DrumBeat: August 27, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/27/06 at 9:26 AM EDT]

Simmons-Kunstler interview

Matt Simmons and Jim Kunstler were interviewed on November 1, 2005 by Glenn Mitchell on KERA 90.1, the local PBS station in Dallas, Texas.

...This was a fairly remarkable interview, partly because Matt Simmons and Jim Kunstler, coming from vastly different backgrounds, had basically reached the same conclusions regarding Peak Oil. It's also interesting to see how events have unfolded since this interview.

Well, the experts at The StormTrack turned out to be correct about Ernesto: it became a hurricane last night, much earlier than the NHC predicted. They may be wrong about the track, though. Rather than the Dennis-like path they expected, Ernesto is now predicted to hook east toward Florida. Of course, it's early yet, and the path could change, particularly after crossing Cuba.

Oil-driven energy era coming to end?

The era of oil-driven energy is coming to an end, says Jim Fischer, a senior technical advisor with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Seattle firm warned BP about pipeline

SEATTLE - An engineering firm raised a red flag more than four years ago about BP PLC's monitoring of its Alaska oil pipelines, documents show.

Chad president orders Chevron, Petronas to leave

Chad ordered U.S. energy giant Chevron and Malaysia's Petronas on Saturday to leave the country within 24 hours for failing to honor tax obligations, a move apparently aimed at increasing control over its oil output.

Canada: Oilpatch faces long list of multibillion-dollar decisions in next four months

With the price of oil showing no signs of departing from near-record highs, nearly every major Canadian energy company is going flat out to complete expensive long-term new operations, acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Australia: Bracks urged to think ahead as 'oil runs out'

Remote Island Provides Clues On Population Growth, Environmental Degradation

"Rapa is a compelling story," Kennett said. "To me, this is an example of what's happening on the planet today in terms of expanding populations, environmental degradation and increasing warfare. Rapa is a little microcosm of our planet. There are lessons about the consequences of population growth to be learned there."

Wind turbine eyed for school

I've started a google map mashup:

Hurricane Ernesto

It's a work in progress, I'm planning to add more NDBC buoys (just two for now) and refinery positions. Any comments or suggestions are welcomed.

What is the refinery processing capacity that could be taken offline if Ernesto hits Florida --> Georgia --> Carolina ?
I don't think it's a big number. I can't think off the top of my head of any mega-refineries in that area. I would guess it would be 5% or less of total U.S. refining capacity.
Hello R-squared,

So if this happens: will each American proactively drive 5% less to keep the gasoline price the same, or will the price/gallon rise to force some more people to unhappily pedal and/or use shoe leather?  I think we TODers already know the answer. MPP is really difficult to overcome.

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

Well, duh. Of course the price will rise if it turns out there isn't enough to go around. It always does, even when governments intervene - in fact, especially when they intervene.

No one was eager to pay a higher price "proactively" to pay for reserve capacity. No one was eager to disempower the NIMBYs and BANANAs "proactively" in order that there would be a place outside the hurricane zone to put reserve capacity. That means the system - any system - always gets stretched to its limits. Pay now or pay later, but always pay in the end.

There is no free lunch, even though politicians on all sides promise free lunches and feckless fools happily vote accordingly. Then again, none of this is new. So what?

Nice work.

Is there any way you could add rig locations, like RigZone does?


 Is anyone from TOD planning to attend the USDA-DOE "Advancing Renewable Energy Conference".  October 10-12, 2006, at the America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri?
Conference program and registration info can be found here. link
It would be nice but it's a lot of markers!
I've added an overlay of the oil and gas production in the Gulf. Just click on the link "Show Gulf of Mexico Oil/Natural Gas Production " below the map.
Wow...that is awesome Khebab!  We need to keep this around as a reference for the hurricane season.  I didn't know you could do this with Google maps.


FYI,when I click on the buoy markers I am taken
to a description of subway routes in England.
So I guess you're all set in a Hurricane! :)
Thanks! it has been corrected.
I think just putting the major rigs, coastal refineries, the LOOP would be cool.  I wouldn't try to put on all the rigs like RIGZONE, that would be a large project.

How about plotting just the areas in the Gulf with largest densities of rigs (shaded boundaries with general locations)?

Hello Khebab,

Don't forget to plot the Cuban rigs in the Florida Straits--Hurricane Ernesto is headed right for them!  Hopefully, the rigowners have a high level of tech: so that if a platform is wrenched off its location by high seas that the Florida coastlines are not flooded with crude.  That would make Jeb & George Bush declare war on Castro.  Here is an article and photo of a Cuban rig.

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

It's just me and you, Khebab. How about we put on a show? We've got some killer stuff, don't we. C'mon, it's Sunday morning. You ready. Do you have teamspeak?

I'll go first.

I've never really finished this next one, but, I want to see what people have to say before I define it. I'll answer all questions, of course.
Unfortunately, I have to go for now, back in four hours.

For full page printable image. (Which I suggest everybody do, since you want to be able to takes notes on this. It makes the best peak-oil stationary.) click on image. Then hit "Other Charts" on the right side of page. Then follow Flickr directions. If you can't do it, just ask, I'll clarify.

Somewhere, over the rainbow ...
You got it, brother. More colors would have made it unintelligible, though. Like it isn't already.
I'm a fairly well educated guy and I'm used to working with data in a graphical format, but this chart makes absolutely no sense.  What are those pink bubbles?  What about the random purple line pointing down?  What is the orange and yellow rainbow thing?  

What is this chart trying to tell me?

Is it trying to tell you that OilCEO has lost it? That his moments of cogency are mixed with moments of odd?
That's what it's telling me.
I would rather be wrong, but what is gained by posting this in advance of an explanation? Following the directions leads nowhere.
oil ceo? - what is the point of another blog when oildrum is running out of steam?
Oil CEO,

First of all, I just want to say that I'm a super big fan of your work.

Your posts are so clear.  So concise.  So focused.  And so easy to read.

That's why I was surprised that someone like you would be capable of making a chart like that.  

It's the opposite of your writing style.

When you write, you have such rhythm.  Such class.  And you always add emphasis with italics.  Not CAPS.

You know I love you either way, but putting all those pink bubbles, random arrows, and multi-colored rainbows in your chart is just like WRITING AN ENTIRE POST IN CAPS.

And I know you would never do that.

Chart, the way you write, brother.

You could be someone.


Margaret Thatcher


And now for the explanation.

The dark-green line is historical monthly oil production. The data comes from the EIA. The lighter green line is the centered 13-month average of these numbers. This is the same data Stuart uses in his monthly update, except this goes back to 1995.

The red line is the corresponding price of crude oil. This much I would hope by now people would be familiar with.

Obviously, we're in 2006, so what happens past this point is anyone's guess.

The first pink-bubble shows where some people think the peak is. As in "now." Like Matt Simmons and T.Boone Pickens. The purple line pointing down is the path production will probably follow according to Matt Simmons. He has mentioned production dropping from 85 to 80 million barrels per day in the next few years.

The slanted line moving up and to the right and changing slope in 2010 is the upper bound of "production" capacity as expected by CERA. CERA is of the opinion that historically spare capacity has averaged about 3.5 million barrels per day above actual production/demand. They have forecast this gap to be as much as 7 million bpd out to 2015. The "rosy" scenario. The orange and yellow bands are about 3.5 mbpd wide each to give you an idea of where CERA believes actual production could occur, but probably won't.

The pink bubble at the far right at about 110 mbpd in 2020 is about where a peak might occur at the earliest according to CERA.

The blue line which connects the end of the current production line to a point in the center of the middle pink bubble is where CERA believes actual production will move. They expect production of 94 mbpd in 2010.

The middle pink bubble also indicates the approximate area where a peak is expected according to ASPO.

The right hand scale for the price of crude goes up to $140. This was arbitrary to simply allow for the possibility.

The transcript of the Simmons/Kunstler interview is now posted on the Energy Bulletin.

BTW, if you do a Google web search for oil exports, there are about 22 million listings.  The "Net Oil Exports Revisited" article (based on Khebab's work), is in the top 10, just down from the CIA wesbsite (as of yesterday anyway).

re: Simmons/Kunstler interview - I was unaware of the large quantity of "Canadian Tarzans".

Global Warming is getting worse than I thought I guess...  ;-)

The Canadian Tarzans Will Save Us All!

Defending geologist Jeffrey Brown from a crazed gorilla, Tarzan faced mortal danger. As the huge beast charged forward, Tarzan braced for the attack. His knife was his only hope! Tarzan knew he had to win for his jungle friends (TOD denizens) who depended on him for safety.

Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, has devoted his life to keeping peace in the vast wilderness known as Canada. Animals obey him, peaceful men honor him, and evil-doers fear him. All men respect the famous name of Tarzan.

but...he's so unrefined...
NO wait — aren't they supposed to be wearing plaid flannel shirts and those hats with the funny ear-flaps?

(Must be the GW)

Uh, tarzan is supposed to have blonde hair, who is this other guy you have posted?
Found at Tarzan.com, old Banner trading cards.
Geez...I suggested to Bart Anderson that we correct a couple of typos (another typo is regarding Saudi Aramco), but Bart decided to just go with the court reporter's transcription.

If you do want to try to influence friends and family regarding Peak Oil (especially if you are trying to talk a spouse into downsizing), the CD is a great, low-key way to do it.  They can listen to the CD on their way to and from work (a little irony there--listening to a CD about how your suburban commute is doomed while driving to and from work).  

BTW, I have commented before about the slow but steady increase in the number of restaurants closing in the Dallas area and the increase in the empty storefronts.  One of our favorite restaurants just closed.  One other item, I have started noticing a pretty significant increase in the number of panhandlers asking for money.  All in all, kind of scary--but not unexpected.

Hi Westexas,

I just sent you an edited copy of the interview. Check the second email entitled Simmons Kunstler interview (edited copy) - in the first one I accidentally pasted in the original. The original was pretty bad - full of typos and trancription errors. It took me a while to fix it, so I thought I might as well send you a fixed copy. I'll send one to the TOD editors too. Editing was done for grammar, spelling, transcription errors where possible and minimally for clarity.

Re:  Stoneleigh

e-mail from the EB:

Hello Jeffrey,

I replaced the old version with the edited version (Stoneleigh's):

Additionally, I corrected "creamy nugget" to be "creamy nougat" in two places (a-biotic oil reference).




How much is Dallas dependent on oil and gas for its economy in comparison to Houston and how is Houston doing?  I keep going back to Andrew McKillop and wondering what the breaking point is.

One of my sons is a manager at a very upscale restaurant in Philadelphia. They figure $150.00 average per person for dinner. I spent $18.00 there for a scotch. They are doing better then ever but some of the lower priced restaurants in the group are down year over down. He is peak oil aware. Last year he and I went to hear Roscoe Bartlett, Simmons, Deffeyes, etc. in Md. In his Prius. So far I haven't gotten him to change jobs to satisfy a need they sure are wants now, but I don't think it would go over very well with his fiancée.

I live across from Philadelphia in Nj. So far they are building restaurants like crazy. I have noticed the large diners we have here are not as good as they used to be but they still seem to be busy.I am seeing more men (mostly) riding around on bikes and looking like they are living on the edge. I think one is living in the woods near by.

if you do a Google web search for oil exports, there are about 22 million listings.

Don't be impressed, this does not AT ALL mean that there are 22 millions pages mentionning oil exports.
This number is a fake estimation of the "popularity" of the keywords, it only matches the true number of pages when this number is below some threshold (which value I don't know).
This likely comes from technical constraints in the query software, no way that you can maintain such huge counts with some accuracy.
Note that the large numbers are always rounded to thousands or millions.

The 22 million number doesn't impress me as much as the fact that the "Net Oil Exports Revisited" article is ranked so high, if you search for oil exports.  It's even higher if you search for net oil exports.
I can't why Simmons worry so much about peak gas in the US. He says it worries him more than peak oil does.

I mean, it's not hard replacing natural gas power generation with other generation (nuclear, coal, wind) and natural gas heating can be replaced with electricity or electrical heat pumps. Maybe the natural gas pipes that go to homes can be converted to (non-natural gas powered) district heating systems?

It's a lot harder to think up easy alternatives to oil powered transportation.

I don't see natural gas as an existential question. I mean, my country does excellent without it. The few places where it is used is either because of political reasons (replacement capacity for a prematurely shut nuke plant) or gastronomical reasons (steak taste better on the propane grill than on the electric stove).

I think three reasons are:

  1. Gas wells drop off more steeply than oil wells, so the crash comes more unexpectedly

  2. Gas is less transportable around the globe; thus, regions (such as the US) can become short independent on how much is elsewhere in the world

  3. There was a big spurt of NG-fired electric plant construction a few years back when supplies seemed endless. Plus, modern agriculture is very dependent on NG for fertilizer.
  1. If you say so.

  2. That is true, and to me it seems the best idea is not to use natural gas at all - except for grilling steaks. Coal is good for this too.

