DrumBeat: December 1, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/01/06 at 2:10 PM EDT]

House to vote on offshore drilling bill

WASHINGTON - House Republicans agreed Friday to move a compromise offshore drilling bill passed by the Senate this summer that would open new territory in the Gulf Coast area to oil rigs and create a cash cow for nearby states.

With time running out on the party's majority rule, GOP leaders decided to send the measure to the floor for a vote next week, Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Majority Leader John Boehner said.

Energy industry: Give us something solid - Utility execs see carbon restrictions as inevitable, want regulations 'soon rather than later;' seek stability in oil markets; questions linger over nuclear power.

Saudi Arabia was held up as a model example.

John Roberts, an energy security specialist with Platts, the provider of energy information that sponsored the event, said the kingdom pledged $53 billion to expand its oil infrastructure.

"They are putting their money where their mouth is," said Roberts. "They say they are increasing capacity, and there is no reason to think they won't. With other countries, it's much less clear."

Stirling Newberry on the economy, peak oil, and global warming: The Other Future

It isn't energy per se that is the problem, but the problem of recycling petrodollars and the marginal profits of energy. Namely, if the last barrel of oil that keeps everyone happy is at $64/barrel – where it is today – then the producer who has costs of $5/barrel, which is about the Saudi cost all in – will make $59/bbl, less the costs of the bribes. This distorts the economy. The related problem is that the sprawlconomy relies on this energy system, and while it produces a great deal of nominal wealth, much of that nominal wealth is really negative savings. That is, it relies on someone in the future paying more of their income to buy the same house.

Surprise: Oil Woes In Iran

Yet Iran has a surprising weakness: Its oil and gas industry, the lifeblood of its economy, is showing serious signs of distress. As domestic energy consumption skyrockets, Iran is struggling to produce enough oil and gas for export. Unless Tehran overhauls its policies, its primary source of revenue and the basis of its geopolitical muscle could start to wane. Within a decade, says Saad Rahim, an analyst at Washington consultancy PFC Energy, "Iran's net crude exports could fall to zero."

OPEC chief says 2nd output cut likely

ABUJA, Nigeria - OPEC is likely to trim production again, the president of the oil cartel said Friday, adding that he expects a cut of at least 500,000 barrels a day.

OPEC Secretary General: Angola Poised to Join OPEC

OPEC's Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo confirmed Thursday that Angola was poised to join the oil producer group and Sudan was moving closer, but there was no formal timeframe for the two countries to join.

Kuwait Taps Banks to Reassess Oil Output Plan

Kuwait has hired banks Morgan Stanley and Lazard to help the Gulf state reassess how it should go about developing several oil fields that are key to boosting its long-term oil supplies, Kuwait's oil minister told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.

Western oil companies face Asian upstarts in Africa

Western oil companies operating in Africa, one of the world's fastest growing petroleum regions, are meeting their match - in the form of Asia's national oil companies.

India and Pakistan Reject Gas Price Devised by Iran

India and Pakistan have rejected the gas import price worked out by a consultant company appointed by Iran as part of the over US$7 billion tri-nation pipeline project.

India monsoons worsen as climate changes

India's monsoon rains have intensified over the last half-century as average temperatures have risen, and more severe weather could be in store if global warming continues, scientists reported on Thursday.

The planet is taking a hit from unsustainable industrial agriculture - A review of Dale Allen Pfeiffer's Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture.

The Devil and the details

On the nearby Pecho Coast, American nuclear energy effectively died but if the neo-cons eye a renaissance, it must begin at Diablo Canyon.

Belarus President Supports Nuclear Power Plant Plan

Spring likely to see spike in gas prices

WEST PALM BEACH — Gasoline prices will go up 50 to 60 cents a gallon in the spring but probably won't reach $3 a gallon like they did this year, a nationally known oil expert said Thursday.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Wall, N.J.-based Oil Price Information Service, told the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County that the long-term solution to the problem of rising prices is for consumers to use less.

Oil Boom Helps Raise Profile of Chinese Shipbuilding Industry

John Michael Greer: Solstice 2100

My second attempt to use the tools of narrative fiction to explore the deindustrial future, this story is set half a century after “Christmas Eve 2050.” Once again the subject is an American family’s experience in a world after peak oil. Between the two narratives, several more cycles of catabolic collapse, involving civil war, epidemic disease, and the onset of severe climate change, have transformed the physical and cultural landscape, with more changes in sight.

Expert wants more research in sustainable development

Surprise: Not-so-glamorous conservation works best: Efficient appliances and flourescent bulbs are easy upgrades that make a big difference, experts say.

Tipping point: energy

The energy tipping point has been reached, just as a system such as the climate has been found to have a critical threshold that some scientists believe has probably been reached. Obviously, climate disaster is much more ominous than the enormous consequences of passing the energy tipping point. As if it's a matter of choice, there are those who don't want to see any concerns about energy supply distract us from the climate challenge. Yet, the two crises are related and inseparable. There happens to be a common approach to mitigate each of them.

Coal to oil independence becoming a fading dream

With the Democrats taking center stage in policy making, and crude oil prices stuck in the low 60s range, the possibility of a major synthetic fuel alternative development is fading fast.

Mercury rises on natural gas prices: Heating bills could skyrocket this winter

WASHINGTON — Natural gas prices are soaring on commodity markets, a development that could lead to higher-than-expected heating bills this winter.

Natural gas prices trading for delivery in January rose 11% in November and are trading near a 10-month high.

Much of the gain has come in the last week. The reason: Cold weather is sweeping across the USA, leading to increased demand and, thus, higher prices.

Britain could face winter gas shortages

LONDON - Britain could face a repeat of last winter's gas shortages and soaring energy prices if a prolonged period of colder-than-average weather sets in this winter, independent analysts Global Insight said on Thursday.

The launch of new pipelines to import gas from Norway and the Netherlands may not be enough to offset declines in output from the UK's ageing North Sea fields if a lengthy cold snap grips Europe's biggest market for the fuel.

Russia approves plan to double domestic natural gas prices

MOSCOW: The Russian government approved a plan Thursday to more than double local natural gas prices by early next decade to make the economy more efficient, but it avoided a steep increase before parliamentary elections next year.
Something of note about the weather here in New England: Mark Twain's satire has come true:

If you don't like the weather in New England, wait a minute.

If nat. gas prices hinge on weather to any degree, then the weather here says it's a crap shoot: two years in a row with rainfall at least 50% above normal; "open" winter months, meaning no snow on the ground; this year we have a sweltering November, in the same way that last year we had a December that was so mild I spread manure on the field before Christmas.

Meanwhile, on the west coast there is snow in places that sometimes never see snow in the year (Seattle, Vancouver), with temperatures about 10-15 C (18-27 F) below "normal".

Maybe "no normal" is the new normal. :-)

The weather is crazy this year.  It's downright balmy in the northeast.  Like, 70F.  

The middle of the country is a mess.  Two feet of snow in Texas, tornados in Ohio.  I pity anyone trying to fly yesterday.

Madame Nature had to do something with all that pent up energy that failed to materialize during the hurricane season.  

I like the phrase "Climate Change" more than "Global Warming" to describe what the world is currently experiencing.

That is a very good way to phrase it. Did you know that every other warm period has ended with a significant warming event that then transitioned, often in less than a decade, into a full blown ice age?
I know this is a US and Euro-centered website, but try telling that to the Phillipines, who just got nailed by their 4th(!!) Katrina+ sized supertyphoon in the last 10 weeks. Can you imagine the hue and cry if that were to happen to us?
I think Leanan pointed this out earlier.  Even though the GOM or Eastern US didn't get pummeled this year, there are other parts of the world that did.  So overall hurricane/typhoon activity is still probably higher than average across the globe.
I suggest doing a little more research before coming to that conclusion.
I suggest doing a little more research before coming to that conclusion.

There was a lot of typhoon and cyclonic action in the world this year.  Australia alone had two back to back CAT 5, stormsone of which knocked out almost all of the country's banana crop.  I might add that strong cyclones hitting Australia had almost faded from memory as the last which caused any major damage occured back in 1974 with cyclone Tracy.
And when was the last time a major hurricane hit New Orleans?
And when was the last time a major hurricane hit New Orleans?

Err, last year.
I'm talking about a major hurricane before Katrina.  I find the GW to super hurricane link to be tenuous at best.  It took 30+ years of increasing temperatures for one to manifest in the US/NO and cause the destruction everyone was talking about.
I'm talking about a major hurricane before Katrina.  I find the GW to super hurricane link to be tenuous at best.  It took 30+ years of increasing temperatures for one to manifest in the US/NO and cause the destruction everyone was talking about.

Buddy it only takes one event laid on by nature that exceeds the specified design criteria of whatever technofix you've got in place, and you're screwed.  Case in point - New Orleans.
Like wise, it only takes one event laid on by nature that exceeds the specified design criteria of whatever permaculturefix you've got in place, and you're screwed.  Guess we should all just roll over and die then, right?
Like wise, it only takes one event laid on by nature that exceeds the specified design criteria of whatever permaculturefix you've got in place, and you're screwed.  Guess we should all just roll over and die then, right?

Yep, only the scale of the disaster is different.  Buddy people have been producing (including reproducing) and consuming without limits while drawing down finite resources for several centuries now - stuffing up the natural world in the process, it doesn't matter what technofixes you try to institute to alleviate the symptoms of all that producing and consuming going on, eventually there will be a collapse and die-off when the resources that enabled our overshoot (like fossil fuels) are exhausted.  All technofixes do in the context of perpetual growth in a finite world is ensure that the collapse and die-off will be even more resounding when it comes, as there will be more people, infrastructure, and GDP being supported at the final ecological reckoning.  Doesn't matter what you and I want or think as these trends of exponential growth and consumption are continuing unabated, and will continue to do so as virtually all people in the world are clamouring for more development (production and consumption) not less.  Worldwide population control is politically impossible, and no one will willingly agree to reduce their living standards in order to conserve finite resources and the biosphere for the benefit of future generations and the other species.  
The "specified design criteria" þ were NOT exceeded during Katrina.  The US Army# finally admitted that they knew that their design was faulty and would fail prematurely in 1985, biut kepy quite about the design fault.

Some retired colonel ot general should be found in retirement, court martialed and shot for killing over 1,000 Americans through criminal neglect.

þ The debris line was 12 to 13 inches below the top when the 17th Street Canal when it just collapsed.  I have talked to eye witnesses and seen photos.

# In 1928, after the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927, the US Army was given responsibility for flood control for several US cities critical to the nation's well being.  New Orleans and St. Louis among the few cities specified (from meory)

The "specified design criteria" þ were NOT exceeded during Katrina.

Alan, whether by accident or design the levy walls were breached, and that is the point.  If it wasn't meant to be there in the first place, was poorly designed, or is merely addressing the effects of overproduction and over-consumption rather than the overproduction and over-consumption itself, you're just delaying the inevitable.  Nature will always produce an event which is greater than the specified design criteria - for there are no technofixes for the problems generated by perpetual growth in a finite world.  You just allow more people to exist, more infrastructure and GDP to be supported before the inevitable day of reckoning, and this was the lesson of Katrina.
No, the lesson of Katrina was that the US Army was criminally negligent.  Had we had honest engineers, say, Dutch, we would have had a couple of weeks without power, lots of roof damage, a half dozen dead from accidents, etc.

You are seeing some great moral anout civilization that is JUST NOT THERE !  It is very similar to a dam failure whe nthe water rises to within a foot of the top of the dam.  The moral is NOT "Oh my God, we should not build dams !" but "What idiot built that dam !"

Amsterdam & Rotterdam are protected behind multiple layers of defense against 10,000 year storms and are mulling how to improve that rating with sea level rise.

Fortunately, New Orleans already knows the answer to that.  Use the sediment from the spring floods to build up the delta, reversing a century of US Army Corps of Engineers.

Best Hopes,


The moral is NOT "Oh my God, we should not build dams !" but "What idiot built that dam !"

Another side effect of placing too much faith in technology is that sometimes it just fails.  After all it is designed by humans.  Mistakes can occur in the design, materials, construction or the simple operation of the system involved. Alan I agree with your sentiments. There is no moral to the story behind Katrina - only lessons.  And a lesson is presented until it is learnt it's said.  I feel there will be many lessons to be learnt through the pain of the collapse that's to come.
The lesson is not a "mistake", but a fundamental lack of INTEGRITY by a SYSTEM.  In this case, it was engineers in the uniform of the US Army who lacked a fundamental level of integrity !


Driving home after work last night it was 65 degrees at 3AM in Milford, NH.  On Dec 1.  Unprecedented!
Warmest 6 months on record in Britain.

And we have longer complete records than anyone else-- back to the 1690s, I believe.

Also the warmest November on record.  And nearly the warmest year on record.

I just harvested the last of my lettuce, chard, and arugula three days ago, before the cold hit.  Impressive for the middle of the country the end of November, but that's the way it's been for a few years now, around here.
Summer here started quite early, no rain at all for many months, and stayed late.  85 degrees as late as last week. Very very unseasonal, all year long.
According to the news this morning, here in the St. Louis
area, 350,000 people are without power.  The utilities are
doing their best to restore power in the area but are having difficulty getting help from neighboring utilities because they are busy dealing with outages in their area.

Wednesday it was about 70 degrees here.  Yesterday, it was freezing rain and snow.

Whoa! Planet of the frickin' Apes. 70 Degrees! Holy Shit! That musta been like Hell. Freezing rain and snow! Wowie Zowie! That sounds like an Old Grateful Dead Tune. How did you ever survive? It must have been wicked cold. Are you OK?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Finland remains remarkably warm, today 7C / 45F in Helsinki. Usually at the beginning of December there is snow pretty much everywhere in the country (except perhaps the South Coast), but now it seems only the northernmost bits have any snow at all. And according to forecasts, the unusual warm spell will continue next week. Just the other day I saw a meteorologist on TV saying that, while one can't be sure of the causes, this is pretty much what the climate change models would predict.
Great info, Jussi, thank you.  I know I, for one, would love to hear more from non-US TOD readers about weather conditions in other parts of the world.
The only 2 things I know for sure-
Australia and the UK are both in a severe drought.
Southern England is in drought. We have had a lot of rain here in Scotland.

November has been warm, wet and windy.

A lot of rigs have been 'waiting on weather' due to a sequence of low pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic.

We have not had a frost worthy of the name and some trees are budding.

Still it can change quickly, but I am not betting on a White Christmas :-(

It's been the dryest 18 months on record, here in south eastern England.

But the last few days have had record rainfall, I think.

It's been the dryest 18 months on record, here in south eastern England.

But the last few days have had record rainfall, I think.

Add to that we've had hail, in London.

I can only think of hail, here, two or three times in the last 20 years (I would notice, because where I grew up August hail was a common occurrence).

Record setting rainfall NW USA
Germany seems to have experienced the coldest August on record this year, followed by the warmest October and November, ever. The warmest November was so in the bag that it was declared about a week ago, since no one expected a few -20° (either scale) days to even things out at the end.

No one seriously doubts climate change in Germany, and a good number of people are worried about it, at all levels. There is no climate change denial industry here, though of course, there are major corporate power blocs (car industry, power industry) which would prefer to keep their profit margins comfortable, without having to deal with the still not conclusively proven.

Warmest November on record in the Tokyo area (may well be true for japan, but i wasn't paying that much attention to the news...)
...and here it is, December 1, in Maine, and we're getting one hell of a thunderstorm. This is too much.
I posted this late to the Drumbeat yesterday, but I wrote a short essay on a story I saw yesterday:

Ethanol Demand Boosting Corn Prices

In the story they say the average corn price this year will be $3 a bushel and in 2007 $3.40. That means that right now the corn costs alone add $1.11 to a gallon of ethanol. So much for Vinod Khosla's claim:

Even in the U.S., and this is a conservative number, ethanol costs - most of the plants I look at - costs are about $0.90 a gallon to produce. [In contrast, slide 5 says gasoline costs $1.60 a gallon to produce.] Compared to any price you can imagine for gasoline, down to about $35 a barrel, ethanol is cheaper.

