Tuesday Open Thread

The thread goes on . . . .
How's everyone's investments (financial or otherwise) doing these days? I'm interested in any good stories about your personal preparations.

Aside from investments in energy, metals, what sectors are people interested in?

What about in your personal life? Thinking of moving? Getting to know your neighbors better? Patching up things with your long lost family?

I think land will be a useful investment.  Right now there is still a lot of land in the US that used to be farmed.  It's being sold off cheaply for exurban developments.  Around here (SE Ohio) people will buy 10 or 20 acres of a defunct farm (at $2000 per acre) to use as "hunting grounds", purely for turkey and deer season.  Once peak oil hits, energy intensive farming will be more difficult and many of these former farm lands may become profitable again for farming as we will need more land to produce the same amount of food.  If nothing else you can contract the land as managed timber acreage as the cost of timber will go up in step with the cost of natural gas.  I know several people around here who switched to wood heating in their homes this winter and the cost of firewood went up locally.  If we get into hyperinflation, land will probably hold its value well.
I think that's a pretty good piece of advice. There is a lot of this type of land in Upstate NY.
A twenty year old black walnut tree is worth around $20k right now for lumber.  It produces food and scrap can be burned.  Buy land and plant a bunch of walnut trees.  Worse case its firewood.  If peak oil is not catastrophe IE slow transition you have several hundred $K of premium hardwood.
Now that's long term planning! 20 years!

I bet there is land in upstate NY that is severely undervalued for lumber or agricultural production potential.

Nut and fruit trees sound pretty good as a passive way of producing food.

My dad has 42 acres and we plant at least 10 trees a year and harvest every couple.  Ussually one or two for fire wood but the lumber grade we sell. My sisters Phd was bought with walnut and redoak.
Don't forget the the stump!
The roots of the tree can also be sold
for "burlwood".  It will be some effort to get them
out of the ground....dynamite not withstanding!
How about burning the nuts? I have a hickory tree that has things falling off if all year. In the spring blossoms over everthing. In the summer squirels throw drop immature nuts. In the autumn mature nuts everywhere for over two months. Winter winds blow off twigs and small branches. In a year at least a ton of biomass falls off that damn tree.
Most hickory nuts are edible (exception pignut, suitable for swine).  Decent protein and oil content.  Of course, one can burn corn so why not otehr edibles ?

The husks are a decent source of fuel in any case, I believe.

Except that property taxes in upstate NY will destroy you.
Are there any restrictions on developing on those lands? i.e. if they are "wetlands" or contain "endangered species", you can't build on it. Can I put up a fence around the whole property, put a waterwheel in the river, a windmill on land, a small house, etc.?
In Michigan a person needs permission from the state to clear the weeds away from their own boat dock. Better check with the locals before building that waterwheel.
Re: Wetlands. Your statement is 100% false. You do need a Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit to place fill in jurisicational wetlands. Saying that you "cannot build" in them is patently false. The Corps issues wetland permits every day of the week.
I bought a few acres of land, partially cleared it (leaving the half wooded), put in a drive, and will be building a new home on it next year.  It backs up to a much larger undeveloped wooded area, and occasionally we find deer, racoon, and similar animal prints on the property. When it rains, the dry creekbed in the back has water in it.
We planted fruit trees (apples and pears) and blueberry bushes on it, rescued some of the muscadine (wild grape) vines and put them on arbors.  
I'm looking into a grid tied solar array with battery backup for the house, which will be heavily insulated. I'm still debating as to whether or not to put in a well, or just stick with the county water available.
I bought a case of FMJ for my AKM, a camp stove, a hand cranked led flashlight, and a roll of silver coins. The coins are already worth more than I paid for them.

My wife put together a rubbermaid tub of "essentials", small bags of rice, beans, bullion cubes, canned soups, water purification tablets, and the like. She also picked up a solar powered battery charger, rechargeable batteries, and a solar/hand cranked powered multiband radio.

My wife is totally onboard, and has been very supportive, which I appreciate immensely. We have no children, and minus the home mortgage are now debt free.

Watch out, the deer will eat your crops.
Thanks, Consume More. We figured as much, but as we have dogs that shouldn't be much of a problem later.
Plan to add a small pond, as well, as some point. Fish are good.
I wrote a bit recently about the value of ponds that you might find interesting.  I think it's a great idea...


I read it previously, Jeff. Thanks!  Good article, and some good points.
Today, I sort through my pennies and keep 1982 and earlier ones (in 1982 they switched to copper coated zinc, so 1982 is a mix of copper & zinc cents.  I just keep all 1982 date pennies).  When it gets closer to TSHTF, I will get several thousand dollars worth of nickels from the bank (yes, I will have to be first in line).
Going solar. Grid intertie. Got the electrical permit last week, heading down to buy my panels this week. 7 x 200 watts.
 Should pay for itself in 3 years. Get a $2.80/watt rebate from the state, and a fed tax credit of 2K.
Getting solar hotwater, wheatberries/beans will store is reused food service bucket w/ little dry ice for decade+, building relationships thru local peak oil group.
I sold my three flat in Chicago last fall and I've been trying to find 5-10 acres of land 65-80 miles south of Chicago to build an energy efficient building on and start small-scale farming. I'm a union carpenter/cabinetmaker so this is a fairly easy task. Unfortunately, Kankakee County and other adjacent counties recently passed restrictions to building on land under twenty acres of size, unless the plot is grandfathered in as an existing lot. I guess this was a response to all the "McMansions" that are popping up all over the area driving up the land prices and splitting up some family farms. My focus now is to find a "handyman" farm home with a couple of acres adjacent to other farmland that I could later buy or lease. I should find be able to find something before summer really sets in.

Bruce in Chicago

We moved to a more rural area about 3yrs ago, after our former home was over-run by sprawl.  It worked out ok because our property values went way up, and we were able to trade for much more in an area that was not under so much pressue.  We picked a property that was somewhat protected from development by virtue of its geographic features - read hilly, which means it's not great farmland.  But we've got good running water, about 20ac of wood, some pasture land, and a small barn.  I'm trying to get a garden going, but my time is limited due to other projects, and of course my job (a temporary problem, most likely).  I'm working on rebuilding a porch for use as a passive solar heating area, hoping to install a wood fired cook stove with hot water preheat, and eventually want to put in a solar hot water pre-heat system.  Got the main wood stove in last year and used it this winter, and I have to do more insulating before the fall is over.  

One of the other big aspects of preparation for us is getting more connected to the community around us.  Mostly this falls to my wife, as she is much more extroverted, and of course I'm not home much and am working when I am.  The horses and other animals have opened a connection to people who are into organic agriculture, and to some of the local farmers.

Also paying off debt, reducing our spending, and putting away some food stores.

And if I can get a chance to breathe, I hope to get a forge, anvil and tools and learn iron working.

But I have to be honest - most of what we're doing was begun because it's a lifestyle we wanted.  I don't doubt that for others a urban path might also be viable - just different.  It's the suburban region that I would worry about.  

Lastly, it requires turning off the TV, because there isn't time for that kind of stuff - too much work to do.  And I have to cut back on my TOD time too, it's starting to become a problem!

How's everyone's investments (financial or otherwise) doing these days? I'm interested in any good stories about your personal preparations.
Moved most all my retirement accounts into metals; they have just launched a couple ETFs that make this possible -- ticker symbols SLV and GLD... I waited too late in life to really start saving, then in the late 90s realized OMFG, I'm going to be broke at this rate and started putting more into my IRAs. Had a lot in telecomm and internet stocks and lost about 75% of my paper value in 2001. Pfffft.

I've determined to call 'peak' on metals prices at some point, but don't yet know where that point is. Gold is all shiny and stuff, but:

  1. you can't eat it or put it in your car;
  2. an ETF is just blips in a computer base like a stock — when TSHTF, the brokers will simply turn the computers off, as someone mentioned on TOD the other day — whoever runs the vault will have the gold at that point;
  3. if people are seriously hungry, they'll sell their metals and depress the market.
Aside from investments in energy, metals, what sectors are people interested in?
After peak metals, I dunno what. It's gonna be like the '70s runup in metals, so that would be a model, but it will be moreso. It would be a pipe-dream to start a silicon refinery in central Texas somewhere. I'm sure there will be a market for solar cells, but I have no experience running anything like that. Or anything for that matter.
What about in your personal life? Thinking of moving? Getting to know your neighbors better? Patching up things with your long lost family?
I still don't talk to my older, richer, more successful brother very much. We never got along when we were little... might be interesting to live on a ranch or farm, but no experience there either. It remains to be seen whether I can survive the mortgage on this here house. Eeep!
I was recently told by my soon-to-be solar cell supplier to expect a 6 month wait on them.....demand is high, and prices are actually climbing, not falling.
The climbing price is mostly due to lack of purified silicon, or so I've heard.  I've also heard that this shouldn't be a problem for much longer.  Also, as other types of solar cells hit the market (CuInSe stuff and the like), we should probably see a better price.  I'm looking into this stuff, so I should be a better source in a month or two.
Check out used solar equipment.  Much cheaper and still nearly as efficient as new.
You might want to look at these guys' technology then:

The founder, Stan Ovshinsky, has been going on about the virtues of amorphous semiconductors for longer than there has been a crystalline semiconductor industry. He now claims to have a solar 'printing press', where they coat a continuous roll of stainless steel with super-thin amorphous stuff that rectifies photons.

I actually had some of my retirement money in the company at one time.

After I got through my "denial" phase late winter/early spring 2005 I put a fairly sizeable chunk of funds into Evergreen Solar stock (Nasdaq ESLR) at $5.20.  Sold a couple months ago at nearly $16, pretty much tripled my money in less than a year.  Temporarily holding this in cash and looking for the next thing, but think the more prominent alt energies are played out, at least for short term trading (heck, may be wrong tho-- been before).  Maybe good longer-term, as long as the market in general doesn't crash.

Idea-- maybe war-related energy stocks (like MCEL, etc.), though I usually try to avoid these segments.

my investment is a market garden in my rural town. 40k and counting. zero return on investment. I'm starting to really feel shipping costs.
my suggestion would be to start buying soil amendments now and stock piling them, t-tape, green house plastic, row covers all that stuff
Good suggestions re greenhouse stuff + used windows. Four    Season gardening ,Eliot Coleman (i think) a great reference book to maintain fresh food in winter w/o heating greenhouse.
coleman is "the man" I can't over emphasize the price of shipping. get it now.

the work involved the ultimately unsustainable nature of the project. but hey I'm trying and you should too.

My investments are doing great, most of the gains are coming from mutual funds that invest in European / Asian companies, so I'm making money off the declining US dollar. Everything will get dumped if a recession shows up.

I should be car free and living in a maritime climate within 3 months as well.

ditto.  I just dumped all of my domestic mutual funds in my IRA and merged them with my already existing European/Asian companies, a fund that's been growing 30% annually pretty much since Bush took office.  

I'm still pretty young though (27) and have a ways to go before I touch that, but I'm pretty confident that things by then will be better outside the US than inside.

I'm another one who moved all my investments out of the US.  The US economy is simply unsustainable.  Look at the trade deficit, the budget deficit, the real estate bubble, and the energy import dependence.  If you are tuned in enough to be on this web site you should realize that the US economy is heading for a big hurt.  

And, yes, the return numbers speak for themselves.  It pays to  to have your dollars not be actual dollars - but Euros or Yuan or Canadian or...

What do people think about the potential resale value of PV panels?  They started heading up about 2 years ago, they have a long lifespan (many guaranteed for 20-25 yrs), and I can't see either their usefulness or the demand for them going down from here on in.  If we hit a 'serious' oil shock, the waiting  period for shipping panels is going to grow, too.  (Already a lot of product on backorder)


See my post below.
I've been told by several suppliers that the waiting period is already growing, as is the cost.
Yes, I've been hearing the same news.

Seems to me like buying PV's gets at least two birds with one stone,

  1. Solid, Growing Investment Property (which can count increased home resale value in it's ROI)
  2. Good Hedge on personal energy dependence.

I just got my first 'real' panel (but small, 40w) right around the 12/16/05 'World Peak Date', to commemorate that event, and start preparing for the eventual consequence.  I actually meant to get it at Thanksgiving, but I procrastinated 'just right', it turns out..

But I'm continually mystified that this completely simple and useful technology isn't more demanded than it is.  Probably because folks are put off by how little juice you actually get from them.  It doesn't bother me.. I just look at how little it would take to make a dark house usable, not at making a contemp. house match it's current ways.  I figure that though we get grid power at .07-.12/kwh, when you buy AA's you're paying around $200/kwh.. (if there are any available).. so the economics of having your own convenient generating source have more than just the grid to be weighed against.

What is a billionaire, with a remarkable record for predicting future trends, doing?

Published on 13 Dec 2005 by Fortune. Archived on 14 Dec 2005.
The Rainwater Prophecy
by Oliver Ryan
Richard Rainwater made billions by knowing how to profit from a crisis. Now he foresees the biggest one yet


Back on the farm that night, he and Moore discuss future projects with their landscaper, Jenks Farmer, over a glass of wine. Farmer, who has a master's in horticulture and lives on the property, maintains Moore's extensive gardens, including vegetable beds that produce all year round. That morning Rainwater had been surfing the web, researching greenhouses in his quest to further ensure a steady flow of food through the winter. At his prodding, Moore has installed an emergency generator and 500-gallon storage tanks for diesel fuel and water. When Rainwater says that he's thinking about opening a for-profit survivability center, it's not entirely clear that he's joking.

Later in the night Rainwater returns to musing on how different his lot is from the residents of Lake City. And then, returning to the debate in his head, he gets a serious look on his face and says: "This is going to get a little religious. I ask why I was blessed with this insightfulness. Everyone who has achieved something, scientists, ballplayers, thinks they were given their talent for a reason. Why me? Was I given this insightfulness at this particular time? Or was I just given this insightfulness?" He pauses. "I just want people to look out. 'Cause it could be bad."

