DrumBeat: September 3, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 09/03/06 at 9:32 AM EDT]

The End of the Oil Era Looms

Oil, uranium, gold and platinum are more sought after than ever today. The search for natural resources is becoming increasingly difficult and prices are soaring. But future growth of the world economy depends on these natural resources -- and some will soon disappear forever.

Debate swirls around fossil fuel’s demise

U.S. Rep. Tom Udall and others in Congress have positioned themselves at the center of an uncomfortable idea: Eventually the planet will run out of fossil fuels.

Should we scrap NASA to save the world?

Honey, We Killed the Planet

It follows that long after the gas stations of America close down and the cars that once filled up at them have been converted to garden pergolas and jungle gyms for the wee ones, a few absurdly rich people will still have some oil or gasoline. It will have become so expensive by then that they will keep it in their wine cellars next to their bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild. Thus, in the strictest sense we will never, as simple-minded optimists insist, run out of oil.

Are we ready for a world without oil? Not a chance

Executive warns of energy disaster

The president and chief executive officer of one of the nation's largest energy companies warned that the United States is heading toward "an energy train wreck" unless it immediately begins work on projects that will take years to finance and complete.

Make Room For Bikes On Rail Cars

Last month the State Bond Commission approved $459 million toward the largest purchase of rail cars in state history - 300 new M8s (with an option to purchase 80 more) from Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. and $25 million toward refurbishing existing rail cars. Initial delivery for new cars is due in 2009.

The good news is that these cars are designed to run not only on Metro-North Railroad's New Haven line, but also on the state Department of Transportation's Shore Line East corridor.

The bad news is that the design for the M8 cars does not yet include dedicated space for bicycles.

Putin seeks to breathe life into stalled Balkan oil pipeline project

Tribal rebels bomb gas pipeline amid protests in Pakistan

Malaysia: Good times just keep rolling on for oil and gas workers

What status for Vietnam’s oil and gas reserves?

BG Group Makes Substantial North Sea Discovery

Exxon field lifts Russian August oil output to record

Fuel-Efficiency Drives Toyota Gains

Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) is trying to get on the GO-POP (Grand Old - Peak Oil Party) team.  Although if he pushes ethanol in a big way, he will be disqualified.


U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said he has not studied the issue enough to join the peak-oil crowd, but noted he's pushing alternatives anyway.

Below is my energy-aware political dream team (representatives from both parties):

1 - Roscoe Bartlett (R - Maryland)
2 - Richard Lugar (R - Indiana)
3 - Tom Udall (D-New Mexico)
4 - Edward Markey (D - Massachusetts)
5 - Al Gore (Ex-presidential candidate & inventor of the Internet)
6 - Bill Clinton (former prez, has admitted to the concept of Peak Oil)

This seems to list only those who talk about the subject in public, which doesn't say  much. If by energy aware you mean peak oil aware, Cheney has to be there, along with his task force crew and cronies and many others around him.
And also, it appears obvious by now that there are other motives for pushing alternatives than being "energy aware". Being aware of potential profits comes to mind. Or, as R2 wrote yesterday, being aware that there's elections coming up in Iowa.
OK...true...let's rephrase "energy-aware" to "peal oil-aware" and include those that at least give lip service that PO is a problem that will have to be dealt with if we wish to continue as a successful country (without purposefully killing citizens of the world to do it).

There are very few that have actually taken any actions to mitigate PO in our political arena at this point in time.  I have to start somewhere.

  • OK, so the above change would eliminate Cheney (had to come up with something...he's aware, but chooses the military option to deal with it).
  • I don't think speaking of ethanol or using ethanol as "part" of the solution should eliminate anybody.  Just as long as they are not saying it is the ONLY answer.

Keep in mind, this is a work in progress (GO-POP), it is just for fun, and I certainly appreciate any/all input on its evolution.
There are very few that have actually taken any actions to mitigate PO in our political arena at this point in time.  I have to start somewhere.

I meant, of course, in the USA.

Is there any reason that you never added Mark Udall D-(CO), Tom's cousin who works closely with Bartlett, helped found the Peak oild caucus, and is co-chair of the house renewable energy and energy efficiency caucus with Wang?  He's an avid biker and check his voting record on energy issues.
No reason at all...he will be #7:

GO-POP (Grand Ole Peak Oil Party) - possible merge with POGO (pending):

1 - Roscoe Bartlett (R - Maryland)
2 - Richard Lugar (R - Indiana)
3 - Tom Udall (D-New Mexico)
4 - Edward Markey (D - Massachusetts)
5 - Al Gore (Ex-presidential candidate & inventor of the Internet)
6 - Bill Clinton (former prez, has admitted to the concept of Peak Oil)
7 - Mark Udall (D-Colorado)

Current Tenets:

  • Must be Peak Oil aware or have stated ideas/policies that would work favorably in a PO USA.
  • Solutions for PO USA must not include purposeful force or death on those that export oil.
  • Can speak of ethanol as a partial solution, but ethanol can not be the ONLY solution.  Any that have close ties to any aspects of ethanol production will be excluded.
 I hate to mention him, but what about Gov. Arnold Roidboy?
The Governator??? You know, I thought about him.  Recently he's passed some good stuff, although he made some mistakes with hydrogen.  I think we need to wait and see if his colors have truly changed, but I'm open to his membership consideration.
the scale gets slippery, doesn't it?
something tells me if you want a real list with real people really committed, that list will be blissfully mercifully short, and you'll easily fit it on one bumper sticker

a politician's no.1 priority is getting (re-)elected
a conscience, if present, comes way behind that, let alone responsibility for constituents, unless they belong to a majority

some EU politicians speak out louder on certain issues, such as energy and environment, than their US counterparts, but that is just because the polls tell them it enhances their "inclusive vote-fitness"

and then you find out they lie

Yes...well...getting even some comment about energy issues or PO from US politicians is astounding.  So that's where I'm starting.  It's really all I have to go with right now.

The next step will be making sure they take action on their words.

Great journeys start with just one step.  That first step can be the hardest one to take.

the scale gets slippery, doesn't it?

Sure it does...this won't be easy.  But, things worth fighting for are rarely easy.  

Washington state's Jay Inslee (D) is also aware of Peak Oil. In an interview last year he mentioned a meeting between Bill Gates and the state's Congressional delegation, where Gates brought up Deffeyes' "Hubbert's Peak" book as a topic of discussion.

Other than in that interview, I haven't heard Inslee mention Peak Oil, but he is the Congressman who put forward the New Apollo Energy Project.

Hello DavidM,

That's terrific--Bill Gates singlehandily could move the Peakoil Outreach effort further ahead than any WWWeb forum!  Hope he doesn't withdraw like Richard Rainwater.

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

GO-POP (Grand Ole Peak Oil Party) - possible merge with POGO (pending):

1 - Roscoe Bartlett (R - Maryland)
2 - Richard Lugar (R - Indiana)
3 - Tom Udall (D-New Mexico)
4 - Edward Markey (D - Massachusetts)
5 - Al Gore (Ex-presidential candidate)
6 - Bill Clinton (former prez)
7 - Mark Udall (D-Colorado)
8 - Jay Inslee (D - Washington)
9 - Bill Gates (this party will need funding)
10 - Richard Rainwater (ditto #9 if he's got the will to come back)

* Any other billionaires care to join?  We also need more Republicans to come aboard.  Who's with us?  Well, who's with me since no one else has officially signed up for the party except myself?

Congressman backs post-oil planning: Thompson says Willits can set national example
by Claudia Reed

"We can't keep going the way we've been going," said Congressman Mike Thompson. "That's a no brainer."

Speaking during Mondays meeting with local officials and members of the Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL) group, Thompson was referring to an economy based on insatiable consumption of fossil fuels. The United States, he said, comprises about 6 percent of the worlds population, but consumes at least 25 percent of its oil, most of which is imported.


Switch to biobased fuels heralds big changes for farming, daily life

But biofuels will save the day(sarcasm off).

We probably don't appreciate yet how much our lives are going to change again as the petroleum age fades away and we make the transition to the next fuel - biomass and other renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.

A glimmer of the change was on display last week at Iowa State University during the annual Biobased Industry Outlook Conference: Growing the Bioeconomy. This conference is largely attended by practical people who have started or are considering starting businesses that use biomass as feedstock or a biological process in production. Attendance at the conference has tripled in three years.

The biggest industrial users of biomass in Iowa are the ethanol and biodiesel industries, but those are just the beginning.

And then we have this: Biomass could supply 66% of U.S. gas needs

The bioeconomy articles in the Aug. 27 Register are a tremendous public service to the people of Iowa, educating them about a subject important to the future economic prosperity of their state.

The lead editorial on the Opinion page, "Ethanol Is Just the Beginning," includes a statement from the joint Department of Energy-U.S. Dept. of Agriculture "billion ton" study that actually underestimates the potential of biomass to replace gasoline consumption in the United States.

As stated in the report's summary, its purpose was to determine whether land resources in the United States are capable of providing a sustainable supply of biomass "sufficient to displace 30 percent or more of the country's present petroleum consumption by 2030." This is the federal government's so-called "30 by '30" vision.

The report answered "yes," but many assumed that they meant that the most we could displace was 30 percent. This widely held misperception was recently pointed out to me by government scientists. The 1.3 billion tons of biomass identified in the DOE-USDA study could displace as much as 66 percent of our current gasoline demand.

There is room for additional optimism: Retooling our spark-ignition engines to take advantage of the high octane number of ethanol could move us very close to substituting ethanol for all of our current gasoline demand. Alternatively (or additionally), we could demand higher corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for our automobiles, which could close the remaining gap. Of course, we need to quickly perfect ways to turn plant fibers into fuels if this vision is to be met for the next generation.

- Robert C. Brown,

professor, mechanical engineering, chemical and biological engineering, and agricultural and biosystems engineering; director, Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies,

This professor, who one just might suspect has a place at the ethanol welfare trough, is a victim of the view that our biggest challenge is to maintain motorized individual transportation units.  Even on the transportation mobility front, this view is confused.  We need to maintain mobility, that's all.

This view that the appropriate use of farmland in North America, surplus to our nutrition needs, ignores the coming decline in hydrocarbons used to keep 10's of millions from freezing in the winter.

Maybe there will be another civil war in the U.S. as some southerners insist on welfare for agri-business in Iowa, while Northerners demand fuel for space and water heating.

More likely, economics will defeat the keep-my-car running crowd.  Great breakthroughs may raise the EROEI of the crop to car process, but it is more likely that a monkey will randomly type out the collected works of Shakespeare, than it is that this process will ever achieve anything near to the EROEI of the crop to space/water heating process.  And this latter process is not static, but improving with time.

Energy crop to space/water heating does not require welfare, it only requires a certain base price in natural gas.  In comparison, no price level for hydrocarbons will make liquid fuel from corn or soy competitive at the farm gate.  The solid fuel processor will in any probable scenario always be able to outbid the liquid fuel processor, assuming the latter doesn't have a cheque from the government in his pocket.

Prepare to say goodbye to corn based ethanol and soy based diesel.  And good riddance.  We simply can't afford this kind of waste and in short order, we won't tolerate it.

It looks as though the UK may in short order provide a case study illustrating this point.

Lugar is pushing ethanol heavily.  If that's a disqualifier, why's he on your team?
I added an addendum to my GO-POP party.  They can speak of ethanol, but it can not be their ONLY solution.  Any ties to ethanol companies is automatic disqualification.
"GO-POP"  I like it.  OK, who is in charge of the bumper stickers?
Those of us in the POGO party will oppose you. I think we need to draft Jimmy Carter, he's eligible to run again ...
Haaa...we could combine our efforts...remind me what POGO stands for?
Post-Oil / Global-Warming

In a previous thread, I suggested PO-GW be pronounced 'Pogo', after a certain cartoon possum from the Okeefenokee swamp.

I loved POGO...my dad was a journalist and had all the POGO collections.  I always thought Bloom County was heavily influenced by POGO.
Labelling Gore "inventor of the internet" is an attempt at humor but during his run for presidnet it was a dishonest and cheap shot. Early on he was deeply involved in his Senate career he was deeply involved in technology issues (including pushing for funding for DARPAnet the precursor to the internet. No less a figure than Vin Cerf credits Gore as being a key player in making the internet a reality.

Vinton G. Cerf, a senior vice president at MCI Worldcom and the person most often called "the father of the Internet" for his part in designing the network's common computer language, said in an e-mail interview yesterday, "I think it is very fair to say that the Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the vice president in his current role and in his earlier role as senator."
The co-author of a history of the online world, "Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet," agreed. Katie Hafner said people have been haggling over the true beginnings of the network for decades. "As we all know, there are many paternity claims on the Internet. That's a given, because it's so successful. But there are so many people who did at least one pivotal thing in either creating the network, or encouraging the use of the network, or bringing the network to the public -- and Gore was one of those people."

I think we've covered this arguement ad nauseum...let's move on (yes, it was a joke).
Yes, it was a joke and that damn joke is wearing thin. So let's stop joking and stop labeling Gore as the inventor of the internet. We cannot possibly move on until this stupid shit stops!
OK, OK...I'll strike that after his name, but he stays on the list.  Any objections???
But say Gore and you've said most of God!


Not sure what you are saying about Gore, but by your link I think you are saying that he should be off the list due to all the money he makes off his ideas.

Well, that's his money-maker now...I guess we throw his inclusion on the list open to TOD..Ya or Nay to Gore on the list?

Re: Domenici

Perhaps if he were president, Domenici said, he could direct the country in a massive effort to become energy independent.

Oh, yeah!

It's good to be the King!

Same drugs as Lovins. No doubt.
Where do they get that stuff?
The drugs? I'm still searching...

Helloooooo? You don't hangz out with the right peoples, my friend.
We're talkin' PO here; grow your own.


PO would mean peak hydroponics. No? ...Shit - I better get busy. I'm such a moron. I've been growing tomatoes. Aaaaaaargh!!!!!!
We realize of course some of the ramifications of getting what we want(ie "Everybody Knowing"),  There will be slide into disorder in some short time frame.

If you are old enough to remember Firesign Theater,  the "Beat The Reaper" skit.  Well we are fast approaching the point where people in the studio and audience started mumbling softly "the plauge" which starts building on itself to where people are running for the door screaming
"The Plauge, The Plauge".

Well, anyways it was a great comedy skit by some pros ahead of their time.

But having PEAK OIL on billboards on Route #95 may give us all the biggest lesson on Crowd Dynamics that the world ever seen.  

How many remember the picture of the Guy in China stopping that line of Tanks?  I remember seeing it live.

The point is the Feedback Loop on this mass hysteria will be Instant and Global in scope.  Sort of the 100th Monkey thing.

Here we go.


There will be slide into disorder in some short time frame.

This is likely the reason TPTB would not want that.
That will screw their schedule.

Seen any counter propaganda on TOD recently from "moderate" voices?

The President finally outlines an energy strategy fit for our times...


Additional articles for today:

Nightmare Mortgages
- long in-depth article.
While many Americans have started to worry about falling home prices, borrowers who jumped into so-called option ARM loans have another, more urgent problem: payments that are about to skyrocket.

Workers in Michigan try to get back to land as factory closes
The Becks, who between them put in about 70 years at the Electrolux refrigerator factory in Greenville before it closed, had prepared for its closure over the past several months — fishing for odd jobs, adding the animals, cutting down trees by the hilly lakeshore where they live, installing an outdoor, wood-burning furnace so they could more fully live off their land.

Wind power a vexing question for Vermont
"One of Vermont's most deeply held environmental ethics is the protection and preservation of our mountaintops and ridge lines," said Jason Gibbs, a spokesman for Gov. Jim Douglas. "While the governor supports renewable energy ... he cannot support the commercialization and industrialization of our mountaintops."  Environmentalists say that stance is unrealistic.

I am surrounded by mountain tops and ridgelines above my home in Colorado. These features are located in the National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park.  While, if everything else were equal, I would just see these features left unspoiled, I would gladly sacrifice my view for the cause of attacking global warming. Bring on the wind generators.  It's not like they would be putting a coal fired plant in my view and in my lungs.

These people opposed to wind power are not environmentalists, they are estheticists, a big difference. Being concerned about the environment cannot stop at one's door -- unless one takes the health of the planet into account, one is not an environmentalist. To label these people as environmentalists is just another way to give the environmental a bad name.

I'm going to adopt that term, thanks.
There is a lot of that in the States. Liking your Yosemite Park but then sucking the seas dry of fish is not environmentalism. Environmentalism is about the ecosystem, the big picture, not saving one panda or one whale but keeping the system healthy.

Pandas are great as symbols, as rallying points, as attention grabbers, as a way of getting kids to start loving nature. Also as red lines in the sand, in a way. But in a healthy environment, pandas going extinct should not matter. They seem to be on their way out anyway. But that kind of environmentalism is open to the old attack of "spend billions rerouting a pipeline to save one owl nest". (Not that we should not try to save the pandas because they are so cute and everybody loves them too, but that is a different fight)

The point is not that we want a healthy environment because the pandas need it. It is that we need a healthy environment, and it has pandas on it.

I agree whole-heartedly.  I would much rather have majestic windmills dotting the landscape than smog, belching power plants.

Heck, if they could beautify them somehow (make them look like old windmills) I would think they could add aesthetic value.

But if the windmills require smoke belching power plants to back them up during peak demand, what's the point?

