If the Oil runs out- the BBC starts looking at post-peak oil

Well here I am sat by the tele, waiting for the BBC show, If the Oil Runs Out, the facts upon which they base it being given here.

Pause while 3,550,000 barrels of oil are consumed, (the show mentions that) and what did I think?

Well I could begin by suggesting they had the wrong buttons on the drill bit, but that would be a bit facetious. In a very small nutshell, it tracks a family during the time that the first well is drilled in ANWR, (in 2016) at the same time that President Chavez in Venezuela pulls his country out of OPEC, and that Saudi and China get together to do a goods for oil swop. Oil prices rise and the consequences are transiently illustrated through the impact on the family (losing job, long gas lines, food prices up, aspirin (an oil product) out of stock, and the like). The well is being drilled in the purported last hope for oil. And it does not find the 250 m of oil that was anticipated. But seven months later they are through the crisis and into another world.

In some ways it was more like the Oil Storm that Fox put out in 2005, in terms of the impacts that they showed. But in that regard, as the site has commented many times, expecting that this won't happen until 2016 is way overly optimistic. They had Sheik Yamani and Matt Simmons with quotes, and one of the commentators sounded like Julian Darley, but I didn't see a credit for him. Further, as with Oil Storm, the suggestion was that everything suddenly happens at once. And this was despite the practice, early in the programme, of breaking to recite the facts pertinent to the scene that had just taken place.

There were, however, a number of technical errors relative to the story, particularly in terms of how the rig would be run, and the line about the difficulty in hitting a target 50 m across at a depth of 2,500 m. As a point of reference, at the last Peak Oil meeting in Denver there were a couple of drillers who gave a presentation - they talked about steering a bit down a track within a foot. So, for what it is worth, the drilling section was much more out of Campbell's Kingdom than the operations of a major oil company in the 21st Century.

The disappointment was, that as with Oil Storm, and the CNN version of the same story We Were Warned, the story sensibly stops at the peak of the crisis and says, "Gee, well seven months later everything is OK again." Gentle Cough! (3 times) Um, no it isn't.

They could have mentioned some of the things that are being put in place to ameliorate some of the problems between now and then, to show that it won't be total global disaster for everyone. They could have mentioned Russia (the second largest current producer of oil), they could have mentioned the problems with NG, well I could go on listing "coulda, shoulda' things but the list would get very long and so I will refrain, and merely suggest that it is, in many ways a very optimistic view of what will occur in terms of when. On the other hand I thought it overly pessimistic in terms of the speed of the collapse (even though they justified it with shots from 1973 and Sheik Yamani at his peak). I have commented earlier that it might be that way in the future, but I suspect that we are already in the period of adjustment and that a slower transition will reduce the immediate severity of some of the situation. (Though not, I fear for such countries as Bangladesh, where lack of fuel means that the rice did not get planted, and thus there will not be enough food).

But it was at least a start in bringing this to the European public attention, although at 11:20 pm start I am not sure that there was that much of an audience.

In other news, it should be noted that the Japanese and Chinese continue to talk about collaborating on energy savings, as well as considering their current disagreements.

Japan and China are also locked in a simmering stand-off over developing gas fields in the East China Sea.

The two sides disagree over the position of the border between their exclusive economic zones in the East China Sea, and Japan fears that energy-hungry China's exploitation of the area could tap into resources in its own zone.

"The two countries have agreed that they will seek to resolve the issue by making the East China Sea the sea of cooperation," said Nikai, known for his close ties to China. "I hope the issue will be resolved at an early date through mutual efforts."

Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said closer cooperation on energy and the environment could vastly improve bilateral ties.

"If we can cooperate well in the fields of energy saving and the environment, the people of the two countries will benefit, and I believe it will push up Sino-Japanese ties to a new stage," Bo told the forum. "China and Japan are eternal neighbours."