  3. 270.000 MW's believe it or not. Now, capital costs for gas fired poweplants are low per MW, but 270.000 MW gas plant is still a hell of a lot of money to waste.

Fertilizer can be made from any source of electricity (the energy part is just nitrogen pulled from the air and hydrogen pulled from water). The Norwegians used to do it with hydro power.

Natural gas is a non issue which could be solved by a little state intervention. Like building 100 new nuclear reactors (or wind or coal).

It's not in any way physically or economically impossible. The French built 1 kW nuclear per capita, Sweden built 2 kW per capita. The US only needs 0,3 kW per capita to deal with natural gas.

And then we have heating on top of that, but insulate and then switch fuels. It shouldn't increase demand that much, especially if there is some serious conservation. And if that doesn't help you can always build another 100 reactors.

The only thing needed is political will.

So anyway, to me oil is like 100 times more problematic than NG. It's rather hard to run cars on wind and atom splitting.

By the way as we are talking about NG, I found a great story about Armenia. Thing is, they are real poor people, can't afford gasoline so all their cars have been converted to run on NG they get at below market price from Russia.


Another fun thing about Armenia is that when their decrepit old nuke plant Metsanor had to shut due to an earthquake, all the forests in the country were chopped down for firewood. Or well, I read that somewhere. It mightn't necesarilly be entirely true.

I wouldn't disagree that peak oil is more of a problem long term. But 100 nuke plants will not get built overnight. Maybe not even in 10 years. The regional issues are critical. Great Britain has problems ahead, as does a lot of old Europe as Russia uses more of its production internally.

The likely alternate for nitrogen fixation is not via electrolysis, but rather from coal. The point is that, like oil, NG has imbedded itself into the fabric of industry. It is not simply a matter of heating the house with something else.

Switch heating fuels? To what? Impending shortage of space heaters and a drain on the electric grid. Unlike gasoline demand, which is remarkably constant, NG demand can spike during a prolonged cold snap.

Sure, there will be problems and there will be shortages initially. This is to be expected when one runs out of one the most wonderful resources there is.

The problem is that the political will is lacking. If there was will there would be action and then there would eventually be a solution to the problem.

Sure, it could take 10 years, or longer. All the bigger reason to begin today. Let me quote what Wikipedia says on volontarisme.

Two areas where the French government sought greater control were infrastructure and the transportation system. The French government owned the national railway company SNCF, the national electricity utility EDF, the national natural gas utility GDF, the national airline Air France; phone and postal services were operated as the PTT administration. Interestingly, the government chose to devolve the construction of most autoroutes (freeways) to semi-private companies rather than to administer them itself. Other areas where the French government directly intervened were defense, nuclear and aerospace industries (Aérospatiale).

This development was marked by volontarisme, or the will to overcome all difficulties (War-related devastation, lack of natural resources...) through willpower and ingenuity. For instance, following the 1973 energy crisis, the saying "In France we don't have oil, but we have ideas" was coined. Voluntarism showed an obsession with the modernization of the country, resulting in a variety of ambitious plans imposed by the state. Examples of this trend include the extensive use of nuclear energy (close to 80% of French electrical consumption), the Minitel, an early online system for the masses, and the TGV, a high-speed rail network.

Now, things can be done. I like when Matt Simmons liken these issues to WW2. The economy must be put on an energy war footing to push through mega projects both big and small (from TGV's to a vegetable garden in every backyard).

Anyway, there are ready, proved, competitive and commercialised substitues for everything natural gas is used for.

This is obviously not the situation for oil. And that's why oil is a vastly bigger problem.

The best phrase I've come up with to liken the scale of dealing with peak fossil fuel energy is the "war effort" in speaking of what is needed.  Based on what I've read, the scale of innovation required, the percentage of the economy diverted, and the impact on how we consume, the last time the nation put as much effort as is needed now into a goal wasn't the Apollo program, the Cold War, the Manhatten Project, or the New Deal, it was WW2.  Our economy was a mess when the buildup began, our economy is gonna be a mess if the peak comes by 2010.  Think mass retraining, rationing, and a significant portion of the nation's labor force, as well as a majority of scientists in useful fields, set to work on alternative energy problems.

IF things go right and we can convince people of the energy [not just the fuel] problems in the next several years - otherwise we call the doomers and ask to borrow some MREs.

Interestingly, volontarism has gone out of fashion in the French political class. There's a generation of "the market will fix it" thinkers, on both left and right, who are in control.

A caricatural example : they are currently privatizing the state gas monopoly, GDF. Of all times to do that! Gazprom will soon have its foot on our throats.

One of history's great ironies, is it not?
Simmon's concern is well placed.

About 1/4 of natural gas consumption in the US is for electricity generation.  The electricity generated from NG is close in volume to that from nuclear.  New nuclear, which under no realistic scenario (capital, skilled labour, local politics) can proceed on the scale you imagine, will first of all have to replace old nuclear, as current plants die and go to heaven.  Under the most aggressive scenario, nuclear will only slowly expand its provision of electricity.  

Coal does indeed represent the biggest and source of electricity in the US, and the reserves are large.  But coal is not dug by coal, nor is it moved by coal.  So just as coal is wanted to light even more casinos, the energy required to get it out of the ground and transported to a burner is increasing.  Yet the energy used to achieve these tasks, largely in the form of diesel, is constrained in supply.  And I believe there is an issue about the energy content of coal, on average.

So can nuclear and coal replace the electricity that would be lost if ng was constrained to cooking steaks?  And you want more.  You want electricity to heat homes and presumably to replace natural gas in commercial and industrial uses.  About 3/4 of natural gas is used in these applications.

That is a shitpile of joules to replace.

I suspect Simmons may also be familiar with the thesis that most of the productivity gains in the economy in recent years (1990's) is due to the increasing quality of the energy mix.  

More coal or even the intelligent use of land for bio-energy (e.g. switchgrass pellets for space/water heating), in the place of natural gas, lowers the quality of the energy mix and will erode productivity.

All in all, enough to worry a banker.

What is a realistic scenario for nuclear ramp up? Let's say the government decides that nuclear is the way and pulls all the stops, like what happened in France.

The energy crisis hit in late 1973. In 1974 the French decided to go nuclear. Earlier they had a small gas reactor program but now they decided to use technology developed by the US Navy, the PWR. To do this they needed two big industrial facilites which didn't exist in France at that time. These were heavy boiler works for the pressure vessels and enrichment plants for the fuel.

So, the crash program started in 1974 and then the most important industrial infrastructure was missing. How fast did they get results? Well, the numbers say it best. Check this graph: http://www.iea.org/Textbase/stats/PDF_graphs/FRELEC.pdf

To give an example of how massive this project was and how fast it happened when the government wanted it:

In March 1974, a first multiyear con- tract for sixteen 900 MWe units was signed by EDF and Framatome. In 1976, it was followed by a second contract for ten more units, then a third contract for eight four-loop 1300 MWe class PWRs, which was extended by a contract for twelve more 1300 MWe units. The last series, the N4, comprises the four 1450 MWe units of Chooz and Civaux currently [2000] in the commissioning stage.


At its peak in the early eighties, the French nuclear industry was adding to the grid six 900 MW units per year (a maximum of eight in 1981), without running into any production bottlenecks. At this rate, it took only a few years to build 34 three-loop 900 MW units, then the twenty four-loop 1300 MW units, while saving along the way some capacity for export to Belgium (three units), South Africa (two units), Korea (two units) and, more recently China (four units). Now, the last series of four four-loop 1450 MW units undergoing commissioning is closing this chapter of the initial nuclear investment in France.


As the US is five times the size of France, the equivalent would be something like this:

At its peak in the late twenty tens, the American nuclear industry was adding to the grid thirty 900 MW units per year (a maximum of forty in 2018), without running into any production bottlenecks. At this rate, it took only a few years to build 170 three-loop 900 MW units, then the 100 four-loop 1300 MW units, while saving along the way some capacity for export to Mexico (fifteen units), Brazil (ten units), Turkey (ten units) and, more recently Venezuela (twenty units). Now, the last series of 20 four-loop 1450 MW units undergoing commissioning is closing this chapter of the renaissance of nuclear investment in America.

Clearly, it can be done. The question is of course if it is realistic in the US. Can the American State take the kind of leadership needed and force its will through? The State could do it in France at least. They did it, on that very magnitude and in that timeframe. Sweden did it even more massively and even faster.

When it comes to coal, I thought it was mined by giant electric grid-linked machines, so that coal in effect was mined by coal? No matter, I oppose all use of coal anyway on a climate change basis.

And heating... District heating works great with biofuels and trash. If one wants to be radical one could always build a nuclear cogenerator. And if one thinks electrical heating uses to much power (and it does, the average electric heated Swedish single family house consume 20.000 kWh per year which is ten times as much as the average single family apartment), then one could use electric heat pumps. They use only about a third as much electricty. Mate it with a solar heating system and you save money on drilling the heat well.

Enough to worry a banker? Oh yes, of course. No matter what, we are in for harsh times.

One interesting thing as that might ease the transition is that electricity demand might be supressed due to reduced economic activity. This happened during the last energy crisis and was one of the main reasons nuclear power construction halted in the US. Most plants that were cancelled were actually cancelled before TMI. Anyway this shows how important it is that the state runs this and pushes through the necessary power plant investments even if there is a downturn in the economy.

Clearly, it can be done. The question is of course if it is realistic in the US.

Most probably not, France has been and still is a very centralized "old monarchy" where TPTB don't need to care that much about the "populace" (unless Bastille day hits).

...France has been and still is a very centralized "old monarchy"...

Isn't it more of an 'ENArque-y'? ENA - Ecole National d'Administration - is far more elitist than 'Oxbridge' (Oxford and Cambridge) in the UK. If memory serves they graduate about 100 people per year (compared to several thousand for 'Oxbridge') who then run almost everything.

Ah yes, one more thing. Most US reactors are getting 20-year life extensions and will have productive lives into the 2030's (60 year life) so we won't se any reactor closings due to old age, except maybe among the oldest units where life extension might not be possible.

I've sort of viewed the whole space heting thing as a closed book for a quarter century. I insulated buildings back then which have used no calories for heating or cooling since. The only change since then is that there are more and more ways to accomplish the same end.
People want the problems they want. They want the solutions they want. They want the doom that they want. Don't let the doomers here catch you sneakin' in any of those funny furrin' dooms.
It's more than lack of political will. It's a whole series of cognitive problems.

Well, I not a doomer, I'm a hopeful pessimist.

Starvid's first error is to describe what happened in the 1970's as an energy crisis, when it in fact was a crisis of adjustment to a rapid and temporary increase in the price of oil.  Supply was then only an occasional problem which arose because of panic buying.  How much oil actually came off the market?

His second error is to not recognize that 2010 - 2030 will look nothing like 1975 to 2005 as far as the supply of energy is concerned, in terms of energy available on the margin and price.

His third error is to ignore the implications of the high average eroei of available energy worldwide right through the 'energy crisis', as he describes it, a fat return on effort based mostly on the exploitation of the low-hanging fruit.  Despite the economic friction experienced during the period, as mechanisms for the recirculation of petro-dollars were developed, the energetic and systemic cost of bringing energy to market remained low.  The economic room for the French and other nuclear programs was large.  Now, the very exploitation of the tar pits and the return to primary energy sources of lower efficiency, such as coal and bio-mass, symbolizes how much that room has shrunk.

Finally, (for me at least) there is the question of confidence.  The French government undertook their program sans aucun doute that their economy would outgrow the costs they were imposing on it.  How many governments in today's world, and how many in tomorrow's, are likely to be as bold? The anticipation of peak oil may be affecting the mental health of many, but wait until the reality is encountered by the business and political elites who are actually the ones who will decide on the size of the investment in nuclear.

I grant that a massive effort can in theory be mounted to build a whole bunch of nuclear plants.  Just to maintain nuclear's current contribution to the electrical grid is going to require this effort.  But Starvid is assuming that nuclear (and coal) can replace the contribution of natural gas (nearly a quarter of our btu's) in the production of electricity AND be expanded so much as to substitute for the use of natural gas in industrial, commercial and residential applications.  And all this in the context of peak oil, our most versatile form of primary energy.

I'm not going to go to the barricades to fight nuclear, even though I share the concern about waste and hope to terminate the oppressive state apparatus needed to construct and maintain nuclear.  I'm not going to the barricades because damn little is going to get built in any case.  

The project of civilization need not fear the curtailment of energy consumption.  It should be welcomed as a way to dismount the round-about.  I welcome the chance to shift the organization of fundamental tasks such as producing, distributing and consuming food and clothing,  building construction, transportation, and a host of other activities to ecological sustainability.  There is plentiful terrain for the hopeful; getting caught up in the nuclear debate on either side takes time and effort away from tasks that will make a real difference.

Amen! I say.

As an aside to everyone else, labeling people or attacking them is also counterproductive and takes time and energy away from things that are actually useful.

Starvid's first error is to describe what happened in the 1970's as an energy crisis, when it in fact was a crisis of adjustment to a rapid and temporary increase in the price of oil.  Supply was then only an occasional problem which arose because of panic buying.  How much oil actually came off the market?

