DrumBeat: June 22, 2006

Update [2006-6-22 13:55:37 by Leanan]: The Discovery Times documentary channel is airing Addicted To Oil: Thomas L. Friedman Reporting, on June 24, 2006, 10:00 PM EDT.
Thomas L. Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning foreign affairs columnist, explores his ideas for a "Geo-Green Alternative," a multi-layered strategy to manage problems from funding terrorist supporters through gasoline purchases to strengthening th... [sic]

More info here.

Update [2006-6-22 11:4:50 by Leanan]: Kuwaiti opposition against raising oil output
"Kuwaiti national interests will not be served by increasing production"

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - The Kuwaiti opposition plans to reject a government strategy to raise oil production capacity in the light of reports that the emirate's reserves are half the announced figure, a leading opposition candidate has said.

Update [2006-6-22 9:11:54 by Leanan]: Podcast - Kunstler: When Energy Demand Exceeds Supply - Impacts on Transportation and Cities
On April 19th, 2006, the University of Winnipeg, Centre for Sustainable Transportation, and the Institute of Urban Studies, presented a symposium and free public lecture featuring James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency. We bring you highlights from James Howard Kunstler's speech at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, Canada.
Download the audio at Planetizen. (MP3, 8 Mb)

Update [2006-6-22 9:27:21 by Leanan]: Chaos as fuel prices shoot up in Zanzibar:

...An incident involving a Chukwani bound bus bearing registration number ZNZ 31948 forced it to a stop midway and all passengers who had objected to the new rates disembark.

At Darajani central bus terminal which is normally congested with commuters, only a few people could be seen as most of them had elected to walk.

Brazil's Ipiranga Halts Refining as Oil Prices Rise:
Refinaria de Petroleo Ipiranga SA, Brazil's second-largest oil company, said it halted refining operations because it can't raise fuel prices in Brazil enough to cover the cost of imported crude oil.
In Uganda, the frequent power outages are causing the price of manufactured goods to rise.

In Nigeria, Shell is against the use of military force. Also, the Philippine government says negotiations are ongoing for the release of two Filipino oil workers abducted by armed militants.

Carnegie Mellon researchers think switchgrass is the answer.

California sets "clean energy" oil tax on ballot. The proposal would tax oil production in order to fund alternative energy.

The Daily Reckoning is not impressed by oil shale.

And in Scotland, they're turning roads and parking lots into solar panels.

Saudi to add 500,000 bpd oil by mid-'07

RIYADH * Saudi Arabia plans to complete by June 2007 its Khursaniyah project to add 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Arabian Light crude, six months earlier than previously announced, state oil firm Aramco said yesterday.

"The processing of the crude from these fields will yield 300 million cubic feet per day of associated sour gas and 15,000 bpd of hydrocarbon condensate, which will be sent over to the neighboring Khursaniyah gas plant," Aramco said.

It said a 1.1 million bpd water injection facility would be required to support production rates as well as a 300 megawatt power plant.

Chevron Nigeria targets 700 000 barrels/day

Nigeria's prospect of meeting its four million barrels of crude oil a day production target by 2010 has significantly improved as Chevron plans to increase production by 2008.

Iran says oil production increased

LONDON, June 22 (IranMania) - Iran has raised its oil production by 150,000 barrels per day to 4,125 mln bpd, an official was quoted as saying.

"Iran's oil production was 4,125 mlnbarrels on Tuesday (June 20)," the managing director of the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Gholam-Hossein Nozari, told the ISNA agency.

The NIOC official said the increase was due to "repairs at the Soroush and Nowruz oilfields as well as production enhancement in the southern oilfields."

Ok, so they all can't be "Gems"...

Venezuela to set oil fields on fire in event of aggression - ambassador

MOSCOW. June 21 (Interfax) - Venezuela will set fire to its oil deposits in the event of a U.S. military operation, Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia Navarro Alexis Rojas said at a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

Happy Thursday...


If the Saudis are going to inject 1.1 million
barrels of sea water a day to get 500,000 barrels
of oil, it would stand to reason they were going
to be taking out an amount daily equal to the
amount injected daily plus the oil. 500,000 barrels of oil
for 1.1 million barrels of sea water injected would
be a 31% water cut wouldn't it?
I think that's a 69% water cut. Pretty high.
Woops! You are correct, 8th grade math,duh!
Its pretty high, but profitable.In the US some fields make as high as 99% water(East Texas field) but are still profitable. However, the wells may not be making that high a water cut. If they are trying to raise the pressure then water injected in to the bottom of the formation would help raise the pressure.
The amounts that they inject would be plus the formation water that they are already producing so the 69% water cut may be quite a bit higher.
   On the injection wells you have two main constraints, how much water the formation will take and how much water can be injected without formation damage.
  One other thing-sulphur gas,or sour gas is not produced with light, sweet crude. So I question just how sweet this oil is that they are planning to waterflood.
No reason to assume WI will be operating at full capacity, or even at all, from Day 1. May not even be fully planted yet, just foundations and blank flanges for pumps and drivers. It's often easier and cheaper to do most of the civils, major pipework, craneage etc. up front rather than working around a running plant when you want to expand it.

Click the link below for my earlier explanation of why 100% reservoir voidage replacement (means: putting back what you take out) requires that you ALWAYS inject more water than you produce oil, even if you aren't producing any water or free gas (briefly: 1 barrel of oil on the surface previously occupied 1.2 to 2 barrels in the reservoir). In this case we're looking at an implicit GOR of 600 so I wouldn't expect a formation volume factor above 1.3 or so, implying a water injection rate of 650 Mb/d. Of course that 300 MMscf/d may not bear very much relation at all to what's in the wellstream.

http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/2/8/233314/5260 and scroll down about 20% or search for the phrase "formation volume factor".

Re:  The Kuwaiti story that Leanan posted (above)

Excerpt:  "A group of lawmakers in the dissolved parliament has submitted a bill seeking to limit Kuwait's annual production to one percent of proven reserves."

I wonder if we might see this as a growing trend in oil exporting countries, as it becomes more apparent that we are post-peak worldwide.  

Note that the reduced (PIW) reserve estimate cited in the article is consistent with Stuart's HL plot.  

Why isn't the WORLD pissed?  I get WHY it was done back in the 80's.  I get the history part, but why didn't they go back then and revise the numbers.  Instead as we're close they revise them, but why isn't everyone screaming foul?  I mean if ONE middle eastern country, and an OPEC member, fudged THEIR numbers based on the quota system the other countries did the same thing started by SA.  WTF?  

The Kuwaitis fudged their nums. BFD.

Every corp. in the U.S. does the same damn thing. EIA does the same damn thing. Congress approves a bogus budget every year. Same damn thing. Inflation numbers exclude energy and food. Same damn thing.

Why get excited?

All of that is the problem...but I see what you mean.  It's my youth getting the better of me.
but all the fudgeing of the numbers is going to turn around and bite us in our collective rear ends.
It was explained to me as "managing the news".
Tell the Democratic governors how high oil prices have affected you:

How Have High Energy Costs Affected You?

Here was the sad story that I told them:


I work for an oil company. Every time I turn around, my industry is scapegoated for high gas prices. Even though people lose their lives each year in this industry to keep the gas flowing, and our profit margins are less than those of many other industries, we are painted as villains out to rip off the public. That is unfortunate. I would say that Democratic politicians are the worst offenders.

It is time to stop pointing fingers, and to start implementing policies that will benefit energy consumers in the long term. Ensuring a steady supply of cheap energy is not the way to do it, as this will cause us to burn through our remaining energy supplies at a faster rate. I believe the root problem is our reluctance to embrace conservation, and unless this is addressed all other solutions are doomed.


Somehow, I doubt they will use it as it doesn't play into the "poor me, gas is too high" story. :^(


RR -

While I basically agree with what you said in your letter, I can almost guarantee that it will either be ignored or given patronizing lip service (....thank you for your interest in.....blah, blah).

Serious conservation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for getting ourselves out of this energy mess. However, pushing conservation is not a great way to get yourself elected or reelected. Just ask Jimmy Carter. The way you do that is to put on that millions-dollar smile and proclaim, "It's morning in America!"

Politicians scapegoat the oil companies because any other course of action would require some imagination and maybe even some sacrifice on the part of the constituents. Maybe the Republicans don't scapegoat as much but then they are in the corporations' pockets.  Instead, Frist comes up with "solutions" like $100 rebates.  And we actually pay these clowns with our tax dollars?  Or, at least Chinese dollars.

The oil companies try to do what all corporations do and that is maximize returns for their shareholders. Big deal.

Maybe the Republicans don't scapegoat as much but then they are in the corporations' pockets.

I agree that the Republicans have their own issues. But in this case, it was the Democratic governors who asked for sad tales about how the high cost of energy has affected us. So, I complied.

I also submitted a question for today's conference call with the governors. I asked when they were going to stop pointing fingers, and get serious about conservation. I also pointed out that claiming ethanol is the answer is incredibly naive.



  Of all the people on this board I respect you a lot. But "I would say that Democratic politicians are the worst offenders" and then you go on to say "I asked when they were going to stop pointing fingers".  Come on, give me a break, if your statement is to have people "not pointing fingers", it would be best to start at home.

Of all the people on this board I respect you a lot. But "I would say that Democratic politicians are the worst offenders" and then you go on to say "I asked when they were going to stop pointing fingers".  Come on, give me a break, if your statement is to have people "not pointing fingers", it would be best to start at home.

I am not sure I understand your point. Both sides are playing politics with a very important issue by blaming everyone by consumers for high gas prices. Dems are pointing fingers at Republicans and at oil companies for the energy crisis. Likewise, Republicans are pointing fingers at environmentalists and Democrats. This is too serious of an issue to play politics with, and I want to bring attention to these games.

If you are saying that I shouldn't be pointing fingers at their finger-pointing, well, I disagree. If enough people ask them to stop finger-pointing and playing politics, maybe they will get serious about addressing core issues. In that way, perhaps I can accomplish something by my finger-pointing. What exactly are they going to accomplish by pointing fingers at oil companies and blaming them for high gas prices?



  Sorry to not make my point well.  You say that that it is too serious a game for finger-pointing.  Yet you have no problem pointing fingers at Democrats.  Then you say "If enough people ask them to stop finger-pointing", yet there is no problem with you doing it yourself, as long as it is about Democrats.  Hey I could care less about politics, I hate everybody.  But if you want to know who screwed the pouch on the energy bill, you would have to look at those in power.  Though I am sure it is good for your paycheck, and I don't blame you for that.

Yet you have no problem pointing fingers at Democrats.  Then you say "If enough people ask them to stop finger-pointing", yet there is no problem with you doing it yourself, as long as it is about Democrats.

Well, that's your misinterpretation. I am not doing it just at Democrats. I am doing it at any grandstanding and pandering politicians.

But if you want to know who screwed the pouch on the energy bill, you would have to look at those in power.

The problem is both sides. Those not in power are generally not making suggestions that are truly helpful. They are grandstanding and trying to deflect attention from the real problem. Those in power are not pushing policies that are helpful, and I have directed ire at them. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and tackle the root cause, and I see few politicians willing to do it. So, they waste time, while we drive the truck toward the cliff. It ticks me off.

Though I am sure it is good for your paycheck, and I don't blame you for that.

My paycheck has nothing to do with it, and since that's how you view me, I won't be responding to you any further. I joined Big Oil to work on an alternative energy project. I advocate policies that would encourage conservation. How do you suppose that's good for my paycheck?



  This seems to be getting very negative, I had no intention of it getting that way.  Obviously I completely misinterpreted your opening comments, please forgive me.  I will try to reread it an understand your point of view.  Everyone tends to look out for place where there bread is buttered on, if you take offense, once again I give my regrets.

This seems to be getting very negative, I had no intention of it getting that way.  Obviously I completely misinterpreted your opening comments, please forgive me.

No harm done. I do think you misunderstood my point. I am not just pointing fingers at Democrats. I am pointing fingers at those I believe are politically pandering. This issue is important. When I hear people say we can make gas cheap again by punishing the oil companies or watering down environmental protections, it makes me angry.

I am in a funny position, working for an oil company and supporting conservation and alternative energy. I am constantly surrounded by people on one side hurling names at me like "conservative", and then I have others snarling "liberal" at me. I have been called both in just the past 30 days. I don't really fit well with either party. I prefer most policies of the Democrats (especially with respect to science policy), but I don't like their constant oil company bashing. I understand that they can score political points, but I see it as a cynical ploy that offers no solutions.



  Please understand the sincerity in which I apologize for any transgression on my part, I guess I am to old and thick skinned to realize what I am saying.  

I am constantly surrounded by people on one side hurling names at me like "conservative", and then I have others snarling "liberal" at me. I have been called both in just the past 30 days. I don't really fit well with either party.

Libservative! :P

I am from Michigan and I asked this question:

I believe that the cities and states with excellent mass transit, enjoyed by all classes of people, will win.  People will want to live in those states and cities as the price of gas goes up and up.

What can we do on a city or state basis to encourage the building of excellent mass transit?


People will want to live in those states and cities as the price of gas goes up and up.

Is that a good thing?

The big issue in Michigan for the governor race this fall is JOBS.  How does Michigan convince employers to stay in Michigan and come to Michigan?

I believe that the state needs to provide an alternative way (other than cars) for the workers to get to their jobs.  If they don't, the workers will spend way too much of their income on going to and from work.

Employers will soon start using mass transit as one of the reasons in deciding where to locate.


I don't think it will be that simple.

Already, public transportation systems are under strain, in the U.S. and around the world.  More passengers won't necessarily be viewed as good thing.  

My 28 year "peak oil aware" son was looking around the country for a computer programming job.  One of his requirements was:

  Mass transit that all classes ride

We keep building highways...why not increase mass transit to handle more riders and forget about increasing highway capacity?


We really aren't building highways.  We're mostly just repairing them now.  

So much so, that they changed the national Professional Engineer's licensing exam, removing the long-standing question about laying out a cloverleaf interchange in favor of environmental permitting questions.  Few engineers lay out new highways now.  They just patch the existing ones.

I think that's what the "build public transportation" folk are missing.  Since we hit the U.S. peak, we really haven't built much infrastructure at all.  We can't afford it.  Roads, sewers, power grids...all built 45 to 75 years ago.

We aren't going to be building a bunch of new infrastructure in the post-carbon age.  We'll have even less money, and the raw materials will be even scarcer and more expensive.  

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, we just opened a great new highway (M6) that goes around the south side of the city.  Now the city can expand to the south.  You should see all the strip malls being built.

We just approved building a highway from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Indiana...changing a two lane into a divided 4 lane.

So, we are building them around here.  But, I agree, we won't be for long.


Oh, we're still building a few highways.  And we are expanding capacity, though that is becoming increasingly difficult and more expensive.  

But it's nothing like we were doing before.  

What really ticks me off is the power grid.  A lot of it was built ca. 1930, and it's just not up to handling the modern load.  Even after the Blackout of 2003, nobody's doing anything.  Our Congresscritters talked about how important it was for the grid to be upgraded for about a week after the event, then dropped it like a hot potato.

If not then, when?  

Hello Leanan,

Just Dr. Duncan's Olduvai Gorge Theory in action-- more and more grid outages are occurring worldwide.  Here is an interesting link discussing how heat-related deaths dwarf deaths from any other disasters.  AZ & FL, which have a large % of heat-sensitive elderly, would see skyrocketing death rates if the grid goes down:


In 2003, a summer heat wave killed between 22,000 and 35,000 people in five European countries. Temperatures soared to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in Paris, and London recorded its first triple-digit Fahrenheit temperature in history.

If a similar heat wave struck the United States, the results would be disastrous, a new study suggests.  Urban areas are particularly vulnerable, because dark asphalt and rooftops absorb more solar radiation than natural landscapes, raising nighttime temperatures by as much as five degrees, according to NASA studies.

In order to see the effects of extreme heat events on the United States, the researchers developed models to simulate scenarios analogous to that of Europe's for heat-sensitive urban areas.

"We tried to take the Paris heat wave in 2003 and transpose it onto the climate of five different cities," Kalkstein said. The cities: Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

The results were not cool.  The total simulated excess deaths were more than five times the historical summer average, with New York and St. Louis showing the highest numbers.
The Asphalt Wonderland's tarmac of black death can easily reach 160 deg F during the hottest part of the day.  People that have fainted onto peakheat asphalt quickly suffer terrible burns.

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

Forget simulations. Does anyone still recall the Upper Midwest heat wave of 1995? 106 degrees F. in Chicago, 700 excess deaths (memory) at the County morgue, temps remaining above 90 all night.
Since we're speaking here of infrastructure one of the scariest parts of that heat wave was that as it neared the end, bridges and roads started to buckle. Other bridges were closed as a precaution. A few roofs here and there buckled but I can tell you every roof in the Midwest lost a lot of its lifespan in those 2 weeks.
There are roads in Death Valley and I'm sure they are built tp take what the sun throws at them. If the experience of 1995 led highway engineers to start building for foreseeable climate change there are pigs flying past my window.
One other little worry in a record-breaking heat wave is 'swag' in the transmission lines. Swag is the ammount of extra cable included between two towers to account for contraction and expansion of the line based on temperature. Not enough 'swag' in cold temperatures and the line contracts until it snaps. Too much 'swag' and in hot temperatures it sags enough to short out on objects or ground below. If the temperatures exceed the design specifications of a transmission line by enough it may cause the grid to fail precisely when the electricity demand is the greatest for cooling .....
Hello TODers,

Grid failure brings up an interesting future consideration.  How will the Govt carefully apportion postPeak energy supplies and pricing schemes in future A/C vs Heating survival rates?

  1.  Is it better to postPeak hoard the SPR, NG, and Coal for summer A/C to prevent violence and heat-related deaths? Afterall, you can always put on more clothing, move to multiple families/house, or put another log on the fire to stay warm.  There is no escaping lethal heat with the grid down; if you don't have a home genset, your screwed.

  2.  Or is it better to prevent freezing deaths among the young and accept the high elderly heat-death rate as a logical first result of the Dieoff process?  This is how Nature reduces most old animals in drought stricken areas of high heat. [Don't forget grid failure quickly means no lifesaving ice & water too-- ask anyone in a hurricane zone].  Colder climates usually have better water infrastructure and you can hang meat in your shed for safe cold storage.  Just don't eat the yellow snow.


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

Back in '95  the sagging powerlines TN Granny mentions were very conspicuous. I remember discussion of that problem at the time but AFAIK there were no big outages and then it finally got cooler. To this layman's eye it did look near the limit.

The general outlook on global warming is for greater deviations around a somewhat higher temperature mean. So engineers should be preparing roadways or powerlines & everything else to survive higher highs and lower lows. If someone will pay for it. If it can be done at all.

The European heatwave of 2003 was an anomaly at 3 standard deviations. I hope good engineers are ready for something like that. In Switzerland it was 5 standard deviations. No one prepares for that. For some reason things are intrinsically stable or they're not. As global warming moves along these events become more common.

Note to Bob. My sister who'd been in Scottsdale since '73 came to visit in '95 and said she'd never felt heat like we had.

As for Bob's point about violence: when it's really hot people act like dead dogs. Nothing at all happens until it gets cooler.

The other big outcome of Europe 2003 was crop failure. From Spain to Ukraine, every region, every crop. MSM here focussed on trivia like French grand cru vineyards. 70% shortfall in Ukrainian wheat was more important. By and large Europe did OK because they are so far into specialty luxury agriculture and because they have money and because there are stockpiles and a global market. What has happeneed before can happen again. What happened in Europe could happen in North America. Or South Asia. And then there would be no more stockpile.

Having a home generator only helps for a little while, while you have gas. How much do you keep? Doomers seem to have very little imagination to me. And what gets us may be what we have not imagined at all.

There were posts here a few days ago laughing at Stephen Hawking for positing a human exit to other planets. No one seemed to notice his number one big concern was sudden global warming. If hopping the next Pan Am flight to the moon is out of the question my best guess is do what's possible here and now to slow global warming and build community. Standing over your dying generator shotgun in hand will not help you survive.

