whether the house sits on top of or bottom of one of the many hills (you might have an underground stream flow through on certain occasions). Mine doesn't have that problem, and I'm fixing it up at present. Taping and mudding drywall is fun stuff!

From an energy standpoint, it's nice to have as it makes not having AC more pleasant on those few summer days when the temperature soars into the 90s.

Let me guess, people tend to know what a "sump pump" is in your town......
Lots of basements in the South too. Most new McMansions are built with full basements underneath. These basements have concrete floors and concrete block walls. Most are used for storing 'stuff' that you don't use but might need someday. Where they serve as a retreat for the household male, they usually are the place where the 5-6 old cars that he is 'restoring' live. (In less affluent times these were up on blocks in the front yard.) Since our land is steep they are only half underground so the cars can be driven in from behind the house. When I was growing up, basements were usually dirt floored and were used as 'root cellars' where things like potatoes, cabbages, apples, pumpkins, etc were stored in the winter.
Alan...you ARE joking right?  Every house here in the Midwest has a basement.  It's essential in Tornado Alley.  Most of us finishing them off for offices or kids' rec room.

Off topic a little...Kansas City has the largest underground office and storage facilities in the country...they're dug out from limestone and are a constant 68 degrees.  

Basements are very very handy things to have. First you have the natural temperature of the soil keeping it at a somewhat constant temperature.

In fact I could shut down my heatpump and live with zero heat in the basement.

Mine is also a walkout and faces south so I get some heating there also.

It makes a very nice shelter from tornados.

If the house burned I could take up residence in the basement.

In fact my neighbor builts a 'earth house'. Which is a basment with a roof. He can heat it very very cheaply with one small wood stove which is right below his cold air return. He flips the furnace fan on and voila...heat is distributed. Or leave the fan off and achieve some natural circulation thru the ducts anyway.

All in all a good solid 12" poured concrete basement is a very good bargain and can be finished for extra living space.

All my houses expect the first I brought had basements and thats about 10 houses.

I can understand that low terrain with ground water can defeat a basement. I always built on a elevation that had lots of drainage.

The rule is never,never, never build a basement or foundation with concrete blocks. You are just asking for trouble (and termites).

Thank you airdale. In Chicago only a complete idiot would forgo  the heating/cooling advantages of a basement. Even real estate developers in these latter times are not normally so benighted as to attempt to foist a house w/o basement on the unwary.
Above forty degrees north latitude a house without a basement is a shack.

Actually I suspect it will turn in to rental property then subdivided rental property as happened in our inner cities.

The suburban poor will carpool to work thus they can afford the travel. Also I suspect we will finally have some increase in public transportation to help these suburban poor.

We won't destroy it for a long time. Also a revival of industrialization in these suburban area's would sustain a working class. So you probably will see a lot of the office towers converted to manufacturing. If you think this is strange I saw these manufacturing towers in Asia. On the outside it looks like a office building but inside they have assembly lines. Strange but doable. Large department stores would make excellent building for light manufacturing and assembly.

Eventually sure some of the construction will be torn down and farther in the future converted to farmland but it won't happen I think for 20 years or so at the minimum.

It won't be bright pretty new electric trains and trams but we will hobble along for a bit.

See my later post I expect the US to get a influx of refugees fleeing starvation not looking for the American dream they will be happy to live in these new suburban slums. Also I expect us to agian have a population of impoverished americans willing and able to work like during the depression.

I bet ue can imagine the social tension between newly poor americans and these economic refugess.

Remember Germany had newly poor Germans facing off against immigrants, a large flood of them, from the Soviet and soon to be Soviet East, in the 1930s.

Thanks! I'll start reading up on this. Generally I try to find economic conditions and situations that mirror what we might be headed for. I feel the period from 1900 to the start of WWII esp the 1930's are important to understand today.

I don't think I want to read any more about 1930 germany its friggin scary. The Nazi party basically took control almost by chance with a populace that was not so much willing as focused on personal wealth and they blamed their problems on the jews.
The goverment was divided 50 50 between parties leading to a powerless goverment.

1.) America blames "immigrants"
2.) We are focused on personal wealth.
3.) We have a political system divided almost 50/50 between democrats and republicans.

All we need is financial hardship to induce conditions very similar to those that allowed the Nazi's to seize control of Germany. I think the most important thing to watch for is physical attacks on immigrants when we start facing financial problems. I'm especially concerned that financial collapse in Mexico and the resulting flood of immigration esp if the US is suffering financial hardship will cause the rise of a Nationalist Nazi like party in the US.

In any case I'll put of reading more about 1930 Germany thats some scary sh**.

>>1.) America blames "immigrants"<<

Don't forgit the homersekshuls, too.

About your points on why a totalitarian state is poised to arise in the U.S., you don't mention the most telltale signs:

1.) Intense concentration of political and economic power.
2.) Enactment of the Patriot Acts, Military Commissions Act suspending habeaus corpus, and the John Warner Defense Act of 2007 suspending Posse Comitatus.
3.) Additional steps taken to undermine American civil liberties such as efforts to weaken the jury system, vote tampering, selective law enforcement, and Orwellian level monitoring - to name a few.
4.) General complacency by the electorate on all of the above and lack of moral outrage to violations of the Geneva Conventions.

We are no longer reading tea leaves trying to figure out what is headed our way.  It is more a matter of reading the writing on the wall.

It is correct that our society is preoccupied with materialism and is politically polarized - but that is not an accident.  It is a predictable outgrowth of the economic and political structure.  Consider watching the DVD Manufacturing Consent or read some of Chomsky's excellent analyses on the process.

I have to question your take on the immigration reform movement.  I follow the work of such groups as NumbersUSA and they emphasize the importance of not blaming the immigrants and instead focus on irresponsible govt officials and corporations looking to exploit workers.  The rallying cry for these organizations is opposition to the loss of representative govt supplanted by globalization policies and leading to a non-democratic NAU with extensive Balkanization and very few workers' rights or environmental protections.  

The various groups opposing emerging fascism are being marginalized in the divide and conquer fashion with the use of subtle propaganda techniques.  Ironically, the most famous of the early propagandists is Nazi Joseph Goebbels (PhD in Literature and Philosophy).

This exposition in very interesting but I have a question.  How do you know that the suburban growth is stopped?  It sure doesn't look like it in any part of California I've been in recently (most of it).
When there are bags over the pumps at the gas stations.

Short term the collapse of the housing bubble will basically stop growth for several years. Long term we can't put in the highway infrastructure to say increase suburbia by 20-30% that's at say 5% growth each year.

Take the 405 or 5 highways in Southern CA or the eastern corridor regions or basically any large metropolitan area in the US the highway infrastructure is saturated. To move much beyond what we have today would require a investment similar to that already made.

Think of it this way you have a highway that can handle
say x amount of cars per hour at peak. If you add additional traffic it simply slows the system down the only answer at this point is to add a whole new highway or multiple lanes to and existing road.

Also I did not say that the sprawl was not huge esp in southern CA just that its basically saturated around most urban centers. In fact Southern CA is a perfect example of saturated suburbia. I think the bubble both initiated the collapse early and prematurely stunted the growth of suburbia. Suburbia was built because we had large tracks of cheap land these are basically no longer available in any metropolitan area.

Here is a article on urban sprawl in CA.

The basic thesis is the highway infrastructure has reached its limit and little cheap land is available within a reasonable commuting distance of most of our metropolitan areas. Therefore to grow much beyond our current bounds would require either adding even more lanes to existing highways or building a number of new highways to handle the traffic.
In addition the highway routes would probably need increased speed limits and fewer more controlled on ramps.

Thus to have suburbia continue to grow as it has since WWII would require developing a infrastructure that allowed up to 150 mile one way commutes within the two hour maximum commute window. This means speeds of 75 miles and hour during rush hour. I don't think this is feasible and therefore my assertion that suburban sprawl is dead.

It should have peaked later say 2010-2015 but the recent bubble simply caused a early peak and growth will decrease every year from now on out. Its crashing right now but I think you will see it won't recover. Since by the time this bubble is really over say 2010 we will almost certainly be past peak oil. I think by 2012 we will either see suburban areas develop into real towns with real mixed used infrastructure or simply decay like the small towns did in the late 60-70's.

If you read this.