This corn ethanol business is shaping up to be a national disaster. Well, unless you are a corn farmer or ethanol producer. Remember, we are mandated to almost double ethanol usage from current levels!

I purchase corn for my corn stove from my local grain elevator, in 1000 pound quantities...Western Michigan.

Last winter the average was $ 2.73 per bushel.
Current price is $ 4.40 per bushel.

That would be an increase of 61%.


When the price of beef and pork goes through the roof and wheat and soybean products (as substitutes) follows, you can be sure the meat and cereal industries will point their stressed and trembling fingers at ethanol. And quickly.

Corn ethanol was an unbelievably stupid idea.

Mid-west electoral politics will become interesting soon.


Is it true that meat critters are about to be dumped on the markets because of arriving higher grain prices?

Just wondering if we should prepare for the price to plummet temporarily, in which case I'll stock up.

I'm not so sure how this will play out as a general push against livestock production, particularly intensively managed, from many perspectives (ethical to environmental to economic) is occurring. Public lands grazing, animal welfare issues, environmental pollution from wastes, veganism, health consequences of dairy and meat consumption and so on. The livestock industries may end up pointing at a mirror if they aren't careful.

This following may be one of the latest example (as it was just released yesterday, I haven't read any of it's almost 400 pages yet) of sources of pressure:

Livestock's long shadow: Environmental issues and options

Long term I expect that some of these public pressures will fall by the wayside with a shift more toward grazing livestock harvesting unfarmable, permanent pasture because we need the food to support the expanding human population. Sort of a global food/energy version of Maslow's hierarchy of needs

There's already chatter amongst farmers for taking land out of CRP to plant more corn; expect less habitat, more polluted runoff.

In north country, paper producers are wary of cellulosic ethanol if it means raising demand (and prices) for raw product.

Cattlemen wary over ethanol

It is starting to get interesting, isn't it?

Last year the global shortfall of grain production versus grain consumption was 60 million tons. Interestingly the US consumption of corn grain for ethanol was... 55 million tons. The world is now caught between feeding its human population, well into overshoot, or of supplying fuel to the richest few percent by converting said grains into fuel. So what choice will first world nations make - food for their starving brethren in Africa and Asia or fuel for their SUV? Oops, nevermind! We already know what choice they will make. R.I.P., starving brethren.
You left out an option....

  1. Make fuel.
  2. Make meat.
  3. Feed people.

Only #1 is new. #2 has been using the vast majority of the grain for centuries, (well, maybe only decades). The tradeoff is likely to be between #1 and #2. People without money were always starved, and people with money can always outbid the ranchers and ethanol distillers.
Hmmm... and in that previous thread, my back-of-the-envelope calculation was that, given $0.30/lb ethylene, it would cost about $1.20/gallon to produce syntetically. Not accounting for any production inefficiencies, of course (do the corn ethanol people account for inefficiencies?).

If synthetic ethanol can be produced with 80% efficiency, that's still $1.50/gallon.

The problem is that the subsidies have distorted the market, and ethanol from ethylene does not qualify for subsidies. So, you get ethanol prices that don't really reflect actual costs of production, and corn ethanol gets favored over potentially better alternatives like corn butanol, or mixed-alcohols from biomass (my old Texas A&M research).
I know, my little harp just keeps playing this one note... and you've discussed butanol before, and why ethanol is a lousy fuel (low energy, corrosive). I wasn't really recommending synthetic ethanol either, just pointing out that it's a lot cheaper than all that wasteful, messy agriculture / zymurgy to get the same product.

And I do appreciate your biomass research, it's certainly worth investigating -- if any shreds of civilization survive this upcoming crisis, we'll need sources of organic carbon for all those small-quantity, high-value applications, and perhaps occasionally as a fuel.

Just sent to me via e-mail:

Not only will ethanol not make a major contribution to solving the nation's dependence on foreign oil, [commodities broker Doug] Carper said, it raises the specter of disrupting the food supply system, causing all manner of problems for cattle feeders, and huge losses for marginal ethanol plant operations that are springing up around the state.

"I see trouble looming here in the heartland and a lot of good, well-intentioned people facing some terrible and ruinous losses," Carper told the Lincoln Journal-Star.

         -- From "Broker Warns Ethanol Boom Headed For A Bust," at this
             November 30, 2006 Nebraska news site:

I posted this on yesterday's drumbeat and was hoping you'd see it.  I thought it was a rather remarkable article, especially saying what I've been saying for a long time, that these plants will fail, and I fear for the bust facing our poor farmers, once again.  Also, I found the first comment on statepaper.com to be amazing, someone saying that the big oil companies are buying up the corn supply and even farmland so that ethanol will fail. !!!!!!!!!


and, if you didn't see this on Vinod's latest...


Also, I found the first comment on statepaper.com to be amazing, someone saying that the big oil companies are buying up the corn supply and even farmland so that ethanol will fail. !!!!!!!!!

I responded to the guy over the big oil comment. What a maroon. Thanks for the links.

and, if you didn't see this on Vinod's latest...

Wotta hypocrite... he says the free market will make ethanol succeed, then in the next breath he wants legislative mandates.

Aren't 'free market' Republicans wonderful!  Everybody gets rich.
One can understand the policies and actions of political parties a lot more, when they are in power, by looking at their constituent interest groups, than by looking at stated policies or right/left templates.

Democrats- largest interest groups are the Teachers (1/4 party members is a teacher), Trade Unions, Trial Lawyers, Right-to-Choose, the high technology industry.  Amongst voting groups: Afro Americans, Hispanics, Jewish Americans, Catholic Americans.  Voters are either less likely to have a college degree, or more likely to have a post graduate degree.

Republicans - the largest interest groups are big business, very successful small businesses (ie the ones who might pay the inheritance tax).  Amongst big interests the big players are Energy, Utilities, 'smokestack industries', defence, pharmaceuticals.  Amongst voting groups: evangelical Christians and especially evangelical white protestants.  Voters more likely to have some college, or a college degree (but not postgraduate).

So the Republicans are going to sit square in line with big business.  Big business is anti regulation, anti union (WalMart organising its workers to vote Republican), but not necessarily pro competition.

I think it was Adam Smith who said that no sooner do 2 businessmen get together, than they begin to plot to fix prices.

When I went home to Michigan last August, I attended the dedication of a new ethanol plant in Albion, MI that was a major media event.  

[ I shot this clip of the governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm speaking at this event.  

At least as of last summer, she hadn't got it about the EROEI of ethanol... ]

My brother-in-law, who is a corn farmer, got into a conversation with some of the agribusiness types that were attending.  They said that previously, a large portion of all the corn produced in the southwestern Michigan area had been shipped by rail (hear that Alan!) to catttle and poultry feedlots on the eastern seaboard.  Now, virtually none of the corn was going to leave the state, and that this would result in major cost increases for these producers because they would now need to TRUCK feed in from farther west.  

Interestingly, the capital for the plant which is owned and operated by a regional elevator and ag commodities brokering company called "The Andersons" was put up by a Japanese conglomerate.  


What's to get about the EROEI?   It's positive.

And as a corn farmer, your brother-in-law should be quite happy with the increased prices for his product, in fact, I'd even wager that he's planning on planting more corn next year.  

And from Indiana:

"Indiana corn farmers are seeing higher earnings with the increasing demand for corn as a feedstock for the state's ethanol plants, said Corinne Alexander, assistant professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. But rising corn prices adversely affect the state's hog and poultry farmers who are being hit by higher feed costs, she said."

"The demand for ethanol production increased the price of corn 67 cents a bushel between Oct. 12 and Nov. 3, Alexander said. At a projected yield of 167 bushels an acre, the 67 cent increase means an additional $112 an acre. With Indiana's full-time farmers having 1,000 acres of corn and 1,000 acres of soybeans in production, the price hike means an extra $112,000, which is "a huge, huge income increase," she said."

"Soybean prices have gone up 50 cents a bushel in recent weeks, she said. The extra money is important because farmers have seen huge increases in the price of energy, seed, fertilizer, Alexander said."

And from Texas (your old stomping grounds no less):

"Anticipation is growing in rural communities across the state as the biofuels industry takes flight. Its growth can strengthen crop prices because the industry depends on commodities like corn, grain sorghum and soybean to convert into fuel, and it can bring new wealth to communities through the construction activity and jobs it generates.

Robert Wood, assistant commissioner for rural economic development at the Texas Department of Agriculture, said the 30 to 60 jobs a typical ethanol plant creates may not mean much to a big city like Houston, but it would have a real impact on a town of 2,500.

A Texas A&M University study said an 80 million-gallon ethanol plant could produce 1,400 associated jobs over time. The overall economic boost provided by that size of a plant could reach $400 million, including $41 million in increased household income annually once the plant begins operation.

There are no certain remedies for the problems facing rural areas, but ethanol and biodiesel plants can be "a huge cornerstone for us to build on," Wood said."

And oh ALAN! ALAN! ALAN! from Iowa:

"About 75 percent of the nation's annual production of 4.3 billion gallons of ethanol a year is moved by rail, with the remaining 25 percent transported by truck, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

Infrastructure is growing across the country, the association said in an annual industry report released in February.

Spokesmen for major rail companies, including the nation's largest freight hauler, Union Pacific, said they are investing in track improvements near ethanol plants."

So lets see...

Jobs galore, new rail development, increased land prices, increased grain prices, increased rural incomes, strengthened rural communities, increased skill and labor set, positive (albeit minimal) environmental/GHG impact, net decrease in petroleum usage...

I could literally post stories all day long from the likes of the Wichita Eagle to the Vulcan Advocate re: ethanol and the positive impact it's having for farmers and rural folk across the continent.  

Ethanol producers (like any business) are going to have to adapt to the market just like everyone else - some will make it, some won't.

Peak Oil = high prices for everything and that includes the price of corn.

Jobs galore, new rail development, increased land prices, increased grain prices, increased rural incomes, strengthened rural communities, increased skill and labor set, positive (albeit minimal) environmental/GHG impact, net decrease in petroleum usage...

So, you support this fiasco? I thought you were a gasification guy. Let's run some numbers. Right now, we are making around 4.3 billion gallons per year of ethanol. At an energy return of 1.3, that means we only net 0.3 BTUs of output for 1 BTU of input. Therefore, you consumed 3.3 billion gallons worth of ethanol to produce 4.3 billion gallons. So, the net of the 4.3 billion gallons is only 1 billion gallons. Of course that net includes massive amounts of animal feed co-product, which you can't burn in a car. In reality, the fossil fuel input is almost equal to the ethanol output. That's per the USDA's most recent estimates.

But I am going to give the benefit of the doubt and give you 1 billion gallons of net ethanol. Since ethanol has 65% of the BTU content of gasoline, the energy equivalent number is 650 million gallons of gasoline. We use about 140 billion gallons of gasoline, so the gasoline displacement is only 0.46%. Apply that only to our oil imports, and the displacement is down around 0.3%.

But wait, there's more. We paid a $0.51/gal direct subsidy on the ethanol. Not the net, mind you, but the gross which is mostly recycled fossil fuels. So the direct ethanol subsidy, from taxpayer pockets, is $2.2 billion dollars a year. Of course we also have a multi-billion dollar per year corn subsidy. To be extremely generous, we are paying taxpayer costs of $3 billion a year to displace less than half a percent of our gasoline usage. That's about $3.60 in federal subsidies (of course most corn states throw in their own subsidies) for each gallon of gasoline displaced.

But you get bonuses: Like depleted water tables, increased pesticide and herbicide runoff (responsible for a large dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico), increased soil erosion (wait til we have a drought - Can you say "Dust Bowl"?), and the kicker: Higher food prices for everyone and reduced corn exports. (Hope nobody needs extra corn this year). All of this to displace 0.46% of our gasoline consumption and line the pockets of some farmers, ethanol producers, and ag conglomerates! And that's presuming you could burn animal feed in your car.

For that kind of money spent and those kinds of externalities, I would sure hope some jobs have been created.  

And people wonder why I get worked up over this boondoggle.

Correction: Oil imports should be oil consumption.
Indeed, if the US were serious about ethanol, it would import Brasilian ethanol.  And probably there are other Carribean Islands (Cuba comes to mind) where the sugar cane could be easily converted into ethanol.

It's a 'clean politics, dirty energy' type strategy.

(we have many such in Europe, especially regarding anything to do with agriculture).

Such have convinced me, pretty much, that what the US needs is a carbon tax (or an auctioned system of carbon permits) not subsidisation of new energy resources except where the latter is to develop new technology (analogy to the launch of the civilian nuclear power industry in the 60s, which was driven by the government).

If the US brought in such a system, I would wager plug-in hybrid electric vehicles would very rapidly become widely available.  Conservation is the cheapest fuel there is.

Of course I'm the gasification guy, however, in order to take EtOH to market, we must start with what is doable now and work our way to optimal efficiency i.e. mating said process to the existing fermentation/cellulosic infrastructure.

Take the tar sands for example.  Without the existing infrastructure put in place by conventional O&G production paths, the tar sands would not have gotten off the ground.  In other words, the conceivable will not materialize without the practicable.

As for my post above, I was responding to this line, "This corn ethanol business is shaping up to be a national disaster. Well, unless you are a corn farmer or ethanol producer."  which is disingenuous.

Furthermore, since I noted that this year's reading list included Kunstler (as did mine) you and I should both recognize that the forthcoming nouveau ruralism must evolve around a new economic dimension - energy production from biomass.

Hello R-squared,

Not only a national disaster, but a global disaster.  From this link:
November 30, 2006 WINDHOEK, Namibia - The U.N. World Food Program said Thursday it may halt food distribution to 90,000 orphans and vulnerable children in Namibia by the end of the year because of a critical shortage of funding.

The agency said to date it had had received no funding for its Namibian programs, and had used funds in its general budget.

 "As new problems emerge in different parts of Africa, and the rest of the world, donor focus has shifted away from southern Africa and all our programs across the region have been affected by the reduced availability of resources," said WFP's Namibian representative, John Prout, in a statement.

The agency earlier this month said it would have to cut back aid in Zimbabwe, which is one of the region's worst affected countries because of high HIV/AIDS rates, poor harvest and general economic collapse.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

My heart breaks--but such is Life--the Dieoff of Orphans is obviously the path of least resistance.

The newborns purposely drowned in the Zimbabwean sewers were the lucky ones.

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

Staw man alert.

The events in Namibia and Zimbabwe have absolutely nothing to do with corn ethanol production in the US.

Hello Syntec,

Respectfully disagree.  Please read, study, then mentally extrapolate Tragedy of the Commons to a global scale over a long timeframe.  If all the resources originally in Africa, from slaves to diamonds, had never left the continent......

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

I did my time with Hobbes and Locke thanks - men stuck in a era of perpetual war are typically not predisposed of positive thinking.  

I agree that in a capitalist system, someone, somewhere is exploited however if all the resources originally in Africa, from slaves to diamonds had never left the continent, then one would have to assume that the continent would not have european contact, ergo no technology, no industry, no medicine, no human rights, nor all the other entrapments of modern, civil society.

Some might say this is a good thing, however, said person has no doubt never been hunted down and eaten by a pride of lions.

At any rate, this thread concerned ethanol and I again posit that the events transpiring in Namibia & Zimbabwae have nothing to do with US ethanol production whatsoever.

In fact, in case of the latter, Mugabe's decision to destroy capitalism is exactly the reason why his people are starving and the economy devastated today.

