DrumBeat: June 10, 2006

Now for some wise words from the readers of The Oil Drum...
AME Info Editorial on Peak Oil

The overall theme of this editorial is that Peak Oil would result in boom, at least in the short term, for the Middle East.   The editorial would seem to hint at the possibility of curtailing oil production, in order to maximize the life of the reserves and in order to maximize the price per barrel.  From the editorial:  "Oil prices would soar, challenging economic growth in consumer countries but protecting oil producing countries from the impact of falling revenues (as production falls)."


AME Info fn--Middle East Finance and Economy:
Peak-oil theory and its development implications

Denying the idea that Middle East oilfields are getting old and might soon go into decline has become an article of faith in local oil circles. But re-reading the controversial main text of the peak-oil theorists should perhaps be required by regional economic planners.
Saudi Arabia: Saturday, May 27 - 2006

The most controversial book of the decade concerning the Middle East is not to do with religion or terrorism. It is Matthew Simmons book 'Twilight in the Desert: the coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy'.

However, like most controversial tomes its message has been so distorted and taken out of context that important points are overlooked. So what is the thesis that Houston-based investment banker Mr. Simmons propounds?

In a nutshell, he has examined over 200 professional papers covering more than five decades of Saudi oil production and concludes that this great natural resource will not last forever. He can not give a precise date for when oil production will peak but points to numerous examples around the world of major oilfields and a pattern of peaking production followed by decline.

Oil price hike
But in his conclusion Mr. Simmons outlines a likely scenario that would follow such a change in production output. Oil prices would soar, challenging economic growth in consumer countries but protecting oil producing countries from the impact of falling revenues.

He believes that this would provide oil producers will a last chance to diversify their economies. But oil would not run out. Indeed, the higher price would switch the focus of production to smaller fields and make secondary and tertiary extraction programs viable. Gas production would also increase.

Therefore, any notion that the peak oil theory means a financial disaster for the Middle East and an end to energy production is actually refuted in the controversial book that caused all the fuss in the first place. Clearly the main problem of peak-oil would be for the consumer nations faced with a sudden escalation of oil prices and an energy crisis of major proportions.

Data transparency
Mr. Simmons main demand is that oil producer countries publish all of the data available on their oil fields and face up to reality rather than being concerned to maintain a facade that can only make the eventual impact of the decline of oil production that much stronger. Besides, if the opponents of peak-oil are correct then greater transparency of data will support their case, and this controversial theory can be finally dismissed.

If Mr. Simmons is right and there is little additional oil and gas to be found in the Middle East and the present oil and gas fields are in a state of advanced maturity, then the implications for development are profound.

For the rapid transformation to integrated economies with strong service industries within a globalized economy is the only future economic scenario that will support a rapidly growing population base. Fortunately this is the economic policy being pursued by most Middle East countries at the moment but it could be fine tuned if more data was made available about oil production and the outlook.

Data transparency
Mr. Simmons main demand is that oil producer countries publish all of the data available on their oil fields and face up to reality rather than being concerned to maintain a facade that can only make the eventual impact of the decline of oil production that much stronger. Besides, if the opponents of peak-oil are correct then greater transparency of data will support their case, and this controversial theory can be finally dismissed.

Huh? Especially the last sentence. This is logically seriously unsound. Maybe I'm missing something. So somebody will have to explain it to me.

Controversy suggests a second side to the story. What opponent would fall for this bait? An extremely stupid one.

C'mon, hang yourself. Go on. Here's the rope.

For the record, I started re-reading my beautifully underlined, highlighted, and noted copy of 'Twilight.' I'm doing chapter 13 tonight. It is actually much scarier the second time around.

I've got some questions for Mr. Simmons. Can you forward them, Westexas?

Re:  Matt Simmons
Just e-mail me, and I can send you his e-mail address, or you can get his mailing address off their website.
About Data Transparancy:

Suppose you are an oil exporting country. It't your only serious source of income. Do you want the west to have accurate numbers about the oil that is out there?

Now what is the west going to do with these numbers?

Let's make a list:

  • Develop alternative energy sources
  • Increase tax to reduce demand
  • Sync between main oil users to avoid price bidding wars
  • Develop fuel efficient technology
  • Etc, etc.

Now why on earth would you want that?

If I was an oil exporting country I would like the west to be as indecisiveness as possible for as long as possible so I could get the maximum amount of good ol' US $ for my oil. And when it's over, it's over and we all go back home.

To summarize: There is not going to be a reliable data initiative thing.

Yes, yes, yes, but all this is the case ONLY if you are lying about your reserves. If you have plenty of oil, if you have as much oil as the EIA says you have, then you would wish this data to be made public. You would want the world to know that there is nothing to worry about.

The fact that they do not allow transparency tells me that they have something to hide.

I don't think so. Suppose now you have a lot of oil, and the price is 70 US$ because people are scared there isn't enough oil to go around. reliable numbers will only lower the price.

Why would you do that?

Why would anyone want to trade oil for dollars? It is ridiculous for any oil exporter to maintain a trade surplus where they have to accumulate promises. Dollars can be used a medium of exchange, but oil in the ground is the best savings account. We may have had the ability 30 years ago to make a major impact with alternative energy not anymore. Simmons may want data because info is his business, but I feel this data is practically useless. It's going to be a constant battle riding the depletion curve. It is unlikely we will manage to get ahead of the curve for any long period of time. The oil exporters should be more worried about their internal consumption than exporting false data. Oil exporters have to survive on the difference of thier own depletion curve and their own consumption. There is no doubt oil's relative value will increase. Saudi Arabia will more power to influence prices than ever before.
Maybe there is nothing wrong with the US$ (bit overvalued, but not by much) and maybe the people living in the M.E. also have to eat?
Peak oil, peak nat gas, peak food...and now..........

Peak Uranium

From: On the road to ruin
by Michael Meacher

The supply of uranium has already reached its peak, in 1981. There are 440 nuclear reactors worldwide,
and the world produces just over half the uranium ore these plants consume each year.

At present, the gap is filled by using the plutonium from dismantled cold war nuclear weapon stockpiles.
But this source is drying up and will end by 2013, so the industry is trying to find and develop new uranium
mines, mainly in Canada, Australia and Kazakhstan. However, those under development will fill only half
the current gap, not to mention new demand from the 28 nuclear plants under construction worldwide,
added to China's plan to build 30 new plants by 2020. As a result, about a quarter of nuclear power plants
could be forced to shut down within a decade because of a lack of fuel.

Developing a uranium mine is expensive and complex since the material is hazardous - it takes about 15
years from discovery to production. Therefore, even if a massive effort were now launched to find and
develop new mines, there will still be an eight-year gap after 2013. China is already scrambling to corner
contracts for uranium ore, and uranium prices have soared by 400% over the past six years.

While the element uranium is commonly available, concentrated uranium ore suitable for energy is limited.
 Uranium ore is rock containing uranium mineralisation in concentrations that can be mined economically.

The main argument used by the nuclear industry for downplaying this crisis is that, if necessary, thorium can
 be used instead of uranium as reactor fuel, and thorium is abundant. However, the US, Russia, Germany, In
dia, and Japan have all studied thorium reactors for 30 years, yet no commercial thorium reactor has ever
been constructed. Another idea is to reuse uranium in "fast breeder" reactors. This is feasible, but such
reactors are more complex, more costly and more dangerous, which is why the US halted their use in
the 1970s and the UK abandoned the idea in 1994. There is, at present, no serious large-scale attempt to
convert to either thorium or breeder reactors anywhere in the world, making widespread closures of
traditional uranium fuelled reactors within a decade a real possibility.

Meanwhile, as demand rises and supplies fail to keep up, a 10-fold increase in the price of uranium over the
next few years is not impossible.

The imminent uranium shortage has been admitted by the World Nuclear Association, which provided a
chart of the unfolding crisis on its website in July. But while the nuclear industry is comfortable with
debating the safety of nuclear reactors it will not discuss the uranium supply shortfall.

Philip Dewhurst, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, has said it is necessary to examine
replacing those nuclear generators that are due to be closed "whether the uranium supply is plentiful
or not". But, as uranium hoarding begins, a major shortage could arise sooner than 2013...


and (with links to charts)
such as demand forecasts from 2003 (probably revised upward since)

Re Peak Uranium I'm dubious about the claimed 1981 peak because about that time the Olympic Dam deposit was discovered which near doubled world reserves. I will admit that the industry spin has echoes of peak oil denial
and it guess it will get back to EROEI with low grade reserves. It also looks like fast breeder reactors are not yet reliable. Even if there is just half a century of reserves that could be the lifeline for the world to sort out issues like GW and sustainable population.  Several decades of nuclear could provide low CO2 baseload power to underpin irregular sources, hydrogenation of poor quality liquid fuels and electrification of transport (PHEVs, light rail etc). The big mistake would be to exploit uranium thinking something else will replace it. Like I said, it's a lifeline and a one-off.
The greatest potential fuel source is spent reactor fuel.  The enrichment is lower than when first inserted, but still much higher than natural uranium.  In many cases, take out the fission byproducts (everything below Uranium) and just stick it back in with some new uranium nearby (perhaps enriched a bit higher).  Plutonium, Americanium, Neptunium are all fissile.

Not going to happen in US, but I bet China would do it if need be.  And offer to take troublesome nuclear waste off of others' hands.

There were a long series of posts on the Energy Resources forum (somewhere between 1-3 years ago) arguing that U could be extracted from the ocean by suspending nets.  I don't remember any specifics but I think the nets were supposed to be treated to "attract" the U - but don't hold me to this :-)  In any case, the arguement was that there was unlimited U that could be extracted.
Some of the new fast breeder reactors seem to be much safer than earlier designs, and would solve the fuel shortage problem for at least 1000 years. I'm particularly interested in the lead-cooled reactors. Good information page about these new reactor designs:


Actually this "dubious" claim would make some sense -- after a big reserve is discovered, further exploration is shut down (why bother?), so subsequently reserve numbers would "fall" from that high vantage point.  This is how "crisis mongers" operate.
I found this article to be a real eye-opener:

by David Fleming, April 2006

It takes a lot of fossil energy to mine uranium, and then to extract and prepare the right isotope for use in a nuclear reactor. It takes even more fossil energy to build the reactor, and, when its life is over, to decommission it and look after its radioactive waste.

As a result, with current technology, there is only a limited amount of uranium ore in the world that is rich enough to allow more energy to be produced by the whole nuclear process than the process itself consumes. This amount of ore might be enough to supply the world's total current electricity demand for about six years.

Moreover, because of the amount of fossil fuel and fluorine used in the enrichment process, significant quantities of greenhouse gases are released. As a result, nuclear energy is by no means a 'climate-friendly' technology.

One of the most striking points is the profitability and EROEI of conventional nuclear power is dependent on never properly disposing of wastes or decommissioning and disassembling power plants. In light of that, the continuing inaction on a permanent disposal site in the U.S. is a lot more understandable.

There is also an audio recording of the author presenting his thesis. The research that the article is based on is available here.

I keep seeing fluorine mentioned as a limit in a nuclear reactor program. Its not that rare an element, 18th in order of abundance in the earths crust at 0.029% above nickel and way above copper and zinc.

Does any body know if it is recycled after use to make Uranium Hexafluoride for enrichment  and if not is there are fundamental reason it could not be?

One of the most striking points is the profitability and EROEI of conventional nuclear power is dependent on never properly disposing of wastes or decommissioning and disassembling power plants. In light of that, the continuing inaction on a permanent disposal site in the U.S. is a lot more understandable.

Our determination to keep Iran from developing nuclear processing also becomes a little more understandable. If we succeed, their uranium stays available to the world market and we might get to purloin the plutonium produced in their reactors and reactors in other nations that might turn to them for reprocessing.

Which leads me to wonder if J.Edgar's real adgenda was to gain for the ruling class all there is to know about the mafia's methods. So that they might apply them on a larger scale.

There are days when I think that Canada made the correct choice to go with heavy-water reactors. While there are some problems with the aging CANDU reactors, I understand that the newest designs address those problems and have a number of advantages in terms of fuel flexibility. In addition to achieving a significantly higher total burn-up, it appears they can run on everything from unenriched uranium to MOX to "spent" light-water fuel to properly-seeded thorium.
CANDUs (peonounced "can do") has always been my favorite reactor.  Quite safe and no downtime to refuel.  And yes, it can run on our waste fuel without any processing (other than getting it to physically fit inside the rods, but CANDUs can be engineering to take waste fuel rods from most reactors directly.
Aren't all the CANDU reactors basically the same design (which makes them safer to operate)?
The following exchange is from a stale Greenspan Thread, but I think it is worthy of further discussion.  Sorry for loss of formatting.

Engineer Poet on Friday June 09, 2006 at 8:58 PM CST

> I really think that a large scale transition to plug-in hybrids would require a massive investment in new power plant construction.

That's a common thought, and it's wrong.  The average electric consumption of the USA is roughly 450 GW, while the average power delivered to the wheels of gasoline-powered vehicles in the USA may well be under 100 GW.  Maybe 80 GW of that can be replaced by electricity.  A lot of that 80 GW might be obtained by just running existing powerplants at full power instead of turning them down at night.
[ Parent | Reply to This ]

    AlanfromBigEasy on Friday June 09, 2006 at 10:00 PM CST

    And where will we get the natural gas to run said power plants 24 hours/day instead of just "peaking" them ? Without a major gain in efficiency (see my electrified transportation concepts), we are, at best, delaying a problem for a generation. I am ambilavent about EVs and plug-in hybrids as anything more than a supplemental "solution". Great to have a diesel/hybrid with plug-in plumbers truck, postal van (most postal workers whsould be walking in dense neighborhoods), UPS delivery truck, etc.

Engineer Poet on Saturday June 10, 2006 at 6:14 AM CST

Natural gas is going away, so it'll be coal, solar, wind, nuclear, (micro-)hydro, etc.  Using vehicular demand to level the load curve plays to the strengths of coal and nuclear in particular.

If we shift today's demand to electricity over 15 years, we'd need 5.33 GW/year of additional average generation.  That could be done with 16 GW of wind at 1/3 capacity factor.  We're already installing better than 15% of that, so ramping up to that rate looks quite feasible.

AlanfromBigEasy on Saturday June 10, 2006 at 7:04 AM CST

I suspect that we are going to have a crunch in electricity generation.  From memory, 2004 was an extraordinary (record ?) year for new power plant commissioning, and 94.5% was NG or dual fuel (oil or NG).

NG has been the dominant fuel choice for a dozen years for new power plants and a significant factor before that.  Unwinding that will be difficult.

Wind has the great advantage of a short lead time, even shorter than NG.  Coal is a half dozen years and nuclear a good decade+.

Given that utilities will not "count on" new EV demand until just before (say 1 to 2 years) it appears, they will not build the capacity in advance.  (OTOH, if Union Pacific comes to them and says that they are going to electrify the following rail lines on this schedule, and expect this range of freight, they WILL build in advance, if any new plants are needed). Likewise for Urban Rail.

Since NG is the peak fuel almost everywhere in the US, my conclusion is that a majority of EV & plug in Hybrid demand will be meet by additional NG demand for the next 15+ years, in a period of significant NG shortfalls,

EV and plug in Hybrid demand will be so large that it will distort electricity demand and NG demand.  OTOH, additional Urban Rail, if we are HIGHLY successful, will double current transportation demand for electricity; 0.19%* of the total.  And electrifying our freight railroads may increase electricity demand by slightly over 1% of total US electricity demand.

