DrumBeat: July 22, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 07/22/06 at 9:50 AM EDT]

Private Energy Producers Rising in Russia?

An anonymous Moscow-based blogger writing for Ruminations on Russia is making some interesting claims about a report issued last week by UBS, an international investment bank. According to RoR's Thursday July 13 blog post, foreign investors are seriously underestimating how quickly the Russian economy is growing, and therefore how much gas Russia will soon burn at home instead of having available for export. For those of us hoping that Russia can provide the U.S. and Europe with a major alternative to importing more oil and gas form the Middle East, at first glance this sounds like very bad news.
U.S. Energy Secretary Calls on Iraq To Open Oil Sector

India: Panic buying at oil pumps

As pump-owners stopped procuring petrol and diesel from oil companies from Thursday midnight, several outlets in and around the city witnessed panic buying on Friday.

If the buying spree remains unchecked, most filling stations will run dry by Saturday, triggering a major crisis.

Zimbabwe: Power Cuts Could Reduce Wheat Yields

Canada: Buy less gas, begs oil exec

Russia: Labor Unrest Rocks Siberian Oil Town

I posted the following as an essay last night on my blog, but didn't think it was long enough to justify a TOD story.

I have been kicking around the idea of writing an essay on the coal-to-liquids (CTL) dream of Montana governor Brian Schweitzer. However, a story just appeared in the Billings Gazette that emphasizes many of the points I would cover in an essay:

Making oil from coal is bad for Montana

The essay argues that we shouldn't do it, mainly due to global warming and pollution concerns. I agree that we shouldn't do it, but I think we will do it as we become more desperate for energy. However, the cost of a CTL plant is double the cost of a conventional refinery. This means that CTL is still not an economic option, even though the process is viable from a technical standpoint.

The article above claims $6 billion to build one 80,000 bbl/day plant. This is consistent with estimates I have seen, which are even higher than estimates for GTL plants. So, before we turn to CTL, I think we will have to further deplete our conventional oil resources, and then start building GTL plants. At some point prices will be high enough to justify building CTL plants. Of course we may be growing bananas in Greenland by then.

Oh, and if you want to see some opinions that will make you shudder, read some of the comments following the article above. Some of those comments reflect an incredible ignorance of the issues we face. One of the posters is confident that God won't allow us to destroy ourselves. Someone else argued that if we cut back on CO2, plants will start to die. We have a real uphill battle trying to get people to face up to the challenges before us.

The $75,000 per bpd of oil from CTL is comparable to the new cost figures for ChevronTexaco's new tar sands project--$100,000 per bpd of oil.

As Robert knows, what the energy industry is beginning to experience is that the cost of obtaining new liquid transportation fuels (LTF's) from fossil fuels is growing far faster than the price of LTF's is increasing.  In other words, you haven't seen anything yet (price wise).  

Of course, the cost of getting the liquid fuel is becuse of dropping EROEI - and you're right. Buck a litre gas is NOTHING yet! The long-range commuters out there are going to be MAD AS HELL and won't have the option to "not take it anymore" except to take up commuting by other means. Even with mere buck a litre gas, a 15 mile commute starts to look a little long-range. Wait until it's like $2 a litre or $3 a litre. The political scene promises to be rowdy. Gas prices are already rapidly closing in on $1/litre. ($3.77 and the stupid 9/gallon)

While commuting is the most obvious thing, those fuel prices as we all know will "trickle down" into climbing FOOD prices among other things. Water will sooner or later start to have its price climb becuse of fuel to pump it. Coal in powerplants that feed electric-engine driven pumping stations will get more expensive as coal is diverted toward liquid fuel to commute with.

Commuting is about the most energy-intensive economic activity I can think of, in terms of value of payload (the pilot) compared to energy used. People take notice when a quarter of their take-home pay goes to that gas pump to get a load of fuel in their car. Already I saw one coworker quit due to gas prices, and another take up car pooling. Both cases are cases of long-range commuters. Sooner or later we all will have to disembark from our cars. Time to consider less energy-intensive methods now for that day that'll come for each of us. The writing is on the wall.

In other words -- inflationary heat death of the economy.
Haha I just went out for the afternoon and it's hotter than hell out there. For the last few days, people have been sluggish, stores not all that busy. (although Ham Radio Outlet was buzzing with activity, that's where I spent my afternoon and some money on another #$%@$^ radio.)

This heat can't be good for "the economy", although I went to Trader Joe's for some meat, leaves, and high end beer, and noticed one guy had a cart stuffed with enough stuff to feed an army for a week. Guess I should have walked around and noted if people are "shopping different" but I just wanted to get my stuff and get it home before it parboiled in the bag.

Interestingly, there are a bunch of "underground weather stations" throughout the area here reporting the micro-climate temperatures

--much hotter than what MSM will admit to

I agree that this is very bad and does not bode well for the future.  It's not that we can't commute in more energy efficient ways or structure our societies in more energy efficient ways, it's that the transition may occur too quickly and result in a lot of serious problems.  The housing bubble of the past 5 years happened at the worst possible time, really.  Now we have people buying houses 1 or even 2 hours from their jobs and commuting the whole way, for some over 100 just one direction.  The perfect setup for higher gas prices to just take people to the cleaners.  

That said, a lot of people can cut back on gas usage a lot just by adopting better driving habits (if they realize that their habits are causing part of their excess fuel use) and getting smaller cars.  There's no reason we can't have very fuel efficient small cars that are pretty cheap (don't even need any hybrid technology, look at the gas mileage the Geo/Cheverolet Metro got), so there's hope there too as people start to wake up.  

I already tend to do my shopping in a way to not divert from my commuting mission's "flight plan" too much. I do that from a pretty much an environmentalist's viewpoint. The gas isn't TOO expensive yet but I know that it will soon enough be.

It's certain that lots of drivers can modify their shopping trips to match their commuting missions. But the problem is that this method of conservation is limited. I have always kept this in mind, but most people so far don't. That's becuse I have always walked before driving and doing so as to minimise Calorie use in terms of general purpose instinct. I merely carried it over to car use.

Some time down the road, I will have to use a bus as a "booster" to get closer to work and use a bicycle as the second stage of the mission to work - if the job remains that is. I hate thinking about it, but that day is liable to come.

As heard from Perspective on the radio this morning driving in to work, T Boone Pickens is interviewed, and he mentions oil is about to go much higher, and gasoline will hit at least $4 within 6 weeks. OUCH!
He expects oil to hit $100 in the near future, by November as i recall.
Well, they certainly have a lot of opinions in Montana.

I especially like the astrophysicist -- it would appear that nothing that people do really makes any difference.  Here is a perfect synchrony of religion and science.  Just shut up and drive your SUV.  God will take care of everything, and science will explain it to you.

And the wierd thing is that Montana hardly has any population, so it puts the lie to the notion that all our problems would be solved by simply reducing the Earth's human population.

"And the wierd thing is that Montana hardly has any population, so it puts the lie to the notion that all our problems would be solved by simply reducing the Earth's human population."

That's like saying that the crowded conditions in Tokyo, Mexico City, NYC, etc. for decades puts the lie to the notion that we can't populate the entire world that densely.

It is funny that people who are completely ignorant of science think technology will save us.
This is one of the common reactions that I get when I bring up peak oil to others.  Those that have the least amount of knowledge about physics, thermo, chemistry, and technology seam to be the ones that are the most certain technology will save them.  They seem to get the most upset when you tell them the ramifications of peak oil.  

I usually ask them about their background, their education, and what they do for a living.  Most of the time I already know, but by having them say that they have an education/work experience in sales/marketing/managment/customer service/interior design/accounting or what ever non-scientific/technical background they basically admit they don't have the ability to argue the information.  Then I tell them my background - degree in chemical engineering, work in thermodynamics, worked on the solar race car team, work in computer systems - and they start to understand that I can backup what I am telling them.

They usually try to end the discussion with some wild statement - that somebody/thing will save us - that they will find more oil - that I am just missing something.  "It won't really get that bad."

Then I realize that they don't want to know.

they don't want to know.

I think this is more important than their lack of technical expertise. I'm not an oil geologist or chemical engineer and have a background in the 'soft' social sciences -- but peak oil seem credible to me.

I'm pretty much of an ordinary citizen too. That tends to explain why I like to focus on the commuting end of the deal. I often mention the conversion of money to the gas, just for fun. Things like "here's a couple fifths of gas" or "here's a tip of a couple gallons and a litre of gas" are part of my common parlance. Energy is Money.

the ultimate of this style of thinking is that pennies are $60/gallon and quarters are $800/gallon. A $10,000 surgery job is 4 barrels of pennies! When thinking about large amounts of money, you can easally imagine a warehouse with drums full of pennies. A million bucks is 400 drums of pennies, 20 to a side in that warehouse. Imagine standing on a mezzanine looking down on the floor with those drums of pennies. There is a website about extreme numbers of pennies. (megapenny.com?)

More so than time, energy is money. What a businessperson calls "time is money" ends up being time * energy = money.

found the link:


a very interesting visualisation, well worth a look.

well i may not be as smart as you but when i look deeper into things i begin to see that we have dug ourselves into that much deeper of a hole. and it's hard to tell people how deep a hole we are in to other people, mainly family.
... they have an education/work experience in sales/marketing/managment

One of the more interesting tragic-comedies I've witnessed is a group of marketing guys working for a large corporation.

They came up with an idea for new product. Common sense said that building it should be a no-brainer. They went off on their own; raised millions ... spent the $$$ mostly on marketing ... got orders ... then found out there was this ... err ... engineering problem that had not been solved by anyone ever before.

They lost their homes ... lost everything.
Technology did not come to the rescue.

I've experienced a nano-scale version of that, come up with a bright idea to save my company boocoo money, get 'em to front me the money for some metal tubing, try it out, oops, heat transfer characteristics of the tubing shot me down. Neat to actually use the kind of thinking/research learned in college chem, not too neat to look like a fool and $100 of the company's money and some of my work time lost on a wild goose chase.
What was their vapor product ? (as in vaporware; software or hardware that does not exist "yet").
I'm not free to give out specifics, but it was the hardware part of the project that sunk them. Some things seem like they should be easy no-brainer engineering tasks and yet, not everything is as trivial as it might seem.
Even engineers aren't immune.

A small high-tech firm I worked for was founded (funded) in 1988 on the certainty that we could couple 1.7 Gbps of digital data onto standard coax for a distance of 30 feet or so.  After the equity R&D investment was all spent on "R" with no results, we admited that the low signal to noise ratio had killed us, and there would never be any "D".

Interestingly though, the need to recover from that failure led us to develop the world's first 100 Mbps Ethernet-packet LAN on fiber-optics, several years before the early 100 Mbps standards were developed.  That, in turn, led to one of the world's first, and possibly the world's very first, pure-hardware Ethernet switch.

Ultimately marketing problems, competition from the industry's big dogs, and a severe case of management recto-cranial inversion sank the company.  But the point is that even failed attempts to push the envelope can have subsequent benefits.

The message for those trying everything they can think of to mitigate a post-Peak Oil energy decline without making other problems worse is obvious.  Keep trying, civilization depends on us finding as many alternatives as possible.

I'm a physicist (solid state photon detectors) and I've sometimes wondered if my technical background has allowed me to more quickly grasp the importance of peak oil and its ramifications (as well as global warming). When I've spoken with coworkers who have a technical background about this, they seem to grasp the magnitude of the problem. On the other hand, I'm astonished at people with economics training who have blind faith in the capacity of free markets to solve the problem. No problem, we'll find substitutes, they say. Well, there aren't any good substitutes. I just don't have any confidence in the latest alternative energy boondoggles. Yes, we should develop wind, solar, biodiesel, etc., but there's no question that our society is going to change in a big way.
Even among science folk, I think there is split among those who understand the enormity of the problem and those who think fusion is just around the corner.
Scientists are still heir to the human condition.  The implication of peak oil is a very uncomfortable conclusion to draw, no matter how well you understand the reasoning leading up to that last mental connection.  I think scientists are horses that can be led to water a little more easily than most, but it's just as hard to make them drink as anyone else.

I think there is a state of mind that is essential for making that last leap.  I think you have to be capable of, and comfortable with, drawing dark inferences from the available data.  In other words, you need to be a bit of a pessimist at heart.  Scientists can be just as prone to unreasonable optimism as anyone :-/

I don't agree that it's necessary to be a pessimist. I think it's enough to see the magnitude of the problem and be willing to change priorities to deal with it. I think it's more important to develop new and existing energy sources, support conservation, life-style change, etc. Even some optimists see the need for these changes. You can be an optimist and still comprehend the extent to which our society depends on cheap energy, the finiteness natural resources, etc.
Perhaps courage can work as well as pessimism.  Or both are needed.

But I have never seen myself as a pessimist.  And I have been tracking the path towards both PO & GW for my adult life.  And for both I am trying to do "something".