If current trends continue you would have the population of southern California almost double from 17 million to 30 million in the next few decades. I just don't think this is going to happen or at least if it does these people will not be living in traditional suburbs.  In fact moving data shows
California losing population at about 5% a year. Since most of the recent growth in southern California centered around the hosing industry your certainly going to see population loss for at least a few years as the bubble deflates.

Certainly new homes will continue to be built but the rate of growth will slow to basically zero soon. We can probably safely assume it will follow a logistic curve over the next 30 years.

Any finally again I feel comfortable calling the peak of suburbia expansion as this year because by the time the bubble has sorted itself out we will be well into the effects of peak oil. And finally the focus on southern california is simply it was one of the first and worst regions for the creation of suburbia and it should be one of the first to enter post suburban decline. Other regions of the US such as the eastern seaboard and chicago could also be picked as examples but I think that southern california is good enough to watch as a indicator. Finally the collapse of the economy built up around ever expanding suburbs will probably result in slow or no growth in oil prices at least for the short term since demand will probably be less than supply for a while. This massive economic slowdown may actually delay the onset of spiraling price increases from peak oil for a number of years as the economy contracts and the debt bubble unwinds. But this is tricky to call basically the demand will lesson since people leaving the exurbs and suburbs over the next few years will be leaving because they bought homes they could not afford as they move to renting they will generally locate close to their employer reducing the demand for gasoline. And of course demand from industries associated with housing which is practically every industry in the US today will experience lower demand.
So at least for the short term demand destruction will probably match or exceed lower real oil supplies over the next few years. I'm guessing it will be 2009 or 2010 before demand rebounds to overtake supply.

But if WestTexas export land model is correct we will experience massive price increases in oil as the economy tries to rebound. This is really tough to call since demand destruction in fuel use from the collapsing housing industry might be as low as say 1% a year so it could well be swamped by natural overall population growth in the US. In any case housing prices will be chasing a overall loss in purchasing power in the US as the recession takes hold. Thus even as the price of suburban housing and office space decrease affordability will not grow significantly since less and less of the population will be able to by a home. On the other side of the coin the WWII baby boomer population will be leaving the work force and will not be replaced since the economy will be slowing down. I think Detriot is the perfect model for this effect. A significant number of these people can afford to sell there homes below current market rates and they probably will finally downsize since the condo prices will be tempting. I suspect in a lot of cases the homes will be converted to rental properties.

This of course means we will probably see a CERA like undulating plateau for a few years but its cause is the end of suburbia not peak oil. In a really weird kind of way this last housing bubble may have been the best thing to happen to the US since it gives us several years of breathing room before the effects of peak oil really kick in.

Demographically in america this means a lot of the new immigrants will be basically refugees esp if Mexico's economy collapses as they cease to export oil. Also we will develop a new underclass of economic losers similar to what we had in the depression. Both of these effects will cause America and probably Europe to have large populations of desperatly poor people which has not happened since the 20's. It would be great if we knew the number of intact families seeking goverment assistance over the next few years. In any case underlying this end of suburbia will be a increase in the number of two parent families at or near the poverty line. Initially this will be caused by job loss in the construction trade as low skilled and unskilled workers are no longer needed but it will be pernacious and continue for the forseable future with more skilled workers from and increasing cross section of america surviving on minimum wage jobs.

I'd suggest you start watching for older non-immigrant workers in service industries such as fast food and retail.
This will tell you right off the economy has tanked.

In reality we will simply have the same demographics as the rest of the world.

They are already asking these questions and more at the Des Moines register editorial pages..I hope some politicians are paying attention too..

Will there be enough corn?

Ethanol boom poses environmental, economic challenges for Iowa

It's hard to believe, but with fuel processors ratcheting up demand, Iowa could one day find itself short of its signature product.

"There is a collision course on the horizon, but when and how severe it is going to be, I don't know," said Doug Thompson, a corn and soybean grower near Kanawha, in north-central Iowa.

It is a known (but not real well-known) fact that Nebr. plans to use 97% of its corn for ethanol production after all approved plants are built.  Iowa is in a similar situation.  At the same time, biodiesel refineries are being built, so soybeans for fuel will compete with the corn production, too.  Food, exports, and CRP land, meat and dairy, will be the losers in a very short time.  As for cattle feeding, cattle can only be fed 40% of distillers grains, so the price of corn will affect beef prices, too, according to my understanding.  Why would Minn., Ill., and other states not be following the same pattern?  Because of the nature of food production, cattle, hog, poultry and dairy will be forced out of business before prices are driven up.  Its amazing that people are sitting by and watching this happen, knowing the consequences.  It's like everyone's in denial, thinking that the neighboring state will grow the corn needed for export, or for livestock, or whatever.  The only good news, that I can see, is that if the damage is evident by 2010, then the 51 cent subsidy can be removed when it expires.
I heard that Minnesota is following the path of iowa and now Nebraska with its ethanol plant building. Its estimated they will use at least 50% of their corn production for proposed ethanol plants..  I guess people don't realize the future effect ethanol plants will have on food prices until its too late.. One good drought would sure do it..
what powers the ethanol distilleries    the usda published a report in about 2001  arguing the benifits of ethanol    and the claim that  the process   utilized "relatively low value products  coal and natural gas  to produce a premium energy source "      what a bunch of bozo's   so to ans your ?    coal and natural gas    
Well... I figured it was coal or NG. RR made a compelling case a while back that you couldn't run an ethanol plant using  its internal production. To me... that spells "game-over".
The Des Moines City council is debating whether or not a local ethanol plant being planned for the city will use iether natural gas or coal!! The mayor is suppose to be a "green" candidate and is backing the coal plant.. Can you believe it??
yes vilsac  (or some say  vile sack i say al gore on prozac)  touts as one of his accomplishments    the expansion of ethanol  
The time of projected higher costs and troubles for livestock producers is here, now.

Grain got a double whammy this year, from ethanol production and Australian drought.  Not sure which has the larger influence, but I know the effects.  Higher corn(Ethanol) and wheat(drought) prices shot all grains up.  Wheat went from its normal range of 2.5 to sdometimes 3/bu to 5.80 this fall for hard red.  It's around 4.90 now.  Corn ran up a dollar and more, depending on market, even oats, the lowly of all grains, runs up to 2.50.  

And feeding mainly hay, I had hoped we were immune to this.  But hay is up 10/ton, for no weather related anamoly that I can see. Cattle still steady, but everyone's feeling it. Last year I'd buy local oats as a supplement, at 90-100/ton.  This year I haven't found a producer who's willing to sell yet.  All holding out for higher prices.  Chicken feed is up from ~7 to nearly 10/50 lbs retail, at  the feed store, there's no cheap feed left.

Part of the effects I can already see.  When the butcher was out early this week for some custom slaughtering, he noted he hadn't seen this activity in years, that he'd be going 24/7 thru Thanksgiving. At at feed dealer in another town yesterday, overheard another unkown butcher who was similarily backlogged, saying he can't find help, that everyone is calling him.

Market prices are steady, (but everyone sees the high retail cost of meat) then again it's too much to hold them, so fill the freezer.  

sounds a lot like the early '70's    stagflation
Re: Emission Control   http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061118/ap_on_sc/climate_conference

I think we need to start by having a moratorium on new coal plants. It will not be possible to do very much meaningful in this area if we let the current plans for coal to proceed. There are 154 new plants on the drawing board.

No new coal plants should be allowed unless they include a viable plant for near total sequestration of co2.  

New installed capacity of wind and solar will be completely dwarfed by these coal plants.  New installed capacity of wind and solar is merely a feel good exercise in the face of these plans.

We cannot wait for things like cap and trade and/or carbon taxes to kick in.  And btw, utility  companies are rushing to get new installed capacity now to increase the amounts of credits available to them if and when cap and trade kicks in.

After 1 Jan 2007, California won't permit in state or imported new coal capacity new meet their needs.  Some utilities are rushing to contract for new capacity to meet the deadline.

I think that the willingness to permit new coal plants is a litmus test for any politician that states that he/she wants to do something meaningful about global warming.  Some even claim that coal is a transitional fuel.

CO2 is cumulative and long lasting. Suddenly cutting our emissions in the future isn't going to get the job done. CO2 emitted now will be in the atmosphere at least a hundred years.

Coal kills. Stop it now. 2.5 billion tons of carbon are put into the atmosphere every year from coal. Included with that are 20,000 tons of radioactive uranium and thorium and thousands of tons of mercury and arsenic.

