DrumBeat: August 31, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/31/06 at 9:17 AM EDT]

Peak Oil Forecasters Win Converts on Wall Street to $200 Crude

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- On a sweltering Tuesday in mid-July, in the fields outside Pisa, Italy, Willem Kadijk scribbles notes as a ragtag troupe of doomsayers predict the end of the Oil Age.

With his shaved head, jeans and sandals, Kadijk, 48, blends into a crowd gathered under a white tent to hear of the coming calamity. The death of cheap, abundant crude, the forecasters warn, might unleash war and plunge the world into a second Great Depression.

That's not the prophecy of some apocalyptic cult. Kadijk, a hedge fund adviser, had flown from Amsterdam to attend a conference on a geologic theory known as peak oil.

Will the End of Oil Be the End Of Food?

American agriculture is fatally dependent on oil. A few forward-thinking farmers are trying to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

PODCAST: The Nuclear Option. Popular Mechanics on the pros and cons of going nuclear.

Tom Whipple on The Peak Oil Crisis: Labor Day 2006.

BP may resume pipeline production soon

Chad oil tax row 'not asset grab'

Western auto execs woo newly rich Russians

Booming economy fuels Muscovites’ taste for conspicuous consumption

Analysts: Venezuela move hurts profits

Cash-strapped Cambodia eyes black gold

US oil giant Chevron is poised to prove Cambodia is sitting on oil reserves worth $1 billion annually.

Absence of an ill wind blows some good

GLOBAL warming's failure so far to produce a repeat of last year's serial hurricane assault and battery of the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico is the swing factor in the suddenly soft price of oil.

Public has to make solid energy choices, Lugar says

U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar acknowledges that production represents only half of the energy crisis equation.

"We want our SUVs despite all the talk about the mileage isn't so great," the Indiana Republican said during an energy summit he co-sponsored with Purdue University Tuesday.

[Update by Leanan on 08/31/06 at 10:00 AM EDT]

Nigeria: Kerosene Scarcity - What the People Say

Ghanaians told to save power

Pakistan’s oil demand to double in 10 years

China nomads on energy's cutting edge. Well, I guess this explains the silicon shortage:

One day last year, Sitkan and her husband were called to a meeting where 100 villagers waiting for a transmission line learned of an alternative to burning coal. After government subsidies, 500 yuan - a tenth of what Sitkan makes each year selling sheep's wool and meat - buys a photovoltaic solar unit that would provide enough electricity to power a small heater, a radio, a television, or a couple of light bulbs.

"Nearly everybody bought one," says Sitkan, a seminomadic shepherd who treks a well-traveled route each year with her family, 200 sheep, and a few cows.

BBC Radio 4 series - Driven By Oil. A four-part series about peak oil, starting Monday at 9am (UK time).

Can we suppose that TPTB are not worried about our present oil production plateau because they know that the imminent collapse of the housing bubble will suppress US and other OECD demand for several years?
Tocchigi, The Powers That Be are just as clueless as the average joe in the street. They are basically just a bunch of dumb-asses like the rest of the populace.

Why would anyone think that those elected by an unimformed populace be any smarter or more informed than those who elected him or her.

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
- H.L. Mencken

Ron Patterson

And that day is today.  Talk about prescience!!!  
love that quote
What makes you think that TPTB are those that are elected to the government?
Precisely. I am always amazed when people honestly believe that those clowns we see on TV are the same that are calling the shots.
What amazes me is all that stupid crap the conspiracy theory nitwits actually believe.
like peak oil?
conspiracy theory nitwits? are my wits nits? or is your brain on the shits?
I enjoy your posts on oil, I don't enjoy anyones post on conspiracy theories here on tod. It's not the right place. Just keep in mind you post ( a lot) on a site that's considered by most to be on the fringe. in the eyes of most you are a conspiracy theory nitwit. I don't think you are but I do think you should pull back and try for some new perspective.
I'm with Darwinian. The recent Bloomberg article and other mainstream press coverage is more proof that peak oil is not a conspiracy theory.

The fact that posters do think it is appropriate to toss any wild paranoid plot into any thread sure does make it look like one though.

Peak oil is still extremely sketchy. Obviously I am one of the real ____ of the this "movement." I'd be the first to tell you that it hardly exists.

It is so small it doesn't exist. (yes, we have ours sects)

Through August 2006 - What Are Our Accomplishments!?

It's less sketchy than "Bush blew up the World Trade Center" or "The Council on Foriegn Relations is putting flouride in your water" (Sorry AC, I'm not sure if I got that one right).
The point is - We are extremely not sketchy. No, my friend?

I think Jack and myself have settled ourselves on being extremely settled.

We duggs ourselves a pitt and we're gonna defend it. I got the  big money on that. what's the big money on that? We ain't stupid. You can fly, butcha can't eat it!

"Sorry AC, I'm not sure if I got that one right"

You didn't on both accounts but that just highlights your ignorance on the subject.  Bush couldn't blow up anything.  His job is to cover-up who actually did it...


Dude.I justed jumped over the fence. My only friend is in ...If it was Spec OPs... We had our nation's calling-we did not fail them -  or my boy Jack. Jack's the only one I ever stick around to see if he's still alive. Yeah, well shut the fuck up, obviously Jack win's on this. ObvioislybJack's the real fucking I don't know what you cal it. Jack's obvviously got connextions. He's the only one I care about. He's the only one that matters. Yeah well...I did that OK. Jamie's OK. Hehheh. Fuck this. I'm gonna connect with Jack.
Unfortunately I can have this effect on people.  I apologize for CEO's licentious behavior...


"that just highlights your ignorance on the subject"

I know, I know. I lost my decoder ring a few months ago and I can't follow any of the good plots any more.

Please fill me in on the Council of Foriegn Relations one again. Just this once. My curiousity is killing me.

"I know, I know. I lost my decoder ring a few months ago and I can't follow any of the good plots any more."

Buy a couple dozen boxes of Cracker Jacks and you'll find one inside.  I've got three of them now so I know at least three times more than you.

I'm not going to tell you about the CFR if you lost your "ring".  What's the point you couldn't decipher what I was saying anyway...


I apologize for CEO's licentious behavior...

Whhat? Whaaaaa? Huh...Wha.Whaat? What are you fucking insane? Did I just hear that? Hello?

What else are you going to apologize for? Pol Pot? Boy George? You are a fucking nutcake. Don't ever try to apologize for my behavior again. I own my behavior. Not you. Control yourself.

Or as we say on TOD...Cheers.

You are ranting at the wrong person. I am not a consipracy theorist, I just think that these guys (be it neocons, dems, reps whatever) are following the agenda of the circles that put them in those places - in general these are de facto huge corporations, represented by their lobbying groups in the Congress etc. It is de facto an institutionalised corruption on a grand scale, and in this country it is even 99% legalised.

That's what I mean that "they are not calling the shots". Bush and co, are nothing but representatives of these groups. As such they act as errand boys, but mostly as PR. As such their ability to follow an agenda of their own is very limited. It is akin to telling your employer that from now on you will do whatever you want to, instead of whatever is wanted from you and still wait for your next paycheck...

Let me suggest that there are a number of possible mechanisms by which the system that we see could come into being:
  1. Conspiracy in its most severe form (a Star Chamber),
  2. Conspiracy by covert understandings (wink of an eye and nod of the head, rather than a "plan" expressly made by the all powerful leaders of a Star Chamber Council),
  3. Random behavior (as in Fooled by the Randomness),
  4. Consequential outcomes of a Hierarchical "Education" System where "elites" are taught to think under one paradigm (the Harvard / Yale paradigm), where middle managers are "educated" into thinking under a second world view (the MIT / Cal Tech view of world systems) and where the "lower working class" is managed by being brain washed into seeing the world in yet a third way (the community college --be a dental technician, trust your superiors paradigm).

Obviously, I'm going to vote for number 4 because I put so much energy into wording it.

Is there not a possibility, --a 1% possibility?-- that GW Bush and Dick Cheney (and their neocon inner circle) actually are formulating US policy all by themselves because of the way they were "grewed up" by their parents? Is it not remotely possible that GW Bush truly beleives he is a superior being cause his "Daddy" taught him that special people don't go to Vietnam but instead "serve" by boozing it up in the National Guard? That the lesser persons are the ones that make "the ultimate sacrifice"? And if you were a young GW Bush, why would that world view not be an appealing one? Hell, it sure beats the alternatives.

Is it not remotely possible that the minions of the elite; your Yergins and your Cato Institute pundits for example, actually believe the nonsense they spout out because they were "educated" to think that way? They are not knowingly evil? They actually believe in that which they blather out?

Is not remotely possible that Peak Oil believers actually believe the nonsense they spout out because they were "educated" in physics, chemistry and scientific thought patterns? Or is it that Peak Oilers are part of a vast looney conspiracy?

Well how about it? Do you feel YOU are part of some vast conspiracy? Do you?

And if not, why should "they"?

Just think about it.
No need to rush to judgment.

Well I don't think your argument contradicts mine, it just complements it. Bush, Cheney and their circles are not some random guys, hired to do the job - they were chosen because they come from the same ideological den as those that supported them. In this respect they are part of TPTB, what I am just arguing is that their real power is much less than what is percieved and for that matter what it should be. You know for example that the plans to invade Iraq are dating long before not only 9/11 but before GWB even came to power. How does this speak for our democracy?

Actually the propagated idea that those frontmen and women are the de facto the people in charge is a key part of the brainwashing machine and that's why I am resisting it so much. If things go really bad, Bush and his crew will be changed with some others, the public will finally get its scapegoat, while in the end nothing fundamentally will be changed.

LOL.  Ron is a true believer.  He actually believes we live in a "Democracy" and those empty suits on the tele screen have "power".  He is told old to change his mind.  His brain is now "hard wired" to be ignorant...


"The whole drift of our law is toward the absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge in the slightest form from the accepted platitudes, and behind that drift of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under that custom there is a natural philosophy which erects conformity into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality into a capital crime against society."
~ H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic Source: quoted in New York Times Magazine, 9 August 1964
Yes, yes, I am a fan of Mencken too but you are still too much paranoid.

It does NOT take a conspiracy to create all the nasty deeds we can witness or strongly suspect.
Just bunchs of individuals and groups with base motivations which act in loose tacit coordination while still competing between themselves can give the illusion of a SINGLE goal seeking "evil entity".
This is our "monkey brain" penchant for identifying agency behind seemingly purposeful events.
It is much easier to think about a single anthropomorphic "will" than to ponder the effects of interacting trends in a more intricate model but this introduce severe PARANOID distortions in the outcomes.

Actually this "distributed evil" is MUCH WORSE than a conspiracy because it cannot be rooted out.

Just bunchs of individuals and groups with base motivations which act in loose tacit coordination while still competing between themselves can give the illusion of a SINGLE goal seeking "evil entity".

Maybe there is a little more to it than "just a bunch of individuals".
Suppose you were a Professor of Economics at Yale. (Well maybe not this guy on the right because at least he admits that GW may be responsible for larger hurricanes although he leans against that notion. Click on his picture to read his pdf paper.)

And you are getting a pretty nice paycheck because after all it is "Yale" and most of the people who go to your school can afford to go there without worrying about the "price" of admission.

So what are you going to preach to them? You're going to preach what you think they want to hear (or more to the point what their Mumsy & Old Man want them to hear). They are happy with the Darwinian, Survival of the Economic Superiors Theory that you dish out to them and you are happy with the paycheck and perks. A very cozy relation. Year after year.

Then there are the few wanna-be-rich and talented Mr. Ripley's in your class. They are smart. They will never be super rich. Wrong blood you know. But they will grow up to be the Yergins and Cato Institute wizards of society. They will be the minions to the elites. They will soak up what you preach and dish it back to the elites later on in order to re-validate that which they learned at alma matta. Again, that is going to be a very cozy relation for all involved.

Next, you step down the rungs of society and look at some slob of an engineering professor at MIT. Who are his students and what is he going to teach them --assuming he wants tenure and his cozy niche in society?

So you see that there is a built-in compact in our eductional "institutions". It perpetuates the system. It's not "just" a bunch of accidentally random individuals. It's got history. It's got roots. It is a living and self-perpetuating bio system.

WOW BLOOMBERG has announced Peak Oil to the masses of businesses.


As energy prices soar and violence convulses the Middle East, the peak-oil movement -- an unlikely alliance of geologists, physicists, oil industry consultants and environmental activists -- is winning converts. Peak-oil ideas are bubbling up from scientific journals and offbeat Web sites, much the way warnings of global warming did a decade ago. For the first time, the peaksters have begun to grab the attention of Washington and Wall Street.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan congressional watchdog, is due to release a study on peak oil this November. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Maryland Republican, has formed the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus to sound the alarm.

``The world has never faced a problem like this,'' Bartlett says.

More and more, however, the peaksters are drowning out everyone else, Cranberg says. ``You can't turn around without seeing or hearing these ideas,'' he says. ``I think they are gaining.''

Jim Kunstler, a writer-activist who lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, says peak oil will ultimately destroy suburbia and plunge the U.S. into a violent dark age of feudalism.

``The question is, Can we run our shit the way we are running our shit?'' Kunstler, 57, says.

By 2020, Canada's oil sands will yield 4 million barrels a day, almost four times what they do now, according to CAPP. That sounds like a lot until you realize that 4 million barrels is just over a third of what Saudi Arabia produced per day in 2005.

``Geology will trump technology,'' he says.

You gotta love Kunstler.  This has to be one of the most mainstream looks at what peak oil entails.  I'm glad they pointed out the fallacy in believing the tar sands will save us.

The Bloomberg article also mentions LATOC and dieoff.com.  Perhaps it will make more than a few converts...  

Any predictions on oil prices today?

  My best guess is that oil prices will be level or slightly down because the commodity traders are closing out their contracts and the Republicans are trying to keep prices lower before the November elections. But my other best guess is that oil prices will average around $85-$90 next year and spike to around $100 a barrel.
How can the Republicans keep down prices?  I know they have the power, but really, can they control the market?  If so, why didn't they start controlling the market, say, a year ago.
  They can control prices short term by issuing statements about how we are winning the war in Iraq and by faking new discoveries with giant reserves,touting the bitumen potential or releasing more oil from the strategic reserve. Yes, they've done all of this before,and it only works short term, but they are counting on the short-sided vote. Their time line (and that of all politicians) runs no further than the next election cycle and they will do anything to retain power
They close their eyes really tight, concentrate their will, and as a large group they say "wewewebzzzewwwwonnnngaledaang" and POOF!  Down go oil prices.

Well, something is causing gas prices to drop, so this might be it. The price per gallon in local stations has dropped as much as $.18 in the last month, or so.

This is what makes it so difficult to explain the seriousness of the situation to non-Peak Oil aware people. They look around, see lower gas prices, and assume that everything will eventually be ok and the happy free-motoring lifestyle that we all know and love will continue in perpetuity.

<quiet voice>Thats what they want.</quiet voice>
How can the Republicans keep down prices?

They don't have to do anything. The Invisible Hand can knock down prices all on its own with mere expectorations (err... expectations) regarding demand destruction.

"Price" is a human-generated noise signal. It need not have anything to do with physical reality. It is all about how we humans fool ourselves into believing one thing or another. And fools we certainly are.

Demand destruction is happening. My real estate type customers are not able to pay their bills. Look for super discounts on thorobreds and Arabians. All the junk of the nouveau riche at flea market prices.
Hey... that's an incentive to stay solvent.

Garage sales in the rich quarters.
Opportunity to live above my station at fleamarket prices...

Already happening for months.  I bought a (peak oil ready) luxury mechanical watch on Ebay for 20% of the new price.  I have also purchased top end designer precious metal jewelry for the scrap metal value.  The depression and liquidation of assets is well underway.
After posting the above I went to the thrift shop where I can count on finding handmade suits(Oxxford, Belvest etc.) for $100, never-worn handmade suits for $200 or so. Lots and lots of handmades on the rack. The owner tells me he is now only accepting new inventory if handmade or fast mover like Armani or Brioni. Grabbed a never final fitted dupioni silk for $75.
The main junk of the nouveau rich going on sale will be mcmansions and who would want them?
There are already indications like this..... stores like Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma are seeing decreased sales, the nouveau riche are starting to go to K-Mart instead. Restaurants like Chilis and Outback Steakhouse, trust me, more often than not favored by the McMansion crowd, are likewise sagging. I'm sure the "horse people" like groomers, breeders etc if any read this could tell us some good penny-pinching stories.
Oh, they probably can be useful. Insulate the central room and install a wood stove, and use the extra rooms to store firewood. If they have a lawn, grow some potatoes! ;-)

Btw, early blight turned my potato field into a wasteland... lucky for us that we chose a resistant variety, so the nodules are mostly OK.

Warmbloods are still fine right?  I mean those guy's got the money.
Love your reply. I have been saying this for a while. When I was approached by a friend who quoted S. Forbes statement about oil being priced at $35-$40 per barrel by Aug 31, 2006 I told him that he would see $80 oil before he saw $40 oil and still think that will happen.
Hah, it also presented them in the light they deserve. Big media can't contribute to the appreciation of the peak oil phenomenon unless they draw a line between the legitimate concerns and the doomsday prophecies with their EarthMarines(tm) and their Olduvai Cliff(tm) and whatnot.
Actually this article is the best sumary on the subject we had in months.

They state every position and opisition known in the debate.  They come up with all the names that are something in the debate and state many of the effects.

They go on saying in which different organisation they are adressing the PO.

They only missed the Portland and San Francisco move.  But otherwise, it is an excellent article.

I've been forwarding it to everyone I know.  I too, thought the article is balanced and presented an even view of both sides.  It was obviously slanted to PO, but I think it needs to be since after all it's coming.  

I want to hear the response I get from friends, etc.

It was a nice find.  Thanks!
Will the Wall Street Journal follow suite?

And is the esteemed NY Times next in line to chime on our PO times?

PO saturated minds want to know.
We bait with our breathes. :-)

I was going to post similar praise. Very balanced, comprehensive, fair, and specific where it needs to be. Everyone in the USA needs to look at that Bloomberg article.
...uh except that might cause a panic crash
It's going to happen regardless, so if it's now, so be it.  We need a drastic change in the direction of the country.
Perhaps the best in a mainstream in a while.  The problem is that these lay out the argument, this guy says this and that guy says that, and then there is no followup.  

Not all names are there, for example Robert Hersch.  I don't agree with Hersch so much on his approach to mitigation (I'm more of a Kunstlerian) but I think Hersch brings a useful perspective in terms of viewing it as a risk mitigation problem.  All this bickering over a date of the pick obscures the issue of what are the detrimental outcomes?  The severity of the outcomes should determine for policy makers what level of effort should be placed on mitigation now.  Unfortunately, the other dynamic is all this misplaced, blind faith in corn or switchgrass fuel.  

Hirsch is mentioned.  If you spell his name right.  ;-)

Agree that this is one of the best peak oil articles I've come across in awhile.  

The Cosmos one was very good, too, but Bloomberg probably has more cred, at least in the U.S.

Doh!  My article skimming powers let me down.  Thanks for pointing that out!  
While it's not totally bad that Bloomberg devotes space to Peak Oil, it's weird to see how you can write so many words on the subject and still completely leave out the potential consequences of the peak. The only thing really there is that prices may rise. And in mentioning dieoff.com, that it says millions may die.

But that is buried in the overlying message that while there might be a peak sometime in the future, the reader should not listen to peaksters, or doomers, as they are apparently not very nice people to be around, or something like that.

The best thing to do is be with Pickens and grab the opportunity. And that is a strange idea to take home: that the negatives are outweighed by the positives, and you therefore don't have to look too close at the nagatives. Everything is fine, as long as you can make money off it.

The strength of this article is that it is factual. Anyone reading it will not be turned off by doom. No one will read an article that shrieks about death and global war. Everyone here, I would wager, has come to those conclusions by following the dots themselves, after being presented with the facts and theories. And that is how new converts will be awakened.

If you scare people spitless, they'll assume you're not just wrong, but a wrong nutcase, and they'll ignore anything you tell them, even when you're merely covering solid facts (like the history of world oil consumption).

You have to teach them in stages.  Get them familiar with the facts, then give them time to internalize it (and be prepared to answer a lot of questions), and if they're still with you, start talking about consequences.

Yep! Here in this enlightened blue state, (california, san francisco bay area) I have to be very very gentle when I try to bring up Peak OIl. I generally just leave it at "the amount of oil in the earth is not unlimited" and even that is only swallowed about half the time since it seems tons of people believe in abiotic oil here, takes the shame out of driving an SUV I guess.
since it seems tons of people believe in abiotic oil here,

I have to laugh about this cause an argument over abiotic oil was one of the factors that led me to checking into Peak Oil.

I was watching the news one night when abiotic oil was brought up as a "solution" to running out of oil.  At the time of this newscast I was not worried about immediate PO but I did think the whole notion just seemed a bit far fetched, given that there were examples of oil fields that are depleted for all practical purposes.

Throught that newscast, some conversations with friends and then later information I researched, I found about Peak Oil.  It also has finally led me to a strategy on how to handle abiotic proponents.

Framed somewhat like this:

Ask the proponent to prove abiotic oil is real.

After they can/can't, hypothetically cede the argument that abiotic oil MIGHT be possible and immediately follow it up with a question on "at what rate does abiotic oil replenish our reserves in relation to how quickly we consume oil?".  