Resource-poor Japan, which has been developing energy-saving technology since a global oil crisis in 1973, has been helping China reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a part of international efforts to combat global warming.

Finally traveler notes: some time ago I tried to explain some of the problems at Abqaiq by making reference to floating cream on coffee after dinner, a habit from my decadent student youth. Well, having come back to the part of the world where I learned the habit, it appears to be withering away and impractical since, these days what they serve as cream didn't float in the restaurants at all but one place that I ate at (the exception - the South Causey Hotel). So maybe no-one understands that analogy - ah, well!

And a couple of pictures to illustrate the post of the other day, first the pit pony in the roundabout.

I will come back to this in a short while in a comment that will relate to recent comments on the EROI of coal. And secondly a picture of the old and the new.

The old pit wheels buried in cement are in the foreground, the new energy is shown by the wind turbines in the background, and the contribution from biofuels perhaps illustrated by the very thin line of yellow rapeseed within the green of the hillside. Note that this was once a mine, and it is just outside the village of Shotton Colliery (which no longer has one).

I am not sure, given the travel of the next few days, that I will be back before next week, though I will try and put in the comment on coal - it depends on how bumpy the flight is later today.

Hugo Chavez still alive in 2016? The mafia hit man have not gotten to him? Sheese...
That or Pat Robertson's Holy Henchmen...
Or maybe Venezuelans tired of his typical political doubletalk. I don't find Chavez any more credible than Bush. He's a grandstander of exactly the same type - a shallow man, a showboater riding on the ignorance of those around him. That two such men end up facing down one another from positions of power ought to tell you reams about society's chances of dealing with a serious crisis. People don't want to be told the truth. They want whatever warm fuzzy lies some "leader" can manufacture and Chavez is just as adept at manufacturing useless and equally false socialist "truths" as Bush is at manufacturing capitalist "truths" to placate people. Eventually someone will tire of him and since he won't ever be replaced by a real election, he'll instead get demoted by bullet. At least in the US we turn over our compost pile every 4-8 years without resorting to violence (so far).
Would the purchaser of the bullet be from that country that turns over the pile without violence (as others have suggested on this site)?
Perhaps. But I also tire of the leftist conspiracy mantras that lay every ill of mankind at the feet of the US government. Surely some of those belong there but not every one. People are corrupt in more places than the US. The "Great Game" is played by all nations and always has been. Maybe that bullet will be bought with US funds. But maybe it will be bought with French, German, English, Russian, or Chinese funds too.
If it is bought by one of those countries, the USA will get blamed. Why? Because this current administration doesn't know how to check their collective egos (and mouths) at the door. Hardly a week goes by when they are not threatening violence against some country. I guess it is because their sheeple followers get a vicarious feeling of (imagined) power.
Since I was a school kid I've always asked how we check the government.  I can clearly see now that we don't.  I mean really, if the gov't does something that we oppose, who's leading the charge to stop it?  No one.  If so many people are in such dire positions, then why aren't dire reactions happening?
  I've seen you post the word sheeple several times.  When a wolf runs into a herd, the herd splits into smaller groups to evade.  Stragglers get eaten.  Since you are saying/regurgitating the same rhetoric as many people, are you not a sheeple in the left herd?  Or do you have wisdom placing you above all others?


Why the left herd?
How should we interpret Goldman Sach's doctrine about the prediction of the oil price, which states that the oil price cannot be higher than Non OPEC producers' marginal cost, plus a reasonable profit?

This doctrine is, in some senses, valid even today. The problem is how to measure Non OPEC producers' marginal cost. Russia and Mexico are two important Non OPEC producers. But both of their oil companies are controlled by their governments which serve the interests of their states, and both of them have an OPEC observers' statures.

So, oil majors set up the price of the Non OPEC production costs. Like TOT, British Petroleum, XOM operates in 40 countries. Its cost should represent the cost of Non OPEC producers. We should not measure its production cost by counting its fixed assets. A lot of oil fields XOM acquired 10 or 20 years were on $15 to $20 oil and many of them have been written off. What we are concerned is present or 10 years off production cost.