Is there  study on when the US will hit 'peak coal'. I mean there must be some upper limit to how fast the stuff can be mined.
You can find various estimates. One is here that says ~2040
utility  companies are rushing to get new installed capacity now to increase the amounts of credits available to them if and when cap and trade kicks in

In order the whole "cap & trade" schema to be fair and effective we must consider the world as one big village, where everyone who pollutes pays for it and everyone who does not gets the benefits.

First, the credits should be determined on a per capita basis world-wide. For example every person is given a credit of 0.5 ton/carbon a year (which is about the current level of emissions from electricity generation).

Then the credits should be distributed based on the percentage of the energy you produce in the village. For example if your utility is producing 1% of the world energy, you would get 1% * 6.6 bln * 0.5 = 33 mln.tons credit.

Now notice that if you build up coal power plants before signing the treaty, and get to 1.5% of the world electricity you will get 50% more carbon credits (16.5 mln. tons), but the new power plants will emit much more than 16.5 mln. tons and you will bleed a lot. The reason is that coal takes some 40% of the world electricity mix, and the other less polluting energy sources are causing the average emissions per kwth to be lower world-wide.


For example if your utility is producing 1% of the world energy

should read

For example if your utility is producing 1% of the world electricity

For the pollution from other fuels a sumilar schema must be established.

Another potential problem is how to fairly compensate farmers for managing their soils as carbon sinks if that becomes part of the carbon credit exchange system. Use of conventional fertilizers and tillage practices typically markedly reduce soil carbon levels (and water holding capacity, another scarcity issue) and alternative practices that don't are available.

Soil Organic Matter: Overview

Managing Soil Organic Matter: The Key to Air and Water Quality (pdf)

Dr. Jill Clapperton

Organic farming practices, in which prohibition of the use of conventional synthetic fertilizers is a key component, markedly increase soil carbon content. (In fact, the observation of the effect of such fertilizers on soil tilth was one of the motivating factors in the early expansion of the organic movement). Hence, if farmers are likely to be compensated for increasing the carbon content of their soils in the future, the best economic strategy now is to manage their soils to minimize organic carbon content. Farmers already employing practices that improve soil carbon content, such as those who have already adopted organic and no-till practices, will likely be at a competitive disadvantage as their costs of any further gains will likely exceede the compensation and they will be competing in what is essentially a commodity market with producers who can take advantage of that revenue stream.

If I had to guess, I would say that the powers that be are realizing that the days of using natural gas for power generation are coming to an end, so they plan to transition to burn more coal to replace it.  Not to say that I agree with this or anything - that's just my guess as to the rationale for this move.
No new coal plants should be allowed unless they include a viable plant for near total sequestration of co2.

Some cold hard facts on sequestering CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants:

World CO2 emissions from burning coal: 10.43 GT in 2006 [source]
Volume of one ton of CO2 = 556.2m3 [source]
10,430,000,000 * 556.2m3 = 5,799,080,000,000m3 = 5,799.1 cubic kilometres per year = 15.89 cubic km per day.

So, we have to bury ~16 cubic kilometres of CO2 every day for eternity and hope that it stays there.  Sound plausible?

(sorry, I don't do miles, but suffice to say, 16 cubic kilometres is a lot)

Yes, it is a lot of CO2 to bury, but it has to be done.  Fortunately, we can pump it into our empty natural gas or oil wells.  Nature was able to keep the gas there for eons, so it should work fine, as long as we seal the well bore and make sure no one drills there again.  Unless we get lucky with solar or wind, we will be turning to coal.  
Yes, it is a lot of CO2 to bury, but it has to be done.
Does it?  The more you look into carbon capture and sequestration, the more nukes start to look like the easy option.

Nukes create a tiny amount of waste compared with the gigatons of CO2 spewing from coal-fired power stations.  Yes, nuclear waste is nasty stuff but at least there are managable quantities of it.

I don't necessarily have a problem with nukes, but in the mean time hundreds of coal plants are being planned.  The additional co2 is the problem now, and, therefore, they should be banned unless they can find a way to sequester.  This policy could, in and of itself, encourage more nukes, wind, solar, and hydro. A hefty carbon tax might have a similar effect but would take a long time to change the decision making process. That's why we need a moratorium now with cap and trade and carbon taxes to follow.

Right now, you don't have a bunch of nukes planned because utilities still aren't comfortable with the economics and lead times.

In all this, of course, is the ugly reality that getting this done is, to say the least, politically daunting. But I still think we should challenge our representatives wherever possible to put up or shut up.  They like to talk about pie in the sky magic bullets in the guise of alternative energy, especially ethanol. But as long as coal is the cheapest alternative, utilities will choose overwhelmingly over the more expensive alternatives, including natural gas. But there is nothing more environmentally disastrous than coal. And that's even before you start talking about the ultimate impact, global warming.  

If all these coal plants get built, we're just whistling pas t the graveyard. Yes, of course, China will be able to screw the planet all by itself. But the U.S. should start by exercising some leadership.  California is leading the way in this country which will have a big influence over what Barbara Boxer will be doing in her upcoming hearings on global warming.

Colorado by the way passed an initiative two years ago requiring  a 10 percent renewable portfolio by 2020.  They are already way ahead of schedule and will meet that by 2008. That's why the Dems, who are now in power, plan to increase that to 20 percent.  That's a start. But they need to take the next step by requiring more increases in the outyears beyond that. They also need to focus on conservation as the best short to medium term investment.

why we need a moratorium now with cap and trade and carbon taxes to follow.
I couldn't agree more, but where do you find a politician with the courage to get behind this?  We certainly don't have any in Australia, do you have any in the USA?

Also, you can't tax carbon coming from the smokestack without taxing carbon coming from the tailpipe, so we're looking for a politician who wants to raise electricity prices and raise fuel prices.  Now, that should be popular with the sheeple!

I had a revelation about that today. The problem is that the earth has too much CO2. The solution: eject the CO2 from the planet. This would most easily be accomplished with a Space Elevator provided the necessary materials advances are made in the next few decades. Alternatively, a dry ice gun could be built to fire the frozen CO2 out of the gravity well of the planet. Sending the CO2 to the moon would be good because then if we decided that we wanted the CO2 back, it would not be impossible. Alternatively, sending the CO2 to Mars would help terraform Mars and Earth at the same time.

Obviously, the volume of CO2 that would need to be accelerated to escape velocity is pretty much inconceivable. At least, I can't properly wrap my head around the volumes that would be required. A dry ice block the size of a city that is twice as tall as the World Trade Centers were? Every DAY? This would be a very poor solution, but a permanent solution. No chance of the CO2 well leaking and suffocating everyone nearby.  Lets stop delegating the hard work to our children and start solving problems now.

This is my theory for getting rid of Nuclear waste 50 years from now. Shoot it out to burn up in the Sun. Far fetched now but in 50-75 years?
No need for far flung rocketry.
Just drop it into the churning lava pool of a volcano after the thing has erupted.

Sounds crazy. But consider that molten uranium weighs more (has higher density) than other minerals and thus sinks towards the center of the Earth. It is believed that the molten core of the Earth is powered by decaying radioactive materials pulled towards the center by gravity.

If you were powering the elevator with fossil fuels, you'd emit more than a ton of CO2 in the process of lifting one ton off Earth.  The sensible thing to do would be to power all your stuff with the sun (elevator included), grow lots of algae or something that sucks up a bunch of CO2, and then bury it.
Note that you're talking volume of gas, while CO2 would be sequestered as liquid.  Liquid CO2 at -4° F and saturation pressure has a density a little greater than water; dry ice has a density of about 1.56.  That 10.43 GT/year is 28.6 million tons a day, or a cube of dry ice about 865 feet on a side.
I'm not sure why but the washpost mag's main story is about energy. I suggest you include it in the drumbeat.


What I meant to say was "I'm not sure why the editors didn't"..

to the webmaster- is it possible to get the post comments box in a new pop-up window? Would sure make it convenient for many posters.

If you're using Firefox just right click on post comment/reply to this and choose "open in new tab"

For IE I imagine you can right click and open in new window

Oh, thanks for the tip for firefox users.  I've only been
reading here for several months, but as someone                        who just learned about peak oil within the last year,I really appreciate all the information and knowledge available here.  Just wanted everyone to know that.  Thanks.


