DrumBeat: September 30, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 09/30/06 at 10:04 AM EDT]

Peak Oil And The Problem Of Infrastructure

Most schemes for a post-oil technology are based on the misconception that there will be an infrastructure, similar to that of the present day, which could support such future gadgetry. Modern equipment, however, is dependent on specific methods of manufacture, transportation, maintenance, and repair. In less abstract terms, this means machinery, motorized vehicles, and service depots or shops, all of which are generally run by fossil fuels. In addition, one unconsciously assumes the presence of electricity, which energizes the various communications devices, such as telephones and computers; electricity on such a large scale is only possible with fossil fuels.

The Next Step: Conversion to the Solar Hydrogen Economy

Although the imminent exhaustion of the world’s fossil fuel would certainly propel us to the Solar Hydrogen Economy, we need the fossil fuel to make the transition. Therefore, we need to have some idea as to when it might be exhausted.

Is the world about to run out of oil?

Crystal ball needed to predict oil direction

Peak Oil Passnotes: Oil at a Turning Point

Bangladesh: More attacks on Power offices

Demonstrations by the people demanding uninterrupted power supply continued yesterday in different regions of the country while police filed cases against about 22,100 unidentified persons in the capital for taking part in the violent protests of Wednesday and Thursday.

Several hundred residents of Azampur in Uttara of the capital attacked the local office of Dhaka Electric Supply Company (Desco) yesterday afternoon demanding uninterrupted power supply. The mob also vandalised vehicles belonging to Desco.

Official: India's plan to build strategic oil reserves will help offset price volatillity

Scientists develop more powerful nuclear fuel

U.S. researchers have designed a reactor fuel that they believe can make nuclear power plants 50 percent more powerful and safer, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.

Researchers say their new technology should be ready for commercial use in existing reactors in about 10 years.

Backyard wind turbines turn energy consumers into suppliers

Think wind power and you probably imagine multimegawatt-scale wind farms featuring gigantic turbines ­producing power for a few thousand homes. But a handful of companies in the United States would prefer to have each home powered by its own wind turbine.

$1,000,000,000,000: the cost of capping greenhouse gas emissions

Science and action on climate change diverging: UK

The gap between what countries are doing to address climate change and what scientists say they should be doing is widening, Britain's Environment Minister David Miliband, said on Friday.

Climate demands rapid energy conversion, experts say

Most in U.S. say Congress short-sighted

Americans are very worried about the long-term future of the country, and they don't think Congress is paying attention to big issues on the horizon, like Social Security and global warming, according to a survey released Friday.

The survey found 81 percent of respondents were very or somewhat worried about Social Security, and just as many were very or somewhat worried about energy issues. The findings were released by New York University's John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress.

Lower gas prices may help auto sales

When Nelson Ropke recently replaced his Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle with a Chrysler Pacifica crossover, gasoline prices were top-of-mind. The Grosse Pointe lawyer is a typical buyer still smarting from post-Katrina $3-per-gallon prices, but some analysts and dealers say they're seeing fewer people like him since pump prices subsided in the later part of September.

An older link, but what the heck, we need a little fun for the weekend: Songs of Energy Crises Past.


A nostalgia trip for those old enough to remember when tunes like "Cheaper Crude or No More Food" were all the rage, a fascinating glimpse into the '70s for everyone else.

[Update by Leanan on 09/30/06 at 9:21 AM EDT]

OPEC: Nigeria, Venezuela to slash oil production from Sunday

LONDON (AFP) - OPEC members Nigeria and Venezuela will reduce their oil production by a combined 170,000 barrels per day from Sunday, a spokesman for OPEC said.

The spokesman told AFP the decisions were made voluntarily by each producer, insisting they were not imposed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

BP shuts Lisburne field in Alaska on leak

ters) - BP Plc., working to restore Prudhoe Bay crude oil output after a two-month reduction, closed the adjacent Lisburne oil field in Alaska on Thursday due to a methane gas leak, the company said on Friday.

Between 25,000 and 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) in crude oil output was shut in when BP discovered methane gas filling the Lisburne field processing facility, which processes crude from three fields, said BP spokesman Steve Rinehart.

India Digs Deeper, but Wells Are Drying Up, and a Farming Crisis Looms

Ominous parallel here.

Each year he bores ever deeper. His well now reaches 130 feet down. Four times a day he starts up his electric pumps. The water that gurgles up, he sells to the local government -- 13,000 gallons a day. What is left, he sells to thirsty neighbors. He reaps handsomely, and he plans to continue for as long as it lasts.

"However long it runs, it runs," he said. "We know we will all be ultimately doomed."

Digging the well deeper and deeper for water, multiplied by 19 million wells.

Mr. Yadav's words could well prove prophetic for his country. Efforts like his -- multiplied by some 19 million wells nationwide -- have helped India deplete its groundwater at an alarming pace over the last few decades.

The country is running through its groundwater so fast that scarcity could threaten whole regions like this one, drive people off the land and ultimately stunt the country's ability to farm and feed its people.

Joules, thanks for posting this link. This puts the lie to people who claim that we are not in overshoot and all we have to do is consume less oil and everything will be okay. No, we are deep into overshoot but still having more babies but are at the same time reducing the world's carrying capacity.

This puts the lie to people who claim that we are not in overshoot and all we have to do is consume less oil and everything will be okay.

I think that hinges on the Indian situation being typical, world-wide.  "We" might be in overshoot if "we" are all in the same boat as those Indians, on water, etc.

Any posters from the Canadian Northeast here today, what's your perspective?

India is 1/6 of the world.  We are in the same boat: Planet Earth.  Whacha gonna do, move hundreds of millions from India to NE Canada?  Besides, there are other resources running out or limited in Canada too (heating fuel?).  Water tables are receding dangerously in all the worlds major farming areas: India, China, US great plains.  It's only happenstance that we may run low on oil first and water second.  With endless exponential "growth" we're bound to run out of everything before long.
It's only happenstance that we may run low on oil first and water second.

No, I think if we had lots of oil, water would not be that big a problem.  We could simply build a lot of desalination plants.  

Given enough energy, we can solve just about any problem.  But when it's energy that is the problem...it's bend over and pass the Vaseline time.  (Oops...Vaseline's made of petroleum.)

That's great...and we would pump it 6,000 kms too, up verticals of 6,000 ft.    

Why not  -  the fusion future.

It's all about population!

Leanan wrote:
No, I think if we had lots of oil, water would not be that big a problem.  We could simply build a lot of desalination plants.

Leanan, this might be true in theory, but it is really ridiculous to propose that we could desalinate enough water to replace the water currently used around the world for irrigation. We would need thousands of desal plants. The Yellow river is used, almost entirely for irrigation and for most of the year it never reaches the sea. Imagine building enough desal plants to replace the water in theYellow River. Or the Colorado River, all the hundreds of rivers and aquifers around the world that are going dry because too much water is being pumped out.

The Soviets diverted the rivers feeding the Aral Sea to grow cotton. Now the Aral Sea is almost dry. Do you suppose that if we had enough oil we could just build enough desal plants and fill it up again? And the same for Lake Chad and all the other lakes and rivers of the world that are drying up because of massive irrigation.

I haven't done the math but I would bet that if we wished to replace all the world's irrigation water with desalinated water, we would need at least one hundred times as much oil as we have now.  And imagine what that would do to global warming, burning one hundred times the oil we do now.

Ron Patterson


Try desalinating the Dust Bowl. That should make it clear enough.

Unlimited energy can theoretically solve almost all problems. But one remains: the very use of that energy, and the pollution -or waste- it produces. That could only be solved by using more energy, which would lead to more waste, which could only be solved by using more energy, which... (copy and paste).

Unlimited energy (when used) equals unlimited waste.


River diversion, that very term brings up China. The most megalomanic project in the history of mankind is underway as we speak, digging 1000's of miles of canals and tunnels to divert water from the relatively wet south to the very dry and desertifying north.

Mao started talking about it 50 years ago, and it will take another 50 to complete.

The South to North China Water Diversion mega-project is the largest of its kind ever planned. In November 2002 the hugely ambitious, multi-billion dollar river diversion plan was given the go-ahead by the Chinese government.

The main aim of the project is to alleviate the water shortage in northern China around Beijing, the Tianjin municipality and Hebei province by diverting water from the south of the country.

The three south-to-north canals, which will stretch across the eastern, middle and western parts of China, will eventually link the country's four major rivers - the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Huaihe River and the Haihe River.

The first and second phases of the east route and the first phase of the middle route will be constructed by 2010. It is hoped that by 2008 enough of the infrastructure will be in place to help Qingdao host the water sports during the 2008 Olympic Games. The total cost of this work is estimated to be more than US$22 billion. Construction of the west route, the largest of the three, will cost US$36 billion.

Planning of the South-to-North Water Diversion Projects started in the 1950s and will take almost 50 years to construct. By 2050 it is expected the project will be capable of shifting 44.8 billion cubic metres of water annually.

One problem that is not part of the planning process: melting glaciers. By the time the project is finished, 50 years from now, there will be hardly any water left, the southern rivers are fed by the Himalaya's.

It'll be a fitting end for Peak Stupidity.

Do you suppose that if we had enough oil we could just build enough desal plants and fill it up again?

In a word...yes.

I'm not saying it would be desirable, mind.

In a word...yes.

Do the math Leanan you might have some surprises.
In other words, though your statement "Given enough energy, we can solve just about any problem" holds in principle, there are HUGE AMOUNTS of "energy equivalent" consumption in many, many natural ressources we squander mindlessly.

Given unlimited (non-carbon emitting) energy, we could just build decarbonation plants for the air. Bury all that CO2, or shoot it into space.
Or leave this planet, and find others to exploit...
One simple solution is stop the madness of watering lawns.

Releasing water on the ground to artifically produce wetlands for waterfowl.

Quit draining wetlands for humans to have more sprawl space and pretend they are living the rural lifestyle.

Stop irrigating crop land when normal rainfall is insufficient and live on what we can actually produce, even though this means a lot of the rest of the world must learn to better shepherd their resources as well, in other words quit trying to be the worlds saviour and just live with what we got.

Turn off the 'green revolution'.