Greed is a major obstacle in dealing humanely with peak oil. The super-rich are severely mentally ill and are unable to do anything that might impose limits on their greed. Why does a billionaire try to accumulate more wealth? Only mental illness can explain this behavior. Unfortunately it is the super-rich who are charting our course and control the strings of power. If some members of TOD were given access to the MSM the political agenda could be changed. It appears to me that the super-rich would prefer war, chaos, and dieoff to any socially responsible plan to powerdown.
I see a VERY wide variety of stock investments.  BY emphasis is on a mix that will "Heads I win, Tails, I don't lose".

Some itmes:

Geographically diverse hydroelectric utilities or merchant hydro-owners.


US based exporters

Oil & Gas companies

Int'l Telecom (emphasis in nations that will do OK post-Peak Oil)

Misc. I'ntl in natiosn that will do OK (Brazil, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Russia).  Political risk in some of these.

My father owns over 500 acres of the Kentucky Bluegrass.

Injecting a bit of Africa experience in here....

Land is a great investment, but in addition to making sure you can afford taxes that will be going up with inflation, you need to take a second and evaluate it from a squatter perspective.

If you wake up one morning and there is 20 destitute families busy setting up shacks, then you have a problem that you may find hard to fix. Granted - this was more a problem in urban areas where people flocked to find work, but in a powerdown situation, people may flock to wherever there is food.

Good point about the taxes.  I know a lot of older folk who own their homes outright, but stuggle to pay the taxes.

Land is good, but I wouldn't put it all into anything.  

What if the weather changes, and your nice farm becomes a dust bowl?  What if the government starts using "eminent domain" to seize farmland, instead of just land for highways, schools, and Wal-Marts?  

Now more than ever, diversify.

Francois has a good point about property taxes, although at the moment farmland is assessed rather cheaply where I live, as opposed to development land.

Those of us with farms might consider boning up on how you might operate some kind of feudal enterprise. That way maybe you could offer the squatters jobs.

Good questions.  I have some in energy and precious metals mutuals but am still leery of equity evaporation in an economic freefall so have more in T-bills.  Interest rates are coming up and the feds will pay, even if it's in low value dollars.  I just bought an 80-acre farm in New England with 60 acres of timber and 20 acres of river-bottom flatland and am building a passive-solar house with a masonry heater (finnish stove) as primary heat-source and a geothermal heat pump as back-up.  I'll put in PV and a wind-generator for electricity.  I am on a river but the flow is too slow and not enough head for micro-hydro.  Gardens, orchard, grainfields, and second pond go in this Spring and Summer; sugarhouse goes up in Fall.  I'm just hoping things hold together long enough to get situated.  My guess is if the recession comes on slowly, a lot of farmland will open up for sale and can at least provide food and energy for a family.  But you have to plan for all needs.
Why do I always have to be the party pooper? It's not that I think that personal preparations are useless -- they are not. But they are secondary. The guys running the show will come after us. If the dollar crashes, it's going to wipe out major parts of the middle class. If one retreats to the country or mountains someplace, and there are marauding bands -- what are you going to do? Shoot? I'm not.

The ruling elite is going to pit one part of the population against another. The only way to counter this stuff is by building a political movement to take back the country. It's going to have to disallow violence, encourage peacable negotiation, make sure no-one starves, pay attention to reality, encourage everyone to start arguing peaceably while cleaning the mess up, and stop blaming other countries for our problems, etc.

This is the problem I have with Kunstler, Ruppert and others: they preach survivalism. But it won't work. They won't leave us in peace. They'll come after us. There has to be a political counteroffensive. Otherwise they will maneuver us into killing each other.

I am writing this from a tent on the other side of the moon. Safe from radiation if negotiations with Gazprom go seriously awry.

I think a lot of us are not looking at survivalism but are looking at smaller-scale communities and trying to establish lifestyles that can serve as examples and can educate a community about what's possible.  I think Kunstler speaks against a survivalist mentality for the very reason you say: someone else can always win if you are alone somewhere.  If you develop community where everyone is self-supportive, then you have far less to fear.  But relocalization at a community or state level Z(depending on the state) is key.
Thank you sir for taking a step back and not looking at the world through a microscope like most of the previous posts.

The problem is that if things get to be bad or we let them, then these survivalists will be the easy prey of the have nots. It is alot harder to defend your compound 24x7 than to be on the other side of the fence... In other words, we need communities...

If you cannot start at the top (and apparently TPTB are not paying attention, are ignorant, or simply do not care), then by corellary you must start at the bottom.  
First, myself.  Then my family.  Then my friends and neighbors.  Like minded people like those here on TOD.  And so on. To build on something, you must have a starting place.  Personal preparations are the start, at least for myself and others.  Build up to neighborhood preparations, community preparations, towns and cities, and finally regional or national.
John Ikerd had some inspiring comments regarding sustainability and economics at the NYC Peak Oil Solutions Conference.  I did manage to grab a little video of his closing remarks, which can be found HERE.
James Woolsey argues that the only way to put the Saudis in their place is to ramp up alternative energy.

If you have 125-mile-per-gallon, because it's a plug-in hybrid car and it is running on 85 percent ethanol and only 15 percent gasoline, you have something in the ballpark of a 500-mile-per-gallon car with existing technology.

You want to get the Wahhabi's attention, that's the way to do it.

But technology is going to be facing its own peak oil challenges.

Student loan - a dowry in reverse?

"My student loan debt is my biggest source of stress in my life at the moment," said Steve Desroches, a 2002 graduate from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. "I live paycheck to paycheck."

The degree left Desroches, who works for a newspaper on Cape Cod, $50,000 in debt with no savings. He's unable to buy a needed car or to even think about entering Massachusetts's "out of control" real estate market.

The repayments were so financially restrictive he briefly considered declaring bankruptcy, until he learned it wouldn't affect his student loans because they're federally guaranteed.

"My feelings about my degree now? My graduate education was invaluable [to my career], but it wasn't worth $50,000, or more accurately, it isn't worth the debt. My options are definitely limited."

And then there's this:

Latest Gas Price Victims: School Buses

Some school students in eastern Tennessee have been off since Thursday because officials say they can't afford the fuel to fill up their school buses.

Almost 4,000 youngsters have had a four-day break so the district can cut transportation spending.

We could be headed back to the days when not only was a college degree for elites only, so was basic literacy.  :-P

Woolsey and the other "geogreens" will play a critical role in US energy policy in the near future.  They will help reshape the popular (but misguided, in my opinion) views of renewable energy and conservation from being wimpy, left-wing, tree-hugger issues to right-wing, militant attitude talking points.

Personally, I couldn't care less why people do the right thing.  If they want to save the world for future generations or stick it to the oil exporters, that's fine.  Get them burning a lot less fossil fuel and supporting aggressive growth in renewable energy and I'm a happy guy.

Good point, but I don't think it will be lack of fuel for school busses.

I think spiraling costs will bankrupt our school systems, in some places, and transportation will just be a piece.  For example, optional transport will be cut entirely - field trips, spiorts, competitions - before they stop hauling kids.  And school busses are still more economical than all the parents hauling their kids in.

I didn't mean to imply it would be just lack of fuel for school buses.

I meant that the historically high levels of education we now enjoy are due in part to cheap energy.  And that education is not really a priority for us.  We say it is, but it's not.  And it will be even less of one as resources grow scarcer.  

Does the US, or Canada, UK etc., have the same quality of education and level of educational attainment as Cuba?  Are Cuban kids involved to a greater of lesser degree in sports and other cultural activities as the more oil endowed?

Do more or less Cubans than Americans perish when hurricanes hit?  How is it that Cubans have lower infant mortality and longer life expectancy that citizens of the US? Is there an obesity crisis in Cuba?  How many homeless kids are there in Cuba?

Maybe the bigger problem is too much oil.

doug gabelmann

Does the US, or Canada, UK etc., have the same quality of education and level of educational attainment as Cuba?

I would say no.  Our literacy rate is higher, so I suspect our higher education rate is higher, too.  Can't go to college if you can't read.  Unless you're a top-level football player, of course.  ;-)

Do more or less Cubans than Americans perish when hurricanes hit?

My guess is more Cubans, percentage-wise.  Though of course, there are a lot more Americans, and proportionately fewer of us in hurricane zones.  Cuba is about the size of Pennsylvania, with a similar population.

How is it that Cubans have lower infant mortality and longer life expectancy that citizens of the US?

They don't, really.  American men have a shorter life expectancy than Cuban men, but American women have a longer one.  So I'd call this one a draw.

Is there an obesity crisis in Cuba?

Not since the crash, that's for sure.

How many homeless kids are there in Cuba?

Probably none...but that is typical of Third World countries.  In Israel, there are people living under bridges.  In the West Bank, there aren't.  

I think Cuba as a post-peak model is overrated.  For one thing, they aren't out of the woods yet.  Two, hey were supported by the rest of the world, through trade and aid.  And they lucked out by discovering oil of their own, just in time.  We won't be able to count on any of that.

Actually, no, Cuba's literacy rate is 97%, the same as in the US. Additionally,  Cuba's infant mortality rates are lower than in the US.


Not according to the CIA.
Err....they are the CIA.
Global Public Media is the CIA?  o_O
No....the CIA is the CIA. ^_^ Silly boy!
The CIA has not exactly been known for factual integrity in the past (Iraqi WMD's, anyone?), especially regarding Cuba, something of a sore spot with them dating back to the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Well, I looked at the numbers, and their Cuba ones match GPM.  It's their U.S. ones that don't.

Looking at other sources, methinks GPM was spinning the numbers a bit.  They obviously are pushing an agenda with that Cuba article.

As others have noted before, we really need a balanced Cuba article.  Cuba is not as evil as the rightwing spin machine would have you believe, but neither is it the post-carbon paradise articles like this GPM one like to claim.

Oh, I agree with you there.
But those seeking to compare Cuba today with the US today are making fallacious comparisons.
Cuba was always a small, poor, and heavily urban nation, and is now largely a post-peak oil country, while the US is large, wealthy, and mostly suburban, and is still enjoying the pre-peak party.  Apples and oranges, to some degree.
What is the ratio of Cubans leaving Cuba in little boats for the USA versus Cubans leaving Florida for Cuba?
Again, a straw man arguement. Apples and oranges.

Are you ready to give up your petroleum dependant lifestyle today?  Right now, this minute?  I thought not.

On literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality, the US and Cuba are essentially in a statistical tie. (WHO or CIA World Factbook). On obesity, the US leads the pack and leaves Cuba in the dust.  The U.S spends nearly two times the share of GDP on health care as do the Cubans.

Looking at recent numbers, on a per hurricane basis, all else being equal, more Americans die than Cubans. (google)

The successful transition from an industrial agricultural system (Soviet supported) to an urban and rural organic farming system is well documented, as is the rise since the early nineties from a national caloric deficiency (about 1800 Calories/day to 2800 Calories/day availability, in the U.S. about 3750 Calories/day availability; required ~2000 Calories/day).

Cuba has not done this with recently discovered oil.  Annual consumption of oil per capita in Cuba 1.8 barrels; in the US, 24.5 barrels.

Cuba has of course has had the advantage of intelligent, socially responsible leadership, which, showing the capacity to learn and adapt, has greatly modified the Soviet era economic model.  It certainly does not enjoy a daily welfare cheque from the People's Republic of China.  

To the extent that the Cubans can show an example of a successful transition from industrial agriculture to a largely non-mechanized organic agriculture, it is a model for countries around the world.

Some people are bound and determined that the sky will fall as oil production declines.  

My advice: cheer up, there is hope.

doug gabelmann

This page is a fairly balanced account of Cuba's "special period."  

Life in Cuba settled into a grim and unremitting cycle of scarcity, in which shortage begat shortage and were some of the most basic daily needs and wants could be satisfied only by Herculean efforts. Inventories of available clothing, soap and detergent, and spare parts dwindled and often disappeared altogether. Rationing quotas frequently failed to supply enough food for more than two weeks of each month, driving vast numbers of people into the black market to supplement official monthly allotments. The disappearance of more than 300 medicines from local pharmacies, together with food shortages, threatened the health and nutrition of all sectors of the population, but especially the very young and the very old, the ill and the infirmed. An estimated 800,000 Cuban asthmatics were without necessary medication. In 1993 more than 50,000 Cubans suffered an epidemic of optic neuropathy due to a deficiency of vitamin B complex. While precise data was not available anecdotal evidence suggested that increasing numbers of Cubans were delaying marriage and that fertility rates had declined to what perhaps may have been the lowest levels in the twentieth century. The number of abortions increased. Between 1988 and 1990, there were nine abortions for every ten births. Housing starts fell hopelessly in arrears and the conditions of existing units continued to deteriorate in the absence of construction materials, replacement parts, and the resources for even routine maintenance. The growing numbers of university and technical school graduates across the island-the countless thousands whose very education was included among the most notable achievements of the revolution-faced an uncertain future.

Fuel shortages resulted in the closing of industrial plants and factories, which in turn created another round of production shortfalls and consumer shortages. An estimated 50 percent of industrial plants, and perhaps more, suspended operations due to shortages of fuel, inputs, and replacement parts. Many continued to operate but at a much reduced capacity. A shortage of paper supplies necessitated a reduction in the number of pages and frequency of publication of newspaper and magazines and delayed the publication of new books. In March 1991, the Cuban Book Institute announced a 50 percent reduction of new titles. Thereafter, a long backlog of new fiction and non-fiction titles brought domestic publication of new literary works to a virtual halt. Factory closings, production declines, and transportation difficulties led to the displacement of nearly 20 percent of the population. Work animals replaced tractors, harvesters, and trucks. Domestic production of meat, milk, and eggs was hampered by the lack of imported animal feed. In the mid-1993 a shortage of import feed for chickens resulted in the disappearance of eggs. The shortage of fertilizers, herbicides, and fuel reduced agricultural production. The sugar crop declined from 8.1 million tons in 1991 to 7 million tons in 1992, the smallest harvest in a decade. In 1993, it was worse. The lack of fuel, lubricants, pneumatics, and spare parts forced the closing of dozens of sugar mills, with disastrous consequences. The 1993 crop came in at 4.2 million tons.

