DrumBeat: July 1, 2006

Update [2006-7-1 9:40:10 by Leanan]: Protestors bubbling over gas prices, urging action

Left-leaning MoveOn.org organized a nation-wide protest over gas prices Wednesday, timed for the holiday weekend. The slant: Big Oil's cash is corrupting Congress.

World could face choice between food and fuel
OTTAWA — Abrupt climate change may soon force governments to choose between feeding people and fuelling SUVs, a respected investment firm says in a new study.

Toronto-based Sprott Asset Management says global warming is occurring faster than expected and rising demand for so-called green fuel will cut into food supplies.

The investment firm produced a bleak study that also predicts increased regulation and ballooning deficits as governments try to cope with more frequent climate-related disasters while building new infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions. Hyperinflation is seen as a plausible result.

Update [2006-7-1 10:15:37 by Leanan]: Russia's Gazprom aims to become world energy leader

China consumes less energy with faster economic growth rate

China's growth rate of energy consumption dropped to 9.5 percent last year from 15.5 percent in 2004, while the country maintained a 9.9 percent economic growth rate in 2005.

...So it is "unfair and incomplete" to blame China for high oil prices, said Dr. Gary Dirks, Vice President of BP Group.

Michigan struggles with the issue of funding roads. They want to cut taxes on E85 to encourage to use of ethanol, but don't know how to pay for road and bridge repair without that revenue.

The Washington Post makes the argument for skyscrapers:

Urban expert James Kunstler argues that energy shortages will scare residents away from skyscrapers because no one wants to climb 50 flights of stairs during a brownout, but that should only scare residents away from skyscrapers without backup generators. If anything, energy shortages should scare residents away from their gas-guzzling suburban commutes.

If that ever happened, Washington would be well situated to lead the way into a new age of urban sustainability. It has excellent public transit, with plenty of room for denser development along the major routes. Nine percent of its residents already walk to work, the most of any U.S. city, and that figure could easily expand with smarter growth. The height restriction is not the only impediment to that growth, but it would be a lot easier to repeal than the region's car-dependent culture, or the knee-jerk anti-density crusades of urban NIMBYists.

For what it's worth, I grabbed a couple interesting electric bike/vehicle links last week:

Voltate Forum: an online EV Forum Community


EV Photo Album: Our Electric Cars on the Web

here's the search by "type bicycle"

It's interesting to see what the EV enthusiasts are up to.

I recently sighted an old moped used by an older blackfellow. It turns out to be the 49cc just less than 2 horse type, legal for one who has a normal drivers license in Illinois. The first time I saw that gem was with it parked. The second time, today, the bloke was parking it so I had the chance to hear rhe engine.

Here's an idea. Put together an e-moped and carry solar panels. As you park it you set up said solar panels to partially charge the battery pack as you work. More expensive, you could solar-ise a hybrid car the same way. It would take its exposure to the sun as you work before you take off at the end of the day. Not perfect, but it would help. Those solar race cars are such that they are used during the day - exactly when cars are parked. Since cars are used for commuting missions instead of a "rayce" it would actually help a bunch.

In the mean time, I welcome the bit with sugar being used as fuel by making it into booze fuel. That'll get companies to use Splenda to sweeten processed food and it'll cut calories. Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar and adds no calories as it's inert as far as metabolism. What the government (or a really rich fuck) could do is buy the Splenda patent and make it open-source like Linux. That way, Splenda will replace sugar in the food all but instantly. That'll help cut down on the obesity problem. Where would you want sugar to be used? In your SUV? Or to make you fat? Put those damn calories in the E85 tank!

Fat is another food item that would be better used as diesel than to make people fatter. Trans-fat would be better used to power a jet plane than used in food. Bio- jet fuel, anyone? Where do you want your trans-fat? In your fried chicken, or to push that RJ140 you are riding in? My prefernce is to put it in the tanks of that RJ140 plane.

The problem is that while making low-calorie food would be great in America, lots of people worldwide NEED those calories lest they starve to death. Given biofuel techniques, it is possible for competition in the market for those calories. While Americans can afford to reduce calorie intake as they pilot those cars around, poor people in Africa (and elsewhere) can't afford to take in less calories. They are already starving!

Since the age of eight I have been doing wild and crazy experiments, of which perhaps 0.0002% have worked. Here is one of my projects:
  1. Take conventional battery-powered model airplane.
  2. Tow a sqare meter (or thereabouts) of lightweight but durable photovoltaic material behind the plane.
  3. Connect the strip (or maybe a few broad ribbons) to the rechargeable battery.

Now, if I can get this to work in a model airplane, why not a real one?

In my science fiction novels some planes are electrically powered, while others run on ethanol or refined vegetable oil powering diesel engines and a few jets. Brazil already has quite a number of ethanol fueled small airplanes.

Fed Ex just called ... they want to know how many Super Priority mail packages each of these solar-pumped beauties can carry and also what the max air speed is?
Thanks for the post.

The trick is to get enough area exposed at roughly the correct angle to the sun. I think speed will have to be kept low to keep wear on the sail-like solar panels reasonable.

I have a private pilot's license and am planning to take up soaring after I finish Volume 3 of my science fiction series. In Volume 2, gliders are essential for the heroes to defeat the Forces of Evil.

I think an e-moped would actually be interesting. I think I've seen something similar sold at a grocery store here in Toronto a few years ago but don't remember the details of it. I'm sure one exists somewhere.
As for poor Africans, isn't one of the problems of peak oil that even with an abundance of food in North America, there is no way to get it to them? For that matter is feeding them really even ethical in the long run? If the population has overshot the carrying capacity of the land, rushing in with food aid only helps to seal the hopeless fate of future generations and causes even more environmental destruction.
Local food production is going to be a key success factor in the future. Very likely it will determine who lives on comfortably and who will be remembered only in references to the "Great Population Collapse"
Sustainable Food, Renewable Energy and Social Unity are going to separate the winners from the losers after we go over the peak. We can shed consumer culture. We won't like it, but we can survive without it.
  What kind of ethics justifies starving people to death? I am horrified by the prospect.
What kind of ethics justifies starving people to death?

Our current ethics, as practiced. People starve today, not because there is a shortage of food (we still have 57 days global buffer) but because of a lack of (economic) demand, ie, the starving cannot afford to eat.

And the worst areas have regimes that want some people to starve to submission or death. Who forces those regimes to do the right thing and stop such evildoing?

It is all good ... the Invisible Hand has a higher purpose which we mortals are incapable of comprehending ... If the Invisible Hand deems it right for some "less fortunate" among us to depart their Free Market existence here on Earth and move on to their exponentially accumulated pension plans in the Spreadsheet Sky ... then so be it.

Who are we to question?

The invisible hand is indeed doing good work with these problems and I am quite serious about that. If all individuals and groups within a country are allowed to own and trade and there is law and order famine all but disapperas in short order and people start to prosper. But if one powerfull group hates another with less power or decide that they should stop such progress to keep a small profit for themselves instead of allowing a larger one that would bring more or less random changes you get a mess.
Obviously, my post was sarcasm.

Yes, there are some instances where the Invisible Hand does more good than harm.

There are other instances (ones which economist unapologetically sweep under the rug as "market failures") where the Invisible Hand fails abysmally.

Peak Oil is a huge example of market failure because we, as the minions of the Hand, keep investing more of our scarce resources and limited time into a way of life that is destroying the planet via GW.

I have started to wonder if a large part of the problem is a lack of real competition and consumers who think for themselves. There might be need for more of the famous invisble hand in both ends of the spectrum, in both the earths most prosperous country counted in GDP and the weakest ones.

I wish for more of it at home where we are stuck with inefficient government organisations in many service businesses.

Neither peak oil nor global warming result from a lack of competition.

The problems result from

  1. the tragedy of the commons
  2. high information and transaction costs, e.g. it is not feasible for me and a thousand others to pay you one cent so that you do not drive a car. In other words, negative externalities are involved, and the market does poorly to correct negative externalities when many people are involved.
True, I were only thinking about powerty and famine.
Aren't we supposed to say "poor price discovery" when people go down to buy another SUV (expecting happy motoring)?
Here is your Solar E-scooter


(I'd say Moped, but what they sell as 'Mopeds' now never seem to have pedals anyway.)  Everytime I look at what kind of combo of small vehicle and electric powering I'd want to design, I end up seeing the bike and bus as the answer to most of my travel and shopping needs.

This guy's design is encouraging, but I think it would make a lot of sense to not be carrying your generating capacity with you.  That's just more weight your batts are pushing.  I'm sure this is a big benefit of Elec Rail over Elec Cars, since the storage batteries add an incredible amount to the vehicle's mass.

This scooter has been designed for his 5 mile commute!

Any desent bike would get you there just as quick!

The scooter has driven 700 miles without pluging-in, my bike has more miles on!

Or how about something like this?


I'm currently designing the structural details.  I'm showing a 40-50 round trip commute on the power captured by the solar panels in the parking lot (full sun days only, of course).

Below is an example of the scalability of Urban Rail.  The Hiawatha Line in Minneapolis (Jesse "The Body" Ventura's finest accomplishment) is showing signs of capacity limits.  Weekday, peak direction, rush hour travel is steady but all other times have growing ridership.

WHEN we hit a crunch, being able to easily expand (a year or two to buy new rail cars and perhaps extend platforms) will be a major plus for existing Urban Rail systems.  I have proposed a "Strategic Railcar Reserve" that can go in service within days or weeks after an emergency happens.  Just because Oil is peaking does NOT mean that there is no risk of the "Islamic Republic of Arabia".

url: http://www.startribune.com/563/story/524824.html


Last update: June 29, 2006 - 9:52 PM
Letter of the day: Hiawatha trains are full; let the line expand

As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee when we finally obtained state funding for the Hiawatha Light Rail Line, I've found it rewarding to watch the line's growing success. May ridership of 841,846 set a new record!

