DrumBeat: November 28, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 11/28/06 at 1:39 PM EDT]

Study predicts extreme weather changes

Scary weather patterns appear to be on the rise. And if a new report is right, we could be in for a lot more. In a study called “Going to the Extremes,” coming out in the December issue of the journal Climatic Change, researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Texas Tech University found strong evidence that by the end of this century, there will be significant increases in what the authors call “extreme weather events”—deadly heat waves, heavy rainfall and prolonged droughts.

US, China failing to reach common ground on energy

“Most everybody’s in favour of energy security,” said Daniel Yergin, an energy expert at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates. “There’s just a wide difference on what does energy security mean.”

To US politicians, including President George W Bush, it means cutting US import dependence by promoting home-grown fuels like ethanol, and reducing the risk of price shocks by relying on a variety of sources and suppliers.

To Beijing, it means locking up secure supplies in multibillion dollar deals, such as the ones cut in recent years in Venezuela and Canada, US officials say.

Peak Oil at West Point

This post is a slightly annotated summary of a poster presentation (Army Energy Strategy for the End of Cheap Oil) at the 25th Army Science Conference, Orlando, Florida, November 27-30, 2006, by three scholars of the US Military Academy at West Point.

Carbon emissions show sharp rise

The rise in humanity's emissions of carbon dioxide has accelerated sharply, according to a new analysis.

The rise and rise of gold and oil

Though Democrats will soon control Congress, giving them much greater power over economic policy, they will refrain from influencing America's foreign policy. Rather, Democrats will be content to let the administration of President George W Bush continue to strangle popular support for the Republican Party in pursuit of its conflict-ridden agenda. The resulting intensification of global geopolitical instability will underpin oil prices.

CIS leaders meet amid energy dispute

Leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are discussing the future of a post-Soviet grouping torn by disputes and stung by energy ultimatums from Russia.

Canada stores up problems at its booming energy frontier

“What we’ve been seeing is the current generation drawing the benefit and not leaving anything for the next generation,” says Casey Vander Ploeg, senior policy analyst at the Canada West Foundation, a think-tank based in Calgary, Alberta’s biggest city.

NATO to Discuss Moscow's Energy Clout

With Europe increasingly concerned about its dependence on Russia for its natural gas, NATO plans to discuss the issue at its summit in Riga, Latvia, starting Tuesday. A look at some of the cards held by Moscow:

James Kunstler: The American Fiasco - a Moment of Clarity

...This is really a tight spot. Wider war in the Middle East is hardly out of the question, with Iran and a broad array of jihadistas emboldened by America's flounderings in Iraq. A year from now, perhaps, or less, we will lose our access to a substantial portion of the imported oil that we run all our stuff on. The sodium vapor lamps will flicker out. The last taco will be served. The US public will have to start paying attention and making other arrangements. I believe what Garrison Keilor says about the people in Minnesota. Scratch below the surface, you'll find a thoughtful, practical mentality. I believe that when they can't do anymore of what they're doing now, they'll turn around and do something else.

China's Basic Energy Law to be Outlined by Year End

The first draft of China's first energy law, which will shape the country's future energy policies, will be outlined before the end of the year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Energy Mercantilism on the March

Just over a year ago I wrote about the New Energy Mercantilism, the set of geopolitical phenomena emerging as nations realize that, in the future, there will not be enough energy to go around to sustain projected demand. A market-economy solves this problem by increasing the price of energy until demand inelasticity is overcome and the energy is allocated to where the market says it is most valuable. Mercantilism, rather than trying to distribute shares of the pie more efficiently, aims to lock down as large a share of the pie as possible for your own needs.

A year later, it is clear that mercantilism is on the march.

Energy-hungry China breaks ground in Middle East

The Chinese demining mission in Lebanon is a small sign of Beijing's rapidly expanding engagement in the Middle East, where its voracious quest for secure energy supplies in the 21st century has sharpened its interest in regional stability.

OECD Report on Russia's Energy Sector Bad News for EU

Russia's economic boom and the burgeoning power of its energy sector will become increasingly hard to sustain unless it takes dramatic steps, an OECD report forecasts. It could mean bad news for the energy-hungry EU.

Malaysia: Asia Must Commit To A Proper Sustainable Energy Management Strategy: "We hope to see visionary aspirations such as the planned Trans-Asean Gas Pipeline and The Asean Power Grid becoming a reality in the near future"

Venezuela’s Oil-Based Economy. Everything you wanted to know about Venezuelan oil but were afraid to ask.

Beijing Metro on track to be world's biggest. And Luxury car sales booming in China.

Oilman: U.S. Must Find Alternative Fuel Sources

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens told Little Rock business leaders Monday that the world has reached peak oil production and the United States, in particular, needs to find alternative sources of fuel.

Pickens said the United States uses 20 percent of the oil in the world, but has less than 5 percent of the oil supply. He said the world's supply of oil is diminishing quickly and could likely run out in the next 30 to 40 years if people don't make adjustments in their oil consumption.

ASPO to hold key oil conference in Cork

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) is to hold its sixth International Conference in UCC in Cork in September 2007. The conference will be sponsored by NTR.

Peak oil - the South will rise again: But will the best or the worst of Dixie win out?

Building a Resilient and Equitable Bay Area

This is the Executive Summary of an ground-breaking new policy paper released by a coalition of Bay Area organizations promoting localization as a response to energy, climate, and social justice challenges.

Contango Lessons

Various explanations have been put forward to explain the current contango in crude oil markets. Advocates of the peak oil hypothesis consider that the current transition from backwardation to contango is due to a greater acceptance by market participants of peak oil. Simplifying greatly, peak oil theory predicts that oil production will reach a peak some time in the very new future after which production would start to decline. In face of an expected growth in global demand, this implies that oil prices for future delivery should rise faster than prompt prices. This would imply a contango structure with the contango widening at the later segments of the forward curve as impending shortages become more acute ahead in the future. However, this implication is not supported by the data: the term structure of futures contracts for long term maturities is in backwardation and the volume of outstanding contracts is relatively low which indicates that investors place little weight on peak oil predictions. After all, if market participants adhere to the view of peak oil, then they would have the opportunity to make large profits by buying the longest maturity crude oil futures contract that the market allows.

Alaska to cut Point Thomson oil leases

JUNEAU, Alaska - Exxon Mobil Corp. is reviewing its legal options in the wake of Alaska's decision to strip it and other oil companies of their leases in the North Slope's Point Thomson oil and gas field.

The state said Monday it was revoking the leases after finding Exxon Mobil failed to come up with a viable plan for developing the field's vast reserves.

Just the gift for the peak oiler on your list. From Hammacher Schlemmer, of course: The World's Smallest Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

It comes with its own solar-powered fueling station.

Refueling takes 10 minutes and the car can run in a straight line for thre e minutes and can travel up to 325' on a full tank.

325' on a full tank?  Three minutes?  I can walk faster then that.  It looks cool, but I think the novelty would where out fast with the kids on the third recharge - and I am guessing the 10 minutes is in ideal conditions.

My question is, could you walk faster than that if you stood an appropriate 1" high?  Or would you hop a lift?

I'm not sold on Hydrogen, per se.  But the playing field should be level and fair, in any case.

Runs on hydrogen, the most abundant fuel in the universe!!!  I love that kinda talk.  If only it were that simple...
Not a bad price for a little techno-toy, though.  And a lifetime guarantee to boot!  I'm sure they'll replace it in 25 years no problemo.
"most abundant fuel"

When anyone tells you this, say "It's an Element. It isn't Fuel until it's in your tank and you can keep it there."

It's a fuel when it's in the chemical form H2. There are a lot of H atoms kicking around the neighborhood, but precious few H2 molecules!
It is sold as an educational toy but
The fueling station is powered by a solar panel or two AA batteries.
It would have a more powerful educational message if it ran only on the solar panel.
What about people who take night classes?!?!

I believe it would be a powerful educational toy if it ran on solar power or a potato.

The decline in oil exports, voluntary or involuntary?

Based on my analysis of Khebab's HL work, in January I predicted that net oil exports would fall much faster than world oil production falls.  Just about every piece of data that I am aware of is pointing toward lower oil exports worldwide.

The recurring question is whether the decline in oil exports is voluntary due to reduced demand or involuntary due to declining production.  

I of course believe that the decline in exports is completely or almost completely involuntary and due to declining production.

Just remember that when the Saudis first announced their "voluntary" cut in production back in the spring, they said that they could not find buyers for all of their oil--even their light, sweet oil--when light, sweet was going for $70 plus in the US.  Also note that the recent "decline" in oil prices brought us down to about 50% higher than the previous nominal peak.

Furthermore, the Saudis promised to increase production after the hurricanes, and they were unable to deliver, thus my contention that the new "swing" producer is the release of oil and petroleum products from emergency reserves.

I did a little chart a few weeks ago that showed the various combinations of production and oil price that would result in $One million per year in cash flow (after a 20% royalty, but before operating costs).  Matt Simmons is predicting $200 oil in 2010, in constant 2005 dollars.  If he is right, a 17 bpd oil well will generate about $One milllion per year, before operating costs, or 1.7 bpd = $100,000 per year.  The cash flows that would be headed to the producers and exporters would be incredible, which will encourage consumption in the exporting countries, even as their production falls.

If memory serves, each American uses the energy equivalent of about 65 barrels of oil (BOE) per year (from all energy sources).  So, a family of four would be 260 BOE per year, at current rates of consumption.  For comparison purposes, if this were all priced in "Simmons 2010 oil dollars" a family of four would have to pay about $1,000 per week, to buy  260 barrels of oil per year.

As we know, price is where consumption meets supply.  IMO, the new reality is a series of auctions for declining net oil exports, and I think that net export capacity is going to decline at a breathtaking rate.

As I have been saying for some time, implement ELP, i.e., Cut thy spending and get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy.


Do us newbies a favor an redifine ELP or link to a definition.


I forgot to say please.

As I recall, Economize, Localize, Produce.  (Hope I got it right.)
Economize--try to adjust your lifestyle so that you can live on 50% of your current income.

Localize--try to reduce the distance between home (in smaller, more energy efficient housing) and work to as close to zero as possible and/or commute to work using mass transit.

Produce--try to become a provider of essential goods and/or services.  If nothing else, look into starting a permaculture garden.  

Regarding Peak Oil/Peak Exports, either I'm wrong (based on work done by Hubbert/Deffeyes, et al), or Yergin is wrong.

If I am wrong, you will have a lower stress way of life, less debt and more money in the bank.

If Yergin is wrong. . .

But WT, this is just too simple! Even the hoi-polloi can understand it!

Whereas reading TOD forums shows us that "experts" have to complicate things beyond belief in order to be believable.


The degree to which experts get involved in discussion is directly proportional to the confusion in the general pop.

Hence, paralysis.

Hence, thank jeebus for the clarity of writers like WT.

[Rethin: HEAR THAT?]

Hi WT,


This is great and all but what if your significant other is dead set against any self imposed power-down, and you also have kids? :(




Hand her printouts from the Housing Bubble Blog.  

Thanks WT.
Previously, I have introduced ELP with a thought experiment, to-wit, assume that on 1/1/07 you knew with certainty that your income would drop by 50% and that gasoline prices would be in the $6 to $8 range.  What changes would you make in your lifestyle?

I have also previously described how downscaling your lifestyle gives you a competitive advantage as it becomes more apparent that a lot of industries are facing labor surpluses, i.e., you can volunteer for a wage cut.