I don't think that I could idlely sit back and just observe, satisified with my greater knowledge of coming doom.

Better to forward some information, write an eMail to some politicans, write a letter to the editor, and all the other "small" measures.

Well Fusion is a long way off, but regular Nuclear Fission works just fine and there is lots of Uranium out there. However with these, the real question is whether the required investments can be delivered in time to mitigate the downside of the peak.

In Australia we have lots of coal and gas but not much Oil. However the investments to turn coal and gas into Oil have not happened because the bankers keep getting told "Oil prices will soon decrease" and so won't fund projects that make a profit at $60 a barrel.

I wonder how long the forecasters will keep up the Oil will get cheap Real Soon Now? They're holding up the investments we need.

I really think that people with MBA's should be included under the label "economist". MBA's have a quite disproportionate influence on business and politics these days. Most of them have little knowledge about physics, chemistry and engineering. The commander-in-chief is prime example of a Harvard MBA.
While MBAs may have their limitations, it is simply not fair to throw them in the same pot with GW.  GW would not have gone to Harvard without influence-- certainly not based on merit or his undergraduate performance.  

I'll admit to a bias against bidness majors, but I would give them more credit than assuming they are all in the GW, no nothing category.

Also, don't lump economists into the same bag, either.  There is such a field as environmental economics ala Herman Daily  which is much more sensitive to resource constraints, environmental impacts, and externalities than your typical economist.  

The key, I think is having the inclination to expand one's knowledge beyond one's chosen specialization.  

They say that because they have a legion of economists who say "saving humanity will make the geeks really rich, so they're bound to do it."

When I hear that line I say "I've a master's from MIT. I know technology. Technology won't save us." Sometimes it works.

After reading those responses do you still believe that you can change sufficient minds to alter the course of global behavior to save civilization? Because you can't just alter the course of the US now. You have to change the course of Europe, Japan, Korea, China, India... And that's what we are talking about here - the collapse of modern civilization across the globe.

Good luck saving the world, Robert. I hope you don't get an ulcer (or worse) doing it.

After reading those responses do you still believe that you can change sufficient minds to alter the course of global behavior to save civilization?

Those responses, as well as my experience in L.A., were pretty depressing. You can just see how this is going to play out. It will be denial until the end, and when the panic comes it is going to carry us all along in the wave. If I could figure out a good way to insulate myself from the societal effects, I would be a bit more optimistic. But, if society is not prepared, I don't think I can do much to prepare.



As I noted before, the Texas State Geologist still considers it possible that we could equal our peak oil production level, 33 years after we peaked.
Is he really being honest about his beliefs, in which case he (and forgive me, I'm a layman on the subject, but have studied what conclusions you and others have come to) is insane, or is he just telling people what they want to hear?
Why do they keep believing this? 33 straight years of declining production is empirical PROOF of what's happening. What is the basis of their counter-argument?
The basis is called "telling people what they want to hear so they don't panic and spoil the party".
Texas State Geologist... As I have not followed the industry, I don't know who that is. Must be a member of the ginormous nest of weasels that infests downtown Austin. So I googled; the first hit was a historical document referring to the 19th century geological survey. So I went to the state website, perhaps he's in one of these departments, maybe the Railroad Commission.

A perusal of the TxRRC site turned up this chart:
2005 Texas Oil Production
, where, as you can see, things are looking up. <grin>

Or maybe it's that UT department — I looked back at the google page and, sure enough, it's this guy:
Scott Tinker

I'd say this is the kind of guy who'll tell you whatever you want to hear.

His name, if memory serves, is Scott Tinker.  His statement was that, through the use of better technology, we may not be able to equal our peak production, but we can signficantly increase production.
Reminds me of Stalin only needing one look at a guy's photo to pick him for a party job. I think the successful candidates looked like that.
I have to give you credit where it is due. You are the absolute master of the two sentence post.
How does this remind you of Stalin? Was this when he was sticking a medal on you during KGB school? Just relax. You crack me up, that's all. We could probably split a bottle of Stoli some other night. Drop your cover for a second for God's sake. We already have you pinned.
Hi Robert,

Responding to your comment with a reply not directed at you.

The angst of your trip report to LA combined with the Montana populace responses supports the reason for so-called "Doomers" being so pessimistic.

In other words, if it will be denial to the bitter end, why bother wasting one's precious energy, resources, and time to change minds.  All you get in the end is tired, broke, and old.  Best to spend one's time protecting oneself from the faceless hordes who wouldn't listen in the first place.

I would not put myself in the Doomer category, but I think I understand where they are coming from.  I think you may understand where they are coming from just a bit better now as well.

Don't forget that if we don't change peoples' minds, the gas prices will! In Chicago, the "cheap" gas is like $3.33/gallon or 88 cents/litre. The premium stuff is like $3.53/gallon or 93 cents/litre. We are closing in on buck a litre gas. The gas is about as expensive as the Coca-Cola but you burn gas in a car, not Coca-Cola. To picture a litre, get a one litre bottle of soda from a convience store at a gas station. Drink it. Then ponder the fact that a litre of gasoline doesn't go too damn far when you burn it, especially in an SUV.

People are starting to realise that the gas prices are not coming down even though they are not PO-aware. They all know that "somthing's up" but can't yet put their finger on it.

To picture a litre, get a one litre bottle of soda from a convience store at a gas station. Drink it. Then ponder the fact that a litre of gasoline doesn't go too damn far when you burn it, especially in an SUV.

I've always thought it the other way around: the energy content of one litre of gasoline is absolutely astonishing. One litre, or roughly two pints of liquid can easily transport a ton of junk for ten miles, and it takes only a few minutes. Try hauling the same amount of matter for the same distance using only your muscle power, e.g. with a bicycle. It takes the whole day and you have to eat and drink a lot more than one litre to compensate for the work done.

Well, it's to compare volume, not energy content. Of course the gas has much more energy content.

However, you do make an interesting point. If you do everything by bike, you do eat more than you'd eat otherwise. Or, for the average American, you eat about the same but you actually use that excess 1000 kcal or so a day, and (horrors!) lose weight. You do get more of a hunger for decent food, instead of an appitite for junk food. You find yourself hungry for a balance - a meal with meat, starch, and veggies, not just a salad, or a box of donuts, or meat and nothing else. You learn again that water is really good and tasty. And salt is no longer the enemy it was, in fact you need to make sure you get enough of it - hint: a can of V-8 is great for this.

You do find yourself thinking about superfluous weight. 100+ lbs of junk in/out of my car in a day is a nonissue, but if I'm hauling it in a bike trailer, it's more of a job.

Indeed you get the idea. A litre of gas packs quite the energy punch. Becuse gasoline packs that energy punch is why it's so damn useful. Not even Lance Armstrong can compete against a litre of the gas. Transportation is the thing that requires liquid fuel with quite the Calories of the damn gasoline.

You get the idea EXACTLY as I wanted to say it. A gallon of gas has like 30,000 Calories' worth of energy. At 100 Calories a mile, a person running a Marathon gets about 300mpg's worth out of the food eaten before the race. No wonder why people whose jobs are such that they are on their feet all day don't lose weight. Most of the Calories you burn up go toward metabolic heating. When you sweat that sweat represents wasted energy.

Sounds like an old Chris Rock comedy routine about OJ.
"I'm not saying he should have killed her...but I understand"
Technology is not the problem. Psychology is.
That is exactly correct.

Prole is correct. And I think the longer you do what you're doing, the more you will find it to be he case.

I think there exists within our minds a certian meme, maybe you could even call it a pre-programmed genetic alogrithim for the role of "hero/savior/he who forewarned the tribe of coming danger." It seems to be a pretty common archetype. It's usually a male but every once in a while a female. The first example to spring to my mind from our culture's version of myths/stories is the Sarah Connor character from the Terminator series. Just take out the word "machines" and insert "high energy prices."

I suspect that many of the men (myself included) got into this issue out of a subconscious desire to fulfill this archetypal role. After all, look at the rewards previous males who fulfilled this role often got. Winston Churchill, as a prominent example, warned the world of Hitler while everybody else had their heads up their ass. Today we revere him for doing so.

The problem here is that THIS problem is not like any other problem. You see, most things we consider "problems" are obstacles towards increasing the amount of energy available to use.  

Hitler, as an example, wanted to control resources, trade routes, land, etc. That was a problem because had he succeeded it would have diminshed the resources, trade routes, and land under control of the U.S. and U.K. So the point of eliminating Hitler was because he threatened the ability of the U.S./U.K. to get more energy. (FDR knew about the Holocaust but didn't really give two shits)

Civil rights movement is similar. What was the REAL problem? Well black people weren't being given the opportunity to get their fair share of the country's resouces. MLK sought to change that. And today we revere him for having done so. (And he got LOTS and LOTS of attention from women at the time.)

But Peak Oil is different as there is no way to get more because there simply isn't going to be any more to be gotten. So anybody who is honest with people about this situation is never going to do more than preach to the choir. At best you might get people who were already members of the "modern society/capitalism is f--ked" choir to be a bit more motivated or vocal. Then you'll get some people who will accept oil is peaking but figure some solar panels and double A batteries we'll be fine. But the average person just wants gas at $1.00 and Big Macs at $2.00. so preaching to them is next-to-pointless.

Great. Now you have me hungry for In-N-Out. Double burger, fries, and a drink (iced tea) for about $5, hehe.

A while back someone, I think on here, somewhere, likened the Civil Rights era to a time when people who had enough to eat wanted to make sure everyone (in the US anyway) got their fair share in the Big Cafeteria. When people have enough, the sharing instinct takes over, and this is what we saw - middle-class and even wealthy types going out of their way, in fact some even died, for the cause of making sure everyone got a full lunch plate. It was noble and beautiful and gives one hope for mankind. However, by about 1975, affluence for the vast majority of US'ians leveled off and then started decreasing. It's been decreasing since. The person said things may be very different when seats at the cafe are not sure for most people.

The great Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s was probably an example of a "gift economy". Gift economies were mostly known and studied among pre-civilized groups until the internet came along, then sociologists found them blooming online. This site is a good example of one - we spent time "gifting" our ideas, insights, etc. to the group because frankly it feels good.

It feels good because in the original hunter-gatherer groups, the gift economy was the norm. The greatest joy in having a talent or skill was sharing it with the group. Gift economies arise spontaneously among groups of people that are at least fairly small and feel some kinship with each other.


This is interesting, gift economies are anti-profitable for the corporations. Why buy a new fridge when your neighbor will give you theirs, or your pal at work will fix yours? Why buy your own car if you have a good carpooling setup because you know 5 people who fit your commuting schedule? Corporations have got to hate this.

We know, deep down or maybe on a very superficial level, that there is nothing we can do, certainly in the United States that will cause the society to move what we consider the right direction.  We don't have the power, the money, and besides, we are asking people to go against the money, to voluntarily change their lifestyle when their dream from childhood is to be part of the American dream.  Now we want to tell them that the American Dream, the source of all joy and happiness, will crush us and crush the planet. It's not like we're offering people jobs, money, and sex, quite the contrary.

Even the terrorism/fear car ala Friedman doesn't seem to be having much of an effect. But then, he's behind a pay wall.

All we can do, really, is wait. Wait for the high prices. Make the necessary investments on a personal level to mitigate the pain.  Take some pleasure in having made the right investments so that the effect of high prices and shortages will be minimized.  

Forget the hero/savior approach. It ain't gonna happen and you are not going to have any followers.

Other than for purely selfish reasons, what is the point of doing the "right" thing?  As you are driving down the street in your Prius or riding down the street in your bicycle and you are being run down by the usual herd of SUVs and trucks, what is the point?  What is the programming, genetic or otherwise, that causes some to soldier on, regardless.

Perhaps, as Gore says, there is a moral imperative operating here, or should be.  Doing the moral thing is not contingent or everyone else or even most other people, doing the right thing.

On the bright side, if all this is real, taking actions based upon a conviction that there will be serious shortages of oil, will likely make your future a better one.

So, maybe in part you appeal to people's self interest, their selfishness.  People owe it to themselves and their family to prepare. If you don't care about your family, then keep driving.


> Now we want to tell them that the American Dream, the source of all joy and happiness, will crush us and crush the planet. It's not like we're offering people jobs, money, and sex, quite the contrary.

Must the American Dream be to drive around in a car and use up as much energy as possible?

My interpretation of the American Dream is to be free to do what you want with your life to find your own way to happiness. But that is perhaps an old non productified model.

There will be limitless need for work wich should translate into jobs although not highly paid ones. The money should be ok if the rest of society gets more efficient and rationalizes away high paying symbol handling jobs for more manual ones. Could be tough shit for someone like me who is better at thinking then manual labor but it is far from hopeless.

And isent sex something that humans do togeather? Sex should not disappear with lower income levels but you might have to tolerate to overhear other people having sex thru the apartment wall. The horror, they are having fun and I am bored! :-)

I think the outcome depends on basic freedoms still working, the economy being agile enough to create new (low income) jobs, rule by law working and it probably helps a lot if there is some state system for general basic health care and emergency aid so that people dont die from some bad luck or bad times before getting something new going in their lives.