Nearly one out of every seven trips provided by Metro Transit was on light rail last month. Development along the corridor is taking off as developers realize that people from all over the region want to live near this premium transit corridor. A planned parking ramp at the 28th Avenue Station in Bloomington will attract nearly 1,000 more riders -- enough to completely fill three trains.

There's just one problem: The trains are already full. For all practical purposes, peak hour, peak direction trains are at capacity and there are concerns that overcrowded trains are discouraging riders. There is a real need to expand Hiawatha to accommodate THREE-car trains. Lengthening station platforms and adding vehicles should cost less than $50 million. Because no additional operators are needed, operating costs would increase only 10 percent. Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Council recently chose to lend MnDOT $50 million for six years to speed up highway projects.

Met Council Chair Peter Bell has remarked that the Hiawatha LRT line was one of the most successful public works projects in our region in at least 25 years. Surely, increasing the line's capacity by 50 percent for just 7 percent of its original cost would be even more successful. What are we waiting for?


Alan - I've just got back from a vacation and a couple other road trips, and much of time I was driving I was thinking about rail.  Maybe because the driving sucked and often I was running right along side railroad tracks!  

Anyway, I got to thinking about luggage.  When one is taking the family and all the stuff for a week, how would this be handled?  What about changing trians, etc?  Obviously we could take less stuff, but even so there would be times when a fair amount of luggage would be involved.  This can't be a new problem, of course - how did they do it way back when?

I do not frequent Amtrak that often, but some trains have a baggage car or store underneath the cars) where one can check luggage (and it is automatically transferred if need be).  The other option is carry-on luggage and there is much more room than in an aircraft for that.
You also have more room to sleep on a train, and more room to walk around.

If we had bullet trains for cross-country express routes, given that due to noise limitations, red-eye flights go in one direction only and have other, noise-related constraints, bullet trains traveling 24 hours a day in all directions probably would not be that much slower than jets.

I do not think that "bullet trains" are viable in the US outside of, maybe, the Doston-Washington corridor.

The civil engineering costs are great for high speed travel and one cannot run freight (except mail) on them.  Yet few Europeans or Japanese travel much more than 400 km (250 miles) on them.

I have proposed, for the US, a system of "semi-High Speed rail" lines (pax max speed ~110 mph), connecting up a series of large cities within 250 miles or so of each other that also carries freight at top speeds of 100 mph.

For example, south of Washington DC, Richmond-Charlotte-Atlanta and also Charlotte-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando-Tampa and Orlando-Ft. Lauderdale-Miami.  Use it to haul high value freight that is now trucked or air freighted (fish, fruits, vegetables, packages, just-in-time inventory, etc.)

As far as bullet trains, what sucks is that our train tracks were put together with too many too-sharp turns. They were meant to haul freight. A trainload of coal to a powerplant needn't attain 200mph. Maybe it could do 60mph, fast enough for that coal or boxcars full of iPods.

Even with bullet trains, speed gets to be a problem even without too-sharp turns. That's from aerodynamic friction. The air is pretty thick down here! As you push a vehicle faster, of course, the air friction superceeds the rolling friction. You can see this with your car at freeway speeds. If you are rolling down a hill in a car, it will reach a speed such that air friction (plus rolling friction) will cancel out the propulsion from gravity. Aerodynamic friction is why maglev trains never caught on anywhere. At 100mph air friction is a much bigger thing than rolling friction with all manner of ground-only vehicles.

I really don't think bullet trains are required.  Try driving from Philadelphia to New Haven, or maybe up to Boston.  How fast do you need to go, on average, to exceed what you would do in a car? Yes, if you drive at an off hour you may do pretty well in a car, but most of the time you'll be happy to get near the speed limit.
Thus my conclusion that the "best" solution for the US is semi-HSR.  

Pax service at max 110 mph, average 100 mph. (Maybe a little faster) & freight at max 100 mph (special cars copied from Swiss Rail) and average 90 mph, sharing the same line.

It would work and be economic & attractive to large #s of people and freight shippers.

Mainly on new tracks.  Some limited use of new tracks next to existing railroad lines and some "brand new" sections.
One thing they sometimes did for a long stay was to put the excess stuff in a steamer trunk and send it ahead via Railway Express Agency (REA.) This was very common for sending kids off to distant summer camps. Needless to ssy, REA is long gone, as are steamer trunks. And these days, you have all sorts of Patriot Act paranoia about allowing individuals to ship anything - we're all terrorists, you know. So the simplest solution, if you need to take a fair amount of stuff, (and if you want to see it when you get there, considering how bad luggage-handling, like most other services, has become in the USA) is a car.
You can still send fairly large boxes via UPS.  I think that they even use trains for some hauls.  
UPS is one of BNSF's largest customers.  I've seen unit trains of UPS vans on the mainline near Flagstaff, AZ.
"I'm gonna cover myself with paper
 I'm gonna daub myself with glue
 Stick some stamps on top of my head
 I'm gonna mail myself to you"
     -Woody Guthrie
My first posting ever, I think.

I traveled in Europe, as a GI on the trains, baggage was no problem. Never had trouble on Greyhound going to college; nor on the airlines traveling both national and international with lots of checked and hand baggage.

I just googled for the Broadway Limited; http://prr.railfan.net/documents/BroadwayLtd/. Just to see how it was done back then. They left NYC at 6PM arrived in Chicago downtown at 9AM.

Business center to business center and after a night's sleep. The average speed seems slow, around 65 MPH. However the return trip would start at 5 PM, arrive in NYC at around 9 AM again, probably ready for a day's work.

Compare that to the airline way... out of bed at 0 too early, long commute to the airport, TSA security, no food, cramped seating, and the same hassles at the other end, plus the return trip.

As for tourism, Florida was developed by the RR. Chicken or the egg? Real estate first or travelers?

I don't think anyone has thrown a link to the Sparrow Electric car for a while (ever at TOD?) either.

It's an amusing little thing.

They look sorta like the cartoon cars I've seen in the trailers for the animated film that's currently playing.
Yeah, very cartoon-like ;-)

Here's a nice story on the Sparrow:


by Amanda Kovattana who has an environmental blog:


From the gas protest article:

"A resident of Yucca, Emming organized the Kingman event in conjunction with MoveOn.org, a left-leaning political organization. He said he wanted to make the nation's dependency on fossil fuels and the cost of gasoline at the pump important issues in this year's election."

So, we should mandate lower gasoline prices, and therefore encourage consumption, as a way to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels?

IMO, the only thing keeping the US market temporarily supplied are high oil prices, now up close to 25% since December.

I'm more-or-less a believer in Peak Oil, but that doesn't mean that I think the energy industry and their lobbyists are not a central locus of corruption in America.  Enron comes to mind, but that's merely the tip of the iceberg.

I'm too young to really remember the price controls of the 70's, etc., and I think there's a lot to be said for just letting the market handle the situation.  On the other hand, we need to realize that what this really means is taking it out of the hides of the poor--gas/etc. doesn't cost nearly enough yet to make the well-off change their behavior.

The market is fine as long as it is aided by higher taxes.  The effect of the poor is only a problem if one just relies on the market and doesn't provide remedial action for the poor.  Let us not let the poor get in the way of progress anymore than we want the rich to get in the way. If poverty is a problem, then provide them gas stamps to go with their food stamps.
I live in a small town, most inhabitants of which have low incomes. That doesn't stop them from gravitating towards gas guzzlers. Perhaps it's an ego boost for people who are status deprived, but it's not at all uncommon to see new, huge pick up trucks in front of run down rentals.

I don't really see how anyone can monetarily subsidize this sort of behavior among the working poor, except to hope that climbing gas prices will make them change their behavior. However, judging from the items I see in shopping carts at the checkout stand, that's a slim hope. One can make one's shopping dollar go much further by buying beans, rice, and potatoes by the bag; but instead you'll see a lot of sugar cereals, sodas and potato chips -- often paid for with food stamps!

I can't help pointing out that the "working poor" is a class created deliberately by our majoritarian social-economic structure to ensure that there are enough taxi drivers, dry cleaners, day care workers, waiters and dishwashers and motel clerks and housekeepers working at a low enough wage that the middle class can afford their services at all.  It is easy to make this class vanish, as Norway for instance has, with a few tax laws.  They are not being "subsidized" if they are working at jobs people want which would not be affordable if they were paid better. It is their employers who are being subsidized!    
Easy to ignore financial reality when credit is so easy to obtain..
You make an important point here, and to expand on it:

"The market is fine as long as it is aided by higher taxes" ... and appropriate redistribution policies to help those who are heavily disadvantaged.

Higher energy prices, and higher energy taxes, are regressive: they hit poorer people and poorer businesses disproportionately hard. It's a fairness issue, and it is also a practical issue. If you encourage a stratified society with more "have-nots" and a few "haves," there will be less social cohesion, more unhappiness, and greater crime.

The laissez-faire market solution (raise prices till consumption drops enough) would be [will be?] brutal if not mitigated by good policies. BUT:

  1. Nobody is going to raise energy taxes in the US as prices are going up. So there will no tax revenues to redistribute.

  2. Without additional energy taxes, subsidizing fuel costs by rebating to the majority of people is highly dysfunctional. Consumption remains high, and cost to government soars.

  3. There will be pain, and it must fall on the great majority of oil users. You can help some of the people with rebates, but you can't help everyone--if you do, consumption won't drop.

  4. The individual behaviors on this are complex, and different people will have different elasticities. At the high end, the very wealthy are totally inelastic consumers. As long as supply is available, they can and probably will pay whatever it costs. The poor can reach totally elastic status: if the cost of driving to a destination (like work) exceeds the cash + credit I have available, driving becomes economically impossible. I either steal gas, switch to alternate transport, or stay put.