I had this discussion this past week with my brother.  My father and him have a small farm - ~450 acres and ~100 head of holstien steers.  We were talking about harvest prices vs. current prices.

They have about enough on the farm grain storage to feed the steers over the course of a year plus about 20%.  My brother commented that since harvest soybeans had gone up about $1/bu in price.  He was playing the 'what if' card, and wondered if they had held beans in the small bin they could have made another $3000.  I asked if it had corn in it and he said yes.  I suggested he was better off, because the price of corn had gone up about $1.50/bu since harvest and he could actually make an extra $4500 (if he had held the beans he would have had to sold the corn at harvest).

He returned with they would not have enough corn to feed the steers.  I then asked if they would be better off dumping all, most, or some of the steers.  He said that the price of steers had already dropped and they wouldn't get that much.  This meant that their tight margin was worse.  The feed (corn) price climbed while the sell price of their product was dropping.  He also said they were getting hit by the feed suppliment prices because they are made from soybeans - which are also rising in price.

Gee, Robert, ain't the 'free market' wonderful!  Everybody making money from a brand new industry.
A great article, by way of Marginal Revolution:

Why understanding economics is hard

Fiske, a professor of anthropology at UCLA who previously taught at Penn and Bryn Mawr, has devoted decades of research to disentangling human relationships. He's studied communities all over the world, comparing cultures in West Africa with those in Europe and America.

His conclusion: Just as every human language is composed of the same grammatical elements (subjects, verbs, etc.), all relationships are built from exactly four kinds of interactions.

Fiske labels these communal sharing, equality matching, authority ranking and market pricing. Here's what he means:

Communal sharing is how you treat your immediate family: All for one and one for all. Or as Marx put it: From each according to ability, to each according to need.

Equality matching, by contrast, means we all take turns. From kindergarten to the town meeting, it's all about fair shares, reciprocity, doing your part.

Authority ranking is how tribes function, not to mention armies, corporations and governments. Know your place, obey orders, and hail to the chief.

Market pricing, of course, is the basis of economics. It's what we do whenever we weigh costs and benefits, trade up (or down), save or invest.

It might be interesting to note that the Nordic countries approach their energy problems through "equality matching" while Americans stick with "market pricing."

Oh!  Note how these relationship-types might play into energy "gouging" discussions.
Sure.  Motorists think of oil as a human necessity, so therefore it should be should be communal property; any price above the costs to extract, refine, and transport fuel is considered essentially extortion.  The owners of the oil think of it as their personal or national property, therefore they should be able to dictate the terms of its sale; low prices are considered theft.  The business and political elites think of it as a market transaction.  

As long as people think energy is some kind of birthright, we get nowhere.  Except maybe a war to take it away from those people who won't play by the rules.

I am a technology nerd from Sweden with some understanding of economics and politics. The nordic energy problems, and opportunities, are handled with market pricing plus heavy taxation.

We have one of the worlds most unregulated electricity trading markets:

The heavy taxation were originally purely fiscal and have then also been motivated by environmental reasons.

Other market manipulations that have been done is early state involvement in hydro power and large scale grid building and at least in Sweden in nuclear research.

All nordic countries have strong municipialities and manny of them have built local grids and invested in power production. But this is more or less local government acting as a market player in a sane way.

There is a regulation preassure on all power industry to comply to fairly strict codes and this adds to the cost. On the other hand it rewards long term planning and parts of the power industry is sometimes ahead in this, probably people who like to do a good job.

Overall it seems like grid quality is improving but the service is not improving since a lot of the investments is a replacement of repair staff with cabels that dont break down as often.

I think the Swedish grid have about three generations. Pre WW-2, post WW-2 hydro boom and 70/80:s nuclear boom. Pre WW-2 is mostly gone or being replaced real fast now, post WW-2 hydro boom major switchyards are being replaced and almost all of the rural distribution grid is being replaced. A lot of the high voltage nuclear boom switchyards are being updated or rebuilt to get higer reliability and a lot of the rural investments will be redone with only a fraction of the life lenght used to storm proof the distribution.

I guess the period of about 2000 - 2015 will be another major generation in the grid due to cablification and manny investments done for the nordic power trading and better reliability. Hopefulle the period will be ended by additions for new nuclear powerplants in Swden and not only Finland and strenghtening for plug-in hybrids and EV:s and thus lenghten this generation to about 2020.

The major investments in production are both done by established power companies and customers cooperating to build their own production to undercut the oligopolies.

I think most of the energy future is electric, with lots and lots of electricity.

'But this is more or less local government acting as a market player in a sane way.'

For most Americans who have grown up in the last generation, this statement is essentially incomprehensible. Government is the opposite of market, the same way day is the opposite of night.

Which may explain why Americans so often deride Europe's over-regulated socialist economy, with its maternity leave, essentially universal health care, 4-6 weeks paid vacation per year, safety regulations, and on, and on.

Both systems have flaws, but one seems oriented to the long term, taking into account multiple factors, while the other seems oriented to the rich getting richer as proof that it is superior.

And it is correct that over regulating and toying with socialism can be very hurtfull for your economy and the well being for a countries citizens.

Our luck in Sweden has probably been that previous generations only socialized some sectors and then slowly started to back off. We now need to hurry up with that since we need more efficiency.

The more theoretical and ideological your socialism is the worse it becommes. The early generations of socialists in Sweden had a practical mindsets and a lot of what were done where simply about building things in an efficient way intended do be lived in by those in charge and the rest of the people. One of the major problems with that is that those in charge dont have the same taste and wishes as everybody else. This mindset dont work well when you do something more complex then clean water, distributing electricity or paving roads. Thus manny of our cities look like they were bombed during WW-2 when in reality they were redeveloped for the common good, a disaster wich will take further decades to repair.

Things started to go south in the late 60:s when socialism should equalize man, should be extended to include private companies and should transform children into realy happy and equalized citizens. It had been so successfull in so much so they probably felt it to be logical to extend the project.

Dident work and it is quite a lot of work to get childcare, schools, hospitals, etc to start to function in a more efficient way and get all those people who thought it were a good idea to rethink it.

Myself as a right wing hobby politician I have a kind of two front battle since I advocate large government investments and so on in preparation for global warming and peak oil while at the same time wanting to back off in other sectors and redistribute the funds. Arguing for bigger government in some sectors and smaller in other is hard since it no longer is ideologically simple. At least I am sure that free enterprize is vital for getting things built and run in an efficient way.

Perhaps the difference between our system and yours is that we in Sweden fairly often think about longer time spans of both history and future and have a tradition of some technocracy. If something works or not when you analyze it is fairly often a valid argument and a reasonable share of the general public understands such reasoning.

All systems are flawed, and there is no question that socialism becomes stifling, and then no longer capable of living within the world as its citizens experience it. (The Dutch are experiencing this in terms of the long overdue debate about immigration and integration.)

But in part, and this is not meant as a longer debate, many Americans, especially those with power and money, believe in social Darwinism, even if a majority of America's citizens today now seem to reject his scientific work in favor of its pseudo-scientific bastard.

There are many ways that America is currently falling apart which a European may find hard to understand. As a tiny example - compare the budget for rat control, and its importance in city management, between any major European city and the entire United States - you might be amazed. The same applies to many aspects of public health, which comes close to be socialized medicine, something Americans also seem to reject with religious fervor.

Actually, many of your ideas are necessary, and the debate between different perspectives is always fruitful, but much of what you may read coming from American sources in terms of free market economics is not exactly economics, it is justification for American society as it exists today, with the very rich growing extremely rich, with a middle class disappearing in debt and outsourcing. Some of this thinking may be as potentially as evil as what Americans used to think about the natural order of the 'races' of man a hundred years ago. In that case, a certain group of Germans was thrilled to find people who were publishing and discussing ideas of how to improve society through clearly defined goals and well implemented plans, based on scientific principles. It merely needed a triumph of the will, so to speak.

Socialism, especially the Marxist version, has brought much suffering and evil to the world. The American vesion of social Darwinism, which tends to fit hand in glove with much American thinking of the importance of laissez faire capitalism, is not really much of an improvement, when viewed over a broad canvas. Especially since most American debate centers around maximizing profit, to the exclusion of essentially everything else. This has certainly been the case since 1981, in my opinion, as an older generation was replaced by the baby boomers - but that is truly another story.

However, if you use more British oriented thinking about the importance of the market (and this even includes Keynes, who many right wing, free market Americans consider about as evil as Darwin), then accept my apologies for assuming that your inspiration was American based.

As in manny other things I talk about on line I lack in formal education. My thinking about economics is second hand knowledge from discussions with people who know a lot more then I do. I base my economics on the simplest level of business, money in must be more then money out, if it isent for a while it needs to pick up later. And I have a fair understanding of the vast differences in peoples life goals and abilities. No rigid system can handle that people are different and systems that try to force people to become alike each other are disgusting even if they are packaged nicely. And still I accept the need for cooperation in for instance the military and think that a good governmnet and culture should provide an environment where people can grow in different directions.

The very simple economics is made harder by things and services changing in value over time and that a large part of the economy is gambling based on psycological needs, way beyond what I can handle. Trying to understand what peak oil will mean in changes of what is valuble is like sorting books in an earthquake but I think I know where some of the new chams are and some silly people thinks the whole city is doomed.

I dont know where the econmical schools in Sweden get their inspiration but I am sure that USA have had a huge cultural impact on us first by the migration to USA impressing a lot of people and after their victory in WW-2 we realigned from germanic teaching in schools to english. We intensified the import of technology and culture from USA, much like the Japanes have done and incorporated into their culture. USA were the big powerfull guys and also real heros and withouth USA we would probably have bowed far more for the Soviet power and also toyed even more with socialism and been a lot poorer.

I have read some about this but a lot of the information where disturbed by the anti-USA socialists, still eager to cooperate with USA when in power but in state controlled TV and Radio manny people said that USA were bad. Some of the idiots are still left there, this evening we will have a four hour special about Fidel Castro on his regimes 50 year annaversity. feels ill

Unfortunately I am only 37 and lack a long perspective, on the other hand it will be realy intresting to watch peak oil and post peak oil unfold. What depresses me most is getting traction with doing something about it.

Now I have since a few years the impression that USA no longer lives up to these ideals, you cant live up to a hero image, but you could be more like when you liberated half of europe from faschism.

My largets geopolitical worries are that Russia would turn more sour under Putin and become expansionalist again, that peak oil would force a break up in EU, probably between south and north, and that USA would turn realy sour. I have a very hard time judging this, I have not even been to USA :( and its a continent of a country, but they seem to have problems and this forum have only shown me more of them.
Its like watching a kind minded body builder get alzheimers while training, he gets more and more powerfull but seems to lose the ability to plan ahead and do anything coherent, soon he might punch old friends in the face.

Your point about the free market is a good one. I am absolutely sure that I know that free markets are good, I have seen that myself and they are good in manny countries. But when some people say "its good for the free market" it should perhaps be regardes as when a socialist says that a policy is good for the country, he realy mean good for the party.

The problem is then to sort the good free market guys from the bad free market guys, it is a lot easier when the bad guys label themselves as communists or socialists. I dont even have a solid grasp on the difference between Republicans and Democrates, the buzz that reaches me from the continent where our old heroes lived sound the same from both camps.

This association between freedom and USA is still so strong here in Sweden that if USA would turn sour it would be a serious blow against good markets and real freedom since a fair number of people would see it as a failure of freedom itself.

I realy hope this kind minded body builder of a country would take some vitamines, a little rest, stop tread milling and figure out something about peak oil, global warming and how to sell stuff and services to all of humanity withouth running out of resources.

'Its like watching a kind minded body builder get alzheimers while training, he gets more and more powerfull but seems to lose the ability to plan ahead and do anything coherent, soon he might punch old friends in the face.'

That is one of the best descriptions I have read - it makes no moral judgments, it is based on a simple example which is human in scale, but in no sense avoids the truth, or its consequences.

And yes, there was and is much that is good about America, even with its various flaws. A harsh appraisal is too easily confused with simplicistic judgment.

There are a number of people in Germany too who are very concerned about America turning 'sour.' Many of them are America's best friends, and they are not the small group of Germans who are constantly criticizing America for being less than perfect. Or something they hate, for whatever reason.

They remain concerned that when America is no longer what it seemed to be in the past (regardless of the complex reality), something rare and important will be gone from the world.

Everything ends, which is part of what TOD is about, however.

I do think, as an opinion, that the America of the 1940s was not a Hollywood version of the real hero it was, but that at some point, everyone began believing what Hollywood showed about America. Especially Americans, who should have known better.

I rather like the Greer's "Solstice 2100."  I didn't realize he was going to do several segments, each after a round of catabolic collapse.  Pretty neat idea.

This time, he does a good job of pointing out something that those who envision a high-tech solar-powered future don't adequately consider, IMO.  Education may be the first thing to suffer when TSHTF. Public school is part of the industrial revolution - a way to keep kids no longer needed on the farm off the streets.  Until relatively recently, ordinary people didn't go to college.  Heck, many dropped out before high school, generally for economic reasons - to help out on the farm, or get a job.  

Considered in this light, Greer's vision of rusted old "solar engines" that no one remembers how to fix strikes me as more likely than a future of plug-in hybrids or nuclear trains.

Doesn't it strike you that these essays work most strongly because they start with the presumption of collapse?

There is no need to make the case, only to show the effects.

I'm afraid I am seeing that pattern too much lately.  It is also in the piece "Tipping point: energy."  There, the opening line is "The energy tipping point has been reached, [...]"

Gosh, if you start there there's not much more to say, is there?

Guess it depends on how gloomy you are feeling.

I still don't understand why he has the world running out of silicon in the 2050 episode ... hello? second most abundant element in the earth's crust?

I assume it wasn't so much running out, as not having enough energy to purify/manufacture it.

Remember, before fossil fuels, glass was a very expensive luxury item, just because of the amount of energy (wood) it took to make it.

Apparently Mr. Greer believes the ROI on refining silicon is <1.0 — if so, that would make it a 'boutique' energy source like bioethanol.

If not, we should be heavily investing our dwindling petrodollars in Mr. Ovshinsky's company and the like.

You mean refining silicon and making solar cells with it? Sorry, that's much > 1.0, it's an emperical fact.

"I still don't understand why he has the world running out of silicon..."

I would say it's kinda like oil. Not running out of Oil.
Running out of CHEAP oil.

You are right,  Lots of sand & silicon.

But to get .99999 Pure silcon...  

Chips don't like impurities.  (Except those put there on purpose).

Well, hope you have a Very Modern, Complex, Expensive, energy demanding manufacturing facility.  With Specialized tools and equipment from other Very complex and expensive manufacturing plants.



With Specialized tools and equipment from other Very complex and expensive manufacturing plants.

Some of the newer stepper moters on a fab were 1/2 a million dollars.

Yet, these chips are SO damn useful......What would the military do without 'em as an example.   The use of the technologies like the internet.   The fuel economy they bring to transportation and process control.

And preventing the kids from whining "there's nothing to do" and "I'm bored" what with the great great great grandkids of Vetrix and pong.

"Yet, these chips are SO damn useful"

Yes they are.  I've worked in IT for 25 years as a systems programmer/designer, data base arch.    Never would have had it otherwise.

Amazingly,  One big E.R. pulse from a Nuke, and their all toast in seconds.



Maybe the key question is reliability / durability. If a silicon device keeps functioning for a very long time, then a large investment could make sense. But if the devices tend to fail after say five or ten years, then the initial cost to manufacture could be prohibitive. I've heard that there is a trade-off with PV between efficiency and reliability, but I don't know if that's really true in any important way.
The thinner you make the traces on a chip, the less power they take, yet the ability of damage to electrostatic disgarge goes up.