Katrina was not an anomaly at all. Something like that happens with some predictability down in NOLA every twenty years or so. Global warming or not. Our track record at Scout's motto "Be Prepared" is not good.

Phoenix is building out and out at a record pace where millions of more people will be subject to the possible problem you cite.  This will just make the dilemma and the possible result even worse, not to mention increasing demands on the grid, and, unfortunately, coal.  Start by stopping growth in places like Phoenix and warning that in the future there may be megadeaths.

Alternatively, only allow development that has enough installed PV to at least take care of enough air conditioning to save lives when needed.

More wood box houses!  JC when will we ever look back at the pre-gasoline, pre- eletricity, pre- air conditioning style of house(adobe)for the SW.  Thermal Mass - not techy enough for todays people...too bad for us.
The best response ought to be building district cooling networks in dense urban areas and power them with solar heat in realy sunny areas and combined heat and power plants. This makes air conditioning cheaper in those areas and thus attracts people to live in a more resource efficient way. Should be a good investment.

The district cooling networks in my town are motly run on excess district heating capacity from a combined heat and power garbage incineration plant. Its a municipiality owned utility and the combined heat, power and cooling utility is a cash cow for the municipiality budget but most of the incomes are invested in network enlargements and reinvestments in production.  

That happened to a guy caught stealing I dunno, a package of cigs or something at a Wal-Mart, he was held down on the hot asphalt and he got burned, couldn't breathe, and died. Even though people in the crowd that gathered begged the security guard to let the guy up, hearing him say he was dying, the security guard held him down until he died.

Welcome to the future.

Yeah, and I'm sure you'd be posting this if he had been caught violating your family. File this one under poorly trained security guards. Nothing else. Some crowd. Glad they were all so willing to see someone die. "They begged." Like they couldn't stop the guy. You make it sound like the My Lai massacre.
We have built that infrastructure...the only problem is it's all in the suburbs.  All the new development brought increased infrastructure.  I used to live in OFALLON, MO. When I lived there, it was the 2nd fastest growing community in the country.  I literally watched farmers sell out and within months, new subs, roads, and even more cars!  We don't maintain what we have, we just "Set and forget it."

I think that is a great point about us not building infrastructure.  This country is crumbling - NAFTA has loaded up the roads here in NY State with semi trailers going to and from Canada.  The interstates are being pulverized in the process - there are sections of the NY Thruway that have the quality of an old farm road and only superficial repairs are made.  And this is for a road that is (was) supposed to pay for itself with the tolls collected for the privilege of driving on it.

Our local NPR affiliate ran an article about the repairs needed on the Ohio River locks and dams system.  75% will reach 50 years old in the next few years which is when major overhauls and repairs are needed according the the Army Corps.  I wonder if our government has the will to actually get this done and done right, or if they'll just do patch work here and there as the system slowly crumbles.  (probably the latter.)

I'm liberal in some ways (environment, foreign policy) but generally conservative in the sense that I generally believe in small government (I know there's a contradiction there and I'm trying to work that out).  Anyway, as it seems to me, there's a good financial incentive for America to build up it's infrastructure again besides just the obvious reasons.  If we don't spend a dollar on repairing dams or other infrastructure, that dollar will likely just end up buying some piece of plastic junk made in China.  Government projects and spending on infrastructure could actually curb our trade deficit by forcing us to spend more of our money here and create jobs.

Well, no one really believes in small government anymore, it's just a matter of what we spend the money on.  The truth is we need a government to provide certain things, like building infrastruture.  You won't get a cohesive and efficient system if you just expect the private sector to handle it, you need an overarching design.  

The problem with the Republicans is their priorities are just terrible.  They are using government revenues to give preferential treatment to their favorite corporations.  We're also spending way too much money on a military that by and large is useless to us (this is not just Republicans, but they are the worst offenders).  Our strategy of trying to police the world while everything falls apart at home is a clear recepie for disaster.  Of course, military spending is also greatly another backdoor form of corporate welfare.  

Really, we should give welfare to the road builders and construction companies, and get something we actually need the government to provide in the form of infrastructure.  We could cut our military spending down to 1/10th of what it is now and we'd still easily be able to repel any attack on this country, which won't happen anyway since we have nukes.  

I guess I consider myself a recovering conservative for exactly the reasons you mention.  The democrats, however, are so pathetic that it makes this transition difficult.
Phineas I feel the same way - sure I voted for Bush in 04, but only because the Dems scare me even more, and yes, I realized that means they scare me very much!

The Dem's are on the same program as the Repubs, it's often not even different corp's they're owned by, it's the same ones.

I'm a Conservative in the original sense, you don't spend what you don't have, you mind your own business, etc. I'd like to see the US become like Switzerland, armed to the teeth but absolutely neutral (keep in mind the Swiss are neutral, not pacifist - there's a huge difference). If we "need" outside gas and oil, tough titty, we make do with what we have - who knows, that way maybe we find out gas 'n' oil aren't necessary for a good life all that much. We don't invite half the world's refugees to move here, instead, we encourage 'em to hang the crooks running their own countries instead - and we help in this process by not setting up said crooks in the first place. And so on.

And I'm a big old tree hugger, I guess I'm a Hard Green. The Earth needs only 1 billion humans? No problem, this is do-able, the easiest way is to cut down childbirth, and decrease the population that way - also the process can be eased by going to a lower energy lifestyle - homo sapiens'eses use a lot less energy than homo colossi. Yeah we need the pupfish and the spotted owl and that odd little moth that looks like a stick that landed on my doorway the other day.

So, I'm a conservative yet I stand for almost everything opposite what the modern "conservatives" stand for, and also what modern "liberals" seeem to stand for - it seems to be pushing for 10 billion world population, sacrificing quality of life at the alter of high tech, and setting up a Stalin-in-a-camisole nanny state, Oh yes and still doing everything they can for their favorite corporations esp, the ones they own. The big-L Liberals are just as much a plutocracy as those creepy neocon Kristian Konservatives, hell if they were regular people they'd all go to the same bar and tell jokes and get drunk together on the weekends.

I wonder if there can be a .... Beast/Non-Beast political axis? Beast would mean you drive everywhere, eat ADM and Kraft etc foods, fly all you can, etc. Non-Beast would mean you walk, grow your own food, if you take a vacation you at hitch it or bus it or work your passage on a ship or just take your vacation near home, perhaps you take it on a bike with a set of panniers. And you could have every graduation of course, for instance sadly, the way I live, I'm pretty far towards the Beast pole.

Government's priorities will always be screwed up when the biggest priority is winning the next election.

Antoinetta III

Yes, but government's priorities will be far worse when there are no elections.
Really? All governments without elections have worse priorities than governments with elections?
I wouldn't claim that every single policy by every single democracy is better than any policy by any non-democracy.

However, I do think that broadly speaking democracies, and by implication elections, are forces that lead to better overall policies than any other system.

I believe that I am echoing Churchill in saying that democracy is the worst political system known to mankind, except for all the others that we have tried.

Does your comment imply that you think another system is better? If so, please elaborate.

I think the statement makes no more sense than "all animals with spots are better than all animals with stripes".
Then virtually all elected governments have been screwed up since the first Norwegian Vikings campaigned for campfire leader.

I worked as a legislative assistant in the House of Reps several years ago.  With the two year term, most of the Reps spent a lot, and I mean a lot, of time fundraising.  Although many of the Dems, I can't talk about the Reps, tried to represent their district, they could end up in supporting various special interest initiatives that didn't harm their district, but may have been a problem elsewhere.

After that experience, I came to the conclusion that the system would work much better with shorter campaigns financed largely by taxes and air time rules, with individuals allowed to make very small contributions.  This would require a Constitutional amendment, but in my mind, it would be worth it.  

Legislators would spend more energy working on legislation, investigating and trouble-shooting for their constituents instead of raising dough and responding to the siren song of big pockets.

Democracy sucks, especially when you know what needs to be done.
The problem is that all other systems that have been tried sucks even more.

Democrarcy seems to be better if you have a civil society where people respect each other and feel they need to leave room for other peoples way of being and doing. It is possible to encourage this on the personal micro level.

And how do you know that your ideas realy are that good?

The adjustments made to the system over here has more or less been longer terms, 2 to 3 years before I were born, 3 to 4 years about a decade ago. This seems to lead to lots of unpopular things that have to be done due to economics, obvious but unpolular needs and the things you got elected on being done in year 1, year 2 and 3 is for people to forget year 1 and for the changes to get some effect, year 4 is usually manipulated to give the impression of very good times. Central goverment money given to municipialities since red figures are easer to hide in the state budget, more repavaments and other visible maintainance, different make do programs for unemployed, etc. This usually gives a reelection of our socialist government who on the good side uses market principles wherever they have to or it makes a lot of sense withouth threathening big government as a principle. The main benefit of big government is for employing friends and relatives and increasing the number of elected and appointed people, this is called getting more democracy.

This gives a slow increase in the support for reelections where state functions make more or less subtle PR for the socialist government togeather with non profit organizations that should be independant form the state but are led by socialist party members and the bulk of the support is from the unions whose support makes a US presidential campaigns seem cheap per capita.

We have almost no corruption in Sweden in money or hidden transfer of funds but there is a lot in appointing people for jobs.

If the cynical analysis of US politics is a marriage between big capital and government the cynical analysis in Sweden is a marriage between big capital in the form of mostly former local export giants and government being partly superseeded by a marriage of state and state employees and their unions.

The changes seems to mostly have been due to technical and economical changes in the international community and trade and intellectual fashion. But I think I also can spot that singular practical and well argued ideas have taken root in both socialist and non socialist parties. There is some practicality in recognizing that some ideas makes sense and this works a lot better if the party ideologists doesent take too much notice. :-)

There are also "counter stream" people in most parties who tells uncomfortable thruths. I were surprised a few years ago when one of the socialist party economists held a presentation that showed that municipiality economies on average would be broke in about 30 years and that it would be impossible to counter this trend with raised taxes. And it is doable to call the head of a non profit organization and argue that they realy are not doing a proper thing when they favor one party. ( But I do not know if that made a difference for that campaign. ) Most of this might be due to Sweden being a fairly small country where politicians and other decision makers realy cant isolate themselves from the rest of the society. We also have some kind of consensus culture that is hard to grasp from within.

How do your local democracies work?

A new highway of questionable value is being built through West Virgina and is in its finishing stages right now as the final connection is made via a bridge over the Ohio River at Parkersburg, WV to connect it to Ohio Rts 7 and 32 in order to create the "Robert C. Byrd Appalachia Highway System".  This is primarily a pork-barrel measure thanks to Senator Robert C. Byrd, and hence the eponym.  In theory it will help spur growth in Appalachia.  I have doubts about whether that will really happen or not.  What other than coal (which goes by barge anyway) is WV going to start exporting via truck Westward to Cincinnati or Eastward to DC?  It was of course extremely expsenive as it had to cut through the highest mountains outside of the rockies.  I live in Appalachia and I'm disturbed by the chronic poverty and education issues here, but still I can see that the supposed economic benefits don't justify the financial and environmental costs of this project.
Anyone in Indiana?  More precisely Indianapolis?  I remember traveling through this city, i mean AROUND the city.  Cleveland was my destination and I had the great luck to travel around this city and I couldn't believe you couldn't drive THROUGH.  After remarking about this, some co workers made the statement that they have been building that for like 20 years.  It's never ending and a joke.  Don't know if that last part is true, but I remember looking at the map like WTF.
You can drive north and south through Indy, just not east and west as easy, and its better to go around, the stop lights and traffic would kill you.  There is no room to build a highway through a lot of the city., and not all of the inner city is Indy,  you have SpeedWay which is totally inclosed by Indy.

I have not lived there since 1995, so I don't know about any recent changes.

As to the heat wave back then,  The job I had shifted all our work to overnight and we did not suffer to much.
 heavy work clothes and hard hats and gloves inside a hot box building.

If there is an Interstate connecting more of WVA with DC, you will start to see more and more McMansions and townhome farms springing up in the eastern part of your state.  Some of these people will comment into DC, but others will commute into the Dulles airport area tech corner or the Tysons Corner area at the intersection of the I-495 beltway and I-66.  

You're doomed!


I actually live in SE Ohio, just a one mile walk to WV (across a bridge of course), but you're absolutely right.  Eastern WV, that finger that sticks out between Virginia and Maryland is the fastest growing area in WV, solely as a bedroom community for commuters to DC.  The 2nd fastest growing area is midway between Huntington and Charleston.  Again, solely as a commuter community so one person in a household can commute 25 miles to Marshall University in Huntington while the spouse commutes 25 miles in the opposite direction to a state job in the capital, Charleston.  WV has lots of coal, a decent amount of gas, and lots of timber and fresh water.  It's not overpopulated.  It might fair ok post-peak although the current development patterns certainly won't help matters.

In the short term, a problem that Urban Rail systems enjoy (althought the pax may not).

Urban Rail can be expanded significantly with more rolling stock, longer stations, etc.  DART in Dallas and Hiawatha in Minneapolis need more vehicles TODAY and they are not alone.

The only "AT Capacity" line in the US is the Lexington Avenue Subway in NYC.  A 4 track subway carries 600,000 pax/day.  NYC wants to build a 2 track 2nd Avenue subway to take the pressure off of Lexington, but not enough funding to start yet.

Washington DC Metro is looking at some capacity issues in the near future.  The Orange Line can grow 44% before hitting the limit and the Red Line is not far behind.  The proposed Silver Line to Dulles will add strain on the Orange Line.  Some stations may have "people jams" at the escalators with many more pax.  4 tracks may be needed between Metro Center & L'Enfant.

St. Louis built only 2 car stations in some locations and they will soon need to run 3 & 4 car trains.

Solution to all of the above; BUILD MORE NOW !

600,000 pax/day is roughly the traffic capacity of a 100 to 150 lane freeway.
The Chicago CTA has one line, the Brown, that's overloaded.  They're halfway through a 10 year project to expand stations from 6 cars to 8.  In the meantime the trains are spaced together as closely as possible (they've had a couple minor collisions), and travelling a little faster than the turns were designed for.  

This is due to an influx from the suburbs to the near-downtown neighborhoods over the last 15 years.

For some reason I thought that Chicago's Brown Line was "fixed" (perhaps because the start was announced 5 years ago).   With five more years to go, things will get tight by 2010 with higher gas prices.

Other lines are at capacity (DART, Hiawatha) but can be fixed with limited capital improvements (more rolling stock, longer stations).

Still, more needs to be built with increasing demand coming (think $7 gasoline) starting NOW !

Once the 8 car stations are built, work may need to start immediately on 10, or 12 car stations.

You make me hopeful that someday we'll get to the moveable strips suggesed by Isaac Azimov in "The Caves of Steel".  For those that haven't read the book.  The subway platforms were a series of increasingly fast conveyor belts that the passenger stepped onto to reach the speed of the subway car.  The subway train never stopped.  In fact I think it was one continuous train with no end.  
The way it was described in the book sounded pretty dangerous to me.  It was never really covered in detail, but it did not sound like something an elderly person could use with any degree of safety.  Even middle aged people, or potentially younger people who made a mistake could get hurt.  

It was an interesting idea, but I don't know how practical it would be in the real world.  The danger of falling down due to the differential in speed would be pretty large.  And the danger of then suffering an injury due to being caught between the two different speeds and thrown around, or struck by people, lugage (brief cases) or seats would be quite high.  

The reality is it would be dangerous as hell, even if each strip was fairly wide and the speed differential was only a couple miles per hour.  

Yea, it would never jive with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
That does sound interesting, though.  If you tweaked it a little bit...made a secondary track next to the main track and used a small sprinter that the people could get into (stationary) which would quickly accelerate and synchronize with the main set of cars (which would keep moving) so that they were stationary relative to each other, at which point the passengers would move from the sprinter to the main car.  The sprinter would then return and begin the process of loading more passengers (or unloading those it took on).  It would appear seamless from the vantage of the main car.

Now if every person had their own personal, transport pod to sit in comfortably and a wireless means of signaling when to switch off from the fast track and onto a slower moving side track ... well you get the picture ... things would be a lot safer for all involved. The pod has no locomotion motor of its own but instead relies on external systems to move it according to commands issued from the pod's interior.

You get to where you want to go in the privacy (and security, and germ free environment) of your own pod. Take me to the office James.

I am violently opposed to this "gadget bahn" for both technical and social reasons.
Its perennial as a popular idea. Our local greens in my home town have started advocating them now when proposing a trolley line is mainstream.

I think it could be nice but the idea have two fronts of competition. Estalished and debugged light rail technology and better cars. Since we anyway need roads everywhere it becommes cost effective to fill the flexibility need with cars as long as they dont clog the road system. Busses are cheap to complemet with and rail have good capacity.

I think track-taxi ideas need very light wehicles, light and fairly cheap overhead track and some major airports or city centers where there is no room for traditional solutions to finally be viable. I would not want to foot a development bill with our local tax money when we need incremental developments of the traffic systems we alreade have.

I am violently opposed ...

Woha Alan, take it "easy" Big fella.
Step back and inhale slowly.

This was just a quick & dirty picture I found on the net.
It doesn't mean that we should have one structured exactly like DisneyLand's Tomorrow-Bahn cars.

People were talking here about a non-stop conveyor belt.
Then someone said it would be dangerous for the infirmmed.

But that does not mean it's time to toss the idea.
Let's keep tossing the salad of ideas a bit more.
See what comes up.
What have you got to lose?

So what if there were these personal pods that people get into outside their house and dial up a destination on the wireless, built-in computer.

A local bus (electric) comes around and taxis them to a first conveyor belt near home. The conveyor moves the pod to a faster express track. etc. etc. The conveyor system interacts with their pod's computer to route them to the desired destination.

It might work ... at least in urban centers.

The truth is, I think the solution is going to have to be rail transportation that pretty much goes everywhere.  You take a slow rail down to the nearest local station.  Maybe here you could use those conveyor belt strips like they have at the airport, although I don't know how energy efficient they actually are.  Either that or just a small car on a rail, or we walk.  Whatever the case.  Then you take that local rail to the next faster hub, etc, etc, until you build up to high speed intercity express or back down to your local station destination.  
You mean like Europe & Japan ?

You can travel from one residence in one country and go to another residence in another nation by walking out your door,  walking to a nearby tran stop (say 3 blocks away) and take electric rail (with several changes) to 2 or 4 blocks away from the other home.  "Normal" travel for many, and the only oil used is a few drops for lubrication.

Well, let's see. In NYC they've been fiddling with the second avenue subway for 75 years now, without building much of anything. Years ago, I I foolishly voted for two transit bond issues, but those got mostly diverted into subsidizing one of the lowest fares in the developed world instead of being used to build or renovate much of anything. Where else can you ride 30 miles for a measly $1.67 near-cash fare? That gets you no more than about two stops in Tokyo, and apparently nowhere at all on a London Oyster Card.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, as noted just above, it's taking ten years merely to adjust the platforms on the Brown Line for slightly longer trains. And in most other places, what's being built is trivial in size and scope while taking years and years and years to complete.

It would seem that in the USA, we have made urban rail into one of the most hopelessly overcomplicated, overregulated, expensive, dilatory, unresponsive, inept, and corrupt - but yet often woefully underpriced - boondoggles ever invented. I fail to see how, under those circumstances, it could possibly make any sort of measurable dent in our overall oil consumption in any time frame that would conceivably matter.

Years ago, I foolishly voted for two transit bond issues, but those got mostly diverted into subsidizing one of the lowest fares in the developed world instead of being used to build or renovate much of anything.

It gets worse.  A chunk of the most recent Transportation Bond Act money is going to...repaying the previous Transportation Bond.  IOW, we're using Visa to pay off MasterCard.