Shortages of oil also contributed to the reduction of public transportation services. All through early 1992 Havana radio stations announced almost daily the consolidation of scores of bus routes and the cancellation of many others. Public transportation in the cities and between provinces declined dramatically. By the end of 1992, nearly 40 percent of national bus service and train schedules had been suspended. Lack of spare parts exacerbated Cuban transportation woes. In early 1993, nearly half of Havana's 1200 buses were idle for lack of parts. Local taxi service all but disappeared. Bicycles replaced automobiles as the principal means of personal transportation. By 1994,, nearly 700,000 bicycles had been distributed across the island. Efforts to ration scarce fuel supplies led to a schedule of power outages in almost every city. Blackouts were imposed daily, often lasting as long as eight and ten hours a day. Blackouts further complicated daily life. Electric water pumps, ovens, refrigerators, and freezers were rendered inoperative for hours at a time. Not only was it difficult to secure food, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to cook and preserve it. In March 1993 a late winter storm devastated the island, causing more than $1 billion worth of damage and leaving more than 150,000 people homeless.

It's better now, but that's thanks to international aid and trade.  We can't expect similar help when TSHTF.


You mean Cuba didn't turn into some egalatarian eco-paradise?!




Sounds more like an egalitarian dystopia. Except for Fidel and Co. everyone suffers. The silver lining in this hurricane is they sure found a cure for obesity. But that's the only silver lining. Otherwise it sounds like a train wreck in slo-mo.

When the Cuba case is brought up, all too often it's romanticised, when in fact people continue to try to escape by all methods short of tunnel and rocket. About the only real reason it works at all is communist indoctrination from birth, emphasising cooperation instead of competition. If Cuba is the BEST we can expect post-peak, we are in a world of emissions from animal tailpipes.

While Cuba endured a super sudden "embargo" the world will get a slow but maddening oil decline instead. A Cuba going through a slow decline would likely have done better. In any case, we'll sure find out!

I think Cuba looks alot like our future. It isn't something we will do by choice. It's just the harsh reality of having less energy to burn.
Thanks Leanan for a good quote describing the "special period".  Alas you didn't provide anything useful about what happened in Cuba since.  They managed, not so much due to foreign aid and trade (they had little of either), but due to a massive effort at small-scale organic farming.  There are several articles on the web about this, and a film recently published by Community Solutions.  (That page still says the publication is delayed, but the first copies arrived in the mail here last week!)  No, Cuba is not a paradise, but this achievment is worth examining.  They are not rich in the sense worshipped in the USA, and many more people there now need to work in farming than before (and are paid well relative to other professions), but they are feeding themselves.  We can all hope for that after TSHTF.  (They are also now trying to develop tourism and drill for oil, so they're human after all...)
Alas you didn't provide anything useful about what happened in Cuba since.  They managed, not so much due to foreign aid and trade (they had little of either), but due to a massive effort at small-scale organic farming.

Not true.  They are growing a lot of veggies now, but they still import food.  They also import oil, as well as drilling their own.  They've had infrastructure help from other countries like Mexico.  From Cubafacts:

Cuba received bilateral and multilateral aid during the 1990s; however, this economic aid was very small when compared with Soviet economic assistance. In 1997, Cuba received $32 million in official bilateral development assistance, mainly from Spain, France, Canada, Italy and Germany, and $35 million of official multilateral development assistance mainly from United Nations agencies. The U.S. Government reported that since 1992 the United States has been the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Cuba, and has licensed more than $227 million in humanitarian donations of medicines and medical equipment for Cuba.

Cuba's salvation was not organic farming.  It was forging trade agreements with Spain, France,  Venezeula, etc., to replace the lost Soviet trade.

Those trade and aid numbers are tiny. Seriously tiny.
Sounds to me like Cuba mostly survived and suffered on its own.
Cuba tends to be one of those discussions where facts are irrelevant.People have made up their minds.
I very much agree.  J.A. Sierra's "History of Cuba" has a very definitive slant to it, as can be seen clearly from the "timeline" data presented on the website Leanan quotes from. See for yourself:

For a non-biased (external) look at the special period, try any of the following:

The point is, as Oaksmoke correctly points out, like it or not, most likely the future looks more like Cuba today than it does like the US today.

Hello Leanan,

Yeah, maybe Cuba found oil, but maybe we did too?

This post is for everybody, and full credit to member P for finding it.  It is originally on an older thread gone stale but P aimed it at Stuart Staniford for analysis.  I want to make sure we all take a look at this and discuss.  I reposted it below, along with my brief take:

Would that also be the source of the 80 billion barrels that I posted on before? I am quite interested what people think of this claim, made by what appears to be a US governmental service, judging from the domainname.


"The MMS estimates that the quantity of undiscovered technically recoverable resources ranges from 66.6 to 115.3 billion barrels of oil and 326.4 to 565.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The mean or average estimate is 85.9 billion barrels of oil and 419.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. These volumes of UTRR for the OCS represent about 60 percent of the total oil and 40 percent of the total natural gas estimated to be contained in undiscovered fields in the United States. The mean estimates for both oil and gas increased about 15 percent compared to the 2001 assessment. For the oil resources, the vast majority of this increase occurred in the deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico, while for gas resources the majority of the increase was in deep gas plays located beneath the shallow water shelf of the Gulf of Mexico."
totoneila on Tue May 02 at 4:27 AM EST

Hello P,

Excellent find!  If true, could keep the US as a dominant economic and military power for years, but could also really juice the global warming effects unless this carbon was sequestered.  Burned incorrectly: the massive and numerous hurricanes will probably make GoM production extremely seasonal.  

I will leave it to the TOD experts as to whether this report is a MilGov scam or actually true.

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

"My guess is more Cubans, percentage-wise.  Though of course, there are a lot more Americans, and proportionately fewer of us in hurricane zones.  Cuba is about the size of Pennsylvania, with a similar population."

Uh, sorry but this assertion couldn't be more wrong: in most hurricanes the past few years, the death toll in Cuba has been exactly: 0.

They have an excellent prediction and warning system, and routinely evacuate a million+ people without incident...



It's odd that you'd be so precise with the "0" figure but so imprecise by throwing that word "most" in there. Here are the statistics for Cuban hurricane deaths in this decade:

2000: No hurricanes went near Cuba.

2001: Hurricanes Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Iris, Karen, Noel and Olga all stayed away from Cuba.

2002: Hurricanes Gustav and Kyle stayed away from Cuba.

  • Hurricane Isidore resulted in 0 deaths in Cuba but 5 deaths in the United States.
  • Hurricane Lili caused 1 death in Cuba and 2 deaths in the United States.

2003: No hurricanes went near Cuba.

2004: Hurricanes Alex, Danielle, Frances, Gaston, Jeanne, Karl, and Lisa stayed away from Cuba.

  • Hurricane Charley caused 4 deaths in Cuba and 10 deaths in the United States.
  • Hurricane Ivan's eye passed to the west of Cuba, causing 0 deaths there, but 54 deaths in the United States.

2005: Hurricanes Cindy, Emily, Irene, Katrina, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Stan, Vince, Beta and Epsilon all stayed away from Cuba.

  • Hurricane Dennis caused 16 deaths in Cuba and 15 deaths in the United States.
  • Hurricane Rita passed to the north of Cuba, causing 0 deaths there, but 119 deaths in the United States.
  • Hurricane Wilma's eye passed well to the west of Cuba, but it caused 4 deaths there and 25 deaths in the United States.

So, looking at the eight hurricanes that have hit Cuba or the waters near it during this decade, five have resulted in more than "exactly: 0" deaths. Your statement that "most" of the recent hurricanes have no fatalities in Cuba seems to be false.

Uh, sorry but this assertion couldn't be more wrong: in most hurricanes the past few years, the death toll in Cuba has been exactly: 0.

That would be news to the 16 people who died in Hurricane Dennis, the four who four died in Hurricane Wilma, the five killed by Michelle, the one killed by Lilli, the four killed by Charley, etc.  

They have an excellent prediction and warning system, and routinely evacuate a million+ people without incident...

They do, but I wonder how good it would be if it weren't for data from the U.S. NHC.  Cuba has a lot of weather stations and a rare commitment to meterology, but they can't launch their own weather satellites.  

I would point to Switzerland and not Cuba as the model.  Almost 1,000 year old democracy (Cuba is not), very high levels in every good social statistic and very low in every bad one.  Extreme levels of social stability without the need of neighborhood committees to control everyone's life.

The Swiss got by in 1945 (entire year) with the oil used by the US today in 19 minutes.

They are spending 31 billion Swiss francs over 20 years (2000-2020) to take heavy trucks off their roads and run them on (hydro) electric rail instead.  They can fall back on their existing and improving infrastructure and drastically cut their current, relatively low, levels of oil consumption.

And they don't need to sell their daughters to sex tourists to support their economy.

I would say neither Switzerland nor Cuba is really an adequate model.  

Cuba would have had a much rougher time of it were it not for trade and aid from the rest of the world.  They imported their staples (rice and beans), and food is still a major import.  Despite the U.S.'s best efforts to block it, they received food aid from other countries, such as Canada.

Switzerland...it was before they became oil-dependent, and it was only for a short period.  

> Switzerland...it was before they became oil-dependent, and it was only for a short period.


2001 Swiss Oil consumption - 290,400 b/day.
Population ~7.5 million

Scaled up to 295 million, that is 11.4 million b/day.

However, without ANY deprivation (actually an enhancement to their quality of life), they will significantly reduce their oil consumption when both TransAlp rail lines are open and heavy trucks are used mainly for local deliveries.  High speed rail service will be added as part of the package.

However, IF the Swiss had to, they could dramatically reduce their oil use without destroying their stable society.  Non-oil public transportation (local and nationwide) exists and can be used by most Swiss.  Add bicycles and walking.

Cuting their oil consumption in half or more would be "easy".  Just changing individual choices for a good reason (perhaps it costs too much).  The non-oil alternatives exist and are readily available.

I don't think number of barrels consumed really means anything, because so much of "effiency" means offshoring the manufacturing/heavy energy use.  

But it wasn't until the 1950s that we really went oil-crazy, us and Europe both.  

The Swiss are rich and use oil, yes.

BUT they have a "parallel" infrastructure in place and operating that does not use oil.

In addition, they have a MASSIVE program to supplant heavy trucks with elelctric rail over twenty years.  31 billion Swiss francs, adjusted for population and at today's foreign exchange rate (US$ .808 = 1 CHF) equals almost exactly US$1 trillion !!!

IF the United States had had a national vote in 1998 to spend a trillion dollars over twenty years (2000-2020) to replace oil burning transportation with renewable energy (hydro in the Swiss case), and the "numbers worked out", would you be belittling it ?

Yes, perhaps the US needs to spend $2 trillion, instead of "just" $1 trillion, but the Swiss had a good base to start from and are moving forward in a responsible way.

I hope like h*ll that we will do half as much as the Swiss !

They are a GOOD model for the US to follow !

BUT they have a "parallel" infrastructure in place and operating that does not use oil.

I wonder.  I suspect the petroleum use is just hidden.  Steel made in Japan, ethanol made in Brazil, food grown in the U.S., etc.  It could leave them very vulnerable if there are shortages.

In 2001, Switzerland produced 42 million metric tonnes of Aluminum (6 million from recycled scrap) and 1.9 million metric tonnes of steel (mostly speciality steels used in high value applications).

They are a large manufacturer of high quality, high value products as well as being providing services that oil and food exporters want.  The Swiss Federal Gov't also has about as much gold as in Fort Knox and they are one of the world centers for that trade.

There will be SOME oil exports (and food exports) and these will be traded for things that the exporters value; and which the Swiss can provide.  All they NEED to import is a bit less than 100,000 b/day.  It is concievable (especially with some advance warning) that they could "get by" with 15,000 to 20,000 b/day.  Their 1945 oil use was less than 5% of their 1938 use (from memory).

Yes, Switzerland has always had a paucity of raw materials BUT they are making the best of it.  What more should they do ?  they are spending the US equilavent (in proportion to population) of $50 billion a year on a twenty year program to replace heavy trucking with renewable electrified rail transportation.  Would that the US were doing half as much !

Again, Switzerland is a GOOD model for the US to emulate !

Both a true and a false point about 'because so much of "effiency" means offshoring the manufacturing/heavy energy use'.

Some industries have been exported from rich countries to poor (the example I remember was leather tanning - at some point around the late 1980s/early 1990s, only the South Koreans were doing it worldwide, since it was such an incredibly problematic industry in terms of environmental impact - chromium is one thing remembered, for example).

But very few countries allow critical industry to disappear the way the U.S. has - notice all the complaints about European 'protectionism' in the American media over decades.

The U.S. is truly an exceptional case on the world stage, and it is a problem extrapolating American experience on a global basis.

In this sense, the U.S., Cuba, and Switzerland are pretty extreme examples, which don't necessarily apply to the majority of people/societies.

But the Swiss are pretty much as described (except for the 1000 year democracy bit - every country has its myths) - and we aren't even talking about their bunkers, stored food, and very capable weapons industry. The Swiss are neutrals, not pacifists, very concerned about their own survival - comes from living in a historically bad neighborhood.

This deep rooted concern with long term survival tends to be a feature of societies which have survived over the long term. America is now facing one of its first real challenges at that level.