I'm not sure why but the washpost mag's main story is about energy. I suggest you include it in the drumbeat.
What I meant to say was "I'm not sure why the editors didn't"..
That would be Leanan. She does a superb job, as noted upthread, but this article may have been published after today's time window for new material. As for the hippies mentioned in the article, they have a website here:

Speaking of mountain hideaways, doesn't Mr. Rainwater have one somewhere up in them thar hills?


Thanks for the earthaven link.  I have a number of friends who are interested in these kinds of communities.


If you're ever in Asheville let me know and I'll give you a tour (of Asheville, not Earthaven).
Leanan posted this same article in yesterday's drumbeat.
The Mouse Wheel

Many people don't realise that your mouse wheel acts as a centre button in both Firefox and IE7.0. One press on a web link opens the link in a new tab.

You can decide in Tools > Options > Tabs whether the new tab becomes "the focus" or not... Myself, I prefer to carry on reading and look at my links later. (or use CNTRL-TAB to flick between tabs...)

Furthermore, if you hold down the mouse wheel anywhere else ... your cursor changes to auto-scroll... now, as you GENTLY move your mouse down... the page auto-scrolls (speed is proportonal to distance moved). Likewise upwards!!

I couldn't read 300+ Drumbeat items any other way!!

You speaketh not Apple running Firefox :-)

Best Hopes for Unix on Unix on Apple, Purity upon Virtue


Here's another mouse wheel trick: Press Control {Ctrl} as you roll the mouse wheel away or towards you. Think of "away" as moving the screen away from you.

Hey canbrit, have you had any experience with AutoHotKeys? --there is a way to totally automate your operations :-)

Alan.. you are right!! I should have prefaced my comments "for Windows users"... Apologies to all Apple & Unix users.

Step back... Yes, I was aware of the CNTRL as zoom function in browsers (and in MS Word) but don't find much use for it... my eyesight is still pretty sharp for 55!!  :-)

Was aware of AutoHotKeys but not tried it...

clever little trick! thanks.....
anybody know how to disable print screen key in windows ?
One more thing on "TOD and computers"...

I have never understood why monitors were originally designed in "landscape" mode... when everything else in life... newspapers, books etc is in portrait ... Yes, I know, historically TV >> CRT etc.

Since 99% of what I do on the computer is text-based... TOD, on-line newspapers, web pages, Word docs... why run the screen in landscape... when it results in pages only occupying half the screen and the bottom of a web page is "cut off"...

Of course with CRTs we had no choice... but with the advent of cheap LCD monitors... I always run my screen in portrait mode... CONTROL PANEL > DISPLAY > SETTINGS > ADVANCED > ROTATION (for Windows XP users!!)

Furthermore, another neat trick is the switchable F-11 >> which removes the toolbars... giving you even more screen real estate... This what TOD looks like on my monitor...

Hope this is helpful to TOD readers...

I prefer my widescreen monitor. That way I can have two pages open at the same time. Also, it it much better than multi-monitor.

My personal internet pet peeve is website colors.
I prefer a white on dark gray colorscheme when reading pages. It is much easier on the eyes. This works pretty well except that some pages will specify a backgroung color(white) and not specify a text color. This results in a white background and my default text color of white. You can imagine how easy that is to read. Thus my choice is to force all pages to adhere to my colorscheme or to force none and hope for the best. I wish they would not specify any colors. I also wish there was a fremework for setting content and allowing me to choose how it is displayed. This might help colorblind people as well.
TOD does a good job with this. Other pages do not.

There were a number of solutions a decade ago.  Check out the Radius Pivot display:  a CRT that had a monitor stand that allowed it to be rotated.  One of the cool things about this was that the monitor had an orientation sensor and would report back to the computer to automatically tell the computer that the monitor had changed.  You could swivel at will without any configuration changes.

I sometimes run my LCD in portrait orientation, but don't like giving up LCD anti-aliasing.  My system falls back to grayscale text anti-aliasing.  With the ever-expanding size of today's LCD panels, though, I only feel the need for portrait orientation when viewing high resolution photographs that were taken portrait.

Why on earth are you still using Internet Explorer?

Why IE??

I know, I know... but don't get all geeky on me... it's only a browser...

Actually I use IE7.0 (it's secure & good!!) and Firefox... both ad-blocked...

Widescreen??.. not everybody out there can afford one... Besides... for a Dell 24" @ C$899 or 30" @ C$1599... give me three 17" @ C$179 and $400/$1100 change any day... and that gives me 3840 x 3072 pixels...

Many people don't realise that your mouse wheel acts as a centre button in both Firefox and IE7.0. One press on a web link opens the link in a new tab.

Give credit where it is due. The first browser which introduced this trick was Opera. Opera also introduced tabbed browsing way back in the 1990s. It is incredible that it has taken Internet Explorer so long to catch up. Despite everyone now copying Opera, Opera remains my favourite browser.
Microsoft invented it first.

.... after copying it from others.

That's because MS is the innovation leader and all others are lamenting losers. I can't wait until MS invents a "reveal codes" mode for Word just like the one the WordPerfect guys stole from Bill Gates </sarcasm>

THE KEY TO MODERN LIFE IS STRATEGIC IGNORANCE. There are so many things we don't know about our lives and that, frankly, we don't want to know. We don't know much about the basic things that sustain us. We are clueless "end users"

Now that is a motto to live by.
Thanks for the link.

Present Company Excepted, of course.. maybe?

ie,  'What's this we Kimosabe?'

Not just sniping, however.. very good article.

- Suchi doesn't mince words as we talk over dinner about life in the village: "It's torment living here sometimes -- just torment." But she loves it still, and says, "I have the sanity of living my principles."

This makes me remember that living within the typical 'modern' system of ample energy is also Torment.. just 'Torment delayed', and 'Torment displaced'.  We're in New England, and get some of the 'displaced torment' of our national profligacy, in the form of Mercury Poisoned rivers and lakes, thereby making inland subsistence fishing now highly discouraged.


It was in yesterday's DrumBeat.  :-)
Yes, but please post the link again! it can't be found now and a lot of people want to read it.
The person who started this sub-thread did post the link.
I can find the Earthhaven link, not the link with the newspaper article..

Remember, this is the Internet, you're dealing with fucking idiots. Totoneila maintans humans are not smarter than yeast, and I agree, and I have seen personally that humans are not smarter than chickens. Ask me if you want the full rundown on that.

It's in the first message in this sub-thread.
Strategic Ignorance all over again. LOL.

I can't find it "at the biginning of this thread" and never will.

And, I don't think it's within the capabilities of the human animal to keep up with everything, to know everything, to be a UNIX programmer and electrical engineer, skilled prototype tech, musician, writer (beyond the intermediate-school level drivel we communicate to each other with now) mechanic, cook, etc etc etc that we'd have to be now to be "skilled users" of the modern world.

Instead, we're applience operators. That's a Ham Radio term, one used in contempt, for modern hams who tend to just buy the stuff and operate it, often not even that skilfully. As opposed to the old-time hams who could build a station from scratch and often did.

But the truth of the matter is, unless a person is retired or rich, they're forced into being "applience operators" by the high work hours and high not-officially-recognized-as-work-but-just-as-necessary-activity hours most of us are subject to these days. If I am very lucky I may be able to fit in one hour a week doing ham radio. This will only be because in my new apartment, I should be able to string a wire up into the tree out front, and have a dedicated desk for my ham radio, and only have to flip on the switch and pick up the mic.

I have no real time to work on my car, so I have to take it to the shop for maintenance, and in fact besides the fact that washing a car is illegal in an apartment building, it takes me far more time than it does for the guys at the car wash so I take it to the car wash.

I'm an experienced componant-level repair tech but I avoid actually working on anything if I can possibly, any way at all possible, actually working on anything. I end up making about $2 an hour.

OK on the article - EXCELLENT stuff! If I hadn't complained bitterly here I'd NEVER get to read it, hence my pissing and moaning for someone to spoon-feed me the link. Thanks, it was worth it!

A bunch of kids camping out. Coffee?? Computers??? Basmati rice?????? At least their hearts are in the right place, and what's this taking clothes to the laundromat shit? They have a stream, and washboards are still available, get an old one, they knew how to make 'em right. Won't eat bugs? Hmm, they need to get hungry and learn how good some bugs can taste.