Stop washing streets, let the residents sweep them off.

Ice hockey? Forget it.

Swimming pools in everymans backyard? Ignorant.

Sprinkling desert land in Arizona to grow grass? Fools.

Huge water fountains in Vegas? Screw the gamblers. Let them eat dust.

The list can go on and on and on. Just as long as human stupidity can go on and on and on. Live within the parameters or die off. Thats what it is coming down to.

Why does India need all that water? Could all our ignorant offshoring of our once domestic jobs have anything to do with it?  

Two years ago this would have been utter nonsense. Today I submit it makes sense. You can't legislate people's lifestyle so nature is going to do take over that job for us.

Sorry vtpeaknik , but I think you have contradicted yourself. We are not in the same boat for exactly the reason you have said we are: hundreds of people will and cannot be moved. So the 'Boats' are all local.
It's all one boat, marco. Read up on ecosystems some.
"It's all one boat"

I strongly disagree on the basis that local conditions are so different. Continents are separated by big swathes of water called oceans which have a tendancy to keep eco-systems, people, cultures, resources apart. I cannot even believe I am debating this.

Sure if you fully understand controll theory as applied to climate/geology and know your boundaries and 879,057,423 variables then yes you could treat earth as one boat.


WRT oil/transport/enegry it is only recently that we have satrted to become 'Globalised' and we are still a long way from that. Once (if!!) the earth becomes one big community with everyone earning the same eating the same stuff and drinking the same water and living in what Plato might call Atlantis or Utopia then tell me we are all in one boat.


I'm in Toronto, does that count?

I've read that the Great Lakes are already approaching their lowest levels since measurements began. And anytime I've gone fishing with my dad we have to take a guide with us to determine if the fish we catch are safe to eat or have too much mercury for human consumption.

So even here, in a province with something like a half million freshwater lakes, it's not like the place is untouched either.

I just worry if a water trade is seriously developed with the US, because as I understand it according to Article 6 of NAFTA it would then become a trading commodity that we could not legally unilaterally stop selling you. Sort of like the situation we're in where we have to sell you our natural gas.

In any case, even with all this water, is the world supposed to all move to Canada???

The world has lotsa problems, and I'd like us humans to work on them.  The thing is though, water shortages in India and mercury concentration in fish are not the same problem.

The generalization builds the fear ... but does it build the action?

BTW, I'll take my shower this morning with a low flow head, I sure hope everyone mad at me here is doing the same:


I will too.

No, I know what you're saying, but if the question is potable fresh water, then certainly contamination factors into the equation as well. There's plenty of fresh water in standing pools around the tar sands too, but I sure as hell wouldn't drink it!

I keep seeing these McMansion showers that have the lowflow heads. But there are 6 or 8 heads blasting from head to toe.
they're actually standard in all new construction, but you're definitlely right about the cumulative affect!
If you are right and this is now standard, we are doomed. Not because of the water consumption. The notion of a market full of monied homebuyers needing this sort of gratification, reckless of their planet, heads up their ass -- that scares me.
reckless of their planet, heads up their ass -- that scares me.
You scare me.
I am now visualizing millions of people addicted to the gratification of sticking lowflow heads up their asses. Please don't do that.
Read Grant Morrison if you want scary images. I can't compete.
The last time I saw an ad for this type of shower there must have been six tiltable heads in the shower ceiling, and six on each of three sides.  My thought was "And this is the pinnacle of peak oil."  Funny that you brought it up.
This is an easy one to connect:

Electricity for that gentleman to run his water pump, and for industrial ag. in general, comes from coal-fired power plants.  And where do those fishes get their mercury contamination?  The steady rain, planet-wide, of mercury from those same power plants.  

I noticed yesterday, in the news, that India's economy is growing at an astounding rate.

Separating 'challenges' into many discrete parts may lead to an overwhelming seeming number of challenges facing us - no?  We all see the world differently, but for me, it's pretty simple that we're over-consuming, over-populating, and lack humility.  

Scaling back (aka powerdown, simplification, whatever) will solve many problems simultaneously.  Many tech fixes of individual problems just cause two more problems somewhere else.

Go Humans!!

P.S. I think these places provide a stark warning, and deserve assistance, but it's a misrepresentation to say that this is our whole world, right now.

I mean, would Cuba have the same post-oil message if it were exactly the same as India?

It is a lot of the world right now unfortunately. Isreal and Palestine. The U.S. midwest and northwest. Parts of China.
I understand that overuse of "fossil water" is a problem in many regions.  I'm less convinced that overuse of fossil water is itself a proof of world-wide human overshoot.

Actually, does anyone know what fraction of the population relies on non-replenished water sources?

Odograph, the article about India was all about a replenishable water source. You just don't get it do you? Rivers are a replenishable water source. The vast Ogallala Aquifer is replenishable yet it is drying up like there is no tomorrow. When you pump water from an aquifier at many times the rate nature can replenish it, it does not matter that it is replenishable. Yes, there are fossil aquifers like the one Saudi Arabia is pumping dry. But most of the world's aquifers are replenishable. From the above link:

but levels are generally still dropping, particularly in the southern parts at rates exceeding one hundred times the replacement rate.

One hundred times the replacement rate! And that is right here in the United States of America. As I said Odograph, you simply do not get the message. The whole damn world has a very serious water problem.

Ron Patterson

Come on Ron when you say "One hundred times the replacement rate!" you are saying what I am, that they are dipping into the fossil resource.

Otherwise, the resource would be gone immediately.

In absolute terms hardly any ground-water exists completely independently of the natural water cycle. However, water moves at very different speeds in different aquifer layers, and in addition the distances travelled may vary greatly. Where water has to cover hundreds or even thousands of kilometres at speeds of the order of several metres a year, it may stay in the subsoil for periods of up to tens of thousands of years.

This does not mean that this "fossil' water, as hydrologists call it, is stagnant or that there is no renewal of water in these very extensive deep aquifers. It is simply that the renewal is very very slow.



I think the Ogalalla is a fossil aquifer so it is not replenishing.  Once that water is gone, it's gone.  But many of the replenishable aquifers world-wide are being depleted faster than they can replenish, hence declining water tables, deeper wells, etc.  And I wonder, when Odograph says we are not in the same boat as India, how he defines the boat.  True, we in the U.S. don't currently face the same water issues as India, but we're not too far off.  And we here in the Northeast don't face the same water issues as LA and San Diego.  So, are we in the same boat in the U.S., the western hemisphere, or the world?  Odograph needs to read Lester Brown's Outgrowing the Earth or Plan B 2.0 to see how far-reaching our water issues are before deciding who is in what boat.

I've actually acknowledged problems (use and overuse of fossil water), and mentioned that I take this seriously enough to change my own use.

Kinda leaves me wondering why people say I'll never get it and etc.

I've even acknowledged that if much of our use is coming from such fossil sources we are in big trouble.

I don't think the Ogallala Aquifer counts as fossil water in a strict sense, because it is being recharged.  But it's being recharged at an extremely slow rate compared to what's being discharged.  
I probably shouldn't bother you about such a small thing:

"The Ogallala fossil water aquifer in the Central Plains is being depleted by agricultural and urban extraction, with no effective recharge"

pg 17, (pdf warning) Water, Energy and Security, EESI Congressional Briefing, U.S. Department of Energy

Sorry to be pedantic on this fine Saturday.

You are both saying the same thing. Extremely slow is simply a better way of saying no effective recharge, because effective is a debatable term. It's impossible to have no recharge at all, ask the boy in the bubble.
This is why I chastised myself about being pedantic, yes.  And  as I quoted above, ... "This does not mean that this 'fossil' water, as hydrologists call it, is stagnant or that there is no renewal of water in these very extensive deep aquifers. It is simply that the renewal is very very slow."

But there I going being pedantic again .... I must chastise myself some more!

(we actually do have a lot of agreement here)

Stop it!  You're driving me to drink (water)!
Actually I'm glad I found that now that I finish reading the whole thing.  Lots of good stuff on the energy/water relationship, as you were writing of earlier today.
The Ogallala aquifer is not exactly a fossil aquifer. see here
From that source:

Much of the groundwater presently in the Ogalalla is fossil water that has accumulated during tens of thousands of years of extremely slow infiltration.

Darn it, must stop ...

The trajectory that ethanol takes us on contributes to aquifer depletion.  Water is more precious than running SUV's.  Here are a couple of interesting links:

Conserving the Ogallala Aquifer

An individual pays only the pumping cost and not for the value of the water removed from the common pool.  The private costs of pumping are therefore less than the social costs of withdrawing water.  Excessive pumping is the result.

Nebraska Sandhills conceal massive aquifer

In the entire High Plains Aquifer the place where water is deepest is beneath the sandhills.

"I think the Ogalalla is a fossil aquifer so it is not replenishing. "

I read somewhere that some places where the aquifer has been pumped to exhaution, the ground level actually dropped(compressed) measureable amounts(was it vegas?).  Once the ground water was pumped out, the spaces collapsed/compressed and the article said it was not reversible.

Rwmcalister wrote:

Ron-- I think the Ogalalla is a fossil aquifer so it is not replenishing.

No, the Ogallala aquifier is quite shallow and does replenish, though not nearley as fast as irrigation water is being pumped from it. As the article points out, some of the water dates back to the last ice age. Yet it does replenish. But you are quite correct, when it is pumped dry, all the crops irrigated from it will be no more. But that is the case all over the world. That is called overshoot.

The depth of the water below the surface of the land ranges from almost 400 feet (122 m) in parts of the north to between 100 to 200 feet (30 to 61 m) throughout much of the south. Present-day recharge of the aquifer with fresh water occurs at a slow rate; this implies that much of the water in its pore spaces is paleowater, dating back to the last ice age.

Ron Patterson

Is there actually debate on whether we are in overshoot!?

It is truly amazing the places we indulge denial.

It's all about population!