One easy way to measure its marginal cost is to observe its shareholders' perception and expectation of XOM's future production cost. Today, XOM p/e is 10, BP is 10, COP is 6. That means millions of individuals and institutional share holders do not believe and do not expect XOM, in 10 years off, will enjoy a low marginal production cost and big volumes of future output. It is a common sense that investors will give a company high p/e ratio if they believe the company will have means to reduce the operating cost and increase output volumes.

In 1980, the oil price was high like today in real price terms. The oil majors enjoyed an average p/e ration above 30. And oil companies and oil service companies accounted for 30% of S & P 500 value. Because 25 years ago investors believed that oil majors had the capacity to hand on the low cost of the oil fields and increase output (output increases itself means cost reduction).

At the oil price of $72 today, shareholders believe that the future XOM's production cost will be $64 a barrel, because they put the former XOM's p/e ration at 9.

One caution: Most predictions of the future based on today's prices are inaccurate. What investors expect in 2006 doesn't mean much. In 1999 huge valuations were put on companies that don't even exist in 2006.
And that makes perfect sense when one realizes that corporations are often just complex ponzi schemes designed to fill the coffers of those at the top, until the ship sinks and they fly away in their gold-plated choppers, leaving pensioners and average "investors" holding the bag.  
To be a real Ponzi scheme, a company has to sell expectations, without selling any real product.

Now, in my experience companies talk a grander story about the "value added" they provide to customers than may really be the case ... but it is hard to find too many surviving companies that really get away without providing some value.

Coke and Pepsi deliver that sugar water (oops, I mean corn syrup).  To be Ponzi schemes, they'd have to just promise to deliver that soda ... sometime in the future.

Actually, you can run a Ponzi scheme that sells real products. The definition of a Ponzi scheme is that the return to investors is coming from the new investment money brought in, not from profits on operations. Any business that is drawing in new investment capital while running a loss on current operations is possibly, but not necessarily a Ponzi scheme (even if a real product is sold).Once the new investment capital dries up, the whole thing collapses.  
I think the key in a Ponzi scheme is representing new investments to old investors as 'profits.'  That's pretty different from making any kind of genuine investment and hoping for a return.

Ponzi himself started with a business model, which might have worked as a very small scale operation (trading postage coupons), but he went off the rails when investment swamped the opportunity, and he started cycling new investment back as false 'profit.'

Now, could another company make that unfortunate transition?  Perhaps.  But what I'm striking at is the idea that modern corporations (corporations that borrow?) can glibly be labelled as Ponzi schemes when they are not funneling back new investment, and presenting it as 'profit' on their balance sheets.

Various companies have been caught doing that (Enron is one). Falsifying revenue (and thus profits) is one of the most common schemes out there.
Yes, Enron got caught doing an indirect sort of Ponzi scheme.  That's why some of their people are going to jail.

It's good to know what a real Ponzi scheme really is, because that helps us spot them.  Like in Enron.  The problem with blanket statements that "everything is Ponzi" is that it dilutes the meaning of the phrase.

Now, remember the (long) sentence I was replying to:

"And that makes perfect sense when one realizes that corporations are often just complex ponzi schemes designed to fill the coffers of those at the top, until the ship sinks and they fly away in their gold-plated choppers, leaving pensioners and average 'investors' holding the bag."

Surely they've got that backwards?
The oil price cannot be lowerthan Non OPEC producers' marginal cost, plus a reasonable profit ...

otherwise they will leave it in the ground (which will force prices up).

It's hard to see how they can reach such a conclusion : visibly, oil producers are conservative about investing in high-cost fields, and there are long lead times in bringing those fields into production. So there is plenty of scope for demand (and speculation) driving prices much higher than marginal cost of the most expensive producing fields.