I'd say the closest thing we have to a "plug and play" sustainable lifestyle is the American Indian lifestyles, only because people in living memory knew how to do it, and each tribe's way of life worked for their region. I guess these folks are in the Southeast, should be a lot of nut trees there, small animals and birds to snare or knock out with blunt arrows, and well, whitetail deer are plentiful, even a pest, aren't they? There's been a ton of study of Native American ways of life and a few out there keeping the old skills and even ways of thinking alive. Remember it's just a return home, it's roughly how we lived 10,000+ years ago.

I read a think on a bicycling site, a fiction story.... the Civil War Reenactors did well because they were serious about living like people did 150 years ago. Of course the Bike Messengers did well, but I wonder how well say 5 years on when their bikes started to seriously break down?

I'd rather learn to weave a basket than how to wire up an (unsustainable) solar cell, I'd rather learn to tan a hide than how to weave (much more labor-intensive) flax or cotton.

It's nice to get back to the land if you have some land to get back to. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 humans alive on the planet today have no hereditary or legal claim to any. For them, there will be nowhere to go if when the infrastructure breaks down.
Wow. I believe the Neutron bomb was designed to eradicate "the other guys" while leaving the land inhabitable a short time afterward, Israel has a lot of land it has no right to, so.........

The whole story of the Middle East is people who'd die before they'd even sweep their own floor exercising genocide against those living fairly sustainably and humbly, I say Pray God Iran has the neutron device and is able to use it for Good, it's time the Pals got a break! And when you look at how the Pals live now, it's how all of us Non-Chosenites will live in a few years if the Self-Chosen have their way............

Careful what you ask for.
Why do you keep embedding words of hate and hurt into the TOD-o-sphere? Christmas is coming. Peace and good will to ALL folk --not just to your "Pal" pals or Iran's fans. Take a deep breath and unclench your fists my friend. Allah wills it. Let it be. Let it go.
I spend a lot of time following your links. 'Cause you're so good. But this one I missed for no good reason.
Glad it was reposted. This system works.
Why do I think the US Dept of Energy is full of wishfull thinkers?

  1. In a report issued in April of 2004 they made a prediction that oil prices would slowely rise to $35 per barrel over the next 20 years.

  2. In an interview within the last year  the former Saudi Oil Minister Husseini said that the KSA oil production could be raised to 12 million barrels per day with a huge investment (perhaps a $100 billion?), but higher production was unlikely

  3. That the current report outlined here predicts an oil price decrease to the $40's per barrel range (2007) when the world's "tradeable oil" is declining due to many producing countries experiencing declining production and/or greater domestic oil consumption.

Motto: Don't trust information from the DOE as accurate in any way shape or form.


"Why do I think the US Dept of Energy is full of wishfull thinkers?

No, the DOE is full of shit.

The DOE consists of Parasites taking orderz.

They are paid chimps who parrot what they are told to think by Leaderz of The United States of Bureaucracy.

The U.S. Federal Government - all three branches of career parasites - is not long for this world.  

Fawzi Aloulou, the Energy Economics expert in the US Energy Information Administration, refused to comment on why the report did not say anything about the effect of Iran's nuclear programme on oil markets, in the light of the Iranian threat to halt oil exports if sanctions are imposed.

"There are instructions from the US Congress and US Administration to the Energy Department to avoid political issues in the report," he said.

"If Iran ceases its oil exports, we will amend our expectations, as markets will witness a shortage of 2.8 million oil barrels a day," he added.

"IF" is the key word for anything coming from CERA or the Federal Parasites of the United States of Bureaucracy.

Nate Hagens will be the next guest on my radio show.  Stream it live from http://www.kzyx.org or wait for it to come out on Global Public Media.

We will be talking about ASPO, CERA, net energy, natural gas treadmill, climate change and conflicts with the Hirsch-report type "mitigation" strategies, etc.

The show runs from 9 to 10 am PST.

Thanks, Jason!
Have a good show.

Will you post again tomorrow with a reminder and a podcast link, if there is one? (Same as the live stream site?)

Rootin' for the Sasquatches!

Bob Fiske

The Kansas City Star ran these in the Sunday paper:

The 100-mile shopping list


The corn- and sugar-based ethanol industry is booming. There are hundreds of new ethanol plants with billions of gallons of production. This segment of the industry will keep growing until cellulose technology matures. Here is a list of companies I found that are working on cellulose ethanol.

Full disclosure: I don't care whether you invest in this industry or not. I am just using this list to illustrate yet another reason why peak oil is a non-event. Peak oil will be comparable to society switching from the Sony Walkman to the Apple Ipod. Meet the potential Apples of liquid fuel:
  • Abengoa: Constructing the world's first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Babilafuente (Salamanca), Spain. Commissioning is expected to start by the end of 2006. In 2006 Q4, a partnership was announced with Dyadic.
  • Archer Daniels Midland: ADM is agressively studying how to produce cellulosic ethanol out of parts of the corn kernal that are traditionally not used for ethanol.
  • BRI Energy: Developed a process that uses gasification, fermentation and distillation to produce ethanol and electricity from a wide array of carbon-based wastes.
  • BlueFire: Plans to use the Arkenol Technology Process (which has been used in Izumi, Japan since 2002) for creating cellulosic ethanol.
  • Broin: The largest dry mill ethanol producers in the US, The Broin Companies are collaborating with Novozymes in the research and development of cellulosic ethanol technology.
  • Celunol: Purchased biomass-to-ethanol technology from SunOpta. The system will complement its own proprietary technology at the Jennings, LA plant which is scheduled to be in production by the spring of 2007. Khosla Ventures is a Celunol investor.
  • Ceres: Privately-held plant biotech company utilizing genomics technologies to develop energy crops, such as switchgrass, for cellulosic ethanol.
  • Colusa: Though its stock is not for the faint of heart, the company is highly regarded by industry peers. Colusa has already harvested the rice straw which it expects to convert to ethanol when its California bio-refinery comes online in Q4 2007.
  • Diversa: Partnering with Dupont and researching multiple enzyme "cocktails" to break down cellulosic biomass. Also looking for enzymes in the guts of termites in an attempt to capitalize on the insect's ability to convert wood to energy.
  • DuPont: Developing cellulose ethanol technology and planning a demonstration plant.
  • Dyadic: Spent over a decade of R&D in the design and development of enzymes for the increasingly efficient extraction of sugars from biomass. In 2006 Q4, a partnership was announced with Abengoa.
  • Genahol: Has plans to open cellulose ethanol plants in Long Beach, CA, Chandler, AZ, Columbus, OH, and Orville, OH.
  • Globex: Developing supercritical fluid (SCF) which will be used along with enzymatic hydrolysis for the production of cellulosic ethanol.
  • Green Star Products Inc.: Developed a waterless continuous flow process reactor system which will be used in upcoming cellulose ethanol plants planned for North Carolina and the Northwest.
  • Iogen Corp.: Operates a demonstration scale facility to convert biomass to cellulose ethanol using enzymatic hydrolysis technology. Full scale commercial facilities are being planned. It is very likely they will annouce plans for an Idaho plant that will make ethanol from wheat straw.
  • Kergy: The Colorado based company, funded by Khosla Ventures, claims it can produce more cellulosic ethanol for a given amount of energy expended than is possible with any other competing process. Just as noteworthy: The design allows them to "bring systems to sources where biomass is most plentiful, instead of having to transport biomass to a central processing site."
  • Mascoma: With a new CTO who spent over 10 years with SunOpta, Mascoma is developing bio and process technology for cost-effective conversion of cellulosic biomass. Khosla Ventures is a Mascoma investor.
  • Nova Fuels (maker of Novahol): Develops biomass-to-fuel conversion facilities (that use gasification technology) with joint venture partners.
  • Novozymes: Developing enzymes that can convert cellulose into simple sugars, for fermentation into fuel ethanol. Has had collaboration/partnerships with Abengoa and Broin.
  • PureEnergy: Developed a two-stage dilute acid hydrolysis technology process which will be used in the forthcoming Green Star Products, Inc projects.
  • SunOpta: Built the first cellulosic ethanol plant 20 years ago, in France. In June 2006, SunOpta said it would build the first cellulosic ethanol plant in China. Recently sold a biomass-to-ethanol system to Celunol in what will likely be the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States.
  • Virgin Fuels: In September 2006, Sir Richard Branson pledged an estimated $3 billion to fight global warming. A large chunk of that is expected to be invested in cellulosic ethanol research and production.
  • Xethanol: Recently announced aggressive plans for its new BlueRidgeXethanol company to begin producing cellulose ethanol in Spring Hope, NC by Feb. 2007 using acid hydrolysis. Plans to construct a 50 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Augusta, GA which would begin producing ethanol by mid-2007.
Source website is here.
10 BTUs of fossil fuels in, 13 BTUs out.

