DrumBeat: August 26, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/26/06 at 9:23 AM EDT]

Ernesto likely to become a major threat:

For a couple days now we have been talking up Ernesto and warning that there was a significant chance that this could be the new big story. After looking at the situation today, I am convinced that things could be very bad indeed. I always try not incite undue worry, but Ernesto could get ugly. Those of you in the Gulf Coast need to re-examine your hurricane plans, especially is you live in the north Gulf from Houston to Tallahassee. A very deep layer of warm water in the northern Gulf could allow for Ernesto to become a very powerful hurricane if it reaches the area.

When oil dries up: Oil is close to running out, and chaos will follow. Richard Heinberg on peak oil.

Helping cities, towns and municipalities adapt to peak oil: things you can do on the local level.

Dems pumped about gas prices

With $3-a-gallon gas near the top of voters' frustrations with the status quo, some challengers seeking to unseat congressional Republicans in November have found a gimmick they think will resonate with voters — and they're pumping it for all it's worth.

Soldier killed, foreigner kidnapped in Nigeria oil fields

Just a day after six foreign oil workers were released by kidnappers, another expatriate has been abducted and a soldier killed in the violent oil fields of the Niger Delta, police said Friday.

The scientists who claim they can create free energy. An interview with the inventors of that Irish perpetual motion scheme.

US Gives Energy Giants Blessing To Turn Rock Into Oil

Driven by a growing desire to lower dependence on foreign oil, the U.S. is set to help two of the world's biggest energy companies revisit extracting oil from stone in the Rocky Mountains - a venture that has previously been polluting and prohibitively expensive.

Getting fresh: Study reveals causes for freshwater increase in oceans

Hello TODers,

My posting from last night reproduced below:

Hello TODers,
Long time readers of my postings will recall my long posting on Antarctica, subglacial lakes, super-super-johkulaups, rapid breakup of icesheets due to super-lubrication, Bentley Subglacial trench, and so on.  It seems some scientists are starting to agree with my speculation:


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

Since you bring up the topic, let me remind you that I am not one to let the opportunity for a johkulaups without making one.
Hello SR,

As the 'joke elapsed', I wrote more info--enjoy the mind boggling icewater potential ahead.

Hello TODers,

jokulhlaup = glacial outburst flood

super-jokulhlaup = glacial outburst flood greater than twenty times the peak flow of the Amazon

Here is another newslink that is informative.

I think it might be instructive to consider the potential volume of water that might be released in a modern day Antarctic super-jokulhlaup by looking at super-jokulhlaups of the Antarctic past.

The Labyrinth is composed of many channels, thus it name, but the scientists write the biggest, single channel is 600m wide by 250m deep by 50km long [1,968.5 ft by 820.2 ft by 31.07 miles long].  It had the potential, if totally filled, of rapidly transporting 600 x 250 x 50k = 7.5 billion cubic meters of water to sea level.

Don't forget the average slope of Antarctica to the sea is the steepest of all the continents, and 38% [or more] of that unbelievably huge amount of ice is resting on ground above sea-level.  Take a look at this Wikipedia link please.

The Amazon River is:
the largest, most voluminous river on earth, having a greater total flow than the next six largest rivers combined.

The quantity of fresh water released to the Atlantic Ocean is enormous: up to 300,000 m³ per second in the rainy season. Indeed, the Amazon is responsible for a fifth of the total volume of fresh water entering the oceans worldwide. It is said that offshore of the mouth of the Amazon potable water can be drawn from the ocean while still out of sight of the coastline, and the salinity of the ocean is notably lower a hundred miles out to sea.

Back to my earlier example: 600 x 250 x 1 cubic meter/sec flowrate = 150,000 cubic/meters/second or about half the volume of the Amazon, but this is only one channel!  A rapid discharge from a subglacial lake would tend to create it's own labyrinth of outlet channels, so the aggregate volume racing to the sea could be much, much higher.  But don't take my word for it--let's see what scientists have to say:

Iceland was buried under ice in the last Ice Age and all eruptions were subglacial. Remnants of the ice caps remain and Iceland continues to have numerous subglacial eruptions. Of the world's known subglacial eruptions, 83% are in Iceland. The most recent eruption, at Grimsvotn, is an example. Subglacial eruptions produce a special type of volcano, called a table mountain or a moberg mountain. Great volumes of meltwater, generated by subglacial eruptions, can burst out from beneath glaciers to produce enormous floods called jokulhlaup. The discharge can be as much as 20 times greater than the flow rate of the Amazon River.


Don't forget that Iceland, and even Greenland, is much smaller than Antarctica.  Therefore, potentially a huge freshwater release could really cause a sudden jerk in climate change.  Imagine sub-glacial Lake Vostok, comparable in size to Lake Ontario [1,639 cubic kilometers or 1,639,000,000,000 cubic meters flowing to sea-level in just a week!  How many channels of the size mentioned above would this take?  It is not unusual for a steep river to flow 50k or 31 miles/day, that is only .6 meters/second, or 2 feet/sec [about a normal walking speed].  So take 1,639 billion cubic meters/7 days =  234 billion cubic meters/day. Divide that by the 7.5 billion cubic meter flowrate of the channel mentioned above, and you would have approx 31 channels of half-Amazon flowsize rushing simultaneously into the ocean for a week.  Imagine what that would do to screwup Antarctic ecology and subsea-currents around the Southern Hemisphere!  I think this is a conservative estimate of an Antarctic super-jokulhlaup as it is only 15 Amazons flowing seaward.

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

Appears that the issue of Dems vs. Repugs is of much greater interest than apocalyptic visions of global warming/climate change scenarios. Perhaps such cataclysms are too overwhelming to contemplate for most folks, sort of like the breaking apart of New Zealand prophesized at:

http://www.dailypost.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3698234&thesection=localnews&t hesubsection=&thesecondsubsection

But perhaps this warning, that anyone with basic understanding of botanical physiology can understand:  
Global warming alarmists aren't upset enough

Or, simply can open their eyes to see:

Wiill finally awaken us to the reality that Lovelock has presented us with: that the point of no return has been passed.

Wiill finally awaken us ...

Awoke and kicking!
To do WHAT?

I am probably close to you in "doomerosity" but that does not mean I am not looking to DO something.
I don't like Lovelock anthropomorphisation of the ecosystem, things are complicated enough for us NOT to add the "will of Gaia" to punish the nasty humans.

Well, if about ninety percent of us would just drink the kool-aid, like now, maybe the other ten percent could muddle along longer. Care to lift a glass with me? No? I was afraid not. Ok, let's flail.
Hello Reed,

Thxs for responding.  Lovelock may be entirely correct, but I will continue my best to try and alert the masses.  I call myself a fast-crash doomer with a small shred of hope [stupidity?] that the masses can be aroused in time to save a few of us.  I call it trying to "optimize the Dieoff Bottleneck". Time will tell.

On another note, I have been regularly updating TODers on Mexico.  From this link:

Mexico's Defense Secretariat has dispatched troops from the 36th Infantry Battallion, based at the 44th Military Zone headquarters in Minatitlan, Veracruz, to the Oaxaca City, which has been paralyzed by civil protests for weeks. The situation has promped the Popular People's Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) to declare a "maximum alert," fearing that a violent eviction of their protest encampments in the city center is imminent. (APRO, Aug. 23)

The embedded APRO link is in Spanish.  My disclaimer: I have no idea if this info is true or not. I hope not, but Mexico has a sad history of its troops opening fire on its citizens.

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

well all the tinder is there for a revolution. they just need a spark right now.
i don't know if this will lead to a spark or not but it certainly looks like it.
All it takes is one trigger happy sob.
Hello TrueKaiser,

Thxs for responding.  I am no expert at googling, but the MSM has this report that Oaxacan businesses will shut down for one day.

Then, another google brings up this mind-blowing headline:

"Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced the forthcoming Mexican revolution, on the front page of La Jornada of August 24, 2006."

Damn, I wish I was fluent in Spanish!  Babelfish translation is not very effective for me.

It's On!  If this website is legitimate and truthful--I cannot believe that our US MSM is not doing a better job of covering WTF is going on down South.

I am amazed at this hitlist website, even if it is 'purportedly' Govt. sponsored.  This truly takes a set of Huevos Grandes to post this on the WWWeb.

What is the truth?  Can any other TODer help determine if Mexico is going to erupt, and shutdown PEMEX's four million barrels/day of oil production?

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

Dems pumped about gas prices

This is my single biggest gripe with the Democratic party. I side with the Democrats on most issues, but their demagoguery on gasoline prices is very annoying to me. I understand that the politics of the issue are effective for them, but do they honestly think things would be different had they been in office? Would they have had the guts to make the drastic changes that we need? And do they really think cheap gas prices are what we need?

Meanwhile, automotive journalist Ed Wallace, in DFW, continues to assure listeners that gasoline prices are coming down, i.e., go ahead and buy the SUV to drive to and from the suburban mortgage. Ed suggests that oil prices may collapse because of a glut of production.  (He continues to assert that Peak Oil is at least 50 years away.)  

IMO, this is the prevailing message that Americans are getting via the media.  

well, i'm a democrat and if i was in office, things would be different.  After 9/11, i would have gone to the people and told them how this tragedy was caused by our dependence upon oil, and that it was time to make the necessary sacrifices to eliminate that dependence to ensure that something like 9/11 never happened again.

People were ready to band together, make a sacrifice, and do something that would make a difference.  It would have worked.  But, of course, the repubs pissed away the greatest opportunity in history to make the world better.

The question is, would Al Gore have taken the opportunity after 9/11?  I personally think that he would have, and I would love to peak into that alternate universe where he was rightfully sworn in as president (instead of this really bad joke of a universe where the greatest failure in history has been sworn in).

Yeah, it's a pity. I was thinking pretty much the same thing after 9/11 — they'll come to their senses now and promote energy alternatives and conservation. Little did I know, they do not have any senses to which to come.

I'm pretty sure Al Gore would have taken such measures, and the right wing would have made screeching noises and thown feces from their cages. I could live with the screeching noises more easily than the hard crash we're headed for now.

The fact that the democrats would rather engage in useless political posturing, rather than addressing the very serious issues at hand suggests to me that they don't have the guts, nor the vision, to make the drastic changes needed.

Completely agree. The "strategy" is reprehensible.
Well...hmmm..."useless political posturing"...I believe the Democrats learned from the Republicans that this is how people get elected these days.

"addressing the very serious issues at hand"

"don't have guts, nor vision"

"drastic changes"

My, my...so tell me who in the recent past has displayed that they can do those things.  Certainly not the current administration.

I think you're being hypocritical to say the least.

My, my...so tell me who in the recent past has displayed that they can do those things.  Certainly not the current administration.