The recent material indicating that Danish wind power only makes sense in the context of its links to hydropower in other jurisdictions should be required reading for all windpower supporters.  I am one, though I don't think they will do much, if anything, to clean our air.  This will require many other actions.

The post yesterday relating the experimental use of wind machines to transform available energy into fertilizer is another hopeful sign that windpower will find a few productive niches.

"I don't think they will do much..."

Should read "it (windpower) will do..."

Has anyone considered the possibility that the day may come when intermittent electrical energy is appreciated over the alternative of no electricity at all?  Maybe the challenge is in designing a way of life based on using intermittent electricity instead of working on the solutions for continuous flow, especially in certain regions where wind makes the most sense.
"Go with the flows", as I said the other day in another thread about this issue.  Make hay and wash clothes while the sun shines or the wind blows.  Factories may be designed to run when power is less expensive and pause (or do other, less energy-intensive tasks) when the wind pauses.  That's not a recipe for maximum profits today, but may be a recipe for survival some day before long.
Next you'll probably suggest working in the daytime, and sleeping at night; eating local fruits and vegetables in season; not building huge cities in the desert... This would require lifestyle changes! What part of "the American way of life is non-negotiable" do you fail to understand?
Irony alert. :-)
But if the windmills require smoke belching power plants to back them up during peak demand, what's the point?

Because the coal plant won't be burning as much when the wind machine is spinning?

Otherwise, Kalpa's got it right

Otherwise, Kalpa's got it right

Or we will finally solve the energy storage problem one way or another AFTER A WHILE and just have to endure the inconvenience that Kalpa talks about for some time.
May be not such a high price to pay for avoiding coal...

Looking for instant PERFECT SOLUTIONS and keeping business as usual a GREAT way to mess up all issues.

I LOVE to argue with you eric!

well until growth cancels out what little gain you did get from using it.
this is because the majority of people no matter how you sell it will think it solved the problem and go on with the way we live now only slightly altered if at all.
I LOVE to argue with you eric!
You call your attention seeking behavior 'an argument', go right ahead.
Last one I looked at the "beautification" issue had allready been delt with IMO

This is one of the 1.5 megawatt GE units at Shelburne Ontario Canada...

It's a frickin' beauty IMO.  What I'm think of though is dressing them up or disguising them as "old style" windmills...you know stone, wood, stream running nearby.
This girl has a kick-ass photo blog on the Greek Islands. I'm trying to download her stuff, but it is problematic.

This link I'm posting should go direct to the Official Mykonos Windmills. These are "The" Windmills.

Theresa violates the rule of not having people in your landscape/structure shots. I'm not sure who is taking the photos. I can't say I'm displeased. This is killer photography. She knows what she is doing.

She has many other shots. One has Paris Hilton in it. In the Red Top and blue jeans.

Long Shot

That's definitely Paris

My take on wind turbines on the tallest ridges (and I live in Vermont):  Having looked at wind maps of the state, it is clear that the windiest ridges are a very tiny portion of the area.  Studies have shown that they could only supply a smallish fraction of the energy currently used in this sparsely populated state, let alone its energy-hungry neighbors.  The areas with suboptimal (but still considerable) wind, on the lower ridges, are much larger, and they could still provide about a half of the energy per windmill.  If we were to build a sizable wind power system, we'll have to use those areas anyway.  Might as well start there, and leave the tallest ridges alone for other reasons.  Yes, electricity from those suboptimal areas will be more expensive, but there's no escaping that.  And as natural gas prices keep climbing, wind turbines in those areas will soon (probably by the time construction is completed) be competitive anyway.  Especially if locations are chosen which are close to existing power transmission lines.  Build windmills in industrial areas!

Moreover, as long as the effort is to increase total capacity, it is misguided.  When the effort is in conservation (of energy) first, and renewable sources second, when people actually make the sacrifices needed to conserve (no air conditioning, drying clothes on a line, etc), then it'll be time to talk about what the reasonable limits are on wind power development.  The sensitive areas should be left alone meanwhile.  Also, why should Vermonters sacrifice their ridges (and forests and local food production) so that the rich in Boston and NY get "green" power (and biomass and biofuels)?  I would only support local impact for local benefit.

To quote George Monbiot:

Wind farms, while necessary, are a classic example of what environmentalists call an “end of the pipe solution.” Instead of tackling the problem – our massive demand for energy – at source, they provide less damaging means of accommodating it. Or part of it. ... One daily (jumbo jet) connection between Britain and Florida costs three giant wind farms.  ...  There is, in other words, no sustainable way of meeting the current projections for energy demand. The only strategy in any way compatible with environmentalism is one led by a vast reduction in total use. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, who support the new wind farm, make this point repeatedly, but it falls on deaf ears. What is acceptable to the market, and therefore to the government, is an enhanced set of opportunities for capital, in the form of new kinds of energy generation. What is not acceptable is a reduced set of opportunities for capital, in the form of a massively curtailed total energy production. It is not their fault, but however clearly the green groups articulate their priorities, what the government hears is “more windfarms”, rather than “fewer flights”.

Agree that regardless of what we do, we need to place an overall cap on energy use.  Wind needs to be used in lieu of fossil fuels, not in addition to.

But we can't sit back and wait for that glorious day of rational energy policy.  In the mean time, we need to build those generators in the hope that in the future they will help to cut fossil fuel energy use.

A related issue is the option of buying wind power through one's local utility. I do this but wonder if I'm just playing the sucker --- paying extra while other people are able to increase their energy use. Also, for those who buy wind power, will they tend to give up their zeal for conservation, thinking that they can consume away while feeling no guilt.

Yes, until we place an overall cap on fossil fuel emissions, we will continue to experience these conundrums.

A related issue is the option of buying wind power through one's local utility. I do this but wonder if I'm just playing the sucker --- paying extra while other people are able to increase their energy use.
Yes. The 120V that you get from your wall circuit is the same 120V that your neighbor gets. Why do you want to pay more? It serves no purpose whatsoever becausse people like me (and many others) will continue to consume the cheapest possible fuel first until it is all gone, then move on to the next cheapest fuel, etc. Why waste your hard-earned money? If you or I don't use it, someone else will. So we might as well use our share and enjoy it.
According to Jevon's paradox, conservation by a few just makes a resource cheaper for others and therefore increases consumption.  No sense in wearing a hair-shirt right now with premature austerity measures.
Hello Metrognomicon,

That is why everyone needs to be pushing for the adoption worldwide of ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols: it automatically disables Jeavons's Paradox because everyone is forced to share the pain.  IMO, it is the best strategy for the Hubbert downslope that I have seen.

The difficult part is convincing the world's topdogs that it is in their best interest too.  They don't want to give up their yachts, mansions, and private jets to join hands with their fellow man in the future fields of permaculture dreams.

A comprehensive strategy to move 60-75% of US population to intensive manual labor is required when the 1500 mile Caesar Salad is history, otherwise neighbor-to-neighbor conflict will result over diminishing food supplies.  Currently, only 0.7% [source: CIA factbook] of the labor force is actively engaged.  ASPO's Protocols would force long-range ecosystem planning at all levels, which could do much to prevent violence and help optimize the squeeze thru the Dieoff Bottleneck.

Until our planet adopts and adapts to these protocols--I remain a doomer, but I will continue trying to alert the world of what might lie ahead by my speculative postings.  Hopefully, by other TODers reading about Earthmarines, Foundation, Hell's Angels gas-stations, etc-- it will spur their minds to conceive of better concepts than my feeble attempts.  Time will tell.

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

care to explain how these will be enforced in such a way using a system that won't end up using more energy then you save? power-down is inherently flawed simply from the fact that even at gun point you will NEVER get everyone to agree.
all it takes is that one person in the neighborhood, state in a country, country in the world community to ruin it.
on the individual level the one person who ignores these and just continues on as usual despite any consequences will look in the eyes of everyone around him as a person with higher status and thus they will try to emulate him.
a state in the nation ignoring these and continuing to draw on resources like this as they need will be in a better position finical then the states who will abide by the limits set by the program, these states will loose political influence in the country and people as their residence move to the state that ignores them to have a better life.
and finally any nation that ignores these will be able to have a military and economic advantage over the country's that followed these rules.

the only good thing to hope for is that the 'endgame' so to speak plays out quickly enough to leave a good amount of the world left for those who survived. the simple fact is that the only way you can get those rules to work is if you had some super powerful group that somehow uses no resources to go about killing anyone who refuses to follow these rules the second they start disobeying them no later. this is because if you don't their influence will spread. it's like those high speed chases, anyone reasonable knows that 99% of the time they will either get caught or die but they still doing it because they all think they are that 1% that gets away.

Hello TrueKaiser,

You are probably correct in most of the points you make--recall that I am from the Jay Hanson Dieoff School: a fast-crash doomer in beliefs [but certainly not advocating for the worst to transpire!].  I will leave it to Heinberg's expertise to answer these hypothetical roadblocks you justly pose [he has posted here before].  But overall, not moving in the direction of these protocols will only make the violence levels worse on the downslope.  If TODer Westexas's theory combined with Dr. Duncan's Olduvai Gorge Theory is correct-- we have very little time to mitigate ahead before dire polarization and feedback forces bring out the worst in humanity-- the full horror of Jay's Thermo-Gene Collision as expressed in the hundreds of pages in his website.

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

Note to Westexas: have you emailed Dr. Duncan to specifically ask that he include your "export depletion" into his next update?  As I recall: he did not consider this in his last update.  He can be reached at duncanrichardc@msn.com or The Institute of Energy & Man, 1526 44th Avenue SW, Suite #204, Seattle, WA, 98116

yea i know that, but i have been questioning that since you started posting some wacky stuff.
as far as advocating for the worst to happen, it doesn't take a genius to look around and see all the damage thats going on every day all around the world just so people can live the way we do and not realize that the longer things are drawn out the worse we will be. if a fast and hard crash happens soon we will be in a much better position to survive afterwords compared to trying and failing on all our attempts to stop the crash on the way down.

as for the 'hypothetical roadblocks' they are not hypothetical, they are very real. these protocols while good will put any country in a very vulnerable position compared to the ones who don't because those that don't can still fund military industrial complexes.

Hi Bob,
Understood on sharing the pain disabling Jevon.  Your ideas are always creative and interesting, but I just don't think humans are smarter than yeast... "getting ahead" is so strong a force that voluntary adherance to a depletion protocol by enough people to matter seems unlikely.  But that's just me.  I think the only true motivator is economic, and hardship will always be unevenly felt.

WRT Jevon not applying to electricity... I think it's still the same because ultimately the elecrical energy comes from the same place.

Hello Metrognomicon,

Thxs for responding.  It all depends on our leaders refusing the implementation of the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario, and instead: promoting widespread cultural change by effective MSM Peakoil Outreach.

Once everyone, and I mean everyone, understands the Hubbert Downslope: everyone will realize that lifeboat building is their only hope.  Sending one's children to die or be badly maimed overseas is suboptimal to keeping them at home to maximally leverage the Paradigm shift to permaculture manual labor and relocalization.  Old people cannot swing a sledgehammer against reinforced concrete--they need to realize we need to keep the youth of America home for the tremendous manual labor transition ahead.

Thus my advocating for proper legislative Secession leading to large, contiguous habitats dedicated to biosolar Powerup, with some areas using the reduced FF infrastructure spiderweb to optimally utilize the ever-decreasing amounts of ancient detritus.  Recall the latest Hirsch update {PDF warning} advocating the 'fifteen favored states' for detritovore maximization and the SuperNafta distribution system bisecting the NA continent.

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

Disagree. In the specific context of electricity :

If I diminish my peak-hour electricity consumption (the only sort that really counts), am I liberating electricity that would not otherwise have been available? Was there someone waiting behind me in the queue to buy it?

No. The electricity that I don't consume at peak time is electricity that does not need to be produced. The swing energy producer is almost guaranteed to be fossil energy (coal or gas fired generation).

By reducing your peak electricity consumption, you are indeed making a contribution to the planet.

By reducing your peak electricity consumption, you are indeed making a contribution to the planet.

No, I think metrognomicon has a point and Jevon's paradox applies ALSO to electricity peak time capacity :

As long as no brownout/blackout happens (thanks to your reduced consumption) some mindless other consumer WILL increase his peak consumption and you will ultimately be impacted by the grid failure, just a bit later may be.

This is why Eric Pianka is Not following [his] own advice :

Pianka said, it doesn't really matter.

"In truth, it backfires. It's kind of like crews cleaning up the highways. All it does is encourage people to toss their (trash) out. When you walk or ride a bike or drive a Prius, all you do is encourage some (expletive) out there to drive a Hummer or an Excursion."

This is an ontological discussion. You define yourself as a doomer by declaring that it's everyone's duty to maximize consumption so as to hasten the day of the Great Brownout. I devine myself as a volontarist by adopting the commonsense position that Every Little Bit Helps.

The funny thing is, the cornucopians are on your side.

Whoa!  If you're talking about me, that's not what I said at all!  I am a doomer, yes.  I think the crash is inevitable, but I certainly don't believe in maximizing consumption to hasten it.  What I'm saying is that small scale conservation just doesn't matter.  Personally I live in a fairly minimalist style and leave a light footprint...that's what I'm comfortable with.  I'm just not under any illusions that I'm saving the planet by doing so.

some people can't accept Jevon's paradox. Reason being they have/are gaining social capital (at least in their own heads) by walking around thinking they're "doing their part." The reality is they aren't making any difference at all, but understanding this would hamstring their efforts at acquiring more social status via self-proclaiming themselves "voluntarist" or something similar.

Well, Jevon's paradox seems to paradoxically assume the resource being conserved is somehow not replaceable.

In other words, if you have a natural gas fired turbine, and no natural gas/alternative fossil fuel to fire it, it doesn't matter how much conservation you did or did not practice, as you have nothing practical to burn now. But the people sitting with their photovoltaic set-ups still at least have power when the sun is shining, or the batteries are charged.

To the extent that your money is directly flowing into alternatives, and not merely conservation, it is well spent.

As noted in Wikipedia, Jevon's Paradox is not a true one - and his observation is a bounded one, to put it mildly. There is a lot of confusion on this point in the U.S., I think. Alternative and renewable ways of creating electrical energy require conservation simply because the amount produced is considerably below the amount produced through fossil fuel/nuclear generation. But a windmill or a photovoltaic system still creates electricity for decades - investing in such systems offers a return which simply sidesteps Jevon's observation.

You people may think I'm weird, but I believe in virtue for its own sake. And I don't give a flying crap who despises me for it.

As I say, this seems to be a doctrinal point. I haven't seen any reasoned discussion as to how electricity gets cheaper when I reduce my consumption. I understand perfectly well where the Jevons business applies : for example, if I don't drive my car during the rush hour, the traffic will flow better and more people will be inclined to drive their car during the rush hour. But electricity production is not similarly constrained, in the general case.

Anyway. In a more practical way, reducing consumption has adaptive value. Frugal instincts or practices will be useful when the easy resources aren't available any more.

I'm with you Alistair, on my better days I aspire to virtue.

I the key thing to remember about Jevons' Paradox is that while it describes a force, factor, tendency, it is never the whole story.  People who desired "Dolphin Free Tuna" were able to turn the tide, change the fishing methods, through their consumer action.  I'm just waking up, I'm sure there are other, better examples.  Sometimes Jevons "wins" but not always.

As far as a rigid belief in Jevon, and a rigid disbelief in individual action ... hey, that's a nice bundle of beliefs for a prophet of doom to have ;-), very tidy ... almost convenient.

You define yourself as a doomer by declaring that it's everyone's duty to maximize consumption so as to hasten the day of the Great Brownout.

Where the heck did I spoke of a "duty"?
No, I am NOT for "maximiz[ing] consumption so as to hasten the day of the Great Brownout".
I think such individual actions DOES NOT MATTER either way because it will only be from a very small minority.
So, like Pianka, why should I bother to bear the cost of an useless display of "well meaningness"?

I was mildly parodying your position. But your post had no relevance to Jevon's paradox WRT electricity, which we were discussing.

I do believe, however, that spreading the nihilist meme that there's no point conserving, is harmful to the goal of a sustainable future. It's simply un-civic to go around spreading this sort of message. Go on, call me a boy scout (if you think it will improve your social status...)

Examples abound of conservation making a very big difference when there is a concerted campaign of consciousness-raising, generally government-led. If there are conflicting messages, it's easier for people to cop out and do nothing.

For what it's worth, this article talks about California's "success" in electricity conservation, and how it is being revied by Chinese officials as a possible model in that country:


I guess it is a 'post-capitalist', semi-state, solution, in that it relies on individual action, encouraged by both rebates and restrictions.

The marginal effects are hugely important, and need to be understood by more people.

Unfortunately, most US electricity is fossil fueled, and only 8.8% was hydro or renewable in 2004. The baseload generation capacity is also very environmentally damaging. Electricity generation by fuel type 2004 per EIA:

nope it works with electricity.
for every watt you refuse to use gets used instead by someone who will gladly use it. even if you get your local area to use less your power company won't start to make less, they will continue producing the amount they did before but sell the difference to other areas for a extra profit.

i see it all the time.
everyone i see that has the newer energy saving light-bulbs leave them on longer then they did the older ones.
people with newer computers that run cooler and with less electricity leave them on longer because as a side effect they are quieter. heck i fell into it too when i switched from amd's Barton core to their san Diego core, i letf the computer on longer and had it do couple of those idle cpu cycle calculation programs.