MASSIVE waste of taxpayer subsidies !!

A long list of future scrap mines.

Ethanol is not a ´solution´ (except sugar cane) but a problem.



You forgot to add: Its a Hell of a lot easier for a rainmaker to make a living during a drought than during a long string of thunderstorms.
  Just because they are researching aggressively and putting a lot of financing and brick and mortar up is no guarantee that;

 A) The Water and Soil will support this expansion

 B) The Climate will assure us reliable crops as feedstock..

 C) The research will find the economically feasible methods that they are seeking.

I wonder how we might start adding water into the EROEI equation, if biofuels continue to balloon?


and what will be the EROEI for all these wonders?...yeah,right.
Xethanol: Recently announced aggressive plans for its new BlueRidgeXethanol company to begin producing cellulose ethanol in Spring Hope, NC by Feb. 2007 using acid hydrolysis. Plans to construct a 50 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Augusta, GA which would begin producing ethanol by mid-2007.

Reality check on Xethanol. They have invested next to nothing in R&D, and are conning people into thinking they are going to build a plant. First, they don't have the funds. Second, I did a calculation for someone on Xethanol the other day. They asked how much biomass to run Xethanol's 35 million gallon per year (proposed) cellulosic ethanol plant. The number was the biomass equivalent of 650,000 mature Douglas firs per year.

The technology for cellulosic ethanol is not an issue. It works. It is just very marginal from an EROEI standpoint (that's what happens when you try to purify a 4% ethanol solution) and it is very expensive. To produce cellulosic ethanol today and sell it for a profit would require something like a price of $4 a gallon (presuming natural gas prices are frozen). And for 15 years at least, we have been "5 years away from commercial cellulosic ethanol."

Finally, Kergy's process is not cellulosic ethanol. It is biomass gasification, and then turning the resulting syngas into ethanol.

i think kiethster should invest his entire life savings in xenthol
Keithster100 -

It appears to me that you have fallen into the trap of believing that advances in the energy field occur in the same manner that advances have occurred in Silicon Valley.

The reality is that the two areas of endeavor are so fundamentally different and have so little in common with each other that they might as well be from different planets.

For some reason, business and financial types have a very hard time understanding this. Their thinking seems to be: if computer memory can double every few years, then why can't energy production?  Just a matter of investment and innovation, right?

Computers, consumer electronics, software and the like are completely manmade and have a relatively tiny material and energy inputs in relation to value added. On the other hand, the energy field is highly dependent on what the natural world has to offer, i.e, fossil fuels that we can take out of the ground, or crops that we can grow, or sunlight that we can collect. As such, the natural world imposes some fundamental limitations that cannot be finessed away regardless of how innovative one is or how much money one throws at the problem. This gets into the laws of thermodynamics, something else that Silicon Valley has little if any need to worry about.

I have no doubt that there are a lot of people jumping on the ethanol bandwagon. Some of these are honest and competent, others are hucksters and fools, and yet others are just hedging their bets by doing research.

Care to venture how many of the firms on your list will still be in business 5 years from now?  Ten years from now?  

My gut feel also tells me that Mr. Khosla is probably going to bail out sooner ratherthan later - once he sees the conflict between food and fuel raise its ugly head and once he sees that even non-food 'junk crops' require huge energy inputs just to get them to and through the processing plant.

Even if I had the money to gamble with, I wouldn't touch ethanol investments of any kind with a ten-foot pole.

Even if I had the money to gamble with, I wouldn't touch ethanol investments of any kind with a ten-foot pole.

I will note that Keithster's prediction record here is not so good:

Keithster Hyping Pacific Ethanol

The price for PEIX on that date traded around $33 a share. I wrote an essay not long after that warning that ethanol shares were overvalued, and I did a case study on PEIX:

Ethanol Investing Counterpoint

Last week PEIX traded in the $17-$18 a share range.  The moral? Keithster's prognostication skills leave a bit to be desired, and if you had listened to his ethanol advice then you probably lost a lot of money.

i think it will be more like switching from sony wakman to digital dildo
Only one of these companies, one backed by Khosla, has any US plant in the construction stage.  Other than Celunol, these companies are just searching for technology break through and hoping a discovery will produce something viable.  
Why go for cellulostic ethanol (10 - 20 years away, if ever?) when sooner we could for rural areas/small towns convert the auto fleet to diesel engines using biodiesel (canola, rapeseed, jatropha seed) and for most of the population in medium and large cities build electric powered transit systems and electric cars.
That would go a long way toward conserving soil and water, besides leaving most cropland for food production.
Good article. When we discussed algae in this forum a while back, it seemed to me that the cultivation of enough algae to absorb the hundreds of tons of CO2 produced by a coal plant would be prohibitively difficult.

But compared to the ruinous waste of fermenting and distilling the corn crop, it sounds like an excellent idea. Better as a source of biofuel than as a sequestration method. But a definite double benefit.


I cannot disagree... biodiesel is way better than ethanol as a bio-fuel. However, I think we should clearly resist the spread of the associated idea of "bio-diesel as a solution to our personalised transport needs."

Now, granted that in the near-term... it is unfortunate that we see ethanol & biodiesel as the EASIEST solution to our personal transport liquid fuel problem...

However, taking a longer term view... IMO, it seems obvious that due to poor EREOI, FF inputs (fertilizer, transportation,  processing etc); water inputs, land availability, food v. fuel issues, soil depletion etc... that we will never be able to grow enough bio-fuels to replace ALL current uses of oil, NG & coal...

I mean, seriously... bio-fuels to replace chemical feedstock needs, personal transport fuels, trucking, aviation & rail fuels; fertilizers, n% of electricity generation...

Ultimately any bio-fuels that we grow will be used firstly to replace the vital necessities... that is: as petro-chemical feedstock replacements... from a multitude of materials to drugs & medicines. (And no, I don't think we will have enough "spare electricity" for the creation of chemical feedstocks or fertilizers by an electro-chemical route)  

I doubt that there will be much bio-fuel left over from this primary use... but if there is... it will then be used for transport needs where we have no technological alternative ... due to the required energy density: i.e. aviation fuels and localised trucking??

Everything else is going to have to be ELECTRIC from renewable sources... that includes any personalised transport (infrastructure permitting...) and long distance freight by rail.

Furthermore, as I have stated before (quoting Ulf Bossel)... in a renewable energy future... EFFICIENCY OF USE will be paramount... except for the limited uses mentioned above... where we currently have no other choices; we will not be burning anything in a 30% efficient ICE...  

Any generation of electricity from bio/waste products will have to be in a CHP or stationary fuel cell situation... feeding the heat to houses/offices/greenhouses etc... extracting as much energy as possible before release to the atmosphere.

My feeling re: PO is that we are looking at three phases:

(i)    Demand outstrips Supply > Higher prices
(ii)    Scarcity > prioritization of  use > Military/governmental/ industrial/commercial/public/private
(iii)    End of oil (& NG)...

So we know what is coming down the line... if not the exact timescale. If J.H. Kunstler is right about one thing ... it is that we should stop investing in stuff that we know will be worthless in 50 years time.

Keep in mind: the transesterification of biodiesel requires the input of an alcohol. Usually that alcohol is methanol, from FF. Ethanol can also be used but it has to be 200 proof - not so easy to make. The moral: biodiesel as a sustainable fuel is dependant on ethanol.
From what I can tell, the BTU ratio for vegetable oil inputs to methanol inputs is 10:1.

Which is a lot for corn to handle, but keep in mind that even in high-lipid algae, carbohydrates form a major chunk.

The source of the oil or carbohydrate is not a problem. RR was talking about 'bio-fuels'. IMO, Biodiesel is not a bio-fuel unless all of the feedstocks to create it come from renewable sources. As I understand it, methanol is created exclusively from fossil fuels. It is also my understanding that a significant volume of alcohol is required to transesterify a given volume of fatty-acid and more ethanol is required than methanol. Thus, I do not consider biodiesel created from methanol to be a bio-fuel. And thus the real challenge then in the creation of bio-biodiesel is the creation of anhydrous bio-ethanol.
As I understand it, methanol is created exclusively from fossil fuels.