I think you're being hypocritical to say the least.

Main Entry: hyp·o·crite
1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Given that 1). I have never, ever defended the current administration; and 2). This was a story specifically discussing the actions of Democrats with respect to high gas prices, how, pray tell, is it that I am being hypocritical? To say the least.

Sorry, but I see now that your response wasn't directed at me. My apologies.
No...that's ok.

I promised myself I wouldn't give a damn about politics anymore and here I go.

It's going to be an ugly mess of an election this fall and these are just the first shots off the bow (Dems capitalizing on gas prices, Republicans trying to get the prices down, character assassination on both sides, etc.)

In the meantime, Rome burns...frustrating.

And I wish to note that neither party has done anything close to what's necessary...perhaps I'm harder on the Dems because we've already seen the Repubs plan...resource wars and not much else.
Frankly, not much of a stratagy; more like a short-term tactic.  Since the D's have no plan to significantly lower fuel/oil prices, they will be vulnurable to the same tactic if they win control of either house this November.

Besides, I like higher and higher fuel prices.

No, I agree...we need higher gas prices to change behaviors and the Democrats probably know this too.  But, they have to get elected first.  So they will have to play to people's emotions and pocketbooks.  That will score points that way.  

Once they gain some power, they can whatever they want.  Promises made during elections are not necessarily delivered once in office (that's kind of a rule isn't it).

I have a relative in a Congressperson's office (whom I ply with peak oil info to the extent I can without becoming a pest) and he acknowledges that the gas prices issue has everything to do with getting elected and that afterwards they can take a more comprehensive approach.  What that would mean I don't know.  
So much for democracy when even the highest minded citizens acknowledge that it is necessary to lie to get elected because it is assumed that the electorate is so stupid that they can't handle the truth. (Big sigh)
I would go so far as to say it's not just assumed, it's also 100% true.  
e pluribus unum
Democrats and Republicans each represent a diverse ecology of economic, political, social and cultural interests, concerns, and beliefs.

In both parties there are a wide range of emotional, intellectual, political and spiritual maturity and various degrees of honesty, integrity and clarity.

The collective challenges we face cannot be meaningfully addressed with the proverbial 5-minute elevator speech. We need to build relationships with allies and those we may too readily identify as adversieries.

My own bias is to look for the most mature leadership across the artifical boundaries that too often seperate us and provide a whole systems framework that encompasses energy, the living environment, public health and social cohesion, land use and transportation, economics and finance, science and technology, and shared values and concerns.

There is a slow but growing sense that there is a crisis a brewing. And the more clear, consise, confident and kind we can be in orienting one another during this transition, the more likely we will cultivate the collobrative skills necessary to be truly helpful to the whole.

Pipe dream.

(I am not a murikan but I still fear the "collateral damages")

That was a beautiful speech, now for a little reality.  

We first have to get to the "mature" leadership level.   When I hear "mature", I usually think of someone that doesn't take petty shots at people, is secure in their identity, that tries to be honest, that can handle the bad news as well as the good, that tries to work cooperatively with others.

Now, please tell me who in power or soon to be in power (Democrat or Republican) is going to fit that bill?  

Being nice and kind is not in the nature of the US political process at this moment in time.  Perhaps a national crisis will change all that, but I hate to have to wait for the crisis to find out.

who's who in this crazy zoo
Chuck Hagel and Barack Obama both strike me as sincere, intelligent and honest. Gore seems to have grown considerably since his loss in 2000.

But national and regional leadership doesn't have to emerge from the usual suspects. Both Clinton and Carter were relatively obscure before winning the highest US elected office.

And we shouldn't necessarily limit our list of potential leaders to those in the political arena.

reality bites

We do agree that the current political process doesn't attract and mature leadership.

There's no shortage of cynicism, excessive pride, fear and anger, greed and hopelessness.

But how often do we individually cultivate our own capacity to, in Ghandi's words, "become the change we seek"?

Yes...I was thinking Obama may be one of the few that has the charisma and integrity to get something done...we'll see.
The Republicans have shown they will use anything and everything, any opportunity for political advantage.  Now you see the Democrats doing it and you think it's "bad" politics.

Christ, at least they are not attacking people for NOT being patriotic or really getting injured during combat.

So when I see people bashing the Democrats for trying to get elected by any means possible, I think it's hypocritical.

There are no more "etiquette" rules for elections anymore, Robert.  The Republicans made sure of that in 2004.

Dragonfly, ultimately I think you'll find that the two parties are in fact two sides of the same coin. I see only minor tactical issues between republicans and democrats. On the current policies, both foreign and domestic, they are very much in tune.

Its not hypocritical to bash democrats for not acting as a true opposition party. They should be taken to task for it. Who needs republican-lite? There needs to be a true political alternative, and right now I don't see it.

Time will tell who's viewpoint is correct. But if democrats do take the House in Nov. and nothing sustantive changes, don't say I didn't tell you so beforehand.

Robert, I was also replying more to shepseskaf than you.
Yeah, I saw that only after I posted. Again, my apologies.
Well...hmmm..."useless political posturing"...I believe the Democrats learned from the Republicans that this is how people get elected these days.

I never indicated that politicians of both parties haven't engaged in posturing/bloviating to to get elected. The results speak for themselves. Since the democrats seem to be following the republican lead in this, they're rendering themselves just as useless.

I think that you construed my comments as an ad hominem attack on the democrats. It wasn't. I was merely stating that I don't agree with the many who seem to feel that a change in leadership this November will ultimately mean much in regard to the most pressing issues facing this country being addressed.

My, my...so tell me who in the recent past has displayed that they can do those things. Certainly not the current administration.

To me, it really doesn't matter whether politicians in the recent past have displayed that they can address issues like Peak Oil. What matters is that what happens now. If the current crop can't get the job done, then they need to be replaced. That refers to members of both parties. Someone obviously needs to forcefully articulate the fact that this country is headed for disaster and measures need to be proposed to help steer the boat towards the shore, and away from the precipice. Posturers and bloviators are not going to get the job done.

Finally, I do think that in the past (if not the recent past) politicians on both sides of the aisle have addressed the serious issues at hand, and displayed guts and vision in advocating for drastic changes. If its happened before, it can happen again.

OK...I take back some hostility.  Just as long as we are bashing both parties equally.  I agree that there has been greatness displayed within both parties in the past and this could always happen again.  There just seems to have been a massive drought of greatness in recent history.

I've seen a few rainshowers of hope, but nothing like the squall we really need to break the drought.

Here's to hope for greatness in the future and more choices for leadership in this coutnry.

What I see around me is a feeling of 'throw the bastards (incumbents) out!'. Wheather they are Dems or Reps matters not. If the incumbent is challanged in the primaries (a la Lieberman) then he/she may lose there. If unchallanged the incumbent is likely to be defeated by the challanger from the opposition party. However these people are usually party pols rather than independant thinkers so may very well toe the party line even more than those they are replacing. The voters have no knowledge of how these newcommers think on much of anything. It sure would be nice to have some new(good) ideas to vote for!
They do not. This is why people like RR will ultimately become disillusioned and why the system will collapse. Those with the vision and knowledge to make a leap forward to a more sustainable future cannot displace those that play the system for their own social standing because the bulk of the rest of us don't want to hear the truth; we want to hear what lets us sleep well at night.

Goodnight America. The Democrats are proof that the country is going down.

Not exactly posturing, bear in mind Hillary wants to send more troops to mideast.

But in the bigger picture, the Dems are every bit the creature of the neo-liberal Washington Consensus as are the Rs. At least here in Maine, they don't want to touch energy/food/housing/work/income issues. It's all about "what can we do for big business today". Money, campaign contributions, who the leadership gets to hang out with and who they admire - that all plays a part - but there is something else, that most 'mericans of any party can't imagine they have the power to make any changes. Not that any are needed, after all, because the economy is doing just great and McDonald's is handing out Hummer toys. That iron triangle thing. The typical 'merican politician is a clueless corporate stooge; his job is to use politics to move the trough to his crew of corporate buddies.

Maine's energy policy amounts to buying 50 more Priuses and a night out at Al Gore's movie.

Beyond that, no, the Dems don't have the guts or vision to handle what's coming down the road. They cannot deliver on their promises to the voters in this post peak scenario. The tide is going out, not rising.

Of course, they'll keep delivering for their real masters.

Experts warn U.S. Is coming apart at the seams. The Democrats should be able to handle that, but not any more. Their whole concept of more power to government doesn't work: the progressive rationale has collapsed because more regulation only leads to more corporate predation. The big guys have bought the process from start to finish. How Peak Oil and a lot more of LESS is going to affect our political process is going to be fascinating. The Rs are structurally capable of dealing with Peak Oil; they have the castles, the gold and the churches. The Dems got debts and two jobs to put food on the table while their leaders are dining in the castles.

cfm in Gray, ME

What would you have them do?  They hold neither chamber of Congress, nor the WH, and the Republicans have done a masterful job of locking them out of almost every part of national governance.

At this point, all the Dems can do is campaign like hell so they can get into power and then do something.

Then it would be nice if they would campaign like hell. Don't see it.

They're not - at all.

All the big name Democrats are in the pockets of Republicans, supporting the war and business as usual.


Replying to
"Then it would be nice if they would campaign like hell. Don't see it."

As a Dem precinct captain I would much rather see the involvement of "it would be nice if WE would campaign like hell" rather than the apathy and detachment of "they would campaign like hell".
Certainly the Dem's have more than their share of clueless demagogues and the pandering on gas prices irritates me too. But the Dem's also have people like Reps Mark Udall(CO)and Tom Udall(NM) that have been strong leaders for R&D in renewable energy/energy efficiency.
I would urge TODers to get off their duffs (and off this blog for a little while) and get involved in politics at the local street level. It is interesting/educational and sometimes you win! Colorado Dems took back the Colorado House and Senate from the Repubs last election, preventing all kinds of evil-doing.
If you don't like a candidate's position, support an opponent in the primary, run yourself, or challenge the candidate to defend their ideas. Personally I have had good conversations with several Democratic office-holders where we both learned about peak oil, renewables, efficiency, and implementation details.
Colorado passed Amendment 37 , requiring a minimum renewable power production as a result of grassroots citizen activism.

Well, what exactly are they supposed to do seeing as the Republicans control all three branches of government?  Complaining about the Dems is just dumb, IMO, because it's clear the Republicans aren't doing anything worthwile.  Throw them out and maybe we'll have luck with the new guys in town.  Certainly it can't be worse than our current government.  
Most Americans, including many of our elected officials, believe that high gas prices are caused by conniving oil companies and price fixing by OPEC. This view is only helped by the record profits of most oil companies. Most people see this as price gouging rather than companies doing what they're supposed to do. The average person doesn't believe we are running out of oil. I also think that many of our politicans hold this same view. I'm sure a select few understand the reality of PO, but not the majority.