I think about 5 % of oil went offline, one ,or at best two, years of decline rates after peak oil. So this will be worse.

But it doesn't really matter that it was not a real energy crisis duing the 70's. What matters is that the price of oil spiked and stayed high for almost 15 years (the Saudis flooded the market in 1984 or 1986, can't rememeber). For the economy and people in general the effect, expensive energy, is what matters. Not the reason why this happens.

Of course, one might believe there will be more than temporary supply issues for the wealthy countries of the world. But I think that the market will solve this (ie. the poor countries won't get any oil). If someone tries to take the oil with force of arms the US Navy will beat the shit out of them. And steal their oil tankers.

His second error is to not recognize that 2010 - 2030 will look nothing like 1975 to 2005 as far as the supply of energy is concerned, in terms of energy available on the margin and price.

I think a better time frame for comparison to 2010-2023 is 1973-1986, as there will be no flood of cheap Saudi crude to the rescue this time.

But sure, it will be a magnitude worse this time. Demand is bigger and supply will fall alot faster and more massively this time. In Europe the most low hanging fruit is already picked (though there are of course vast imporvements possible). There are even more vast improvements possible in the wasteful nations of China and the US.

His third error is to ignore the implications of the high average eroei of available energy worldwide right through the 'energy crisis', as he describes it, a fat return on effort based mostly on the exploitation of the low-hanging fruit.  Despite the economic friction experienced during the period, as mechanisms for the recirculation of petro-dollars were developed, the energetic and systemic cost of bringing energy to market remained low.  The economic room for the French and other nuclear programs was large.  Now, the very exploitation of the tar pits and the return to primary energy sources of lower efficiency, such as coal and bio-mass, symbolizes how much that room has shrunk.

Bringing in EROEI in an oil crisis is a bit like comparing apples to oranges (except when one compares differnet of sources of liquid fuel with each other). The alternative energy sources used today in Sweden, nuclear, hydro, biofuels, are just as high return as they were 30 years ago. Or even more so due to better technology.

Coal and natural gas I don't know much about in this situation, but then I think they should be phased out anyway.

And if there is a small economic room for new investments, just loan the money. Or if this for some reason is not an option, then tax (omg, gasp) the people and use their money. And say you'll pay them back when the times are better (you might even manage that).

Finally, (for me at least) there is the question of confidence.  The French government undertook their program sans aucun doute that their economy would outgrow the costs they were imposing on it.  How many governments in today's world, and how many in tomorrow's, are likely to be as bold? The anticipation of peak oil may be affecting the mental health of many, but wait until the reality is encountered by the business and political elites who are actually the ones who will decide on the size of the investment in nuclear.

I think this is the most important part. Do we trust our elites? Or would we rather fend for ourselves and, as Heinberg says, "build lifeboats"?

I don't think so. I believe in my elites. I believe in my State, my labour unions and in my corporations. After all, they did damn well during the last oil crisis.

I think Sweden will come out of this crisis relatively stronger, like after WW2. We will have a highly competitive energy system, making our industry superior just because of our lower energy prices and great rail based infrastructure. If this is not a sound basis for economic growth, I don't know what is.

I think this is the most important part. Do we trust our elites? Or would we rather fend for ourselves and, as Heinberg says, "build lifeboats"?

Intresting thought, I regard Sweden as our lifeboat in the post peak oil era. (Ineptly trying to build a personal network, volonteering for the home guard and studying engineering is a smaller more personal one.) Our immediate neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland have the same potential to fare relatively well in the post peak oil era and that is very good for us. We can be a northern EU region of stability and prosperity that via trade provides resources for the rest of EU and the world. And if other countris fumble and we get evil times we can aid each other economically or at worst military.

I don't think so. I believe in my elites. I believe in my State, my labour unions and in my corporations. After all, they did damn well during the last oil crisis.

I believe that our elites can do the right things but some things worry me. We have recently had "outbreaks" of CEO greed with company mismanagement that I would regard as plundering resources, some owner checks or other ballances were missing. The currently ruling socialist party have tendencies of nomenclature forming, not much compared with other countries but I dont like the trend.

Our state bureaucracy can be significantly simplified, manny authorities downsized, government run sectors of our society run more efficiently and this must be done as the reform of the pension system were done since the trends show that our state cant be financed via taxes in about 20 years time if peak oil isent a problem. This is simplified, I am sure this is widespread knowledge within our government and the socialist party, some of it comes from economical researchers who are members of the socialist party staff.

I get the feeling that our current socialist government more or less have loaded a revolver but cant pull the trigger to decimate the organisation they themselves have built. We need the change of government I in my very amateurish way try to encourage. But this do of course not mean that we change our elite or change to another political system, its only an exercice in democracy and some rotation between the "classes".

Our labour unions overall seems to be good at protecting the long term viability of the companies that provide their members with jobs. Few strikes and if bad times hit and a company needs to downsize they know that it must result in a viable staff and not one that only follows the strictest rules regardless of the skills needed after the downsize. But I dont like the historical financial and influence connections between the socialist party and the labour unions. They should be better representatives for their members if they ran the unions withouth close political ties with a party that only represents a minority of their members. I also suspect there is a large unused potential for eductaion and so on for their members, especially in changing times. But some are too strong in a clumsy way, our construction worker union can be outright rasist/nationalistic against foreign competition and only accepting pice rate is not modern.

I think we have a good culture for these times but I suspect it were even better in the mid 1800:s or around the second world war. ( Unfortunately I have no way to check this or the validity of other speculations since I am almost completely outsice the power circles and somewhat frustrated on how to act politically to gain some constructive influence. I dont think I have the right set of social skills for internal party work. )

I think Sweden will come out of this crisis relatively stronger, like after WW2. We will have a highly competitive energy system, making our industry superior just because of our lower energy prices and great rail based infrastructure. If this is not a sound basis for economic growth, I don't know what is.

I agree that we can come out of it relatively stronger but there is a large risk for a period of lower prosperity in absolute levels.

We must take the opportunities change gives us if we are to come out of it stronger then before the crisis. For this we must have a very good business climate and that is also good for handling the change. Small and large companies will go bankrupt and new ones must be started, spun of and manny of them must grow. We must love our entrepreneurs and not only the old and large companies and organizations and odd
geniuses such as Ingvar Kampraad who founded Ikea.

This process could at its best create new social capital. I think the potential for that is largest in the municipiality service sector with "kundval", essentially a cheque systems where the individual who needs the support chooses the ones to provide it instead of using a slow moving and complex bidding system or only central planning. This could also make these sectors more robust for lean times if the tax money have to be prioritized to schools, the very weakest and infrastructure investments.

Our current prime minister and the social democrates have done a very large job with making peak oil a priority but we need more to do a realy good job with the preparations. The opposition have prioritized global warming before peak oil but that do not change much in the practical priorities. Its good enough for me to feel comfortable since we must prepare for and practice change to handle the post peak oil times well.

Lots of space heating is done in US with natural gas. What happens when the pressure drops in these buried urban systems? The electric grid goes down you can restart it. Not so simple when pressure goes in a whole city. If that is not to happen, there will have to be a massive conversion away from gas in a timely fashion before the singularity. I can see having large industrial users shut down in an orderly fashion during a peak demand, but I don't see how one would do that in a neighborhood of homes. Boston. Poof.

Natural gas cannot fail; it must be delivered synchronously. Propane is async. Once again, the whole decentralized vs centralized one-size-fits-all solution.

My guess is there are all sorts of things that will go down and not come back up failing guaranteed long-lasting supplies. The money won't be there to rebuild. Oil platforms, refineries, gas distribution systems and who knows what else. Like do we or do we not rebuild New Orleans? Triage. Where do we cut? Is that an aspirin or a cyanide pill? This is going to get so weird.

weird n. [OE. wirde, werde, AS. wyrd fate, fortune, one of the Fates, fr. weor[eth]an to be, to become; akin to OS. wurd fate, OHG. wurt, Icel. ur[eth]r. [root]143. See {Worth} to become.]
1. Fate; destiny; one of the Fates, or Norns; also, a prediction. [Obs. or Scot.] [1913 Webster]

Isn't that interesting....?

cfm in Gray, ME

us living in boston tuned into other blogs warning us of the housing bubble and are now renting. So when the gaz pressure drops we will go outside to stay warm, while the pipes burst inside our rentals and turn them into beautiful ice palaces. Such a site to see.
Does anybody have a link to the audio version of the interview? I have hunted around the KERA website and not found it.
For Bob Shaw,who wrote about the Antarctica Labyrinth channels yesterday: physorg.com in the past few days published articles on research into both the Labyrinth and Arctic freshwater increases.

Drainage of Subglacial Lakes Created Canyons of Antarctica 12-14 Million Years Ago

Study reveals causes for freshwater increase in oceans

A link for Labyrinth research:
The age and origin of the Labyrinth, western Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Hello Roel,

Thxs for these links!  What will be interesting is if the scientists can predict when a super jokulhlaup will occur and we can see video-- should be quite a show.  Of course, a radical shift or collapse of Southern Hemisphere subsea currents will be pretty dire.

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

I'd guess Greenland has similar lakes and may be closer to a dramatic discharge but I can't find any info.

If you look at a position on this page its about mapping the subglacial lakes in Greenland


Look like we might not know anything yet about Greenland.

Also for Bob:

British Weather, looks like it can get quite dodgy, quite fast and all dependent on the Atlantic Conveyor. Looks like it can actually flip in decades rather than centuries.


No wonder we Brits spend so much time taliking about the weather.

It would appear there is a big push here in Iowa to counter the claims about ethanol by Mr Rapier.. Both these editorials appear in the Des Moines Register..

Ethanol is just the beginning

Ethanol: The facts, the questions


Energy balance

Critics continue to question whether more fossil energy is used to produce a gallon of ethanol than energy is released when it is burned, if one counts everything from the fertilizer used to grow the corn, the diesel to harvest and transport it and the natural gas and electricity to distill it into alcohol. Plus, since ethanol is too corrosive to be carried in current pipelines, additional fuel is required to deliver it, by truck or rail. Most current studies have found a positive balance, however.

A July report for the National Academy of Sciences found that ethanol made from corn grain today yields 25 percent more energy than the fossil energy invested in its production - better than gasoline. Upgrades in technology will continue to improve that balance. And if cellulosic ethanol becomes feasible, improvement would be dramatic. Fossil-energy consumption would drop by 70 percent when producing E85, according to an Argonne National Laboratory study.

The broader question as the world searches for a replacement for petroleum is whether other fuels would offer even better results. Biodiesel, for example, yields 93 percent more energy than the fossil energy invested in its production, the National Academy of Sciences report found.

A July report for the National Academy of Sciences found that ethanol made from corn grain today yields 25 percent more energy than the fossil energy invested in its production - better than gasoline.

I find this assertion totally absurd! Ethanol has a better ERoEI than gasoline? Would anyone care to tell us how this genus arrived at this conclusion? Does it take three gallons of fossil energy to produce four gallons of gasoline? I don't think so!

That was exactly the topic of a debate I got into on Friday. I wrote it up as a TOD essay, but I had about decided to pull it since we have had so much ethanol stuff lately. But I explain exactly why this claim is absolutely, 100% false. The government official that initiated the e-mail exchange seemed to be taken aback that I didn't roll over and concede when he started arguing from authority (how can we all be wrong?), but I think he found out pretty quickly that he had bitten off a bigger bite than he had anticipated.

In the end, I got him to reluctantly agree to publication of the exchange, provided I deleted his name and agency. The exchange also involved Michael Wang, the originator of the claim, and Vinod Khosla. But like I said, I had almost decided to pull it because so much ethanol stuff has been written lately.

It's not only false, it's deliberate misinformation which people believe. I saw stuff like this repeated in a slightly hippie biodiesel book just yesterday. They claimed producing one gallon of mineral diesel took more than one gallon of mineral diesel's worth in energy, which is just completely loony. Then they came up with an explanation, that transporting fuel is so expensive, so "obviously" it's much more energy efficient to grow it at home.
"it's deliberate misinformation which people believe."

If they believe it, it is not deliberate misinformation.

I think you are wrong to ascribe such venal motive to people you don't even in know in total absense of evidence.

The people who listen believe, not the people who make it, that's my point. They've had the errors pointed out to them.

Ethanol or biodiesel producers can make lot of money by convincing people that it has better energy return on investement than gasoline. It hasn't, they know it, they deliberately make it look like it nonetheless, they make their money.

Are we not allowed to talk about the motives of people who hurt us, now? Because that's what this propaganda does.

I find this assertion totally absurd!

Learn "PR Logic" :

When refining you need MORE than four gallons of crude to produce four gallons of gasoline.
Ergo, if it takes only 3 gallons of crude to produce four gallons of ethanol, ethanol is BETTER.

It is the line "better than gasoline" which will be remembered.

Plus, they are probably right about an ethanol EROEI of 1.25 and CANNOT be criticised for this.

