Peak Oil and the Environment - last afternoon

The last afternoon of the Forum was aimed at addressing the opportunities that lay in addressing the demand issue. From that point of view the presentations focused more on the need to develop some form of policy, with the emphasis more on the global, rather than the local level, although that was also discussed. Unfortunately I was not able to stay long enough to hear the discussion on Julian Darley's point as to natural gas peaking worldwide. But to answer the question as to whether I misheard, given that Julian has already written a book on Natural Gas Supplies, I don't think I did, since he also tied it into a comment on LNG. However, since I was not the only one there, if others, especially those who stayed for the discussion know better, please say so.
The first to the podium in the afternoon was Herman Daly who talked about Steady State Economics and what steady state really meant. If I followed the argument it used to mean that conditions did not change, then it meant that the rate of change stayed the same, and then someone called Keynes showed up. Herman commented that Keynes ideas are now appearing to be less true than once thought, as changing circumstances and reduced savings and investment are developing huge consumer debt. "Nature does not create value" is being disproved by Peak Oil, though we also get Global Warming. And then he pointed out that we are heading into an era where there will be frugality and efficiency. But if we try and achieve efficiency first, then if we achieve it we run into Jevon's Paradox and rarely achieve frugality. On the other hand if we go the frugality route first, then this will be more effective in driving efficiency. He also suggested that we stop using a value-added tax, and rather tax the resource itself, since this is the scarcity.

He was followed by Richard Heinberg (who was one of those, I noted that used the stairs between the conference room and the break room, rather than the elevator). Apart from writing the Museletter, he has also recently completed a new book on The Oil Depletion Protocol, based on the idea originally proposed by Colin Campbell. The lecture was a form of summary of the book. Accepting that Peak Oil is here, he anticipates resource wars both between and within nations to acquire the control and wealth that this is bringing. A Protocol is necessary since the alternate supply options are limited and thus we need to control behavior as supplies decline. Thus sustainability will also be achieved through local self-sufficiency (when we may need to set 20% of the land aside for horse food again). He reminded us that there is a considerable difference between running a hobby garden, and serious farming. He foresees rationing of energy in our future, either through price or by quota, and discussed the tradable energy quotas first conceived by David Fleming in the UK. He feels there should be an inventory of oil available in different countries and that there should be a Secretariat to keep track. (Ed note: I think OPEC thinks they have one if you read their monthly reports.) And he raised the question as to what happens if Roger Bezdek's projection of a 2% drop in supply per year, is wrong. Though he hoped it were true, since this is a rate (as Stuart has noted) that businesses can adapt to. And he prefers front yard gardens, because that way the neighbors notice and ask questions.

Pat Murphy was the last speaker before the break. He comes from the Community Solution and they did the video on how Cuba survived that Megan Quinn showed during the Monday lunch (and that I missed by posting the second segment of this report). He seemed to have relatively little patience with any proposed technical solutions, stating, inter alia, that solar had so far seen a huge investment in money, time and effort; for relatively little return, and thus he anticipated the end of the American Way of Life. He considers the hydrogen car concept to be fundamentally flawed, and the use of carbon sequestration to be fundamentally evil, since it leaves a terrible heritage for our children.

Jack Santa Barbara is one of the three organizers of the Forum. He is Canadian, and began with a telling statement "there is an assumption in the US that all the tar sands oil will come to the US." (Which sentiment is, of course, totally wrong, though I suspect the statement is likely to be widely correct) Pointing out that our thoughts were a little too US-centric for comfort, he felt that the recent move by a number of agencies to look at life-cycle costs and considerations was too cumbersome. He recognized that there will be some new technologies that develop, but that in large measure we are going to have to learn to live with less energy. And in that regard what will we give up? Economic growth can be a curse, since there is often an economic price. And he got applause for noting that Governments are expected to govern. We need to ensure that our goals are the right ones, that we accept that we live in an eco-system upon which we are dependant, and that different goals will require different policies, we have made some progress in defining these goals, but lack the will to carry forward to change. His goals were:
Ecological Sustainability
High level of human well-being for all
Defining efficiency as that which generates the most well being for the least input.

Well that was all that I had time to stay for. I had really hoped to be able to hear Megan Quinn's talk on leadership, but we were too far behind the schedule I was forced to keep. And so I, like you, will have to go to Global Public Media where Nate assures us they will be posted. I will leave you to guess which presentations during the three days that I dozed off in.

I think, in closing, that we should pay tribute to the effectiveness of the conference master of ceremonies, and with more apologies for the poor quality of my photography, and also in gratitude for a very pleasant dinner spent with her parents, I leave you with a toast to the health of Megan Quinn.

I was indeed there and, assuming my memory hasn't failed me, there was really no discussion of the natural gas situation. It is something that I think is really underappreciated by the peak oil community (myself included). I could say more, but its late and homework beckons.
I agree; after Darley's comment, there was really no further mention of natural gas at all.
My memory was that he was talking about world-wide natural gas  production peaking and he mentioned (no notes, just memory) that the US may not be able to import as much LNG as we plan to.

IMO, NG is more readily substituted for than oil (wind and coal will likely replace NG for US electricity production for example).

Of course, the extraction of tar sands will be limited if natural gas is scarce and expensive.

And a shortage of NG in the US will result in some cold winters and summer blackouts.  And the loss of more industry.

I was noticing that there are a number of coal plants that are now under construction - probably because the utilities see the writing on the wall, and want to get off of natural gas.

There was one speaker at the conference who was talking about how in Israel they are pushing for 100% solar hot water.  Of all of the solar technologies, this is probably the most cost-effective.  So is there any good reason why we couldn't adopt something similar and eliminate the need for those giant 30-40 gallon tanks of water that everyone has (especially in the southern half of the country)?  This type of change would most likely involve local zoning and planning, and one could get this started without the need for the Federal government to do anything.

Someone made the crack that the Federal government was 'constipated', and the sad fact is that it is unclear when Washington is going to become unblocked.  I am starting to think that the best things to be working on right now are ones that don't require the Federal government to get involved.  Things that could be handled on the state and local level are more likely to be quickly implemented.  States or municipalities could work together to come up with plans that are consistent with each other so that there isn't a mish-mash of regulations across the country.

IME, 100% solar hot water is better suited to Israel than to the U.S.  

We had a solar water heater when I was growing up in Hawaii.  It worked long as it was sunny.  We had a backup electric water heater for cloudy days, and for days when we needed more hot water than usual.  (Guests, etc.)

My parents built their dream home a few years ago...without solar panels.  The tax incentives that used to exist when they installed the system of my youth were no longer available, and even in Hawaii, it's not economical without them.

The solar water heater I remember would probably not work at all in the northern U.S.  They were basically copper panels with small channels through them.  The sun heated the water as it passed through the channels.  I imagine in the northeast, winter temps would freeze the water and destroy the panels, unless you heated them somehow.  

I can't see many people going for a multi-thousand solar installation when you can get a gas water heater for $400.  You have to be convinced that gas prices will be high for ten years at least. Residential, commercial, and industrial users still believe this is a short term problem.
Check out the Rinai Tankless water heater.  No tanks, it just heats your water up as you use it.  Much more efficient and it qualifies for a tax credit.  They start at $600 and the top of the line is about $1200.  I don't know the details, but I've convinced my parents to include one in the house they are building.  On a micro scale, you will be more energy efficient.
Keep in mind that Rinnai and Rheem only make NG-fired units.  We're cancelling our gas service, and are looking at electric tankless units to use in conjunction with solar-heated water.
Ok, but for the basis of heating water isn't NG much more efficient than electric?  I just read somewhere that NG costs are relatively fixed.  So the last quad of NG would take the same energy to extract as the preceding quad.  Electric, mostly coal powered, would be less energy efficient due to the increasing cost to extract.  Or am I off?
You are probably correct, but we don't use the NG furnace anymore, so having NG service just for the water heater is too costly.  All the flat fees, taxes, surcharges, etc. add up.  

So we're switching from NG storage to Elec tankless.

i've heard that the partial solution - a small "solar preheat" system attached to a traditional water heater, has a short payback time.  good ROI.  i was probably reading a report based on the california climate however.

"The average American household spends 20 percent or more of its energy bill on hot water, and much of what's paid for is heat lost through the thin walls of the storage tank in the basement or utility room." ...

"Most solar heating units act as preheaters for conventional units. Although the installation costs are high, owners save from 50 to 85 percent annually on their utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy."

I'm definitely a fan of solar hot water systems.  A lot of fossil fuel could potentially be displaced.  I tried cruching some numbers on what I assume are reasonable numbers for a pre-heating system but for some reason it doesn't seem right.  I know (and the quote above also suggests the same) that they are more effective than the numbers I got.

Assuming the pre-heater raises the temperature of the water to 90F from 55F. (32.2C - 12.8C)  Delta 19.4 C

1gal X (3.785Liter/1gal) X (1000g/1L) X (19.4C) X (4.185 Joule/gram X degC) = 307300 Joules (per gallon)

or 291 BTU (per gallon)

and these were some numbers I crunched of a storage system I saw at a house I visited(he used this system for both hot water and to heat his house):

Assume 150*F to 80*F useable range (delta 70*F or ~39*C)

5000gal X (3.785Liter/1gal)X(1000g/1L) X 39degC X (4.185Joule/gram * degC) = 3089581950 Joules

3089581950 Joule (.00094978 BTU/Joule) = 2934423 BTU

Or... ~23.66 gallons of gasoline (based on BTU's) of storage if the tank is at 150 degrees F.