This is materially impossible : electricity is not storeable; even if it's in another area (and what's that to me?) someone is generating less when I consume less.

(Unless you postulate that the electricity I don't consume is circulated between areas until it's lost in transmission?)

where did i say they stored it? they shunt power via the transmission lines from one area to another.
each generating station is connected to a control center and each control center is connected to each other. when one control center see that their generating stations are not producing enough they buy power from another control station nearby that is producing more then they need. this is the power company's second line of income next to your utility fees.
But you've failed to tie this to Jevon's paradox in any way. i.e. you acknowledge that someone is generating less electricity. So my objective is attained.
I think there is a difference, tho' I don't express it by buying green power from the grid.

Your purchase of that green power is a direct subsidy of an industry that you believe needs to grow, like my family's 'investment' in CSA's and healthy, locally grown foods.  I might only get the return from having very slightly influenced my area's topsoil quality, an unprovable bolstering of our immune systems, and a reduction in the milage my average meal has traveled to get to my plate.  It's a choice that's hopefully based on good information, with results that you may never be able to put on a ledger and see your earnings.. but it's an investment in moving in a smarter direction.

I recognize that the electricity is fungible. However, my contribution causes the utility to contract for more wind power. Or so they say.  But it's true. I'm the one paying for the wind while others benefit.  Obviously a less than ideal approach. I would prefer that they buy the maximum feasible and then spread the costs to everyone. But that's not happening. So I try to do by part.
During my days as a Home Energy Rater, it was interesting to see as loads decreased the kWH rate per kWH would actually increase.  In most areas of the country the rate structure is geared to punish energy conservation.  This has to be considered when the investments are made.  

My viewpoint is the more mendane, down to earth approach such as tightening the building envelope, adding insulation, changing light loads to compact fluorosence lighting.  Changing to more efficent heating systems, maybe adding solar thermal (50 to 70% efficient) and maybe PV when economics allow.

And then when you do all this, the appraisal does not reflect the investments in the home.  Yeah it sucks.

The people who the future will need will be plumbers, electricians and insulation installers- and the work will have to be done right.  There will be no room for shoddy work.

11 years ago when I first came to Colorado, hoping to make a living in the field of Home Energy Ratings, I was disappointed how the concept did not seem to get past first base.  I guess that at the time energy was the last thing most people thought about. I heard about realtors telling people to "get rid of those ugly solar panels" on homes that had solar hot water installed in the 1980's.  Those were tough time for solar guys.

The wind farm outside of Cheyenne is a sign of what the future could be.  Perfect place for it.  No need to spoil the mountains when you are at the foot of the Great Plains.

There ought to be a law against that (pricing schedules discouraging efficiency).

Obviously, in a free market, the utility will give a discount to big consumers. They need to be regulated, there's no mystery there.

Actually these rates are the law, and it will be almost impossible to change them. Yes, consumption is encouraged base d on the idea that the utilities have to have a reserve ready should the consumer decide to use additional demand.  The economics has been argued that it more that is consumed by a customer the cheaper it is to generate.

It is quite interesting to walk into a Public Utility Commission and start asking about rates.  My experience was that the rates were not available in a published format.  I had to pay 70 cents per copy(for each rate) for what the PUC had on file and there were many..  It was not exactly a user friendly process.  Usually the consumer only sees arcane codes with fuel surcharges added in. It is not meant to be understood- only paid.

This is critical information however when trying to determine the economics of an alternative energy system or energy conservation measures.

More nuts and bolts stuff that as things start getting critical will have to be dealt with.  As talk starts turning into action there will be many basic issues that will prove problematic.  Simple utility bills will be one of these.

Iran and Japan to close Oil Deal

It seems to me that a few of months ago Japan was trying to distance
itself from Iran and find other sources for its energy imports.  Perhaps this
task proved more difficult than it first seemed.

To me, this type of story merits close watching.  The Japanese have been hemming and hawing about this project, talking about landmines, etc. as a way of delaying the start date, out of fear of what the U.S. may decide to do, for at least a year now.  Iran has been pressuring them to get going on developement and threatening that if they don't, someone else would be more than happy to take their place.  If Japan does indeed move forward on this, it will also serve as a green light for others (Pakistan, India, China, Russia) who have Iran projects in varying degrees of limbo as well.  If all of these projects get moving again, it will be very positive for the people of Iran, the ME, and the world, since it will mean more available oil in the future, and it will also represent another massive failure of U.S. foreign policy.        
It would be very awkward indeed if a US/Israeli attack on Iran immediately put at risk the multi-billion-dollar oil and gas projects being developed by Japan, China, Pakistan, et al. What happens to these projects if such an attack results in an all-out war in the Middle East? Losing several billions of dollars tends to put countries  in a bad mood.

Looking at the situation from one perspective, the Bush regime might want to nip these projects in the bud to permanantly discourage further joint oil and gas projects with Iran. As such, that might suggest that there is a strong impetus to 'do' Iran sooner rather than later in order to minimize the economic fallout and subsequent backlash against the US.  

What if a Chinese naval vessel just happens to pay an extended  'courtesy call' at an Iranian port at the same time that things heat up between the US and Iran?  What if said vessel gets inadvertently sunk during the massive US air attack?

Given China's apparent fondness of asymetrical warfare, would it be out of the question for them to make a move on Taiwan at the exact same time that the US has its hands full with Iraq, Afganistan, and now Iran? Or why not go all the way and have China give North Korea the green light to attack South Korea?  Of course, if they don't want to get their hands dirty, they could suddenly dump tens of billions worth of dollars unto the open market and inflict a body blow to the US economy.

One can conjure up an almost infinite number of ways this whole US/Iran thing can end badly. But I can't think of a single way it can realistically have a happy ending ... for anybody.  

Everyone should read or, hopefully reread, "The Guns of August"(1965) by Barbara W. Tuchman. The 2-5-25 position of the country leaves a lot of "unintended consequences" scenarios in the ME.  
Indeed. War being the result of unfolded miscalculation. One has to wonder who, or which faction of the governing party, in China will be the W.R.Hearst of late 2006. Remember the Maine! (or the stinkpot S.S. Chang Kai Shek)
Since Inpex is largely owned by the Japanese government, they have obviously decided not to particpate in any Iran sanctions which involve oil and gas.  I don't think anyone can really blame them, since 26 billion barrels of reserves is a lot of oil, and since they have always maintained excellent relations with Iran and don't feel threatened by them in any way.  Other countries will probably follow Japan's cue, since without Japan, Russia, and China, the idea of sanctions is pretty much a joke at this point.  Personally, I think that, once the fall elections have passed, the U.S. will begin the process of sweeping this issue under the rug.  They've obviously come to the realization that the military option is a non-starter, they just can't say it yet because that would mean a lot of lost votes.  Look for absurd levels of meaningless tough-talk and pathetic bluster between now and November, and then expect a massive face-saving campaign in which Bush somehow, "declares victory," over Iran, probably through the imposition of very light travel restrictions on a handful of top Iranian politicians/business people.  Japan is giving the signal that the world has effectively reigned in the U.S. on this issue.          
The scenario you laid out is a best-case scenario, but quite plausible nontheless. I hope you turn out to be right, though I think you give the Bush regime too much credit for rational behavior.  

However, one factor that you may not have fully taken into consideration is Israel, who at least publically claims that  a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat that simply cannot be tolerated.

 If Israel was to realize that the US is backing away from the Iran issue, might they not go free-lance and initiate a massive air attack on Iran all on their own?  When Iran counter attacks, the US will be politically obliged to come to Israel's defense. Then we would be in the mess whether we wanted to be or not.

For that not to happen, Israel would need to change its posture and at least tacitly accept the possibility that Iran might one day become a nuclear power. I find it hard to believe that Israel would accept such a proposition.

  If the Bush regime thinks they are going to lose control over Congress after the November elections, would that make an attack on Iran more or less likely? On the one hand, if they are really bent on doing it, they might want to do it sooner than later, so that it is a fait accompli the Democrats can't do anything about. On the other hand, if they feel there's a chance of retaining control over Congress, they might want to take their time and wait until all the diplomatic pieces are in place to justify an attack on Iran.

Trying to guess how this will all play out is tricky business indeed. I do hope it is all just bombast.

they have also recently asigned a general for leading the attack on iran.

Both you and SAT have excellant arguments.  I believe that some other
"event" will tip the scales to how the U.S. ultimately responds to Iran.

I hope it is just bluster but we shall see.

in any case;  There is going to be a lot of " Tiptoeing through the Tulips " between now in the election in in Nov.  Lets hope no one steps on one.  
I am posting an excerpt and a URL of the location of the paper the excerpt is from. The subject of this paper ties the practices of farming/agriculture to the realities of global warming. In view of the desired attempts for this country to use the land and agriculture in order to implement ethanol and biodiesel via usage of farm biomass I am concerned that taking away the components to use for such purposes will prove detrimental to fighting global warming. How? By not allowing those components to be returned to the soil as organic matter.

In my area of the country 'no-till' farming is practiced extensively. Basically this means that all crop residue remains on the land and most tillage is greatly reduced as the seeds of the next crop are planted directly into the residue.

The results of such practices has the advantage of increasing organic matter and saves in fuel due to less tillage required. An offsetting factor is the requirement for more spraying of chemicals to 'burn down' the weed growth but this in itself also results in organic matter.

If crops are grown for the purpose of using the dry matter and bulk mass for transport to a conversion plant then its obvious that these will not be available for the land to gain the usual organic matter.

Corn and soybeans will not alter this since only the seed crop is harvested but its a simple matter to gather the residues rather than allowing them to remain on the land.

I am uncertain just what the practices of fuel production will entail so I am just pointing out that any process which removes the valuable portion of organic matter may be detrimental in the long run both as helping to increase global warming and deleting the soil banks of this country.

I am no ag expert BTW. I just have spent a lot of time out in the fields doing soil samples, perfecting GPS farming techniques and driving the equipment which is used in agriculture in my area. I have also worked for companies who supply the fertilizers and chemicals which are used for farming both No Till and Conventional Tillage.

I also garden organically and I can attest to the positive results building up the soil and preserving both tilth and organic matter.

In closing I can state that sustainable farming is possible since my grandparents and uncles were all raising families and living in a sustainable manner on their farms. This was in the 1940's era and straddled both animal power and tractor power. My grandparents raised 14 children on a 100 acre farm. The dynamics of the family paradigm of today would hinder greatly the ability to do so now. Not enough offspring for one and many other factors that would prohibit it in most cases from being sucessful. Most today would not have the willpower, desire nor abiliites to farm sustainably as those grandparents of mine did. It would require IMO a massive change in all areas of our society. We would all have to start living like the Amish, who are very active and thriving in my area. Watching them and their activities are a look backward into the past for me for we lived exactly as they did.

I am exactly the same age as the poster TODD. High School Class of '57. Born in 1938...a member of the 'silent majority' called 'silents'.

Here is the excerpt and URL.
What is Soil Carbon Sequestration?
Carbon sequestration refers to the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into a long-lived stable form that does not affect atmospheric chemistry. Currently, the only viable way to trap atmospheric carbon dioxide is via photosynthesis, where carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants and turned into carbon compounds for plant growth. Carbon is considered sequestered if it ends up in a stable form, such as wood or soil organic matter. Soil carbon sequestration is an important and immediate sink for removing atmospheric carbon dioxide and slowing global warming.


P.S. I assume its obvious that total removal of the crop will require far more input of commercial fertilizers. Soybeans being a legume do fix nitrogen but corn is a nitrogen greedy crop.

P.P.S.This harvest we are seeing 180-230 bu/acre on the early shelling of the corn crop. We are extremely lucky that we got the rain and moisture that we did. Other states I have visited(Alabama) did not fare very well. Cotton appears to be a big loss as well as corn from north to central.
However crop 'inputs' are higher than last year due to increases in all bands of input so its just an offset. Yet if you have a crop failure the more costly inputs are sure to have a larger effect on your financial status. I read of talk of farmers being so disgusted elsewhere that they are considering just selling the land. Around here good tillable land can go for $2500/acre..if for building houses then up to $5,000/acre. Lately the real estate bust has stopped a lot of the speculation.

If crops are grown for the purpose of using the dry matter and bulk mass for transport to a conversion plant then its obvious that these will not be available for the land to gain the usual organic matter.

A project from Purdue claims that there's no difference between soil carbon with silage removal and stover plowed under (see end of page 2 and top of page 3).  I believe I've read elsewhere that organic matter left on the surface has little effect on soil carbon because it decays too quickly.

If we are really concerned with sequestering carbon and enhancing soil fertility, inorganic carbon (activated charcoal) may be our best bet.  This is why I'm bullish on terra preta.

Airdale and I, besides being the same age (although I was class of '56), certainly agree about taking off organic matter.  Although no-till isn't big in California (due to cropping systems), it certainly is big almost everywhere else.  I found the Purdue report superficial.

The Rodale Institute has done a lot of work with sustaibnable/regenerative ag and no-till (They also have a few articles on high carbon soils, too.). Do a search of  http://www.newfarm.org

In the case of terra preta/high carbon soils, I started test plots about two years ago in my home garden and posted a lot of links to terra preta information on another Drum Beat a month or so ago.  I have to say that I am inpressed with the results to date.  I bought 150# of mesquite charcoal (which I chipped) for my initial beds and then put on charcoal from our wood heater this past winter.  I went so far as to "steal" glowing coals from the heater so as to increase the amount I could add.  

The first test beds had 5% and 2.5% respectively although 10% would be better.  I just couldn't afford to buy that much mesquite.  I am not keeping track of how much I have been adding to the remaining beds.  The results this summer were excellent (until the wild pigs got in).  The plants were growing far better then they have in the past 25 years, including the time when we were certified organic growers.  I will continue to add charcoal as long as these beds are in use.

Frankly, I see the emphasis on biofuels much like a cancer that has taken control.


I'm with you there, but I think they have a niche:  charcoal production yields heat and gas, which can be burned in gas turbines.  The same algae-farming schemes proposed to harvest carbon from the exhausts of coal-fired powerplants would do the same for these gas turbines, and turn the product carbon into biomass (for ethanol, biodiesel and/or animal feed).  This yields electricity, fuel, and possibly feed with lots of carbon sequestration.
random thought - dark roast coffees leave grounds that are closer to charcoal than to wood.  as far as I know starbucks will still save grounds for gardeners.
Yes, many coffee houses are happy to have farmers/gardeners pick up used grounds.  (Apologies to those who don't like putting those two words together, but since I grow grains as well as vegetables in my small plot of land, and get compost by car/truck as well as bicycle and compost bin, it looks as though I should be calling it a farm.)

Coffee grounds are quite high in nitrogen but low in phosphorus and are acidic. They're great for us, since our soil is high in phosphorus and high pH already.

I just put a Merck pH strip on some coffee grounds and got a reading of 7. Maybe it makes earthworms hyperactive.

Question; with no-till we can use battery or biodiesel powered farm tractors, but is there any non-petroleum based effective herbicide?

Re biosequestration I like the idea of taking charcoal from pyrolysis or BTL, making it into a slurry and spraying back on  the soil. If tera preta advocates are correct the charcoal may 'liberate' insoluble phosphates which are widespread.

"but is there any non-petroleum based effective herbicide?"

Here are a few...


and a research paper on 3...

You can find almost any organic material you want. I used a salmon oil solution as a dormant spray on fruit trees.
 Also used a protein/peptide anti-freeze. Buys about 4 degrees of protection...


"Stover plowed under"????

Don't know about other far reaches of the nation but plowing is just something that is not done much anymore. Besides it
takes huge amounts of energy.

Paravaning is somewhat more common and does not disturb the top layer.

Your wrong on residue on the top of the ground. It has many benefits. Slows erosion, prevents wind erosion and more.

Besides you really never want to disturb the top of your ground anymore than necessary. May depend on the soil type to some degree and my soil is loess based. If you disk it at the wrong time it blows away. If you disk it at the wrong time the top becomes dust and will be totally washed away with rains following.

Preserving the top part of you field  and not tilling more than necessary is a wise practice.

Plows here are all rusting along the fence rows on in the junk piles. I had a nice set of almost brand new IH 3 bottom plows. Hardly ever used. No rust and kept in barn. At my auction one no bid. They finally went for almost nothing.

If I need deep tillage I would suggest a sub-soiler. Best though to not compact the soil if possible by driving on it while damp.

Compaction is a loser when you check your yield monitor and discovered that is exactly where your lowest yields are(GPS wise).

With a good GPS hooked to a worthy yield monitor you can tell exactly what part of each field is yielding to its best potential.

There are studies that show just about anything you want them to show. This keeps the Ag Extension boys busy with something to do. Lots of advice they give and mostly bad.

You have to take those recommendations and put them to the test.

For instance we are finding that commercial fertilizers sometime(maybe most times) do not produce the results to justify the cost. This is based on very close study by Univ of Ky recently as told to me and the operator this last winter.

Sometimes what you think is right is not right at all.

I planted two white oak trees not 20 feet apart. Acorns from the same white oak tree that was about 130 yrs old. It was amazing the difference in the growth characteristic between the two. Both received same amount of water and care.

The latest technique is variable rate application of fertilizer and lime. You soil sample the field on a grid basis using GPS. You then burn a PCMCIA card with the information on the soil analysis. The variable rate spreader only applies N,P and K or lime as required based on the sampling as reflected in the card and processed by an embedded processor in the spreader.