I have basically been outlining the survival techniques that I used to keep feeding my family from 1986 to 1989.  After the 1986 oil price crash, I took a job in Dallas, with a 50% pay cut.  In early 1989, when I hadn't found a lot of oil, and oil prices still weren't too high, I volunteered for a 50% pay cut, with a stipulation that I would receive equity ownership in any oil fields I found.  I anticipated that layoffs were coming, and I moved myself from the most expensive employee to the least expensive employee.  As I expected, half of the staff was laid off (but not me!).  It's kind of cold blooded, but feeding my family comes first.  In any case, from early 1986 to 1989, my income dropped by 75%.,  

But then in late 1989, I found a field that had peak production of over 1,000 bpd at a depth of 2,000' (tiny by world standards, but pretty impressive for West Central Texas).  I finished 1990 with my income five times higher than 1986.  Life, as they say, is a roller coaster.

In any case, regarding ELP,  I know of what I speak.


Usually when I tell non-oil types and the new hands coming in the oilfield  about 1986 they look at me like I'm nuts.  I may be, but that is beside the point.  The depression that hit the US oil industry was met by the media with cheers at the time.  The oil issue was "solved" for all time.  Back then I was working on rigs during days on and installing solar systems on days off.  Both industries disappeared instantly.  

The same day that I was laid off, my wife told me she was pregnant.   Fortunately, I had computer skills to parley at the time and went to work for a company that built an essential component for power generators.    It didn't take me long to figure that at some point in the future that the gas turbines would finally eat the "bubble" up some day.  Gas Turbines were about the only capacity being added.

I remember for a long time thinking I was like a stranger in a strange land, knowing the inevitable was going to happen but found it pointless to try to explain it.  Now I still wonder if you are doing someone a favor by explaining  Peak Oil to them.  Once they have their "oh my god" moment, it is up to them to  follow their better judgement.  It will suck being right about this.

Tales of the boom. . .

I circulated a memo in early 2000, to the effect that 2000 was the inflection point for the Three P's:  Prospects; Product and Personnel.  I predicted that we were going to see strong inflationary pressures in all three sectors.  

A friend of mine in Midland, who owns a mud company, said that he hired a guy with a high school degree and trained him as a mud man.   After the guy had six months experience, he was hired by another company for $75,000.  

That kid probably knows how to make a mud check but he is going to cost way more than $75 k after he fucks the mud up a few times.  My guess, a couple of million easy the first time he sticks pipe.  There is nothing like loss of well bore,drillstring/BHA to put on a mud engineers' resume.  Of course they'll figure a way out of responsibility.

That is what happens in this drilling environment with inexperienced people in the field  and inexperience people owning the companies.  The warm body syndrome.  Tell your friend-I feel his pain.

My experience of 1986 was very similar. At one point I was a valued member of society; the next minute I was the cause of a mini-recession since my industry had mislead everyone about future prospects and bid up the price of houses and everything else (we gave briefings to the politicians. They overnight "discovered" and announced future prospects and reserves that we couldn't even imagine on the best of bar nights).

What was even harder to deal with was that it was not just my firm that was heading toward commercial extinction but also all of the other firms in the offshore sector. Having a rolodex full of contacts (how quaint that sounds) was no help at all when all of those contacts were also out of work.

That experience was a shock that I will never outgrow or overcome. Two colleagues took their own lives and I don't know many who rode it out easily. The majority of folks in North America have no understanding at all of the downside of PO or what that experience will truly be like. WT may lay it out but folks will not undertstand it until it hits and then it will be way too late.
Two colleagues took their own lives

No. The Invisible Hand pushed them over the edge.
It's your basic non-survival of the "economically" unfit. Thank you Adam Smith.

Look on the bright side - you'll also be the goat for peak oil and you   already know what it feels like.  So your coping mechanism is already in place.

Yes, there were suicides, divorces, alcoholism, drug addiction, you name it, after 1986. Now the same thing is happening while things are ball to the walls.  The first thing I ask a trainee is "Are you sure you want to be in this business?"  The money always wins though.

The most inventive suicide that I heard about back in 1986 was a guy who rented a plane in Lafayette, Louisiana and pointed it due south until he ran out of fuel and crashed into the Gulf.  

"That experience was a shock that I will never outgrow or overcome."

In my first year of college I met a very nice gentleman with a PhD in Geology.  He was working at the university on the weekends for a friend of his who happened to be a former school teacher.  He told me he lost his job as an oil geologist in the 80s and remade himself into a high school science teacher.  I got to know him over the next year as a good-hearted man intensely dedicated to his students.  He was constantly striving to increase his knowledge base by attending countless workshops and seminars for science teachers.

One weekend this normally cheerful guy seemed despondent.  When queried, he explained that he had lost his teaching job.  With his PhD and teaching experience he was on the highest pay track and the school district wanted to hire someone just out of college to save money.

He couldn't find another position and the last time I saw him he was depressed and emaciated working at a Safeway bakery for $6 an hour, unable to pay his son's tuition and his wife preparing to leave him.  It was heart breaking.  I will never forget it.  It still haunts me and has been one of many life experiences that taught me the sad truth of our society that so many workers are nothing more than a means to an end.

BOP is absolutely correct.  Very few people have any real concept of just how far down the economic ladder they can fall and this time the safety net below might completely unravel.  

I was like a stranger in a strange land, knowing the inevitable was going to happen but found it pointless to try to explain it.

Line of the day!

My 1986 experience was standing watching the logging if a well at Saratoga West Field in Hardin County when I heard from the Geologist that the price fro Gulf Coast Sweet had dropped from $29.00 to $12.00 that day. The operator completed the well-I had abot 3.5% NRI in override and minerals, and it IP at 300 bbls a day. Aweek later it sanded up, and it was never recompleted, the operator sold the wells and now its plugged.    Oh well, I was rich for a week, one of a number of times.
  For a couple of more years I hung on, and times just got skinnier. I ended up working for an asshole junkie  theif who proceeded to cheat me out of my override on a 2,000 acre lease block that ended up making 8 pretty good wells. He "oversold" all his interests and the leases are still in a lawsuit. But, he got his comeuppance. Someone threw him off the roof of a hotel and he ended up a parapalegic. Then his house in Sugarland had a mysterious fire and he burned alive in 1999. His wife didn't even have a funeral for him, and if I new where his grave was I'd go drive a stake through his chest and piss on it. But, I'd probably have to stand in line.
   Now I'm back in the oil business and he's dead. Isn't life wonderful? The moral is get away from thieves as quickly as possible, if they steal from their investors they'll steal from you. I'd rather pick up cans along a highway than ever work for another cheap theif.
re; 'voluntary export reductions'..

From "Say Anything" - Cameron Crowe

Lloyd Dobler: I got a question. If you guys know so much about women, how come you're here at like the Gas 'n' Sip on a Saturday night completely alone drinking beers, no women anywhere?

Joe: By choice, man.

The auctions are underway, of course.  The poorest nations and people drop out first, allowing the wealthy to continue their gluttony for the time being.

As vtpeaknik posted to TODE on Saturday, the poorest nations are facing post-peak problems already:

The impact of today's energy crunch on the poor is plain in rich nations such as America: Expensive gasoline and soaring heating bills make a hard life harder. In impoverished countries such as Guinea, where per capita income is just $370 a year and surging gasoline prices have helped spark bloody riots, the energy shock has become a matter of life and death.

Global demand for oil has soared in recent years, pushing international prices to record levels. Despite a recent decline, a barrel of crude still costs about double what it did three years ago.
While robust economies like America and China are withstanding the shock, the poorest countries aren't. Increasingly they can't afford to slake their citizens' thirst for petroleum -- breeding another form of energy insecurity. The pressure threatens to undermine economies and sow domestic strife, further unsettling shaky regions and presenting fresh worries for policy makers in the West. In addition to Guinea, Nepal, Yemen, Iraq and Indonesia all have been rocked by fuel protests in the past two years.

As a NOGE (non-oilman, geologist, engineer)--I thought an acronym was needed--I want you to know I look forward to your posts. I am in the medical field and discovered Peek Oil after Matt Simmons' book (and Matt Savinars' site).  I even went to Boston for the ASPO conference.  I'm trying to spread the word in the various hospitals where I work and use your info frequently (along with the other brilliant individuals here).  As a "layman" I appreciate your clarity.  Keep it up and thanks.

If you want to connect with others dealing with how peak oil will affect healthcare, get in touch. We'll send info and papers.


MOST DEFINITELY!!! I was seriously thinking of developing a powerpoint presentation for my state and national conferences.  Perhaps we can split the work and come up with "The" definitive info on how peak oil will impact health care, at least in the US. Please email me.
PLEASE BOTH you and danb - post your efforts here at TOD if possible.

I would love it if someone(s) in your position put together this type of info so someone(s) like me can present it to our own profoundly local and small-town hospital/clinic staffs.

I had the local school district's Chief of Physical Plant (heating etc) tell me peak oil is "not something I would lose sleep over"... which explains why someone like me does lose sleep over it - the jerks elected/appointed and paid to be paying attention are not doing it.

They seem to think this is just an academic issue for us Ivory Tower types.  

Dan is working on something right now that my wife (a physician) and I can share with the head of our county's public health dept. who we will meet with over dinner next week.  

Perhaps it can be used more widely.

There's also the site:


and I interviewed Dan here:


Thanks a lot Jason - both bookmarked.

I wonder if anyone has a good source for presentation materials aimed at local municipal utility managers and another for the local business leaders (e.g. chamber of commerce).  This stuff may have been posted here before and I may have missed it...

Again, thanks for the info.  

I'll need your email address, which I cannnot find on TOD. Mine is listed if you want to contact me first.


My hope is that those advocating for peak oil medicine strategies include aspects of lifestyle prevention that we should have been practicing all along.  

I've been thinking about posting some tentative guidelines on prevention strategies on TOD for debate and discussion purposes but I have no idea how far this topic has already progressed in peak oil circles.

I would like to see a focus on nutrition as it relates to integrative medicine.  There is a whole body of research supporting dietary methods for minimizing the ravaging effects of inflammation, oxidative stress, advanced glycated end products, heavy metal and other contaminant exposure, etc.  

IMO, the priority should be one of best possible nutrition and minimal drug dependency instead of the current model of countering poor food choices with polypharmacy.  A good case in point where a change in exercise and diet should have been the first (and in this case only) recommendation is the recent absurdity of the lead author of a report presented at the annual American Heart Association meeting calling for the use of statins in young children to counter the increase in atherosclerosis in this age group.

One of the problems, I think, is that our understanding of human nutrition is completely skewed by history and an accompanying unwillingness to consider that our 'staple' foods are completely unsuitable for us. I'm talking the application of evolutionary principles to nutrition, i.e. the Paleo diet. I know from personal experience that going Paleo cured me of a condition that was supposed to be a) uncurable and b) unrelated to diet. Pffft!

As long as we keep pushing the Neolithic nutrition paradigm ('Cereals are good for you! Eat several helpings a day!), there will never be any really effective link between nutrition and the prevention of chronic disease.

But this is not the place to argue this. If anyone is intrigued by this, go to www.thepaleodiet.com and look at Loren Cordain's published research, in particular, 'Cereal Grains: Humanity's Two-edged Sword.'

You'll never eat that stuff again... well, unless it's been turned into beer first...