Solar domestic hot water makes tremendous economic sense, even on an individual level, unlike many things that make societal sense, but have a long payback period for the individual purchaser.  There are now many ways of providing freeze prevention to allow SDHW to work in colder climes.  This is a good general intro:
With state and federal tax incentives - check out - payback can be in as little as 2-3 years.  Even for more expensive, less efficient systems, payback in 5-7 years is a sound investment.  We just installed ours here in NC.  It's a batch design - more amenable to the sub-tropics like Florida, but I'm going to super insulate and we'll drain if/when we have to, but I doubt we will.  Anyway, both personally and societally, this is one of those simple early things we all can and should do to offset FF use.  Traditional water heaters often need replacement every 7-10 years anyway, so unless you've just replaced yours, you've got that expense coming up anyway.  Do a little research, and at the very least be prepared to go solar when the current one fails.  It's too late to pull it all together when you come home one night to no hot water and a mess in the basement.  Oh, and I concur with the tankless heater option - which in some cases can serve as your solar back-up.
Anyway, both personally and societally, this is one of those simple early things we all can and should do to offset FF use.  

You do realize that many of us rent, and therefore have no say in what kind of water heater or other appliances we use?

Yes, of course, never a good thing to generalize (all).  Just trying to encourage productive measures.  So much of folks reaction is of the deer in the headlights, helpless sort.  I'm just a doomer, trying to find those little things that may help on the way down.  But as you point out, the owner/renter barrier - just as the builder/buyer barrier - is a significant problem to making even the most logical energy improvments.
This is why my own "doomerosity" has a gradual upward trend also. As mentioned in another post, I rent a bitty apartment but the fridge is huge. The way the sink works, the only way to use warm water without scalding yourself is to have the water gushing at full stream. Oh, and the sink clogs if even a grain of rice falls down there or for no reason at all, so the garbag disposal has to be run, for a minute or so is best, whenever dishes are washed and periodically anyway. Air-drying laundry is  illegal here so when you do laundry, unless you keep it as secret as a pot-growing operation, indoors and hidden, you have to use the dryers as well as the washers in the laundry room. Doing your own gardening is likewise forbidden, there's the gardener, or one of 'em, who comes around with a poorly carbureted leaf blower and blows the leaves around. Sprinklers water the plants nightly, and most of the water runs off, taking soil nutrients with it - it's amazing anything grows the way the humus is cleaned away and the soil water-leached 365 nights a year. The apartments are heated by HUGE electrical heaters which I've never used, it's along one wall and I have storage shelves along there, so I use a small space heater when necessary. The stove is electric, thus ensuring one more highly ineffecient step (burn nat gas to make electricity to use in the stove here instead of just a gas stove). Needless to say the sink drips unless the taps are really shut off tight, and sometimes even then it does. Frankly, this place is almost designed to waste as much energy as possible under the circumstances.

Since at least a third, I think higher, of the population of the US are renters, mostly without the knowledge and awareness I have, to use compact fluorescent bulbs, a more effecient heater, etc., and almost all of which have the universal US household idol, the biggest TV possible, you can see what we're up against here.

Don't use the payback method and start using either discounted payback or a net present value equation to determine true cost.  You have to always keep the time value of money in mind.  It doesnt help that the petrodollar is crashing.
Yes, Darley did say that there are delays with LNG terminal citing and some terminal in nova scotia or there abouts has had to shut down because it can't get contracts for shipment (due to a tightness with tanker fleets)
Hello HO,

All I can say is that I am glad to see all the younger people getting involved in Peak Everything.  I have never been to any conferences, but I imagine in times past it was mostly older farts [like me].  The future belongs to the young--always has, always will-- I am happy to see them reaching for the brass ring on this crazy carousel ride.

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

For your viewing pleasure, I posted five images of the new ski area in Dubai, U.A.E. (as I understand) on my website.
Dubai could be a bell-wether for PO since they are supposed to have only 5 years production left. In a bizarre kind of way they might think tourism will replace oil exports, presumably because there will be plenty of other oil left for travel. I live close to a ski tow area at 1200 metres that didn't open once in 2005.  In 2011 we still won't have enough snow but it will be a nicer place to live than UAE.
Dubai's strategy is to be the Singapore of the Middle East.

It is already a tourist destination from Europe (it never rains).  But the main point is to provide entertainment facilities for all the foreigners working in all of the Gulf Countries, and a safe open business centre.

Whatever the truth of Peak Oil, the reserves in the Middle East will be increasingly valuable (as there are less of them, elsewhere).  

So the Dubai-ian strategy makes sense, and Abu Dahbi, Qatar, Bahrein are scrambling to catch up.  The latter has a Shi'ite problem, the former is just not as foreigner friendly a place.

I was recently in Dubai and noticed that everything, and I mean everything that is green and that grows is also heavily and often inefficiently irrigated.  The city is actually built around a natural lagoon.  That's why it was founded in the first place: it was a reliable source of water in a desert and great place to launch the fishing boats.

From the UAE website:
"The UAE has one of the most developed desalination production and distribution systems in the world. The Green Revolution in the UAE today is due to the massive investment in coastal desalination plants. Sixty to seventy per cent of the total water supplies to the UAE are desalinated and the figure is rising every year.
In the year 2015, water consumption in the UAE is expected to reach 600 million gallons per day. The maximum domestic water demand of Abu Dhabi alone is expected to reach 250 mgd over the next 15 years."

If you drive south on the insane, traffic choked main road through Dubai the rows of gawdy highrises way to the largest deslination plant in the world - made to serve the ongoing boom.

So oil and gas are more than just a cash crop and more than just fuel for oversized engines for passing on the shoulder.  They are crucial to the very liveability of the place.  Without affordable desalination Dubai will dry up and people will just leave - no matter how many tax incentives are thrown out.  The place is for the rich but the rich are only so if there is a local underclass to serve their needs.  When water becomes more expensive than gasoline - they will leave.

On the flipside Dubai's prospects of becoming the Singapore of the Middle East look pretty daunting if LNG prices start climbing indefinetely.  It is difficult to image that the otherwise proud owners (yes they actually own it) of Dubai won't sell to the highest bidder even if it means undermining the prosperity of their own city.  It is possible they won't actually have much a choice - the US does after all act as somethign of a shield for places like Dubai and there's no shortage of bogeymen in that region.

Dubai is a ghosttown under construction. It may very become known as the most quickly constructed and quickly abandoned city in human history.

...oh how i get distracted.

I do like Pat Murphy's attitude as reported above.

Two specific things strike me:

1. There is no technological solution.

2. Carbon sequestration is immoral, in that it simply pushes off worse consequences on the next generation while enabling us to pretend that we can keep generating GHGs much as we are doing -- at increasing rates.

Carbon sequestration -- like most techofixes -- is an illusion that allows us to avoid the need for complete paradigm shift.  Technofixes share this characteristic of maintaining our present paradigm by dumping even greater troubles (pollution, resource depletion)on the next generation.

Swift and radical culture chamge will be the best strategy.  Radically reduced consumption and a return to largely local production and consumption, augmented with a permacultural plan for sustainable harvesting of food, water, and energy.  Radically reduced consumption and intentional nonviolent population reduction can only be ahieved through the equivalent of a great spiritual awakening or evolutionary leap.

The chances are slim, but there we are. Perhaps the chances for our species to survive and thrive have always been slim.  Our biggest mistake has been the waste of vast resources on war and indifferent consumerism.  There is some chance that our species will gain wisdom from this experience. Swift and radical change is needed.  The meme must spread far faster than political processes would allow for even if our political institutions were not utterly resistant to change.

Personal transformation and community building seem to me to be the most important steps we can take -- essential and foundational.

this may shed some light on CO2 capture:

my post is good, but click through to the refernced article by the ABA:

Climate Change v. CO2 Capture

On the one hand I agree completely with the sentiment that what we reall need for the future is a radical reduction in the use of fossil fuels.  As has been pointed out often enough (Hirsch report, etc.) the time scales for adapting to peak oil are daunting, to say the least.  And absent massive cuts in fossil fuel use, the global warming problem is nearly certain to be the greatest challenge we will face for the rest of the century.
    On the other hand, I have argued with Pat about the characterization of CCS as evil, simply because the practical side of me thinks that we will not succeed in convincing our fellow US citizens to make the required massive changes required to prevent global warming. The most likely path we will follow, as addicts, will be to look for any way possible to get a fix, and that could well be something involving coal (more electricity, generated by coal; attempts at a hydrogen economy, run by coal; coal to liquids).  If we start looking longingly to coal deposits as the source of our fix, I would rather have ideas for carbon sequestration ready to go than not have any carbon emission mitigation plan.  
   On the third hand, a question about time scales for CCS to be a large-scale option, asked of a proponent of CCS speaking at the AAAS meeting in February, received the answer that it would be a couple of decades before this would be practical.  The Hirsch gap strikes again.
   Global climate change was the second topic of this conference, although it was somewhat under-represented IMHO.
We may not even convince the US as a whole to cut fossil fuel use by relatively small amounts to avert the nastier consequences of peak oil; to avoid dangerous climate change could require even deeper cuts in emissions.  In the end, the only safe answer is to massively cut fossil fuel use.  
I would rather have ideas for carbon sequestration ready to go than not have any carbon emission mitigation plan.
We not only need a CO2 mitigation plan, we need a warming mitigation plan to deal with the effects of what's already in the atmosphere.
I think the smart thing to do would be to prepare for climate change, rather than try to prevent it.  Sequestration isn't ready to go on a large scale, and might never be.  And even if we get it working and use it, that doesn't mean the rest of the world will.  What about China, sitting on huge reserves of coal, already planning to double their coal use by 2020? Their crops are already being killed by acid rain generated by their coal burning, but they are still planning to use more.  India now gets 2/3 of their electricity from coal, and desperately wants more.  
the problem with "preparing for climate change" is that it really requires, on a scientific level, much better models than are needed for the simple "is the earth warming" question.

example: should southern california start mega projects to bring in more water and prepare for drought ... or should it prepare for increased rainfall?

i think the current projections are for increased rainfall, but who the heck knows?  regional weather patterns will likely evolve and stabilize long after general warming is established.