A side note, wind is justified economically by the NG fuel that it displaces.  Not by the coal or uranium that it displaces.  But wind is low almost everywhere in summer.  NG takes up the slack then.  I do not see this changing in 15 years unfortunately.  Perhaps twenty or twenty-five as we head deep into post-peak oil.

Given the risks associated with EVs and plug-in hybrids, I see them as a "side" solution.  The "not preferred" solution (similar to using more coal for power generation).

A massive building campaign for Urban Rail and electrifying our freight railroads should be pushed HARD and no public subsidies for EVs/plug in hybrids past the earliest days of infancy.  They will create another set of problems.

* Urban Rail is SO efficient that 0.19% of US electricity runs the 8,000 subways cars of NYC, PATH, Amtrak's Northeast corridor with all the commuter trains on it, the Long Island Railroad (millions/day), DC Metro, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and every other Urban Rail system in the country.

I think any rail plan leaves gaps for electric vehicles, especially neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) to fill.

... actually it is odd to see them in tension.  I think you can build US electric rail as fast as possible, and still need something (other than old SUVs) to take up the slack.

Or bicycles/large tricycles, and walking.

I have nothing much against "neighborhood EVs" like GEM


I may need one in my advanced years !  And GEMs were showing up in my neighborhood before Katrina.

However, I can see medium range commuting by plug-in hybrids and better battery versions of the EV-1 being the "Next Big Thing" after ethanol. *MASSIVE* gov't subsidies as technology saves the day !

Smaller cars would be a step up in efficiency, and EVs/plug-in hybrids will likely require smaller cars (1st & 2nd generation but not 3rd) and, perhaps a 2:1 gain in efficiency.  (GEMs at 24 mph max speed, perhaps 4:1 or 6:1).

Please note that Engineer Poet did not even consider reducing the energy demands of transportation, but just switching the power source.

An analysis done of US cities with large urban rail sysems vs. those with none have shown that the cities with Urban rail use 0.2 gallons per pax-mile of transportation.  About 200 gallons/capita/year.

The gasoline savings are not just from modal substitution (people abandon their 5 mpg Hummer+s and take the train) but changes in urban form to more energy efficient living patterns.

I could support some subsidies in their infancy BUT not as the main thrust.  Converting our existing living patterns and urban form from gasoline to electric will only delay the issue a generation IMHO.

Better to start on a reworking (carrot of better quality living, stick of oil prices) our urban areas via TOD.

OTOH, farmers going to town will likely need a plug-in hybrid.  And plumbers, postal vans, etc.

I am looking not one step ahead, but several steps.  Peak Oil is not a single event, but a process that will stretch over decades.  Better to start the work towards a sustainable society for 2040 & 2060 today than in 2020.  And we can quite possibly have problems in 2015 & 2020 if the only major adaptation we make in the near future is plug-in hybrids & EVs.

A massive switch to commuting via plug-in hybrids & EVs and changing little else will lead us into another trap, IMHO.

Missing words:

An analysis done of US cities with large urban rail sysems vs. those with none have shown that the cities with Urban rail use 0.2 gallons LESS per pax-mile of MASS transportation.  About 200 gallons/capita/year SAVED.

I think honestly, when I consider both the possible growth curve (slow), and the forces shaping next-gen product design (they ain't gonna be SUVs), I can answer your statement:

However, I can see medium range commuting by plug-in hybrids and better battery versions of the EV-1 being the "Next Big Thing" after ethanol. MASSIVE gov't subsidies as technology saves the day !

with, "we should be so lucky."

Two hypothetical alternatives (a thought experiment),

Case A: Miami builds out their Urban Rail plans, Denver theirs, Los Angeles builds their "Wish List" (already costed out roughly) of 25 miles of subway and 130 miles of Light rail and goes on from there.  Same in city after city.  Perhaps $250 billion (2006 dollars) spent in capital investment from 1-2007 to 12-2019.  Vehicle fleet responds to market forces as gasoline climbs from $3/gallon to $10 (2006 $) WITHOUT gov't subsidy.  Urban development also follows market forces and builds almost exclusively close to Urban Rail

Case B: Urban Rail is built at today's slow pace.  BUT the gov't gives MASSIVE subsidies to buy plug-in hybrids & EVs.  Perhaps $250 billion in all.  Urban development follows market forces as gasoline rises from $3 to $10/gallon (2006 $).

I submit that Case A would not just use less, but MUCH less oil and natural gas before 2020 and that this difference would grow in 2025, 2030.  The cars "bought" with gov't subsidies will wear out in 15 years.  The Urban rail vehicles in 30 years and the rest (tracks, stations, etc.) a century or more.

There are no technological risks with Case A, there are with Case B.  Auto fatalities & injuries would be higher with Case B.

Stop making sense Alan!

I would add in all this that urban real estate companies and large urban employers should be advocating for urban rail improvement to sustain their futures.

Add to Case A government mandated fuel economy standards MUCH higer than what we have now.  This does not cost the government much, but will move things along more quickly than the invisibe hand (which is presently engaged elsewhere over at the trough of public money).

Keep trying Alan, but don't forget that the automobile is the reason why we exist.  It's why we work, it's the object of our dreams, it's expression of our social status.  We've built our entire society around it, and we already threw away those train things once in order to acheive it.

It's so damn frustrating, we could be doing this now!

Thailand to build three new light rail lines in capital city 06/06/2006 22:13:55

Thailand has approved a $US 4.4 billion project to build three new light rail lines in Bangkok, with bidding expected to begin at the end of the month.

A government spokesman says the government believes the projects are critical to Thailand's economic development in terms of investment and competitiveness.

Bangkok already has three light rail lines.

The expansion is the first step in Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's $US 44 billion dollar scheme to improve highways and public transport around the country.

Economists believe the scheme is essential to improving Thailand's competitiveness and boosting foreign investment.

ABC Asia Pacific TV / Radio Australia

Please note: Their idea of "Light Rail" is closer to "Metro" or "subway" than to our idea of Light Rail.  A matter of nomenclature.

Actually yhe three new announced lines are an extension of the existing lines. In the last 6 years Thailand has implemented two overhead light rail lines (a single project) and an extensive single line subway.

From a ridership and quality of life standpoint, they have been a fantastic boost for the city. I haven't looked caefully enough at the number to know how the fare economically.

Just a couple of cynical comments -

The automobile is not only 'the reason why we exist,' it is the reason that thousands are dying every month for that existence, making it the object of someone else's nightmares. Better them than us, right?

'It's expression of our social status' - if you pay any attention to that idea. Two wheels better than four, as some of us might say. (And for those who like to point out the dangers - I never have to worry about being burned alive trapped in a metal cage while riding.)

'We've built our entire society around it' - and you all likely get to watch what you built coming down around you. Let's just say the trend lines in terms of liquid fossil fuels are not encouraging for those thinking in such long time spans as a decade or two. And remember, 20 years is considered the thinktank minimum for a lucky crash priority program, with lots of pain and problems - and guess whose primate's face is the poster child in charge of getting it up and running until his replacement (well, maybe we can ask Dick to be in charge of finding that replacement, hmmm?) sometime in later January, 2008.

Yeah, it's depressing.  You do realize I was being cynical  as well, I hope?
Well, not correctly - the part about the trains and the buy/work/drive/buy car seemed simple facts.
Case A does not "close the gaps" that we were talking about a post or two ago.  What is this, a moving target?
Case B does even less.  Which was the point of the hypothectical.  Not as a complete "solution".

If Robert Rapier is right, then maybe, just maybe an enhanced Case A (add electrified railroads, much higher CAFE standards, electric trolley buses. easier bicycling, plus somewhat higher gas taxes phased in) will do all that is needed for the next 20 years. (Assuming a less than robust economy).

If Westexas is right; OOPS !

MUCH higher gas taxes (mostly rebated)!  Massive wind turbine program to reduce power plant demand for NG, then using compressed NG for fleet use (some private cars as well perhaps).  EVs and plug-in hybrids should sell well w/o subsidy.  And, if we are lucky, just a severe recession (10% to 12% unemployment really saves energy !  22% even more !)

That is, if we start with the new Congress in January 2007 for either RR or Westexas scenario !

We know that industry and government are lining up on ethanol.

In face of that,

However, I can see medium range commuting by plug-in hybrids and better battery versions of the EV-1 being the "Next Big Thing" after ethanol. MASSIVE gov't subsidies as technology saves the day !

you are suggesting that the danger is not that ethanol pattern itself, but that one potential silver bb (electric cars) might (hypothetically and in the future) win mindshare over another silver bb (electric trains) ... seems kind of out there.

And now we are reduced to further hypothetical, when ethanol SUVs are gone, and every city in America is planning "Case A" or "Case B" in rail transit.

That seems further out there.  I think, to rein this back to the practical and the here and now, that train advocates (more power to them) can push as hard as they can everywhere, and we will still see cars on the streets and roads of America.

If those cars are electrics and not ethanol SUVs ... as I said before "we should be so lucky."


I've read umpteen posts/threads about tax and rebate schemes.  And, this seems as good a place as any to address a basic question I have.

Why does anyone think this will work?  It's as though the people who propose this believe that people won't realize they will get most of the money back at some point.  Now, if this "rebate" was going to come years down the road, perhaps.  But, as I read it, ancillary taxes will be reduced so that their take-home pay goes up and this, mostly, covers the added taxes. How is this going to change behaviour?

Why will tax & rebate work ? Won't people realize that the extra gas taxes they pay will just coem back to them ?

Because the taxes & rebates equal only for ALL the Americna people.  Those that use little gasoline will get the same rebated/reduced taxes as those that guzzlegas.

Everyone gets a basicially equilavent piece of the rebate pie back.

Put the amount paid in varies with how much gasoline (& diesel) you use.  So if you drive a Cadillac Escalade 52 miles round trip to work every day, and then take off to the mountains almost every Friday, THEN you will pay a fortune in gasoline taxes and get far less back than you paid in rebates.  You might think about getting an Insight instead, so you will pay in less, buit get the same rebate/reduced taxes back.

Of course, as more people cut back on gasoline use, the nation wide rebates begin to shrink as well.  Perhaps then the gas taxes should be raised a bit.

The purpose is to change behavior.  Buy a more fuel efficient car, don't go driving so much on vacations, move clsoer to work or, better yet, move to New Orleans (we were tied with NYC for fewest miles driven per resident :-), take mass transit, bicycle or walk to work, the store or school.

People are motivated by a number of things, including MONEY !  So give a monetary incentive to change behavior, use less fuel !

Hope this explaisn things.


I really have to say I disagree (I wish the software allowed looking at previous posts - drives me nuts).

The "plan" posited on TOD is to be revenue neutral except for a little off the top and less for higher income people at least so far as I have seen.  If that is the case,people aren't going to give a crap.  Yes, folks who don't drive will get a few bucks. But high gas usage with a high incomes will still make out.  Do you really believe (and I'm using "you" in a general sense) that people making over the FICA/SS, etc. limit really care? This is an unproven assumption.

Further, there is an economic pitfall and that is, for better or worse, we have a consumer drive economy.  As has been discussed ad infinitum, most folks don't have an option except to drive.  Assuming that the middle, middle and lower classes represent upwards of 80% of the populace, what the hell changes as far as fuel usage?  I have never seen fuel usage data by income strata.  Maybe there is something there that indicates fuel usage will drop although I doubt it.

It all sounds good on paper but aside from the reality that it will never happen, IMO there are far too many permutations to ever make it work.

High gas taxes work in Europe and Japan.  It also provides political support and ridership fro mass transit.

An extra tax of, say, $3/gallon on top existing taxes and the cost of gasoline will, I promise you, alter behavior for the vast majority of Americans.

The immediate effects will be less than the longer term effects because the longer time goes on, the more adjustments people make.  Which car to buy ?  Where to live ?  Where to vacation ?  Carpool ?  Take mass transit ? are some of these.

Almost immediately, there will a HIGH demand for condos and apartments close to Urban Rail stations (remember the 7 to 20 story building going up in Miami, the 4 & 5 story complexes in Portland ?).  The market will, in this case, provide.

Not everyone, I agree.  But a majority of Americans will, within 10 years, make a major decision influenced by high gas prices.  Europe is the result of many decades of such decisions.

Using a tax shift to encourage conservation will not get support from we retired folks.  I as a retired person do not pay Soc. Sec. tax but in a way collect the tax as 2/3 of my income.
I agree.  Messing with social security is too controversial - too many problems with income credits, what to do about variable revenue, etc.  

Instead, it needs to be a tax credit on the general income tax, structured to have the same effect, something like the Earned Income Credit.  Probably need to make it highly visible, with rebate checks mailed to everyone.

90% should be rebated to consumers, 8% as credits for new car purchases (gotta help the car companies somehow), 2% for alt energy research.

Agree. Support a high, revenue-neutral, gasoline tax now. It is our only hope. We must kill demand in the United States this way. Phase it in. Make sure it hurts the rich to subsidize the poor, while being middle-class-neutral.

Learn from our mistakes. Learn from the progressive moves Europe and Japan have made.

I feel like a carbon tax could be the end run on this.  All the politicos need to do is pretend they believe in global warming(*), keep all those lobbyist checks, and say "sorry guys, we need a carbon tax across the board ... for the children.

* - the ones who don't already believe are too scientifically illiterate to ever get it, so they'll have to pretend

Alan,  don't forget the info about wind growth:  planned wind generation is 40% of overall new generation in the U.S. in 2006 and 45% in 2007 (adjusted for capacity factor), and this trend is likely to continue. It seems to me that wind is on track to handle all new generation in the US within 5-10 years.

The other thing to keep in mind is that wind is transitional to solar: solar is doubling every 2 years as demand increases and costs fall.  Prices are increasing somewhat, due to overwhelming demand, but costs are falling at an accelerating rate, and demand growth is actually accelerating.   I'd estimate that 10% of new demand is being handled by solar in southern CA.  Doubling every 2 years means a multiplication by 32 in 10 years. In 10-15 years solar will very likely compete with wind to handle all new generation and start replacing existing fossil fuel electrical generation.

A possible objection to solar is it's intermittency.  The fact is, however, that the pattern of solar insolation very nicely matches the pattern of electrical consumption: most electrical consumption happens during the day, because...the sun is up. Much power demand is caused by the sun, driving A/C, and drops when the sun is hidden.  Finally, much night time demand is there only because of the flat power curve of current generators, so that commercial users moved their power use to take advantage of the cheap nighttime power.  No power source is better matched to consumption patterns than solar.

I see wind and solar growing fast, and able to take up to 25% of market share with current technology and consumption, and 50% with major PHEV/EV demand.  In 20-30 years I think we can expect improved storage and demand management technologies, which allow that share to increase beyond that.  In 60 years I suspect fossil fuels will seem quite antique and a curious historical oddity.

Does this make sense to you?  If not, tell me why, cause I'd like to come to some sort of consensus on this.

I may need to buy an UPS.  I spent over an hour writing a response when the lights flickered (power is not too reliable here in my disaster zone).

Part I

The US has painted itself into a corner with building little but NG fired power stations for the last decade+.  We have the capacity, yes, but not the fuel to run them for extended periods of time. LNG may arrive in time, or not.  But it will be VERY expensive to burn LNG (after we outbid Japan et al) to make electricity.