Okay, it makes preverted sense, but I must confess I cannot stop laughing. This is why they say it's better than gasoline.

Now just one more question, are these people really that stupid or are they just dishonest?

The Shapouri study that supports this positive eroei is faulty as it ignores the cost in energy to build and maintain farm equipment. The energy has to come from somewhere and if not ethanol than petroleum

The Shapouri study also considers distiller byproducts, the mash that is left over after fermentation, to be credits against the energy costs, when in fact this protein slurry will end up being more a municipal waste problem than an asset.

We can not blandly and blindly assume the best. Read Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood;Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower, by David Pimentel, and Tad W. Patzek, Natural Resources Research, Vol. 14, No. 1, March 2005. This most recent research on this complex subject has yet to be refuted

Would anyone care to tell us how this genus arrived at this conclusion?

Ron, I think you meant 'genius' but since youre Darwinian I'll treat the question as written.

We are genetically predisposed to believe things will continue the way they are. If someone tells us about Peak Oil we will glom onto the first answer that is vocally backed by respected people, even if it is wrong. On a growing planet with more and more energy, those of us who were pessimistic had less resources and attracted fewer mates.  There has been a genotypic advantage to believe in abstractions and follow the cultural herd.

Regarding ethanol, RR has written extensively that these 'higher-ups' are focusing on one misleading graphic by the Argonne GREET model which shows efficiency of gasoline to be lower than EROI for ethanol. Apples and oranges.

What is largely missing from the debate are 3 more important issues:

  1. When doing energy (or financial) analysis, we need to include the widest boundaries possible. Oil is so ubiquitous in our societies transportation, that to count all the energy inputs is almost impossible. If oil triples in price, can we assume all products necessary to make ethanol will be available, irrespective of price? (like steel for pipelines, new trucks, highway maintenance, tractors, fertilizer, etc)

  2. An EROI of ethanol of 1.25:1 vs an EROI of gasoline of 10:1 gives net energy of .25 vs 9, or a magnitude of 36 times less net energy. We should care about the delta - the change in magnitude of energy gain for society, not whether something is slightly positive.

  3. Most importantly, the ethanol debate is ignoring multicriteria analysis and focusing exclusively on the irrelevance or incongruence of Energy Returned on Energy Invested. Energy may or may not be the limiting factor in corn ethanol infrastructure. What is the Energy Return on Soil Invested? or Energy Return on Water Invested? These questions are not being addressed because currently we have bumper crops and the environmental damage is accumulating outside of the public eye.

But God would never allow us to run out of oil so Im not personally concerned....;)
Yes, it seems god is pretty insistent that we leave from 40 to 60 per cent of the original oil in place.
Energy may or may not be the limiting factor in corn ethanol infrastructure. What is the Energy Return on Soil Invested? or Energy Return on Water Invested?

This is the scariest part. We can irrigate and fertilize our way into real-life deserts... just like the Middle East after the Sumerians. There is plenty of literature (google for it) relating irrigation to soil salinization. It's discussed in Jared Diamond's "Collapse" i.e.: the repeated application of surface water pulls salts from deeper sediments. Beyond that...any serious backyard gardener knows industrial fertilizers eliminate soil fungi and bacteria. Important tilth markers like earthworms simply disappear.

The ethanol path assumes the soil-aquifer system is endlessly robust. In Diamond's book, nearly every collapsed society made exactly the same assumption.

Irrigation is big in the San Joaquin Valley in California and they have a huge salinization problem in the run off areas in the Western parts of the Valley.
ethanol made from corn grain today yields 25 percent more energy than the fossil energy invested in its production - better than gasoline.

Anyone for cognitive dissonance?

Economists explain that the best orange juice is made from apples.

It would appear there is a big push here in Iowa to counter the claims about ethanol by Mr Rapier.. Both these editorials appear in the Des Moines Register..

Actually, I didn't see any of my claims countered. I saw a number of my claims supported in these editorials. For instance:

Brazil has led the world in switching to ethanol. It's also the world's leading grower of sugar cane. Since alcohol is created by fermenting sugar, sugar crops are the easiest ingredients to convert into alcohol and thus are an ideal feedstock for making ethanol. Growing it also requires less fertilizer than corn does.

However, Brazil consumes less than 1/20th of the motor fuel gulped by the United States.

By the way, I would like some opinions on something. I have been back and forth on this, because I don't want to beat a dead horse. On Friday, I received an e-mail from a government official challenging my claims on energy balance of gasoline versus ethanol. This turned into a long exchange that included Michael Wang at Argonne and Vinod Khosla. I wrote it up as an essay for TOD, and it is sitting in the queue. But there has been a lot of stuff written recently on ethanol here, and I am thinking about taking it back out of the queue.

Are people interested in seeing this debate? Or have we had enough ethanol stuff here lately? It doesn't matter to me either way.

I vote for publication. You aren't as overexposed as Ms. Hilton, yet.  :-)

The issues are substantive. You've mentioned new interlocutors.  Let's have it.


Yes it's beating a dead horse, but on the other hand, the horse just refuses to stay dead.  I say publish it.  It's always interesting to see the current mind set of people.
I think I would continue because of the (new)readership of TOD. Also the corn belt will have it's hacks out there for the susidies(sp?)from the gov.  because we are talking about "direction" we need to steer early and hard to counteract inertia and tptb.
The dead horse needs to not only be beaten but to be eviscerated and used for fuel.  It is scary when even the Argonne laboratory seems so clueless.  Doesn't give one much faith in their models.
they are NOT clueless - their ethanol analysis is one of the better ones out there. there is ONE graph that is TRUE but misleading showing EROI of ethanol and Efficiency of oil to gasoline. its technically correct - its the people that are focusing on that graphic and tweaking the conclusion to one of ethanol being superior to gasoline where the problem lies.
Please publish!
I will leave it in the queue. I think it should be the next to be published, which would mean it should come out some time today.
Yes, this ethanol dead horse is rotten and it stinks. Yet it still has a lot of pulling power. People want to believe that the party will run on forever and need to be reminded over and over of the the laws of thermodynamics, basic agriculture, and a commonsense truth of our industrial system:

It is impossible to power our industrial agriculture system with a waste product of that system and expect enough energy to leak out and drive mom and the kids to soccer practice.
I also vote publish, and perhaps also put a post somewhere collecting all the threads, making them easy to find.
Personally,  I've seen enough for a while on TOD of the Ethanol thing.  It's a dead horse from a EROEI point of view.  It ISN'T a dead horse to the general public though.

Other Venues for it is where it is needed.  Unless something on a entirely different slant on it.

A Topic I want to explore on TOD is the Electrical Grid.
Duncan's work, The Guy's CrazyPat's and others perspective.

The oil pipelines are getting a lot of press about obsolesence,  How about that also covered on the Grid Topic?

For Example,
What does it look matching the Nat Gas production in the near future match up against it's percentage used for the Grid?  

When does the NG Cliff meet instant Electrical Generation demand wall??

When does the wall of Coal Production/Distribution bottlenecks(Rail etc) hit the Electical Generation needs?

Doing the comparatives of NG, Coal, Oil production fit against the Electrical Grid Growth graphs???

I think that THIS is where the rubber is going to meet the road.  Not being able to drive your car as much is one thing. But Not having air conditioning in all the Southern Malls and business and Homes is going to be a shock to people out of left field.

As of now, Americans subconsciousness KNOWS that gas will be more expensive.(Hence the Ethanol etc debates)

BUT BUT BUT. They DON'T know that the days of Central Airconditioning is numbered.

If you draw a line from Norfork Virginia, to San Francisco,  Nearly everything south of it will have HUGE cooling issues.

One thing in the Kunstler/Simmons thing hasn't been amplified.  This quote from Jim.

--" ...I think people actually have more trouble when it's too hot than they do when it's too cold.

That's the reason there were no really substantial cities in the South, in the southern United States until after World War II..."--

The electical Grid, and Cooling is another below the surface iceberg.

Full steam ahead Capt'n.   "Forward into the Fog" (as OatWillie used to say)


degree heating and degree cooling days are both important - some folks tolerate cold better than heat and vice versa. Im almost done with a post looking at our home heating needs using standing and growing biomass for heat to replace NG and heating oil. The short answer is we can replace 5-7% sustainably, which means less trees or more cold people.
Much of the US is uninhabitable in winter without home heating. Sustainably replacing a mere 5-7% of heating needs with biomass is a terrifying number. If we're decades away from a large-scale increase in nuclear electricity, this implies that home coal use will need to soar, with trucks delivering direct to homes.

There is good data on a UK trial of coppicing poplar and willow to increase yields(essentially harvesting the shoots that spring from a stump). Project website
Yields varied from 2.4 to 15.1 dried tonnes per hectare.

Publish it . It is the No.1 reply I get from others re any oil problems! Thanks for your work.
Post it, please.
For those who are wondering, looks like it will posted on Monday morning.
I don't think you can relax just yet--there is much public education yet to be done and you've had such great results so far.  And, that's really great that you are communicating with government officials.  Hooray!  Your post reminded me of a news story I read a few days ago which I don't believe anyone has referenced here--sorry if I'm wrong.  
Illinois governor develops energy plan Democratic governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich has proposed a 1.2 billion bill to achieve energy independence.  It includes two dozen more ethanol plants and E85 in every gas station by 2017.
There's much work left, to do, unfortunately.  I do think the winds are starting to change, though.  Soon, we'll reach that day when "everyone always knew that ethanol was not the answer..."
I'm hoping some Albertans or Canadians will comment about article Leanan posted on Canada. Have neighboring provinces thought seriously about their ability to support what is going on in Alberta? (Maybe)Primarily by building refineries for Albertan Syncrude or heavier products.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees this. But I think Canada has the ability to become the best place on Earth to live. It may all depend on how they manage things.

Just about evervy single region or country has the ability to become the best place on earth to live. It all depends on what you do with it. To realize such potential, though, you would in these days have to turn your back on most of the rest of the world. Yes, think Cuba, perhaps. Minus Ernesto.

Canada sold itself to the US through GATT in the 1980's and NAFTA 10 years later. Through the latter's proportional sharing clauses, some 2/3 of all oil and gas has to be sold to the US. If things get tight, Canada has to produce 300% of its needs just to keep itself warm with 100%. But 100% of nothing is still..... And it gets really cold in most of the country.

Awareness of this in most of Canada is close to zero. Natural gas running out is an unknown entity here. Oil sands water problems is far too abstract. There is jealousy of Albertans getting hand-outs from the provincial government, because that does make the news, and a few hundred dollars in your hand is much more direct than whatever it is that happens to far away land

What if it became common knowledge that, for a large part of the oil sands patch, Alberta gets only about 25 cents per barrel of oil, 25 cents, that is, 25 cents for 2-3 tons of land, and all the other resources going into that barrel? The utter destruction of a patch of ancient boreal forest the size of Florida?

Worry not, Canadians as a whole are as cluless as Americans. The game must be played to the end.

I hear you. But 25 cents? Can we do this math? If this is true, we all might start to think about a revolution.

Here's the thing with the US and Canada. I believe each believe's the other is its best friend. Which in reality is probably the truth. Unless you want to throw Greenland and Israel into the mix. But even then the equation stays roughly the same.

From a Toronto Globe and Mail article, Patrick Brethour, July 3 2006, which is now behind a paywall. There's more, but I don't want this to get too long.

There are two fiscal issues: first, until initial investments are recouped, the developer pays only 1% in taxes (royalties), and second, through some crazy clause, the developer has the choice of paying taxes over either synthetic crude oil or bitumen.

These clauses go a long way towards explaining why projects are quite easily put on hold. If you wait 5 years to start a project, you will fall into the higher bracket about that much later as well.

Squeezing more out of the oil sands

In the early years of an oil sands project, Alberta skims only a small part of the value of a barrel of bitumen. In a model based on oil costing $42 (U.S.) a barrel, Scotia Capital projects a Canadian selling price of just over $54 (Canadian), for an integrated mining project with an upgrader facility. The vast majority of the proceeds goes to private industry. Even so, the steep fixed costs of those projects means that those profits translate into an annual return on capital of just over 17 per cent -- enough to justify an investment, but lower than other opportunities in the global energy sector.

A barrel of bitumen that sells for $54.23 brings the Alberta government only 25 cents.

How it works . . .

A decade ago, Alberta scrapped a welter of special deals with oil sands projects in favour of a generic royalty regime. Here are the basics of that structure:

Projects pay 1 per cent of gross revenues in their early years, until they have earned profits equal to their capital costs, an event called payout.

At payout, the royalty rate rises to 25 per cent of net revenues, for an eight- to tenfold increase.

Unlike the royalty structure for conventional production, oil sands projects do not pay a higher rate as prices rise.

Project operators can choose to pay royalties on either raw bitumen or upgraded synthetic crude. If royalties are paid on bitumen, an operator cannot include the capital expense of upgrading, which means the payout point will arrive sooner.

New capital investment can delay payout for a project, but only if it is deemed to be part of the existing operations.