It's too early for them to be waking up.  Most people are still in denial, true.  The oil companies and their propaganda on this issue saying "everything will be fine", doesn't help.  But just because people are in denial now does not mean that they'll be in denial till the bitter end.  Gas prices are starting to wake people up.  SUV sales have been going down the tubes.  It takes a lot of momentum to finally overcome the inertia, but once the masses are set in motion things can change quite a bit.  

Besides, look at all the junk people own.  Look at how overweight most Americans are.  The truth is, people in this country can afford to spend 50% of their income on energy and they'll still lead a much better life than the vast majority of the world's population.  Now, what that will do to our consumer-oriented economy is another (dire) subject.  

The major issue facing us is how quickly the transition will have to be.  If we peak and slowly decline, then it will be a hard transition but a managable one (consider that Chinese and other developing countries will keep consuming more even as we decline, so it will be worse than just the decline).  If we peak and decline at extremely fast rates then we're in big trouble.  We need at least a decade or two to restructure ourselves, and sadly it's just not going to start happening until the shit has already hit the fan.  

"if society is not prepared, I don't think I can do much to prepare"

Long run you're correct, we're all dead. Probably many of us in post-apocalypitc Mad Max style shootouts for a few drops of "the juice."

Short to medium run, however, you are incorrect. As an example, I just read an article about a guy who is going from being a geologist teacher making $40,000 to being a geologist in the field making $80,000. (Numbers not exact but you get the point) That guy will be much better off in the short-to-medium run if he puts that extra money towards preparing or positioining himself in a more advantagous fashion.

I started a small solar outlet to attempt to do something similar.

And I really ought to buy one of your stoves. Yeah yeah I can build one..... I'll never get around to it, and what a great thing to have when at the beach, camping, etc. Or when the power goes out. And even if I'm going to build one, it's good to have a good first model!
and even if the geologist doesn't put the money to preparing it will (hopefully) help him get laid. Remember West Texas' cartoon about the last oil boom? The one where the cop was yelling at the crowd "move out of the way swine, a geologist is coming" as some nerdy looking geologist with 2 hot babes walked down the street.


If I remember correctly, you're in the oil biz correct? Maybe you can position yourself to be like the geologist in the above described cartoon?

Should take the edge of the depression at the very least.

As an example, I just read an article about a guy who is going from being a geologist teacher making $40,000 to being a geologist in the field making $80,000.

Concerns about Peak Oil were a major factor in my move from the chemical industry into the oil industry. I figured that oil companies would reap big profits as oil supplies depleted, and this seemed like a profitable place to be. I am using my job to position myself and my family for the short term. My job also provides me with some valuable information on what's happening in the oil industry, which may give me another advantage. In the longer term, if it comes to "Mad Max style shootouts", I am a pretty good shot.



"Short to medium run, however, you are incorrect."

Maybe, maybe. Depends on how things unfold. Sudden-onset global thermo-nuking could put a serious damper on short-term plans. Also, biowarfare, which may even be more likely than irradiating the planet with a dazzling green glow, could also pile up the corpses, and crack the thin film of civilized behavior rather quickly. Panic and opportunism can be profound forces.

These are somewhat extreme scenarios, but aren't out of the question. I suspect that there's the possibility that civilization could unfold very rapidly WTSHTF. Maybe even before the SHTF (depending on how one defines WTSHTF), as things get very dicey and uncertain. Many of us watched on TV the sudden breakdown of law and order in New Orleans post-Katrina. And that hurricane did not directly hammer the entire country. There were plenty of resources available in surrounding areas to help out. Petrocollapse does not offer such a "cushion".

-best (especially considering the dark topic!)

Hello RR,

I believe Dieoff is inevitable due to the Overshoot's collective denial.  Numerous posts have discussed ecosystem collapse and the increasing extinction rate worldwide.  Humans, if wise enough, should be choosing for the concurrent induced collapse of the detritus-driven 'humanimal ecosystem' as a proactive entropic response to optimize the squeeze through the Dieoff Bottleneck.  Yes, it will be ugly--but it does not mean that we have to be genetically impelled to resort to worst-case Thermo-Gene scenario of the full-on nuclear gift exchange [as Jay Hanson fears].

Nature's plan is for creatures that can successfully migrate and thrive in supportive habitats to become the genetic winners-- humans should do no less.  Foundation  planning of predictive collapse and directed decline will spontaneously arise in a haphazard fashion, but can be much more mitigative of entropy if sufficient political will can coalesce to enhance the power of this control system.

This minimum political will for Foundation may only require less than 10% of the global populace, even less when the Topdogs realize it's necessity for the Paradigm Shift.

ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols offers the ultimate elite power seduction for their continued safety and assertion of total global control.  Recall my earlier post: if lions and crocs teamed up for mutual harvesting efficiency. When the postPeak time comes, I think we can expect the MSM [owned by the elites too] to go into overdrive mode to drive this detritus control mechanism to every corner of the planet.  Morally, it is sound, yet profound.  Entropically, it is mitigative, and can be used to drive polarity among the masses to separate the detritovores from the biosolar, and the creation of distinct habitat modes of living.

We TODers must be mentally prepared for when this time comes.  I would argue that most of us already are as we can see the futility of the current paradigm.  Michael T. Klare's recent EnergyBulletin article shows the  pointlessness of Empire and the 'Nuke their Ass--I want Gas' mindset.

The imposition of ASPO's Protocols will necessarily cause the rise of the Earthmarines for the assertion of resource streamlining and the installation of mitigative feedback loops to drive lifestyle changes in the respective habitats.  Nothing postPeak will be more extrasomaticly efficient over time and distance than a $0.20 sniper bullet directly reducing detritovore demand.  Carlos 'White Feather' Hathcock's ability to pick off an entire platoon is a good example of this efficiency in action.  The creation of Earthmarine 'No man's land' buffer zones in support of biosolar protection has been explained before by me in prior posts as a further feedback enhancement.

The migration of Humans to optimal secession areas [Cascadia, Jefferson, etc] continues as you read, and these people will be the leaders in the Paradigm Shift.  Tainterian complexity collapse will be offset by willful directed detritus decline and biosolar powerup.  This is no different than wildlife migrating and optimizing new habitats as the old habitats collapse.  Yes, they will have problems determining optimum lifeboat seating arrangements, but nothing compared to areas, such as the AZ Asphalt Wonderland, where massive Overshoot of 'musical chairs' will be horrific to watch, much less participate in.

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

When the time comes, sign me up. I've corresponded with White Feather due to skills in common, and yes, the most effecient weapon is the single well aimed shot.

I'm oldish and only getting older, I've decided if it comes to that, I'm the one who stays behind and takes enough of the "other guys" with me so "my people" can get safely over the hill and into the safe valley.

Who knows if things will be that well defined. If they are, I'll be there.

After reading those responses do you still believe that you can change sufficient minds to alter the course of global behavior to save civilization?

This is what we are up against. Here is a sampling from the comments following the editorial:

Yes, I believe weather changes and other cycles are part of God's creation and yes, I believe he let's us go a long way not only understanding his creation but in also taking his creations out.Free will and choice and all that nifty stuff. But I do not believe he's going to let humans destroy the planet...this planet will cease to exist when He decides it will cease to exist. Not you, not me, not Al Gore, HIM.



God kills them that kills themselves?

Sorry, couldn't stop myself.

Proof that religion in its current form in the United States is a maladaptive societal trait. It makes some communities much stronger bur arguably makes the larger society it exists in much weaker. It's irrational, plain and simple.
I consider religion to have outlived its usefulness as the best case. Look at the Middle East. I would describe it as two kids fighting over whether to believe in The Tooth Fairy vs. Santa Claus but using their dads' hunting rifles. I'm fully sure that any UFO pilot looking down at the Middle East will think the same way as I do. Now, where's the keys to the ol' flying saucer? I gotta get to Planet Algon!
Mad Maxout,

To paraphase Reg Morrison, "the degree to which we detest something is simply a sign of the degree to which we are ignorant of its evolutionary advantages."

Fightingn over arable land, water, livestock, etc as they did in millenium past is not much different (evolutionarly speaking) then fighting over oil and water like we do today.

Algon! Take me awayyyyyyyyyyy!
It isn't so much that the planet will cease to exist, nor that the sun will quit shining... it's that the planet is overstocked with pious imbeciles like the one you quote.

Actually Mother Nature will be quite happy with a dieoff of um, a certain primate species. Come to think of it, Gaia worship has a lot of resonance with me. I think Gaia is pissed and planning a correction.

Hmmm...in the article they assert that:

...we believe that no solution to our oil problem should come at the expense of destroying Montana's air, land and water, as well as accelerating global warming. There are quicker, cheaper and faster solutions.

Near the end of the article are more assertions such as:

We should aggressively pursue domestic pollution-free renewable biofuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol from switchgrass, which can be grown here in Montana. This new industry would provide an economic boom for Eastern Montana, without turning it into a sacrifice zone.

Maybe they're right, but how do their asserted know "solutions" about will be "cheaper and faster" to scale up to meaningful quantities? How do they know that planting Eastern Montana in a switchgrass monoculture won't turn it into a "sacrifice zone", just in a different way? How do they know that ethanol plants - coal fired? - will be "pollution free"? How do they know they will have a viable fermentation process in a meaningful time frame, and enough water to support it? All I see are assertions. Some of them are the usual self-serving assertions propounded by the agriculture industry. All of them, taken together, strongly promote the viewpoint that nobody will ever have to accept any unpleasant decisions in these matters - just get them to hop to it, and you can go back to sleep. How do they know that?

It's a newspaper article, so it would be silly to expect a scientific paper. Still, there's not the slightest hint of even the weakest attempt to convince the reader that the assertions even make sense, much less that any of them can be relied upon.

I suppose reporters just aren't trained to dig any more, or are allowed no time to do so. Given that the article seems to promise pie in the sky, I'm not surprised at the difficulties with the comments. Sigh.

I suppose reporters just aren't trained to dig any more, or are allowed no time to do so.

It's not profitable to let them do so.

Oh, and a question. What kind of product cost does $6 billion for 80kbbd imply? I ask because in the heyday of Jimmy Carter's now rusted-out "synfuels" plants, the CTL products always seemed to cost a few dollars a barrel more than the price of equivalent oil products - no matter the price of oil, high or low. Rhetorical version of question - does the price of any of this "alternative" stuff, bio, chemical, or otherwise, ever cross below the price of oil?
Rhetorical version of question - does the price of any of this "alternative" stuff, bio, chemical, or otherwise, ever cross below the price of oil?

I have commented on this issue before. The problem with all of these projections is that they never take into account that everything gets more expensive as oil prices go up. So, when oil was $25 a barrel, CTL might be economic at an oil price of $40 a barrel. However, when oil is $75 a barrel, suddenly everything else is more expensive and the economics of CTL are pushed out to $90 a barrel. At some point, I am sure that the gap would narrow and CTL would be able to compete with oil, but that price is way out there.



The answer is usually no, at least not when it's put in. However, if you'd put in these plants twenty years ago they'd be producing $40/bbl oil now (like refineries, with proper maintenance they essentially never wear out). These things are probably going to have to be treated as necessary infrastructure, rather than profit-making enterprises requiring 5 year paybacks.
Lets build the necessary infrastructure of inter-city and Urban Rail before we spend the first public dollar on supporting CTL.

Give "me" the first $80 billion/year for a decade or two and start a crash course of rail building EVERYWHERE.

To be honest, I have difficulty indentifying more than $100 billion in good Urban Raik projects today; but with enough money, and $189 oil, I can find more I am VERY sure.

Add inter-city rail and a good amount can be spent.

This is true of conservation and efficiency improvements as well.  You can do a lot of conservation before it makes sense to plunk your investment down in increasing supply which is going to cost you indefinitely.
I completely agree.

One strategy; retrofit solar water heaters thereby freeing up both electricity & NG (depending upon type of water heater).  

Use some of the electricity for electric rail, rest for EVs or just use less electricity, freeing up more NG & coal that had been used to generate electricity for heating water.

Use NG freed up to run plumber's truck and UPS delivery van; both "essential" services.

If Schweitzer can finance it, more power to him.  It's a start.  Consider he's also proposing wind turbines and conservation. It would be a little much to expect Montana to finance light rail for other states, especially when it's still just a notion almost everywhere.
80kbbl/d*365*20 years amortization=584 million barrels.  $6billion/584 million=$10.27bbl. Triple that for operating cost, interest cost, and profit it comes to about $30bbl. We'd need about 250 of those to continue life as we know it. That's a $1,500,000,000,000 investment.
we'd need about 250 of those to continue life as we know it. That's a $1,500,000,000,000 investment.