Over time you have dopant migration.   Back when I cared about such matters it was projected to be 50 years for a 5 volt TTL LSI chip.

Today, I'm betting its less time, what with the thinner traces.  

TTL!? You're probably as old as me. Remember hollerith cards?

Anyway, these problems have been largely mitigated. And I'm speaking in relative ignorance too, since the last direct contact I had with the industry was about 1990.

But as feature geometries have shrunk, strategies for protecting them from static / natural radioactivity / electromigration / etc. have become more mature out of necessity.

When you look at an actual die, the bonding pads are the largest structures, visible to the naked eye. The actual logic can no longer be seen without an electron microscope. And each pad contains a sophisticated circuit (whose diagram I can no longer draw) to protect the signal carried by the pad from *everything*. The circuit is designed to shunt away as much current as the little gold bonding wires can carry.

As for the life of the circuit, I think they specify about 100 years, although we have obviously barely even done a 50-year real life test yet for any semiconductor device. Perhaps that first transistor at Bell Labs is due to expire now :)

I think many of us Boomers are about the same age, sat next to each other at the keypunch machines back in the day while tapping out our Fortran programs. As for semi's, I think the warranty is only for 10 years, not 100.

As for you youngin's, the cards stacked in the upper right hopper; dropped down one at a time into the holder on the right, then stepped through the hole punchers at the left side of the holder area. If you were a power user, you knew how to use the feelers in the next column for copying from one card (i.e. comment field) to the next. When you hit the release button the card would feed into the left for pick up by the rotating stack former. Don't drop your stack. It's a bitch to play 52 card pick up with un-numbered Fortran cards.
The smart tip was to use a Magic Marker and draw a diagonal line accross the edges. (large programs might use multi-colors so that 45 degree lines could be drawn).

Just look at edges and you could get the cards close.

Alan who wrote his first Fortran program at age 14 :-)

I found the Greer article fascinating for another reason - it is just so ignorant.

If a society could be building and maintaining small scale hydroelectric systems in 1900, using essentially human/animal labor, along with ligtbulbs using hand blown glass, why would electricity be unknown? A windmill hooked to an a generator can be made by hand, assuming you have magnets and wire - and the amount of copper currently available in cars alone is staggering.

Sometimes, and this is no swipe at people who believe in catabolic collapse since many of them understand this point without becoming obsessed with total collapse, why people really think humans will not go back to using things that we used only 25 or 50 or 100 years ago. This may or may not be 'progess,' and sure, I too can construct a few scenarios where so much knowledge will be lost, that we will only be able to go back to the technology of 1750 or 1350 - but it has to be a fairly awful catastrophe which destroys all the books, all knowledge of reading, and lots and lots of material - as noted, the amount of valuable material contained in a car would have been vast wealth in 1600, using only the tools and perspectives of someone from that time. That includes the wheel rims, the bearings, the alternator/generator, starter motor, glass windows, all the wiring, the sheet metal, and especially the lead/acid battery and all the light bulbs. To get really silly, you could probably turn most cars into a home lighting system with minimal effort, using the sheet metal for turbine blades, the alternator (or starter motor, with minimal effort) into the power source, with the battery and lights (plus switches, fuses, etc.) and wiring already matched.

We are so, so rich, people seem to have no idea what this means.

As I have pointed out, the United States built subways in it's major cities and 500 streetcar/tram lines in 500 cities & towns from 1897 to 1916.  All but the final years were built with "coal, mules & sweat".

OTOH, after the decline (and then fall) of the Roman Empire. no one made bricks. concrete or built a paved road in Europe for almost 1,000 years.  So real, practicla knowledge can be lost.

IMHO, the difference may be social organization.  We need to function in large stable groups with specialization in order to build things.

BTW, if the last private car was built in 2020, few scraps would be left by 2100.

Best Hopes,


But they most certainly did not lose the ability to craft better armor and weaponry than the Romans, or have better tactics in terms of things like cavalry.

Oh, I agree with the idea that if the last car was built in 2020, there wouldn't be many scraps in 2100 - unless there was the sort of social collapse which is implied in the 2100 scenario. Where did all the metal go? - and the amount of metal contained in what, 200 million cars weighing 1.5 tons average is not exactly trivial - and that is merely the U.S.

In a way, this comes down to a fairly amusing European trait. Some empire, king, duke - whatever - builds a fortified city, a castle, a stronghold - whatever - which then lasts for decades, or centuries, or maybe even a millenia or two.

Then, the local people come and slowly dismantle it. Rome was a gaint marble/lime mine for centuries, for example. But Rome is still there, and there is no reason to believe Rome won't be there in the future. Or the Irish, building their houses using stones stolen from defeated Norman castles.

This is not an argument, this time, against catabolic collapse per se, merely that the level of poverty and ignorance seen in that future society is very difficult to imagine without the sort of event that would go down in human history at a deep, deep, level. The 'Flood' comes to mind - to the extent this was caused by the gigantic breach involving the Mediterranean, this event shows up in the absolutely earliest written human myths, its echoes being seen thousands of years later, very far from where it occurred.

This why I have such a hard time with the 'oil runs out, 5 billion people die' chain of events. I don't have a problem with the oil starts to run out, and in a reflexive spasm, we see whether going nuclear the old fashioned way is a good solution - then 5 billion die, and +90% of everything we have around us is now radioactive slag, unusable for generations.

To illustrate with one concrete example of how silly it is to refer to 'salvagers' on the one hand, but no electrical systems on the other, lets just take a quick look at how much copper there is in America today, merely using the cars that exist today - as a guess, 5 pounds of copper, 200 million cars. If there isn't an electrical system, who the hell is going to be stripping the cars? And that fairly well protected wire, surrounded by sheet metal, then surrounded by its own insulation, which while perhaps rotting in terms of electrical usefulness in a few decades is unlikely to just melt away - especially the wire in the generator or starter motor. (Yes, simplified - it is just an example.)

And what special knowledge does it take to wind a coil? The real problem is the wire, which does require real technological skill to make. As a kid, I did make a few electrical motors, winding the coils by hand, along with a crystal radio - which required no power source for reception.

I could refer to another view of the future, Le Guin's 'field work' involving the Kesh in 'Always Coming Home.' Her very 'simple' society is still able to deal with electric lighting, vaccination, and making rifles for hunting - and quite honestly, I think most human societies are likely to retain those skills far into the future, absent planetary scale catastrophes - and even then, pockets of knowledge are very likely to survive. Do you think that Iceland will lose the ability to work metal? Generate heat or electricity from the resources around them? I don't see it, in broad terms - we can certainly create realistic scenarios where it does happen, but they are not that likely.

This argument about specialization is in one sense also a false one. What is valid as a concern is the quantity produced - I am quite certain, at least in Europe, that the art of maintaining a dam and blowing glass are no more likely to be lost in the next thousand years as in the previous thousand - and since the trick of making a light bulb or electrical generator of the most simple types is essentially more in the idea than the execution, I am quite sure that the top of the social system will at least be able to have light at night.

How that social system will look is another discussion of course, and along with nuclear war, I am very willing to entertain a religious movement which does away with technology for generations - again, Le Guin has some fascinating stories in that direction too. And whatever else she may be, she is not a doomer. She just explores the ebb and tides of human experience.

But we are so, so rich in material goods, at a level truly unimaginable using any past standards, that such decline stories remain very unconvincing. At least the idea of most of what humanity had built being removed in a nuclear holocaust meets the basic standard of not requiring any suspension of disbelief to find deeper truths in a story.

A future of 'rusting' solar facilities strikes me as silly. Sort of like rusting Roman swords or plows - it just didn't happen that way.

I don't think we'll necessarily lose the ability to work glass or metal. But it's a matter of the technology to which is applied.  Will electricity be a priority? My guess is no.  The priorities will be agriculture and the military.

Not least because there's the question of what they'd actually use the electricity for.  Toasters?  Nintendos?  Air-conditioners?

IIRC, the first residential use of electricity was for lighting, but that presupposes the availability of light bulbs.  And it was definitely a luxury item - a way to flaunt your wealth.  I could foresee a future where it simply isn't worth the expense or effort to maintain electric lighting when there are so many other things with higher priorities.

After all, advanced civilizations do lose technology.  The Maya abandoned their irrigation systems and raised beds...even though it's technology we still find useful today.  Why does that happen?  I think it's because of the overhead...the cost of that complexity, not only in raw materials, but energy, effort, education, etc.

Seriously, I don't think human beings are likely to give up lighting at night, at least at the top of the social scale. And to keep their lighting, people require skills which have never really seemed to go out of fashion since their invention, such as making glass or damming flowing water.

Electrical lighting replaced gas lamps, which competed with oil (whale or kerosene) lamps, with candles and other lamps still holding a certain share of the lighting market mid-1800s.

This could be considered an example of what I mean by knowledge - will a functioning industrial civilization collapse so hard that all the prerequisites for electrical lighting die? Not lighting for everyone, not street lighting, not LEDs hooked to PV arrays, or the idea of simply flicking a switch to always have a light turn on, but merely will the knowledge and ability to create electrical lighting completely die out?

Without a vast catastrophe, I just can't see it. It is possible to see 'lightsmith' as one of the most secure and profitable professions in the future, however, ranking much higher than plumber. Essentially using only the tools and knowledge available in a typical European town of 1800 - plus a few salvaged bits and pieces perhaps, as wire and strong magnets are hard to make. (A TV is a great source of both, too - we are really so, so rich. LCDs are still good for wiring, if not magnets.)

Plumbing definitely seems to be one way to separate the civilized from the uncivilized, however. But today, the job of a plumber seems assured to many believers of a post-peak America (no, it most certainly isn't), while the job of 'lightsmith' seems to be something I just invented - but it is a very imaginable trade in essentially all post-peak scenarios, barring major catastrophe, even if no one seems to have thought about it until now.

As a quick note - the Americas do seem quite unusual in how civilizations rise and fall, while Australia seems unusual in not having had cities of any note until the Europeans arrived. Geography may be a larger determining factor than we think.

Seriously, I don't think human beings are likely to give up lighting at night, at least at the top of the social scale. And to keep their lighting, people require skills which have never really seemed to go out of fashion since their invention, such as making glass or damming flowing water.

That is how it started.  The mansions of the wealthy had their own dams, to power the new-fangled electric lighting.

However, I don't think the backend of the oil age will look anything like the front.  It's the difference between adjusting to a suddenly much higher income vs. adjusting to a suddenly much lower one.  

And as you note, giving up electricity isn't necessarily giving up light at night. I think the wealthy will have other, more important things to spend their money on, assuming they keep their wealth, which is, IMO, very, very questionable.  If glass is so expensive that you can only get a little of it...do you use it for light bulbs, or for greenhouses, windows, or canning jars?  

Without a vast catastrophe, I just can't see it.

Greer's scenario does include such.  He talks about wars and other unrest.  

Geography may be a larger determining factor than we think.

Jared Diamond thinks geography is the most important factor.

I may start a new theme, but again, only a preview here. We are so incredibly rich in material things around us, that there will not be a glass shortage in any current industrial land, the same way there will not be any aluminum shortage or copper shortage. What there will be is a change in those materials are used - no more cola cans because the wind turbine towers are built from them is neither peak aluminum nor the end of civilization. And considering I was born before such cans were first marketed, I can't see their disappearance being a sign of something bad happening. (Far from it, personally - the end of the throw away consumer culture is a good first step in improving civilization, not its ending.)  

As always, we can construct various scenarios with various outcomes.

I may add, this opinion about material wealth is based on Germany, and not really today's America. If I still lived in Northern Virginia, for example, then it would be much more resaonable to discuss how hundreds of thousands of people with no practical industrial or agricultural skills would face a future where the light switches don't turn on the lights. And considering the utter lack of farm land, the utter lack of tools, and the generally minimal level of education in practical matters, I would not bet on 'lightsmith' becoming much of a profession there. Especially considering how at least the United States has armed its citizens to a degree which means that the loss of human capital is likely to go far beyond what will happen in other industrial countries.

I have believed for decades at this point that America will fracture, but America is not the entire industrial world.

I'll add to this.

The Black Death killed at least 1/3rd of all Europeans, within 3 years of its arrival.  It did so at least 4 times.

Now we know more about disease than we did then so we ought to be able to respond faster (1).  But a bad flu could kill 5% of the world population, and possibly more (the 1919 flu killed 50 million people, on a population of less than 2 billion).

This I don't think would cause the collapse of civilisation.  The Black Death certainly caused the end of Medieval Civilisation, but it metamorphosised into something else.

however if someone had invaded Europe at that point, with an immunity to the Black Death, then Europe might have become like Russia, losing hundreds of years under foreign suzerainty.

And this time, we have nuclear weapons-- one can imagine factions gaining control of these that are not under control of the national powers.  A worldwide panic could lead to all sorts of disastrous outcomes and side effects.

(1) but in many ways we are less well prepared.  The age of antibiotics has meant the hospitals and sanitoriums devoted to dealing with the incurably ill and the infectious have largely been closed.  Public standards of hygiene have declined in many ways (try to find  a public toilet, now, in Britain).  People are not taught to zealously wash their hands and otherwise clean up.

We live in far more crowded conditions (Hong Kong and SARS).  And air travel means the disease spreads much faster (city number 2 or 3 in SARS was Toronto).

There are some interesting reviews of Diamond's Collapse in this pdf, from Current Anthropology.  Most surprising to me was how strongly Tainter comes out against Diamond in the fourth section.

But, for what it's worth I might lean toward this distillation of Diamond from the Demeritt review:

Though Diamond's condemnation of reckless environ-mental destruction would warm the heart of most con-temporary environmentalists, he is actually an environ-mentalist in the original sense of the word. Like the first professional geographers, he is concerned with the role of environment in shaping or even determining human history. While some might sense that he protests too much, he is at pains to distinguish his brand of environmentalism from the crude determinisms of old. 'A full title for this book,' he explains, 'would be `Societal col-lapses involving an environmental component, and in some cases also contributions of climate change, hostile neighbors, and trade partners, plus questions of societal responses'' (p. 15). His subtitle underlines his salient point that 'societies choose to fail' (italics added). In this respect, the tone of Collapse is more hopeful than its title and depressing subject matter might otherwise suggest. Diamond argues that the fate of our society, like that of our planet, is still largely in our hands. By contrast, his Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) suggested a bio-geographical inevitability to European dominance whose spirit, if not its precise empirical details, would have been familiar to environmental determinists of a century ago.
The pioneer customers when Sweden were electrified were mostly factories that needed electrical lights to work longer days and municipiality street lights. When those were wiered the factory office and high paying private customers also got lights. Then we had several fairly slow cycles of excess electricity trying to find customers and lack of electricity prompting new investments. Right now we have a shortage and quite a lot of combined heat and power plants and wind power plants are being built and we are starting to get intrest in building new nuclear powerplants.

This fallback to the middle ages idea seems quite silly when one lives in a country that produces 53-78 TWh of hydro power, 54 - 75 TWh of nuclear power 9 - 12 TWh other heat driven power and soon a meager 1 TWh of wind power on 9 million people. Electricity is a fountain of wealth and physical capability, why resort to fantasies about wiering up a few lamps from a broken car?

I think the new large scale electricity uses in Sweden will be plug-in hybrid cars and electricity export. I also hope we can attract some new electricity intensive industry, hopefully from coal using regions. When we start building we usually overbuild and if we invest a lot we get the ability to do much more then our share of lowering CO2 emissions and help the world with peak oil.

There is no mystery about Australia.

Australia goes through 1000 year droughts, periodically, where overall rainfall is as little as half (10%?) of its current level.  Much of the soil is infertile.

Australian aboriginals are perfectly adapted to a world where water supply and vegetative cover are lost almost completely.  They have lived for over 30,000 years with that balance of good times and bad times.