Given these facts, their posturing is understandable. Plus, they are politicans after all. What do you expect them to do? ;-)

The Great Myth of the Deomocratic Party is that big (oil) corporations are the problem, and they must be Punished to make Everything All Better Again under Fearless Democrats who will whip the Evil Ones into shape.

The Great Myth of the Republican Party is that corporation executives are Public Servants who use the Magical Mystery Powers of The Market to solve all our problems and make Everything All Better Again--just give them a few more tax breaks;-)

With few exceptions (e.g. the late Paul Welstone), I rarely vote for major-party candidates.

I'd say that captures a lot of the reality.  Neither myth is that useful to us ... but I'd say those are the non-peak-aware default positions of the two parties.
There is no "good" party and no "bad" party. Both parties are wrong on energy.

But we "don't" need an energy policy that encourages consumption, and the American way of life must be negotiable. And we must get out of this dumb, stupid civil war in Iraq! Those people will be fighting that war 100 years from now unless one side completely kills off the other.

So we must choose the lesser of two evils. And it is my opinion that the Democrats are by far and away the lesser of the two evils.

Ron Patterson

The key issue between the two parties is not Peak Oil, but dictatorship.
When Dick Cheney made his speech in 1999 while still at Halliburton, he said that increasing oil production would be a "challenge" and implied that the blame was on the major nationalized oil companies.  Which happened to be Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  That in turn fit into the ultra-capitalist ideology that his people, Bush and the Christian Right imposed on the GOP - not an ideology of fair competition at home and peaceful trade abroad, but the idea that any human anywhere on earth who did not serve the purposes of certain corporations was an enemy of what Cheney called "The American Way of Life".  Which was non-negotiable.  Which is dictatorship.

All of that in turn fit the agenda of the Project for a New American Century, calling for America not just to maintain military superiority, but to destroy any society, democratic or not, that dared challenge American supremacy.  Access to oil could allow a rising Asian industrial power to do that.

I think Cheney at the very least was waiting for an incident to overwrite this aggressive ideology on the views of "normal" capitalists who aren't very different whether they are Republicans or Democrats.  Think of it as an artificial attempt to do here what occurred in Britain between the early Victorian era (free trade) and the late Victorian era (world conquest and Christianization).  Both are the result of an aging society with declining ability to make anything useful.  The Neocons may have had a sick fantasy that a neo-Victorian America could civilize the world by grabbing at the levers of power, and mourned the sort of constrained democracy that existed in late Victorian Britain, where church, state and capital worked together to brainwash a formerly restless population (the Chartist movement, Luddism) into supporting imperialism and militarism through a meaningless 2-party system.  To me, that is as bad as a dictatorship, because it is harder to identify and oppose.

Cheney didn't expect China to grow so quickly, or Iraq to be pacified so slowly.  That created a danger that many mainstream capitalists would defect like they did in 1992.  The administration's moves at authoritarianism at first were not out of line with what you'd expect in Europe in the late Victorian age (everyone had an Interior Ministry and spied on reformers).  Since 2004, the restraints are all off.  The stupid neo-cons probably wanted to create a Victorian age that went on forever without that unfortunate 1914 matter, but now like the authorities of that age, the leaders of this project must now preach militarism, perpetual armament, aggressive Christianity, exaggerated grievance, and fear of terrorism (it was Anarchists back then).  That paved the way for August 1914.

The Democrats would not have initiated this process even if they had understood the threat of Peak Oil because the process was designed to create a very extreme end point.  They would have muddled their way into the resource wars like they muddle their way into everything.  It took the Europeans maybe 40-50 years to get from imperialism to resource competition to war.  But ironically, the very desire of the neocons to use "shock therapy" to accelerate neo-Victorian America into unstoppable might before it was too late has accelerated both the growth of tyranny and the certainty of its failure.    We could reach 1914 in only a few years, or a few months, and this time we've all got nukes.

Have you read William Engdahl's "Century of War?" I've only just gone through the preface but already the discussion of the English empire rings true. I only question why you use the word 'dictatorship' rather than 'fascist state?' Doesn't that more accurately describe the corporate/state hegemony now being created by Cheney, Exxon Mobile, and Bill Gates?
Doesn't that more accurately describe the corporate/state hegemony now being created by Cheney, Exxon Mobile, and Bill Gates?

Of your list, the  only one someone has a choice of is Bill Gates.  And with effort, one can choose a different state.

i saw the 6 hour documentary named after it. though while it was good it focused too much on race, it pictured it as the primary motivator above all else. it did not even touch any of the energy issues that also drove ww1 and ww2. it did mention in only a single sentence that the Germans in ww2 wanted the Russian oil fields but downplayed the strategic importance of it to the Germans.
I wanted to be particular in my choice of words.  "Fascist" has been tarred and feathered as a word only used by cranks.  There have been many kinds of dictatorships, while fascism is seen by most of us as referring to just a few mid 20th century dictatorships, thus it is just a kind of dictatorship.

It is logical that in the 21st century we will see new kinds of dictatorships.  But I lived in the Philippines in the mid 1970s and briefly in 1985, and saw an example of a dictatorship that hardly seemed the stark horror that "fascism" evokes.  Here's the Ferdinand Marcos formula for taking over a former US colony whose institutions were patterned on the US:

Elected in 1963 in the usual dirty campaign.  Country has the 2nd highest per capita GNP in East Asia.

Declares temporary martial law in the late '60s due to the usual political gangsterism plus a supposed Communist terrorist threat.

Extends martial law in the early '70s as the new threat becomes the Moslem separatists in the far south.  The country was decaying already, overly dependent on agricultural exports, hit hard by high oil prices, its population growing out of sight.  When I lived there then all American GIs assumed that all Filipinos were corrupt.

Soon the country's economy was failing, and Marcos & the Mrs. really began ransacking it.  I think eventually the "growth" rate of the country reached negative 7%, as it became one of the poorest in East Asia.

Marcos spent a lot of time hogging the media spotlight and the Mrs. came up with lots of "beautify Manila" crap.  In 1975 one could live on Clark AFB for years and hardly know that political opponents were being harassed or beaten.  His most prominent opponent, Mr. Aquino, had been expelled, but no one was talking about concentration camps.  There was still a legislature and multiple political parties.  The corruption more and more was shifting from the traditional landlord elite to the cronies of Marcos, who had risen from a lower class.  The really bad stuff hadn't happened yet, but even at its worst, I don't think Marcos was ever considered organized enough or competent enough to qualify as even a Mussolini-level fascist.

I think much of the above has parallels with America today.  New Orleans is exactly the kind of fiasco one expects from a state hollowed out by cronyism.  I guess those familiar with Latin America probably aren't too surprised by anything Bush & Co. do either.

What makes America a unique threat is its power over the rest of the world.  You put Marcos in the White House and he probably starts a few foreign wars instead of playing up some rural insurgencies.  Because of this power, when the Administration screws up, it keeps punishing the outside world, which then gets more hostile to the US, so on and so forth.  I agree that the neocons and especially the Christian Right have the ideological concepts to take us all the way to fascism.  But it appears that in America, in reverse of Germany, dictatorship must come first so as to indoctrinate the public with fascist principles.

Another scary possibility: the neocons will fail and Bush will leave, but the Christians will enclose their 30-40% of the population in a propaganda bubble, and from 2008 to 2012  the Democrats will get the blame for all the consequences unleashed by Bush.  The Christians will then openly proclaim the ideology of Christian Reconstructionism (or Dominionism - check it out), and impose "fascism" as an outsider party coming to America's rescue after an energy collapse.  I hope that America will be greatly weakened by then and unable to harm everyone else, but it's hard to tell.

We do not and never will have a dictatorship in this country--we are too wary of authority. GW is merely an anti-authority, a good ole' boy working for the corporate state. That is what Mussolini developed and what we now have here.  From wiki, Fascismo: "a radical totalitarian political philosophy that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, extreme nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism." Hitler was a dictator and his state was national-socialist. The end result of was the same-forever war.
"We are too wary of authority."
I wish. We adore authority. If you ever loudly said Fuck You to an airport screener, an aggressive cop, any authority figure at all, how many of your fellow citizens would quickly leap to your aid?
'We do not and never will have a dictatorship in this country-  ..'  http://www.motherbird.com/Can'tHap.htm

"It Can't Happen Here"  Sinclair Lewis, 1935

"Sinclair Lewis asks the question - what if some ambitious politician would use the 1936 presidential election to make himself dictator by promising quick, easy solutions to the depression - just as Hitler had done in Germany in 1933."

"...     Lewis's novel was supposed to be made into a film in 1936, but Will Hays who was in charge of censorship for the movie studios, used all his power and stopped the film from being made. Hays felt that a film of this novel would be seen as an attack on the Republican party. "

pstarr wrote
"GW is merely an anti-authority, a good ole' boy working for the corporate state. "
 -- That's Goood Cool-Aid!  He's as far from being a 'good-ol' boy' as you can get, but you seem to have bought the paint-job.

I think you nailed it pretty well.

Anyone who believes there is much difference between the parties is sadly mistaken.  

If you have ever read what it takes to get another party on ballots in each state, you will realize that the Dem/Rep's made it virtually impossible.  

Good Cop / Bad Cop

Here, let me interject a good word for Roscoe Bartlett, Republican Representative from Maryland.  If other house members would actually attend his lectures, perhaps we'd have more awareness on this issue.  He's the best person in the house or senate on this issue, and it so happens that he is a republican.
You know thinking about ole Roscoe got me thinking...is there any way we could list politicians on both sides of the line that the TOD would endorse.  Ones that seem to have a realistic pattern of thinking when it comes to energy, transportation, etc. as we gaze upon the impending peak?

Or is it not the mission of TOD to try to affect politics?

IMO that's an excellent idea.  We need to focus on this next election.  
I am a Democrat but this kind of nonsense tends to convince me that there really is very little hope regardless of the party chosen.  The Dems play into the naive notion that all we have to do is punish the oil companies and all will be better. The better long term strategy is to make the oil companies and countries irrelevant.  We should be raising prices, not lowering them.
Their plan is for all gas stations to go back to $1.50 gas - but with empty storage tanks - at least the sheeple will happy.
This is my complaint as well.

The damage the Dems are doing by using this demogogue strategy is incalculable, in my book.

Locally, the Democrats have even run content on their Air America propaganda station bashing one of our local news anchors -- Don Shelby -- for doing an edictorial commentary calling for less consumption of gasoline. The local Democratic pundits heaped scorn on the notion that we are increasing our usage of gasoline(!) and defended the right to drive more and in whatever car one chooses -- the whole deal.