If the answer is anything less than the current rate at which we consume oil then the system will eventually break itself.  A constant increase in growth will lead to a break sooner, and the slower the rate of replenishment the sooner a break will occur also.  A combination of both factors just speeds things up even more.

You could also ask why abiotic oil has not allowed the US to return to it former highs of oil production from earlier decades.

It's essentially like bailing water out of a ship in which you can move one gallon of water out for every two gallons coming in, only abiotic oil hypothesis works in reverse.

  It's terrible, but the best personal response to Peak O IM oil is to get rich, IMHO. I'm investing in stripper oil production by reentering wells in "depleted" oil fields hoping for a 10%-20% increase in the total production from the leases in the next few years.
The "green" and "community" wings of the po community don't want to admit it because doing so will pretty much deep six their respective agendas (ones I'm sympathetic too) but you're completely correct: money is going to be the most important thing, at least in the short to medium run. See Hurricane Katrina.

Long term, all bets are off of course.

Like I said at the NY conference: I"m one of the more prominent people in the "movement" and I can't afford to go to any of the conferences. That should you tell you something.

(Not that I can plead poverty but I can't see dropping $750-$1,500 plus lost opportunity costs for any 2 day conference unless I'm making over $100,000 with no other pre-existing financial obligations and the conference is going to have lots of young women.)

Famine rarely occurs for lack of food, but for lack of CHEAP food.  It's when most people can no longer afford the necessities of life that things break down.  When you can't afford food for your family, some people quietly starve; others riot.

Money has value only because we all agree that it has value, and that agreement is balanced on the fact that the expected value is positive--there's more benefit going around than detriment, even if the benefit is disproportionately allocated.  But when prices go up and hunger becomes commonplace, historically what we've seen over and over again is that people abandon money because it no longer works for them.

So, I guess I'm failing to see how money will be good for anything but kindling once Peak Oil really begins to take its toll....

Famine rarely occurs for lack of food, but for lack of CHEAP food

Exactly. It's more like lack of demand (insufficient money). One solution would be a global basic income (say, $3.50/day/adult?).

Hm, but there's the "we feed, they breed" problem, better lace that food with oral contreceptives......
<Goldmember Voice> GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD!</Goldmember Voice>
There is money and there is "money".  One is paper and the other is wealth in tangible assets.  Paper money can inflate and be worthless but the things you can touch and need will always have value.  If Peak Oil is true then tangible assets will have positive expected value.
Well let's say I want to move to Willits which is 1.5 hours driving distance from my current location. At the very least I'm going to need $15 for bus fare.

If I want to buy a home there, we're talking another $350,000.

Solar PV system: $20,000

Small cache of food and essential supplies: $5,000

Used bike to ride over to Jason Bradford's house: $50.

I could go on but I hope you see the point.  A person with no money can't really do much to prepare. Not saying they can't do anything, just saying not much.


Now Blackwater know where you live...

And if they are not sure, they can carpet bomb, until they are sure.


I dunno... I might settle for just one out of two...
It's terrible, but the best personal response to Peak O IM oil is to get rich, IMHO.

It's not really terrible, because in most cases the actions that will get you rich will also help society. Investing in technology to resurrect old oil fields is going to be very important in cushioning the peak. Likewise with other investments in alternative energy. Even simply buying oil futures helps by driving up the price of oil, thereby both encouraging conservation and also making alternatives more profitable.

The down side is you could be wrong, everyone here could be wrong, Peak Oil may not happen in the manner or time frame you envision, and your clever investments may be wiped out. That's called risk. You take the risk of being wrong, and you get the reward if you're right. It's how business works.

in most cases the actions that will get you rich will also help society.

Like Ethanol?

Ethanol from what crop distilled with heat from where?
Its not so simple as all ethanol being bad.
Re: "in most cases the actions that will get you rich will also help society":

Is that also true of defense contractors and the like getting rich off of death and carnage in the Middle East?  Or of the whole slew of well-known corporate fraudsters in recent years?  Or of those making a killing for virtually nothing via Katrina contracts?  Etc., etc., etc.

There is ample empirical evidence to disprove your free-market-capitalist a priori regarding the benefits to broader society of individuals getting rich.

in most cases the actions that will get you rich will also help society.

In my best Michael Douglas voice: "GREED IS GOOD!"

"It's not really terrible, because in most cases the actions that will get you rich will also help society. "

yeah, like investing in Halliburton.

Most doesn't mean all.
Hello OilManBob,

Sadly, with the current infinite growth paradigm, this 'getting rich' is true.  I think Americans will be shocked going forward in time at how fast future wealth will rapidly consolidate into ever fewer elites.

TPTB are moving strongly ahead in preparing their required Earthmarines.  Blackwater Security and Heckler & Koch recently announced a joint venture in comprehensive tactical training on Blackwater's 6,000 acre private military base.  Don't forget: the first on the ground in Nawlins was privately hired armed men fully deputized to use lethal force.

There are internet rumors of US military Special Ops ready to go on a moments notice to protect PEMEX's infrastructure if conflict comes to a head in Mexico, but I think Pemex is more likely to hire Blackwater so that this info 'will fly below the MSM radar'.   Blackwater has recently created another subsidiary that specializes in security of maritime infrastructure like shipping, ports, and offshore oil platforms.

The privatization of everything will continue its relentless course.  Recall my posting from yesterday's threadbeat where the Red Cross is joining with Walmart [thxs AMPOD]: if you cannot afford res$$cue in your desperate time of need--Thank you for contacting the American Red Cross.  We regret that we are unable to assist you.

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

Where are the websites following Blackwater?  I remember reading about the deputized hells on wheels.  They were making some serious cash.  They got a hundred dollar per diem just to cover their daily costs of food etc.
Hello Tate423,

Thxs for responding.  Yes, they made big bucks and their mission objective was to prevent the looting of the mansions and the businesses of the rich that hired them, NOT going to the aid of the helpless.  Such is life.

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

What websites are following blackwater?
Hello Tate423,

I am not aware of any websites that consistently report the actions of private militias.  Hell, even our Govt auditors cannot keep track of the billions being shoveled to these estimated hundreds of for-profit businesses.  Please read this Aug 28th, '06 article entitled, "Mercenary Jackpot":
While the WPPS program and the broader use of private security contractors is not new, it has escalated dramatically under the Bush Administration. According to the most recent Government Accountability Office report, some 48,000 private soldiers, working for 181 private military firms, are deployed in Iraq alone.

What I do is use various search engines and keywords like mercenary, private security, special ops, covert action, ....on and on.  The MSM has a vested interest in not headlining their operations.  WTSHTF: Rupert Murdoch, the Hearst family, Bill O'Reilly, et al, will be hiring these men to protect their survival farms and yacht-lifeboats.

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


I thought about even having a special sub section on the daily news, "Halliburton and Blackwater"

Why don't you? What's holding you back?
What was the point here? Obviously I know who Blackwater is and you know I know. So I will ask you again...
Write us up a piece. Just a little teaser. 500 words or so. What the hell. We deserve it. You could call it something like "Savinar on Blackwater." I'd be looking at the New Yorker or The Atlantic. Maybe even The New Republic. These are places talented young writers get published. Personally I am still partial to the Nation and even Rolling Stone.
"There are internet rumors of US military Special Ops ready to go on a moments notice to protect PEMEX's infrastructure if conflict comes to a head in Mexico"

Are you referring to the rumors you are ethusiastically spreading? Or are there others? Failure to link to a single website may provide the answer.

I ignore any statement preceded by "there are rumors that", "I read somewhere", or "analysts say".

Hello Jack,

Thxs for responding.  Try this link:


The pertinent info is about 3/4 of the way down in this article.

The verbatim quote can be found in this earlier posting of mine:


Just reporting what I find by googling around--many of my postings have a disclaimer whereby I state that I have no way to actually verify the info.  But obviously, any websurfer knows that.

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

So, some guy on some blog with no listed qualifications related to Mexico, energy or the military says that:

"it's been rumored that a contingent of US Special Forces has been sent to help the Mexican military guard the country's oil fields in case of trouble."

I far prefer Angry Chimp's conspiracy theories. At least they have sone vague underlying believability beyond a circular link of unspecified rumors from unnamed sources.

C'mon Bob. You can do better than this. I at least think you are smarter than yeast.

Here's the authors bio:

I was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. Raised in a modest middle class family, attended public schools, received a BA from Harvard University in 1956 and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of PA in 1960 following 2 years of obligatory military service in the US Army. Spent the next 6 years as a marketing research analyst for several large US corporations before becoming part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring at the end of 1999.

"I far prefer Angry Chimp's conspiracy theories. At least they have sone vague underlying believability beyond a circular link of unspecified rumors from unnamed sources."

Thanks Jack?  "Complements" are far and few between, even if they are half hearted.  I'm used to savage attacks for departing from cherished beliefs...

"Human beings never think for themselves; they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told--and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion."
~Michael Crichton, "The Lost World"


Good quote despite the unlikely source.

Believing what you are told, or what you hear, plays a big role in both reflexive acceptance or reflexive dismissal of theories that conflict with prior beliefs.  

I think we should be equally rigorous in viewing evidence that supports our positions as those that question it. I personally think that posting the accusation that US special forces might be taking over Pemex based on a very loose linkage that ends up with the unattached rumor does conspiracy theories a huge disserve. In this regard you should be more upset than I am.

I do think it is true that many people, including myself, find some topics initially uncomfortable and react with instinctive dismissal. On the other hand, this example shows that others embrace these and are willing to accept any nutty theory just because someone might have said that someone else might have said it.

I know that some things that we initially think are preposterous, later become obvious. At that point, we probably deny that we ever denied them. The life of a conspiracy theorist must be quite frustrating. Peak oil is a good example - out of the nutcase and into Bloomberg, but do peak oilers get credit or mockery?

I only have this observation right now, no conclusion. I look forward to arguing with you over the next huge crime the TPTB must be conspiring to perpetrate on all of us sheeple. I'll also keep an open, if sceptical, mind. You never know, focus on evidence and not just motive (or lack of proof to the contrary), and I just might believe you one of these days.

"You never know, focus on evidence and not just motive (or lack of proof to the contrary), and I just might believe you one of these days."

I always try to focus on "evidence".  What have we debated?  Pearl Harbor? 9/11? Fluoride? The problem is what one considers evidence or facts.  Almost no one can make judgment on such things without some preconditioned prejudice.  For example if I were to say that finding a passport of one of the hijackers onboard the planes on 9/11 is a plant and proof of a cover up you might say there is 1 in a billion chance the passport could of made it out if the hijackers pocket.  How can I refute that?

The searchers found several clues, he said, but would not elaborate. Last week, a passport belonging to one of the hijackers was found in the vicinity of Vesey Street, near the World Trade Center. "It was a significant piece of evidence for us," Mawn said.

New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said Sunday a passport belonging to one of the hijackers was discovered a few days ago several blocks from the crash site by a passerby. Based on the new evidence, the FBI and police decided to widen the search area beyond the immediate crash site.


There is always a way out of an uncomfortable truth..

To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth. Though it is held before our eyes, pushed under our noses, rammed down our throats- we know it not.
~Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)


How did the Council for Foriegn relations bevome central to various conspiracies?

This isn't related to anything specific, but recently I noticed they were popping up a lot and couldn't make the connection.

AC, as you know I'm one of your biggest fans. I'm dissappointed to see Jack has taken a liking to you recently. That is a sure sign you won't survive.

I've got a book for you. The Looming Tower.

I of course have the most difficult path to tread. These bastards will never make it easy for me. I can never be sure if they are on my side and just testing me, or Al-Queda. I never drink, but were I ever to get drunk, I would wish it to happen with Jack and El Chimpster. And may we have mucho Tequila available. and cases of Negro Modelo.
Hello Jack,

Thxs for responding again.  I make no claims to being an ace investigative reporter--as mentioned before, just reporting what I find on the WWWeb [anybody can do it, but somehow: Leanan does it best  =) ]--take out of it what you wish.

I gladly defer to the up and coming TODers of AlanfromBigEasy, AMPOD, TLS, AC, RR, SS, Westexas, Khebab, Leanan, Dave, Todd, et al [too many experts, IMO, to mention].  They have much more expertise, knowledge, and pure writing ability than me.  I think most TODers will agree with me: we are getting a formidable 'critical mass' of talent here on TOD across a huge spectrum of careers, disciplines, and interests.

I am very proud of those TODers that have achieved national media recognition like RR & others.  Go Team TOD!

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

I echo your sentiments. However despite your claims, on sheer volume terms, you must be near the top.

I don't don't mean to pick on you, but I have really thought the Mexico stuff you have been posting has been huge tracts of irrelevant nonsense, unlike the TODers you note above.

It seems that there was an election in country with a tradition of relatively free elections. One party lost by a close margin and threw a hissy fit. They have garnered little public support outside of the radical element that they are tightly allied with. Then last week the election panel voted unanimously that there wasn't fraud. Yet you have posted on this just about every day at page length. The Pemex rumor is utterly ungrounded supposition by one old guy who doesn't provide any clue as to where he might have heard this rumor or why we should believe anything he has to say about Mexico. Has any of this contributed to our discussion of peak oil?

Again, apologies. I just wanted to get this off my chest.

I don't know how you do this, I really don't. I've been spending the last few days reading about how the original Al-Queda survived in Egyptian torture cells. I got a book or two for Angry-Chimp.

As for you guys. I have a deep respect for Bob Shaw. He has always remained the ultimate host. I'm convinced he has perfected the ultimate defensive position.

As for the Chimpster. I'm pretty sure the only way we can defeat him is with a concerted, concentrated full-on assault. The reality is we probably want him on our side. He probably tells the best jokes.

C'mon chimpster, you got as much to gain from us as us from you. Let's cut a deal. Plus, you ain't never gonna win this conspiracy thing. Not with me over here. You know that. Now let's start moving towards the center. Rock on.

"I don't know how you do this, I really don't. I've been spending the last few days reading about how the original Al-Queda survived in Egyptian torture cells. I got a book or two for Angry-Chimp."

Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west.

The danger now is that the west's current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. The more the west emphasises confrontation, the more it silences moderate voices in the Muslim world who want to speak up for cooperation. Success will only come from isolating the terrorists and denying them support, funds and recruits, which means focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us.


Ya ya the "original Al-Queda".  


Hello Jack,

No apology required, just expand or refute my info with your best info--that is what this forum is about.

I believe Mexico's nearly 2 million barrels/day of exports to the US should make us vitally concerned that the election standoff is peacefully resolved.  I would argue that a prosperous Mexico and their continuing oil exports are more vital to our national security than Nigerian, Venezuelan, or even ME exports to our shores.

Your quote: "It seems that there was an election in country with a tradition of relatively free elections."

Sorry, I respectfully strongly disagree.  Feel free to study Mexican history and one party ruling for 70 years.  Revolutions, assassinations, election frauds, a computer crash in 1988--it has been tragically ugly for the Mexicans.

In my past postings: I tried to use a broad variety of sources, from BBC, to mexican websites like UNAM Physicist Luis Mochan's statistical vote analysis, Mexidata.com, mexican newspaper websites translated by Babelfish, to other US MSM sources.  From CNN and Washington Post to the other side of the WWW like Narcosphere and Countercurrents.  They are available in the TOD archives to prove my attempt at journalistic balance.  Perhaps, you are using a selective bias in your recall-- That's OK--I have done it before myself.

You maybe correct in disputing the PEMEX-US troop rumor-- I find it politically implausible myself, but I wanted people to be aware of it.  But you make a good point in that we need to get this author to provide more proof.  I will try to email him for a response.

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

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your reply and patience with my disagreement. I noted that I didn't think Mexican democracy was perfect. Compared with developing countries Mexico's electoral system has been regarded as pretty good. I did see you use a variety of sources, however, the problem isn't selective memory. I just didn't read all 500 posts.

By the way, I don't just dispute the rumor about the US troops, I even dispute that there was a rumor. One guy with a blog says there was a rumor, but doesn't even say who is spreading it, or why he, sitting in retirement in Chicago heard it or should believe it. Starting an assertion with "there is a rumor going around" is the journalistic equivalent to saying "I am making this up"

I disagree that the election dispute should be resolved, only because I disagree that there is an election dispute. I think there is a sore loser who is trying to use non-democratic means to forcibly obtain powers he was denied by the vote. I think Mexicans broadly recognize this and if the election were to be held again, he would do worse. Fortunately that won't have to happen since the electorial commission unanimously found there was no fraud.

Now about the flouride in the water...

This is great. On your flank. Your left one, that is. Bob on your left.I'm just gonna watch unless you assholes get out of hand. Actually, I'm just gonna pass out in the corner. These girlies are way too smokin.'


Fluoride. Aah. This will never work. We obviously have similar desires in girls.
I'm just looking for my brother'n'law. C'mon you little fucker. I'm gonna smoke you out. WhooHoo. Let's go. C'mon now. You said you wanna play. C'mon now, boy. Let's play.
Put down the bottle CEO!! You're making an ass of yourself and making us nutters look good!!


I think you're jealous.
Here's stuff I found through Google. Mexicans tired of opposition protests, would elect Caleron if vote was held now. I can't vouch for the site, but it looks good.



Plus Wikipedia:


I withdraw from this discussion, which isn't in my area of expertise. I just wanted to show that listening exclusively to one side, gets you a one sided viewpoint. Surprise, surprise.


Don't sell yourself short! I think your posts are top-notch. They also have an understated and unique humor to them. The Red Cross post was one of the funniest things I've seen float through the po blogosphere in a longtime and I intend to highlight it over at LATOC.

And don't forget, your mobile preparedness vehicle idea. If you ever get it up and running I want to sell them on  my site.

  I'm 54 and an old hippy. And I have been rich, as well as poor. And by poor, I mean destitute and homeless. Money isn't the secret to happiness, which I consider liking myself because I like and respect what I am doing in life
. However, in order to play with the big boys and have a positive effect on the world it is a necessity to have something to offer-and money is a good start in the oil patch.
  I'm pretty sure that there is such a thing as too much money because most affluent people are afraid of losing their money. Its easy to become arrogant. And I am also sure that lacking basic necessities makes a person short-sighted and selfish. In our society money gives a person status, even if they are a fool-look at GWB or Steve Forbes.
  What I see as the most productive use for the rest of my life is putting together some deals for redeveloping Texas oilfields, because we need oil for the transition.  And I also see this as the best preparation for life after the peek. I'd much rather do this than hoard food and guns or other apocolyptic craziness. Its not very scientific, but I also believe that God wants us to love one another, to be kind and generous and "faithful stewards" of the Earth, so I try to live economicially and help my neighbors.  And, the Buddah was right, desire is the basis of suffering.
That's why we love you. Because If we haven't been there ourselves - We've had Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Lovers, Uncles, and Aunts who have. And most likely - we've been there ourselves. Thanks for reminding us. I hope you will be there for us.
Nothing to be ashamed of. THere has never been a crisis where it was better to be poor.  Maybe not so good to be ostantatiously rich...
The world will continue to allocate resources, including oil, to the highest bidder. imo, investments in us oil reserves are the most conservative way to prepare for high oil prices.
No, what the article says between the lines is that here is a real, persistent problem that will probably appear before long - and incidentally, it's also spawned a large movement of hysterical doomsday prophets.

There are far too few critical questions. For instance, figure out, if I buy a tin of american corn in my supermarket, how much oil did it take to get that into my hands? Well, the oil price was probably at 50 - 60$ when it was made, and it costs me 3 NOK, or 0.50 USD. That puts some real bounds on how much oil was used to make it, and how much the price of a tin of corn will rise if the price of oil rises.

Well, the oil price was probably at 50 - 60$ when it was made, and it costs me 3 NOK, or 0.50 USD. That puts some real bounds on how much oil was used to make it, and how much the price of a tin of corn will rise if the price of oil rises.

I've used that "bounds" idea also.  FWIW, people sometimes throw around a single number like "it takes X oil Calories to grow and deliver 1 food Calorie."  The problem is, when you multiply out for all the food now consumed, the oil number is irrational.  The oil cost in a steak is higher than the market price for a steak.  The total oil used to produce beef is higher than the total oil used for agriculrure, etc.

... bounds.

Generally agreed, but you also have to take into account that corn production is heavily subsidized.  I don't think that drastically changes your point, but it does complicate the math.
There are things that could skew the reasoning here, one of them is subsidies, but there are things that work the other way, too (taxes, for instance. That tin has a 12.5% sales tax in Norway, I included that). Also, I could imagine that if a waste product that people paid to get rid of was involved, the price could theoretically be lower than the price of the oil needed to make it, but then that waste product probably wouldn't keep its negative cost very long... and anyway it's a pretty long stretch.

I wasn't suggesting a definitive analysis, just thinking that the price is a generous upper bound for the cost of the oil that went into making it. While there are things that work the other way, labour resources aren't free either, and there is tax... in short the real cost of the oil used to make is probably much lower. If an economist could correct or qualify this statement I would be grateful.

This was my favorite part:
Alex Cranberg, chairman of Denver-based independent oil company Aspect Energy LLC, calls the peaksters Chicken Littles -- misguided souls who think the sky is falling.

In fact, Cranberg hired two people to dress in chicken costumes and hand out fliers dismissing peak oil at the conference Kadijk attended in July.

Bac! Bac! Bac! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

  Aspect Petroleum's main exploration thrust is in unconventional natural gas, mainly Barnett Shale. Boone Pickens' investments seem to be XTO-also a Barnett Shale producer. Exxon-Mobil seems to be spending money in a massive share buy back, while EnCanna is both in shale gas and tar sands. Watch what they do, not what they say.
OK, that explains a lot -- the Barnett Shale. This is one of the few "success stories" for unconventional gas production. Here's hoping all the houses stay upright in Fort Worth.