In an ideal world, energy policies would be worked out to be functional and somewhat fair. I don't anticipate that happening. And I think there are very few examples in human history where we have let concern for the poor stop our "progress."
"I'm more-or-less a believer in Peak Oil, but that doesn't mean that I think the energy industry and their lobbyists are not a central locus of corruption in America.  Enron comes to mind, but that's merely the tip of the iceberg."

IMO, more than 99% of the people in the energy industry are hard working honest people trying to do the best job that they can.  

In fact, I suspect that this percentage held true even within Enron.  Are there bad apples in any industry?  Yes, but what I find odd is why the "Great Price Conspiracy" only works infrequently.  What happened in 1986 and 1998/1999 when oil prices crashed?  

The problem I have with the most major oil companies, especially ExxonMobil, is that they are, in effect, encouraging consumption by denying the reality of Peak Oil.  ExxonMobil has only its self to blame for delusional thinking about oil prices.  


Is it ExxonMobil's job to champion peak oil, or is it ExxonMobil's job to worry about XOM and it's stakeholders?

Asking corporations to think too far out of their own particular sandbox is a nice thought, but not reality.

Look at the snack food companies for an obvious example.  Trans-fats are dangerous to your health, and the food companies had to be forced kicking and screaming to try to reduce them.  If destroying the health of your best customers doesn't cause a company to maybe think about seeking enlightment..

That said, ChevronTexaco talks about a lurking problem.  I don't know how much traction that campaign is getting, but it seems people would rather not hear about it.

So ultimately high prices are the cure.

I'm very late to this thread but felt the need to post.  Why don't we also stop subsidizing the oil companies?  I'm really not clear, outside of their use of political power, why the oil companies deserve any sort of subsidies - but I could well be wrong - obviously most industries have some sort of subsidies.  Also I obviously realize that things for the oil companies have been terrible for a long time and have only recently gotten better.

Anybody have any comment on the following article?



But last month, the Bush administration confirmed that it expected the government to waive about $7 billion in royalties over the next five years, even though the industry incentive was expressly conceived of for times when energy prices were low. And that number could quadruple to more than $28 billion if a lawsuit filed last week challenging one of the program's remaining restrictions proves successful.

"The big lie about this whole program is that it doesn't cost anything," said Representative Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who tried to block its expansion last July. "Taxpayers are being asked to provide huge subsidies to oil companies to produce oil -- it's like subsidizing a fish to swim."

How did a supposedly cost-free incentive become a multibillion-dollar break to an industry making record profits?

The answer is a familiar Washington story of special-interest politics at work: the people who pay the closest attention and make the fewest mistakes are those with the most profit at stake.

Ditto.  Economics is not their forte.
So are you asserting that "left leaning political organizations" are somehow daft because they are left leaning.

I can make the same comment about "right leaning political organizations" like the Republican party which has brought us the Iraq war.

It is best to keep politics out of these musings because they do not add to the debate.

Try a different strawman. Westexas quoted the article. The article called the organization "left leaning", not Westexas. All that he did was question the wisdom of encouraging lower prices which would encourage higher consumption of a resource that we know is either at peak or getting pretty close to peak. I also don't see him calling anyone "daft" - that ad hominem seems to be purely your own.

And I am very sure that Westexas would ask the same question of any "right leaning" organization. In fact, I believe he has done exactly that in the past.

So why don't YOU leave the politics out of this? Right now the majority of the left is as ignorant and ostrich-like as the right is on the topic of peak oil.

"And I am very sure that Westexas would ask the same question of any "right leaning" organization. In fact, I believe he has done exactly that in the past."

I made precisely that point on a Houston Peak Oil list--that Greg Palast and Rush Limbaugh are peas in a pod, both Peak Oil opponents, IMO for political reasons.  

Amen, brother (sister?)
Although Palast did do an admirable job dissecting the theft of the '04 elections, something I think 'ol Rush would deny.  I was very surprised when I read his PO hatchet job, which was obviously so poorly researched and slanted. It made me sad, really...I'll just ignore him now.
So moveon.org is saying that gas prices are high because of the political influence of the oil companies? Does that make any sense? Every time I think the peak oil theory is finally being recognized in the general population, crap like this makes me realize how ignorant people are.
I can slice off one piece of their argument and accept it: that oil companies (and car companies) have lobbied the system, and rigged our Energy Bills in their favor.

I don't think they get the source of our energy problems, but if the act against the lobbyists, that's good.

The government makes more money from a gallon of gasoline than the oil companies because of high taxes. Gasoline is less expensive than Coke, Pepsi, milk, bottled water etc. when compared at the same volume. Plus, let's be honest, all of the oil companies are publicly held so when they make money, the 65% or so of the public that holds stock makes money too.

If I were the oil companies, I would get better lobbyists.

If it were a simple relationship, as simple as a flat tax on a gallon of gasoline, they wouldn't need so many lobbyists (or accountants).

The problem is that it is a mess of "give here" and "take there."  I've heard, and I don't doubt, that the oil companies don't know what their net tax rate is.  There are too many things going on at once.

Oh, an it is a very distorted argument to compare bulk items you buy from a hose (gasoline) from any shelf, packaged, item.

Just curious, how does a quart of motor oil on a supermarket shelf compare to a quart of "Coke, Pepsi, milk, bottled water etc." ?

No, it is a very appropriate comparison. The assumption by the moveon.org crowd is that the oil companies lobby the government to somehow rig the system in their favor. I am saying that if they are doing this, they are doing this less well than Coke, Pepsi, Milk producers, bottled water 'producers' etc. because these companies sell products that are actually more expensive than gasoline and have a higher profit margin. Next time you go to a gas station, compare the price at the pump with the price in the convenience store when you pay, you will see what I am talking about. If all of these other products are so much more expensive than gas and the government is even making more from gas than the oil companies, the oil companies need better lobbyists. I will expand my point further by asking why moveon.org doesn't protest Coke or my local Cloverleaf milk company?
Why don't you compare gasoline to piped in water?  Then you'd remove all the factors that don't match:  No packaging, no shelving labor, no shelving cost.

Certainly storage on a supermarket isle (with a premium for human access (and hopefully cleanliness) is quite different from underground tank storage.

Let me see, my water company charges $1.89 for each 748 gallon unit ... $0.0025 per gallon? $0.00016 per cup?

Actually, maybe someone here does buy water from a pump, like gasoline.  That's the way my grandfather did it at his desert place out by Lake Mead.

I am not thinking of a supermarket aisle so much as a gas station with a little quik-e-mart type place. Gas, Coke, Pepsi, milk, bottled water are all sold there so the comparison is controlled for location and convenience. Yes, the packaging is different but this is kind of my point. Oil companies do very well at getting us cheap gas. Oil companies have to go to hostile regions of the world, find oil, pump it, ship it thousands of miles and then refine it before supplying the gas station. Compare that to making sugar water, and it becomes obvious that the oil companies have a harder job. Yet they charge less for the product than Coke does, make less per unit volume than Coke, get taxed way more than they should and still they have ignorant activists picketting them rather than Coke.
The fact that gasoline is not sold in a bottle at those "quik-e-mart type place" is the key.

Look, I think this is kind of important an interesting:

When I first heard the "gas vs. milk" comparison, I think I did just accept it.  "wow, gas is cheaper."  I guess I was accepting "expert opinion" on face value.  I wasn't applying critical thinking.

Once I started thinking about it, and started having these discussions, I started adding up a lot of differences.  I mean heck, look at the fact that milk must be shipped cold.  Look at the fact that it has an expiration date.  Look at the fact that it must be tested for health and safety multiple times during the process!!!

I'm not arguing with you here, so much as this wider ... spin, really.

The truth is we don't have a good point of reference, because there is no product that has the same sort of distribution system (in size or method) as is used with gasoline.

And it's amazing that the original "gas vs. milk" argument has gone as far as it has.  It's amazing that it wasn't shot down earlier, by a little critical thinking.  But again, I guess that shows how vulnerable we all are to suggestion by "experts."

A diffferent comparison between gasoline and bottled water: the oil company profits on a gallon of gasoline are trivial compared with profits on a gallon of bottled water. Where is the outrage? Water is a necessity, how dare they make so much profit on it.
bottled water is not a neccesity, it is a convenience. people can still drink water basically for free from the tap. if ALL water were more expensive than gasoline of course there would be outrage.

gasoline is much more vital to our system than bottled water


Try to get your SUV to drive your butt to the market and back with a tankful of water!!!

The comparison of gasoline to water, coke or any other item is specious.

Gasoline represents something like 100 energy slaves toiling for for you night and day 24/7, and THAT is what makes is SO INCREDIBLY CHEAP!!!

Lord. Put on the thinking cap people.

It is instructive to compare the relative value of a gallon of Starbucks product--about $18 to $36 per gallon--versus a gallon of gasoline.  

If you have a fuel efficient vehicle, a gallon of gasoline, for $3, will transport you and your family in safety and comfort for up to 50 miles or so.   If you don't live too far from work, and have a fuel efficient vehicle you might be able to drive to and from work for five days on a gallon or two of gas.

A gallon of water, some flavoring and perhaps milk and sugar from Starbucks will, for $18 to $36 or so, do what?  Give you a mild buzz, increase your waistline?

I wonder if the gasoline price protestors met at Starbucks after their rally?
Maybe if the gas station gave me comfy chairs and perky baristas ... ;-)

Seriously, anyone with middling talent can make a good cup of coffee at home.  Starbucks is selling an experience, along with good-but-not-great coffee.  It wouldn't be quite the same if you drove up and got it out of a nozzle.

Pfft, maybe we should start taking our steaks and hamburgers that way too ... extruded out of a tube ...

There is another way of thinking of it. Your car is your (road-only) aircraft. How else can you go around in the suburbs except for your very own road-only aircraft? You can't. In a city, you can walk, use a pedal bike, or take a bus or the L. But in the suburbs, you have no choice but to use a car. Everything is too bloody far apart. You can't go there unless you could flap your arms and fly there - unless you pilot your car.