You look on wind turbines as "new generation" for growth in demand by old and new (EV & PIH) users.  I look on wind & coal as mainly substitute generation for existing demand.  Substituting for natural gas, leaving NG for home heating and industrial processes (like refining oil).

This push to replace NG will last for quite a while.

A quote:

Renewable energy resources can begin to protect consumers from high natural gas prices right away. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that installed wind capacity will reach 9,200 megawatts (MW) by the end of this year, enough to reduce as much as half a billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (Bcf/day) in 2006. This is the equivalent to approximately four to five percent of the natural gas consumed daily for electric power generation in the United States. AWEA also projects that wind capacity could exceed 14,000 MW by the end of 2007, which would be equivalent to reducing natural gas consumption by as much as 0.85 Bcf/day.

More soon, let me post before another power problem.

Part II.

Wind AND coal will be seen as supplanting NG for an extended period.  My SWAG is that NG will be used to produce electricity (in more than rare occasional use) till 2016 to 2018 and every MWh of new wind will replace at least 1/2 a MWh of NG fired electricity till 2014 or 2015.

Coal will, IMHO, replace more NG than wind, but the totals will be competitive. (60:40 ?)  Minimal GHG improvement. Without wind, an environmental disaster !

Urban Rail and electrified freight railorads will use so little electricity (0.19% if we are lucky and ~1% of US electricity demand) and can save so much oil (~10% of US oil use) that the natural gas saved by not refining that 2 million barrels/day oil can be used to make most of the electricity that they need. Or we can just burn 5% to 10% of the oil saved and make electricity that way.

That is what a ~20:1 gain in efficiency can do !

Part III

Solar is not as good a match as you think.  Power production peaks at solar noon and that matches no other peak (in EU that can be a peak as so many go home for lunch).

Winter often peaks at night or 6 to 8 AM.  Summer a/c peaks between 3 & 4 PM, mild weather peak is around 6 PM.

However, as long as solar is not a major part of the grid, a very small amount of hydro pumnped storage can "shift" the production onto peak. Daylight savings time helps.

I think that your drawing growth curves out leads to false results.  Solar will NEVER produce as much power as wind ! (At least for the first half of the 21st Century).

However, economic solar is GOOD !

In the long term (say 2030 to 2040) we may shift towards a reneable grid and there will be enough hydro pumped sotrage to shift a large solar "chunk" of production to a diiferent time of day, or a different day/week when it is needed more.

I do not see EV/PIH filling that role very well.  But more on that in the next part.

Even if, which I seriously doubt for political reasons, you get intelligent intergration of EVs and PIHs with the grid, there will be times when little spare capacity (except NG IF we have the fuel) will be available.

A dead calm/heat wave over the center of the nation for a couple of weeks as one example. A normal week may have plenty of power on weekends, but shortfalls on weekdays.  utilites will want to recharge their pumped storage at night more than recharge their charge EVs.

I still need to think more about the issue of EVs & PIHs being used for load leveling.  It might wotk often enough that EVs use NG fired power only 10% of the time in 2020.

This is NOT a trivial issue to analysize !

More later

It should be possible to move significant parts of the air conditioning load to hours with low cost electricity. Especially with a district cooling system with a large thermal mass and cooling stored as ice in centralized locations. This could even be combined with directly solar heated absorbtion coolers.
Duh, plural, district cooling systems.

The ones in my home town were built as icelands at the university, in office areas and central town. They mostly use absorbtion coolers and some electrical coolers for peak load. The heat for producing the chilling comes from garbage incineration and biomass bruning for getting rid of waste and producing electricity.
The chillers produce 7-10 C water and it is returned at 18 C.

The icelands have been interconnected and now there are two systems. If this map works the district cooled areas are blue and the red areas are areas suitable for district cooling.

http://www.tekniskaverken.se/energi/fjarrkyla/var_finns_fjarrkyla/index.xml?__xsl=img-viewer.xsl& ;img=fjarrkyla_lkpg.png

Pity they dont have a district heating coverage map showing the piping.

http://www.tekniskaverken.se/energi/fjarrvarme/har_finns_fjarrvarme/linkoping/index.xml?__xsl=img-vi ewer.xsl&img=fjv_utbyggnad_centrala_lkpg.jpg

I live in top left SKÄGGETORP, TORNBY is the mall area and a light industry area, FLYGPLATS SAAB AB is where the Gripen fighter is being designed and produced.

Other infrastructure, bicycle routes, dotted lines are mixed with car traffic.

http://www.linkoping.se/Organisation/Namnd/TeknikSamhallsbygg/Samhallsbyggnad/tos_ahoj/cykelkartan.h tm

Busses, looks nice but most of the lines have little traffic, 201 and 202 are the main routes.


All of the local buses run on biogas and the total number of busses, cars and trucks that can run on biogas is said to be nearing 1000 with more then 5% and less then 10% of the total fuel sales in town when counting gasolene and diesel.

And a map of an idea for building a bus road intended for upgrading to a tramway with traffic interconnected with the rail network with German dual system carriages:


My homw town is most of our small (by world standards) municipiality with about 130 000 people.

And for the fun of maps. An outdated 8 month ol E85 station map, its 8 months old and about 12 more opened per month half a year ago.

Wehicle gas, about half natural gas and half biogas:

Not in American Suburbia.  

Possible in new, denser neighborhoods, but there will be fear of loss of cooling when the central unit fails.

Commerical districts are better options for this in the US.

Centralized heating and cooling systems are very reliable, extremely more reliable then individual systems if you have adequate spare capacity and maintainance. As a random individual you are better off tied into a big system but if it fails manny individuals will have the same kind of problem at the same time.

Cheap air conditioning can be a nice bonus in new built dense city areas.

We have PV on our roof. Yes, it is past peak at 3 or 4 PM, but not by much. We have very good summer output till well after that. Probably the most reliable energy output you can get in summer in California!
Part IV

I have looked at the insanity of ethanol and have concluded that TPTB, our elected officals, will throw immense sums of money at whatever "solution" promises to:

  1. Solve our problem with oil (note word "promise").

  2. Will have the minimum impact upon our "American Way of Suburban Life".

Ethanol would only require a different color pump at the filling station (bills to subsidize pumps are in the works).  It was the minimal change option.

In the not too distant future, ethanol will be seen as the false promise that it is. And oil will likely be climbing as our economy tanks.

There will be a desperate search for another meme !  Looking for the "best" or "long term" solution will NOT be on the radar.  The fat will be sizzling in the frying pan by then I fear.

Urban Rail & Railroad Electrification or EVs & PIHs (with the latest, greatest and untested battery technology) ??  Which will be the anoited "solution" ??

To me, the best solution is to help EVs through infancy and then let the market take over (with required grid intergration technology) and throw the big bucks at Urban rail & rail electrification.  If the fat is sizzling loud, then throw big bucks at both.  Reasons why below.

What is likely to happen is that EVs and PIHs will be siezed upon as "THE solution" since they save the American Way of Suburban Life AND only requires a new car and remembering to plug it in.  Any thought of intelligent interface with the grid will be thrown out since it interfers with the AWoSL !

People are not engineers, they don't like the electric company, and they don't understand WHY they have to wait to get "refueled" like at the gas station.  What if I need to go pick up a pizza for dinner ?  Etc.

My proposals will lead to a sustainable society well past Peak Oil (think 2040 & 2060).  It will be a "gentle process" over decades as people chose the easier & better way towards a low energy lifestyle (as I look out my window).

The most likely outcome that I see is a MASSIVE subsidy to get people into EVs & PIHs ASAP as THE solution, while Urban rail gets an extra billion or two a year and rail electrification is forgotten.  

This will lead to saving our high energy AWoSL !  And problems as soon as 2015 to 2020 as we paint ourselves into another corner.  And with too little time AND energy to correct the problem.

I would NEVER tax EVs and PIHs to discourage their use.  They are a "good" and not a "bad" thing !

I also think they ahould be subsidized in their infancy, but not beyond (there are better uses for those subsidy $).  Using the example of hybrids (Prius, Insight); 2005 subsidies to buy them was a good thing, 2008 subaidies are a "poor allocation of resources".  2007 is a close call.

The 2008 tax credit for hybrid car buyers would have been better spent on building the light rail "Regional Connecter" between the Blue & Gold Lines in Los Angeles.   Toyota and Honda will sell LOTS of hybrids in 2008 without any tax credits.  Perhaps some XX thousand fewer than with tax credits, but those XX thousand cars "missing" will only last ~15 years and the light rail connector will last centuries AND save more gasoline.

I hope you understand my thought processes and my secondary support for EVs and PIHs.

Once the technology is proven froi EVs & PIHs, they will sell themselves.  And more power to them !

So far the debate in Sweden is not about any single solution even if E85 is the most popular alternative fuel while E5 has most of the volume. I think it will stay this way since the engineering argument is straight forward and the public fairly receptive too such arguments but I am an optimist.

The intresting point is how much of an energy debate we will have and when we finally will have put a stake thru the heart of out old nuclear power debate leaving mental energy for more important issues.

Have to agree with you odograph ..

EVs are just too disruptive a technology ..
Why do you think all the first generation
EVs were crushed by the manufacturers ??

No internal combustion engine
No liquid fuel
No taxes on 'electric' fuel
Consumer has potential to 'refuel'
independantly of major corporate
supplier ie your electric company

Nah .. Detroit/Big Oil/Federal Government
has too much invested in the statusquo to
ever support a swith to EVs as anything other
than glorified golfcarts .. No wonder the
push for ETHANOL .. nice taxable liquid fuel,
perpetuates the internal combustion engine ..
compatible with existing liquid fuels distribution
infrastructure .. And the biggie .. supports the
farmer and uncuts the 'terrorists'

Triff ..

And the biggie .. supports the farmer.
The Farmer isn't too happy.  The cost of diesel, farm equipment and upkeep, fertilizer, herbicide, land prices are all increasing much faster than the price of corn. ADM gets the 51 cents. The refiners are making all the profits for now. When they start running out of raw material and corn prices shoot up profits may deteriorate for the refiners or ethanol prices will have to increase also. At this point the ethanol party is over and the TPTB will be more apt to listen to RR.
i love urban rail, and for that matter, all rail, but times I am forced to go to a big city, I encounter rageing gashogers  snarling and snapping at what little is still left of me.  No way to get rid of those devils in the near term, but might be a chance with EV to at least get rid of their damn IC engines.  So once again I try to launch a little hope in that direction-- how about super fast battery change stations, wherein you get a 20 second battery change and go on your way unconcerned about the otherwise short range of your EV?  With that done, maybe people would find the resulting nice calm feeling engendered by  the EV to induce reveries about how even nicer and calmer it would be to be in a train on a track, safe from all those roadpsypaths brandishing their trucks.
For better or worse, EVs typiccally accelerate faster than IC cars.  So I wonder about any "traffic calming" effects.  the drivers have more impact on that.
I think we did some back of the envelope stuff, assuming the battery capacity of the old EV1 and a one minute recharge.  Did it require a gigawatt of charging power?

That's the rub.  There's a certain amount of electrical power used over the course of a driving day, and the more you compress the charging time, the higher you push the charging current.

For what it's worth, I like the fact that Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) charge on 110v slowly.  That's simple, inexpensive, and relatively safe.  Hopefully they can evolve upward in capability over time.

The more specialized the charging systems are (for high speed charging and high range cars) the less Alan really has to worry about them.  They represent a barrier to entry.

No, No!  I was fantasizing about CHANGING, not charging.  You drive your EV over a robust robot, which in a trice trips that depleted  battery out and snaps an identical newly recharged one in.  Like THAT!   And off you go, fully as aggressive as before, alas.  Minus, of course, an appropriate debit on your credit card.
Ah, my bad reading skills strike again ;-/

Yes, with a standard package, changing would be much better.  And of course everybody would share the exposure on battery lifetime, as you just change a battery that is empty.

"wind is low almost everywhere in summer"

Alan, do you have more info on that (a source, or data) for the US? I understand that the recent UK study indicated that this was not the case for the UK.

Solar will eventually fill a summer gap, but low cost & high efficiency solar may not arrive for 10-15 years, so wind seems crucial for the next few years.  If it's really quite low in summer that's important, and I'd like to look at the data...

From talks with Vestas and AWEA.  Great Plains wind, our great resource, dies down in the summer.  Coastal South Texas and some Southern California are good in summer.  But that is a small fraction of your wind resource.
hmm.  interesting.  I emailed AWEA for more info.  Do you have anything more quantitative?

As I think about it, this doesn't look like an overwhelming problem.  The thing you have to realize is that the US has an enormous amount of high quality wind resources.  The AWEA website shows state by state resources that add up to about 3 x total US consumption. That means that the 15% increase in power from wind you need to cover EV consumption (about 70 GW: 210M vehicles @12k miles per year and @200whrs per mile on a base of 450GW) can be covered by about 5% of the high quality wind resources in the US.  So if the wind resources aren't distributed through the country quite optimally it's not really a problem.

It does suggest that the Great Plains wind resources don't have quite the potential that they appear.  Fortunately, Texas (and the rest of the country) is going great guns after wind.  In just northern Illinois there are 5 GW of wind projects in various stages of planning!  I think this is happening all over, and only the problems are getting publicity.

The rundown of "Magatons to Megawatts" (Russian HEU to LEU for reactors) is indeed going to run out in 2013 - with some impact on the USA: Half the nuclear fuel for our nuclear plants has come from this source since the program was initiated. The swing factor in U3O8 supplies through 2020 is Kazazakstan that has (very) ambitious expansion plans - that many in the industry doubt will be achieved.
Atmospheric Energy?   
Wind energy isn't suitable for base load because the wind doesn't always blow. Photovoltaic energy isn't suitable for base load because the sun doesn't always shine.
But the heat in the air is stored solar energy that is available 24/7.
Well, here is a URL to a Press Release by a German Company that claims to be able to utilize the heat energy of the atmosphere to generate electricity.
Think of a low temperature boiler powering a steam turbine. The air is the fire in the boiler. I have no idea if this is for real - But if it is I'd sure like to have one or more of them out here on my farm!


And could this supply the large amounts of energy needed to manufacture our needs in liquid fuels?  Remember that gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel are just carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms strung together in a specific arrangement. This is chemical engineering (not rocket science or nuclear fusion). And we are VERY good at chemical engineering. Now where could we get large amounts of carbon and hydrogen?
Well, we have an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere that is causing global warming, so lets just take that out of the atmosphere and break the carbon and oxygen atoms apart (the large amount of energy needed part) and lets do the same with the H2O (water) vapor in the atmosphere. Now you have unlimited amounts of carbon and hydrogen to recombine into spark ignition fuel, compression ignition fuel, jet fuel and a wide variety of hydro-carbon feed stocks for industrial manufacturing (everything from plastics to fertilizer).
Large amounts of formerly atmospheric CO2 would now be stored in liquid fuel in vehicle tanks, distribution centers and manufacturing depots. And all of our existing fuel infrastructure can be left in place. Best of all, fuel would be cheap again and I could continue to drive my full size pickups and replace the wimpy 350 HP engine with a hopped-up 500-800 HP engine. Now that's a grocery hauler! <BG>
If you want to drop the level of CO2 in the atmosphere back to 1950 or 1900 levels you can take your excess production capacity and make synthetic light sweet crude and pump it back into the now depleted oil fields for carbon sequestering while still making it available for fuel if ever needed. The original oil survived for millions of years in those fields so the synthetic crude should do just as well.
And of course, replacing all of the coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear electric generating facilities would certainly help reduce air pollution.
The only possible problem I can see with massive use of this technology to take energy out of the heat in the atmosphere is the possibility of cooling the air too much and going the reverse of global warming. I have no idea if this could be a problem and will have to leave it to those with more knowledge of this area than I have to figure it out.
There you have the perfect solution to the energy problem. Total energy independence for every country on Earth and all the energy (fuel) they need. If the heat energy extraction system really works. But this is the type of breakthrough we need to solve our energy needs.
Even without a breakthrough we could still produce manufactured synthetic hydro-carbon fuels using electrical energy from wind and solar energy. My guess is that if you ordered 100,000 large wind generators the price per unit would drop down to a level that would make the electrical energy cheap enough to produce synthetic hydro-carbon fuels at a lower cost than gasoline from $70 per barrel crude. So, why is the government wasting so much time and money on so many "go no-where" programs?
Remember, this process of taking CO2 out of the air and making hydro-carbons is exactly what plants do with photosynthesis. They take the CO2 break it apart and release the oxygen and combine the carbon with water drawn up by the roots to make hydro-carbon plant material - From which most natural crude oil is derived. If plants can do it, so can we!
Now all we have to do is find an equally easy way to solve the massive human over-population problem !