(a friend was a professor of African Agriculture in Durban.  He now works as a consultant and property developer.  He pointed out a fundamental white misunderstanding about African agriculture.  African agriculture was structured around sustainability, in the face of cyclical drought and pestilence, not productivity.  That is why white settlement in Kenya in the 30s largely failed).

America (north and south) had major cities and urban civilisations long before the white man got there.  It's likely a drought killed off the Anansi, and the Great Plains were resettled by nomads after the white man brought killer diseases.

Go back to the writings of George Vancouver (around 1800 on the West Coast).  They report finding whole villages dead from smallpox.


Think James Lovelock.  A couple of hundred million humans make their home around an Arctic Ocean, with the modern temperatures of the Mediterranean.

We can't prove that Lovelock is exaggerating the case.  The conditions he describes are possible, given what we know of geophysics.  That would be 5.8 billion people dead, more or less.

Because a 10 degree centigrade rise in the Earth's average temperature could bring about that result.  And a 10 degree rise is possible (we really, really don't know how likely it is, we have just assumed the likelihood is small).

A 5 degree rise alone would make most of Africa and much of Latin America uninhabitable.  Ditto likely most of India.  That's 2.5 billion people or so displaced or dead.

The IPCC is giving a 5 degree rise a 20% possibility, and the IPCC struck a compromise in issuing its forecast-- it takes a very conservative line on this.

You mention 'The Flood'.

But the core samples agree that there have been some very radical shifts in the Earth's climate, sometimes in as little a time as 10 years.

So such dramatic shifts are anything but impossible.

Under such a scenario, one can easily come up with outcomes like failed harvests for 5 years.  At which point, much of the world's population will be starving.

And our current stance on CO2 is 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead'.

We are conducting a unique, and irreversible, experiment in climate manipulation, with possibly dreadful consequences.

why people really think humans will not go back to using things that we used only 25 or 50 or 100 years ago.

IMO...this point is the heart of the theory of catabolic collapse.  

The cause of catabolic collapse is the conversion of a society's resources and capital into waste.  Greer argues that we will not be able to go back to living the way that our ancestors lived, not just because our population is so much higher, but because we have so degraded the soil and water.  Similarly, he argues that resources such as coal, metals, etc., will be much harder to get than they were for our grandparents, because the easy stuff has already been mined. Hence, the tendency of collapsing societies to crash to much lower levels of complexity than they started with.

As an example, Greer used Britain after the Romans withdrew.  The complexity of the society then was much lower than it had been before the Roman arrival.  Why should that be?  Greer argues it was because the environment was so degraded it could not support even that lower level of complexity any more.  

Greer's theory suggests that if we wind through a full catabolic collapse, we will be at a level of complexity lower than that of the Native Americans when Europeans arrived.  

The answer to Alan is more detailed and specific, but I find Britain to be something akin to something we see in much of Africa - that is, England was a colonized area, which didn't have much in the way of what Romans (or us) would consider the features of civilization, which was then abandoned by the colonizers. And not too surprisingly, it fell apart. This trait was repeated throughout much of the area the Romans contested with other hostile (generally barbaric) societies in much of Europe, regardless of how depleted (or not) the soils, forests, mines, etc. were. I live in one of those areas actually, and the Romans never really made it past the first mountains to ever cut any wood or till any soil - what caused the 'collapse' here was the human element - the Germans/Huns/Alemans/whoever didn't want the Romans - though they certainly were happy to take whatever they could from the Romans - weapons, slaves, food, wine, practical things - and when the Romans were no longer able to hold them off by military means, Roman civilization collapsed throughout a huge area. Admittedly, a sideshow, even if it gets massive play in German history books. But the core of the Roman Empire didn't revert to barbarism - that is, the civilized countries the Romans overran generally remained civilized after the Roman Empire - a good example would be the cities which are more often associated with Islam, such as Damascus.

Even better, the story of Alexandria from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria) - 'The city of Alexandria was named after its founder, Alexander the Great, and as the seat of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, quickly became one of the greatest cities of the Hellenistic world -- second only to Rome in size and wealth. However, upon the founding of Cairo by Egypt's mediæval Islamic rulers, its status as the country's capital ended, and fell into a long decline, which by the late Ottoman period, had seen it reduced to little more than a small fishing village. The current city is Egypt's leading port, a commercial and transportation center, and the heart of a major industrial area where refined petroleum, asphalt, cotton textiles, processed food, paper, plastics and styrofoam are produced.'

I have no idea of what the future holds, but the story of Alexandria is a lot more likely for many places in North America than the idea that New York City will forever return to something like what it was before the Dutch arrived.

This is really a discussion about viewpoints - I just accept a much broader swing in human affairs than many people here. After all, Rome, London, and Paris (to name 3) have all had their ups and downs, even though I believe all were founded by the Romans, all started small, and all when eventually end up vanished in time, even if none of these cities seem realistically poised to vanish tomorrow. Though at this point, London will probably be the first, underwater at some point in the next centuries. As is much of the original Alexandria - things are not as fixed as we assume either.

The answer to Alan is more detailed and specific, but I find Britain to be something akin to something we see in much of Africa - that is, England was a colonized area, which didn't have much in the way of what Romans (or us) would consider the features of civilization, which was then abandoned by the colonizers.

I don't think that's true of either Britain or Africa. Greer put it this way:

Thus Britain in the late pre-Roman Iron Age, for example, had achieved a stable and flourishing agricultural society with nascent urban centers and international trade connections, while the same area remained depopulated, impoverished, and politically chaotic for centuries following the collapse of imperial authority.
Splitting replies is probably not the best way to write, but yes, the problem is with the term 'civilized.' In a sense, Britain is often measured by using Roman civilization as a measure (certainly in the English history books read by my children), and when the Romans left, 'civilization' collapsed. The same can be seen in Africa, where in many former colonies, a functional Western city (electricity, sewage, airport, etc.) for a small minority of favored inhabitants then fell apart over the next generation or two.

However, at least in terms of Britain, there is an alternate way of looking at the following centuries after Rome's collapse - compared to the lands from which such people as the Vikings arose, Britain was a rich land to plunder, even centuries later. 'Impoverished' is a very relative term - it is certainly true that Britain was unable to support a style of civilization which was developed in another context, and being stubborn and autocratic, the Romans did little to adapt to a land that was anything but suitable for their culture.

Overreach and overshoot aren't identical. Or to put it differently, I think there are a number of human actions which cause situations to develop which do not grow as a reaction to resource scarcity - the invention of the automobile comes to mind - though in the way of everything, those actions may end up causing scarcity or impoverishment or political chaos.

This is many a viewpoint argument, and partially based on the idea that much of what is assumed to be 'progress' is to me marketing. Even the idea of measuring artifacts strikes me as somewhat suspect, since it already assumes more is more, even if a valid argument can be made that less is a true sign of a long term civilization which places an emphasis on quality, for example. Or to put it differently - is a gasoline powered car a more reliable indicator of a complex civilization, with its attendant roads, gas stations, car factories, etc., or a bicycle designed to last a generation or two, which can ride comfortably over different terrain?

In my eyes, history is much more likely to be written by the bicycle riders (or train riders), in this very simplified example.

Greerworld is very consistent, when you skip to that future.  We won't be able to do anything, because we won't have the resources to do anything.  A tight loop, but given the premise of "no resources" it works.

I think the path to get there is a bit harder, and requires quite a few bad decisions.  Broadly, you have to use everything up in sequence, without taking the elimination of "A" as a stern warning to conserve "B" or "C", or to shift to any "D"s or "E"s that are sustainable.

As an aside on that, given the above talk about silicon, it was interesting to listen to some people dream about carbon-based electronics.  (Not certain, but certainly wildcards on the way to Greerworld.)

FWIW, if someone wrote a sim-world program with some resources set for depletion, and some a bit more sustainable, I think players would find a way to avoid the Greerworld endgame.

Greerworld is very consistent, when you skip to that future.  We won't be able to do anything, because we won't have the resources to do anything.  A tight loop, but given the premise of "no resources" it works.

Greer says that people will scavenge the decaying infrastructure of industrial civilisation for some time to come.  
However without ready access to cheap fossil fuels either there won't be sufficient energy to extract the low grade ores that will remain, or the cost of doing so will be more than the what the resource is worth.
I think the path to get there is a bit harder, and requires quite a few bad decisions.  Broadly, you have to use everything up in sequence, without taking the elimination of "A" as a stern warning to conserve "B" or "C", or to shift to any "D"s or "E"s that are sustainable.

Conservation is futile while the population keeps growing.
As an aside on that, given the above talk about silicon, it was interesting to listen to some people dream about carbon-based electronics.  (Not certain, but certainly wildcards on the way to Greerworld.)

The rising cost of energy, and eventual exhaustion of fossil fuels, will again limit the development and availability of technology as was in the past before the exploitation of fossil fuels made industrialisation and large-scale mechanization possible.
FWIW, if someone wrote a sim-world program with some resources set for depletion, and some a bit more sustainable, I think players would find a way to avoid the Greerworld endgame.

Again, conservation is futile while the population keeps growing, and no resource is truly renewable.
If you assume population keeps growing then everything is right out.  That's a given.

But again, in that sim-world, I don't think this is something we'd program as a given.  We might make population instead an outcome of social, political, and technical changes.

The rising cost of energy, and eventual exhaustion of fossil fuels, will again limit the development and availability of technology as was in the past before the exploitation of fossil fuels made industrialisation and large-scale mechanization possible.

Did you intend the word "will" as in "will" limit, rather than "might" limit?

It's a race condition in that sim-world, between a whole flock of things.

Did you intend the word "will" as in "will" limit, rather than "might" limit?

Well that depends.  If population and resource consumption keeps growing then when fossil fuels are exhausted the industrial infrastructure which is powered by it will collapse along with the populations it supported.  There may be some small scale scavenging amongst the ruins in the wake of collapse and die-off, but the energy to support the immense and complex technical infrastructure which is increasingly reliant on harder and harder to find and extract resources will be gone, as will the amazingly sophisticated technologies, like advanced electronics, which arose to exploit them.

If we only get a partial die-off (for example caused by some pandemic), or breeder reactors are scaled up sufficiently to at least keep the lights running for industrial civilization this may delay the inevitable for a little while longer (unlikely given public atttitudes to nuclear power, and its high construction costs).  Eventually so long as the population keeps growing and producing and consuming without limits (which is a biological as much as a cultural imperative) it will overshoot carrying capacity before collapsing once again.

Meant to say "which is a cultural as much as a biological imperative".
I think a population that keeps growing until resources are exhausted, and a population that "dies off" first are but two of infinite possibilities.

Certainly human population has not simply had one growth rate X through thick and thin, certainly not through European industrialization, through Chinese communism, etc.

Do you preclude "one child" rules from happening more widely in a more crowded world?

But here is some of the problems I see - Europe does not seem to have a growing population, so that part of the scenario does not quite seem to apply.

This idea of low grade ores is still insane to me. I believe in the idea that there will be less fuel available in ten years for motor vehicles - what will happen to the exceptionally high grade metals then available in the literally millions of tons range in Europe?

I think part of the problem is that population growth, which has a direct correlation to food availability, is then conflated with economic growth - in a society where quite literally everyone has at least 4 or 5 pairs of shoes, we seem to forget that most humans have survived with far less.

As another silly example from the cars - all the available tire will result in an incredible number of durable, long lasting sandals. These sandals require nothing in the way of technological miracles, and if someone simply stores the old tires out of the light (oh, maybe in no longer useful office buildings?), then a population of millions could have footwear for decades, assuming one pair of sandals every 3 years. Certainly time enough to deal with leather. And otherwise, what the hell will happen to all the tires - though you could construct a future where they are burned, not used as footwear, of course. But even then, a few people saving just a few hundred tires could provide footwear for thousands for decades. We are so, so rich, it is not imaginable for us to comprehend, it seems.

Does this look like the future? Who knows, but at a minimum, it seems closer to reality than simply saying peak everything, waving a magic wand, and then having everything around us disappear because it makes the story work better.

Watch out ;-), you start talking about car tire sandals and pretty soon the visitor sees a discussion totally centered after the presumed collapse.
Yes, this is a problem of mine - to me, there are so many degrees of collapse, and some of them are likely pretty inevitable - how do you heat a poorly insulated McMansion? That problem will not go away in the U.S.

It is what you extrapolate from that fact which leads to different conclusions.

The misallocation of resources in America is really hard to overstate - the number of solar water heaters, PV arrays, and increased insulation are signs of the German 'housing bubble' - people are investing a lot of savings to increase their equity, but in this case, that sentence doesn't make you want to laugh and cry the way that the magic of 'granite countertops=investment' does.

At this point, I just don't fit into either camp very well - the future is going to be bleak, but not that bleak (as always, excluding catastrophe - but nuclear war has been a background constant of my entire life anyways).

What will be particularly bleak is what happens to America, though, since it seems so far removed from reality in some ways.

Maybe this makes me a regional doomer.

I think the key still is that many demand pre-adaption, and some failing to get that, declare game over.

Right now, at this moment, energy is cheap and plentiful.

I'd like to see more pre-adaption, but I think the game is a long way from over.

(LOL, what's "peak oil" anyway, but the half-time buzzer?)

'Half time buzzer' is a fine way to sum it up.
I tend to agree.

I WANT electrified inter-city railroads and Urban Rail (and renewable grids) but my strategy is to preposition my meme so that when TPTB start grasping at straws, they will grab a viable choice, instead of more ethanol, hydrogen, fuel cells, etc.

Best Hopes,


But having seen societies go to pot, you will be amazed at how fast it is and how much useful knowledge gets lost.

I am thinking Congo, Zimbabwe (at one point, the most developed nation in Sub Saharan Africa), Uganda (ditto), the former Soviet bloc countries (only now recovering to the level of development they were at in the early 1980s), Central Asia etc.

Civilisation is an incredibly complex network of skills and expertise.  Remove some of those skills, access to critical resources, and you slide backwards very fast.

Do you know that the autoteller machines at my California bank speak Russian now?  Some of that knowledge shifted through tech migrations, which is not exactly the same thing.
Found this article this morning.
The tip of the iceberg.
I think it's pretty interesting.  Because activists are (for the wrong reasons) blocking LNG terminals, we seem set for price increases and pretty strong price-driven conservation.  I don't think that is such a terrible outcome.
Great article and great moniker, sonofacoporatemonkeyboy (did you mean corporate instead of coporate?)
Yes, I'm not sure how to fix this.
You would have to just make a new ID and start over.
 One user ID per email account. I would have to set up a new email account.
Have you tried e-mailing  SuperG and asking if he can correct your spelling?  
I'll give it a try.
I assume this is backed by a sql database.  If anyone has direct access to the db that kind of stuff is pretty easy.

The real reason I respond though it that this reminds me ... "your comments" is slowing down for me, the frequent poster.  This might be impacting your system resources as more people post and then rely on "your comments."

You might consider putting in a date range for the search, and defaulting it to 30 days or something.

You can set up free email accounts on Yahoo as well.
Pretty interesting article on Chesapeake and thier unconventional gas strategy, however I'd sure be careful  about buying their stock. Earlier this year they spen !10,000 per acre to buy the lease under DFW Airport in the Barnett Shale. This is a preposterously high price, about 20 times per acre more than I would ever consider for a lease purchase as a landman. They announced that they were shutting in 6% of their gas production to await higher prices. I haven't read their leases or contracts, but in 30 years in the oil patch I've never seen this-Gas pipelines tell producers how much they will purchase, not producers tell how much they will sell  .
Oil and gas leases have an obligation to produce as much as the producer can sell. Also their hedges and financing probably won't allow Chesapeake to do this. And, I've heard industry rumors that Chesapeake is releasing half their rigs under contract.
  My point is that I'd use extraordinary caution before making a purchase of their stock. I think Devon, XTO and Anadarko all look like better companies to play unconventional gas and are certainly less misleading in their press releases.
  I do not own Chesapeake, haven't shorted their stock and am offering this caveat just because I'm not interested in seeing people hurt because they can't recognise BS.
Charcoal, good God mother, charcoal!