I am not really betting on the new kid to outlast the old, tired, cynical survivors in Asia or Europe. Which is a shame in a way, because the old, tired, cynical survivors are not really good people. But then, only in Hollywood stories does being good count.

> Switzerland ... was only for a short period.

A six year, 100% oil embargo.

They DID "Power Down" to just renewable power and a few drops of oil.  And kept their democracy, their social services and structure, and a decent quality of life.

Yes, it is amazing how well things work when you have high wealth, excellent education, low corruption and are truly blessed. None of these items are easy to change for countries that don't have that to start with, and have been targets of outside abuse (corruption) for most of recent history. It's like the chances of a senator's son becoming a lawyer vs. a boy from the ghetto. Ask yourself why Sitzerland was not incaded during the war, and why many other countries are practically always at war. I'm sure places like Cuba would have loved to have had the options Switzerland had but I would suggest a closer model for what could have happened there would be Haiti.
Switzerland - Blessed ??


Two religons, 3 1/2 languages, minimal arable land, no mineral resources to speak of, no oil, mountains that are MASSIVE barriers to communication and transportation.

Switzerland is what it is due to the character of their people and centuries of hard work.  Two+, three and five centuries ago the only exportable product that they had was their people; the Swiss were recognized as being the best mercenaries.  (A bit like the women of Cuba).

Cuba was far more blessed in it's natural endowments that Switzerland.  They have just done less with it.

And per the "myth" of a 1,000 years of democracy, a couple of cantons have been ruled by common assembly since ~1000 AD (others not) which has since evolved into a Federal, representative democracy.

Well, call it a German perspective - the Swiss, like all nations, have a number of myths, and one which Germans find amusing (being latecomers themselves), is of some Swiss nation that stretches back into the mists of history.

As a Swiss/German co-worker notes, Switzerland in the sense we know it dates very roughly from around 1800 (still predates Germany by a generation or two, of course).

This is not to take away from any credit they deserve, I might add, but Switzerland's tradition of democracy is roughly equal to the English belief of having never been conquered. (You know, like William of Orange, along with thousands of his soldiers, was just 'invited' to take over during a spot of bother.) But certainly, the Swiss were more democratic and more religiously tolerant (which sadly, in Europe, says very little) than other societies for centuries.

> English belief of having never been conquered.

Hey, that is Swedens, all our neighbours celebrates their independence day, we dont. Athough Russia conquerd about half of the core kindom when they invaded Finland about 200 years ago.

Another one is that no one realy knows how old Sweden is so our national romatics made a cult of Vikings and the Vasa king about a hundred and fifty years ago when it becama realy important to make propaganda about how good your nation state is.

Wonder what kind of romaticism and propaganda will make sense in a post peak oil world?

Sadly, there is a chance that things like the William Tell Overture and the Ride of the Valkyries will be just as fashionable in the post-peak world as they were in the pre-oil using and oil time frames.

But truly, I am not sure what sort of culture / myths the post peak world will have.

A big theme from 50s English SF was an idea of the Fall followed by the Cleansing (mushroom clouds being the Sign) - somehow, I don't see the post peak world so dramatically.

Education as a massive exercise in warehousing and credentialling our youth - ayup. That will die out. Education as in "learning" will only improve.
Perhaps.  But I suspect it will inevitably mean a drop in our level of technology.  (For good or ill.)
Maybe methanol is THE SOLUTION?  See http://www.woodgas.com/index.htm.  Also, George Olah (Nobel Prize chemistry) shows us the way: http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16466&ch=biztech.    Fuel a car, run a fuel cell, store hydrogen.  What do you think?
Methanol is an intermediate for producing othe fuels like dimetylether. It can also be catalytically converted to gasoline. On its own as a fuel its is fatal if consumed at levels too low to smell and is quite corrosive.
Re student loans: Most people seem to know what they are getting into with student loans, so I don't feel too bad about it on an individual level (how I feel about our society's valuing of education is another matter). Getting a liberal arts degree from an expensive private school can be a dicey financial prospect. My financial return on my college degree has been good - I went to a "cheap" big 10 school and got an electrical engineering degree. I graduated with no debt, assisted by the parents who paid about half my tuition (thanks mom and dad). Had I had to cover that portion myself, the loans would already be paid off (been working for five years now). You're looking at saving 75% by going to a public rather than private school.
Loading up kids with a reverse dowry (I like that, it is a neat way to visualise it) Is also (back to my hobby horse) another method to extract wealth from the masses. And this happens before you get on the mortgage treadmill.

What am i doing?

Zero Credit card debt.
Zero foreign / holidays.
Smaller, lighter cars.
Reduced travel, entertainment,
Annual bonus goes straight into paying down the mortgage
Trying to support my daughter through University so she leaves with as little debt as possible.
Son may go in about 2 years, but is very peak aware and thinking hard about the merits of becoming a cubicle slave. He has already worked out that any job that can be done by someone in china at the end of a modem will not be worth a candle. Whatever job he does , it must be hands on and require a presence and serve a purpose other than shifting financial products, toys, jew-jaws and knick-knacks. Though in the wee small hours, I cannot help thinking that he will reach 21 about the time that President for life Tony will bring back conscription...
Will down size when son leaves, but thinking also that this house could accomodate an extended family...

Basically attempting to cut expenditure wherever possible but the line will be lumpy while kids in college.

Cashed out for now when the stock exchange hit 6000.
I just do not trust it at present. This is not financial advice, I just had a good three year run , but it causes quite a lot of stress, and this year looks just too risky.
Maybe right, maybe wrong, who cares.

I just wonder if my sea-change in attitude is about 10 years too late. I read Cambell's book when it first came out. Ignored it for a couple of years when Oil was below 20 US / bbl, got back to taking it seriously about 2002.

Other things: More stored food, water, candles etc, but we do that prior to winter anyway.

Time to start gardening.

I have little sympathy for a liberal arts degree from a private expensive institution. Even in the best of times that would have been a rough road to walk. My eldest son went to a private school that was not so expensive and got a computer science degree. The other son has dropped out but mostly due to uncertainty of what he wants to do in life. Business management did not appeal to him at all so he is leaning back towards biology or a bio related field since he has loved those throughout school and still does. In his case he knows I will assist him achieve that sort of degree through a public institution or some private schools. He's indicated an interest in returning to school next year. Personally, given global warming and other environmental issues, biology could be a good field to work in for a lifetime.
Has anyone suggested that Venezuela is buying Russian oil while leaving it's own in the ground because they want to dump the dollars they have in their reserve while preserving their oil?
Interesting take.  But would that work if they are still selling oil for $?
Yeah, because they Venezuela isn't selling as much oil for money. They are still selling oil for imported stuff like cars and computers.
Also, it's local political. The Venezuelan equivalent of the Federal Reserve has lots of American dollars to support the currency, and they won't get rid of it and replace it with Euros or something. So Chavez is borrowing the money he is paying the Russians (I think, from what I've read), and that hedges the dollar exposure he has from the Venezuelan Federal Reserve types.
But who knows what is really happening.
In another thread somebody mentioned that Venezuela's exports to the US have dropped to 30-40% of what they used to be, due to "refinery problems". Now Chavez is taking an extra 100,000 bpd off the market. And if it's true that he's borrowing the dollars to pay the Russians, he's counting on dollar being lower by the end of the year. And he's making sure of it by squeezing US oil supply?
I don't know if this is really the strategy, maybe they just screwed up and didn't make the production they forcast.  But it does have the flavor of "crazy like a fox".  How does 100,000 bpd compare to Venezuela's total output?  I'm thinking if it is a big percentage of their normal output, then maybe it is unlikely they screwed up that bad, and it's more likely a strategy.
Actually what came to mind for me was that V made deals with China to supply oil soon because they wanted it soon. And rather than cancelling commitments elsewhere they decided to fill the gap by buying until the contract runs out. But this was just a thought, and of course whatever the real reason it probably makes sense to them.
If there's roughly 1.1 trillion barrels of oil left and production stays at about 84 mbpd then we've got barely 36 years left before the tank runs dry.
So the US dollar is rapidly devalueing on the global currency exchanges:


Shouldn't this put upward pressure on the price of oil?

It sort of is.  Look at the price of crude futures contracts.
Hurricane destruction powers global warming debate

After two of the worst seasons on record -- 2004 produced 15 storms -- U.S. researchers are speaking more boldly.

At an American Meteorological Society conference in Monterey, California, last week, a U.S. government researcher blamed last year's record season on global warming.

On the web site of the government's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, the subject is broached frankly.

"The strongest hurricanes in the present climate may be upstaged by even more intense hurricanes over the next century as the earth's climate is warmed by increasing levels of greenhouse gases....," it says.

Judith Curry thinks we have ten years if we hope to save New Orleans and Miami.

There was Peak Oil story on NPR's morning edition today. I only caught the second (Yergin) half this morning. Hope to listen to the rest (Simmons) during lunch.


i thought it was weak.  a he said / he said story without the time or effort to sort it out.

npr is spposed to be better than this kind of empty "balance" but there it is.

At one time NPR was indeed better than that, but no more.  A few years ago they started to turn into Just Another Radio Network, and they increasingly do the "faux balance"/all facade and no substance thing you described.  I almost never listen any more, which is saying a lot--I was a die-hard NPR fan for years.
I second that assessment of NPR.  We now listen to Pacifica radio, Free Speech TV (FSTV) and LINK TV almost exclusively for any real alternative to the corporate line.
Agreed.  Once, NPR was a shining beacon of respect and true journalistic integrity.  Those days have passed.
that's funny, i had the exact same experience, used to always listen, but past few years found it worthless and stopped.

now we just need smilies on TOD so i could insert one here depicting bawling with tears gushing out.

on the other hand, this american life, which i listen to via the internet on a laptop, rocks. (but it's not news.)

Check it out.

With a mention of the Beverly Hillbillies! (audio)

Sorry, guys, for what some of you may consider a frivolous contribution to the peak oil debate. But you've got two choices at this point, you can laugh or you can cry.

Look at the horizontal axes; 12-8-5 years time intervals
What's the source for the graph, Dave?
it's on that npr page.

what a weird graph, reality trifurcated 4 years ago?

Maybe someone at NPR wanted you to notice that the trifurcation is in the past, and go check actual production since then, upon which the penny should drop.
I did not even know that the Beverly Hillbillies were filmed in colour
I use this for my daily commute:

Two out of three predictions look promising! I think I'll keep it for now.

It's the "fair and balanced" treatment for all those Prius drivers :)
No way on earth a listener to the story could sort out what to believe from the two positions. It seems even NPR is lazy, giving "balance" by providing opposing viewpoints, but doing no analysis to empower people to make some kind of judgement between the two viewpoints.

No wonder society is confused.

Re: "Fair and Balanced"

Actually, this interview represents progress. All previous NPR stories I heard had Daniel Yergin only. Your point that NPR is only adding to the confusion is well-made. Let's imagine the 2010 NPR story.


NPR: Mr Yergin, you predicted back in 2006 that the world would be producing 96.5/mbpd which would meet growing demand, give us some excess supply capacity and lower prices. Yet today, the world is producing only 84.1/mbpd, there are supply shortfalls, a world-wide recession and the current price is $119/barrel as of today's market close.

Yergin: At that time, I had warned of above the ground scenarios that might affect supply. And with the attack on Iran in early 2007, there was set off a what I now refer to as a "cascading catastrophe" that affected the global supply chains. Also, I was doing some pretty heavy drugs at the time--these had the affect of inflating my ego and optimism. I've entered into several treatment programs and I believe my judgements are far sounder today than they were back in 2006.

NPR: Well, thank you for your honest disclosure. I guess we're all in trouble now. Thanks for joining us.

Yergin: My pleasure.


Here's an interesting article from
Der Spiegel that highlights the precarious nature of what oil is being produced in Iraq.


That is an interesting article.

...Experts describe the condition of the oil wells themselves in even more dramatic terms. Saddam began a policy of overexploitation of Iraq's oil resources in the 1980s that included neglecting to replace depleted oil with gas or water to maintain the necessary pressure in the wells. Many of the approximately 850 oil wells in southern Iraq are now "dead" and, with the exception of the West Kurna reservoir, all so-called super-giant fields are exhausted, writes oil engineer Abd al-Jabbar al-Halfi. "We milked them like cows -- but without giving them anything to eat."

After the fall of the Saddam regime, Iraq's oil technocrats hoped for a turnaround -- but in vain. "The new government is also constantly demanding that we step up oil production, even though our equipment is outdated and primitive, the situation at the oil wells is deteriorating and the pipelines are corroding," says Halfi.

See this re the nationals as new world bullies-Jim Jukak http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/P149921.asp
Has anyone heard of this huge oil shale discovery ?   If I remember correctly,  it is old news , I think.
From Colbert's soon to be classic take on Bush:
"Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car!"

Also this...
"I'm a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow. I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for three cents a unit."

See the video here:

One thing I have not heard concerning the $100 GCITM (government check in the mail) is that this was proposed back in 1972 by then presidential candidate George McGovern.

He wanted to make it $1,000.

Needless to say, he was robustly ridiculed, just as this smaller $100 GCITHM has been.

He also lost to Richard Nixon by the biggest landslide before or since.

Are you sure you didn't get it mixed up with Alaska? There Government Check In The Mail is now around 2,000$, I think. The Republicans always spend more money than the Democrats. Which is why they win more elections.
Here's a first hand report from a Democratic candidate for the House in 1972.  Look at paragraph 5:


The Alaska payments are a direct distribution of the oil royalties to Alaska citizens.  McGovern's GCITM never made it to the post office.