Monetary calculations like this hide the complications which such large scale programs will impose. The obvious limitation would be coal availability. Actually I expect the price of coal to go through the roof even if only 10 plants become operational:

10 plants * 80K bbl * 0.5 tons/bbl * 365 = 146 mln.tons of coal/y,
or a whopping 12% of the current US coal production, which BTW is already falling short for power generation.

If we start going this way I would also expect the "herd effect" to take place - after a couple of plants begin functioning with pretty decent profits, the newcomers will start building new ones exponentially. Considering that it takes 4-5 years to build a single one, by the time they are finished coal will cost some 100$/ton. and these plants will share the destiny of the NG power plants being built now.

The price of coal will rise to where biomass will be a cheaper source of feedstock. A production cost of less than $50/ton for switchgrass has recently been claimed.
Not going to happen because of the same reasons - natural limits. Ultimately the price of a resource depends on its limits of scalability. Switchgrass may not replace coal simply because we will can not ramp it up in similar quantities. What will happen is that as demand increases, once coal hits $50/ton and we start using switchgrass as a substitute the priceses of both commodities will continue to rise albeit a little more slowly.

The same thing happens now with gasoline and ethanol (with ethanol in a little bit of overshoot here and there because of the mandates).

However, the cost of a CTL plant is double the cost of a conventional refinery. This means that CTL is still not an economic option, even though the process is viable from a technical standpoint.

It should go down after the initial plant.  I would also point out that for the oil refinery cost you should include the well and tanker investment for your new oil to be on the same basis.  Seeing as how all the existing capacity is taken.

More to the point, since Schweitzer is talking about sequestration, I think this is worthy of support.  Otherwise you're likely to see something worse.

I would also point out that for the oil refinery cost you should include the well and tanker investment for your new oil to be on the same basis.

Not unless we also want to throw in the price of some of the coal mining capital and transportation into the CTL plant.

More to the point, since Schweitzer is talking about sequestration, I think this is worthy of support.

Two things here. First, nobody has shown large-scale feasilibity of carbon sequestration. Second, you can't sequester the carbon produced when the fuel is burned in vehicles. So, it will worsen greenhouse gas emissions, unless someone figures out a way to sequester carbon coming from everyone's automobiles.



Could be wrong, but I heard that $6 billion included the coal mining (but not sequestration).  And you better pray the sequestration can be made to work, because you have about a zillion coal burning power plants to take care of.  I would think that using exhausted oil wells with cap rocks as reservoirs would be damn near the safest place to put CO2.
Could be wrong, but I heard that $6 billion included the coal mining (but not sequestration).

The cost - $6 billion - is only for the CTL plant. The infrastructure around the partial oxidation and Fischer-Tropsch processes required to drive the plant is very expensive. In addition, you have to have a lot of standard refinery equipment to refine the product into fuel.



I am working on life-cycle costs of tar sands & CTL vs. Urban Rail.

What is the expected life span on a CTL plant ?  Tar sands ? 30 years, even with good maintenance due to technological obsolence ?

And operating costs/barrel (including long cycle maintenance) ?


I think 30 years is a pretty standard equipment lifetime.

As far as operating costs, I don't know those off of the top of my head.



There isn't a refinery in the U.S. younger than 25 years, and I don't think anyone's planning on scrapping them any time soon.
This is true. It is important to distinuish between the lifetime of refinery equipment, and the lifetime of the refinery. My refinery is almost 60 years old. I doubt that any of the equipment is still original, but a lot of the buildings are. The costs of building a grass-roots CTL plant will be higher than the cost of maintaining that plant for an additional 30-50 years.



  CO2 in oil wells is commonly used in watered out tertiary production. In other words, after the reservoir has been exhausted by water flooding the operators pump CO2 downthe wells to bust the oil loose from the grains of rock.
  After the CO2 pushes the oil through the rock it is produced along with additional oil. Therefore, old natural gas fields without any liquids are probably the best place to permanently store CO2.
  Oil and gas reservoirs are sealed by any formation through which gas and oil will not flow. So the term "cap rock" is a misnomer. Mud and clay work quite well to cap a reservoir, it does not have to be as strong as rock. The Gulf wells are mostly in unconsolidated formations and the same with many wells on land in Texas and Louisiana. That's why the rotary drilling bit was invented-it cuts through mud and clay and soft sands while the cable tool rigs made the holes collapse. Patents on the rotary bit are how Howard Hughes' father made all that money.
  Thanks for thinking though. Probably the only thing that will significantly cut in to CO2 is conservation, nuclear and wind and solar. Sequestration is smoke-blowing by the big polluters, just as ethanol is by the farming lobby,IMHO. I'm still not sure if the proponents are misinformed or dishonest.
OK, then what's your plan for the coal-burners already built and being built?
Gasoline. Diesel and Crude Oil

We could probably become energy independent in liquid fuels if the government would listen to Sandia National Labs and start investing in producing solar energy in the desert and using it to produce liquid fuels from CO2 and water. Fuel production would only be limited by available solar energy and energy conversion costs. All existing technology, no fancy breakthroughs needed. And totally carbon neutral (after the equipment input).
Excess production capability could produce synthetic crude oil and pump it back into our played out oil fields to sequester the carbon but still make it available for emergencies. The natural crude oil lasted millions of years in those reservoirs so the synthetic should do just as well if necessary.
I wonder why this is being ignored by the government (and the oil companies?)? Anyone else see anything else on this anywhere?
All the fuel we need plus put a halt to global warming!
Plus it would make it possible for most of the countries of the world including many countries in the third world to mfg their own fuel. Only down side is that all the oil producing countries would have to find a new source of revenue. Makes you want to cry, doesn't it.


Published on 12 Jul 2006 by Green Car Congress. Archived on 14 Jul 2006.
Sandia Labs proposes energy surety model
by Michael Millikin

"Examples that could provide expanded energy storage include solar production of hydrogen for fuel cells, solar-powered conversion of carbon dioxide and water to liquid fuels, and energy storage from solar thermal collectors."  

Jon Kutz on Saturday June 10, 2006 at 9:51 AM EST  

"And could this supply the large amounts of energy needed to manufacture our needs in liquid fuels?  Remember that gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel are just carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms strung together in a specific arrangement. This is chemical engineering (not rocket science or nuclear fusion). And we are VERY good at chemical engineering. Now where could we get large amounts of carbon and hydrogen?
Well, we have an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere that is causing global warming, so lets just take that out of the atmosphere and break the carbon and oxygen atoms apart (the large amount of energy needed part) and lets do the same with the H2O (water) vapor in the atmosphere. Now you have unlimited amounts of carbon and hydrogen to recombine into spark ignition fuel, compression ignition fuel, jet fuel and a wide variety of hydro-carbon feed stocks for industrial manufacturing (everything from plastics to fertilizer).
Large amounts of formerly atmospheric CO2 would now be stored in liquid fuel in vehicle tanks, distribution centers and manufacturing depots. And all of our existing fuel infrastructure can be left in place. "

Jon Kutz on Saturday June 10, 2006 at 2:49 PM EST  

Some time in the next few decades the production of internal combustion engines will need to be severely limited. Those still built will likely be limited to aircraft engines. All new road and rail vehicles will be electric. The sooner the world stops building ICEs the better it will be for the environment. The cars and trucks we build today have a 50/50 chance of still being daily drivers 15 years from now. That's why we will continue to need liquid fuels for several more decades.
> The cars and trucks we build today have a 50/50 chance of still being daily drivers 15 years from now.

I think the chance is much lower then 50% since most of them will be scrapped for their spare part and metal value in favor of new more fuel efficient wehicles closely tailored to the actual transportation need.

What will happen is that each and every driver will at some time disembark from the car for good. I know that sooner or later I will disembark forever from my car as the gas will get too damn expensive. I thought of that on my Friday drive home with the fact that my days of driving will end. Yes, it does suck. I will miss getting my time at the car's "flight yoke" but that time is coming.

That is the reality of the oil peak. Sooner or later, you will disembark from your car and you have driven your last mission. It's sad and it sucks, but that is the reality of the oil peak.

I am currently using 6 gallons/month.  I could cut back to 4 or 4.5 gallons/month easily enough (sometimes I am in a rush, it is raining, etc.).

With effort, I could cut back to 2 to 3 gallons/month without improved public transportation (above pre-Katrina levels).

But I see ~1 gallon/month as a close to irreducible minimum.  And then there is hurricane evacuation.  One tank full every 1.5 years of biodiesel (waste grease).

The trick is to live closer to work, even if it means renting. The idea of home ownership is to me a foregone conclusion. It's not going to happen. I live 15 miles from work, about 3 fifths of gas away with my Y2K1 Kia Rio. (2.25 litres) I intend to move soon enough, and be able to use a fifth less gas on my commuting mission.

The coworker whose truck got sunk by gas prices had a commuting mission of 4 gallons. That is, 4 gallons each way. A barrel a week. When talking about commuting missions ask how much gas they use each way by asking "How many gallons away do you live from work?". That'll get the long-range commuters to think twice. Given the Calories used, a mission to work should not be trivialised as just a "commute" but be considered as a full-scale space shot. And you are the astronaut on said mission. It's plenty time that people think in terms of "gallons away" or "litres away" intead of merely "minutes away" as so many suburbanitic people do.

Call me an old geezer but I always thought of distance as miles away. Minutes away is for people who never learned to use a tape measure.
This topic (CO2 + H2O -> reduced carbon) was addressed at the American Geophysical Union meeting last Fall. Indeed this is just chemical engineering, and it is a subject of research.  Let's just say that to call the yields miserably pathetically feeble would be real generous. We have a long LONG L O N G way to match planting an oilseed.
Sure as anything, coal to oil is bad news in terms of global warming and pollution. The trouble is that whether we or any environmentalists agree or not, the profit motive will win out. After all, as gas prices climb higher than a space shuttle at apogee, the money to be made will be HUGE. The result is that the coal to oil gamblers will put down their bets and win big time as desperate commuters fork over their money for the gasoline and diesel.

The fun question is if the resulting liquid fuel will be used wisely or not. An example is whether it will be used by trains or pissed away by filling up the airliners. Trains are a lot more fuel-efficient than the best of the airliners after all. My bet would be that it will be used for "business as usual" (obviously unwise) instead of mitigating the oil peak problem.

Trains should run on electricity (preferably most new generation will be wind) not diesel.

Last time I calculated (about 2 years ago) Amtrak was ~78 pax-miles per gallon; Southwest ~52 pax-mpg.

The delta on freight is MUCH greater (RRs 8x better trucks and double digit better than air freight).

Amtrak offers lots of room, rolling hotels running diesel electricity (stationary hotels using grid power are MUCH more energy efficient), dining cars (stationary restaurants have them beat for energy efficiency).

I believe that taking a sleeper car cross-country and eating in the dining car will consume more oil products than flying cross-country and using stationary hotels & restaurants.

OTOH, taking the electric train from Philly to DC with just a coach seat will save a LOT of energy vs. driving or flying.

You're right about the trains. Electrified rail using solar, wind, or nukes would be a million times better than using diesel for long-range passenger traffic. Even with the dining cars, it's still better than taking the plane in terms of diesel used up per passenger mile. Note that I'm using "diesel" as a synonym for "jet fuel" with the planes. The US Navy has the habit of using the JP-5 jet fuel in diesel engines too hence my habit of calling jet fuel diesel.  
Agreed, once electrified.

Today, there are some serious tradeoffs.  If I take Amtrak from New Orleans to Los Angeles, I take scarce track capacity, slowing freight and forcing more freight onto trucks.

And if I take my hotel & restaurant with me on the rails, I use significantly more oil fuel than if I flew.  Moving one's bed & dining table (a la RVs) consumes all of the efficiency gains of rail vs. air and then some.  Pushing (SWAG) twelve tonnes of steel (bed + restaurant) on the rails near sea level is not QUITE as efficient as flying 900 lbs of aluminum at 37,000' (fairly close though).

I try to look objectively at these things with data.

care to enlighten me on how your going to build the 10 million needed just to cover todays electrical use, keep them operating during their lifespan, replace them when they break down or are damaged.
you will have to do this while the infrastructure around them is in decline(converting diesel/gasoline powered construction equipment with electric powered construction equipment is basically a snake eating it's own tail. you need the equipment to get more capacity but you need more capacity to run the equipment.)
just to give you a scale. If every car on the road today in the united states was magically converted to electric generated by wind you would need 2 million constantly turning wind turbines to power them.
Of course i am giving you the benefit of the doubt. The numbers here are calculated assuming we use the easiest to build and maintain 1 megawatt turbines.
> (converting diesel/gasoline powered construction equipment with electric powered construction equipment is basically a snake eating it's own tail. you need the equipment to get more capacity but you need more capacity to run the equipment.)

Fortunately the process yields more snake.