What is the point, you ask?  Well, it's the state, not the DOT, that is supposed to pay off the transportation bonds.  Using the new bond to pay off the old one basically allows some of the newly borrowed money to go into the general fund.  IOW, voters thought they were voting to borrow money specifically for transportation, but in reality, it's going into the general fund.

Companies do this.  They issue new cheaper bonds to pay off the old bonds.  There are obvious interest savings, but it's the same idea. The debt isn't paid, but we've got shiny new bonds!
Well, I exaggerated.  I thought about correcting it, and thought nahh, it's not important.  so..

Actually, it was (very roughly) a 7 year planning process, and 3 year construction project.  It was slowed down greatly because much of the work is in affluent neighborhoods, where residents don't want their property condemned, and where they care about design decisions.

It's a big project: the old stations were about 100 years old, and are being completely replaced by much bigger stations, that are handicapped accessible, etc.

It's an interesting question how hard it will be to expand them to accomodate longer trains...

Why do they have to lengthen the platforms to accommodate the entire length of a train?  People can board at the middle cars, and walk inside the train to get to the ends, which would be overhanging the platforms.

Antoinetta III

That won't work with the light rail in STL.  We can't walk between whole cars, only within the car.  Alan was right about only two cars per train.  It's two really big cars and you can't walk between them, so here we would have to get different cars and more of them.  I guess this would be cheaper, but people still need room to stand around and wait.  Longer stations would increase capacity, but so would more cars.
Yeah, these days they often lock the doors between cars. Lawsuits, safety fascism, and all that, although with some models of cars it can be a genuine issue.
Boarding and disembarkment times would climb, and headways would have to expand to deal with that.  Overall capacity would drop with overhanging trains (bigger trains and fewer of them).

Rail capacity is a throughput issue.  A system without one extremely busy station is best.  Too many pax getting on & off increases the dwell time, and the headways are a certain spacing time for acceleration of lead train and deceleration of the following train + dwell time + safety margin.  One every 80 seconds is the best known, but one every 90 seconds is considered superb.

In the US, one train every 2.5 minutes is about the best (AFAIK).

4 tracks (center island platfrom and side platforms) is another way to maximize throughput.

Because on the CTA getting through the doors from one car to the next is difficult, dangerous, wouldn't work at all for volumes of traffic, and they want to discourage you from doing it at all.
And it's a shame because the old stations were good architecture, very human scale.

There are too many passengers.

The bad thing with more passangers is when they dont pay for the capacity used. In Sweden roughly 1/3 to 2/3 of the cost for public transportation is financed via regional income taxes. You can argue that this is reasonable since it lessens the load on the road network etc. One big problem with this is that a large percentage of tax financing makes the passangers into a cost instead of an income and this hurts the level of service and running it in a way that attracts more customers.

That the systems are full is a good thing, how could one else motivate or finance investments? What is most encouraging for investments, a full mall or a 3/4 empty one right before christmas?

There is an additional problem in the fixed increments in large scale public transportation investments. Building new rail lines in cities is as fast as swimming in glue here, it seems to take 10-30 years from a good idea to traffic. Rolling stock have a faster cycle with a few years from need to investment. This is evened out by the bus traffic, car traffic and some bicycling. Most of the (heavy) rail lines have parallell bus traffic that more or less service the same kind of customers, as true market competetion, load regulation or to service some places inbetween stations.

You have to analyze this as overlapping systems complementing each other.

The larger towns in Sweden would be gridlock withouth public transportation and there would probably not be possible to build enough roads for a road and small var only transportation solution. It seems like gridlock free 500k - 2M population city areas are possible if you combine bicycles, cars and public (rail) transportation. We need something like 20% more infrastructure in tunnels and tons of steel and concrete and probably a cost for using the roads for solving the problem. More electrified rail, more bicycles, smaller plug in hybrid cars and this system can run long past peak oil. A city should be mostly queuefree, otherwise it is wasting time and resources.


C'mon Rick, fess up, you aren't really in Michigan, are you?  Everyone in Michigan knows that the point to having a job is being able to buy an SUV!  Alright, well maybe that or a pickup truck. ;-)

Actually, I think it's in the best interest of us in Michigan to get under/unemployed people to move out, not to get businesses to move in.  It's only a matter of time before Michigan's whole sprawl-based economy collapses in a heap.  Better to encourage the maurading hordes to do their damage somewhere else.  There is zip, zero, zilch chance of replacing the exiting, high-paying auto jobs with other high-paying jobs, unless all of the auto workers are planning to get engineering degrees in the next few years.  Delphi is the future of the US auto industry, and much of the State of Michigan.

Back to your topic, we currently have Detroit suburbs doing their best to avoid regional transit, and screaming for the money to be used to widen roads.  The suburbs rule Michigan.  When suburbanites realize that they can't afford to travel by car anymore - in other words, when TSHTF - transit will become popular automatically.  Until then, move to Ann Arbor or out of Michigan.

But take heart, because once we get all of the destruction behind us, Michigan will be a really great place to live again!

I'm reminded of those stories Bob posted, about how Zimbabwe raized their slums and dumped the residents en masse out in the boondocks.  

When TSHTF, attracting more people is not high on anyone's list.

Hello Leanan,

Here is the latest from Zimbabwe:

UN says Zimbabwe has suffered massive de-industrialisation

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe has suffered large-scale de-industrialisation since 1995 that has condemned the bulk of the population to a grinding subsistence life as communal and resettlement farmers, according to the latest United Nations (UN) poverty assessment report on the country.

All facets of the crisis-sapped country's industrial and commercial sectors had declined drastically over the period under review leaving only agriculture - and most of it at subsistence level - as the main economic activity. But the report says only agriculture grew as an employer with 60 percent of labour employed in the farming sector up from 29 before 1995.

In perhaps the most vivid illustration of the extent of desperation and human suffering in Zimbabwe, the UN report says as a coping mechanism at least 50 percent of families were having to skip some meals in order to save on the little food available.
Police this week arrested more than 282 bakers and shop assistants for selling bread above the gazetted price of 85,000 Zimbabwe dollars. Bakers charge between 130,000 and 160,000 Zimbabwe dollars for a standard loaf. Most shops had no bread on Thursday with bakers arguing they would not produce at a loss.

"We are not producing bread at the moment until a number of issues have been clarified," an official at a Harare bakery outlet told Reuters. "But there is not doubt we are not going back to the old price," added the official.

Price increases have hit urban workers the hardest and political analysts say this fans tensions in the southern African nation and could help ignite protests against Mugabe.

With continued American job outsourcing overseas, GM & Ford going broke, rising inflation and debt levels here at home...on and on and on:  any postPeak guesses when the US starts to emulate the Zimbabwean Dieoff process?  How quickly can we shift our economy from only 2% growing food to 90% laboring in the fields?  To my way of thinking-- this is the key criteria to mitigating future violence from population Overshoot.

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

Come on now.  Let's be fair, a large part of the problem in Zimbabwe is due to grossly incompetent planning and just plain utter stupidity.  The whole thing about the bread is just an example.  The government thinks they can just mandate a price, when it's not going to work economically.  A baker would be crazy to bake if it means selling at a loss.  

Robert Mugabe threw all of the white people off of the farms, and gave it back to native Africans.  Unfortunately, the native Africans didn't possess the knowlege to run the farms efficiently and effectively.  

Were there problems in Zimbabwe that needed to be addressed?  Absolutely.  But there are ways of solving problems, and there are ways of just making them into worse problems.  Zimbabwe is an example of the latter.  

Now, if we continue to get stupid leadership in the United States for the next 10 years, then we're going to be in trouble.  

The whites were in fact many generation native africans but that's beside the point. The point is they ran a very effective agricultural system that became destroyed by cronyism and corruption. Mugabe didn't just give it to any black african, he gave it to his relatives and supporters who knew nothing about farming, wanted to be wealthy but not work, and often owned them as absent landlords, putting in no investment. If the farms had been given to comptent hard working people, black or white, the situation would have been different.
Hello Peakearl,

Your quote: "The point is they ran a very effective agricultural system that became destroyed by cronyism and corruption."

Let me know when ADM, Monsanto, Dow, Cargill, etc, put the future interests of an postPeak eco-sustainable planet ahead of their desire for profits today.  Over 25,000 Indian farmers have committed grisly suicide by ingesting pesticide--I don't think they were toasting corporate agriculture just before their first sip.  Google American farmer suicide rates too.

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

I'm not sure this relates to my statement. Surely you can't be defending Mugabe.
By effective I am stating that they used to be the breadbasket of Africa (although with many warts). They fed their own population and many others. The changes have led to massive starvation and poverty - that is a fact - and is killing many more than may have been hurt by their ag practices. Look into the current situation there.

Modern agriculture has pros and cons, but that is not what I am discussing here. No one who looks into the situation would say the change has been for the better (except Mugabe's relatives).

Perhaps if the farms had been turned over to competent people, they would have tried to pursue practices more to your liking, but they didn't get a chance either, and anyone in favor of human rights is tortured or killed.

Hello Nagorak,

Your Quote: "Come on now.  Let's be fair, a large part of the problem in Zimbabwe is due to grossly incompetent planning and just plain utter stupidity.  The whole thing about the bread is just an example.  The government thinks they can just mandate a price, when it's not going to work economically.  A baker would be crazy to bake if it means selling at a loss."

Exactly!  Just like we are doing with mandated Ethanol!  Only we are baking fuel instead of bread.  When people are hungry, they will not stand for their bread & booze going into some fatcat's gastank.

Also, clue us in on our National Conservation Policy for Powerdown.  Oops, our politicians prefer 'grossly incompetent planning and just plain utter stupidity' versus reinstalling Pres. Carter's ideas.

I believe we are already headed for really big trouble; Dieoff is a process, not a single event.  Your mileage may vary.

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

I don't mean this to take away from your points at all, Bob, just something else to consider.
I used to have a baker who was in business for 62 years on the business model: "Bread is the Staff of Life. It would be wrong to make money selling bread." And they definitely erred on the side of caution. I'm pretty sure they lost money on every loaf they ever sold. "If we make money, we will make it selling pastry." And they did for 62 years. And enjoyed the product and shared beer and schnapps with the regulars and had the best community Christmas feast I've known.
And tho all the family was fat, rotund, massive, they all worked productively into their 80's and lived happily into their 90s.
It's not all economics.
I've noticed in Middle-Eastern markets, the little neighborhood ones, they always have bags of pita bread cheap, cheap, cheap. I think the idea is no one should be deprived of the basic staff of life. I have no doubt a really poor person could ask around closing time and they'd be given some "day old" bread for free. Very Un-AmeriCapitalist, that.
I live in Western Michigan not by Detroit.  

We have a very varied and vibrant economy here with the auto industry playing a very minor part.

Going from west to east is like entering a different country.  East of Lansing vs West of Lansing.  Most times I wish it was a different state.


Yes, it will stimulate "the other TOD" (Transit Orientated Development) and the % of Americans living a lower energy lifestyle will increase.

An example is the mid-rises and high rises being built within 3 blocks of Miami Metro stations.

And cities will see more Urban Rail as a development tool.  Houston would NEVER have built a Light Rail line were it not for the success of DART in Dallas.

Better to compete on Urban Rail systems (mine is bigger & better than yours) than NFL stadiums.

People will want to live in those states and cities as the price of gas goes up and up.

Leanan said:
Is that a good thing?

No, this will tend to spread the problem caused by overshoot (of which peak oil is just a symptom) to more fortunate areas as well.
I know a variety of people around the country in several cities*, but not Michigan.  Detroit is seen as a lost cause.

One can start your own group (not easy) and I can give pointers.

Where do you live ?

Some talk of commuter rail in MI, and Amtrak speeding up on Detriot-Chicago run.

* I stayed st the "Father of Light Rail in Baltimore"'s home when attending the recent Peak Oil conference in DC.

Western Michigan, by Grand Rapids.


I grew up about 80 miles NW of you. I'll be going back for a visit next month.  Everything you say about West Michigan is true.  

One thing that Michigan has going for it is water, and lots of it.  It is possible to use it and reuse it, so long as the user cleans it up.  Cargo can easily travel on it 8-9 months out of the year, and with global warming, maybe more in southern Lake Michigan, Erie and Ontario.

Michigan also has a very good state university system. Surely more can come out of them than research on hydrogen powered autos.  

Margins are often inversely proportional to volumes.

I say strip the crazy "credit this, tax that" system that we employ in the energy field and tax those companies as straight corporations.  Then the market would set those margins where they should be.

In that hypothetical future it may be incorrect to assume that the largest volume businesses (on a $$$ basis) would have 'typical' margins.

The Dems will only be happy when we have Soviet style control of resources.
Then they will point to all the gas stations with $1.50 a gallon signs and say - "look what a good thing we did"
But the stations will have no fuel. However there will be plenty of fuel on black market for $10/gal.
I wouldn't believe everything they say. The Dems are currently getting larger corporate funds than the Rethugs (I think this is unprecedented-I might be wrong).
The beauty of the internet is that it's like one giant peer review process.  You might consider documenting your last comment before someone does the research to show that you are just making this shit up.  "I could be wrong" was a major tell.
Actually, I just read it on the internet (might have been Drudge Report) yesterday. You can google it yourself (do the leg work if you find this so fascinating). What would motivate anyone to make this particular fact up is a mystery known only to yourself. I can only assume you identify yourself strongly as Repub or Dem (likely because that is what your Daddy or Mama told you you are).    
The Dems will only be happy when we have Soviet style control of resources.

Abject Stupidity. You are either terribly ignorant and don't understand what socialism really is, or you do know and are simply being disingenuous in order to score debating points among those who are ignorant.

Maybe beechdriver is exaggerating, but after all what he says is exactly what we did in the 1970s in the U.S. of A.  We had Nixon's government-set prices and allocations, which meant we had (relatively) low priced stuff that somehow was often not available, or it was somehow only available in the new improved model that fell outside the controls and cost a lot more.
Note that Nixon was a Republican.
Beechdriver is obviously a right wing troll. He just used a straw man arguement in the best Rush tradition. I am a Democrat and have never heard anyone in the party recommending nationalization. My only question is why he didn't throw in Ted Kennedy's name somewhere.
A short memory - Hildabeast National Health Care???
Ah, another laughable comment. Please compare health outcomes between the United States and other Western democracies. As a society we pay more and receive less.

More to the point, you assume the US healthcare industry is a competitive one. Only childlike innocence akin to mild retardation could lead one to believe this.

My point is that you are a partisan throwing out fake BS and telling lies in order to distract a rational, non partisan discussion and drag it in to the mental slime in which you live. Why don't you just crawl back under your rock? Liars are invariably evil after a while.
I am a Democrat and have never heard anyone in the party recommending nationalization.
    A short memory - Hildabeast National Health Care???

When did the topic stop being price fixing of oil and become healthcare?

You have the wrong place, might I suggest Thevaccinesyringe.com if you want to talk about health case?

(and what was the 'Hildabeast' plan?)

Hilary "Hildabeast" Clinton - you know - the one who was an amateur who made a billion dollars in cattle futures her VERY FIRST time in the pits. It seems to me that this site has become very little about PO and a whole lot more about bash Bush, Republicans, etc.
Beechdriver says the one who was an amateur who made a billion dollars in cattle futures her VERY FIRST time in the pits.

So?   If that angers you so, where is your name-calling bile for ANY polition that gets money for political influence?  

Beechdriver It seems to me that this site has become very little about PO and a whole lot more about bash Bush, Republicans, etc.

And you are somehow HELPING?

The Republicans are in charge now.  If they, as a party, are so much better why havn't things improved?   Why hasn't Bush "used the polital capitol he's earned and jawboned the Saudies" like he said he would?   Why did George Soros say that Harken Energy Corp. purchased a Texas oil company run by George W. Bush in 1986 because "we were buying political influence."?

If you feel that Mr. Bush is being misrepresented then be a man and tell us WHY there is a misrepresentation.   Be postive and show us how Mr. Bush's actions are soring like the Hinderburg, not burning coal and sinking to the bottom of a deep ocean like the titanic

It wasn't a billion dollars. It was about $100,000.

And it wasn't beef futures, it was poultry.

Not that it smells less, but if you're going to slime someone at least get your facts straight.

Sorry - it is too much fun to pique
Sorry - it is too much fun to pique

Actually you are not sorry.  You are a hyprocrite.  

If you had issues with poilitions taking money for favors, you would have no issues when people point out Mr Bush getting his pocket lined.  

Instead, you call such "bashing".

Perhaps you are sorry you are a hyprocrite?

Beechdriver, you are relatively new around here (on TOD), so you're not exactly in a position to make that judgement.
We do not approve of trolling.  Take it elsewhere or behave.
The Dems will only be happy when we have Soviet style control of resources.

Based on what data?

From the data I read, the trend is handing over as much as possible to 'Private Industry" because "they can do a better job".

But if you have voting records that back up your position, please show it.

Then they will point to all the gas stations with $1.50 a gallon signs and say - "look what a good thing we did"

Errr, again, what legislation pending has gas pegged at a price?  

Nixon was the last polition to peg gas prices.

But the stations will have no fuel. However there will be plenty of fuel on black market for $10/gal.

So?   All that does is show that people who can stand in line will make a nice buck, and the people who can't stand in line will pay more.    Which is better?  The $10 going to Big Oil or to entrapnures who stand in line?

Will you guys leave Beechdriver alone?

He needs all the time he has to pay for my tax cuts, he has no time to argue with you about stuff like this.

And any time he has left, goes to protecting my rights from the terrorists.

So: LEAVE HIM ALONE! He is busy!

Ensuring a steady supply of people is not the
way to do it,as this causes us to burn through
our remaining energy supplies at a faster rate.
I believe the root problem is our reluctance
to embrace population control and unless this
is addressed all other solutions are doomed.
Population growth is already under control.  Most countries (including the US and Mexico) are around or below the replacement fertility rate.  Absolute population levels will continue to increase slowly for a few decades until the bulge of young people ages, but there's nothing you can do about that - they're already here.
The U.S. would be, except for immigration.  Immigrants raise the population in two ways: they add to the absolute number, and they have larger families for 2-3 generations after arriving.

Thus, the U.S. population is projected to be 45% higher by 2050.  

You're right.  But, that's mainly a transfer from Mexico to the US.  The overall US fertility rate is still 2.1, right at replacement.

Similarly, world population will increase by about the same amount by 2050, but that's almost entirely due to the overhang of young people already here.

But, that's mainly a transfer from Mexico to the US.

The transfer (and not just from Mexico) is likely to accelerate in the Post-Carbon Age, unless the U.S. becomes so bad that we're the ones trying to emigrate.

"Overcrowded lifeboat syndrome," Jared Diamond calls it.  

I also fear that many of the factors that have defused the population bomb will reverse in the Post-Carbon Age.  The need for manual labor on farms and such will encourage large families again.  (Even in China, rural families are exempt from the one-child rule.)  The availability of health care, including birth control, will likely decline.  

hmm.  Are you sure rural chinese families are exempt?  My understanding was that they were covered.  After all, even now most chinese are still rural.

Why so pessimistic?  My impression was that the general best guess on TOD was an undulating plateau for 5-10 years, and at worst a 25% decline in about 20 years.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that PO is going to make it hard for the US to generate electricity.  Plug-in hybrids will be here in 6 years or less (1.5 vehicle generations), and could have batteries large enough to run mostly electric in one more vehicle generation, or about 5 years after that. Plus, PHEV's are battery upgradeable, so response time to oil shocks will fall.

The transition will be painful (I don't expect GM to survive, for instance, and poor everywhere will suffer), and we may not prevent GW the way we should, but I can't imagine things getting bad enough to de-automate farms.  You can certainly use mostly electric hybrids to plow fields, and most crops don't need the ginormous fertilizers that corn needs.  We might have to use less high-fructose corn syrup....

Are you sure rural chinese families are exempt?

I don't know if they are officially exempt or unofficially, but it one-child law is not enforced in the country.  Precisely because you need kids for cheap labor on a farm.

Why so pessimistic?  My impression was that the general best guess on TOD was an undulating plateau for 5-10 years, and at worst a 25% decline in about 20 years.