Political discourse in our country is completely divorced from reality, and is merely designed to manipulate and seduce the populace into engaging in a process which diverts energy from making a meaningful difference in the world.

The way to make change is to change the way we live and to form community efforts in making change.

There is no possibility for liberating US politics from the grip of various elites absorbed in their own (mostly comfortable) reality bubbles.

Politics will change when people liberate themselves from the political process and begin to make positive, sustainable change even as the corrupt "Empire" struggles to prevent its own implosion.

Live the change. Speak truth to power.  Eventually, some of the truth might make a difference in the political discourse.  It is more likley that those speaking truth to power will be marginalised and scape-goated.  Life goes on.

How many Californians do we have here? I have written a couple of essays on Prop 87 for my blog, and I have been surprised at the number of hits I am getting from them. I have been thinking about writing a Prop 87 essay for TOD, given the level of interest I have seen on my blog. This is a fascinating mix of politics, idealism, capitalism, and naivety. The campaign has gotten pretty nasty. Frankly, I think the Yes on 87 people could use a new campaign manager. I addressed his bizarre press release yesterday:

Yes on 87 Publicity Stunt

I would be interested in hearing impressions from Californians who have actually seen the ads that both sides are running. Who is running the more effective campaign? Does either side seem particularly nasty with their campaign?

I don't think it every grew on "marginal land" as well as advertised.  And so when it's grown on better land with more water it attracts a higher price:


Jojoba is a native to the Sonoran Desert. Most natural populations exist only inside a quadrangle with Riverside (California), Globe (Arizona), Guaymas (Sonora, Mexico), and Cabo San Lucas (Baja California, Mexico) as its four corners, and comprise about 100,000 square miles between latitudes 25° and 34° North. These disjunct jojoba populations occur from sea level to about 1,500 m altitude on coarse, sandy or gravelly soils with good water drainage. The rainfall in the area ranges from 75 mm to about 400 mm, and the plant communities are exposed to temperatures between -9°C and 50°C (Yermanos 1982).
Jojoba is a perennial, dioecious, evergreen shrub or small tree that lives under diverse environmental conditions. It has an extensive and deep root system and requires little care if maximum seed production is not desired. Jojoba is valuable as a soil conservation and landscape plant for highway shoulders, city parks, and other places that cannot afford much care.
I think that quote captures my take-away from previous reading:

"It has an extensive and deep root system and requires little care if maximum seed production is not desired."

If you are talking about a productive energy crop though ...



(apparently tax credits were involved)

Good God Man!
Are you mad?
Bimbettes use jojoba for Shampoo!

Remember: 'its becawse I'm woith it'.

I'm in California but rarely watch the TV. I'll keep my eye out though and tell you if I have any impressions worth mentioning. Today's Sacramento (www.sacbee) paper had an article about how the initiative got going, but nothing of much substance about the initative itself.
I live in CA.  

Probably it would be worthwile for you to write an essay about Prop 87 here.  The only thing is, it seems like the question of whether to vote for it comes down to whether you want higher gas prices, because the prop is flawed and ridiculous, but might still produce higher gas prices as an accidental byproduct.  

At the same time, I am inclined to vote against it, because in the end I think the beneficial impacts (higher gas prices) will be short lived and result in substantial backlash.  In the long term I think Prop 87 will prove to be counter productive.  That said, I fully expect the prop to pass and will be very surprised if it fails.  

I ran across this yesterday and posted it on the open thread.


It's an AP story about the 15 million chinese left homeless by the current crop of typhoons.

The 2000 census put New Orleans Population at 484,674 so china has about 30 time the number of refuges?

I was a tad skeptical about that number so I did more searching this morning.  I figured someone misplaced a decimal point.

It looks like they really got pounded

But only the AP is using the 15 million number.  Anybody got any thought on how to verify this?

If China has been so devastated then their oil consumption and exports have to be effected at some point.  I've been reading for a while that their financial system and food producing system were in really bad shape.  One has to wonder how many hit it will take to make them collapse.

From Newsweek:

Unwinding the Credit Boom

We are at the end of the credit boom--certainly the six-year boom and maybe the 60-year boom. Has any society ever created so many ways for people to go into hock? In 2003 Americans had 1.46 billion credit cards, or five per person. Home mortgages total $9 trillion, and some initially don't require borrowers to repay all their annual interest. In 1946 households had 22 cents of debt for each dollar of disposable income. Now they have $1.26. Behind these numbers lies a profound social upheaval: the "democratization" of debt. Everyone gets to borrow. But this process may have reached its limits.
This historical context is too often missed. Everyone should read and ponder over the Fed's Z1 flow-of-funds historical statistics for themselves.
I've heard the argument that the Fed has shot its bullets.  It used the lowest interest rates it could, to try to grow past troubles ... and how has tried the highest interest rates it dared to controll the housing bubble.  What can they do now?  Going lower might help people manage their debt, but that sounds to me like a recession, not a soft landing.
Perhaps there are still a few limits, or a few people who haven't borrowed enough, at least if they want to drive a Ford:
In yesterday's Drumbeat, Optimist and AlistairC posted a link to Dr. Samsam Bakhtiari's testimony before an Australian Senate committee.  If you read nothing else this week, READ THIS DOCUMENT!

I found it totally amazing.  While he presents the PO information very well (I plan to send it to a very few people who might actually read it), it won't be much new to TOD readers; it is not the information itself that I found so impressive.  Rather, it is the context of who he is, where he lives, who he works for, and who he is saying it to.  

The man works for the National Iranian Oil Company in Tehran, and is presenting to an Australian Senate committee, and is speaking in open, frank terms about all of the main PO issues and concerns.  He pulls no punches.  Think about that for a bit, and contrast it to what is happening in the US, for instance.  Can you imagine that conversation happening here? Think about it in comparison to all the propaganda coming out now, and remember it after the coming insanity starts.

Further, it shows me that clearly, "TPTB" understand all of this - it is common, openly available knowledge.  The actions of those in charge of the world governments should always be judged in light of the fact of this knowledge.  How can it be possible that they would not have been informed?

Iran has always been a country that accepts peak oil.  Their politicians talk about it openly.  They say they have decided not to use high-tech methods to produce their fields because they'd rather save some oil for their children.  They want nuclear power because they are thinking about life after the oil is gone.  They are constantly calling for OPEC to lower production limits to save a dwindling resource.

Of course, from the U.S. point of view, they are just trying to talk up the price of oil and keep IOCs out.

Iran and Venezuela have always considered oil a finite resource, dating back to the 50's when the two were the driving forces in starting OPEC.

A culture of preservation of the resource seems to have been preserved despite colonial interference by the west in both countries, from time to time over the intervening decades.

When Iran talks about developing a nuclear energy industry for their future electrical needs I believe them. They can't just shop the open market for this stuff, not without strings attached which the politicians there may be unable or unwilling to accept - so its going to take them years to build up the capability to be fully self sufficient.

That this build up also gives Bush et al the sound bites and photo ops to agitate for another war is a different discussion.

The senators who asked questions also seemed a more useful commodity than their US counterparts.
It frightens me when Baktiari talks about transition phase 1 to 4. I would like to know more about his personal opinions about T2, T3 and T4.

Baktiari is a geologist? Right? Or is he was well somehow an economist? Does he regard these T1 to T4 simply from oil supply sight or as well from economical?

The most startling paragraph is about the natural gas supply in Europe. So far it sounded more, there are really bad prospects in North America. But now we here in Central Europe have to fear natural gas problems as well. Obviously pretty soon.

The day when I had the chance to listen to Baktiari I was impressed, because he seems to be a very intelligent person and very good educated.

Thanks, I skipped that one on the first pass.  It is indeed a very good presentation.
I went to Bakhtiari's website once back in 2004.  He's openly and ferociously opposed to the clerical regime.  It's amazing that they allow him to hold such an important position, and a credit to his abilities.
Bakhtiari is a former senior exec with the Iranian Oil Company.

He quit before going on his "coming-out" tour.

I am always amazed at the willingness of the public to believe what politicos and TBTB say publicly. Continually on TOD posters are pondering why "they don't get it". Look, what they know and what they think will always be different than what they tell you. Always. Oil depletion is not a complex subject. IMHO, post-peak, when the world is producing approx. 60-70 mbpd TPTB through the MSM will still be effectively selling the story that the shortfall is temporary-"just wait a few years". The cheque is in the mail, etc.etc.    
US Gives Energy Giants Blessing To Turn Rock Into Oil

From cattlenetwork.com? How on earth do you find these stories in such out of the way places?

Google.  :-)
Hmm, I have to check out this "Google". Is it on the Internets? :-)

You know, I had never used Google much to search the news. I checked it out, though, and I have been missing out.


When you go to www.google.com, click the "News" tab.  You can set up alerts (key words) that will then be emailed to you.

Rick D.


It's also worth bookmarking the NewsNow site.


It's a UK site, but it gathers stories continuously worldwide. If you click on the "Industry Sectors" drop list at the top left and select "Oil" you'll find numerous oil-related news stories, updated every 2 Minutes or so, 24/7.

Thanks!  "energy" is a good category as well.
When I am work, Monday through Friday, I get constant updates on energy news. We have an internal news server that picks up stories from around the world in a number of different categories. Even so, I never see half the stories Leanan comes up with until I check in on the Drumbeat.
Someone asked me a few days ago if I was involved in the "Peak Oil movement." I cringe whenever I hear that. Fundamentalism is a movement. Peak Oil is a fact. I don't even like to hear someone ask "Do you subscribe to Peak Oil theory?" What is there to subscribe to? The only controversy should be over the timing, not whether the theory has merit.

In my opinion, many of those kinds of question are designed to show Peak Oil as some kind of fringe belief. This does a disservice to this very serious topic, and we should not play along. Let those who ask know this isn't like some religous belief, nor is it some crackpot theory. Ask the questioners whether they believe that you can make withdrawals forever from a finite source without running out.

Peak oil is a fact where it's already happened, and a very reasonable theory where it has not.

Religion comes in when people attach specific outcomes to the future global peak.  If enough people do that, then they own Peak Oil as a meme.  Sorry.

You are right Odograph, some silly people think peak oil will mean less of everything, less food, less travel, less of the goodies we come to expect from our way of life. What fools they are to think that peak oil will have this specific outcome? Don't these fools know we will just find something else? Don't these idiots know science will think of something?

Spread the good word Odograph, our way of life will last forever! Peaknicks are nuts because they expect peak oil to have some specific effect on our good and great way of life. What a stupid meme! This is nothing but a religious belief. And besides, don't these fool know that God will not let anything that bad happen to the good folks that worship the one true religion of Christianity.

Ron Patterson

I never said our way of life will last forever.  I've said many times that I see pain and adjustment ahead.