(on the base political level, it is unfortunate that "adaptation" is taken up so easily by the old global warming skeptics.  it is a card they think they can play for further delay and inaction.)

I don't think mega water projects make sense in the face of peak oil.  We need projects/technology that can be easily maintained in a low-energy (and probably lower-technolgy) world.

One thing worth doing, IMO: prepare for rising sea levels.  If it doesn't happen, no harm done, and probably some benefit anyway.  In some cases, this may mean "managed retreat" from the coasts.  Move infrastructure away from the sea, or raise it up.  Do not allow people to rebuild in flood-prone areas; at least, do not give them taxpayers' money to do so.  

I would also put serious effort into crop diversity.  We now grow crops so specialized that small changes in climate can be catastrophic.  We need to collect a wide variety of plants now, while we can, that may be useful in the future.  Jared Diamond noted this trait among the sustainable societies he studied.  They were very interested in new plants, and their possible uses, and collected them whenever possible to bring back to their home villages.

And in our own history...plants moving from the New World to the Old brought a distinct jump in population, from Ireland to China, as the new crops allowed land to be cultivated that could not be cultivated before.

that's all good stuff.  there are a couple neighboroods near me that are already underwater in periods of coinciding high tides and storm surges.  i'd suspect it will be a learning curve, as the cities and counties decide how much they want to pay to sustain them.  right now they get like a foot of water every five years or so ....
I'm not sure why you'd say sequestration isn't ready to go.  The technology is dirt simple and has been around for decades.  You'll find people arguing about whether the CO2 will stay down for hundreds of years or thousands, but personally 50 years would be plenty for me.  The only reason we don't do it is it costs a shitpile of money.  And that's unlikely to change.
Depends what kind of process you use.  Oxygen-blown IGCC appears to make it easier to pull out the CO2 along with the H2S than to filter them separately.
the problem with a "carbon sequestration is immoral" meme is that there are lots of kinds of sequestration.

as a chemist(*) i'm offended that a diverse theoretical domain is painted with the same broad brush.  there is indeed the classic difference between theories and practices ... but it is pure Luddism to throw up ones hands and say the theory is bad, becuase a particular practice is suspect.

(that didn't flow well ... not enough coffee, but there you are)

* - i'll wear that hat today

Let expand on this a bit, and give my interpretation of what Murphy meant.

We have seen over the years many things hyped as the next thing.  They never are available for purchase - they are always a few years out, or need more work, or whatever.  Always just out of reach, and in the meantime, we are expected to go with the same-old.  In fact, encouraged to go with the same old in that the dream is that some miracle technology will come along that will allow us to continue life as it is with a minimal disruption.

To me hydrogen is a perfect example of this.  It is a dream that is just out of reach, but to me it seems doubtful that anything will ever come of it.  If you just look at the numbers, a simple battery-powered electric vehicle is a much more efficient use of energy than some scheme that involves using renewable energy to make hydrogen which then gets converted back to electricity in a fuel cell..

In the long run, our whole transportation infrastructure needs to change so that we don't use oil.  A large part of that is making changes that don't involve us having to get around as much, at least by car.  I think Murphy's point is that the time and energy would be better spent building smaller communities that are self-sufficient.

Even with all of these changes, transportation will still be needed in various forms.  For some reason, Murphy dislikes plug-in hybrids - I suspect because they smell like more hype to him.  To me I view those as a transitional step towards all electric vehicles, so I think they still could play a valuable role for occasional trips.  Knowing your average American though, they would think that they could still drive a giant SUV that you plug in every night so that they can commute 50 miles from the exurbs - missing the overall point completely.

"Swift and radical culture chamge will be the best strategy."

Absolutely agree.  Not sure if it's possible, but allow me to take the opportunity to plug Daniel Quinn's writing in my effort to further culture change.  "The Story of B" is key.  Best, but not necessarily preceeded by the two "Ishmael" books.

Our 10,000 year old culture based on infinitely expanding consumption of everything in sight is coming to its only possible conclusion.  We just happen to be the ones stuck dealing with it.  Peak oil is just a symptom of our consumption culture, and will be the proximate cause of the collapse.  Peak water, global warming, species extinction, soil depletion will all play roles as well - and again are all the result of our culture.  We need a different way of thinking.  Quinn offers one.

re Jack Santa Barbara

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1990, Canada cannot segregate its energy supplies from the US.  The highest bidder gets the fuel even in an energy crisis.

To change that, Canada would have to leave NAFTA.  At which point, the US would sever the Auto Pact, which would cripple Canadian manufacturing industry.  Also the US would impose agricultural tariffs or other trade measures.

So the net consequence is that Canadian tar sands oil will, indeed, flow south.  Even if that means Ontario does not have enough oil to drive its 12 million people around, Alberta's 3 million people will ship their oil to the US.

The trade and economic flows in the North American economy now run North to South, not laterally across Canada.

The bigger problem is that oil sands will not be more than 3-4m b/d.  There is not enough natural gas, water or skilled labour to feasibly build more capacity than that in the next 20 years.  The resource is infinite, for all practical purposes (200bn barrels extractible) but the exploitation rate is quite finite.

4m b/d is only 20% of current US consumption and about 17% of current North American consumption (including Mexico)?

A continued devaluation of the US dollar will definitely cause demand destruction in the USA. The highest bidder will get the energy, but don't be too sure the USA will have the highest bid.
Cuba is the one to watch.

In the more extreme cases of Peak Oil, the transition the world' economies will have to make is as fast as Cuba was forced to do after 1990.

They have learned thinks about growing food without pesticide and oil, that we have forgotten.  

Whether free market capitalist economies, with armed citizenry and traditions of dissent, could make that adaption as fast and as smoothly as a highly disciplined Socialist police state, remains to be seen.  In Cuba, dissidents can always be locked up.

Argentina is perhaps the other extreme.  The rapid and damaging breakup of civil society in the face of economic collapse, and the rise and rise of populist politics.  The Argentine middle class was devastated by the events of 2002, and even though the economy has recovered, psychologically the people have not.

The government resorts to idiotic populist measures: controlling the price of petroleum, restricting exports of beef because domestic prices are too high, etc.  Energy supply contracts with Chile were unilaterally voided, resurrecting the risk of another arms race in the Andean powers (for decades, the only way to get to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego was to fly back to the Chilean capital, fly to Buenos Aires, fly down to TdeF.  A round trip of about 2000 (?) miles to cross a frontier!).

One can see such a government sweeping into power in the US or many western countries, blaming foreign enemies for the dislocations.

After all, most US consumers think the current problem with gas prices is 'the oil companies'.

Your reference to "armed citizenry" is I think one more case of the USA having unique problems in the post peak world. Of course there are weapons in private hands in other developed countries but on nothing remotely like the scale that appears (from the outside) to exist in the US. In the UK and Australia for instance private handguns were banned following particularly high profile murder cases and many thousands handed in. Criminals have access to guns but it is easier for the police to handle - if you have a gun in the street you are commiting an offence and are a fair target - than where you have widespread legal ownership. I don't want to get into the NRA lobby arguement, that is for Amurricans to sort out, but for many of us elsewhere it is frankly incomprehensible and will, I believe, haunt the streets of US cities if things get half as bad as some here at TOD are predicting.
Agree UK and Australia are somewhat different v the US.  Canada has lots of guns, but in relatively few hands.  

However there are traditions of mass action, especially in places like France (and to some extent the UK) that would potentially present very great problems for any radical change in social values/ systems.

Living in Canada, I can tell you we have lots of gun in many hands.  Almost all backcountry places in Canada has more than 60% of people are hunting.  I dont know if you have looked at a Canada map lately but there is a large number of backcountry places.

So why is the difference?  Media and news dont scare us.  We all beleive we live in a safe place, so we act according to this.  We beleive guns are usuful to hunt game.  Using gun to defend ourself is not even a remote way of thinking for even a tiny fraction of our people.

The place where I live is located more than 300 Km (200 miles) from the Quebec city and 350 miles from Montreal.  They have to cross trough a very large woodden parc either way.  We have large road and railroads to get here and back but still, it's a 3 hour drive.  

I beleive that if TSHTF the problem will mostly be answered regionally and localy.  If there is not enough ressources to get around here, I cant see why a bunch of angry mob would go and walk on 3 weeks to get to our place.

If we can deal with the problem from inside and ensure local food security, we will be able to go trough restructuring.

90% of Canadians live in cities and suburbs.  And something like 90% within 100 miles of the US border.

Greater Toronto alone is 1/6th of the country (5m people).

Along with Australians, amongst the world's most highly suburbanised countries.  Canadians also have a tradition of government control and supervision which Americans lack.  In Canada, the Mounties built the police stations, and then came the settlers and the railways.

It's that, rather than guns per se, which makes Canada different.

In Canada, rather than local disorder, what is more likely is regional fragmentation.  Think Robert Heinlein's novel 'Friday' ie a Republic of Western Canada, a Republic du Quebece etc.