Let's just say that I don't think you are looking at the big picture.  And that we at TOD have a wide range of views, from "You won't even notice peak oil" to "Mad Max is too optimistic."

"Let's just say that I don't think you are looking at the big picture."

Could you be more specific?  What's your best guess as to the timing of PO: when PO happens, whether there's a significant plateau, how fast overall depletion will occur?

I have in fact done a lot of research. I've reviewed all of the major books and websites on PO, and none of them do a credible job of dealing with alternative energy (by which I mean wind and solar [combined with electric transport], not anything related to biomass which I regard as a modest transitional help, and in the longterm as a way of providing relatively small amounts of liquid fuel).

People spend a fair amount of energy discussing coping mechanisms for economic collapse on TOD, and I haven't seen any good arguments for collapse.  TOD provides a lot of good, specific, credible info about PO, but I don't see anything like the same kind of specific info that would support anything like collapse.

Could you be more specific?  What's your best guess as to the timing of PO: when PO happens, whether there's a significant plateau, how fast overall depletion will occur?

I don't think it really matters, to tell you the truth.  We are a society based on cheap energy and constant expansion, and when that ends, it's not going to be pretty.  

As for why I don't believe alternative energy can save us, and why I think collapse is likely...I'm a big fan of Tainter and Greer.

If I understand them, both Tainter and Greer propose that societies collapse when they reach the limits of their resources.

This, then, is a fundamental question: have we reached limits to energy growth?  The purpose of TOD is to evaluate oil, and fossil fuels.  I haven't seen anything on TOD that substantively evaluates wind and solar, and I don't see that kind of substantive, specific, quantitative discussion in any of the books or websites that are devoted to PO.

So, I see no basis for assuming that society will collapse.

If I understand them, both Tainter and Greer propose that societies collapse when they reach the limits of their resources.

That is not really the salient point.  Tainter's argument is that complexity has an energy cost.  It's essentially a thermodynamic argument.

This, then, is a fundamental question: have we reached limits to energy growth?

Yes.  Peak oil is peak energy, in my book.

"Peak oil is peak energy, in my book"

Hmmm.  But what about wind and solar?  They don't seem like real energy?  

Of course they are real energy.  So is nuclear, tidal, geothermal, etc.

But they can't provide the energy we get from oil.

Energy is neither created nor destroyed.  All the energy we ever had is still out there.  It's the form it's in that counts.  Some forms are much more usable than others.  

Google EROEI to see discussions of the problems with alternatives.  

This interview with David Goodstein may also be of interest.

"But they can't provide the energy we get from oil."

Why do you think so?  Do you have a source? The AWEA thinks that the wind resource in the US is about 3x our current electrical needs.  Goodstein thinks that solar is feasible - he just thinks it's a big project.  Here's what he says:

"What about solar energy?
Solar energy will be an important component, an important part of the solution. If you want to gather enough solar energy to replace the fossil fuel that we're burning today--and remember we're going to need more fossil fuel in the future- using current technology, then you would have to cover something like 220,000 square kilometers with solar cells. That's far more than all the rooftops in the country. It would be a piece of land about 300 miles on a side, which is big but not unthinkable. But making that area of solar cells one heck of a challenge because all of the solar cells every made probably wouldn't cover more than 10 square kilometers. This is not impossible. It's just difficult. It's hard and we're not trying."

The 220,000 sq km figure is wrong, something Goodstein acknowedged in an e-mail conversation we had some time ago.  That figure is for the whole world.  In fact, the correct figure  for the US is about 5,100 sq miles, something much less than the rooftops in the country, and really quite doable.  That's for current electricity production.  To replace all types of energy would take about 3x as much, also perfectly feasible.

Even with the mistake, look at what he said: "This is not impossible.".

Solar EROEI is 10:1 to 20:1, and rising.   Wind is 80:1.  No problem there.

"Some forms are much more usable than others."  

Sure, and electricity from wind, solar concentrating plants and solar PV is about the best.  Solar thermal is also quite good, where you need heat.

With all due respect to the people who think the end of the world is nigh, the truth is in every age there are always those who want to believe the end is coming.  It's been like this for centuries, probably since humankind first evolved.  If someone wants to believe that the end of the world as we know it is on the horizon, then they can find "facts" to back it up.  

To be honest, I think the doomer sentiment is the worst thing about the discussion here.  There's nothing more pointless than someone who just wants to throw up their hands and say everything is pointless.  Everything certainly is pointless, if we don't even take the time to try anything.  

The problem with the doomer scenarios is they all pretty much envision a world where energy just suddenly runs out.  There is no transitition period where we can move to alternatives or increase our efficiency.  This is unsaid, but it's true, because if they thought such a period would take place, then they would understand how we could move beyond our reliance on petroleum.  Instead they decide that as soon as oil peaks, we're immediately going to move into collapse mode.  

The whole collapse of societies thing is misleading, for a lot of reasons.  For one thing, outside forces often contribute to such a collapse.  Rome faced barbarians on their borders, for example.  In a global society, what we more or less have now, there is no external force to come in and take over.  

Secondly, we had quite complex societies before we ever burned a single barrel of oil.  Going back to Rome, look how complex it was.  It was an empire that spanned much of the known world at the time.  This, without a single drop of oil.  

So, why would we revert to the stone age due to less oil?  Our smaller world now is not just due to oil.  It helps with travel, true, but greatly our world is smaller now due to communication.  So, unless we run out of electricity all at once too (with once again no transition period), everything is not going to fall apart.  

Honestly, the doom and gloom outlook is really a huge load of BS, and it is just a knock against the credibility of the whole peak oil movement.  We need to recognize the problem and figure out how to deal with it.  Not wring our hands about how it's all going to fall apart.  That sort of fatalistic pessimism does no one any service, and just guarantees that everything does fall apart.  

Humans are many things, some good and some bad, but one thing we are is adaptable.  We will find a way to adapt.  

"Instead they decide that as soon as oil peaks, we're immediately going to move into collapse mode.  "
It's like a blackout: as soon as one power plant is down, the network becomes overloaded, the next node shuts down etc.

"Secondly, we had quite complex societies before we ever burned a single barrel of oil."
And they collapsed.

You might want to check out this: http://www.anthropik.com/thirty

Solar EROEI is 10:1 to 20:1, and rising.   Wind is 80:1.  No problem there.

Please cite your source(s)

Here's one for wind (it gives 3-8 months energy payback, which is about 65:1 (360 months life divided by 5.5 months payback)

And here's one for solar.

I think this is fairly widely available info, though you have to keep in mind that the state of the art in PV (and wind) is changing fairly quickly.  For instance, the wafers used in crystalline silicon PV (the type that uses the most energy in manufacturing) have been getting much thinner lately, due to silicon shortages, so the energy inputs have droppred quickly recently.  Anything older than a year or two will be badly out of date.  Also keep in mind that process heat BTU's are worth about 1/3 of electrical BTU's, due to the heat engine losses in electrical generation, so an EROEI of 5 using raw BTU's is actually an EROEI of 15.

I think this is fairly widely available info,

A chart I cited when pointing out how bad a deal nuclear power was was claiming 2-4 EROEI for nuke and a bit under 5 for wind.   Your numbers were quite a bit highewr than that chart.

Well, I'd be curious to know the source, as that's not consistent with anything else I've seen.  Here's a good discussion:


The article says: "Low EROEI - A recent study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds that wind farms generate between 17 and 39 times as much energy as is required for their construction and operation. The Danish wind energy association comes up with an energy payback time of less than 6 months, or a return of >60 for a 30 year life."

Here's what a manufacturer, Vestas, has to say:


According to a commenter, "The latest Vestas V90 turbine takes 7.7 months to break even and has a life expentancy of 20 years, so I guess that's an energy return of 31"

So, we have something between 17 and 60, from these various sources.  Anything better than 10 is just fine.

Sure, and electricity from wind, solar concentrating plants and solar PV is about the best.

Wind and solar are basically the same thing.  Both come from the sun.

And the energy source we are using now - fossil fuels - is concentrated solar energy.  Millions of years of buried sunshine, concentrated by nature.  

We've tried to get off oil.  Since the '70s, we've poured billions of dollars into solar, wind, ethanol, biodiesel from algae, tidal, geothermal, ocean thermal, fusion, etc.  You name it, we've tried it.  Nothing comes close to oil.  We're just as dependent as ever.  The thermodynamics just aren't in our favor.  

There have been other complex societies in the past, that used only solar energy...but they could not maintain the kind of population we have:

Nor did they maintain anything near the complexity we have.

As others have pointed out, even the "alternative" energy sources are dependent on oil-based infrastructure.  Cement, steel, copper, glass, alumininum, plastics/composites, fertilizers, chemicals, silicon...all mined, refined, manufactured with petroleum.

We're like a spoiled kid blowing through his trust fund like there's no tomorrow.  He's not worried; when money starts getting tight, he'll get a job at McDonald's.  Of course, the job at McDonald's doesn't pay much, but as long as it's "money-positive," it'll be okay.  He'll just work a lot of these jobs, and he can make the same amount of money, and still keep his mansion, his fleet of luxury cars, his private jet, his helicopter, his country club membership, etc.

I trust you see the problem with this plan.  That's the issue we're facing with thermodyamics/EROEI.

claps could not of said it better myself.
Your population curve is wrong.  There are fewer people alive today than in the past.  1 child = 2 adults. Taking an avarage of 3 generations per 100 yrs there were 128 people screwing just to make me....200 years ago.  Keep doubling until your get to the year 0 AD and then times that by just 10% of the number of people alive to day and you can see how few of us there are now.

Can I get a government job now?  I want to make oil production lines next.

You're delusional, DelusionaL.  The chart is correct, and can be substantiated from any number of alternative sources. Example:

No chance of a government job for you.  Reading is fundamental.

You're delusional, DelusionaL.  The chart is correct, and can be substantiated from any number of alternative sources. Example:

No chance of a government job for you.  Reading is fundamental.

Hmmm.  I'm not sure we're making progress on this.

Well.  Let's discuss one at a time:

"Wind and solar are basically the same thing.  Both come from the sun.

And the energy source we are using now - fossil fuels - is concentrated solar energy.  Millions of years of buried sunshine, concentrated by nature.  "

I think what you're doing here is comparing the rate of natural oil creation to oil use. There's no question that we're using up oil a lot faster than it was created.

But....natural oil creation was incredibly slow and inefficient.

Plant photosynthetic solar conversion is 3 - 6% efficient. Probably only .1% of all plant matter got caught in the geological processes that create fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal, bitumen aka shale oil, kerogen aka tar sand, etc). Probably less than 20% of fossil fuels were converted to oil and gas. Probably only 5% of oil and gas got trapped in the natural pockets that geologists search for so feverishly, instead of just seeping out of the ground (like the La Brea tar pits).  Probably only 50% of all trapped oil can be pumped out.

So, multiply 4.5% x .1% x 5% x 20% x 50%. You get .000225% efficiency.

Now let's look at modern, commercial solar cells at 20% efficiency(the industry leaders, sunpower, best cells currently - DARPA, among many others, is working to get to 50% in 4 years).

Tha's a big difference.  We do a lot better than nature did at collecting solar energy.  That means you need only .5% of the land covered by plants for solar (I think about 50% of arable land is farmed, so that's probably 1% of farmland). And that's just solar - don't forget wind, nuclear, biomass (on the 99% of farmland left over), geothermal, wave, tidal, etc.

More, later.

Wind and solar will never scale to the size necessary to displace enough fossil fuels to matter, unless the fossil fuel decline is so long and gentle that it runs several decades (close to a century), which I believe is unlikely to occur. Even 100% growth in both industries every year for a few decades would still only cover a few percent of the US total energy consumption. And do you really believe that these industries can grow by 100% or more every year, year after year, when they are dependent on an existing fossil fuel infrastructure in the first place?
"Even 100% growth in both industries every year for a few decades would still only cover a few percent of the US total energy consumption."

Wind at the end of 2006 will be producing about 1% of the electricity in the US.  If it doubled annually for 7 years it would reach 100%. (first year: 2%, 2nd 4%, 3rd 8%, 4th 16%, 5th 32%, 6th 64%, 7th 124%).   In fact, wind is doubling in the US about every 2 years, so it would take 14 years instead.  Wind is 40% of new generation in 2006, and 50% in 2007.  Solar is about 6 years behind wind, but growing even faster.

"they are dependent on an existing fossil fuel infrastructure"

How's that?  About 2% of the cost of wind is from energy.  If the price of oil triples, maybe wind turbines cost 6% more.  That's not a problem.  Similar situation for solar, where the energy cost of construction is 5-10% and dropping.  Lots of other things will get crowded out by scarce FF before wind and solar.

Look at this slide from my Peak Oil presentation.  It shows total global energy derived from the various sources (click for a bigger version):

I think from memory it was 2002 data from BP.

Just to save you figuring it out from the graph:

Energy from oil: 36.16%
Energy from Wind & Solar: 0.011%

So a 1% drop in the energy from oil (0.36% of the total energy) would have to be matched by a 3300% ramp-up of wind and solar. How do you think that is going to be achieved in a Peak Oil related recession?

Even Hydro is only 2%.  You would need an 18% increase in total global Hydro capacity just to match a 1% oil decline.

You would need to make these increases every single year just to keep up with very modest oil declines

This graph usually blows most people away when I show them this slide.

Great find and analysis. I'm going to steal that graph and forget to give you credit Duncan. Just letting you know ahead of time.



That's OK. My whole presentation is based on the Q&A format similar to the one you use at your site, so we're quits!

In fact, I think I got the graph by going to one of the links from your text. The slide is entitled "Painfully Low Starting Point" (ring any bells?)

Hey, if we can all help each other to spread the word then we are achieving something.

You want to battle for peak oil doom supremacy? Bring it on beyootch.



(hanging my comment here to get it close to your admiration for the above graph)

That graph above is a visual cheat.  It draws the eye to "other" but "other" is not the story in "peak oil."

Do your self a favor, start with a full pie graph of available energy sources, cut oil and natural gas slices in half, and see how the total energy picture changes.

I get (100 - ((21.16 + 36.16)/2)) = 71.34

In other words, if oil and gas were to decline in total production by half, and all the other energy sources were not to grow at all, we'd still be at 71% of our current energy consumption ... a quantity easily managed by conservation (probably manageable by the market alone, but definitely manageable by rationing and mandate).

Given that other known energy sources will grow as oil declines the picture will look that much better.

Yes, I agree that 71% is doable with conservation, but I put up the graph to support Leanan's argument that Peak Oil = Peak Energy.

I believe that as oil declines, other sources of energy cannot grow fast enough to even sustain a plateau of energy production, therefore total energy production will also decline.

Note also this graph that I got from the site of a nuclear training institute in Europe:

It shows that with the current stock of nuclear reactors, peak nuclear energy production will peak in about five years. De-commisioning of older plants is not being met with new plants. We would need to be building dozens of nuclear plants right now just to maintain the current level of nuclear power.  Again, this is something that is going to be difficult in a recession.

I think we might be due for an energy dip, based on my reading of current trends and available technology.  Whether that is "peak energy" in a longer term ... I think that might be asking us to look further than we are able.  I don't consider technology predictable past a couple decades.

But the dip is what the next generation or two will have to deal with.  We'll learn a lot more about the long term as we see the societal responses, should a decline in net global energy production occur.

Here's the 2004 US equivalent of my graph (from the EIA):

As you can see the US is a bit better off than the world average with Wind & Solar used to produce 0.18% of the total energy.

But the US consumption of Oil accounts for 40% of energy produced, so a 1% decline rate in US Oil energy production would need a 222% increase in wind and solar energy production to meet this decline!

"This graph usually blows most people away when I show them this slide. "

I can imagine.  Unfortunately, the data is wrong. First, it's out of date.  Second, it uses raw BTU's, and 3 raw BTU's are worth 1 electrical BTU.

The correct numbers are about 1.3% of electrical output comes from wind for the world, and about 1% for the US.

Similarly, the numbers for hydro at at least 3 times what the graph shows.

Wind is doubling every 2 years in the US, and providing 40% of new generation in 2006, and 50%in 2007.  The current growth rate puts wind on track to provide 20% of electricity in the US in lesss than 10 years.

Yes, but Leanan was talking about "Peak Energy" not "Peak Electricty" so the analysis stands (albeit with old data).

I posted the 2004 US figures above.

"the analysis stands (albeit with old data)."

Well then, the overall percentages would be .4% and .3%, not .011%.  .011% looks really tiny, and that's misleading.

Also, if you are talking about using electricity BTUs to replace transport fuel BTUs, then the relationship is probably reversed.

You would most likely need 3 electrical BTUs to replace 1 oil BTU (due to conversion/drive chain inefficiencies, battery leakge, etc.)

I think it's even worse with Hydrogen.  I read somewhere (no time at the moment to find source) that it requires 4 units of electricity to make one unit of Hydrogen via electrolysis.

So focussing just on electrical energy production is not looking at the 'big picture'.

Electricity hs a variety of sources.  The "marginal source" for new demand in the US is a mix of coal & wind.  WInd is becoming an economic choice, one reason is the speed with which it can be installed.

Electric railroads are about 24x more efficient than heavy 18 wheel reucks to haul freight with (diesel BTU vs. Electricity BTU)  CTL plants are beginning to appear on planning boards.

Coal > Electricity > Freight Train (or WInd > Electrcity > Freight Train)


Coal > Diesel > 18 wheeler

Now one can apply a common energy source (coal) to both and compare BTUs. But wind can be used for just electric railroads, EVs, etc.

Also applies to electric Urban Rail vs. private autos for commuting. etc.
Electrical generation in the US consumes about 40 quad BTU's to generate about 13 quad BTU's of electricity.

This is a basic factor of electrical generation.  Whether it's coal, nuclear, or natural gas, fossil fuel (FF) inputs are 3x as large as the outputs.

Windpower, and solar PV, have no heat inputs, just electrical outputs.  When someone like the EIA, or BP, compares the inputs for FF to the outputs for wind and solar, that's misleading to the point of deception.

Amorphous silicon based PV cells (current commercially available products) are only about 6% efficient. That's much worse than 33%, so if anything BP and EIA are being generous in this regard.
"I think it's even worse with Hydrogen.  I read somewhere (no time at the moment to find source) that it requires 4 units of electricity to make one unit of Hydrogen via electrolysis."

No question that hydrogen is an inefficient use of electricity.  Batteries are much better.

"You would most likely need 3 electrical BTUs to replace 1 oil BTU (due to conversion/drive chain inefficiencies, battery leakge, etc.)"

Automobile internal combustion engines (ICE) are incredibly inefficient, especially gasoline.  They are about 20% efficient, where an electrical vehicle would be in the general neighborhood of 75%.  ICE's are heat engines (which waste most of the energy input), and gas ICE's don't operate at especially high temperatures, so they can't be very efficient.  It's true that NIMH batteries lose about 30% of their energy from charge to discharge, but Li-ion is much better - I've seen claims of 99% for the newest.

I SEE no basis for assuming that society will collapse.

You packed much into this one comment of yours.

I've written on this before. Think about your environment as you drive around (if you do drive) much of sprawled-out America. How do customers get to Wal-Mart? to their doctor? to almost any retailer or service provider? Yes-by car. Take away the car (due to high cost of oil) and you take away the source of income for all these businesses that depend on their customers being able to get to them. If all these car-dependent businesses fail, the economy fails. That's collapse.

Did you see today's post on Energy Bulletin? Even Slick Willy is getting nervous.

Well, sure, if all transportation, or even all personal transportation fails, that's collapse.

But.  It seems to me that the reasonable "reference scenario" that we're dealing with is a 25% drop in oil supply over 20 years, based on a standard Hubbert curve, with a plateau for 5-10 years, then accelerating depletion averaging perhaps 2-3% per year for 10-15 years.  