Otherwise you have proven that it were impossible to build our industrial society. And most of it were built at a lower oil extraction rate and reinvestment isent dominating todays oil use. The market price setting mechanisms will probably prioritize investemts in energy production.

i should of been a little more specific. i meant electricity produced from the same wind turbines mentioned.
also please don't put words in my mouth, i was never trying to prove that only to tell him electricity is not going to be maintainable. not for the amounts needed for his plan to work.
at the best the rich will have the means and the money to get their houses powered also the government will have some as well but your joe blow will have to make due with no electricity or a few sporadic hours a day/week.
the only thing about this all that surprises me is the lack of coverage from many news outlets about why and how a minor temp rise like the recent heat wave can be responsible for blackouts in areas one would think would of been built better.
Current transportation uses of electricity consume 1.9% of US electricity.  That runs the 8,000 subways cars of NYC plus PATH and the Rapid )heavy) Rail of Chicago, Boston, Philly, DC (40+% of commuters there), BART, Miami and light rail (+ Rapid rail) in a couple of dozen cities plus Amtrak's NorthEast Corridor.

Using a gross "top down" approach, 100% of US intercity freight currently carried by truck & RR, can be carried by electric freight for a bit over 2% of US electricity (BTW, I need to revisit that calc).  Add some semi-HSR to replace shorter air hops and I could see 3%.

Massive Urban Rail could add another 3% to 4% in Phase I (all known projects studied).

Reducing US electricity use by 7% would be quite easy with higher prices > higher efficiency + solar water heaters, space heating.

Coal fired new steel production and electric arc steel recycling. Once "built out" recycling with provide almost all replacement WTs. The annual wind turbine production could be on the rough scale of current auto & truck production.  Designs would mature towards longer life and lower resoruce requirements (WT design is still quite young).

I did some rough work on a renewable grid mix of wind + hydro + nuke + other renewable.  I posted it at the time.  I figured a 20% decline in US electricity use even with more electric transportation & more people.  Perhaps a 40 to 50 year project in reality.

And the "dirty little secret" is that the US will repeat what we did after WW II; junk a high % of the existing housing stock and replace it with smaller, more efficient multi-unit housing near electric rail.  But the vast majority of housing built in the last ~30 years was nor designed to last anyway.

ok i guess i can disreguard most of what you say if you consider nuclear power renewable dispite the evidence to the contrary.
also you are basing your whole agruement on the current low cost due to low usage that is happening now. you also seem to ignore the costs of the infrastruture needed for you vision. kind of hard to build electric rail ways when plants are having trouble geting enough power to make enough high grade steel. cement factorys which cannot roast limestone due to more eratic natural gas. etc.

on a personal note i would like to point out that while you may have had a positve experence in N.O.(And i am glad at least some people are doing ok down there) that it doesn't mean it can be applyed everywhere. it's like the old saying 'when you only have a hammer all problems look like nails'

Peak streetcar (1897-1916) was built with coal, horses and sweat.  

Most cement kilns run on coal (in the US, a high % mix in waste motor oil, otherwise hazardous waste.  They get the disposal fee + the heat).

New Orleans is NOT "doing OK".  We are all struggling with the many effects of disaster.  It is just that people can adjust to disaster, as they will deep into post-Peak Oil.

New Orleans is a workable, living model for how many/most US cities could be rebuilt.

You appear, from your "sniping" remarks, to have a large set of assumptions that cannot be violated.  And since any solution requires the violation of at least one of those assumptions.  So they are not workable solutions.

But your assumptions, by inference, appear to be faulty.

ok i guess i can disreguard most of what you say if you consider nuclear power renewable dispite the evidence to the contrary.

When did I say that ?

Nuke does not produce significant amounts of GW gases, and the fuel can be recycled.  With current technology, we can get the roughly 20% of our electricity that we now get from nuke till the 22nd Century.  Better than coal or NG IMO.

As I reported earlier, I have difficulty in creating a workable North American grid with 100% renewables.  Add ~20% nuke to loads that are about 80% of today's loads and it does "work" with 2/3 wind, more air & hydro pumped storage, some solar, etc..

And the "dirty little secret" is that the US will repeat what we did after WW II; junk a high % of the existing housing stock and replace it with smaller, more efficient multi-unit housing near electric rail.

I disagree.  We aren't building significant new infrastructure in this country, and haven't since about 1970.  The U.S. oil peak, probably not coincidentally.  

We won't be able to afford to do what we did after WWII.  That was a different time.

It is entirely possible to switch an economy from an emphasis on investment to consumption and back.  Many nations have done this repeatedly.

We built houses in the 1600s, in the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and now the 21st Century.  If the average sq ft is reduced by 2/3rds, construction is concentrated rather than dispersed (easier for labor & materials to get too; trolley freight is an option for TOD construction) then more houses/year can be built, and built to a higher standard with fewer materials.

Lumber, for example, is basically a fixed annual production, averaged over the decade.

BTW, I live in an 1890s home that has been cut up into 5 apartments 2.5 blocks from a streetcar line.

What happened before the 20th century isn't relevant.  Our population is much higher now, and resources much lower.  If our population was the same as it was in 16th century, or even the 19th century, I wouldn't be worried.  But it's many times higher.

I do agree that there will be a lot more people crammed into much smaller living spaces, but that's not the same thing as building new infrastructure.  Instead, it's a drop in the standard of living...which I entirely expect.

I consider my standard of living higher than either of my two brothers; both of which live in McMansions in suburbia (NW Austin & Phoenix/Scottsdale area).  

They have many more sq ft. I have higher quality construction.

They have lawns to care for, I have a VERY beautiful, walkable neighborhood.

They have long commutes, I have a streetcar 2.5 blocks away and most destinations within 2 or so miles.

BTW, our lumber resources are not significantly lower than early post-WW II.  In fact, I think that they are higher.

We just S T R E T C H that lumber to build MANY more sq ft.

Steel is also available today in large quantities.

What I propose, building LOTS of Urban Rail but no more highways (limited maintenance) should take the same or fewer resources than current building (slightly different mix).    And the real estate market will adjust to the new realities (sky high gas prices, new Urban Rail, high energy costs, lower incomes) and build to suit.

I am fairly confident in my vision of what more Urban Rail would cause post-Peak Oil.

[blockquote]Trains should run on electricity (preferably most new generation will be wind) not diesel.[/blockquote]
Chuckles not when replaceing one minor coal, natural gas, or small nuclear plant takes hundreds of wind turbines.
We are well on our way to 10,000 new wind turbines (various sizes) installed in a single year in the US.  With luck (and high NG prices) 2008.  More likely 2009, almost surely by 2010.

If one multiples nameplate by load factor, another poster calculated (I looked at his links) that 40% of new generation this year, 2006, will be wind powered.

With some modest carbon taxes, a goal of 80% of new generation being renewable (mostly wind) certainly seems reasonable in a decade.  Phase out most NG and a good chunk of coal.  Mostly wind, some nuke and pumped storage.

Adding wind turbines to an existing wind farm can take 12 months from financial decision to commercial operation.  About 30 months is "good time" for a green field wind farm (assuming the Kennedy's don't object).

This quick implementation speed is a MAJOR advantage for wind.

China's Wind Power


by Gordon Feller

Editor's Note: With 20% of the world's population, China now consumes 10% of the world's energy. This would suggest that just to come up to the international average, China will need to double its energy consumption. With an economy growing at 9% per year, China is on track to do just that, and consequently they are developing every source of energy they possibly can.

It's important to remember the contribution from alternative energy to total world energy production is still minute. In China, a country that consumes 40 quadrillion BTU's of energy per year, less than one percent comes from wind power. But wind-generated power, which is growing worldwide at 30% per year, and which costs 80% less per megawatt than it did 20 years ago, is an important part of China's energy strategy. The world leader in wind energy is the nation of Denmark, whose wind manufacturers have forged strong ties with Chinese partners. Over 50% of the large capacity windmills currently installed in China are manufactured in Denmark.

Wind power, like solar power, is an alternative energy resource of virtually unlimited potential. After years of heavy subsidies, especially in Europe where the will to become energy independent has been unwavering, wind power is now economically competitive with conventional energy sources. This fact, combined with the energy security of windfarms that constitute a renewable domestic energy supply, suggest the Chinese committment to develop wind power is just beginning. - Ed Ring

By the end of 2004, China produced 200,000 off-grid wind turbine generators, ranking it number one in the world.

Chinese enterprises have mastered advanced off-grid wind turbine generator technology through technology transfer from foreign companies.

There are two kinds of utilization which must be discussed in any review of wind power developments: off-grid and in-grid. Off-grid utilization is used primarily as an independent power operation system, often in remote regions. The power generation capacity of a single off-grid generator ranges from 100 watts to 10 kilowatts. In-grid power is integrated within conventional power grids, providing the most economical utilization of wind power. The maximum power generation of a single in-grid wind turbine in 2006 is five megawatts.

Chinas abundant inland and offshore wind energy resources provide potential for large-capacity, in-grid wind farms. By the end of 2005, China had built 59 wind farms with 1,854 wind turbine generators and a 1,266 megawatt in-grid wind power installed capacity, ranking it number ten globally.

Lots more

Sorry to have to appear again as the party pooper but EVEN WINDPOWER need to be carefully handled!

Sow the Wind, Reap the Drag Coefficient

How many wind turbines does it take to replace a natural gas plant that isn't running because fuel is just too expensive and scarce?  

There are a lot of people who like to say that we "can't" do something, but using that sort of logic to support the status quo is not the least bit productive.  There is one thing we know we can't keep doing, and that's letting things continue as business as usual.  

sorry i am not supporting the status quo, alan is.
by the way wind power is useless without a base load to cover the gaps of it's intermediate power generation so to answer your question the turbines would be offline.
The gaps in a geographically diverse set of wind farms are quite small (perfect for some NG use in the short term).

The larger problem is the same one that afflicts nuke; production does not follow load.  The solution is simple and well proven, hydroelectric pumped storage.  Pump water up with surplus 3 AM wind energy, down at peak.  

You, and not I, seem to support the status quo.

Americans have always responded to challenges. All we have to do is start saying "China's doing it; why can't we? Germany is doing it...".
 But it won't matter much on the federal level until we get a new administrton. And if the next prez sez, "We are going to  make every federal building energy self-sufficient within 2 years. And we are going to replace the entire federal fleet with ??? in the next 2 years. By executive order. And we will start by finding X billion dollars to build the infrastructure for this; the silicon plants, the panel plants, the windmill plants.... We will find and rehabilitate existing factories and mil;ls to do this".",
 we will respond
 But we can't do a hell of a lot until we get out of Iraq and tax the richies who have gotten a free ride for the last 6 years.

 PS  China built a hospital(I think 1000 beds) in 8 days during a crisis. Can't we beat them? :>)

Sars hospital opens in China Friday May 2, 2003

...The Xiaotangshan hospital in northern Beijing, boasting at least 90 million yuan (£7 million) worth of medical equipment, opened its doors after more than 7,000 builders rushed to erect the temporary facility for Sars victims in eight days.



Do you know if there is a move afoot to allow the lighter-weight trains in use in Europe and Japan on American Railways? The Federal Railway Administration continues to insist on making trains heavy to survive crashes; the Europeans have encouraged lighter-weight trains, and have instead worked to prevent crashes by improving signaling, controls, crossings, and rights-of-way. This means that our American "High Speed" train (Acela) is much heavier (twice as heavy, if I recall correctly) than its European counterpart, which makes it a good deal slower and less energy-efficient. It is another sad example of Americans applying higher gross energy and excess materials to a problem that others are solving through the effective application of intelligence and efficiency.

Allowing lighter-weight trains would mean that the lightweight, high tensile strength structures used in aircraft construction could be used on efficient railways, combining the advantages of both.

Acela was an abortion of an idea, poorly executed.  The original maker of tilting trains refused to submit a bid after  reading the specs.  FRA safety regs require cars to survive 800,000 lb "squeeze" test.  No crumple zones like elsewhere.  No mixing heavy equipment with light rail (90 minutes between last heavy freight clearing and first light rail if they share tracks).

After contract was signed, it was discovered that at many places on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, the two tracks were too close together to allow tilting.

The worst President Amtrak ever had (a position with several contenders) George Warrington, is now badly mismanaging New Jersey Transit.  He is pushing heavy self propelled diesel instead fo an extension of the Hudson-Bergen electric light rail.

The administration (true of Clinton as well) has zero interest in promoting rail.  And they may want to actively discourage it.  A caSe can be made that they want less, not more, rail in all forms.

Until a revolution occurs, no hope what-so-ever of light trains from the EU or Japan going into service here.