A very suburbanitic way of thinking is to think of a place as how many minutes away, always assuming car use. You blast off in your car on that mission that is the drive to the destination "minutes" away. Sure, I drive myself. But being a city person I sure can't help but think of miles instead of minutes. In fact, if I have to go somewhere out in the suburbs I will use a GPS gizmo set to show the arrow to the destination and check maps. (and I know about mapquest.com)

that shows how vulnerable we all are to suggestion

The situation is a lot more sinister than that.
We are pawns in a high stakes war for the minds and hearts of the people.

The "experts" don't just pull a lucky rabbit out of the hat.
They don't sit around and say, Let's try mixing, oh heck, a cup of milk or some chocolate candies with a cup of oil this week.

They have focus groups.
They have peer implants.
They have swift boat, commercial implants (2nd one down in this link)
They study and test every possible angle to see what will work best on the sheeple this week.

It changes from week to week because the herd is never grazing at exactly the same spot every week. One week we are goo goo over singing American idols and the next we have our heads transfixed on Space Shuttles or World Cup Soccer or dropping stock market prices. We are very fickle. An expert must strike at the exact moment in order to get deep impact. We are very forgetful, ... and yet somehow, some things seem to stick:

Got milk?
Got oil?
Gotta an impressionable brain?

Your factors are one-sided. I could go on about how much it costs to transport gas on the roads in expensive, high-strength trucks or how cows don't go on strike and threaten to burn the barn like Nigerian drillers do with their oil rigs. The truth is oil companies provide a product that is cheaper to the consumer and has a lower profit margin than a vast array of easier-to-make products yet when prices rise, people think the oil companies are gouging them. It is ignorance.

The current price rise of oil is a function of supply and demand. Moveon.org should be in front of the Capitol building but they should be protesting the ornerous taxes that the politicians levy, not the influence of the oil companies. Lower taxes would help lower the cost to the consumer but it won't find more oil...

So find me a better match than milk and gas.

For what it's worth, I think the motor-oil vs. pepsi thing is a lot more equal.  They share the packaging, distribution, and retail overheads.  They are even also bought in sets ;-), a few litres of cola, or a few quarts of oil.

Internal combustion engines do not work well on milk. However, a somewhat valid comparison is between the price of a gallon of organically produced vegetable oil (which very roughly equals diesel) and a gallon of diesel.

Note that most vegetable oil is produced with a huge fossil-fuel subsidy, and its remarkably low price is not going to last.

I thought of that one, but it raises the old question of how much biodiesel prices are dependent on regular diesel prices.

FWIW, I did some numbers play with biodiesel a while back.  The reports I got from biodiesel user reports were that diesel cars got the same MPG on SVO (straight vegetable oil) as they did on the regular stuff.  That would make them very equivalent for our purposes.

     One important consideration everybody is missing is that it isn't profit margin on every sale that counts.  It's that plus how often you make sales and turn over your investment.  If you're selling a product every day or every week to the same people, like gasoline, and use that money to produce more product, your annual profit (return on investment) can be enormous, even if your profit on each sale is low.  
Gasoline (and diesel) is the only liquid substance sold without a container. You provide that container in the form of your car's fuel tank. When you buy milk, bottled water, etc. you also buy a container to hold it. Not so with the gasoline (or diesel). You could in theory deep-throat that nozzle then regurgitate that gas into your car but the container is sold separately. (I would advise against it!)

If for some reason you ignore that "flying on fumes" idiot light (or it doesn't work) and you run out of gas, you must buy the gallon container plus buy the gas that is sold separately. And of course you get to burn off half a calorie with the walk!

Have you included the major military expenditures made by the "government" (i.e. our taxes) in your calculations?  I do not believe that there are many free markets, certainly not of this size, and that the concept that the oil companies are privatly held, free enterprise organizations is crap.  They are tools for siphoning public funds from the many to enrich the few.  

Nobody would find investing in oil companies profitable if they had been made to pay thier own way throuhout history - they probably would not exist in their present form, and oil would be much more expensive.  As it stands, the oil companies and the government cannot exist separately, and therefore the concept that they are independant private companies is a charade.

Is any of this lengthy discussion comparing the price per volume unit of gasoline, oil, milk, or water really add anything meaningful to the discussion of PO or does it detract from the core arguments?  My guess is it detracts just like the irrelevant arguments put out about how we have a trillion barrels still in the ground.  It takes the focus away from what matters and should be dropped.
You're right of course.
Just goes to prove we all suffer from ADHD --short attention spans.

Speaking of which, did you see Jay Leno last night?

It takes the focus away from what matters and should be dropped.

I'd love to see it dropped from cable news.  I kinda thought that by examining the assumptions I'd help that happen.  YMMV.

There's a catch. Only gasoline is such that the average person uses GALLONS per day instead of litres. Only if you have a fairly short commuting mission will you use less gasoline per day than water or diet soda. Even with good gas mileage, it's pretty easy to burn up a gallon each way. I knew a bloke who would burn up 4 gallons each way - a barrel of gasoline a week. Ouch! He is now the first known casualty of high gas prices. More to come I'm sure. Loose lips sink ships but gas prices can and will sink SUVs.

Those gas prices are climbing again. When they get to $3.779 a gallon, it'll be a buck a litre. Are you ready for buck-a-litre gas? People with long-range commutes will be hurtin'. In Chicago, gas is about $3.20/gallon as of my last drive-by look at a gas station. (OK, $3.199/gal)

I'm a (non-active) member of moveon.org and I constantly find it embarrassing to read crap like this. As an energy analyst here and an environmentalist whose politics are left of center, I just want to take these people by the shoulders and try to shake some sense into them. Naturally, Kunstler has a more colorful way of putting this. He thinks they need "a ***** slap across the head".

The problem is our fossil fuel consumption patterns and resource base. Big Oil is a problem to the extent to which they are not helping prepare us for a different future though they pay lip service to the idea eg. Will You Join Us and Beyond Petroleum. They also perpetuate a Big Lie about their ability to meet our future needs. Natually, all this is self-serving. But what other kind of behavour can we expect from corporations?

Granted that they have provided supply to meet our energy needs. But it's time to change the way we think. Slapping a windfall profits tax on them and blaming them for high gas prices is not the way to do it, it is "old thinking". We need to transcent this dialectic altogether.

Moveon is just perpetuating the problem and misdefining the problem. The problem is not high prices; it is low prices. The problem is us.  The problem is the corporations to the extent that their advertising and lobbying can influence our thoughts and our behavior.  The problem is lies from the coal companies, for example, where everything is just fine, what with clean coal, and b.s. coming from ten year olds' mouths. The problem is oil companies who are reluctant to admit that oil is peaking. Yes, we are addicted to oil and moveon is just feeding the addiction.

I will believe gas is too high when the millions of people traveling the roads on holidays stay home.

I went over to the moveon.org site to look around for information about this issue. I cannot find anything at the site that says gas prices are too high.

What they are saying is: it is important to counter the influence the oil industry has on Congress. And they argue it is time for Congress to deliver a reliable energy policy.

Given the nonsense with subsidizing ethanol, the looming greenhouse gas issues with coal and the reckless destruction of our environment developing tar sand... one might agree with them without getting sidetracked over market mechanics.

That's the problem with being a TODder.
We know too much.
We know where gas comes from.
We know how crude moves from well heads to refineries.
We know how different distillates are captured to make a wide spectrum of hydrocarbon byproducts, from heavy molecular weight asphalt to light & volatile VOCs.
We know why "liquid" fossil fuels with the right kind of ignition temeperature and the right amount of energy density are vital for our easy-transport way of life.

Too many of the emotional people who just want to "Move on" (or "move forward" --I hate that 2nd alternate) just know they love to be part of a herd and to keep moo-ing.

It takes hard hard work to educate each critter in the herd.

One yeast cell at a time.

So the caption above the original post (Protestors bubbling over gas prices, urging action) is wrong?  Funny how I just accepted this to be the case without looking. I am glad they are not just complaining about gas prices.
Indeed, this is a move designed push more moderate to conservative Democrats into a better energy and environmental policy, put also to raise more issues about a corporate-controlled Congress.  My guess is that Moveon and the public associates corporatism more with Republicans, and are hoping that the activism will help push voters away from Republicans in the upcoming elections.
I googled moveon's web site looking for their views on the oil situation. All I could really find is :

"Rally for an Oil Free Congress

Gas prices are off the charts, the situation in the Middle East is unstable, scientists are warning that global warming is at a tipping point, and last month, MoveOn members decided that "clean, sustainable energy" should be one of our key goals. That's why it's time for an "Oil-Free Congress."

On Wednesday, June 28th -- right before the 4th of July when gas prices will be front and center as folks plan for the long weekend -- we're going to be holding gas station rallies across the country. We'll tell Congress it's time to say no to Big Oil's money and become Oil Free."

Seems like a good idea to me, but I suspect the real purpose is to get the republicans kicked out of office.  Associating high gas prices, big oil and the republican congress is probably an effective strategy.

I agree - the problem is lies and a lack of real information, and an unwillingness and/or inability to understand the truth.

I've seen for some time that the obvious public corruption and profiteering would make it very hard for people to accept that there really is an energy supply problem, especially when they really don't want to hear it.  