"Canadians have a tradition of government control and supervision which Americans lack". I assume you are joking. What % of American citizens are in prison or on parole? What % of these were locked up for non-violent offenses? What % of the American public supports this system? The guy that won your last election basically ran on the platform of protecting the submissive sheeple from the big bad wolves, etc. etc.
It's an observation from having lived North of the border, and having spent time south.

Americans are 'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness'.

Canadians are 'Peace, Order and Good Government'.  Canada is a noticeably more collectivist sort of place-- be it far stronger gun control, socialised medicine.  Little things like a much higher proportion of the population wears seatbelts.   The government mandates bilingualism (French and English) and this is accepted (with grumbling).  There are no private universities.

I don't think you believe any of this nonsense. Ask the ACLU their opinion on this one.
Indeed I absolutely believe this 'nonsense' and think it is reflected in the different political cultures of the two countries.

Americans react much more aggressively to attempts to regulate what they do, how they live.  Indeed their whole constitution is written around those freedoms.

That is probably because Americans have a much more aggressive federal government preying on them.You will get resistance to any oppressive government.Your comments were accurate in 1856, maybe 1906 not 2006.
Assuming that if citizens of large cities are gona start using guns to defend themselves and trying to acquire whatever they need, it is because the rest of the world will also be in a permanent panic state.

Otherwise, I dont think people living in Toronto will start using them for no reason.

So if you asume that they will start a widespread use of hand guns and hunting guns, problems are already serious and the food economy is shaky at best non existant at worst.  50 to 90 days later, most of them will be dead.

What will be the new population distribution after that?  Who's gone to be left?  We dont know.  We dont know how it will work out, how people will cope with this.

Guns and brawl will do for a certain amount of time but guns are akward tools to grow a garden.

Not sure what you mean by "few hands" for Canada. Last figures I remember are about 35% of all Cdn. housholds own 1 or more firearms, I think its about 50% in the U.S. The difference is that Canadians weapons are much more "long guns" (rifles and shotguns) than handguns as in the U.S. The fact that our rate of mayhem from bullets is an order of magnitude less than the U.S. is i think mostly cultural, not a function of weapons ownership rate, but when TSHTF cultrue may prove to be changeable, hope not...
I remembered a figure with a much greater concentration of guns in Canada (20% of households).  Certainly, anecdotally, the Americans I know seemed to grow up in households with guns, whereas the Canadians did not.  This was especially true of hand guns.

Perhaps I am out of date.

The other thing is that by and large we don't make a fetish of our firearms here, in fact its a topic that most folks keep very private, like their income, or sexual preferences. You won't see them racked in the back of a pickup most places(unless someone is actally hunting) or hear ownership of them discussed at a cocktail party. Shooting ranges are not the same as bowling alleys here :)

But yes, we are armed, in significant numbers :)

The US has had a number of "shall issue" laws passed across the nation; in those states where they are in effect, any person meeting the requirements can get a permit to carry a concealed handgun (not just to own a handgun).  "Shall issue" laws cover 38 states at the moment, IIRC.

For all the predictions of bloodbaths, crime has been on a downward slide.  I like the idea of criminals going after property and empty buildings rather than people; it certainly keeps the law-abiding safer.

Right On EP.

We went through this in the 90s, the big gun debate. Study after study showed as gun ownership goes up, crime goes down. Want a huge increase in crime? Just disarm the law-abiding.

Two fave guns of mine: Sig-Saur P220? The one that shoots .40 S&W. And the Awesome Remington 541T, with a Leupold fixed 10X scope.

I see Switzerland as a viable model rather than Cuba.  They endured a six year, 100% oil embargo, kept their army trained, democracy going and a decent quality of life (although calories/person dropped).

In 1998, they voted (unlike Cuba) for a twenty year, 31 billion Swiss franc program to improve their already excellent rail system and move almost all freight from truck to rail (plus high speed passenger rail service).

Adjusted for population, that would be like the US voting for a $1 trillion program.

The Swiss are as ready as they can be for Peak Oil.  They can operate their society on domestic electricity and a trickle of imported oil.  And they have the exports to pay for that oil.  Or gold if need be.

New Orleans may also serve as a model. Total loss of power, plenty of guns and very little real violence. Mad Max it wasn't.
The only real violence was created by the lack of a strong government.
Maybe Alan would like to comment.
Several points.

A Red Cross manager said that there was a "3 day rule" in disaster relief.  People would generally hold together for 3 days and respond rationally/gratefully to relief within the first 3 days.  Complete relief not required, just "some relief".  After 3 days they get nasty if zero relief is coming in (a trickle will keep them under self control).

He said he could not imagine why FEMA ignored the Convention Center and those on elevated freeways past the 3 day limit and he expected a far worse result than occured. (FEMA could have had two bus pickup points on Wednesday, one in Republican Metairie and the other at the Convention Center; but they chose to pick up everyone who showed up at the Metairie point first, on Wednesday and only when no Republican was left, started picking people up at the Convention Center on Friday.  The aerial view of the trucks going through water was for show, there was a dry road to the Convention Center at every point in time after the winds died down).

The people survived because the looters shared food, water, umbrellas, diapers, etc.  My apartment was looted, Food, water, wine, flashlight & umbrella taken, but digital camera and computers left untouched.  Change on side of bed also left.

From a number of first hand accounts, there was more compassion and concern than selfishness.  One TV image was a  diabetic volumteered his last dose on insulin for someone in ddiabetic shock, thereby risking his own life later.

There were shots fired, but no gunshot wounds AFAIK except a  "friendly fire" incident.

New Orleans was poor before Katrina, and had an extraordinary level of civic comity and "social capital".

I would not expect the same results in, for example, Phoenix.

Hmmm... they were overly cooperative with the Nazis on a number of levels.  Arguably they had little choice, but their hands were not clean on this.

I actually know some (Swiss) people who are very critical of their rail system (it consumes massive subsidies): it is easier to fly Geneva-Zurich than to train it, apparently.

Swiss people I know all have cars, and hot American sports models are much favoured.  It is a small country, but fragemented by mountain ranges, so hard to get around without a car.

Of course they have all those trans-Alp speedways and tunnels-- a lot of Europe's truck traffic flows through Switzerland.  To be fair, for environmental reasons they are trying to put more onto the rails.

I am not sure the Swiss economy would survive a collapse of the general European economy.  I think it was Matthew Simmons who pointed out (correctly) that whilst Europe has generally good public transport (at least compared to the US of A, although I've been in rural France without a car-- you can't get anywhere), that also means that almost all freight traffic in Europe goes by road.

Switzerland has that tremendous homogeneity, and that tradition of cantonal government.  In places which are multi ethnic or the problems are decidedly 'modern' (ie heroin) ie Zurich, it has experienced problems like the rest of us.  It also has this massive guestworker population: to do all the junk jobs.

So Switzerland I don't think is much of a model for anyone.  Cuba is interesting because they went through this really painful transition, and came out the other side.  Not in the best of shape, but they discovered things about low-input agriculture, for example, that we have forgotten.

I disagree.  

The Swiss were completely surrounded by Germany but they kept up some acts of independence (radio broadcasts despite German pressure).

The Swiss are rich (as are we) and use oil.  *BUT* they have created a parallel transportation infrastructure (urban and intercity) that uses no oil or fossil fuels.  AND they are making a MAJOR investment (= to $1 trillion for US) in improving this infrastruture.

If/when need be, the Swiss can switch to their non-oil infrastructure with a minimum of social stress or pain.  Meanwhile a good % of Swiss use the non-oil alternative.

I see nothing in the Cuban experience that applies to the US, and much that we could learn from the Swiss.

I am not a fan of dictates from a dictatorship, and that is all that Cuba has.  Their economy depends upon tourism, including sex tourism more than organic farming.  The euros from selling their young women pay for imports of rice and beans.

I see nothing in the Cuban experience that applies to the US, and much that we could learn from the Swiss.

  Why not look at worked well in both countries and apply that to the US and learn from mistakes in both countries.  Parts of our country are close to both nations while others differ greatly from both.  

  Also when are the EOC meetings in NO for this hurricane season?  


IN the extreme scenario of oil supply dropoff, then you need to find a country which has undergone this.

Cuba is the best example around.  As I say, they have learned things about how to grow food that we don't even remember (if we ever knew).

They have also resurrected (modern) steam trains, with high efficiency boilers, usaing biowaste.

I don't necessarily think Cuba is an admirable country but it has one that has adapted to the vicissitudes of US foreign policy surprisingly well.  Sex tourism... I don't see that as the main factor propelling the economy (vs tourism per se).  There isn't more prostitution there than there is in countries like Thailand or the Phillipines.

Swiss agriculture still uses a lot of oil-based imports, Switzerland is still a country reliant on trucks and cars.   The Swiss economy has a lot of heavy industry and is fully integrated into the energy intensive economies of Western Europe.  And of course there are all those immigrant guestworkers.  There electricity supply industry uses gas, as far as I know, they have more or less fully exploited their hydro power resources (which are struggling with global warming in any case: less snow).

It looks pretty on a postcard, but Switzerland is quite unique, and also quite difficult to duplicate (that ethnic homogeneity).

My whole point about Cuba and dictatorship was that maybe it wasn't pretty, but it might be a lesson in very fast adjustment to changed external circumstances.  QUestion whether we could duplicate those changes, if we had to, in democratic societies.

I will have a poke around re Switzerland, WWII and the Holocaust-- see what the data shows.  There certainly have been some pretty nasty lawsuits.