The terms apply to all new projects. The two operators in business in 1996, Suncor Energy Inc. and Syncrude Canada Ltd., will be able to move to the generic regime toward the end of this decade.

By the numbers . . .

The royalty percentage rate applied to gross revenues in the early years of an oil sands project

The maximum factor by which royalties rise after a project exhausts capital-spending credits

The top royalty percentage rate paid by conventional oil producers

Year by which oil sands investment would reach $25-billion, according to 1995 projections

Year that goal was reached

Oil sands sector revenue in 2004

Oil sands royalties paid, 2004

Oil sands sector revenue in 2004

Oil sands royalties paid, 2004

I haven't got the time now to pull the numbers out of Alberta's budget statements, but I did some work in this area last year.  Some info here http://www.energy.gov.ab.ca/842.asp

Thirty-five per cent (35%) of the government of Alberta's revenues come from non-renewable resources.  Around two thirds of this is from natural gas royalties.  Light and heavy oil, the tar pits, and sales of licences/leases  account for most of the balance. Revenues from conventional oil is burdened by declining production and revenue from tar pit/ng/water oil is climbing, but hobbled by small margins (an outcome of low eroei).

Albertans are told that they've got vast natural gas reserves/resources and even vaster coal bed methane resources.  They told, "Don't worry, be happy.  Here's $400 bucks, Vote Conservative."

Alberta has got on-going and imminent water problems, including supply (melting glaciers) and contamination from oil and gas operations, in addition to the regular sources, with CBM just waiting to do its bit.

Alberta has got cow CAFOs (confined animal feeding operation) that remind one of the scale of the tar pits.  They are part and parcel of a hugely energy dependent way of producing and distributing food. Looking at heavy truck vehicle mileage data for recent years reveals the enormous hit that the 'mad cow crisis' had on trucking operations, and indicates how trucking dependent the CAFOs are.

It is a lot of fun riding a bike west to east in Alberta, but east to west demands some pretty low gearing, an indication that wind power does hold out some small hope for the province in the medium to long run.  

There is growth in and money sloshing around Alberta at the moment.

Nonetheless, I surely wouldn't advise youngsters to plan to make a life there.  

Canada sold itself to the US through GATT in the 1980's and NAFTA 10 years later.
Awareness of this in most of Canada is close to zero.
Oil sands water problems is far too abstract.
Canadians as a whole are as cluless as Americans.

Not only Canadians or Americans I guess.
This sorely makes me remind of an argument with Leanan a few days ago.
A monarch/despot however dumb will fiercely defend his turf and not be so easily fooled/coerced/bribed into lousy deals as an elected representative can be.


Awareness of this in most of Canada is close to zero. Natural gas running out is an unknown entity here. Oil sands water problems is far too abstract. There is jealousy of Albertans getting hand-outs from the provincial government, because that does make the news, and a few hundred dollars in your hand is much more direct than whatever it is that happens to far away land

As someone who lives in Edmonton, I think the water problem is a part of the public discourse.  A lot of this public awareness is due to the work of David Schindler.  He has been responsible for raising awareness about acid raid and phosphates in the past.    

Natural gas, on the other hand, seems to be sailing under the radar as you said.  

The cheques are pandering to the population, and I don't think it's made Klein very popular with his fellow conservatives.  The last thing they want is to generate the expectation that the government will mail everyone a fat cheque every year.  That's a legacy they'd rather not inherit.  

"I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees this. But I think Canada has the ability to become the best place on Earth to live. It may all depend on how they manage things."

There are two large proven--albeit expensive and slow rate of production--sources of unconventional oil:  Canada and Venezuela.  I think that Russia and other areas may also have some significant unconventional potential.

I still find it interesting that Mike Ruppert headed for Venezuela.  I would assume that the per capita energy consumption rate in Venezuela, while it is growing fast, is still much lower than in Canada, which will prolong the life of the reserves in Venezuela versus Canada.  So, from a life of reserves, versus climate perspective, Venezuela makes more sense than Canada as a place to live.  Also, I suspect that Ruppert may have received a job offer from Hugo Chavez.

However, Canada is a lot closer to the US. I have only half-kiddingly suggested that the Canadians may need to build a fence to keep the Yanks out.  

A job offer?  Interesting speculation - what sort of things exactly do you think Chavez might want to hire Ruppert to do?
It sounds like Chavez has all the post-collapse experts he will ever need in Cuba.  He's already relying on Cuban doctors, he might as well put their farmers to work training his farmers.  That would yield more energy than a nuclear reactor, and it would be funny watching John Bolton trying to tar Chavez as an enemy of the US for the thought-crime of organic farming.

While he's at it, he should rent some Hezbollah guys for advice on how to fight off an invasion by an incredibly advanced army equipped with F-16s and main battle tanks.  Wait, there's still some elderly gentlemen in Vietnam who could help with that.

To replay an old saying: Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you... Ruppert needs a job alright, but as he wrote he left the US because the "next battle would surely mean death for me." In past five years his business has been victimized financially, has suffered unknown computer viruses, burglary, disappearance of the General Manager and multiple cases of sabotage; just to name a few.
Immigration to Canada is very tough, unfortunately for us Yanks, unless you have skills that are in shortage or substantial assets.
They would expect you to have at least a Masters degree, but then would put so many formal and informal barriers to entry in the way of professional employment that you would probably never work in your field again. The unspoken assumption seems to be that people with Masters degrees from other countries are suitable for driving buses here (and they should be grateful for the opportunity as well.)

For instance, Ontario is chronically short of doctors, but it's almost impossible, not to mention very expensive, for a foreign-trained doctor to get accreditation here. Teachers from other countries have to go through a laborious process of documenting every aspect of their foreign experience and qualifications (in the original language - helpful translations will cause the paperwork to be rejected) even though both count for nothing. Engineers will have to take exams before they can even refer to themselves as engineers, no matter what their previous qualifications or experience.

Companies can pull strings to get a specific person they want to employ into the country, but if you come here and try to get established on your own, it is common to find that employers are very suspicious of foreign qualifiactions and experience, and are therefore likely to discount them. Expect to be competing with people half your age for relatively junior positions (although you may then find that the qualifications that were never considered quite sufficient for positions at your own level can nevertheless be used to label you overqualified at a lower level). It is, of course, worse if your first language is not English or French or you belong to a minority group or if you are over 45.

There are too many levels to the question to answer all of them about Canada's desire/ability to handle peak oil.  The short term impact of the frenzy in Alberta is to stimulate the economy as a whole.  Central Canada is salivating at the market and financial opportunities.  I work for a large electrical company and we have increased our staff in alberta by 500% just to sell into the oil sands projects.  The rest of Canada has a place for their unemployed, skilled and semi-skilled, to go for work and there is a massive migration similar to the Alaskan pipe line boom.  Alberta is surfing the wave of all this and being rich they are becoming complacent and arrogant.  They are doing some things to try and build a long term economy not based upon fossil fuel extraction.  Generally, however, they are just spending their wealth on the trappings.  The government there gave $400.00 to every "real" Albertan out of the oil based budget surplus.  A billion dollars of concentrated capital would have built something much more important to their future than getting the present government re-elected.  In all of this, for Alberta, there is the looming impact of global warming on the three glacier fed rivers that are really the backbone of all human activity in Alberta and indeed all of the prairie provinces.  The tar sands activity depends upon the Athabasca River.
Reality there, and here in Ontario, is passing everyone by.  No one is really noticing (except the financial people in Toronto) that coal bed methane is becoming the main focus of NG exploration.  The easy gas fields are fast drying up and the MacKenzie Valley pipeline is about to become a lot more expensive.  Oil peak has passed us by because every one is convinced that mined tar can replace conventional crude and as in everything else no one in official positions is talking about it.  I can find no real debat on peak oil or the implications of the economic dislocation that the Alberta activity has begun.  Our new federal government is simply tryin hard to be George Bush's friend so is a perfect Canadian parrot of official USA (to go with our Tarzans LOL) Even the Green Party seems afraid to talk much about it.  As has been pointed out here many times, politicians are desperate not to give bad news but I think it is deeper than that.  Everyone seems to have a vested interest in business as usual.  The environmentalists here seem to be afraid that peaking of oil and economic recession will take away from their green house gas, Kyoto, big renewable energy projects and the related funding and support.  A few see that the implication  of peaking is an even worse enviromnmental disaster as coal becomes king once more and we desperatley exploit tar sands and shale.  Actully, when the recession hits the tar sands will close down like a beer store on sunday night. These voices have not had much impact yet and with the lack of a bigger debate on peaking they probably won't for some time. I have seen references to TOD Canada and a creation of an ASPO Canada but have found nothing related to either here.  Indeed the biggest discussion seems to be from Freddy Hutter who, inspite of his fine statisitcal skills and presentations, is wanting to support the business as usual, we will find a way, there is no problem business point of view.  I think, unless the debate gets engaged in this country we will be more surprised than anyone when the impact comes.  Personally I am going to get involved with one of the political parties to try and push the debate there.  Hoever, I am simply a member of the working class here with no credentials so likely wont get much of a hearing.  In Canada, "experts" are king.  I am also trying to engage local friends and neighbours in the debate, and this seems to be an area in Canada where there is some activity. We may indeed be the best place in the world to be in an economic collapse, and that may bring out the best in us.  But we are as likely as anywhere to have a period of grim repressive centralised control.  Our history in the Great Depression was not very admirable and we have all become more individualistic and selfish since then.  Even I wish that we could afford the life we are living.
You haven't had any replies since 11:50 a.m. so I'll give you one.
That was as sharp and cogent an essay as I've read here.If no one pays attention to you, they're wrong, not you.
Thanks for the perspective on Canada...I agree, their negotiators must have been smoking something to allow the US to scoop up their resources like that. Even Mexico didn't make that mistake.
The oil sands boom is fueling an inflation cycle here.  It will predictably end with a bust once natural gas prices spike, say in 2012 or so.  This is how Alberta's economy works, for better or worse.  

Other provinces are 'helping' Alberta by exporting labour and tempering inflation.  British Columbia is the only province that directly supports Alberta through exporting hydroelectric power and a pipeline project that will run from Kitimat on the coast to Edmonton.  While the pipeline will initially carry synthetic crude to the Asian market it also provides a right-of-way for a natural gas pipeline going the other way.  There are plans, I believe for a liquefied natural gas terminal in Kitimat.

Re: Oil Driven Energy Era Coming to an End

I wanted to laugh when I read this article. The man says we will have to more than double our total amount of farmland, from 400 million acres to over 1 billion, in order to switch all of our gasoline usage to biofuels. He also says that he thinks the only way to lessen demand is by improving fuel efficiency.

I don't suppose that we would have to say, stop driving so much in order to meet that goal would we? That doesn't even take into account the lower mpg of ethanol versus gasoline. Or the enormous amount of fossil fuels required to grow this much switch grass. Or the loss of biodiversity that would result. Or the increase in pollution. Yadda yadda yadda. And btw, if we convert all of our farmland into ethanol production, what are we going to eat?

This man can't be an economist or a scientist. I don't even think he can add two plus two right now. He's obviously been smoking some really good stuff, or he's living in Never Never Land.

Some days I think I'm the only person on the planet not living in Never Never Land.

Of course we'll always have fuel! Go buy that big SUV and that suburban McMansion. Fill it with cheap plastic crap from China. Eat GMO factory farmed food. Get more, more, more. Don't worry about PO, the environment, GW, or any of that. Everything will just be all right if we close our eyes and believe...

I think that's the glass half empty review of that article.

The half full view is that he told them straight up that oil is going away, and they don't have the land to replace it with biofuels.

"Go buy that big SUV and that suburban McMansion."

Ah, no:

The only way to reduce that large of a land demand, he says, would be through improving vehicle efficiency and the bioenergy technology process by capturing more useable energy at the end of the process.

"It's very easy to do this technology or any technology the wrong way," Sheehan says.

The guy says straight up that it's very easy to do this technology or any technology the wrong way ... and you complain.

Do doomers really see every pragmatic article as cornucopian?

The answer to your last question:


Many Doomers suffer from extreme problems of selective perception and selective inattention. Thus, for many (not all) of them they simply cannot understand information from non-doomer perspectives. I want to make it clear that my generalizations do not apply to all doomers, e.g., do not apply to Matt Savinar, but they do apply to most of that group.

For fairness, the cornucopians are just as biased as the doomers.

I think labeling people is counterproductive.  It is just a way to avoid discussion of the issues.
I agree. One of the things that most bugs me about many doomers is the way they fling the label, "Cornucopian!" to shut off meaningful discussion.

Perhaps the cornucopians are equally guilty, but on TOD they are way outnumbered and outgunned.

consider ''doomer - cornucopianism'' as a broad-spectrum disorder.

We are affilicted with different aspects of it at different times depending upon information received.

Sometimes life dont seem worth living then sometimes you perk up!


Just don't tell me it's peak caffeine!
peak Jamesons
What, are they running out of peat in Ireland?
That would be tragic indeed.

Horrible thought : I hope there are no peat-to-oil schemes in the offing?