Jon Kurtz -

I am afraid you are laboring under some serious misconceptions.

First, any heat engine, such as the one described in the link in your post, operates by taking a working fluid from a high temperature down to a lower temperature and extracting work in the process. Yes, if you have very warm air, you can use it to boil a very volatile liquid in a closed system, run the vapor through a turbine, and then condense the spent vapor back into a liquid.  However, to do that you will need a heat sink that is significantly cooler than the air. There is absolutely no way around this very fundamental requirement. It is not clear how this is done in the proposed scheme, which appears to be nothing more than a heat pump run in reverse and operating under a very low temperature differential. Probably a source of cooling water would be required.

The problem with any such system that operates under a very low temperature differential is that it must be relatively large in proportion to the amount of work it can produce. This has been the main problem with ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) schemes: they had to be huge in order to produce any significant power.

Secondly, you seem to believe that just because there is an abundance of carbon and hydrogen (in the form of CO2 and water) that they automatically represent a potential energy source. Wrong, wrong, wrong!  The carbon has already released its energy when it combined with oxygen, as did the hydrogen when it combined with oxygen. To reverse the process requires at least as much energy as you can possibly get out when you go to burn the 'fuel' you've just made. Picture it as a spring.  You have to put energy into the spring, and then you get a somewhat lesser amount of energy back when you release the spring. As such, the spring is not an energy source.

(Besides, any sales brochure that invokes the name of Nikola Tesla (a truly brilliant man, but one who unfortunately has been adopted as the patron saint of the psuedo-science crowd) automatically  raises a red flag in my mind.

What's been described is hardly any sort of energy breakthrough.

Nope, I didn't think of obtaining carbon & hydrogen and converting them to liquid fuels as an energy source. It would be quite energy intensive. (My guess would be at least 10-25 btu input for each btu of liquid fuel) But if you need liquid fuels to fuel transportation it is one way to get it. And you don't have to rape the farm land to get it.
One of the problems with the cost of wind generators is the low volume production which translates to high cost of the equipment. If some one with big enough bucks (like Uncle Sam <BG>)would buy 100,000+ units the cost per unit would drop dramatically. If I remember correctly every order of magnitude increase in production quantity drops the cost in half. (Think about the price difference between mass produced cars and limited production custom cars) This in turn would drop the cost of the electricity produced by the wind generating unit and might make it practical to expend that energy to manufacture carbon neutral liquid hydro-carbon fuels. Or even carbon negative liquid hydro-carbons (synthetic crude oil) that can be sequestered in depleted oil fields - But still be available for future use if needed.
Love the picture!
Biomass to liquid (BTL).

Many posting in this forum is rightfully focused on the low EORI from the Ethanol fuel.
I mostly agree with that, but still ethanol has to be included into the mix of alternative
fuels which are set to be desperately needed in the coming years.
The main problems will be the availability of liquid fuels, therefore it is making economically
sense or even energy sense to use LFIOLFR (Liquid Fuel Invested Over Liquid Fuel Recovered)
as a measurement for feasibility rater than EORI.
Liquid fuels are off cause essential for the farmer to do the necessary work for biomass production.
But biomass intended for fuel need less input of fertilizer and pest control chemicals due
to the fact that some of these input are related to final product visual and other qualities
which is important for food but insignificant when final use is fuel feedstock.

The Ethanol production facility does require energy for distillation as well as electricity.
Ethanol plant energy should be covered by lignin, biomass leftover unsuitable for fermenting,
coal as well as electricity preferably from wind turbines. (Many of these plants are situated
on the wind rich plains).Therefore I assume a potential for LFIOLFR number to be above 2.
But if natural gas used for distillation and electricity is from gas powered utilities then it
makes things worse. The precious natural gas should be limited for residential / service sector
use and as industrial raw material.
Another side effect from the Ethanol route is that until today or even in the foreseeable
future has the agriculture business been struggling with over production which is mitigated by
export subsidies (hurting some other exporting countries) or producing for storage which finally
are dumped. This activity does off cause require just as much fuel input for little or nothing
final product. Therefore can a production of fuel with low EORI make sense when the alternative
is partly wasted fuel use anyway. The agricultural community is at least producing fuel covering
their internal use plus a small surplus when measuring EORI and a much higher surplus when measuring

But available food biomass not needed for food is limited and the demand for food is doomed to rise
due to world population rise and even more when a billion more people climbs higher up on the food pyramid.
Major food production basins in China, India and elsewhere are depleting the groundwater sources.
This can only result in larger need for the food produced by food exporting nations. Therefore is the
Ethanol path from food products not sustainable and it should be limited to excess food products only.
It is a good idea to limit the Ethanol blend into gasoline to E15 or less just to bring the octane and
other requirements into required levels. It is doubt fully that available Ethanol is enough for even that
and then is Methanol an alternative.


Methanol is a liquid fuel with half the BTU of gasoline as well as it is toxic. But gasoline is also
toxic and very few problems has occurred with that. Just don't drink it and do not wash your hands in
it to often and you will be OK.
Methanol can be produced from any biomass, landfill gas, manure , waste burnable materials, plastic
and most important any fossil feedstock in use today including coal. The outstanding avability of
Methanol sources makes the transition to a Methanol Economy a pretty safe route.
When M85 or even M100 are made available then it is possible for car manufactures to produce
ICE engines utilizing the high octane in Methanol. This feature will to some degree cancel the
lower BTU content compared with gasoline.
Methanol is also an excellent fuel for some types of fuel cells and probably for all fuel cells attached
to portable devices in the future. For the petrochemical industry is Methanol a major raw material.
Methanol has twice the BTU on volumetric basis compared to liquid (frozen) hydrogen. One of the hurdles
for the hydrogen economy is how to transport it to forecourts as well as storing on vehicles.
A lot of effort is made into compression , liquefying as well as other advanced technologies which really
haven't left the lab. environment yet. Besides low efficiency and high cost it requires a complete new
infrastructure for handling. Why make all that effort when chemical hydrogen carrier is easily available
(Methanol and DME as well as all the hydrocarbon fuels in use today). Methanol can easily be integrated
into today's infrastructure with limited costs and the handling is equal with existing fuels.
The boom in E85 infrastructure will bust due to the low availability of Ethanol but M85 can use the same
infrastructure due to the fact that Methanol and Ethanol is very similar.To use any mix between alchols and
gasoline sensors are used to measure both alcohol type and content for proper engine performance.
Then both fuels can be utilized hand in hand ,just change the stickers.          

Biomass to Methanol.
Methanol and DME is the easiest fuel to create from the synthesis gas from a small scale gasification plant.
Plants has to be of small scale due to the cost/energy of transporting biomass.
Methanol is probably the only fuel which is useable on all types of ICE in use to day.
Methanol blend (M15) and Ethanol (E15) can to my knowledge be used by the same ICE.
It is also possible to blend some Methanol as well as Ethanol into diesel. Diesel ICE can use pure Methanol
(M100) but then is some ignition help needed  (glow plugs).DME is the ideal fuel for diesel engines,
but it is a gas which requires special fuel tanks and other modifications.

In Sweden has Ecotrafic made a report which is comparing alternative fuels. From that report it appeared
that Methanol was not the best fuel for any application but it was useable on all available drive trains
as well as having the largest possible feedstock sources.


In Germany has test been performed to increase Methanol output from a given biomass feedstock by injecting
hydrogen into the synthesis gas. The hydrogen has to be fetched from an electrolysis system (if a CO2
neutral product is desired) which also can supply the gasification system with some of the required oxygen.
Biomass as well as coal has a high CO ratio compared to Hydrogen. The existing procedure for Methanol
production utilizes all the hydrogen and some of the CO.
The remaining CO is vented to the atmosphere as CO2. But if sufficient hydrogen is added then all the
carbon content in a given biomass or coal is utilized into Methanol.
This path does increase the possible liquid fuel amount to much higher level and that is very important
as the avability of biomass is the limiting factor.


On the great plains where wind conditions are pretty good then the following path is possible as an example.
(An enormous required capacity just for the numbers)
The city of Denver has concluded that 1000 MW of new electric generation is needed.
Then  5000 MW of wind turbine capacity is constructed in several parks with some geographical separation.
10 parks each with 100 5MW turbines. If 2 turbines is utilized on each square km then each park would
cover an area of  7 by 7 km.
When the wind speed is well below average then Denver will have the 1000MW. When the wind speed is higher
then 0..4000MW is available for an industry which can sustain power shut off without harming the equipment.
Then on less than average windy days and above is surplus electricity available to electrolyze water into
hydrogen and oxygen. Both hydrogen and oxygen is used in the gasification to maximize the amount of liquid
fuel from a given amount of biomass.
On windy days above average is some hydrogen and oxygen diverted to storage tanks thus enabling the
facility to continue the liquid fuel production for some successive days without enough wind.
Having industrial facilities with low staffing which can sustain sudden shut off (electrolysis systems)
is an asset for the utilities as well. If a problem occurs on other generating plants then just shut off
some or all electrolysis systems and rolling blackout is avoided. This is an example of demand control.
There are other possible options of demand control available today which should be implemented as well.
Demand control makes it possible to migrate the nature of intermittent output from wind turbines thus
enabling a larger wind penetration in the grid. In addition is a production of liquid fuel which is CO2
neutral achieved. Definitely a highly valued solution for the future.
5000 MW installed capacity with capacity factor of 0.3 leaves 500 MW available for fuel production
(after Denver has its 1000 MW) which is enough to produce 15000 barrels of Methanol from biomass each day
which again is BTU equal  to 7500 barrels or more than 300 000 gallons of gasoline each day.

One of the hurdles for massive investments into wind parks is the large cost attached to transporting
the power to the users as good wind sites are far away from the end users.
A 5000MW installed capacity requires 5000MW in transmission lines if maximum production is to be utilized.
But facilities which are converting cellulose biomass or coal into fuel should be situated close to the wind
parks and then is probably 2500MW or less in long distance transmission capacity sufficient.

Investments for 5000MW installed capacity (which is 1500MW delivered) is probably 5 billion US$ without
transmission cost. Much higher than alternatives but this wind energy to be used in the grid in such a
configuration is probably more reliable than existing production as well as the fuel is free.
The electrolysis systems are prone to shutoff and therefore they should carry a lesser part of the investment
and price. As transmission distance is low then electrolysis systems, big customers as they are, may pay as
little as 3 cents pr KW. Methanol produced from wood require 13000 KW as electric input to produce 2200 kg
or 700 gallons with an input of 2000kg dry wood. 700 gallons of Methanol equals 350 gallons of gasoline.
Then 37 KW for each gallon of gasoline equivalent fuel is needed. Bringing the cost only for electrical input
to slightly more than a dollar. Final price will probably exceed today's fuel significantly but not more than
users of more fuel efficient vehicles can absorb.  

Sources of biomass.
Ethanol production should be limited to excess food products. The gasification route for Methanol can utilize
any biomass such as switch grass and starch from the plains. If wood is available then everything which is
not usable for the industrial needs and leftovers is the first choice. Plantations on land less suited for
agriculture due to steep and bumpy terrain is usable as access is only needed every 20 years or more.
Biomass which require many years before harvest require less if any fertilizer and the harvest can be very
cost effective.  

North Americas great forests are prone to the destruction caused by forest fires. This problem has
intensified as the policy of fighting a forest fire is allowing the undergrowth to grow so dense that fires
when they happens kills the big trees due to the high heat from the dense undergrowth. A future fuel shortage
may (unfortunately due to recession) make available manpower to remove undergrowth, which could be used as
fuel feedstock as well as reducing the effects from future fires. Removing undergrowth in sections will
create areas where eventually fires are easier to stop.
The combination of Ethanol from excess food products and Methanol from cellulose biomass where the Methanol
amount is increased by injecting hydrogen has the possibility to cover a significant part of fuel demand.
The Ethanol cellulose path is wrong  due to constrains on type of biomass as well as lower liquid yield and
without the possibility of injecting hydrogen.
Adding hydrogen  and oxygen produced by wind turbines should be considered when CTL projects are started.
For CTL can a strategy of injecting hydrogen produced from wind turbines create a fuel supply from coal with
very low CO2 emission as well as reducing coal usage. This may be an alternative to CSS as the amount CO2
released in the full cycle is probably less.
Do not vent the CO2 into the atmosphere too early but keep in the loop all the way to the end user.

If the technology improves enough to bring down cost of wind energy low enough then combining CO2 from flue
gases and hydrogen can produce additional liquid fuel.
The ultimate goal is to make CO2 extraction from the air cheap enough then are we home free.
It is then possible to produce as much liquid fuels as desired if enough electricity and water is available.
But I do not think becoming home free by ramping up more costly alterative fuels to sustain the current
consumption is the optimal way ahead. USA has an enormous resource waiting which is conservation.  
Nobody on this planet has such an abundance of low hanging fruit waiting to be picked.
Reduce the usage by 30% add on some biomass fuel as well as CTL together by massive efforts on CO2 EOR
in depleted oil field then you do not need any ME oil anymore before the rest of the world has depleted ME oil.    

I wasn't born in Missouri, but in this case I have to say " I'm from Missouri, you gotta show me.  I looked at the picture on the web sit listed, in the post, and I would dearly love to be at a demonstration of this machine, and I would like to be the person who pulls the switch on the 240V panal that supplies power to the compressor, and watch this thing continue to run on it's on power.
The only way this will work is if it is partially fuelled by Aquygen.

In other words, it pegs my Scam-o-Meter.  As we move into an era of energy scarcity we need to keep our BS detectors running and tuned up at all times.

Did you know that it takes 6 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol??  I wonder if the state of Iowa, where I live, has done its water impact assessment in the area's where they are building numerous ethanol plants??
A not so subtle omen?

As many of you probably know, the tiny state of Delaware is a bit little Switzerland or Hong Kong, in that it is very business-friendly, and has very liberal banking and incorporation laws. Consequently, it has become the incorporation capitol of the US, with many Fortune 500 companies being incorporated in Delaware.

Because of that, there is also a well-established federal bankruptcy court, in Delaware, with two full-time bankruptcy judges. Wilmington also has many resident law firm specializing in bankruptcies.