It is wrong to compare p/e's of today's oil companies with that of those in 1980. Between 1972 and 1980 the nominal price increased 9x, and many pundits were guessing prices would fairly soon triple from the then $35/barrel. Investors were willing to pay very high p/e's in the hope that prices and profits would continue to climb, maybe forever. In the event, new oil from the far north, the north slope, the north sea, and siberia,  plus fuel switching from oil to nukes and coal, combined with reduced consumption, resulted in sharply lower oil and shares prices.

We have now seen prices rise nearly 3x from the previous opec controlled $25 level.  Eventually, investors will conclude that higher prices are not just here to stay but will continue to climb, resulting in sharply higher shares and p/e's, particularly for the smaller e&p's that manage to increase reserves but even for those with less success, such as the largest oil firms. Consider that in 1980 there was no talk of peak oil - imagine how high prices might go if tod's conclusions become widely shared. 3x 75 = 225, which I expect to be reached before most have accepted the awful truth.

The use of 2016 is way too safe assessment, given the fundementals of the oil supply system.  Using that date and and an "all better" ending is WORSE than not talking about it.  Clueless/unopinionated people tuning in won't be lulled/biased by a false message and would potentially more receptive when discussion of the true nature of the problem really commences.

If all the MSM can offer is useless information, why bother.

To buoy your spirits, try this excerpt from Noam Chomsky's "Failed State". As if anyone needed to be reminded.
Of course TOD trolls will dis Professor Chomsky as readily as they do Señor Chavez by calling him by his given name. No matter, Hugo has more huevos than George or the others.
Hi xaxat,

You couldn't be more right about TOD trolls.  I am convinced these people are paid to be obtuse.

Our failed state (the USA) is inhabited by trolls who are indeed paid to be obtuse.

It is difficult to believe a thing if one's paycheck and comfortable living depend upon not believing it, or at least depend upon acting as if it is not true.  Hence, we who inhabit the USA -- and many other folks as well -- can be pretty obtuse about peak oil, global climate change, and so forth.

If the BBC "If the Oil Runs Out" disinfotainment show falls short, as have other disinfotainment shows about the topic, perhaps it is because the people who make the shows and the people who watch them are co-opted.  We are paid to make up stories that keep us all compliant.

Even so, one can do one's bit to prepare and to share the wonderful news of peak oil at every opportunity.  Our chances of success (surviving and thriving) look grimmer as the days go by, but then there are always surprises.

Unless, maybe, we've also reached "peak surprises" in which case there will be fewer and fewer of those around as well.

Hey, beggar,

I have a feature magazine I've been publishing a long time, always focused on simpler lifestyles, solar living and walkable neighborhoods.

For a couple of years now, I've been writing a lot about peak oil, addiction to the car lifestyle, the danger of the debt Americans have thoughtlessly accumulated and of what certainly appears to be outright and systematic looting of the U.S. Treasury. These things put our nation at great risk.

I get two reactions:

"American is the greatest and richest country on Earth -- how dare you question it" and the more typical "Well, maybe the oil's going to run out, but there's nothing we can do about it."

There is something existential and massive about this group delusion that Americans are in about the future of their country.

I don't know what to do about it ...

Getting people interested and then aware and then active in this arena is bizarelly difficult.  I run in a highly educated and very politically aware crowd generally speaking, yet when I drop the "peak-oil" phrase, not 1 in 10 has the faintest idea to what I am refering.  I have found that - at least with this group - talking finance has helped to get the point taken seriously.  When I point out the money I've made with kruggerands and oil stocks over the last 24 months, I clearly get more attention and more respect than simply discussing peak oil generally (though, of course, what I did or did not do with personal investments is completely irrelevant to the overall point). I do have a small mailing list of folks I care about and with whom I have discussed peak oil and I send them about an email a week with a link or a discussion point - many borrowed from TOD.  That reinforcement seems to help.  Finally, I try to avoid true doomer/die-off views (don't fully share them in any case) and I try to be optimistic about something - usually solar as I am a big believer.
The kruggerand idea is a good one, Ben, I do that, too.