Wouldn't that pace give time for at least most people to adapt?  SUV sales have already dropped in half - people are adapting, and replacing their vehicles with higher MPG vehicles as they turnover.  Hybrids have been growing quickly, and plugins are on the horizon (see Toyota's latest press releases).  Wind and solar will easily be able to power plugins, and EV's.

I think it's negligent that we're not prepared for something that would cut off persian gulf oil, which would be very hard to deal with, but that's unlikely.  I hope.  I also think it's negligent that we're putting ourselves deeply in debt to pay for oil - that will reduce our prosperity in the future, but with just a little luck that won't destabilize things either, just make us a little poorer than we would have been with good planning.

What do you think?


I very much agree with you that there will not be a sudden, precipitous "collapse" like a house of cards coming down.

Instead it will be a slow and almost invisible slide down the slippery slope that leads to the abyss. First, a few businesses that are already operating at the edge of profitability will slip over the edge as costs rise and customers widdle down. Then, more and more.

Each of us will feel a personal financial crunch as we start slipping towards the poverty line and below. One day, health insurance will no longer be affordable. Then, new clothing will not be affordable. Then, food.

One day you will wake up to discover you've been living in your car (empty tank) for the last two weeks and eating out of trash cans. You wonder how "you" have failed so miserably while others around you (overcompensated CEO's who offshore their labor needs) are prospering more than ever. The smiling newslady on the propaganda box assures you the economy is "strong", commodity futures are up and rising, all is rosy.

I notice that when "moderates" talk about their hope for a slow decline, they use numbers and peg them to years-future.  I also notice that when "pessimists" respond to that, they use metaphor:

Instead it will be a slow and almost invisible slide down the slippery slope that leads to the abyss.

That's very evocative ;-), but that doesn't really ground it in the numbers, the science, the geology.

... really ground[ed]
.... in "the numbers," [ooh]
... in "the science" [ahhh],
.... in "the geology" [ooh-ahh]

Dear Odi-grapher,
Your smiley emoticon shows that you're just teasing with the toads on this issue. The opposite of "moderate" is "extremist", not "pessimist". The latter term belongs on the spectrum line that proceeds as follows:
gloomer-doomer .. / .. pessimist .. / .. fence-stradler .. / .. optimist .. /.. cornucopian.
Let's get our teaser tags right.

Failure to do a chop-suey with "the numbers" does not make one a suspect commentator. Quite often, "the numbers" mislead and deceive us. It's good to step back and understand all these graphs and numbers that we worship all too readily and to view them critically with a skeptical eye.

One "number" that TPTB use to deceive the sheeple is CPI (Consumer Price Index). The contents of this basket seem to change on an almost yearly basis just so that the sheeple don't see where they really are relative to real inflation.

Another phony Tony (Snow job) number is the "Dow Jones Index". If the TPTB had kept the original companies in this index instead of constantly shuffling out the loosers (after the fact) and bringing in new winners, the sheeple will see that the stock market is a loser's game. Pretty much all the original Dow Joners have gone bankrupt. Staying the course means going over the ledge!

Ground in numbers?
Yes that is a good way to phrase the mashing and twisting of the truth.

The interesting thing about a number like the CPI is that one can address it rationally, numerically, and attempt to show whether it is the best reflection of inflation.  Or if there is a better number.

Of course if someone just said "Instead it will be a slow and almost invisible slide down the slippery slope that leads to the abyss [of inflation]."

There is a lot less to hang your hat on.


I hang my hat on a hardened head, one that that is very wary of those who fabricate numbers wholly from cloths stitched by the Invisble Hand.

Them who worship the Invisible Hand have millions of magical charts and numbers to "prove" that the economy is strong and that oil will flow forever as a gushing river down a gentle undulating plateau. All their platitutdes are based on "the numbers".

If one were to ask who has more of "the numbers" on their side, then clearly the answer is that the cornucopian chartists can contrive all the happy scenario graphs necessary for "proving" their point. They win if you count how many numbers they have versus how many numbers are had by the PO / Collapse crowd.

Proponents of "proof by numbers" all too often dis-count those parts of reality that don't line up with their notions of truth. So how trustworthy are "the numbers"? One has to look much deeper than just graphs, charts and mind-numbing spreads of spreadsheets.

So when someone builds a suspension bridge, you would want him to rely on metaphor?

Maybe the next airplane you board will just be designed %2willsoar through the skies like a glorious eagle" ... LOL

Oh, and I forgot ... you must place no faith whatsoever in Hubbert's curve, right?  More of those sneaky numbers.
Hubbert's curve is exactly what I have in mind when I say we need to look much deeper than "just the numbers 'Mam".

Too many people here at TOD believe that Hubert's curve (or linearization) is some sort of Law of Nature, or a Fact of Geology when it is neither of these.

Hubbert's curve is a predictor of human economic behavior in the face of geological realities. It is human activity that determines what extraction rate(s) will be witnessed in any given year and at a given field. You want more "production"? Just drill more holes into the trap rock below and suck up more --this of course assuming we have a large enough field so that pressure will not decrease significantly due to a few more holes being bored in. The problem is the cost of drilling those new holes and the economic ROI. Geology per se does not dictate daily production rates.


I know we dwell on energy on this site hence the name, but energy is just an aggravating factor to population problems.  

Because of land destruction (in many forms),  population is approaching the point where it MUST decrease, not just stay steady.   Food is the most important factor in life and water would have to go hand in hand.   We can be in the dark and cook over a fire, but we have to have food and water.    

Without becoming a wind bag,  I think societal collapse will be caused by FOOD problems more than anything else.   And PO, only aggravates a problem that is getting worse everyday (~200,000 new mouths everyday).

Not Good.  

It's all about population.  

You're looking at the whole world and then saying that societal collapse is going to be due to population.  Population growth has stopped in developed countries and will start declining.  Whether population growth continues in the developing world is irrelevant to what happens to developed countries.  What's going to happen is people are going to starve.  But that won't be in the United States or Europe, Japan or other developed areas (excepting ones that are completely reliant on imported food).  Much of the world doesn't even use fossil fuels for growing food either, so what has really changed for them?  

When people outstrip the amount of food available they will die off, just like every other creature.  The problem is you're looking at a localized phenomenon and attributing it to the whole world.  The rest of the world will help out with aid to a point, but not to the point where they also will starve.  It's not as if we're going to hit the world's carrying capacity and then just experience a universal die-off everywhere.  Sorry, but that is just ridiculous.  

I am willing to admit that there may be problems with water tables and other unsustainable agricultural practices in the developed world, but nothing so extreme that we'd just run into a brick wall and collapse because of it.  We'll see a transition period where we can move to solve many of our problems.  

And don't think that we couldn't limit immigration into this country if it became a major problem.  We still have legal immigration now, for one thing, it's not all just illegals coming up from Mexico.  

I have a hard time comprehending how so many people believe that we will move sharply from a situation where there are essentially no problems (now), to one of total collapse, entirely skipping the period of managable crisis.  

The only real scenario that could cause a major world collapse is a plague that kills a majority of the population.  That's the only one!  

For the 2nd  year in a row, there is a worldwide deficit in corn production. And we're just getting started with ethanol, drowth, and global warming. We don't live in Kansas anymore. Unfortunately, the time for voluntary population reduction should have started 40 years ago.  Now, involuntary reduction will be the only option.  
It's not just corn:

"This year's world grain harvest is projected to fall short of consumption by 61 million tons, marking the sixth time in the last seven years that production has failed to satisfy demand.  As a result of these shortfalls, world carryover stocks at the end of this crop year are projected to drop to 57 days of consumption, the shortest buffer since the 56-day-low in 1972 that triggered a doubling of grain prices."

"With carryover stocks of grain at the lowest level in 34 years, the world may soon be facing high grain and oil prices at the same time (See Figure). For the scores of low-income countries that import both oil and grain, this prospect is a sobering one."


Nick wrote:

Population growth is already under control.  Most countries (including the US and Mexico) are around or below the replacement fertility rate.  Absolute population levels will continue to increase slowly for a few decades until the bulge of young people ages, but there's nothing you can do about that - they're already here.

Well, it's time to look at the data.
World population: 6,525,000,000
World population growth rate: 1.14% per year
Actual population growth rate: 74,385,000 per year
World birth rate: 20.05 per 1000 population
World death rate:  8.67 per 1000 population
World fertility rate: 2.59


The earth's population is increasing by about 203,000 per day and it has been stuck at that figure of just over 200,000 per day for over a decade now. In the 60's we were increasing by around 87 million per year but then the fertility rate began to drop, very slowely. Now we are stuck at around 75 million per year and holding.

At any rate, to my way of thinking, an increase of over 200,000 people per day, every day, is not population growth already under control.

A side note: 200,000 is the approximate number of all other great apes in the world combined.

With gorilla gone will there be hope for man?
And the solution to out of control population growth is a die-off.  The problem with the doomsday scenario is, it's not a die-off everywhere, it's at the point where the problem exists.  IE: population is not really increasing in Europe, so they won't suffer the corresponding consequences either.  

The focus of the next century is going to be how to efficiently manage the distribution of resources.  More people and places are going to want them, and we will start to run up against the limits of what is available.  There will be bumps in the road.  Yes, people will suffer, sad as it is to say.  

The mistake is to assume that all of these problems are going to hit everyone and everyplace across the board evenly, when they clearly will not.  That's not how the real world operates.  

My email to them:

"I drive a Full Size Hummer and Gas was costing me $600 a month before, now it's costing me close to $1000 a month. Its so high I cant afford my weekly trips to the strip bar anymore."

You need to move closer to the strip bar.  
Or have one live with you for free shows ;)
I posted this late yesterday so I don't think many people saw it.
Deffeyes updated his site last week.  He goes into detail about how he arrived at his January 7 peak date.  
I'd love to hear what the resident Hubbert modelers think of what he wrote.  A taste:
I obtained the 2.013 trillion barrel estimate by making the least-squares fit of a bell-shaped logistic curve to the exploration history. The logistic equation

Annual hits = Q / (1 + exp(a (t - year)))

The actual computation was done by brute force: looping through the possible values of Q, a, and t, adding up the squared errors between the observed and computed discoveries for each year, and selecting the Q, a, and t that together gave the lowest result.

Who cares about the exact date of the peak? Shouldn't we be discussing the actions we should take NOW to make our lives easier after the peak (whenever that may be)?
"Shouldn't we be discussing the actions we should take NOW to make our lives easier after the peak (whenever that may be)?"


Economize:  Assume a 50% drop in income (not much of a stretch for a lot of auto and airline workers).

Localize:  Assume that gasoline prices are in excess of $6 per gallon.

Produce:  Look into becoming, or working for, (or as someone noted, investing in) a provider of essential goods and services.  In a post-Peak Oil world, you don't want to be on the discretionary side of the ledger when consumers are forced to cut back on their spending.

"Assume a 50% drop in income"

Why?  Imported oil represents only 2.6% of US GDP (4.4B Bl's per year imported, x $70 /$11.76T).  If oil prices double, that's a reduction in GDP of only 2.6%.  Current GDP growth is higher than that, so that leaves net positive growth.

Now, the Fed would probably have to put the US into recession to handle the inflationary pressures, but oil rose from $20 to $70 with only about a 1% rise in inflation.  If we had to have a recession to prevent inflation there's no reason to think it would be deep, or long.

Now, 3rd world countries would suffer.

You are hallucinating if you think there has been only a 1% rise in inflation. As a friend of mine succently noted" that 1% is only if you don't count the things people use every day, like food and utilities". And, I might add the devaluation of the dollar against the Euro and the Pound. I don't know what the real rate of inflation is but it seems to be at least 10%.
  West Texas's advice is good anyway. To quote Ben Franklin, who last I checked was still a founding father "a penny saved is a penny earned.."
   Conservatism used to mean that people conserved, something the neocons have forgotten. And even if incomes hold up, saving gas means automaticially less pollution. If you live close to your work and activities the time you would have spent sitting in traffic can be used by you any way you wish. ,and they money you save by being frugal can be invested or even subsidise drug lords and prostitutes. Its yours.I believe in buying local because if my neighbors have the benefit of my spending my community is helped.
The 1% is based on what the Fed is saying.  This is in the context of whether PO will cause a recession, due to a Fed response to inflation.  They control the inflation response, so what how they measure inflation is what matters.
The Fed no more controls inflation than I do the temperature. My sweating does not make the day hot.
They respond to an external stimuli, not the other way around.

As for inflation.....
Open your wallet and then tell us again, with a straight face, that inflation is only 1%.

"Imported oil represents only 2.6% of US GDP."

Why confine your attention to imported oil? Unless you're an oil company, increases in the price of domestically produced oil are going reduce your disposable income too. As for inflation, you might want to check how the figure you're using is defined: "core inflation" excludes energy and food -- they're so "volatile," doncha know -- except when they're always going up, like now.

Domestic oil prices are paid to domestic entities, who recycle it to others in the US economy.  It could be shareholders, which is part of why I think the poor will suffer more than most.  Note that most middleclass are shareholders to some extent: pensions, 401-K's, etc.  But, the overall economy isn't hurt by rising domestic oil prices.
Not just 3rd world nations. As I posted elsewhere, here are two items yesterday from one of my favorite canaries, the New Zealand Herald.

NZ current account deficit much worse than expected
(from oil imports and asset sales to foreign banks and energy Co.s) so the NZ$ tanks and they pay even more for oil.

Continued power cuts from two big, back to back late fall storms http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10387780

Driving around most of NZ a couple of months ago (guilty!), I was struck by the vulnerability to oil shocks. South Island especially given the larger distances between towns. We should see Powerdown progressing soon at this rate, intentional not weather related, in a socially advanced country that is tapping a lot of hydro and some geothermal but has no provision for expensive petrol except to raise prices over and over again. Yikes, a test case! Last week the government reported that their petrol tax revenues are being undermined as Kiwis drive less.

All true.  Of note, the Maori who settled Aotearoa had come from tropical islands (Cooks, Marquesas, Society).  They weren't keen on cold weather and concentrated their most populous settlements in the more temperate areas, Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Waikato.  This pattern seems to be re-emerging.  Hamilton has passed Dunedin as the 4th largest city.  There is talk of the future engine of the economy being the "Golden Triangle" of Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga, which have long been linked by rail.  On the other hand, the South Island rural roads and electric grid are already being abandoned to catabolic collapse.  At some point, livestock will have to hoof it to the railheads american old west style.
New Zealand may have a North-Sea-size oilfield- located in the Great South Basin southeast of the South Island, it may become a hotbed of exploration in the years to come.

AFAIK NZ already produces some high quality crude oil which is exported, while most imports are of either heavy crude which the refineries are equipped to deal with, or finished products.

Otherwise NZ is the 'end of the line' for oil supply. Luckily there are enormous coal deposits and a LOT of sheep. Not that you can easily run a car on either.

Due to government tinkering I trust none of your GDP numbers b/c as we speak we are negative GDP but you haven't been told that yet.  Not to mention you're thinking WAY to simply.  If we doubled oil prices from 70 to 140 you're trying to tell me their will be positive GDP?  If it's incremental it will be easier, a sudden spike will drop the champ known as America.

Oh and you're inflation figures are even worse off.  The run up from $20-$70 has been absorbed and created demand destruction.  We were used to seeeing 2% growth per year, but the last figure I saw came at .5% growth.  We are starting to wake up, albeit like a groggy hangover.

Check this out (all of it) and lets talk again....


"If we doubled oil prices from 70 to 140 you're trying to tell me their will be positive GDP?"

If the Fed allowed inflation it might be.  It would probably spike the federal deficit, as the fed government cut taxes, and recycled petrodollars. OTOH,  I don't think the Fed would allow inflation, so yes, I think we probably would have a recession.

"If it's incremental it will be easier, a sudden spike will drop the champ known as America."

I agree that a spike would be harder - how hard depends on how high the spike is.  PO only dictates incremental changes, spikes are optional.  OTOH, though a spike is a separate question, it's an important question, a vulnerability to, say, Saudi Arabian revolution or war in the ME.  I think sudden cutoff of all oil from the Persian Gulf would send the US into a deep depression which would be very painful.  I think that's unlikely, but I think the US is indeed negligent in not planning for it.

On official economic stats, see my comments on inflation, above.  I'm familiar with these arguments, and I think they have at least a little substance, but it's awfully hard to have a good discussion about these things if we don't have agreed, base-line numbers.  On the whole, I don't think the distortions are as bad as that source thinks - not bad enough to change the whole economic picture, as he suggests.  Given  your reliance on those numbers, I'm not sure how to advance the discussion further about that part of the question. I tend to rely on Econbrowser.com for analysis of this kind of thing - you might want to take a look.

Oh and I forgot to mention, the run from $3 gas around $70 barrel is nominal.  Going from here to $6 gas & $140 barrel will bankrupt many people, not mention some companies.  This will cascade throughout the entire economy as people are no longer employeed.  How does GDP remain positive in the face of mounting unemployment and inflation?  
The change from $20 to $70 was an increase of 250% and $50.  From $70 to $140 would be 100%, and $70, or a smaller % change, and somewhat larger $ change.  Around the same magnitude, it seems to me, though I agree that $140 oil seems shockingly high.  It would certainly get people's attention.

It would certainly bankrupt or unemploy some people.  Companies? It depends on the sector.  For most companies energy is less than 10% of their costs, so a doubling of energy costs would raise their costs less than 10%.  They'd  implement some energy saving measures, reduce some costs, and raise some prices.

The extent of the loss of GDP would depend on how much and in what manner oil exporters recycled their revenues.  If they spent them, they'd have to spend them on imports, and int he US employment and revenues would shift to exporting industries (more Boeing airplanes).  For instance, I think Iran is right now spending all of their oil revenue ($49B revenue, $50B spending).  If they bought T-bills, then the fed government would have to raise the deficit and borrow.  That would cut taxes, which would off-set the higher energy costs.  If they bought Euro bonds, that would tend to raise US interest rates and hurt the US economy.  There's no sign of T-bills becoming less attractive, though, and remember, bonds are fungible, so they'd have to become less attractive to everyone.  Given that Europe, China and Japan would be hurt more than the US by an oil spike, I think that's unlikely.

It would certainly bankrupt or unemploy some people.  Companies? It depends on the sector.

The domestic airline industry will be toast for leasure travel on the whole. There will be those who continue to fly, but here's a quick point.  I've posted numerous articles about the airlines.  Increasing jet fuel costs are squeezing the industry as a whole.  Southwest is the beacon in all of them.  Keep in mind for American Airlines for every penny increase in the cost of fuel, they see a direct 32 million dollar increase in fuel cost for the year.  There are 300 pennies from 3-6, so that would look something like....9.6 Billion dollars they spend for their fuel.  Also fuel costs are now more than labor costs within the airline industry.  

Not to mention you're forgetting that those cost increases are cumulative.  So even though it may be 10% now, adding $70 and and the previous increase of $50, we have a total cost increase of $120.  How that translates throughout the ENTIRE economny I don't know, but if you honestly believe companies are going to ho hum along, you're delusional.  Which leads me to my next point....

The extent of the loss of GDP would depend on how much and in what manner oil exporters recycled their revenues.  If they spent them, they'd have to spend them on imports, and int he US employment and revenues would shift to exporting industries (more Boeing airplanes).

I'm sorry I can't get past the Boeing part.  Now the domestic sector will certainly shrink, I'm not as certain for the international travel.  However I know Europe loves trains, and when planes price many out, they will be happy to take a train.  For that I don't see massive plane buying except the most solvent companies left.  Now Boeing will sell the crap out the new 787 dreamliner b/c it is THAT much more fuel efficient, especially as prices rise.  However the overall costs will weight heavy in a cash intense business.

In addition, there's no reason to assume anyone besides SA will continue to trade oil in dollars.  The russian exchange is open, however I don't know volumes or if oil is traded as yet.  They want rubles for their oil anyway, but the point is the "recycling" of petrodollars can end and at a minimum will see dents made in volume. Also what else can we export than ANYONE wants?  In the globalized world, we only have a comparitive advantage on heavy industries (not all mind you) and anything that is CAPITAL intensive.  Which means that it's big ticket items.  Govt's and large corp buy the kinds of stuff I'm talking about.  What are they going to need in the slide down the HL that only we can provide?