PS Cuba is interesting because of the speed at which they 'downshifted'.  They had to cut their primary energy consumption by something like 40,50% in a couple of years and their national imports by similar levels.  The country became noticeably more ragged, but they did pull it off.

Switzerland is a bit like Luxembourg: tightly integrated into the surrounding economies, and living off their prosperity, to some extent.  Where the Swiss have faced a 'modern' problem of the type more diverse, less equal, multi-ethnic societies have faced (like Heroin) they haven't done particularly better than anyone else.  So that makes me sceptical we could apply the Swiss model to Germany or Holland or the UK say.

If you want a democratic developed world model of 'planning ahead' then it may well be Iceland, rather than Switzerland.  Granted a tiny population, but they are planning for, literally, an oil free future.

I am not sure how they are planning to fuel their fishing fleet, though.

They have certain natural advantages (geothermal power) which aren't duplicable in large scale, elsewhere, AFAIK.

I also believe the Icelanders are the world's greatest readers: more books read per person per year than in any other country.  Which itself is a nice comment about a country.

I have had three hour+ long discussion with Dr. Bragi Arnasson; "Dr. Hydrogen" of the University of Iceland and have extensive Icelandic contacts (I am the only non-Icelandic member of their tree growing club and have introduced three new tree species to Iceland).

Hydro is about 83% of their electrical production and I am trying to find a use for their summer spill water (~150 MW going to waste).

Methanol is how their fishing fleet will be powered.  Derived from CO and/or CO2 and hydrogen.

Switzerland underwent a six year 100% oil embargo.  They made limited preparations for another European war, but not enough.  They "powered down" faster, harder and longer than Cuba.  They cut oil use significantly faster and further than the Cubans did, while still keeping their military trained.

Switzerland uses no natural gas for producing electricity although their are discussions of building one plant.  They also plan to rework their existing hydropower plants in order to extract more energy from them (something the US should do) and are building mini & micro hydro (extracting power from treated sewage outfalls and potable water among other overlooked sources).

Switzerland is QUITE diverse, and Cuba is not.  3.5 languages in Switzerland, one in Cuba, 2 religons in Switzerland and none or one in Cuba.

Iceland is doing well, Switzerland better in planning for the future.  The primary goal of their 2000-2020 rail improvement program(s) is get freight on electrified rail and off heavy trucks.  And they (unlike the Icelanders) have a made a MAJOR investment to do this.

Rail isn't feasible in Iceland.

I'll have to check on WWII and oil supply to Switzerland.  The whole world used less oil per capita then than Switzerland does now.  Certainly fertiliser and pesticide were far less common.

I think the Cuban Army has stayed trained too ;-).  At least the US hasn't invaded ;-).  So not sure that one is a plus for Switzerland.

40% nuclear power -- I wouldn't call nuclear power 'renewable'.  Uranium is an exhaustible resource.  It is low carbon, though.

What I don't have is the extent they trade with the German grid-- ie are they a net power supplier or importer?

If you go to Switzerland, this is an incredibly homogeneous place.  I mean, 98% of the population is white.  They are all bourgeois Europeans. That is not true of Cuba which has quite marked racial gradations.  

But setting that Cuban comparison aside, I was thinking about places like London, Paris, New York, Toronto etc. which are far more ethnically and socially diverse.  Even Berlin.  There isn't the same degree of homogeneity in American or British culture that there is in Swiss culture.  After all, in New Orleans you had suburban police firing on city refugees.  Switzerland has yet to have petrol strikes: ours managed to stop the country, cold, until the Army intervened.  Nor (so far) have they produced suicide bombers from their northern ethnic communities, nor anything like the sectarianism of Northern Ireland (which also still pervades Glasgow).

You could drop Switzerland's population inside Greater London, and leave room to spare (6.5 million people v. over 8.5 million, and over 18 in London and the Home Counties).

The social stresses of a big energy shift are going to be much greater in a place like London, than in a place like Switzerland.  

The Cubans have learned a few things in going through what they have gone through.  Which is not to idolise it as anything other than a police state (which it is).  But there is stuff to be learned there: technology if nothing else.

I am glad the Swiss are pursuing mass transit. I don't see them giving up their cars though.  The Swiss I know love fast cars.

Hello TODers,

Won't affect the US, but could be a sign of what is to come as the US Hurricane Season starts soon: ter=penstone

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

O.K., Heading Out, time to come clean and admit really have something of a crush on Megan Quinn, don't you....

hey, nothing to be ashamed of, I have read her words and seen a picture or women are so fascinating, aren't they? ;-)

All kidding aside, we need more women with us on some of these issues...can you imagine the difficulty of trying to tell your suburban wife that, hey, Peak Oil and all that, we're going to sell the cars, the boat, the house and move to a commune where she can help dig 'taters...don't think so

I was recently talking to a guy who is very aware of the oil/resource/greenhouse gas issue, and he had just bought an SUV!!  When I chided him a bit, he said, "Look, I tried to talk her out of it, but my wife just feels right with one and wouldn't accept anything else...."

Guys only want most of this high horsepower crap to impress the prospective mate...until you overcome that, getting consumption of anything down will be difficult...(try to tell the lady that you do not buy diamonds, gold or silver because it is abusive to the Earth and to third world citizens....she's gonna think your just copping a way to get out of buying her jewelry! :-)

Roger Conner   known to you as ThatsItImout

"All kidding aside, we need more women with us on some of these issues..."

I'll second that. I get the impression that almost of all of us here on TOD are male. There are a couple who I suspect might be female, but I'm not aware of anybody who has explicitly outed herself.

But you may not have meant only TOD with your remark. The whole peak oil matter, with all its science and technology issues, is a very "techie" thing, and we all know how women feel about that stuff. Just ask Larry Summers.

Seriously, most of the women I know are very positive and optimistic. Though they (well, some of them) are intellectually capable of understanding the arguments, they just don't seem able to dwell on such scenarios. On the other hand, most of the men I know don't seem to have much interest in the issue either.

So what do the ladies out there think about it? Reveal yourselves :-)

We just replaced our old car. At least my wife feels no need for an SUV. But I introduced the idea of not buying a new car at all (it would be feasible here) and that got short shrift. We still have a kid at home; maybe after that? My mom has an SUV; she needs it for that one trip per year where they drive over a low pass and it just might snow, you never know.

Well, besides Yankee, one very frequent poster has revealed herself as female.

My wife is on board with PO. She was raised working class, saw her father and brothers laid off and called back by Conrail, and thus is used to being frugal and/or doing without. She has taught herself to make soap, and we are just now testing her fully cured early batches. She also runs our backyard garden.

She's not a cyclist, so I've been trying to find a little EV that she could use to take her Mom to church, pickup groceries and that sort of thing.

"Well, besides Yankee, one very frequent poster has revealed herself as female."

I think I know who you mean, but I don't know if I actually read any posts where she explicitly mentioned it. I'm still relatively new here.

As for Yankee, I guess I forgot what I read on the "About us" page. Maybe she'll throw in her two cents' worth.

Re: So what do the ladies out there think about it? Reveal yourselves :-)

I know I don't post very often, but I thought my name was a dead give-away.  I started looking into PO a couple of years ago, found it through the problem of declining natural gas brought up on an organic gardening website.

And those who think that veggies should be grown in the front yard as an example to the neighbors can stop worrying about my neighborhood, anyway.  I get lots of comments, every year, about the corn patch out my front door.

I don't post often, but have revealed myself as a female.  I read 2 peak oil books a couple summers ago and heard Julian Darley speak last fall and have been hooked on TOD ever since.  I've gotten my husband hooked as well, after I forwarded to him a Kunstler article off the internet.  Somewhere, early on, I remember hearing that women in their 50's were one of the most receptive demographics to the issue of "peak oil".  I'm 49.  Being a midwest farm girl, I learned much in my childhood about organic gardening, husbandry, and the mentality of my frugal grandparents who experienced the great depression on farms. I know that it can be done. It will be more difficult next time around because people are so much "softer" now.  Hardly anyone I've spoken to about this subject seems receptive to it, so I've stopped trying.  We feel we're living in a "parallel universe" when it comes to this subject.  One dilemma is turning out 2 boys.  How much to influence them and how much to depress them about their future with reality?  One starts college next year and I've decided that I want him to just experience as many normal college years as possible for now, with his major of choice which may be useless later, but there will be time for hard choices and preparations down the road.  Plus I don't have all the answers, none of us do.
The key recommendation for high school graduates is to encourage them to focus on becoming a producer of essential good and services--especially anything related to food and energy.
Female here, ME in engineering mechanics. Rarely encounter men of equal or greater intelligence.

If ever.

I would not consider anyone in a late model vehicle, even if very efficient. I'd prefer a bicycle rider. Or maybe an old efficient Japanese car or German diesel.

I would never consider a meat eater. Let the dolts go with the dolts; I'd rather be alone if I can't have an edified man.

It is interesting how smart women always want a guy who is at least as smart. I have met many extremely intelligent men who would be quite happy with a semi-retarded woman if she was really hot.
I read  somewhere that in 90% of marriages, the man has more resources ($$$) than the woman. This makes sense from an evolutiionary standpoint.

I believe womens' universal attraction to intelligence and humor is connected to this. Consider the environment in which we evolved. Men who were intelligent tended to figure out how to get more food.  Getting the food was generally a team effort. Men who possessed senses of humor tend to be better at networking/teamwork, thus they tended to get more food (energy).

Of course, not all funny/smart men are rich. But if you could somehow control for all other factors (obviously you can't) I think there would be some type of correlation between income/net-worth and intelligence/humor.