I agree there is some very important things we can learn from evolutionary biology as it relates diet.  I also think the paleo diet is superior to the typical American diet.  In addition, you are correct in pointing out the danger of overconsumption of refined grains as they contribute to problems associated with A.G.E. production, etc.

That all being said, it is absolutely incorrect to suggest that there is no link between diet and chronic disease. There is ample peer-reviewed scientific evidence supporting the link.

Any diet, including Paleo, will generate oxidative stress and inflammation to some extent.  It is part of normal cellular metabolic pathways and the primary reason we have enzymes such as super oxide dismutase and glutathione.  There are many phytochemicals in foods that are equally effective.  It may be useful to think of the digestive system as a bioreactor of sorts and different dietary choices either promote or retard free radical damage.

Integrative and Preventive Medicine as practiced and researched by MDs, DOs, and PhDs has made tremendous strides in the last 10 years or so.  You shouldn't be in too much of a rush to discount the remarkable findings that been made over that period.  If you are interesting in understanding the basics, Dr. Andrew Weil's book Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition (2000) is a good basic primer for the layperson, and it would likely complement your paleo diet.  

Good Health, southpaw - TOD brain doc ;-)

I am a layman Christian.  I have knowledge that other Christians in my chosen denomination  already follow, but do not know the half of what I know as a poster, and reader of TOD and other pages and blogs.  But my Pastor had a sermon all about the . end of times .  The point he was making was for Christians, but it translates to everyone else.  When you die is it all over for you, you can not change anything else.  While you are still living you can influence with your actions and with your in-actions a lot more than you think you can.

 I practice the 2 sets of the three R's .. First set.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.   The second set.  Revelation, Revolution and Retailation.  Laughs... the second set is more of a joke so try not to get bent out of shape.  but The last book of the Bible does not say what most people think it does and Thomas Jefferson said we needed a revolution every 20 years to keep our country fresh and free of the nasty things that gov't can bring us. and I practice a martial arts style that gives me very fast and very strong skills at beating anyone that wishes to cause me harm or others.  I practice not hurting others , but stopping them from hurting anyone else. I can take the pain and hits that an enemy wants to dish out to me, but I will protect everyone I am near from the bad guys of this world.  I can reach anything within 9 feet of my core in any direction when I have my 6 foot iron stave  on me.  If I get the film of me walking with it on my head from the kids that filmed me doing so, I'll post a link to it.  But I do try to practice to some extent both sets of the 3 R's.  

Keep on hoping and praying for a great outcome to the changes in our world, but prepare for the worst and know that if it shows up at your door you can handle it.  If the worst never happens you have cream to make ice cream out of and have a party with, but if it does show up, you will not get caught off guard and die for it, or worse yet, those you love die for it first and you get to watch them go before you do.

 Charles E. Owens Jr.

This is a post from a few days ago by SamuM.  I'd intended on reposting it to the next days' drumbeat because it'd gotten buried down the thread, but that didn't happen so here it is.  I think it'd be a swift idea to introduce one or two of these topics into a thread each day, collect the data, and have some volunteer organize the data into something coherent that can be put into some sort of FYI page.  Cross referencing to TOD main articles (i.e. Stuart, Khebab, et al) and others (i.e. ASPO, etc).

[new] SamuM on Friday November 24, 2006 at 4:45 AM EST Comments top
Great post.

We have a small group locally in Finland, who are facing the exact same issues as everybody else talking about PO:

How to deal with the counter arguments (and for us: also how to learn from them).

For our own use, we've gathered an initial 'Frequent Counter Arguments' or FCA:

Here is a quick draft / summary. It can and should be extended.

Also, all counter arguments should be analysed based on proven information and disproved, IF possible. If it can't be disproved, it may have some validity (even if only partial). We try to take an analytical approach.

If somebody knows already of a similar list in one place with proper counter arguments, using graphs for illustration and calculations from proven data, we'd sure be glad to read it.

We've seen many pages dealing with one or more of the below, sometimes using data or even helpful illustrations, but not a single place, that does it all: - all counter arguments in logical order - disproof against each counter argument (if possible) - ... using proven data and calculations - with illustrations to show the magnitude and help people understand - all in clear, concise English. Easy for anybody to understand - no shouting, no blaming, no doom scenarios (these can't be proven)
We think it would be immensely useful. At least in the climate/culture we face here locally.

Frequent Counter Arguments against Peak Oil and it's significance

0. How come it's not all over the front page - it can't be true
- i.e. 'crackpot conspiracy' argument

1. Oil is a renewable resource, hence it will not run out (ever)
- i.e. 'abiotic oil' argument

2. Estimates about the timing of Peak are wrong, because:

2.1. There's more oil than pessimists (or even optimists like IEA or CERA) claim. Hence, PO is at least 50+ years away - with plenty of time to find alternative sources for all uses of oil.
- i.e. 'cornucopia' argument

2.2. Oil peaking or reserves/resources estimates are inaccurate and cannot be trusted, because there is such a huge range of variance in the reserve & peaking estimates between various sources. Hence, PO is probably just an inaccurate event some time in the future, which is likely to be very far into the future.
- i.e. 'estimation is inaccurate' argument

2.3. People in the PO community are untrustworthy and they're estimates cannot be trusted. Either because they've been wrong before on the date of peaking or because they have a hidden agenda.
- i.e. 'ad hominem' argument

2.4. Technology of prospecting, drilling, recovery and refinement is advancing so rapidly, that we will find more, get more out of what we find and even improve recovery of the wells already in decline. Hence, all of this combined will just push the peak so much further into the future that we have again enough time to switch to alternatives.
- i.e. 'oil technology will fix it' argument

3. Free market mechanism of supply and demand will prevent oil from becoming a critical scarce resource. When the demand is too high for the supply to meet, prices will rise so high that alternatives become profitable to be produced or even invented. Hence, any long enough supply side slump will cause alternative energy source supply and new invention to substitute the amount of oil market is demanding.
- i.e. 'market will fix it (overnight)' argument

4. Alternative energy sources are will replace oil (continuation from 3)
- i.e. 'easy replacement' argument

4.1. Hydrogen cells will be in every car
- i.e. 'hydrogen revolution' argument

4.2. We can grow bio-diesel to substitute for oil
- i.e. 'we'll just grow the alternatives' argument

4.3. We can process ethanol (out of farm produce or food) as a substitute
- i.e. 'we'll just process the alternative fuels' argument

4.4. We'll make oil from coal
- i.e. 'Fischer-Tropsch' argument

4.5. We'll make oil from (natural) gas or use gas as a substitute
- i.e. 'we'll use gas - plenty of it' argument

4.6. Electricity will replace oil - it's cleaner too (no electricity source specified)
- i.e. 'we'll switch to batteries and electric motors' argument

4.7. Solar energy is the future
- i.e. 'more light arrives on earth every day than we can use' argument

4.8. Wind energy is the future
- i.e. 'if we could harness all the winds...' argument

4.9. Biomass (burning) is the future
- i.e. 'wood pellets, felt, etc.' argument

4.10. Unconventional oil of Venezuela and Canada will meet our needs
- i.e. 'tar sands and oil shale' argument

4.11. We'll build more nuclear energy power plants (fission)
- i.e. 'we'll build hundreds of new fission power plants' argument

4.12. We'll just use hydrogen nuclear energy (fusion)
- i.e. 'isn't the ITER almost ready and it provides endless amounts of clean energy' argument

4.13. Geothermal energy is plentiful
- i.e. 'we'll at least heat our houses using geo-energy' argument

4.14. Tidal wave energy is the future
- i.e. 'we could just tap into all those wave' argument

4.1x. New source of energy X will solve it - somebody will invent something
- i.e. 'energy out of nothing' argument

5. We will conserve as much energy as the oil production depletes. We can do this easily, while national and global economy still keeps growing healthily and climate becomes greener (less CO2 and methane to air). We can do this without big, systemic and significant change to our culture or economy.
- i.e. 'business almost as usual' argument

6. Oil not used directly to energy production (e.g. fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, medicine, etc.) will be replaced by synthetic/biological sources, or completely new materials from materials science.
- i.e. 'technology will solve the raw material problem' argument

PS Just to make sure people understand we are not trying to re-invent the wheel. There's plenty of books, ASPO slides, presentations, videos, web sites and articles about this, but it's spread all over and when put together it is generally way too much for any single individual to dive into. If we want more people to understand this, we need clear, understandable and approachable list of counter arguments with data against them. This really needs a Wiki page, if it doesn't exist already.
[ Reply to This ]

We have a small group locally in Finland, who are facing the exact same issues as everybody else talking about PO:

How to deal with the counter arguments (and for us: also how to learn from them).

I find the implied logic in this sentences quite shocking. So we have to "deal" with someone's arguments? What does "deal" mean? Are we supposed to preposition the PO phenomenon as "insolutable" problem and just stand there and defend it by "debunking" each and every argument?

Yes we have to deal with people's counter arguments, no matter how ill informed they might be.

Strange as it might seem to some on this forum, Peak Oil is the "foreign" idea trying to be interjected into the "norm" of ideas in the world most people live in.  Peak Oil (or I should say the "suddeness of Peak Oil") in relation to our lives is the new idea which must be proven.  Heck even on these forums there is a wide range of disagreement on the "when" of Peak Oil.  Was it 2005?  Will it be 2010?  Or maybe 2020.  The opinions range within this community, and yet we expect someone who has just woken up to even the possibility that this may be an issue, to just accept our ever so "enlightened" view of the world.

For decades most poeple have operated under the assumption that oil was just present and readily available.  That was true then, and the thinking pretty much stopped there.  Oil is viewed by most people as a resource which is for practical purposes infinite.

The reality, that slowly people are waking up to is that it is not.  Perhaps this is an exaggeration, but realizing the implications of oil on our way life is pretty much on the same level as realizing you just bought your dream house, only to find that foundation is wrecked and all those dreams are going to have be seriously revised.  The media and even our very upbringing and culture has been feeding us the sales pitch of the American Dream, places like TOD are the Building Inspector pointing out the problems in your dream.

The arguments against the concept of Peak Oil are present and must be addressed.  Some of these arguments are not completely insane as some here would like to think.

The classic one that people just love to dsimiss with an almost haughty attitude on this forum is "Technology will save us".

Most people believe technology will save us!  And why not?  Technology has solved so many other problems.  The grounds of their argument are not completely ill founded.  It is based on observation (granted that observation may be partial or even skewed but it is observation all the same).  People have seen us conquer the skies, reach the moon, cure cancers, compute massive equations in seconds, create new and wonderous materials, and dozens upon dozens of other innovations.  All this was done with technology.  Technology has a pretty good track record when you really look at it, and it may be that technology finds a way "around" Peak Oil yet.

The argument of "Technology will save us" is not as ill founded as many here would like to make it be.  The trick however is from a PO stand point is to explain to people that putting all your eggs in one basket is a foolhearty mistake.  What if technology fails to save us?  What are the consequences?  Even if technology can save us from a return to a stone age existance, who is to say that technology will save this precise way of life?  Those are the counter points that need to be addressed.

The whole frame in which this is pushing the argument is ridiculous. A strawman of a more distinguished kind.

Is the PO phenomenon real or not? Definately is or will be, there are too few people that will start disputing that. You can argue when, not if.

Is technology going to play some part in mitigating it. Definately will be. You can argue how much, not if.