If they bought T-bills, then the fed government would have to raise the deficit and borrow.  That would cut taxes, which would off-set the higher energy costs.  If they bought Euro bonds, that would tend to raise US interest rates and hurt the US economy.  There's no sign of T-bills becoming less attractive, though, and remember, bonds are fungible, so they'd have to become less attractive to everyone.  Given that Europe, China and Japan would be hurt more than the US by an oil spike, I think that's unlikely.

Ok if they bought Euro bonds it would hurt us.  I agree.  but so would increasing the deficit and borrowing.  Do you realize the RATE at which we've borrowed in Bush's term?  I don't want to get political, strictly facts.  Bush has nearly doubled our deficit.  Not to mention the UNFUNDED liabilities like SS & the RX program.  Did you know the true cost of the new RX plan is in the neighboorhood of 25 Trillion dollars?  It could be far worse and probably will.  That's like 2 US economies.

Actually there are signs everywhere that T-Bills are becoming less attractive.  It's well known here that the FED is buying our own T-bills and monetizing our debt.  I can't seem to find the articles now, but if you play with google you will find nuggets everywhere.  The FED is using carribean banks to buy the T-Bills.  How much money do you think those banks have on their own to be buying the massive quantities required?  Ben Bernanke is on record saying the FED with use "unconvential means" to keep the economy going.  That would qualify.

About the rest of the world hurting when we fall, yep you're right.  We're in a ponzi scheme, so someone has to be left holding the bag.  The whole system is ripe for failure and all of us will be hurting no matter what anyone does.  The current situation (deficit, current account etc) can not continue.  I just wish my magic 8 ball told me the date.  According to some it's Sept dor the CRASH.  We'll see.

hhm. several things.  

Fuel costs are at about 30% of airline costs, right?  So, if fuel costs rise 120%, then costs would rise 36%.  So fares would rise a maximum of 36%.  Actually, you can expect at least some efficiencies and alternatives to become feasible at that cost (for instance, phasing out older planes faster, implementing electric towing for ground travel, etc), so maybe fares would rise 25%.

Surely a 25% increase in fares wouldn't kill leisure travel?  It might kill some of the major airlines, because they'd lose a lot of business to airlines like Southwest, who've hedged their fuel costs, but it wouldn't kill the whole industry.  How much do you think a 25% increase would reduce ridership?

More later..

I posted the article which identified fuel costs as a percent and indicated how much it increased over the last 2 years.  I'll find it later and post back.
Come on now.  $6 gas is not that high even.  It's higher than that in Europe, because they've been taxing gas for a long time, in order to get people to shift to more fuel efficient cars and alternatives.  $6 gas in a hybrid is no worse than $2 gas in an SUV or $1 gas in a Hummer.  People aren't suffering that bad with $3 gas.  

If we spike to $6 then, yes, it will cause disruption.  If we slowly build up to $6 then what you'll see is a move to smaller cars.  I say we can hit $10 gas (current dollars) while still more or less maintaining the same sort of society.  We'll probably experience a deep depression if it happens over night.  But if oil peaks between now and 2010, and then slowly declines, that's going to give us a lot of time to adjust.  We don't need more than a decade or two to make some serious changes, once we start to see the problem.  


The 'Invisible Hand' from Adam Smiths.

The problem is that most people don't understand and that scares them. Next you know, they start talking about mad max scenario7s.

From a recent WSJ article:

Houses and transportation accounted for 52% of total US consumer spending in 2002-2003, up from less than 41% in 1950.

Transportation alone accounts for 19% of all consumer spending.  The number of passenger vehicles has increased 270% since 1960, far ahead of the 86% increase in the adult population.

This provides ample room for saving by moving to smaller, more energy efficient housing, closer to where you work.

When the housting/auto industries account for close to one out of every two consumer dollars spent in the US (air travel & mass transit would alse be in the total transportation cost), you can see why the housing/auto industries are so determined to keep Americans spending money on larger homes and autos.

Houses and transportation accounted for 52% of total US consumer spending

That about sums it up doesn't it? Notice how none of this be readily exported. It's a house of cards.

Actually it's a house with granite countertops ;-), but we don't totally know how those rocks will hold their value.
Hello Westexas,

ELP is excellent advice.  The former African breadbasket of Zimbabwe is trying to do exactly this ELP process, but failing, because the Mugabe Govt. has not setup any proactive Powerdown planning to mitigate for detritus entropy and pop. Overshoot.  Sadly, the world's breadbasket of America appears headed down the same path when we abandoned Pres. Carter's Sweater Speech Plan:


My biggest postPeak concern is mitigating violence: if 90% of us are all laboring all day in the fields getting hot and sweaty, and eating only one major meal a day-- I hope this will be sufficient to exhaust us all so that we will be too tired and grimy to fight and screw.  Time will tell, or else my hypothetical Earthmarines will possibly arise to control for the optimal cull.

In my earlier post, Zim has gone from a 29% farm labor force to a 60% farm labor force in roughly ten years, yet this is still insufficient to provide adequate foodstuffs.  I feel our govt. should be funding huge ELP changes and education in anticipation of our own Overshoot, but it seems increasingly likely that they will instead resort to a Project 'Taking out the Rubbish' ala Zimbabwe.  Halliburton subsidiary KBR is already funded to the tune of 385 million for future camps for the poor.

I feel that Mugabe made a serious mistake by repaying IMF loans instead of using those funds to promote huge ELP programs and permiculture education.  Thus the unfortunate new biosolars from Project 'Taking out the Rubbish' are having to independently relearn the best methods of agri-survival with very little training or resources.  Mugabe did not plan to fail his people--He simply failed to plan ahead for detritus entropy and Overshoot.  Reacting after the fact is tragic for the poor and dispossessed as his govt. goons lash out in desperation and ignorance of the Thermo-Gene Collision concepts.

Will America do any better?  My long ago email to the National PTA pleading for dramatic educational change in recognition of PO & GW went unanswered.  The 'fields of dreams' for our precious children should be permiculture plots and chicken coops, not football and baseball fields.  It breaks my heart.  The future always belongs to the young--> we are doing a piss-poor job of preparing them for it.

Recognition of this inherent timelag; to gain widespread permiculture proficiency and voluntary population control in support of ELP requires years of leadtime.  The Hirsch report, among others, strongly encourages early mitigation.

Matt Simmons, in an interview on the CNN show: "We were Warned", stated that we don't want to go with his imagined worse case scenario.  Dr. Joseph Caldwell, a nuclear weapons game-theory statistical specialist with the most impressive resume' I have ever seen: http://foundationwebsite.org/WhoAmI.htm , paints an equally dire picture for the full-on nuclear gift exchange:


The detritovore business as usual mindset of 'Nuke their Ass--I want Gas' will inevitably lead to the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario: past historical examples make this abundantly clear.  WWII was over access and control of detritus energy, not butterflies from Zanzibar, or vanilla from Madagascar.  Recall that in ancient times, salt and spices were worth their weight in gold for food preservation and flavoring.  Mind boggling to think that people died over mere salt!

Therefore, proper 'Hope for the best, Plan for the worst' mitigation should entail detailed plans to shift our societal infrastructure from 2% farm labor to 90% permiculture and ELP based postPeak.  The required timeframe to implement this 'No Thanks--I like Empty Tanks' mindset is beyond my statistical modeling and predictive ability,  but I suggest our leaders get started before Olduvai Gorge Theory predicts this will be impossible.

We all know the CIA, NSA and other 3-letter orgs around the world read this TOD blog: don't you think your kids deserve a reasonable survival chance?

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

Not this again...  Zimbabwe is failing precisely because of Mugabe and his stupid policies.  The fact they are "powering down" at all is largely due to him.  
Hello Nagorak,

Please read the writings of Hardin, Diamond, Tainter, Malthus, Dawkins, Morrison, etc.  Even societies before the discovery of fossil fuels have had to 'power down' to less density, population, and complexity.  Blame is pointless------->This is the Tragedy of the Commons:


Geologic inevitability suggests that the world's oildrum is headed to much less content no matter how smart or stupid we act.  The best we can do is to try and optimize our decline through conservation and controlling our numbers.  Google Overshoot--occurs all the time in Nature.  William Catton's brief excerpt here:


Hopefully we possess the wisdom to choose not to Dieoff the hard way.  Time will tell.

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

How does any of this refute the original, accurate point. Zimbabwe's current crisis has nothing to do with peak oil or the end of civilization? The cause, pure and simple is the evil and incompetence of Mugabe.

The eagerness of the doomers top latch on to anything bad as proof that they have been right all along is fatal to their credibility, in my view.

Hello Jack,

Thxs for responding.  The cause, pure and simple is the genetic impulse in every living thing to Overshoot their resource base.  From virus to yeast to mosquitos to lemmings to reindeer to man himself: we are collectively incapable of restraining ourselves to true sustainability.

The world's leaders have had a clear preventative roadmap since Malthus, but have purposely chosen to ignore his warnings for over two hundred years.  Just imagine if we had instituted a voluntary population control education program globally a long time ago, and everyone socially practiced procreative restraint.


Essay on Population (1798)
In this famous work, Malthus posited his hypothesis that (unchecked) population growth always exceeds the growth of means of subsistence.  Actual (checked) population growth is kept in line with food supply growth by "positive checks" (starvation, disease and the like, elevating the death rate) and "preventive checks" (i.e. postponement of marriage, etc. that keep down the birthrate), both of which are characterized by "misery and vice".  {{{{{Malthus's hypothesis implied that actual population always has a tendency to push above the food supply.}}}}}}  Because of this tendency, any attempt to ameliorate the condition of the lower classes by increasing their incomes or improving agricultural productivity would be fruitless, as the extra means of subsistence would be completely absorbed by an induced boost in population.  As long as this tendency remains, Malthus argued, the "perfectibility" of society will always be out of reach.
It is important to remember that this was written before the modern industrial age got rolling, but his basic thesis still holds true.  We have scientifically learned alot more since then about true sustainability, but NO LEADERS have promoted it educationally.  Even Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong imposed birth control from above with draconian rules, instead of really teaching his people to restrain themselves.

Zimbabwe is no different.  Their population has steadily grown under Mugabe's long regime, and AIDS and other STDs are rampant.  Just like every other country on the planet.  I think Zimbabwe is an excellent 'coal-mine canary'; a tragic analogue that helps illustrate what will be happening worldwide.  Overshoot and Dieoff occurs all the time, but most people refuse to study it.

Thus, we presently stand at nearly 7 billion with our resources at Peak Everything.  Some say we must decline to under 1 billion, others say 90% will be culled.  Mother Nature usually results in an even higher cull ratio among other species.  James Lovelock predicts just a few survivors near a tropical North Pole.  We will reap the timeline and kill ratio of our collective choice unless we full-bore paradigm shift to a wiser course for a more peaceful soft landing.

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

I appreciate your cordial opening. While I disagree with your view of the world, I respect your opinions and enjoy the dialogue.

I am getting a very strong impression that a large percentage of those on this site that see doom, die off or powerdown see every bad incident as confirmation. In reality, the world is so big and communication so easy that anyone could easily pull up a thousand examples that show things are going great, or to hell in a Guchi handbasket, depending on predilections.

I think that if the world is going to crash and burn, you could still find numerous examples of things that are working well until the very end. Likewise, if mankind is going to find ways to cope with diminished oil supplies, you can easily point to unconnected examples of things going badly.

I see most of the examples being posted here - including the Zimbabwe case - as being in this category. It seems that every time a transformer blows up in a developing country posters seize on it as proof that oil shortages are hitting the poor first, although transformers were blowing up in greater proportions in the past - we just didn't notice it.

One story that gets frequently aired here was the one day protest by fishermen in Thailand, where I live. When they claimed that oil prices made it impossible for them to fish without government subsidies, commenters were sure that this was another nail in the coffin - the poor are getting crushed.

But when the government stood by their wise policy to remove incentives to burn more oil, the fishermen went back out the next day and no one noticed. Fish was no harder to find and no more expensive in Bangkok.

I guess I would just caution people on all sides of the argument to realize that the world is extremely complicated and events can occur that have nothing to do with peak oil. Really.

"I appreciate your cordial opening. While I disagree with your view of the world, I respect your opinions and enjoy the dialogue."

You two make a great pair. I mean that. You could publish a book of the two of you debating. I sincerely enjoy reading both of you.

But do you think I need a tag line at the end of my posts - like Bob's?

I'm thinking about:

Jack in Bangkok - When the world come to an end, can I have your stuff?

Nah, we all know who you are. Bob's actually got three names, when you count his tagline and his headline.

Bob, what the hell does totoneila mean? I've never figured that out. But I will never forget the tagline.

Besides, do you really want all that stuff? You'd have to sift through it to find anything worth it.

I don't really want the stuff, but the line entertains me. Sort of a parody and zen koan at the same time.
Definitely. I would just end all the appropriate responses with it. I think it works. It made me laugh.
The cause, pure and simple is the genetic impulse in every living thing to Overshoot their resource base. Overshoot and Dieoff occurs all the time, but most people refuse to study it.

In other words: most people will not know what will kill 'm. Unless one studies these mechanisms and can recognise it happening.

Some say we must decline to under 1 billion, others say 90% will be culled.

Since we're overshot already, this is what will ("must") happen.

We will reap the timeline and kill ratio of our collective choice unless we full-bore paradigm shift to a wiser course for a more peaceful soft landing.

Now, I can't see how learning about Dieoff will bring peace to the landing?

On the contrary, it takes much more love to know it will happen, to see it around you and still allow it to happen. I'm afraid most people, knowing it and seeing it, will want to make sure to miss the party (and use any "you go first" excuse like race, power, religion, etc). Only if we would have much more time, we could decrease our replication rate and let most of us die in a gentle way.

Those 25.000 people who died in Europe's heatwave, I guess they didn't use their last breath to blame global warming, depleted resources or their own genes. Whatever their level of knowledge was, they were too busy dying.

To answer my own question: maybe it doesn't matter. For most of us dying will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience which is probably impossible to get spoiled by whatever we know.

I'm ready for my first weekend beer...

Hello Splinter,

Thxs for responding.  I hope that if the whole world truly understands that we are in for monumental numerical decline, that this will increase cooperation>violence.

Zimbabwe went from 29% farm labor to 60% farm labor in 12 years without a Hutu-Tutsi type tribal war [so far anyway].  To me, this is an amazing transformation. From this link:


POP =12.2 million in a country about the size of Montana

Roughly, 3.6 million Zimbabweans have deindustrialized in 12 years, to where now 7.5 million, out of 12.2 million, have a smaller eco-footprint.

Arizona, with about 6 million total, and over 3 million in the Valley of the Sun [Phx Metro Area & suburbs] makes for an easy comparision.  It is not that much smaller than Montana.  From this link, only 20,000 statewide directly farm the land [the rest are industry middlemen]:


I strongly believe in the next twelve years due to Peakoil, AZ, just like Zimbabwe: this current 20,000 direct farm labor needs to grow to 60% or more of Az pop; 4 million plus out of 6 million total to help promote ELP and prevent violence.  So basically the entire Phx metro area has to de-industrialize and become hands on permaculturists.  Many wealthy will choose to emigrate elsewhere, but the remaining majority, if fully informed on Dieoff, will realize that there is nowhere to run, and we need to cooperate and mutually pitch-in on the paradigm shift to minimize violence.  The sooner we collectively get started, the less likely we are to shoot each other.

The US is at 300 million: approx 200 million need to become full-time permaculturists in the next 12 years if we fully utilize ELP to prevent violence.  I truly think that if most Americans fully understand the Thermo-Gene Collision: cooperation is preferable to a Hutu-Tutsi style machete decline.  Again, Zimbabwe somehow doubled their farm labor without a civil war, and no formal dieoff education at all-- if we Arizonans were better informed-- I think we could paradigm shift even more easily.  We would collectively be gung-ho for the transition; a calm withdrawal to the lifeboats, so to speak.

I am a natural pessimist: my gut tells me this will never happen, but my brain is constantly flooded with optomistic mitigation ideas.  Only time will tell what part of my anatomy is proven correct.

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

Hope for the best prepare for the worst.  Would you like a gun with your shovel or is that a shovel with your gun.
Seriously I hope for something smooth as well.  You know that this will not happen everywhere unfortunately.
are you aware that the foundationwebsite.org
home page has a link entitled
Was America  Destroyed by the Jews?
apparently updated on the 18th of February this year


Hello Sidd,

Yes, and many of the Founding Fathers had slaves, but that did not detract from the intellectual merit of their writings.  Nobody is perfect, but Dr Caldwell presents many well reasoned arguments.  Take it with a grain of salt, better yet, with a bottle of beer as I do.  Thxs for responding.

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

Most of the productive grain-producing farmland in Zimbabwe was owned by or farmed by white, European-descended Zimbabweans.  

During the past 10-15 years, Mugabe has systematically confiscated their land and thrown them out of the country.  They have been replaced not by the black Zimbabwean farm workers who probably as a group know how to run the farms, but by Mugabe's cronies who haven't a clue.

If for some reason, you put farmers in there, of any race, who know how to farm grain and manage irrigation systems, and gave them some financial help while they got going and replanted the macadamia nut trees that produced the products sold for farm machinery outside, then you'd have things turn around again.

Oil and all energy are hugely important in the world economic system, but sometimes knowhow plays a part as well.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Gets US$965 million Light Rail Line, planning second line
VietNamNet - According to HCM City authorities, construction of the city's first urban light rail route will start in 2008.

The route runs from Ben Thanh market to Tham Luong and Ben Thanh market to Mien Tay coach station, under plans approved by the government in October 2004.

This project has total investment capital of US$965mil, raised from various sources. The German government has agreed to grant ODA of more than Eur100mil - the largest ODA loan from this country thus far. In addition, the Asian Development (ADB) pledged to loan $300-500mil.

The pre-feasibility research report on another route, Ben Thanh market - Cho Nho, Suoi Tien, with total investment of $702mil, 85% from Japanese loans, was approved early this year.

URL is:


It appears that most nations of the world are taking some steps to deal with a world of rising oil prices (they may not be thinking "Peak Oil" per se).  In all likelihood "not enough, not soon enough", BUT better to have started on something meaningful than to have done nothing at all !

Sometimes I wonder if the US national bird should be the ostrich.

They don't have to think "peak oil" at all. The only thing they have to think is that petroleum based energy sources are rising for the 5th straight year with no visible end in sight so let's invest in something else.
No. The US flag should be a flock of pigeons circled by a hawk ( or a herd of sheep stalked by a wolf).Or just a carnival barker playing to the rubes.
They're taking steps to develop, not to deal with oil.  It's an entirely different situation.  Car transportation is not affordable for most people in 3rd world countries.  These countries are developing under much different circumstances than the United States did.  The reason they are acting differently than us now is because they aren't in the same situation to begin with.  Other countries will precisely build with higher energy costs in mind, because they're building now, not 50-100 years ago.  
Yesterday westexas made a comment:

"It would be interesting to superimpose an oil price chart with the Saudi production.  It would show that the Saudis responded to higher oil prices with flat to declining oil production.

and so I obliged him.  I had difficulty getting the image to "stick" in the blog for some reason, finally things are worked out.  Many had trouble seeing the image, so here it is one more time.

oil price per barrel super imposed on Saudi oil production :)

the transparent layer is the oil price.  I didn't put dollars since you were really interested in seeing how the Saudis react to price.


There was an interesting quote in the Saudi article posted above:

Saudi to add 500,000 bpd oil by mid-'07

RIYADH * Saudi Arabia plans to complete by June 2007 its Khursaniyah project to add 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Arabian Light crude, six months earlier than previously announced, state oil firm Aramco said yesterday.