Cornucopians, which I would describe as those who see continuing growth in energy production, supporting continued world growth in energy consumption ... those are rare to nonexistent on TOD boards.
For the record sir, I am not a doomer. I am in fact very optimistic about humanity's ultimate future. But I realize that there are going to be some hard times coming along, and that major changes will need to be made.

The man points out energy efficiency as the ultimate cure for the need for cropland. He also never point out that we don't have that much land to convert to corn production, or that that land would be dependent on oil for corn production, or any of the other points I made with my first post this morning. Saying that a technology can be used the wrong way doens't imply that this technology would be or could be used in the wrong way. He was overall, very neutral on the subject.

What he didn't say is much more important and relevant than what he did say. In other words, he told the article readers not to worry, everything will be 'business as usual'.

When someone says that we must do the impossible (put double existing cropland into production for purely energy production), I take that as a statement that said solution "don't go."

It isn't that different than Robert or I saying "if you used all corn grown in America you'd only displace 10,12,15% (choose a number) of our gasoline use."

Robert and I are not suggesting we use all corn grown in America for energy, and neither is this guy.

Another quote:

There are ethical questions in regard to using food crops for fuel, he says. There are trade-offs and "no free lunch."

Is that your cardboard cornucopian?  "no free lunch?"

And at current rates of growth, we can double our farmland again in 40 years. We can do that what, twice more by which time we'll have filled in all the oceans, right? And all that land will be OURS. Technology will come up with some solution to the amount of dirt required when the price gets high enough.

cfm in Gray, ME

And at current rates of growth, we can double our farmland again in 40 years.

We can kiss our prairies goodbye as there is talk of plowing every available acre a farmer can get his hands on to plant corn. We have millions of acres not being utilized(for good reason) that could be put back into corn production according to corn growers advocates..  

I believe we will not stop at anything short of the truth in order to maintain our current unsustainable lifestyles..

No, you're not the only one who isn't living in Never Never Land.

A lot of people have figured out that we'll rely on a wide mix of fixes, the silver BB's instead of a single bullet thing I keep talking about.  Conservation, more efficient technology, and a move toward diversified and decentralized energy sources will play vital roles.

And along the way, we'll have to endure a LOT of terrible analysis and punditry, like the article you mentioned (which I haven't yet read).  Fine.  Let the fools talk while the rest of us help others to understand the situation and then make the needed changes.

The twin problems with the "silver BB's" concept are compatibility and efficiency; converting other fuels to have the right vapor pressure, octane, cold-starting characteristics, etc. to be compatible with current systems is very lossy, and the current systems themselves are lossy too.

This is why I push the PHEV.  Projections for the 20-mile PHEV are that they can replace 50% or more of liquid fuel consumption (it's roughly 1/3 more efficient even without the plug-in), and just about any alternative form of energy can be converted to electricity more efficiently than two conversions to liquid fuel and then to work aboard a vehicle.

Solid Oxide fuel cells are I think the real long term answer there insensitive to the fuel source. They will always suffer from having to be initially heated but this can be offset with resistive heating from a battery or initially of the grid and batteries could be used for propulsion during the initial warm up it should be only a few minutes. The time interval is short enough that ultra capacitors could be used. Or you have to simply accept the inconvience of waiting a few minutes before you can drive. This can be limited by pre-heating the system via remote or timers similar to a engine block warmer. The main problem is getting the operating temperature below 500C so exotic materials are not required. See http://ifci-iipc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/research_sofc_news.html
The SOFC works just fine as the chemical-powered element of a PHEV, and the amount of time before it needs to go on-line is perfect for its warmup cycle too.

Regardless of how good SOFC's become, I think you still want to swap power with the grid.  There are a lot of different energy sources which are either far more efficient in their stationary incarnations (esp. if cogeneration is used) or cannot be converted to chemical fuels without high losses (nuclear, solar, wind).  Being able to use pumps or plugs gives the greatest benefits to the vehicle, and being able to feed power back to the grid has huge benefits for the grid.

I agree I was talking more mobile applications.

In fact consider a SOFC powered rail line it would be pretty effiecent. Usefule for very long rail line were power transmission would be prohibitive.

Next I'd like to see efficent SOFC powered prop planes take over from turbo probs and a lot of the jet traffic.

The biggest reason for SOFC is there not sensitive to the carbon source they can burn pretty much anything including syngas.

The big problem with the grid today and even more in the future is there is no really good way to store electrical power yet.

I've realized that just about any halfway reasonable future that keeps a technical civilization requires at least one break through to be feasible.

1.) Batteries we need rapid charging battery exchanges result in to large a investment extra batteries.

2.) Cellulostic ethanol or other approaches to energy from cellulose fail because the energy required for distillation.
For example for corn you probably need more energy to distill the ethanol made from the kernel then is present in the cornstalk even if you changed plants this is still the case. I think this is obvious with sugar cane ethanol since they use the stalks for distillation so the whole cellulose ethanol thing is really a red herring. If you want to take a fermentation approach you need to produce a product that not or slightly soluble with water distillation is not viable.
Right now the only easy one is methane.

3.) Solar cheap solar cells are a must.

4.) Wind proabably the best tech we have today still need storage and ways to develop weaker sources and high altitude windare a must.

Overall we need to massively drop the power we use daily.
In my proposal for renewable computing I find that we must get a reasonable computer down to 10-20W of power usage or better anything over about 20watts is not feasible and this includes the display power usage which is significant. Modern desktops use 200-300 watts. Keeping our high tech computers and communications is possible but even here we face significant challenges before a truly renewable system develops. At the end of the life cycle designing for recycling is another constraint that has barely been addressed.

In general all our industries need to be revamped to maximize power usage recycling etc. Generally this means a move back to reusable/repairable components. For example in my computer designs the case is standardized and all computers are blades. When a desktop blade is recycled its moved to the data center and becomes part of a server cluster. The data centers are located in abundant power sources regions. The replacement criteria for a blade is overwhelmingly significant gains in power usage. This gives a useful life for a computer of 10-15 years 5-6 on the desktop the rest as a member of a cluster before recycling. As computer technology improves over time this lifetime will increase until it approaches the material failure rate.

I just use this as and example but it points out that we have to move to designing systems built to last with advances in energy conservation being a key driver for determining replacement.

I had to add this since I often come off as a complete doomer. I'm not I just recognize that there is a very very good chance that the next 20 years will probably be the worst humanity will experience since history was recorded. There are hints in our genetic code that we were almost wiped out about 200,000 years ago.


A paper on Harpending and Rogers bottleneck theory.

http://www.human-evol.cam.ac.uk/Members/Lahr/pubs/YPA-98-41.pdf#search=%22humanity%20DNA%20bottlenec k%20theory%20Harpending%20Rogers%22

There is a good chance that something happened that scared the hell out of our ancestors. If it happended there is a good chance it laid the seeds for our religions.

In fact consider a SOFC powered rail line it would be pretty effiecent. Useful for very long rail line were power transmission would be prohibitive.

The Trans-Siberian Railroad is electrified every meter from Moscow to the Pacific.  They do not come any longer than that.

True but if your looking at producing more of your electricity from wind/solar etc. I'm not sure your going to have electric power in the hinterlands like this. I assume there are power plants placed as needed to power the line. This might not be feasible. If it is then SOFC plants offer the most efficient mechanism for generation in regions where wind/solar are not and option. This would be a good use for bio-diesel or other organic fuels.

I could very well be wrong about the power distribution along the Siberian railway but I've always read that long distance transmission is limited now to around 500 miles or so.


It would be cool if someone could actually explain how the Siberian railroad is powered. I did not find any info with a quick search.

The nice thing about SOFC plants is I think since there now used for peak power they could be brought online fairly quickly as the train approaches. So your probably right a all electric train may make more sense then powering the train directly from a SOFC. But I think the would make the best choice of power plant in regions were wind/solar might not make sense.

I'm also not sure how well wind and solar would work for a long line through areas that are not well populated.

I'd much rather see us invest in SOFC for rail transport stationary generators or on board is really a engineering issue. But its the best use I feel for biofuels and probably needed.

I see a real place for biofuel SOFC in our future as power levelers for a wind/solar network and as sources in areas that are difficult to connect to solar/window power.

Also once fuel is expensive they would be useful for a hybrid  wind/SOFC powered ship.

Whats still missing from the equation is a good way to store window/solar electric power for later distribution.

Hey EP.  While recovering from latest near-death experience (bad bacterial infection)  I had plenty of time to commune with the Spirits about cars,  I was thus reliably informed that:

  1. IC engines are fundamentally bad idea -to be sent  to hell asap. ( have sinned deeply in having spent so much time in their thrall)
  2. Electric motors are good, with smart electronics, great.
  3. Batteries are not living up to their true potential but will.
  4. If the paradigm is replace, rather than recharge, you get a lot of benefits, - range, power density,  battery rental company doing the battery evolution, and so on.

So.  Why not just go whole-hog and aim for the fully electric car as the major part of a car-sharing club in which if you really want to drag a ten ton load up a hill for a whole day, you just go check out a diesel truck.  But otherwise you get a spiffy electric that gets you around fast and clean. That is, if you can't merely step on a train or a cell-phone summoned electric jitney.  And the plug in hybrid is there where that makes sense.
IC engines are fundamentally bad idea -to be sent  to hell asap. ( have sinned deeply in having spent so much time in their thrall)
I usually call them infernal combustion engines.
I like the idea of a car-sharing club, or "vehicle on reserve" leasing arrangement (bring in your electric, drive out in a gasser, you pay a small extra on the lease and your insurance is the same).

This is a business model someone should look at closely.

wimbi,  I'm with you man. Electric cars are the way to go and you only need to look at the number of people out there, Toshiba, A123 among them who are developing COMMERCIAL nano lithium ion batteries to see that the electric car is commercially very close. Add thin film solar and over a mere 15-20 years you could wean us dramatically from the ICE. Now where is the political will? By the way check out the mini conversion at http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/08/pmls_inwheel_mo.html  This is a hybrid but it doesn't need the ICE.  It goes almost as fast as the TESLA.
One really good global pandemic and PO will not be an issue.  We get so stung out on our technology enhanced lives we forget our basic biological nature.  

I do not consider myself to be a doomer- I own a nursery.  I see the evolution in insects and diseases that become resistant to chemicals. Botrytis has become resistant to Chipco 26019 in many areas of the US.  So it goes with antibiotics.  Granted they come up with new ones but...
Quite a few articles are in Nat'l Geo lately about very lethal diseases making a comeback.

It is well known that healthy(i.e. well fed) plants resist attack, I assume the same for people.  In post peak- I would assume some stress in the general population.  The idea that we can support our current population with both food and fuel seems unlikely to me.

We nned a shift to smaller homes or more people in big ones, short or no commute, less energy consumption, slower pace, etc.
I cannot see the US population willing doing this.
If we get to $6.00 gas I think it could happen(forced willingness), but that would most likely tank our economy IMO.

Again I don't see myself as a "doomer",  If you look at how pervasive oil is in everything we touch and do and how clueless people seem to be or the "I don't want to even talk about it!".
I find it hard to see rosy times ahead as these people are forced into changing what they do, how much they can spend, and on what.

I indeed think westexas has the most likely senarios both for preparation and outlook.  I too see subtle changes which I think are oil price/disposable income related in our local area.

The "Tarzans"  Oh god that is funny! Thank you all for a smile for the day...
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. D

I think I set my initail pessimism so high two years ago that I can be pleasantly surprised by the small progress we have now.  I mean things like the recent California solar roofs bill and the downturn in SUV sales.  Society is responding, just not as quickly as the early adopters would like.

I don't think the acceleration should be discounted.  It leads to more movement next year, not less.

One really good global pandemic and PO will not be an issue.

Provided it does not wipe out too many geologists or petroleum engineers, tankers crews, etc...

Most communicable diseases that spread rapidly take out immunocompromised and elderly/youth.  

If bird flu were to hit, It would most likely bail out Social Security and make HIV much less of a problem.

Most do, but last time I checked Bird Flu hit young/middle aged (~18-40) adults the hardest followed by kids. That may just be because that age range are the ones that tend to work with poultry the most, but if it were to morph into a human-to-human transmissible flu pandemic with the same demographic profile, it would be disastrous. Hell, if it spread fast enough and was lethal enough it would almost be a tailor-made human extinction virus.

This is how I know I've read why too much bad science fiction...

i know why it hits those groups.
it works like this. it attacks the lungs in such a way that it  causes the person's immune system to attack the lungs at the same time it attacks the virus.
this is similar to how the last flu pandemic worked.
If it's anything like the Spanish Flu, then it would take out a lot of healthy young adults. I don't have a link, but if memory serves then a significant part of the mortality comes from massive immune system over-reaction causing inflammation and fluid in the lungs. The stronger the immune system, the more prone it is to over-react. Fluid in the lungs is survivable, but only if one has access to a respirator in hospital. Naturally, there are nowhere near enough respirators for the number of people who would be affected during a pandemic, meaning our chances of survival if so affected may be not much greater than they would have been in 1918.
Hi Stoneleigh

I think you've summed it up well. More specifically, it involves a cytokine storm. Victims of the Spanish Flu were known to turn black as they died of asphyxiation. Not a pleasant way to go.