Most of the arguments in the list are completely plausible arguments. I think that especially electrifying the transportation and nuclear energy will play a greater role, once we say goodbye to some of our temporary delusions (like ethanol, or to a lesser extent wind).

The initial setup was intended for us to "refute", or say YES or NO, to each separate argument. This is ridiculous and is leading the argument in a totally wrong direction. Definately each of the items listed will play a certain role. And if you start to argue that all of them together will not be enough I will start to argue that you are dreaming too much. The truth is that we don't know if they will be enough, especially once you add conservation. We don't know how things will evolve and scale 30 years from now. We only know that things will evolve and scale in the years to come. The real argument is not if the alternatives are plausible. The real argument is which alternatives are most plausible. And possibly when is the right time to start implementing them ("now" looks OK, IMO). Putting the argument in that yes-no context is plainly stupid.

I'm not exactly disagreeing with you, hence my own stance of how much will technology save some portion of this population, and lifestyle.

But then I'm not an unbeliever of Peak Oil.  The general masses on the other hand are (whether they are actively aware of it or not).  They operate under the assumption that oil is just there(or at least have until recently).  They've never reached the stage of thought of "is Oil a depletable resource?" (at least not in a tangible, non-abstract way).

So to them, talking about Peak Oil is first and foremost a Yes or no issue.  Is Peak Oil even real?  

Once that is answered the follow up questions usually come more quickly, which is where the "greys" of when, how much, which, most and least and all the other things which commonly get debated here on TOD kick in.  Unfortunately for many people the answers don't come as quickly or are so far beyond the bounds of what they are willing to accept, that this frustrates most people into either ignoring the problem (mild denial), or fighting the conclusion (active denial).

LevinK wrote about SamuM's call for a Wiki: "..The real argument is not if the alternatives are plausible. The real argument is which alternatives are most plausible. And possibly when is the right time to start implementing them ("now" looks OK, IMO). Putting the argument in that yes-no context is plainly stupid..."

Word. Let nobody think we're certain of very much at all, and use a Wiki as a tool to lay out what we can be fairly sure of - oil aint abiotic because.., H is 20yrs maybe because.., ethanol looks limited because.. etc.

There is of course WIkipedia, which has PO pages and active debate on their content. Guess i'm a republican, cos in my ideal wiki/knowledge base only a 'Senate' of proven knowledge builders should be able to alter pages.

Start with half a dozen, work up to scores or even hundreds of editors if manageable. Make it transperant, discussable for all and sundry, but editable only to proven angels. Doesn't mean have to toe any line, if you can help Editor A see their error via discussion threads & without flame wars then you've just nominated yourself as a knowledge builder.

Love this paragraph - "The reality, that slowly people are waking up to is that <oil> is not <infinite>.  Perhaps this is an exaggeration, but realizing the implications of oil on our way life is pretty much on the same level as realizing you just bought your dream house, only to find that foundation is wrecked and all those dreams are going to have be seriously revised.  The media and even our very upbringing and culture has been feeding us the sales pitch of the American Dream, places like TOD are the Building Inspector pointing out the problems in your dream."

Reminds me of an allegory Daniel Quinn uses in the documentary film What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire.  He says our culture is like people living in a brick building, who blithely remove 200 bricks a day from the ground floor, in order to build ever more floors above.  This works fine for awhile...  

That was in specific reference to the 200 or so species we drive into extinction each day, but works as well for how we are thus far dealing with peak oil, global warming, peak food, aquifer depletion, soil degradation and loss ...

WAWTG is a Sundance entrant.  I got to see it at a fundraising event recently.

From the website: "A middle class white guy comes to grips with Peak Oil, Climate Change, Mass Extinction, Population Overshoot and the demise of the American Lifestyle."

Keep your eyes open for it in 2007.

our culture is like people living in a brick building, who blithely remove 200 bricks a day from the ground floor, in order to build ever more floors above.  This works fine for awhile...

Hey, there's a game like that, using wodden blocks.  Great fun, especially when the tower collapses!   I forget what it is called.

Laughs again and again.

You see where I have been for about 2 years now.  I am a Christian, I have been seeing peak oil for decades, It has been out there for a while, Not as "Peak Oil" but as, we have a finite energy base and we are using it fast.  I can't tell you about Christ without getting the same reactions of me telling you about Peak Oil.  The two topics get the same reactions.  

I care enough to witness my Christian faith.  I care enough to act on my Christian faith that Peak Oil is happening and is going to happen.  God did not say go out and rape the land and rip it up till there is nothing left then go hunt down a new earth and do it again.  My faith that it will all come out in the wash is still intact.  In the END when we are ALL dead the END will let us know.  I think that is under a Christian God and you might think differently so what,  In the end we are both dead and can not change anything.  

 While I am living I am letting people know that the times are changing and just look around you and see the spring in the fall air, the second set of leafs falling a second time in a year's course.

 More power to you and letting people know that yesteryear was the last of it's kind.


"did not say go out and rape the land and rip it up till there is nothing left then go hunt down a new earth and do it again."

ACtually he did say that, sort of. Read the Old Testament. It is really a very good manual on how to wage a scorched earth style resource war. And rape was exactly what God instructed his followers to do.

An example rom Judges 21:10-24 NLT, lots more where this came from:

So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children.  "This is what you are to do," they said. "Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin."  Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives.  But there were not enough women for all of them.  The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel.  So the Israelite leaders asked, "How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead?  There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever.  But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God's curse."

    Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem.  They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, "Go and hide in the vineyards.  When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife!  And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, 'Please be understanding.  Let them have your daughters, for we didn't find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'"  So the men of Benjamin did as they were told.  They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance.  Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them.  So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes.

"A man once told me to walk with the Lord. I'd rather walk with the bases loaded." -Ken Singleton
Will you examine the Deity's morals and disposition and conduct a little further? And will you remember that in the Sunday school the little children are urged to love the Almighty, and honor him, and praise him, and make him their model and try to be as like him as they can? Read:

      1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
      2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people....
      7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
      8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
      9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
      10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
      11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
      12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
      13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
      14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
      15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
      16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.
      17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
      18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
      19 And do ye abide without the camp seven days: whosoever hath killed any person, and whosoever hath touched any slain, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day.
      20 And purify all your raiment, and all that is made of skins, and all work of goats' hair, and all things made of wood.
      21 And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord commanded Moses....
      25 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
      26 Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation:
      27 And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation:
      28 And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle....
      31 And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.
      32 And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep,
      33 And threescore and twelve thousand beeves,
      34 And threescore and one thousand asses,
      35 And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of woman that had not known man by lying with him....
      40 And the persons were sixteen thousand; of which the Lord's tribute was thirty and two persons.
      41 And Moses gave the tribute, which was the Lord's heave offering, unto Eleazar the priest, as the Lord commanded Moses....
      47 Even of the children of Israel's half, Moses took one portion of fifty, both of man and of beast, and gave them unto the Levites, which kept the charge of the tabernacle of the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.

      10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it....
      13 And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
      14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.
      15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
      16 But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

The Biblical law says: "Thou shalt not kill."

The law of God, planted in the heart of man at his birth, says: "Thou shalt kill."

The chapter I have quoted shows you that the book-statute is once more a failure. It cannot set aside the more powerful law of nature.

According to the belief of these people, it was God himself who said: "Thou shalt not kill."

Then it is plain that he cannot keep his own commandments.

He killed all those people -- every male.

They had offended the Deity in some way. We know what the offense was, without looking; that is to say, we know it was a trifle; some small thing that no one but a god would attach any importance to. It is more than likely that a Midianite had been duplicating the conduct of one Onan, who was commanded to "go into his brother's wife" -- which he did; but instead of finishing, "he spilled it on the ground." The Lord slew Onan for that, for the lord could never abide indelicacy. The Lord slew Onan, and to this day the Christian world cannot understand why he stopped with Onan, instead of slaying all the inhabitants for three hundred miles around -- they being innocent of offense, and therefore the very ones he would usually slay. For that had always been his idea of fair dealing. If he had had a motto, it would have read, "Let no innocent person escape." You remember what he did in the time of the flood. There were multitudes and multitudes of tiny little children, and he knew they had never done him any harm; but their relations had, and that was enough for him: he saw the waters rise toward their screaming lips, he saw the wild terror in their eyes, he saw that agony of appeal in the mothers' faces which would have touched any heart but his, but he was after the guiltless particularly, than he drowned those poor little chaps

Mark Twain

The Old Testement of wiping canaan off the map was applying to the tribes of isreal at the time. The Gentiles, us, are following Christ's lead.  and I am sure you can find out of context 50 million things that the Church has done that look bad, are bad and Christ never did say go out and do.  I am a Christian But I go to a Lutheran thinking chruch, Luther never wanted a church named after him, he wanted the church of his day to change their bad practices and they wanted to rule the world.  They still do.  IT never was about ruling on earth.  

The World is failing for reasons most of them totally beyond the thinking of the general population.  

All I know is that as soon as I am gone, my job will be over with.  But till I am gone I will do my job.  I can not convince you that the sun will come up in the morning if you do not want to listen to me.  That is not my job, my job is to love my fellow man, and tell them where my joy of living comes from.

If you want to quote chapter and verse as to why you think GOD is a bad apple, then I have to ask, Do you believe in GOD?

matt you know my e.mail address, write me if you want.


I believe "deal" in this instance was used to mean "respond to."  If you hope to educate people, one thing you must do is to respond to counter arguments.  To be able to do that you must have your own facts straight, and having a resource available to you like a list of Frequent Counter-Arguments along with the appropriate information can allow you to spend less time spinning your wheels going over the same old arguments and more time (and more effective time) in convincing and mobilising.
1. Abiotic Oil

A theory not being by professional geologists.  However, IF abiotic oil exists, it is not enough.

Humanity uses 1,000 barrels of oil PER SECOND  If abiotic oil were being produced at that rate before 1900, it would be causing oil slicks and massive pollution EVERYWHERE.  Exxon Valdez would have been common, again and again, and the beaches of the world would have been black with asphalt.

The structures of the world could not hold, without leaking, 1,000 barrels/second for even one thousand, much less fifty million years.

Let us suppose that abiotic oil is true, and it produces 1 barrel/second.  FAR too little for humanity.  But all the oil known and likely to be found (recoverably or not), could be produced in less than 1 million years (less than 100,000 years ?)

So abiotic oil, if it exists, will produce far too little to do humanity any good.

BTW, Texas could sure use some abiotic oil !

Production down 75% from the peak (if Texas were an independent nation, it would be a major oil importer).

The giant East Texas oil field produces over 1 million barrels/day, 99% water & 1% oil.  Abiotic additions would be VERY welcome !

There's a post on Yahoo! here that references an AAPG paper from back in 1990s concerning the long-term natural processes of generation and destruction of petroleum in the Earth. The paper's behind a paywall unfortunately, but here are two interesting snippets:

  • The rate of petroleum generation, worldwide, at the present time, is estimated to be between 2.7 and 9 million barrels per year. That is per year, not per day. Broad limits, but even the upper end is trivial when compared with consumption.