Would the world be a happier place with a lower human population burden?  Most likely. Is this "overshoot" in the strict sense that the population will crash back fast or slow?  Moer debatable.
This brings up a good point.  A shortage in a small part of the world could cause a war that eventually drags in many other parts of the world via alliances and fear of a shift in the balance of power.  I guess it would have been a lot cheaper to bribe ethnic Serbs in 1914 to put up with the Austro-Hungarian empire than fight World War I, but no one foresaw the one problem escalating into the other.  It would be ironic that a resource war would consume far more resources than what they were originally fighting over, but we know that governments do this.
I think that hinges on the Indian situation being typical, world-wide. "We" might be in overshoot if "we" are all in the same boat as those Indians, on water, etc.
Any posters from the Canadian Northeast here today, what's your perspective?

Odograph, it is way, way past the time that you, and others with similar cornucopian opinions, should wake up and smell the coffee. Water tables are dropping all over the world. You must live a sheltered life and never read a newspaper or watch the news to believe that there is not a worldwide water problem.  And to imply that because the Canadian Northeast does not have the same problem that the vast majority of the rest of the world has, is just dumb, dumb, dumb!

I think these places provide a stark warning, and deserve assistance, but it's a misrepresentation to say that this is our whole world, right now.

Our assistance And just what the hell do you propose that we do. Ship water to India? Then we could ship water to Bangladesh, and China, and Pakistan, and the rest of the world where the vast majority of the world's people live. Get real, the problem is too damn many people trying to draw far too much water from the world's rivers and underground water supply. There is not one damn thing we can do except watch them die.

I mean, would Cuba have the same post-oil message if it were exactly the same as India?

Funny you should mention Cuba. That just shows how far out of touch you are with reality. Cuba is now having a drastic food shortage and a critical water shortage.  That link is from this month. And this one goes back two years. The water and food shortage in Cuba goes back many years.

And as for the worldwide problem, I could post several thousand links going back for a couple of decades. The deserts are expanding all over the world, rivers and lakes are drying up and everywhere in the world, even in the United States, water tables are dropping, usually several meters per year.

And you think this is only a problem for India? Where on earth have you been for the last thirty years?

WE, the whole damn world, are deep into overshoot. Only a man who is totally out of touch with reality could possibly deny that.

Ron Patterson

Worldwide water shortage

Water Shortage Will Leave World in Dire Straits

Global Water Shortage Looms In New Century

And I could post thousands more explaining that the whole damn world is suffering from a water shortage.

Is it as easy to find stories of floods?

Look, as I said I do get the problem with using fossil water sources.  I understand that if someone drills down to ancient rainfall, and it is not being replenished by current rain or snowfall, it is a finite resource, just like oil  Very much like oil.

So sure, around the world, well fileds will deplete.

The big question is what fraction of world water demand is being met by fossil water.  If that number is known, and it is big, I'll have to concede.

What about people who are using up water faster than it's being replenished?  Or the people who depend on glaciers that may be gone in ten years for their water?  
Glaciers are a little more complicated (net gains and losses), but sure, the same principle applies.
Imperialism is also a major problem as corporatists push the commodification of water, http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=54&ItemID=11077

At this point in time, I would say that greed is a greater problem than population as it creates and continues the inequities leading to population growth. And since greed at bottom is immoral and the USE is the greed leader, it is ever more the leader in immorality, even without its wars.

Actually, whilst youre talking about glaciers, the idea has been takled about many times of towing ice-bergs to places as a fresh water supply!


It's not just people, it's entire ecosystems. The Kilimanjaro's meltwater is the only source of water for millions of animals, and the plantlife they depend on.

In times of drought, elephants and other species trek 100's of miles from the Serengeti and Great Rift Valley towards the "wet" land beneath the mountain, their final option.

The snow peak is not the only tourist attraction that will soon be gone. The animals will have no place left to go.

Also, Africa these days is full of stories of lakes that are drying up at record pace. This doesn't just affect drinking water, it cuts of electricity to scores of people as well.

Now we might presume that since there is a water cycle, what goes missing in one place, will end up somewhere else. But that is not entirely correct. Why?

Ask yourself what makes the sea levels rise.

Less frozen water.
What are they doing with the water?  How much of what they are doing  with water is relevant to meeting biological necessities?

Stable glaciers obviously were not providing water, though they play an important role in regulating the flow of snow melt.  New ways will have to be found and/or implemented to capture irregular fresh water flows.  Not many grey cells will be consumed in this process.

Even with the stress of 6 - 9 billion people, the stress of climate change and the stress of emerging problems like adaptive germs, our fundamental problems are mental.  The solutions are an exercise of the divine gift of self-reflective consciousness.

Give it up, darwinian. Some people will never learn.
Odograph, it is way, way past the time that you, and others with similar cornucopian opinions, should wake up and smell the coffee.

I am getting a bit tired of repeating this : odograph is NOT a cornucopian and there is no point arguing "honestly" with him it just wastes more thread space than he is wasting himself.

Kev, I don't read Odo the way that you do. My take is that he  challenges unwarranted doom and gloom while being open to change his views. Hopefully you can too :)
My take is that he challenges unwarranted doom and gloom while being open to change his views.

His "challenges" only amount to denial, blatant lies and weaseling, plus a lot of plain noise like pancakes and sausage.
Did you read the link I already made above?
Where he PRETENDS that I have argued :

We're all gonna die, because a can of soda needs 3.6 cents worth of aluminum!!!

Where I fact I said the OPPOSITE, that the cost of aluminium does not matter for soda cans because it is negligible.
Could you substanciate this claim of yours that he is "open to change his views", he is NOT!

Hopefully you can too :)

Because they are so dire I would LOVE to change my views but I am not buying snake oil, propaganda or any other bullshit.

Self-proclaimed Darwinian, do you actually read the articles to which you provide links.  Regarding Cuba, neither article related to food.  There is no food shortage in Cuba.  The country produces about 2700 calories per person. It is done with organic agriculture including much urban agriculture.  The articles did relate to water.  One them talked about the negligence of employees resulting in a local water problem, the other related to another local water issue.

You like to present yourself as someone connected to science, but reaching conclusions and preaching doom without evidence belies this self-presentation.

Toilforoil, If you knew one tiny thing about biology then you would know that a Darwinian is simply someone who believes Darwin was correct in his description of natural selection. But I know that you know absolutely nothing about biology so I could not expect anything more of you.

Food Shortage Worsens In Cuba

It is nevertheless clear that monthly subsidized ration allowances have grown slimmer over the years, providing Cubans with what most experts agree is less than two weeks worth of food for every month. Eggs, for example, are restricted to 6 to 8 per person per month.

Although the above article is two years old, there has of late been an increase into food imports to Cuba, much of it from the United States. 37 States Now Exporting Food To Cuba; $57 Million In Poultry Alone

This has somewhat lessened Cuba's dire food shortage of two years ago but it still exist.

Ron Patterson who believes Darwin got it right. That alone makes me a Darwinian.

I live near Toronto.  The idea of shipping water from Canada so people can golf in Pheonix is crazy.  Yes Canada has lots of water but it is fragile.  Local communities have to live within their resources. That includes India.  If the NAFTA regulations kicked in, whereby water became a bulk commodity that we had to supply to the U.S. and the World, then I think there would be many many Canadian terrorist fighting to stop it.  Right now I can't water my lawn most summers while Aberfoyle Springs ships bottled water around the world.  Water that comes from the same springs as my community's. (Guelph, Ontario)
The situation has certainly deteriorated when odograph is labeled a cornucopian.
Malthus was an optimist.
Not sure of DIYer's humor level here, but people are obviously busting my chops because I don't believe collapse is preordained at this point.

I guess that's the Saturday morning consensus at TOD anyway - a cornucopian is someone who does not belive we in overshoot and hanging before an inevitable collapse.

BTW, oh yeah, all us Cornucopians drive Priuses.  We were shoulder to shoulder down at the Toyota dealer.

:-) :-) :-)
because I don't believe collapse is preordained at this point.

You are not asked to "believe" just to make a PROPER counter argument, which part of the word FI-NI-TE don't you understand?

Or is it the word subtracting?

This bare bones numerical argument has never made sense to me.  Yes, the earth is a finite mass(*).  Some resourcs on earth are finite and small (gold) and some are finite and large (seawater).

You seem to think that since we use "stuff" we will use up (a) use up the small resources and (b) not find a way to exploit the large ones.

Is that proven?  I don't think so.  I think actually that you don't even want to try.  That's why you always talk about things being "finite" and them suffering from "subraction" and stop there.

Dealing with our actual roster of resources, their rates of recycling and depletion, and available (and more plentiful) replacements is too complicated.

I don't blame you.  It is too complicated.  Of course once we grasp that we might have to abandon preordained outcomes.

If we are honest.

* - with a small mass exchange in and out of the atmosphere

This bare bones numerical argument has never made sense to me.

Yeah! this passes your poor powers of comprehension, well, it's only a disability of yours.

You seem to think that since we use "stuff" we will use up (a) use up the small resources and (b) not find a way to exploit the large ones.

What this messed up statement is supposed to mean?
  • That we will use "small resources" before "large ones", i.e. NOT picking the low hanging fruit first?
  • That we can replace ANY exhausted small ressource by some large one, oil by seawater, Eh?
  • That we can replace small used up high value ressources by low value ones, like using aluminium silicates instead of bauxite?
  • Or do you mean NOTHING in particular, just your usual blather?
Is that proven? I don't think so. I think actually that you don't even want to try. That's why you always talk about things being "finite" and them suffering from "subraction" and stop there.

Subtracting from a finite quantity has a pretty obvious result, if you know better YOU have to do the "math", YOU "have to try", show us your "good model" to sustain your belief.

Dealing with our actual roster of resources, their rates of recycling and depletion, and available (and more plentiful) replacements is too complicated.

It is "too complicated" ONLY if you try to compute it bottom up, trying to sum up a whole "roster of resources" to find a grand total.
It IS NOT TOO COMPLICATED if you do it TOP DOWN : any squandered bit of ressource is lost for good once and for all.

As for recycling I already delt with that but you did not answer this :

Since the very moment recycling would have entirely substituted for new mining for reason of unaffordable ROI of mining (hopefully assuming the ROI of recycling will not be so dire as to prevent reuse of the recycled materials for the same purposes as the genuine source), then the total available amount of this ressource WILL NOT GROW anymore! It will even slowly decrease because there will be losses in the recycling.

If we are honest.

YOU ARE NOT HONEST, this is the whole point.