Encana in shale gas? Bob, have you got some details on that?

 There was an article in the Rigzone a couple of weeks ago about how Encana was buying in to a big block of Matador's in Culberson and Hudspeth County, Texas in the Delaware Basin. I aasume its a Barnett-Woodford shale play, plus I also heard an industry rumor that they were in the main Barnett play in Hill and Johnson County, south of Fort Worth
This was my favorite part:

You mean you weren't totally won over by the confident assurances that (to qoute):

market forces and technological advances will ultimately cure our energy ills
Wow, what a judicious use of money. Definitely makes me want to invest in his company.
I understand the instanst gratification people here have when seeing that big media mention peak oil, and I have that too. Bu I don't get the overall feeling of positiveness that many express, I know I'm being played.

What I see is a carefully constructed article that is geared from the start towards one goal: telling the public that there are people who voice concerns, but there are equally those who dismiss those concerns. In the end, the one that was meant to be achieved, we are left with the idea that we just don't know. And there is no need to worry about things you don't know. Terrorism 1, Peak Oil 0.

That is how US media have covered, and still do at times, global warming. The result of that approach has been that countless Americans still think it's not a problem, or even a truth.

They ignore as long as they can, and when they feel that doesn't work any longer, the tactic of fabricating doubt is applied. And that works very well, they've had plenty of practice.

After the doubt has been established, and it's 50-50 at best, there is a subtle indication that among those that worry there are lunatics, some of whom utter words that would be bleeped out on TV, Kunstler's quote is not a random choice, the writer knew exactly what he was doing. And you don't want anything to do with people who say things like that. At the very least they must be godless.

And then it's no longer 50-50.


It's the same old same old:

Here are 5 experts who are concerned

Here are 5 who are unconcerned

Here are 2 folks who are REALLY concerend. One of them is a lawyer (me) and the other is a potty mouth (Kunstler.)

Average persons reads that and thinks, "mmm. . . interesting" and moves right along to crap their pants about some guy trying to carry toothpaste onto his commuter flight.


thanks matt
I guess I'm kinda happy that there's at least one person who can read
or whatever
and no, I'm not wrong about what I see in this article
and it bothers me to see what I see here on tod
praise for what runs counter to what the whole thing is about
it's too much like getting candy from a pedophile
or whatever
no intention to hurt or shock, it's not that
too many smart people (and there's tons here, and I appreciate the heebeegeebees out of y'all, I ain't worthy of licking the shoes of some of ya, and I know it )stop thinking and/or reading as soon as their pet peeve gets a mention in bleeping bloombergmountain
but the article does the exact opposite of what y'all here think it does
think back 10 years guys when you first got into warming, and wanted to tell the planet about it, the press looked just like this
and it killed the issue for a long time
yea the media know peak oil, and they have for a while
but they live off car ads
keeping up appearances is the only thing that makes sense from that point of view, you're being played
bla bla..... I digress

Now obviously I'm biased as I got my pic in the article but I still think the Rainwater article in Fortune was one of the few MSM articles that actually got some people off their asses. I know this because I STILL get email from people who say, "I read that fortune article about richard Rainwater and am now selling my home moving to the country, going solar, pulling my money out of the market, etc." I have never heard of anybody doing that as a result of any of the Peak Oil articles in the NY Times Magazine, WSJ, Bloomberg, Harpers, etc.

Why? Because in the Fortune article you had a freakin multi-billionaire friend of George W. Bush crapping his pants (figuritively speaking) about the issue. If reading that doesn't put the fear of God into you regarding Peak Oil, nothing will.

As far as what somebody said up top about the Bloomberg article being good because it doesn't scare people. WRONG. That was the whole freakin point. To keep people from getting scared doing anything rash like - (sweet jesus no!!!) - pull their money out of the market.

Why did the Fortune article work? Cause it scared the piss out of people. There is no way and I mean NO WAY you can come to understand these facts - even when presented in the most sober fashion possible - and not get scared.

So if the person you're telling doesn't freak out it means you didn't really communicate the reality situation. So you shouldn't be surprised when they don't understand the need to prepare themselves. And that's even if you believe in a more optimistic scenario akin to the Great Depression.



you have to know what you do as a writer to manage to put both sides of a seemingly unsolvable equation to sleep at the same time, and I gotta give the man kudo's for that
but it's still looking at a magician making all those young women at the conference disappear
and then you're left with what?
That said, California (or "Kalli-four-knee-ah" as Arnold would put it) just passed a major emissions cap law.
TreeHugger report with link to bill here. Way to go Arnold! You the GW Terminator man.
Sadly, I share your perception of the effects. And, though I appreciate Jim Kunstler's vision and diligence in The Long Emergency , I think his extreme language make him a liability in persuading the general public that this is a real problem of concern to sane, knowledgeable, thoughtful people.
Good stuff indeed. I only wish they'd mentioned EROEI - at least in passing so people can look it up. The concept is crucial in separating viable mitigation ideas from non-starters. Wide public debate will not reach sensible levels until many more people catch on in this one area.
``The question is, Can we run our shit the way we are running our shit?'' Kunstler, 57, says.
I don't know about you folks, but even though I know they quoted him to make him out as a wild-eyed doomer, this really makes my day. In Bloomberg, would you believe it?

And the Yergin quote from the NY Times (above) about how E85 = I85. We're on a roll!

Yes, that's a weird quote, and no accident. The article does us the service of separating nice people, even if they are a bit worried, like Campbell, from those you should stay away from, the people who use words like shit.
The aftertaste of this vintage is only slightly perturbing, and lasts a few minutes at most.
Feels like a tornado is beginning to form.

"You gotta love Kunstler"

No, you gotta' love him.

I gotta' ignore him.

Given that his only credentials consist of an absolutely virulent hatred of the United States, hatred of the American way of life right to the core of it's construction, and seeming rejection of any lifestyle or culture post 1200 A.D., I am not sure he has added a lot to the American discussion or acceptance of Peak Oil, except among a small band of Primitivist-deep green, deep peak anarchist dreamers, who see no hope of alternatives or mitagation simply because that risks committing the greatest of all possible evil sins, preserving anything remotely kin to a most Middle Ages culture.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Hey Roger, fuck you asshole.  ;)
Yes, Rogar - no cartoons of peak oil prophets allowed.

"Smile when you say that, pardner"....:-)

Roger Conner known to you as ThatsItImout

I was gonna say. How 'bout a little respect? Jesus!
Come again? Kunstler's book does discuss the possibility of a forced regression to medieval standards of living, but it's clear from the rest of his writings that his nostalgia is distinctly oriented towards the culture, manners and ettiquette of the 1890's.

Apuleius, he may have nostalgia for the 1890's manners, but I think he would have grave doubts about a culture that married to technology, after all they already were burning coal in steam engines and had gas lights!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Ahhh. Whatever. I suspect Jim Kunstler isn't a lot different from ourselves. Let's start a Saturday Night Book Group. I nominate myself for first official moderator.

Drivers can expect more gridlock, report says

"Moving to small-town America is not going to solve your problem," says David Hartgen, lead author of the study, who is a professor of transportation at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "The growth in congestion is going to be worse there."

...Population growth and commuters' preference for driving are key factors, the study says.

The solution? Hartgen and the other authors argue for building or widening roads and increasing traffic-management techniques such as signal timing and toll roads

But some argue for public transportation:

Virginia Miller, a spokeswoman for the American Public Transportation Association, calls it "short-sighted" to ignore public transportation such as buses and subway systems. She cited a 2005 report by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University that said public transportation saved 1.1 billion hours of travel time in 85 urban areas in 2003.
It's hard to believe that in 2006 there are still professors of transportation who champion building and widening roads to reduce traffic congestion. There are so many studies out there that prove that such measuses only worsen congestion, how do these people miss all of them?
The basic principle remains: give 'em a road to drive on, and they'll drive. The only thing that works is less roads, because only that leads to less congestion. While it may be, or just seem, counter-intuitive, how does a professor miss all the literature out there? Carefully selected reading?
An empirical proof: This spring the Gotthard motorway across Switzerland was closed for a month after a massive rock slide. According to Swiss, Austrian and French statistics on the cross alps traffic out of the 50.000 affected truck loads 30.000 Truck loads just disappeared into thin air.
??? Obdacher, do you have a reference for this?

All the numbers I have seen on alpine transit indicate re-routing of traffic, notably after the closures at Mont Blanc (France/italy truck traffic increased by the coastal route to compensate).

This is an important question :
There is debate in France about the necessity of a new Lyon/Turin rail link. We (greens) see a justification as a freight line (rail freight plus intermodal, truck on train). This is based on the presumption that it will diminish truck traffic in the alpine tunnels.

This is german, I am afraid, but that´s my source.
www.bahnonline.ch/phpkit/include.php?path=content/news.php&contentid=9039&PHPKITSID=3edec170 6ca6eebc7704ab77dbae4127
I have to correct myself: out of 80 000 affected truck loads 50.000 showed up on other routes, 1000 trucks on the railway.
Possible explanations: 1.) transports were shipped by rail in containers
2.) transports were delayed
3.) Other suppliers were found, which did not have to cross the alps.
Thanks for the response...

I spent some time searching in the French version of the bahnonline.ch site, until I realised that they just used Google translation ! (Gotthard-Autobahn = autoroute de base de dieu!) Typical Swiss German arrogance eh!

In general, individuals are much more easily discouraged than businesses, so this news is quite surprising.

The rock slides are due to the permafrost that holds Alpine rock faces together melting. The permafrost is melting because of global warming. Keep rebuilding the roads to make sure global warming does not lose momentum.
I agree with you.  That some still to this day advocate road-building as a "remedy" for congestion is reckless, stupid, and beyond the pale.  Time after time we have seen that the exact opposite is true.

There is a saying which most traffic engineers know and accept:  widening roads and highways to reduce congestion is like loosening your belt to solve a weight problem.  

Think about that one.

Well, then why don't we put permanent lane blocks in the freeways in LA?

That will help congestion right?

Or maybe not.

Well the corrolary to the belt tightening analogy would be:

Blocking lanes to reduce congestion is like tightening your belt to lose weight.

Here is a far better example.  Allow me to quote a passage from "Suburban Nation:  The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream" by the founders of New Urbanism (Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk):

"The phenomemon of induced traffic works in reverse as well.  When New York's West Side Highway collapsed in 1973, an NYDOT study showed that 93 percent of the car trips lost did not reappear elsewhere;  people simply stopped driving.  A similar result accompanied the destruction of San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway in the 1989 earthquake.  Citizens voted to remove the freeway entirely despite the apocalyptic warnings of traffic engineers.  Surprisingly, a recent British study found that downtown road removals tend to boost local economies, while new roads lead to higher urban unemployment.  So much for road-building as a way to spur the economy."

This study found that 20 percent to 60 percent of driving trips disappeared rather than materializing elsewhere.  Imagine that!

Bottom line:  removing roads DECREASES congestion just as building more roads INCREASES congestion.  This has been proven time and time again.  Remove it and they will disappear.

"If you build it [they] will come"...
Well, then why don't we put permanent lane blocks in the freeways in LA?
No way! Then people would have to get around by walking.
Compare Vancouver, B.C. with Seattle.  Vancouver has no freeway access.  Bottom line -- for that reason alone, Vancouver is a far more livable city.
Peak oil = peak roads. That hasn't sunk in yet.

There is a plan to build a new motorway in my area (Lyon to Saint Etienne). Obviously, it will be redundant by the time it's completed (2020 at the earliest, there is major engineering involved).

This, despite the fact that car numbers on the existing motorway between the two cities have declined (slightly) in recent months -- too early to say they have peaked, but I think it's safe to say that by the time petrol reaches 2 euros per litre (currently about 1.25) then the traffic peak will be behind us.

Just as the Easter islanders were building statues, we will be building highways.  
That would be funny if wasn't so true.

There is no chance humans will evolve past this, and it appears we are incapable of learning our way out too.

I can't remember who, but someone around has a saying to the effect....pull up a chair, grab a cold one, and sit back and watch.
... as long as the cold ones last! First, we'll have to make do with warm ones. Then home brew. Finally, water from the puddle we are sitting by because the chair is burning under dinner.
"burning under dinner"   Wow!   We have to get going to make this power down work.
"Fat rats roasting on a furniture fire,
Peak Oil nipping at your nose..."
Well, that sucks.


Let us build edifices in honor of our Demander in Chief.

Fear not. The gods of Demand and Supply shall provide us with all that we need as long as we don't cut and run. Stay the course my fellow lemmings. You have nothing to fear but cheerlessness itself. Be steadfast and resolute in accomplishment of your missions. You shall surely pass over the edge safely and honorably to your just and ever lasting rewards. God speed. Score well.

Hello Step Back,

Excellent cartoon!  The elite predators [bears, wolves?] on the right side are having the 'time of the lives' watching the ignorant lemmings prematurely end their lifetimes!

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

Not my cartoon.
Found it here: http://www.stevecolgan.com/

As for the elites, the important thing is to "honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for God and country". Where have we heard that recently? Jenna & sister just signed up for the Marines so they too can be one of the proud, the few, the hoodwinked. Yea right.

New roads are planned fairly close to where I live and I like it, they will be usefull for a very long time even if traffic declines a lot. But going from two lanes to 3 or more is only sensible in a few parts of the road network.
There is a plan to build a new motorway in my area (Lyon to Saint Etienne). Obviously, it will be redundant by the time it's completed (2020 at the earliest, there is major engineering involved).

Yes, it will not even be any use to Ryanair who try to convince people that Saint Etienne is Lyon.  

This Hartgen guy is, well I have nothing nice I can think to say about him, except maybe that at least he is an academic and not practicing.  But calling him a "Transportation Engineer" is ridiculous.  He is a "Traffic Engineer".   Maybe better called a traffic cultivator, he sows roads and reaps traffic.  Another article where he gives his expert opinion


Is this guy out of touch or what?  Yeh, wider roads will solve the problem.  Look out at how smoothly things go in L.A.  

I guess Peak Oil news hasn't reached the University of North Carolina.

My proposal for the highway that goes by my small town is to make it narrower by expanding the shoulders for bicycle traffic. Ideally, I would like to see it depaved and turned into a dirt road. Those who can't handle that can move or choose not to visit this area. We have less services here than we had 50 years ago because the "convenience" of the wider highway has made it possible for people to drive their cars to other towns to do their shopping.

No further roads should be built or widened anywhere unless the purpose therein is to provide space for buses or other non automobile transit. Maintain or increase the misery factor in driving while at the same time providing alternatives for people. When I lived in Frankfurt, Germany, you had a choice, spend thirty minutes driving downtown and looking for a parking place or spend ten minutes getting downtown by subway.  Those truly dedicated to the "freedom" of their automobiles had that choice. The rest of us, those who actually wanted to get some place quickly, cheaply, and safely, took the buses and the subways.  

You would appreciate the writings of Jan Lundberg (www.culturechange.org).  Jan founded Alliance for a Paving Moratorium, and advocates NOT ONE MORE ROAD be built, anywhere.  He tore up his own driveway to build a garden, and says he hasn't been in a car since 1989.

Jan also writes about peak oil issues, of course.  Having been an oil insider for many years (he is the brother of energy analyst Trilby Lundberg), he firmly and absolutely believes peak oil is at hand.  His polemics are, if anything, more dire than Kunstler.

Somewhat related, regarding the transformation of one of the most car crazy parts of Virginia (Virginia Beach)


This is good news (I know people will say when PO is in full, there won't be the resources)

For those who think that re-working failed suburbs is a process that will take generations, Saunders' assessment of Pembroke is profoundly optimistic. Yes, developers and city officials should approach their task with a 50-year planning horizon. "A city," he says, "should be built to serve generations." But Town Center has demonstrated that it's possible to transform large pieces of the physical environment in just a few years.


Transportation is not an issue that should be left only to the traffic engineers. Their solution is to add more lanes of roadway. A better approach is to change where people live, work and play. "We have enough roads," Saunders says. "We have enough asphalt. It's a question of how you organize the use of the asphalt."

I would have said "too much" on the asphalt rather than "enough" but still...

The separation of land uses is the root cause of suburban dysfunction. Saunders compares it to building a subdivision for 20 families and saying, "All the kitchens go over here, and all the bedrooms over there, and all the bathrooms over there. And you have to walk across the neighborhood to get from one to the other." That's no way to organize a subdivision -- or a city.

Well I guess things could have been worse than they are now - if you had to drive to go to the bathroom!  

I've spent some time living in small towns and the traffic jams can be HORRIBLE. Spent literally hours in traffic in smallish towns, nope moving to a small town will make you much more dependent on having a car and you'll burn up much more gas.
Not much of a town if you had to be driving.  

We have traffic of course but its the people trying to get here, or through here.  Most of the people who live here just walk - after all that is the point of a town.  

'Merkan small towns, it's often not all that safe to walk - you'll get run over (drivers often intentionally aim at walkers to see 'em dive into the weeds) or attacked by one of the many semi-feral and vicious dogs, hassled by the local meth freaks, etc. So, you drive up to the small store 1/4 mile up the road because then you're only exposed for the short period between getting out of your car and going in/out of the store.

Oh yeah and you're a fool if you don't have a gun and keep it on you when common sense tells you to have it handy......

I've seen small towns, I've lived small towns, I really don't see how the "countryside" would be any better a place to live in the Collapse. Unless one wants to really hide out like Ishi did for years - even he eventually was captured, put on display in what was effectively a zoo, and died within a few years.

I don't know what small towns you've lived in, but the ones I've lived in have been nothing like what you described. Not perfect no, but far from what you describe there.
My experiences are limited to Western small towns, everything I have read/seen/heard tells me small towns in the East are not like that. I understand small Eastern towns are more like subsets of Madison WI than like something out of a John Waters film.
Perhaps if you either quit being so paranoid or found a better town (or country) to live, you'd have better luck with small towns. Or maybe you're talking about the satellite towns that pop up around a major city? Because I've lived in small towns for two thirds of my life, and I've yet to see anything close to what you're talking about. Or are you being facetious?

The town I call home has a population of less than 6000. I can cycle to work, year round in less than ten minutes. All the facilities are about a five minute ride from my home and this is true for everybody. I have never seen a traffic jam in a small town. I have seen a traffic jam between small towns and between cities and their satellite communities. Sharing the road with cars and trucks in a small town has been much less stressful for me than in the cities.

The self-sufficiency culture is also stronger in the small towns I've lived compared to the cities. Gardens and fruit trees abound and people actually use and preserve the harvest. We're also embedded in an agricultural area, so local produce and meat is easy to come by. Heck, I spent last evening converting a couple bushels of apples that my neighbour gave me into a year's supply of apple juice.

I've never felt like I needed a gun for protection. Not in a small town. Not in the downtown core of a major city. I like guns just fine (traditional flintlock long rifles being my favourites), and I wouldn't hesitate to use one to protect myself or my family. I've just never felt the need, not even a little.

I'm feeling luckier and luckier to be above the 49th parallel.

Mark (not really in Calgary anymore)

  I've got a theory for some small towns-its called Darwinian Selective Inbreeding. That's where everybody good looking or smart have been escaping for the last 100 years, and the remainder have stayed around making babies with their sisters and cousins. You can independently confirm it at any rural Walmart on the morning the SSI checks and food stamps arrive...
Um, Mark ..... you're in Canada eh? Very VERY different country, different mindset. The western pop-up towns seem to be full of the working-class washouts from California, from larger towns, high house taxes evict 'em, low wages and an informal and really illegal no-whites hiring policy keep 'em desperate, and they move out to these little towns and feel lucky to have a job at Wal-Mart or anywhere at all. A lot don't - tons of drug activity in these small western towns.

Sigh. Again, it's very hard for someone who hasn't spent a significant amount of time in the US to understand how hellish it is.

If people around you are shopping and working at the likes of Wal-Mart, that is an unfortunate sign that your town (if one ever really did exist) has been destroyed and is no longer a 'town'.  Sadly, that has happened in many places across the US.  
Nice set of articles again, Leanan.

Studying PO, I've seen this sentence so often: "We use X barrels of oil for every barrel we find", the X ranging from 2 up to 9.

I think this X-figure is very important. So how many barrels of oil do we use for every barrel we find? At this moment?

From the Cosmos article Leanan posted yesterday:

But we are not likely to meet that growing demand, says a report by L.B. Magoon for the U.S. Geological Survey. "Technology is great, but it can't find what's not there," he says. "In the last five years, we consumed 27 billion barrels of oil a year, but the oil industry discovered only three billion barrels a year. So only one barrel was replaced for every nine we used." And annual oil discoveries have been declining since 1965.

This is just one number, my guess is it could range anywhere form 5 to 15 right now, depending on who's doing the counting.

Thanks for that, roel. These figures say 9 barrels used for 1 barrel found.

BTW, you have a typical Dutch name, so I asume you are in Holland? I'm in Den Helder.


My guess is Montreal, Quebec.
I even googled it myself
lazy dutch!
Canada...Holland...there's a difference?  ;)
The October issue of Consumer Reports has arrived at my mailbox. The cover headline: "The Ethanol Myth".

In keeping with CR's philosophy, the article focuses mostly on ethanol's high cost, low mileage, and scarce availability.