  • The survival half life of reservoired oil (i.e. oil in the ground) seems to be about 30 million years, reflecting the rate of reservoir burial and destruction, or breaching and leakage to surface.

http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_%28A_to_Z%29/Stocks_B/threadview?m=tm&bn=26496&tid= 27188&mid=27250&tof=-1&rt=1&frt=2&off=1

http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_%28A_to_Z%29/Stocks_B/threadview?m=tm&bn=26496&tid= 27188&mid=27280&tof=-1&rt=1&frt=2&off=1

Typical but amazing that the population problem is nowhere mentioned. There may be many different types of 'solution' (I prefer to think in terms of strategies, not solutions), but the growth in population is likely to overwhelm all of them. If latest UN projections are in the ball park, the earth will have over 9 billion humans somewhere in the middle of this century. At 6.5 billion there are massive and growing problems. At 6.5 billion non-renewable resources are being drawn down rapidly. This is analagous to (and directly related to) the oil-supply problem of trying to fill the gap between the decline of current fields and the increase in demand. The optimists have to do more than wave their arms and declare the problem either non-existent or already solved.
The conversion to alternative energy argument actually supports the peak oil issue.  It is not the doomer's view of the future but if large amounts of cheap oil were still available then alteratives would not be even close to being an economically viable choice.
The biodiesel choice via algae can replace all fossil fuel use using a small percentage of the land not currently used by agriculture.
Electrification of ground transportation systems has no technological barriers to its implementation. It is mostly a matter of infrastructure and other capital investment strategies. The whole mix of renewable generation sources will be a part of the electricity supply.
Buildings can directly use solar heat for heating and cooling and in well designed new buildings it adds nothing to construction costs.
I see 2008 being a threshold year for solar power the way 1908 was a threshold year for the auto industry. A new good enough product using a new production method i.e. the Model T Ford created an unprecedented explosion in auto production.  Thin film PV and muti-megawatt wind turbine production will grow at an expotential rate over the next 20 years. The conventional wisdom of 1908 said auto production in the following 20 years would equal that of the previous 20. Doomers believe the same thing about alternatives to petroleum.
Believeing in a good enough future is not the same as being a peak oil denier.  
Technology will solve it.

We use the word "TECHNOLOGY" all the time as if it were some living breathing animal because MSM would like us to believe it is.

But what is the real definition of "technology"?

From OneLook dictionary:

noun:   the practical application of science to commerce or industry

Damn. It involves something called "practical" and something called "science" ... as in the Laws of Thermodynamics. That certainly puts a tiny wrinkle into our worship of the "Technology" diety.

It's well worth looking at our assumptions about the word "Technology", both pro and con.  I hear the 'stone age is coming' arguments and have to look at the knowledge, materials and skills that are now built into our lives- to see what I think we can and will bring forward with us, regardless of the energies and feedstocks that Petroleum has allowed us to grow so massively under.

Technology is not limited to MicroProcessors and Macro Engineering Feats like SpaceShuttles or Hoover Dams.  It also includes a great store of knowledge of Materials and Processes that have continued to provide us more efficient and effective ways to produce tools, food, shelter, fabric, etc.

   I think that definition about Science and Practicality can be looked at from different sides.. as W'm McDonough pointed out in 'From Cradle to Cradle' .. 'Who wants to imagine an Efficient concentration camp?' (not exact words) .. Science and Practicality can be relentlessly destructive, as we have seen.  But that's not its final condemnation, either.

  I would call Technology the 'Knowledge of Tools', it is the way we discover the materials in our environment and reapply them to help us get through life.

  As far as worshipping it is concerned, though.  People are accused of worshipping something because they trust in it or believe in it.  With science and technology, this trust can be overextended, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't understand and plan on using systems we already know how to devise, and know that they work.  Copper won't just disappear.  Neither will glass.  Old books will get older, but the ones we treasure, we will surely reprint, and even revise, as our knowledge develops.

You need to read up on how the human mind makes decisions. It does not seek the truth based on facts. If you're speaking to a man, he will 9 times out of 10  choose beliefs which maximize short term political prowess.

In other words, if you want men to believe we are heading towards significant dislocations b/c of peak oil you have to figure out how believing so will enhance the person's short term political power.

Short term is important b/c we evolved only to care about the short term.

Or more to the point, the lizard brain receives many inputs. However it is the short term "urgent"ones that get serviced first while the "important" but less urgent matters keep getting shuffled to the back of the queue until it is too late and the "important" suddenly become the "urgent".

(Yes the allusions to Bush's response to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett are intentional here.)

Philip Bowring thinks we're headed for a fall: The Devil and the Dollar
Is the infernal pact the US made to borrow against the future about to wreck its currency?

...Doomsday for the dollar may in fact not have arrived. But arrive it will as time runs out on the pact that the US made with the devil - enjoy yourself as much as you can, have your every wish granted for,  the punishment will be in the future.

The days of the dollar standard for international markets are almost over.  

The world's central bank's dollar reserves will be liquidated and US citizens will learn the very hard lesson of the Fate of ALL  Fiat Currencies ... fiat is fine during growth, but it is financial suicide during stasis or decline.

Just think, the geniuses running Britain's Central Bank sold their gold reserves at the bottom of the gold cycle.  They chose paper over gold at the exact WRONG time.

Oh yes, the fate of fiat currencies - for example, I was forced to exchange my almost good as gold deutsche marks for fiat euros - and surprisingly, nobody I know decided to keep their marks while turning down the euro, even though the euro was a fine example of fiat money.

Partially because there is a difference between a 'currency' and a 'means of exchange' - the fate of fiat money may be the same as the fate of everything created by the hand of man - that is, turning to ash, dust, or whatever - but the need of a means of exchange seems a human constant.

Yet another bit of German history - for a while, cigarettes were money, and worth more in daily life than any of the various bits of paper floating around.

So the dollar is not eternal? Nothing is. So what? This is not exactly news to any European, who has likely lived through multiple currency exchanges in the last few decades, and which almost without exception (the East Germans hit the jackpot) results in them being the loser. That this is yet another area Americans seem to have a problem understanding is not really surprising - it took me years to figure out that money isn't permanent. Even the Swiss change their paper money every ten years ago, and while in theory you can always exchange old for new, in practice, well, it probably isn't worth the effort if you find an old bill from 30 years ago in a coat pocket.

And yes, governments cheat and steal - now that you have stated the obvious, we are all supposed to buy gold or silver? See the steal part above, if you are worried about the value of fiat money being shrunk.

Welcome to the real world most human beings live in.

This may be a shock, but those pieces of paper you use to buy things with in the U.S. can't be used here in daily life anyways. But credit cards seem to work pretty well everywhere in the industrial world - hmmm, is a credit card money? And to the extent that a government has nothing to do with it, is a credit card the solution to the problems of fiat money?

The deutsche marks are just as "fiat" as the euro or whatever.  Credit cards are just the same as paper money: they're both just tools for accounting of the fiat currency.  Money is a human invention, useful for several different purposes, e.g., trade, and savings.  The same "money" tool often does not work well for all purposes.  This issue is quite related to our coming energy/economy crisis.  I recommend reading Douthwaite's little on-line book, The Ecology of Money
I would argue that all money is fiat money. The only way to avoid the 'fiat' is to barter, otherwise there is always some agency pegging the value of whatever tokens we use for exchange to some commodity value. And, yes, that includes gold and silver which have no more 'intrinsic' value in terms of money than a piece of paper. They just feel better jingling in your hands.
The 'almost good as gold' was also mainly sarcastic (mainly - after what happened in the 20s and 30s in Germany, the Bundesbank saw its role as being the first line of defense in making certain that Germany never relived what happened then). Money is a fascinating, involved subject, but very generally, anyone saying 'fiat' money is not interested in such a complicated discussion.

One thing I always love reading is how 'banksters' or the 'Fed' have destroyed the value of the dollar, and only gold or whatever is tried and true.

Which is certainly not irrelevant, but I always wonder how much gold would it cost for Internet access back when a dollar was as good as gold before the Fed ruined everything in 1913?

Or even better, how much gold would it take to buy an American woman the right to vote in 1913? Or how about birth control pills? Or antibiotics?

The world is a much more complicated place than that portrayed by any single perspective.

And that complexity is part of daily life for many, many people - it is simply that Americans don't seem to see that very easily.

That's funny, the last two days I've been thinking nonstop about the myriad Faustian bargains Americans have made - most unwittingly.

The catalyst for this line of thinking started for me on Sunday when I read an article in my local paper discussing how the high foreclosure rate is ruining neighborhoods and forcing many homeowners come to terms with the fact that their too-good-to-be-true mortgages are now their biggest nightmares.

The article quoted the principle of a local high school who was worried about classrooms strained from an influx of students following a new trend of two or three families consolidating into one single family home to make ends meet.  She also said the percentage of students qualifying for the free lunch program jumped from 30% to 57%.

Coincidently, on the same day, another article on the front page highlighted a growing trend of trash recycling as practiced in a "freecycle zone" in Aspen, CO.

"Aspen - Never mind the torn plastic bags whipping around in the wind or the eau-de-trash-can odor.  Shopping in in this valley of conspicious consumption has never been cheaper."

More harbingers of things to come?

The freecycling idea is a good one, but it may also be a sign that that the eleventh hour is upon us.

a new trend of two or three families consolidating into one single family home to make ends meet.

I've long thought that would be the obvious first reaction to peak oil.  No need to build new infrastructure no one will be able to afford anyway. People will just move to where they need to be...to get work, to have access to transportation, etc., even if it means doubling or tripling up.  

It's the natural reaction when faced with hard times: move in with friends or family.  Most of the world lives that way; we did, too, only a generation or two ago.  It only seems unthinkable now because we're so used to big houses and single people living alone.

Remember The Brady Bunch?  They were obviously well-off.  Dad was an architect, and they had a maid to do the cooking and cleaning.  But the house had only three bedrooms.  There were three kids in each room.  

The Brady Bunch doesn't sound half bad 'cause I was thinking more along the lines of the extended family living arrrangement from Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle.

Of course, rumors of Cloris Leachman's affair with Barry Williams "Greg" kinda ruined the happy fantasy of it all. Oh well, there is always Eight is Enough - oh wait, population pressure. Dang!  ;-)

What does Cloris Leachman have to do with the Brady Bunch? Or are you confusing her with Florence Henderson?
Sorry and thanks for the correction.  I never actually watched BB, just saw some clips of it so I completely forgot the actors' names.

Say Hello to the Kondratieff Winter.

The consumers finally seem to be sputtering.  Retail sale are slack.  Durable goods orders are way down.  Housing market is falling off a cliff.  Dollar is plummeting.  Record debt at the personal and federal levels.  Peak Oil looming.  And the baby boomers are on the verge of retirement expecting to collect trillions in promised (but unfunded) benefits from the government.

Not a pretty picture.  Especially if you're only 30.


Home prices: Record drop in October

The price of existing homes sold in October fell for the third straight month and posted the biggest drop on record, an industry group said Tuesday, adding it expects weakness in pricing to drag on into next year.
I hadn't put 2 and 2 together yet (which may ultimately add up to 5, whether big brother say so or not), but was looking at a Third, potentially huge 'Ticking Timebomb'* in addition to the potential disasters of Climate Change and Oil-Gas Depletion hanging over our heads..

 (at least here in the US), we have some 100,000 troops 'in theater' in Iraq and Afghanistan, more in aggregate, and many of whom are on extended orders or multiple tours (or whatever it's called), and whether it happens slowly or suddenly, just as with energy and the weather.., their return to civilian life will reveal to us just how much Hell they have had to suck up, and which from some fraction of these guys will come pouring back out as they try to heal or decide that they can't.  