I don't remember hearing anything about that. Maybe the local Republicans put it out as a lie, then when they realised how popular it would be they immediately suppressed it.
I think someone is advocating the same thing these days, but for ten thousand dollars instead of the bewildering maze of welfare, food stamps, medicaid, housing assistance, disability, etc. Don't know if he's Republican or Democrat.
Nope. About $850 last year, will be about $950 this year. Dividend amount is based more upon how the trust fund investments do than the price of crude.
I had this in the last thread, decided to repost. New EIA numbers for Feb show over 300,000 bpd less production than Dec or May last year.

Also of note is that OPEC produced less oil the first 2 months of 2006 than the first 2 of 2005.

Time for Stuart to update his graph?

I'll do so tonight.
Thanks - look forward to it as always.
Would it be possible to split the regular chart into countries or regions so we can see what proportion of the 84 mbpd is attibutable to each country?  That way we could see who is up and who is down each month.  If it is too much of a hassle, of course forget it.  Thanks for updating this chart each month.
Sure, go right ahead :-)
Perhaps someone can explain from the EIA spreed sheet a) how the first two months of 2005 display higher production that the fist two months of 2006 and b) why the break of regions (columns C,D,E,F) do not add up to and exceed the totals in columns G. Just curious - the notes do not seem to help.
Go to this location and download the various tables. That will give more detailed info by country. The table previously linked does not include all nations, just the organizations indicated and world total. If you were wondering about the "2 month" comment I made, I was only refering to OPEC, not the world.
Transcript of interview with Matthew Simmons, from the Financial Sense site:


Interview is dated April 29, 2006.

Fabulous interview, well worth a read. Thanks, BalticMan.
Agreed.  Simmons gives a great historical summary of what went wrong with the Western mentality regarding energy production, going all the way back to the 1950s.
For those interested, I tried to look if higher gasoline prices were affecting the consumption levels:

Are Prices Affecting the Gasoline Consumption in the US?

I didn't observe any significant deviations.

On the other hand, ADM is off to a great year. Q1 profits up 29%. Ethanol...


Demand is largely inelastic, as has been mentioned previously and this Wall Street Journal article (found by Calorie) points out:
Agreed. There are still no significant modifications in our gasoline consumption despite a 100% price increase since 2001.

It has to reach a certain pain threshold before people will change.  One can argue that in the 1990s, the gas prices were well below the pain threshold.  People didn't consume an infinite amount - using more gas meant driving more, and there is always the question of how many hours you want to spend sitting in your car.  I suppose the cheap prices in the 90s meant that people bought gas guzzlers, but even then the CAFE standards, as weak as they are helped to put a ceiling on consumption (yea, I am ignoring SUVs and trucks for the moment).

In any event, it seems pretty clear that the prices have reached that pain threshold now.  A further doubling would result in a severe recession of some sort.

We may well be at the start of the pain threshold with gas prices. I have pointed out in other threads about long-range commuters. Jacking the price by 33 percent as of now means yet another buck a gallon. A coworker recently pointed out that he's considering working overtime so as to earn extra money for the gas. Yep, he's a long-range commuter - from Indiana to O'Hare Airport. And he drives a pickup truck.

I recommended that he work the overtime before or after a normal shift instead of an extra day, so as to avoid two commuting missions. (the 6'th day a week) A second coworker was working before-shift overtime to pay for his 8-gal/day habit. He got the boss angry, who cut off the overtime. The latter coworker still doesn't "get it", at least not yet.

In my case, while not a crisis, I noticed the car's A/C predictably causes added fuel consumption. For my commute's mission profile, it's about an added two litres per week. Last Friday, when I got a load of fuel, the tank failed to top off with the click of the nozzle.

Bolivia Military Told to Occupy Gas Fields...
Check out this article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060501/ap_on_bi_ge/bolivia_gas_12
Hello TODers,
I would like to post three links here in hopes that they are read and digested:



At one point I was going to write a short article regarding ethanol; I happened to read the FTW speech and decided to reserve all comments about ethanol. It is my view that we in the US need to act now. After reading the following article:


I realized that writing anything that could be construed as actionary or advocating regime change in the US might cause one to have a "Peak Life Issue!"
If I was a voter back in the Jimmy Carter days and realized then what I know now I might have followed a different path.

I am one of the ones that believes that the more we wait and sit on our hands is another day spent in denial; another day spent in a lie; another lost moment that adds to the heavy feeling and heavy hand that has been removing civilized from civilization. I doubt that any vote citizens cast now will have an effect that is desired by the masses.

It would appear that unless there is a new American revolution to bring civility, truth, honesty, love and respect back to the table all hope is lost. Since the WTC attack my life has taken some rather dramatic turns. I once had a small business and a place of my own. I opened up my life and heart to a woman who had other plans. My emotions caused the demise of my business only to find myself in what is now a much harsher and colder world. Not long after my father died from cancer and my family was destroyed. At a point in time when I have never been more insecure as a man and a person; at a point in time when I thought I could never be more depressed I hear my government threatening to use nuclear weapons.

Even though we are 20 years removed from Chernobyl nothing can be done to mask the danger associated with nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation. Even worse are the mountains of waste created by the process and the radiation that is now trapped in our world's environment for all time. I can't even see how any of it is salvageable at this point. It (as I have said before in another thread) is an eternal maintenance issue that will have to be addressed in a world with a great deal less energy at a time when the last thing we need is an ongoing quest for even more energy. Yes, I said in another thread that humanity and all other life too, hinges on what we all do right now.

Clearly when the leader of our nation throws phrases like "nuclear bunker buster" out there in the face of humanity I think of the movie "The Omen" and wonder who has the mark of the beast. I have read so many articles comparing the world today to the book "1984" yet it is funny that all this somehow links up with "Revelations." I am the least religious person by the way but for all of you that don't know our leader seems to believe in the "Rapture" of all things.

What I know is that my children are my immortality and what we do or don't do today will affect them directly. Should more than a handful of people survive they will have to deal with those mountains, caverns, cracks and barrels filled with nuclear waste. They will have to bury the dead. They will essentially do whatever they can to wipe just the idea or memory of the fallen away. We have done damage to everything and on top of that, "Americans are addicted to oil!" Being born in the 60ies I don't remember having an option for industrialized nation vs. Little House on the Prairie, do you? I can assure everyone that the laws of thermodynamics apply regardless of my will.

I hope that we survive and raise our children in a NCO (new community order) that would never tolerate living in our leaders' version of a NWO (new world order). In fact I hope they bring back the original use of oil for "Tar & Feathering" if a similar leadership should rear its head again.


I certainly like the idea of NCOs versus the NWO.

I remember being heartbroken when Carter lost, because I knew that meant that we would be destroying our environment and our future by voting in corporate cronyism.

but that's what happened ...

Pebble bed reactors are safe in operation and meltdown proof by simple chemistry/physics. There are still the waste issues, but throwing up the "Cherynobl" BS anytime someone mentions nuclear is a sign of insufficient education on the issue.
There are still the waste issues, but throwing up the "Cherynobl" BS anytime someone mentions nuclear is a sign of insufficient education on the issue.

As long as you're mentioning education I want to point out that you spelled "Cherynobl" incorrectly. The proper spelling is `Chernobyl' and I point this out since millions used to live there.
I doubt I need to list all the nuclear accidents, tests and events here? Your comment is with out doubt dangerous, threatening and quite silly. Here are some events and accidents:
http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/issues/accidents/20-mishaps-maybe-caused -nuclear-war.htm
Here are some plumes:
Here is a novel use of wastes:
Here is what exposure can do:
http://members.tripod.com/~Arnold_Dion/Daghlian/sickness.htmlhttp://members.tripod.com/~Arnold_Dion/ Daghlian/sickness.html
So you say that since 20 years have passed and no major nuke problems have happened we are OK! The little issue in Russia is still killing, deforming and wreaking havoc. The concrete and steel tomb is falling apart quite quickly and will need perpetual support for eternity as resources deplete. So, nukes are safe you say? If you have had any exposure to the insurance industry you would learn the following: On a long enough time-line every ones chances of survival are ZERO. Case in point mechanical things break, malfunction etc. Soon there will be another accident in the US, not because anyone wanted it but because it is inevitable. Cancer is what you get when you play around with radiation. By the way every nuke test since the Manhattan Project is in our bones! More industry is not a solution to our plight. You seem to be saying that you like nuclear power. It is safe till a point and that point is till something Fs up. It is amazing that you say, "There are still the waste issues" in such a way as to indicate that a 100,000 year ½ life is do-able. I think the folks like you who disregard the facts and feel the need to play with fire have put us on the fast track to oblivion. By the way this is only one area of industrialization that has little hope of any improvement. Neurotoxins that are contaminating the air, land and sea are building up in our bodies and in our children's bodies. Well, I don't see how, "Turning the mid-east into a sheet of glass (as many want to do)" will help anything.
Do you even know what a pebble bed reactor is? Or do you just enjoy spouting off and typing? My guess is no and yes.
  I'll look it up on the side, but would you toss out a brief rundown on Pebble Bed Reactors, and why they are more secure and promising than the typical systems in use up to now?

  I'm strongly inclined against Nuclear for a handful of reasons, but I'd welcome some info that puts it in balance.

My reasons,
Trading one geological dependency for another, including the likely availability of high-grade uranium ore, and the need for liquid fuels to mine/transp. the stuff and build/support the Reactors themselves.. (and then pack,ship, and bury it again)  

Over-centralized powersources are both good targets and lend themselves to excessive amounts of power in too few hands.

Noone but the Federal Government will insure them against catastrophic damages.. and screwups will happen.

The generation of weapons material as a byproduct of this process (not knowing how 'pebble bed' tech fits into that)

The waste issue is really the bottom line, it's not just 'some detail'.  It's poisonous for longer than we've had language, and so we're taking huge energy treats for ourselves at the expense of our children.  That's simply irresponsible and unacceptable.

Bob Fiske

Guessing and your dream reactor will help to hasten our demise. The link says it all yet the accident in Germany went like this...
There was a pebble bed reactor accident at Hamm-Uentrop West Germany nine days after the Chernobyl accident. On May 4 1986, a pebble became lodged in a feeder tube. Operators subsequently caused damage to the fuel during attempts to free the pebble. Radiation was released to the environs. The West German government closed down the research program because they found the reactor design unsafe.

Here are some facts that might interest you?
  1. Nuclear power generation takes substantial input energy to be even possible. Starting at the mining phase great deals of earth must be moved to recover a small amount of Uranium. Off hand I don't have the numbers though I do know that the main input is oil.
  2. Uranium must be processed and from the start wastes are formed. Processing is difficult, intensive, and dangerous as for your "pebbles" they must be made with NO FLAWS.
  3. Reactors of any type take a huge commitment of energy just to construct. Foundry parts, concrete, land, machine parts, equipment, welding, computers, (in your case) helium, manpower and precision. If you were to add up all of the calories spent on the inputs and the perpetual care of the waste you would find that in the end thermodynamics will win and you might as well have just burned the oil directly to generate power.
  4. You can Google all of the 1/2 lives yourself I will just touch on a few...
a) U238 is radioactive and has a half-life of 4,468,000,000 years.
b) Pu239 is considered transuranic, fissile and also radioactive, and has a half-life of approximately 24,000 years.
  1. This is the best part: 1 neutron + 238U  239U (ß- decay) 239Np (ß- decay) 239Pu  4,468,000,000 years is how long that last little "Pu" part must be maintained.
  2. Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and X-Rays are all incompatible with biological life forms. If you manage to breathe in just one alpha particle your fate is sealed. By the time that symptoms appear you will be undergoing chromosomal damage. If you should breed the chances are good that your child and also mate will suffer with you.

I will conclude by stating that any accident that happens in your town including releases and lesser accidents will shorten your life and cause damage to your sex cells that any offspring you have will suffer from during their miserable shortened lives. Think of this too, the United States is the only country to use full scale nuclear weapons and might be doing that again soon. You must also consider depleted uranium penetrators that are being used on a daily basis by the US and Britton militaries.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                                                                        Albert Einstein

Vastly overdone, but I do not have time to deabte them all.

> If you manage to breathe in just one alpha particle your fate is sealed.

But you have had millions of radiation exposures, if not billions.  Radon decays inside your lings ALL the time (espeically if you live in a granite rock area), cosmic rays impenge ALL the time (more so at altitude).

PU239 has a half-life of ~24,000 years and it is dangerous chemically, not due to radioactivity.  Beryllium (which occurs naturally and NEVER decays) is almost as dangerous chemically.

Quite easy to practically isolate plutonium, bind it inside glass.  Not "good enough" politically, but that is just a political problem.

Future generations will dig up and recycle our nuclear waste, seeking the metals generated as by products of fission (platinum group mainly).

Well if we are waiting 24,000 years for Plutonium to go through one ½ life you might try to squeeze some time into the debate? Yes I managed to screw up my last post by using the Uranium ½ life to describe the length of time that waste would need to be maintained. This I saw but was unable to change since I can find no edit feature. Regardless 24K years is might as well be 4.5 billion years.

I am not at all sure how to address your note on Plutonium. First I want to say that you are wrong. Plutonium239 is a fissile alpha emitter. Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

Because of their charge and large mass, alpha particles are easily absorbed by materials and can travel only a few centimeters in air. They can be absorbed by tissue paper or the outer layers of human skin (about 40 micrometres, equivalent to a few cells deep) and so are not generally dangerous to life unless the source is ingested or inhaled. Because of this high mass and strong absorption, however, if alpha radiation does enter the body (most often because radioactive material has been inhaled or ingested), it is the most destructive form of ionizing radiation. It is the most strongly ionizing, and with large enough doses can cause any or all of the symptoms of radiation poisoning. It is estimated that chromosome damage from alpha particles is about 100 times greater than that caused by an equivalent amount of other radiation.