Didn't find the article in the free area of the CR website, but they do have this rundown on fuel alternatives:

I really emjoy The Oil Drum...keep up the good work.  There is a great need for a site that deals with the myths of energy production, substitution, geology, etc.

  So I go to have a light breakfast in town after reading RR's attempts at showing a misinformed reader the true energy return of the oil lifecycle versus the ethanol lifecycle.  A well informed friend shows up, he works in the alternative energy field, has a radio show and somehow we start talking about biodiesel.  He informs me that they get 3 to 4 to 1 energy return (lifecycle) for biodiesel and 7 to 8 to 1 if waste oil is used. I inform him that seems high because every hydrocarbon input is a loss of energy(fertilizer, water, machinery, refining(not much)), except for the solar absorbed by the biodiesel plants.  I inform him that current return on ethanol is .25 approx., 1 btu in to get 1.25 out.  I am informed these numbers I used are out of date, it's much higher.

There is alot of misinformation out there, IMHO.  I asked where he got his numbers....a biodiesel book.  Another aside was a conversation about reality.  People didn't want to hear the true dimension of out future woes and I felt he was using rosy biodiesel numbers that will lead us to a deadend in terms of energy production, land management and food production.

What is the true return on the lifecycle of biodiesel?  

Wikipedia has a good article for starters and many links to go deeper on the biodiesel perspective.

I'm currently doing an initial research on biodiesel from algae.  Oilgae is a good repository of many available ressources and technology.  

The yield per acre is about 30 times the yield of any other field crops, that's the reason why I look forward into this.

There is two different options regarding the production of algae.  One is to use raceway pond, developped by the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) up until 1996.  The New Hampshire University has a group doing some research in this field.

The major difficulties has been producing algae in a cost efficient way.  At the time it was 2 times the diesel cost. I wonder how much it has goes up in regards to increase in oil price.

What I try to seek is if the photobioreactor way could yield a fair amount of algae while being afforbable.  In town, Roberval we have a long period of winter so I'm thinking of a greenhouse heated by annualized geo-solar technique

There is a company in the UK building the tubes needed to produce a steady amount of algae. It's called cellpharm tubular reactor

Here is a photo of what it looks like :

I have been asked by the general manager of our MRC (we could say county management organisation) if with 200 000$ I could manage to start a pilot projet for producing biodiesel from algae. That was 2 weeks ago. I already had contact with scientist from our provincial government and he led me to a doctor already doing great stuff regarding fibro cellulose ethanol.  I on vacation this week so I will talk with him next week.

I hope that these links will provide you with some useful information.

The bio-reactor looks very energy intensive to manufacuture, maintain and operate. Of course this could be used as an CO 2 pollution mitigation device that at least "pays for itself" in terms of CO 2 absorption at low or no cost.  But are we going to be able to cover a fraction of the earths surface to power our civilization.  No....another silver BB, perhaps.
But are we going to be able to cover a fraction of the earths surface to power our civilization.  No....another silver BB, perhaps.

I don't think given current technology, that a silver bullet to replace oil is going to be feasible.  It will have to be silver BBs.

That said, Algae has the advantage over other crop types in that we can grow algae in areas unsuited for traditional crop types.  The vast, uninhabited deserts make an ideal location for this type of production or possibly floating greenhouses built on similar technology as current rigs.  Further Algae has the other advantage of not being a drain on arable lands.  Attaining and providing nutrient rich water is as easy as moving it from the ocean in many cases or tapping into sewage.  Can we afford to cover sections of the earth for our energy needs.  I think yes, provided we choose the right types of sections.

Personally I kind of like the floating greenhouse rigs idea as the ocean water will be immediately available, the rigs can be built in areas of ocean where yearly sunlight has a high yield, and lastly, if the rigs were designed to take advantage of the wave/tidal action the ocean produces, the rigs could be self powered using tidal devices.

Thank you for the information. Did you happen to see the September 2006 Scientific American issue Energy's Future Beyond Carbon?

In the Designer Microbes section of the Plan B for Energy article, they quote J. Craig Venter, founder of Synthetic Genomics and the Vinod Khosla of microbial oil manufacture, saying

"We think this field has tremendous potential to replace the petrochemical industry, possibly within a decade."

That assessment may be overly optimistic: no one has yet assembled a single cell from scratch...

I just happen to have a picture right here.

Overly optimistic?
Fly me to the moon, Craig!

Check it out.

Obviously Dr. Venter is someone to listen to.  Without his push into the shotgun method of sequencing the Human Genome Project would have dragged out forever.  Let's hope he is on to something.
I give Venter pretty good odds at actually finding some useful solutions. The guy knows what he is doing. I have admired him for many years (although I understand he is a bit arrogant). But I guess it's like Kid Rock said: "It ain't bragging if you back it up."
That's because he decided to just declare victory and crank up the hype machine. The claim to have finished something was fraudulent.
ANY KIND of biomass growing aimed at energy production is actually just a more convoluted way to collect solar energy.

Why not using solar directly?

No matter the "poor" efficiencies of PV or Stirling (from 15% to 40%) how does this compares to the whole intricate conversion chain for algae, corn, sugar cane, switchgrass & whatever else, PER SQUARE METER?

Very, very poorly.  Switchgrass in pellet or brick form, burnt in high efficiency stoves and boilers provide an EROEI up to 20 to 1 (REAP-Canada) and sugar cane 8-1.

With the exercise of knowledge (soil science, plant breeding, appropriate selection and placement of cultivars) we are able to improve modestly on the gifts nature has spent deep time finetuning.

We can also profitably improve our own burning technologies and the institutional arrangements by which we exploit these gifts from nature.  But it is laughable to think we can in a few decades develop superior systems to capture the daily income of solar energy than those nature offers.

Moreover, it is downright foolish to develop a dependence on systems, which require the availability of stored solar, for production and reproduction.  Which is not to say that solar panels and wind machines and the like do not have a small role to play in some places.

But it is laughable to think we can in a few decades develop superior systems to capture the daily income of solar energy than those nature offers.

Oh! Yeah?
Could you please give us the numbers of net energy collected PER ACRE for solar captors versus whatever biomass cultivation you see fit?

Plus, solar captors need only SURFACE not good agricultural land.

According to the FAO:

the theoretical maximum efficiency of solar energy conversion is approximately 11%. In practice, however, the magnitude of photosynthetic efficiency observed in the field, is further decreased by factors such as poor absorption of sunlight due to its reflection, respiration requirements of photosynthesis and the need for optimal solar radiation levels. The net result being an overall photosynthetic efficiency of between 3 and 6% of total solar radiation.

So for primary efficiency, PV or Stirling Dish win with efficiencies over 11%, and have lower end-to-end losses for final electric use.  However biofuels are storable and more flexible for non-electric use.  Initial resource costs are less with biofuels, but you need account for soil degradation from mineral and humus depletion and the opportunity cost of lost food production.

Thanks, great link, there are other interesting points in it:

The net energy balance for the processes involved can, however, be problematic in that energy requirements for cellulose hydrolysis and distillation, must be lower than the energy in the output ethanol.

Although [methane] small-scale digesters are popularly used at both the farm and village levels, large-scale operations are still in need of considerable technical improvement and cost reduction, and thus require both microbial and engineering studies.

This technology doesn't just collect solar. It 1. collects solar to a bottled form, so energy uses that still require self propelled machines can continue, and 2. can be used to trap carbon dioxide emissions as well as nitrogen and sulfur.

Photovoltaics are nice, and stirling even nicer, but we still need energy for storage.

we still need energy for storage.

Of course this point has to be solved but what is the COST of this versus jeopardizing FOOD PRODUCING land?
What is the expectable EROEI of biomass energy production?
We are still debating this it seems.
It is very difficult to argue on SEPARATE points without trying to model a sought for big picture (or preferably several).
Unfortunately nobody seems to have all of the skills, ressources and motivations for doing this.

P.S. I exclude coal and nuclear as VIABLE solutions, see my other posts.

Hi Kevembuangga

It may be that PV Cells are better than algae at capting the sunlight (wich I doubt) but I can tell you that the price is ever increasing.

Where I come from, I live next to a huge hydro electric power station (well, actually a few hundred km) so PV cell dont even start to compare. Think of a PV cell as a small grain of sand and one hydro complex as a huge mountain.

Take a look :

Thats a 1 528 MW dam, we have over 34 000 MW of installed power to produce electricity.  Of that number, only 600 MW is comming from coal/oil, 870 MW from gas and 675 from a CANDU nuclear reactor.  

Do you think that in our place using solar power make sense?

What we need is not raw power, we need a liquid fuel.  And the best liquid fuel for maintaining the rest of the infrastructure is biodiesel.  The most productive form of life to produce biodiesel is algae.

Most of the installation will use solar energy for power, but no PV cells at all.

Thousands of otherwise productive acres buried under water, to say the least.

In a canyon by me, some want to build a dam that might produce 300+ MW, but would cost over 5 Billion to build. Is that a bargain? To say nothing of the fact that we have regular periods of dry years in California, when it is hot, dry, electrical demand is at its height, and there's little or no water behind the dams to produce electricity.  The big crisis a few years ago had this as a major element. Even Washington state dams were dry, and you couldn't buy electicity from anywhere except at totally exhorbitant prices. Aluminum foundries in WA ran their generators and sold the electricity, shut down the plants, because the profit was so much better. The sun will always be there in a predictable manor (or else we're all dead anyway). Drought produce a catastrophic system-wide failure of hydro production lasting months or years, not days or weeks.

Quebec is not California, we have lots (like in very very very lots of) water ressources.

We have the most reliable electrical system in the world.  Space heating is done mainly with electricity.  We have not been touched by the last blackout (2 or 3 years ago).

Here is a picture of where are located the hydro systems.

and now a map of productive land in Canada  

I just found this map and find it very cool :)

You can also see, if you zoom in on Quebec, there is a lake surounded by a green patch, if you zoom enough you will see the Roberval dot.  The lake there is Lac Saint-Jean, it contains 31 Billon barrel of water. It's not the biggest lake in Quebec, but I live just in front of it.  

Needless to say, peak water is a fantasy around here.

what I was trying to show is that many of the dam are built where almost no productive land is present,  Even trees grow really dificultly.  Quebec is a large province with lots of space.

Thanks for your response and I understand your point. I believe that solutions will generally be local in many ways, relating to the specific regional situation. We do have lots of hydro, which is crucial to our state, but with around 25% from that source, we are in deep trouble when dry years occur, which happens with fair regularity. In the past, electricity could be purchased from elsewhere, but now as the US situation tightens, we can't count on that. Hopefully Quebec never faces that problem.

P.S. A good friend was an exchange student in a town on Lac Saint-Jean in the late 1960's. She was studying French and loved it there.

I grok.
If CO 2 becomes a real cost to producing energy then algae bioreactors will become very useful economically and hopefully environmentally.  But are we going to run our civilization on algae?
Well, I do not think so.

Even I start to do some research on this for 2 reasons:

1st.  If the project is picking up, I will use it to talk about peak oil in Quebec and Canada, in which almost no media is talking about in anyway.

2nd. I do not think it will replace oil in all it's application.  Nothing will.  But I do think that we could run some construction equipment and maybe some buses using that liquid fuel when the diesel wont be available.

I have no intent on running the civilisation, I have maybe some idea about running our small place.  The construction equipment will be very usefull to build new living arrangement.  Altough we are a small place (30 000 people in the county) we have lots of space and maybe we could welcome more.  Building urban area that can foster people, workplace and food growing places is the ultimate goal.

The biodiesel here is only for getting that.

Also as for the energy needed, I have in tought annualized geo-solar because it need very less energy to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. I will also use bubble insulation for heating and cooling.  This will help get the sunshine trough and keep the air warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Altough we are facing shortage risk from diesel, we have in Quebec access to very large quantities of hydro electric power.  We have only 1 or 2 coal plants I think and I dont think they run all the time.  So producing biodiesel is also a way of keeping the maintenance machinery, equipment and trucks humming for maintenance of the power grid.

Also on a purely economical basis, we are deeply impacted here because of already high oil prices.  Many sawmills are closing or on the verge of closing.  The slumping of demand for structural wood from the US (resulting from the house slump) is lowering the price of wood.

So we are impacted both in the cost structure and in the revenue structure.

I have a friend owner of a oil distributor mainly for the forestry camp.  They sell 45-50 million liter (~300 000 barrel) of diesel each year.  For the whole region it amount to 200 million liter(1.2 million barrel) each year.  

The impact on oil price if the whole region closes forestery would be not so high I think.  But the local effect will be very hard and felt trough the economy.  Because of this we will need to divert our work to producing energy (if it can be done) and building a new way of life.

I expect that it would take at least a big recession (maybe a depression) to get people on the new track.  I dont think many people will do anything if that does not happen.

Something also impacting our economy is the slump in tourism we had this summer.  Many went to the US where they offered dollar parity with the Canadian $ and the gas price refrained people in their spending.

Altough no one talks about a recession right now, I think that it will be reconized after the hunting season (hunting season is a big vacation season around here)

So I think (I'm doing more research on the subject to latter say I know) that biodiesel from algae might be part of the solution.

Dave and HO have done algae on TOD. Pond scum?!
Hi, you said you live in Mtl, I'm just in Roberval (Lac Saint-Jean)

I will give 2 speaches at a conference in 3 week.  Maybe you can attend if you understand french.

You will hear from it anyway.

Thanks for the link Wolfric.

I'm in Montreal as well.

That is like asking How Long is a chinaman! Answer- thats right. Biodiesel comes from an infinite variety of sources and each has a different BTU cost to grow and harvest. From soybeans at 60 gallons per acre and a really mechanized approach to growth and harvest, to Oil Palm, at the high end, with yields as high as 1200 gallons per acre for specific Costa Rican clones grown in Indonesia which are only slightly mechanized, and numerous crops in between. As someone getting into this business on the oil palm side, I can tell you that the eroi can be very high if it is done right. The largest expense will be maintenance and harvest labor and we expect that to be 60% of total costs. About $.75 per gallon. But this operation is part of a complex interaction of sustainable practices involving biomass to electricity, hydroelectric power, and mahogany growth with potent nitrogen fixing trees in the mix. Like I've said before, It depends.
This was highlighted last night on CBS, who pointed out the mileage penalty for using ethanol.  Doubts about ethanol have finally reached the mainstream media. This was a good counterpoint to Dan Rather's puff piece early this year.
Following up, it dodges taking a position on the EROEI of corn ethanol by quoting Pimentel and Wang as opposing viewpoints. It does mention, though, that corn ethanol is currently more expensive when the mileage is factored in and won't be more than a minor solution.
From the article on Russia & cars:  "Russia is the world's second-largest oil exporter and this year's record high prices have swelled the economy and fuelled Muscovites' taste for conspicuous consumption."

A GM executive said a couple of weeks ago that the only thing limiting car sales in the Middle East was shipping constraints.  We are reading similar stories about Venezuela.  The WSJ had a front page story yesterday about the massive tar sands related boom in Calgary.  

Net Oil Exports = Domestic Production - Domestic Consumption

Through May, 2006, production by the top 10 net oil exporters was declining at an annual rate of about 7% since December (EIA, crude + condensate), while their aggregate consumption is clearly growing rapidly, especially in the Middle East, where there are some strong demographic factors at work too.

I noticed that the Drudge Report had a headline this morning stating that the Pentagon (Rumsfeld?) predicted that Iran would have nukes within five years.

Let's the day off to a rip roaring start. From Fill Up on Corn if You Can in the NY Times today.

"E-85 is really I-85 -- it's about energy independence," said Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy consultancy.

Energy Independence

I-85. Yeah, but this could be a problem...

Intersection of I-85 and I-285


That's hilarious Dave. Maybe plant some corn in the green spots there?
 Do you suppose that ethanol is the spagetti sauce for the spagetti bowl? At least folks can stay home and drink when the oil runs out.
Known as Spaghetti Junction here in Atlanta.
Indeed. And I am trying to figure out when they snapped that picture. It's not 3 in the morning... so how did they get a daylight shot that's not absolutely full of traffic? I can see spaces between the cars. What gives?
It was probably a weekend.
and taken 20 years ago

Yesterday I drove through the lower section of Delta County. It's usually dotted with a few corn fields, mostly alfalfa, beans and some wheat.

This year it's all corn fields!

Not that we have an ethanol plant around here, but I guess the farmers figured the price of corn would be going up, and so planted accordingly.

What will our grandchildren think when they see photos like spaghetti junction above?  Gosh Gramps, you actually had a car?  Or maybe, Dammit Old Timer!  What in the Hades were you THINKING??!!!!

Last night my nine yr old son & I were driving home and I stopped off to top off.  He eagerly asked to help pump.  As he pumped, I watched him enjoy the moment with Dad and I sadly pondered the likelihood of him repeating this routine with this children.

What the hell are we thinking?

It could only happen in England!

Protestors attempt to shut down power plant

... but wait! It's not a nuclear plant... it's a COAL plant!

Drax provides an estimated 7% of the UK's energy needs. Campaigners say it produces more than a quarter of the total amount of CO2 emitted by the nation's cars.

Last winter, coal-fired power produced 50% of the electricity consumed in the UK.

Not totally silly, if a bit unrealistic.

Coal plants are a disaster. Coal is the low-hanging energy fruit that is much beloved by people who don't understand that installing infrastructure designed to last fify years and produce a billion or so tons of CO2 just aint good thinking when we're near/at/past any number of climatic tipping points.

There are at least ten more under construction in the US. I wish somebody was protesting them.

Isn't it wonderful to be an offbeat website issueing a warning about peak oil? And the people seking information about peak oil are depicted as shaved headed, sandle-wearing Hedge Fund operators from the Netherlands, the world center of marijuana use.

Actually, the MSM is beginning to recognise peak oil, and the ad hominem attacks and negative stereotyping show that peak oil is beginning to gain real acceptance with folks

Definitely.  They admit it, in this bit:

More and more, however, the peaksters are drowning out everyone else, Cranberg says. "You can't turn around without seeing or hearing these ideas," he says. "I think they are gaining."
First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
... then they fight you ...
Then you win.

In the words of the wise man. Whatsisname. er er Robbie Williams.

The wise man who spoke that was, like all men, subject to survivor's bias. Usually they kick your ass and loot your village.
there's a missing fifth line:
"and then you die"
You're assuming said wise man survivor doesn't have a fortified village somewhere with some weaponry.
You didn't see it coming, with the daily die-off patter?

There have always been people concerned with population growth, and broadly Malthusian problems, but it is the binding between those and oil which is new, growing, and obvious to any new visitor.

I do actually think we have a lot of environmental and population related problems on this planet, but I think they have a longer time horizon and are less immediate and specific a problem than peak oil.

I don't think that has much to do with it, really.  Obviously, the hedge fund operator doesn't think peak oil means dieoff, or even financial collapse.  He's planning to start a fund that will profit off peak oil.  He's still depicted as a (gasp!) sandal-wearer.

Nope, what makes us nuts is not the doomers amongst us, but just the nature of peak oil.  It wouldn't matter if we all believed converting to wind power would allow the happy motoring lifestyle to continue in perpetuity, we'd still be depicted as nuts.  Jeans and sandal-wearing tree-huggers.

Well, I respond below to someone who just said "A lot of people might starve to death."

How does that play to new visitors?  Are there any new visitors in the room?  Anybody?

Well, I respond below to someone who just said "A lot of people might starve to death."

A lot of people starve to death already.  Is it really so radical to think that more might, as petroleum gets scarcer and more expensive?  And shouldn't we talk about it?

Awhile back, I was reading about a "successful" new program that was helping poor people in Africa.  The solution?  Teaching subsistance farmers to use chemical fertilizers and giving them hybrid seeds.  

Come on Leanan, you don't need to do that to me.  I've dropped a few ten-grand on Médecins Sans Frontières in my life.

The question is at hand is whether die off in the US is going to break open following PO.

He said "the world."  And it's a very legitimate concern.  We've used globalization to drive farmers out of business, making them dependent on our exports.  And if we now decide we'd rather put that grain into our fuel tanks, where does that leave them?

As for the U.S....I think we are overpopulated, but could adjust.  The question is if we can keep the population from continuing to increase (in other than Malthusian ways, I mean).  The current UN stats are predicting a 45% increase in the U.S. population by 2050, which would not be good news.

If I recall correctly, the increase is attributable mostly to immigration. I wonder what will happen Post-PO if agriculture in our neighbors to the south collapses, either due to lack of oil inputs or climate change. How many refugees would come our way? And what would be the results?
In Collapse, Jared Diamond talks about something called "overcrowded lifeboat syndrome."

Starving people would have poured into Gardar [the largest farm], and the outnumbered chiefs and church officials could no longer prevent them from slaughtering the last cattle and sheep. Gardar's supplies, which might have sufficed to keep Gardar's own inhabitants alive if all their neighbors could have been kept out, would have been used up in the last winter when everyone tried to climb into the overcrowded lifeboat, eating the dogs and newborn lifestock and the cows' hoofs as they had at the end of the Western settlement.