  We just outdistanced WWII this weekend, and the adm's promise that oil would pay for the military costs finally proved true, (just not for our side).   Far from 'not exactly winning the peace' over there, we have a tiny window of opportunity to 'win the pullout' and gird ourselves for the task of counseling, feeding, housing, employing, defusing and embracing those who are out there in our name before we get too many reminders of why there were so many crash-landings long after Vietnam was 'over'..

  Even this 'ounce of prevention' will be a very big set of checks to sign, but I hope we find the imagination and foresight to do so.

.. and of course it's not the 'ounce of prevention', which would have been avoiding this 'war' altogether..

Now we get to see what's behind the ink on our 'We Support our Troops' Stickers.

This war has been a disaster for us.

Shattered dreams in Iraq

News reports say the Iraq study group -- the bipartisan commission chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and ex-Congressman Lee Hamilton -- will recommend direct talks with Iran and Syria, as well as a timetable for partial withdrawal of American troops, both designed to find some way out of the spiral of sectarian violence.

These ideas represent a stunning change from the ideas that animated the decision to invade Iraq three and a half years ago. That decision was not based simply on the belief that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but that his removal would change the entire region for the better.

And it gets worse:

In Iraq, Shiites and Sunnis appear more determined than ever to strike at each other; and the two nations that were supposed to change or fall after the birth of a stable, free Iraq, now seem to have gained in influence.

This somber portrait raises one more question: For years it has been an article of faith among some on the right that signs of American weakness -- the pullout from Saigon in 1975, Beirut in 1983, Somalia in 1993; and the failure to strike hard after attacks on American interests and forces -- have encouraged America's enemies.

If that theory is right, then what lesson might they draw from the sight of the United States now preparing to ask for help from two regimes it once hoped to topple.

Why did we ever embark upon this catastrophe?

Apparently, because of the disproportionate influence of a small group of neo-cons who effectively seized control of our foreign policy the moment their 'puppet' president and stooge was sworn in.  Because this claque, who to a man (Rumsfeld excepted) never bothered serving in the military but was all too eager to send others overseas to satisfy their visions of a Middle East "fixed" to enhance our own interests, blundered so badly that they are left to disavow their own involvement.  Because this gaggle of frauds successfully flim-flammed half of the country into believing there really was a grave and gathering danger where the only danger was eminating from their own myopia.  Because this administration relied on a con man named Ahmad Chalabi to foster the sort of information they were all too eager to embrace.   And now, the president is once again having his father and associates come to his rescue - to bail him out of the latest mess he ensconced himself in.  It is not going to be so easy this time to undo the visceral damage wrought to our good name and honor.  What a shame.

What is most tragic about all this is that the Bushies were warned beforehand by many experts in CIA and the State Dept. of the clusterf*ck in which we are now trapped.  It was all predicted so readily by those who understand the history and culture of this part of the world.  Had we had a president who was a reader, and a student of history, all this might have been averted.  Instead, we may well have what retired general William Odom has called the "greatest foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States".  The scope of this misadventure is tragic and breathtaking.  It may well change the course of events in that part of the world for the next 500 years.  It is all unfolding now before our astonished eyes.  And it all never had to happen, if we had competent people at the "top" of our government who were wise enought to listen to the counsel of alternative opinions from those qualified to make them.  

It may well change the course of events in that part of the world for the next 500 years.

I think it more likely it will change the course of events in the United States for the next 500 years.

And not for the better.

500 years,  dudes, read those number back at yourselves.  In 500 years no one will care in most case what is said and done right here and now.

Two farmers are talking.  Farmer A tells his friend that the crops are going to be very poor the rains aren't here and the smoke from the city is just making things worse.  Farmer B thinks that the smoke from the city is actually helping his crops grow as they are close to the city edges.  The fuss and fume and finally agree that they really have no clue what is going on, but for the fact that if they don't get the crops harvested soon, they won't be able to eat much till next season, The supply from the farms over in the next valley have been running a little slow lately.

 Farmer A and B were 500 years ago in the Rhone valley, their conversation was brought to you via a time warp and a good ear.

 What you say today on a blog listed on a server listed in some building that 500 years from now will just be a pile of smoking ashes, will mean nothing.

 History has a way of covering over the little things. and Bush and company will just be a small foot note If anyone really cares at all in 500 years.

 50 maybe, not ten times that. the numbers mean nothing after that.  Iraq is not in chaos because of bush alone, All he and we did was kill the big bad ruler and allow the people to get back to fighting over who stole momma's apple pie last thursday or what verse of the Koran you were supposed to follow to get to the 99 virgins and the 50 pints of rocky road ice cream.

 It WON'T matter a hill of beans.  These people have been fighting since 960 ad and will fight till they are totally all dead.

Uhh...I'm not from USA, so I plead special insight 'at a distance'...

All is going well. The partition of Iraq into the traditional warlord fiefdoms is underway.

The power base 'going forward' - forget Iran/Saudi - is oil money (see Russia).

The USA, following the Carter doctrine, militarily controls the lines of comminication/import/export to Iraq, Iran, Saudi. That is a military fact.

Yes, this or that faction can 'disrupt' Iraqi oil exports. Yes, disrupt wheat and rice and cooking oil imports. For a while.

The USA Iraq forts are impregnable.

The lazy lift-off and attack from land, the lift-off and attack from well out at sea are factual.

In the end, the local warlords that crystallise will cut a deal. The oil must be exported to fund the warlord power base. With a wink and a nod, and through intermediaries, it will be exported. Iraqi oil will not be fungible. It will be peer-to-peer. Just as China and others are cutting peer-to-peer deals with (say) Iran. But China relies on goodwill and no departure from legal contract. USA's contract is hydrocarbons in, hydrocarbons out. Live and let live, from mega warlord to minor warlord. (Intermediaries understood - winks as good as a nod to ablind man..nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

The plan is going well. Be patient.

jokuhl -

Indeed, you have touched upon a topic that is seldom discussed: the likely enormous scope of the physical, mental, and emotional problems that many Iraq veterans are going to be bringing back with them and the financial and societal costs thereof.

To add a cheery note: for obvious reasons domestic police forces are quite fond of hiring ex-military types. So some of these hard cases who have been engaged in 'special treatment' of Iraqi civilians will soon be cops.

Coming to a neighborhood near you!

I was at a county planning/budget meeting last night, and discovered that 55% of our county budget is for the county Jail(s)..  55%.  A growing number within that figure goes for prescribing 'psychotropic drugs'..

We have a lot of Social Workers in this part of the state, but I think we'll 'need a bigger boat'..

well the cops in my area know I practice with a 6 foot iron pipe and wave at me when they see me up at the end of my block out on the grass by the roadbed.  They know I can handle most nasty people in my neighborhood,  They also know that there are men and women on my street that are nurses and care givers.  

 Martial artists are seen in most cases as wise use bad asses, folks you do not want to mess with if you are a bad guy.  I practice a personal form that says I can kill you, but choose not to kill you.  I can bench about 250 to 350 pounds now, given a few minutes to prepare.  I can leg lift 2.5 times my own body weight, but then again I could do that when I was 13.  I have recently injured both legs around the knee area and am no using a walking stick to get around, only needed it for 2 days.  What I do know is I don't know the limit of my own strength.  I am faster and stronger than my dad for the first time in my life, and now I have to use more caution than I have ever used in the past.  

 The cops in my area can and are filled with former Armed forces, as are 50% of the roads with guys and gals in their cars.  This is a big Armed forces training area.  The Largest base training C-130 pilots in the World is Little Rock Air Base, National Guard, Air and Army is literally just miles away.  Little Rock Arkansas, the capital of the state. The home of the Clinton Library, The newest River walk a 24 mile biking and walking trail that flows from the Clinton Library to the western edge of town at the last bridge over the Arkansas river, I-430 bridge.  There are several bridges that are walker friendly and now more walking and bike paths than I have ever seen in my 30 off and On years in the area.  My parents Own their own house, I am staying here for reasons that make sense to me.  Health, theirs and mine, Cost, theirs and mine, helping them sort through 30 years of stuff.  If they were to die today my brother and I would pick me to sort the stuff out anyway.  I am gaining real world knowledge from the only free source I know about.  My dad can fix anything he sets his mind to and everyone that knows my dad knows this fact.  I cook about 30% of the meals and plan 75% of the meals this household does.  I am using my stored foods and spices to blend all this into their way of life and increase the kinds of foods they never really had need to eat.  Today is Veggi-tarian day.  Tofu. Curry, and winter squash.  Of the 50,000 kinds of curry I invented a new one, It works for me and should be tasty too.

 We are all going to have to ELP as Westexas has told us, find your spot and hole up and get on with it.  

 North Little Rock have electric trolley, Hydro power, Nuke power, Gas power, and Coal power,  And I am sure some Solar and Wind power too.  


"I can bench about 250 to 350 pounds now"

bullshit alert. Not because of the weight but because you don't know exactly how much.  The first question any guy gets asked in the states is "how much you bench?"*. 250 and 350 is a big difference.  if you were really so strong you would have an exact number.

*interestingly enough, in other countries such as Iceland the question is always "how much you deadlift?". I say interesting from a cultural perspective because the deadlift has much more carry over to everything from athletics to farm work then the bench press which is pretty useless unless maybe you're an MMA fighter and have a guy on top of you that you need to push away.

In a fishing village in Iceland are three stones. Crewmen were evaluated (and often paid) by which of the three they could lift chest high.  Fromm memory, the lightest one was a bit over 80 lbs.

Best Hopes,


Sounds like just the "clean" of the "clean and jerk"


Having been close to perhaps twenty Vietnam vets who are no longer with us and knowing just two who have struggled and suffered and survived Hell - I doubt many vets of Iraq II will live long. Keeps the VA expenses down to traumatize them so far they can't survive
Kind of a light article at Marginal Revolution, but relating pretty strongly to questions of "and our future"

Should we discount the future for radical uncertainty?

Found this snippet in another pdf:

Knightians are different. Uncertainty is about the absence of information, where the meaning of this statement is essentially defined by rationality, i.e. uncertainty is what arrests rational reasoning or deduction. Uncertainty is not about the presence of probabilistic information.

I'd say our uncertainty here is about missing data (what the peak oil downslope will look like, what technologies will come in, how society will respond) that arrests rational reasoning or deduction.

IMO we can't see as far as we want to, because we do not know those intermediate questions and answers.

...Uncertainty is about the absence of information,...

I'd say that in the case of the internet, uncertainty is the product of too much information.

Hello again TOD its been a while, death and taxes and jobs and love took me away.

Thoughts for the day, or week.

Clones, how many non-ethical countries or groups can actually make them?  Fiction says anyone, Fact says anyone trying to help mom and dad have a baby can make clones, they make clones of the few cells on the test subject to see if the 3rd to 5th cell division has any bad genes in them, if not they offer this to the mom.  What says they have not split this mass of cells a few more times to produce clones( we call them twins, triplets, etc) for further study in other labs with other moneies?  Nothing we hope oversight keeps this from happening, but this is the easiest way that clones can be currently made.

Global Climate change (warming).  I have friends that live in Canada tell me they are having snowfall right now when they only normally get it in jan or feb.  I have trees in my own yard that thought it was spring a few months ago and set out spring shoots and went through the whole cycle in the fall.  We are seeing very strange plant and weather behavoirs and we still have people in politics telling us that there is nothing to worry about.  