As for the crack about what they will be doing in the future, "digging up and recycle our nuclear waste" bla bla bla... I don't think we will get there since the results of exposure tend to look like this right now today from something 20 years ago...
For the folks that think DU is not anything other than nuclear war without the mushroom cloud I will make it easy for you. Here is what the soldiers see before or during deployment:
You can read the WHO DU guide here:
Here is the DOD statement:
Here is a 3rd party study:
Here is what happens when you are born:

Then there is the post after that says something like, "Nukes are the bridge between oil and the future (something quite unclear). They are safe enough and the waste will be shot off into deep space." I wish I could be shot out into deep space, away from the loons that went with these foolish ideas. Try to realize that all of us were born into an industrial world. Humans thrived for a great long time before the race began. At some point we must return to something like a pre-industrialization way of life. If you're busy clinging to your stock options and vacation pay then you will not be able to be self sufficient. You will die wile reaching for your dead Dell. I suppose when I look at input vs. output I see that the chances of human extinction as more then possible. When debating risk assessment of nuclear weapons and energy all you need to see are some pictures of the damage. Then you look at the total caloric expenditure (of all inputs, including all support costs) and compare it to what you derive. I can not imagine that making uranium balls of the quality needed will be cheap. I do know that when something eventually does go wrong there will be no amount of money that can get a life back. One major reactor accident 20 years ago and millions of lives were shattered. The plume exists today and is in your bones.

Depleted uranium is mostly U238. Wow, if it is dangerous someone should tell the President before he contaminates the world.

I think the environmental problems with nuclear power aren't much worse than burning coal. There is alot of misinformation out there. My geiger is never reading zero, so I must be doomed. I don't think nukes will be much help in replacing oil oil in the long run.

Depleted uranium is mostly U238. Wow, if it is dangerous someone should tell the President before he contaminates the world.

It would appear that vast numbers of people attempt to do so, on a daily basis. Depleted uranium is an alpha emitter and will damage your body if exposed. Just think about it rather than reacting. Spent fuel rods are processed and machined into various tips (also used as a counter weight in the fail section of passenger aircraft) that are from 30mm on up to cruse missiles. The uranium tip happens to be ideal in defeating heavy armor and thick walls of fortifications.

The unpleasantness enters the picture upon impact. Fine dust is created while the tip slices its way into lets say a tank. This dust will settle on objects or be blown in the wind. Eventually the dust enters the food chain and the water supply. At this point it enters humans who did no ingest or breathe the dust directly.

Farm animals live a short life compared to humans and the damage to animals is not as obvious since their lives are typically shortened by killing them to eat. Once their flesh is consumed by man the particles and damaged cells enter the soldiers, citizens and population.

In recent times the effects of exposure during the first Gulf war are materializing and in the past were coined Gulf War Syndrome. Birth defects are on the rise from US soldiers of Gulf War 1. Adding together all, of the spent DU used by Britton and the US in GW1 and GW2 is challenging at best. Some claims have the tonnage at 1500 tones. Others have the amount to be estimated substantially higher at 75000 tones.

Since the mid east is generally an arid place there is little hope of being able to clean it. DU is considered to be a low level isotope of Uranium. Thanks to reactors mankind has a fantastic supply of this material. Recently Aberdeen Proving Grounds found it necessary to stop testing these munitions and bulldozed there entire test area in an attempt to lower the concentration of surface contamination.

I think the environmental problems with nuclear power aren't much worse than burning coal. There is alot of misinformation out there. My geiger is never reading zero, so I must be doomed. I don't think nukes will be much help in replacing oil oil in the long run.

Have you ever seen a coal, oil or gas fired generating station explode and take with it hundreds of thousands of lives? Has the fallout area ever been considered using words like dangerous, deadly, hazardous, contaminated or radioactive? I will agree that the emissions from carbon based generators are dangerous, deadly, hazardous and contaminating the environment. Between the two, nuclear power offers the most potential for destruction.

Regardless of the type of generation station the costs exceed the potential output. The idea that you will replace oil (eventually) is the same idea that arose in the Carter years. Few listened and now we get global peak oil as the reward. The going philosophy regarding nuclear power is simply more of the same. We have had several giant warnings about nuclear dangers yet those warnings are over looked to avoid going back to farming, community, simplicity, clean air, clean water and dignity. You will note that I have not touched on the destruction caused by the mining process itself.

In the original post I mentioned that even though we are not at war with Iran our leadership uses words like, "nuclear solution is on the table, small scale nuclear bunker busters could be an option, it's a new day in age where preemptive wars will be necessary" and on and on. If that is not true then why say it?

Is it simply saber rattling? Guess what, I would rather not find out. Is it a "Cold War" adjustment? Guess what, war has always been about resources and nothing more. I think something that should trigger a great justified outcry regarding nuclear weapons and energy is this:

As rapid inflation and the devalued dollar begin to impact the USA, less resources will be available except for the wealthy. As things tighten costs will need to be cut. Eventually the care currently given to nuclear waste will begin to erode through lack of funding.

You can see how things are deteriorating in the US simply by opening your eyes. Our quality off life is dropping little by little. You are considered a hero if you can shave off expenses. Once the shaving starts with wastes chances of releases, mistakes, theft and fraud will take root. If we eliminated as much nuclear activity as possible while some oil remains, now, we would minimize our chances of being the ones that cause WW3, at least a nuclear WW3.

I didn't want to develop a nuclear fuel debate per say, as the weapons and fuel are tied together. I wanted to express my head, gut and heart and see what we could come up with as a method to disarm ourselves before all of the saber rattling leads to the inevitable. I see the hypocrisy in all of this, the US basis its invasion of Iraq on possible WMD that were not found. In that invasion, the invaders spread tones of DU across the mid-east. Now things are heating up here at home and we have targeted Iran.

I think NOW would be a good time to attempt adverting another war. I can't see how anyone can focus on the global resource depletion problem with WW3 hanging over our heads and hearts. Any solutions will take the resources we have left and need to be the focus. As the DOD chews up the Federal Reserve, our taxes and ultimately 6 million barrels of oil per battle group per day, we are closer to WW3 then we are to a solution.

This tells me that the powers that "be" think that population reduction is the only solution. Naturally they will not say that in the open. The US is headed for a "Super Depression" since capitalism only works during expansion. The solution will be a feudal lord system at best.

In the US as I type the powers that "be" have contracted Halliburton to build massive camps at various locations around the US. Who are those being built for? Couldn't those funds be used for something more upbeat like geo-thermal, wind, solar, fusion or the flux-capacitor? So while we talk about depletion of oil don't forget that everything is being depleted.

By the way if I'm 100% wrong then we manage to prevent another oil stealing war, avert a possible Nuclear WW3 and clean up our messes. If I'm correct even to a small degree and we do nothing at all I will look forward to seeing you on the other side after some serious suffering.

Depleted uranium is safer from a radioactivity POV than natural uranium (0.7% U-235, which isa much more radioactive).  Same chemical risk though as a heavy metal (lead is worse then U).

The average for the earth's crust is 2.8 ppm, seawater is 0.003 ppm uranium.  Uranium ore is much higher (see Iranian uranium ore deposits). Any DU being added to the ecosystem is trivial beyond the immediate area; and even there it is unlikely to raise local levels to that of granite rock, much less those who have lived for millenium on what is now called uranium ore.

So this whole "ecosystem" damage is just an unscientific liberal guilt cause.  We humans have lived with varying levels of uranium since we evolved.

BTW, it is NOT good to inhale heavy metals.  Lots of damage to gunnery range instructors and machine gunners from inhaled lead as one exmaple (except when steel jacketed rounds are used).

So this whole "ecosystem" damage is just an unscientific liberal guilt cause.  We humans have lived with varying levels of uranium since we evolved.

Uranium comes from mines. So if not for mining operations people, animals, fish and plants would not need to be concerned. Now that the uranium is topside and in concentrations we face bitter waters. Think about your own advice of not breathing in lead or heavy metals. So why wage war? I doubt that any good will come of it (war that is)? Political sides or liberalism have nothing to do with war. Humans are the most destructive thing ever to be released onto this planet. I fear that you are in denial of what is becoming more apparent. You are circumventing the basic debate by attempting to classify me. I happen to be saddened by your choice of sides. As it happens I am on the side of life and you veered off into death. Before you comment read as much as you can from here:
& here:
Then go back up to some of my prior posts and inspect as many of those links as you can. I don't value your judgment as sound nor do I value your opinion about DU weapons. If you can't see how all the systems of nature are under tremendous strain at this point (and that is being mild on my part) you will not be able to make wise choices. Again think about what you said in your post and then consider that nature does not provide uranium dust storms when in fact the military does provide them. Consider now what I profess to you in the fact that I don't want leukemia, thyroid cancer, lymphoma or any of the myriad of afflictions typically arising from the exposure to various radiation sources to be a factor in our lives. I don't think that I would choose you as a friend since you view a liberal person as a negative. If I were left or right you might have a different view or opinion making your soul purpose to shoot the messenger. You branded ecosystem with quotation marks as if to say, "Ecosystems don't exist!" You branded every word I typed here over numerous posts as, "Unscientific liberal guilt." Since you use the definition of a liberal by using Orwellian Newspeak, I can say in every sense I am a conservative as I appreciate a long boring life and limit risk taking as much as possible. A conservative person digs for as much information as possible before taking a risk, if at all. Now, what I'm going to say is a rhetorical question so you need not bother with a reply! I want to test how liberal the concept of survival is with this hypothetical question: Assuming that you have a family and one morning you awoke to find your house smack in the middle of (insert Iraq city here) would you allow your kids outside knowing that DU was in the local environment from recent military activity? Would you butcher chickens from that same yard to feed them to your family? Would you drink the water well or goat milk from the goat that survived in your yard? Would you do all that even though I just explained to you how ingesting an alpha emitter could be bad?
I hope you choose well,
> would you allow your kids outside knowing that DU was in the local environment from recent military activity?

No, I would wait for a couple of rainstorms and duststorms to dilute the minimal risk to below trivial.

Would you butcher chickens from that same yard to feed them to your family?


Would you drink the water well or goat milk from the goat that survived in your yard?

Yes. Some concern for heavy metal contamination in the water well for a limited time thereafter.  I would use neighbors well a few hundred meters away "for a while".  Would do same if they used lead bullets, but for longer.  Goat milk basically OK after a week or so.

> Would you do all that even though I just explained to you how ingesting an alpha emitter could be bad?

Since I took a course in toxicology, I would refer to that.

BTW, I, and thousands like me had the "Katrina Cough" after returning home in the early days.  Grey dust everywhere from evaporated floodwaters, contaminated by a variety of things.
An acceptable risk to get back to the city I love and start helping her rebuild.

an Alpha particle is a helium atom with no electrons....contact with one would steal electrons from an atom in your body and produce 1 atom of helium.  I don't see the threat.  The radiation from a commercial jet ride or a CAT scan is much more intense and damaging.  

If you are going to argue against something do it for the right reasons.  Nuclear fission alone is unsustainable, produces waste and will eventually peak.  It may provide needed energy while we wean ourselves from oil/coal but we need a fusion miracle or a massive solar/hydro program.

I'm sorry to report that it works quite differently in reality, Oilrig medic.  Alpha particles are, indeed, very dangerous to life:

"Because of this high mass and strong absorption, however, if alpha radiation does enter the body (most often because radioactive material has been inhaled or ingested), it is the most destructive form of ionizing radiation."

Fortunately, alpha particles are the easiest type of radiation to screen against.  Even a sheet of paper is usually sufficient shielding.  The danger comes from breathing or ingesting.

Very good but a different argument. he said inhaling 1 alpha particle not a particle of radioctive matter emitting radiation.  radiation is a boogeyman to some people but that only shows a lack of education on the subject.  an above post states massive coal burning as worse and I agree.
Consider this:
When you were young and in grade school history class, your teacher explained to you that Christopher Colombus proved the world was not flat and discovered North America. As it turns out that fact was not true. A national holiday was created in the honor of his discovery.

Now consider this:
I am not a professional writer. Naturally I was referring to the dust made of DU. The dust particles emit alpha particles while embedded in your lungs or in your digestive tract or in your eyes or in your ear canals.

After all of the photos, statements and studies, you are not willing to bend or at a minimum show deep concern for humanity. You chose to rationalize all of the negative aspects of nuclear weapons like DU. If you actually read many of the reports you would have learned that a good portion of the DU is not even fully depleted.

All of the current third party reports have been collaborated and checked. All of the DOD reports have been refuted by many physicists, biologists. Cancers are on the rise in all of the areas involved with DU. Cancers are on the rise in Chernobyl.

Cancer is nothing to toy with yet if your yard is the Iraq desert and is contaminated with DU you will be waiting for rain for a good long time. If it did rain the runoff would simply go into your water supply. I'm pretty sure a desert earns the title from lack of rain? You could have said that you will be moving to the US if your yard was in Iraq and that I would have accepted. Yet you would remain and your life would be shortened as a result. If you managed to survive modern warfare you would only live to suffer as is a current trend.

On the other hand, I would like to see the use of DU eliminated. I want nuclear weapons in the possession of my homeland to be dismantled so that the US will not be the one country that used these weapons several times. As far as I know the US formally apologized to Japan for dropping 2 bombs on them (for what that is worth). I see that stopping our aggression is an imperative. I want to see our current reactors decommissioned and no new reactors built at least until the matter is voted on as a referendum by the US citizenry.

Here is my reasoning based on our posting here. It is clear that you believe that nuclear power is essentially safe enough and worth the risk. You claim oil, gas and coal are worse then nuclear power and were we willing to transition to nuclear power we would be greener. I know that on a long enough time-line all of our chances of survival are ZERO. Since I don't know the exact moment and location of the next nuclear disaster the fact is any system set into motion over time will fail (note the oil situation we currently have).