... but it's easier to paint me as something else, isn't it?

In other words, when you see the moderate position as the other extreme ... that should tell you where you stand.
I have never made a secret of where I stand; I am a doomer pure and simple. I believe fossil fuel depletion will eventually lead to the end of civilization as we know it. The only question is when. When will depend on how people and nations react when they realize that that every economy must shrink instead of grow. And it depends on how they will react to the knowledge that less and less energy means less and less food. It could happen, the collapse of civilization I mean, as early as the twenties or as late as mid century.

But I am surrounded by people who believe our way of life will last forever. Frustrating but what the hell, I am 68 and expect to be safely dead when the shit really hits the fan. But I did have the satisfaction of living to see peak the peak of world crude oil production.

But the collapse would eventually happen even if oil would last forever. All peak oil will do is hasten that date. Saying that "we cannot know" is just another form of denial. Either that or another form of ignorance.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that any social system based on the use of nonrenewable resources is by definition unsustainable......

Similarly, any culture based on the nonrenewable use of renewable resources is just as unsustainable.
Derrick Jensen, Endgame

There is nothing very attractive about "civilization as we know it."  So maybe a new iteration will cause the more positive aspects of human psychology and physiology to be selected in the new Darwinian space.

There is nothing very attractive about "civilization as we know it."

Damn.  Get out there and enjoy yourself.  The things you can do and see right now as a result of the oil age are incredible.  Surfing in Hawaii.  Skiing in Utah.  Go to Rome, or Paris, or New York City.  Go see the Stones in Concert.  Go to the Getty museum, or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  

I'm worried about Peak Oil too, but that's no reason to hate the world today.    

Oh, really?  It's clear that modern civilization is not a utopian ideal, but just go back and leaf through a few chapters in history and you can clearly see things are a hell of a lot better now than they were in the past (at least for those of us who are living in the first world).
I was thinking, after I posted above, about something that happened ten or fifteen years ago.  I was carpooling with some members of a splinter Christian religion.  At one point they asked me "do you want to know how the world ends?"  I said "ah, no." and their eyebrows shot up.  It was like they hadn't thought of that answer, and that it interrupted their pitch.

(My Lutheran upbringing was more about responsibility and ethics than "knowing.")

I think there is something similar here.  Some people have a need to "know" how the story will end, and will try to fill it with science and/or religion.

I'm also of the opinion, sometimes derided at TOD, that we are living through an age with millennial cults living just below the surface.  No one calls them millennial, because we're too smart for simple numerology, but as the 2000 approached, 20 percent said the world will end in their lifetimes.  That's huge.  That has to play into the national mood and outlook.

Bringing this back to peak oil ... I think there is enough scientific, geologic, and economic, evidence for serious concern.  I think it is a pretty safe bet that we will have to change.  The world "as we know it" will go, and something else will come in.

Either we do it the hard way (economic dislocation) or the really hard way (die off).  If you "know" which one it will be ... I've got some car pool buddies for you.  Nice guys really, just a little off ...

Some people have a need to "know" how the story will end, and will try to fill it with science and/or religion.

IMO...that's about as fair as saying, "Some people can't face the truth so tell themselves 'there's no way we can really know.'"

We'll have to ask a psychologist to arbitrate ;-)
I'm also of the opinion, sometimes derided at TOD, that we are living through an age with millennial cults living just below the surface.

This ought not to be derided and the cults are not that much "below the surface", many are quite visible.

This is a harbinger of impending COLLAPSE, an increase in mysticism from stressed populations.
Reported by Tainter about the Roman Empire demise on pp137-sq.
This is part of a "scanning" behavior intended to look for solutions, some scanning behaviors are non religious (like TOD!).

Read Tainter!

Right now all energy books are pushed aside ... I have to dive into some computer stuff for a while.  That does sound interesting though.
1000% agree!

I am working on an article, "A Day in the Life of a Professional Prophet of Doom" in which this is a key point:

. . . as societies move into the plateau part of Tainter's curve of complexity, more and more people start to feel they aren't getting their fair share. These people go looking for ideologies that explain why they aren't getting what they feel they should. Sometimes these ideologies are very nasty (think National Socialism or Christian Fascism), sometimes they are very friendly (think Community Solutions or New Urbanism) but in the end the reason people are attracted to these things is they feel they aren't getting what they should be getting from the great society.

Now what decides whether somebody becomes a Christian REconstructionist or a New Urbanist is a different post all together.

Granted, there are always people who are malcontented.  But the % of the population that is malcontented increaseas during the pre-collapse period, a period I feel we've been in since 1971 when our domestic oil production peak.

I seriously doubt it is a coincidence that radical religion got really going in the 1970s just as it got tougher and tougher to get ahead in this country. And yes I do have data to back that up:

from 1950 to 1970, the per-capita BTUs increased 50% in  the US. From '70 to '90, it increased by only 2%. From '90 to '04, only 1.6%.

The number of people attracted to ideologies that explain why things are going poorly will only increase as the per-capita availabilty of BTUs continues to plateau and the goes into decline. I suspect the number will really start to go up when the per capita decline goes negative.

So as things go to shit people start looking for reasons why they are going to shit.

If the tend to be more on the technical or scientific side, pute-PO is what they're going to gravitiate towards.

If they tend to be religous they MIGHT come to PO also but in the context of "this was predicted in theh Bible!" and "this is why you need to get saved NOW just like we've been saying for 30 years!!!"

If they're green activists they'll come to this and if they're activists they will come to this info in the context of "this is why we need to move to small agraian communities or dense urban communities or ecovillages, whatever, just like we've been saying for 30 years!"

If they'll political they'll come to this info in the context of "this is why we need to throw the bums out just like we've been saying for 30 years!!!" (whoever they feel the bums are)

Point is in the end ALL human brains are wired the same way. And when things go to hell they look for  reasons. To the brain, PO is just another reason, one only accepted AFTER the person's brain has come to the belief that "things just aren't the way they should be." And when societies hit the plateau part of the curve more and more people start looking around and thinking, "things aren't the way they're suppossed to be." And then certina social niches open up, including the "professional prophet of doom" social niche which is basically somebody who can articulate a clear explanation of why things have gone to shit.

An alternate explanation is that it is millennial, but those swept up in the various forms of millennial doom don't want to say (or see) it.  This is especially true for the evangelical end-times folks.  There's no way 20% of Americans would see the end approaching in their lifetimes if the big odometer had not just wrapped "2-0-0-0"

from 1950 to 1970, the per-capita BTUs increased 50% in the US. From '70 to '90, it increased by only 2%. From '90 to '04, only 1.6%.

Duncan, Olduvai on dieoff.

  • 1. On the average, world per capita energy-use reached a maximum value (i.e., a peak) in 1977.
  • 2. The 1977-1995 rate of decline has averaged 0.90% per year.

From tonight, at the Cheverus "New Parents night", discussion with other parents - where I only ask slightly leading questions - our generation is getting a lower standard of living than our parents. This in response to Principal's comment on the moral environment facing our teenagers.

"Toes swinging in the breeze at Nuremberg" is starting to seem to apply to a large number of our so-called leaders. Throw the bums out is not enough.

cfm in Gray, ME

The "end of civilization as we know it" isn't very meaningful in and of itself unless you can describe what that really means in terms of our way of life, lifestyle, consumption patterns, etc.  As far as I am concerned, the end of civilization as we know it is a necessary phenonomenon and mandatory if we are to avoid a more important phenomenon, the end of the planet as we know it.

What passes for civilization as we know it is not civilization but a form of cultural and economic deviance which primarily exists to support a so called way of life which is really a way of death.

Let us begin by clearing out the auto from our cities; after that we can begin to build a civilization worthy of the name for what we have now is demonstrably uncivil and uncivilized.

You've hit one of my hot buttons.  I find the "end of the world as we know it" tag line incredibly frustrating, as it can mean damn near anything.

Of course the future will be different from today.  But that could be anything from a greater push to roll out renewables (primarily solar and wind), coupled with a lot of economic pain from dislocation as we transition away from fossil fuels, to the total collapse of modern civilization.

Similarly, I can't believe the people who use "do you thing technology will save us???" as a put-down.  Anyone who thinks new technology won't help, and won't lessen the economic and human cost of our energy situation in the coming years, please raise your hand, and keep it up until CERA issues a "we're at peak!" statement.  (Hint: Several new technologies, including thin-film solar and the latest lithium-ion batteries will go a long way toward easing our transition.  It will still be a long, expensive, and painful process, but much less so than if we didn't have those advancements.)

You're right, the "end of the world as we know it" is a dead-in-the-water term (the world as we know dies every second)*.
But then again, "transition" is a dead term too. Unless you define what you would like to "transit" into.
I understand you don't mean utter mayhem, but what then?

Come to think of it, technology is a bit of a dead horse as well, one whose past benefits are debatable (look at where we are today), and whose future benefits are so vague that it might be good to ask ourselves how much we wish to wager on "brilliance" that has yet to be invented. There's far too much of that floating around, be it cellulosic ethanol or cold fusion or zero emissions magnets, or methane hydrates extraction and the list goes on. Any idea what time it is? Again, look at where we are today.

Belief in technology is to a large extent just that, a belief, a form of religion, Relying on future inventions is akin to stating the belief that your kids will be smarter than you are. But without giving them a voice in the matter.

"This moment will never come again, I know it because it has never been before".
Victoria Williams

Belief in technology is to a large extent just that, a belief, a form of religion, Relying on future inventions is akin to stating the belief that your kids will be smarter than you are. But without giving them a voice in the matter.

Perhaps in the public response to technology ... but it's important to remember that technology in its pure form is science and engineering.  In those, a failed test will disprove a learned argument in nothing flat.

(In chemistry they never gave us secret words to make our reactions work, in programming there were no secret words to ward off crashes.)

I'd like to respond, since you quote me. But I have no idea what to say, really, since you don't address what's in the quote.
I guess sometimes I'm not clear.  Trying different words:

Belief in technology is to a large extent just that, a belief, a form of religion, Relying on future inventions is akin to stating the belief that your kids will be smarter than you are. But without giving them a voice in the matter.

Engineers and scientists don't have a "belief" in their own innovations.  History is too littered with failures.  We are too up close and personal with those failures.  We know that each innovation that works is a hard won battle.  Not something we simply have faith in.

Now, I'm sure non-practitioners might have more of the loose faith you are talking about.  They don't see the insides of the sausage factory.  They only see the sausage.

actually they do. this is the curse of the specialist, they get so absorbed in their world view that anything can be solved. it's just a matter of engineering or a new scientific discovery away.
they don't have a care in the world what else they do. as vernier Von brown(i know i misspelled his name) is a very good example of this. he did not care the nazi's used slave labor to build his rockets, he considered those rockets a stepping stone to what his dream was. he did not surrender to the Americans because he liked their ideals, he did it because he though they had the better chance of reaching his dream.
If engineering were a "religion" Von Braun would have burned insense and chanted to make his early designs fly.  He would not have changed the design, again, and again, and until he found something that worked in the real world.