I don't think women are universally attracted to intelligence and humor. Indeed, I know many smart women who pretend to be dumber than they are, so as not to show up their husbands/boyfriends.  And a lot of humorless men have no trouble getting wives and girlfriends.  

No, what women are attracted to is success...or the potential for success.  Men, OTOH, are attracted to youth (and hence, fertility).  Intelligence and humor can lead to success, but so can wealth, physical strength, good looks, political power, etc.  That's why dumpy old Lee Iacocca can marry a 26-year-old.  That's why Monica Lewinski wanted "presidential kneepads" with a man old enough to be her father.  That's why the star of the football team, even if he's dumber than dirt, has girls swarming around him.

Biologically speaking, women want men who can provide for children, while men want women who can have children.


You and I are in agreement. But whose going to pull more chicks:

Biff, the star quarterback of Washingtong High, who is dumb and dull as a post or

Bill, the star quarterback of Jefferson High, who happens to be very intelligent and has a killer sense of humor?

Biff will do great, but Bill will do better b/c of his humor and intelligence. Even if Bill's humor/intellgience conveys only a minor advantage upon him, this has major effects over many generations.

This is why I noted you would need to control for all other factors to isolate the role of intelligence and humor. Obviously, you can't do that so this is reduced to a purely theoretical discussion.



I don't think women are universally attracted to intelligence and humor. Indeed, I know many smart women who pretend to be dumber than they are, so as not to show up their husbands/boyfriends.  And a lot of humorless men have no trouble getting wives and girlfriends.  


It's not an "either or" as much as a gradient. Imagine two teams of men. Team A and Team B. Each team has 100 members. The two teams are completely identical in all ways with one exception: the men on Team A are twice as intelligent as the men on Team B.

Some of the dumbasses on Team B will no doubt attract wives and girlfriends.  But the percentage will be lower than the percentage of the smart men on Team A who attract wives and girlfriends. Even if the % difference betweent he two teams is small, this will compound over many generations to produce major effects. The long term result will be the elimination or major reduction in the presence Team B's gene set in the overall population.

Let's say Team A (the smart guys) have a 90% success rate in terms of passing on their genes (having kids).

Even if Team B (the dumbasses) have only an 85% success rate, the small difference will compound itself over many generations, proudcing a significantly different population.



I think the original question was, "Why do men marry down, while women marry up?"  This is a pretty universal pattern.  Women generally marry men who are older, taller, wealthier, more successful, etc.  Men marry women who are younger, shorter, not as wealthy or successful, etc.  (There are always exceptions, like that 33 year old man who married a 104-year-old woman, of course.)  

It's because men want youthful mates, while women want successful ones.  

Curiously, this sometimes produces a reverse of the usual preference for male children found in societies under resource stress. One study found that among some groups of the very poor in India, female babies were preferred to male - the reverse of the cultural norm there.  Why?  Because females had a chance to marry up, while males did not.

I think AlphaMaleProphetofDoom is right--the difference relates to evolutionary fitness.  I am just a part-time English teacher, so I could be wrong, but it seems that in terms of evolution, people with the most offspring that survive to reproduce are the most "fit."  Men can just gamble on the women who look the most likely to produce offspring (the hot babes), but women have just their own eggs to work from---we have to choose mates who seem likely to hang around long enough and be capable of providing some sort of support so our kids make it to adulthood.  For most of us, even though the decisions aren't typically conscious (many women are not planning to even have kids), the guys who are willing to hang around for long and interesting conversations seem like better bets.

An aside---my mom, in spite of a long list of health problems, at the age of 69 is incredibly fit by this evolutionary standard.  She has 22 grandkids.

That really is the main difference in male and female reproductive strategies.  Women have a lot more invested - a lot more to lose if they choose incorrectly.  Hence, they are a lot pickier.  This is why sex is something women have, and men want.
There are a lot more women here than most seem to realize.  
Could be.... Maybe most of us think/assume that most of you are just more of us.

People are very free about their opinions and knowledge here, and that's part of what makes this so interesting. But alas, some of the most basic stuff about most of us remains hidden, or must be read between the lines or gathered over the reading of many posts.


Have you considered changing your handle to "AlphaFemaleProphetOfDoom"?



I'm out of the closet too.  ;)

I first learned about the peak oil issue at a meeting of a woman's group--another participant told me about "Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight".  Talk about an awakening!  I was an earth-mother type back in my younger days--organic gardening, fuel efficient car, canning, making my own clothes, etc.  Then we moved to an upscale suburban neighborhood (hubby's choice, tiny lot, big house), had a couple of kids, and so no time or space for all the above.  I gave up on my ideals and joined the suburban nightmare--too soon old and too late smart!

Anyway, I'm still working on my husband and kids to sell this place while it still has value and move to a small town with a couple acres for the chickens, goats, and garden.  They all understand the situation but are reluctant to make such a drastic change in lifestyle, not to mention giving up the "security" of the job and health insurance.  Oh well, we do what we can do!

Plenty of smart women know and care about the peak oil thing, as well as climate change, global economic injustice, etc.  Unfortunately, a lot of others are just too busy trying to work full-time, raise kids, take care of aging parents, etc. to pay much attention to the global situation.  For some it's a choice, for some it's a necessity (i.e. my single-mom sister with a deadbeat ex).  Some are definitely in denial (a couple of my sisters-in-law).  I can do it because we made the choice (and had the means) about 20 years ago for me to stay home and bring up the kids, instead of continuing to work. (Not that I have all that much free time either!)

I'm doing my part to spread the word to both genders.  In my experience, reactions are about the same from both--interest or indifference...  

Misc Comments

I know at least one woman who doesn't want jewlery and the issue of not having a wedding ring is one that the parents and inlaws are having issues dealing with.

Vegetarian friends without a car living in a dense low-rise lifestyle comment about peak oil in this way - "party while you can".

My wife doesn't want to think about peak oil.  There is already so much wrong with our society and peak oil is just going to increase the inequity - the rich will not notice it while the poor suffer more and more (witness the new tax bill in the USA where the rich are getting tax breaks on the backs of the working poor).

Most of my friends and co-workers figure that there is nothing to worry about or it's beyond worrying about or it's crying wolf or we'll just build more nukes or wind mills or that things will happen slowly enough that there is time to adapt (meanwhile they build McMansions).

We're trying to figure out how to build a straw bale home in the city within cycling distance of work for me - some place with enough yard for a good garden and southern exposure for passive solar heating.  Up here the furnace is used 8 months out of the year.  However taxes on our current place are almost $2500 / year while it's less than $800 for natural gas for the furnace and water heater and about $300 / year for electricity.  It's easy to build a "eco-home" and wind up paying thru the nose with massively increased taxes while saving very little energy!!

"O.K., Heading Out, time to come clean and admit really have something of a crush on Megan Quinn, don't you...."


He so does. It's totally obvious. =)

As far as your friend, ThatsItImOut, I'm no marital counciler or relationship guru but it seems to me he and his wife have problems that go far beyond the mpg of their latest purchase.



Bob Shaw posted this a while back. It's why powerdown will never work, at least not on a voluntary basis. Men always want more in order to impress women. It's true in high-tech societies and, as the picture on the far left in the above link atests too, it's true in more primitive socieities also.  (Try asking the guy in the picture to conserve whatever resources it took to construct his "thing.")



Yes. Matt, your post applies very much to this poster. I am a single 42 year old male New-Englander, long time "programming geek" - have saved a lot of money over the past decade and am extremely prosperous by global averages, but middle-class average here in the USA. I have been PO and impending-financial-crash aware for about 11 months now - but that hasn't stopped me despite some misgivings, and a dislike of air-travel in and of itself, from being an energy-pig, travelling to South America (Ecuador, Peru) 2 times during that period. Why South America? For a number of reasons, but mostly because it is dating paradise there for any non-ugly and polite North American single male like me who can speak a little Spanish (youth not required).

It has been a pretty amazing thing to see my dating mailbox FILL UP with attractive young females in Lima, Peru who want to meet me. Meanwhile on in the Boston area I get nothing with the same picture and profile. And I don't think if I worked as an apprentice on an organic farm for 10K a year (it was a legitimate and doable life option for me at this time) it would help my dating prospects. And I don't have the savings to actually buy a significant amount of land in the US. I might regret my decisions later, and I honestly would not mind the hard physical work of farming compared to office work, but the idea of life +as a single male+ on a farm doesn't enthrall me at all.

Ah yes, let us examine the old, old art form of the penis the example given by AlphaMaleProphetOfDoom...

and now, in modern form....

I recently saw a self help book in a bookstore, and unlike most books of this type, (What Women Want) it was written by an actual woman....her advice...

First, GET A MANLY CAR.  The Toyota Tarcel or Honda Civic may be a mature choice she said, but they are NOT going to capture the attention of women who are looking for excitement and somthing that makes you stand'll seem like an old fogey in old hat in them....

After that, really, REALLY good shoes (women always notice them), and buy her nice gifts....

I realize that this is only one woman's view, but let's admit it....prosperity in America means consumption, and the more you can consume, it is assumed, the more you can provide her and the babies....

The best practical psychologists in the world are the advertisers...when was the last time you saw a really nice speedboat, diamands, or even fine wine in advertising without appreciative women looming about? (or sprawled across the deck of the speedboat while it whistled along at 70mph! :-)

This is why I have said for years that the first electric cars or plug hybrids should be in sultry hot sportcar bodies....remember, the first gasoline cars were sports cars, playtoys of the rich, back at the turn of the century (1900), and have sensed earned the same position that a peacock's plummage does, as bait for the opposite gender....