Results should be lower input costs, better yields and so forth. However I am betting that there will be questions unanswered following the harvest after the process is tried.

For all we think we know we really don't know much about what is really occurring out in that field. However I would bet that good soil conservation practices would always produce good results and that doesn't take rocket science. Just good common sense and getting off you tractor and actually looking at and feeling the soil.

Right now TPTB are giving us highly modified seed. It seems to work but the cost is very high.

ALSO a word of danger. These are hybrid seeds. There is also talk of the 'terminator' gene. But in esssence if we went chaos-city next month? We would basically have ZERO viable seed from our last crop..or any crop since it will NOT reproduce true to form.

Nothing to plant. All the genetic tampering has given us the inability to store seed corn or beans or whatever in case of castrophe and no supplies available.

Welcome to New AG!

This last season I planted a lot of 'open pollen' corn for that very reason. Two long rows of Hickory White and two long rows of Truckers Favorite. Both are drying nicely on the stalk and cob. Later after the moisture is down I will shell and store them. I still have some from Y2K in fact.

You're arguing against a straw man.  It might help if you would RTFP:
To prevent wind erosion, a 10 cm anchored stubble works for no-till. For water erosion, slope, slope length and ground coverage is important. The surface covered is important to absorb the kinetic energy of raindrops. For corn stover, leaving a cover of 1.6 tons/ha (0.7 tons/acre) on a silt loam soil having a slope of 10% effects a 92% erosion reduction from a moldboard plow (Dickey, 1986).

The same paper states that upwards of 60% of stover can be collected, and too much stover on the soil affects heat transfer to the earth in spring and delays germination.
Why not suggest:

The functioning of weeds in wholesome gardening

I found this such a gem (wholesome farming works too, no worries):

The phenomenon of thorns on plants is an interesting one.
It invariably comes about when the soil has become severely depleted.
So, for instance, the thistle typically comes up when a paddock has been too heavily grazed, as was pointed out to us in an initial course of plantecology. When I realized that, it seemed to me that the thorns on roses must similarly be the result of some nutrient deficiency.
It is almost as if the rosebush is trying to say: "Stay away from me, you have already plucked so many of my flowers and you never give me anything in return."
An overgrazed paddock does really do much the same thing by growing thistles.

The earth has its way of talking to us.


Sure enough, weeds did not produce valuable crops of seeds, like the sunflower or wheat, corn and rice, nor did they produce flax or cotton, no valuable timber or oil. However, they produced PLANTBODY and lots of it and as my mother used to say:"Nothing grows as well as weeds" and that means FIBRE, PLANTFIBRE.
To my astonishment, or was it relief, that was exactly what that patch of garden needed; plantfibre, to bind that loose and depleted soil together and to cover it up, protecting it from the elements and especially from the fierce sun.
And so, that afternoon, a battle-of-old was somehow resolved.
Slowly but surely, what had always been a matter of conflict, friction and strife ("blasted rotten weeds") started to become ONE great fluid, HARMONIOUS and sensible perspective; ONE continuous view and explanation of why these "rotten" weeds ...'A-L-W-A-Y-S'...."had to grow in MY garden" ..........

Airdale.  You must have visited this site.

It is great, I have downloaded all the PDF's to a CD.

Here's something about mulching/food on TOP of the soil.

Two things,  How Earthworms feed and do their job,
Second,  Raindrops.  Raindrops should never hit your bare dirt if you can avoid it.  Snippets below explain why.



The soil is teeming with organisms that cycle nutrients from soil to plant and back again.  
Earthworm burrows enhance water infiltration and soil aeration. Fields that are "tilled" by earthworm tunneling can absorb water at a rate 4 to 10 times that of fields lacking worm tunnels.(4) This reduces water runoff, recharges groundwater, and helps store more soil water for dry spells. Vertical earthworm burrows pipe air deeper into the soil, stimulating microbial nutrient cycling at those deeper levels. When earthworms are present in high numbers, the tillage provided by their burrows can replace some expensive tillage work done by machinery.

Worms eat dead plant material left on top of the soil and redistribute the organic matter and nutrients throughout the topsoil layer. Nutrient-rich organic compounds line their tunnels, which may remain in place for years if not disturbed. During droughts these tunnels allow for deep plant root penetration into subsoil regions of higher moisture content. In addition to organic matter, worms also consume soil and soil microbes. The soil clusters they expel from their digestive tracts are known as worm casts or castings. These range from the size of a mustard seed to that of a sorghum seed, depending on the size of the worm.

The soluble nutrient content of worm casts is considerably higher than that of the original soil (see Table 2). A good population of earthworms can process 20,000 pounds of topsoil per year--with turnover rates as high as 200 tons per acre having been reported in some exceptional cases.(5) Earthworms also secrete a plant growth stimulant. Reported increases in plant growth following earthworm activity may be partially attributed to this substance, not just to improved soil quality.


About Raindrops

Crusting is a common problem on soils that are poorly aggregated. Crusting results chiefly from the impact of falling raindrops. Rainfall causes clay particles on the soil surface to disperse and clog the pores immediately beneath the surface. Following drying, a sealed soil surface results in which most of the pore space has been drastically reduced due to clogging from dispersed clay particles. Subsequent rainfall is much more likely to run off than to flow into the soil (Figure 3).

Since raindrops start crusting, any management practices that protect the soil from their impact will decrease crusting and increase water flow into the soil. Mulches and cover crops serve this purpose well, as do no-till practices, which allow the accumulation of surface residue. Also, a well-aggregated soil will resist crusting because the water-stable aggregates are less likely to break apart when a raindrop hits them.

Long-term grass production produces the best-aggregated soils.(16) A grass sod extends a mass of fine roots throughout the topsoil, contributing to the physical processes that help form aggregates. Roots continually remove water from soil microsites, providing local wetting and drying effects that promote aggregation. Fine root hairs also bind soil aggregates together.

Roots also produce food for soil microorganisms and earthworms, which in turn generate compounds that bind soil particles into water-stable aggregates. In addition, perennial grass sods provide protection from raindrops and erosion. Thus, a perennial cover creates a combination of conditions optimal for the creation and maintenance of well-aggregated soil.

Conversely, cropping sequences that involve annual plants and extensive cultivation provide less vegetative cover and organic matter, and usually result in a rapid decline in soil aggregation

Soils & Compost

Excellent comments. When I sold my horse farm and moved back to my home county and purchased at auction my 107 acre place I now own, it was under intense cultivation. I started by digging 5 foot holes to insert my support poles for my polebarn. I noticed that I did not turn up a single earthworm during all that augering. But the soil had no hardpan and was friable. I could auger right down to 5' with little trouble. Later I went to my fathers farm and was augering some post holes and couldn't get more than 1 foot below the surface due to extreme hardpan. That much difference in the soil.

Now I decided that the current practices by the 'operator' was destroying the soil so I kicked them off and sowed the whole place down in orchard grass and red clover.

The worms came back. I worked out the gullies that they  were creating. The soil rebounded slowly.

Soil crusting: Yes I see this on my silt loam soil quite a bit. I try to cover my garden in spoiled hay if possible or straw but couldn't this year and saw a lot of crusting.

This occurs also in 'creek bottom' land under cultivation. It produces very well but the crusting has to be tightly controlled.

Here is something else. If the soil organic matter is lost to a great degree then if one cultivates the soil at the wrong time it will turn to extreme hard clods, similiar to pottery. Then you will have a very difficult time bringing it back to a friable state. Modern tillage equipment is designed to handle this clodding(rolling harrow,etc) since so much land does not have good tilth.

Conditions which dry the soil rapidly, such as a dry wind blowing, will result in the above.

BUT if you have a very good soil with lots of OM then one can almost turn the soil in the middle of a rain shower or any other time and not affects it friable state.

A good test is to take a handfull of soil. Squeeze it into a ball hard as you can. Toss it 10 ft in the air and watch as it impacts the ground. If it shatters and the clod breaks up nicely you can go ahead and cultivate,disk,rototill or whatever. But it retains most of its shape then go do something else.

Timing is important. Soil condition likewise. Never plow in on a windy day , they always said.

There is something very elemental and satisfying in playing in very good dirt. I sometimes go to the edge of the woods where the soil has never been touched and gather some in a wheelbarrow or front loader on the tractor. This soil is a very black , very loose , and extremely organic. It will grow almost anything. I place it with some cow manure in a hold under my tomatoes, peppers and other plants. The results are sometimes unbelievable. No blemishes, no fungus, little worm damage,very profilic growth and bearing.

"ALSO a word of danger. These are hybrid seeds. There is also talk of the 'terminator' gene. But in esssence if we went chaos-city next month? We would basically have ZERO viable seed from our last crop..or any crop since it will NOT reproduce true to form. "

I think Everyone should read this article.

Monsanto buys 'Terminator' seeds company


Once more, just to hammer it in:

All companies, each and every one, involved in GMO seeds (and feel free to include the US government, USDA) are NOT agriculture or seed companies. Crop Sciences my bum.

Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow have one thing in common: their past.

They were all established decades ago as chemical producers, and make no mistake, these guys are BIG! We are talking countless billions a year.

The world's chemical industry has chosen the world's food crops to sell chemicals.

There is a second variety of Terminator crop that won't even grow unless sprayed with a specific chemical (Syngenta). There's a wave of suicides among India farmers who invested their wherewithall in GMO cotton, just to see it collapse.

It's as easy, and as bleedingly scary, as that.
Want to talk about Peak Food? This will bring it on fast and furious.

Conspiracy theory? You have to wonder how the entire gigantic world chemistry industry arrives at the same conclusion at the same time. Same golf course?

Monsanto developed Agent Orange, and they all have similar great achievements to boast of. Between 500-10.000 new chemical substances are unleahsed upon us every year, the vast majority completely untested.

No organism can survive in a medium of its own waste.

If we are really concerned with sequestering carbon and enhancing soil fertility, inorganic carbon (activated charcoal) may be our best bet.  This is why I'm bullish on terra preta.

Nice to see you've went from not worrying about carbon in the soil (thinking crop wastes as carbon would be better in zinc carbon batteries) to pimp'n for carbon in the soil.

And you're still ignoring the difference between organic and inorganic carbon so you can continue beating this dead horse.

Nice to see that fire is still hot, water is still wet, and you are still clueless.  Consistency is comforting.

And you're still ignoring the difference between organic and inorganic carbon so you can continue beating this dead horse.

Is the horse dead because you killed it?  Was the mount changing direction, so you shot it VS admitting that you've had a change of heart?

I await your change from 'if we do this technological fix all will be fine' to 'if we choose these items or learn to live with less power consumption, powerdown won't be so bad.'

You've went from posting all kinds of tecbo-fix suggestions to saying very little....its only a matter of time till you publically embrace powerdown.

Consistency is comforting.

And so is your own ego-stroking about how right you are.
"why the heck haven't they called me to say thanks?"

its only a matter of time till you publically embrace powerdown.
The whole world will thank you if you shut up until it happens.  (Of course, with 2000+ quads/year of wind power potential alone, the entire rationale behind "powerdown" looks like feng shui.)

Until then, you still have no work to show, no blog, nothing except a miserable troll existence.  Perhaps the managers here will get a clue and ban you too, as I evicted you by banning anonymous posters.

Of course, with 2000+ quads/year of wind power potential alone, the entire rationale behind "powerdown" looks like feng shui.

Never thought you were a beliver in Feng Shui.

Because the ecomomic costs of the wind turbines - the copper (unless there is a breakthrough in conductors), the steel, the carbon composits, the concrete and the people who don't want a wind machine because of whatever reason will act as a limitor to wind production.   The present energy grid acts as a damper also.

There will be a powerdown.   Expressed in less goods, changed lifestyle in the form of if its night and not windy, there won't be the same level of power.  Smaller houses and living closer to one's job.  

Unless you've become a beliver in the "most everyone becomes dead in the wars" in which case the survivors might not have to powerdown.  Assuming they arn't glowing in the dark.

as I evicted you by banning anonymous posters.

Again, you and your ego.   Your ego-sphere wasn't a place I visited or made comments on.   Rahter like calling up Rush Limbaugh and pointing out how he's wrong on an issue.   Not really worth the time to convince him he's wrong.  

The whole world will thank you if you shut up

The whole world will thank you if you BOTH shut up!

The duelling clowns have always been a sure way to divert the attention of the audience while the illusionist perform his tricks.

the entire rationale behind "powerdown" looks like feng shui

"On this path, Heinberg wrote in his 2004 book Powerdown, as the economies of the world's major powers, including the U.S., Europe and China, begin to feel the pain from higher oil prices, their governments will fight ever more damaging resource wars against each other in an attempt to grab the remaining oil. This, in turn, will increase the pain on their economies, and encourage these powers to fight even more desperately, until somebody or everybody collapses."

the difference between organic and inorganic carbon


"molecules could in fact be classified as organic since they contain C-H bonds."

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fne tahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,790,317.PN.&OS=PN/6,790,317&RS= PN/6,790,317

TABLE 1 Ultimate analyses of representative charcoals and carbonized charcoals. C H O N S ash Feed (wt %) (wt %) (wt %) (wt %) (wt %) (wt %) Eucalyptus wood charcoal 80.30 3.84 13.82 0.31 <0.01 1.74 Macadamia nut shell charcoal 74.58 4.08 19.95 0.56 <0.01 0.83 Macadamia nut shell carbon 94.58 0.97 2.93 0.47 0.03 1.04 Oak wood carbon 92.84 1.09 3.49 0.24 0.04 1.46 Pine wood carbon 94.58 1.06 3.09 0.11 0.04 0.69 "

Looks likethe char has Hydrogen.

Re:  Cheap is the New Chic

The following is a summary of an article on the Energy Bulletin.  Along with many other people, I have made the observation/prediction that people are rapdily beginning to view conspicious consumption as stupid and/or socially unacceptable.  

One of our British friends, (Mudlogger?) noted that some British schoolchildren don't want to be dropped off in SUV's because, because of the negative connotation.

EB: The Future Laboratory, Conscience Consumers and the New Austerity
Alex Steffen, WorldChanging


Chris Sanderson and his colleagues at the Future Laboratory believe we're seeing a fundamental shift in how people think about the things they buy. I stopped by their London offices to find out what they're seeing and predicting.

"Overconsumption is no longer a signal of success," he says, sitting at a table strewn with proofsheets for the Future Labs house magazine, Viewpoints. Instead of conspicuous consumption, he says, a "conspicuous abstention" is emerging. People want less noise in their lives. They want design whose form serves function beautifully. They want homes with a spare, modern aesthetic and the health and sustainability benefits of green building. They're almost proudly adopting a "make do and mend, waste not want not mentality." Most of all, they're hungry for a connection between the things they buy and the lives they want to be leading -- and recognizing that sometimes the best thing to buy is, simply, nothing.

The Future Lab folks call this movement "Nu Austerity," and it has real implications for both the future of sustainability and commerce.

Ah, the anti-consumer now has a place in society.
I bet the table cost a lot of money and will be thrown away, not mended.
A question for the folks here with relatively handy access to country by country data.
Global production flat for over a year and demand has been increasing in US, China and India (the most notable among many countries).
Rising prices suggest that some countries are being outbid.
Is there enough import data from enough countries to find out which have been losing the bidding?  What countries, so far, have been importing less?  Do most countries release import numbers?  Monthly? quarterly? yearly?
"Is there enough import data from enough countries to find out which have been losing the bidding?"

The problem is that the areas most likely to be forced to conserve are the areas with the worst consumption data--or more accurately, the worst of the bad consumption data worldwide.

The two big uptrends in oil prices this year have both corresponded to falling petroleum imports.  Having said that, using the US as a proxy for world consumption (even though we use about one-fourth of total production) is like concluding that Africa has no problem with food supplies because US suburban grocery stores are full of food.

What we do know is that through the first half of 2006, net oil exports by the top 10 net oil exporters are down at annual rate of about 9.2% per year, since December.

Note:  9.2% annual decline rate based on EIA crude + condensate.  Net exports based on 2004 EIA top 10 list.
Here's a short article about fuel shortages
in Costa Rica. http://insidecostarica.com/dailynews/2006/september/03/nac03.htmsta
Regarding the Costa Rica article, this link works better:
Since it's a weekend, here's something on a lighter note from yesterday's issue of Lietuvos Rytas (the largest daily in Lithuania) ( http://www.lrytas.lt , subscription required):

Only Oil Lamps Light Up Remote Countryside Houses

According to the Ministry of the Economy, at present there are a total of 258 non-electrified rural houses.

In one village, a mere 50 kilometers from the capital, Vilnius, no electrical devices are used.

  • All the news comes from battery-powered radios.
  • Perishable food is stored in basements.
  • Cellphones are charged at work.
  • Cooking is done on propane stoves.
  • Antique oil lamps are used for lighting in winter. If there is lots of snow on the ground, they can use less oil because so much light is reflected. One resident says he can make it through the winter on just 5 liters of oil, costing 21 litas (6 euro). Apparently, diesel (kerosene?)lamps and candles aren't used -- diesel (kerosene?) is expensive, and candles give off too much smoke.

Electrifying this village would cost 190,000 litas (55,000 euro), so electricity there isn't likely to be a happening thing any time soon.

So when you're feeling pessimistic, cheer up -- there are still some people around who make it without all the trappings of 21st century civilization.

And hopefully my translation into English is pretty much correct...