BTW, nice try using Von Braun as your struggling engineer, instead of say Robert Jarvik.  I won't bother with such small bait.

It'e weird, not just naive, to suggest that among those this society labels as scientists, none have faith in future accomplishments in their field.
Among non-scientists, the line "they'll think of something" is very widespread.

But scientists are just as faithful. No, not every single one of them, but that goes for non-scientists just as well. If we stick with energy technologies, I've seen more quotes than I care to remember from"experts" who say they are confident such-and-such problem will be solved in an X number of years.

Whether that is a purely religious statement, or there's a profit idea involved, whatever. In 99% of the cases, it's simply faith, no proof needs to be provided. But it is an attitude that influences the public. This religion is a 100-year old society-wide occurrence. We still, a vast majority of us, claim that science and technology are positive and good. Even though we see the destruction around us. The whole line of thought is strongly biased. Same vein: we call a growing economy healthy and robust. But is it really?

The problem with the energy problem is that it's 1 minute before twelve, and having faith in solving something in 20 years is useless. The problem with scientists is that that all it takes to get that title is a degree, not a way of thinking. Hey, they give out Nobel prizes to economists. Anyone want to claim that as a science?

Take cellulosic ethanol. For a lot of years, a lot of people have been working on it. Now that we feel it would be nice if it actually worked, we pour in a lot more money and scientists, and expect it to be solved, we have faith. That is religion. And that is very evident in Robert's correspondence with Khosla. Nothing to do with science. A hope, an expectation that tomorrow will be better. That is religion. No proof needed today. A rain dance fueled by money.

Not to say that religion has no function in societies, not at all. But call it by its name. That way money-fueled statements will be harder to conceal.

I argee with most of that.  I just don't like the naked "religion" label because it does draw in comparison to mystical beliefs.

If we want to talk about confidence, and over-confidence, sure ... it is found in science and engineering as often as baking and sailing.

I do think thought that people who haven't spent years trying and failing to get things working, or fixing bugs, are more likely to fall victim to that kind of thing.

Do you know that the Libertarian party enjoys a disproprtionate number of computer programmers among its members?  I always thought that seeing central control fail day after day was what made them mistrust central control in government.  Hey, if they had religous faith in their discipline, they'd be writing a goverment uber-program to manage us all.

If engineering were a "religion" Von Braun would have burned insense and chanted to make his early designs fly.

Excellent example of the use of Stratagem II :

The Homonymy. - This trick is to extend a proposition to something which has little or nothing in common with the matter in question but the similarity of the word; then to refute it triumphantly, and so claim credit for having refuted the original statement.

You are improving your practice at deception, a little less clumsy than before.  
Learning from Schopenhauer, Eh?

Too bad it's useless, if everybody know the tricks each one can be busted.

And what does this ULTIMATELY SHOWS?

That you are a DEEPLY DISHONEST troll with an agenda !!!

Engineers and scientists don't have a "belief" in their own innovations.

Here you go again, BULLSHITTER!!!

The topic is not "belief" in the working of EXISTING technical or scientific contraptions.
But the belief that YET TO BE MADE innovations will show up whenever wished for.

Of course roel cannot respond :

But I have no idea what to say, really, since you don't address what's in the quote.


Well, I'm 67 so we're in the same ballpark age-wise and I, too, am a doomer as I've stated forever.  What frustrates me isn't that people aren't getting it but rather that their not getting it is going to impact my life.  I would be perfectly content to let them die-off or whatever but I doubt that will be the case.  They are going to drag everyone down with them.

By way of analogy, I have a 2 acre garden and orchard.  Being in the boondocks, there are lots of critters around ranging from bears to pigs to birds.  I'm perfectly content to have them roam around the rest of my land but I kill them if they venture into the garden.  What the DGI's want to do, in essence, is come into my garden and eat the food I have grown while I have to stand watching impotently.


Out of curiosity, who or what's a DGI?
I would like to know too.
I complained about "acronymania" before, but...

those who Don't Get It (had to google it)
Peak oil is a fact where it's already happened, and a very reasonable theory where it has not.

A very good response Odo. Followed with examples like E. Texas and Canterell, Ghawar's OOIP vs cumulative production. Close with global discovery vs. consumption ratio... I bet you could get it down to 50 words.  

OTOH... a photo of the Alberta tar sands mining works great. That ugliness, in and of itself, proves peak oil.

Yeah, with tar sands and deepwater projects ... it gets to look like a scramble.
actually a better statement would be

Peak oil is a historical fact in areas where it has already happened, and it is a 100% certaintly to occur in all other areas in which oil is currently produced.  The only Peak Oil debate is about when a global peak of oil production will occur.


The biting question for people who accept peak oil is what production decline will look like ...
The only Peak Oil debate is about when a global peak of oil production will occur.

That's why showing a snapshot of oil sands extraction is so great. It's quite difficult to argue "future" peak looking at that.

Why else would we convert a ton of dirt for one barrel?  

Then maybe you help them with the math. One barrel = 42 gallons. After refining: ~26 gallons of gasoline.

So... it takes a ton of dirt from a deep hole to fill one gas tank. Let them ponder that as they do the morning commute with 40,000 other folks.  

Between 2.5 and 4 tons is probably more realistic. It depends on "saturation" etc., but the average is definitely way above one ton.
Amazing what we'll do to drive a car...

I'd like the P.O. skeptics to think about mining, heating, washing and reclaiming 3 or 4 tons of earth for each tank of gas... since that's where we're headed.

Too bad it's not a NIMBY issue. Imagine that disaster next to your neighborhood instead of far away Alberta.

mining, heating, washing and reclaiming 3 or 4 tons of earth

The "back to earth" powerdowners will happily do that in their backyard.
No problem, they will have reduced their "needs" by a factor 3 or 4, only one ton to handle.

In my opinion, part of the Problem is that there is no "Peak Oil social movement." Social movements may become effective political parties and do big things fairly fast. For example, take the Women's Christian Temperance Movement that created Prohibition in the U.S. Now Prohibition was an experiment that failed (the so-called Noble Experiment), but the point is that a relatively small number of well-organized people with a highly focused agenda can accomplish major social change. The American Revolution began as a social movement.

The Abolitionist movement was a key element in causing the Civil War and eliminating the slavery of Blacks in the U.S. I could go on, but I think my main points should be clear:

  1. We need major change pretty quick.
  2. Social movements can mobilize energies and change public opinion.
  3. Successful social movements may become major political parties and accomplish revolutions--sometimes bloody, sometimes not.
  4. In the absence of a successful social movement, Peak Oil awareness may not amount to much for too many years to come.

There is a huge and often useful literature on social movements in sociology. If you want to be a leader, it helps to be a charismatic fanatic, though the American Revolution was notable for its nonfanatic and rather commonsense approach to major change.
Well, would the US benefit from an emerging third political party, independent of big business and either political stripe. Perhaps grass-roots?

Sure, it would not make a big dent straight away, but if you add up all the US Citizens who dont even vote anymore then there may be a large constituency.

The PO-GW party:

Eco Warriors
Sierra Clubmembers
True Democrats of the old school
True Republicans of the old school
Public transportationists

The list is endless

Surely, all of these people are looking for a political home?

It takes a lot of peanuts make a fine sate sauce.

Fancy Running Don? Note: being a Limey I cannot vote, but I can post you a dollar for your campaign chest :-)

Come on Don, Give Hillary a run for her money.

you will run into one of the problems politics has now, to appeal to a large group any message you have has to be watered down so it's not perceived as 'too radical' by the people you want to vote for you.
considering you list above for a second, if you think about this problem in terms with the groups above you will realize that any compromise you give to have all of these groups on board will basically mean gutting any plan you have.
Compromising for everyone will in turn doom everyone.
I'm too old to run for office for a first time. Additionally, I'm probably too sane;-) to be an effective leader of a social movement: We need a fanatic, somebody with the personal authority of Jesus, Joan of Arc, or Hitler. Actually, Jesus was too sane to be an effective leader of a social movement; it was the woman-hating fanatic Paul who essentially created Christianity. Maybe somebody like Saul/Paul who fell off a horse and had a vision . . . .

Also, what would be the name and nickname of the new party?
Peak Oil Revolutionaries (POR)?
Global Warming Abolitionists (GWA)?
Fossil-Fuel Independents (FFI)?
Oil Drum-Beaters (ODB)?

Note that Democrats and Republicans have stolen the two best names. Maybe peak oilers could take over the divided and weak Independent party.

The history of social movements and revolutions suggests that they start small, with just a few key people--but people who are attuned to the feelings of others and who can articulate problems and frustrations in compelling ways.

One of the most remarkable things about the Nazi party is that it was made up of a bunch of failures, nobodies and mediocrities--but a couple of folks with special talents, namely Hitler with his charismatic authority for working a crowd into enthusiastic hysteria and his using radio and film, plus Goebbels, who was a genius of propaganda. I'd much rather look for people more like as Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, men of various social backgrounds but all of them men of character and intelligence and true patriots--or traitors, as the British saw them.

Note that Peak Oil people are and will be regarded as traitors when they turn their backs to established political parties and refuse to accept the status quo.

I'd be glad to write pamphlets (or blogs, as they are called now) and maybe be an economics or social problems advisor for a peak oil movement, but I know I do not have what it takes for successful political leadership.

Clearly, you should be President.

Any man brought here to be President should be brought in kicking and screaming...

But, could he keep his paws off the interns?

If Sailorman made a pledge to distribute his favors equitably amongst all his interns I would laugh and vote for him.
Oh, I am a great believer in equity. But I know better uses for a cigar than Bill Clinton did;-)
So you deprecated oral sex recently?
Been made to, may be?

Every job has its perks
Regarding Names.

How about :

The Sensible Persons Party?

Science based
Stringent logic
Supremely intellectual
Supremacy of Law, and all men beneath it.

Ah, Franklin already tried this.... ''A republic, Madam , if you can keep it''.

Hey ho.

I suppose the only light at the end of the tunnel for us Brits in our Constitutional Monarchy is that She can actually refuse to sign a Parliamentary Bill and then raise Her Standard.

Anyway, His Imperial Tonyness is back from holiday, so all will be put right in the world come monday morning.

The PO-GW party: ...

Haha, you could pronounce it "The Pogo party". As in, "we have found the enemy and it is us!"

Pardon me, but your age is showing......
And you, you're 39, right? {heh, heh}
The Pogo party.