  That's very true-people are unwilling to examine the truth, particularily if the status quo view is more personally comforting.
  The last three months I've been working on a project with an oil and gas professional that I can only describe as exemplery.
  She is a more than competent landman, very organised, has great people skills and is getting a Masters in Geology at UT Permian Basin in her part time. I've tried to talk to her about Peak Oil, about the role of corporations in our political process. We've agreed that we will disagree, that every person's views are necessary, that each of us is probably partially wrong, and that we each love our country.
And, we can still talk even though her attitudes are opposed to mine and we are friends.
  I agree with West Texas. Virtually everyone in the oil business is honest, hard working and sincere. He says 99%, I'd say more like 98%. Polarizing stuff may look great in a 30 second newscast on cable TV, but most people really are sincere in trying to find answers and do the right thing. Look at this Move-on stuff. The oil companies are catching the heat for their lobbyists, but what about the car companies, the highway construction folks, the coal industry, the nuclear power guys? They are equally to blame, but who is scapegoating them?
  So can't we concede that we are all sincere and looking for a solution and love the earth, life and and want to survive? That everyone may have a good 2 cents worth? That we are all equally to blame for tolerating the cute little monkey politicians getting political donations until they've grown into 800 pound killer apes?  
Approximately seven months after CERA's testimony before Congress on Peak Oil


CERA:  The Oil Industry Growth Challenge: Expanding Production Capacity

December 07, 2005 | News Article  

On December 7, 2005 Robert Esser testified before a House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee hearing on Understanding the Peak Oil Theory.

"Our views about the peak oil debate have been reinforced by a detailed new audit of our own analysis and also further evidence that has come to light concerning the enormous scale of field reserve upgrades of existing fields. We also draw upon the proprietary databases of IHS, of which CERA is now part. These are the most extensive and complete databases on field production around the world. We see no evidence to suggest a peak before 2020, nor do we see a transparent and technically sound analysis from another source that justifies belief in an imminent peak. It will be a number of decades into this century before we get to an inflexion point that will herald the arrival of the undulating plateau."

*IF* Oil peaks in 2020, we have only 13.5 years to get ready !!

We MUST start immediately to mitigate the trauma to our society and economy !

If we are foolish enough to wait till only 10 years before worldwide oil production peaks to start the transisition, then we WILL pay a severe price for our lack of planning and foresight !

(I suggest buying/starting a small organic farm)

Published on 28 Jun 2006 by So Long, Hydrocarbon Man. Archived on 30 Jun 2006.

People-centered peak oil investment tips
by Alan Wartes


If you really want to understand the danger that Peak Oil represents, don't think about your investment portfolio. Think about what happens when these millions of flat broke, disenfranchised, exhausted fellow citizens finally catch on that the dream has become a lie has become an absurdity. Don't ask yourself if we still have time to develop alternative energy technologies that poor people probably won't be able to afford. Ask yourself whether we have time to diffuse the warhead of economic injustice and vulnerability that is ticking away all the time all around us. I don't care how much gold you have in safe deposit boxes, when that baby blows you will only be as secure as the people around you. Period. Think post-Katrina New Orleans on a national scale. Do we have time to begin to reverse the most stunning failure of capitalism, which was to replace cooperation and collective well-being with competition and individual profit? The answer depends on whether we are able to meet these radical times with radical new thinking.

The fact is, Peak Oil and the other converging crises here at the end of era of Hydrocarbon Man, put our entire way of life at risk, including the continued existence of money itself. It is hard to imagine a more fragile and vulnerable system than the towering, teetering, tinker-toy economy we have built. There is only one thing about our present life that we know for sure will still be around down the road: people. Whether they are hungry, frightened, angry, desperate, and dangerous could depend in large part on decisions we make today.

I agree that consideration of the collective human element is vital, hence Humanize, Economize, Localize and Produce.
If establishment research orgs like CERA say the peak is nowhere in sight, then why NOT blame high oil prices on greedy oil companies? Seen in this light, the folks in Kingman are acting rationally.

           Nope, nowhere in sight.

or ... birds of a feather deny together

Whether they are hungry, frightened, angry, desperate, and dangerous could depend in large part on decisions we make today.

Well, the unfortunate thing is we do not make decisions concerning the future of humankind. Humankind, as a whole, just sits around and waits for things to happen, then reacts to those events. Of course a few of us, a very few, looks down the road, sees the crisis coming, and sounds the alarm. And, quite naturally, we are totally ignored. We are Cassandras, no one listens to our dire warnings because it is human nature only to believe to those who are delivering the most hopeful message. People desire to believe what they desire to be true. As long as people see two arguments being presented they will choose to believe the one that gives them the most hope, the most security, the one that says our way of life will not be disturbed.

Only well after the event of peak oil will a majority of people start to believe in peak oil. Of course by then it will be far too late.

One more point. Nature does not give one hoot about human injustice. Of course capitalism is unfair to the poor but it is the survivor in this race for the economic system that works best. It is not likely to survive very long after peak oil however. When all those stockholders who have invested for growth realize that all industry must now begin to shrink forever there will be a mad rush to convert all equities into cash. It will bring on the mother of all stock market crashes.

The moral of this last story is, if you hold stocks, sell now and avoide the rush.

I guess we did not just protect more than 370,000 square miles of seafloor in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska from destructive bottom trawling.


(Oceana looks like a good org to support!!!)

To your point, I think we should do more ... but it's not a rational argument to say we do nothing.

It's certainly not true that we are doing nothing.  We are going to war.  

There cannot help but be a few good things happening, but we need to look at it in total.  Presently I see a half empty glass thats getting lower.  Maybe that will change!

I think our mix of solutions is sub-optimal, to say the least.

That's a different, and in my opinion more reasonable discussion, than simply declaring the game over, and "our efforts count for nothing."

Odograph, what in the hell are you talking about? Westexas original post, which I replied to, was all about peak oil and the consequences thereof. The gist of my reply was that there is nothing mankind will do to soften those consequences. I made no suggestion that we do nothing. I did suggest that you sell any stock you have.

But now that you mention it, I do have very strong opinions on what we should do. We should try to find a safe place to survive, we should do everything in our power to secure our own future and the future of our family.

However any time and energy spent trying to save the entire world will be a total waste of your time and energy. It will be valuable time and energy that would be far better spent trying to save yourself and your loved ones. You may see these two endeavors as one and the same thing, but if you do you are misguided.

I have made no suggestion that we not try to save the environment and I resent your suggestion that this is what I am doing. No, we should make every effort to save any portion of it we can. This we can do and every little bit helps. What we as individuals do counts regardless of what the rest of the world does.

But what we do as individuals as an attempt to stave off peak oil counts for nothing. Also what we do as individuals do to try to soften the effects of the coming anarchy also counts for nothing. Better spend your valuable time and energy preparing yourself and your family for survival. There is no guarantee but the survivors are likely to be among those who are best prepared.

I picked up on this:

. And, quite naturally, we are totally ignored. We are Cassandras, no one listens to our dire warnings because it is human nature only to believe to those who are delivering the most hopeful message. People desire to believe what they desire to be true. As long as people see two arguments being presented they will choose to believe the one that gives them the most hope, the most security, the one that says our way of life will not be disturbed.

... I'm heading out for a walk now (doing my peak oil bit by not driving), but maybe you can explain it and I'll respond again later.

At first sight I took "we are totally ignored" and "no one listens to our dire warnings" at face value.

The trawling ban seemed a big recent step in long term planing, and listening to the "Cassandras"


Apparently you just misinterpreted the gist of what I was saying. Neither Westexas nor I even mention trying to save the environment. I am all for that and I would guess that he is also. The debate was entirely about peak oil.

His post ended with a quote by Alan Wartes that:

There is only one thing about our present life that we know for sure will still be around down the road: people. Whether they are hungry, frightened, angry, desperate, and dangerous could depend in large part on decisions we make today.

In other words, Wartes is saying that the future of mankind after the crash will depend on what we do now. That we, you and I, have the power to change, to make better, the future of mankind after the crash. My position, the entire gist of my post, was that anything we do can be compared to pissing in the sea to make the water rise. We, you, Westexas, myself and most the rest on this list are just Cassandras. We are screaming the warning but the world is paying no attention to us.

The world would much rather believe Dan Yergan, Bjorn Lomborg, and all the other Cornucopians because they are telling them exactly what they desire to believe.

People respond to events not warnings. The reason is simple, when they get dire warnings from one direction, and "don't worry, be happy" from the other direction, they will choose which they would rather believe. And which do you think they would rather believe.

Bottom line, as far as saving the world goes, our efforts count for nothing. Learn to live with that fact, put all your time and efforts into trying to save yourself and your family and you will be a lot happier and your chances of success will be improved greatly.

I believe that there is some appreciable probability that my individual efforts will result in positive economic/social change that will help "us" weather Peak Oil significantly better.

I visited all of the Peak Oil sites and chose TOD as the "best" forum.  The one where my style of reasoning (engineering type) would be most likely to be understood and appreciated AND the forum that is most likely (IMVHO) to grow in influence as the effects of Peak Oil increase.

So far, I have, IMHO, altered the consensus meme here where "more electric rail", urban & intercity, is pretty well accepted "dogma".  And I am seeing effects that spread beyond  our blogosphere here.  Helping with a "Peak Oil" editorial in the Dallas Morning News, perhaps a speaker at a "New Ideas" conference in Canada, an article in an energy trade journal.

It is not easy or quick, and positive reinforcement is "weak", but I have chosen to concentrate on this rather than my own comfort & survival.

I welcome all others who make this choice.  We can debate ideas & details (which I do with some vigor) but I recognize that we are natural allies here in a common struggle.

I live in a disaster zone and deal almost daily with those who have lost much more than me.  I work locally as well as nationally.  Outside my door is a yard high trash pile, blocking the sidewalk for months, the block down from mine burned to the ground.  Disaster and loss is not some distant unknown spector, it is my daily companion that I no longer fear.

"The world would much rather believe Dan Yergin, Bjorn Lomborg, and all the other Cornucopians because they are telling them exactly what they desire to believe."

IMO, ExxonMobil, et al, only have themselves to blame for gasoline price protesters.  If we have--as ExxonMobil claims--trillions and trillions of barrels of oil left, then high prices must be a conspiracy.  

One of the enduring ironies of this debate is that it is people like Simmons, Pickens, et al who are criticized for driving up the price oil.  In reality is it companies like ExxonMobil, oil exporters like Saudi Arabia, and energy "analysts" like Yergin that are encouraging Americans to go ahead and buy the $50,000 SUV to commute to and from a $500,000 mortgage--thus driving up the demand for, and price of, energy.  