We practice this mode of living here in Maine, as best we can. We survived the 9-day blackout after the ice storm of 98 with a coal/wood stove, kero lamps, handpumped drinking water, and hand-drawn bathwater. We never had to leave the house for food.

People can't appreciate the simple comfort of such living until they try it. It means trashing your assumptions of what constitutes "the good life," though.

I loved 'Win Ben Stein's Money'. Deadpan Stein is very knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects. Though disappointing, the opinion he presented on CBS Sunday Morning today, seems very typical of the attitude most Americans have towards their cars.

I have a love affair to confess. of course, first in my life are my wife and my teenage son, but after them comes the goddess with her chrome heart shining in the sun, my car, my Cadillac STS-V. I love my car! On a typical day my computer takes forever to start, the central air conditioning rarely works, people close to me demand money from me as if I were Bill Gates, editors mess up my work, loud teenagers wake me up at night with their shouts and their horrible music.

Aaah, but then there's my Cadillac. It's not brand new, and in my posh neighborhood of Beverly Hills, any American car is considered undignified, but it's a super car and it starts every time.

<Stein driving, listening to music> It takes me where I want to go effortlessly. It has air conditioning - I am old enough to consider that a miracle. I can be out in Palm Springs in 123 degree heat and it is perfectly cool and pleasant in my car. I can be in a snow storm and it is warm and snug in my car.

Now this part is really politically incorrect, but here it goes. I love that car mostly because it goes so incredibly fast. I can pass anything but a Ferrari, or a high-end Porsche or Corvette and my wife is always saying, "Faster, and Faster." And she loves it when I go fast. This for a man whose father thought a six=cylinder Chevy was fast enough, is a dream come true.

I can hear beautiful Mozart on my satellite radio, or I can play compact discs of the music from my 20s, when I had a red '62 Corvette <photo of Stein looking like Tommy Chong) which was even faster than this Caddy. And instead of feeling old, weak, beaten-down and frustrated, I feel like a Greek God - a mythic figure of youth and power and glory. My car fears nothing. It is like a shark, and I take on it's shark's skin when I'm inside it.<p> I know I use a lot of gas. I'm sorry, but it's a free country and if I want to spend my very hard-earned money on gasoline to make me feel like a champ - I'm allowed to.  I hardly ever run my central air conditioning, anyway.

<clip of Stein saying, "Bueller? ... Bueller? ..."> I know that my pupil, Ferris Bueller <clip of Matthew Broderick playing Bueller in an MG playing a Ferrari> would say that a man with such whacked values does not deserve such a fine car, but it's mine and I'm keeping it until they pry my cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel.

I can't help it. Caddy, I love you. And, no they didn't pay me a dime to say this. It's love.

That surely is a spoof?
Re:  Spoof?

I doubt it.  Mr. Stein was on Fox News yesterday advising investors to buy American Airlines stock, because oil prices are going down, way down, "for at least two years."

Personally I doubt few airlines will make it past 2010 !!
that is the most self-indulgent crap I've ever read...wake up, Ben, life as you know it is over.
I love my Subaru, too.

We call her Priscilla, and she's great.  The result of a lot of trial and error over the last 110 or so years, a lot of evolution, a lot of people doing a lot of hard thinking.. of most everything except what to expect of the gas supply.

The seats are comfortable, you can be in them for HOURS and not feel messed up..  The radio is the only one in the household that can reliably get the stations I want to hear (Air America, Democracy Now and NPR)..  The air handling works, even the A/C, which we use sparingly..  and She just JUMPS through snow and ice, when Portland gets buried.  May be our last, Gas-powered vehicle, in which to enjoy what winters we have left to see.. if it goes that way as well.

I can't throw out the baby with the bathwater.  There is so much that we've developed, learned and improved in our efforts to make these cars what they are, including countless forms of industrial processes and product designs that have gotten more efficient and effective as we've varied them from generation to generation.

Burning fuels into our atmosphere is a completely viable 'whipping-boy'.. it has been an achilles' heel for numerous societies before ours, and is hitting us again.  I hope we figure it out, through powering down, through solar and other primal sources, through simpler living.. but  we're not getting anywhere dumping on each other like puritans who sneer at someone's joyride.  We know that ride is short-lived.. let's work on where do we go from here.

Nice to hear from a fellow subie owner...completely agree that the vehicles we have now represent the highest point in the tech evolution of this mode of transportation.  FWIW, I love my Subaru too, and I'd miss it if I had to give it up, and it may be my last IC powered one. What I was reacting to was the how much of Stein's identity seems to be tied  up in burning as much carbon as he possibly can and insisting that it's his right as an American to do so. The man's written some interesting financial pieces so I expected a little better from him than this...
As a car guy, I've been thinking a lot about reasons car culture is so strong, and why even holding a fairly doomish outlook on the future of oil and automobiles I'm not ready to give up my supercharged street-legal track car.

It comes down to the concept of an "exoskeleton."  Don't think of the car as transportation, think of it as personal power.  As walking meat on a stick, I am weak and fragile.  In my car I  become something more -- fast, able to travel long distances in a jiffy, impervious to the elements, able to carry lots of stuff.  In my car I have a shiny exterior that becomes the image I project to the world -- with all of its implications of power/success/taste/etc.  I become super-human.

Ben Stein's love of his STS-V is exactly this.  Why would Americans, so tied to the power and image of the car exoskeleton, give it up willingly?  Public mass transit won't   really be accepted widely until we figure out some other cultural way of projecting our image.  Europeans do it with clothing, Asians with gadgets.  We'll do it our own way, but not until we have to.  We'll have to make peace with being human again too.

Regarding 'projecting an image'.

well seems I am 'riding meat' on a stick, stick mounted between two wheels and called a HD Low Rider.

Mhhh thought I was projecting.

Am I weak and fragile riding there? Way way out there on the fragile and weak side. I don't get to bully anyone except with my 'image' , pipes and chrome. And that doesn't count for squat in reality. I don't have tattoos so the outlaw biker image is not there to protect me.

I do this just to be 'exposed' and for the 45 mpg I get. I decided against upgrading my pickemup truck and went for the Harley. Good choice too.

Bikers (cyclists) I tend to admire for they get far better gas mileage and have guts to do what they do. I always wave at them and respect their right of way as well.

Cagers? Those I hate and only wave if they wave first. I wave at all motorcyclists and cute bimbos(chix) as well.

Hello Airdale,

Since you are a fellow two-wheeled enthusiast, I just wanted to make sure you saw this speculative post of mine on how riders can mutually cooperate to safely store fuel.

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


BTW, the piece you sent me is going to be the first entry in the "LATOC Reader Thunderdome!!!"

Basically it's a contest I'm having for my readers. I will publish (within reason) whatever readers send me in the LATOC Reader Thunderdome. At the end of the year we'll vote on which one is the best and that person will get a free sun oven.

This is absolutely right.  The funny thing about it is that dependence on automobiles makes motorists soft and weak, which makes them feel like they and other humans can't transport themselves without it, and strongly encourages them to devote their lives to traveling long distances as well.  I suppose that's like any other addiction.  There's a form of euphoria involved that maintains the addiction, but the addiction redirects one's energies into feeding the addiction.  It also gets harder to maintain the thrill.

The withdrawal from this addiction is going to be quite painful.

When I was in law school, I interned for an attorney who looked like a cross between rap mogul )and former NFL player Suge Knight) and Lee Haney, 8 time Mr. Olympia. (Arnold only had 7 olymipa to his name.) I don't think it a conincidence he felt perfectly comfortable in his tiny 86' Nissan. My guess is he was making about $80,000/year so it wasn't like he coudln't afford something better.

Point is nobody was going to question his studliness or potency so I dont think he felt the need to prove it with an external item. Meanwhile, you had loads of SUVs out in the parking that belonged to guys of the Ben Stein archetype.

well, since you guys are talking about cars, I whipped this up,,,you'll get a kick out of!  :-)

 Ahhh, the Germans are deeply concerned about Peak oil, witness the article der Spiegal

Why I bet they are so concerned they are pouring their much praised technical efforts into conservation, renewable energy, and that thar' Hirsch Report style mitagation...well, since we know that liquid fuels for transportation are the absolute first shoe to fall in this emergency, let's look at what is making the press....ohhh, here's a bit technical art work, harelded as a "masterpiece"....


"BMW's 5 Series 10-cylinder M5 is the newest member of the 500hp club, featuring a road-going version of  the BMW-Williams F1 Grand Prix power unit."

Say you need kilowatts, try this, 378 kW of power at 8,250 rpm with 520 Nm of torque, and a a seven speed transmission (!)


Well, maybe that's an exception, after all, the other Geman manufactururs could be like really really scaaaared of an oil crisis, and being careful what they try to sell in this "fuel constrained world, right?  So let's what Mercedes is using it's great technical wizardry for....

"Mercedes, which is owned byDaimlerChrysler, introduced the S65 at the recent Chicago Auto Show. The company is preparing an overhauled version of its S-Classsedan."
"While the M5 will have 507 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, the S65's 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12 engine will produce 604 hp and 738 lb.-ft. of torque. The Benz will be able to accelerate from 0 mph to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds."

I suppose that panty waist BMW V-10 at 507 horsepower is for the elite leaders of the Green parties, who want to prove they are conservationists!

It's nice that our .American upmarket middle class are still conservations, driving around in pathetically underpowered American cars all for the cause of efficiency...

275 Horsepower V-8 4 cam engine....WHAT A BUNCH OF PIKERS....but hey, all for the cause of efficiency, unlike the Euro crowd, we're willing to do our part!  :-)

Postscript:  for those who wonder why it's hard to get folks to conserve...as long as I know the elites are buying these high horsepower road racers do you think I am going to feel guilty about a 275 horsepower Buick....(sadly however, I drive an 80 horsepower Diesel Benz, 81 vintage, with crap trying to fall of it, not as much for the fuel efficiency (Diesel is now 30 cents higher in my area than gasoline, but because I am a tight wad...and yeah, the Germans are reeeeeally afraid of peak oil.....bullshiiit!)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Since you see no problem applying the commercial endeavours of a US owned German carmaker, targeted at the top 0.02% of its population, to the attitude of all 90 million Germans towards peak oil and their concerns on the subject, I suggest we will address you henceforth as Roger Yergin. Unaware and clueless.
Hello Roel and Roger,

Here is the latest Bloomberg update on Ford Motor Co.  If I was CEO-- I would be pushing for RR and Mass-Transit, then converting my factories to making this equipment-- it would be an easy transition, instead of losing all those employees with the skills for this type of mfg.  Recall how seamlessly the auto mfgs. shifted over to tanks, planes, and other war material for WWII.

They could also be making tiny, one-person commuter cars with a 500cc ICE, or scooters/motorcycles.  If not H-D, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Polaris, etc will have a wide open market for $$$billions in sales of these types of postPeak vehicles when fuel prices skyrocket.

Addressing the chrome penis effect in high-end luxury sports car--this ongoing horsepower war is a sad development.  My twelve year old pickup has only 150 hp in a 4.3 liter V-6, yet I have hauled a friend's 26 ft boat on a double axle trailer from Phx to Lake Havasu, and back [no problem].  So 500-600 hp in a car that, at the most, might carry two sets of golf clubs seems like totally senseless overkill.  Perhaps, these engines can be put to good use in the postPeak future by powering irrigation pumps, or small electric generators for a neighborhood.  We should all be glad that the market size for these vehicles is very limited.

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

"this ongoing horsepower war is a sad development."

It is sad. If the advances in technology which has improved efficiency of gasoline engines by leaps and bounds had been used to improve gas mileage instead of to add to horsepower the fuel savings would have been fantistic.

Think of it this way....in the last major fuel crisis, the Firebird Trans Am of 1978 made famous in "Smokey and the Bandit" was considered the ultimate bad azz.  It performed VERY well, and was a status object among the young who wanted to free themselves of the feeling of limited fun and scarcity that existed in the late 1970's.  Today, it is considered a great example of excess, waste and horrendous stupidity, being build as was right in the heart of the oil crisis.  Do you know how much horsepower a 1978 Trans Am made....220 horsepower.  A Honda Accord of 2006 makes as much horsepower, and accelerates as fast as Pontiac Trans Am did in the late 1970's.  

The efficiency gains from multi cam engines, digitally controlled fuel injection, advanced variable timing valve trains, scientific analysis of combustion chamber design and combustion efficiency, on and on, mean that engines today are fantistically efficient compared to the 1970's engines....but the mileage is improved very little if at all, because the advances have been exchanged for horsepower, not miles per gallon.

It is sad.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Are we to assume the 6000 square foot McMansion is a "chrome vagina"?
Hello BrianT,

Brilliant insight--LOL!  Yep, most women instinctively love a huge house with all the fancy trappings. 'Nest-building' is a very genetically ingrained trait.

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

roel, the piece as written was satirical and intended no disrepect to the German people (of which I am 1/4 from mother's fully German father....)

I was simply putting the heat on the current use of technological excellence worldwide, and the way it is being applied to the satisfaction of the most extreme consumption possible.

My respect for the German auto industry and the German ability at technical excellence is unmatched (as I said I own a German car, well actually two Diesels) but I could not resist counterpointing tis great fear by Spegiel with what is actually going on...And not just in Germany but worldwide.

Supposedly, everyone is terrified of the horrible suffering and great sacrifices that we must make in this "resource constrained world...but look at what they are investing their engineering time, their technological expertise, their working capital in.....For whatever reason, they ain't buying it.....they ain't putting their money where their mouth is....which brings up another point, the peakers ain't either.

Hey, if electric rail to transport goods and people is such a great idea (and let me stress, that I think it IS A GREAT IDEA), then why aren't folks like Matt Simmons and T. Boone Pickens investing in it.....I mean ones an INVESTMENT BANKER and the other OPERATES A MUTUAL FUND!!!!!   THIS IS WHAT THEY DO!!!!  Pickens is at least investing....in tar sand, which we all feel won't work, and natural gas.

We get from the billionaire peakers is talk about how the poor need to cut back...in speeches to other rich thinkers as they jet around the country...when if they really believe what they say, we should be getting investment in those businesses that are absolute sure profit makers....but you can't get an investment banker to put tow cents in them even though he is CONVINCED of peak oil....but you still can get the mainstream firms of the world build luxury fuel consuming devices...remember, these cars cost hundreds of millions in investment tooling...the tooling and investment cannot be provided for solar or for electrified rail, but seems to grow on trees for V10 and V12 automobiles, and 40 foot twin engine speed boats, private twin engine aircraft ??  

I don't see anybody with real money afraid of peak oil, what they want is for YOU to use less, so there will be MORE for them.

As the wise and famous Inspector Clouseau used to say, "something is fishy in Switzerland....what?  Denmark?  Yes....there too..."  :-)

Well, since when do the rich and powerful care about anything but themselves? Der Spiegel knows who buys their ad space - and it isn't the Greens, it is the car companies, the oil companies, and so on.

But you have to be careful in a certain way - how many of the high performance cars will be built? 1,000? 10,000? How many Smarts will be sold in the same time frame - 200,000?

The West has a number of deep rooted problems - nothing new there.

What Germany is deeply worried about is war caused by resource shortages (and for a number of reasons, ranging from admirable pacifism to cynical self-interest in preserving export markets). Speaking very broadly, Germany is not really Peak Oil aware - it is instead very aware of resource constraints and the need to live within boundaries. (Among other reasons for this, it comes from having clear cut all their forests by roughly 1700, and then spending the next couple of centuries not ruining what regrew.)

What is interesting is that the German drive for high efficiency tends to go along naturally with an attitude of conservation. Generally, higher efficiency doesn't lead to excess, except with toys for boys.

6% of Germany's electricity comes from wind, something like 15% from hydro (memory), and it is in the top 2 or 3 solar producers in the world. Buildings are legally forced to be highly insulated, both new construction and by sale of existing homes - yes, to sell an older house legally in Germany, it must now pass an energy audit which generally seems to require an average of 30,000 euros in insulation improvement- though details remain fuzzy, and I would love to get more concrete information.

When I was in the U.S. this summer, I saw absolutely nothing being done for insulation on houses being built (I thought there were laws mandating insulation standards - I guess they have been taken off the books as being too regulatory of the free market). There was no retrofitting of any property I looked at - the uncovered hot water pipes were especially interesting, along with the complete lack of CF bulbs.

America could have cut so much fat off its energy use in the last decade - and yet, you notice a gleaming car ad hidden as a news article in a German magazine.

Germans have been actively working at changing how they live, flawed as that may be, or the reasons for it. There was absolutely no sign I saw of ANY changes in the U.S. between 2000 and 2006 in terms of energy use (and I won't bother to comment on how the free and brave have become something very different, except in their own eyes).

I am not sure if a society chooses to collapse, but America will stand as a classic example if it does. Sleepwalking into a nightmare reality is not a defense.

Will people in the US conserve energy, especially oil?  Only some of the low income people are conserving because of their limited incomes.  More for gas means less for food and clothing and rent.  The middle class is not conserving IMO from the speeding SUV's and big pickup trucks that pass me going 10 to 20 mph over the posted limit.
The middle and upper income folks that consume a disproportionate share of the oil in the US have little incentive to conserve until a wrecked economy makes them poor.  Last week I went out boating with my "well to do" brother and witnessed just as many large boats out cruising the waters as ever, even with $3.25 gas.  The extra $20 or $30 per week for gas doesn't matter to most in the US.  
I have full faith in the free-market determining when the US will conserve energy. Already poor people can't afford giant SUVs, etc. so they will conserve. As we move up the ladder, the middle-class people won't be able to keep up with their payments for giant SUVs so they will sell them. They also won't be able to heat and cool their giant McMansions as much as they would like to (i.e. keep it cooler in winter and warmer in summer) so they will conserve. As for the truly rich, there's so few of them that it really doesn't matter how much energy they use.