Schweitzer somehow comes off as an environmentalist as he seems to assume that the carbon from this coal will be sequestered. One, even if that happens, how they going to sequester the carbon from the gas that is burned in the vehicles?
Maybe it could be done with some sort of secondary tank and then having it drained when you go to fill-up at the gas station (connect two nozels instead of one).  I wonder what that sort of design would do for efficiency though.  Seems like the extra effort of putting the fumes into another tank and probably compressing it somehow would take a lot of energy.  
Not to beat a dead horse, but could somebody tell me where the hydrogen for CTL is supposed to come from?  Please let it not be NG, not if peak NG shortly follows peak oil (not to mention CO2). And please let it not be water.
Sorry, it's water.  Now a lot of it comes from the water content of the lignite itself.
Why whould the water in a C(manny)H(some) + H2O -> CO2 + CO + H2 be the big problem?
If you're gasifying a coal with low volatiles, like a high-grade bituminous, it consumes a lot of water.
Because, on the right side of your equation, you have CO2 being produced. Before we derive any utility from the fuel, we have made CO2 — so this will more than double the load of this greenhouse gas per unit of liquid fuel by the time it is burned, vs. the amount of CO2 from petroleum products.

Of course, if we try to get the H2 from natural gas, we'll be out of NG that much sooner.

Suspected as much.  What are the energetics involved here?  If the end product goes to CO2 + H2O, you're starting with C(0) (more or less) -> C(-2) (nominally) -> C(IV), which works, and H2O -> H2 -> H2O, which has got to hit your EROEI.
Mother Nature: Peak Oil is your last chance to get the environment right.

Humans: That's OK we have coal-to-liquids.

Did anyone see the segment on oil futures prices on the PBS Newshour by their economics correspondent last night?  It included an explanation of the reason for a futures market, what moves it, and some interviews with traders.  Some said speculators had no net effect on the price of oil; others said a little.  The conclusion?  Out of $74/barrel, around 10% is due to excess demand in the futures market created by speculators.  Then it lept to a $15 premium due to geopolitical unrest (Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela) and then another $7-10 as a terrorism premium.  The result is $40-$50 as the "longterm, base price" of oil.  

No mention, even remotely, of the concerns expressed here.

Just read the Harper's August article on Peak oil. The author mainly compares Peak Oil adherents to Millenium cultists - a real disservice. No discussion of the Hersch report etc.
"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." M Gandhi

Step #2 complete.

well step three will be ugly as heck.
Off topic, but was he a vegetarian?
Vegetarian?  Dude, his mother was Jain.  Jain refuse to wear hard soled shoes because they will kill the insects on the ground over which they tread.  They won't eat tubers over concern for the life in the soil that would have to be upturned to yield those crops.  The Jain perspective demands an appreciation of how your every act affects all life around you.

Ethics, in relation to this industrial age, comes down to a simple concept; sustainability.  

If the way we act is not sustainable, then it is indefensible.  We are responsible for the effect we have on environment from the time we inherit it to the time we leave it for our children.  Today we are experiencing an unprecendented  period of environmental chaos.  Species are becoming extinct.  Our climate, the basic rythym of of our planet, is being disrupted.

In the history of earth, there is no generation as culpable as our own.

Sure, Ghandi was a vegetarian. But is you think that not eating meat is somehow a representation of his awareness of a man's responsibility, you are missing 99% of his message.

Peak oil absolutely, unequivocally, is a secular millennial doomsday cult. That doesn't mean it's wrong.
Too bad he didn't interview me. I could have shared with him my (oft-mentioned on this forum) plans for an apocalyptic relgiou .  . .  I mean "multinational eco-commune."

I also could have shown him my infamous 40 foot tall fire breathing, flaming red eyes, mechanical Jesus that announces, "turn or burn, turn or burn!!!"

I think your icon should be a caricature of Jimmy Carter in his sweater, with shining teeth.
Nah it will be J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, smoking a pipe full'o frop.
Food, Energy & Money

M. King Hubbert, decades ago, noted the disconnect between what he called the finite matter/energy world and the infinite financial world.  The Fed can increase the money supply from here to the moon, but that will not create a single BTU of energy.

The following Energy Bulletin article fits in with my ELP recommendation, especially the "P" part--produce.  

Urban Survival had some plausible numbers regarding American workers:  one in seven works for the government; five in seven work in service industries; one in seven produce something tangible. The US economy is in for a profound paradigm shift, as we move from an economy focused on meeting wants to an economy focused on meeting needs.

IMO, the key question that individuals and countries face is the following:  what thing of value do you have to offer the food and energy producers, in exchange for food and energy?

In regard to the "P" part of ELP, I think that you should strive, to the extent that you can, to become at least closer to a net producer of food and/or energy.


A new kind of money
Julian Darley, AlterNet


Today's money is based on the belief that it's worth something. Crazy, no? Why not back your dollar in sustainable energy produced in your hometown?
The decline in the availability of cheap energy is likely to be accompanied by an equally ominous possibility of world financial meltdown. That we are facing both of these threats now is not an accident: energy and financial stability are intimately linked. I believe the solutions for dealing with these twinned threats are equally linked. To build an environmentally sustainable, monetarily stable world, we need to create an economy in which locally produced energy provides the backing for local currencies.

Let's start with energy first. Energy decline will soon challenge just about every common notion of life that we have developed during the industrial era. Most of what we have built in the globalizing world of the last half century depends on cheap energy, particularly oil and natural gas.

After years of oil-industry financed obfuscation, there is a broad scientific consensus that our profligate use of fossil fuels is producing global warming. And despite similar oil industry denials, there is a growing consensus that we are rapidly approaching Peak Oil, after which world oil output will go into permanent decline. (The United States experienced Peak Oil in 1971.) After global Peak Oil, oil will still be available, but at ever increasing prices.

To lessen the impact of global warming and the inflationary pressures of Peak Oil, we should be moving as rapidly as possible to an energy system based on locally based renewable energy production.
(20 July 2006)

ELP = Economize; Localize; Produce
I recently talked with a friend of mine, a small scale Hollywood producer (he lives at Hollywood & Vine).  He accepted a couple of years ago that we were "heading for trouble". but was shocked that my "best case" now for the US is an UK 1946-1970+ type decline.

He asked about his business, and I told him it was one of the more secure.  Just don't use Arabs as villains.  Film & TV are some of our major exports, Hollywood's best year ever was 1938 and those went into production in 1936.  Just make money now and invest it properly.


What type of films do you think will do best? Other than porn of course. (controlled by the mafia, not looking to compete with that)

I suspect the kind of films that did well in the 1930s will do well in upcoming Greater Depression.
Namely and to wit: Romantic comedies.
We won't have a UK type decline though, we're Amurrika. Remember Labour was the gov't in charge in the UK for, I think, all of the period of which you speak. Our gov't is very close to being run by Malthus himself - remember Malthus seemed to think richer=better, not smarter=better or kinder=better etc. In other words, to Malthus, a rich imbicile deserves to live while 10 Edisons, Geo. Wash. Carvers, Sequoyahs, etc die.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the UK had the kind of hunger and poverty during the time discussed as the US has in the past, and will, under the same conditions of stagnation. Needless to say the UK didn't have the rate of incarceration. I'm pretty anti-China but I may change my mind very quickly if my own countrypeople or myself, become substitutes for 10-cent an hour Chinese slave labor.

There's no way we'll have a UK type decline. There's no way we'll have it that good. We sure don't deserve to.

With a dramatic change in US public policy and a slow decline in post-Peak oil production, I could see a post-WW II UK decline in the US.  Best case as I said.  

A goal worth struggling  for (although a bit of luck is also needed).

It would be a very nice best case. And yes well worth working for.
Well, we had a very bad time in the 30's, as did The USA and most everywhere in Europe. Commonplace disease were those rooted in vitamin and protein deficiencies, malnutrition, rickets.  A grandfather on one side of my family told me the first time he picked up a regular pay check in the 30's was when he picked up a Lee Enfield rifle in September 1939. He had a young family of three.
(dear reader, he made it back)

Postwar Britain can , (and has been)often described as 'Managing Decline'. The Great war and WWII bled the UK and it's Empire dry. This is probably the case. Britain's Empire (upon which 'the sun will never set' - note to the USA, all Empires fail), depended almost entirely for it's existance on the USA for the means to feed it's population and wage war during two critial phases: 1917 and 1940-1944.

The price exacted was more than just the capital loaned.
It also included the break up of the British Empire.

I think we finished paying off the capital sum and interest about 5 years ago (if memory serves)

The post war austerity period in Britain continued long after 1945. Coal (principle source of heating) and even basic foodstuffs were rationed into the 1950's.

After WWII we looked increasingly desparate all through until a) Thatcher arrived and decided it did not need to be like this and b)Coincidentally, Oil flowed from the Forties Field, heralding a 30 year period of prosperity.
(give or take).

Our problem now is that the oil bonanza is waining. It created a false sense of 'wealth'. We are importing oil and exporting money / manufacturing jobs / even service jobs. Aside from 'financial services' (aka selling promises), we have little to trade with the world. At present, our greatest export appears to be extremely robust squaddies under control of accomplshed Officers and NCO's. Perhaps we can earn money as Landschnekts or Condittori...

The period 1975 - 2015 will appear as a golden age, compared with what we on this 'sceptered isle' will face.

My best case for the US will be something like the UK from 1946 till 1970 or so.

How long will it last for us ?  And the UK ?

What does it mean for a local currency to be "backed by local renewable energy"?  First, what does "backed by" here mean?  One meaning may be that in order to build confidence in the currency, you promise that it is convertible to something which is accepted as having value.  When the dollar was linked to gold, the paper was a contract that said you can go somewhere and get that much gold for it.  (Yum!)  It was "backed" in the sense that the gov obliged itself to hold huge stores of actual gold in vaults.  Of course, when too many people (foreign banks) actually demanded that gold, they reneged on that promise.  Anyway, back to energy, there is a basic difference between energy and money: energy can only be used once (roughly speaking, it degrades in each use anyway, second law and all that), while money goes around in circles, i.e. is infinitely reusable.  The gold-backing meant that the gold was sitting in the vault and not used up.  Energy is used up.  Of course you can store energy in a vault (fuel in a tank) as collateral for the money, but then you are choosing to forego indefinitely the use of that energy - for what purpose?  This is no better than Paula Hay's idea of piling up gold in a local vault to "back up" the local currency.  At least the gold is not useful for any other purpose...  (But in her proposal local wealth/resources would be exported to pay for importing the shiny stuff.)

Or perhaps he means something else altogether by "backed by".  E.g., the existence of renewable energy facilities in a local economy means that it can inspire some confidence that a local currency will hold its value.  That is a much weaker sense of "backing", and still leaves the distinction between circular money and one-time energy problematic.  How do you know whether the amount of money in circulation is "correct"?  If the local currency can be generated as needed via debit-credit transactions, then there is no link between the amount of money and the flow of energy, thus no protection against inflation, thus no big reason for confidence.  Besides, the velocity of circulation of the money that is already in the system is independent (on the surface of things) of the energy flow.  Of course, in reality, the level of economic activity in a closed system (local and sustainable) is directly linked to the renewable energy inputs, but how is that to be reflected in the monetary system?

Money that can be used for two state controlled activities; paying taxes and buying electricity has value. (One will do).

Stainless steel coins that can buy 1, 2 or 5 kWh (like a dime, quarter & half dollar today) or pieces of paper good for 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000 or 10,000 kWh will also have value.

One can buy food, clothing, rent or buy a house with these pieces of paper.  Because the seller needs to pay his monthly electric bill and his taxes.

The value goes up if the local gov't owns a couple of hydroelectric plants but not enough to satisfy prior demand.  This currency allocates the scarce power.  Fractional kWh coins may be needed for small transactions (a half kilo of potatoes for 1/4 kWh).

I think that would be "pegged to", which is different from "backed by"?  If TPTB promise that the piece of paper is redeemable for X KWH, it's still only a promise, not different from the current type of currency, except that it is inflation-proofed.  But TPTB may renege on that promise.  Just like Nixon reneged on the gold redeemability.
Backed by the couple of hydroelectric dams owned by the town/county and their somewhat variable production.  Rotating blackouts would be a "fact of life" in a hydroelectric Vermont.   Scarity of money would induce severe economy & conservation because failure to pay would result in a permanent blackout.
My "buddy" Ed Wallace, local talk show host, automotive journalist, and virulent Peak Oil critic, quoted a new study that claims that the total energy cost per mile driven of building, running and scrapping a Prius (including recylcing the battery) is 50% more than the total energy cost per mile driven of a Hummer (presumably H2, but he didn't specify).  

I think that they are assuming 100,000 miles for the Prius, and 300,000 miles for the Hummer.  I would be interesting to take a look at their other assumptions.

In any case, the auto/housing/finance leg of the "Iron Triagle" does not intend to go quietly into the night.  I suppose we will soon hear that it is un-American not to go into debt to maintain the large SUV, long commute, large mortgage lifestyle.

Why sell a large SUV to a few percent more of the households when you can sell a small fuel efficient second car to all of them?

Why sell a large cheap car when you can sell a large expensive  hybrid car and thus get some of the future fuel money to flow thru your company instead of the fuel providers?

Why sell macmansions when you can build a factory to mass produce building block apartments and yet again get the money flow thru your factory?