Well, obviously the collapse gurus' message does resonate more strongly with those who are willing to reduce the world to simple elements:  "There are people and there are resources.  Since people use resources, they will run out."

"any squandered bit of ressource is lost for good once and for all"

To me things like photosynthesis give lie to that.  Burn a tree, and it is lost to the atmosphere.  Grow a tree and you get it back.

Recycling arguments for metals etc., might be interesting as well ... but they sure are not one-size-fits all arguments.  We leave tons of aluminum at the side of the road, while people make good livings bringing up gold from centuries old shipwrecks.

Gosh, if it's all just resources, why didn't they pick up cans?

Or if they were convinced that their recycling was ultimately futile, why didn't they just stay in bed?

BTW, if you DO want to average out past those hard questions of which metals are which, how much do we have, and what do we do with them. If you DO just want to say that x hundred years from now metals will be distributed across the planet in an unrecoverable dust ...

  1. how do you know our metal reqirements that far out?
  2. how do you know the limits of non-metal tech that far out?
  3. what does that have to do with peak oil in 2006?
Gathering replies to both posts.

Well, obviously the collapse gurus' message does resonate more strongly with those who are willing to reduce the world to simple elements: "There are people and there are resources. Since people use resources, they will run out."

I SPECIFICALLY made the distinction between FINITE ressources and renewable ones : You don't switch to ALL RENEWABLE ressources.
With your abilities at untruthfulness you would probably make more money at Fucks News than at TOD.

"any squandered bit of ressource is lost for good once and for all"

To me things like photosynthesis give lie to that. Burn a tree, and it is lost to the atmosphere.

A tree is renewable, ain't it?
Therefore not conclusive, see above.

Grow a tree and you get it back.

Except, may be...
You need sun, soil and water.
Make sure the water comes from RENEWABLE source, non fossil, non arctic ice, etc...
Make sure the soil is not DEPLETED of critical minerals and not washed out or blown off by poor management, soil is renewable ONLY at geological time scales (just like oil!) NOT at human time scale, decades or centuries.

We leave tons of aluminum at the side of the road, while people make good livings bringing up gold from centuries old shipwrecks.

The high value of gold makes retrieval worthwhile for gold coins in "centuries old shipwrecks", will it be the same for gold plated electric contacts once they are scattered in garbage dumps among tons of other rubbish?
As you say: they sure are not one-size-fits all arguments.

Gosh, if it's all just resources, why didn't they pick up cans?

Some do in third world countries, the current value ($.036 per can) do not make it worthwhile yet elsewhere.
But you STILL DO NOT ADDRESS the question of the losses in the recycling.

Or if they were convinced that their recycling was ultimately futile, why didn't they just stay in bed?

As per above, westerners do "stay in bed", the "poors" don't but they will also "stay in bed" if instead of whole empty cans they can only find tiny shreds not worth the effort (EROEI below 1).

1. how do you know our metal reqirements that far out?

AT CURRENT POPULATION LEVELS, extrapolations of current needs do not extend the expected availabilities into centuries but rather only DECADES for many of the critical minerals.

How do you know our metal requirements will DROP in a few decades?

2. how do you know the limits of non-metal tech that far out?

It is NOT "that far out", I am not talking ONLY about metals, non-metal tech replacement for most metals are NOT there, still your belief that YET TO BE MADE innovations will show up whenever wished for.

Known non-metal tech are nearly always ENERGY INTENSIVE and need metals in their production facilities.

3. what does that have to do with peak oil in 2006?

I am NOT talking only about metals, you are.
As I mentionned to another sucker :
Oil being currently our principal and most efficient energy source is the most prominent critical ressource of our time.
The only thing I need to know about oil is that it is a finite ressource and this is clearly vindicated by the majority consensus at TOD even if opinions differ about the timings an rates of depletion.

As for metals, mining, refining AND recycling are energy intensive, running short of oil means running short of CHEAP energy, means the ROI on all metals processing is getting WORSE and WORSE.
Peak oil in 2006 is the beginning of trouble EVERYWHERE.

Now, just for my personal venting, what's gonna be your next lie, ya motherfucker?

Yup, this is what overshoot looks like. The two articles in the Times are the equivalent of Wile E. Coyote off the cliff, legs still moving, looking down
Self-proclaimed Darwinian, whose thinking resembles Darwin as much as Stalin's thinking resembled Marx writes:

"This puts the lie to people who claim that we are not in overshoot and all we have to do is consume less oil and everything will be okay."

No it doesn't.  Who is using the water?  How is it being used? Does the agricultural use of water employ techniques such as drip irrigation?  What crops are being grown?  

The article does contain this interesting comment and then provides no further information:

"The fear now, among those who study Indian agriculture, is that without a careful review of water policy and a switch to crops that use less water, India stands to imperil its food production."

I sure hope I never find myself in a court with a jury of type of fossilized minds that are dominating this thread today.  Facts anybody?  Analysis?   Oh, why bother with that.  The headline is enough to reach a verdict.

India has serious problems.  At the top of the list is fatalism, a crippling viewpoint which evidently has many on this list in its grip.

In his oblique way, Frank Zappa used to regularly remind us that necessity is the mother of invention. I was thinking of this recently when re-reading Georgescu-Roegen's "The Entropy Law and the Economic Process".  One point that G-R re-iterated was there is a fundamental need for elites to provide "cheap bread", in order to maintain their station and privilege.  This is of course why among other reasons agriculture will have access to fossil fuel energy long after wants of lesser import such as motorized individual transport will be sucking on a dry tit.

But despite an ongoing and privileged access to declining oil and gas, rising fuel costs will on the fossil fuel downslope energize the move to sustainable agriculture and sustainable water use, eventually freeing the provision of these biological necessities from dependence on fossilized solar.  Herein lies a truly wonderful opportunity presented by Peak Oil to those searching for a productive use of their powers of imagination and creativity and their entrepeneurship and leadership.


Toilforoil wrote:
Self-proclaimed Darwinian, whose thinking resembles Darwin as much as Stalin's thinking resembled Marx writes: "This puts the lie to people who claim that we are not in overshoot and all we have to do is consume less oil and everything will be okay."
No it doesn't. Who is using the water? How is it being used? Does the agricultural use of water employ techniques such as drip irrigation? What crops are being grown?

For starters Toil, a Darwinian is anyone who accepts the principles of natural selection as described by Darwin, it doesn't matter what your opinions on other subjects are. Darwin did not, to my knowledge, have an opinion on water usage or peak oil. The whole damn world is using the water. To suggest that if India or China would simply use the principles of drip irrigation and then all the water problems would be solved, is just down in the dirt stupid.

The article does contain this interesting comment and then provides no further information:
"The fear now, among those who study Indian agriculture, is that without a careful review of water policy and a switch to crops that use less water, India stands to imperil its food production."
I sure hope I never find myself in a court with a jury of type of fossilized minds that are dominating this thread today. Facts anybody? Analysis? Oh, why bother with that. The headline is enough to reach a verdict.
India has serious problems. At the top of the list is fatalism, a crippling viewpoint which evidently has many on this list in its grip.

Fossilized minds are the kind that simply believe that everyone in the world can simply change their behavior if we simply point out to them the error of their ways. The water tables are dropping. The river is polluted with raw sewage and floating bodies.  The children are dying of diarrheal diseases at the rate of many thousands per day. And up steps Toilforoil and says: "Why you dumb asses. Here is all you have to do. Change the types of crops you grow and convert to drip irrigation and all your problems would be solved. It's all your own fault! Na-nana-nana!

Armchair dreamers can come up with thousands of so-called solutions for every problem in the world. However anyone with an ounce of common sense should know that unless a solution can actually be implemented it is not worth a dried up dog turd. But you are going to tell the Indians, and the Chinese, and the Bangladeshis and about three fourths of the world's people to simply change their behavior, change their farming habits, change their irrigation systems and a dozen other things?

The world is not going to change simply because of your plan to save the world Toilforoil. And for God's sake stop calling me a "Self Proclaimed Darwinian. A Darwinian is anyone who believes that normal variation and natural selection is the driving force of evolution. Got that Toilforoil, anyone! I don't believe you know anything about Darwin because I don't believe you have ever read him.

Ron Patterson

1.    (sometimes lowercase) pertaining to Charles Darwin or his doctrines.
2.    a follower of Charles Darwin; a person who accepts or advocates Darwinism.

I don't have a plan to save the world, Ron.  I observe that learning, creativity, entrepeneurship are among the many saving graces of our species.

Because your genes don't seem to have imparted the capacity for rational thought doesn't mean I should conclude that the majority of humans are in the same boat.

You might spend some time putting your self-proclaimed darwinism in the light of your evident fatalism and see if any thoughts emerge.

I observe that learning, creativity, entrepeneurship are among the many saving graces of our species.

A double edged sword which makes us squander FINITE ressources just for the fun of "entrepeneurship" and technical "creativity".

Because your genes don't seem to have imparted the capacity for rational thought doesn't mean I should conclude that the majority of humans are in the same boat.

The pot calling the kettle black.
You don't seem too be much favored by your genes as rational thought is concerned.
Nevertheless would you mind to argue ad rem instead of ad hominem?
That is, argue about HOW learning, creativity and entrepeneurship turn finite ressources into cornucopia?

You might spend some time putting your self-proclaimed darwinism in the light of your evident fatalism and see if any thoughts emerge.

YOU might spend some time learning about darwinism before darwinism gets you!

FWIW: You're probably just wasting your effort arguing with him, and probably raising your blood pressure to boot. Some people are just are not worth it.

>  Toilforoil and says: "Why you dumb asses. Here is all you have to do. Change the types of crops you grow and convert to drip irrigation and all your problems would be solved"

For your reference (if you were not already aware): Drip irrigation has its problems too. For one, the tubes are only good for about three seasons before they become hoplessly clogged. The tubes are are made using petroleum as feedstock to boot. Drip irrigation also can degrade the soil because it promotes the build up of salt in top soil when well water is used because there is insufficient water to flush out the salt. It also isn't cheap, and few farmers in india would be able to afford the costs.