This morning, while checking what posts I missed last night, I came upon the following posts:

Yesterday Hothgor wrote:
Peak Oil used to scare the shit out of me. Now, I can see a few hundred possible silver BBs to the problem, and I don't expect there to be any catastrophic disturbances that destroy mankind. EPs recent article was a huge eye opener too :)

Rethin asked:

Hothgor replied:
Engineering Poet.
His post about using charcoal as a source of power production and for agriculture needs was very impressive :)

When I read that I almost had a accident in my pants. Is this for real? Did Engineering Poet actually propose that charcoal will replace fossil fuels for power production in agriculture?

The cutting of trees for charcoal has devastated Haiti. The hills are barren and every time it floods, mudslides devastate villages and clog the streams.

"Every community in Haiti has a corner where people make and sell charcoal," said Larry Nackerud, a professor in the School, who along with Ed Risler, recently returned from their second research trip to Haiti. "Charcoal is made from wood, and when you look around, it's easy to see where the wood comes from because ninety-eight percent of Haiti has been deforested."

Ninety-eight percent! And the same thing happened in Ethiopia. When the capital of Ethiopia was moved to Addis Ababa in 1887 the forest around the city soon became devastated by people cutting wood for fuel and to make charcoal for the city. Ethiopia was once a lush forest. Now it is a semi arid desert. All because of cutting wood for fuel and charcoal

"For two or three days before reaching the capital we had to do without wood in the camp, for there was scarcely a tree to be seen. Every shrub that could possibly be used for firing has been cleared... Such is the shortage of fuel all about here that the peasants are in the habit of collecting cows' dung and making it into round flat cakes which they sell [for fuel] for a fair price".
A.B. Wylde described the entire area of the settlement (Addis Ababa) at around 1900.

I do not expect very many forest to survive the crash. But the fact that some people actually advocate charcoal as the answer to the fuel depletion problem is alarming. Can you imagine 6.5 billion people relying on wood and charcoal for fuel?

God help us. And coming from an atheist, that is a desperate cry.

Ron Patterson


You have to read the whole thing, it's a little more complex than "let's make charcoal to generate electricity".

I am certainly no scientist, but the vision seemed plausible, though from an economic and political point of view, I don't think it could be implemented in a market-based capitalist democracy.

This sort of programme needs central government planning, funding and implentation, with the massses simply ponying up tax dollars (or Euros, Pounds, Yen, etc) to pay for it.

I am not even sure that the scheme could even be implemented in a democracy, where the politicians have to rely on majority votes to elect them, and where the majority is typically a mass of uneducated arch-consumers who vote only with their wallets, and whose lifestyle they consider "non-negotiable"

I am not even sure that the scheme could even be implemented in a democracy,

Its a good thing the US of A is a Constitution-based federal republic and can therefore provide leadership.

coff  coff

It keeps coming back to just one conclusion - To darn many people!.
I would very much like to have one of the graphing experts make up a graph showing the expected decline in petroleum and then another line based upon the population that could be supported at the present rate of consumption per person with the declining available oil.
That would give us some much better numbers on how fast we would have to reduce population to maintain present life style.
Once we would know what the required reduction rate needs to be we might have a much better chance to come up with some acceptable means of accomplishing the task.
I think that switching to something that is not oil is generally a better idea than killing off a large fraction of the human race, though perhaps that's just me. People don't want oil, they want energy. They use oil because $80/barrel oil is equivalent to $0.04/KWh, basically the cheapest energy on the market. That's starting to change. Don't project the present too far into the future without a good reason for doing so.

A logical person might think like this....

  1. We use oil for energy currently.
  2. Oil is running out.
  3. Therefore, we will not use oil for energy (on the present scale) in the future.

It all follows logically, but notice that deduction #3 is NOT "We will not have energy in the future..."

If there were no other sources of energy then that would be true, but that is not the case.

Anyway, lots of people makes all sorts of problems, but energy is not likely to be one of them. There's an easy way to get plenty of energy (solar or nuclear), but no easy way to get plenty of unspoiled wilderness or food, for instance.

Please read the posts more carefully.
No-one mentioned anything about "killing off a large fraction of the human race". The fact is that neither I, nor you, nor anyone else that I know of knows the appropiate rate of population reduction required to maintain the current number of barrels of oil per person per year with the predicted decline rates of oil. And that is what I was requesting, a graph showing what those numbers would look like as a starting point for discussion of how we might be able to achieve the rate.
It may require nothing more than a slightly increased use of birth control, particularly in the areas where very high birth rates currently exist. Maybe more? Until we get some hard numbers on graphs to see what we are really looking at it is all conjecture.
As to solar or nuclear replacing oil, not anytime in the forseeable future. The predominate fuel for agricultural production, transportation, plastics, etc.. will have to be oil for at least the next 30 to 50 years - And we all know that the oil isn't going to be there, hence we have a problem whose common denominator is over-population.
 And as for food, we all realize here that food is very tightly tied to oil for production, transportation and processing. As oil declines, food production will very likely decline as fast or faster than the oil decline. Mass starvation is something I would like to be able to prevent by reducting the population in keeping with the oil decline/food decline.
And the only way to maintain the unspoiled wilderness is to work to find ways to responsibly reduce the population pressure on those areas.
Now, if you have some specific ideas on how we can work to responsibly reduce the future population levels to sustainable levels I - and lots of others here - would like to hear them.

Here's your problem...

"The predominate fuel for agricultural production, transportation, plastics, etc.. will have to be oil for at least the next 30 to 50 years"

One question, why? Fertilizer doesn't need oil, it needs hydrogen, usually made from natural gas, but also perfectly produceable from electricity. Farm equipment often has rocks tossed on it to give it enough weight, it's the one place where even current battery technology is more than sufficient. Tractors don't drive 300 miles on a long weekend, and they don't care about (even prefer) the extra weight.  

The whole problem, is that your statement is groundless. Oil is  used because it is the chepest energy money can buy, period. There is no other reason. If you don't accept this statement, then a graph of barrels of oil per person is (nearly) meaningless. In any case, a population decline rate of 5% a year or whatever is hopelessly out of reach, for now. Shifting demographics will make it a permanent reality within a century, but not today.


Please refer to Leanan's link above for a book review on Dale Alan Pfeiffer's Eating Fossil Fossils.  Note that it mentioned the Green Revolution involved a 50 fold increase in fossil fuel energy input in order to achieve tremendous increases in agricultural productivity.  Without fossil fuel inputs this planet could only support something in the neighborhood of 2 billion humans.  I suspect that declining water tables, drought, deforestation, soil erosion, and the rapid extinction of land and marine animals will make the 2 billion figure seem optimistic.

Prior to fossil fuel usage and industrialization, there was has a long history of groups of humans whose populations overshot their local environments, destroyed the ecosystem and then suffered the catastrophic consequences.  Human overshoot is not solely a function of "oil", it is natural process encountered throughout the histories of many species, not just humans.  The problem is that fossil fuel usage has fostered and accelerated the process to the point that the world's ecosystems are on the verge of collapse.

There is another grave danger posed by the unprecedented density of human beings.  This danger is the high degree of probability that pandemics will become the rule and not the exception.  Humans living in crowded conditions with inadequate water supplies are highly suspectible to death and disease from bacteria spread through fecal contamination.

The horrendous toll that AIDS/HIV has taken in Africa and now Asia is just the tip of the iceberg.

There have been estimates that in the year 1000 A.D. the average human life expectancy was age 30.  By the time the industrial revolution was gaining a foothold in the year 1900, the average human life expectancy was 45.  When Russia's economy collapsed the average male's life expectancy plummeted to less than 50.  On a worldwide scale certainly, we are poised to see a dramatic reversal in the gains we have made in this area.

Our current good fortune to have access to safe housing, sanitation, modern medicine, and adequate nutrition are all dependent on the combination of keeping our population within carrying capacity and the abundant cheap energy we enjoy with FF's high ERoEI.

When the aforementioned two factors are no longer in our domain, then I am with Darwinian and say Heaven Help Us (and like him I am agnostic - so a desperate plea).

By the way, I have never seen anyone on TOD advocate anything other than humane methods of reducing population growth.  Education, easy access to birth control, and incentives (positive reinforcement) would always be the preferred methods.  In a desperate situation, a more draconian method of govt intervention may be needed as in China.  Although their methods have been harsh, the result has been 400 million fewer births - roughly equivalent to the combined populations of the U.S. and Mexico.

Here's an interesting post from the Energy Resources group regarding population reduction timelines.


When I read that I almost had a accident in my pants. Is this for real? Did Engineering Poet actually propose that charcoal will replace fossil fuels for power production in agriculture?

Naw, that is the old poet...he wanted to burn the forests to get charcoal to make zinc/charcoal batteries.

The new poet is making terra preta nova (and using charcoal in fuel cells).    Both are a better plan, and I favor the terra preta due to the crop improvement and the ability to get some carbon out of the air and put it in a benefitial form.

Part of the problem is "how does one store photonic energy".  The planet did it with oil.  Ways we can do it include moving objects for kenetic release, batteries, flow batteries, fuel cell fuel, veggie oil, alcohol.   And I'm sure other ways.   Many of the ways are not long-term stable.  Most are limited in volume and energy density.

Alcohol will maintain its energy potentional unless it is too watered down.  Same with sugar once in high enough concentration.   Chared biologial material is another.  

Like it or not, charcoal is 'stable'...more so than dead wood.    And making charcoal from crop wastes allows for some of it to become activated charcoal, or most of it if you subjected to a high-pressure steam process (per my memory).   Subjecting the charcoal to ammonia nitrate fertelizer (the eperia process) allows for a slow release of Nitrogen to the plants.

Ethiopia was once a lush forest. Now it is a semi arid desert. All because of cutting wood for fuel and charcoal


Not to flip, but no one said this transition from cheap energy to non-cheap energy would be with out pain.   Many people's sense of entitlement is going to be stepped on.  

I do not expect very many forest to survive the crash. But the fact that some people actually advocate charcoal as the answer to the fuel depletion problem is alarming. Can you imagine 6.5 billion people relying on wood and charcoal for fuel?

How about the posters like airdale who've said that the solution is hunting the native wildelife for food?   The land and animals will be 'stripped' with the level of population

Hence when the 'people of talk radio' (alex Jones, Genesis radio network, republic broadcasting network, and whomever else is out there) trot out Prince Harry or the gal who started planned parenthood (or whatever figurehead of power) statements about 'useless eaters' and 'lets elmmanate 90% of the population' or 'the detention camps are made for you', I can understand why such statements are made, and why such plans might exist on paper.

I don't HAVE to imagine hard the effects of all the burning of wood - I can smell it when the wind doesn't blow in the city.   The smell of buring platic mixed with wood wasn't here 10 years ago.  Or even 6 years ago.

Right now my 'wood waste' is all being turned into bio-char while I make hot water via wood gas stove(s).   And no one is stealing my biochar unlike my solar panels.


Would you describe the wood gas stoves you are using for this? Commercial or homemade?

I personally am using a home made one.   When I have access to the scrap metal pile I'll make me up one that can use a #10 can as a 'disposable' firebox.   That will be a day long project, whick I'll plan on making a 2 day project.

a #10 food can will fit inside a paint can and the metal lips will interlock.   The outside of the paint can acts as the air source for the upper part of the 'firebox', thus simulating a tall chimney (for the draft)   The lower part features another paint can, a food can the next size down for the air uptake under the #10 can, then 7 regualar sized food cans.  one can goes into the food can that feeds the lower draft at a 90 deg, the other just goes into the lower paint can.  Both cans comming out the side of the lower point can have anther can that has mounted to it a fan.  Thus I can control the amount of draft of the top (to simulate the tall chimney) and the lower air source.  The last 2 cans act as the way to block air getting into the contraption, anong with a flat hunk of metal that goes over the top so I can 'choke off' the fire.

It works, but a made device for this job would work better.
The info comes from a PDF that I don't exactly remember where it is.  If you can't find it I'll see if I can re-find it.  Nervermind, this appears to be it

A built device for such a task:

Sources of documentation to enspire you to create your own cobbled together monter of your own

Denmark and Sweden have largely been deforested in such a way.

Denmark were saved by coal imports and probably a lot of hardship while correcting the problem.

Swedens forests were rationed by the state allocating where pre modern industrial age industries could be built but they were anyway used up over vast areas. This were followed by a severe industrial depression when industrial age fossil coal use in England etc outcompeted our industry and then we industrialiazed in a modern way with fossil coal, hydro power and oil while systematically replanting vast areas.

Such problems can be solved but it is a multi generation work. The bulk of it were done manually in the later 1800:s and it were of course not done for environmental reasons but to get raw material for industry and add property value to marginal fields and grazing lands.

And it were of course more complicated then that. New never used areas of forests in Sweden could be reached with the new industrial technology and we had a saw mill boom for export of wood followd by a pulp and paper boom and pulp and paper exports. There were also a large export of "props", short lumber pieces, for brittish coal mines. But the replanting practice and also laws followed to these new areas with some lag and most have probably been clear cut twise now in these larga but slow growing areas.

Lord Nelson (from memory) went ashore in Denmark and burned a large forest, the source of much ship building timber during one of the wars when Denmark was on the wrong side.  the King of Denmark established a Royal Forestry Service to grow forests all over his kingdom (not just in one place) to provide timber for his fleet.

A few years ago, the Head of the Danish Forestry Commision reported back to the King and his Ministers that his ship timbers and masts were now ready :-)

Such are gov't bureaucracies !


The same type of planning were done in Sweden. In the early 1800:s there were a prognosis that good oak timber for ship building would run out in the 1900:s. From 1831 to about 1850 were 300 000 oaks planted and today are 360 ha of it left on the inlake iceland Visingsö in lake Vättern where it is a tourist atraction.

A formal letter stating that the oaks were ready for use were sent to the marine in 1975 but they decline due to technology development ;-)

Official reference in Swedish:

Todays planning horizons are shorter. Some municipiality water works have 50 year plans for their maintainance and they get some critizism for overinvestment. Other poorly run municipialities looses tens of percent of their water thru leaking pipes. Major infrastructure such as very expensive bridges are designed for about 100 years life lenght with normal maintainance. For large scale investments in for instance railways regional development and demographics are referenced with planning horizons of 20-30 years. Future energy costs and availability and more often global warming is starting to be a serious argument for such medium range planning. Hopefully we will invest ahead of most people to keep us competitive. I think we can handle most scenarios in Sweden exept if the climate would flip over to an ice age and make popsicels of us.

Haiti is interesting.

On the other half of the same island is the Dominican Republic, where deforestation is far less advanced, the government takes active steps to prevent it, etc.

It's mentioned in Al Gore's film (a photo of both sides of the border) and Jared Diamond goes into it in some detail.

In Dominica, the longtime dictator had a thing about preserving forests. And that has gotten into the national culture and governance.

Diamond's point is that even in 2 countries with the same climate and geography, different cultures and political traditions can find, or fail to find, solutions.

This months EIA numbers are out. They give the numbers for September. Crude + Condensate is down from August by 312,000 barrels per day. All liquids is down August to September, by 465,000 barrels per day.