Diamond then draws an explicit parallel with unrest in the U.S., and our inability to secure our borders against illegal immigration:

I picture the scene at Gardar as like that in my home city of Los Angeles in 1992 at the time of the so-called Rodney King riots, when the acquittal of policemen on trial for brutally beating a poor person provoked thousands of outraged people from poor neighborhoods to spread out to loot businesses and rich neighborhoods. The greatly outnumbered police could do nothing more than put up pieces of yellow plastic warning tape across roads entering rich neighborhoods, in a futile gesture aimed at keeping the looters out. We are increasingly seeing a similar phenomenon on a global scale today, as illegal immigrants from poor countries pour into the overcrowded lifeboats represented by rich countries, and as our border controls prove no more able to stop that influx than were Gardar's chiefs and Los Angeles's yellow tape. That parallel gives us another reason not to dismiss the fate of the Greenland Norse as just a problem of a small peripheral society in a fragile environment, irrelevant to our own larger society. Eastern Settlement was also larger than Western Settlement, but the outcome was the same; it merely took longer.
Thanks for the quotes Leanan. What Diamond is describing is what happens when law enforcement breaks down. And it is what will happen, anywhere, when law enforcement breaks down as a result of declining energy supplies after peak oil. There will be riots, a few at first then increasing in number until total anarchy rules. I don't predict a soft landing anywhere in the world but it will be the strong arm of the law that keeps order and nothing else.

North Korea has avoided food riots simply by shooting anyone who exhibits such behavior. In Africa people simply starve in silence because it has become a way of life...and death. But they also starve in silence because all those with food also have guns, and they shoot to kill. But in the Western World, we think we are entitled to the good life and when it starts to disappear we will fight like hell, taking our wrath out on anyone and everyone. We will blame everyone and riot and burn when they cannot return things to the way they were.

"When law enforcement vanishes, all manner of violence breaks out: looting, settling old scores, ethnic cleansing, and petty warfare among gangs, warlords, and mafias. This was obvious in the remnants of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and parts of Africa in the 1990s, but can also happen in countries with long tradition of civility. As young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin's anarchism. I laughed off my parents' argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that had competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist)."
Steven Pinker, "The Blank Slate" page 331.

I love that story. (well for illustrative purposes) The bad guys didn't even wait till lunch to go a-lootin' and a-pillagin'
they were busy "acquiring" money to pay for lunch
wait, hold it right there, that's my home town!!!
Thanks for the lifeboat metaphor, though my distinguished fellow-countryman got in there first:

The advanced world may well be like, and feel like, a closed and guarded palace, in a city gripped by a plague. There is another metaphor, developed by André Gide, one of the powerful minds powerfully influenced by Nietzsche: This is the metaphor of the lifeboat, in a sea full of the survivors of a shipwreck. The hands of survivors cling to the side of the boat. But the boat has already as many passengers as it can carry. No more survivors can be accommodated, and if they gather and cling on, the boat will sink and all will be drowned. The captain orders out the hatchets. The hands of the survivors are severed. The lifeboat and its passengers are saved.

Something like this is the logic we apply when we tighten our immigration laws, and in the general pattern of our relations with the so-called under-developed countries [...]. As this situation becomes more obvious, it is likely to generate its own psychological and moral pressures. The traditional ethic will require larger and larger doses of its traditional built-in antidotes - the force of hypocrisy and cultivated inattention combined with a certain minimum of alms.

(Conor Cruise O'Brien, On the Eve of the Millenium, 1994)

Hello Copelch,

Good post, along with Darwinian's post too.  The Titantic's sinking metaphor is often used in postings.  The additional caveat I would add is that the lifeboat survivors had a short row to the other steamships that belatedly arrived on-scene.  In a postPeak world: the lifeboat survivors will be ALONE metaphorically speaking--an extremely long row to the safe haven of shore.

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


If you manage to find this reply in the maze of 'parents' and their descendants: here's another author who uses the lifeboat metaphor: Petti Linkola, the Finnish ecofascist:

What is it that Linkola thinks that scares so many people? A good place to start is his most frequently quoted analogy for the world's overpopulation problem:

"What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship's axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides of the boat."

For those who are ready to take up the axes, Linkola has some suggestions-an end to Third World Aid and an end to asylum for refugees. In his new approach for a better society he suggests "Green Police", unencumbered by the "syrup of ethics" that governs human behavior today to keep things in line. He thinks "Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed." Under the "Green Police" only "a few million" people would work as farmers and fishermen, without modern conveniences such as the automobile. A man of action, not just words, since the 1960s he has lived as a fisherman, using wood-fires for heating and travelling by bicycle or sleigh. It is only recently that he has gotten a phone and electricity and takes his fish into town for sale on the local school bus.


Life after the oil crash?


The hands of the survivors are severed. The lifeboat and its passengers are saved.

Yes, it is even likely built in the genes.
Seems to remember of something like this, I have to recall the links.

Halliburton gets more government contracts.
When (and I mean "when," not "if") unemployment goes above ten percent and is rising in the U.S., then I expect to see the door slammed on immigration and also a major effort to deport illegal immigrants.

By the way (in response to Leanan), except for immigration and emigration, all factors that affect population growth are Malthusian: He wrote about positive checks to population (those that increase the death rate) but also preventive checks to population growth, i.e. those that diminish the birth rate. In later editions of his book he became somewhat more optimistic on the possible effectiveness of preventive checks.

A hundred years ago it made sense for the U.S. to encourage immigration, but given the "ecological footprint" of U.S. residents it seems to me to be folly to allow further immigration--building up long-term major problems in return for short-term (and questionable) economic benefits. It may be selfish for me to say, "Let's slam the door shut!" but I'm thinking of my grandchildren's welfare; increase in the U.S. population does not seem likely to enhance their prospects.

I'd like to see an official statement on population policy for the U.S., including a statement of what our optimum population range should be and whether further population growth is desirable. The great philosophers Plato and Aristotle both thought population policy was a key political issue and of utmost importance to public welfare. In this respect (largely due to political correctness) I think we have regressed during the past twenty-four hundred years.

"When (and I mean "when," not "if") unemployment goes above ten percent and is rising in the U.S., then I expect to see the door slammed on immigration and also a major effort to deport illegal immigrants."

Some unsolicited advice to interested parties (which is worth what you are paying for it):

Rising unemployment is a key reason to adjust your lifestyle now so that you can live on 50% of your current income (I was forced to do it in 1986).  

As I said before, it's kind of ruthless, but you need to be ready to volunteer for salary cuts and/or be willing to take a more challenging job for the same money.  Reducing your expenses gives you much more flexibility.  

We are quickly headed into a period of probably near-permanent labor surplus.   You can't fight market forces.  The faster that you adjust to the new realities, the better off you and your family will be.

From today's Urban Survival:

"Personal saving -- DPI (Disposable Personal Income) less personal outlays -- was a negative $83.5 billion in July, compared with a negative $67.6 billion in June. Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was a negative 0.9 percent in July, compared with a negative 0.7 percent in June. Negative personal saving reflects personal outlays that exceed disposable personal income. Saving from current income may be near zero or negative when outlays are financed by borrowing (including borrowing financed through credit cards or home equity loans), by selling investments or other assets, or by using savings from previous periods."


You're killin' me, man.  My doomerocity coefficient was already high enough today, and I buy completely what you're saying.

<problem type="personal">
 But how do I get CinCFam (Commander in Chief - Family) to believe the wisdom of that choice?

BTW, would you have time to entertain an email from me at your aol account?


re:  e-mail  no problemo
" You can't fight market forces."

Ah yes, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropis.  The Fates.

On the other hand, reason tells us that market forces are guided by market rules as found in laws, regulations, precedents, conventions, customs, practices.  In some cases, the Hell's Angels make the rules.  In most, it is legitimate social institutions: broadly speakly, government.

Can market rules change?  They have.  Can they change again?  Yes.

Markets existed long before capitalism, which is a particular system characterised by an intrinsic need for growth.  Markets will exist post capitalism, even if attempts to suppress this deeply rooted social mechanism are again made, such as was the case in the failed Soviet model.

The key is to shape markets to serve the welfare of people, a welfare obviously tied to the health of the biosphere. Obvious at least to all but the most obtuse.

Markets organized on a capitalist model have found legitimacy in this system's ability to deliver on its promise of much for most.  To deliver on this promise, capitalism needs to function, and to function it needs growth.  The intelligence of our species has nourished this needed growth, but it is constructed from the continued expansion of the supply of energy and the continued improvement in the quality of the energy we exploit.  

Now the quantity and the quality of energy are in decline.  And our intelligence is not great enough to expand our leverage of this declining resource at a rate which outruns the decline.

Lovers of capitalism can perhaps say au revoir, in the hope that fusion, or some other miracle, will in some future time provide a foundation on which the system can be rebuilt.  Will our progeny, given the choice, even want to do so?

For the moment the question is not whether the decline in the quantity and quality of available energy will lay waste to civilization, but whether the impending collapse of capitalism will do so?  

That's up to you and me.  The Fates are imaginary.



He's got unemployment at 12% if we figure back in the discouraged workers and various other marginal changes they've engineered into this number.

Hello Odograph,

Of course Dieoff will eventually break out in the US: at some future tipping point precipitated by exponential positive feedback combined with systemic infrastructure collapse.  What, How, When, Where is the difficult part to determine, but the WHY has been explained countless times by experts and laymen alike.  Detritus Entropy is a cruel Master, Genetically-induced violence is a cruel Mistress.

Our best hope lies in cooperation & mitigation, real efforts at minimizing violence & population, and simplification & biosolar Powerup.  Time will tell how effective we are at maximizing peaceful mortality vs. violent mortality--the choice is ours.

Currently, 0.7% of US population is actively engaged in agriculture and fishing [CIA Factbook.  https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html]  The best way to mitigate postPeak violence is to figure out the optimal process for 60-75% of us to become fulltime permaculturists.  The 1500 mile salad, the 6,000 mile banana, and the 10,000 mile Alaskan King Crab dinner are not long for this world.

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

I'll miss my banannas.

Here ya go Tate.

Nothing But Flowers
By the Talking Heads

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it's nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it

There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
you've got it, you've got it

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you've got it, you've got it

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I'd pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it's only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it's nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we'd start over
But I guess I was wrong

Once there were parking lots
Now it's a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
you got it, you got it

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle


Ya, You got it, You Got It.

I nominate this for the
"Post Peak Oil, Looking Back longingly" anthem.

I can't get used to this lifestyle...

Might have to download this single, just to hear it with rythem.
I think our leaders have already figured it out. KBR/PolPot/FEMA style.
Experts line up on all sides of this I'm afraid.  The great difficulty is in telling who has the skill to predict a proposed "once in human history" event.

(Efforts to make the collapse of modern multisource multicultural industrial society look like collapses of single or simple historical peoples are weak at best.  It often hinges, for instance, on pretending that we have a single global culture, and American = Iranian = Japanese)

I did not mean to make "Iranian" appear smaller, those = equals = signs must have an auto-format side effect
American = Iranian = Japanese

Of course not but the CULTURAL differences don't mean much when compared to a COMMON reliance on fossil fuels and modern industry.

Teaching subsistance farmers to use chemical fertilizers and giving them hybrid seeds

Nothing new there, been going on for 50 years. The only thing these people are good for, as long as they remain alive, is to make money off. No problem if they die, they breed like rabbits. Send them subsidized EU and US grains and fish and bankrupt their local economies.
We all carry the blame and the shame for that.
And don't let's start on GMO crops being forcefed left right and center these days.

What occupies me (even) more is the message that if we here want to see our future, we need only look at the warlord structured societies of western Africa (there's some articles on dieoff on the subject, for instance). I find it hard to shake that image.

Check out these comments from Kevenmbuangga and there are others re: this book.


It may be great fiction though.

There's a reason I only use heirloom/open-pollinated/non-hybrid/non-GMO seeds. I don't know how those businessmen sleep at night.
Same way you and I do. Our entire society lives off the back of other people's resources and misery. Whether you profit directly or indirectly may not be the best focus there. Then again, if it allows you to sleep....
Good One. It hit me where it was supposed to. And it hurt.
I wear Jeans and sandals.  Is that all they've got?
Unless you're Jesus or look Like Pam Anderson, I'm pretty sure nobody gives a fuck. Hello?
Leanan I bet you this Hedgefund Manager was wearing jeans and sandals as he probably combined the usefull with the recreational, and at work dresses in a really fine suit.
Italian even....
You noticed that too, huh?  I have been wearing sandals for close to a decade, before that it was hiking boots and tough sneakers.  I preffer sandals to any other foot wear, even if I am hiking.  I have a skin disorder that makes wearing pants and socks and shoes the next best thing to driving me totally insane with itching.  

So they point out the fact that the guy is wearing sandals, so that can explain what he is doing there, only to have to say just miliseconds later that he is a hedge fund investment type.   DUH!  Can we say bias in the media.

I get it all the time, Friends and Parents used to suggest I wear normal foot coverings, I want to rake their arms and say "Does that hurt?" but I don't.  Sign me up now for the sandal patrol!

We will still be that "Out There Cult" to the MSM for decades to come, even when they are all biking to work because they can't get gas to drive.  Just give them time, we will have a Disney theme park named after us too.

Hey, where do you get decent sandals that don't fall apart in six months (and preferably are not made in China/Indonesia/etc.)? Recent experiences have been very disappointing ...
Birkenstocks are all I can think of. Made in the Fatherland er Germany and not really any more expensive than a decent pair of bicycling shoes.
Gotta love the cork sandals!  I've got my pair.
The best sandals I ever had were American made, I bought them in Australia, but I don't remember the brand. They lasted at least two years (though I only wear them four or five months a year, I get cold feet)
The best sandals I have are Kino, made in Key West.  I bought them there in 1988, and they just last and last.

BTW, amidst all the Katrina stuff on NPR news, I heard someone bashing the NO urban rail proposal as the worst of any ideas he had heard about rebuilding N.O.

Also, on Democracy Now, we saw Greg Palast following the money trail in rebuilding N.O.  He spoke to residents of an old rowhouse community that had been boarded up since the flood despite not being touched by floodwaters.  They claimed that city fathers had designs on their land because it was close to the city center.  You could see the city center from her house.

This is busy now, but it might work later:


Not being a rich person I bought mine at Wally-world Brand name Earth-Shoe, Made in china.  I bought 3 identical pairs. The first pair has come and gone. I wear them rain or shine, all year long. The first pair made it a bit under 2 years, I think on average about 3,000 miles plus if not more.  I walked at lunch at work the first year, the second year I walked more.  All in all this was my best pair of Wally-world Sandals.  I have others, and have priced others, and have seen many that I though I would like.  It depends on you though, your feet and your walking style is all your own, get sandals or for that matter any footwear and make sure your feet like them.

After the damage to my left leg from the blood clot, that leg and foot swell, the sandals I have can be easily adjusted to fit my feet.  And I still have one pair left to go till I have to hunt for a new case of sandals,  but this time I will have to have some that meet the needs of my feet which have changed.  Lucky for me my sandals allowed that change too.

Shoes = reason #2 why permaculture villages won't work.

(BTW, I have a pair of ugly ass Ecco shoes --not sandals, policeman boots-- and those suckers last for years.)

what makes us nuts is not the doomers amongst us

Why would that be?  

Re agriculture and declining petro inputs; I've been researching this on ways to run my mini-Ponderosa. Some won't like this but I think the Cubans are ahead of the game with 'solubilising bacteria' and other ideas. Organic farming is best done in small plots due to labour intensity, companion planting and the physical effort of mulching and pest control. However much of our calorific intake comes from horizon-to-horizon monoculture using big machinery and concentrated chemicals.  When the big machines and strong chemicals are no longer viable I'm not sure the urban majority population can still be fed. We're now in a race whereby more localised food needs to step in for agribusiness and processing. I wouldn't bet on this happening smoothly.  
I'm worried about this too. Most of the world's urban population, even here in the U.S. is dependent on the food produced using fossil fuels. That long supply chain -about 1500 miles -is also dependent on it, and there is less than a two month supply of food in storage. What happens if (when) that supply chain snaps? You can't convert to organic farming overnight.

A lot of people might starve to death.

We all ready may be facing a grain shortage this year due to the droughts -in some places harvest are down by 30%. What happens if that gets worse, year by year?

The US only uses less than 4 billion gallons of diesel per year on agriculture.  Out of approx. 65 billion gallons of distillate fuel oil.  IMO, we have to combine peak oil with a lot of societal mismanagement to drop those 4 billion gallons and find reduction elsewhere.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/fuel_oil_and_kerosene_sales/current/p df/table13.pdf

(I'd imagine that agriculture could run on domestic production alone, for quite some years, if it had to.)

Not to split hairs, but that doesn't take into account all the oil used in processing, refining, transporting, and storing all of the food once its been harvested. Or the oil used to make all of the packaging, ship it, and use it. Or the oil required to run supermarkets.

I'm not saying it will happen (I hope not), but the potential is there and I can't dismiss it out of hand.

The more things you pull in (like the modern supermarket) that are non-essential, the further afield you take the computation.

The two key things to remember are that the "world's urban population" (as you mentioned) and especially "here in the U.S." (as you also mentioned):

  1. we are living an increasingly obese fast food and Starbucks lifestyle.
  2. oil production is not going to decline overnight.

Combine those two, and we have the opportunity to shift consumption over time.  IMO there's no reason PO has to maintain McDonalds' drive-throughs.

(Leanan's picture of African starvation is like a 2x4 between the eyes, but it isn't really what doomers are about.  They are about it happening to "us" and and many are about it happening "soon.")

So how doomish does one have to be to be labeled a "doomer"?  Is it necessary to see population declines in OECD countries, or just in poor countries?  Is a 5% decline in world population in a decade doom?  How about 20% in 50 years?  Is it doom if 60% of suburbanites don't live there anymore in 20 years?  Was the Great Depression a form of doom?  Would 20+ percent inflation be some kind of doom?  If the Amazon turns to desert, the North Atlantic conveyor shuts down, or the Great Plains turn to dustbowl, are those forms of doom?  

It seems like a lot of Americans would consider it the end times if things were so bad that McDonald's drive-throughs went away.  I'm one of those 30 somethings who bikes everywhere, and it wouldn't bother me a bit.

For the business world, even the prospect of no growth (flat GDP) for decades on end would be considered doom.

For me, you can't start talking about doom until there is the prospect of widespread increase in mortality with no hope of relief on the horizon .

ie. life becomes increasingly and obviously dangerous with the expectation that it will remain so for the lifetime of all those alive at the time (even children).

There is similarity with the business view in that it involves the destruction of future expectations.

So I'm not a doomer because I think that the worse PO case in the US would be Great Depression-like conditions for a couple of decades with the prospect of a better future never lost.

flat GDP isn't a PO necessity, if low power "energy content" continues to expand as a percentage of the economy.

I just got an email from my cell phone provider who want me to pay $2.99/day or $9.99/mo. to get navigation services over my phone.  There's a case where the system has sunk costs and GDP goes up everytime some knucklehead signs up (did I just say that)?

I have no idea what I meant by "low power 'energy content'" - not getting enough sleep lately.
I think the core definition for a peak oil doomer has to be someone who is worried about die-off in the industrialized countries.

A different (compassionate) argument should be made about those in less fortunate countries, but you have to be a doomer, IMO, to see them as a bellwether for the advanced nations.

(biking everywhere, with simple good food, might be utopia for me)

Yes, someone concerned about die-off in the industrialized countries probably understands that won't happen until the rest of the planet is dead. Not always, there were a few got inflamed tonight when I pointed out that our prosperity depends on our depriving - actively - much of the rest of the planet. Good progressive democrats (eg budding fascists).

cfm in Gray, ME

That's a pretty single-minded description of the world and its future.  There are all sorts of affluent countries, and they depend in varying degrees on the poorer countries.

"eat the rich" is a good book.

"biking everywhere, with simple good food, might be utopia for me"

Since when did this site get over run with Al-Qaeda-loving, America-hating freaks?

Thanks for the great question. For me, breakdown of law and order is the point where doom starts. As long as there is some form of rules and resource ownership is enforced, there is space for many mitigation strategies. When that breaks down, they vanish rapidly. There are very few winners in an anarchy.
food produced using fossil fuels.

We are EATING ENERGY thanks to HABER & BOSCH Most influential persons of the 20th century (according to Nature, July 29 1999).

Of course we are eating energy.  That's what we, like all critters, do.  In the 20th Century some folks found a way to add stored solar to the mix.  And others succeeded in imposing an agricultural model based on monoculture which expanded demand for this stored solar.

As the store of stored solar declines, we will return to current inputs only. And we will necessarily abandon monoculture. Rural areas will repopulate as the demand for labour expands.  The dieoff scenario of mass starvation due to some imagined necessary falloff in food availability is born of ignorance of what makes soil, how plants thrive and the productive potential of the combination of soil, water, sun and skill.  

It also reflects the dearth of creative thinking which grips doomsters as they spiral downward through the circles of their personal infernos.

To get an insight into a future dominant agricultural model, check out the account of the Polyface farm, as told by Michael Pollan in the Omnivore's Dilemma.

If starvation continues in the post peak period, it will be for the same reasons it exists pre-peak, which all relate to our systems of social relations, and not because hydrocarbons are required to maintain sufficient food production.

The dieoff scenario of mass starvation due to some imagined necessary falloff in food availability is born of ignorance of what makes soil, how plants thrive and the productive potential of the combination of soil, water, sun and skill.

No need for "imagined necessary falloff in food availability", not only the previously available fertile land would be unable to sustain 6.5 billions humans but the ""productive potential of the combination of soil, water" has been SEVERELY DAMAGED by industrial agriculture, high yields are only there because of continuous perfusion of imported minerals, nitrogen and water at a HIGH energy cost.

There WILL BE mass starvation whenever energy availability drops.