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Depends on whether you are trying to appeal to an intelligent woman or a bimbo.
OK, everyone relax, no need to panic - Haliburton are going to save us all - well the execs anyway.  Just received this in my inbox...

On Tuesday, at the "Catastrophic Loss" Conference in Amelia Island,
Florida's Ritz-Carlton, Halliburton representative Fred Wolf unveiled
an ingenious innovation that promises to protect corporate executives,
and their investments, against the dangers of global warming, disease,
war, and uppity refugees. It truly is an inspiration to all aspiring

check out the speech:

the overview:

and be sure not to miss the pictures:

The "YES Men" struck again.


Where did this come from? It's a hoot!
More generally, the market will save us:

Read down to "If we had a functioning open market," she reckons, "the price of oil would be $15 [a barrel]."

The quote was by Amy Jaffe, with the Baker Institute.
I wonder if the "functioning open market" idea may be part of the sales effort regarding a continued US takeover of Middle Eastern oil fields.  Following is an excerpt from a Baker Institute publication.  Note the emphasis on the problems posed by national oil companies.  The implication of Ms. Jaffe's remarks and the following is that if private oil companies were in charge we would have $15 oil.


The Institute's joint program with the Japan Petroleum Energy Center, The Changing Role of National Oil Companies in International Energy Markets, is a two-year research study on the behavior and strategies of national oil companies and the overarching trends in their investment and trade patterns. The study is investigating the impact of the strategies, goals, and behaviors of national oil companies on international energy security and oil geopolitics. The study also emphasizes how the United States, Japan, and other major consuming countries, as well as the private sector, should deal with these increasingly powerful national companies in terms of trade, investment, and strategic alliances. The influence of national oil companies on the industry structure and pace of resource development has not been comprehensively studied and therefore is not well understood either by industry leaders or the energy policy community. These national oil companies are in the process of reevaluating and changing business strategies, with substantial consequences for international oil and gas markets. It is a time of great change inside the leadership of these national oil companies, and goals and priorities will be different than those of the Western international majors, with potentially serious consequences for market stability and oil geopolitics. The interplay between emerging national oil companies, major oil producing countries, and Western consumer countries will have a large impact on the question of energy security and stability of oil and gas markets, raising many questions. Additional details about the national oil companies study may be found at:

The Dallas Morning News published an interview Monday with the former chief economist for ExxonMobil.  She said that she was amazed that oil price were so high--given the fact that development costs in the Middle East are only about $5 per barrel.

A good definition of fascism is the unification of corporate and state.  I wonder if we might soon see lower oil prices as an explicit rationale for seizing the oil fields in Iran and Saudi Arabia, based on the theory that the national oil companies are preventing a "functioning open market." The scary thing is the number of SUV driving Americans (at least those without family members dying on the alter allegedly of cheaper gas) who will be all in favor of it.  

Her utterly absurd comments can only be motivated by the scenario you describe.  
Re: seizing the oil fields in Iran and Saudi Arabia

I worry about this too, partly because I have sons, ages 15 and 20, who might get pulled into the mess through a draft.

Re: The scary thing is the number of SUV driving Americans (at least those without family members dying on the alter allegedly of cheaper gas) who will be all in favor of it.  

Many folks definitely will be in favor of it, because they really resisit changing their lifestyles.  An  Example: I have a friend who is an intelligent person, who has the same part-time teacher income that I do and whose husband is currently "consulting" (he lost his job about a year ago).  Their income is irregular, and my friend just paid off another credit card with her home-equity line of credit, but she has reserved a mountain cabin for a week of vacation and has bought a plane ticket for one daughter to go on a school-related trip across the country.  They still eat out at nice restaurants.  They have burned through their savings but keep thinking that things will turn out okay.   In spite of the evidence of their own finances, they refuse to make changes.  I would guess that these people are not unique, here in the U.S., and that they would probably prefer a war that promises "better days" to the alternative of "powering down."

There are an awful lot of Americans with family members Over There and who are driving SUVs too. I'm assuming every time I see an SUV with "support the troops" ribbons that's a pretty good guess, based on talking to people, and you can count it as one for sure when you see some of the ribbon variants that indicated a son or daughter etc in service.

My sister is going to see her husband this weekend, we hope, returning from Iraq. let's hope they don't "stop loss" him at the last minute! And they each have a car, and are planning to buy a 3rd. And the only reason my sis doesn't have an SUV is the darned things are kinda hard to park - so instead she has a huge "luxury" sedan that I doubt gets any better mileage than a mid-size modern SUV and she drives it everywhere.

$73.87 crude $2.21 gasoline and rising
$402 copper-I've never seen copper rise so much over nite and before trading in US.

And we already tried the invasion of the ME to lower prices.

That was the arguement for invading Iraq.

Notice that Iraq has gotten more unpopular with the rise of gasoline (still being artificially held down

But Bloomberg just reported that demand is up 2%
over (I missed the given period-a month, since
the beginning of the year.)

We are at the point where only a massive wake up call
issued from DC will make a difference.

It must include the nationalizing of airlines,
railroads.  At least one of the Interstate lanes must be
dedicated to light rail rebuilding.

Think the CCC's of 1934.  

And this is just the start.

If this doesn't happen we will have the US dissolving.

Zbignew Zingh

So here's the bottom line. Capitalism's "Profit" has to come from somewhere. During the last century or so, it largely came from the extraordinary energy that could be derived from the easy extraction and refinement of cheap and readily available hydrocarbon fuels. Meanwhile, the environment and the world's climate are undergoing a meltdown. Just as petroleum is becoming less available, less easy to extract and more costly to refine, the environment is turning to dog poop and the weather is becoming ever more weird, all interfering with the pursuit of PROFIT. As profit gets squeezed in its traditional venues, Capitalism demands that profit come from somewhere, namely by squeezing it out of something... or getting that profitable pound of flesh from someone else. [6]

The Administration has nominated all of us as the "Squeezees". In the Administration's mind, dismantling all of the remaining social services and safety nets, and gradually reducing the majority of us to medieval peonage (and, eventually, human hamburger), is a noble and necessary suicide mission to rescue capitalism. It won't work in the long run, of course, but meanwhile we've all been volunteered for the mission.

Just an aside-nothin happens until MSM talks about energy nonstop with no ads.


 I received this post on a chat room I run. Told the guy the key phrase was  "Nothing had changed". I suggested this meant that the Chinese and Indians weren't  moving to town to triple the population, nor had Bird Flu killed  half the flock, including all the roosters.



Subject: a new way to look at the Gas Prices

A man eats two eggs each morning for breakfast. When he goes to the grocery store he pays .60 cents a dozen. Since a dozen eggs won't last a week he normally buys two dozens at a time.

One day while buying eggs he notices that the price has risen to 72 cents. The next time he buys groceries, eggs are .76 cents a dozen. When asked to explain the price of eggs the store owner says, "the price has gone up and I have to raise my price accordingly".

This store buys 100 dozen eggs a day. I checked around for a better price and all the distributors have raised their prices. The distributors have begun to buy from the huge egg farms. The small egg farms have been driven out of business.

The huge egg farms sells 100,000 dozen eggs a day to distributors. With no competition, they can set the price as they see fit. The distributors then have to raise their prices to the grocery stores. And on and on and on. As the man kept buying eggs the price kept going up. He saw the big egg trucks delivering 100 dozen eggs each day. Nothing changed there.

He checked out the huge egg farms and found they were selling 100,000 dozen eggs to the distributors daily. Nothing had changed but the price of eggs.

Then week before Thanksgiving the price of eggs shot up to $1.00 a dozen. Again he asked the grocery owner why and was told, "cakes and baking for the holiday". The huge egg farmers know there will be a lot of baking going on and more eggs will be used. Hence, the price of eggs goes up. Expect the same thing at Christmas and other times when family cooking, baking, etc. happen.

This pattern continues until the price of eggs is 2.00 a dozen. The man says,"there must be something we can do about the price of eggs".

He starts talking to all the people in his town and they decide to stop buying eggs. This didn't work because everyone needed eggs. Finally, the man suggested only buying what you need.

He ate 2 eggs a day. On the way home from work he would stop at the grocery and buy two eggs. Everyone in town started buying 2 or 3 eggs a day.

The grocery store owner began complaining that he had too many eggs in his cooler. He told the distributor that he didn't need any eggs. Maybe wouldn't need any all week.

The distributor had eggs piling up at his warehouse. He told the huge egg farms that he didn't have any room for eggs would not need any for at least two weeks.

At the egg farm, the chickens just kept on laying eggs.

To relieve the pressure, the huge egg farm told the distributor that they could buy the eggs at a lower price. The distributor said, " I don't have the room for the %$&^*&% eggs even if they were free".

The distributor told the grocery store owner that he would lower the price of the eggs if the store would start buying again. The grocery store owner said, "I don't have room for more eggs. The customers are only buy 2 or 3 eggs at a time". "Now if you were to drop the price of eggs back down to the original price, the customers would start buying by the dozen again".

The distributors sent that proposal to the huge egg farmers. They liked the price they were getting for their eggs but, them chickens just kept on laying.

Finally, the egg farmers lowered the price of their eggs. But only a few cents. The customers still bought 2 or 3 eggs at a time. They said, "when the price of eggs gets down to where it was before, we will start buying by the dozen."

Slowly the price of eggs started dropping. The distributors had to slash their prices to make room for the eggs coming from the egg farmers. The egg farmers cut their prices because the distributors wouldn't buy at a higher price than they were selling eggs for.

Anyway, they had full warehouses and wouldn't need eggs for quite a while.