Remember, they truly rich need us middle-class people in order for them to enjoy their wealth. Their toys, their vacations, their medical needs, etc. all require us to work in a functional society. If fuel costs increase so much that we can't even commute to our work, they rich will also suffer.
As a semi-reformed car guy, I once wrote a piece in praise of garage queens.  Love that car, get a blast from a weekend drive, and then put it back in the garage for a while.

This is not me, but look at this guy ... perfect example popped out of google.  He rides his bike to work each day and saves his Boxster for weekends:


Been there.  A girlfriend who says "race him" does wonders to undermine your self-control.  FWIW, it's harder to be fast on a mountain bike ... that's my more environmental speed outlet these days.

(It's even more amusing, as you wind the convertible out ... down toward the ocean a twisty Palos Verdes road, and the girlfriend says "who do you think you are, James Bond?" ... for a second there, yeah)

Maybe if people like that took care of themselves in their youth they wouldn't be impotent old farts by 50 who need a cadillac or similarly expensive chrome penis to make themselves feel studly.

I guaran-damn-tee you there is a reason the wifey is so into the car's speed. It's because she ain't gettin that type of excitement from hubby so from the car is the next best thing. I'm surprised he didn't say he just has his wife go out and hump the car when she's in the mood for some lovin'.

Remind me again. Do we have a truce? What's with the dick jokes? I mean I don't really care, but knock off the misogyny, please.
Hey fun is fun, I got me a NYSW, and then any need for pharm went away. Matt is homing in on the essentials. At my end of the scale I'm surprised at how cogent he is and so damn young.
I keep reading that natural gas is in abundance in North America.

 As natural gas is essentially irreplaceable (at least with current technology), it is important to have an idea of how much natural gas is left in the ground for us to use. However, this becomes complicated by the fact that no one really knows exactly how much natural gas exists until it is extracted. Measuring natural gas in the ground is no easy job, and it involves a great deal of inference and estimation. With new technologies, these estimates are becoming more and more reliable; however, they are still subject to revision. For more information on how geologists locate reservoirs and attempt to quantify how much natural gas they contain, click here.


Yet mms.gov is reporting that despite an increase in drilling over the past few years, this activity has not produced an increase in supply.

And consumption for natural gas is %15 over production, relying heavily on imports from Canada, Algiers and Trinidad.

So how can one claim there is an abundance when production has been declining?

Re: Spiegel Online story -- it is in-depth Pablum.  But maybe it is a baby step in getting the story out.

Labor Day (U.S.) Weekend -- a good time to meditate on the value of labor, and the results of replacing it with industrial machinery.

For starters, our industrial culture has required less than 300 years (more like 150 if you start from serious exploitation of coal and development of steam transportation and mass production of steel) to reach peak oil, peak fish, peak forest, peak water, probably peak coal, peak paranoia, peak clean air, peak privacy ... etc.

Ned Ludd was right, of course. Replacing labor with machines has proved disastrous. (Ned Ludd may not have existed, but Luddite sensibility is as old as the Industrial Revolution -- see Thomas Pynchon "Is it O.K. to be a Luddite?" http://www.themodernword.com/pynchon/pynchon_essays_luddite.html

One has to wonder what kind of world the captains of industry who are pushing us over the brink really have in mind?  Are they really just ordinary, humble people -- but who happen to be in extraordinary positions of power-- who are caught up in a Darwinian struggle for suvival that requires them to put short term profit above all other considerations?

What was wrong with the Medieval Guild system of artisans -- apparently the goal of many post-peak theorists?  Plenty was wrong -- so can human culture learn from previous dead ends?

...our industrial culture has required less than 300 years (more like 150 if you start from serious exploitation of coal and development of steam transportation and mass production of steel) to reach peak oil, peak fish, peak forest, peak water, probably peak coal, peak paranoia, peak clean air, peak privacy ... etc.

Just curious...any particular reason you left out Peak People?

Re:  Peak People and a Developing Labor Surplus

George Will, this morning on ABC, said that a new WalMart store in Illinois advertised for 320 new job openings.  25,000 people applied.  

George Will said it was evidence that a lot of people want to work at WalMart.  

I think that it is evidence of a lot of unemployed and/or underemployed people out there.  In a lot of cases, people might be trying to work second (third?) jobs, trying to pay their bills.

"Cut thy spending and . .")

Doesn't look like People have peaked yet-- we are still in overshoot mode.  Kill everything else first, convert it to people.  Peak people is 50 years away, barring nuclear war or some military-industrial "epidemic" disease.
Re: Spiegel Online story -- it is in-depth Pablum. But maybe it is a baby step in getting the story out.

Wow! You're joking right?!? Baby step? That's one big baby. Did this run in the regular print edition?

Der Spiegel (German for "The Mirror") is Europe's biggest and Germany's most influential weekly magazine, published in Hamburg, with a circulation of around one million per week. Wikipedia

Maybe someone should start "derOildrummen.de" (with apologies for my pig-German.)

Is there anything at all like The Oil Drum in either German or Spanish?
Not really, just the mainstream media - much of what is discussed here at the non-technical and non-doomer level is considered pretty boringly obvious in Germany, since it is just part of the common knowledge which most people with a decent level of education or intelligence have.

Der Spiegel ran a series on resource wars, for example. Energy supplements of 8 pages are common in Die Ziet, a fairly large circulation weekly newspaper, harvest predictions and world supply are just a part of the 5 minute news segment on the pop radio stations SWR1 or SWR3, and on, and on.

America tends to be a lot more insulated and isolated than even I could have imagined, before visiting after 6 years. Even the former DC exemption seems gone - that is, in DC it was possible to acquire information and talk to people with experience of the world.

Los Angeles Times Article on Carbon Sequestration In the North Sea

"Here, on the remote Sleipner refinery complex, the business of global warming is taking shape.

Since 1996, Norway's largest petroleum company -- Statoil -- has been injecting 1 million tons of carbon dioxide every year from the Sleipner complex into undersea sediments to keep the potent greenhouse gas from venting into the atmosphere."

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Get Buried at Sea

Carbon sequestration. Hmmm. Touted much in clean coal circles. Makes for a shade of green, don't it? Statoil, in the article, paid $80 million for its sequestration operation, which pumps 1 million tons under the "floor". Total world CO2 emissions are, what, 20 billion tons by 2010? That would mean 20.000 times $80 million just to build the operations.

And that's in a perfect world. The article may state a claim that the North Sea aquifer can accomodate Europe's total powerplant emissions for a long time. But you would have to get the stuff there first. Add the cost for building pipelines from hundreds of locations (ditto for US seabeds). That would probably double the total expenses.

There are few spots in the world that can safely hold CO2. Leaking is suspected in most places. There'd be a spaghetti of pipelines, think of the steel required, that would look like the highway sytem, and cost at least as much. No, sequestration will forever be small and local, and for clean coal remains nothing but a "future" option forever moving towards an elusive horizon.

Why does Statoil go through the trouble? They stand to make half a billion dollars in extra profit per decade, courtesy of the Norwegian taxpayer, and look distinctly green at no extra cost. Sweet deal. Something tells me we can expect Big Oil to ask for similar "environmentally responsible" requirements, worldwide.

Why does Statoil go through the trouble? They stand to make half a billion dollars in extra profit per decade, courtesy of the Norwegian taxpayer, and look distinctly green at no extra cost. Sweet deal. Something tells me we can expect Big Oil to ask for similar "environmentally responsible" requirements, worldwide.

The CO2 emissions tax which they don't have to pay when they sequester CO2 instead of releasing it, could hardly be portrayed as ripping off the Norwegian taxpayer:

  • Firstly. When you have a CO2 emissions tax in the first place, you can't backtrack when a company actually reduces its emissions.
  • Secondly. The CO2 emissions tax has already brought large efficiency improvements like reduced flaring and electrification from shore. Future projects may include: interconnectors between platforms to reduce gas-turbine idling, and power supply from windturbines.
  • Thirdly. In addition to the normal 28% corporate profits tax, oil companies in Norway pay a special 50% windfall profits tax. Statoil is also owned 70.9% by the Norwegian government.

Btw. Carbon sequestration has been a much debated issue in Norway over the past year. While it could potentially become a profitable business through injection into oil reservoirs for IOR, the fact remains that a lot of the CO2 will come up with the oil/gas stream. This will mean that you have to install expensive CO2 separation equipment on the oil platforms
Great, we now only need to pump another 9,999,999 million tons underground and we are in business!

All carbon sequestration schemes suffer from three major problems:

  • They may well do more damage (such as using up biomass to make carbon)
  • They will be high cost both for infrastructure and running costs
  • They suffer from Jevons paradox so that every ton of CO2 sequestered will just encourage someone else produce more CO2 and/or more babies

If you turned all the CO2 mankind produces into dry ice it would come to a cube over 10 miles in all directions. There is no realistic way we are going to sequester this much.

BTW. If you want to try, my suggestion is that actually do convert the CO2 into dry ice and then dump it in the deep sea. The high pressure and low temperature would mean that it would take hundreds of years to work its way up to the surface by which time we would have finished burning carbon because we would have used the lot.    

Potential Leakage and Toxicity Problems with CO2 Sequestration
Mike Millikin, Green Car Congress
Results from a field test on CO2 sequestration in an old brine-filled oil reservoir suggest that the mixture of CO2 and brine dissolves minerals in the rock walls, including carbonate, that could lead to pathways in the rock through which the gas could escape.

In a paper published in the July edition of Geology, the researchers in the Frio Brine Pilot also note the potential for the mobilization of toxic trace metals and toxic organic compounds.

The Frio Brine Pilot was the first test of closely monitored CO2 injection in a brine formation in the United States, and was funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) under the leadership of the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at the Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, with major collaboration from GEO-SEQ, a national lab consortium led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

The researchers injected 1,600 metric tons of CO2 1,500 meters down into a sandstone site representative of a target for large-volume storage. The sandstones of the Oligocene Frio Formation are part of a thick, regionally extensive sandstone trend that underlies a concentration of industrial sources and power plants along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

The team then measured and monitored the CO2 plume using a diverse suite of technologies in three intervals: the injection zone, the area above the injection zone, and the shallow near-surface environment.

Each monitoring strategy used a preinjection and one or more postinjection measurements. Wireline logging, pressure and temperature measurement, and geochemical sampling were also conducted during injection, and at follow-up intervals subsequent to the injection.

While the sequestration to-date has been successful-there have been no detected CO2 leakages-the researchers conclude in their latest published assessment of on-going findings and analysis that the chemistry of the process might prove problematic.
(31 July 2006)

Speaking of sequestration: The journal Science points out today that even if we can sequester carbon dioxide, it may have bad side effects -- like, say, poisoning our drinking water. Brilliant.

So the engineering problems for CO2 sequestration are immense, it won't work with existing plants, and even if it works some time in the indefinite future, it might still kill us all. So of course, this is a serious option being discussed by many in Canadian politics and punditry.http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/07/potential_leaka.html#more

I thought about dry ice,but couldn't figure out how to store it. I've thought about burying trees, either in mines where they will not decompose, or sunk in the ocean, where, someday, they may turn to oil or coal.


Reading my local paper this morning I stumbled across a story of an upcoming Energy Sustainability Seminar on Sept. 12th and 13th at Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas).  Here is a link to the story: http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/090306/gue_090306061.shtml
The article gives no indication that anyone from the Peal Oil camp will be speaking.  Although I'm certainly not the best qualified for the job, this is an important opportunity and someone with a peak oil perspective really should be in attendance in case the opportunity arises to voice a different opinion.  Any suggestions for making the most of this opportunity would be appreciated.
Looks like the article is behind a subscriber wall.  Here is the full article (apologize in advance for the lengthy post):

Energy sustainability summit Sept. 12-13 highlights Tech's role in finding solutions

This is an exciting time for West Texas. For years, our Permian Basin has been famous as one of the world's greatest sources of oil and gas. And now the entrepreneurial spirit of West Texans and our neighbors in Eastern New Mexico is positioning us to become famous as one of the world's greatest sources of all forms of energy.

New energy projects are blossoming across the South Plains in the areas of wind, nuclear, coal, biofuels and enhanced oil and gas recovery.

* Four new ethanol fuel facilities are in the works near Lubbock.

Pamela Eibeck

  • Odessa is a finalist for the Department of Energy's FutureGen competition, a $1 billion coal-gasification power plant that not only produces electricity and hydrogen, but also captures greenhouse gases.

  • Amarillo is considering building a nuclear power plant.

  • Andrews will soon house the Permian Basin High Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor.

  • Construction has already begun near Eunice, N.M, on the $1.5 billion National Enrichment Facility, which will be producing enriched uranium in less than three years.

Our nation's reliance on fossil fuels won't be going away anytime soon. Coal, oil and natural gas supply 84 percent of U.S. energy needs and the long-term outlook for these industries is strong.

The importance of the oil and gas reserves in the Permian Basin is only increasing and the increased price of oil has spurred enhanced efforts to access the region's reserves.

In response to these initiatives, Texas Tech University's College of Engineering is hosting a Summit on Energy Sustainability on Sept. 13 and 14 in the International Cultural Center on the Texas Tech campus.

This event will bring together engineering experts, regional energy leaders, and Texas Tech faculty and students to discuss the technical opportunities and challenges facing the new energy technologies West Texas and Eastern New Mexico are adopting to provide energy solutions to our nation.

The summit will feature six themes: biofuels, electricity/nuclear/wind; emerging energy technologies; energy and water; fossil-based fuels; and policy and economic development.

Speakers will include state leaders such as Texas state Rep. Buddy West, R-Odessa; and Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams; as well as technical experts such as Dr. Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (and a Lubbock native); and National Academy of Engineering members Dr. Rakesh Agrawal and Dr. Hans Mark.

The success of our national energy sources, both new and traditional, requires continued technical innovations.

The College of Engineering has long contributed toward providing technical solutions to addressing our nation's challenges in accessing energy, whether it is production of oil and gas in the Permian Basin or tapping the West Texas winds to power local desalination systems.

Texas Tech faculty and students are ready to play a critical role in advancing the knowledge to support these technologies. We have a long track record in energy research.

For example, our Department of Petroleum Engineering's test well facilities help develop more efficient methods for extracting oil and gas.

We have researchers studying biofuels and use of hydrogen fuel to power automobiles.

Wind researchers are developing technology to tap wind energy while improving our access to water.

Our graduates also are ready to enter the workforce to build our region's economic strength in energy.

As a result of the close relationship between economic development, technical innovations and a strong workforce, Texas Tech faculty opted to host the energy summit to exchange information and seek opportunities for technical and/or policy collaboration related to energy between our region's universities and colleges, private enterprises and communities as we explore new energy technologies.

Some may predict doom and gloom for energy in the days ahead, but we are excited about the future. Technology is at the core of our nation's economic growth and its energy solutions. As one of the largest engineering programs in the nation, we are critical to those solutions.

For registration information and more details on the two-day agenda, visit our Web site at:


PAMELA EIBECK, Ph.D, is dean of Texas Tech's College of Engineering.

The 15th annual I-Renew Energy EXPO hosted by the Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-Renew) will be held on September 9 & 10 at Solon High School, a school built with green and energy efficient technologies. The EXPO features workshops and speakers covering many topics- from renewable energy- wind, solar & more, green building, entrepreneurship and DIY (Do-it-Yourself), children's art, energy efficient technology, renewable fuels, alternative transportation, advocacy, etc.


Energy Expo 2006 Keynote Speakers

Steve Andrews:

There will be two keynote speeches at the Energy EXPO. Saturday's address is by Steve Andrews, entitled, "Our Energy Future Isn't What It Used To Be." Mr. Andrews will discuss peak oil and the need for a diverse energy strategy. Steve Andrews is a co-founder of ASPO-USA (the Association for the Study of Peak Oil--US affiliate). ASPO-USA is a non-partisan, non-profit research and public education initiative organized to address the USA's peak oil and natural gas energy challenges.William Stigliani will give the keynote address on Sunday entitled, "Future of Renewable Fuels in Iowa." This talk will summarize the "Renewables Motor Fuel Briefing" presented by faculty of the Regents Universities to the Iowa General Assembly in January 2006, which covered the issues of energy balance, performance, tax incentives and mandates, and sustainability. The discussion will also cover alternative means for producing ethanol from the lignocellulose component of plants, the "biorefinery" concept, and the importance of energy efficiency in balancing the demand side of the energy equation.
Hello VW,

I am encouraged by the increasing seminars and groups forming across the US, even if they cannot get the expert speakers they desire.  This map shows where many groups are located, sadly not enough IMO.

When Peakoil hits, hopefully the unwashed masses will join  groups like these to take advantage of the expertise vs forming political groups with radical agendas that will seek scapegoats to further polarize society.  I am greatly worried by Mexico's lack of Peakoil Orgs as Cantarell's output is collapsing.  I haven't been able to find any notable Mexican MSM discussion of what is the best course of planned action for their society as Pemex's tax revenues will inevitably decrease.  Unfortunately, Mexican society is remarkably polarized already along economic strata:  Peakoil Orgs may be the best way to re-amalgamate these people in a united goal to mitigate their Hubbert Downslope.