Use the power of your consumer dollars here.  Support your local farmer's markets and suppliers.  Challenge yourself to feed yourself within 100 miles of where you live when you go to the grocery store, too.  It will cost you more, but it will be the best investment you ever made.  Eat locally and in season.
Did anyone see the ABC program last night on Global Warming?

It was actually sort of doomerish. I was pretty surprised about the frank nature of the program which, in my opinion, had much less than the usual helping of "C'mon America! We can do it!"

The host was talking with Al Gore about what the US and its citizens need to do to reverse the course of global warming <cue images of hybrids, flourescent lightbulbs, rivers, electric trains>. Then she said to him, "Even if we can make all of these changes here, what about China and India?" To which Al said, "Well, we need to lead the world by example."

Let's be serious. I'm not trying to be synical about my country, but how is this going to happen? I feel like we're up against a few too many challenges. Global Warming, Peak Oil, and Financial Meltdown.

I watched a wonderful Nova series with my son (4 1/2) on the arising of life on planet earth.

What was clear throughout this extraordinary history is how life adapted to abrupt environmental changes through evolving new, more complex designs and survival strategies.

The existing human structures - governments, businesses, civic and social instituions, at each scale and across diverse cultures and geographies - and distinct ecological communities - will each be challenged to adapt.

Evolution is not finished and all evolutionary changes are not necessarily structural - they may involve changes in conciousness itself. My own sense is that those who recognize our inherent interdepencency with one another and with the larger community of life will be more suited to survive and perhaps even thrive amidst local, regional and global changes.

I'm glad you brought this up.  I turned it on late last night and only saw the top three ways the world could end.  I'm most intrigued by the meteor that is suppose to enter our gravitational field on like 2029 I believe.  Then seven years later it may hit us IF the gravitational pull from Earth alters it enough.

Anyone ever read about this?  I realize GW is a lot bigger deal, thus the #1 way we could destroy the world, but it's interesting.

My fiance was plucking her eyebrows and all she was hearing for like 10 minutes was this doomerish talk.  She finally asked what the hell I'm watching.  I told her and she was like holy crap.  Then she went back to plucking.  If this message doesn't go away in the news, people will be forced to deal with it.  I liked how the climatologist is like, "Everyone in our community KNOWS GW is here.  I don't understand how governments can attempt to deny this."

Anyone know what was the other ones were?

7 ways the world could end:

7 - gamma ray burst from collapsing star in the neighborhood
6 - black hole, also from collapsing star I believe
5 - supervolcanic eruption bringing on ice age
4 - asteroid, ditto
3 - nuclear war, probably by accident
2 - pandemic, possibly set off by bioterrorism
1 - global warming

Yes, I thought the show was great, aside from the fact they left out ecocollapse/peak resources.  The whole thing was based on interviews with scientists, including Stephen Hawking who commented on most of the pieces, including GW at length.  The GW portion, lengthier than than the others,  presented the issue as the scientific consensus.  There were brief, mocking shots of 3 deniers who were described as mavericks and funded by the oil and gas companies. Drought and famine were among the consequences along with the usual extreme weather and sea level rise.  

My only quibble was that the timeframe was generally 100 years, maybe 50 years, while recent info shows things accelerating - but impact on our children and grandchildren was made clear.  Despite all the science presented, the approach was somewhat sensationalistic - it had been advertised in an Armageddon context - but hopefully that drew in a lot of viewers.  

At the very end they said this is what the world could look like in 100 years.  I would hope people understand it's a process that moves marginally and that in year 50 we would be half way there.  However, the gentlemen from the NASA thinktank group (names escapes me) pointed out that with revised figures from JUST 2005, we could be headed for all this really bad crap in as little as 2 decades.

I heard that very clearly, I'm sure many didn't even let it register because of the 100 year outlook.  The problem with the 100 years is that less than 1% of the world will be alive at that time and the ones who will, don't understand this program b/c they are infants.  It would have been better to look no more than say 75 years out (50 to be sure) to drive the message home.  I plan on being here 50 years from now, so I would be much more interested.

I am afraid that the time frame for global warming may be very much less than 50 years, or even 20 years.

This is a link posted a few days ago on TOD Global Warming Alarmists Aren't Upset Enough

The author talks about plants losing more water with the higher temperatures and drought conditions. He then says,

"Allow me to be the alarmist. At the current rate of rainfall, coupled with the current rate of transrespiration, North America will start losing major areas of vegetation in the next two years. Yes, two years. Anyone who knows the climatic history of the Sahara Desert or Spain or Italy can tell you that once you strip or lose the trees and grasses, you do not get the rainfall back."

Hello Gail the Actuary,

Well done!  It is important to refresh our memories because our brains have a built-in memory hole to erase bad news.  Arizona's Ponderosa pine forests have been dying for years, in large quantities, due to climate shift, followed by infestations of the bark beetle.  It is now projected to spread across the continent:
West can't beat heat of global warming

Forests in interior British Columbia are changing color, turning from green to red as they get infected by the pine bark beetle, and then from red to gray once they are dead.

The minuscule beetles, the size of a grain of rice, are making visible global warming's impact on western North America. If you're a witness, it's an unsettling summer.

The beetles have killed lodgepole pine trees over an area the size of Iceland. They've moved east, infecting trees across the Continental Divide in Alberta.

"The danger is the beetles will cross over into jack pine habitat, and then head toward the East Coast," said James Agee, University of Washington forest ecology professor.

Or, in the words of retired U.S. Forest Service scientist Jesse Logan, "There is a continental-scale event waiting to happen."
Don't you love tipping points reinforced by exponential feedback?   =(

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

I agreed with the one scientist that said if you have to go, getting sucked into a black hole was the funnest way for it to happen.

We think too small around here.  If we are going to be doomers, lets be doomers with style.  

If we are going to be doomers, lets be doomers with style.

To style I prefer PLAUSIBILITY.

By all means, we should lead by example. Obviously, we cannot expect China or India or anyone else to cut back on fossil fuels if we refuse to.

 On the other hand, we need to think about what happens after that. What if the example is not followed?  China seems determined to develop their economy in such a way so that they too can enjoy the easy motoring lifestyle. They would resent any efforts on our part to deny them the American Dream that we have already experienced -- even if that will cause the destruction of China and much of the rest of the world.

  One possible approach would be to restrict Chinese imports through a carbon tax or other means that would reflect the amount of carbon that China is spewing into the atmosphere. After all, one of the reasons that China's emissions are growing so fast is that we have transferred our good production and therefore emissions production to them. The possible problem with this approach, however, is that our ability to produce consumer and other goods has been pretty much destroyed.

  But, of course, I am getting the cart somewhat before the horse. Since the U.S. is doing nothing to curb our emissions, the discussion is rather academic at this point.

I can see the war already.  WE're going to be pleading with China to not do what we did and they are gonna look at us and say they're(US) is trying to prevent us from attainting their status.  BUILD FASTER!

Hang on for the ride folks.  GW is going to cull the weak from the masses.

A new report from the Boston Consulting Group on the changes in consumer behavior:

While, as a whole, Americans (75%) say they're still confident they'll be able to maintain their current lifestyle (most probably through smart spending practices), the impact of the cost of gas on households with less than $75,000 of annual income is significant, according to a recent, nationally representative, random-digit-dial survey of 1020 adults conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The ASPO 2006 Boston World Oil Conference
Time for Action: A Midnight Ride for Peak Oil
Co-Hosted by ASPO-USA and Boston University is going to be held Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, 2006 (plus pre- and post-conference events) and will be held at Boston University, Boston.

I count about 22 confirmed impressive speakers starting with Matt Simmons. Samsam Bakhtiari is on the list but I wonder if he will be able to make it as it looks like there are going to be Iranian travel restrictions. I have heard Matt Simmons in person twice the first time at CSIS when he challenged ARAMCO before he wrote his book and I sure plan to get away from the registration desk where my wife and I will be helping out to hear him.
I will post more info here, full list of speakers etc. in the next several days.

I would suggest anyone wanting to go and needing to make hotel reservations do so as soon as possible. We made them last night and the first place was booked up. I am looking into public transportation and some other hotels as we may change and will post the info when I can.

To the powers that be here at TOD, is there anyway you could put the entire conference brochure on the site?  Let me know we need publicity as been discussed here many times.

The link to the conference is here. http://www.aspousa.org/fall2006/index.cfm
You can get both the conference brochure and the ASPO USA leaflet there. Both are well worth a read even if you can't make it

Thanks for the tip. I'll try to book my room today.

For those of you that don't know, Stuart Staniford is going to be one of the speakers at the ASPO USA Conference in Boston. For info see above.
Hmm,  I tried to register online, but the site seems to require that I be a press agent.  Bug or cluelessness?
The Bloomberg article on peak oil is exceptional!  Everyone needs to see it - especially any newbees out there.  

The article mentions the U.S. Government Accountability Office is going to release a study on peak oil this coming November.   Watch for it!

In spring of 2005 a colleague and I invited Dr. Deffeyes to our offices for a talk on peak oil.  Most who attended (200+) had not heard of it at the time, and it was the most effective way I could think of to inform everyone (by inviting the good professor himself).  Thanks to his riveting presentation, the issue reverberates to this day, esp. as gas prices continued their inexorable march upward.  No one who attended will soon forget it.

During the talk, Dr. Deffeyes repeated his bold prediction that world oil production would peak on November 24, 2005 (since adjusted by several weeks).  I personally won't mind if he is a few years off (my timetable is 2005 - 2010).  I NEED for it to be 2010, so I can buy a little more time to prepare for all which is to come.


I'm glad someone else picked up on this.  It will be interesting to see what the report says come November.  Will they re-hash and re-package EIA data?
I would like to contact those preparing the GAO report.  Foremost is by plan to reduce US Oil Use by 10% inb 10 to 12 years using mature technology (much discussed here on TOD and generally approved).

Please send me any leads at Alan_Drake (at) Juno dott comm



"I don't care if they can't make Pez as cheap as they used to. I don't care if GM can't keep it together anymore. If we can't feed ourselves, we're fucked"

Ya gotta love this quote. A 31 yo female farming an ACRE with a ROTOTILLER! Delivering produce 7 miles to 16+ customers on a BICYCLE! Thats what we've been calling a "lifeboat".

You go girl!

Will the end of oil be the end of food?  2nd article on Leanan's list today

In a thread maybe a week ago, someone commented how there seemed only to be gray hairs in this "movement". I see that, but also a large group of very knowledgable 20-30 somethings on bicycles. Our paths don't mesh too often. That's why it is important to "go to other people's parties" and take it on yourself to find out what others are up to. If you are fortunate to have a community radio station, that is a good place to start.

Portland Maine has a Winter Cache Project, aiming at producing root vegetables and keeping the harvest going through the winter. There are so many people working on so many different aspects.... I don't refer to "Council of Elders" but to "Council of Elders and Youth". What's often missing in organizations like Winter Cache is a level of sufficient resources. For example, they will build root cellars, but need people with land on which to put them.

cfm in Gray, ME

*checks hair* nope, no gray yet!  In fact I won't turn 30 for a few years still ^^;
ah, young one, wait until you can appreciate hair of any color on your head...
What's the oil price doing below $70? Iran just told everybody to go screw themselves.

Maybe the market knows that Russia and China will never allow sanctions? But what about the American neocon whacko factor? As in, bombing. Where's the fear... ahem, I mean, risk premium?

But what about the American neocon whacko factor?


Do not look to markets for perfect rationality.

I think the twp biggest factors behind the recent price slide are

  1. the current lack of fear of hurricanes hitting the Gulf of Mexico and
  2. the increase in quantity of oil and gasoline in storage tanks. This second factor means that the quantity supplied is greater than the quantity demanded (i.e. purchased for consumption), and Econ 101 says that when quantity supplied is greater than quantity demanded, then price will tend to fall toward equilibrium.

I suspect that few people who influence oil prices worry much about Iran cutting oil exports or the possiblity that the U.S. will bomb Iran.
My observation has been, during the 5 or 6 months, that the price of oil HAS responded quite dramatically to the threat of conflict with Iran.  Along with the threat of hurricanes and the storage levels it has been one of the major factors causing crude's price volatility.

However, the probability of war has clearly decreased recently.  While it is true that iran has rejected the demand to stop enrichment, that has been their position all along.  What has changed recently, and reduced the fear of conflict, is that the USA has cooled their rhetoric.  You no longer hear about "all options" being on the table, or how the USA "won't accept" a nuclear Iran.  The Bush administration realizes that they have no military option, and have changed their tone accordingly.

Ironically, one of the reasons the price of oil has dropped is because Hezbollah stood their ground in Southern Lebanon.  After which the consensus formed that if the Israelis cannot hold land a few miles across their border wthen the USA could not hold enough of the Persian Gulf coastline to keep oil flowing through the Straight of Hormuz.  Therefore, very few people believe the USA will be dumb enough to launch an attack so likely to end in failure.

A military attack that included invasion and occupation would end in failure yes, but that is not the only way to attack a country. We do have military options that would work against Iran. After all, we do have the world's largest stockpile of weapons. With the push of a few buttons we can virtually destroy just about any country in the world. And that's just with conventional weapons. Trust me, if the wackos in D.C. are willing to deal with the oil problems that would result, they could definitely 'teach Iran a lesson'.
The fear within the American military, however, is that if bombed Iran will escalate the conflict.  Like you stated, the USA can bomb any point on the planet, but they cannot occupy significant hostile territory so easily.

Imagine this scenario (which is one the Pentagon has to prepare for):  The day after Iran is bombed, they call for all foreign occupiers to leave the region.  They point to the chaos in Iraq, the leveled neighborhoods of South Beirut, and their own fresh civilian dead as the consequence of foreign intervention.  And to give their call for regional solidarity teeth, they vow no oil will leave the Persian Gulf until the American military withdraws.


With something as important as oil and the future of U.S. national security at stake, and nutjobs in the White House?

No. We will never be at a checkmate with anyone except another super power as long as we have nuclear weapons. Tactical nukes would end the 'problem' with Iran very quickly.

They might not be stupid enough to threaten it in public, but you can bet its on the table.

Tactical nukes.  I love that word.  It's like we're gonna pinpoint where the bomb goes off, but it won't be as bad as everyone thinks.  

From Wiki:

The yield of tactical nuclear weapons is generally lower than that of strategic nuclear weapons, though it is not a very useful form of distinction. Many tactical nuclear weapons have far greater yields than the strategic weapons used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It's not tactical when it's gonna be bigger than Hiroshima.  Last night on that end of days program on ABC they mentioned our Nuclear arsenal in this country alone is so large we could wipe out 8Billion people with them.  I highly doubt we're gonna send nukes into oil land.  Not to mention saying another Super Power is the only country that can challenge us is a bit nieve.  Iran is now cozy with Russia and China.  They won't cave to us and I'll say Russia can still nuke us.  We never did stand down from the cold war.  I think we can agree it's a rather complicated clusterfuck.

If Iran is nuked, they will stop exporting oil, at minimum.  The resulting destruction would likely disable production and export anyway. And how would it get restarted?  Would YOU go to Iran as a highly paid contractor to fix the mess?

There could well be in place a destruct mechanism for production and loading facilities that they would activate in just such a scenario.  The reactions of other players in the region, are not predictable.  What would China do?  Russia?  They have have the potential to detroy the dollar overnight by dumping One Trillion $ in US treasuries.  The much disregarded Moslem public (to speak nothing of the Iranian public) would surely be enraged beyond description, and I can't imagine that oil would continue to flow from beneath their feet to the US unimpeded.  Just look at Nigeria and Iraq.

Iran has a strong hand, no?

"Tactical" nukes would not solve anybody's problems.  They surely would transform perception of the US into a vast parasite that the rest of the world must rid itself of at whatever sacrafice required.

Well said.
I never said it was likely or that I thought it would happen. (And btw, I meant the bunker buster type of tactical nukes, used on those uranium enrichment plants.)

And never, ever discount what a mad man will do.

The first things detroyed by nuclear weapons are adjectives; like "tactical".

Trying to nuance a mushroom cloud seems pretty silly, doesn't it?

Of course everybody on the planet knows this except for a few Right Wing hairballs in the US who have never even seen the ocean.

"And never, ever discount what a mad man will do."

I don't think anybody calling the shots is mad.  It's just the appearance of madness that is in reality a technique of intimidation.

Similarly for the appearances of stupidiy and incompetance.  If true, there is is nothing we can do about it, right?  But if "incompetance" is actually a red -herring for malevolence...

Even tactical nukes let loose over Straits of Hormuz would make Qatar and Dubai glow in the dark. As long as the mountain terrain-protected Iranian anti-ship missiles exist the Iranians can shut off Iranian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Saudi, and emirate oil.
There is no way to prevent glow-in-the-dark- emirates or Gulf oil shutoff. We can kill Iranian command and control and all the imams and Revolutionary Guards will launch on their own authority.
Way upthread the claim was made that the chance of an imminent US war with Iran has gone down. Maybe. If so the personal power of the US President has tanked and the power of the US with it. With US Army mired in Iraq and the Israeli wing humbled nothing is left but threat of nukes. Only the fear that the crazies in Washington will go nuclear preserves the existing
world order
"Only the fear that the crazies in Washington will go nuclear preserves the existing world order"

What if that fear is not real?  Maybe there is something else that maintains the "world order".  That, "crazy AmeriKa will do anything" is not much of a secret:

"Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the US may do to an adversary if the acts we seek to deter are carried out, it hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed. The fact that some elements may appear to be potentially 'out of control' can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts thin the minds of an adversary's decision makers. 'This essential sense of fear is the working force of deterrence. That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be part of the national persona we project to all adversaries."
~Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence


I have read that the US forces have vetoed tactical nukes. It is no good pressing buttons if the other end of the wire is switched off.
would transform perception of the US into a vast parasite that the rest of the world must rid itself of at whatever sacrafice required.

No need to "transform", I guess for quite a large number the perception is already there.
A well deigned poll on this would be interesting.

Every "elitist" class system (including the mullahs of Iran) is a parasite that feeds off the backs of the working poor.
Alas I see no way out of this conundrum as the vast majority of the "working poor" are really a bunch of retards unable to manage themselves and even less the whole of society.
So, whenever a sufficient minority of intelligent skilled people raise up among the working poor they claim for "justice" (as you are doing right here) a revolution or at least deep reform ensue which replaces the reigning elites by the new "honest and enlightened ones", after a while those indulge in the perks of power too and the cycle restarts.
A good example of this is the succession of dynastic powers in China, the failing dynasty loose the mandate of heaven to a new one which then lasts from a few dozen years to a few centuries.

I'm not calling for any revolution or looking to erradicate elitism from the face of the Earth. All I'm saying is that no matter where you go, there will be a subset of human beings who are considered the upper layer and who manage to direct to themselves a greater share of the "wealth" that this world has to offer.

This upper class is not always a "parasite" on the rest of society. One could have a symbiotic relation. In other words a mutually beneficial relation between the lower and upper crusts where each lifts the other up.

In fact, that is the usual argument of ardent capitalists, namely, that the manager class is responsible (all on its glorious own) for lifting society up from the abyss it otherwise would decend into and that is why CEO's "deserve" the exorbitant compensation packages that they negotiate for themselves (in a "free market").

The USA manages to direct to itself a greater portion of the oil "wealth" of the planet, to show itself off as an ostentaciously wealthy nation, and perhaps that is why it is despised in other parts of the world.

I wouldn't call the working poor "retards". Some people, for a varitey of reasons are able to manage themselves financially better than others. That doesn't mean the poor are "retards". It may mean that they are not crafty negotiators.

We will never be at a checkmate with anyone except another super power as long as we have nuclear weapons. Tactical nukes would end the 'problem' with Iran very quickly.

I hate to tell you this, but using "tactical" nukes probably would put the US on a collision course with two nuclear powers - China and Russia. A line in the sand has to be drawn at some point, and if the zealots in Washington cross it, then I can only assume that China and Russia, both of which have extensive business interests in Iran, will respond in kind. All China has to do is dump their dollars, and the value of the fiat currency will go into a free-fall.

Assuming that the US is the only strong actor on the world's stage is a critical tactical mistake. Using nukes wouldn't solve any problems, but will most assuredly create many, many more. I'm not even going to do into the damage that the nuclear fallout would cause in all of the neighboring ME countries. Using nukes on Iran would be an even bigger imbecility than the invasion of Iraq.

I saw this in the NY Times :- Bush Says Iraq War Is Part of a Larger Fight

I wonder who is next on the hit-list, Iran , The UK (Britain is now biggest security threat to US) ??

Drudge Report Headline:

"U.S. Ambassador to U.N. John Bolton says Security Council unanimity not needed before taking action against Iran..."

If the Neocons are beginning to realize that they have probably failed in Iraq, they may feel pressure to try to "win" in Iran.  

I wonder if declining net oil exports are also forcing their hand.  Look at the long term consequences of Mexico declining and of Venezuela shipping more and more of their oil to China.

I watched Bolton's news conference and the "action" he was talking about with respect to Iran was economic sanctions.  The US and the Europeans will impose sanctions on Iran.  But Russia and China will not join the sanctions, and Iran can buy and sell everything they need (technology and oil respectively) with them.  They don't need the US or Europe.  The US&EU3 need to impose some penalty to retain credibility.  But they won't be persuasive.
"I watched Bolton's news conference and the "action" he was talking about with respect to Iran was economic sanctions."

But it would establish a precedent for future unilateral action, without some kind of resolution by the Security Council.