If you believe Simmons & Pickens, you will arrange your life so as to drastically reduce your energy consumption, not necessarily because it's in our collective interest, but because it is in your own rational self-interest.

I am already doing that.
  1.  Sold SUV (no car)
  2.  Bought a scooter (70 MPG)
  3.  Told my job I would quit if I could not telecommute (it worked)

I know that not everyone can ride around on a scooter but I am a 40 yea old man and I do nicely in a moderately urban area (Alexandria, VA)  I rent a ZIP Car, www.zipcar.com,  if I need a car to haul stuff, which is rare. I can do all of my grocery shopping with my bike.  I have a hard shell top case that carries enough groceries for 1/2 the week.

My point is there are a myriad of ways we can all move to a more carbon neutral life.  I am no where near that but I look for ways, big and small, to get there.  Take a look at your life and I bet you can find some ways to reduce your carbon dependency.

Hmmm.  I walked to Starbuck, but by then it was too hot of course, so I kept walking to frozen yogury.  According to the GMAP Pedometer I only went 5.8 miles.  I felt like I was out longer than that.


Anyway I'm sorry to hear that my efforts count for nothing:

Bottom line, as far as saving the world goes, our efforts count for nothing. Learn to live with that fact, put all your time and efforts into trying to save yourself and your family and you will be a lot happier and your chances of success will be improved greatly.

It doesn't really sound like I got you wrong.  You discount every peak oil response that has been made, world-wide, from Chinese auto MPG standards, to my little walk.

Enjoy your Saturday.  For what it's worth, I think a walk and a little frozen yogurt helps.

Sometimes we do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. Or am I way out to lunch??
do the right thing because it's the right thing to do

It was the returned Sailorman, I believe, who noted that Adam Smith was very much a moralist. He thought that people would inherently do "the right thing". If he came back and saw our present day Western world, and all the cynical self-centered inhabitants thereof, he would be disgusted. What have we become?

(Click to read more)

Did he anticipate Welfare, Social Security, and Medicare?

For what it's worth, I think the balance we feel between caring for ourselves and caring for others is not obvious.  Some charities rack up big contributions, but the per capita contribution is often small.  How would they do if we hadn't imposed social programs (through our governments) on ourselves?  Is that even a good question, or are our imposed and voluntary contributions part of a greater whole?

(I'm afraid this is an echo of earlier threads, in the sense that we do not acknowledge what we do, and just insist "If he came back and saw our present day Western world, and all the cynical self-centered inhabitants thereof, he would be disgusted."

It is NOT true that Adam Smith believed that private greed led to public benefit. He did not say that this always happens. He did not say that it usually happens. The adverb he used was "frequently" in the passage most often quoted. "Frequently" could mean 20% of the time.

The "invisible hand" concept is valid insofar as it is realated to Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction. Also, it is valid to the (rather large) extent to which the market can capture the benefits of positive externalities.

Adam Smith did NOT favor laissez-faire government, and statements to the contrary are serious misrepresentations. For example, he believed very strongly in the benefits of public education (and also a whole bunch of other things).

When I took a Ph.D.-level class in the history of economic thought, there were about sixty other students. I believe I was the only one who read "Theory of Moral Sentiment" and very likely the only one to read "Wealth of Nations" cover to cover.

Very very few of the people who refer to Adam Smith have actually studied his works.

The religion of Smithism does not follow the true and full teachings of Adam Smith --just as proclaimed followers of that other one (JC) do not faithfully follow all his teachings.
Adam Smith was a religious nutter, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, faculty of Divinity. BTW I was once at a meeting of ICAO, (International Civil Aviation Authority) where Reagonite deregulators were attacking IATA where someone (was it Perle?) demanded if we Europeans had ever read Adam Smith. I pointed out that I  had voted in an election where Adam Smith was a candidate and he lost. The US delegation dismissed this as impossible nonsense.
Later, during cocktail hour I explained the circumstances. The University of Glasgow wished to celebrate its 500 year anniversary by installing gates containing the names of 500 eminent ex-teachers. Adam Smith was one. The Science, Medical, and Engineering faculties complained, as students do, that there were too few techies and and too many Arts faculty types and called an election to replace Adam Smith's name with those of Messrs Burke and Haire. Burke and Haire had rendered great service to Medicine by being "body snatchers" - digging up graves to provide corpses for medical students. Anyway, security in graveyards increased and they took to murdering prostitutes instead. This was their undoing because the bodies of the prostitutes were very familiar to the teachers and students of the Medical faculty and Burke and Haire were tried and hung. Glasgow University is a very democratic institution where the students have the final say and Adam Smith lost the election. (A compromise was negotiated.)
Adam Smith was greatly influenced by the "tobacco barons" who flourished in Galsgow in his day and also had rather old-fashioned views on the acceptability of slavery in the colonies - then North America.
In general I agree with you, but:
a) I wouldnt sell ALL stocks (energy stocks will do quite well for a time - I am writing a post Peak Oil and Investemts now)
b)selling to put in cash wont be any smart move either. what do you do with the cash??
c) I think one  CAN spend efforts on themselves and society - the peak oil cake isnt baked yet - we know it will turn out to be a nasty cake but the specific ingredients are yet to be determined - what if we go CTL, etc in a big way and reduce consumption, allowing time for large scale 30-50:1 EROI wind projects to buttress our energy portfolio and give us time to increase % of society allocated  to electricity? I am agnostic on this and more in your camp than most, but no one knows how it exactly will pan out yet. keeping options open and going with the flow.

note- the negative neurotransmitter cocktail i personally receive from ONLY doing things for myself outweighs the monetary or other relative fitness benefit. the individual selection algorithm (on average) is stronger than the group selection algorithm, but that doesnt mean its 100% to 0%. Whether I am effective at saving ecosystems and biodiversity and other things I find important isnt exactly the point - the point is that it feels right and good to fight for those things. It validates my own personal algorithms that historically met with reproductive success.

We are already at the peak - look at the data on Ghawar and Cantarell. Oil prices remain high and are steadily rising, yet we are at a plateau in production.
Yes, good point.  What is the point with these debates about whether peak oil is now or in 14 years?   There are problems we had 30 years ago that I thought would be fixed by now. And yet, we've pissed away three decades.   We will no doubt piss away the next 14 years.  We can't even deal with a short term emergency, like Katrina.  What evidence is there that we have the ability to deal with the medium term, much less the long term.  

As a frame of reference, the debates on flood control began over a hundred years ago. We're still making the same mistakes now that we made then. If people choose to live on the edge, screw 'em.  

As far as peak oil, if there is no crisis, we need to create one.  This government is so incompetent, however, that they havfe shown their inability to even deal with a crisis. When they finally deal with it, they waste billions of dollars on their cronies.  This is not a govenment, it's a giant ATM machine.  

This is not a govenment, it's a giant ATM machine.

Great line!
I picture Charleton Heston screaming it at the end of Planet of the Apes, when he rounds the beach and sees Lady Liberty's arm poking out of the sand.

Every politician is only interested in seeing how he can "cash out" by the end of his term. ("cash out" being a term the vulture capitalists use to describe their deep loyalty and long term interest in every venture they back.)

This is the thing I don't understand, is that everytime someone says not to worry about peak is, because their reasoning is based on a secret
We also draw upon the proprietary databases of IHS, of which CERA is now part. These are the most extensive and complete databases on field production around the world.

I mean if you have proof then go ahead and present it, if not then what you are saying is less than meaningless, don''t bother.  As a scientist, I would not accept what they are saying unless I can verify it.

... home of the corni-porcuians

They are right because their data is hidden in a fog.

We PO'ers are wrong because SA data is not transparent.
It's all very "sound" logic.

The world will never "run out" of juice.
Long live the juice.
Long live our non-negotiable way of life.

Well, they could tell us the facts, but then they'd have to kill us.
The latest from the IEA's International Petroleum Monthly
shows that Crude plus Condensate is down 1.01 percent since December. However All Liquids is down only .58 percent since December.

But remember there are far more fudge factors that can be thrown in when you use all liquids. There is refinery process gain, there is propane, butane and even ethanol. Yes even ethanol produced in Brazil, Iowa or wherever is lumped into all liquids. And who knows what else the EIA might choose to put into all liquids. Certainly biodiesel will be counted.

So if you really wish to know what is happening with peak oil you must ignore All Liquids and concentrate on crude plus condensate. Of course condensate comes from natural gas wells and it would be better to ignore that also. But we have no choice, the EIA does not, in its monthly report, give any figures for crude only. But condensate is small potatoes so we can safely throw that in without changing the peak oil data by any appreciable amount.  

Oil Prices up + Drilling Up = Oil production down

Where have we seen this pattern before. . .  

The cold war is - ramping up.Very scary stuff.


Exclamation ; U.S. Plans for Nuclear Warhead Replacement Irresponsible -- Russian Official

Plus:Sen. Bill Frist: More interceptor missiles needed for defense

PDF | Email
Sen. Bill Frist, The Examiner
Jun 27, 2006 5:00 AM (4 days ago)
Current rank: # 1,342 of 12,504 articles
WASHINGTON - Though much recent attention has focused on the threat of North Korean missiles, it now appears that Iran's missile program poses at least as great a challenge to American interests.


Okay my 2,000 mile trip in a gas guzzling Van hauling a U-haul trailer filled with my junk is over with.

What I saw was that E-10 is big in Nebraska, and some parts of Kansas.  They are selling it as much as 10 cents a gallon cheaper than regular gas.  My dad did all the driving and paying for the gas, so he did not want the fewer miles it offered.  I have yet to ask him what his gas mileage was, but with a big load of books and things it was not great.  Though he could have gotten better if he had not been doing a few miles over the 75 mph on those Nebraskan highways.