A lump sum turnkey (LSTK) contract has been awarded to Snamprogetti, a unit of Italy's Saipem, to build a plant for separating gas and oil under the Khursaniyah development programme.

The contract has been converted from a cost reimbursable basis to speed up the work.

"The drive behind the strategy was the demanding schedule that required the project to be completed by June 2007," Saudi Aramco said in a statement on its website.

This doesn't sound like a country that has no market for its oil currently, it sounds like a country that has hit an unexpected decline in its mainline production...

Yes and also from the article:

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has speeded up oilfield expansion plans to boost its production capacity to 12.5 million bpd by 2009 to meet world demand, and maintain spare capacity of at least 1.5 million bpd.

In March, the kingdom officially opened its Haradh oilfield project to add 300,000 bpd of crude and raise its capacity to 11.3 million bpd.

Did I miss something?... they are pumping 9.2 MB/Day now right?

Where's the 2.1 MB/Day additional?  300K + 9.2MM does not equal 11.3 MM, that's some fuzzy math man...


"...maintain spare capacity of at least 1.5 million b/day."

9.2 million + 300,000 + 1.5 million = 11.0 million

A "surplus" 300,000 b/day in spare capacity.

Since the goal is 12.5 million and they are at 11.3 million, they have to add only 1.2 million in spare capacity.  ENough to just about offset Cantarell in that time period.  Or UK + Norway declines, but not both.  If you believe them.

Spare capacity may well exist in some form.  Physical pipes, wells, pumps, processing plants exist.  It just damages the reservior.  OK for 30 to 60 day surge if the production is backed off soon afterward.

That is my speculation.

I have never seen the Saudis claim SUSTAINED production capability of 11.3 or 12.5 million b/day, just capability.

Useful in a short-term crisis, useless for Peak Oil.

Yes after posting I re-read... "You can't take it back once you click"


We should always try to define what type of oil we are talking about. The 9.2 mb/d, (actually 9.05 in May if petroconsultants are correct) is crude only. The 12.5 target, as well as the 10.something they are producing right now is all liquids.
First of all, production does not necessarily equal capacity. Second it depends on whose numbers you believe, BP lists Saudi Arabia's 2005 production as 11.035 mbb/day up from 10.558 mbb/day in 2004. Even though they have Saudi Arabia's production higher than other sources they have a lower total world production at 81 mbb/day in 2005.
BP's excel spreadsheet: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/publications/energy_reviews_20 06/STAGING/local_assets/downloads/spreadsheets/statistical_review_full_report_workbook_2006.xls
There's no disagreement, they're just counting NGL. 9,1mb is crude oil only.
Iran:  "Put the oil revenue on the dinner table of every Iranian"

This is a quote by the Iranian president, in a front page story in today's WSJ.

Some interesting numbers.  Total Iranian oil and gas revenue for the year ending March, 2006 was about $49 billion, but total public domestic spending is up from about $25 billion in 2003 to about $50 billion this year.  They have been withdrawing money from their permanent oil fund to make up the difference.  

Iran can currently only refine about half of its gasoline requirements, which is a problem since the local subsidized rate is 40¢ per gallon (do you think there might be some reselling going on?).  

The economy is growing at the rate of about 5% per year, but the inflation rate is high, and the jobless rate is probably growing at a rate faster than the economy is growing, especially with hundreds of thousands of young people entering the work force every year.  

Based on Laherrere's HL plot, Iran is now about 50% depleted.  

Note that Saudi Arabia has many of the same characteristics as Iran--fast growing economy; lots of young people entering the work force; subsidized energy prices and very mature oil fields.


Iran can currently only refine about half of its gasoline requirements, which is a problem since the local subsidized rate is 40¢ per gallon

The 'real' crisis hits when the producing nations
no longer offer below market local subsidies on fuel

Triff ..

I agree. That will be a very important signal. Is there any data on that beyond newspaper clippings?
Re:  Saudi Arabia

The production/price chart really makes one wonder whether the recent 15% to 25% increase in oil prices was primarily related to the falloff in Saudi production.  BTW, thanks for the production/price chart.

The key point to keep in mind is that Saudi Arabia--and the world--are extremely vulnerable to a production decline in the Ghawar Field, which accounts for close to half of their crude + condensate production.

If memory serves, Ghawar has produced about 55 Gb, out of the 60 Gb that Aramco gave the field back in the Seventies.  Matt Simmons talked to a retired Aramco executive who commented that he didn't think that the field could produce more than 70 Gb at the outside.   Note that the spread between 60 Gb and 70 Gb is roughly the size of the largest oil field in North America--Prudhoe Bay.

All of the signs point to a truly desperate effort by Saudi Arabia to ramp up their productive capacity, just like Texas in the Seventies.

"If memory serves, Ghawar has produced about 55 Gb, out of the 60 Gb..."

Yes and if they keep pumping Ghawar at the 4.5 Mb/day rate it will rune bone dry in 3.04 years (well not dry, only water will be coming out)


--which would explain panic selling in the Saudi stock market, panic drilling in Saudi Arabia and "voluntary" production cutbacks.
Not to step on toes, but everything I've read about the stock market in SA draws a conclusion that billions of dollars fled the developing economies of the middle east, asia, & Latin America and landed back here.  It was mostly our hedge funds and they got called on.  The ripples started from there.
Totally unrelated issue.  Not everything has to do with oil.  
In SA it does.  Without it they aren't even a thought for most of the world.  They know that.  Follow the money...
A possible data point in the "social capital" debate...

U.S. losing its middle-class neighborhoods

Metro areas show widening gap between rich and poor sections

Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself.

In their place, poor and rich neighborhoods are both on the rise, as cities and suburbs have become increasingly segregated by income, according to a Brookings Institution study released today. It found that as a share of all urban and suburban neighborhoods, middle-income neighborhoods in the nation's 100 largest metro areas have declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000.

Or this:

Cost of living now outweighs benefit of living, and America was abused in early life :-)



TheOnion puts some amazing spin on articles...

look at this one:

Massive Oil Spill Results In Improved Wildlife Viscosity

Local wildlife officials were excited by the spill. "A thick coat of oil should help these animals tremendously, especially with the cold weather coming,"


So the better off leave the close-in, declining suburb for an exurb, then watch gas prices soar. Visualize that kid from the Simpsons saying, "Ha-ha!"

If I were a developer, I'd snap up and gentrify those close-in neighborhoods. I'd put up, "If you lived here, you could bike to work!" signs on the feeder highways. The Supreme Court has ruled that gov't can exercise eminent domain and sell the land to developers, so it could start happening anywhere.

California sets "clean energy" oil tax on ballot. The proposal would tax oil production in order to fund alternative energy.

California has no idea of what they are getting themselves into. I predict that the tax will pass, and then oil production in California will go down, because it will be less profitable for oil companies to produce there. This will cause gas shortages, because no way can ethanol fill the gap.

Prediction: You will see a very ugly gasoline situation in California in short order. Laws like this are why California gasoline is already among the highest in the nation. Anyone who thinks this will bring the price down doesn't understand basic economics.


Perhaps what the OECD countries should do, simultaneously, is to enact a $10/bbl tax on oil imports, combined with a return to the corporate tax rates of the 70's for oil companies. The proceeds from the tax would be used to fund alternative energy and other projects (such as mass transit) designed to lessen the future use of fossil fuels, and the impact of oil price increases on the working class. I suspect that the tax would, over a three year period (assuming production remains flat on the plateau of Hubbert's Peak), pay for itself, as demand lessens and the price falls somewhat. Simultaneous virtues of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, reducing our trade deficit, and reducing our future obligations to the Saudis, for the hambrugers we are eating today.

The chances that this would happen now are slim to none, and you know where Slim went.

At today's import rates your import tax would  raise about $48 billion a year. That wouldn't even cover the war in Iraq. Ad, it would be politicially impossible.
Will it really be that bad?  It's not like other states aren't already doing the same thing.

California is third in the United States in oil production and requires no tax on oil companies for extracting natural resources, unlike Alaska (15 percent tax), Texas (4.6 percent), and Louisiana (12.5 percent), according to Californians For Clean Alternative Energy.
Will it really be that bad?  It's not like other states aren't already doing the same thing.

Yeah, it will be that bad. California already has a number of laws in place that have resulted in very high gasoline prices. California has all kinds of boutique blends, which limits their supply. The only thing this new law will do is further restrict supply.

But the main reason I am so cynical about this, is that Vinod Khosla is spearheading and funding the effort. He is trying to funnel money into an area in which he has investments, and therefore stands to profit. I wouldn't be so annoyed by this if it was going into the general tax fund. But when someone like Khosla, who has made all kinds of delusional promises about energy independence via ethanol, attempts to take money out of one sector and put it into a sector to benefit himself, that just reeks of unethical behavior. What is going to happen is that oil is going to be taxed more heavily, companies will reduce production, and the taxes that are realized will be thrown into a boondoggle.


Why would this restrict the supply in California?  Isn't oil fungible?  They sell Californian oil on the global market, don't they?

It might restrict global supplies a tad, but that could still benefit Californians.  If they get all the benefit of the tax, but the burden is shared by whole world, that could still be a good deal.

Why would this restrict the supply in California?  Isn't oil fungible?  They sell Californian oil on the global market, don't they?

I doubt that any California oil ever leaves California. What it will do is hurt local suppliers, and cause them to reduce production, or not invest in increasing future production. It will restrict your supply locally, which means you will have to import more to make up the difference. This will likely be more expensive.

I blogged on this issue not too long ago. My argument was that if you are going to put such a tax in place, then it certainly shouldn't be going into funding ethanol. What would be better for everyone would be for the money to go into a general fund favoring conservation. For instance, give people rebates for buying high gas mileage cars. That would actually benefit the state, the nation, and the world. The law as it is written will benefit Khosla's boondoggles, and falsely gives Californians the impression that they are taking steps toward energy independence, when the truth is it will likely increase oil imports.


There was a story in the news awhile back, about tankers full of gasoline going from California to South or Central America.  Didn't meet our environmental standards, or some such thing.

I am not a Californian and can't vote on the issue.  My sister is in Sacramento, though, and always votes.  So if you can convince me, I'll try to convince her.  ;-)

I think the refineries here have (in the past) used exports to keep plant utilization high.  I think recently there has been enough domestic demand to eliminate that need.
The best investments would be (for S CA) extend the Red Line subway to UCLA and then to "the Sea" (Santa Monica) and extend BART to San Jose for N CA.

They may be smaller projects with higher cost benefit (the 1.5 mile connector between the Gold & Blue & future lines in LA may be highest in the nation), but $350 million/year could "make a difference" on these two large scale, high visibility projects.  Once they are finished, something for Sacremento & San Diego.

Hard, centuries long investments that will have tangible benefits.

I made the same point at GreenCar Congress.  I am becoming increasingly skeptical about these investments in what is loosely called alternative or green energy. While it is alternative, it is not automatically green.  Put bio in front of anything and people go, oh, yeh wow, we're saving the planet. And hydrogen. Well, maybe a bit of research but don't tell me you're investing in the development of hydrogen from the reformation of fossil fuels like natural gas.

I am not saying we have to have perfect uncertainty before we subsidize alternatives. But I want investments in things that will have an impact now based on existing technology.  Also, it might make sense to invest in things that clearly have a very (not marginal EROIE).  

But it's like your house. You can spend a lot of money on conservation and get a very good return before you need to put in the photovoltaics and/or the wind systems.  Do the quick, high payoff stuff first, then invest in the goodies.

The best thing we can do is raise the price of gas, however we do it.  Maybe this won't work as intended, as you suggest, but if it works as you are suggesting, it will still be a huge incentive for people to cut back on gas guzzlers.  The fact that California has high gas prices is a benefit, not the negative that you are trying to make it out to be.  The only thing that encourages people to save is price.  All taxes will always be passed on to the consumer, but so what, they can just deal with it.  
I'm a Californian and I have to vote on this thing :-\

It probably smells too much for me to vote yes ... even though I think "oil production in California will go down" is a benefit.  If PO is true we want to drag out production.

But I don't think I can trust these guys to allocate funds.  It might be better if this was going to general debt reduction.

By the way, the backstory is:

California is third in the United States in oil production and requires no tax on oil companies for extracting natural resources, unlike the Federal government (12.5%), Alaska (15%), Texas (4.6%), and Louisiana (12.5%), according to Californians For Clean Alternative Energy.

Should we really be so far from those states in tax strategy?

I think I would vote yes, if only to drag out production.

I suspect we'll be seeing more and more of this kind of thing.  (See the new story I just posted at the top of this page.)

Should we really be so far from those states in tax strategy?

You aren't. There isn't a tax on production, but you make it up on the gasoline tax. So, the group Californians For Clean Alternative Energy is presenting a misleading case. Texas, for example, with a 4.6% tax on extraction, has a $0.20/gal state gasoline tax. California is among the highest in the nation at $0.32/gal. The only states with higher gasoline taxes are Hawaii and Nevada.


By the way, here is a link to state by state gasoline taxes:



Do you feel at all odd, arguing at TOD, in favor of maintained consumption?
No, that's not what I am arguing. In fact, I am in favor of substantially raising gasoline taxes across the board in order to stem consumption. But this is in an attempt to directly go after oil companies - again painting them as the villain here - and funnel the money into a boondoggle. That is my objection.


An oil/gas tax is an oil/gas tax.  The oil companies are going to pass each one on, one way or another (silly prohibitions notwithstanding).

I think you and I both would prefer a good general carbon tax, but I think the sad question is whether (in a panorama of messed up energy laws), this messed up energy law ... pushes the mess in the right direction.

I don't have a hard answer to that.

An oil/gas tax is an oil/gas tax.  The oil companies are going to pass each one on, one way or another (silly prohibitions notwithstanding).

I can see where the end would justify the means, but I don't like this approach. First, by directly taxing the oil companies, they are furthering the stereotype that we are the problem. We are ripping them off. They are also giving Californians a false sense of security: Tax the oil companies, and we will funnel that money into ethanol, which will lead to energy independence. No need to change your driving habits. Everything's fine. The whole thing just stinks of deception.

The approach I would favor is to raise the gasoline tax. In that case, you say "You, the person who commutes 100 miles a day, are the problem. You are going to change your behavior, or pay a penalty." Then you give that money to people who are actually saving money by conserving. The oil companies will still be "punished", because consumption will go down. It addresses the root problem, instead of the scapegoat, and doesn't offer the energy independence delusions that Khosla is pushing.


It will be interesting to watch it play out.  Some of the cardboard characters are already out there "evil oil companies" and "rich venture capitalists."

If one has a cynical view of the democratic process, one might think it will come down to which bogey man is most hated.

A bunch of rich venture capitalists are currently investing in what will be the biggest solar cell manufacturing facility in the world. If only we had more of these rich venture capitalists.

The oil companies may or may not be evil, but it is just silly to expect them to voluntarily do things that will clean up the planet. The ire needs to be directed at those in power who will not force the oil companies and others to do what is in the best interests of the planet and the people. But Bush believes in voluntary corporate behavior. That would be considerd stupid, but he's not doing it because it's stupid, he's doing it because he knows it won't cost his corporate buddies a penny. People who believe we can clean things up voluntarily are the ones who are stupid.

I think I agree with you Robert, the tax itself is not necessarily the bad thing here...the bad thing is that the tax money is basically being sent down the bottomless pit that is ethanol.


The federal 12.5% is a royalty, not a tax. And, it has been suspended in deep waters as a drilling stimulus.
Just like a surcharge isn't an additional charge right?

You do understand the main thrust of a "CLEAN" energy oil tax is to reduce pollution through the reduction of consumption.

The economics of removing pollution from the air and water is clear. Less pollution means a more productive work force, fewer sick days, less strain on an already strained hospital system, lower insurance rates, and a better quality of living.

The problem with this is that fewer people killed by pollution adds to our population woes.

Your argument also ironicaly points out the difficulty of transiting from oil to alternatives in that pulling that one brick out may cause the entire edifice to crumble.

Without national governmental interference, without a comprehensive plan of action that incorporates a holistic well thought out plan incorporating all aspects of the economy, we are pretty much doomed to a Balkanized geography. Some regions will fare well, others will go down in a big ole ball of laissez faire capitalististic, fundamentalist christian flame.

I know the free marketeers (whom I envision with Mickey Mouse ears) will now sing the corporate fight song, claiming that any deviation from the tried and true blandishments of the market will result in disaster. Bull. Anyone who is unfamiliar with the anti-monopoly laws passed in the last century and the history of the American corporation and the reasons why that legislation was passed does not deserve a voice. The purposes of these laws are specific and worked to produce the longest period of prosperity for more Americans than any other period in our history. If anyone tells you that government stifles corporations, you should say, "THANK GOD. Or else we would have an abysmally low minimum wage, dangerous working conditions, a deteriorating environment, fewer vacation days than any other industrialized country, a tax system that favors the rich, loss of pension funds, intrusion of corporations into private lives, and on and on."

Of course, we have all these problems now thanks to Bush, Shrub and Raygun, the lessor dieties whom the fundamentalists worship.

You do understand the main thrust of a "CLEAN" energy oil tax is to reduce pollution through the reduction of consumption.

But that isn't the bill of goods being sold here. Californians For Clean Alternative Energy is telling the public that the oil companies are the problem, and you can vote to punish them, while funding clean alternatives like ethanol. They have a provision in there to prohibit oil companies from passing this tax on by raising prices. So, in effect, they are promising Californians a free ride. From their viewpoint, there is to be no reduction of consumption, just a transition to alternatives. This viewpoint is at best, naive, and at worst just a ploy to make money for Khosla and company.

The ironic thing was that Feinstein lobbied for, and received, an EPA oxygenate waiver for California so they wouldn't have to keep blending $4 ethanol in their cars. If not for that, California spot ethanol would be bumping $6/gal like it is on the East Coast. California is a very poor place for ethanol to make an impact (too far from corn fields), yet that is what this proposal promises.

I don't hope to convince anyone not to vote for the measure. I think that's futile. I haven't seen any of the ads in California, but I bet the measure easily passes. I am just trying to voice my annoyance with the deception and unethical behavior going on here, and to lay out what I think will happen. Soon after this becomes law, Californians will realize they have been duped. They will wonder why alternatives didn't make the impact they had been promised, and why their gasoline got so much more expensive. Which, as many would argue, is not a bad thing. I just don't like the approach.


I agree with you that it sounds like a stupid measure, and I'll most likely vote against it.  It sounds like the worst form of government meddling, but just increasing the cost of production, while then saying it can't be passed on.  It will be a disincentive to produce more oil.  

I'll have to see how the bill really reads.  As stupid as it is, it might cause a slowdown in production, which would be good.  But then again, if the money is just being spent on ethanol, then that is absurd.  

I agree. This policy would simply make the problem worse. Consumption is the problem, not oil production. There would be no hookers (sorry to describe your industry like that) without the Johns.
Actually, I don't want to bring the price down.  So, you have just made an argument in favor of this tax.  But yeh, screw investing in clean energy if it means ethanol.
Some good news and some bad news,

CalTrain in the San Francisco Bay Area (basically the Peninsula from San Jose north through San Mateo to Frisco) is moving up the timetable to go electric. To walk through the nuts and bolts in a regulation heavy state see:


Bad news is that we have three aircraft carriers, including the Special Forces Kitty Hawk (it operates a whole lot of helicopters and special forces usually), practicing in the Pacific as we read/write. I have a dollar that says after the maneuvers, they all three disappear for two-three weeks and reappear in the Indian Ocean. They might only be a message to Iran or they could be used. I am still betting on just saying hi and saying "guess what we can do."

And in Scotland, they're turning roads and parking lots into solar panels.

That caught my eye, but after reading the article, I can say that it's clever, but not as revolutionary as the link's title ("source anchor" for the HTML fluent) suggests. They're just using heat pumps to concentrate heat gathered from beneath tarmac. Depending on your climate and the time of year, the tarmac may create a place with a higher ambient temperature to run your heat-exchange piping.