The trouble is, a lot of these guys got really, really burned by the Hunt Brothers' silver scam years ago, so they're leery of precious metals. (Jeez, maybe they're right!}

But this is mostly either the Fox News or the NPR crowd, and if it's not on Britt Hume or All Things Considered, it's not part of their reality.

And if you say the media might have an agenda, then you start getting those strange looks ...

That's right - what are you, some kind of a kook?!
Seriously, I don't even go close to MSM bashing as it appears to be completely counter-productive.  Oh, another point that does appear to resonate with the folks I try to talk to is to point out that we (in the US) use approx 25 barrels per person per year and that China is at approx 2.5 and India approx 1.5.  Residents of these countries certainly "deserve" under any fairness view, and more importantly certainly can afford to buy and move up to 5 barrels per person per year each.  That's 2.5 billion people that will more than double consumption in a very short time horizon. Even doubters tend to agree that for a period of time that will lead to price increases (until new supply magically appears) and potentially conflict.  
One massive problem is the appalling level of ignorance in this country. Periodic National Geographic polls show only a tiny percentage of people can find either Iraq or Afghanistan on a world map. (and this after a generation of war, embargoes etc.)

Closer to home, I ll sometimes talk to people about such things as "where our water comes from", or "where the water goes when you pour it down the drain," or "where are we" in relation to the local mountains and valleys, or "where does the energy come from that comes out of the plug in the wall."

Its amazing how few people have a clue about the most basic things in their lives. To most people, its all more or less magic.

If they dont know where their water comes from, or where it goes, why should they have any notion of where their gasoline comes from. Especially since nobody ever sees the stuff; it just goes into a hole in the side of their car, and shows up on a guage. Ten gallons is actually a lot of liquid, and weighs a lot. If people had to pick it up and physically pour it into their gas tanks, they might think more about it.

Oh, here we go. Starting with the insults. Nothing constructive to say, again, I see. Bring It.
Chomsky's scholarship (and the shortcomings thereof) and Chavez's megalomania are orthogonal to to issues we're facing today. Singing their praises is just as trollish as attacking them on this forum. You might as well talk about whoever J.Lo is seeing these days.
Chavez's "megalomania" might not seem so unimportant to you in 5 years time if depletion has kicked in and venezuela is an increasingly important exporter - to friendly countries, of course...
That's assuming Venezuela is actually exporting.
Rubbish. Chomsky is first and foremost a linguist. A brief deconstruction of your response yields the belief that you didn't bother to read the linked Chomsky article but in a SwiftBoatian manner dismissed it as if that is enough these days. As for Chavez's megalomania,  the maniacs in D.C. don't seem so megalo? The original post is about a TV show, TV being the foremost way through which the narrative, the discussion, is couched. Orthogonal? At 90º to what? No. The powers that be, whether in DC or the studios in NYC or at the Beeb, are feeling that they are being daring by a few seconds of not being at 180º opposite to any meaningful solution to an extremely dangerous problem which confronts us all and that is not just the ability to commute alone. It is only serendipitous that the oil crunch is happening at the same time as the barely dawning awareness of global warming. I don't doubt for a second that if they weren't conjoined, however tenuously, in the modern imagination, the former would certainly take precedence over the latter.
So let me sing the praises of Apuleius, the rhetorician. Read, and respond with rhetoric.
P.S. Who's J.Lo? I know who John Yoo is.
Chavez has just made an attempt at becoming a president for life. Bush has not. I suppose you can "deconstruct" that too, since deconstruction is little more than multisyllabic kindergarten name calling.

Meanwhile, there are reality minded people here who don't think that caring about oil issues requires admiring a thug like Chavez. Learn from them, boy.