Why work againts the trends while trying to make a profit? It does not make any sense for me, am I thinking in the wrong way?

"They" are doing both, of course.  Profits maximized at every opportunity.  

I think one of the fundamental problems with "powerdown" thinking is the idea that there is some overall direction to life.  Darwin, of course, says there is not - that the future is actually made up of the result of countless actions and decisions by living organisms that are based on information available at a given point in time.  The future is irrelevant to the organisms making the decisions.

The religious idea is that God has a Plan -- and Darwininian randomness is heresy.

Powerdown is a sort of mixture of the two.

Good book for the weekend-- "The Botany of Desire"  Michael Pollan.  One of his stories is about Tulipomania -- and how one can look at the phenomenon from the point of view of the Dutch tulip breeders, the tulip or the virus that produced the "breaks" that were so prized.  Each "thought" they were maximizing their survival potential

I read that book several years ago.  

One thing that stuck in my mind was his description of how the potato was the ideal crop for peasants, since it could be hidden in the ground when the soldiers came.  Once the top part of the plant is gone, no one knows the potatos are there.  The soldiers may take all your other food, but they wouldn't find the potatoes.

Something for doomers to keep in mind...  ;-)

Just as long as your potatoes don't develop blight.
Since when are cars investments?
Say that a Prius costs $4000 more than a conventional car.
Here are some more costly ways of spending $4000 on a Toyota.

Price of a 4Runner base model =$27,635
Price of a 4Runner Limited V8 =$36,100

Price of a base Camry = $18,445
Price of a LE Camry = $22,780

Large depreciation on Limited and LE features.
Small depreciation on Prius

MSM says Prius is not a good buy.
MSM says Prius is not a good buy.

Waste your money on power locks and V8 engines = smart
Waste your money on a hybrid as oil prices rise = not smart

People don't like change.

"Since when are cars investments?"

When you buy the right model during a time of rising gasoline prices.  2005 Civics are selling used for more than their new price a year ago.  In the early 80's I worked with several people who had bought Civics, drove them for three or four years, and then sold them at a profit.

As the car companies continue to (slowly) adjust their product mix to higher and rising gasoline prices, we'll see inefficient vehicles get killed on depreciation and the most efficient ones (particularly the cheaper models, like Scions, non-hybrids Civics, etc.) do extremely well, and possibly appreciate slightly in value.

Eventually the product line will match the gasoline prices and this will level out: the price premium for cheaper, higher MPG cars will disappear, and the only people buying pickup trucks will be those who really need them.  Minivans will still sell basically the way they do now--to people who need them.  No one buys a van for the fad factor.  SUV's will all but disappear in a few years; people who need the cargo utility will buy vans or pickups, and those who need additional people space will turn from full-size SUV's to vans.

My father's 2002 Prizm LSI 5-speed, which gets over 40 on the highway, has appreciated in value accoring to Kelly Blue Book.
40 mpg that is, and it had been losing value, its just that when he checked the value on kbb.com recently, it had started to go back up.
Mercedes Benz 240Ds are increasing in value (due to fuel pump etc. they are ideal home made bio-diesel cars).  Scarce manual transmission models (extra ~2 mpg, mopre power) are going up most.
We here in Europe are in luck: Old 190Ds, 200Ds, 220Ds, 240Ds, 250Ds and 300Ds are cheap and plentiful and manual transmission is more common than automatic. And, although in many places there's an extra tax for owning a diesel-powered automobile, it is compensated by less severely taxed diesel fuel. The retail price spread between gasoline and (summer grade) diesel is around 40 eurocents per litre in Finland.
Cars can be an investment, albeit not a very good one in the scheme of things (there are much better ways to invest).  I agree with you regarding the MSM treatment of hybrids.  It really is a crock how they keep saying how they're not worth it by citing strict economics, when most people don't buy cars based off of economics (nor live their lives based on them, if so there wouldn't be so many people in debt).  Hybrid technology is much more worth the cost than many other add-ons available on vehicles.  Buying an SUV is surely not worth the economic cost for the vast majority of people who never use it for anything besides commuting.  

The real problem is that magazines like Car & Driver are populated by writers whose interest in cars can be traced back to trivial things like more power-- trivial nonsense that might be justifiable when gas is cheap, but quickly becomes a worthless expense when it starts hitting you in the pocketbook.  These are biased, closed-minded people who come into every subject with preconceived notions about what people want and how things are.  They will be among the last to change their tunes.

Remember, the Bush crime-family spokesman Ari Fleisher called this the 'blessed Amerian way of life.'
That sort of "study" is such a load of shit.  But why bother arguing with him, just change the subject.  Ask him how much more energy it takes to build a Honda Civic or other small car than it takes to build a Hummer.  See how he answers that one, because the thing is, even if what he purports is true (which I highly doubt), that doesn't mean it is any way justified to drive a Hummer.  

Most likely this "study" is taking into account all sorts of factors relating to the development of the Prius technology, while giving the Hummer a free pass, even though it's also based on technology that was at some point developed.  

Honestly, that study really must be crap.  The price of scrapping the Prius won't be that much more than the Hummer, even including for disposal of the batteries.  The running cost will be less.  If the cost of making a Prius was as high as it had to be to make this equation work, then Toyota would be bankrupting themselves.  Not to mention, the idea that a GM-built Hummer is going to run for 300,000 miles is utterly laughable.  If two cars rolled off a lot at the same time, a Hummer and a Prius, I'd put my money on the Prius to still be operational long after that Hummer has been sent to the scrap yard.  

Perhaps you could ask him if he believes that the rise in oil prices of 35% per year( average)(total of 750% in 7 years) since 1999 to present is all due to speculation. Or if the decline in Saudi Arabia while oil prices are climbing and rig counts are rising is just them playing with us. I can understand how we can subliminally ignore future projections but damn I hate it when people won't consider FACTS.
An interesting situation where Russian factory workers are paid largely by a bonus system (60-70% of income), have an active trade union and are still bedeviled by an essentially plutocratic system.  It seems that no matter what the starting point, communism, capitalism, feudalism, it always ends up with those in power exercising that power to remain in power and those out of power struggling to break even.  
Elias Canetti-- "Crowds and Power"  Won Nobel Prize in about 1987.  This was actually a study of "psychopathic" power -- Hitler was the model.  But obviously it was no different in the past, or as we see, in the present.

"Power" is a verb, like "money" and "energy."  It is nothing if not in action.  "Those in power exercise power to remain in power" -- it is tautological. There is no other way

The "Guns of August," The Meme

Interesting how the "Guns of August" (book & movie) analogy is spreading.  George Ure, at Urban Survival, is predicting a big event in early August, based on their Internet scanning technology.  In a world gone mad, who knows?   In any case, George suggests that August, 2006 may be analogous to August, 1914.  

Some background info off a Q&A site:  

The event triggering it (World War One) was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The people behind this assassination were a Serbian terrorist group known as, "The Black Hand."

The Archduke was heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, so Austro-Hungarian gave Serbia, who it felt commanded the Black Hand to assassinate the duke, an ultimatem. Austro-Hungary was not satisfied with Serbia's response and on July 28, 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
(The dukes assassination was on June 28, 1914.)

From Amazon:
"Guns of August," The Movie

Plot Outline:
Traces the origins and actions of World War I, from the funeral of Britain's King Edward VII to the Versailles Treaty.

Plot Synopsis:
Using rare archive footage, this documentary tells the story of World War I. The film shows the rivalry between the various royalty in Europe leading up to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the failed attempts to avoid the war that followed. It then goes on to show German attrocities as they invade Belgium and France, and how incompetent leaders on both sides cost the lives of millions of men.

Small matches, big fires.
Indeed. 08 Oct 1871, Chicago. A little blaze in Patrick O'Leary's barn, and...

Up in greenhouse gases

And don't forget the Great Roma Fire with Nero playing the fiddle!
a somewhat different take on origins of WWI -- and it's extension to the present-- Robert Newman's History of Oil (Google Video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7374585792978336967 )

Also available on DVD or BitTorrent.  Worth a look.  The War for Oil in the Middle East was triggered when Churchill decided to power the British Navy with oil instead of coal

 good link
That was a hilarious video. And yes, he does point out Peak Oil.
Superd video - thanks!
a very good illustration of the history of oil.
I once heard the pre-WWI European leadership described as 'mediocrity wearing the trappings of power.'

I think the current Bush administration fits that description in spades.

I agree.  It seems like the world is spoiling for a fight.  Too much anger, too much frustration.  Then again, it could just be that one cannot expect a major shift in world power without a conflict.
Much has been said here about how post peak times may be harsh, and might resemble the conditions at the time of the 1929 crash etc... I found this story of the new responses being taken to poverty in American Cities "interesting". In this case it's Las Vegas. Do the american folks here have a sense of if this is a growing trend?

Story is from the AP wire as quoted in Aljazerra english online edition:

Vegas outlaws feeding the homeless

Saturday 22 July 2006, 1:42 Makka Time, 22:42 GMT  

Las Vegas has made it illegal to feed homeless people in city parks after residents complained about the large numbers gathering in the public facilities.

David Riggleman, a spokesman for the city, said: "We're trying to empathise with both camps.

"We're hoping we can improve their lives and improve the lives of people living around the park, some of whom have people urinating and defecating in front of their door."

The law, which went into effect on Thursday, targets mobile soup kitchens. It carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Riggleman said that by shutting down such soup kitchens, homeless people will be encouraged to go to a centre or a charity that offers services such as mental health evaluations or job placements.


Gail Sacco, who operates a mobile soup kitchen, said the city does not have adequate homeless services and that she is undeterred by the new law.

"There's no way for people to get out to those services in triple-digit weather," she said, referring to the soaring summer temperatures in the area.

"My plan is to do anything I feel is needed to keep these people alive."

The law defines a homeless person as someone "whom a reasonable ordinary person would believe to be entitled to apply for or receive assistance".

Allen Lichtenstein, a lawyer with the American civil liberties union of Nevada, said the language makes the law unenforceable.

He said: "The ordinance is clearly unconstitutional and nonsensical.

"How are you going to know without a financial statement who's poor and who's not poor?

"It means they can discriminate based on the way people look."

Poor people are bad for bidness. How many of these people lost it all in the casinos?  Las Vegas is Disneyland for adults. Can't have the real world intrude.
Orlando, FL recently passed the same law, basically. It outlaws feeding anyone within a 2 (+/-) mile radius of city hall on city property (i.e. a park)
Orlando FL passing a "no feed zone" anti-homeless law makes sense in that Florida residents have underwent a computer crash as of 1/1/01. I'm talking about the BRAINS of Florida residents that crashed on Y2K. Think of the Y2K election and appointment of "W" George W Bush.

With the extreme heat down there, their brains underwent one meltdown too many giving us Bush and now the "no feed zone" law. If you want Floridian wierdness, try reading Paradise Screwed by Carl Hiaasen. He's the Miami version of a Mike Royko.

Mike Royko, no there is a name I don't hear too often anymore. I wonder if anyone is up to writing Boss II?
[blockquote]whom a reasonable ordinary person would believe to be entitled to apply for or receive assistance[/blockquote]
thats too broad a definition, it will be struck down by a higher court if we are lucky.
a 'reasonable ordinary person' can be defined to suit anyone they darn well please from your average suburbinite to the richest man in town.
It is a problem if you have ppl pissing and shitting in your garden/on your front door. The problem is solved two ways: Provide decent pissing/shitting facilities, even if you lock up the restrooms used by "decent" people during the day, provide some kind of spartan but adequate facility that's available 24/7. And kick the ass of any bum who uses your doorway instead of the facilities.

This realistic "tough love" is not being applied because no one's tough/realistic enough so instead the homeless are doing what they're doing largely out of lack of alternatives/anger (and I doubt we'd act any different if we were in the same situation) and now people go to jail for giving 'em a sandwich. The end result is much more cruelty, nastiness, and bodies for the prison-industrial complex.

In other words, a good American solution!

Sorry about this- I can't help myself.  
Isn't feeding the homeless like feeding pigeons?  Makes more of them hang around the park, they shit everywhere, etc.  Maybe they could put those spike strips on the park benches - you know the kind they use on buildings to keep pigeons from roosting.  Just a thought.  Maybe post peak they could carry packages for beer - like messenger pigeons. We could even put them in a cage and feed them...only without the shreaded newspaper(they like whole sheets) Kinda like prison(actually).
again I'm sorry - I should go back to working on something...anything really.
Look here, animals trainers "train" animals to do all kinds of neat tricks by merely co-opting their natural behavior. Seals naturally like to balance stuff, etc. One I realized that, how to get humans to "behave" better became a lot clearer to me. Starting with myself! If I always felt like throwing stuff in a particular corner, that's where I put the wastebasket. If I had not much to do one day a week and felt kind of blah, that became laundry day. Think about this, figure out how to make your own "natural" behaviors useful or the vehicle for something useful, and life becomes a bit easier.