A question I keep asking is the following:  "What if BCR (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) are in the Doomer Camp, i.e,  what if they believe in Richard Duncan's prediction for a net dieoff of about 2.1 million people per week commencing in 2008?

What if they believe that securing US access to and/or control of oil supplies is the absolute priority for the country, no matter what the cost?


I happen to believe that much of what underlies the Bushies' final decison to invade Iraq came out of Dick Cheney's secret energy task force meetings in early 2001.  Yes, the neo-cons had set their sights on Iraq some years earlier; but what was presented in those meetings further encouraged them to go ahead and invade so we could control the flow of oil there.  And remember, Cheney fought all the way to the USSC to keep the contents of those meetings hushed up.

In that context, I agree that Iran is next, and there is a furious debate on what to do about it.  And nothing will be left off the table.


Dishonorable mention must be made here of that corrupt supreme court Justice Antonin Scalia, who played a decisive role in concealing Cheney's Task Force's deliberations following a personal meeting with Cheney during a duck hunt.
Matt Simmons was in on the Cheney Energy Task Force meetings, at least for part of them, and advised GWB in his election campaign (2000, also 2004?).  Has he spoken to this point, particularly lately?
I have expressed my mistrust of Simmons here on TOD for reasons such as these from time to time, but my appeals have not on the whole been met warm-heartedly, shall we say.  For this reason, I appreciate your post.
I hear your concern, but what peaker would reject an invitation to speak with any high official about energy, especially someone who is as passionate and relentless about getting his message out as Simmons? I would expect the same from almost any TOD editor or contributor.

Believe me, I'm not on the same political page with Simmons, But I think we need to use any opportunity to educate others, and the more prominent the better.

Simmons has discussed publicly his limited participation several times, but I don't have the links now.

I don't know if Bush is that aware, but Cheney and Rumsfeld could well be.

What I believe:

The Powers That Rule are well aware of Peak Oil given that Cheney especially knows it intimately from the oil service end.  Combine this with the fact that Iraq is the only region with major oil supplies which has not been prospected and produced with modern oil technology.  (I think that was the subject of the famous secret energy meetings Cheney had with unnamed companies).

Now, combine these truths with a delusional Roman fantasy of heroic peace and prosperity through military imperialism and you end up with a real disaster.  They have motive and are fooling themselves about the opportunity.

On the other side, they can see that Iraq's oil production is now much less than pre-war.  Their plans of a friendly Iraqi government begging Western oil majors to drill in a happy pacified country is clearly not going to happen.

On the upside, it is evidence to all that invading Iran sure isn't going to assure adequate supply.   The same hook won't work twice.

In an NPR interview (Terri Gross, see link below) last evening, Neo-Con Michael Ledeen (who doesn't like to labelled a Neo-Con, by the way) stated his belief that (1) the Iranian people would stronly support American-instigated regime change and (2) there will not be peace and stability in the ME until the "fascist cleric" regime in Tehran was toppled.

Ledeen took pains to paint himself as on outsider in Washington (he was openly critical of the Bush administration for failing to formulate a "coherent" Iran policy), but if others in the administration think as he does on these two points, the Bush administration may feel that it has no choice but to attack Iran and -- as I think Cirrincione put it in the companion interview -- "let the chips fall where they may."

I think the one thing American administrations, Republican or Democrat, have come to agree on with regards to Iran over the course of the last ten years is that the status quo is unacceptable.  In other words, the current situation, in which European companies, Chinese companies, Indian companies, Japanese companies, etc. are free to sign big commercial deals with Iran, energy sector or otherwise, but U.S. companies are only allowed to sit idly by and watch, is something which the military-industrial complex has come to view as intolerable.  Is it any coincidence that the current flurry of activity with regards to Iran -- and in my view, the present flurry of activity began about ten years ago -- coincides with the planning of several massive (100 billion dollar plus) projects such as the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, or the LNG projects under study between Iran, China, and Japan?  Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have tried to find sollutions to the, "unacceptable status quo," either by reaching a, "grand bargain" with Iran and ending American sanctions, or through the use of military force.  In my view, I doubt big-business cares one way or the other, they just want to do deals with Iran.  At this point, it seems unlikely that the, "grand bargain" scenario will ever come back to the forefront, even with a new administration, which leaves the military option.  Iraq seems to have scared everyone away from this option though, since what's the point of spending half-a-trillion dollars taking over a country if they're just going to backstab you and insist on forming an independent government anyway?  That's no good.  No one wanted that.  So now this third scenario seems to have emerged, this completely ridiculous third scenario, in which the U.S. is supposedly going to, "pressure"  the rest of the world to, "join us," in imposing sanctions on Iran.  China and Russia have already made it very clear that they don't want anything to do with it.  Japan says they won't agree to any sanctions having to do with Iran's oil or natural gas industries.  The European countries are playing a double game.  It's laughable. Iran, meanwhile, has reached out very effectively to the global communtity.  Pole after pole shows that the enormous majority of human beings on this planet believe that the U.S. is far more of a threat to global stability  than Iran (Is it any wonder?).  Admanidejad is one of the most respected and admired leaders on Earth.  Even the long-held Iranian belief that the U.S. is the great Satan has come to be seen as almost moderate. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn't believe that these days.  To make a long story short, people have woken up.  The remarkably short-lived American Empire is drawing to a close.  Bin Laden's stated stragtegy is that for every $1000 he spends, he forces the U.S. to spend a billion.  It's a great strategy.  Very smart.  The European's elaborated a strategy at the beginning of the Iraq war whereby they would refuse to contribute a penny, thus draining the U.S. of wealth and preventing us from launching more wars in the future.  Another great strategy.  Overwhelmingly successful.  The Iraqi's, even in the face of the carnage of the American invasion, elaborated a strategy, with the help of Iran, Europe, and the rest of the world, whereby they would come out of this period of incredible suffering with an independent government.  They achieved it.  The world is united, but not against Iran.  Look for the U.S. to continue searching for solutions for, "the Iran problem," just don't expect them to find any, because there aren't any, military or otherwise.  Meanwhile, expect the rest of the world to contine forward with their complex, adaptable, multi-faceted, and wildly-successful strategy to put an end to the American Empire.                                  


Well, so TOD may be the "echo chamber of the insane" as Keithster100 charges below, but it sounds like the consensus here is that the Bush administration is up against the wall on Iran.

uh, oh...

Dead on Jeff. For instance, asking if the White House knows about Peak Oil is a silly question. They have no choice, and know more that all of us put together, because they have access to information that we don't.
People keep on talking about how the Iraq situation has turned against them, but they may as well have wanted this all along. Creating mayhem in territories is a proven war tactic. It's not like the army will be chased out anytime soon.

What I find increasingly scary is that the US have dominance left in only one area, now that the economical (see: resources) one is evaporating fast: military. Combine that with the domestic impoverishment and what are you left with?
Too many things are too easily assumed to be true.
It's also a bit naive to point at the faces (Bush Dick Colon) you can see on TV. Power doesn't rhyme with visibility.

Possibly. There is also the possibility that BCR (like George's daddy and granddaddy) are in the "ambition" camp which means you keep climbing and accumulating as long as you see opportunity. These guys never stop talking about the importance of the almighty "country" like Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts never broke character when talking about the almighty "Lord". Billions of dollars are unaccounted for in the Iraq adventure and it is unlikely that the grunts are hiding it under their bunks.  
FWIW, cheney's old company Halliburton specializes in "mature assets", which means depleted fields:


I have a slight-to-moderate suspicion Cheney or somebody working for him monitors these boards. I'm really quite serious here.

If I'm monitoring these boards you can bet they are.  What do you think they do with the billions slurped up at "Crypto City", roll joints?


"Hidden behind tall earthen berms and thick forest trees halfway between Washington and Baltimore is a dark and mysterious place, virtually unknown to the outside world. Nicknamed Crypto City, it is protected from outsiders by a labyrinth of barbed wire fences, massive boulders placed close together, motion detectors, hydraulic anti-truck devices, and thick cement barriers. Should a threat be detected, commandos dressed in black paramilitary uniforms, wearing special headgear and brandishing an assortment of weapons including Colt 9mm submachine guns stand guard. They are known as the "Men-in-Black." Telephoto surveillance cameras peer down, armed police patrol the boundaries, and bright yellow signs warn against taking any photographs or making so much as a note or a simple sketch, under the penalties of the Internal Security Act. What lies beyond is a city unlike any other place on earth, one that contains what is probably the largest body of secrets ever created. It is the home of America's ultrasecret National Security Agency, responsible for eavesdropping on the world and breaking virtually impossible foreign code and cipher systems."

Body of Secrets
Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency
James Bamford

Well, he seems to have got there and come back to write a book about it. So it's not that secret.
The place isn't secret.  What is inside and what is has in its files and its methods are secret.  

"A 1993 BBC documentary about NSA's Menwith Hill facility in England revealed that peace protestors had broken into the installation and stolen part of this glossary, known as "the Dictionary." The documentary alleged that Menwith Hill -- a sprawling installation covering 560 acres and employing more than 1,200 people -- was Echelon's nerve center.
Further evidence emerged last year, when British Telecom told a court that it provides high-bandwidth telecommunications into the Menwith Hill facility and from the facility to the United States, using a transatlantic fiber-optic network.
"I believe that these five intelligence agencies are working from a single plan," said Pike.
British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell was the first to report about Echelon in a 1988 article in The New Statesman. He believes that there is a very thin line between intelligence gathering and commercial espionage.
Pike, of the Federation of American Scientists, believes the intelligence agencies operate in a gray area of international law. For example, there is no law prohibiting the NSA from intercepting telecommunications and data traffic in the United Kingdom and no law prohibiting GCHQ from doing the same thing in the United States.
"The view by the NSA seems to be anything that can be intercepted is fair game," said Pike. "And it's very hard to find out what, if any, restraints can be employed."

They have been spying on us completely since the early 70's.  You think Bush's "wire taps" are anything more than fodder for the reporters to keep your eyes off the prize?  WAKE UP PEOPLE!!  They pound you with so much shit you don't know what is up from down...
"One of the primary means of immobilizing the American people politically today is to hold them in a state of confusion in which anything can be believed and nothing can be known... nothing of significance, that is."
~ E. Martin Schotz, "History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, and the Murder of President Kennedy"


This is what Jerry Garcia used to call a Medley.

Savinar into TheChimpster into Smekhovo back into The Chimpster.

Only thing better was ChinaCat into KnowYouRider.

A man after my own heart.


The sitemeter was brought up by someone a few weeks ago.  There were hits coming from census.gov and they were spending hours on here.  I'm sure the intelligence collection is going on here under pseudonyms and proxy servers.
"A question I keep asking is the following:  "What if BCR (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) are in the Doomer Camp, i.e,  what if they believe in Richard Duncan's prediction for a net dieoff of about 2.1 million people per week commencing in 2008?"

Well if they had believed that, they would have viewed the situation as urgent enough that an attack resulting in the mass murder of US civilians would be most welcome.  Only such an extreme "shock and awe" event could mobilize the US to take the offensive in the resource wars.  Zbigniew Brzezinski said as much in his book "The Grand Chessboard" in 1997.

For geopolitical analysis it doesn't matter whether the doomers or the cornucopians are right (in theory) about geology and technology.  What matters is what the power elite privately believe, and how will that shape their actions.  So Jeffrey, you have asked the critical question.  The answer is clear.  The US power elite settled on a doomer consensus years ago.  They also concluded that their own chances of retaining power whilst preparing for total war and dieoff were best served by sedating the populace with soothing cornucopian propaganda and racy tabloid news.  Reporting on public doomers (already  famous on the internet), while stereotyping them as sandal wearers is just part of the spin.

The Jon Benet story is exhausted.  But how about that polygamist?

"Well if they had believed that, they would have viewed the situation as urgent enough that an attack resulting in the mass murder of US civilians would be most welcome.  Only such an extreme "shock and awe" event could mobilize the US to take the offensive in the resource wars. "

Here's a fairly radical thought.

What if the Pakistanis were not meant to find out about the planned airplane attacks that were 'thwarted' by British security.

The Brits (and the US) have already said that they knew something was 'going down', but just did not know when.  But it was the Pakistani whistle-blowing (and arrest of a key player) that stopped evrything dead in it's tracks.

If the Pakistani authorities had not stumbled across the imminent plot, then today we would be in the aftermath of a horrific attack on the US.

That kind of attack can go a long way to spurring the kind of response that would include an attack on Iran.  As well as raising the President's (and the Republicans) popularity to boot.

Well, I have to admit I haven't seen that one on the MSM...
"A question I keep asking is the following:  "What if BCR (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) are in the Doomer Camp, i.e,  what if they believe in Richard Duncan's prediction for a net dieoff of about 2.1 million people per week commencing in 2008?"   WT

Westexas,  I believe that to be true about Cheney and others.

However I don't believe Bush was "Briefed on the details" on it.  I think they told him more the "Religious EndTimes Version" of it.  LeftBehind and all that.

But yes, Lets try Extending your thoughts on the premise that Cheney believes Richard Duncan about the grid down by 2012.

And Really, Really believes we are in worldwide population overshoot?  

Now,  What policies would you enact?

What would you do if you think that there is a highly likely chance of food riots, starvation, and the other scenes described in today's article

Preparing for a Crash: Nuts and Bolts

Hmm.  Would you in the year 2000ish along with the energy task force, start the ball rolling on

Patriot act
Total Information Awareness(TIA)
Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America (SPP)
GM Crops?  (As Henry K. Said, He whole controls the food controls the world or something like that)

BTW, Read this one if you haven't.

Monsanto buys 'Terminator' seeds company

Yes indeed, Westexas,  What IF Cheney et al REALLY REALLY Believed Richard Duncan, Jay Hanson and Jared Diamond???

What policies and actions do YOU think Cheney would would do if he thought we were on the edge?


Re: Iran -- A couple of interesting interviews on Terri Gross' show last evening (Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute and Joseph Cirincione, Center for American Progress).
It doesn't take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds

Very good article in the Guardian. Acceleration and exponentiality are crucial concepts in many systems. I've said it before, I'm puzzled by the fact that so many researchers continue to express surprise at the fact that things break down faster than their models predict. Need. New. Model.

Planet Earth does not do gradual change. It does big jumps; it works by tipping points. [..]

The conventional view [..] holds that sea levels will start to rise as a pulse of warming works its way gradually from the surface through the 2km- and 3km-thick ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica, melting them. The ice is thick and the heat will penetrate only slowly. So we have hundreds, probably thousands, of years to make our retreat to higher ground.

Recent research, however, shows that idea is wholly wrong. Glaciologists forgot about crevasses. What is actually happening is that ice is melting at the surface and forming lakes that drain down into the crevasses. In 10 seconds, the water is at the base of the ice sheet, where it lubricates the join between ice and rock. Then the whole ice sheet starts to float downhill towards the ocean.
"These flows completely change our understanding of the dynamics of ice sheet destruction," says Alley. "Even five years ago, we didn't know about this."

And that makes me think of a post in this thread by Odograph who claims that "oil production is not going to decline overnight". While production may go down slowly, though there is no certainty there, you need to look beyond the status quo of the whole system, look for a new model.
Military forces all over the planet are gearing up and expanding in secret. Those who wish to hold on to power have no choice. The oil needs of armies are neverending. While they may now feel safe with a 1-year supply, they can't take a chance post-peak, and will want 10 years. And that is just peacetime needs. Once the battles start, they'll need a lot more, while the same battle may interrupt supply or even production. In a nutshell, the open oil market is very likely to shrink overnight, by a lot.

Industries will try the same as armies, and you can colour in the picture yourself. It's system breakdown, from an overlooked angle.

This is the article you are referring to, I think
Global meltdown
thanks, you're right, I bleeped up the URL
Good article... I've got a bet going, that the oceans will rise at least 15 cm by 2025.

These guys are promising 3 cm a year in a few years...

Looking "good" for me.

But not good for New Orleans.  Or Houston.  Or San Francisco.  Or Boston.   Or Manhattan....

Soon it could be a great deal more. Jim Hansen of Nasa, George Bush's top climate modeller, predicts that sea level rise will be 10 times faster within a few years, as Greenland destabilises. "Building an ice sheet takes a long time," he says. "But destroying it can be explosively rapid."
The comments get loonier the further down the list you go. I bet if I check back in an hour you people will be comparing suicide methods.

The hosts of this site need to invite people with different points of view to post their ideas (Mr. Khosla was good). The Oil Drum is becoming an echo chamber for the insane.

There's a few loonies here alright, but we really turned it up a notch when Khosla arrived.
Re: The Oil Drum is becoming an echo chamber for the insane

On reflection, don't you think your remark is a bit strong? Although the "whackos" factor is definitely a concern, this is "the internets" after all. What would have us do? Censorship? Edit people's posts? Have people fill out a psychological questionnaire? You will readily see the problem. It's not "normal" to tell people their world may soon change radically and not for the better. The bad news attracts all sorts of people.

Many think we are the whackos. I happen to think Khosla is blinded by greed, so I view him as having gone off the deep end. Yergin said today that "E-85 is really I-85 -- it's about energy independence." Would you consider that a rational statement? Doesn't it indicate that the speaker is out of touch with reality? There are various psychological diagnoses for this condition.

I'm suffering from "Denial Envy".

God I wish I could still be in denial, or better yet, blissfully ignorant about all this PO and GW stuff. Those were the "Happy Days".

But, there are any number of posters on TOD that believe in the Silver BB concept to save the world.  My gut feeling is that all the little Silver BB's discussed will simply result in a bigger Silver BB that will have little impact.
Part of the "Denial Envy" malady is "Vicarious Denial". I am empathize with, and buy into the denial of those who truly beleive in the Golden BB; the one little breakthrough that will save us at the 11th hour. It always works out like that in the movies. Extinction asteroid is just moments from anhilating Earth. But with his last gasp, his last ounce of strength, and all for his daughter's sake, Bruce Willis reaches out, presses the Easy Button, and makes that breakthrough happen. The planet is saved. Hooray.

It "could" happen that way for Peak Oil too. It could.

Maybe the golden BB works that way.  On the other hand, as I understand the more popular silver bb, it doesn't take one little breakthrough, and it wouldn't work at all in the 11th hour.

The hope, and conjecture, is that will many small adjustments, some starting 30 years ago (CAFE, ethanol programs), some starting now, some starting later, we'll have enough of an answer to sqeeze through.

Reflection isn't Keithster's strong point. He apparently loves tossing bombs to get a reaction, or pumping up ethanol companies.
an echo chamber for the insane -

Good phrase, wrong target.  That'd be a good moniker for the MSM.  Everything is OK, growth is good, more is better, trust us, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, eat, drink, party, sleepwalk through life...  

It's our culture that's insane.  TOD voices at least a touch of sanity.

still crazy after all these years

There are many ways to apprehend reality but no single, shared definition of what constitutes reality. A young child, a mystic, a scientist, a fanatic of any form (religious or political) all perceive "reality" differently because there own inner mental, emotional, instinctual and spiritual state and level of maturity and understanding paints a unique landscape of the world.

Various communities reach a shared consensus of reality based on shared history, stories, and mental models of what is real, what is imagined (ie. not real but believed to be so) and an imaginal realm (the realm of possibilities prior to actualization).

In the TOD community we all have a degree of contact with "the real world" (otherwise we couldn't quite generate an e-mail), have beliefs and opinions that objectively may be classified as false or distorted, and have a rich mix of dreams, aspirations and possibilities that fuel us.

My own difficulty with the die off thread is being able to distinguish between what may be irrational fears from what may be possible or probable outcomes based on a reasonable understanding of current trajectories. My limited understanding of biology makes me believe that large increases in population do not just level off and I don't believe that we've somehow transcended the "laws" of ecology.

At the same time, I believe that how we perceive the world does change both us and the world. Focusing on "die off" as a probable outcome may increase its liklihood by disempowering people to address the challenges that we collectively face. Focussing on "my" survival rather than the survival of the larger community may increase the savageness of my response to resource scarcities whereas cultivating cooperative relationships might be a better survival strategy.

As Paul Simon once said: still crazy after all these years...

Keithster100 -

Well,  'looniness' is somewhat in the eye of the beholder, don't you think?  If you agree with something someone has said, then it's not loony; but if you strongly disagree with what is said, then it's loony.

While TOD has it's share of people who have extreme views that drift into apocalyptic thinking and sometimes downright silliness, on balance I find most of the posts to be well-informed and well-thought out. There is also a high level of technical sophistication amongst a high percentage of the posters.

There is some truth to what you said about the posts getting more extreme as the thread gets longer and older.  I suspect this is the result of some sort of feedback loop as arguments start to develop. Or maybe it's similar to what happens when small kids play together for too long: they start getting whiny and get into fights.

For me, I'll suffer the occassional 'loonie' comment in the interest of maintaining a free exchange of ideas. We don't need a 'looniness meister' to ensure the only correct ideas are expressed.

What exactly makes apocalyptic thinking inherently silly or irrational (if this is what you meant to say; I don't want to put words in your mouth)?
PhilRelig -

Well, without putting too fine a point on it, in my view apocalyptic thinking implies that one has given up.  

Perhaps that is why it appears to be such a seductive idea to those US fundamentalist Christians of a neocon persuasion. Some of these people actually WANT things to fall apart, so that either the righteous will somehow be teleported to heaven, or that a new era will be established here on Earth. Either way, it's dillusional thinking, in my book.

I think we DO have a slim chance of pulling ourselves out of this energy hole. I am not optimistic, mind you, but I have not yet given up hope. We just have  to keep focused and keep banging at the problem.