Well, this morning the Wilmington News Journal just reported that in anticipation of a major increase in corporate bankruptcy filings, four new bankruptcy judges will be added to the court, thus tripling the number of bankruptcy judges. Rising interest rates and soaring energy prices were cited as some of the major driving forces.  

Ironically, the reporter who wrote the article saw this as great news, as it will inject more money into the Delaware economy due to all the out-of-town lawyers and their assistants coming to Wilmington and spending money on hotels, restuarants, cabs, office services, etc.

Right.  This is about as good for the Delaware economy as a 10-car wreck on the interstate (medical services, lawyers, and body shops, new car sales, etc).  Don't you just love the way some people think!

Anybody want a guaran-damn-teed way to make big $$$? Open a bar, liquor store, or "escort service" in Delaware.



Best advice yet to date especially the latter---"sitting on a gold mine"  lol, oh that golden hole!
Not that I mean to be a buzzkill or anything here, folks, but has anyone taken a look at this lately...

The reason I ask is this thing seems to have popped out of nowhere, and strengthening is expected. By how much I couldn't say, and a hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to look into this thing within the next hour or so. My question is, for any of you who feel prepared to answer, is thing gets big and gets loose in the GOM, how much advance warning to the oil and gas production platforms need in order to shut down operations in safe manner and evacuate their personnel from the area? Is this cause for concern, or I am a just being a Gloomy Gus?

Subkommander Dred

Not to worry about this one.  Local weather people (in New Orleans) see upper winds, etc. shoving it elsewhere.

Oil & Gas offshore indistry has "reviewed history" and decided to drop the evac decision sooner, by perhaps 12 hours.

It is almost a case by case analysis (how many helos, where in GoM are your rigs, how many other rigs nearby (limited # of helos)) etc.

They typically leave a WIDE margin of error.

This sort of thing does fill me with dread as I live in Pensacola, Fl. However it seems on a course to completely miss me and miss the GOM oil fields even further. Of course the path is not set in stone however it is still extremely unlikely that it will head toward the GOM oil patch.
To me the path seems close enough within error to evacuate thunderhorse and other platforms further in the gulf.  We'll see, this is not my expertise so I'm not making a strong claim.
I'm not sure this was discussed here last week, but on June 8th a member of Congress was the guest interviewee on E&E TV.    I guess nominally the subject was supposed to be about CAFE and energy, but he seems to wander a bit...

It is not too long to watch:

There are many comments I could make about this congressman's performance/remarks, but best I can summarize them is this: the peak oil community ought to come up with an awards system for these types of speeches, er, interviews.

All we need is a new catagory for the Darwin awards for societies.
What an idiot!

Everyone relax, buy your SUV & burn gas!!

BERLIN, June 10 (Reuters) - Oil prices could fall to around $40 a barrel in the medium term and drop further in the long run on the back of steadily rising supplies, John Browne, the chief executive of BP Plc (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said in a magazine interview.

"We cannot really count on oil prices easing very much in the near future," said Browne in an interview with weekly Der Spiegel to be published on Monday.

"But is is very likely that oil prices will range in the medium term around an average of $40 (per barrel). In the long run it could even be $25 to $30."

Well... John Browne always chooses his words carefully. " We cannot really count on oil prices easing very much in the near future". "Medium term", "long term", "soon", "could". Unlike Steve Forbes.
What really bothers me is it's exacty the opposite of what people need to be hearing, both from an oil supply and global warming perspective.
Which is why our energy policy cannot be subject to the unpredictable whims of the market.  The goal needs to be a society of low energy intensity which can only be achieved by high carbon taxes tradeable on the open market, e-bay, etc.  Those of us who are frugal will be rewarded by paying less for our energy and receiving money for our unused carbon credits.

The policy now, however, is to hope and pray for lower oil prices, provide a few incentives here and there "for the future" which of course includes the end all and be all -- hydrogen and provide subsidies in the mean time to get people to continue to buy gas guzzlers.  

So you prefer the predictable idiocy of governmmet contracting to solve the energy problem?

I have been too close to US and international government decision-making to think that they could solve the problem.

I think that the market seems to be working quite well. Expectations of shortages have led to increased in futures prices, which have caused people to reduce use and search for alternatives. Sure the process is ugly, but a few more years of high prices and I think we'll be seeing a lot more solutions on the table.

I have a lot more faith in the market, then politics.


I agree. The market wins over the American government any day of the week. Enron is an exception to the rule here.

When Greenspan testified to a "committee" about the "economics of oil" last week there were two Senators in the room. I know this because I watched it on C-Span. Had I known there were going to be this many free seats, I would have flown in the entire Oil Drum staff to shoot spit-balls at each other over the photographers' heads.

What is our government doing!? I'll tell you what they are doing. While we are up against a serious energy issue, they are trying to defend us against gay-marriage. Even the Democrats.

I agree the government (both parties) are impotent on energy issues.  They are caught in a Catch-22.  If anyone tries to impose some restrictions on energy use, they are labelled "Carterish"...definite political suicide.  If they do nothing, they may feel the pain of lower approval ratings.

However, I don't agree the market is going to handle things and take care of this situation in any manner less than barbaric.  The market is only a winner for those that can play it in a major way and those that can survive the higher prices the market bestows upon us all in its efforts to reel in demand.  

A friend has said and I think it sums up where we are as americans(not TOD readers I hope).  "until the pain of what we are doing becomes so great that changing looks better it will not happen".  So marketeer's what price will that be?  @ $6.00 a gallon in the US?  Will we have an economy at that price?  Who will the politicians be busy pointing fingers at?  Will it finaly cause people to wake up?  Will it be to late? Stay tuned to a neighborhod near you...
I think that the "market" will react too slowly, and that properly written legislation could speed things up.  There are plenty of bright people who could work out good policies.  Take a look at the auto industry - government policies regulating emissions and mileage were responsible for the development of the microprocessor engine control systems, and the pressure from the auto industry in turn caused the semiconductor industry to develop powerful and inexpensive new microcontrollers.  These are now used everywhere.  Do you really think that the auto industry would have done this on their own?  Nowhere near as fast anyway.

Of course the auto industry fought that tooth and nail, and in these days it would never have happened.  Enron IS the government now.  In the world we used to live in, it would have made sense for the government to influence the market, through incentives and penalties, to arrive at solutions that were beneficial to the society.  A program to encourage electric light rail should be fairly easy to create.

Also, the senators didn't need to be there, as the legislation is written by the lobbyists.  The Senators will vote how they are paid to, and must spend their time in the PR role, and in lining up more money.  

The auto industry fought (and countinues to fight) tooth and nail to avoid having to put in airbags, seatbelts, CAFE standards,anything related to safety or efficiency. Anyone remember the exploding Ford Pinto?  Oh yeah, the market will solve our energy problems; it's done such a bangup job so far.  If you just assume government is incompetent or incapable (and I must admit, their record recently has to give one pause),then why are so many on this board advocating gas or carbon taxes?  Why the admiration of European countries, which tax gas heavily and use the proceeds to build more rail and nuclear?  Letting the so-called "free market" solve the problems ignores the many subsidies we give to car culture. If it's truly a free market, let's not give one more dime to oil companies, build not one more mile of roadways/highways, not a penny for anything which encourages our continued use of gasoline for transportation.
You bet and the reason they think this will help is once the gays are married will start having kids who will use our precious oil up.  No gay marriage = more oil.
Susie G on Nightly Business Report (PBS)last night, was interviewing some analist, and when she asked him a question about the price of oil, his answer was that he thought the present high price for oil was due to Geopolitical problems, and that with the resolution of those problems, oil will go back down to the $50 dollar a bbl range.  I just laughed.
Just wondering. Why did you laugh? I cried.
These discussions are important though are difficult to partake in with this blog system. I thought it was important enough to bring it up again in today's open thread.

There was a discussion brewing on a Drum Beat thread of a few days ago that discussed the ability of the US to: Build its way out of a depression...

My contention was and is that it would not be possible. I brought up the "New Deal" of old and explained that in those days energy was on the upswing. Given the falling dollar and rising energy costs of today how can we build our way out?

The concept being that to implement a "New Deal" type plan today to stimulate the labor sector by adding lots of jobs related to public works projects would be difficult to impossible given the costs of energy, labor and materials.

When you stroll down the isles at the Home Depot or Lowes glance at the price of a 1/2" x 4 x 8' sheet of sheetrock and see the reality. This time last year a board was in the $4-6 range. Yesterday I saw $13.75 +tax. You can do the same thing for all the materials and you will be shocked.

Most of the material supplies have doubled in cost, while others have even quadrupled. Items with copper or brass are off the charts. Plumbing and electrical components make up a majority of the copper and brass materials. Home Depot is not a place to obtain wet concrete however their bagged concrete as doubled.

If you were to contact a concrete supplier you will note that 10 yards of delivered concrete has doubled and a fuel surcharge is added to the order. Here I'm talking about actual costs of any given construction project related to both materials and labor.

Today when estimating a project the materials are broken out from labor. While labor costs do raise this difference is small and can often be absorbed by the contractor. Material costs on the other foot have across the boards have at least doubled.

In the past builders could offer new construction for $60.00 per foot and now we see numbers like $140.00 per foot less hardwoods, bathrooms, kitchens, etc. Energy costs related to construction in the past helped to keep the costs of construction down. When these costs rise so does the bottom line of any given project.

I met a plumber who charges $600.00 to change a toilet excluding the cost of said toilet and the disposal of the old one if he can not take it to the curb. Myself, I would not pay that fee yet it is clear that those that are not equipped to do plumbing work will seek a licensed pro and pay the going rate.

Regardless of the business you are in the general costs of doing your business today have most likely doubled. The greatest feature of this cost is energy. Trucking companies are forced to raise freight charges and delay shipments so that trucks are as full as possible, these transportation costs as you would imagine inflate the costs of all goods both durable and consumer.

If I were to build a house last year at $60.00 per foot this year I could not do the same project for less then $150.00 per foot. In the past labor costs in construction started at $10.00 per hr and now the lowest paid earn $15.00 per hour. My contractor to contractor labor charge last year was $210.00 per day and now I'm forced to charge $265.00 per day.

My living expenses have gone up at a disproportionate rate compared to my hourly labor rate to contractors or as a contractor. Clearly builders use a wide variety of equipment and tools to build and tool prices have jumped up as well.

Energy efficient homes would be desired today but are not affordable to most home buyers. Energy efficient homes require more insulation and larger framing members. Standard construction practices for a home typically start with a 2 x 4 stick frame. This will allow R13 insulation. Bothe the 2 x 4's and the insulation have inflated in price. To move to energy efficient building requires the use of thicker framing members to allow for R19 insulation in the walls.

Houses and buildings need to have a durable exterior that can withstand the elements at a low cost. In the old days the standard cedar shake or clapboard were used and offered a decent lifespan. Today the most common siding is vinyl and has many issues with the first being rising costs. This material requires large amounts of fossil input and appears to be a dangerous to the dwellers and the environment.

The costs of all of the above will rise along with the costs of energy. This will compound if the national unemployment rate were to go up (as it is doing). Suppliers will cut staff to control costs and this will lead to material shortages since the ability to maintain material output depends on staff and low input costs.

I wish someone would explain how the US will be able to build low cost homes again for the expanding middle and poor classes? If we don't wire homes, heat homes or put plumbing in homes the cost may come down a fraction yet going to the bathroom will be hard. Please help me to understand how we can build our way out of this mess?

"Please help me to understand how we can build our way out of this mess?"

One could make a lot of similar comments for unconventional oil production.  A case in point is the shortage of very large truck tires for the huge trucks moving the tar sand from mine to processing plant in Canada.  

Look at the local hispanics - they put multiple families into a "single family" dwelling.  Talk about being able to "squeeze a dime".  IMHO we all will be doing this in the future.  Same bills divided over more people...sounds like mass transit applied to housing (to me).  We just need it to get alot more painful first...and that part I wish I was wrong about.  
The houses will be much smaller (from what you are saying it sounds inevitable).
Hi Brian,
I brought up materials relating to home construction since that is the work I know best. The basic building I was addressing was along the lines of public works. Here you have large scale projects like bridges, drainage, dams, electric grid, sewage and the like.

Materials for homes are something we all can relate to and for the most part understand and that is why I included them. The materials used in the construction of a dam are in massive quantities. To give some perspective to it consider Hoover Dam, the concrete used to build it is still cooling from what was the worlds largest continuous pour of concrete.

What projects could we even consider at this point? Building dams is a great thing if you have the location and resources to do so. Part of the issue is the result of all of the fuel burned to date in the form of global warming. A dam only works if there is a water looping system comprised of a mountain (or chain of mountains), icy peaks, a normal weather system to pump the moisture to the mountains so that it can melt and flow down to the turbines.

To build homes requires land. Odds are that the land in question would be former farmland and key to any building plan. Given the prospective costs of building projects and the land to put them on should the economy fall there would be no construction at all. Should there be blackouts dwellings like tenements, condos, apartments and high rises will be uninhabitable.

The main reason that such dwellings would not work in a low energy life is waste (raw sewage) would not be able to get to the sewer system since water will not be pumped up during blackouts. Few of these dwellings have fireplaces and if they do they are more of a decoration then anything else. Most are built of 2 x 4's and offer little protection from hot or cold. So if you live in one of these then odds are that it would be too hot or too cold and stink of excrement.

Since land is necessary the only way to deal with that would be land redistribution. Here the government could use Eminent Domain but the wealthy who own all of the land would not allow this. I hate to say it but the plan I suggested days ago that alluded to free housing for all, surrounding town spaces that are ringed by farms is the only solution I could think of.

The public works projects of the future would be tearing down all of the high-rises and recycling those materials back into the town systems. To demolish a city by hand would take a great deal of time and supply a tremendous source of ready made building material.

I should have read your post more closely. IMO, the USA will not be investing in major public works projects as a way to increase employment in the future (even if it could be done more cheaply).I don't see this "swing back to the left" that many posters expect as a result of oil depletion. I expect poor Americans to be left to fend for themselves (Katrina was a preview of this, IMO). I might be wrong.
You aren't wrong Brian.
Reference was made to "building our way out of the depression," in the context of a near future oil- or climate-related economic shock.

During the last half of the 1930s the successive alphabet relief agencies, CWA, PWA, and WPA were concerned with such mundane improvements as constructing or improving farm-to-market roads, building rural schools and extending electric lines to isolated farms.  Lots of criticism and cartoons involving leaning on shovels, etc.  The unemployed were recruited to live away from their families in camps scattered in rural areas.  They were bussed to the work sites.  The alternative was begging or starvation.  The system worked.  In addition to bed and board, they were paid a nominal wage, enough to support the wife & kids back home.  This was mostly hand work, stone and brick masonry, carpentry, cutting trees and brush, moving dirt with wheelbarrows, etc.  There were a few "major" projects where contractors were brought in to do the basic work such as longer bridges or cutting through rock ledges, but the finishing was left to the WPA crews.

After the war came the homebuilding spurt, supported by FHA financing -- remember Levittown -- and other myriad subdivisions.  Federal small-business loans jump-started the postwar economy.  Seed money for national solvency.  Many of the people working in the building trades in those years got their start in the WPA.

Given the probability of future depression scenario the lessons of those years can be useful, but only if suitably translated to a modern, more urban context.  The example of government "help" following Katrina is cause for serious pessimism.