Yes, that could work.

Especially since that is how most people will be getting to work in 10 years time.

good night.

"The only controversy should be over the timing, not whether the theory has merit."

When people ask you whether you `subscribe' to the peak oil theory they do not mean to ask whether you believe oil to be a finite resource. What they mean is: do you think that oil is about to peak? that peak oil is imminent?, that it is just around the corner?.

Of course the main controversy is over the timing - otherwise Michael Lynch, Peter Odell, Peter Huber, Daniel Yergin and Bjorn Lomborg could all be classified as members of the `peak oil movement'.

But there is also another controversy: how do you define oil?. Obviously, the narrower the definition, the sooner the peak --- indeed, as we all know, conventional oil has peaked already.

So let's take conventional oil for starters [definition 1]
add deep-sea oil and GTL [definition 2]
add tarsands [definition 3]
add oil shale [definition 4]
add CTL [definition 5]

Five definitions - five peaks.

How far can you go?

No, only categories 1 and 2 will be relevant.

3, 4 and 5 will never be onstream quick enough to delay the peake, or bring production back up to anything like current levels.

If I've been following correctly!

OK -- five definitions, five EURs, and a very long 'undulating plateau' or at least slow, rather than abrupt, decline
CTL will start to scale up before oil shale, since oil shale feasibility is still much in doubt.
For any young people about to hit the job market and reading this site:



The moral of the story: Get a job that needs a personal, local presence.

For any Geologists or Petroleum Engineers, blown away and jaded by the last few oil industry recessions: Now is the time to come back - all is forgiven

Happy days are here again :-)


Anyone have a good map of refineries along the gulf coast?
TOD contributors posted them about this time last year, or links to them, as KatRita was plowing through the gulf.
efforting that as we speak.  probably a post coming on that tomorrow.  if you're in a hurry, type LOOP into the technorati search box...

but here's an old resource page:


There has been an excellent series of articles this week in the Rig Zone about heavy oil. Sorry that my computer skills are too poor to link the website, but I guarantee that the articles are worth a look if you would like an industry perspective on the resource.
I'm no great shakes on oil, but I can help with the url:


I am planning a post based on that excellent series.

Oilmanbob, just cut and paste the URL. But I am not so good at this myself. I always must paste the URL because I haven't figured out how to link the url with those red words;-) Perhaps someone can clue me in.
It hase been explained by Dave Cohen here, more details by alistairC here.

<a href="X" target="_blank">The Title</a>
where X is the url.

But to use this you must go to the Comment preferences page and select "HTML Formatted" from the 'Comment post mode:' options box.

Simpler than that:    
[Title X]
where X is the url
But to use this you must go to the Comment preferences page and select "HTML Formatted" from the 'Comment post mode:' options box.

No, you don't.  HTML works with Auto Format, too.

I use Firefox with the BBCode Xtra extension.  BBCode Xtra lets you right-click in the "type comment" box to get a little menu.  The menu let you add HTML code for links, formatting, images, etc., with just a click.

Sorry, since I type HTML I never bothered to even try the other options.
Use Liz solution if you only want links.
Tried them all and they all work but this is by far the simplest one:

Simpler than that:    
[Title X]
where X is the url

Thanks Liz.

Ron Patterson

Re: Randy Whites article, Helping cities,towns and municipalities adapt to peak oil

These efforts by the Portland Peak Oil Task Force are to be commended for the work they have done connecting with their local community. Their list of suggested activities for citizens suggestions to their own local government, while very good positive actions do not seem to penetrate the curtain of government itself.

By this I mean that promoting curriculum development in schools, encouraging individual actions and planning that can be taken by citizens and business, fostering local farm food production and carpooling are all actions that are peripheral to government services.

We need also to get local government and their cooperative, regional planning entities to directly address the alternate scenarios that we are discussing so well on this site and in the domain where the concept of eventual peak oil and its impacts is accepted.

Perhaps Portland Peak Oil Task Force are also doing these things but there are immediate impacts of energy costs going thru the roof and long term effects to essential city services that are directly cost related.

The local and regional governments need at minimum to admit to themselves and their client base that we are facing this crisis and to evaluate their day to day operations of their planning processes with continued support of development, their maintenance of environmental quality and allowing growth to continue even though localized food and transportation networks could not support.

We need localized direct peak oil impact studies, mitigation planning and direct government actions that go far beyond these following suggestion that Randy provided in his article.

As follows clipped "

*Change school curriculum for High schoolers in grades 9 - 12 to prepare for a fast changing world
*Create awareness campaigns and encourage homeowners to buy products and services from local companies  
*Create "food preparation, storage and nutrition" classes for citizens
*Expand business and residential composting programs
*Mandate energy efficiency inspections for homes and buildings
*Assess local food production abilities
*Encourage neighborhood grown food swaps
*Foster neighborhood food swaps based on produce grown within the city.
*Create program for sustainable year round water usage for urban farming
*Create or expand neighborhood introduction programs
*Continue to encourage use of public transportation, biking, walking, and carpooling
*Foster neighborhood co-op owned fueling stations
*Offer "Earth Shift" support groups
*Create "Wisdom of the Elders" program
*Create a re-use storage program

Bellingham, Washington

Great list!

I especially agree that we need to change High School curriculums -- even make some changes in middle school and grade school curriculums to begin to educate children about the changes coming, and about our real relationship to the planet and what we need to do about it.

such curriculum would include meaningful local lifestyle changes to make immediately and would encourage students to begin to plan for additional changes to make as well.

I have recently had two conversations with Queensland students. One was doing a PhD in Ecology, the other a Bachelors degree in Landscape architecture. I was flabbergasted and saddened that neither had heard of Peak Oil!
your going to have to start earlier then grade 9 to get these things to sink in. by that time about 90% of the students are already whole sale indoctrinated into the consume till you drop world.
Ditto on the list.

In an ideal world The Oil Drum would have a separate comments thread for discussing these and other ideas, but we don't live there yet (and if we did, we wouldn't be here).

On the Energy Bulletin piece there's no place to comment; it was originally posted on MySpace, but you have to join MySpace to comment on it there.

If anyone wants to discuss these ideas now, you could drop by  here...

> "We need also to get local government and their cooperative, regional planning entities to directly address the alternate scenarios"

Sounds like Sacramento's doing it, at least with respect to global warming  ('city engineers and planners already were discussing predicted effects; ...SMUD and city transportation officials had begun to review emission scenarios...')

My older brother works for SMUD and I'm impressed with their zero-energy housing initiatives.  I also see that Aquila (gas/electric co.) is giving incentives and working with people to add solar panels to supplement their electricity in Colorado.
Propping up dead presidents

Why is the US dollar still alive? Think record oil prices might be part o the answer.

Saudi oil revenue to hit record $203 billion
Riyadh, Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saudi Arabia will reap record oil revenues of $203 billion this year, according to a report by the Saudi Arabian Bank (Samba). The figure is 25 per cent more than last year's total of $162 billion.

Of the estimated $17 billion per month oil export revenues, about $7 billion per month is accumulating as foreign assets at the central bank, the report said.

Samba reported that prices are now expected to average out at $68 for the year, still well above the $38 per barrel needed to meet the Saudi government budget's revenue projection.

Saudi oil production is likely to average 9.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2006, the same as in 2005.

Note roel: really? you sure?

The bank reported that 37 mega-projects are currently underway in Saudi Arabia with a total value of $283 billion.

"Our macroeconomic forecast is for nominal GDP growth of 20 per cent this year, and real GDP growth of 5.8 per cent. The difference is that nominal growth captures the rising price of oil, so we find this to be a better measure of what is actually occurring," it said.

"The non-oil private sector will grow 8.9 per cent in real terms, the highest growth in 25 years, while inflation will be under 2 per cent," the bank forecast said.

"The strong oil export earnings will be the main factor behind a likely current account surplus of $114 billion, the eighth surplus in a row. The trade profile of the Kingdom is healthy," the report noted.

Even with the country's predicted spending growth of 20 per cent above 2005 levels, the government is still set to run a surplus this year of an estimated $67 billion.

Think they'll run their first surplus in who-knows-how-many years?
Don't bet on it. They're buying Treasury Bonds instead.

Latest update on Ernesto's path doesn't look good for New Orleans:

But if it continues trending east, it's good news for the oil industry.

And the Army Corps of Engineers has just announced that the New Orleans levees may not hold.
round two here we come...
But if it continues trending east, it's good news for the oil industry.

I think we would just as soon do without the hurricanes. I can tell you that in private conversations with other employees, I have yet to hear someone cheer a hurricane in the gulf. Katrina did over a billion dollars of damage to one of our refineries last year.

No doubt, but if you have to get whacked by a category 3 hurricane, better Tallahassee than Houston, right?

FWIW, the geeks at TheStormTrack think this one will follow the path of Dennis.  

Yeah, I guess I misread your comments. I thought you meant it was good news if the hurricane does disrupt production, since it will make oil prices go sky high again. The oil industry did benefit financially from last year's hurricanes for that very reason, but we still don't like to see them in the gulf.
Yeek.  I'm sure BP would have been thrilled if Thunder Horse sunk to the bottom of the deep blue sea.  Not.
Actually, the price of oil did spike, but then settled back lower when the US SPR loaned whatever the oil companies wanted to borrow.  As these loans have not been repaid, and won't be soon, those companies did benefit, but oil e&p's did not benefit from a lasting price increase.
Oil is higher today than it was exactly a year ago, even directly after the hurricanes. For whatever it is worth. I don't really have a point. Well, maybe. I'll try this. What we thought was a spike really wasn't. It was just another step in the staircase.
The center of Ernesto seems likely (>50%) to go over the mountains of Jamaica.  These will tear apart much of the organization of the storm.  It is questionable if it will reform after that.  And if it does reorganize, it will take a while to regain strength.
Alan, that's a curiously optimistic statement. I don't know what's going to happen myself. The path does not look good. Of course, you could be right.

I have seen a number of hurricanes be torn apart by the "Blue Mountains".  Several of the models show this effect.
OK, good to know. We will have more data in the next 36 hours.

Ernesto is now a Hurricane. latest forecasts have shifted the track NE avoiding Jamaica but crossing Cuba and likely to curve round and head up the west of Florida. Bad for Florida but it is further from oil installations.


Can we square this with my predictions, just minutes ago? Thanks for the update.
Hey! I live in Tallahassee...but I know...we still haven't paid for the crime committed here in 2000.
More oil nationalization. This time Chad:


From the article:
Earlier this year, Chad broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and turned instead to China, a move that could help it sell its oil to the energy-hungry power.

China is already the largest exporter of oil from Angola and it also exports oil from Sudan.