The Mexican elite seem more interested in exporting their problems north vs solving them internally.  They could easily post Federales along the border to shutdown emigration and drug flows, combined with a massive taxation of the elite themselves to drastically reduce social division, and promote the growth of biosolar Powerup.  The continuing massive rural-to-urban influx into megalopolises will only repeat the Aztecan Collapse: but at a mind-bendingly horrific scale of violence until wise and thoughtful mitigation polices are implemented.  In an earlier post of mine, I detailed that the largest source of Mexican cash flow is now remittances sent from the US to their families back in Mexico--this is clearly the worst opposite policy as compared to Mexican re-localization and mitigation.

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

Re:  The Russian Question

Following are monthly EIA crude + condensate data for Russia, as a percentage of December, 2005 production (9,500 mbpd):

6/05:  95.0%
7/05:  94.6%
8/05:  96.2%
9/05:  96.5%
10/05:  97.2%
11/05:  96.9%
12/05:  100%
1/06:  98.0%
2/06:  98.2%
3/06:  98.5%
4/06:  98.6%
5/06:  98.8%
6/06:  99.6%

Reportedly, August Russian production exceeded the 12/05 level.  Since I have been predicting (based on the HL model) a decline in Russian production, I am not exactly an unbiased observer, but I remain deeply suspicious about recent Russian production numbers for another key reason, spelled R-O-S-N-E-F-T.  

In July, the Russian government did the largest IPO in Russian history for Rosneft.  Would the Russian government (and Russian government/industry officials) benefit from reports of rising oil production levels prior to, during and after the IPO?  

In any case, based on the EIA data we have through June, Russia is showing an average decline in production of 1.4% so far this year, relative to December.  Based on the HL model, in 2005 Russia had produced 100% of what (Khebab's) HL model predicted for post-1984 cumulative production (using only data through 1984 to generate the predicted production curve).  The HL model suggests declines ahead for Russian production.

Even if we add in the reportedly higher production for August, Russia will still show an average decline so far for 2006, relative to December, 2005.  We will have to see what the rest of the year holds, but I predict that the trend will be down.  

Again, the top 10 net oil exporters (including Russia) are showing an estimated annual decline rate in net oil exports (EIA, crude + condensate) of about 9.2%, through June, relative to December.

I don't know but just looking at one month and basing some projections on that particular month?

If you toss out the December high and take the average of the previous six months (96.1% as compared to December at 100%) and contrast the following six months (98.6% compared to December), you end up with the most recent six months showing an increase in production of 2.7% over the earlier period. But is that trend any more valid that just looking at one particularily booming month? Beats me!

Is it time for me to swallow my tongue now?



You may be confusing noise with sound.

According to BP World Oil Report 2006, the Russian Federation's oil production rose from 9.287 mb/d in 2004 to 9.551 mb/d in 2005 -- an increase of 2.7%. Now, on the strength of monthly data, plus HL, you're suggesting that there will be a decline of 1.4% this year.

Of course, you may be correct. My question: if, despite your predictions, production continues to rise in Russia for 2006 (we'll know for definite early next year), will you then concede that the HL hypothesis might be faulty?

My "guess" is that the hypothesis is correct but, due to the total time interval in the data, the window might be a little broader than some of us would expect. Plus or minus a couple of years perhaps?...
"My question: if, despite your predictions, production continues to rise in Russia for 2006 (we'll know for definite early next year), will you then concede that the HL hypothesis might be faulty?"

First, we measure declines from the peak.  Texas production, which peaked in 1972, didn't fall below its 1971 level until 1976.  So, the initial declines can be quite subtle.  What is unusual about Russia is that they are so far past the 50% of Qt mark, which they hit in 1984, although the post-1984 cumulative production, through 2005, is exactly what the HL model predicted it would be.

I posted my first (HL based) missive on net oil exports on TOD in January.    I focused primarily on the top three net oil exporters, and I predicted a shortfall this year in net export capacity.  At that time, we knew that Norway was declining.  The data so far, qualified in the case of Russia, show overall production declines, as I predicted, since December for all three of the top exporters--Saudi Arabia; Russia and Norway.  

I estimate that the top 10 net oil exporters are showing a 9.2% annual decline rate in net exports, through June, relative to December.  Note that this is while oil prices have been trading up 15% to 30% over December's price.  

The US, North Sea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and world production are all consistent with the HL method.  The only real surprise has been the reported increase in Russian production, after production started falling since December.  

As I outlined above, the Russian government and governmental officials have a powerful financial incentive to report high production levels.  Of course, if they are lying, or depleting inventories to show higher production, they can't keep it up forever.

I will be surprised if Russia doesn't show a production decline later this year, but the far bigger story is the ongoing world decline, as predicted by Deffeyes, and the decline in net oil exports, as I predicted.


Thanks for your detailed reply -- I'm mulling over it at this writing.

BTW, I wonder if you're not underestimating SA's future production capacity, if only for the somewhat perverse reason that even much-maligned CERA has recently managed to do that (while it overestimating every other major oil producing country's output).

If you are, it certainly puts you in bad company!

See here:

Source: Econbrowser

A few points about SA.

As Khebab and I outlined in our Lower 48 & Texas article, last year SA was at exactly the same stage of depletion, as a percentage of Qt, that Texas was at when it peaked.

One argument against using Texas as a model for SA is that the production was concentrated in far fewer fields in SA versus Texas.  I recently pointed out that was also true for the North Sea versus the Lower 48, and these two regions--North Sea and Lower 48--peaked at exactly same stage of depletion, as a percentage of Qt.  

Also, SA is far more dependent on its largest field (50% plus of total) than Texas was dependent on its largest field (7% of total), and Richard Heinberg has reported a substantial decline in production at Ghawar.

As Khebab and I predicted, Saudi oil production is now falling, and we also have the odd story of the Saudis importing petroleum products.

One other interesting tidbit has been the Saudi stock market crash.  Several other small markets have gone down this year.  But an example of one that is up is Venezuela.    Insiders appear to be selling in Saudi Arabia and buying in Venezuela (where they have some very long life unconventional reserves).

I would just like to make a general point. If you look at the US production, you can see it peaked in the mid 9 mbpd around 1970 before dropping to nearly 8 mbpd in the late 70's. It then "recovered" to slightly above 9 mbpd in the 80's (close to the peaks in 1970). So you can see, though the actual peak months occured around 1970 - 1971, there was really a broad noisy plateau throughout the 70's before sustained drops occured in the 80's. The actual peak could so easily have occured in the late 70's or early 80's. Hubberts model is just a model and a good guide as to what may happen.

Bearing this in mind, it obviously makes no sense to be looking at month by month, or even year by year data. We need to be identifying multi year trends to say with certainty that we have reached a peak.

Of course, Darwinian & Westexas are probably the ultimate arbiters on this site.....

But as I understand it, the Hubbert model is based on a distinct geographic region. When Hubbert formulated his model he was concerned with the continental lower 48 -- not including Alaska and the deep Gulf -- which undoubtedly contributed to increased production in the 1980's.

It would be great if Darwinian, Khebab or WT could post a  production chart of just the areas that Hubbert was considering at the time he formulated his model.

I have not yet mastered the art of posting charts from the net, especially from a PDF file. But you will find a chart of lower 48 production here. Lower 48 production is on page 18 and a profile of Prudhoe Bay can be found on page 13.

And thanks for the compliment but I am not any kind of arbiter of this site. I am just a reader and poster like the rest of you. It is just that I keep a large database and plot using Excel. Now if I could just figure out how to post those damn plots.

Sorry, lower 48 production profile is on page 19, not page18. My error.
Here you go:

HongKong Trader wrote:

If you look at the US production, you can see it peaked in the mid 9 mbpd around 1970 before dropping to nearly 8 mbpd in the late 70's. It then "recovered" to slightly above 9 mbpd in the 80's (close to the peaks in 1970). So you can see, though the actual peak months occured around 1970 - 1971, there was really a broad noisy plateau throughout the 70's before sustained drops occured in the 80's. The actual peak could so easily have occured in the late 70's or early 80's. Hubberts model is just a model and a good guide as to what may happen.

No, this is entirely incorrect. Hubbert was predicting, and working with, the lower 48 states production. You are inserting Alaska into the mix, which which caused the noisey plateau you speak of. The lower 48 peaked in 1970, then headed down, never to even approach its former glory again. There was no noisey plateau on the way down. Hubbert was right on the mark.

After 1970 US production dropped every year until 1977 when Prudhoe Bay came on line. And if you subtract Prudhoe Bay Production from the total us production, you will see there was nothing but a long steady decline. The GOM later came on line and slowed the decline slightely.

And when every nation is producing flat out, because of such high oil prices it makes perfect sense to look at month to month production and develope production trends for each nation or group of nations such as OPEC.

Ron Patterson

Okay, thankyou for pointing that out. I still believe that historically if you look at any production chart - say the North Sea, you can see that noise over a month on month basis, or even a six month on six month basis is sufficiently large that you can't make assertions that we have peaked until you are a couple years over and have developed a trend of declining production through the noise. What people are discussing above could be the start of a trend, but it could also turn out to be noise.
NASA's annual budget is $16 billion. Figuring in moderate increases, that's easily $1 trillion before the year 2050.
Regarding scrapping NASA and using its budget, one assumes that the US Dollar will still have some value. On the economics side, we have just as big a disaster happening to the US Dollar as we have with Peak Oil. In all of recorded history, no fiat currency has ever survived. They have all collapsed after massive hyperinflation. We will have to go back to a currency backed by a physical resource (i.e. gold) that is easily redeemed for that resource. That leads to other problems, mainly how does a nation acquire those resources when they are being consumbed / depleted and are harder to get to.
Like it or not, keeping NASA is a way of keepingthe birds in space that bring humanity weather monitoring and other such features.   Good features we can all use.

Having a working space elevator would lower lift costs out of the gravity well, and  give humans to options of processing material outside of earths biosphere for return into the biosphere for use.

But the climate satellites are being cut, in favor of "man to Mars" and military satellites.  
One more comment about NASA. Much of what we've learned in recent years about earth science and climate was either done by or funded by NASA. At least until the last three or four years or so, when NASA science has been gutted, despite regular warnings by the National Academy of Sciences and others that we are losing the ability to do science at NASA and monitor the planet at a time when those are of increasingly critical importance. Here are a couple of examples:

TRIANA was to be a monitoring satellite in L1 Lagrangian orbit, which enabled it to see the sunlit side of the earth 24 hrs/day. This is important for cloud and radiation (energy balance) research. It was also intended for ozone, aerosol, water vapor, and vegetation cover monitoring. Al Gore was a big proponent, so of course the neocons derided it as a boondoggle called "Goresat". Tight budgets, delays, and cost overruns were cited when it was cancelled last year.

NPOESS (National Polar-orbit Operational Environmental Satellite System) was a series of low earth orbit satellites designed to streamline DOD and Dept of Commerce (NOAA and the NWS are part of the latter) in which NASA played an important role. The NPOESS science payloads were also recently gutted, again citing delays and cost overruns.

Now delays and cost overruns are not good, but they are inevitable when the program is either underfunded or the funding is not timely. Tight budgets are a reality for everyone, but that should be an impetus towards focus and prioritization. Instead NASA is committed to spending billions on Moon (and maybe Mars) shots. So far the only beneficiary is the bottom line of Lockheed Martin. Of course, the amount we drop in Iraq in a week would go a long way at NASA science ... anyway, NASA scientists and engineers are still first rate, especially in climate science, provided they're allowed to. Political meddling is of course a fact of life (EPA suffers the most here) so perhaps a better choice would be between NASA and this Administration, in which case I'd keep NASA.

davet -

I agree!

 I've never been a big fan of NASA,  because I believe that their ability to piss away money is second only to that of the Pentagon.

 But that's the point: I'd rather waste some money on an overpriced space program, which at least generates some tangible benefits, than waste money on our totally pointless debacle in Iraq that not only yields nothing positive, but has also generated an endless stream of negatives.

It's really criminal how much good could be bought for the same price it costs us to occupy Iraq for a single week.  As best I can tell, the Bush regime isn't phased in the least by the cost of our Iraq adventure.  Then again, why should they? They can always just print up some more money.  

The amount of money that we've spent in Iraq could fund NASA for 19 years at $16 billion/year

or get this: the amount of money we've spent in Iraq could fund the National Parks for 130 years at $2.3 billion/year.

An interesting post about india by and indian.
Seems they are having a little problem getting enough food and water.


Peak wheat?

"Though India's government officially dismissed the return of grain imports as a passing event, Swaminathan and other experts saw it as the latest sign of a long-term decline.

"Now production gains are slowing as the water supply dwindles, overzealous use of fertilizer and pesticides taints the soil and excessive irrigation waterlogs the land along canals in the showpiece states of India's Green Revolution, like the Punjab and Haryana."

From today's Sunday Washington Post

Contentment Without a Car

By Michelle Singletary

Chris Balish's new book, "How to Live Well Without
Owning a Car" (Ten Speed Press, $12.95)

In the three years he's been without a car,
Balish said he's saved $36,926.

Here's how he broke it down for me:

· $17,822 in car payments

· $5,054 in car insurance premiums

· $8,400 in gas

· $3,600 in parking (at work and at home)

· $1,800 in repairs

· $250 in car washes and oil changes

"With that money I paid off all my credit cards, a personal loan, and became debt-free for the first time in my adult life," he said.

The average annual cost to own a car is $8,410, including car payments, insurance, gas, oil, car washes, fees, taxes, parking and repairs, Balish reports. The average American spends 18 cents of every dollar earned on transportation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2003 Consumer Expenditure Survey.


Why Poverty Doesn't Rate

By Nicholas Eberstadt (of the American Enterprise Institute)

... Unfortunately, the official poverty rate is utterly incapable of tracking material deprivation in the United States with any accuracy. ...

Obviously, the official poverty rate isn't reflecting shifting living conditions in the United States. A wealth of evidence shows that those who are counted as poor today have dramatically higher living standards than their counterparts in the 1960s, when the poverty rate was originally devised: ...

Why does the official poverty rate fail to quantify the steady improvement in the living standards of America's poor? The answer lies in a simple mistake built into the poverty measure -- one that reflects a misunderstanding of how Americans live, spend and consume. Contradicting both economic theory and readily observable facts, the poverty rate assumes that a household's annual spending cannot, by definition, exceed its annual income.

Of course, this is not true, and economists have won Nobel prizes explaining why spending can far exceed income, particularly in advanced societies. For instance, when families are experiencing an unusually bad year, they may spend more than they earn if they see better prospects in the future. Similarly, a young worker may go into debt if she anticipates increases in her pay or benefits. Living standards, in other words, are linked to purchasing power -- and a family's purchasing power is not limited to its annual earnings.

Among low-income households in the United States, the gap between reported income and reported spending has widened gradually since the 1960s and now has taken on chasm-like dimensions. In the early 1960s, the poorest quarter of U.S. households spent 12 percent more than their annual incomes. In 1973, spending by America's poorest fifth surpassed their income by almost 40 percent. And in 2004, spending by the poorest fifth of American families exceeded income by a whopping 95 percent; in effect, spending was nearly twice as much as income.

These patterns might be due to easy access to credit, ... (Duh)


To Donal's post linking the story, "Contentment Without a Car",  I actually know several people who do without cars.  The two principle reasons are lack of money, and loss of license by way of a DUI.

Frankly, it is very, very sad for them.  I say this as having seen some of the real "facts" on the ground:

#In our area, Hardin County KY, there is virtually no such thing as "public transit".  There are (a) cabs and (b) one bus, which runs one route, to carry employees to the UPS terminal in Louisville, to provide needed labor for the package handlers.

#The cabs are extremely expensive and unreliable.  Often when a cab is called, they will say, "we'll be there as soon as we can get a cab free", and this could be minutes, or it could be up to an hour.  They have been known to lose the appointment, and not come at all.  For people relying on this for employment, it is not a workable method.  Employers DO NOT accept lack of transportation as an excuse for lateness or absenteeism.  Relying on the cabs is a one way trip to unemployment.

#The other options are (a) walking (b) bicycling and (c) bumming.  The first can be done if you live close to your employer, close enough to somewhere to buy food, and hopefully close enough to medical attention if you need it.  The odds of finding all three are low, but it can be done, and you can at least survive marginally.  You cannot go to social or sporting events, entertainments such as plays, shows, or concerts, or get to most of your friends or family.  But you can barely survive.

However, you will face a new issue:  If a promising employment opportunity opens up somewhere else, you can't take it.  You are essentially at this point completely in service to your current employer.  I know of at least 3 people who dislike their job horribly, but have no transportation, so they have to tolerate however their employer chooses to treat them. (I sometimes think the  "anti car campaign" is most loved by employers).  If you are fired or the business you work for closes, you are in a major emergency.  I know of this happening, and the person in question was in desperation, as there was no positions she qualified for open nearby.  I hate to say this, but she quickly rounded up a "boyfriend" to carry her around, essentially trading sex for transportation.  There really was no other choice for her, as she was within days of losing her apartment and being homeless.