Never rise to the occasion when given the opportunity.
In case you haven't noticed, I rose to the occasion. Chavez has made a formal move toward making himself president for life. Bush has not.

Don't let that stop your delusions, though.

You are definitely a dimwit.
The BBC reported that Aspirin is an oil product.  It is primarily derived from a fossil fuel but it is coal tar, not oil.


It can also be (and was originally derived) from willow bark.  

Phineas Gage, MD

Willow bark yeilds salicylic acid. Aspirin is acetyl-salicylic acid. Without the acetle, salicylic acid has some very harsh effects, the real revolution was mellowing it out with that acetyl group. Raw salicylic acid is found in witch hazel, used as an astringent and for relief of sunburn and other things, and in various other topical preparations like skin peels.

Aspirin was one of the discoveries from coal-tar, there was a whole dye industry that came from coal-tar discoveries, read the history of I.G. Farben for instance.

Even we end up all Amish with horses and buggies, the coal-tar industry should live on, it was thriving in the last horse-and-buggy era after all :-)

I don't understand that thing of gas lines. I have understood that gas lines in US in 70's were because there was some kind of price control by goverment. If price of oil is determined in free markets, I don't understand how there could be gas lines. If there's scarity of oil, the price is so high that people won't go to gas station in the first place.
There is a paradox about prices and gas lines. I recall how some gas stations jacked up their prices on 9-11-2001 to 50 cents/gal more than just that morning. The lines were causing traffic jams and the police needed to intervene. I drove by wondering how so many could be so stupid and yet have much more money than me. Months later the state forced a major retail chain to sell at a loss for a few weeks for violating price gouging laws.
People here will likely be interested in the Commodity Index report that came out today from the Bank of Nova Scotia in Canada. (warning: PDF)

It covers all commodities... The CBC glosses over the major points.

Some pertinent quotes:

TheOil and Gas Index also
rebounded by 6% in April, as Canadian light and heavy crude oil prices rose
in lagged response to West Texas Intermediate -- which surged to a new
record high of US$75.17 per barrel on April 21. Bow River heavy crude oil at
Hardisty, Alberta also reached a record high, with the discount to light crude
oil narrowing sharply.

In related news to the heavy crude situation, the CBC reports that Enbridge is looking to build a new pipeline and reconfigure existing pipelines so as to bring in more diluent into the Canadian Tar Sands for processing.  When I start to hear about bring in more oil, only to make oil... well.. EROI?

more quotes from the report:

Investment/hedge funds and speculative investors bid up metal prices
-- attracted by tight global supply/demand conditions and interest in
commodities as an `asset class'vis-à-vis bonds and equities.

.... Peak, Everything?

Onto oil...

OPEC will meet on June 1 in Caracas, Venezuela to review its output policy, but will likely continue to allow `full-throttle'production by members, given near-record prices. Interestingly, output from the OPEC-Ten (excluding Iraq) was virtually at the 28 mb/d quota in April, as over-quota production by many OPEC members just offset outages in Nigeria (due to political unrest) and production difficulties in Indonesia and Venezuela (where a loss of pressure in wells during the December 2002 oil workers'strike severely damaged capability). Iraqioutput has edged up in recent months.
Dilutent is recycled.  I think it's usually toluene.  (I live in Edmonton and know the people who are managing this project.  They are having a really hard time getting accomodation for their workers along the route from Edmonton to Fort McMurray.)
Great photo (the lower one ). You forgot to mention the tar road running through it ...
How can some people think fossil fuels are regenerative when oil fields around the world are depleting?
Willfull self delusion based on anecdotes of abandoned oil fields coming back to a brief life, something that is easily explained in other ways.
I think one of the problems Heading Out is that you know far, far too much about the subject of the program. I could pick a few holes in the program (no where near as many as you can though), but who is the target of the program? After talking to neighbours and friends, they could watch this program, see oil prices rise in 3 years time and still not get the connection between them. Hopefully this program will spark their curiosity and search on the Internet and find out there is a lot more complexity to the program than could be shown on TV. If you had an hour slot on TV, what would be your main points for the program? I don't think I could make a program lasting under 8 hours.
Grin, well now having had some sleep, maybe I was a little more critical than I should have been.  Certainly they were trying to illustrate what some of the impacts would be, and from my memories of the last time - driving around looking for gas, and being restricted in purchases would not be uncommon.  Also I remember driving out of town on the night of 9/11 and seeing gas lines get longer as the night wore on.