Now you know why. Chad won't be kicking out the Chinese. In the interest of literacy, where it says "exporter" in the 2nd paragraph it should read "importer".

China keeps racking up wins at our expense.  If we don't get our butt's in gear we going to be in a deplorable situation.  We won't have to wait for peak oil. What's left will simply not be available to us.
Paul Salopek, the Chicago Tribune journalist who authored the fantastic article "A Tank of Gas, a World of Trouble", has been arrested and charged with espionage in the Sudan:


No conspiracy theories from me, though.

That is sad news, certainly since he's been detained since Aug 6, so it took 3 weeks for the news to be reported by AP, the first I've seen on this.
His Oil Safari series is really good, especially considering it's for US mainstream. Let's hope Obama will prove himself in this case,
This is bad news... damn!

Jesus wept.

Holy Cow! Hopefully Barack can pull some strings and get him out.

Paul Solopek

See my story Sudan, Chad, Oil and Genocide for background.

Let's get on the case. Write your (useless) Congressman, let's do something.

Hmmm. let's see, what's worse, higher prices at the pump, or the extinction of the urangutan? Can't make up your mind? Don't worry, Reuters can't either.

But through the trees in what's left of the forest, a glimpse of the real effects of biofuels shines through.

Biofuel rush risks gasoline hike, forest damage

In the United States 46 ethanol plants are in the pipeline, 100-plus Brazilian ethanol sugar mills are expected by 2011, the EU sees cereals use for biofuels quadrupling by 2013, and Indonesia and Malaysia are to set aside two-fifths of their palm oil output for biodiesel. [..]

And as capacity explodes the expected forest clearance could release a surge of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, environmental campaigners say.

So much for the "less CO2 emissions" argument.

Urangutan is Malay for man of the woods. Natives peoples for thousands of years have seen them as just that: men. That is not a coincidence, or a linguistic mistake. And now we are about to kill off the last of our closest relatives, just to drive cars.

The rules stipulate that the game has to be played to the end. At times that is hard to accept. You have tp play the game, you can't get out, you can't win, and you can't break even.

More madness. We stumble from one energy "solution" to the next like drunken sailors, all the while defiling everything in our path. Ah, but all is well, because it's all "renewable", no doubt the  cornerstone of a coming  energy platform of a political party near you.

Even if the human species is smarter than yeast, it is becoming clearer and clearer that it was a tragic mistake or, at the very least, an unfortunate consequence of uncontrolled evolution.  

NPR's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday: Eating
Local, Thinking Global

This is good. They bring up the following points:
*The average pound of produce travels 1500 miles.
*In the typical meal served in Iowa, most of it has travelled 1000 to 2000 miles and consumes 17 times the
energy in transportation than it would have if they had consumed food grown within 50 miles.
*10 calories of fossil fuels are consumed for every 1
calorie of food.
*20% of fossil fuel use in the U.S. goes to our food systems (from production to getting it to our table).


Brian Halweil, author: Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket; senior researcher,
Worldwatch Institute

Jennifer L. Wilkins, Kellogg Food and Society Policy
Fellow; Senior Extension Associate, Division of
Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University

Flashback, from a 2001 National Geographic Story:

Hydrogen Cars May Hit Showrooms by 2005

In the clean, "green" future envisioned by energy expert Amory Lovins, cars not only get 99 miles per gallon emissions-free, but they may also play a key role in providing electricity to a power-hungry world.

The solution, according to Lovins, is a "hypercar"--a lightweight vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, with enough style and space to compete with luxury sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Lovins is with the Rocky Mountain Institute, a think tank in Colorado, and chairman of its corporate spin-off venture Hypercar, Inc.,.

Some of the giant car companies are also designing hydrogen-powered cars. Hypercar Inc. hopes to have its first model ready to roll off the production line by 2005.

Well, even though that didn't work out, thankfully we will soon have 200 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol to bail us out. :-)

odd i remember reading that in my community college's library.
This, unfortunately, doesn't do much for the credibility of an otherwise brilliant energy analyst. The man is trained in physics; one wonders why he is so far off the beam when it comes to analyzing hydrogen.
Maybe Lovins is not so far off the beam. There are problems with hydrogen as an energy carrier, but there were (and are) problems with electricity too. The extent to which problems with hydrogen fuel cells are intractable is open to debate. Were I a betting man I'd give the edge to improvements in batteries over the next twenty years, but after that my guess is that fuel cells (which are the functional equivalents of batteries in any case) will surpass even the most advanced batteries as a desirable alternative for powering cars--and a whole bunch of other things, too.

Computers were around for a long time before the development of the PC; indeed, I'm old enough to remember the 7094 that ran on vacuum tubes. In 1950, nobody in their right mind would have (or did) predict such things as laptop computers.

In other words, just because a technology does not develop as fast as, say, lasers, does not mean that it will not improve greatly over a period of some decades. Also, my impression from what I have read on the subject is that some of the most knowledgeable people are rather optimistic.

Finally, Amory Lovins knows more about physics than I do, and he is smarter than I am. For me, I always pay attention to people like that;-)

There aeems to be a "40 Year Rule" when it comes to major invesntions resulting in widespread implementation.

Karl Benz to Henry Ford's first Model T
E=Mc2 to New Mexico desert explosion
Discovery of double helix to first commercial plant patent for genetically engineered seed
Wright Brothers to WW I and then DC-3
Univac 1 to IBM 360

The only exception I can think of is magnetic resonance imaging.  Which is useful but limited social impact.

If fuel cells were easy enough to create so that could be widely & economically used, the problems would have solved by now.  Enough time & effort has gone into development of fuel cells that we should have gotten a "Model T" by now.

Instead we are still orders of magnitude away from a practical fuel cell in couple of dimensions (cost, durability).

I conclude that fuel cells will never amount to much.  A breakthough in materials science that would open unexplored possibilities would be required, and I think that unlikely.  All obvious choices have been tried and found wanting.


We here at TOD, have debated things in much the same way as This teacher says Science works.  We have Peak Oil, and Climate change and many other topics that we talk about.

How were you taught?  Do you think scientists know everything and that is the end?  Or do you see them and people trying to reach a point that most of them think pretty much the same thing but there is still a bit of room for new data to come in and change long held notions?

I must have had good teachers like "Mike Smith" the Author of this essay for Space.com because I still debate a lot of the notions I have been shown over the years.

Let us remember all this when we here at TOD get really involved with all the things we talk about.

"As teachers, do we want our students to walk away from our classrooms thinking that scientists know all there is to know about a field of study? Or do we want them to view science as an organic, evolving pursuit of understanding? In order for students to understand science, they need opportunities to examine why scientific knowledge is subject to revision, and more importantly, the process through which scientists achieve consensus. The debate about our solar system gives teachers a great opportunity to showcase science as a social process and help students understand that scientific knowledge can be tentative. "


The essence of science is questioning belief.  Unfortunately, this most basic point cannot be taught in schools because the first belief to be questioned will be the belief in god, and we can't have little Johnny going home from school and questioning the existence of god, now can we?  So science must be taught as just "another way to look at the world" rather than the correct way of looking at the world.  Why correct?  Because it works!
My hurricane commentary has been existent. And I don't think it is so bad. Maybe even accurate. I don't necessarily find it contrarian. Although, it might be viewed as such here. I don't think Ernesto will amount to much, or alternately, I don't think it will amount to what we expect. By "we" I mean we, not I.

It would have to break land at New Orleans at Cat 3 to meet expectations. That probably won't happen.

Nymex is not open Labor Day. I'm guessing Brent will close that Monday at no more than the current spread from WTI on preceding Friday.

Don't believe the hype. Taking bets.

The 5am advisory contains a major change to the forecast -- the eye reformed 50 miles north and the storm appears to be undergoing rapid intensification.

Now it is Florida that is in trouble, not the western gulf, and they're predicting cat 3 before it lands.

I appreciate the response, my man. No diggity, no doubt. That's all I'm saying. Like Dylan used to say, It don't take a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows. We will just have to see. I've put all my eggs in one basket. I'm gambling.

If I lose, I'll give it all up. If I'm wrong - You'll never here from me again. And It's all on record. Truth be told. I'd welcome the opportunity to walk away from this shit. But I ain't gonna be wrong.

Don't believe the hype.

It don't matter about what it is before it hits land. It only matters what it is at the moment when hits land. And Leanan will agree with me on this.

If I'm wrong - You'll never here from me again.


Swear. And I won't even ask a handoff from yourself. I know you can't afford it.
As usual, it looks as if you were 100% correct.

Now think about doing more important things than laying bets;-)

Such as

  1. going fishing
  2. frying fish
  3. finding a Green Hungarian wine to go with fish
It was just amusing to be awake at 11pm in Hawaii and realize it's 5am EST, and have this new piece of information while everyone was asleep.

Now it looks like you're right, and it won't even be a hurricane again.

Sailorman and a few others understand. I am the Prophet of Reality. That Hurricane was done as soon as I proclaimed it such. Yarga Yarga Yo.
The computer models all have it crossing Cuba now on the way to Florida. That should put a hitch in its gitalong. ...
What I see when I'm eyeballing the NOAA Hurricane site is Ernesto splitting into 2 or even 3 cells.  This thing will either petter out over Cuba or split into multiple storms...that would be freaky.
a year or 2 ago i read an article by a hurricane-ologist where they talk about how water temperatures above 80 degrees F are related to the probability & strength of hurricanes.

last year, right after katrina, water temps in Key West were 86 F.  that was the one i remember, i didn't look at Pensacola and some of the other locations where they have their weather station buoys.

GOM water temperatures in table form

GOM water temperatures in map form

i don't know what island that is where Ernesto is as of 4 PM Pacific Time Monday.  it looks like he has about 250 miles to go before he's in the Gulf of Mexico, GOM.

how fast is Ernesto travelling ?

in the sciences of mechanics and electromagnetics an input near a resonant frequency causes a vibration to approximately increase.  do these formulas have an analog in meteorology and big circular storms ?

in the Gulf, surfers are stuck with a dilemma, when they get to have their fun, there's a good chance people are getting beat on by the weather.

it has been a slow year for surfers in the Gulf of Mexico.  i hesitate to predict what Ernesto will do, he will make a liar out of me.

but, if he does make it to the water between the Yucatan Peninsula and that island, is it Cuba/ Haiti, without losing strength, about Wednesday night, then GOM surfers will have a memorable weekend.

The heat of the water (both surface and below ... I've seen maps that calculate kJ/m^2, I think) seems to be a major thing determining intensity. That and the jet stream, which is even stronger.

Ernesto's destiny has been determined by the huge amount of time he spent over land -- cuba, especially.

that's cuba, and then hispaniola (locals call it quesqueya/kiskeya), which is haiti & dominican republic.