From a heating standpoint, this isn't nearly as efficient as using a solar water heating array (which the house that I'm building uses) and arguably not as efficient as just using the fuel used to create the electricity to power the heat-pump directly for heating. Still, if you're going to use a heat pump for heating, it makes sense to run your heat-exchange piping someplace warm (like a sewer system).

The article seems to suggest that they're storing summer heat in aquifers until winter.  Did they get that wrong, and they're just using winter sunlight to warm the pipes under the paving?
 Still, if you're going to use a heat pump for heating, it makes sense to run your heat-exchange piping someplace warm (like a sewer system).

Not a good idea.   seweage bacteria like a stable temperature If you heat it up or cool it down, they tend to go away.  This  leads to more pumping of the system to keep it from backing up.

does anyone have an explanation for this ..


It is my understanding that the API number are based on voluntary reporting, while the EIA reports are based on mandatory reports, so I normally go with the EIA reports--which is normally all that CNBC reports.    Next week's EIA report may be closer to the API numbers.  

Having said that, the Bush administration doesn't have a lot of credibility with me, so it's always possible that they are massagging the data, but I doubt it.

And they don't massage the CPI numbers? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
I can't access Gillespie but look at this nugget...

The reporting of March's sharp trade improvement appears to have been a deliberate fabrication, aimed at salving the troubled financial markets of the time! Benchmark revisions released along with the monthly April trade data show that the sharp "improvement" in the March trade deficit -- reported at a time of high U.S. dollar and political stress -- was rigged. While it is standard practice by the statistical agencies to adjust pre-benchmark revision reporting to coincide with the benchmarks, such adjustments are made to month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter changes, not to the absolute level. To my knowledge, pre-adjusting the level of a series such as the trade deficit is unprecedented. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is more politicized than the Census Bureau. The BEA now "participates" in the trade release with Census, which once handled the monthly number exclusively. Violating common reporting principles with the trade data, the BEA likely repeated the process in the GDP reporting.


Can we please get rid of Bush now?

As Prof. Goose suggested, I went through the process of registering at the digg site.  I then submitted the recent energy report article by Stuart.  A message came back to me that it had already been submitted.  I then searched for it on digg but could not find it or anything else from TOD.

Has anybody else submitted articles to digg?  If so, what has been your experience?

I went back and searched again using the key word oil.  Found that it was there, submitted by physXperspectv 1 day 2 hours ago (via http://www.theoildrum.com/stor...)
One thing more that I do not understand:  

"once setup and logged in, all you have to do is click!), this actually helps! We can get more traffic driven over here! Please hit the up arrow for every article you think is worthy."

Can somebody explain this better?

I would like an explanation as well.  I have no clue what those things are or how they work.
I know that at Reddit, you can mod a story up by clicking the up arrow. That's how stories get to the "hot" page, and it increases traffic. My blog article on "Lessons from Europe" once made #1 on the hot articles page, and stayed there for about 10 hours. My traffic increased by 5000 hits that day, which was almost 20 times the normal traffic.


For reddit, click on the smily face guy (under Tags) .  Submit the URL.  If someone has already submitted the URL you'll get a screen with info-comments-related-etc.  Above that is the title with up/down arrows on the left.  Click the up arrow.  You should see the points go up by one.

For Digg (button w/ guy next to sign?), it doesn't detect that the story has been added, so as far as I can tell you need to search with a key word from the title if you get a message that the article has already been added.  Then click on "digg it" under the number of diggs (for me this button doesn't work on the search page; only if I click on the # of diggs (which brings up the comments for that article) but that could be a browser issue.  You should see the number of diggs go up by one and "digg it" will change to "dugg".

Study: Earth hottest in 400 years

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, probably even longer.

The National Academy of Sciences, reaching that conclusion in a broad review of scientific work requested by Congress, reported Thursday that the "recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia."

A panel of top climate scientists told lawmakers that the Earth is running a fever and that "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming." Their 155-page report said average global surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose about 1 degree during the 20th century.

The report was requested in November by the chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New York, to address naysayers who question whether global warming is a major threat.

"This glacier off Greenland has receded 3 miles in two years."

"This cat is scrambling from the rising waters."

Nautical or regular?
Unfortunately, for some in congress this is breaking news. How many more studies do we need before we get past the "duh" stage and into the "do" stage.  
Mr. Rapier and others have made mention of conservation in this blog and from time to time, but the message tends to be overwhelmed by talk about peak and post-peak, millions of barrels of this and that and hard-to-pronounce names of far-away oil fields.  Conservation is a here-and-now sort of thing, and nearly everyone can take some part in the effort and together make a substantial difference toward softening the inevitable transition to whatever the future holds.

Many or most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, or close to that, even with more than one earner in the family, and/or are up to their ears in debt.  Major efforts, such as trading off a new SUV for a small car or a hybrid, solar water heating, extra insulation, thermal windows, heat pumps, etc., are wishful thinking.  Aside from cost, local zoning restrictions, building codes and fear of shady contractors can be big barriers to making such changes.

Despite these obstacles, there are a variety of smaller ways to use less energy -- and save a few bucks in the process.  These are not new points, but they are worth repeating:

1. AT HOME.  Over time, change out all the incandescent light bulbs with screw-in fluorescents.  Turn off lights when there's no immediate need.  Plant fast-growing deciduous trees or shrubs to shade walls and eventually roofs.  Evergreens are better on NW to NE sides of the house to mute the effects of cold winter winds.  Absent thermal windows, keep blinds closed except when or where the light is useful.  Recycle waste where practical; bury or compost kitchen garbage (with care to keep the stuff separate from household chemicals.  Where possible, substitute gardens -- flower, vegetable, other -- for lawn grass, and cut what's left with a push mower.  Wherever possible, use hand tools instead of power tools, especially gasoline-powered tools.  Altogether, this makes for useful exercise, and it's cheaper than driving that SUV to the gym.

2. ON THE ROAD.  Drive defensively and courteously; accidents with or without personal injury result in waste of money, time and energy.  Avoid "jackrabbit" starts, stops and squealing corners; beyond matters of safety, these habits entail unneccary wear, which wastes money and energy.  For highway driving, try to stay under 60 mph, or stay home and read.  Plan shopping, etc., to do more in fewer trips.  When I was learning to drive (1936), my brother-in-law (an economist) prescribed driving with an uncapped glass quart milk bottle full of water on the passenger side floor (rubber mat then -- no carpet).  He sat on that side, and was not pleased when his feet got wet.  Today's equivalent might be a half-gallon carton, about 2/3 full.  Try it, but seal the carton if you have carpet.

Conservation is good.  Don't knock the small stuff.

Disclosure: My house is about 1000 sq ft on 30 wooded acres, and I've been here more than 50 years.  I drive an '84 Camry and an '88 Ranger, bought used when each was four years old.

-- Mort

Last time I drove my car was Monday (it was raining).  Use SEER 11 window heat pump, two LED night lights, an LED 2.3 watt amber over the door and the rest CF.  Very efficient refrigerator.

Average 340 or so kWh/month.  6 gallons/month (may be dropping).

I am fairly close to Powerdown already I think.  No major savings left AFAIK.  

Here in the distinctly non-tropical UK, I average 250 kWh/month and zero gallons/month motor fuel. Also zero natural gas. I guess I'm closer to Powerdown :)
You guys inspire me. I tend to think I am pretty good at conserving, and I am relative to those around me. But I am not as good as you guys. I could be better, and I will be better. I just have to keep plugging away at it.


No NG use since August 27, 2005.  

Last winter I scheduled showers by the 7 day weather forecast :-)   Only heat was 1500 watt floor fan electric heater.  Hence, I traded in 10 SEER air conditioning for Freidrich 11 SEER heat pump at end of winter. Wish I had done it earlier).

Hopefully I will get hot water before next winter.  But I will turn it off in the summer (really no need as I am disovering).

I live in Galveston and the same is true there about showers. Who needs a solar hot water heater when the tap water is about 85 degrees? But, its too hot to sleep without an AC in the summer,at least for me. So I've got a window unit and use ir on muggy nights. The new house I'm moving to has a sleeping porch that gets a seabreeze. Hopefully I can get by without the window unit most nights. And in the winter the ocean and Galveston Bay act like a giant heat reservoir. We have a light freeze once or twice a year and grow oranges and grapefruit and lemons.
   Galveston still has a street car but the city operates it mostly for tourists. There is a bus system. and lots of people only have a bicycle. I imagine we will do pretty well in the power down.
Gee, Alan, you are making me feel virtuous beyond just deserts.  Our use/month  averaged over the year is 280kw-hrs. and we aren't trying very hard.  Three cistern pumps and we water the garden quite a bit.  I think the main difference must be we use little tiny fans instead of AC.  With that 11 watt fan going, I feel fine in quite sticky weather.  I used to live near NO and remember sleeping in a sweat pool, but the only fan in the house was totally my mother's and us kids didn't rate. Nobody had AC then.

On another topic above- you young folks just don't seem to realize how versatile humans can be- look at the Cubans, the poor in any country, the Africans, people during the depression and the war,  the hillbillys where I live, and even me.  I fix everything that breaks in our house.  Just this week, a water heater, a well pump, a bunch of little doo-dads I forget at the moment. And of course the old toyota and the tractor and all its implements. Put a little stress on them, and people adapt-fast. Lordy! not everybody is an effete professor of history-or worse, an economist.

There's so much damd fat in this society today that you could squeeze 3/4 of it out and still not be anywhere near real hurt.

Yes, a/c is the "killer" when it coems to my energy use.  

I averaged about 5 kWh/day when I don't run it at all (and that was before I took soem more small steps towards energy efficiency).  Perhaps 4.5 kWh/day now without draconium changes in lifestyle.

So, perhaps half (45% ?( of my personal energy use is for air conditioning & heating with a/c the FAR larger part.

Just got off the conference call hosted by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski. It was a mixed bag. Granholm came across like a typical politician. I took notes, and here were the highlights.

Granholm when first. The gist of her comments:

Fuel prices too high
Oil companies making too much money; she wants legislation to cap profits
Claimed that oil companies are not investing in alternative energy technologies
Piled on oil companies again; really vilified them.
Really pushed ethanol; says Michigan needs a huge number of ethanol plants.
Thinks we need more E85 pumps.
Once again, said oil companies are not eager to cap profits.

At this point, I was thinking we really need a new political party. But they then went to Kulongoski. He really talked up the conservation angle, and he came across as less political, less prone to posturing, and discussed what Oregon is working on. He has established targets for government agencies, and in 4 years wants all government agencies to run off of 100% renewable electricity. He said he drives an E85 vehicle. Said the state is making large investments into alternative electricity - wave, geothermal, wind, solar. Also noted that Oregon has no coal or oil deposits.

Now, on to the Q&A.

Question 1 from Pittsburgh: "Why have oil company profits gone up as gasoline has gone up?" Of course Granholm took this one, as it was another opportunity to score political points by attacking oil companies. Her answer: Because they aren't regulated, and they can get away with it. Says we need to regulate oil companies like public utilities.

Question 2: I already had a favorable impression of Governor Kulongoski, but he chose to answer question 2 from "Robert in Billings". That's me. :) My question was prefaced by a comment that all of the proposed solutions are doomed if we don't get serious about conservation. They omitted my swipe at ethanol (I had said "ethanol is not the answer") but surprisingly they did include my comment "who among you has the courage to tackle this politically sensitive issue (conservation)?" Kulongoski: "Robert is absolutely correct", and he sounded like he meant it. He went on to describe some of Oregon's conservation measures - such as increasing standards for appliances. He said state governments must lead by example, and concluded with "Again, Robert is correct. We must look at ourselves in the mirror and decide that we must change our behavior". Kulongoski scored big points with me.

Question 3, from Michigan: Do you support PHEVs, solar, wind, etc? Granholm: Absolutely! Talked about giving personal property tax breaks to alternative energy providers, and said she was sitting in her hybrid as she was answering the question.

Question 4, from Oregon: How do you get the private sector to buy into alternatives? Kulongoski: Explained how Oregon moved to sustainable forestry practices, and said they must do the same for energy. He also mentioned the importance of combating global warming.

That's my very quick assessment. Much more impressed with Kulongoski than with Granholm, even before he answered my question. :)


Thanks for the recap.

A question for the Michiganders here...why is Granholm in so much trouble?  A couple of years ago, they were talking about a possible presidential run for her (Canadian born or no).  Now she's struggling to get re-elected.  Gas prices doing her in or what?  

Maybe she's just a hack like many of em.  I'm voting everyone out this Nov.  Incumbants need to go period.  I would love to see some term limits to Congress.  
She's being blamed for the unemployment and economics problems Michigan is experiencing.  A lot of folks seem to believe Comfy Sweater DeVoss (whose adverts always seem to leave out that he's a republican) that cutting taxes will attract more business.

That's really depressing that Jenny G has fallen for the Ethanol Distraction.

Thanks.  I have a feeling a lot of incumbents will be going down this time.
I believe that it is mainly due to DeVos spending millions on advertising very early.  Granholm has not really started to advertise.  The latest poll shows a 2% spread.

Too early to really tell.

Toothless Fed

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - More things feed inflation than a central banker can shake a stick at, and there's a growing worry that some of them won't respond to the Federal Reserve's biggest stick: higher interest rates.

Some economists say rising energy prices are bleeding through to affect the broader economy. Others point to the rise in housing prices during the recent real estate boom. Some even say that due to a quirk in how the government measures housing prices, a weaker real estate market can actually make inflation seem higher.

Others worry that old standards such as a falling dollar or rising wages in a tight labor market could become problems.

The one thing they agree on is that the Fed's main policy tool - raising rates - won't do much to curb any of these causes, especially in the short term.

Economists concede it takes 18 mos to 2 yrs for FED actions now, to affect long term trends.  If you look at the Bond market they have already priced in a rate increase next week.  So the short term has already adjusted and the long term looks crappy.  
Somebody please help me out.
IIRC Norway peaked in 2001 producing 2.9 mbd. I may be wrong
Anyway, over at energybulletin Roger Blanchard says Norway peaked in 2001 producing 3.3 mbd

However through our alphamaleprophetofdoom's "news & updates" I get to CNN claiming Norway will peak this year at 3.6 mbd
Quote: "Oil output is expected to decline in Norway, Europe's largest producer, from a peak of 3.6 million bpd this year to 2.5 million bpd in 2030"

So peak date is 5 years apart, peak production is 300.000 bpd difference. Are even the production figures for Norway not transparent? Or is CNN plain wrong?

(With present decline rates it would be a miracle if Norway prodcued 2.5 mbd in 2030)

Norway has "held back" from leasing offshore further north till the North Sea is fairly exhausted.  Seismic looks good further north, but a drill bit is needed to know for sure.

Years ago, talk of leasing middle coast @ 2010, but I do not know current Norwegian thinking.

So good luck, rather than a miracle, may be needed in 2030.

Thanks for your reply Alan.
Anyway, I'm so far behind in my daily Peak Oil reading I missed this post by Stuart: http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/6/20/231220/551#more

Conclusion: CNN blindly follows EIA and IS indeed plain WRONG.

I am a little shocked that everyone is overlooking the most important notice in the header of this Drumbeat:

"Kuwaiti national interests will not be served by increasing production"
KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - The Kuwaiti opposition plans to reject a government strategy to raise oil production capacity in the light of reports that the emirate's reserves are half the announced figure, a leading opposition candidate has said.

And in the article:

Based on the figures, Nibari, the leader of the liberal grouping Kuwait Democratic Forum, said Kuwait's recoverable reserves stand at only 36 billion barrels.

If you remember when this data first came out a few months ago, that Kuwaiti proven reserves were 48 billion barrels instead of 98 to 103, Kuwaiti officials were denying it to the high heavens. Talking heads on CNBC were calling the report "ridiculous". Now they are all admitting it and saying that the actual barrels yet be recovered is only be around 36 billion barrels.

This should fall like a bombshell on the oil market. Yet no one seems to be mentioning it. I have heard nothing about on CNBC and I have been tuned to it all day. It is an admission that the huge jump in proven reserves was just made up to increase their quota. Then all the other OPEC nations followed Kuwait's lead and increased their "proven" reserves by about the same percentage. My God folks, what does it take to get the oil world excited, or upset?

This admission is the most important happening in the oil world this year!

It's the Kuwaiti opposition that wants to cut production.  Dunno how much power they have to actually do anything, but I suspect not much.
I think you miss the point. It's the admission of only 36 billion barrels of recoverable reserves that is the important thing, not the dogfight in Kuwaiti Parliament on whether to hold, raise or cut production.
There's no real admission.  Various Kuwaiti MPs have been griping about the oil reserves for awhile now.  Since the PIW report came out, in fact.  But the official Kuwait stance is "the PIW report is wrong."
Read the article:


Sure looks like a clear admission by just about everyone to me.

"The information I have obtained through my sources and based on official figures I saw when I was an MP considerably support the PIW report," Nibari said.

Or at least there are no evidence of outright deniers in the article:

Outgoing prominent opposition MP Ahmad al-Saadun sent a question last March to the energy minister about the size of Kuwaiti crude reserves and has not yet received an answer.

My money is on the Petroleum Intelligence Weekly:

The reputable newsletter Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW) made the revelations in January, saying that proven reserves were only 24 billion barrels and the rest were probable reserves.
As I noted up the thread, the PIW estimate is a close match to Stuart's HL plot for Kuwait.  

I've seen HL plots for six of the top 10 net oil exporters (based on 2004 numbers).  All six--Saudi Arabia; Russia; Norway; Iran; Kuwait and Mexico--are at or very close to the 50% of Qt mark.

Should read:

I've seen HL plots for six of the top 10 net oil exporters (based on 2004 numbers).  All six--Saudi Arabia; Russia; Norway; Iran; Kuwait and Mexico--are close to or beyond the 50% of Qt mark.

I haven't seen Mexico's HL posted here. How about posting it or providing a link where we can see it.
"These reserves will last for about 40 years if current production is maintained but "will vanish in around 20 years if production was raised to four million bpd," he said."

Yeah, and if they think real hard and do some math, it'll last 80 years if they cut production in half. How long will it take for them to realize this, do you think?

How do you do that "blue" thing with quotes? thanks

blue thing with the quotes?

are you talking about

text here

that's simply using < blockquote >text here < / blockquote >  (remove the spaces on those...just doing that to show you...)

thank you
Hello Darwinian,

Good job for high-lighting this much lower Kuwaiti oil reserve, I expect the other OPEC countries to eventually admit the same.  That is just another reason why I think we go down in a fast-crash scenario, but I am still hoping and promoting for a less unpleasant alternative.

Okay, TODers--Time for a beer to consider the ramifications!  Don't forget to shoutout Peakoil when the bottle reaches 1/2 empty!

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

He cut off end to prevent HPV.
Unnecessary really, one romp was enough for dog.

Semites, Gays, and Engineers gave us fusion, infernal combustion etc.
Keep it in your pants.
Destroy stored knowledge.

Let the others procreate.

Always kill the trophy game and leave the pregnant ones.
The smartest has missed getting killed for many seasons.

Help a freedom fighter - don't recycle nuke waste.

Can you put a nice dress on a pol and get more pork?
"We're from the gov & we're here to help".
i.e. Retard the spark to burn cooler with less nox and use more gas.

Stop asking your retard pol to fix it.  It's YOUR job.
Stop sending the bastards money!
They will just use it to kill our children.

We'll NEVER stop using oil WTC (whatever the cost) and we're going to nationalize mid-east oil WTC, and we're going to give worldwide free anti-retro drugs WTC, and the Chinese will loan us the money since sheeple don't like taxes.
We'll just sell our children to repay the loan.

Once the ice melts, the earth can absorb more solar radiation.  The permafrost will defrost and give us some OSW (ocean soda water) unless the OSW goes flat as it warms.

Lets put solar-thermal power plants on the ocean.  There is no place to sink the turbine exhaust heat on land, and we need all the land to grow the Jack Daniels that the sheeple want to smoke.


   How does the earth look from outer space?