Since accidents happen quite frequently the odds of a major disaster rise as more devices are constructed. Even the pebble reactor of a modular nature is constructed using off the shelve parts to control costs. Custom parts offer more chances to catch flaws during manufacture and thusly are safer and that much more costly. Component failures are common in any given system since time, wear, fatigue, exposure and cost attribute to something known as "component operational expectancy" other wise known as "nothing lasts forever." The human factor plays a roll as well since someone working in a given plant might miss a flaw or simply may have had a fight with his wife the night before.

Testing of components is difficult due to scale, location, nature, positioning and down-time. Reactors were built to foster revenue for the utilities that control them. Since reactors cost more to operate and construct then they are able to charge, they are considered net energy losers. This forces inspections that are based on MIL standards and adds to extending the overall life of a vessel beyond its normal decommissioning time. While the US tends to keep to the timetable the date is typically extended since the reactor is too expensive to replace and the old one has not likely even broken even. In England older plants continue to run that should have been decommissioned 15 years ago.

Reactors are built on the earth of all places and there are no guarantees that floods, earth quakes, war, wide-spread disease, eruptions or fires will not inflict damage to them. The statistical probability of a major accident increases as more reactors are built and this probability increases as you factor in nature. Now since the human factor needs to be accounted for in what are becoming wild times here and abroad, terrorism and military operations against a reactor raise the statistical probability even higher. I no longer have the numbers to plug in based on reactor age, operating time, weather, land shift, stress or war yet at one point the overall was considered 1000:1. With the advent of terrorism and events like 9-11 I would deduce that the odds are even tighter.

In living near Three Mile Island the damage from that release wile not as severe or widespread as Chernobyl is reflected in cancer rates. Thyroid cancer is on the rise in the Tri-State area. Officials always diffuse any connections to that release and partial meltdown to cancer rates since there are a vast number of ready made explanations of possible causes. As a fact every above ground weapon test, every major accident and every release in the world is in our bones. The fallout, waste and everything else on the Earth stays on the earth. The Van Allen Belts eternally harbor our quest for the ultimate power.

For me the three factors that make nuclear power generation most egregious are A) they are simply too dangerous and can be operated beyond their mean-time to live to recoup expenses. B) As oil depletes and debt increases tension will rise. Cut backs of staff will be made and procedures will be circumvented to keep the lights on. The electric grid will fail as it did a few years ago and they will need to be shut off anyway. C) Staggering numbers of tones of waste that will be here long after we pass will not be able to be dealt with by future resource poor inhabitants of the Earth. Containment will fail and these various high level radioactive materials will irradiate the remainder of this planet. When Chernobyl needs a new sarcophagus again (as it will over and over again) the materials, equipment at some point will not be available.

While there are concepts, plans and ideas to deal with a Chernobyl type accident in reality the best that could be done was to pour vast amounts of concrete at great expense and loss of life over the top. This shows that until something goes wrong, we a lulled into a false sense of confidence and security by the systems we make. When the inevitable happens we don't have any true plans or real options, except for some low tech concrete and sacrificial heroes to cover up the mess. Events like these will occur again if we continue to play with fire.

For several years I worked as a quality controller for a company that produced a tool called a "stud tensioner" for Naval Air Engineering and the entire nuclear industry globally. I have been exposed and serviced 2 failed tensioners while on their carrier rings above the reactor vessel head. In this case I was well trained and followed procedures to the T. I even thought it was exciting, rewarding and fun. That company is now defunct. This was due to the stoppage of commissioning new reactors years ago. I now stand on the side of the concerned citizens against insanity, foolishness and all WMD even DU. I will make a great cave man when the lights eventually go out.

I don't understand why they haven't gotten more attention from the media. For that matter, they are apparently still pretty esoteric to alternative energy folks:


It's probably too soon to tell if the design is completely foolproof, but since it runs at a smallish fraction of the power of conventional reactors, you sort of expect it to be more resistant to catastrophic episodes of criticality > 1.

Returned from 10 days up in the corn country a week ago. Been talking to a lot of ethanol advocates, seems that the corn farmers up there are not the ethanol advocates, as they are not the ones to be receiving any wind fall from their crops as yet. They mostly still have hope. When I talked to the advocates I usually say you know it takes 2.5 barrels of oil to produce 4 barrels of ethanol, while that same 2.5 barrels of oil could be providing 2 barrels of gas and distillate. They say, well it seems 4 barrels of ethanol is a lot better than 2 barrels of gas and distillate.  Then I say, Ya well when you start using 3 barrels of ethanol instead of 2.5 barrels of oil to produce your 4 barrels of ethanol you end up with only 1 barrel of ethanol, however the 2.5 barrels of oil provides 2 barrels of gas and distillate. So you are wasting away more than 1 barrel of oil for each barrel of ethanol that is produced. Then they come back with, you don't understand the system, or why don't you go back to Houston and pump oil. I say ya, when you have to start pumping it, the well is about dry, and most all the wells in this country are busy pumping. Just keep making ethanol and wasting oil and you will surely be up the creek without a sandwich at an earlier date.
I dont get it.

Using your figures:
2.5 barrels of crude -> (refinery) -> 2 barrels of usefull distilates
2 barrels of usefull distilates -> (farming and ethanol plant) -> 4 barrels of ethanol

4 barrels of ethanol have more energy content then 2 barrels of distilates, a small gain.

3 barrels of ethanol -> (farming and ethanol plant) -> 4 barrels of ethanol
A small gain of one barrel for each iteration.

Little energy gained for a lot of capital use. Where is the 1 barrel waste of oil?

The ethanol gain is equal to 70% of a barrel of distillate, however without the ethanol production you have 1.3 barrels of distillate left after you use the energy equivalent in .7 barrels of distillate that is used in place of the 1 barrel of ethanol.  
I still dont get it, could you assume I am 8 year old and try again?

I read your original post in this way:
2 units of refined product input is equal to 3 units of ethanol. And 3 units of ethanol as input plus infrastructure and sunlight gives 4 units of ethanol as output.

Was that wrong?

Try it this way:  If you use 3 barrels of ethanol to produce 4 barrels of ethanol you have 1 left to put in your vehicle.  If you have 2.5 barrels of oil to produce 1 barrel of petrol and 1 barrel of distillate, you have 1 for your auto and one for your tractor. 2 jobs versus 1 and a lot more effort. See where the waste is?
No, if I use 3 barrels of ethanol to produce 4 barrels of ethanol I get 4 barrels of ethanol to put in my wehicle.

Or I can put 1 barrel of ethanol in my wehicle and reinvest 3 barrels of ethanol to get 4 barrels of ethanol. This gives an unlimited number of barrels of ethanol delivered one at a time but there is a long time lag for each iteration.

Sounds like a plan to me. Just don't waste any fossil fuel. You make ethanol. I'll use draft animals to raise wheat, corn, oats, and barley and sell sandwiches. Have a nice day.   
The local inputs where I live is probably:
Fertilizer, natural gas.
Tractor and truck fuel, fossil diesel.
Destillation, steam from district heating biomass burning plants.
Other process energy, electricity from hydro and nuclear.
(Probably contracted with green certificates to be associated with wind powerplants and so on. )

I think the most likely local development is that the fossil diesel will be complemented with RME and then replaced by a mixture of RME and FT-diesel made at pulp plants from black liquor.
Biogas is another possibility.
And perhaps we will make hydrogen for making fertilizer and adding to the pulp plants FT-diesel pruction from a combination of additional nuclear powerplants, cogeneration plants, wind power and savings.

Using draft animals sounds like a nice hobby but not as a rational way of powering a farm. It would do if you lack capital for investing in a herd of cows and a biogas plant.

First let me say that at my age everything is a hobby. I harnessed and hitched up my last team of horses in 1948. That was also the year my father bought a tractor, and the year I left home for school. I grew up in a Swedish community and attended Augustana Swedish Lutheran church. My father farmed 65 Hectares of black river bottom loam ground for 50 years with 6 draft horses until he purchased his first tractor. Life in those years was nearly fossil fuel free, much hard labor, and rather stress free. I am a first generation American. My father was born in Northern Germany and came to this country at the age of 4,
in the year 1891. I have only one more question to ask. There was an old custom in the Swedish community.  The men would get together for their morning and afternoon coffee, they would pore the hot coffee into a saucer and place a sugar cube between their lips and teeth and drink the coffee through the sugar cube from the saucer. They would hold the saucer upright with both elbows on the table and talk about the days events while sipping their coffee. Is this an old Swedish custom or a learned custom particular to Swedish Americans?
The coffee break is a strong tradition, it has survived everywhere in Sweden in almost all workplaces. A short break to drink coffee and eat some sweet bread and chat about the days events. It works as social glue in the workplace and as a standing informal micro meeting. It usually involves everybody regardless of sex and hierarchy within a short physical radius in the workplace. If someone in a large company designes one large cafeteria for everybody to meet in one place you will within a few days get spontanious clusters of chairs and a coffe machines hidden in a cupboard in every other place.  

Hard sugar cubes have almost disappeared in favor of fast dissolving sugar cubes. I suspect that drinking your coffee on the saucer is associated with very hot coffee made by boiling the grounds in a pot. Filtered coffee has replaced boiled coffee in manny regions and I think drinking on the saucer disappeared with it. My impression is that this custom was at least Swedish and arrived with reasonably expensive hard sugar and then disappeared due to changes in available sugar and easier to make coffee. Locally it is associated with very old people and the change of habit might have been an old generation separator, I suspect the habit became "uncool" manny decades ago.  

Amusing...well, not really. Slate has a piece in their "Explainer" column about the ExxonMobil boycott email. They base their answer on Tim Haab's previous blog post on Environmental Economics about why a boycott of EOM would never have the effect of lowering the price of gas to $1.30/gal.

That in itself isn't that remarkable. What is remarkable is the following introduction to the Slate piece:

The governing board of Bee County, Texas, has called for a boycott of ExxonMobil gas stations starting Monday. According to a poll conducted by the Beeville Bee-Picayune, 72 percent of county residents will participate; they hope to force pump prices down to $1.30 a gallon.

I know I shouldn't find these sorts of stories remarkable anymore, but I'm sorry! I can't help it! (I also shuddered when a colleague sent me the boycott email with the following preface: "Here's an ideal opportunity to protest corporate greed -- with your wallet and without hurting yourself!" As if it even matters for people living in NYC. I don't even have a car right now.)
Personally, I've been boycotting them all for the last two years. Ah New York.

The link below is to a Norwegian blog posted April 30 (scroll down a little) and contains a diagram (in English and clickable) showing world NGL (Natural Gas Liquids; ethane, propane, butane) from Jan 2001 through Jan 2006 as reported by EIA (Energy Information Administration). Reported NGL production has so far had an annual high in 2003 with a monthly high in Nov 2003 and has since been in slight decline.

(Data released from EIA including Feb 2006 shows NGL's  flat relative to Jan 2006)


Anyone know about other sites reporting NGL production to such a detail as EIA?

A couple of production stories:

Saudi Aramco: Achieving At Least 100% Reserve Replacement

State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (SOI.YY) said Monday it's achieving "at least" 100% replacement of the crude oil reserves it's producing.

"In the last ten years, we have been adding to our reserves at least the amount of crude we've produced in the previous years," Saudi Aramco chief executive Abdallah Jum'ah told an audience attending a Saudi-U.S. energy forum here.

Jum'ah attributed Saudi Arabia's ability to maintain "or even increase" its reserves to technological advancements. Saudia Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, reportedly holds about 270 billion barrels of crude reserves.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., another MMS report:

Hurricanes destroyed 113 petro platforms

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 113 petroleum production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal agency overseeing offshore drilling said Monday.

The storms also damaged 457 pipelines connecting production facilities in the Gulf and bringing oil and natural gas to shore -- a sharp rise from the 183 damaged pipelines identified in January, the Minerals Management Service said.

Interruption of the Gulf supply has played a role in the recent round of record-high oil and gasoline prices. Officials have said that it is likely that as much as a fifth of the Gulf's normal daily oil production of 140,000 barrels will still be off market when the next hurricane season begins on June 1.

The MMS warned that additional damage likely would be discovered as more underwater inspections are conducted.

"State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (SOI.YY) said Monday it's achieving "at least" 100% replacement of the crude oil reserves it's producing."

If I had 270 billion barrels of reserves, I wouldn't feel the need to make statements like this.

Yeah, I don't think anyone believed it.  Brent crude set another record today, and Nymex crude is right up there.  
The statement was in reply to a specific question
about consistant reserve numbers.

On 21 April 2006 you said:

I wish folks would post their references when they make absolute statements.
Can you give a link to the question/response re reserve numbers please? I'd be interested to read the specific exchange.

[Not doubting you, I just want to know what was said]

Sorry I would have, but I was watching a replay on
C-Span-2 about 10 PM CDT.
CSPAN replayed it this morning on the West Coast and will probably it again. Quite boring. Exxon's new CEO was rading a lot of corporate propaganda. You can probably get the same material at Exxon's web page.
Why does TOD have such a low google pagerank?  Its got a 2 but has 3000+ backlinks.  I've seen many sites with PR of 5,6,7 with fewer than 1000 backlinks.  For reference, see www.oilscenarios.info.  It has a PR of 5 with only 49 backlinks.  The only thing I think that could cause this is the site design.  Has anyone here tried to optimize for search engine placement?  
Too many external links are draining pagerank.  
I am from Germany, and Peak-Oil is hardly mentioned here at the moment. There were some discussions last August.

We have endless discussions about high energy costs, though. Gasoline is at 1,40 EUR/l now, that should be about 7$/g. The news keep telling it's all because of Iran.

Gasoline consumption has decreased by some 6% from January to March, so there is at least some reaction. Trains and subways are getting more crowded, and more and more people try their bikes again.

Nobody seems to think about an oil crash. Unlike Sweden, our government wants to phase out nuclear, not oil. Germany is very big in wind power, but you can't drive your car that way. Today the government decided to tax biodiesel and such with 10ct/l.