The projections don't bear this out. Population is not projected to grow forever, but is expected to max out at around 9 billion or so, and then decline. Better fill up that straw man a little better before you take another whack at him.
Slaphappy wrote:
The projections don't bear this out. Population is not projected to grow forever, but is expected to max out at around 9 billion or so, and then decline. Better fill up that straw man a little better before you take another whack at him.

Slaphappy, I have no idea what projections you are referring to. I even clicked on [parent] and that did not give me a clue. So please copy and paste, or tell us who you are calling a strawman. I might disagree with you and I might not but I do not know what text you are replying to. But no one expects the population to grow forever. In fact the 9 billion max you are talking about is nothing but projections by demographers. Based on what is happening to the environment and oil reserves, the population is not likely to get anywhere 9 billion.

Ron Patterson

I have no idea what projections you are referring to.

Googling for "world population projection" took about 3 seconds, and came up with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Population Division) World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision, volume III: Analytical Report, whose second paragraph starts off with:

"In these projections, world population peaks at 9.22 billion in 2075."

So I suspect the answer is these projections.

Pitt, you can google until the cows come home and it will not tell you who Slaphappy was referring to. Who was he calling a strawman because his projections did not recognise the limits you posted.

But please try to google that and tell me who is the strawman Slaphappy was referring to and what was his projections?

Ron Patterson

As I was saying about rational thinking...

There is also this summary article by demographer Philip Longman, whose concern is that an abrupt, natural, decline in world population beginning about 2075 will entail serious problems:


As I was saying about rational thinking...

Rationality means among many things not bothering about moot points.

an abrupt, natural, decline in world population beginning about 2075 will entail serious problems

Don't worry, ANOTHER abrupt, natural (or not...), decline in world population will have happened much before 2075.

I read this book.  To anyone who is even moderate about the effects of resource depletion, global warming or destruction of the environment, the conclusions espoused in it make absolutely no sense.  Longman is from the "more people equals more innovation" school, and the consequences of negative population growth are simply brushed off. OTOH, less people means we will have trouble supporting our aging populations in the style they have been accustomed to, darn it.

Self-proclaimed Seadragon

The UN projectiona for 2075 have no more validity than I can suck out of my opposable digits. This is not a serious discussion. Next in line to be brought in is Nostradamus?

The only purpose these projections serve is to get hefty salaries for a bunch of bozo's with academic degrees. Want to know how many times these projections have changed over the past 20 years? Not so long ago (5 years?) it was 12 billion by 2050, equally moronic. No-one can predict the weather more than 4 days in advance, to any reliable degree. too many variables.

And still, my opposable digits tell me to listen to Richard Duncan. At least he has tried to do the best he could.

And no-one has proven him wrong as far as I can tell. Except for himself, when fine-tuning.

This is actually an interesting trend. The projections are repeatedly revised downward. There are many reasons for this (success of school lunch programs in the developing world is probably high on the list), but the projections are not random scribblings, any more than your precious peak oil is.

Yes, things can change, but the earth is a big ship, and it takes a long time to turn. Barring nuclear war or the total elimination of disease in the next few years, the result in 2050 will probably be fairly close to the projections, if not below (given the history of downward revisions).

UN projections.

Was referring to this line "No, we are deep into overshoot but still having more babies but are at the same time reducing the world's carrying capacity."

You're right that I misread this as one of the standard "The population will grow forever until we all die" arguments, which it only borders on.

Basically, unless you can demonstrate a problem with less than 2x current population, then it isn't a problem. I'm not saying that there aren't to many people, but rather that this whole "well, exponential growth until the year 2980 and even the Uranium will be used up..." nonsense is not viable.

You should check out the "Limits to Growth: The 30 year update".

It is pretty easy to see how overshoot and collapse happens. A town has a limited water supply. Population increases until the limit is reached. Instead of restricting population growth, the town starts using oil to ship water in from somewhere else and the population grows past the limit. Then oil gets expensive, and suddenly there is not enough water to go around.

This edition of the text has overshoot as a major focus. It is worth a read.

founded on a faulty premise. Who is it who said (paraphrasing) "What really does people in is not faulty logic, but rather faulty premises stretched to the point of delusion."

Anyway, doesn't matter. This does indeed happen if the town grows forever, and the only limitation on the town's growth is its water supply. A very unique situation indeed, perhaps true in some (very arid) places with rather unique family structures, but certainly not the rule.

As this premise has two parts, there are two problems with it.

  1. endless growth. According to the numbers, not going to happen. In addition, there's something deeply disturbing about projecting current trends far into the future without a truly compelling reason for their continuation. People are always tempted to do this, "if life expectancy keeps increasing at the present rate, then by 2188 people will be immortal..." might be a true statement, but that's quite a big "if" in there.

  2. The only (or even primary) limit to our currently society is our supply of oil. This just doesn't seem to be the case. For instance,  why have we not grown faster then while oil was cheap? If that was our primary limitation, it was no limitation at all for decades past, so what was the "real" limitation? Basically, this is another way of saying "without oil, society cannot continue.", unfortunately, I just don't buy it. Societies large and small existed long before oil, and very technologically advanced societies exist now that use a fraction of the oil used by other (also technologically advanced) societies. There just doesn't appear to be much connection between society and oil, so why imply one when it isn't clear from the data?

Basically, it all boils down to this. A mathematician who reaches an absurd conclusion therefore surmises that his premise was faulty. This is perhaps the primary means of proving anything in math. Why should we be any different? When you get a far out conclusion, you know that either your conclusion or your premise is wrong, given that you have every reason to doubt the conclusion (it does after all seem very different from "the norm"), it seems foolhardy to accept it unless your premise seems unimpeachable.

To put it still another way, how is it logically consistent to argue that the future will not be like the present (the conclusion) while simultaniously arguing that the future WILL be like the present (the premise)? If the conclusion is valid, then at some point, the world must transition to somethign that is very different from the present, why would your assumptions survive such a transition? This leap can be made (gravity will still work tomorrow...), but it takes some real evidence to make a convincing case of it.

Just my thoughts.

I read that, a chilling tale. The irony of water as old as oil. As oil is dinosaur blood, now so is the water:

With the population soaring past one billion and with a driving need to boost agricultural production, Indians are tapping their groundwater faster than nature can replenish it, so fast that they are hitting deposits formed at the time of the dinosaurs.

See also yesterday's part 1 of the series, and tomorrow's part 3.

Water and sewage crisis in New Delhi

An even bigger problem than demand is disposal. New Delhi can neither quench its thirst, nor adequately get rid of the ever bigger heaps of sewage that it produces. Some 45 percent of the population is not connected to the public sewerage system.

Those issues are amplified nationwide. More than 700 million Indians, or roughly two-thirds of the population, do not have adequate sanitation. Largely for lack of clean water, 2.1 million children under the age of 5 die each year, according to the United Nations.

And if 2.1 million childen didn't die each year?
Richard Duncan predicts 2 billion people left by 2050, so 4.5 billion (EXTRA!) will have to go in 43 years, a 100 million per year.
Of course that's oversimplified, world population will continue to grow for at least 5-10 years, so you will probably reach 200+ million additional deaths in say, 2040.
Talk about a compost heap.
I have this idea about Lipo-diesel. Solve obesity and energy shortages together.
By 2040, the world's population will be well in the 9 billion range.  Population growth don't simply just stop after population outgrows its resource base. Look at Africa.  Places like Somalia are among countries with some of the highest birth rates.  Energy poor, climate ravaged and war torn, Africa's population still contines to grow.  If you think that population will just drop side by side with the downslope of oil prouduction, than you are an optimist.
Interpreting Duncan, he would probably put world population around 3.5 billion by 2040.

Saying that it WILL be 9 billion without indicating why leads nowhere. The fact that Somalians are not yet below the minimum per capita energy requirement says nothing about 2040.

I suggest you read Duncan's Olduvai Theory

and/or this Oil Drum post: Revisiting Olduvai

Oil is just one part of Olduvai, electricity is the main factor.

I suggest you read Duncan's Olduvai Theory

and/or this Oil Drum post: Revisiting Olduvai

I suggest you keep in mind while reading it that both rely on flawed assumptions and logical errors.  From a cursory glance, these include key points, such as:

Since 1983 Oil Production per Capita has been flat. This has to mean one of two things:

    * Population Growth drives Oil Production, or;

    * Oil Production drives Population Growth.

This is a classic post hoc ergo propter hoc logical error.  There's no evidence to back up this key assertion.

Moreover, historical evidence argues that this assertion is very questionable, both for oil and for energy in general.  From their peak in 1978, total oil consumption in the US dropped 19% and total energy consumption dropped 9% even while the population grew by 5.5%.  That trend only stopped when the price of energy started falling in 1983.

There's another point to be stressed: in 2005 world oil production rose above 30 Gb/year, there's no reasonable logistic model that gives such a number....We're now on a local spike above the mathematical curve, one day we'll have to pay for this, diving below that curve. We might not see an Olduvai Cliff for Energy but one for Oil is almost guaranteed.

Unfounded assumption:  a single-logistic curve must describe global oil production.

When the observed data does not fit the model, it is often the case that it is the model that should be amended.

Since only Hydro-electric power is a renewable energy none of these scenarios is realistic.

The most obvious error here is the exclusion of solar power, although one could argue for wind, tidal, or even geothermal being worth mentioning.

And so on.

There may be valuable information in either or both of those opinion pieces, but it's important to keep in mind that both of those are, in very important ways, opinion pieces.

This, your post, is an opinion piece, and gives no evidence of you having read either of the pieces very well. Either your post is based on flawed reading, or you simply don't understand the point. Calling Olduvai a mere opinion piece does not make you look smart.

If anyone can provide proof of Duncan's failings, please do. This doesn't even come close. Many have tried, you better come better prepared.

PS Don't use outdated stats, looks ugly.

PS 2 US stats are useless, world stats are the issue. See: You simply don't understand the point.

And what's more: from your second DOE/EIA slide:
In 1978, the per capita use of energy peaked at 365 million Btu--a level not since repeated.

From Duncan:

The Olduvai Theory states that the life expectancy of industrial civilization is approximately 100 years circa 1930-2030. Ackerman's ("White's") Law defines it: e = Energy/Population. Four postulates follow:
  1. The exponential growth of world energy production ended in 1970.
  2. Average e will show no growth from 1979 to circa 2008.
  3. The rate of change of e will go steeply negative circa 2008.
  4. World population will decline proximate with e.