It is very hard to get many of the facts into a short program, and it will, hopefully get some attention.  Maybe it will be like Congressman Bartlett, who started out talking in the Congress at midnight on this, and who, the last time I looked, had graduated to an earlier spot in the evening.

My major concern, as with all of these, is that it implies that there is an answer that will appear, as though by magic, to get us out of trouble in a short period of time.  That would require investments now (see the Hirsch Report etc) that we are not making, and thus they create a comfort level that should not exist.

Annd thanks for the kind words Oil CEO, always a pleasure !

The TV drama was part of a loose series of "IF" scenarios.

What if... terrorist attack.  What if... flu pandemic. and others.

It lacked believability to many of us "peak aware", as we read about issues surrounding this regularly.  It did lack the drama many of us expect to be played out by oil depletion on economies and personal lives.
It was a mainly straight line narrative, oil = car use, and lacked tackling the breadth of the issue.

But it would be gently informative and low level worrying for some late night viewers.  A taster.  

I believe we are seeing a raising of awareness, a ramping up of dissemination of this oil depletion information.  Even poor publicity is better than no publicity.

Climate change was below the radar only very few years ago.  


Even poor publicity is better than no publicity.

I'm not sure this is true.  For one thing TPTB/MSM will often note that, "They have talked about this for a long time and nothing has happened", thereby implying that it is all old and worthless news.

In addition, it proves a vehicle for cornucopians to attack the peakers.

Lastly, as several posts above noted, the vast, vast majority of people either don't care or believe in magic.


The simplest observation is that people know pretty well gas prices have tripled, and they still buy the SUV. That's tells you something about how able people are in connecting the dot's, right?

Come to think of it, I can come up with a lot more examples, but let's not go there. What's the point?

We should think of something to change that, instead.

Heading Out,

If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I would pay you to watch TV. And I would pay you very well. Your observations about anything are superb and they always have been. I am a "long-time" satisfied reader. Keep up the good work.


Hello TODers,

Robert Redford is in a featured commentary article on CNN.com:


Perhaps he might bring Peakoil to the forefront.  Who knows?

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

Do you even like Robert Redford? I thought you had a thing for tough guys? Myself, I'll take Jack Bauer over Dirty Harry any day of the week. Which one was Butch and who was the Sundance Kid? Is the Festival named Sundance after his character? - to help you remember? Paul Newman has always been my pick. Coolhand Luke. One of the best films ever made.
I can eat 50 boiled eggs.....
Did you ever see the 'Jackass' episode where they recreated that "situation" ? Great Stuff. I'm easily amused.
Easily amused ?

So it seems - and by yourself as well...

And to think I wouldn't get one reply on that one...
My favorite line from the movie:

What we have heah, is a failya to communicate...
My favorite line is when, well, it's not really a line,... but when that girl, or woman rather, was washing the car. I can't remember what kind of car it was.
Dragline "My Lord, whatever I done, don't strike me blind for another couple of minutes."

Dragline "Anything so innocent and built like that just gotta be named Lucille."

Luke "They got a name for women like that."

Innocent. Haha. Prison movie. Dragline, huh? Good name.
Hi Bob,

Redford's been trying for decades to help save the environment; he's the ultimate dedicated citizen.

And of course he prophesied all this in his classic film, "Three Days of the Condor."

But we really should e-mail him Robert's critique of ethanol; he might want to rethink that one.