#The situation is equally sad for educational opportunity.  One young person I know had career options she wanted to try, and is a very bright and articulate person.  Her eyes would tear up as she talked about going to ECC our local Community College, and she could be brought to tears by the words, "Well, why don't you go back to school?", when employment opportunities became available that she did not qualify for.  She did not have a car, and the community college is some 10 miles away from her job and home.  It is very sad.

#When you shop for groceries, you will have to buy in small quantity.  People forget that when walking or even bicycling, you must account for the weight and bulk of what you will carry in groceries.  It is easy to see that a bag of sugar, a bag of potatos, and a few other items can add up in a hurry.  Thus, the number of walking trips to the store are increased, regardless of weather.  Carrying children of course presents a whole other set of concerns and problems.

#Weather becomes a major issue for the person with no car.  In central KY, we have severe thunderstorms, and cold winters.  One woman I know without a car has a Peugeot bicycle with a little two child trailer that is enclosed she tows behind it.  She provisions blankets for the trailer when the weather is cold, and the enclosure protects the children from rain, but she is not so lucky.  Recently she came into her (our) workplace, soaking wet with her hair sticking to her head, and had to work a shift this way.  A surprise thunderstorm had caught her off guard, and she did not have rain gear because it was a surprise storm and very hot and humid.
Needless to say, her treatment by her bosses and other staff was less than kind and charitable, and she was in tears...she cofided to me, crying "I have got to drive, even if I have to drive illegally, I can't stand this much longer."

She only lives some 3 miles from where she works, but the burden without a car, in getting her children to the doctor, in getting groceries for her and the children, and in getting to work are becoming a strain on her mental health.

#The issue of personal injury and safety are very large when you have to walk or bicycle.  In the recent fuel crisis, the number of people killed or seriously injured by being hit by cars has grown to such a degree as to have made the local news repeatedly, even provoking a special piece on local news called "Road Wars" about the violence intended toward bicyclists.  Bicyclists are also victims of crime, as they stop at intersections, are knocked or pushed down, and robbed or assaulted.  One college girl riding a bike disappeared in Bloomington Indiana.  Her body was later found,  she had been sexually assualted and murdered.

The other issue is injury.  I have a friend who had to walk almost 4 miles to get to work, and about half that distance to get to a grocery.  She stepped in a hole in the dark (walking at night is particularly hazardous, in many ways) and broke her ankle.  Now, for someone with a car, this would be painful, but with a cast and crutches, they could at least drive, and walk the short distance into buildings, etc.  But for this woman, the event was catastrophic.  With no medical insurance, and no car, she could not make medical appointments,  and could not walk the 4 miles to work or the distance to shop.  She was completely at the mercy of people she had just come to know, not living in the community long.  It is hard to describe how frightened she is.

#The article referenced pointed out "inproved social" life and contacts through no car.  Nothing, NOTHING can be further from the truth.  You cannot "carpool" with no car.  You cannot provide your share of the transportation.  You can only beg and bum.  And you will be very quickly thought of as a bum if you have to repeatedly ask people for rides.  Sure, you can pay, but this will not improve your social standing.  I know of several people who have to repeatedly ask for rides.  Make no mistake, friends and coworkers get in their shots, with insults, backhanded remarks, and snide comments, and they keep the persons in question beholden to them for favors....(as mentioned above, the favors become obvious for females, who are often expected to be very friendly whether they really like it or not....again, it is very sad.

So, in America, if one hopes to live anything like a humane life, in most parts of the country doing completely without a car can be very, very hard, and is a very painful thing to watch a person go through.  

The walk/bicycle solution is one of the most idiotic fantasies I have ever seen, and is perpetrated here at TOD day after day after day.  Remember, the people above live comparatively close to work and shopping, under 5 miles.

Also, remember these are young or middle aged people.  For the elderly, the situation, withut charity, is MUCH worse.  My two aunts lived in Louisville KY without a car for many years.  I will not go into the poverty level they endured, the employment they had to tolerate, and the muggings and fear they faced....I will simply stress that you can drive through the West End of Louisville, and see the poor and aged women waiting for a bus at 6 AM to get to a job in single digit winter....to work for nearly nothing.  Their daughters will do almost anything to find their way into a car and drivers license, having seen the horrible way their mothers lived.  And the sons will traffic in whatever it takes to get some wheels, and take their chances with the law if they can't do it any other way.

Having become more and more aware of the lack of humanity of leaving people without transportation, I and some friend are working on getting intereest up in investment in a at least a handful of buses or possibly compressed natural gas trolleys for out community.  This has little to do with "peak oil" but simply in humane treatment of the poor.  Even a small enclosed golf cart sized electric car for these people would make all the difference in the world.  Only when you have walked or bicycled in driving rain and lightning, or at night in single digit tempeture, or in areas in which as a walker or bicyclist you are a target, can you understand the utter fantastic fantasy it is to say that this can somehow improve people's life.

It is nothing but elitism of the worst kind.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Excellent Points. (As always). So what do we do about this?
FREE Mass transit funded by gasoline taxes and car sales taxes.

Rick D

What we are looking at is something like this....



23 passengers seated, used price $60,000, about six of something like these running on natural gas or propane, bought on contract basis, so fuel costs could be planned.

The could be added one or two of something on this size,



36 passenger, $55,000

Given the layout of our community, (Radcliff KY), it would be fairly easy to cover by running a route up and down 31W, and crossing and making a square at Logsdon Parkway, Lincoln Trail Bllvd., Knox Blvid and Wilson Rd.  (I know you don't care about the local street names but it indicates that a fair amount of coverage could be done with a low number of buses....the addresses above cover doctors offices, a super Walmart, a sizable number of apartment units and condos, and more importantly, most of the really decent size employers in the city.  then one bus free to go to Elizabethtown (remember the recent motion picture "Elizabethtown"...well, that's us! :-),  to go to the community college, and a stop at the hospital for medical needs...it would take planning, but it could be done...

O.K.,, now I am looking at something a bit more radical....this is a Euro idea from the Netherlands....

This is essentially an enclosed electric bicycle or Velomobile as they are called .  The deal is, if you keep the speed limited to say 18 miles per hour, you should be able to get it by as a bicycle/moped type device, meaning no tax, no liscense, no insurance....etc.
"For instance to be regarded as a bicycle in the USA the maximum speed solely on the motor is 20 MPH."



The only issues would be recharging, and keeping these legal so that the person could avoid the need for insurance, registration and other fees.  These should be designed to get into and out of easily, so that people even up to late middle age can use them, and the preference would be a bit of luggage space, so grocery shopping could be done.

What we would looking at is a small pedel trike design, hopefully narrow enough so that it could be pulled through a door of an apartment to be stored inside at ngiht if needed, and be recharged that way if needed.

Wiki has some great coverage,  and external links.

The issue is what I call the gap...that being the range and speed that a bicycle can handle, but exposure to the weather, and for those less healthy, complete relience on muscle power make a conventional bicycle a real challenge for them.  But this gap can be covered.

The real issues in addressing this gap are not technical, but more legal and organizational.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout


In most cases, you are correct. I'm able to live w/o a car. And I do save a lot of money this  way. However, my car-free lifestyle is only possible for me due to the following:

  1. I'm self-employed AND I work from home

  2. I'm relatively secure in my "manliness" and thus feel no need to have a $15,000 chrome penis parked out front.

  3. I have no kids

  4. Given my line of work (professional prophet of doom specializing in end of oil and climate change) I have a perfectly reasonable excuse for not having a car.

  5. I generally have little shame. Most late 20s white yuppies would feel awkward riding the bus in my area where it's almost exclusively mexican immmigrants, the elderly, and the homeless who ride the bus.

  6. Public transit is workable in my area.

Change any of these factors and I would have to get a car to get around.
OK. You were just asking for this. Don't get on my case. None of my responses in any way reflect my actual views about you or anyone else.

1.) I'm self-employed AND I work from home You're a terrorist

2.) I'm relatively secure in my "manliness" and thus feel no need to have a $15,000 chrome penis parked out front.You're gay

3.) I have no kidsYou're gay

4.) Given my line of work (professional prophet of doom specializing in end of oil and climate change) I have a perfectly reasonable excuse for not having a car.You have no job

5.) I generally have little shame. Most late 20s white yuppies would feel awkward riding the bus in my area where it's almost exclusively mexican immmigrants, the elderly, and the homeless who ride the bus.You're honest

6.) Public transit is workable in my area. You have a pimp

Oil CEO,

You forgot to add I'm a heroin addict.

That's cuz I didn't know. Thanks for responding. It's always a treat. So how close was I?
". . . essentially trading sex for transportation."

I'll admit it. I tried this but had to quit. Woman kept picking my up in her hubby's hummer:


Given my line of work (end of oil prophet of doom) I really can't afford to be seen in one of those things.


Considering it more closely of late and a mother destined shortly for a nursying home.

I realized that surely the first to go in a chaos situation will be the elderly and surely those in a nursying home.

No one to feed them, care for them will make their deaths very tragic but apparently inevitable , such as happened in Katrina.

In my part of Kentucky many still keep the older folks at their homes and take care of them til their time is up but more and more they just ship them off to low cost nursing homes.

In my fathers case it was owned/run by the woman who brought our last governor down due to his affair with her.

That nursing home was the pits. Five minutes after I watched my father die they asked if I would help handle the stretcher to haul his dead body to the EMT ambulance to move him off premises. I was still in shock but complied an later thought about the role these people play and the total lack of committment or compassion  they will display when trouble arises.

Roger, thanks for this post.  I'm going to try to keep it on tap for occasions when dispensing it arrives.  There have been a number of occasions where people on this site have gone into Utopian trances when talking about bicycle and walking fantasy worlds and I just don't have the flair for seductive counters.  It's rediculously obvious if you spend a second to think, that one little tiny injury could screw you completely.  Break/strain/wound your foot, leg, back, shoulder, arm...pretty much anything and bicycling (and walking except for shoulder/arm injuries) is out of the question.  Healing usually doesn't happen quickly, either.  So what're you going to do?  Call up a friend and make them tow you behind their bike in their kiddy/grocery trailer to work everyday?  If you even had friends that good nearby you'd probably lose them pretty quickly.  Then there are the elements.  Temperature, rain, snow, sleet...which can put a serious strain on your body and mental health.  If you pick up a virus somewhere it could quickly overtake you from exertion.  Then of course it's easy to get mugged (applies to motorcyles to a non-trivial extent as well).  The car itself (not to be confused with the society around it) represents such a safety net that it's value shouldn't be understated.

Now with that said, I do think bicycles and walking can and should substitute for cars when/where possible...but with the option of "getting the car out" still available.

I think a lot of people are going to have to move.  

I lived without a car for years.  This limited my choice of housing and jobs, but then, everyone is limited in this respect, to one extent or another.  I was just more limited than most.  I lived a steep mile and a half from work, and walked every day, rain or shine.  Sometimes through two feet of snow. Often at 2am.  I was in great shape, that's for sure.  

IME, groceries were a far bigger problem than transportation to work.  The grocery store was closer, but lugging stuff back was a pain.  You end up paying more for food, because you tend to buy from boutique-type stores, or convenience stores.  You eat more junk food, because it's more accessible, and it keeps.  

My girlfriend is car-less.  She lives in the city and relies on the train, and the occasional zipcar rental (http://www.zipcar.com/) to go see her parents.  She gets along just fine.  

Laundry and groceries are her biggest complaints.  She doesn't like carrying the heavy bags, and is not crazy about hauling a big cart around.

This is in Boston though - where public transportation is quite good.

Roger says:

"The walk/bicycle solution is one of the most idiotic fantasies I have ever seen, and is perpetrated here at TOD day after day after day."

Walking and cycling is the reality in many parts of the world.

Roger, of course you are right.  The way the vast majority of Amerika is organized is around the car.  No car=No life.
But let's look at holland.  Everybody rides a bike.  It's normal: old, young, male, female, rain, at night... nothing stops them...they don't wear helmets, they ride crappy bikes with 2 locks, they don't have parking problems. There are buses, many have an extra caboose on the back which doubles capacity.  They are linked up with the train stations. While living on the outer part of Utrecht, I could ride my bike into town in 15 minutes, catch a train and be in Amsterdam in 20 more minutes.  If you work outside of the town you live in,the government allows you to buy train passes cheap, or if your a student, or if you make below a certain amount. Of course Holland is flat which is great for biking, the weather is moderate, but the most important factor is the density and organization of their cities and lands.  They live in very densely populated neighborhoods which allow public transportation  to function very effectively.

As Kunstler would say, "Our cities, suburbs, and villages have no future."  Without the personal automobile, the distances needed to travel by any other means become impractical and costly.  We need to redensify our cities, depopulate the outer suburbs.  The single person car that uses lots of fuel is going away...soon.  The poor will be forced to deal with this infrastructure lack quietly, but when the "middle class" is forced into the dysfunctional transportation network there will be howls to do something.  But alas, a total redesign of the car culture geography will be needed under the gun of shrinking energy reserves to do the bidding of society.

The recent discussion here about the price of oil being linked at the hip and held hostage to the CRB commodities index and the U.S. economy (and thus headed down along with the CRB) prompted me to look at this in history's context. I think, oilwise, we are in a condition very similar to the 1970s. The CRB index is grains, meats, and stuff controlled by weather and bugs. So to look at the CRB as it relates to oil and the U.S. economy, I looked at just the metals subindex over the 70's:

The CRB metals move sharply down in each recession while oil does not, being driven much more by production constraints. The CRB and oil are economic twins and pretty much move in lock step through history except when abnormal oil supply/demand conditions decouple them. As the chart shows, we had such a decoupling in the mid 70s, when, despite a weak economy that drove the CRB sharply south, and lower U.S. oil consumption, oil went sharply north. Why? A severe, abnormal global supply/demand imbalance developed in the 70s. Conventional wisdom holds that high oil will automatically bring oil back down with demand destruction. But for an entire decade in the 70s, that's not the way prices and demand worked. As Simmons notes, "Another myth that became accepted wisdom in the late 1970s and 1980s, with no support from factual data, is that high oil prices badly damaged an already weak global economy and produced a steep drop in oil demand. An examination of the real numbers reveals quite a different story...Between 1969 and 1978, global oil demand grew from 45 to 65 million barrels a day, an increase of 44% in a decade, despite the fact that oil prices had soared by about 14 fold...The magnitude of the demand increase strongly suggests that the world economy was growing and expanding during this period, when gross domestic product (GDP) was more heavily dependent on oil use than it is today, despite this unexpected, almost astonishing price explosion." p59, Twilight in the Desert. This was not demand destruction amid a 1,300% rise in oil price, but rather global demand growth at a nearly 4% annual rate in the pathetic '70s economy compared to the 2% rate we're struggling with now in the China/India led boom. If history is any guide, climbing oil prices will have a tough time killing off demand growth in our day.

I think we're at a juncture in history about the same as 1973 in the chart above (demand about to seriuosly overtake supply ability for 10 years or more while facing down a recession). The CRB and oil have been moving in lockstep for years, but a decoupling will probably occur at some point similar to the mid 70s decoupling. You could say that all the oil trouble back then was the Arab embargo. But, as Simmons also points out, the brief embargo (it didn't last the whole decade) was just a catalyst: "Looking back, it seems quite obvious that an explosion in the price of oil sometime in the early-to-mid-1970s was inevitable. The 1973 embargo was merely the triggering event. The kerosene was already ankle deep. Saudi Arabia simply dropped the lit match." p58. In 1973, we had the luxury of a lot of excess wellhead capacity centered largely in SA, and they could and did dramatically ramp up production to the point of reservoir damage to deal with the demand surge then (which put the 70s hump in the global production charts). In the present case of demand overtaking supply ability, however, that excess wellhead capacity has been gone since '03. In 1973, we still had a long way to go to global peak. Now we've been at flat production near the peak for years with net exported oil going into decline - kerosene up to the knees. Oil and the CRB/U.S economy will probably continue to move in lock step, meaning oil could be dragged down some. But it probably wouldn't stay there for very long before a decoupling occurs with some kind of lit match dropped into the kerosene. This could be Ghawar watering out, Iran countering each U.N. sanction with a production cut, or who knows what.

Hello TODers,

I hope everyone reads Leanan's Uganda top-thread article:

According to annual consumption records of petroleum products, Uganda in 2004 imported 571,749 cubic metres of oil products, compared with 526,583 in 2003, representing an increase of 8.6 per cent.

Officials said that the 2005 figures of petroleum consumption are higher given that the year was the worst hit by the shortfall in hydro power generation.
If I comprehend the article correctly--the Ugandans are to be congratulated for their desire to move away from cars to mass-transit and bicycles for their population!

From the CIA Factbook: Uganda pop. = approx 28.2 million
and 1 cubic meter= approx 6.3 barrels.

572,000 cubic meters x 6.3 = 3,603,600 barrel of petroluem.
28.2 pop divided by 3.6 = 7.83 barrels/person/year of FF usage.  7.83 x 42 gal/bbl = 329 gallons/Ugandan/year

From this EnergyBulletin link:
America leads the world in fossil fuel burning with a per capita energy consumption of 57.5 BOE, approximately 2,400 gallons. The average U.S. citizen, and there are 291 million of us, consumes 12.5 times the energy of the average citizen of Africa or Asia.

Will we wait till American oil usage declines 7/8ths to the Ugandan level before we get smart about relocalizing our infrastructure for bicycles and mass-transit?  If TODer Westexas is correct with his export depletion theory and a now-occuring Peakdate-- will we reach the Ugandan level of FF usage in less than 5 years?

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