Ron Patterson

Remind me -- how many months of declining production must pass before we can say we're past peak? How long after 1971 did it take before the U.S. confirmed that the country had passed peak?
I think it was years.
My memory from the 'energy crisis' of the early 70s is that it was never, ever, mentioned in mainstream media that US oil production had peaked out.  On the contrary, I specifically remember new 'incentives' to increase prodcution - although they were mostly about unconventional energy.  Alaskan oil fields were only starting to get developed at that time, and it looked like the country would increase production.
That is broadly in accord with my memory ie there was never any assumption or mention that North American oil production had 'peaked'.

It was taken as read that price controls and other factors meant the US was producing less oil than it should, and that once these were swept away (Carter tried, and Reagan succeeded), lots more oil would be found.

The TV show Dallas alluded to that, as well.

"That is broadly in accord with my memory ie there was never any assumption or mention that North American oil production had 'peaked'."

I bet a survey would show at least half of the population (and probably a lot more) do not know that US oil production is dropping, never mind knowing that it has been dropping for 35 years.  Probably a solid majority of those that know it is dropping think that it is either an oil company conspiracy to raise prices, or those damn evironmentalist who won't let us get to all of the vast remaining storehouses out there.

many believe that all the depleted wells in the us can just be turned back on like a light switch    goes right along with an assumption of a right to cheap energy    
     the '78 eldorado konked out between new raymer and greeley   caught fire so elwood took off running   but when it didnt blow up he went back and found out the battery cable had just shorted out and caused a small oil fire     along came this whacko   curtis   he said he bought the corolla for $ 75 and immediately took it on a 1000 mile trip   anyhow old curtis had a sign on the dash that said  "i'm ok  you're a piece of shit"    curtis proceeded to tell how oil companies know exactly where the oil is...... they have satelites able to find it"

"That is broadly in accord with my memory ie there was never any assumption or mention that North American oil production had 'peaked'."

I bet a survey would show at least half of the population (and probably a lot more) do not know that US oil production is dropping, never mind knowing that it has been dropping for 35 years.

Boy you said a mouth full.   You know, I think it would make a really good article angle.  To explain PO to an American by starting, not with Ghawar, Cantarell, but talking about and showing OUR production graph.  Make them very very conscious of US production history.

Because I think you are extremely right.  If you wake them up, make them aware of their OWN history, especially anyone who was alive in the 60's - 80's,  and remember the embargo. Show them that it coincided with the peaking of the US production.

Show them the 1970 peak graph, THEN, AFTER YOU SHOW THEM THAT, explain Hubbert to them and his prediction in '56.

Bring it home.  Make it real..

Fare Thee Well


John, I think you are onto something.  When I first began my exploration of the finer details of peak oil I started out with Deffeyes' books.  It was his clear description of the decline of U.S. oil production that had a strong visceral impact on me.  Too bad that PBS is too conflicted to put together a great NOVA special that lays it all out for the American public.
"Too bad that PBS is too conflicted to put together a great NOVA special that lays it all out for the American public."

Anybody that watches NOVA is not someone that we need to worry about teaching.  Now, if we could put a PO clip into one weeks episode of America's Top Dancing Idol, we might be able to teach some people.

if we could put a PO clip into one weeks episode of America's Top Dancing Idol, we might be able to teach some people.

New TV Game Show:
"Ghawar or No Ghawar"
Concept: 25 beautiful models come on stage with 25 little oil barrels. The amount of reserves in each varies from 0.01 barrels to 1000,000 barrels. ...

Hi EA,

 Thanks and - a bit of commiseraion: My experience says more than half the pop. does not know (or wonder) where oil is produced, (or even one fact about it's use, other than (perhaps) oil is used to make gasoline).  Example: "Al Quaeda controls the oil." Or, "There is so much energy just inside a single atom - there won't be a problem." (Grad student at a major research university.)

  Otherwise, my take on it is more or less the opposite of the original Chevron ad:  "Why should you care?"  (http://www.willyoujoinus.com/advertising/print/)My view is: when people know, they care. (Really know). In general. Although "really knowing" leads to a different discussion.  

The TV show Dallas alluded to that, as well.

Hey, I never knew that. So was it Jimmy Carter who shot JR?

Lower 48 production peaked in 1970.

Production actually climbed slightly in 1972 from 1971 (but still below the peak), because of the last hurrah in Texas, as the RRC went to a 100% allowable.

C'mon...that was all because there were no buyers and cutbacks....right, right, right???
May 2005 remains the all time peak and I think this is meaningful. CERA?
Anyone have total liquids production by country, by month?
This is a bit of an eye-opener. France is known for getting three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power. But looking at all energy use, France actually gets the overwhelming majority of its energy from fossil fuel. Source: p.20 of Bilan énergétique provisoire de la France en 2000, on the Web at www.industrie.gouv.fr/energie/pdf/bilan2000.pdf

I believe they mean total energy not just electrical.
Yes, that's what I said -- all energy use.
That certainly flies in the face of what we've been told.  And they even combine hydro and nuclear, huh???  So if the hydro is maybe 10% then nuclear is under 30%, quite a difference from the 75-80% that is generally accepted.

Hydro is probably only a couple percent. In any case, they're vastly better off than we are, and if it can be 40%, why not 90%, or 100? Is there any real reason, no, not really. It will be more when oil gets more expensive.

$80/barrel = $0.04/KWh. If oil were $200, then that 37% would grow quite quickly...

In 2003, EDF (the French national utility) produced 22% of EU electricity with the following mix:

    * nuclear: 74.5%
    * hydro-electric: 16.2%
    * thermal: 9.2%
    * wind power and other renewable sources: 0.1%

Best Hopes,


Hydro is probably only a couple percent. In any case, they're vastly better off than we are, and if it can be 40%, why not 90%, or 100?

Hydro does have some room for growth its true, but it can never substitute for fossil fuels, and besides any large scale reliance on it would see rich areas of agricultural land flooded for its use.
The modern solution to large dams is a small upstream dam, a TBM driven tunnel downriver to a power plant (located where the large dam would have been).  Minimal storage capacity, some losses to tunnel friction, but still lots of MWh.

Best Hopes,


Sunspot, you might be misinterpretting the chart.  The pie chart for "all energy" includes gasoline for cars and natural gas for heating homes.  France does get ~75% of electricity from nuclear.  But electricity is just half of their total energy usage.
You are comparing apples to oranges here. Nuclear is used to produce electricity and electricity can not power your car (or not yet).

The real achievement of France is that it hardly uses any coal. This is what nuclear energy replaces ultimately. It can not replace oil for transportation or NG for heating, or at least not yet. 40% of the energy comes from oil? This is quite typical for every developed country you take a look at.

Here is the similar graph for Denmark, the poster child of renewable energy development:


You can see that the massive investments in wind energy and other renewables has reduced the total use of fossil fuels just slightly (from 790,000 TJ in 1980 to 710,000 TJ in 2004). The mass substitution has been of coal with natural gas.

But France's overall energy mix does have implications for its exposure to peak oil, greenhouse gas regulations, and its political motivations in the Middle East. I was a little foggy on those implications because all the PR about France's nuclear fleet tends to obscure the complete picture.
At the core of the PO argument is that there is NO country, which is fully prepared. Everyone uses oil and noone has immediate alternatives of such scale in place.

But some will definately fare better. When oil becomes scarce the immediate reaction will be substitution. We can power cars by natural gas, liquify coal etc. For France substitution will be much easier as it can grow its nuclear fleet to replace natural gas or coal. It is also experienced in electrifying its transportation, etc.

But of course they are still emitting CO2 and they are still dependant on oil supplies. Like any other country they are captured by the status quo and are not ready to allocate the vast resources needed to totally get away from petroleum. Not at ~50euro/barrel (likely to become 40 if things continue to go south for the USD).

Not at all.

No one serious pretends anything other than that France gets 75-80% of its electricity from nuclear sources.  No one authoritative has ever pretended anything different.

There is a reason French car makers lead the world in diesel engine technology (other manufacturers license their engines), and that is that the French government has actively encouraged (eg by different fuel taxes) more efficient diesel cars.

France has also built the world's most extensive high speed passenger train system.

The reasons for these decisions, taken in the 1970s, were France's acute sense of vulnerability on energy.  It has very little coal (unlike the UK and Germany, say), no oil or gas (unlike the Netherlands and UK).

France is also on a tram building boom.  Every town of 200,000 (that votes correctly) gets one tram line, every city of 500,000 gets two tram lines seems to be the rule.

OTOH, expansions of the Paris Metro seem quite limited.

A couple of years ago, the goal was set to electrify every meter of French rail (switch yards, one track rural feeder rail lines, etc.)  From memory, 2020 was the goal.

The French rail network (SCNF) consists of about 32,000 km of route, of which 1,500 km is high-speed line and 14,500 km is electrified.

BTW, in 2003, EDF (French national electric utility produced

    * nuclear: 74.5%
    * hydro-electric: 16.2%
    * thermal: 9.2%
    * wind power and other renewable sources: 0.1%

Best Hopes for the French,


>OTOH, expansions of the Paris Metro seem quite limited.

But the Paris Metro is already so extensive that one can get virtually anywhere on it, often within just a block or two.  When getting or giving an address in Paris, the nearest metro stop is part of it.

CNN continues their Help! Home for sale series.  

This one looks like it could be someone's peak oil paradise.  24 acres, mostly wooded, 7 acres of lawn that could be turned into a garden.  Lots of streams and springs, plentiful game.  

And the local industry is bourbon, which ought to be pretty recession-proof.  ;-)

"I mow seven acres in sections," says Paul, who is 56. "I finish one section and I start again on another." Good grief.
What, no cows?? Cripes!
You don't get it. No cows for you, bitch! (that was just a joke, don't get all...we still worry about you).
Lawn-Mowing Neurosis by the Naked Ape stuck in the Human Zoo.
Energy industry: Give us something solid - Utility execs see carbon restrictions as inevitable, want regulations 'soon rather than later;' seek stability in oil markets; questions linger over nuclear power.


We love being a reglated industry.  We know that business model well.   We are guarenteed a profit.  Please give us the skirts of new laws to hide behind.   Oh, and make sure to help us swat down any up-and-commers who might challenge us.

Something that I've been struggling with lately is the debate of industrial vs. small organic farms.  (I never thought I'd say that!)

Regarding the above story: "The planet is taking a hit from unsustainable industrial agriculture" about the book Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in AgricultureBy Dale Allen Pfeiffer, I'll select a few quotes to debate.

Have you ever considered how much energy it takes to get food from the farm to your table?

Ever since I found out that our current agricultural system in the US uses only 1.7 quads (or about 1.7%) I realize how extremely efficient it is.  (10.25 quads is used in our total food energy use, including refrigeration, transportation, preparing, packaging, etc)  

Pfeiffer goes beyond Peak Oil to condemn industrial agriculture, and its partner in crime, globalization, for soil degradation, water degradation, overpopulation, overconsumption, and the destruction of local agriculture.

I agree with all of these things, however, maybe the goal here should be to reform large-scale farming rather than do away with it.  Livestock rotation on land adds fertilizer.  (Yes, I would be in favor of doing away with commercial animal factories.)  Use wind generation to produce fertilizers and use terra preta from EP's biomass process.  Require crop diversity and natural grasslands and buffer strips along waterways, etc.  

Pfeiffer calls for worldwide agrarian reform based on local, organic farming.

Before I knew the 1.7 quad figure, I, too, assumed that we need to go back to a nation of of small, organic farms. Don't get me wrong, I hate most of what industrial agriculture stands for, but perhaps if the ecological aspects could be improved, the concept of large farms using large equipment may be the best going forward in efficiency. This is perhaps not unlike the debate between those who think local and individual electrical production using wind and solar to feed into the grid is superior to a national grid, when in fact, the efficiencies of maintaining a large grid are so much greater, something I've also recently come to understand.  My current thinking is that there is a role for both to play--large farms, but more environmentally sensitive, because they are efficient, and a greater number of small, organic farms surrounding the urban areas to grow locally used food.

Although I haven't seen his book, I did read his articles when he wrote for From the Wilderness.  My guess is that he is basing his opinions upon the fact(?) that it takes 10 calories to get 1 calories of food on the table.  This includes farm energy requirements, processing, transportation and retail energy.  Therefore, producing food more locally using less energy intensive methods reduces overall energy usage...especially if it is sold directly to the consumer.
Yet according to a pie graph I saw on a DOE powerpoint presentation, but am unable to link here, unfortunately, food transport is only 14% of the total 10.25 Ag quads required.  Of course, local production and use might also mean decreased packaging and refrigeration, etc.  And if direct sales from the local organic farmer to the consumer grow, this would additionally reduce energy needs.
I find the ideas of going back to "organic" farming plainly idiotic. I imagine them supported only by persons who have never got in touch with a real hard farmer's work.

After the collapse of the communism in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria pretty much went back to "organic" farming. The large industrialized farms (so called cooperatives) collapsed because of political and economic reasons, and what was left was largely looted or sold for pennies. In the end we were left with a number of small "family" pieces of land scattered around, unsuitable for mechanisation and proper treatment.

The results were plainly disastrous. A country that once exported grains to all Eastern Europe, now had to import and in 1996 we even had a grain shrotage. We also started to import corn from countries like USA and vegetables from our neighbours, though factors like soil quality and water availability are much better in Bulgaria.

Things started to get better when the oposite process started to take place - what was left from he previous cooperatives started to recover and larger and mechanised farms started to form. Yet a large part of the country's fertile land is left deserted and it is a sad view watching it while traveling in the country.

Thanks for your excellent illustration by a real example using Bulgaria.  Once again, it comes down to good leadership and organization while working with the realities of the economics of the time, and making sure the sensible priorities are in place.  Once the infrastructure has broken down, it takes a long time to get it back, something we all fear in being faced with PO.  Nice smooth transitions would be the ultimate goal.
Cuba managed it.

They had no choice, and they (re)discovered things about low input farming that have been completely lost in other countries.

Now Cuba is a totalitarian state, they can therefore do things other nations would find difficult.  And it was anything but an easy ride-- I think I read the average Cuban lost a stone (14lbs).  But they became world leaders in low energy technology farming.

Bulgarian agriculture will stabilise.  the big problem with the EU (which is now hitting Eastern Europe) is that we subsidise all kinds of farming (and landscape destruction) that we should not-- half the EU budget is agricultural subsidies (and then, there are the trade distortions on top of that).

The reality is the land is useful for lots of purposes, and farming is only a small part of that.

How many people per square mile in Cuba vs. how many per square mile in the US?  Did the adjustment in Cuba require mass migrations of their people to set up their small organic farms or did most of them stay in place and farm in their immediate vicinity?  How long is their growing season compared to the majority of our ag land?  Here, most of the population continues its growth in coastal areas, desert areas, and cities.  We have paved over much of this farmable land.  The bread basket continues to depopulate.  All of these comparisons with Cuba, while somewhat inspiring aren't directly related to our situation.
I find Cuba's example not quite at place.

Cuba's experience is of a country that lost its oil supplies almost overnight. It did not have neither the time nor the resources to innovate or to adapt to the new situation in ay other way than abandoning all energy intensive practices. And the price they paid as a society is quite high.

Cuba used to be a major foor exporter in ex-socialist block. I still remember how my family used to eat Cuban fruits, buy Cuban sugar etc. Since in a traditionally agricultural country like it people lost 14 pounds on average, how well would countries like India, China etc. handle it? Abandoning modern agriculture just for the sake of it is simply out of question. Especially on energy-intensity grounds.

My brother has been a successful organic farmer for 30 years and as far I can tell he is not "idiotic".
Successful organic farming involves a lot more than simply removing pesticide, herbicide, and other industrial agriculture inputs, so the collapse of communist agriculture in Bulgaria is not anywhere near a realistic model for organic agriculture.
If you look at this article from Scientific American,
"Analysis Finds Greater Profits from Organic Farming  

Doing the right thing can be profitable after all--at least when it comes to growing apples. That's the conclusion of a new study in today's issue of Nature, which compared the economics of organic apple farms and conventional ones. "The organic system was more energy efficient, it was better for the environment, it had better soil quality, its yields were as good as the other systems, it was more profitable, and its apples were slightly sweeter and firmer," says co-author John Reganold of Washington State University...."