Hello Don in Colorado,

I think any celebrity visibility is good for Peakoil Outreach because it might make the unwashed masses pay more attention... Just imagine if Bill Gates and his buddy Warren Buffet used their billions to flood the worldwide MSM with PeakOil info [Recall that Bill has read Simmons's book].  IMO, it would be a good investment in protecting their billions of customers, suppliers, stockholders, etc.

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

Both guys have decided to invest billions in businesses which will flourish post-peak. Neither guy is interested in saving the planet (or even the USA).
At what point will it become obvious that ethanol is not viable.  Will both these guys be out of that market by then?  Too bad that two guys as smart as these haven't done the research. Or have they?  They can ride this train for awhile with all the subsidies.
I don't know about their ethanol involvement. Gates is the largest shareholder in CN rail and he has huge silver investments. Berkshire has interests in various utility and electricity providers.  
I agree, his conclusions on ethanol were a pretty obvious gap in accepted peak oil logic.

This one made the rounds at the office yesterday.  I took the time to respond, and explain EROEI - explain why ethanol isn't a panacea.
That's rather harsh HO! I thought the program was quite good.

And to be fair you must admit that the program ended NOT by claiming everything would be alright but by saying (paraphrased) "life will go through huge changes, but it's possible that the new world that emerges might be nicer in some ways", and closed with a shot of the woman and her baby.

I think that's a fair thing to say, really, after all you could argue that with the cleaners family moving in they'll get to know each other better and society will start to pull together via local community efforts, carpooling, shared living etc ... who knows what things will be like? It's remarkably fatalistic to assume nothing will get better :)

To be fair I may have misheard the last bit, as I did not get a chance to record it, I was typing some notes and thought the result was a bit more optimistic than you make it sound.  I couldn't understand the point of the blood test on the baby at the end, but then this was the first in this series I had seen.
Does the show account for the fact that both China and India waste so much fuel now because of inefficiencies that it will be relatively easy and inexpensive for them to improve their usage levels?

If not, it should have.  

It is not easy and not unexpensive at all to increase fuel (energy) efficiency. In China, this means mostly improving coal fueled thermal power plant efficiency from the present average of 23% to 30 - 35% or more. But there are a lot of coal power plants and the more efficient ones are much more expensive than the old ones. But of course, the Chinese are working on this. They have done a lot to modernize their energy infdrastructure and road net. And this has meant a huge investment wave - and more energy consumption.

India has much worse situation. They cannot afford to rebuild their energy infrastructure - because of the energy-intensive investments needed. India has not much domestic energy to use for these purposes and therefore its infrastructure is in a really bad shape. It takes energy to increase energy efficiency, that's the problem.

Gasoline is relatively very expensive in most non-oil-producing developing countries, so there they try to save wherever possible. They use smaller cars (or scooters and small motorcycles) with more passengers/vehicle. But these cars are often old and in bad shape, because they cannot afford new ones.

I remember watching a PBS documentary on China's coal usage (about 2 years ago).  One of the points made was that China was building several old style coal fired plants with lower efficency because it could not afford to build the more efficient/cleaner plants.  Some were completed but never went operational, and instead were retrofitted or rebuilt to be more efficient and cleaner because they could not afford to run the older style plants.  The two reasons given were the cost/source of coal and the cost of the air pollution caused.

They also showed a plant were coal was ground, and then pressed into blocks and sold for home heating/cooking usage.  Some of the locals would buy small supplies, but they showed one buying an entire years supply and hauling it with his bicycle/trailer, and then storing it.

I think this goes a long way along with earlier post about the magic of where our resources come from to explain waste in the US.  Most people don't see where the water, natural gas and electricity come from, so they waste it.  They don't see the large quantity of gasoline (10 gallons?  more like 25 to fill up that suburban).  If more people had to go down to the local supply center, pick up their energy, store and manage a limited supply for an extended period of time (months to a year) they would do a lot more to reduce usage.

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