-- Mort        

Step One - Cut Square feet in half or a bit more.  Build higher quality, energy efficient

Step Two - Build in concentrated areas, mostly multi-story

Step Three - Reduce demand for Chinese goods, thereby slowing their capital investments.  (I see a major slowing of their 10% annual growth if we are in recession/depression).

I assume you have seen building supplies spike before due to shortage.  Drywall for instance.  Key ingrediant is sulphur, which has a GROWING supply (sour crude oil is a major source, as is sour gas).  Last week we lowered allowable sulphur in diesel fuel, result more sulphur extracted in refineries.  More drywall raw material.

But drywall plants are AT capacity due to demand !  More raw material does NOT help today.  Reduce sq ft ? Less drywall demand.

Lumber is another demand driven product.  The cost of fuel to harvest is a small % of the cost at Lowe's (HD lumber is terrible !  Lowe's is just bad).  Demand > Supply ATM.

Copper has hit a wall in production capacity as well, the Chinese want electrical outlets too.  In 1960s/early 1970s we had same problem (except copper went to Vietnam, not China) so they used aluminum wiring.  OOPS !

Reduce demand a bit and copper prices will drop significantly.

On the Sunday before I left Phoenix I glanced at a Real Estate section of the newspaper.  "Buyers want extras and Square feet, not energy efficiency yet".

Not Yet.

Only in America

There was a news story here in Dallas about a family willing to give away their 2,000 square foot home, with one provision--you have to move the home off the lot.    The family of three (one small child) wants a bigger home.  They plan to construct a 5,000 square foot home.

"Nobody has ever gone broke overestimating the stupidity of the American public"-P.T. Barnum
   I'm buying a house in Galveston, Texas about 4 blocks north of the Seawall. I can see the ocean from the bedroom and sleeping porch and it gets a great seabreeze. Galveston is in an old part of the state and was laid out and built before automobiles, so the yards are small. There is a street car line and a municipal bus system.  Galveston is a great place to ride bikes.
  I thought about putting in central air and heat but have decided to wait. A couple of 220 window units should do fine and I am thinking about a couple of wind generators like are used on sailboats to supplement my supply from the grid, and I could get a reverse meter to sell electricity when I'm out of town working. If I can find inexpensive photovoltaics I'll purchase them, I only need AC when the sun is out. As a landman I do not expect work will slow down any time in the remaining 15 or 20 years of my working life. There is not much room for a vegetable garden, but I can fish 4 blocks from home and its a great fishing spot.
   This is my plan. If we all did what we can and help others to get away from fossil fuels the world would be better offf.
   I'm only paying $78,500 which is about 2/3rds of a year's annual income. Thank God for crack dealers and prostitutes holding down the home prices, but I will be able to pay for the house by the time I retire.As an added bonus the Gulf acts like a giant heat sink. Galveston is about 10-15 degrees cooler than Houston and practicially never freezes.
   There is a substantial hurricane risk, but I have a 14 foot concrete wall between me and the Gulf that has never been breeched,and the bay would have to rise 10' to flood my home.
You may consider the window Friedrich heat pump that I have.  110 V (one can change 220 V to 100 V in ten minutes).  EER 11.0 for a/c and you will get plenty of efficent heat in winter from it.

Also, a mic of wind and PV would be best for you I rgink.  I have some ideas.

FIRST, insulate house, efficient appliances, perhaps windows and solar water heating

I guess I'm buying a pig in the poke. The house is a much altered carriage house,probably pre-1900 storm but remodeled in about 1910 with craftsman features. It has vinyl siding over god knows what, probably pine or cypress siding.
I don't even know if there is the styrofoam insulation under the foam. Its on pier and beam about 2 ft above the lot and 10 ft above the bay level.
   The windows need a lot of work to provide any insulation. There are some broken jalousy windows on the sleeping porch. But, on the other hand, the place was comfortable before airconditioning was invented (high ceilings,gulf breeze) and I'd think a N'awlins boy should understand.
  The attic has no insulation and probably neither do the walls. Solar hot water is a good idea and should prove ver economic. Im considering an insulating blanket against the rafters and possibly cellulose in the walls or polyurethane foam. A heat pump is a great idea. But, mainly, I'm going to concentrate on keeping the AC off except in the rooms I am actually using.I'm really cheap, and I don't want to borrow much money with the economy as dicey as it is.
   And all you yankees and californians, the living is cheap on the Texas Gulf Coast. The median house price in Houston is $150,000 and the weather is mild. Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high. Our local politicians put out plentiful B.S. if you can stand the stink enough to compost.
I can get the model # later off of my Freidrich window heat pump when you go shopping.  In 40+ degree weather it does make some heat !

Most efficient window heat pump made.  I lucked out and bought it on eBay for half price :-)  New, unopened from CA.

AlfromBigEasy -

From my purely subjective observations, I see absolutely no effort on the part of the American consumer to change the way he's been consuming. Anytime I have to go to Home Depot or Lowe's (something I loathe, as both places give me terrible vibes), I always see long lines of customers checking out piles of stuff and paying for it all with plastic.

And yes, most lumber in both stores is total crap. Good wood, particularly furniture-grade hardwood, such as cherry or walnut is getting harder and harder to come by.

To clarify a minor technical point: dry wall is actually a mixture of calcined gypsum, paper, and various binders. While gypsum (CaSO4) does contain sulfur, it is a natural mineral that is mined and calcined to drive off the chemically-bound water, much as in the manufacture of cement.  It is not derived from any petroleum products or byproducts whatsoever.

It was my understanding that the surplus of sulphur in Alberta (and elsewhere) was saturating the world market for sulphuric acid and they were turning to an alternative use, combining it with calcium to make gypsum.

Perhaps these plans did not come to fruition, but I was aware of them.

And yes, as the Phoenix Sunday paper stated, there has been no change "yet".

Perhaps we will self-destruct, driving so fast towards the cliff that we cannot "hit the brakes" at the last second.

Gypsum is a mined product and the reason sheetrock as more then doubled is that it is heavy. Transporting it is now expensive due to the PO. Concrete has the same issues regarding transportation and PO.

Insulation is glass or pulp products. Dow Corning & GP supplies most of the fiber glass insulation used today. For years people have been using R-13 and for that you will pay over $20.00 per bat or bundle and it does not go too far. Moving to R-19 will require the same number of sq ft but at an up charge as R-19 will run around $30.00 per bat or bundle. Making fiberglass means expending large amounts of heat energy to create glass. Even though these bats are fairly compressed they hog up space on a train or trailer and since diesel is up so then is the insulation.

Cheap windows are inefficient. Efficiency requires paying a premium. The most important part of a window is glass otherwise you would have a small odd shaped door. Glass requires massive amounts of energy to produce. So again we have the same issue.

Joe earns $40,000 per year and so does his wife. They have a gross income of $80,000.00. They want a family and decide to purchase a home. All the homes in the area that they want to live are selling for $500,000.00 plus. So just do the math and find their bank payments assuming that they have the 20% down. Let's also work the local taxes into it. Many places around the US charge over $6,000.00 per year. We must factor the reality that they will need utilities, furniture, transportation, medical, food and the rest.
Can they afford a home then? Open your creative accounting books and you decide.

If you come to the conclusion that they don't earn enough for a $500,000.00 home rework it till you find the correct home price. Taxes and utilities are not going to go down by the way. Food prices are inflating too. Transportation is not soon to go down though they may be lucky and be able to walk to work.

Now find the mean price of housing in your given state. If you want a new home I see none in my area for under 1/2 million $ except condos. Condos here are all over 200K for what amounts to a firetrap box. If all the land is owned then we are SOL.

 Ehere is a huge gypsum nine near Falfuriaa in Brooks County, Texas at a mine on the cap rock of a salt dome called Gyp Hill. Ehe shortages are largely from the hurricane flooding and roof destruction on the Gulf Coast and in Florida. Once sheetrock gets wet it is mostly ruined and must be replaced. There is also a shortage of labor to hang and finish rock.
AlphaOmega -

Yes, I do believe that some (albeit a small amount) of calcium sulfate sludge from SO2 emission control systems has been used to make dry wall. However, the other chemical constituents in the sludge might be a problem re quality control,  and off course you have to dewater, calcine, and process the material. By the time you get done with all these steps, it might be cheaper to just use mined gypsum. I really don't know.

You are quite correct in that there is a glut of sulfur and sulfuric acid in this world as the result of petroleum desulfurization. I think for that reason, there are not too many (if any) sulfur mining operations.

Your little discussion on housing prices was both quite correct and quite depressing. We bought our first (and only) house 27 years ago and thought that  the prices were outrageous then. I really fear for my son's generations of people in their late-twenties and early thirties.

 If things continue on their present path, my son's generation will be bribing officials to get their names on long waiting lists for Brezhnev-era, Soviet style monolithic apartment units. After all, that is the logical end state of increasing prices combined with decreasing real income plus a debt structure that is about to implode.  

Of course, people in my son's generation are not going to be happy about any of this once the realiity of the situation eventually sets in. That is perhaps one of the reasons for the government's relentless drift towards a police state. They expect civil unrest when the bottom falls out of the American middle class. Perhaps those detention facilities to be built by Halliburton's KBR are not just intended for illegal aliens, as advertised.  Perhaps the first signs of an American gulag?

  The first signs of an American Gulag was the Supreme Courts refusing to count the votes in Florida in 1999. I figure those Haliburton Camps are meant to house the troops for our invasion of Mexico for "border security" and to protect their oil. No, I'm not paranoid...they really are out to get me!!!
There is cause for alarm since all of the flags are now up and waving. Construction materials are only a small fraction of the housing issue. Many people here talk about Bio-Culture and in one form or another that will be the way of survivors of this situation.

The fundamental problem is that the Earth is overpopulated by humans. In order to reduce depletion rates and buy human kind more time till fusion or some yet unknown energy source is harnessed I'm 99.9% sure that the goal of all in power is to starve, infect and kill the poor and people given a label.

I would rather not see that plan go into action though to me it seems that it already is in motion. I would rather see the people make decisions collectively and eliminate the ruling class. This would be more in line with the "Meek Inherit the Earth". Frankly I can see the moment in US history where the representative government system was lost for all time. That moment by the way was when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

A wealthy man has no notion to uplift the disenfranchised. He can not even exist without the poor. There are many wealthy people however there are even less wealthy land tract owners.

I believe that should we have a depression that the sheer numbers of displaced people will not be able to find shelter. One who is strapped into paying off a $400,000.00 house will not be able to sell out. The banks that issued the loans today will be the land owners in a short while. Picture yourself walking with your wife and kids. You just lost your house and you don't even have the money for gas to drive. You can't stay on the street in front of your former house. You all get tired and decide to sleep in some field. The police will round you up and you will disappear.

This is frankly a likely situation given that the government does have vast camps in place. I'm sure at first things will suck but there may be some food and a possible choice to join the military. Since the Constitution states that it is acceptable for the US Government to make slaves of convicts. If is likely that any homeless would be charged as vagrants and thusly enslaved. That would pretty much be your Public Works Program in operation.

Imagine that you have nothing from your former life but the debt you still carry as you can no longer declare bankruptcy w/out paying back what you owe. All of your trinkets and personal effects are gone. Your photos of family and friends are gone. Nothing left at all. Odds are the cams would be segregated into age, sex etc. It is not pretty and most doubt it could happen.

Since, it is not likely that we can build our way out of the coming economic collapse. The disenfranchised will swell in the streets. To prevent anarchy the disenfranchised will be forced into camps. Naturally that is why Halliburton is making them. Like I said in other posts Group-Think is more powerful then oil. If criminals enter jails and the jailers don't abuse them then all of the studies involving group-think and power would be wrong.

Apparently Bush as a youth loved blowing up frogs w/ firecrackers. Imagine what he could to you if it came down to you being his prisoner. Just the thought of that should be more then enough to spark at least the attention of more then a few here? Not that you would be Bush's but buddy but that the representative governing body is currently protecting itself by leaving the citizens to fend for themselves.

What would happen if your area had a blackout and the power simply did not come back on (or some disease or terror attack)? First not much except the people wondering when the heck the power will be turned on. Soon NG will roll up and set up a command chain. Shortly after citizens would be rounded up and taken to a safe area. Your area would be unsafe since w/ no running water (pumps are electric) leads to piles of shit all over. They will do it since they believe it to be temporary. You can fill in the rest of the story yourself. There is no happy ending.

It is not that this will happen; it is that it could happen. With our current leaders I would not put it past them. Before we wind up in pens it would be a good idea to replace these people with new persons from our own ranks who treasure life.

Alpha)Omega -

 Wow! That was a really powerful piece you just wrote.

Though at first glance it might seem extreme, I really can't find any logical fault with any of it.

The overriding need of the powers that be is to preserve order at all cost. For without order, then have no power, and if they have no power, then they are at the mercy of the rabble, the likes of which will get uglier by the day. That is their greatest fear: losing control and losing their privelege. Control is everything if you have something valuable to lose. The converse is also true:

"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose .... "   Janis Joplin

The most naive and stupidest thing is to say, "It can't happen here, because this the good 'ol US of A ,and we are all Americans." Well, it assuredly CAN happen here, despite the fact that this is the good 'ol US of A and we are all Americans.

It appears that it already is.

 Hi Joule,
I appreciate you reading my posts. I wish there was a more uplifting topic to write about yet there does not seem to be one. Keep in mind that I believe people are on the fringes of doing something positive by reading and expressing themselves at sites like this one.

I lead a rather simple life. During Christmas season my lovely wife to be asks me what I want and I reply with the following, "Socks, under where, peace on Earth and good will to all of us!" I appreciate the little things like not overcooking my London broil. I like learning history and maybe someday I can make some history?

I believe that there is hope and that even a few of us can change to the path less walked. I often pretend that I am the one in power and realize that I can not be corrupted by it. There is none among us who has no worth. People can unite to bring about change or the can do nothing and possibly perish.

The Declaration of Independence is a most cherished and lovely thing. When I read it, it brings tears to my eyes. The founding fathers were educated, articulate, reasonable and yet they were men. Yes they owned slaves and yes many of them were quite wealthy.

Imagine George Washington leading soldiers in the field and commanding these soldiers. Imagine him in the frigid cold a true leader of men who was an active participant in the struggle. Imagine the citizens of the US loving him so much that they wanted him to be their King. He instead thanked them and said that there were to be no kings in America and retired to live his life in peace.

Do any of our leaders of today have the courage, respect, honesty and grace of George Washington? Militarily I could only think of one modern warrior who could come close to that description and that was George S. Patton. Patton had faults as do we all but he studied history, was intelligent and often questioned authority.

I say history is important since it offers a look into past situations and shows us how these issues were dealt with. Without going over the World Wars at this time I will briefly address Patton though to do so I will go to the end of WW2.

WW2 has ended and the spoils of war were being divided among the victors. Recently Eisenhower's letters to his wife became public and it showed a much different man then history reported. Some of his writings were in fact completely unhooked. To summarize what this man was about is rough. Apparently Eisenhower detested Germans in all regards and wrote this to his wife, "God, I hate the Germans!" It turns out that he of all things was a Zionist. He explained that Churchill's massive war debt would be partly paid by allowing the US to control Germany and that the German prisoners were to be in full control of the US.

Since the war was over the German POWs were to be released as you would imagine. German leaders were not released as we know and many were executed following trials at several locations. Apparently Eisenhower had other plans for the vast amounts of German POWs consisting of infantry and the like.  Many were marched to France and put into camps consisting of dirt fields surrounded by fences and razor wire.