Or: your slide proves that Duncan is spot on.

PS Duncan is more focused on energy production than consumption.

OK...shameless spam on behalf  of my internet family...


Hello Roel,

From the picture: it looks like the kids are trying to get  paper and plastic product out of the reeking sewage to later dry, then use as fuel, probably for cooking a meager portion of "bugs and weed soup" spiced with the toxic smoke from petro-chemicals.  Detritovore 'trickle down economics' at its finest.  Too bad American kids, stupidly engrossed in their countless hours of video-gaming, can't see their possible [probable?] future as expressed in this photo.

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

For more than it is Politically Correct to think about, it will be a return to the past.

I have been as thin as those kids, my "sunday best" as good as those kids are wearing, right down to no shoes, and have had my share of cup o noodles, faux noodles with faux seasoning and a few dried chives and krill, for half my day's calories.

At that time, I had no bait to catch crabs or I'd have caught crabs. Didn't know to use my own shit, and didn't know that if one sits in the water for a while, the crabs will come check one out, and one can grab 'em. Grab a crab!

Odo we are in extreme overshoot mmKay? We need to go down to 1 billion worldwide, and if the reindeer are any guide, won't be able to do that and will be down to the "few breeding pairs" Lovelock talks about, less than a million, maybe quite a few less.

They should read The Humanure Handbook. Dumping sewage in rivers is incredibly stupid. Flush toilets should be banned. With proper composting human waste becomes a resource that can be returned to the fields. We are being Killed By Technology.
Hello Oaksmoke,

Yep, I agree.  Humanure always makes me think of the following 'poop-on-the-grass' excerpt from Dieoff.com:

Evolution theory clicked into focus when Dawkins explained that animals might be seen (by analogy) as nothing more than a gene's way of making more genes -- so called "selfish genes" (not the same as "selfish animals"). What appears to us as un-selfish behavior (technically known as "reciprocal altruism" [[7]]) evolves from selfish genes. Here's how it could happen:

Suppose a gene for "poop-on-the-rocks" and a gene for "poop-on-the-grass" are both present in a population of carnivores. Each of these genes is "selfish" in that it only cares about its own reproduction. Moreover, each of these genes controls the pooping habits of the carnivores they inhabit.

Those carnivores who "poop-on-the-grass" fertilize the ground, cause the grass to grow, the grass feeds the rabbits, the carnivores eat the rabbits, and finally make more "selfish, poop-on-the-grass" genes. Those carnivores who "poop-on-the-rocks" will starve to death, which in turn causes the "poop-on-the-rocks" gene to be eliminated from the gene pool.

The rabbits believe that the surviving carnivores are benevolent gods. The carnivores don't even think about it. When you boil it all down -- and cut through all the jargon -- evolution theory is simple and elegant!

Turds in potable water = "poop-on-the-rocks" --Bottoms up!  But getting people to switch, for their own good, will be next to impossible as the sad photo above illustrates.  But who knows?  If memory serves, I think it was Pres. Lincoln that was the first White House resident to have flush toilets.  Maybe Hillary, Condi, or whomever becomes Pres. in 2008 will set a good example by going back to chamberpots for humanure recycling.  President Bush already ships his bodily refuse back to the US instead of leaving it overseas when he travels.

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

Is it just me, or has there not been any of those plateau update posts in ages?
From what I've read, Stewart (Stuart?), the author of those plateua posts, is AWOL.

A shame, I really looked forward to them.

I will post a new Peak Update around mid-October. I'll try to make it a monthly post.
OK, but what's the Kebash on Stuart?  Someone knows but does not want to say.  If there are personal reasons he's bowed out...that's cool...just say it.
Start's web site is here:


He has contact information and even a place to leave a comment, if anyone wants to ask him.

It's interesting how on the net, social ties are much looser than in real life. People have been contributing actively here for more than a year, conversing, arguing. I'm sure some participants think of at least some of their fellow members as a rather close-knit group. But thn when people disappear, we tend not to do anything about it.

If this were a bar, and people had been getting together for a year to drink and argue and talk together, and then somebody suddenly stopped coming, people would be concerned. One or two would probably swing by the missing guy's apartment or house to check on him, make sure he's OK.

But on the net when the same thing happens, nobody tends to react much. People come and go all the time, and we just assume they're doing OK, they've lost interest or they got busy with something else. We tend to let it slide.

I hope that in the future, we will be able to have richer forms of online interaction that can create more binding emotional ties, so that we can get more of that real-world closeness in our online relationships.

Thanks from me and I hope all the folks at the oil drum. I new if I waited long enough everyone can contribute something of value. Joke: I appreciate all your counter arguments. Keep responding.
OK, but what's the Kebash on Stuart?  Someone knows but does not want to say.  If there are personal reasons he's bowed out...that's cool...just say it.

Since no one is answering this question, I guess we're being forced into speculative theories about what happened to Stuart. Choose one of the following:

a) He's suffering Peak Oil burnout.
b) He's become Megan Quinn's love slave.
c) Dick Cheney has labeled him an enemy combatant, and he's currently being detained at Gitmo.
d) He's starting a band with Jan Lundberg and Freddy Hutter, but they're having trouble finding a steady drummer.
e) He's become convinced that the Earth really does have a creamy nougat center of "abiotic" oil after all.

Seriously, I hope Stuart is OK, and I wish him the best.

Hello TODers,

The last update I read was Leanan saying he was on vacation in the UK.  If he has moved on -- I wish him the best too.  If I had the power to do so: I would have SS and Khebab hired by Saudia Arabia to do a full audit and statistical evaluation of their FFs, then post their results here on TOD.  Oh well, one can dream!

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

The last update I read was Leanan saying he was on vacation in the UK.

I was just repeating someone else's speculation.  I have no clue what Stuart is up to.  I assume he's just busy.  Paid work has to take precedence over unpaid, at least if you're fond of eating.  ;-)

Quite true...I think we've all benefitted from some "free" analyses by Stuart and others for awhile now.  Paid work does have to take precedence, especially if you are self-employed.

Stuart, just in case you have decided to take an indefinite vacation from TOD...Happy Trails!

So long, and thanks for all the fish!


Other Liquids Growing While Crude Falls

From December to July, crude + condensate dropped from 74,057,000 barrels to 73,796,000 barrels. That is a drop of three tenths of one percent.  But the EIA adds to that figure all the ethanol, biodiesel, Orimulsion, propane, butane and other bottled gas along with refinery process gain. And that figure in December was 10,715,000 barrels. In July the amount of other liquids totalled 11,234,000 barrels, a net gain of 519,000 barrels. So while crude oil was dropping by three tenths of one percent, other liquid gained five percent.

Why such a huge jump in ethanol, biodiesel, bottled gas and Orimulsion while crude was dropping? Can anyone figure that out?

Ron Patterson.

Demand for conventional oil and NGL has declined slightly as global alternative biofuel production ramped up this year.  There are still far to many oil projects coming online in the coming years for us to be unable to offset production decline in Mexico and the North Sea.  In addition to this, looking back on 2001-2002 numbers shows a similar rise and fall in production to the one we are experiencing now.  Its going to take a lot more then half a year of steady production to convince me we've reached the top.

Interestingly enough, if I'm right, it seems that the EROEI of ethanol and other biofuels is > 1 as they are capable of displacing oil consumption.  But that doesnt mean that they are capable of being scaled up large enough to quench the increasing global thirst for liquid transportation fuels.

it seems that the EROEI of ethanol and other biofuels is > 1 as they are capable of displacing oil consumption

That is a strange observation.

You might just as well argue that the only reason biofuels have been able to replace some of the oil, is that there is still enough -cheap- oil left to grow the crops used for the fuels.

The fact that there is some ethanol use at present says nothing about EROEI.

How do you know that biofuels displaced oil consumption?  The EIA numbers double-count: the oil used to grow the ethanol is counted as liquids production - and so is the ethanol.  Also, they don't count the NG and coal used to grow and process the ethanol.
Hello Darwinian,

Your Quote: "Why such a huge jump in ethanol, biodiesel, bottled gas and Orimulsion while crude was dropping? Can anyone figure that out?"

My sarcastic reply is taken from Kunstler: "When you wish upon a star it becomes possible to get something from nothing."

My better reply: Entropy dictates all.  My guess is a processing timelag exists, but if crude + condensate keeps going down: the other liquids will eventually follow.  Otherwise, the data is being fiddled with as Rome burns.

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

OK, I'm not usually one to see signs of the Apocolypse... but I gotta admit, this scares me.
Very interesting that you wrote this. Last night, before I fell asleep, I was thinking of posters whose views are often very similar to mine. We all diverge on certain issues, but there are a handful of posters here that frequently post what I was thinking. You are one of them, and I actually thought of you last night as I was thinking about this.

Now you go and post something like this, and just reinforce my opinion. I had exactly the same reaction. This latest data really raised my eyebrows, and I spent a good bit of time last night studying the charts. One thing we can say for certain. Production is flat to falling. We would expect to see this if oil production had peaked.

However, there are pieces of data that don't fit. The inventory picture is one of them. While production has been flat, it has met demand. It is meeting demand even now, as prices are plunging. This does not fit my idea of what a true production peak will look like. I expect to see inventories start to draw down, as prices increase. I don't think that is an unreasonable expectation. You may have seen the blurb I posted yesterday from OPIS:

In other news, we've watched oil markets long enough to know that "radical fundamentalism" can often lead to misguided conclusions in assessing price movements. Market moves in this century have more to do with crowd behavior, money flow, sentiment, and headlines.

But there is one pressing fundamental that may have a lot to do with oil prices in October. The upper levels of U.S. storage capability may be tested for the first time in several decades. There is no available listing of what
represents maximum clean or dirty primary storage in the U.S., but some analysts believe that the clean storage tanks - - for gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet fuel - - are nearly full.

On an aggregate level, consider that total U.S. crude (including the SPR) and products' inventory rose to 1.77-billion barrels last week. Energy Information Administration data for some products doesn't go back more than sixteen years, but last week's total is believed to be the highest aggregate inventory account on record.