And them chickens kept on laying.

Eventually, the egg farmers cut their prices because they were throwing away eggs they couldn't sell. The distributors started buying again because the eggs were priced to where the stores could afford to sell them at the lower price.

And the customers starting buying by the dozen again.

Now, transpose this analogy to the gasoline industry.

What if everyone only bought $10.00 worth of gas each time they pulled to the pump. The dealers tanks would stay semi full all the time. The dealers wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the huge tank farms. The tank farms wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the refining plants. And the refining plants wouldn't have room for the oil being off loaded from the huge tankers coming from the Middle East.

Just $10.00 each time you buy gas. Don't fill it up. You may have to stop for gas twice a week but, the price should come down.

Think about it.

As an added note...When I buy $100 worth of gas, that leaves my tank a little under half full. The way prices are jumping around, you can buy gas for $2.65 a gallon and then the next morning it can be $2.15. If you have your tank full of $2.65 gas you don't have room for the $2.15 gas. You might not understand the economics of only buying two eggs at a time but, you can't buy cheaper gas if your tank is full of the high priced stuff.

Also, don't buy anything else at the gas station, don't give them any more of your hard earned money than what you spend on gas, until the prices come down..

Rec: e-mail, author Unknown

Your example changes the # eggs/gas purchased at 1 time, but not the # of eggs/gas purchased over a long time i.e. it relies on the lack of storage buffers in the supply chain if price pressure is to be created.

But in fact there are several layers of storage buffer in the gasoline system: automobile gas tanks, underground tanks at the gas station, tank farms at the refinery, a partially empty national stratigic reserve, and oil tankers at sea who can reduce their speed.

I suspect these will buffer against your proposed tactic.

 I'm trying to buffer his tactics :>)

  I came up with this,too. Still rough. Suggestions greatly appreciated...

I drive in to town and buy myself 2 drinks; a double mocha (light sweet crude)and a raspberry shake (medium and heavy crude). The last 2 miles home is a dirt road, severely impacted by the rains. A few potholes big enuf to swallow cars, and lots of small ones which you can't avoid. Consequently, some mocha splashes out, despite the fact that I am using the best cap my mocha lady can find. Sort of like the tar pits B4 we started extracting oil, but more liquid,eh?
When I get home, I take the top off my mocha and jam a straw into it. The whipped cream and some mocha squirt all over the place; some up the straw, some just over the edge. (The gushers you see in oil movies). Now I start to suck up my brew. It takes me a little energy to run my sucking muscles. And it's clean brew; no grounds, no chunks of cocoa. But now, my daughter comes over,and wants some coffee, so she sticks in a straw, a little longer than mine ,and she starts drinking. She gets a few grounds, which she spits out, taking some energy for her spitting muscles. And we notice that the mocha is dropping, so both of us start sucking faster. Uh, oh; middle son comes over with his lady; 4 straws, running out of coffee. Everybody sucking faster, using more energy for their sucking muscles, spitting out more grounds using more spitting energy.
Whoops, mocha gone, open the shake. 4 straws in, but the shake is cold, and nothing splashes out; no gushers. Well, damn, eldest son, his lady, and my grand-daughter just showed up.

"Somebody check the mocha; see if it has refilled itself".

No such luck; 7 straws in the shake.
We are sucking harder now, cuz shakes don't flow as smoothly as coffee. And it has seeds. Yucch. (sulfur, other impurities). We are sitting out seeds like crazy, using lots of spit muscle energy, cuz we can't swallow the seeds (cuz wacko environmentalist hippies like me managed to pass laws saying we had to burn fuel in such a way that we didn't pollute. I'll cheerfully take credit for whatever extra cost that turns out to be).
This stuff is thick; suck faster, spit faster, get yer share B4 it's all gone. Uh, oh, Eric and Shelly just showed up with Hunter. 10 straws, eh? This ain't good. And it's thick, too.
"Hunter, don't suck. Wouldn't you like to blow bubbles in the shake? All kids do, eh?"
Good lad; we are getting more up our straw now, and Hunter ain't getting nuttin' . But he's putting out lots of energy to blow those bubbles, and we are getting lots of air in our straws. Cuz the shake is cold, we use body energy heat to warm it up in our bellies. Because it has air, we get less/suck.
(In the oil world, the air is usually water, but it can be nat gas or CO2. Takes energy to separate out the oil. It's called "water cut", the amount of water mixed with the oil.
In Saudi Arabia, it's 7 gallons/ gal of oil; in west Texas, it's now 99 gals of water).

OK, now we are getting desperate, cuz we all want our shake, and we can see it dropping, and then the Rat gets another ideer. I pull out my straw, find a needle, punch a bunch of holes in the straw, bend it at 90 degrees, and stick it back in. Boy, I'm sucking like crazy, now; getting a lot more than those fools. (Horizontal drilling).

This is primary, secondary, and tertiary recovery technology. There is no 4th gen tech out there; they haven't developed better extraction methods in 10 years, not from lack of trying, nor lack of imagination.
Finally, with 9 sucking, and one blowing bubbles, it's time to say, "Stop blowing, Hunter. Spoons, everybody, dig in."
You start using your "dig yer spoon in the ice cream and bring it to your mouth" muscles and their energy.
Whoops, nothing left in the glass.
"Quick, Skyler, see if the mocha has refilled".


Every time one of these idiotic things circulate, along the lines of boycott ExxonMobil, I am always struck by the lack of any kind of effort to encourage the one thing that could affect prices--arrange your life so that you minimize your driving.  

The underlying theme instead is that consumers are entitled to cheap energy.  We are in for a severe reality check.  Increasingly, we are going to have to become a nation of producers, instead of a nation of consumers demanding that someone, somehow deliver unlimited amounts of cheap energy to us.  

The only thing keeping us semi-supplied with energy is that we have bid the price up.  Increasingly, oil producers are going to begin to question the wisdom of accepting dollars in exchange for their oil.

Following is one of my posts on The Oil Drum:

Re:  The "Iron Triangle"  

What I described as the "Iron Triangle" (see below) was in full force Sunday (the 60 Minutes piece on ethanol) and this morning on Good Morning America (where the CEO of Conoco Phillips was interviewed).  

The gist of the 60 Minutes piece was that we can continue driving our SUV's, but they will be powered by something new.  

The Conoco Philips guy more or less said, don't worry, as soon as the geopolitical situation settles down, oil prices will fall by $10 to $20 per barrel.   He did have one interesting statistic.  Total major oil company profits are about 10¢ per gallon of gasoline.  

The two stories together gave Americans a warm fuzzy feeling that high energy prices are just a short term transitory phenomenon--no reason to change your lifestyle.

What the mainstream media are not telling you about the recent runup in oil prices

Sorry, you have streched your food products analogy past the point where I can follow your reasoning... Maybe I'm just slow, but if there is a point of debate here please try again with a different metaphore, pure math equations for example.

But if I'm right I think its just that its time to move on past "barganing", please skip over "depression" right to "acceptance" in public and lets start to work together on ideas for demand reduction ;)

You're right, the main argument is the buffer capacity of the storage system...but they make one HUGE mistake.  Eggs will spoil and gasoline (oil, etc) will not.  So they won't have to wind up selling the gas because it's going bad sitting around.  Plus, assuming steady state consumption (that it didn't change from the time they were buying by the dozen) the storage capacity shouldn't need to change that much (in fact could be lower), but the day to day fluctuation of the amount in storage would change. i.e. the average might remain 75,000 dozen eggs/day with both buying by the dozen and by the egg, but buying by the dozen the Range in storage might be between 100,000 dozen eggs and 50,000 dozen eggs...buying by the egg the range might be between 80,000 dozen eggs and 70,000 dozen eggs.
There's another problem with this reasoning.  If everyone is buying the same amount of eggs, just going to the store more often to buy smaller amounts, there isn't really any change in demand.  Over the course of every 12 days, the original ovivore ate 24 eggs, under both scenarios.  In reality, this scheme would do nothing whatsoever unless some people actually bought less eggs, or everyone originally bought their eggs the same day.  People don't all go to the store together the same day to buy eggs.  Egg purchases, like gas purchases, are staggered by all the consumers throughout the week.  People following this scheme will end up doing nothing but wasting a tremendous amount of time (and gas, probably) making extra trips to the store.  Besides, last I checked, eggs are cheaper by the dozen.

The real problem with this silliness is that it perpetuates two myths that people desperately want to maintain.  First, that they are getting gouged by TPTB and rigged markets.  Second, that if they think really hard and work together, they can force the gougers to give up their ill-gotten gains without the consumers making any sacrifices.  

Unfortunately, the logical conclusion to these myths in a PO world is that the countries that have the reserves are the gougers, and the "smart", "work together" way to solve the "problem" is to send troops to break up their cartel.

Megan Quinn's closing remarks were outstanding !  Well worth the effort to listen to !  The best opening or closing remarks at any conference that I have been to.
I would agree. Though, given the above comments, perhaps its just my evolutionary wiring that is saying so....;)
I just now heard Sen. Harkin D-Ia.  state on MSNBC that it requires more energy to produce a Gal. of gas than the energy in a Gal. Of gas. How can a Senator afford to display his ignorance, or lie to the American people? He also stated that ethanol production must reach 20 billion gallons annually by 2020.
That is 75% of our current annual corn harvest. That is good for 100% at E-14 content for our current gasoline consumption. We had better get in gear to find other means of producing ethanol. BTW CBOT ethanol for May is currently 2.95/gal.  
C2H4 + H2O => C2H5OH

Subsidize that, Sen. Harkin!