Now, about the bums, frankly the life of a bum is no treat. Not only does it involve being hungry, cold/hot, having to pee, dirty, etc. a lot of the time, which is enough to keep most of us out of it, but it's living a life with no real meaning. That's the worst thing of all. Thus, no one would want to be a bum if they had an alternative. Thus, those who are bums deserve a break. If they are given some kind of basic place, Spartan, to pee and sleep etc., they at least won't be pissing in your doorway.

We have got to shake ourselves of this Calvinist view of life. It's bad enough being poor, why punish the poor for being poor? Why is it ok to be a useless person if you're rich but be not just left alone, but punished for it if you're poor? Christianity is poisonous, but the Calvinist variety is one of the worst.

To be completely Michael about it (Frank is not my name!) I would rather be a suicide bomber than go full-scale poor. Once my useful social life is finished I would rather blow myself up than "live" in some nursing home. The target? It could be anything. I have not decided on any possible target, so anything is open season, once you decide to go suicidal about blowing it up.

The whole idea of the suicide bomber is to avoid prosecution after you blow up the target, or in the postal case, shoot up the place. You pop yourself knowing that you'll end up being "put down" anyways. You get to avoid giving the government that satisfaction. The recent doctor turned suicide bomber is a perfect case of a "go postal" divorce scenario.

Oddly enough, I did predict this with the divorce suicide bomber, only but not quite. My vision was that a divorce-driven suicide bomber would use a car-bomb and like al-Quaeda, smash it into the house of the ex and kids to blow them up in the middle of the night. That M.O. would deprive the ex-wife both the home AND the kids, albeit by murderous means. But by blowing himself up the ex-husband kills himself during the explosion of a quarter-tonne bomb. Nobody can be prosecuted due to the villain offing himself.

"Maybe they could put those spike strips on the park benches - you know the kind they use on buildings to keep pigeons from roosting."

In fact something like this is happening in Canada now, not sure about the US. More and more benches found in places like parks and bus stations are being divided up with arm rests in the middle of the seat, thus converting them into 3 or for chairs, but impossible to lie down (sleep) on.

Pretty sure this is targeted against those living on the street.

Yup, they do that here in Blair-land as well.  The common tricks are making the benches extra thin so you can't sleep on them, armrests in the middle of the bench like you mentioned, and my favourite, the seats that flip up like cinema seats.

Personally, I found climbing on top of the old middens (about 15ft high brick structures all around London) provided the best you could hope for in terms of shelter and safety.

Our city council last year passed comprehensive "anti-homeless" ordinances--criminalizing behavior (urinating in public--no public restrooms, loitering in parks, sleeping outdoors, etc.) in the downtown "tourist zone."  Don't want to get in the way of making a buck, I guess.
Yet dogs can piss anywhere they want. Tell me this. What's the difference between a dog's piss and a human's piss? (besides alcohol content that'll help sanitise it) As far as I give a damn a dog is a head of livestock.
The ACLU recently won a case where it was determined it was OK after all for a person to sit/lie on the sidwalk etc. Think about it, when you get right down to it, public places are the homeless' home, lacking any other. Just as you said, you're going to let a dog lie down and rest but not a fellow human? And that most people support the anti-homeless laws in the US says something about the evil empire all right.
my sister and I traveled thru china a few years ago. my conclusion, a land of many puppies and few dogs
yum yum get some
Essentially no difference at the chemical level, except for the phermones found in dog urine that make it smell MORE than that from humans.

All urine from healthy animals, human or otherwise is sterile when produced, though it will support the growth of bacteria after the fact.

I don't understand why cities in europe are able to provide free public washroom facilities in cities wheras North Americans are not....

  The poet William Blake wrote that"Human Pity would be no more if we did not make somebody poor", which can be interpreted that our perceptions of poverty are what make people poor as well as the obvious that we are all responsible for creating poverty. As I recall the line is in his poem "The Human Abstract" .
   So who is more in poverty, the people who work 10 or 12 hours a day and commute 2 or three hours in traffic from a stupid job to a MacMansion worried about how the whole thing will collapse if his/her gas bills continue to rise, or the king of the road who lives in a lovely landscaped park with food free for the asking and no dress code?
Heh heh the "King Of The Road" is rich.

You hit close to home there, I think for a lot of us. You speak sooth, oily.

I just posted a new blog essay on the cross-country E85 trip being sponsored by Kick the Oil Habit. I would have posted it as an essay here, but it may be a bit too harsh for TOD, especially since one of the promoters asked us if we would publicize the trip.

An interesting excerpt, from the guy driving the car:

Mark Pike: If the technology is good enough for Mr. Khosla, it's good enough for me. I know that guy has done his research, so I trust him. I will leave all of the scientific data and research to him.

That is a big problem. You can see my essay at:

Kicking the Oil Habit Road Trip



I read your post and I don't see why you said it was too harsh for TOD.  I wasn't aware that much of anything was too harsh for TOD.

It's really depressing when, as a Democrat, I see leading Democrats like Daschle spew such nonsense. I guess all those years in politics just causes your brain to shrink up to the point where you are just incapable of doing any analysis before you start spouting off b.s. like this man is doing.  Yeh, right. Ethanol will show those Arab bastards we mean business.

I can understand political boosterism.  But we are talking about critical decisions here which will affect our ability to function as a nation.  To bet the farm, so to speak, on ethanol, is an incredibly irresponsible stance to take, since it could ruin our economy and our land for now and far through to the future.

And then we hear the crap about combining PHEVs with ethanol and getting 500 mpg, whatever that means. And this comes from former CIA Chief, Woolsey, an otherwise very intelligent man. I'm glad to see him in the camp of getting off of imported oil.  But he acts as if ethanol, and especially cellulosic ethanol, is magic, a total free lunch, no energy inputs required whatsoever. No energy impacts and no global warming, the key to a glorious future of unlimited energy, as long as we quit eating.

 Might as well just put water in your tank.  That way you get infinite miles per gallon.  

I read your post and I don't see why you said it was too harsh for TOD.  I wasn't aware that much of anything was too harsh for TOD.

Mainly because they asked us if we would help publicize their trip. Instead of publicizing it, I crucified it. I don't mind personally being a lightning rod for criticism from ethanol proponents, but I don't want them to feel like TOD stabbed them in the back.



Badmouth ethanol all you want, and I agree with you that it is no panancea.  It will not fully substitute for fossil fuels.  But also recognize this:  The only sustainable fuels are those that get their energy from the Sun.  Maybe it's ethanol from corn, maybe it's biodeisel from soybeans. But, ultimaely, there are NO other options.  

So don't desparage bio-energy. Recognize it's limits and wrack your brains trying to figure out how to live within their limits.


Within limits, ethanol is a good idea.

But,ultimaely,there are NO other options

Electricity directly via wire or indirectly via battery
Bicycles/tricycles with or without battery assist
Shoe leather
Compressed methane (available from a variety of sources, some bio, also synthesis using sporadic surplus WT energy).

All above better than corn based ethanol.

The recent Harper's article has been getting a lot of headspace here over the past day or two. Unfortunately not available online, as I found when I started mousing around. What I DID find was this 30-year old masterpiece of arrogant bull-poo which I urge you to read in full, pausing only to push your eyeballs back into their sockets and maybe pick your jaw up off the floor...


This quote will give you an idea of the general thrust of the article...

In the 1930s the craven men of Munich displayed not only an almost complacent defeatism, but also a constant need to justify German demands. Similarly, the modern appeasers have constantly tried to justify Arab oil extortion. When OPEC members began accumulating billions of dollars in unearned reserves, we were told that this was merely fair compensation for past "exploitation" -- as if men who for years had been receiving huge royalties (for a product they had neither made nor found) could be said to have been exploited.

I checked the publication date, and no it wasn't 1 April! The other quote that stood out was this:

The Arabs may have more and better missiles, but the Israelis now have smart bombs.

So, thirty years later, have smart bombs solved the problem of keeping angry Arabs quiescent? Anyone care to volunteer an answer?

I just bought the Harper's issue on peak oil. Well, I was disapointed by Bryant Urstadt's article, I found the article very pedantic, well written but not very informative. Written during the last US-ASPO conference, right before Rita landfall, the article main focus is on a description of the folkloric aspect of the Peak Oil community. I have the feeling that the author thinks that peakoilers are just another bunch of losers and lunatics!
I had a similar impression, especially since he went on at some length relating the history of such "end times" movements as the Millerites and flying saucer cultists. But I was struck by his description of this feeling, which I experience many times during an average day:
Heading to my rental car, I found myself immersed in a now familiar feeling, one I have experienced many times during the months I have spent reading books on Peak Oil and conversing with Peak Oilers. At those times, I move through the world in wonderment at the commonplaces of my life that are slated to vanish . . . It is unsettling to watch the world disappear, though a little exciting too.
I found the author to be somewhat dismissive, but not to the point of engaging in ridicule. He seems not quite convinced in his response because, like most of us, he's puzzled and unsure what to do next.
See this article by Robert Dreyfuss about the neocons' goal to do just that: The Thirty-Year Itch.
Three years ago you could write stuff like this:

It'll be easier once we have Iraq

Now read this: http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Poetry/Anthology/Kipling/Recessional.htm

When the first gulf war flashed across the tv screen the first thing that struck me was the fact that the MSM was enthralled with the " new technology of weaponry"  called laser guided bombs. I was amazed that these were considered so revolutionary as I had used a laser emitting hand weapon to guide a artillery shell fired from 26 miles away into an old tank at 29 Palms Calif. in 1971. 20 years later it was as though they were invented that year. I also got my first revelation as to how bad the MSM is with numbers. CNN's dilbert reporter had each individual in the conflict using 12,000 gallons of water each day.It's very dry there, he claimed. But I digress, my point is that Isreal has, by this point, much more than "Smart bombs". Not that it will matter. All the posturing and strategereing won't defeat geology. We will go down ready for anything, other than resource depletion.
I guess by now some of us have learned from our adventure in Iraq that smart thinking beats smart bombs any day.
Good article by Margaret Wente in Saturday Toronto Globe and Mail entitled "The war against the car will never succeed". IN 1988, ridership on the Toronto Transit Commission was 463 million, the second largest in North America. By last year despite the huge population growth in Toronto over the last 15 years, ridership had shrunk to 410 million. The author's conclusion-people still prefer cars.

The car as we know it will most likely defeat itself.

We cannot survive the destruction of the very resources that sustain us, and the car as we know it is inextricably involved with just that process of destruction.

Momma likes her van, poppa likes his "High and Mighty" SUV.  Everybody loves some car sometime.

It's gonna be tough to push all those cars around Toronto pretty soon, eh?  Especially when it gets unseasonably hot and gas is triple the current price.

People may like cars in the future far less than they do today.

With people in California complaining about global warming now, I wonder, too, if Canada will start putting up a fence at their southern border to keep us US citizens from fleeing the heat!  LA recorded its highest ever temperature Saturday at 119 degrees!


Thanks for..... talking about the weather!!

This heat is amazing, it's 2AM, too hot to sleep, and it's been like Phoenix outside all day. Wow. Energy use is hitting a new record each day, as well as lots and lots of people getting out and driving their cars. Tomorrow will be another hot one, and they expect another record in energy use to be set on Monday when the lemmings head off to/from work.

If I had more walking around money on me I'd probably take the train up into the city tomorrow and hang out there to get out of the heat, but I don't so I'll just hang around here. It won't be the first time I've soldered a board with a drop of sweat hanging off my nose!

It should be slightly cooler come Monday.
Hang in there.
More about cars. There is an interesting book "The Culture Code" by Clotaire Rapaille a well known cultural anthropologist and marketing expert. In part of this book he writes about the meaning of cars to Americans. He states that when asked about what they want in an automobile, in focus groups, the answer was the usual: good gas mileage, safety, mechanical reliability etc.. On further study however, what emerged is that American consumers want someting distinctive from a car.They want freedom.They want a sensual experience. So what people say they want and what they really wanted were quite different. He says that American children learn at an early age that cars are an essential and vaunted part of family life, that they bring joy and even family unity. When it is time to buy a car, this emotional connection guides them subconscously. They want a car that feels special to them. So the American code fo cars is IDENTITY.By contrast the code for cars in the German culture is ENGINEERING. The point is that, it in my view, it will take very high gas prices to change what Americans (and I suspect Canadians) really really want in a car. The last car I bought was an Infiniti FX35. The look of it impacted me so strongly that I did not even consider the features of the car (including gas mileage) until after I bought it.
Oh, Yeah!
Rapaille makes a killing of everything: The reptilian always wins
That does not bode too well for PO "rational" arguments, they are on the NEGATIVE side!

Maybe the "downhill" aspect of PO does not imprint properly because our first experience with downhill is that it is "easier" once you get over the top of the mountain.

The message of PO should be that it is "uphill" from here on out.

Climbing that hill without gas assist