 I have read sites that postulate that Pangia was here before the great flood and after the masssive movements of the flood the world is the way it is now.  Oh stop that, you know you want to post and tell me I am crazy that I still believe in the great flood I must be a Christian and crazy.  PHHFFT Of course I am a Christian.  What I believe is what I believe, we can't debate faith, some of you have tried. Lets not go there, lets just think.  What says the history of the past climate changes are not wrong, that our planet has been much cooler and much warmer than it is right now.  Let us suppose that the Normal for us, is not the Normal for the Planet.  The carbon sinks we are now using called Fossil fuels at one time were not there, they were in a younger earth out in the air as free carbon and now all we are doing is reversing the process and we are complaining about the strange weather patterns.

 Thiank about it.  We are making our planet reverse itself to 65, to 250 million years ago in the short span of 1,000 years.  We are the method to the transformation. All 6.5 billion of us.  Your cell phones harvest minerals and when you change them they are trash, left to rot or not rot on the sides of the roads made out of left over TAR from the pits in the Canadian north.  

 The Laws say that nothing is either made or destroyed on this planet.  But water can get clogged with mercury and benzine and other things and make it un-drinkable.  But the water is still there,  We just have to distill it to drink it, where nature did most of that for us 1,000 years ago.  

 Where will the population wheel stop spinning  6.5 billion this year, in 2029 when an asteroid is supposed to make a close approach, where will we be?  10 billion people? 1 billion?  I don't know and truthfully I don't care. do YOu?

Lots of random thoughts for a sci-fiction writer to think about on a rainy non-get out and hike day.

I am doing my part, I am walking and hiking and internet dating and calling local ladies for movies at the cheap movie center and contracting with friends to do pedicab businesses and selling my sheds full of junk.  What are you doing?

Charles Owens,

You say you can't debate faith and then launch into an argument with faith-based premises and seem to be inviting debate.  Which is it?  Can we debate faith, or are you not inviting debate and merely spewing something you wish to be accepted on faith?
I don't think he is intending to debate the faith related to believing in the Flood or not but rather, debating the idea that the current climate which we consider "normal" may or may not be "normal" for this planet.

Correct me if I'm wrong Dan Ur, but what I think he is asking is:

What if the last 2 to 5 thousand years (the period of human history by which we have any sort of record about ourselves and our environment) are actually an abberation in the history of climate on the planet.

Keep in mind shortly before(relatively speaking) 5 thousand years ago we were on the tail end of an ice age.  In other eras there is strong evidence for a much hotter and much denser atmosphere (in fact a denser and more oxygen rich environment is one of the theories for supporting the large and active lizards models in paleontology studying dinosaurs).

And given that the planet is a relatively closed system, all the CO2 we are releasing into the atmosphere had to have been there originally since this is a closed system.

I hope that sums up your line of questioning and debate Dan, if not please feel free to correct my assumptions.

As for a reply to your line of thinking however...

While the atomic particles which make up CO2 were probably present here for many millions of years, they may not have been present in the configuration of CO2.  For instance instead of CO2 we could have had large amounts of O2, and some other carbon based molecules.  CO2 however is particularly dangerous in its configuraiton of the atoms due to the effect that that molecule has on our atmosphere.

I don't fundamentally disagree that "normal" for us might not be "normal" for our planet, but I would never assume that pumping CO2 would be helpful to us, or to any of the other current lifeforms existing on this planet.

And given that survival is priority, the desire to prevent climate change (even if that means preventing the climate from returning to the planetary "norm") would overwhelm my desire to see the Earth return to some "normal" balance.  A shift in climate away from what we are used to would be a potential detriment to our survival as a species.  We have evolved and adapted to the current parameters of climate and a change of that has in my opinion a higher probability of working against than for us.  

Of course who knows, perhaps global warming will be a beneficial event, but then that is the big gamble.  I'm personally for dealing with the devil we know rather than the one we don't.

While the atomic particles which make up CO2

Should read:

"While the atoms which make up CO2"

Was getting too small to quickly.

yes indeed  consider all the carbon (and oxygen) tied up in calcium carbonate  - CaCO3  
You appear to be asking the following two questions:

  1. "Is there an optimum climactic environment for our species?"

  2. "Is this optimum climactic environment the normal environment of the planet?"

I do not think anyone truly has the answer to question 2. What we do know is that in the Permian the earth was much hotter and the atmosphere had a much higher concentration of CO2. Plant forms developed which drew in the CO2 and exhausted 02. This changed the atmosphere to close to what it is today but created an environment that was likely poisonous to the lifeforms that generated the 02. These lifeforms then became buried, entrapped, and cooked and we now encounter them as oil, NG, and coal.

With regards to question 1, the key issue is that there is scientific consensus that human activities are impacting the biosphere. While there is agreement on that point there is yet insufficent knowledge to forecast the exact degree and timing of the future changes.

Scientists are concerned that changes that they did not anticipate occurring (i.e. they expected Greenland's glaciers to remain in mass balance; there is now evidence that this is not the case and that glacial ablation is accelerating) are taking place.

We are taking the planet from a known, relatively stable, equilibrium state and moving it toward an unknown state. That is the reason we should be concerned.
Climate change is happening and we need to facilitate the relocation of maybe billions of people and some of the largest cities in the world over the next few decades to higher ground. There is no reason to believe that what happened to New Orleans won't happen to New York. There is no reason to believe it won't happen to Calcutta or London or Shanghia. Whole nations like Bangladesh and the Netherlands may disappear as the Greenland and Antartic icecaps slide into the oceans.  Makes the peak oil challenge seem trivial.
Hey, Dan Charles! (Loved your work on "Cheers")
  I'm not a clone, but I play one on TV (So my Clone-wannabe audience can identify, minus the 'id' part, anyway!)

  I'll avoid the philosophy, for now. Just glad to have our Sci-Fi poet on board.  Good luck with the companionship, let me know if you see that Penguin movie!


Off topic and speaking of Great Floods -- a good read is Noah's Flood by Ryan and Pitman (a couple of geologist colleagues of my wife's mother). Interesting hypothesis that the Noachian legend began when the Straits of Bosporus were breached after the last ice age and the Black Sea reverted from fresh-water lake to part of the ocean.
Don't know if this was posted in the last day or two.  Check it out when you get a chance.  It's about IMF economists evaluating gas data from 78 through 2004 and elections preceding large declines in energy prices.  I haven't read it all, but check out the IMF working paper...


Two thoughts strike me about US concerns about the rise of (specifically Chinese) "energy mercantilism" as outlined in Drumbeat articles today:

  1. If the US government believed in the projections of CERA, USGS et al vis-a-vis the availability of oil supply and reserves, why would it be bothered that China (and others) were locking in long term supply deals at fixed prices?

  2. Reference is made to China paying "over the odds" for long term supply deals (price referenced is $60 per barrel). Firstly, I would not call that over the odds, since the average price for WTI from now until the end of 2016 is around $66.50 (prices from 2012 and further out are quoted by banks in the OTC (over the counter) oil swaps market. Secondly, since China is paying a fixed price in US$, they face little risk of "overpaying" since they have such a vast reserve of USD currency and bonds and a domestic currency which they are constantly being told is over-valued to the dollar - it is the US administration that tells them this.

Therefore all China is doing is hedging some of its current USD assets for a future flow of (depleting) energy denominated in that asset. Makes sense to me.
Yergin is just a mouth piece for industry, and I would venture to say for the "official" line from the U.S. government.

Any commentary on China buying up oil without also referencing to the obvious truth that the U.S., with only 4% of world population, takes by far the largest slice of the pie for itself, is just... disingenuous.

Yergin and others also avoid that other inconvenient truth - that hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers are stationed throughout the middle east in oil producing states or those which ring such states (have a look at where Iran is on the map and realize that they are virtually surrounded by U.S. and NATO troops and bases at the moment).

Hundreds of billions are spent on these efforts each year and really should be factored into the true cost of imported petroleum.

Sure, China has a thirst and a huge population with a growing appetite. That in and of itself is not surprising nor unnatural.

Assuming the west will forever and always have a disproportionate share of a dwindling resource is both unnatural and unlikely.

Re: Carbon emissions show sharp rise.

According to James Hansen, we are close to the tipping point but where's the action?   I think it is critical that something dramatic be done to attack this problem directly.  Yes, we need to continue all the usual alternatives, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, etc.  Pursuing alternatives, however, will not get the job done.  As long as we continue to pursue massive expansion of coal plants, the emissions from these plants will swamp reductions from alternatives.

I think Say's law is operative here. Supply creates its own demand.  As long as we expand everything, fossil and non fossil, we will consume everything that is available. Total focus on supply and not demand will result in greenhouse doom.

Yes, we need to cut back on all fossil fuels, but coal is the poster child of carbon emission as it is the most carbon intensive.  Coal is so obviously dirty, destructive, and deadly even without even considering the issue of global warming. King coal must be brought down and politicians must be held to account on this issue.

Write and call your representatives and get them to stop new coal plants now unless the co2 from same can be fully sequestered.

NATO to Discuss Moscow's Energy Clout

With Europe increasingly concerned about its dependence on Russia for its natural gas, NATO plans to discuss the issue at its summit in Riga, Latvia, starting Tuesday. A look at some of the cards held by Moscow:

Geopolitical Fuse Number 2 for the Great American Energy Race.

(From the thread a couple days ago on Simmons' interview for the catalysts for American "Space Race-like efforts")

Global Village Meets Fractured Fairy Tales:  The case of Humpty Dumpty and the Failure of the naked king's horses asses

Energy Mercantilism on the March...


Peak oil - the South will rise again: But will the best or the worst of Dixie win out?

I wonder if the dissolution of US will follow the 19th century Civil War model, or the 20th Century Soviet Collapse model...

Are those suppose to be links to somewhere?  If so could you re-post the links?
NM - Just realized you were referencing two articles above.
Excellent new story from Rembrandt on TOD:Europe:

USGS WPA 2000 part 1 - A look at expected oil discoveries

I guess it should appear on TOD:main pretty soon.

TOD: Europe has been kicking mucho booty lately.

Six ways to shrink that heating bill

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- With winter fast approaching, and the cost of natural gas and oil still far above historic norms, here are six basic steps that could save you big on heating bills.

Most are cheap and easy, although a couple require a significant financial outlay and require professional instillation. Either way, the tips below, outlined by the Alliance to Save Energy, will help go easier on the environment, strengthen the nation's energy security, and save you money.

Weather's kind of weird this week.  60F in New York City, while Seattle is blanketed in snow.  Watching the "Snow Bowl" on Monday Night Football last night, you might think they were playing in Green Bay.  Nope, it was Seattle.

Sunday in Kuusamo, Finland, scant kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, World Cup cross-country skiers raced in the rain.
Nordic sking at the World Cup level is dead from global warming and everyone involved knows they are just running out the clock.
A week left till the notorious 5th to 7th December freeze, which wiped out the remains of Napoleon's army within sight of the Prussian border in 1812,and immobilised German armour for the Moscow counteroffensive in 1941.
8 degrees outside now and no sign of snow for weeks.
It's nippy, but not record cold for the date in Seattle. What was a record was the 15 inches or so of rain for November. At the beginning, it was raining in the mountains as well, as so there was record flooding.

This city does get freaked out by snow, though. Picture icy streets in San Francisco.

I do have to say thank you Seattle and Greenbay for a "high" scoring game.  Players on both teams performed well for me, and took my Fantasy Football team to a Monday night victory after being 13 points behind earlier this weekend.  