If my thoughts do occasionally drift into apocalyptic lines, it has to do with my fear that instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars on alternative energy, the world will spend hundreds of billions of dollars on fighting protracted resource wars, in which everyone will lose. That's what worries me the most. And the current regime in the US appears to be headed in that exact direction.

Thanks for your response, Joule.  Speaking for myself: Yes, I have given up on the idea that humanity on its own can deal with Peak Oil in particular, and other problems facing the planet more generally.  I have no hope whatsoever in that regard - for what I regard as eminently rational and defensible reasons.

But that does not mean that I am WITHOUT hope.  The "Relig" part of my handle should indicate as much.  The only hope humanity has - especially at this juncture - involves spectacular supernatural intervention of the sort that are indicated in the Scriptures.

This, too, is eminently rational and intellectually defensible, but I discovered long ago that, as a general matter, the universe of discourse that tends to prevail on TOD is not amenable to this avenue of hope - for reasons that I regard as quite irrational, since they are based on uninformed prejudice rather than knowledge.

This, too, is eminently rational and intellectually defensible,

NO religious stance is "eminently rational and intellectually defensible".
Not that I dismiss spirituality, it probably has a different meaning for me than for you, but in any case you should not mix up distincts REALMS, spirituality DOES NOT deal with "materialistic" concerns like oil availability.
Yeh. But what if we could invent a new religion that encourages the masses to deal with PO? Maybe something like: you don't go to heaven if your carbon footprint is greater than X tons per year? Blessed are the energy conservationists, for they shall inherit the Earth (or what's left of it).  :-)
But what if we could invent a new religion that encourages the masses to deal with PO?

A neutral "synthetic religion" which would fulfill the craving for "fairy tales" without having noxious side effects would be good enough, no need to look for more.
Just like methadone is to heroin junkies, though methadone is still crap, as any religion ersatz would be.
But the perfect is the enemy of the good.

BTW, this has been tried during the years of French revolution, presenting REASON as some sort of divinity.
This left us with scientism which reeks of "faith" overtones and does not really favor the advancement of real science (see Feyerabend.).

Thanks for the links. Interesting.
in my view apocalyptic thinking implies that one has given up.

Given up WHAT?
I fell pretty "apocalyptic" yet I did not "gave up".
That is, I still intend to "get through", not specifically ME but a few things I value.

I particularly like the last sentence in the last paragraph in the article by Fred Pearce in the Guardian:
"The water may be lapping at our ankles, but I am not ready to head for the hills yet. I'm an optimist."
Finally! A solution for all that troubles us: Optimism

Global meltdown
Scientists fear that global warming will bring climatic turbulence, with changes coming in big jumps rather than gradually


"Can we call a halt? Hansen says we have 10 years to turn things round and escape disaster. James Lovelock, author of the Gaia theory, which considers the Earth a self-regulated living being, reckons we are already past the point of no return. I don't buy that. For one thing, there is no single point of no return. We have probably passed some, but not others. The water may be lapping at our ankles, but I am not ready to head for the hills yet. I'm an optimist."
 Fred Pearce is author of The Last Generation - How Nature Will Take Her Revenge for Climate Change, Eden Project


Just keep digging in to the facts in an attempt to disprove the loonies posting to TOD and you'll soon find that you can't refute them (us).

I don't like believing that we're headed for a crash, but none of my research has convinced me that things will end differently.

Sorry to ruin your day.

Hello AlistairC,

Thxs for this link on tipping points and exponential change!  That was my basic thrust in my recent essays on super-jokulhlaups.  The most worrisome to me is when the climate starts burping huge amount of methane from thawing permafrost and melting subsea clathrate deposits.

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

Exponentiality equals jokulhlaups. I love that word.

Next step, as I pointed out above, is incorporating in our vocabulary the economic and oil supply jokulhlaup.

It's all within known systems territory. The Monbiot quote that circulates at the top of the page indicates that our stable phase exists by the grace of abundant energy. Once that is gone, cats fighting in a sack.

In other words:


love it

Re: Methane burping.
Stewart Staniford noted a couple of months ago that even though Western Siberian permafrost is melting at an alarming rate, releasing gobs of methane, corresponding increases have not been measured in the atmosphere.

Maybe mother nature built in at least a partial safegaurd againt global warming that we haven't figured out yet.

A lot of folks trained in science and engineering are familiar with the concept of "metastable" systems -- that is, systems that demonstrate a high degree of stability as long as some set of parameters don't exceed some critical value (beyond which, rapid change or failure occurs).

I suspect that odograph is presuming that oil -- produced as it is in many places by many people -- will continue to be available in sufficient quantities as to ensure and encourage some level of stabilty(and I hope that's the case, too).

The two big unknowns here are:

  1.  What is earth's endowment of oil and gas?
  2.  How will humans react when they figure out that oil and gas supplies are dwindling?

"What is earth's endowment of oil and gas?"

The recoverable endowment of oil seems to be most creditably estimated between 2 trillion barrels (Deffeyes) and 2.5 trillion (Campbell).  More significant than the URR is the ultimate rate of extraction, of which informed opinion seems to be less agreed.  But there is a large contingent (incl. Deffeyes, Simmons, Pickens) who argue that ~85mbls/day, the current rate, is the ultimate.

Again with respect to gas, not only pruduction, but delivery to markets are crucial issues.  Since much (most?) unproduced gas is not located near infrastructure such as pipelines and LNG cryogenic/loading terminals, realistic time-lines for bringing this gas to market will not do any good.  So the ultimate endowment of NG does not tell us much.

"How will humans react when they figure out that oil and gas supplies are dwindling?"

There will be manifest effects such as price increases and frank shortages that people will be reacting to before they "figure it out". :(  Not doubt many will find someone to blame.  We may collectively never figure it out.  But events will unfold of their own accord.

we're stuffed.
it's too much

human kindness overflowing

and I think it's going to rain today

And that makes me think of a post in this thread by Odograph who claims that "oil production is not going to decline overnight". While production may go down slowly, though there is no certainty there, you need to look beyond the status quo of the whole system, look for a new model.

My answer to that is that it is not, strictly speaking, "peak oil" anymore.  In order to make the doom work we've got to layer in another driver ... and "look for a new model"

Military forces all over the planet are gearing up and expanding in secret

Oh yeah, the words "in secret" will play especially well when we try to explian that peak oil is not a fringe concern.

Remember the SPR?
When Katrina hit it was full at 700 mbl.
Then 15mbl were drawn down, after which 5mbl were replaced, then GWB ordered refilling stopped.

So when the Prudoe Bay snafu happened, the SPR was at 690mbls.

GWB promised to draw from the SPR to make up Prudoe Bay shortfalls.

Have withdrawls begun yet?  If not, why not; and if so, does the rate of withdrawl tell us anything?

What's the forecast for the completed withdrawl, 25mbl?

Not much movement in the SPR since October of 05. The 15 million barrel drawdown in those two months, September and October of 05, about one days US consumption, was the last such movements of oil either in or out of the SPR.

Basically the SPR is a non issue. It had a tiny effect after Katrina and Rita and no effect since.

Mammoth $200M wind farm proposed in Iowa

HAMPTON, Iowa - Northern Iowa could have one of the nation's largest wind farms by 2008. Iowa Winds LLC wants to build a 200- to 300-megawatt farm covering about 40,000 acres in Franklin County.

A county zoning board will consider approving permits for the $200 million project next month.

"It's something new and renewable," said Amber Schwarck, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Falls-based company. "It's great for national security, so we can start depending on ourselves and the wind."

Editorial: The wind industry is growing rapidly

Scott Malone of Reuters reported recently on the scramble to finish the largest wind farm in the northeastern United States, an array of 185 windmills about 300 miles northwest of New York City. The project had hit a snag -- difficulty obtaining parts. Major wind turbine manufacturers like Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark, Siemens AG, and General Electric are scrambling to keep up with demand. Siemens has announced plans to open a factory in Iowa to make turbine blades. Siemens has orders for turbines capable of generating 600 megawatts of electricity, and expects to double its volume in the United States in the next three years. GE said it has as much business as it can handle in 2006 and 2007, and is taking orders for 2008.
A more realistic expectation, some experts say, is that wind could supply 6 percent to 10 percent of the nation's need for electrical power. That would be a helpful contribution, but it will fall short of a panacea.
That's nothing. Down here in little old New Zealand a couple of power companies are about to build two adjacent windfarms which would have a combined output of 1,000 MeggaWatts capable of producing 1/6 of the county's electricty consumption. Sadly they will destroy 200 acres of indigenous tussock land to do it.
Hi Phil!

Where is the proposed site? I'm in Hawkes Bay.

I have to admit, though, that given a choice between 200 acres of indigenous tussock and societal collapse, I know which one I'd choose.  Besides, the tussock will likely still be there, under the whizzing blades of the turbines.  It's the picturesque view that will change.

I'd rather have views compromised by wind turbines than the same views compromised by the smog of emissions from Coal generation plants.

Nice to see a clear-headed appraisal like the 200 acres vs. societal collapse.

I got stopped on the street in NYC today by Greenpeace people looking to raise money, pretending to enlighten me with little scare soundbites. I had to bite my tongue not to tell them to shove their clipboards sideways up their derrieres. The environmental movement is a shambles, and has reached a point where it is actually more a hinderance than a help.

I've given money in the past, but these days, no way. They do things like fighting windfarms in view of the App Trail and off the coast of Cape Cod. And nuclear? Fight nuclear at all costs, even if it means de facto surrender on carbon emissions and energy strategy.

When faced with the aforementioned choice, they'd probably take the 200 acres. (That's only partly tongue in cheek -- it's pretty closely analogous to staunch and dogmatic opposition to nuclear energy, which realistically has to play a substantial role in any low-carbon post peak energy strategy.)

Doesn't it also depend on how long we wait? If the mitigation measures are delayed too long, there most certainly will be some dieoff. The question is, what the scale of it would be.
I would thank the contributors to TOD which shaped my thoughts in writing this letter to the editor which was printed in its entirety in the Citizen. It was in response to an article promoting ethanol and hydrogen.

The Crunch is Coming                                                            August 24, 2006

I would like to respond to the article by Jack Bash titled Energy at $3 a gallon - What's Next? I am a former chemical engineer, and petroleum analyst. As a student I worked on hydrogen storage research.

First I agree the country is on the verge of a crisis of overwhelming proportions. We are near a point in geologic terms called peak oil. This is defined as the point where half of the world's recoverable conventional oil has been produced. Many geologists believe peak oil has occurred or will occur within the next 5 years. The event is important because once we pass peak, the production of conventional oil will start to decline. With world demand increasing each year it can mean only one thing - skyrocketing prices. The price of gasoline and fuel oil will go up until enough demand is decreased to meet supply. This process will be repeated each year as depletion continues. $3.00 gas will look like the good old days in the near future.

The Department of Energy Hirsch report warns us we have not begun to prepare for this event. According to the author a crash program to develop alternatives would take 20 years. It looks like we have run out of time to avoid economic disruption. In any event we still need to act. Roughly 70% of oil is used in transportation. This is our real Achilles heal. Yes hybrid car technology is a must and plug in hybrids are the next step.

Where I disagree with Mr Bash is in corn to ethanol. Corn to ethanol has an energy return (EROEI) of around 1.2 to 1.8 to 1 as published by the Department of Agriculture and some more optimistic researchers. (Pimentel's study, the only peer reviewed one, concludes it is less than 1 to 1) This means for every unit of energy we put in to produce ethanol we only get 1.2 units out. Compare this to producing gasoline where the EROEI is 6.1 to 1 (determined by Robert Rapier a refinery chemical engineer who also worked on cellulosic ethanol). Bottom line is we have to work very hard to wring energy out of corn and we don't get much more than we put in. Corn to ethanol plants would not be built without multi-billion dollar yearly government subsidies - investors would lose their shirts. There are also severe limits to what we can accomplish here. If we used our entire corn crop to produce ethanol we would substitute only 7 to 12% of our gasoline use. Ask yourself what we use for food then? Corn is not only eaten directly, it feeds cattle, poultry and has myriad of other uses. Almost all sweeteners are now corn based. There are very large negative externalities associated with corn. Growing corn strips topsoil more than any other crop. It has been called "mining topsoil". The fertilizer runoff has created a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico greater than the size of the State of New Jersey. Groundwater has been polluted with nitrates.

As far as the other solutions Mr. Bash lists, I wouldn't hold my breath. They need a lot of research and have a long way to go. They would also require huge undertakings in new fabrication and infrastructure taking many years to build. Cost of materials in many cases is rising faster than the cost of energy. Just look at copper - up 176% over the last 2 years.

Hydrogen may be the ultimate solution but it still has far to go.  Hydrogen is the smallest molecule. It leaks through almost any system designed to hold and transport it. It is also highly corrosive and requires very expensive materials. We haven't come up with a more cost effective way to store hydrogen than compressing it into a tank. Driving around in a car with an $8,000 hydrogen storage tank, holding the energy equivalent of 4 gallons of gasoline is not the answer. Also, as hydrogen is a carrier and not a source of energy itself, we would need many new nuclear plants to produce enough.

I do agree with Mr. Bash the country needs to put a lot more research into alternative energy, including hydrogen. According to the September issue of Scientific American, public funding for photovoltaic research peaked in the late 1970s around $300 million a year and is now less than $100 million a year. Wind has gone from $120 million to less than $40 million. We are spending $2 billion a month on the war in Iraq.

My advice: If you are building a house, build it small and energy efficient. If you are buying a car, make gas mileage your top priority. Move as close to your job as you can. Solar hot water heaters work and have a favorable payback. Plant a garden. Install a wood stove. Live more frugally. Above all get out of debt. Your cost of living is going to skyrocket."

Great work, Khaos!

  You got those points out concisely, but fully, far as I can tell.  The implications were clear, but not too 'Henny Penny' to keep people from being able to take it in.

I understand that the Hydrogen plan is also dependent on Platinum, which is not in huge supply.

Where is the Citizen based?

Want to send it to some national papers? (responding to relevant articles, I guess?)


Bob Fiske

Thanks, it was in response to a local article. I pulled my punches on hydrogen. Can't see ever getting there and believe battery technology is a better avenue.
Your logic is correct about implications. A reader opined to me we really need to bring trains back.
Hello Khaos3,

Kudos to you for getting this published in the "Citizen".  Your bio doesn't say where you live-- what city published your essay?  Thxs, and it was a well-crafted answer, IMO.

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

Thanks for your support. The Citizen is based in Cornish, ME. It serves a group of 11 rural towns in southwestern Maine.
Hello Khaos3,

Cool!--small towns at the forefront of Peakoil Outreach!!!
How is the secession movement going?  Has Maine joined up with Vermont and New Hampshire to move secession forward?

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

Gosh, I don't hear any succesionist thoughs around here. To guess how people spend their time I would put working and entertainment - including gratuitus consumption, on the top. To the extent people are thinking politically it is mostly about pocket book issues like "my taxes are too high" or "we need better schools." Peak oil awareness is very much now a war of sound bites until prices go much higher. Most don't have the time or inclination to get into the analysis. And people prefer to believe the optimists - for now.  

Secession is not a mainstream topic here in Colony of Maine - not in any serious sense - only the philosophers. Lots of wishful talk about joining Canada. But if the dissolution of FSU is any indication, then a downslide reorganization might well make a lot of sense. I could easily see moving to some sort of federation of states and provinces. Localization . There are a lot of people in Maine into localization. I think even the state of Maine is too big, and it will have to become more of a federation of counties. That's my current project, collating all sorts of policy papers around the topic of "Relocalizing Maine". Will probably take it to the level of creating a shadow cabinet; that gives us a talking head pundocracy, etc.... We're going to be pushing some legislation about studying food/energy/whatever self-sufficiency. Cheap stuff with educational value (whether we get the study or not).

State and community - that's the arena. Feds won't help; ask New Orleans.

cfm in Gray, Colony of Maine

Hello Dryki,

Then watch those Maine philosophers-- Jesus, Confusious, Socrates, Plato, Mohammed, Jefferson, et al had a greater societal effect than any scientist or inventor-- nothing is more unstoppable than an idea whose time has come.

As far as Maine relocalization goes: I am really impressed with the work of the {PDF warning} Chebeague Island Secession.  Seems like an excellent babystep to a larger regional secession movement later.  How is this progressing?

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

I'd really be interested in any responses you get to this one...well done.

US consumers delivered good news to the economy on Thursday, as data for July showed spending on goods and services was growing more quickly than at any time this year.

I had to post this.  FT seems to think we're gonna be just fine.  Westtexas I read urbansurvival.com every morning and I also like how they point out the consumption part, yet they don't explain WHERE the cash came from.

Rather I meant FT doesn't point out where consumers got the cash from.  

I just talked to a buddy in LA, CA.  He is beside himself over the concumption binge.  He bought his house in 98 for like $350 and was scared.  It's now appraised at over $1M.  He took out $300K and renovated the entire inside of his house about 3 yrs back.

He still doesn't think he's got the other $400K, so he's waiting for that to evaporate.  His house has nearly quadrupled in 7 yrs.  

bip bip
I am surprised no-one else noticed, but there was an interview with Raymond Orbach (under secretary for science at the US Department of Energy) on the BBC world service newshour this morning:
Here is the nearest I could get to the link:
and click on the "US energy crisis" link.
It had some fairly hard hitting questions, and asked specifically about peak oil, and got some rambling non-answers, but I think from this you can say that peak oil is definetly main stream
Hello TODers,

Stratfor just released a pretty good writeup, with good graphs and charts, called "Gulf of Mexico -- Beginning of the End"
Development of the Gulf of Mexico will not stop -- indeed, we do not even expect it to slow for years -- but the industry appears to have reached a point of diminishing returns.

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

Hello TODers,

Diesel fuel prices rising.    Perhaps the ethanol plants should be converted to biodiesel to keep the truckers, tractors, trains, and irrigation pumps going--more important than a soccer mom's SUV:
U.S. Federal Trade Commission monitors of gasoline and diesel fuel prices have detected sudden price increases for diesel during the last 2 weeks in the Mississippi River Valley from Arkansas to Minnesota and westward to the Dakotas.

Diesel prices in the US Heartland have climbed to a virtual tie with the West, which traditionally leads the U.S., as customers pay roughly 12 cents per gallon more than elsewhere in the Midwest, FTC said on Aug. 15.

The agency sourced the increases to the continuing conversion to ultralow-sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel, unusually high demand due to greater irrigation pump use during drought conditions, and refinery production problems.

The region also is in the midst of an extensive drought, with conditions ranging from "exceptional" in central South Dakota to "severe" in the rest of the state and in Nebraska to abnormally dry, FTC said.

Large engines drive the big irrigation pumps and huge motor-driven sprinklers many farmers use. Just one of those engines can use 10 to 20 gallons per hour of diesel, or even more. "The drought in the Heartland has forced farmers to irrigate more, and it doesn't take long for thousands of farms pumping many hours per week to burn a lot more diesel than usual. This raises the consumption of diesel in a system already limited in its supply," FTC said.

In addition, an unidentified Kansas refinery closed in mid-July for maintenance, aggravating the diesel shortage in a region that has significantly fewer refineries and pipelines than elsewhere, FTC said. "It may be harder to alleviate a shortage in the Heartland than in parts of the country with more infrastructure." it said.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

The AmeriKan Dream


It's too bad it takes a comedian to tell the "truth"...


Great clip - and so true.  Carlin is a rarity in the entertainment complex for sure: one who tells it like it is.
I liked the reworking of the Ten Commandments routine myself...
Thank you
Hello AC,

Appropriate post for Labor Day Weekend--Bigtime Kudos! The 'owners' are counting on the 'consumers' to max their credit cards with back-to-school shopping for the next generation of wage-slaves.

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

A personal rant: I am getting pissed off by videos and podcasts, you cannot really skim them as you can with text, neither actually go thru as fast as text.
So it is a HUGE waste of time, even more so if you figure at some point that the content is not worthwhile.

This is ridiculous.

I brought this point up a few days ago. Back then I was talking about 240 posts.

Now it's 380.

WTF. When does my point make sense? C'mon, Goose. At wot focking point does my point make sense? 490? Jack agreed with me.That should have been enough.

You are going to have to change the format at some point. Good Luck. Glad you took my advice and brought Leanan aboard. And Robert.

Oil CEO,

You have the full support of the Central Committee of the Luxembourg Peak Oil Awareness Association (ekshelly I'm the only member to date but so what?).

Ideal Format?

KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Messages to be entered unthreaded, in sequential order of posting only.

No trees, no threads!!

We should be using our brains to think about oil depletion and related topics, not to navigate through the maze!

Number messages so that commenters can refer back to the posting they are replying to.

Baseball Toaster works that way.  I found it kind of annoying at first, but I got used to it.  

It tends to force the discussion to move along, because the earlier posts are hidden as the thread gets longer.  You can unhide them, but many don't bother.  

Of course, Baseball Toaster tends to have a strong chronological element - the long threads are often "game threads," commentary on ongoing baseball games.      

I like reading threaded views so that I can see a sub-subject treated thoroughly before moving on to the next one (too many drugs in my youth, you see), and I would be sorely perturbed if I couldn't do this here anymore.

I understand that recent versions of scoop allow switching on-the-fly between threaded, nested (as you're seeing now) and flat views of an article's replies.  So it seems that just a software upgrade can make EVERYONE happy?