Strange how the Avian Flu has almost completely vanished from the radar screen after causing all that fuss a few months ago.

There is a new interview with Samsam Bakhtiari by Byron King on the Whisky and gunpowder site. It is a free newsletter and a lot of stuff on Peak Oil.


 A good bit of it is the same as the testimony he gave before the Australian Senate committee but there is a chart showing Bakhtiari's estimates of remaining reserves in five of the M.E. countries. I can't get it to copy paste but considering his former position in Iran his Iranian figures are very interesting. (in billions of barrels)

Iran's remaining oil reserves.

Oil and Gas Journal   132.5
Colin Cambell            69
Bakhtiari                      35-45

For all of the five, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, SA. and UAE his total is in the ball park with Campbell's but the big differences are, he is much lower on Iran and much higher then Campbell on Iraq.  Cambell's for Iraq 61, vs. Bakhtiari's 80-100. If he is correct might explain a few things.

If there is one place Baktiari's is well informed about, then itis Iran. Isn't it?
Ricko, I went to the Whiskey and Gunpower site at the URL you posted and found no such interview.

Whiskey and Gunpowder

Could you perhaps post the URL for the actual interview?

Thanks, Ron Patterson

Sorry, I did check on the site where you can subscribe before I posted but forgot to say it looks like they only put up the last newsletter (This is dated Aug.25)a week after it is sent to subscribers. I only have it as an email. I think you could subscribe for free and they would send it to you. There is a lot of good info in it every week. I kind of hate to post my email address but if anyone wants it send me an email at 1rblock@Comcast.net and I will forward it to them.
The King Bakhtiari interview is now on the Energy Bulletin


BP and Shell evacuate nonessential workers

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's two largest oil companies, yesterday evacuated non-essential personnel from their production and drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico as Ernesto approached. As of yesterday the companies' Gulf operations were not disrupted, they said.

Shell said May 22 it began restoring production from its $1 billion Mars platform, the biggest producer in the gulf, nine months after it was damaged by Katrina last August.

Shell evacuated 110 workers from the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, the Hague, Netherlands-based company said in a statement. London-based BP withdrew 800 workers, leaving 1,600 offshore, spokesman David Nicholas said today by phone.

Though the 11 am update is looking more like Charlie than like Dennis, Rita, or Katrina.  Good news for the oil industry, but not for Florida.

I have a friend who owns a vacation condo in Florida.  It's still not fixed from the hurricanes a couple of years ago.  She's freaked by the hurricanes and wants to sell the condo, but her husband refuses.

Change the Husband
Or at least try to get him to sell, and then rent.  

IMO, owning coastal real estate all the way from South Texas to the tip of Maine is not going to be a good idea, because of the insurance problem combined with post-Peak Oil problems.

Those pesky insurance problems will be solved when the ocean ubmerges your property. No property, no insurance.
Solves post peak oil neatly too.
If you're not on a sandbar like Florida or Long Island, I'd say it's not such a risk..  Of course, I'm dug into a rocky hill, a good 100' above Casco Bay.

If anything, I would expect the insurance industry to lead the charge on discouraging people from living too close to the sea, except at their own risk.

Can any of our Swedish readers confirm what I heard, that Coastal and Lakeside land in Sweden is mandated as public land?

No, but there is something called "strandskydd" (literally beach protection) which says no one can build a house within 100 metres from the shore, even if it's your own land. The local municipiality can override the beach protection.

The reason we have this is to uphold the everymansright, the ancient right to move hike, camp, pick berries or mushrooms etc freely on other people's property, except where there are houses.

Appropos of nothing, the local birdcage liner had a profile on a University of Texas zoology prof who in essence teaches that we're inevitably going to have a 90% dieoff and the earth would be better off if we did. The man has been villified, reported to the FBI as a terrorist, recieved death threats, etc. And oh, yeah, he was the Texas Academy of Science Distinguished Scientist for 2006.
Thanks, I needed that. Someone to look up to.
In fact, reading Dr. Pianka's infamous lecture: The Vanishing Book of Life on Earth, it's hard for me to understand what the fuss is all about, given its straight forward clearly stated message:


What's to argue with?

Seems like people somehow are objecting to being told really bad news or something...can't imagine why that would be...gosh darn those fiendish biologists and their crazy dieoff theories!
Any stats on what fraction of say population biologists see a human population crash in their lifetimes?

Or do we spot one or two and say "gosh, what a trend!"

Bob speculates on an increase in numbers of scientists below.  Hard to imagine a zoologist being eager to espouse these beliefs when they are subject to the kind of treatment referred to in the article, so my WAG would be "no."
FWIW, if you were to ask me if we were in the midst of a human-driven mass extinction event - I'd have to say yes.  And that is very sad.  That is something we should all do something about.

But, we test the limits of human predictive ability when we say where this mass extinction will go.  Will it merely be a sad backdrop to the early 21st century?  Will it be enough to tip the big remaining ecosystems (amazon, oceans) into a death spiral?  Will humans die off before or after those ecosystem crash ... or will they survive in numeric "success" but with a miserable existence (the "china everywhere" scenario)?

I think the urge to prognosticate, after establishing the fact of the "human-driven mass extinction event," (clever!) must be overwhelming, and I assume that's where your solid rock of uncertainty comes in. I'd have to agree--humans  have built-in biases when it comes to predicting the future, and as hard as we try to imagine it, we have to realize that it will be much different.
Surfing now I guess it's called the "Holocene extinction event."




In the latter, the range of outcomes is discussed:

Those who are skeptical about the impending mass extinction argue that even if the current rate of extinction is higher than the rate during a great mass extinction event, as long as the current rate does not last more than a few hundred years, the overall effect may be acceptable. There is still hope, argue some, that humanity can eventually slow the rate of extinction through proper ecological management. Current socio-political and overpopulation trends, others argue, indicate that this idea is overly optimistic. Most hopes are set on sustainable development and moderate forms of primitivism.
Yhour WAG is where "hard" science has lived through all of it's existence. Scientific knowledge is socially constrained. It's the nature of the case.
I know some demogrophers and have known some of the top ones. In public they avoid or evade or pussy-foot around certain topics. Private is a different story--and not a pretty one.

These people come out of public health and sociology and biology as disciplines, and I've been luckly enough to have known some of the top population geneticists, including one who was my guardian.

We've come a long way since Malthus, and forecasters of population trends have learned humility since the nineteen thirties (when all of them were wrong) and the nineteen fifties (when almost all of them were wrong).

Any stats on what fraction of say population biologists see a human population crash in their lifetimes?

Way back when I was a biology major at university, the population biologists were definitely warning of an impending human population crash. I don't think any of them thought it would actually occur in their own lifetime though.

Hello Seadragon,

Thxs for posting this link.  More and more scientists and expert writers are coming to this Dieoff conclusion.  Afterall, it happens all the time in Nature with tremendous regularity.

The problem for humans is: do we have the intellect to plan for a graceful decline to prevent our tendency to prefer widespread violence, and additional desire to prevent the swinging scythe of Nature's Grim Reaper?  Can we willingly optimize the Dieoff Bottleneck and bring a broad swath of other species through with us?

Don't forget to read Peakoiler and Geneticist Reg Morrison's article,"Hydrogen--Humanity's Maker or Breaker" at this link.

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

An interesting (and overly wordy) article in the Asian Times.

Talks about how Syria will not allow the UN to cut off the flow of arms to Hezbollah

Written by a Syrian professor called Sami Moubayed.

If I were the the French or Italians I would find an excuse to not deploy a peace keeping force.  This just doesn't seem to be over yet.


This has been a good thread today so far. I especially enjoyed the interview and the Rapa article.

As to Syria and the peacekeeping force, it is obvious why it is hard to get this peacekeeping force together as the Asia Times article rightly points out. You have the troops with a big bulls-eye there.

My guess that when/ O.K. if, the ceasefire breaks down, Syria may be drawn into this more fully. But I think Israel under its present leadership may fall between two stools yet again. Instead of either just operating close to the Lebanese border, Israel will take out by air power the power grid of Syria. The other stool that Israel will fall between will be not taking out the Syrian govt. Instead of having the Pawns fight in the front, you need to take a Rook.

You might want to look at this:


The illusion of air power

Aug 24th 2006
From The Economist print edition

VICTORY is not a matter of seizing territory, Dan Halutz once explained. It is a matter of consciousness. And air power, continued Israel's chief of staff, affects the adversary's consciousness significantly....

Yup, shock and awe, works every time.
OMFG!! I find myself agreeing with Jack Greene's analysis of the Middle East! Or half of it. Yes, Israel would love to get it on with Syria.
At that point Iran comes in and we have a state of war in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. Pakistan will certainly jump in at this point too and it is likely. though not certain, that Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and a few others would start fighting too.
Is this VICTORY?
Damascus is the key. Israel has a peace, somewhat, we have players on a stage with a script they would love to act out.

Hunker in your bunker once Damascus is slagged. The Raptureready index will go off the scale when it happens.


Apparently we (USA) gave Israel the green light to take on Syria, at least I have seen stuff that reflects that. Israel decided not to do it. 1) Olmert may have decided that was too big a piece of cheese to bite off, or 2) maybe he thought he would let his Air Force Chief of Staff try his bombing campaign from the air and not use any troops and crush Hezbullah (it did not work folks), or 3) he was scared of Syria's missile arsenal that includes chemical weapons and with a fair number of missiles having a greater range than 12 miles, including scuds, or 4) he did not want to disrupt the economy with a big war.

Or some of each of the above.

I don't see why Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, or SA would want to come in. Jordan does not like Syria. SA is afraid of Shiites, Pakistan would gain nothing except a bigger fear of India on its flank and any Afghan territory means more unruly Pashtuns in her north-west frontier provinces. Boy that would be something I would really want.

Syria falls, Israel has a chunk of civilians deaths and Iran loses an ally. That seems to have been the neocon thinking.

Just for starters Pakistan comes in 'cause Musharraf is on record that if Iran is attacked he will 1.) bring the jihadis into the government 5 seconds in advance of the jihadis cutting off his head and 2.) come to the defence of Iran. You now have a general conflagration from the Mediterranean to the Indus. You have handed Pakistan's nukes to al-Qaeda (or someone like them).
I could spell out for you how every other regional player gets drawn in but why bother. Fixate on a happy scenario and then deny all other possibilities.
Absolutely nothing from the neocon playbook works except their ability to continue deluding themselves and to exploit the gullbility and ignorance of the American people. Anyone who can write a complete sentence has the mental capacity to see the neocon bullshit for bullshit. Why is it we can't just laugh at the neocon rubbish and move on?  
Initially, I thought the French would be perfect for UN Deployment in the Lebanon. Certainly, with the right numbers and solid rules of engagement they could make a fist of it.

Having seen the rules under which they must deploy, I would not risk one French Life.

To react when fired upon, they need the permission of the Lebanese Army High Command.

Its a recipe for disaster.

In fact the whole thing is a fukkin mess. I dont much like the way the IDF behaved this time around, but to see the IDF beaten means that the whole region is now less stable than at any time in the last 60 years.

Take away the myth of IDF invincibility and a whole bunch of Staff Colleges in the Arab World are thinking 'hmmm... maybe we can take 'em down...'.

'Cept if the IDF does ever get over-run, Israel will go nuclear before she disappears from the map.

The world is a more dangerous place now that the IDF looks beat.

I agree!

Regardless how you feel about the righteousness of the conflict, the perception of a weak IDF means more death and destruction.  The IDF ignored the example of our problems in Iraq, then put their foot into exactly the same trap. I keep going back to a study early this year.  Basically it's results said that optimists make bad generals. The IDF was to optimistic.


Bitteroldcoot -

I agree.

 And I would even take it a step further and go so far as to say that over the course of history more of the world's pain and suffering has been caused by blind optimists rather than gloomy pessimists. To wit:

1812 - "We'll be in Moscow before Christmas!"  

1861 - "We'll be in Richmond by Summer!"

1914 - "We'll be in Paris before Christmas!"

1933 -  "Hitler's a shmuck: he'll never get in!"

1941 - "We'll be in Moscow before Christmas!"

1967 - "There's light at the end of the tunnel!"

2003 - "Mission accomplished!"

The last thing I want is an exciting leader with a 'bold vision'.  In fact, I don't even want a 'leader'.  Give me somebody who will competently manage rather than inspiringly lead the country.  If after four years, he doesn't i) get us into a pointless war, and ii) screw up the economy, then regardless of how boring he is, I will have considered his term to have been a crashing success.

My old granny used to have a saying. It went something like: Things will never get as bad as the gloomy old men predict, or as good as the wide-eyed kids think.
The IDF would do well to read The Transformation of War by the Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld. His analysis of conventional forces facing assymetical low intensity conflict instead of the Clausewitzian warfare they were designed for is not encouraging for either the Israelis or the Americans.
"not encouraging for either the Israelis or the Americans."