The public here is well aware of Global Warming, but clueless about Peak-Oil.

Couldn't agree more.  The general public can't seem to grasp the difference between energy for electrial generation vs. liquid fuels for transport.  C'est la vie.
Its unfortunately not that rational in Sweden.

Our current Swedish socialist government wants to phase out both oil and nuclear power since their green and communist allies demand a phase out of nuclear power. But they do not believe in it so the actual decisions have been the closure of two reactors and an ok to massive renovations and upratings of the ten left.

These closures have been made in cooperation with the most green tinted opposition party "Centerpartiet" wich makes the four party opposition allince hestitate in deciding for an energy policy. Abandoning nuclear power is an old issue that only is supported with a minority but we still have some older politicians that will give nearly everything to have such closures as the finest moment of their careers.

The no oil in 2020 initative is making people more peak oil aware but an oil crisis in the summer before the election could do a lot for the issue. The biggest issue is unemployment but it is hard to do anything direct about that, I would prefer rationalizations in our state and getting its institutions to work better and much more preparations for peak oil including making our country attractive for energy hungry industries. Finland seems to get it, I have recently read a news report that they have started the PR work to get public acceptance and investors for a sixth nuclear reactor in addition to the fifth they are currently building.

One intresting player in this is the cooperative farmers "union"/"lobby" LRF who is arguing that biofuels could give 35000 jobs and that is a lot in a 9 million population and I find their reasoning to be good. Such suggestions seems to be picked up all across the political spectrum in Sweden. We got an industry intrest in prepairing for peak oil and doing something about global warming. Its not only greens lobbying, manny municipialities dearly want better railways to be part of the growing regions and manny industries argue for better railways. But we do not invest as much as the Swiss. I think we could invest more withouth saturating the entrepreneurs with work.

I have not observed anything radically new happening, only an increase in pace and old plans being brought up on the table and more initatives and dreams in municipiality planning such as: http://www.helsingborg.se//upload/Nyheter/Startrapp%20A12%20060201.pdf
an 8 MB PDF in Swedish, a record for a bad reference? Page 15-17 have some zoning maps and artwork, 19 a map of the unusually dense rail network in the southern tip of Sweden, red is double track, dotted lines are proposed but not decided projects, some of the shown tracs are not yet finished and some are being quadrouple tracked.

And to continue the rail theme, a track map of Sweden: http://www.banverket.com/templates/StandardTtH____3641.asp

What might be in place or building in 2015:

106 pages of detailed railway network status for hard core fanatics or people planning actual rail transports:

I clicked on your link and was told that banverket does not exist.

Please check (I am of those 106 page people :-)

And Swedish reads a bit like pidgin Icelandic :-P Just no Þ

"...all about Iran."  Well, your news is kinda, halfway right in a backwards way.  It's all about the good ol' USA.

Siggi, I don't know how old you are, but the US wants the MidEast of the present to be like the Germany of the 50's.  Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing.  

I somewhat agree, but nobody in Germany seems to question the idea that oil is a finite resource, and that it will run out. And this has resulted in long term planning and investment over a generation to handle this truth. Whether the planning and investment is adequate is another debate.

It is true that the implications of peak oil on society are not widely discussed, though from what I can see/read, both BMW and Mercedes are very aware of various implications. (I live near a number of Mercedes factories - car, truck, bus, and Unimog.)

What is very difficult for a German to comprehend is that most Americans have a real problem accepting the idea that oil is a finite resource which will run out - this is why the U.S. has done essentially NOTHING to deal with that fact for a generation.

And you noticed the rational reaction here to higher gas prices - use the trains, use a bike, walk to the store or bakery (the U.S. does not have local bakeries in any real sense). This is not possible in most of the United States. And I mean not possible - there are no trains to use, and many areas where people work and shop are physically cut off by highways/major streets without any sort of crossing/bridge - and of course, no sidewalk.

My German wife, when we lived in America, absolutely could not believe this, but she had to accept it. She couldn't believe anyone would be so stupid as to build a giant mall which could not be walked or bicycled to at all, even with thousands of people living less than 2 kilometers away - but that is the state of the art of building infrastructure in America.

Most Americans are trapped in their cars, and most Americans seem blind to this fact. This fact is one reason so much of the peak oil discussion is American. Germans can imagine living without cars (though the problems would be immense in many ways)- Americans can't imagine it, and when they do, it looks like total social collapse. This is one reason so many American peak oil discussions also involve the idea that huge amounts of humanity will die-off. Some of those believers are also convinced that 90% of the population of Germany (like the same 90%+ everywhere) will starve to death in the following years when oil supplies begin to decline. And if you argue with them, you will be accused of being in denial or not facing the hard cold facts.

Much of the American discussion is really not relevant to the wider world.

I realy have to earn enough money to visit this strange country while it is close to its car addiction peak. And it would be nice to watch one of the last space shuttle launches, a pity you can not do it close up and that NASA have stopped doing night launches.
Well, America is a really big place - it takes a good month to just get a feel for a region and a city or two.

And North America is a fantastic continent, which Europe can't really compete with, in my eyes.

Some parts of America don't even really seem connected to the rest - NYC is truly part of America, but it isn't 'typical.'

In a lesser sense, the same can be said for small town New England, the older, historical East Coast cities, and the Bay Area. (If I knew anything about New Orleans personally, I would add that city too, though currently it is having a few technical problems.)

Quite honestly, I doubt you would be all that interested in 'typical' America - for one thing, most people who live there wouldn't have any time for you in their lives anyways. Free time is another concept which seems to have simply slipped away in the last few decades, to the point that it is almost impossible to imagine Americans having three weeks of free time, simply to do nothing but enjoy living.

Americans have such a superior way of life, they can't share it with anyone by taking a month off - there are bills to pay, health insurance to worry about it, and these days, it is likely to be a marker in some terrorist detection program anyways.

But really, visiting North America is truly worthwhile. And being Swedish, Homeland Security will only take your picture and fingerprints entering and leaving the country, as their memento of your visiting the land of the free.

Great post.
Well said and quite correct, expat.
Had to laugh at the last paragraph of this NYTimes article, As Gas Prices Rise, Detriot Sales Decline:

Shutting down plants and getting rid of employees will not ease all G.M. and Ford's woes, so the two companies are looking to their product portfolios to help accelerate their turnarounds. Especially at G.M., large S.U.V.'s will play a huge role.


"From a competitive standpoint, we're better than anybody else -- you can look at it from any performance metric," said Paul Ballew, G.M.'s chief sales analyst. "We're king of the hill."

So is that why "G.M.'s sales declined 7 percent.... Toyota's sales grew nearly 9 percent and Honda's increased 7 percent."?

Maybe it's still a little step forward, when you've got someone from GM actually using the word Metric.  That's very continental of him..
Believe it or not, sales of GM's large new SUVs were extremely strong.  From the same NY Times article:

For now, G.M.'s new S.U.V.'s are selling well. Last month, the company said sales of its Yukon and Tahoe were up more than 30 percent. Escalade sales jumped by 127 percent.

The GM SUVs have something they call Active Fuel Management, which switches engine operation between four and eight active cylinders.  This allows the vehicles to achieve better fuel economy than, say, a Toyota Sequoia.


National Hummer sales nearly tripled from 2,220 sales in March 2005 to 6,125 in March 2006, according to research by Autodata Corp., a Woodcliff Lake, N.J., company that tracks automotive statistics. Sales increased each month this year, the data showed. (Source)

One area where GM fell down was in car sales, specifically fleet sales (rental, corporate, government), in an attempt to improve resale values (Source).

(I'm not saying that I think GM has a winning long-term strategy, just that this is what they are doing right now, and it seems to be working after one quarter.)

Ford had results more like what one would expect in the face of high gas prices: Explorer sales down 42%, F-150 down 9% (Source) . Sales of the Escape Hybrid were strong.

Oh, I don't doubt that they're selling a lot of SUVs right now. I just found it amusing to hear "We're king of the hill!" in the face of overall declining sales and imminent bankruptcy.
Hey everyone, Congress is taking the $100 rebate and the gas tax cut off the table - NY TIMES

However, they still seem pretty clueless:

Even as they distanced themselves from the rebate, Republicans sought to show voters they were taking the escalating gas prices seriously. Speaker J. Dennis Hastert met privately today with Rex Tillerson, the head of ExxonMobil, and House Republicans were planning to consider two pieces of legislation on Wednesday to outlaw price gouging and spur new refinery capacity.

Mr. Hastert said Republicans wanted to make certain Americans were not victims of price manipulation but he said that current increases appear "disconnected from supply and demand. We need to know why that is happening," he said.

Hmm...supply is flat and demand continues to rise...that's exactly what is "happening". Perhaps they need to read our joint statement. Perhaps they need to understand peak oil (or are they just playing coy?)

They may not know or want to know. They probably rightly figure that looking like they have good intentions is what they need to do. When things get tough they can say they didn't know, it was all a big surprise, blame it on SA for their lies and deceipt, we did what we could.
Barbara and I downsized from 2 cars to 1.  The one car we now have is a 1999 Mazda 4 cylinder getting 30 MPG.  I also own an electric bicycle that I use for short errands.  Everyone talks about hybrid cars today, but this combination works better, IMO.  You might want to check out my Ego electric scooter at: http://egovehicles.com/ They have some video clips of it in action.  In the event of a real crisis these vehicles will be in serious demand.
Does your Ego actually meet the published performance specs, range, speed, etc.?  It gets good marks on the sites I've perused.

I looked at the website for those electric scooters, and it sounds like there is some question as to whether they are street legal in the U.S.  How does this thing work in your area?  Do you need to register it?  Any kind of license needed?
Thanks for the endorsement of the eGO.  I'd been looking at it already, in fact, and glad to see someone has one and likes it.
I just love these maps, and they just released one's for oil.

Crude Oil: Importers,  Exporters

Refined Oil: Importers, Exporters


i am a renter, i relocate alot, now i live in las vegas, i would like some ideas on when and where to relocalize.  new to peak oil want to avoid the gov camps.
plus- i am a sheeple auto mechanic thinking of moving to the midwest and working on farm equipment(entry level).

i know this is probably the wrong website to ask this type of question if anyone has any suggestions please help.

rich in vegas

The future is uncertain.  There are MANY possible scenarios of what could happen as oil supplies tighten up.  "Wrestling with  Jello" is an apt description of trying to plan.

"Cover all bases" and do, and live, where and how you want to are part of the "solution".

There is general agreement that you need to reduce/get out of debt and save "a bit".  If Vegas is a good place to do that, AND you enjoy living there, perhaps you should hang in there for another year, perhaps two.

Farm equipment is going to be in demand for some time.  Most oil exporters import food.  Find an area where you like the people and "fit in".  Not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter with some woods (for firewood) as part of the landscape.

Another possibility is getting work in a hydroelectric power plant or the FAST growing area of wind turbines.

Picking up some side experience on bicycles cannot hurt, BTW.

Just thoughts.

Best Hopes,


What did Secretary Bodman mean by this?  In 2-3 years what new supplies over depeletion will come available?

"The oil has gone up because the suppliers are unable to make the flows equal to the demand," he said. "... Clearly, it's going to be a number of years, maybe two to three years, before suppliers are going to be able to keep up with those demands."

The Inevitable Collapse of the Greenback
Mike Whitney


"America is now facing a slow-motion meltdown that could escalate into a widespread run on the dollar. Attacking Iran will only aggravate the situation and push tenuous states towards new alliances. (China, India, Venezuela and Russia have already expressed support for the new bourse)

If the bourse opens as scheduled they'll be no turning back. The Bush administration is loaded with hawks who still believe the issue can be resolved through force. They have learned nothing from Iraq.

Military action will do nothing to relieve America's enormous account imbalances or lesson the vulnerability of the ailing greenback. The dollar is teetering on the brink and it's about to get a big shove from behind.

Big changes are coming whether we want them or not."

That last line is truly an understatement!!!

Ya, I've been following the bourse story for a while and don't think it'll be as big anissue as that guy thinks. It may have effect with time and that may even be a good reason for the US to act on it. But stranger about that article is it's inflmnatory rhetoric and some things I just can't figure what he means. Doesn't the trade deficit represent imbalances in trade? And those would be between US business and foreign business, meaning that the US us buying much more than it's selling, in private hands. Where does that weird statement about the government needing a cashflow of $2 billion a day to cover that come from? It sounds like verbiage to me but then I'm not an economist either.
LOS ANGELES - The parent company of Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and Town & Country Credit said Tuesday it will close 229 branch offices and lay off 3,800 employees nationwide as part of a plan to consolidate its retail mortgage lending operations.

The restructuring by Orange-based ACC Capital Holdings Corp. is designed to cut costs and help the lender stay competitive, company officials said.

The job cuts amount to a one-third reduction of ACC Capital's work force of 11,000. All branch offices of Ameriquest and Town & Country will be closed, with operations consolidated in several large regional locations.

"We are moving strategically and decisively to remain a leader in an industry that is undergoing fundamental changes," CEO Aseem Mital said in a statement.

The downsizing came as rising interest rates have put a damper on the once-booming loan refinancing market, particularly the sub-prime business, which is often geared toward homeowners looking to cash in equity to pay off mounting debt at a lower interest rate.


That's a big cut!


... And yes, the Secretary of Energy is also hip to hybrids and plug-in hybrids. More specifically, Bodman announced that the Department of Energy's Advanced Energy Initiative is seeking $6.7m to aid in the further development of plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV's). Well, that's great, but that figure stands in pathetic contrast to the Exxon exec's retirement fund. Let's face it: the federal government loses more than $6.7m in spilled coffee every day. If America is going to end its so-called oil addiction, we're not going to do it by trying to pay for our rehab with pocket change.


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