No one seemed to mind the higher prices.  But by the time we got back to Arkansas the prices had climbed to almost 3 dollars a gallon, due to some profit taking or some such.

Just what are we gonna do when the Hurricanes start showing up?  Or the crash of Mexican Oil Wells?  Or whatever the next big thing along the pike?  

So why are oil prices up to 74 bucks a barrel again?  Mr. Yergin?  Where are you?

Haven't you heard, there was a bit of oil spill in a shipping channel.  Restricted the flow of crude to some refineries in the South.

And of course, that pesky "risk premium" just won't go away.

Move on is way off base on this one.  Better to protest how low prices are.  They are off my contribution list for now.
Continuing the conversation from yesterday's DrumBeat, re: complexity....

I am not anti-complexity. I just think it will be very difficult to sustain in a lower-energy world. I don't see a difference between "complex" and "energy-intensive."  Complexity requires a lot of energy to maintain.  That is the base on which Tainter's work is built.

I think we will be able to maintain some complexity, but we'll have to choose.  Say, vaccination and sanitation over Nintendos and iPods.  

But I'm not confident we'll make wise decisions in this area.  Either the free market will rule - what survives is what people are able and willing to pay for - or it will be complexity which is of military use that we'll keep.

We're already seeing hints of this.  Climate satellites on the back burner or stripped of useful instruments due to cost.  But the military satellites always have funding.

Military will rule because it always has and because folks like to think that they are secure.  

I write Science Fiction.  I would love to go to Mars on my 60th birthday as a present to myself.  But I never will be able to even go into low earth orbit, the way things are going.   I was either born to late or born to early.  I watched Star Trek, the hopeful future, the we are going to have a great time future.  I have also read Asimov, where we bring the plant that kills a planet.  Stories where we kill ourselves off with some super bug.  I have short story where the accident happens and a new super bug kills all but the man who caused the accident to happen, but for one other person. That story literally ends with a cliffhanger,  most people hate cliffhangers, they want to see the good ending.  We don't know what the ending is going to be, we can guess at it and we have our faiths to trust, but we do not know what the end will be like.

That mere fact scares most of us if we think about it to long.  We want a happy ending, movies without happy endings usually fail at the box office.  All those folks that read my above mentioned story told me they wanted it to end a differant way.  That's the point life is not that way and people hate being reminded of it.

I don't suppose you ever saw the Irving Johnson, Cape Horn video?  It is totally amazing.  There is an amusing scene in which students are taught (under the old German method) to know the lines on a big square rigger.

(The storms they hit while rounding the horn give me the "could I do that or would I die?" feeling)

... that's the long way of saying that I think we are looking at "complexity" on a perceived human level.  Does it feel complex to us?  Does it feel too complex to us?

I think people are giving a gut reaction, to say that some move with climate satellists is a "hint" of decline is an example of that.

I think that lack of funding for climate satellites here in the U.S. is the result of runaway military spending on Iraq, and secondarily, on Afghanistan, in the context of an already huge defense budget, continued tax cuts for the upper strata of society and corporations, and lack of belief in or an attempt to conceal knowledge of global warming on the part of the current administration.

I believe that these factors could reverse themselves with a Democratic administration or some even with a moderate Republican administration.  Even the change from R to D of one house of Congress would help.  As would another couple bad hurricane seasona and a couple more years of drought.

one major hurricane hitting the eastern seaboard as close as possible to Washington dc would probably do it too.
has anybody found a way to tap "public dumbassery"? as a fuel source. We seem to have an unlimited supply of that?



Good plan, excellent EROEI. Note that our elected representatives have tapped this source and the only waste product is hot air. The payoff is that our clever and fearless leaders have got the power and the privileges by following the dictum that nobody ever went broke by underestimating the proven reserves of dumbassery.
Welcome back Don!
Where have you been, Don? At sea with young ladies?
Modesty forbids . . . .
I think the thing that impresses me most about Peak Oil is the depth of denial in our society of its imminent problems from the peak. I'm not a gloom and doom sort-I believe that instead of a giant crash we will have a steadily worsening depression, sort of like the Great Depression. Although the stock crash happened in 1929, 1932 is considered the worst year of the Depression and it was not really remedied until 1942 when we were at war.
  Our society seems to be going through the process described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross as the processes of death in humans. Denial,Anger,Bargaining,Depression and Acceptance. Collectively we often act as one person acts. And right now we seem to be in the change from Denial to Anger. The public corpus is looking for someone to blame-big oil and OPEC seem to be the main targets so far, although the Chinese, Indians, car companies and government are coming in for their share.
   The consequences are going to really start taking effect soon, just as a cancer becomes visible and starts causing real health problems. Our currency is being devalued and poor people are starting to do without and foreclosures rising quickly. And I have no good idea about how to prepare . Gold is for goldbugs, not real commercial transactions. The stock market is already on what may be a terminal decline. Oh Shit!
This is very well put. The anger is just beginning, but the denial is still overwhelming; especially in light of what WesTexas calls the "iron triangle' of denial; but what I call the "iron curtain" which includes virtually everyone.
bob -i am a long term bear on the stock market. but really, coming off fresh 5 year highs can hardly be termed the start of a terminal decline (though it might just be....)

same thing with currency - its about where it was 2 years ago.

this is not directed at you, but sometimes people are saying things have already started to happen the way they expect them to in the future because of peak oil, when the moves may just have been normal volatility in a global financial system completely untuned into peak oil, or equivalently, tuned in to peak oil but completely unconcerned.

The stock market, and the dollar, SO FAR, are just fine.

It is interesting to note, however, that of the transportation related stocks, CNBC has reported that freight rail has done the best.  GM sold its locomotive operation sometime ago, I think to GE.  At least they've kept their buses and put out a hybrid-electric line, although not the most efficient, as I understand.  
GE is the great competitor to GM's former Electromotive divisiom.  The loco making division was sold on April 4, 2005 to a group half owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and have by a Canadian group.
Thanks for the info.  It was probably sold to generate cash to keep the rest of the house of cards out of bankruptcy court.  Buffett's a smart guy and the Canadians are the group I wish that the U.S. would emulate in many areas.
I think you are forgetting that the transition of the US economy toward more of a 3rd world setup will lessen energy usage considerably while allowing economic growth to continue. To a certain extent this has been happening for the last 25 years and the pace is expected to pick up while China and India explode in growth. The gap between Wall Street and Main Street has never been larger and is expected to grow (in Wall Street's favor).My point is that the USA can have a far richer economy with a lot more poor people than it currently has (this is the path it is on). These people will be consuming very little in the way of energy per capita.    
I think BrianT is dead on, that is we could see a rising tide of Indian or Chinese or Somalian style poverty as energy consumption slows, mainly because of our just-in-time inventory system, or, as Mal-Wart calls it, the warehouse on wheels.

Grocery stores carry only three days inventory. Other retail outlets are much the same. Should a glitch appear of any severity, there would be a major crisis within a week. If the government steps in with the same fabulous response with which they responded to Katrina, we should all be fine.

If we had a real government, instead of a bunch of political boobs who spend all their time debating non-issues like flag burning and gay marriage, we might have a ghost of a chance. BUT, the Repugnicans have discovered that the best way to rob the poor is to get them hopped up on hot-button issues like abortion, and then never solve these "problems." See, if the Repugnicans were to ever "solve" such issues as abortion, flag burning, gay marriage, or kitten strangling, then they would have to start debating minimum wage, national health insurance, and maybe even peak oil. The Repugnicans may be evil, but they are not stupid, unlike the working to middle class Ameriboobs who voted them into office.

So, then. What are the chances that the poilitical boobs will see the coming disaster and act appropriately? Not so long as flag-burning, kitten-strangling abortionists are around to divert the MORONS from their little chreestian crusades.

This applies until the demagocrats get into office at which time the a lower grade of corporatism will be in effect with sops being thrown to the base, but no real change to the corporate system that so effectively eats at the stability of our society. The demagocrats are no better, because they mouth the principles but never seem to enact them and then the feebs who elect them stay entranced even though the demogacrats are busy handing over the store to the corporations what paid their way with the same vigor as the repignicans.

And yes, this is an Ad Hominem attack on the feckless losers who voted in the repugnicans and the demogacrats. But, in this case, the truth fits. Something that anyone who thinks for themselves must get over is the idea we should all play nice and avoid being called elitist or some such tripe. Don't be a lemming. Don't be a nametag, a demogacrat or a repugnican, be a free thinker not afraid to call an idiot an idiot.

What will spur the nation will be millions of SUVs sitting in suburban driveways with semi-starving consumer/addicts who suddenly have to live in THIS moment instead of yearning for that ever-out-of-reach perfect consumer moment. And they will look at their empty hands and their empty lives and will get up and, well, probably riot. But still, maybe a few will do something helpful.

I had 3 t-shirts made from the link on the left sidebar.  They turned out great and my local copy shop only charged $17 canadian.  It's a great conversation piece.  I chose the "Get Ready for a low Energy World."  http://www.geocities.com/peakoilaware/index.htm


In Denial

I guess I am one of those people in denial... However, a very quick search through the last couple of weeks worth of news gives a some support to this position.

Energy Intensity
Using less energy doesn't necessarily mean a declining economy. The first quarter of this year saw a 5.6% increase in GDP... and according to EIA a 3% drop in energy consumption!

see - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/mer/contents.html

From article:
"In the first quarter of 2006, the United States produced 1 percent less energy than in the first quarter of 2005; total net imports of energy were down 1 percent; and total energy consumption was down 3 percent."
for report see - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/mer/contents.html

Declining Energy Usage in Germany


From the article:
"In its just-released annual forecast to the German petroleum industry, the MWV (the Association of the German Petroleum Industry: Mineralölwirtschaftsverband), estimates that domestic consumption of gasoline and diesel will drop a combined 25.4% from 54.9 million tonnes of fuel consumed in 2004 to 39.6 million tonnes in 2025.
Driving the forecast decrease in consumption are projected increases in new car fuel efficiency combined with an ongoing shift to diesel, increased usage of biofuels, a shrinking population, and reduced use compelled by high prices."