Love the understatement, Stoneleigh.  That's powerful stuff.

"The world is a more dangerous place now that the IDF looks beat."

I've decided that there are two types of Americans:  (1)  those who have realized that we are fighting a lost cause trying to impose the Neocon's vision on the Middle East and (2)  those who will realize it at some point in the future.

I assume that the overwhelming majority (90% plus?) of the British and Europeans are already in Group #1.

For the sake of argument, even if one accepts the premise that it is a "good" idea (on extreme nationalistic grounds) for the US and Great Britain to try seize the oil fields in the Middle East, seizing them and holding them long term are two very different things.

I'm not sure you are on the same wavelength as I, but I took the Israeli quasi-defeat as reducing the likelyhood of a Neocon-inspired attack on Iran.  IOW, possibly making the world a safer place.

Recent news of Israel buying more nuke-capable submarines leads to the idea of a regional-MAD, which might possibly put a cap on how bad things could get.

No nukes would be better than MAD, but MAD might be better than unbalanced nukes and "winnable" exchanges.

odograph -

I'm afraid I'd have to line up more with Westexas on this one.

It's human nature for a self-important person who has suffered an unexpected and humiliating setback to become reckless, desperate, and dangerous in trying to restore the dominant position that he thinks is his due. Good judgement goes right out the window.

 And It appears that Israel is pretty desperate at the  moment. For all the billions of dollars of top-of-the-line US weaponry, and even after their totally ruthless destruction of Lebanon, they were still not able to wipe out Hezbollah. So then, one must ask: what is next? Surely, no one believes that this phoney cease fire is going to hold.

Is US/Israel going to find a pretext to attack Syria?  Or Iran?  It sure looks that way. What happens if they do?

What will the Middle East look like after a massively destructive air attack on Iran by US/Israel?

Can any sane  person think this can possibly have a happy ending for the US?

Actually, a MAD situation in the Middle East might actually stabilize things, just as id did for almost 50 years between the US and the USSR.  An Iran with the bomb would be permanently innoculated from unprovoked attack by US/Israel. And knowing that Israel has well over 100 nukes, Iran wouldn't dare attempt a first strike on Israel.

A nuclear-armed Iran would remove the temptation on the part of the neocons in both the US and Israel to 'fix' Iran by military means.

 Nuclear proliferation is hardly something to be happy about, but it might freeze things into a grudging stalemate.  Furthermore, it might put an end to the Bush regime's de facto energy policy of trying to militarily dominate the Middle East so as control the flow of its oil. It is clear that Israel is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons at any cost, so this argument is largely academic. Iran will be attacked long before they are able to develop nuclear weapons.

It is really sad and also infuriating to think what could have been accomplished if just a fraction of the $400 billion+ that has been pissed away so far in Iraq and Afganistan were spent here at home on alternative energy. However, I fear that the American failure in Iraq  and the Israeli failure in Lebanon will only spur the leaders of US/Israel on to more war and more waste.

I agree with you, one unintended, or intended depending on the level of cynism, consequence of the US mess in Iraq was the strengthening of Iranian influence in Iraq and the region as a whole.  To "correct" this outcome, the Bush Admin may very well go ahead with the bombing etc of Iran and Syria etc.   .......these people are the ultimate idealists, anti-realists, ... they're on their way to digging a deeper hole.  

Considering how many times we came close to nuclear war I can't condone MAD. Also considering most of the time would be post peak oil which is very destabilizing I can only see that a Nuclear armed Iran would result in nuclear war in the ME. And once the bombs start falling who knows when they will stop. We have never had a limited nuclear exchange happen and its almost impossible to predict the outcome.

I'm not looking forward to the troubles that are probably coming but the addition of nuclear power would make a bad situation much worse.

Also the real power in the region is KSA and I'm certain they would seek nuclear weapons if Iran succeeds. Considering the nature of the government these could easily end of controlled by a fanatical anti Shiite regime either by polarization of the current government or by a regime change.

I don't like Bush and his policies but its difficult for me to see trading a few years of slowly decreasing oil supplies in exchange for almost certain nuclear war.

I'm not convinced that the cold war is behind us there are a lot of nuclear weapons out there and alliances can change dramatically as we head into the post peak world.

I have to agree with Bush if peak oil is really happening then its almost certainly better to precipitate a oil crisis and deal with that then deal with even the possibility of regional nuclear war 5-10 years from now. I guess I'd rather people have a chance even if its starvation then to see nuclear weapons used.

If oil was not peaking then I'd say there is a good chance for the Iranian goverment even one armed with nuclear weapons to become a resposible goverment.

FWIW, this just came through on hugg:


do it yourself energy projects

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Paul Salopek, who did the excellent Chicago Tribune multi-part article on oil, has been arrested on (trumped up) spying charges in the Sudan.  

I talked to Paul for a couple of hours earlier this year as he was doing research for the Tribune piece.  Very sharp guy, and an excellent journalist.  I hope that this turns out well for him and his family.  

Jim Kunstler doesn't know shit from Shinola. If we don't deal with depleted resources his way he will have a little tizzy. Oops, too late.
Hello TODers,

This link gives a good historical roundup of what has been happening in Oaxaca, Mexico lately.

What is amazing to me is the lack of newsreporting at the major Phx websites, AzCentral.com and LaVoz [spanish language], owned by the main local newspaper, "The Arizona Republic".  If this is a purposeful omission--they are not living up to the ideals of journalism.

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

I just wanted to say thanks for keeping us informed of what is happening
south of the border.  I have found next to nothing in MSM about these events.
Narco News has the best English-language coverage of the muliple uprisings in Mexico, but be aware that it's very pro-revolution.  Narco News also had by far the best coverage of the Bolivian uprising that led to the Morales government.  I would check in several times a day to follow the marching Indians as they chased their legislature from city to city.  Too bad America is too big for that.  But the lack of coverage from the mainstream was appalling.  The neocons were caught so flat-footed that they didn't even have any lies to feed to the mainstream media, so the media said practically nothing until Bolivia was a few shootings away from a civil war.  Luckily that was avoided, but how could our media again perform so poorly when it's as close as Mexico?
So what do you think Toto...

Is the lack of coverage of the Mexican electoral fraud due to lack of interest in Mexico? or... might it be too close for domestic comfort given the repeated abuse in Ohio and Florida?

You would think that the MSM would have wall to wall coverage on testimony like that.  I am giving "them" one more election cycle to clean this up.  If they don't, I am bailing on the voting thing.  
Hello Will,

I really wish I knew.  I am not a poly-sci expert at all.  I, myself, cannot even prove to my own satisfaction whether fraud took place or not, but considering past history--it seems likely.

But the abuse of power, propaganda, corruption, tyranny, etc, that inevitably lead to civil wars, revolutions, and insurrections have always been constants throughout history.  Maybe the Mexicans will peacefully solve their problems this time, but the stress arising from Mexican Peakoil is bound to cause a widespread societal breakdown.

I feel that the suppression of bad news tragically leads to even worse events occurring because a timely, mitigative feedback loop is not allowed to induce changes.  The US MSM ignoring Mexico [much less than even ignoring Peakoil] to feature coverage on the Jon Benet murder or the Tom Cruise-Paramount breakup is, in my eyes at least, a disservice to this country.  We will reap what we have sown.

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

  Oaxaca is a beautiful city in a beautiful state. Its extremely Indian-Spanish is a second language to about half the people, and the people are exploited. I've seen poor Indians in homespun plowing with wooden plows and digging sticks, while the inside of the Cathedral in Oaxaca is covered in gold and green fields of the finest red bud marijuana can be spotted on the mountain slopes and the drug workers drive new pick-ups and SUV's filled with machine guns.

  IMHO, the Media is ignoring the political situation in the south of Mexico because they are owned and controled by the Corporatocracy here in America. Time-Warner (CNN and CBS), Disney (ABC),Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp (Fox), and General Electric (NBC) don't want to publish/broadcast real news stories because they don't want to change the status quo in any manner. Hence, they ignore real issues like Peak Oil, or the Mexican political situation in favor of the latest non-story du jour. They took Marshall McLuhan to heart-the medium is the message, the whole point is to keep the largest number of people half-dreaming between commercials for the latest consumer products.

  Confucious pointed out that people get the government they deserve. Because we are mostly too lazy to talk to one another and personally dishonest about our own behaviour we have allowed the politicians to do the most expedient thing while lining their pockets. They eviscerated the FCC.

  Meanwhile, the men and boys of Oaxaca are in the US busing tables in Chinese all you can eat buffets and working for subcontractors in refineries washing carcinogens into our bays. They bust their balls to send $50 a week to Mama and the children eating tortillias and beans in the mud and stone huts of the valleys of Oaxaca. May Day proved they are starting to wake up, and the collapse of the Pemex production and the mass expulsions from the US may be the lit fuse on the powder keg.    

Fantastic post.

I think the hidden story in Latin America is the Indian movement.  I hear things from Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.  It isn't just Indians supporting leftist parties, but they've gone beyond that.  The pattern seems to be a form of anarcho-syndicalism characterized by overlapping popular committees and a refusal to knuckle under to what whites would recognize as government.  In Bolivia the movement is far more radical than Morales.  In Venezuela the Indians don't want to cooperate with Chavez's energy development plans.

The Indian movement we can get the most info on is Mexico's, and it is so far beyond the big-state socialism of the PRD that American media can't even rehash cliches to describe it.  The Zapatistas, folks, are not kidding.  They are rejecting the most essential premise of 350 years (since the English Civil War) of bourgeoise republicanism - that elected representatives can be trusted by the poor.  With these guys, it's "Do it yourself" for everything.

Since the indigenous population of the Americas was so violated by the forces of westernization and industrialization, there have long been white radicals who romanticized it as a possible source of opposition to dehumanizing "progress".  But it's beginning to happen.  Now I hear of the Canadian Indians using their considerable power to block possible natural gas pipeline routes required by the tar sands developments.  Energy seems to be a sore point for indigenous movements in several countries.

So far, the Indians of the US are still selling out.  If an energy-based economic collapse occurs, can their tribal governments take the cash from the casinos and plow it into something sustainable?  Peak Oil undermines 500 years of white power.  There's plenty of talk around here of people emigrating from the suburbs to claim every scrap of farmable land, but I think a native American insurgency would deter the couch potatoes until they died of starvation.

Our local rag had an update in today's paper...but that's because we consider Mexico part of our backyard.  We regularly get locally-sourced articles on aspects of that country.
  Mexico is part of all of our backyards since Latinonos are now about 15% of the US population and we import 8% of our crude from there. What amazes me is that the Houston paper doesn't carry any substantial news from Mexico even though Latinos outnumber Anglos in the metroplitan area. But, Houston doesn't have a real local newspaper-the Chronicle is a Hearst publication and doesn't even have a decent oil and gas section.
The Chronicle is a sister paper to ours...same chain.
What a shame the Houston Chronicle doesn't have much if anything in the way of oil and gas news. Unlike Shreveport Times

They have a section on oil and gas activity, and oil and gas completions.

The Houston paper is shameful, with it's many oil and gas companies and refineries here in town.

Er, Simmons and Kunstler "arrive at the same conclusions" because Kunstler reads up on what the real researchers are saying and parrots that.
Fleam, have you been following Kunstler around and checking up on what he has been reading? But if he has been reading what the real researchers are saying, power to him. I admire a man who does that.

By the way, who are the real researchers? I would like to read them myself.

Well the real guys are the oil guys, Hubbert and so on, Diamond etc.

But, I've read the interview and Kunstler's not trying to put himself across as a scientific researcher, and he is very good at getting the message out.

Mr. Simmons stated in the interview:
SIMMONS: You know unfortunately the green movement jumped on the idea of an 80 mile per gallon car that basically was probably impossible to actually create ...

80 miles per gallon is approximately 3 liters per 100 km. Volkswagen actually created such a car a few years ago based on their "Lupo" (never for sale in USA of course). It relied completely on "classical" technologies like efficient engine and lightweight materials. No hybrid drive etc. This model was later discontinued because nobody wanted this car that did not look or fell cool. There is absolutely no problem with creating efficient cars if the pressure created by the gas price is high enough.

Some more details are here (sorry, in German):

Combine the 80 mpg car with carpooling, and bingo, suburbia is saved for the next few decades. Imagine a 4-person carpool - it would get approximately 240 mpg per passenger (about 1 l per 100km). I also don't like suburbia very much, so let's start howling in pain together...

yea but that will only encourage people to continue this destructive way of life, and in the end it will mean a worse situation for us all.
Petrol forecast to drop to $1.15
MOTORISTS will be handed a welcome Christmas present with the price of petrol to drop to $1.15 by the festive season, a prominent economist has predicted.
Mr James said the increased oil supply would come from nations outside the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). "The International Energy Agency expects non-OPEC oil production to rise by 1.9 million barrels per day or 3.7 per cent in 2007, the biggest percentage lift in production since 1984," Mr James said.
What chance a 1.9 mbpd increase in 2007?