Organic farming can be more productive per unit land area than conventional farming, especially when the soil and productivity losses from conventional farming over time are included.

What are the yields per acre your brother achieves? Does he use machinery? Does this machinery use energy?

From what I've read organic farming in the US is a well developed large business dominated by companies like Kraft or Heinz. Small farms provide only a minor part of the production.

And please don't misinterpret my words. I did not call the organic farmers "idiots", I called the idea of abandoning almost all contemporary agricultural practices idiotic. Especially if it is on the basis of energy intensity. Food production takes only a minor part of our energy consumption. Cars and planes will die long before industrial farming will. Hell we can run the tractors on biodiesel or ethanol, but food production will be the last to be abandoned, and so it should be.

Now if you wish to discuss the advantages of organic farming vs industrial, or how to reduce the adverse impacts of industrial agriculture on the environment - this is totally separate topic. Personally I am strongly for reforming many of the agricultural practices, but it must be carefully thought of, and rationally guided process. A process, having enviromental, not energy-saving goals.

The positives related to organic farming are numerous.  It would be my hope that the number of organic farms continues to increase greatly as the PO situation advances.  Yet, small organic farms would have difficulty feeding 350 million people, especially since there aren't that many of them.    But, if you can convince large numbers of job seekers to relocate, the farmers of the midwest are aging.  In the next decade a large percent of the farms will be turning over.  The opportunity will be there for anyone who wants it (and can afford to buy land).  So far, I don't see this happening.  One model that I'm intrigued with, is that we have a California organic producer who has a market here in our midwestern community which supplies us directly with fresh seasonal produce.
I would suggest that people stop thinking in terms of conventional versus organic farm production and instead focus upon sustainable agricultural production versus conventional ag.  Sustainbale ag can overlap both production systems.  Spend some time with the following:


SARE (Sustainable Research and Education Program/Project)used to offer their book The New American Farmer on line (I haven't checked to see if this is still true.)  If it is, read it to get a real insight into sustainable agricultural practices.

I am a member of my state's sustainable ag. society.  I couldn't support it more.  The debate/dilemma I proposed is, in a sense, the optimal farm program in a peaking/post peak world, especially focusing on total energy use (but not at the expense of land degradation I would hope.)  My conclusion is that we need both--large-scale farms due to their high efficiency, and small organic farms surrounding urban areas for local use.
Surprise: Oil Woes In Iran

Yet Iran has a surprising weakness: Its oil and gas industry, the lifeblood of its economy, is showing serious signs of distress.

And so the David Koresh's ruling Iran will hasten the Chaos to usher the return of their beloved 12th Imam.

What is "rational" to the Westerner and is not what is "rational" for Persian Ayatollahs.  

Cultural and religious ignorance blinds the bigot.

Too bad for the bigot.

Cultural and religious ignorance blinds the bigot.

Too bad for the bigot.

An own goal here SOP, and of the clumsiest and most embarrassing sort.

Give it a rest. Some browsing passer-by might think your lunatic views on this are actually representative of the rest of TOD. If we want to read drivel about Iran, we'll get a newspaper.

Yes, give it a rest. On yesterday's Drumbeat someone made a quip about Iranians and their big families. Actually Iran has a lower Total Fertility Rate than the US (1.8 vs 2.3 in 2005) and the Mullahs have been preaching smaller families for a number of years now. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn't it?
Some of you might remember we had some serious power outages in my STL metro area during the summer storms season and power wound up being out for A LOT of people (half million I believe around here).  Well now it's going to be out for another bunch of people for like another five days from this snow.  

It was pretty rough since it took my mom 3 hrs to get home and me an hour and a half.  It was all ice for hours and it piled up to about and inch and a half.  Then in the middle of the night it switch to pile driving snow and built up to like four inches.  Snow day for everybody.  I'm digging out and running some errands.

Anyway about the power outages.  I'm wondering at what point do people start getting used to the power going out during weather events which seem to be escalating in intensity after being dormant for ahile?

In NYC I haven't had an outage in years, other than the great blackout of some time ago.

I think it's more based on having power run by a (quasi-)government group than anything else. Enron isn't good for reliability. I pay a freakishly high rate though (forget how much, maybe $0.18/KWh or so), so the hand that giveth also taketh away, but at least it does so consistently.

The blackout of 2003

There was also a blackout last summer, though it did not affect the entire city.  

Don't fool yourself.  We've been lucky in the Northeast.  The weather has been comparatively mild since 2000 (when the supply of natural gas started getting tight).  Cool summers, warm winters.  Without that lucky break, we'd be facing rolling blackouts by now.

Winters don't have much to do with it, since most of the city is not heated by electricity.

It seems to me that people always make 2 mistakes.

  1. Assuming that short term, all power supplies are the same. Saving electricity will save oil for instance, or a cold winter (lots of heating oil use) will cause blackouts, simply not true.

  2. Assuming that long term, all power supplies are different. Basically, then turning around and assuming that when we run out of oil, we won't have electricity either, it simply doesn't follow.

The truth is, that these two claims should be reversed.
Winters don't have much to do with it, since most of the city is not heated by electricity.

It's not just NYC.  The entire northeast shares the load, so to speak.  We've already had power emergencies declared, in winter and summer.

And natural gas is used directly by consumers for heating, so it's not just electricity you have to consider.

I notice the oil market is rallying against. Is this the bidding war you predicted, Westexas? How would we know if it is?
Back in the summer, I predicted another bidding war in the fourth quarter for declining exports (and as I usually point out, just because "B" follows "A," it doesn't mean that "A" and "B" are related--but sometimes they are).  

But IMO, the math is relentless.  I think that export capacity is dropping faster than even I anticipated.

Off to work on the Peak Export missive.

Thanks WT for your hard work. Export peak oil is a big issue. C and C peak production is well covered. Light sweet peak oil and the breakdown of the oil quality are not. Does anyone have a good source for Lt sweet, sour, or heavy oil produced/exported/imported?
When I did a gig with the head of research at Simmons & Company, he had a chart showing a steady rise in sulphur content and a steady drop in API gravity (toward heavier oil) in total world oil production, but I have forgotten the exact numbers.

I would love to see those two graphed.

I think that is one of the other misconceptions the general public has.  

They think that Oil is Oil.  Even to the extent that Bitumen and shale and "Tar"  are used almost used interchangably.

Hello Prof. Goose,

In anticipation of the upcoming classic WT vs RR debate [surely to generate as much interest as the RR vs Khosla debate] can we somehow pre-announce this with PR releases?

Can we somehow get the bigdogs like ASPO, IEA, EIA, DOE, USGS, IOCs, and NOCs to publish comments before the debate to help rivet public attention?  Can we get a pre-debate PR release from the Congressional Peakoil Caucus to help get the MSM to publish WT & RR findings?  Can Tom Whipple publish some article to get new people to tune in to the ever louder beating rhythms of the empty steel oildrums?  AMPOD-- can you still ring up Roscoe Bartlett?

Can we get TIME, NEWSWEEK, FORBES, WSJ, WaPo, and NYTimes to get the early word out?  I want to see this debate to somehow be more than just internet chattering.

Yergin--you seem to have no problem getting TV time--say anything you want as long as it sends eyeballs to TOD.

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

Geez guys,

I somehow don't think our little discussion warrants so much attention.

Ha...you are so modest WT.  Perhaps if this debate occurred 2 years ago, no.  But put your debate (or even call it a friendly discussion) in context to what's going on right now (crude $$ going up again, USD going down, DOW struggling, etc.) and all of a sudden, it's a big deal.

Sometimes, a sequence of events come together as if Fate guided it with an "invisible hand".

Hello WT,

I am sorry, but I disagree--I think it should be a real big deal to help promote the Peakoil Outreach.  My hunch is that this debate will be increasingly controversial as time goes on and the data continues to roll in.

IMO, your ELM is a 'lightning rod' to narrow debate precisely because it amalgamates politics [economic and military], populations, Peakoil stats and HL charts, and most importantly, resource flows.

When the Media stars like Yergin, Lynch, Campbell, Simmons, Heinberg, Hirsch, Pickens, et al, start taking sides on your ELM-- expect it to set off truly raging debates in Congress thereafter.  For an early headsup: Watch the Mexican Congress go hogwild as they fight to internally resolve a smaller ELM with Cantarell crashing and PEMEX going broke.

Polonium sushi is all about control of resource flows.

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

Hello TODers,

CFR weighs in on Polonium and resource control.

I am sorry, but I disagree--I think it should be a real big deal to help promote the Peakoil Outreach.  My hunch is that this debate will be increasingly controversial as time goes on and the data continues to roll in.

I have to side with WT here. This not like Creationist v. Evolutionist. Those sides are complete opposites. I think some here (not talking about you Bob) have misunderstood my position. I am not disputing WT's model. I am disputing his interpretation of import data, particularly to the extent that he has implied that the data support his model. But this is not a Pro/Con ELM debate. It is (for me) "do export data imply the model is correct, or that we have peaked.

If he was going up against Yergin, then that might be worth some coverage. But WT's and my position are not so far apart. I don't think we have peaked yet, but that is not what I will debate. I will debate what this year's export data mean. At the end of the day, we may find that there isn't that much to disagree about, but I emphatically disagree that this year's import data support that we have peaked.

Hello R-squared,

Thxs for responding.  Yes, I fully understand how narrow the debate is--I have very carefully read all your's & WT's postings.  But, it is the ongoing, sometimes hidden, political fight for CONTROL of export resource flows that shows up in the ELM data later, and debate over it, that is so riveting to me.

For example: what control moves will Mexico take to reshape their ELM?  Roughly two million barrels/day [and declining fast] of the American Soccer Moms' SUV's juice ride on their decisions.

How many bloody corpses and/or poisonings are required for control of Russia's ELM? ....and so on around our happy little planet.  Each exporting country's attitude towards their internal geologic peak will show up in the data aggregated by our new focus on the ELM.   That is what I find so fascinating about this hypothesis.  IMO, it is a great additional TOOL to the overall broad discussion on Peakoil.

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

  Sorry guys, I think its fairly important. If done correctly-and knowing each of your contributions, I believe it will be-this debate could open a lot of eyes to the data acvailable and the depth of thoughtfulness about the datum. I m not deluded enough to think anything will be finally settled. History will have to settle the issue of the timing of the peak oil event, and probably whether the current events are beginning to show WT's export land model.
  I also have great hopes that it will teach some of our  uncivilised posters-Hothgar comes to mind-how to engage in a mannerly debate. In fact, you might just employ his research skills to help come up with good data points. I think the little booger might be trainable, but he needs to gain maturity, learn to ask questions and be taught more about how to evaluate resources. Just a wild thought, feel free to ignore it.
Interpretation of data is a tricky business--as much art as science. RR, I think you are correct that a single year's data is insufficent to "prove" that WT's model is correct or that late 2005 was peak oil. On the other hand, as I read the data it is consistent with WT's model--but not enough to prove it as correct, because that will take years.

The strongest evidence on TOD I've seen that we are not at peak oil is your observation that whenever you want to buy oil you can find multiple sellers willing to sell you some. True, this is just "anecdotal" evidence, but I have seen nobody contradict your assertion that if you want to buy some more oil, you can. Depending on who is telling the anecdotes, that kind of evidence can be strong even if it is not "scientific."

Yeha but how much can be bought?

If I want to buy 2 million barrels could I?

Could I buy 2 million barrels a day for a whole year?


My off the cuff estimate would be 1 million barrels of spare capacity, but Freddy Hutter in the USGS thread wrote (when I asked where he came up with his number):

Taken from our monthly USA reserves & global extraction report (via IEA):
Q1 0.4-mbd surplus
Q2 1.9-mbd surplus
Q3 1.8-mbd surplus

By the way, good to see you back here Don.
Definitely feels a little hyped. Two men enter, one man leaves, etc. :)

I just want to see a good hashing out of data and projections, personally.

Maybe next time you guys can arrange the co-authored report via private e-mail. :)

Hello TODers,

The Inauguration of Calderon points to further Mexican bullfights in their Congress:
MEXICO City -- Felipe Calderon, a diminutive but determined conservative, was inaugurated Friday as president of a deeply divided Mexico amid fisticuffs between rival lawmakers and raucous protests in the country's Legislative Palace.

Leaders of the largest opposition party in Congress, the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, say Calderon's election was illegitimate, and they battled conservative congressional deputies and Senators on the floor most of the week. But the leftists failed in their attempt to keep legislators out of the chambers so that the joint session of Congress would lack a quorum.

Friday morning, with leftist congressmen using chairs to barricade most of the doors in a last-ditch attempt to keep the president-elect out, Calderon emerged from a back entrance. He squeezed into a phalanx of his bodyguards and loyalist legislators, defiantly taking the oath of office.

With European princes, Latin American leaders, former President George H.W. Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other dignitaries looking on from two balconies, Calderon, 44, raised his hand and sometimes shouted as he recited the 62-word oath amid a chorus of derisive whistles.
Can't wait to watch them peacefully discuss Peakoil reform!  From this link one gets an idea of the challenges ahead for Mexico:
Deep water challenges
Pemex's roughly $40 billion in investments over the past four years has helped boost crude oil production.  The company will need to maintain the level of its annual investments over the next 10 years if Mexico is to avoid becoming a net importer of crude oil. Pemex is trying to tap deepwater reserves in the Gulf of Mexico. In order to grow, the company needs more than $15-$20 billion a year, which could be obtained through greater private-sector investment.

Main challenges for the Mexican Oil and Gas Industry are: 1. Exploratory work for the evaluation of potential fields and recovery of reserves

  1. Increase the exploration of the Light Crude Oil (Coatzacoalcos Marino, Campeche Poniente and other areas of the Southwest Marine Region.)
  2. Development of fields with heavy oil.
  3. Enhanced Oil Recovery
  4. Exploration and production in Chicontepec Area
  5. Exploration and production of Natural Gas
  6. Exploration and production in deep waters

Six areas selected for exploration
When in comes to deepwater, PEMEX has identified 817 exploratory opportunities from the work being develop in the last few years, of this 172 have a high possibility of success with a potential of 25 to 37 MMBOE. Opportunities with resources greater to 350 MMBOE have been identified, but most opportunities have around 50 to 200 MMBOE, with a median of 143 MMBOE. Taking into consideration the size of the field, the type of oil and gas, the medium equivalent volume, and the water depth, 20 areas of opportunity have been evaluated for it potential in deepwater out of this 6 areas have been selected for further exploratory work. Deepwater areas: Campeche Profundo, Lankahuasa Profundo, Lampra Profundo, Coatzacoalcos Profundo, Área Perdido, Lankahuasa Sur, Cañonero and Hox Hux.

As PEMEX moves to deeper waters and the need for further exploration and evaluation of potential fields arise, the company will require more resources in 3D acquisition, seismic modeling, reservoir geophysics, seismic attribute analysis, seismic interpretation, geophysical and geotechnical studies, operation optimization, field optimization, and risk management.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

" Arnold Schwarzenegger and other dignitaries ...."

Somehow this phrase really catches me. Who'da thunk?

Hello ET,

Yeah, ironic isn't it--I bet he was eager to wade into the fray below to show that he is not a 'girlie-man', but his handlers probably told him that they would gang-tackle him if he so much as made a move to get out of his seat!

Once TSHTF, he will come in handy as an impressive Enforcer/Senator for the coming fistfights on the Senate floor.  C-Span will be must see TV! LOL!

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