The other thing I expect to see is oil companies having trouble securing all the crude they need. Now, admittedly I only see a small slice, and that slice I do see is mostly Canadian. But from my slice, we have all the oil we can possibly use. Most of it is heavy and sour, but the refineries around here have been built to handle heavy, sour oil. We have people calling us offering oil for sale all the time. So at least in my part of the world, it doesn't look like a peak.

I still don't think this is peak, but I remain open to explanations of the observations I have mentioned. Perhaps we should open up the debate to just what a peak should look like. I think too often we just force-fit the data into our preconceptions with ad hoc explanations without considering the possibility that it is evidence against that position.

I would guess that this is attached to the wrong post ;-)
LOL! No, actually I thought you were telling Ron that the latest EIA numbers scared you. It didn't even click that you had a link in there.
Now, if you tell me that the latest EIA numbers did spook you, the world will once again make sense. :-)
I have been reading those production numbers with great interest this morning.  But I am a consumer of such things, not a producer.
You share Odograph's views on pancakes and sausage?
I think it's the chocolate chips that puts it beyond the pale, if it wasn't already.
I was at the store today and there was Krusteze(sp?) pancake batter mix with chocolate chips.  Obviously I need to get out more.
Makes me think of Bill Crosby feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast after reading the label( eggs, flour,...)
Odograph, I clicked on your link, twice, and got nothing but an ad for pancakes and sausage. Is this your idea of a joke?

Ron Patterson

Yes.  It ties in on the level of 1st world overconsumption though, and as an example of the kind of excess that can be (IMO) painlessly eliminated from our economy as energy becomes more dear.

I laughed, painfully, as I saw it ... but my second thoughts were about retail-cost per calorie, and upstream energy cost per calorie.

It won't be painless to all the people whose jobs depend on that product.  
That's why, as a moderate I have talked about "creative destruction."  I've cautioned true believers in the market that such "creative destruction is no fun when you are on the receiving end."

Here's hoping that they find new employment, just as those poor folks caught in the SUV market decline must do.

What can we constructively do to help?  I'll sign onto anything that looks like it would work (pragmatism).

That's true. But if the world's carrying capacity is 4 billion, that means there are at least 2 billion producing "stuff" we can do without. And let's face it, a chocolate chip pancake on a sausage stick is pretty irrelevant.
"It won't be painless to all the people whose jobs depend on that product."

That's really too bad. Not sure what your point is. People lose their jobs all the time, for lots of reasons. From personal experience, I know that it sucks, but what are you going to do? Force people to purchase toxic chocolate-chip pancake 'n sausage things on a stick?

I wonder what percentage of the "workforce" produces something that people actually need. Seems to me the majority of our "economy" is based on stuff that it would be very easy to do without.

- sgage

Not sure what your point is.

My point is that such changes, while likely inevitable, will not be painless.  And it will not be a case of buggy whip jobs being replaced by more and better jobs in the auto industry.  There won't be any new jobs.  At least, not nearly enough for all the people who will need them.

Odograph is saying, "No problem, we'll just eliminate this waste."  I'm saying eliminating that "waste" is the problem.  The political and economic aspects of peak oil are the problem, far more than the technical issues.

Surely you see that you are feeding back your conclusion as an input to your projection.

Why will peak oil be bad?  Because it is part of collapse!

Why do we believe in collapse?  Because it is part of peak oil!

"My point is that such changes, while likely inevitable, will not be painless.  And it will not be a case of buggy whip jobs being replaced by more and better jobs in the auto industry.  There won't be any new jobs.  At least, not nearly enough for all the people who will need them."

I agree 100%.  When people are worried about something besides useless consumer goods, where does that leave our "economy"?

- sgage

Odo, the 'ewww' factor of that heart-attack-on-a-stick was, um, pretty high for me.

And, "My point is that such changes, while likely inevitable, will not be painless.", Leanan, I think if there's one point to be made by TOD overall, it's that change is coming. And it will not be painless. I doubt that our discussions will resolve how to best minimize it before it comes.

But the world likely won't care if mosquitoes become extinct. Or head lice. And I seriously doubt that the pancake hotdog with chocolate chips will be missed.

And I seriously doubt that the pancake hotdog with chocolate chips will be missed.

It will be by all the people whose jobs depend on such products.  Everyone from the manufacturing engineers who make it to the chemists who formulate the ink for the printing on the package to the graphic designers who created the ad for it.  Market researchers, salesmen, food scientists, delivery truck drivers, managers, paper and plastic manufacturers, etc.

But Leanan... isn't this simply symptomatic of overshoot?

The employment these people enjoy is not meaningful in any social or functionally measurable way. The product is by almost any standard: B.S.

Does that package designer really think... "Wow, I created a killer graphic for that chocolate chip pancake sausage stick." Nope. He knows it's B.S. The guy who ran the focus groups for the marketing department knows it's B.S. He probably couldn't keep a straight face watching the vids. The folks in the vids, know it's B.S. They'll say what-ever you want for $50 and the free lunch. The guy driving the delivery truck knows it's B.S. He also knows the pancake on a stick has been frozen for the last 24 months. The accountant knows it's B.S... he's depreciating the fabricating machine as fast as he can.

None of them are eating the product. They aren't stupid. And they won't look for the Save-$$$-Coupon in the Sunday supplement either.    

Overshoot means more than too many people consuming resources. It also means negative contribution. Doing overshoot economic things makes living in the world a little worse.

isn't this simply symptomatic of overshoot?

I don't know if I'd put it quite that way, but I think we're in basic agreement.  

In this idiocracy of greed and waste, those guys have gone on to design and package something else. They've already been paid for the on-a-stick thing. So no, their jobs don't depend on it. IMNSHO, the lot of them should be summarily fired and blacklisted for even contemplating such a product. But that's just me ranting on the internet. Maybe they can package global warming next ...
In this idiocracy of greed and waste, those guys have gone on to design and package something else.

Yeah, new and improved sausage on a stick.  Or sausage on a stick with new "Dunk n Dip" sauces.  Maple syrup, chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter praline - try 'em all!  

Odograph, I clicked on your link, twice, and got nothing but an ad for pancakes and sausage. Is this your idea of a joke?

No, this is not a joke, this is odograph best efforts to disparage TOD as a nutjob website while howling that doomerism is the culprit.

What Odograph posted wasn't nuts, it was chocolate chips.
We don't oppose rampant consumerism and excessively energy wasting foodstuffs anymore?  We don't think, say, that rolled oats are a nice low impact breakfast?

Or is it that we pretend that microwavable chocolate chip sausage-pancakes on a stick are ok when we are mad at odo?

Or is it that we pretend that microwavable chocolate chip sausage-pancakes on a stick are ok when we are mad at odo?

I am patient...

NO, "microwavable chocolate chip sausage-pancakes" aren't ok!
They are a ridiculous topic to bring in the discussion which will do MORE to convince casual readers of TOD that Peak Oilers are idiots than any kind of doomerosity.

Flooding the threads with idiotic babble was a specialty of Don Sailorman but he seems to have other concerns now.

All this over a pancake "signs of the Apocolypse" hmmm?
Don't tell me you cannot believe odograph "moderate wisdom".

If I have to choose betewwn you or Odograph, I'll go with Ododgraph's posts. At least he's not a stalker.
I'm getting really sick of the personal attacks.  They're uncalled for, unpleasant, and inappropriate.  Don't know about the rest of you guys and girls, but that's not what I like about TOD.
Replying to both eric blair and metrognomicon.

Does your critiscisms of my "personal attacks" mean :
  • You deem "Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick" to BE signs of the Apocolypse [sic]?
  • You think that this is related enough to Peak Oil and ressource shortages of any kind that it is worth debating in a TOD thread?
  • You think that this is an appropriate topic to draw attention from casual readers of TOD and raise their awareness of Peak Oil related problems?
  • You have ANY other reason to support that "genre" of posting that you would like to explain?
Also please note that I am not attacking odograph as an individual (whom I DON'T know at all!) but as a propagandist detrimental to the very purpose of TOD : raising Peak Oil awareness.

Bio fuel at it's worst...lol
OK, that could be a sign of the Apocalypse, but let's all calm down

I had a wonderful plate of chocolate shrimp about a year ago, you see, the Mexican sauce, Mole, is made with chocolate! At least one type of Mole is. Chocolate + meaty + salty is only getting back to American roots, real American roots. Call it the "southwesternization" or "nativisation" of America, but it's happening, as per www.isteve.com the US is simply becoming more like other American banana republics. And yes, that includes chocolate + meat.

Re: "Nigeria will cut their production by five percent, which is around 120,000 barrels a day
Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, is the world's sixth biggest crude exporter with 2.6 million barrels per day, but 20 percent of that figure is currently lost to unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
which  =  2.08/mbpd. If 0.12/mbpd  =  5%, then 20% = 0.480/mbpd, which would be production of 2.12/mbd. Let's refer to the 0.04/mbpd as the "lost barrels". They almost got the math right. Personally, if I were looking for the "lost barrels", I would ask these guys.

So, where's the oil?

What's great about our two friends in the picture is that -- aside from knowing where the "lost barrels" are -- they can also implement Nigeria's voluntary production cut.

They're pretty handy people to have around.

The Financial Times has a more interesting version of the OPEC story:

Venezuela and Nigeria cut oil output

Venezuela and Nigeria, both members of the Opec oil cartel, on Friday announced that they would reduce their oil production by as much as 200,000 barrels a day to shore up prices.

Several other key members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries were said to be furious about the unilateral decision.

Nevertheless, data due to be released in the next few weeks are expected to show those other members, which include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, are also reducing output but keeping quiet about the measure.

...Neil McMahon, analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said: "I can't see it [the move by Nigeria and Venezuela] stabilising the price for long because Opec could turn on the tap again at any moment." He noted that spare oil capacity had doubled in just a year and is now at 3m b/d.

He said the price fall had been prompted by a slowdown in demand. The US Department of Energy this week showed US demand in July had fallen by 1.3 per cent from a year earlier.  

I guess FireFly is still in the running, with their carbon-graphite foam batteries:


Double bonus if the battery works, and the carbon tech reduces metal requirements.