Also clinched my spot in the Fantasy Football playoffs and has set me up for a prime oppurtunity to have a bye on the first round of playoff games.

I was a happy camper Monday night!

Russian Window on the West Reaches for the Sky

It's "Gazprom City"!

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Gazprom City, a proposed complex of stylish modern buildings that evoke, among other things, a gas-fueled flame, a strand of DNA and a lady's high-heeled shoe, would sit on a historic site on the Neva River here, opposite the Baroque, blue-and-white Smolny Cathedral.

In any of six designs under consideration, the main tower would soar three or four times higher than this city's most famous landmarks, an alteration of the landscape that has drawn heated protests from the director of the Hermitage Museum and the head of the local architects' union.

But Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled energy company, is determined to press ahead and is soon to announce the winner of an international design competition. As an arm of the Kremlin, opponents say, Gazprom usually gets its way.

Oh My God

Oh cmon now...  I think the "Flame" on the left looks kind of pretty.

The middle one has an interesting blue glow to it, but the shape just doesn't jive with me.

The Helix on the right just looks ugly to me for some reason.

Not sure where you live Dave but Chicago is full of Russian emigres who have dreams just like those pics.
It's kitsch. It's pure. It makes me want to puke like those Russian banquets where every place setting starts with two bottles of vodka.
yeah. that was my reaction. followed by "how the hell are people going to explain these things in 500 years?"
Hello Leanan,

I vote for the gas-flame building, or is it a giant grain of wheat--it best represents the scale of the funereal pyre for the thousands of children who die each day, and best illustrates the detritus desire.  Will they disassemble it postPeak at the same rate as World depletion?

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

Investing in gas production is so boring.
Strategic Choices for Managing the Transition from Peak Oil to a Reduced Petroleum Economy, by Sarah K. Odland.  Columbia U. dissertation.  Found via Powerswitch.  Have only skimmed thus far.  Looks good, and cites TOD!
Sorry, forgot the PDF Warning! for the above - 130 pages.
Hey, that is okay, the PDF is only about 1.25 MB, very efficient for 130 pages.   This Drumbeat webpage plus pictures is over 0.4 MB all by itself.
Hello TODers,

I guess the 'holding camps' inside Zimbabwe are not considered plush enough for those forced inside them, so they naturally try to escape.  Operation Restore Sanity, much like 'Operation Taking out the Rubbish', rounds up the undesireables to once again enjoy the ameliorative benefits of profound safety, soothing serenity, and the calm sanity of confinement.  Here is the link

My question is: will KBR holding camps offer climate-control, cable TV, mini-bars, back massage, concierge services, and Wi-Fi internet hookup so those contained will not want to escape postPeak?  What is the cost of Sanity?

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

If you would like to read a first hand account of life in Zimbabwe read then the weekly letter of Cathy Buckle. Tragic


Hello Terb,

Yes, I have been aware of Cathy Buckle for several years, but thxs for spreading the word--she is very brave in my estimation.

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

Kuwait News Agency: Over 100 OPEC projects to boost crude surplus production capacity

VIENNA, Nov 27 (KUNA) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has over 100 projects, which are in execution or planning phase to bring up crude surplus production capacity by more than 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2010, OPEC Research Department Chief Hassan Mohamed Qabazard from Kuwait said here Monday.

In remarks in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Qabazard added OPEC's strategy of ensuring surplus production would be maintained for several years. OPEC's production capability is predicted to be in the neighborhood of 38 million bpd by 2010 compared to 32 million bpd at present.

Hope they all come in on time and as projected ..
Wonder if it'll be enough to cover depletion from
existing production ??

Triff ..

Assume 6% annual compounded decline for same well (a reasonable # BTW).

Existing wells

2006 = 38 million b/day
2007 = 35.7
2008 = 33.6
2009 = 31.6
2010 = 29.7 million b/day

+ 6 million in new projects on-line by 2010 =

35.7 million b/day

Just an exercise, not a prediction.

OPEC has VERY few fields that are recently developed and still have annual increases in production.

Best Hopes,


Not sure if someone already posted this, but seemed newsworthy:

Gazprom Plans "Aggressive" Price Hikes for European Customers -- Paper


Russian gas monopoly Gazprom plans major price hikes for its European customers in 2007, Vedomosti business daily reported on Monday, Nov. 27, citing the company's draft budget.

Gazprom, which controls the world's largest reserves of natural gas, will quadruple prices for Belarus. The Russian giant expects Belarus to pay $200 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas next year, up from just over $46 it pays today, according to the leaked internal document.

A proposed price hike has alarmed Belarus, which is deeply dependent on Russian economic support, including subsidized energy. In September, President Alexander Lukashenko warned he would cut all ties with Russia if forced to pay a fourfold increase.

Kommersant daily reported that steep rises are also planned for clients in the three Baltic states --- also former Soviet republics but now members of the European Union and NATO. "Prices for gas in all the Baltic countries will be raised as high as $260 for 1,000 cubic meters in 2007," the paper quoted its Gazprom sources as saying. The company's spokesman told Kommersant that the Baltic States would pay the "average European price."

Latvia faces a 54 percent hike to $220 for 1,000 cubic meters, while Lithuania could see a 30 percent rise to $210-230 cubic meters, the paper reported. The head of Estonia's Eesti Gaas, Raul Komov, was quoted as saying that "the price of $260 per 1,000 cubic meters is fully possible."

According to Vedomosti, Gazprom's 2007 draft budget is based on an average export price of $293 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, which is 14 percent higher than the $257 figure used in the 2006 budget.

An analyst quoted by the newspaper described the price hike as "aggressive."

Gazprom expects to sell gas on the Russian market for $49 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2007, a 15 percent increase on this year, the newspaper reported.


Here's an interesting, but fairly lengthy read in the Asia Times:

Making sense of a mad world

By Gabriel Kolko


These are dismal days for those who attempt to run the affairs of the world. But how should we understand it?

It would be a basic error to look at our present situation as if it were rationally comprehensible. The limits of rational explanations are that they assume rational men and women make decisions and that they will respect the limits of their power and behave realistically....

The Nov./Dec. issue of Stanford Magazine has a cover story called A Crude Awakening.

What's wrong with energy independence: in the slippery politics of oil, 'America first' doesn't work. Reliance on imported oil threatens U.S. security in many ways. Easing that vulnerability requires a new way of thinking that doesn't begin with "we got ours," says a panel of faculty of experts.

From the op-ed pages of Wednesday's (11/29/06) New York Times:

The End of Ingenuity, by By THOMAS HOMER-DIXON

This is a must read. It covers a lot of the ground that is covered here every day. Malthus. The infamous Erlich/Simon bet. The limits to growth. The notion of energy as a master resource. Climate change. Believe it or not, EROI, and Cutler Cleveland. It does not utter the words peak oil, but no matter.

The debate about limits to growth is coming back with a vengeance. The world's supply of cheap energy is tightening, and humankind's enormous output of greenhouse gases is disrupting the earth's climate.


The most important resource to consider in this situation is energy, because it is our economy's "master resource" -- the one ingredient essential for every economic activity.


A better measure of the cost of oil, or any energy source, is the amount of energy required to produce it. Just as we evaluate a financial investment by comparing the size of the return with the size of the original expenditure, we can evaluate any project that generates energy by dividing the amount of energy the project produces by the amount it consumes. ... Economists and physicists call this quantity the "energy return on investment" or E.R.O.I.


Cutler Cleveland, an energy scientist at Boston University who helped developed the concept of E.R.O.I. two decades ago, calculates that from the early 1970s to today the return on investment of oil and natural gas extraction in the United States fell from about 25 to 1 to about 15 to 1. ... For example, the tar sands of Alberta, likely to be a prime energy source for the United States in the future, have an E.R.O.I. of around 4 to 1, because a huge amount of energy (mainly from natural gas) is needed to convert the sands' raw bitumen into useable oil.


But in the larger sense, we really need to start thinking hard about how our societies -- especially those that are already very rich -- can maintain their social and political stability, and satisfy the aspirations of their citizens, when we can no longer count on endless economic growth.

I think the article is free. Perhaps Leanan will repost it at the top of Wednesday's Drumbeat.

Without a doubt, mankind can find ways to push back these constraints on global growth with market-driven innovation on energy supply, efficient use of energy and pollution cleanup. But we probably can't push them back indefinitely, because our species' capacity to innovate, and to deliver the fruits of that innovation when and where they're needed, isn't infinite.

(Also from the same Homer-Dixon article --yes it's free.)

Without a doubt? This is hilarious because on this very same day, 6 out of 9 judges on the US Supreme Court explained why most things are "obvious" (i.e. simply move the garage door opener higher so that the wiley raccoon can't get to it, ha ha) and thus all the contrivences we need to save our sorry asses are within easy reach of the ingenuity of the ordinary man (or woman). No worries mate. The Market WILL deliver. The innovation fruits are in the mail along with the check. Trust us. :-)

Perhaps Leanan will repost it at the top of Wednesday's Drumbeat.

Will do.  It's definitely worth a read.

Hello TODers,

Mexico update

Although the energy extracted from Cantarell is crashing, the Mexican Congress is rapidly ramping up its energy output:
MEXICO CITY, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon named a hard-line conservative for interior minister on Tuesday and lawmakers brawled in Congress in a deepening political crisis days before Calderon takes power.

Calderon faces open hostility from left-wing parties who claim he stole the July 2 presidential election and have vowed to prevent him from being sworn in on Friday.

In the lower house of Congress, rival deputies upturned furniture, punched and shoved each other and vied for control of the main podium, where Calderon is due to be sworn in.

The standoff carried on into the night, with lawmakers chanting insults, draping banners across seats and bringing sleeping bags and tents into the chamber. The leftists said they would not leave.

Although Calderon has promised to work with opposition parties to ease months of tension, his appointment of Ramirez Acuna drew immediate fire.

"He's a fascist. We are going to see more repression," said Gerardo Fernandez, spokesman for the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution.

This LATimes article says Mexico's rich getting richer.   Gee, do you think this will help ease tensions in highly polarized Mexico?
Nearly half of Mexico's 106 million people live in poverty. Yet it has more billionaires than Switzerland -- 10 last year -- according to Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people. Many of them inherited their wealth or built their fortunes in Mexican industries that have little or no competition and aren't likely to anytime soon.

Companies controlled by Mexican billionaires are more likely to be engaged in monopolistic practices than other firms, and they are much more likely to win judicial stays known as amparos allowing them effectively to ignore regulators' rulings against them for years while the cases are appealed.

He said Mexico's oligopolies were also using their clout to exploit weaknesses in the political system. Mexico's president is limited to a single term, and federal legislators can't run for consecutive terms, which critics say makes them more beholden to well-heeled business interests and powerful unions than to the voters who put them in office.

The report also cited powerful public-sector unions as a drag on Mexico's economy. The government petroleum monopoly Pemex is one of the least-efficient oil companies on the planet and is known as a hotbed of corruption.  The state-controlled electricity monopoly charges some of the highest rates in Latin America.

Lastly, Bloomberg announces that:
Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Mexico's President- elect Felipe Calderon on Dec. 1, raising the stakes for opposition-party members who have vowed to block the ceremony.

U.S. President George Bush will send a delegation to the inauguration that includes his father, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico said in an e-mail statement.

I worry about this last article:  I don't like the idea of our Secret Service trying to protect the US contingent by fighting Mexican Congressmen.  This will only inflame the Mexican poor even more, IMO.

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