Patton after a tremendous argument with Eisenhower determined that he would release his German captives so they could go back to Germany. Eisenhower resented Patton at this point and had many of these released POWs recaptured and they were marched to France. Shortly after this Patton's car flipped and he died from complications from a broken spine.

The German POWs totaled over 1.7 million and all met their fate in mainly France at the hands of US soldiers. They were all starved to death as they stood, sat and slept in their own excrement in those fields of dirt. There are mind numbing aerial photos of these camps and in them every little dot was a starving POW.

He blamed the missing POWs on the Russians though the American photo shows otherwise.

Later on Eisenhower became President of the US and to this day there are those that believe that Patton's car flipping was no accident. Many feel that Patton was aware of the truth of the POW's and that there death would have stood in Eisenhower's way of becoming President had the world found out.

The US had no problem putting Germans in camps and starving them or shooting them if they attempted escape in 1945. Since 61 years have passed their death was not completely in vain since the history remains. If the US is willing to starve POWs then could not history repeat itself as it often does? Are we not reading about abuses of POWs (enemy combatants) by the US around the world now? What will be the goal of the Halliburton camps in the US? Could they be for the homeless and disenfranchised? Could they be for starvation?

The Germans were reported to kill 6 million Jews though the number was produced by the same people that didn't report the 1.7 million Germans. Hitler was in fact given the funds to build the 3rd Reich by Prescott Bush. I don't want to speculate too much though my feeling is that the 6 million number is more of a guess and that the 1.7 million number is actually much higher. I have read in places that the total allied POWs was in the area of 11 million.

So my main question based on all of the above is, "Do you really want to take a chance on the purpose of the Halliburton camps?"


The treatment of German POWs by the US was bquite ad, but not terrible, as reflected in the death rates overall of about 1% for several months average imprisonment.


The worst US temporary enclosures were the 16 "Rheinwiesenlager" ("Rhine meadow camps"). 557,000 PoWs were held from April to July 1945 in the six worst of these: Bad Kreuznach-Bretzenheim, Remagen-Sinzig, Rheinberg, Heidesheim, Wickrathberg, and B�derich . The Maschke Commission would later tabulate 4,537 parish-registered deaths in these 6 worst RWLs, 774 from the others. They thought the actual death toll might be twice this, but were skeptical of an eywitness claim of 32,000 deaths.

As Bacque points out, it would be misleading to compare the perhaps 2% death rate in these RWL camps to the 1% annual death rate of US PoWs in German hands, because these camps were only open 3-4 months. Extrapolate 2% to a year and get 7% or so, which looks a lot worse.
As the Germans found out, disposing of 1.7 million bodies is a MAJOR problem, and one that cannot be easily concealed.

1,7 million for the average of 2 or so months imprisonment is FAR higher death rate than the Germans death camps ever produced.  And the US had no cremation ovens.


Not at all if you consider:

You need to read the letters from Ike. While sufficient supplies were available for the POWs none were given. Many of their wives found them and attempted to throw food to them. This is one of those apex sort of moments in history. You make light of it and I respect that.

My GF was doing a term-paper on group-think and I worked for her as a researcher. I discovered that group-think and denial run so deep through history that you would have to recompile all known history in a mirror image.

You didn't disagree with what I said about Washington nor did you disagree about Patton. Ike blamed the missing POWs on the Russians as a matter of fact. Most feel that the 1.7 million number was deflated from several million dead.

I will have you know that I researched this particular issue for a long while. I read documents from the US archive, online documents, several books, looked over photos, read statements from US soldiers, read investigative reports. The biggest eye opener for me, were the Eisenhower Letters.

Regardless of your opinion about my opinion you copied that info from the site that has that aerial photo. There are numerous things to read so that the full picture can be made more clear. Debating this issue is healthy but it does not remove the possible threat of the Halliburton camps. The allies' total POW count was approximated at 11 millionish. According to the US Government 1.7 million were lost and determined to be possessed by the Russians. Here you're looking at nearly 20% of them.

The US is good at putting people in camps? The US is bad at counting prisoners? The US looses prisoners, millions of them? And what part of group-think or denial are you in since many times when I post you paint me as CT? Do we (the US) have a POW issue today? Have not some lambs been imprisoned for infractions at Abu Garabi?

I am quite aware of some US bad behavior in WWII (and British & French & Societ & German & Japanese).  Strafing civilans fleeing Dresden (which was a British "experiment") and our treatment of German POWs was bad but perhaps understandable*.

You however, exagerate the death total by not one but two orders of magnitude.  Proof is that every US prisoner compound is easily accessible today.  1.7 million bodies cannot be easily hidden !  There are zero stories of tens of thousands of bodies a day being cremated (it took the Germans years to get their assembly line of death up to that speed).

That about 1% of captured German POWs died in a few months of spring and summer is evidence of quite poor treatment.  But 1.7 million ?  Where are the bodies ?  We had Katyn as proof of Soviet execution of Polish officers (using captured German ammunition).

* "I feel that the Germans should suffer from hunger and from cold as I believe such suffering is necessary to make them realize the consequences of a war which they caused."
-- Lucius D. Clay to John J. McCloy, June 29, 1945

I have more important issues to debate and spend my time on than than this sidelight of history.

BTW, the current Pope was a US POW for two months.

The word you were looking for is "sideshow" not "sidelight" but then you have more important issues to debate. The bodies were most likely added to that of the holocaust victims. The bodies could be attributed to the allied bombing campaign. Since there had just been a world war fought you would expect a ready made supply of bodies to be available. More to the point:
1944: Eisenhower told the British ambassador to Washington that the 3,500 officers of the German General staff should be ''exterminated.'' He also favored the liquidation of perhaps 100,000 prominent Germans. Soon after, he wrote to his wife, Mamie: "God, I hate Germans! Why? Because the German is a beast!" Eisenhower said he was ashamed to bear a German name.

August 27, 1945: In a long memorandum, Gen. Littlejohn informed Eisenhower that 1,550,000 Germans who supposedly were getting U.S. ARMY RATIONS, WERE RECEIVING NOTHING. Ike turned a deaf ear to his report and the death rate continued to climb.

There are numerous witness statements regarding just such a thing. Most of them point to a simple observation. "There was an ample supply of rations yet the Germans were not given any in our camp." One statement said, "The Germans would make a sort of soup from bark and grass." The main contention is that many were starved and when they could have been repatriated to Germany.

The war ends and all POWs are released to there countries of origin at least that is how it is supposed to work. By the way I'm not a 3rd Reich fan. Here we see that you support what amounts to group-think. You say, "You have to expect some causalities", "Where are the bodies then", "The Germans found it tough to get rid of millions of bodies." All of the questions are valid yet they discount hundreds of witness statements that claim "We were not allowed to feed those prisoners even though we had the food!"

You refute the witness statements with this statement, "Proof is that every US prisoner compound is easily accessible today." Yet as you stated a certain portion of German POWs would fall victim of whatever and die. In fact this we can expect so then it is now clear what might have happened to the bodies. It is more a matter of creative accounting, similar to how my state accounts for the unemployed. All of the bodies got shipped to Germany for Germans to bury and their deaths are attributed to whatever their jailers claim.

Eight Main Symptoms of Group Think

  1. Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.

  2. Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.

  3. Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.

  4. Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative sterotypes of rivals outside the group.

  5. Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group's stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.

  6. Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.

  7. Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group's decision; silence is seen as consent.

  8. Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

Compare your statements to the eight items above. You at a minimum will catch both the mindguard and self-censorship symptoms. The group you think for is the government as you attempt to shield them from blame.

My standpoint is this: The US would never admit to any monumental war crimes, not ever. The typical extent of admission of involvement by the US in a war crime is that the troops on the ground did it. The US is the only nation that has used nuclear weapons. The US is constructing massive camps around the nation and claims they are for refugees. The same man who hates the German people, so much gave us the, "beware of the military-industrial complex" speech. Any concentration of power in a government that exceeds our ability to control it is a threat to our freedom.

Your standpoint is essentially: It never happened and the guy that claims it did is a Conspiracy Theorist! Joseph Goebbels could not have said it better. Now all you need to do is restate, "AlphaOmega Is a Conspiracy Theorist!" five times in a row and the lambs will lay down for you!

Was the picture taken in Germany, Poland, Russia, Japan or New Jersey? Was the picture of homes, trees, a large orchard, or Homestead Florida? Was the picture taken in 1945, 68, 93, or Wednesday evening? Just wondering, I didn't see any sources.
Sometimes you scare me. And sometimes I scare myself. GWB always scares me.
If TPTB were seeking to avoid the scenario you just painted they would be subsidizing/encouraging/building energy efficient housing at a quality level that meant it won't fall down before the mortgage is paid. They would hire Alan to electrify the railroads. They would be making tiny cars attractive and/or electric and taxing the piss out of Hummers. Washington would be in high gear trying to build a survivable world. Instead they are stuffing their pockets.

I do wonder if anyone really sits down and plans the sort of paranoid plans you write about. Unfortunately I see no indication they plan for anything else.
The only above board plan I know of is that the invisible hand somehow provides. The check is in the mail and Jesus loves you. For the invisible hand crowd it may be that survival for you and me just isn't profitable.

Hello Oldhippie,

Fear is useful and can be an asset in survival. By the way they do plan these sorts of things. The have massive amounts of history to review and can then predict outcomes.

To make this easy, I accept PO and all that it entails. I can do my own mini survivability study and it lines up with PO & Olduvai Gorge. Beyond that the book of life is open or closed. Rather then talking about alternatives to oil I realize that for the most part our lives have no real meaning in the broader sense.

The best times in my life had little to do with oil. When I was 15 I met Denise and she took my virginity. When it snows I laugh and smile while playing in it. I enjoy hearing thunder and seeing lightning. When I was 16 I went camping for a whole month. When I was 24 I seduced Irma and had a torrid relationship. I enjoy the ocean and love the immense power of it and the salt in the air. Recently I managed to type an entire article here and it had no spelling errors (this isn't that post). My GF has children and I love them as much as I love her and the funny things they do bring me joy. In the past I lived in a town that used to have town picnics and they were fun. Each and every year since I was 12 I have been going to the Berkley Heights Fireworks that are at 11PM on the 16th of July. For me the 16th of July is your January 1st.

Money is the root of all evil. Honesty is the path to goodness. Honestly, we can't afford to take a chance and I'm putting my virtual internet foot down. By the way days ago I posted what I believe is a fully functional plan to rid ourselves of the true problems we face. PO is just a blip and requires rational thought to see what the actual problem is. Power, control, group-think and denial sum it up with a bow.

Here we are spinning in circles debating possibilities that offer no real solution while the actual problem never gets addressed. I know for a fact that members of this site are not idiots. We have in fact agreed that PO is reality. We have discussed all sorts of possibilities and still come up short on BTUs. Most here believe that the financial boogie man is on his way to a location near you.

I have no words to express my deep feelings of sorrow for Iraq's children and families. We need to change the tune because the record is skipping. I would enjoy a day when we can all have a virtual beer if not a real one knowing that we made a difference. Saving lives is more rewarding then taking them.

the LOVE of money is the root of all evil, as quoted by the apostle Paul.  also, throw in the love of power and control over others as major tubers of corruption and vileness.  but since money is an easily manipulated instrument, as a libertarian socialist (i.e. anarchist), i think we need to seriously rethink its place in our society.  bartering, mutual banking and local currencies seem to be much better ways to exchange goods without all the usury and exploitation.  
The fundamental problem is that the Earth is overpopulated by humans. In order to reduce depletion rates and buy human kind more time till fusion or some yet unknown energy source is harnessed I'm 99.9% sure that the goal of all in power is to starve, infect and kill the poor and people given a label.

the only thing i see worng with your post is this.
that won't happen. fusion won't save us because if it does things will get alot worse. if you can't stand 6.5 billion imagine a world with over 16+.
My point was related to the "starve, infect and kill the poor" thing rather then what they are going to do after we are dead. See they are depopulating now and we need to do something now and fusion is another 20 years away. I'll be 60 then should I get through all of this. Life imitates art so maybe they will use fusion and do a Logan's Run thing... So the fusion thing was an example of unrealized/unknown power.
My problem with this is who guards these millions?  

Not everyone is strapped to the hilt in bad debt?

Not everyone will go quietly into just anyones truck?

Not enough police to police our streets, but enough to round up the polulace?!!

Come on!  Chaos happens before you get them all in a camp.

Camps can't feed that many and keep order without death,  Kill to many and some will risk death to get out and kill you.

I am a son of a retired Air Force and Army NCO. I don't own a gun, but can shoot one,  can make any number of high explosives,  can live off the land, and live in a paid for house.  I can't say there aren't camps in the boonies as you say, but would like to see more proof of them before believing in them more than mere hearsay.

Possibly Mexican and Russian soldiers and mercenaries from Blackwater. The US army will be in the mid-east so they will not be able to protect anything here.
If things continue on their present path, my son's generation will be bribing officials to get their names on long waiting lists for Brezhnev-era, Soviet style monolithic apartment units. After all, that is the logical end state of increasing prices combined with decreasing real income plus a debt structure that is about to implode.

An alternative path is to develop neighborhoods like mine. the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.  Very pleasant, beautiful, greenery, fairly high density. 28' wide one lane streets (some are 24' wide) and minimal off-street parking (parking can be a b!tch after Katrina and the reduction in car-less households). Streetcar 2.5 blocks away from me.  Three wider "Grand Boulevards" close by.

I live in an ~1890 3 story home that has been divided into 5 apartments (landlord is talking about making a small sixth from a storage area). Mine is a smaller ~600 sq ft apartment.  Before Katrina I was the only one with a car (which used 6 gallons/month), today we have 4 cars for the 5 apartments.

I could, pre-Katrina, buy food at 5 places within 6 blocks.  Many needs and wants in life were within walking distance or a streetcar ride away.

One key is the very little space given to the automobile, leaving room for people.  The "New Urbanist" neighborhood built 5 blocks away has wider streets, off-street parking and much lower density DESPITE an attempt to recreate what is built right next door.  Definitely a different "feel" over there, despite the attempts at similar architecture.  I much prefer the older areas.

Before Katrina I knew, and was known, by a majority of my neighbors living within 2 blocks, several hundred people.  To give you an idea of the density, about 60 people live on the 1300 block of St. Andrew and it is a mixed demographic.  In the New Urbanist neighborhood, perhaps a dozen to 15 people/block.

An alternative path is to develop neighborhoods like mine. the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.  Very pleasant, beautiful, greenery, fairly high density. 28' wide one lane streets (some are 24' wide) and minimal off-street parking (parking can be a b!tch after Katrina and the reduction in car-less households). Streetcar 2.5 blocks away from me.  Three wider "Grand Boulevards" close by.

This part of your post sounds like a realtor's add in the local paper Alan. "Very pleasant, very beautiful..." ROFLMAO Was not that whole place just under water? Tell the truth Alan you rely on the Army Corp of Engineers to be able to live below sea level! I have to give you credit for having the balls to start again in that place. You people persist to re-task the land away from being the flood plane that it actually is.
Fresh water (ie. rain water not levee breach water) flooded the street and the edge of the sidewalk at my place.  

In the rental house that I own part of, there was fresh water in the yard, but the house is elevated about 5' above the yard (AC about 4') on piers and the yard is about 6 or 7 inches above the street.  A new survey for a new insurance company showed the ground floor of the rental house at 7.0 feet above sea level. Flood insurance is minimal at $200/year.