That is true, because of current economics. But it can be produced by a biomass gasification process at the front end. Currently the front end is usually natural gas gasification.

I like your "Efficiency of Use", as opposed to the older "conservation".  One of the most wasteful uses of electrical power is the millions of street lights in towns, large and small.  I live about forty miles from the southern suburbs of Phoenix. At night you can't see the stars north of zenith.  You drive I-10 into the suburbs the car dealers signs just about blind you.  I wonder what percentage of our electric power goes to these uses.
If this algae thing works so extremely well why is most biodiesel coming from environmentally apocalyptic palm oil?
Please RR, keep us updated on this one.
Call me skeptical. If the algae notes are for real you should have much more to post soon.
If this algae thing works so extremely well why is most biodiesel coming from environmentally apocalyptic palm oil?

If this algae thing works so extremely well why is most biodiesel coming from environmentally apocalyptic palm oil?

I know quite a bit more about algal biodiesel than I did when I wrote that post. I would put it in the same boat as cellulosic ethanol. Technically, it is viable. But the process is complex, finicky, and expensive. The highest oil yielding species tend to be out-competed by lower-yielding strains. The process for gathering the algae and separating out the oil is pretty labor intensive. What is needed is a better process. Still, I give it better long-term odds for success than cellulosic ethanol at this point.

I've been trying to push the UnH study since I discovered it three years or so ago.  The writer has a forum called BiodieselNow.

Algal biodiesel is probably the best biofuel option available to us.  The next tier down includes Miscanthus gasification, biodiesel from palm, Jatropha Curcis, Pongammia Pinnata, and and a few others.  Traditional crops are quite a ways below that.

Soybean biodiesel was somewhere in between an industry greenwashing campaign and a hedge for soya growers against shifting prices.  With demand for edible soybeans growing, they don't really need biodiesel anymore.  Rapeseed biodiesel out-yields soybeans by 3x per land area.

Biodiesel's subtleties include:

The gel point, where the fuel refuses to behave in pumps, fuel lines, and injectors, is in the general vicinity of the freezing point of water, compared to -40 degrees or lower for petrodiesel.  Blends tend to be between that in direct proportion to the fractional amount of biodiesel.  Additives don't appear to do all that much better than simply using a petrodiesel mix, for the same proportions.  Straight vegetable oil and waste fryer grease have much higher viscosities, and need to be heated up way above room temperature to be able to function in diesels (though they do function).  That's why transesterification is used. Fuel tank and fuel line heaters are already designed and available for climates that operate below 40C - they would become the norm in a cold climate for high-concentration biodiesel users.

Biodiesel is cleaner in every aspect than diesel, other than nox, which is about the same (recent studies have contradicted a study from a few years back that said bioD had worse nox emissions).  It tends to dissolve fuelsystem buildup, so the first time you use it all the crud that's been building up in your engine may clog the fuel filter.

Biodiesel is involatile, with a flash point of 300C or so.  It is imiscible in water, but it does need to be thoroughly dried before transesterification - water kills the reaction.    It is safe to store in decent temperatures, but high purity biodiesel is very subject to biological contamination.  A small petrodiesel portion is recommended rather than B100.

B50 is suitable without modification of the engine (with the exception of certain cars from the 80's and before that using natural rubber hoses) in maybe 2/3 of the US, year-round.  B20 in almost all of the contiguous US.  But even B90 can be used in Alaska with the right heater components + vehicle design.


Now onto the algae portion:

The visible algal biodiesel research in the US is very small.  Other than Mike Briggs, who is under NDA apparently, and an infuriating algae-farmer named Marc Cardoso who gives seminars on the topic, there's precious little publicly visible progress in continuing the NREL's research, which was sacrificed on the altar of pork-killers because of cheap oil.

The disconnect between the maturity of the research and the potential claims is such that there are posts saying "I have $10k and I want to start making diesel in my backyard, what system do I use."


The primary means to get such cheap per-acre costs is to use open raceway ponds.  While cheap, open ponds are nearly impossible to isolate biologically from competitive low-lipid-content algae and other biota.  One conclusiong was apparently that it was so damn hard to control open-pond biocontamination, that it was easiest to see what the native most-competitive species was by building a pond, and then develop a process off of that, than starting off with one high-lipid monoculture.  

A closed system with any chance of keeping a monoculture alive, on the other hand, requires a relatively costly overhead lining and a deeper pond to stabilize temperature, and careful management of pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen content, sunlight, phosphorous, sulfur....  the list goes on.


My less-than-original idea: gasification would be able to use any combustable biomass, carbohydrate, cellulose, or lipid, right?  The NREL was able to get 50 grams of biomass per square meter per day.

How about this: Instead of building a coal powerplant, we build a coal/algae gasification plant.  Cogen systems in every port of the 800C synfuel process you can find, maximizing thermal efficiency.  The coal is still being burned to make electricity, but in addition, its furnace is being used as a crucible for FT chemosynthesis.  The carbon dioxide (and there is a lot of it) from the burning coal goes out to the vast fan of algae hoophouses surrounding the plant.  The algae harvest comes back, and leaves the plant as synfuel.  Not enough energy content?  Mix the algae into some coal, and tune the reactor for that mixture.

Excellent post. I completely agree with your assessment here:

Algal biodiesel is probably the best biofuel option available to us.  The next tier down includes Miscanthus gasification, biodiesel from palm, Jatropha Curcis, Pongammia Pinnata, and and a few others.  Traditional crops are quite a ways below that.

I think Miscanthus to ethanol would be foolish. But Miscanthus gasification makes good sense.

This segment of the industry will keep growing until cellulose technology matures. Here is a list of companies I found that are working on cellulose ethanol.

I have been working on this for several days, but you inspired me to go ahead and finish it up:

Cellulosic Ethanol Reality Check

I understand the sentiment that it is just a matter of time before cellulosic ethanol starts paying out, but I thought it was important to step back and realistically assess the status quo.

"US report says Saudi Arabia will raise oil output..expects Saudi Arabia - the largest oil exporter - to increase its crude oil production from 12 to 18 million barrels per day by 2030."

Russia became the world's top producer, pumping 9.636-million bpd in May. Saudi Arabia's output stood at 8.93-million bpd, sharply lower than the 9.432-million bpd it produced in the same month last year, said the report.
  So where does the additional 3 MBPD come from? And another 9 on top of that?


Since KSA Aramco has never produced more than 10.x million barrels/day for an extended period (AFAIK) how can they go "from 12 million barrels/day" ?
NGL raised the KSA production to 11.3 million bpd, still shy of the purported 12 million.

But what is a few hundred thousand barrels/day between friends ?


"new and improved" technology ?
Nothing has changed since i commented on this report (released in July) and our preference for its High Price Scenario.  That pegs SA production at 12.4-mbd in 2030.  The TOD headline comment is misleading and does not reflect the article's statements on all three Scenarios.  Read it at EIA to see what it really reports.

Our EIA graph at TrendLines reflects this High Price Scenario.

Freddy: At a conservative 4.5% inflation rate per annum (devaluation of greenback) that $96 in 2030 is only $33 in real 2006 dollars.IMHO, their price forecasts are low even if you accept their wildly optimistic supply scenarios.
Brian, "their wildly optimistic supply scenarios" are being clipped.  In 2004, IEA's forecast for 2030 was 134-mbd.  This month they reduced it to 116-mbd.  The merging continues...
Just wondering... if the IEA expects us globally to be producing and consuming 116 mbd in 2030 and KSA are beneficently going to raise production by 6 mbd by then... where are the other 24 mbd coming from?

Well pointed out on the merging, Freddy, but there's a long way to go yet before the IEA successfully merges with reality. I think if we're still producing 85 mbpd by 2030 we'll be ecstatic.

Aramco does not make any bold statements of extracting more than 12.5-mbd after 2016; thus only 3-mbd is coming from SA. The oilco's, EIA, IEA, OPEC & some of the modelers are all pretty consistent on their forecasts of which nations will be contributing how much at each marker post along the way to 2030.

BrianT is exactly correct on this...a price projection at or below $96 per barrel out to 2030 is not only wildly optimistic, it is so fantastically Pollyannish as to defy imagination, and I say this as a well known optimist, but we must attempt to find out what has happened to any concept of reality/sanity at the DOE.