Nanosolar plans world's biggest solar cell factory
http://today.reuters.com/stocks/QuoteCompanyNewsArticle.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2006-06-21T184440Z_ 01_N21242152_RTRIDST_0_ENERGY-NANOSOLAR-PLANT.XML&rpc=66
From the article:
"Solar power and other renewable energies such as wind, biomass, and geothermal comprise the fastest-growing energy sector. Global sales of green sources of energy more than doubled in 2005 to $39.9 billion, according to California research and publishing firm Clean Edge.
Sales could grow to $167.2 billion by 2015, according to Clean Edge."

Cree Demonstrates 131 Lumens per Watt White LED


From the article:
"Lumens-per-watt is the standard used by the lighting industry to measure the conversion of electrical energy to light. As a reference, conventional incandescent light bulbs are typically in the 10 to 20 lumens per watt range, while compact fluorescent lamps range from 50 to 60 lumens per watt."

Big new Wind Energy Deal


From the article:
"Airtricity, the international renewable energy company, has secured its largest deal for wind turbines to-date in an unprecedented deal with GE Energy. Airtricity will purchase more than 300 GE 1.5MW turbines, with capacity totalling 500MW in a deal worth more than $550 million. The investment will support Airtricity's US build programme for 2008 -- turbines for 2006 and 2007 having been previously secured. Airtricity currently has a pipeline of 4,500MW in development in Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New Mexico and has an ambitious build programme in place through 2008 and beyond, including advanced plans to develop in the California and Canadian markets."

If I spent a little more time I could easily find another 10-20 articles over the past couple of weeks that would illustrate how we already are lessening energy usage and how we can lower energy intensity more in the future. No single one technology or change can solve this problem but thousands of small changes and improvements in technology will.

Hello TODers,

After reading this whole thread, especially the lucid writings of Darwinian, theLastSasquatch, and Westexas:  I think every TODer needs to consider the implications of the my quote: "OUR GENES ARE NOT OUR FRIENDS".

I am very fond of Westexas's quote: "Kill consumption before consumption kills us" and theLastSasquatch's suggestion that we have to learn to somehow 'trick' our evolutionary drives to best mitigate the Dieoff.  Full credit to these gentlemen.

Jay Hanson, my adopted webmentor by my studying Dieoff.com, and Reg Morrison, quite convincingly argue that the huddled masses will genetically assert the worst case scenario, same as every other plague specie has genetically chosen since time eternal.  Yikes!

The convenience and leverage afforded by the detritus lifestyle is insurmountable when viewed with a collective perspective.  Yet, I hold a slim hope that Cassandra can be universally heard. and most importantly, understood by all.

Nature is imposing the 'Mother of all IQ tests': can we collectively shift from acting like dumbasses [thxs, Matt!] to truly using our higher grey-matter?  Time is running short.

Most TODers are familiar with my request that the world's leaders institute widespread discussion of mitigation [ASPO's Depletion Protocols], and voluntary birth controls.  This birth rate reduction, combined with the lower fertility rates genetically induced by Hans Selye's GAS, is the most powerful single way to mitigate resource demand and prevent future violence.  I remain modestly hopeful that the upcoming G8 Conference holds some dramatic news that will effect us all in regards to population curve matching to the Hubbert Downslope.  We will see very shortly.

If nothing is forthcoming from the G8:  then I think it is time we consider advocating for Foundation and Earthmarines [see my earlier postings for details], to direct our decline, and derail by force, if necessary, our worst genetic drives.  Obviously, I think this needs much discussion on this forum.  Prevention of the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario should be paramount in every TODer's mindset as this will lead to disaster for all.

Investing a global institution with the moral right and military force to assert HELP [Humanize, Economize, Localize, Produce] should not be taken lightly.  The careful dismantling of detritus MPP globalization and shared carrying capacity to reveal, then mitigate Liebig's constraints by timely ring encirclement strategies will be very difficult, but should be preferable to Nature's random hand and genetic-driven market forces.

I hope our leaders are reading about the Japanese Edo Period as a possible starting point for Foundation concepts.  This very long period of relative sustainability and Peace is the current benchmark.  Supercomputer modeling and modern data-gathering methods can vastly enhance Edo methodologies and possibly reveal evolutionary 'tricks' that can be applied to suppress gene-driven violence, yet still kill consumption.

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

Alas, these days, there's a dire shortage of trustworthy philosopher-kings. (Those pesky genes!) And there's a huge "longage" of contradictory demands placed on institutions and governments of any sort - many of which amount to some form of "beggar thy neighbor". (A mild and common form is "you walk or ride a bike so that I can fly even more to promote myself and my books".)

An all-powerful global institution would very likely come to a really, really awful end, making the great (and small) violent dictatorships of the twentieth century into kindergarten stuff by comparison. So please be careful what you wish for.

Hello PaulS,

Thxs for responding.  Possibly, it might result in a terrible anarchy, who knows?  But the Japanese made it  into a workable system for over 250 years with nowhere near the scientific tools and historical knowledge we have at our disposal today.  So therefore, it is not like we would be trying to re-invent the wheel over all over again, is it?  

We could harness 'demurrage' [see the latest threadpost] or some other monetary reform tactic to stimulate appropriate postPeak long-term investing combined with  the elimination of planned obsolesence in product design and relentless recycling of valued resources.

If the overall goal of population reduction can be offset by a per capita increase of renewable biosolar Powerup products to ease the genetic tendency for resource wars, then I think we will be transitioning in the right direction.  Thus, programs to drastically increase manual farm and permaculture labor to offset the coming loss of 'energy slaves', and increase the connection and respect for Nature would only be a good thing.  Zimbabwe has doubled their farm labor from 30% to 60% in just the past twelve years.

Surely, the US could go from 2% to 20% engaged in biosolar powerup without anarchy if we mutually cooperate.  It is important to remember that the sixty million permaculturists, due to Jevon's Paradox, represent a huge fossil fuel savings or benefit for the addicted detritovores as we go to HELP postPeak.  It would make no sense for the addicts to attack the opium growers, and Earthmarines could insure geographical separation.

Since I have modest resources myself, forces beyond my control will inevitably assert detritus Powerdown upon me, just as time asserts age.  My only response can be a biosolar Powerup and HELP.  Such is life.  But the prospect of my dying of heatstroke while weeding a tomato patch seems grey-matter preferable than lizard-brain marching our children off to foreign wars in a futile gambit for oil.  I have no biological offspring myself:  I could irrationally justify burning energy and be pro-draft.

You warned me to be careful for what I wished for.  I merely wish for better tomorrow, even though my genes will never see it.  Our genes are not our friends.

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

I don't think genetics will be a huge part of people's actions in the post-oil world. People in my mind are products of environmental factors more than biological factors. Society and culture is what shapes the world.
A global institution is definitely the wrong way to go. "Moral right" always seems to be part of the preamble to a history book on some horrible human misstep. Worst yet would be a hijacking of the institution by interests not so keen on Post Carbon. Imagine this super-institution falling into the hands of the Pope. Population problem? Go forth and multiply and God will save you!
Absolute power corrupts absolutely!
Hello Tremlein,

Good points for me to consider, especially if the Pope takes command.  Does anyone know the Vatican's official position on Peakoil and Overpopulation?  If the Evangelicals know about it, then the Catholic Church must be studying Peakoil too.

Your Quote: "I don't think genetics will be a huge part of people's actions in the post-oil world. People in my mind are products of environmental factors more than biological factors. Society and culture is what shapes the world."

Thxs for responding.  You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but I respectfully disagree.  Genetics is what got us into this Overshoot condition, and our societal and cultural makeup is derived from the intersection of genes and the surrounding environment.  How could it be otherwise?

Our Thermo-Gene decline is already being affected by genetics [GAS], pollution, diminishing returns, and soon by reduced complexity.  Our collective genetic response to these forces will be the same as has already historically occurred in past stressful environments, and we can depend upon our societal and cultural response to be similar too [unless we change or can be tricked].  Gene response is what collective Humans do best--that is why we are the dominant plague specie.  We thrive at the lizard-brain level, and we will surely die prematurely unless we elevate our thinking, or somehow trick our evolutionary drive.

Instead, consider if the past historical leaders had not suppressed our worldwide educational system from learning of Malthus's writings; we all individually grey-matter considered Malthus's writings over the past 200 years and collectively acted appropriately.  Don't you think ten generations should have been sufficient for this basic warning to gradually saturate the minds around the globe and become a cultural norm?  Well, we didn't because our genes have designed us from the ancient outset to lizard-brain party like there is no tomorrow, fight like demons, screw like rabbits, and ignore sound common sense.  The huddled masses were never, by educational design, given the info to try and perfect society at sustainability.  No elite profit or power in it--thus the humanimal ecosystem that overlies the natural world.

Now we have the last? cheap energy chance to send the  Thermo-Gene message out once more if the G8 and other leaders will cooperate at the grey-matter level.  It is really up to them to create a Powerdown Singularity [if I can borrow a term from Kurtzweil].  These people are fully apprised by experts on what lies ahead if we do not Paradigm Shift. I am hoping that the Eleventh Generation is ready to listen, and our technology can rapidly grey-matter convince billions through our media and educational systems that crunchtime has arrived.  I believe Matthew Simmons is trying to do no less too.

The widespread dissemination of info thru books, movies, and the Internet, combined with community movements to discuss and plan for change should not create a general panic, but create proactive mitigation to get ahead of the curve.  We are a naturally curious specie, readily willing to cooperatively adapt to new conditions if given the full info by honest men and women.

A Foundation can harness these forces to optimize the realization by everyone that our genes are not our friends.   Cooperative directed decline should follow.

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