However, a square block between the two houses burned to the ground during Katrina.

The Lower Garden District was among the 20% of the city that did not flood during the mission failure of the US Army.

And yes, the Lower Garden District is noted for it's beauty (the Garden District even more so !).

Apparently you are a realtor. "Can I interest you in this bridge - this swamp - this sheer cliff home - etc." No thanks Alan! I already live in a sinking ship that is the entire planet. You were flooded out and it will eventually happen again. History tends to repeat itself!
I can buy a single shotgun house, flooded & gutted, perhaps built of cypress or heart pine, about 850 sq ft. for aboout $16,000.  Maybe less.  Roof may need replacing.

I can do the electrical & plumbing myself.  A year's wait if I want it raised by a good local firm.  Finish it out myself.

Hopefully still slats and pay local craftsman to plaster it (we still have them here, but few.  Else drywall.

Minimal yard (perhaps 200 sq ft in back of house).

For a little more money I can get more.

Wow. Pretty cheap. Is the crime rate reasonable?
Right now, Yes !

Some of these were in decent neighborhoods before, others not.  But criminal class moved out and there is an effort to keep them out.  

Some heavily flooded, some less than a foot.

Remember, 80% of the city was flooded; a fair % of people want out, the pickings are "widespread".  One can live in tent inside, in an RV or trailer outside, find housing "nearby" (which is expanding as houses & apartments get renovated).

Construction jobs EASY to find, school teaching jobs not.

If you are decent and hard working, you are most welcome.  Wonderful and rich culture, almost beyond description.  Think Mardi Gras, jazz, best food in the world !  Very high level of comity in personal relationships.  Worth fighting for.

But also minimal health care, fire protection, etc.  Still a chance to get involved with the rebuilding.

BTW; zero property taxes on homestead for first $75,000 of value.

...an alternative use, combining it with calcium to make gypsum.

Oh, fine. Yet another source of atmospheric CO2:

CaCO3 + H2SO4 => CaSO4 + H2O + CO2

Since they'll no doubt get the calcium from limestone; AFAIK there isn't much native calcium in the earth's crust.

Step One - Cut Square feet in half or a bit more.  Build higher quality, energy efficient

in case you did not read his post, to build energy efficient homes requires bigger boards and more insulation which costs more. while you can off-set this cost by building smaller there are two problems.
  1. the completed house will not sell very well
  2. all you do is temporally reduce costs.

Step Two - Build in concentrated areas, mostly multi-story

said land costs more. resulting in either the person going out of business or a more drastic step one which of course doesn't help.

Step Three - Reduce demand for Chinese goods, thereby slowing their capital investments.

even though this is a good idea how is this related to building?

as to drywall, the cost savings of better supply of drywall is more then eaten up by the increased costs of other materials..

I did read his post.  His basic question was how will we house the working class and lower middle class post-Peak Oil (among other issues).

Obviously "business as usual" will not work.

Yes, as the Phoenix paper stated, energy efficiency does not sell, but sq ft, granite countertops, etc. do.  TODAY.

With heating oil at $6/gallon, natural gas at $27/Mcf, etc. energy efficiency will sell much better.

Most of the price spike today is not due to higher energy costs (some is) but demand exceeding supply.

Only exterior walls and ceiling need to be insulated.  A multi-story, multi-family condo/apartment complex needs to insulate with R-19 (or R-25) only 2 or 3 and not 5 sides because of common walls (also true for zero lot line townhomes).  With average new homes below 1,000 sq ft, even less material will be needed.

Yes, land can cost more (in a depression, perhaps not), but multi-story construction of well insulated small homes can lower the cost of land/home.  Eliminate or severely restrict space for the auromobile.

One example under even today's economy.  A condo would replace a nondescript factory two blocks from the French Quarter.  Underground parking (one per unit) and an average sq ft/condo of slightly over 600 sq ft.  (smallest less than 400 sq ft.)  And it was planned to be energy efficient.  So yes, Americans do live in less than McMansions.

The Chinese are major users of building materials,  When the US slides into a severe recession/depression; their growth will slow or even almost stop.  They will use far fewer building materials, reducing demand and then price for building materials.  It is difficult to explain just HOW frantic building today is in some Chinese cities.


It's not only building materials that have skyrocketed, I was in the grocery store yesterday, and wanted a bottle of Tums for the Tummy,  The bottle I usually buy, had gone up to over $5 dollars, I almost fainted, I don't buy them that often but I used to pay less than $3 dollars for the same jar.  That got me to looking at the prices on different items on that Isle, and really got a shock.  If this keeps up  I will have to get an equity loan on this place just to live on.

The inflation now is nothing compared to what is going to happen. Every year energy supply will drop, but the huge glut of money we created during the past will still be floating around. Government will have to cut spending every year to try to reduce demand or inflation will explode.

We are so doomed.

An important new article on Canadian Tar Sands by Kjell Aleklett (The Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group):

"A Crash Program Scenario for the Canadian Oil Sands Industry"

Their conclusions:

By evaluating the short-term crash program production forecast together with the
long-term crash program production forecast, it is possible to make some
predictions. Based on the presented assumptions and definitions, a short-term crash
program starting at 2006, by 2018 achieves a production of 3.6 mb/d of bitumen,
of which 2.9 mb/d is SCO. Of the total production of 3,6 mb/d, upgraded bitumen
from mining accounts for 2.3 mb/d, upgraded in situ production for 0.61 mb/d and
non upgraded in situ produced bitumen for 0.73 mb/d.

Unfortunately, while the theoretical future oil supply from the oil sands is huge,
the potential ability for the Canadian oil sands industry to meet expectations of
bridging a future oil supply gap is not based on reality. Even if a Canadian crash
program were immediately implemented it may only barely offset the combined
declining conventional crude oil production in Canada and the North Sea
. The
more long-term oil sands production scenario outlined in this report, does not even
manage to compensate for the decline by 2030. Today, world wide, there are many
oil producing areas in decline whose productions have to be offset by new
production. With the exception of ultra-deep off shore fields, of the world's 65 oilproducing
countries, 54 have passed their peak production and are in a state of
continuous decline.

They mention Venezuela too at the end of this report.  Now, I hope they do a sequel for Rocky Mountain oil shale, and that will finish off the triumvirate of heavy oil saviors.    
That's a very sobering paper.

For this result we are polluting our air, land and water, and sickening our people?  It's worthy of note that one of the significant factors in Canada falling behind its Kyoto commitment is our government's subsidies to the tar sands industry.  The more I learn about the negative externalities of oil sands production, the more Fort McMurray appears to be another Upper Silesia in the making.

Thanks very much for that piece Khebab. Very interesting;)
Oh dear, that report has really taken some of the shine off the oilsands opportunity, with the nuclear powered solution to the oilsands challenge also not being a likely option due to peaking urainum production.

The oilsand industry may have to focus on renewables to power its energy intensive production processes. At least one of the developing oilsand companies has plans to use wind to assist in its energy production and I think wind electricity earns CO2 credits in the kyoto system to put against CO2 production emissions charges. Can anyone confirm?

Could be a partial solution.


Sorry, I didn'nt proof that last comment. Falfurias is about 50 miles southwest of Corpus Christi Texas.
Proof !?!  What is that ?


Alan  (Sorry for my sloppiness)

Unrelated- Japan is worried about food imports (especially corn from USA).http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19420597-2703,00.html
And now, the rest of the story...

Rarely a week goes  by when some politician or academic here does not make claims of impending doom for Japan, due to losing ground to its neighbors, mostly China.   Because Japan cannot be #1 that must mean Japan is last, yada yada...

Japan imports roughly half of its food supply... both by sea and even by air (perishable fruits.)   Meanwhile, a growing portion of the agricultural lands here are fallow or just plain abandoned, as the older residents in the country die or become invalids.   Rural prefectures here have negative population growth.

However, Japan still maintains a large fleet for fishing.

The young in rural Japan for the most part do not want to farm, and instead move to Tokyo.

This is all fine and good, as long as the world economy can support the highly defined division of labor that allows an optics technician in Oita prefecture to assemble $5000 lenses during the day and at night go home and buy American cherries from California, picked by Mexicans, flown in on aircraft built in Europe and fueled by oil from Nigeria, from wells worked by Koreans protected by guards carrying Russian rifles, which were manufactured in South America using Chinese metal parts, while in the meantime that S.A. country's dictator's world travels are documented by Italian paparazzi carrying Japanese cameras on which to hang that $5000 lens.

If a link in the chain of such economic activity fails, Japan will be pushed into recession, have less money, and not be able to fly in American cherries in season.   Thus the Japanese will eat rice and sardines, like always.

You've probably mentioned this before, but is the Japanese media and public at all concerned about oil depletion?
Just last week METI (the ministry with these type of portfolios) published the yearly energy report (remember fiscal years here start in April.)   Anyway, they track energy suppy and use quite a bit.... lots of graphs, tables, etc.

However, as for general awareness about oil and future?   Currently if anything it would relate to Iran - Japan used to be a major importer of Iranian oil; however, during this year they have slowly been decreasing the Iranian shipments, and appear (according to the latest, April, reports) to be replacing them with the Saudi source.

There is a bit of cognizance among the exporting companies about the absolute necessity to improve energy use - the auto makers' hybrid efforts being examples.

There are also special interest groups that are definitely thinking about these issues.   In English the best website I've found on these type of topics is:
http://www.japanfs.org/  where fossil fuel use is seen more in light of overall environmental issues.

On the whole, Japan is much more aware of environmental pollution issues than future energy supply crises.

One phenomenon that I have noticed recently in my neighborhood is the prevalence for larger minivans and SUVs - it is not unusual to find many streets are now physically too small for the vehicles.   While this is still the land of the small box car, American size autos are on the upswing.   Just last year Toyota finally introduced the Lexus brand into Japan, essentially beginning the process of replacing the domestic Crown brand with larger autos.

Even with all of that, the major energy consumption reduction in the future is thought to come from fewer people - in 2050 Japan will only have 2/3 of the current population.   Looking at the graphs, during the last few decades the per capita energy would indicate that Japan will rely more on nuclear (and LNG imports) than actually reduce living standards.

What does 70+ dollar oil really mean ?

I've noticed that the economic response to high oil prices lags significantly behind the current oil prices. How much of the worlds oil is traded agianst long term contracts. Also from analysis of inflation etc we are just now approaching high oil prices. Thus the world at least the major western state can absorb quite a increase before it crosses older higher price regimes. I think in times of peak oil and high prices a better understanding of the world oil market and what and how much gets traded at what price is important.
We can certainly look at past economic performance vs oil prices to see the lag time that may be present if any.

I suspect were lulled into a false sense of security mainly from long term contractual obligations.

I'd love to see a detailed description of the worlds oil markets and how they work.

Followed by NG/Coal markets also if possible.

Echoes of Kunstler...

The new goths are coming.

Pirates in the Med...
Greatest threat since 5th Centuray AD...
Chaos by 2018.

By a senior UK strategist.


Parry expects the world population to grow to about 8.4 billion in 2035, compared with 6.4 billion today. By then some 68% of the population will be urban,...

I don't think it's gonna make 8.4 bil. Just my personal opinion, but I think Parry's an optimist.

Plus, it'll just be a matter of time before all the organized gangs have the laser weapons, robots, etc., too. -- Look at RPGs, for example, or missiles that home on an ifrared signature. They were the exclusive purview of the "superpowers" 20 years ago, and now they're usin' 'em for street duels in the world's bad neighborhoods.

Humans will eventually revert to rocks and sticks when things get so bad that nobody can remember how to build a laser any more. I think I need another coffee this morning

The greatest potential fuel source is spent reactor fuel. The enrichment is lower than when first inserted, but still much higher than natural uranium. In many cases, take out the fission byproducts (everything below Uranium) and just stick it back in with some new uranium nearby (perhaps enriched a bit higher). Plutonium, Americanium, Neptunium are all fissile. Not going to happen in US, but I bet China would do it if need be. And offer to take troublesome nuclear waste off of others' hands. antivirus gratuit telecharger antivirus telechargement antivirus chanson gratuit telecharger chanson telechargement chanson chansons gratuit telechargement chansons telecharger chansons emule gratuit telechargement emule telecharger emule logiciel gratuit telecharger logiciel telechargement logiciel kazaa gratuit telechargement kazaa telecharger kazaa divx gratuit telechargement divx telecharger divx logiciels gratuit telechargement logiciels telecharger logiciels messenger gratuit telechargement messenger telecharger messenger mp3 gratuit telechargement mp3 telecharger mp3 msn gratuit telechargement msn telecharger msn music gratuite telechargement music telecharger music musique gratuite telechargement musique telecharger musique ujmusiques/musiques gratuites nero gratuit telechargement nero telecharger nero parole gratuit telecharger parole telechargement parole telecharger paroles telechargement paroles paroles gratuit astuce auto bebe blague blagues carte carte carte cartes cartes cartes cheat cinema code jeu couple diaporama diaporamas ecran de veille ecrans de veille enfant enfant erotique erotiques f1 rallye familiale famille fond d ecran fonds d ecran football golf histoire horoscope horoscopes humour humour icone illusion image humour jeu jeu jeux jeux lingerie massage partition partitions pps ppt programme recette safari sexy soluce solution jeu spectacle sport sportive tarot tatouage tatouages tele television tennis tourisme touristique truc tuning tv vacances video comique videos comiques voiture voyager voyage wallpaper yoga amatrice anus asian ass baise beurette bikini bisexuel black blonde boob brune celebrite chaleur charme clitoris cochon couille enculer erotique erotisme etudiante exhibitionniste fellation femme femme fesse fetiche fetichisme film film films films girl gratuite gratuite gros grosse hardcore homosexuel hot image image latinas lesbian mature models movie mure nude adulte amateur amateur anal asiatique bite coquin cul gay gay hard histoire jeune lesbienne manga noire nu penis photo photo pied pipe poitrine porn porno porno pornographie pussy rasee rousse sado salope sex sexe sexe sexuelle sexy sodomie suce suceuse teen tit toon transsexuelle video video videos videos voyeur webcam x x xxx nudiste orgasme orgie chat gratuit clip gratuit cul gratuit ecran de veille gratuit emoticone gratuit film gratuit film porno gratuit film x gratuit fond d ecran gratuit gay gratuit gros sein gratuit hentai gratuit horoscope gratuit jeu adulte gratuit jeu de voiture gratuit jeu gratuit jeu gratuit pour enfant jeu pc gratuit jeu video gratuit logiciel gratuit movie mp3 gratuit photo gay gratuit photo porno gratuit photo sexe gratuit photo sex gratuit porn porn porn gratuit porn gratuit porno porno porno gratuit porno gratuit sex sex sexe sexe sexe amateur gratuit sexe gratuit sexe gratuit sex gratuit sex gratuit sex gratuit beurette sms gratuit sudoku gratuit tarot gratuit telechargement film telechargement film gratuit telechargement gratuit telechargement logiciel gratuit telechargement movie telechargement porn telechargement porno telechargement sex telechargement sexe telechargement x telechargement xxx telecharger film telecharger gratuit telecharger gratuit telecharger jeu gratuit telecharger movie telecharger porn telecharger porno telecharger sex telecharger sexe telecharger x telecharger xxx tout gratuit traducteur gratuit video gratuit video gratuit video porno gratuit video sexe gratuit video sex gratuit video x gratuit x gratuit xxx gratuit