Essentially, a price in that range would mean that crude oil will have been one of the lowest inflation items in all of history for 48 years, from 1982 to 2030, right through the period of the greatest explosion of consumption in world history.  Such a belief defies imagination, and destroys the credibility of the Department of Energy.  It is in fact so bizarre that any educated person must believe that it is not a projection based on stupidity but instead an intentional misleading of the public.

Such an unrealistic projection by the Department of Energy is frightening in many ways:
(a)  Even more than the CERA report recently released, the DOE carries the weight of officialdom.  Any alternative energy plan, business or technical idea will be slapped in the face by these numbers when they go to a bank or venture capitalist...."can you compete with oil this cheap for the next two decades?"  This DOE projection basically finishes off the alternative energy industry.  It is, whether intended or not, an assination of any industry that could provide a path forward, cutting them off where it matters most, at the money.

(b)  It implies American government purchasing decisions and grant/loan approvals will be based on these projections.  Again, this enforces the status quo in an ironclad way that cannot be resisted, and assures that the government has no intention of seriously moving away from fossil fuels.

(c) it gives the fossil fuel industry ammunition as they press organizations, businesses, not for profit organizations, etc., to lock in their long term reliance on fossil fuel energy and avoid the technically complex and somewhat riskier promising newer alternative energy strategies.  No board of directers would be expected to approve increased risk for alternatives if the risk of high oil prices is seen by the DOE as this low for this long.  If you knew nothing of the energy industry, WHY WOULD YOU TAKE CHANCES?  The sure bet is seen as fossil fuel.

(d)  Most frightening is the fact that the U.S. government now seemingly has such a low opinion of the intelligence and education of the American people that they would publish numbers like the ones in the recent DOE outlook, and assume they would not be seriously questioned, or even laughed off the public square outright.

We must do two things very soon:
(a) Find some method of letting the government know that we cannot be allowed to be believed to be that ignorant, and
(b)  Try to find some whistleblower, some "deepthroat" inside the DOE who will tell the world that the DOE cannot possibly believe the things they now say on a daily basis.  Because if they do, we may actually need to look at reorganizing the information handling function of the United States Of America from top to bottom.

There is one small bit of good news to report:  If the government actually has such little regard for the intellectual power of it's own citizens, it gives us the element of surprise.  They must now believe that we are completely incapable of any real thought or planning on our own.  Any creative or alternative effort from the population will be completely unexpected. :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout
(P.S.,  it has to be admitted though, if we choose to "wish upon a star", for a crude oil price that low, or even at twice the $96 (nominal dollars) highside price out to 2030 would make this the greatest period of our history...(well, if you can ignore the carbon release, and the flood of money to our enemies, and living as slaves single sourced by the oil and gas industry....otherwise, great period....;-)

You expect something else from the Bush gang?
Anyone I know formerly in the civil service talks of how the machinery of government has been utterly hollowed out, all persons possessed of honor, integrity, common sense, or basic decency forced to exit/retire by the Bush onslaught. Twenty years to rebuild when/if this scum leaves.
Yah, this is the same gang that brought you Katrina, why is anyone surprised?
Bush and co. did not bring Katrina, Nature with perhaps a touch of global warming did. And I've yet to see any prood the Democorps would have done things any differently than the Republicorps did.

The problem is not the Republican idiot or the Democrat idiot, it's the basic ideas our society are based on, such as, Rich people are good and poor people are bad, God will make sure levees don't break because we are God Blessed, and Poor people running amok (defined as not staying home and simply dying, but instead going out in search of food, water, and in some cases simply oxygen) are Evil, and thus must be contained, shot at, and if we can get the media to look the other way, starved and exterminated. Black skins, yeah, that's a count against 'em but look at the demonization of poor whites over the last 20-30 years, poor is poor and poor is God Damned in God's Country.

How could you think anything else of a citizenry that elected Bush twice and a Republican congress for 12 years?
Ahem. I voted Republican across the board, and will again.

Right now the Dems are calling for massively more troops and a draft. They will increase taxes (and spending) as the economy goes down. They will also enact police state measures that make the Repubs look like Libertarians, mark my words.

I think the draft is comming either way. The resource wars are starting to go into full swing. Outside of the world suddenly waking up and becoming a sane place and doing power down correctly. I'm not for a draft by any means but I think that we have to accept America will probably be at war basically for the the next 50 years. I guess I don't see voting changing this. I'm actually surprised we did not do the draft earlier.
I guess its still a sensitive subject.

Hello TODers,

Just as the M3 money supply measurement was discontinued, the USDA is abolishing the word HUNGRY in describing famished Americans.

This is a link from the Washington Post:
Some Americans Lack Food, but USDA Won't Call Them Hungry

The U.S. government has vowed that Americans will never be hungry again. But they may experience "very low food security."

Every year, the Agriculture Department issues a report that measures Americans' access to food, and it has consistently used the word "hunger" to describe those who can least afford to put food on the table. But not this year.

The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans -- 35 million people -- could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times. Beginning this year, the USDA has determined "very low food security" to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group.

Anti-hunger advocates say the new words sugarcoat a national shame. "The proposal to remove the word 'hunger' from our official reports is a huge disservice to the millions of Americans who struggle daily to feed themselves and their families," said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, an anti-hunger advocacy group. "We . . . cannot hide the reality of hunger among our citizens."

My guess is that 'rioting & violence' will soon be relabeled 'demand destruction' in the full Orwellian tradition, too.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Wow. Just...wow.
Hello TODers,

A short while ago, Leanan had posted a link about the manufacturing cessation of the iconic plastic pink flamingo.  It now appears the real pink flamingos won't be far behind.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

My God. And as I write, Los Angeles has had a 90-degree day, in November.

Flamingos may look pretty, but they live in a harsh environment and eat well, some of the nastiest shit Nature puts out. And all happily, and plentifully, until they get in the way of 6+ billion humans and growing......

It doesn't look like Los Angeles having a 90 degree day in November is actually all that unusual.
 Sometimes weather just varies - especially in North America, which often seems like the nasty-and-erratic-weather capital of the (inhabited) world.
OK well, maybe I stand corrected. It's still pretty weird! But temp extremes are part of living on a large continent, I learned that in Geography class!
Actually normal is in the low 70's.  It was 96 in Woodland Hills today and all time record highs were broken in over a dozen areas in the Southland.  It's been unusually hot for the past week or so, not just a day or two.  
Also look here, and try a few different months. If you use more than about 40 days it starts to average.
GeopoliTICal Reality

REALISM does not mean that all countries think alike even if they act structurally in similar ways. The key is to understand how a given regime defines the national interest. This requires real knowledge of various countries, not just conversations with leaders or reading their newspaper interviews with Western correspondents...

  1. Ideology does matter. The USSR and Russia have parallel interests, but how they define and pursue them is related to the difference between seeking world hegemony for Communism and just trying to keep a country afloat. Both the Shah's and Islamist Iran tried to become the leading power in the Persian Gulf, but the way they went about it is rather significantly not the same.

  2. The interests of the regime might not be that of the nation. Syria as a country would benefit from peace with Israel and good relations with the West. But these things would mean death for the current regime. Therefore, these are not its policies.

  3.  Ideas can be an important part of a Realist policy. For example, the US knew that promoting democracy and prosperity in Europe was essential to avoiding Communist takeovers. During the Cold War it was the liberal position - for example that of John Kennedy - that America should promote reform and democracy in, say, Latin America, to achieve victory over the pro-Soviet forces.
War on terror 'could last 30 years'


In the US midterm elections, the Democrats seized control of both house of Congress from the Republicans. The report said the United States was now faced with a dilemma. If it withdraws from Iraq, jihadist groups could operate "without restraint" in this "important oil-bearing region".

But if it decided to stay, US soldiers could become an increasing "magnet" for radical groups, with Iraq turning into a training ground for new generations of paramilitaries.

Interesting that the time allowed for the "War on Terror" in this article just about fits nicely with the most optimistic time frame for PO.

Dubya is giving a live press conference from Indonesia.  He says we can't depend on our own "ethanols," so we need do "cellulostic" research and share it with countries like Indonesia.

And he's either severely jet-lagged, or they need to adjust his meds.  He looks like a zombie.

Links to pics or video?