I am still reeling from this:

Khosla: Ethanol Not Final Fuel

In this story, Khosla is quoted: "Contrary to what you might believe, I think it's extremely unlikely that in 20 years we will be using any ethanol in cars."

I simply don't know what to make of this. He is pushing us to spend billions of dollars to roll out all of this ethanol infrastructure, and he thinks ethanol won't be fueling our cars in 20 years? What about all of those charts and graphs showing us making 200 billion gallons of ethanol in 20 years? Has he had a change of heart? I don't know, but this is about the last thing I expected to come out of his mouth.

Anyone have a theory? Do you think what we have been saying to him has finally taken root? After all, this is a very big position change from what he was saying just a few months ago, when 200 billion gallons of ethanol was going to save us.

I think he sees ethanol as a bridge.  A lot of peak oilers think that way.  The Green Party, for example, thinks natural gas will be a temporary bridge.

The bridge to what?  Who knows?  Those clever engineers will come up with something.  

Which Green Party?
The United States Green Party.
You actually have one? Who's on the board? Tillerson?
Of course we have one.  Many blame them for handing the 2000 election to Bush, by siphoning off left-leaning voters from Gore.

Here's their web site:


and to be clear, it was the siphoning off votes from the Ds in Florida, which was ultimately decided by around 500 votes after the legal challenges.  Nader.

Third parties are a waste of time in the system we have.  Sorry, but it's true.  If we went to parliamentary representation and had multiple seat districts, then you might have a shot at a multiparty and more representative system.

Imagine going to the store for something to drink, and all they have is coke and pepsi, no juice, no water, no milk. Just coke and pepsi. It'd be pretty boring eh? Well thats what we have here in the USA, dems or repubs. We are one party shy of being in a dictatorship.
Of all the people in this country, and this all we have to choose from?
Pathetic if you ask me. And the parties have different names, but are pretty much as incompetent as each other. Guess they cancel each other out.

In the 1988 mayoral elections campaign in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the anti-establishment "Brazilian Banana Party" presented a chimpanzee called Tião as their candidate. The name Tião means "Big Uncle" in Portuguese, and the moody monkey (well, ape, to be exact) had the campaign slogan "Vote monkey - get monkey".

And that monkey got 400,000 votes!

Damit, Coke is more tart, Pepsi is more sweet!
Tiny Rant Warning: just read the quoted from the late supreme Court Justice W. o. Douglas if you'd rather....

I am unable to find the cites right now, but I believe that the following is true:

1. Al Gore won the election.  

2. The Supreme Court effectively appointed GWB.

3. The Dems lost more votes to GWB than to Nader (very interesting!)

As to our current political system, is it not a sham? We are a nation run by a Corporatist Clique rather than governed by "we the people" through the form of government now commonly referred to as "democracy."

I recommend a serious reading of former US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas' book "Points of Rebellion" related to this topic.

Douglas published these words in 1969:

"We must realize that today's Establishment is the new George III.  Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know.  If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution."

Douglas concludes his book with these three short paragraphs:

This means that we must subject the machine - technology - to control and cease despoiling the earth and filling people with goodies merely to make money.  the search of the young today is for ways and means to make the machine - and the vast bureaucracy od the corporation state [sic] and of the government that runs that machine - the servant of man.

That is the revolution that is coming.

That revolution - now that the people hold the residual powers of government - need not be a repetition of 1776.  It could be a revolution in the nature of an explosive political regeneration. It depends on how wise the Establishment is.  If, with its stockpile of arms, it resolves to suppress the dissenters, America will face, I fear, an awful ordeal.

Those last few words were indeed prophetic. Any chatter about third parties or blaming of Nader for the outcome of the 2000 presidential election just gets the bipartisan "Establishment" off the hook.

We have in fact relied upon our stockpile of arms to suppress dissenters, we have maintained hegemony by force whenever necessary, and now -- as Chalmers Johnson argues in his "The Sorrows of Empire" -- we cannot become anything other than a totalitarian police state.

Republicans and Democrats alike participated knowingly in the war crime that was the unprovoked invasion of Iraq.

If the members of our Executive and Legislature were brought before the World Court, the decision would be clear.  For the past forty years the USA has committed war crimes around the world to maintain the "position of disparity" referred to in George Kennan's State Department Policy Planning Study in 1948. (See Heinberg's "The Party's Over" p. 229 for a fuller quote.) Chavez got a warm reception and much longer applause in the UN than did GWB.  The world outside of the USA is much clearer about the nature of our "democracy" than we ourselves are.

We now face an ordeal beyond the scope of Republicans or Democrats to understand or admit to, let alone manage wisely.

Let's blame Nader and the Greens for the problems created by the complicity of Democrats and Republicans who managed in a very bipartisan way -- with no help from the Greens or anyone else -- to bring us to the point where we have bankrupted our planet, our nation, our political system, and have ensured that our children will likely live in a violent, toxic cesspool, shall we?

Sorry, Prof. Goose, but the handwriting on the wall does not lead me to believe that it is useful or constructive to continue to blame Nader or the Greens for the outcome of the much-manipulated 2000 US Presidential election.

The Democrats are demogogueing every issue they possibly can, but watch as they continue to build bases in Iraq, expand military activity around the planet, and continue to pound away at the idea that we in the USA will have more stuff and better stuff while we live longer and have more orgasms too.

I've yet to see one Democratic politician talk about the real responses Global Climate Change or Peak Oil and similiar environmental problems require.

The Democrats always -- without fail -- whine about how we 'muricans are victims of price-gouging oil companies (who have plenty of oil) and terrorist Arabs and corrupt Republicans.  Then they fantasize about the latest gee-whiz techo-magic that will solve our problems in 45 minutes, allowing time for commercials.

Whether it is ethanol, biodeisel, nuclear power, or hydrogen, the Democrats I've heard always pile on to the latest Disneyesque Stuff-Mart Utopian Lunacy to come down the political pike.

I'm not buying the scapegoating of Nader and the Greens, because this simply reinforces the political Establishment that Douglas was warning about back in 1969.  That Establishment dominated -- and still dominates -- both parties in the USA.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled serious and measured discussions.....

What happened after Douglas wrote those words in 1969:

The CIA flooded the streets with drugs, and Nixon launched the draconian war on drugs (war on the bill of rights), the grandfather of today's Military Commissions Act.  Hard to believe, but at one time state police "no knock" home invasions and confiscation of assets from people who have not been convicted of anything were illegal.

  1. Kent State massacre

  2. CFR member George McGovern runs a "nice guys finish last" campaign to demonstrate the futility of opposing militarism and corporate greed.   His role as designated loser was reprised by Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry.

Then in the late 1970s the "back to the land" crowd was driven back into the corporate system by soaring property taxes resulting from Federal Reserve created inflation.  If a sustainable lifestyle doesn't generate enough Federal Reserve Notes to pay the taxes, you either have to sell the farmlet to a developer or big agribusiness.

Game, Set, Match  -  Establishment Wins

Aaron Russo has it right, it is all about fiat currency and paying taxes


Beggar that was one rant. thank you. and now back to our measured, academic, and trite debate regarding the method, the quantity, the analysis, and the implication of computed, real, or imaginary oil wells to be found on the head of a pin.
microhydro, pstarr, and super390 -- thanks for the thoughtful responses to my rant.  At least, I feel like others "get it" in various ways about the futility of expecting meaningful positive change from our political Establishment.

The necessity of revolution existed back in 1969.  The potential existed then, too, I think.  But revolution did not happen.

So now we are left with the slow devolution of our civilization which may have had the promise of actually evolving into a new level of human organization.  We had the beginnings of thinking that would have fit our species into our planetary habitat, but we shunned that thinkling for fascistic propaganda that idolized the process of ( in Douglas' words) "depoiling the earth and filling people with goodies merely to make money."

Odo's chocolate chip pancake on a sausage stick is a good example of the ultimate purpose of our civilization.  Not in the sense that such a delicacy should not exist, but rather in the sense that it exists not to be good and satisfying and well-made and well-enjoyed, but in the sense that it is badly made and only feeds the craving for consuming more of the cheap stuff that we make by despoiling the earth and using resources unwisely.  I'd really like a goodie that was truly well-made and also satisfying.

We are at a point beyond the possibility of revolution in that the Establishment is effectively diffused throughout our civilization and is entirely resistant to meaningful positive change.  We can do revolutionary things, but there is -- at this point -- no way to galvanize people into a meaningful movement.  All movements simply wash off the establishment like water off a duck's back - -witness the above-mentioned peace movement prior to the invasion of Iraq which was and is a terrible, prosecutable war crime.

Significant revolutionary eforts are the many small things that do not all add up right now, but which may contain seeds of change when various crises wake people up to the need for deep, radical change.  most of us will die trying to make these positive changes, but there is some chance that some folks will survive to carry on sustainably with wisdom born of rather hard lessons.

Of course, a Cheneyesque, War Worshipping Reptilian-brained devolution is also possible, which of course ends in spoiling the planetary nest to the point that everybody gets to die off.  We're well into that path, with extinctions outpacing any previous period we know of.

Outcomes are beyond us, but what we do is where I try to keep my focus.  Along with a sense of humour!

But since the two parties we have will gladly declare martial law rather than have their duopoly challenged by multi-seat districts or the like, we really don't have a democracy, do we?  So the only alternative is a revolutionary movement.  Not the same thing as a revolution.  The most successful revolutionary movements are the ones that mobilized enough popular anger to force the establishment to make real constitutional concessions, thus avoiding the violent part.  But without the R-word, the public will not rally to the cause because it expects a sellout.  America has moved so far to corporate rule and dictatorship that the Greens are a revolutionary party.  And everything that has happened since that election is casus belli.

It isn't just America.  Representative democracy is becoming a lie all over the world.  A majority in most countries in the "coalition of the willing" was opposed to the war in Iraq - even a majority of the supporters of the ruling parties.  Is there anywhere in the "good" capitalist world where governments actually take the side of their citizens against big business instead of compromising away their standard of living to "globalization"?  And when a 3rd World government like Turkey actually obeys the will of the majority of its citizens (and ruling party supporters), the Bush regime and its Fox ancillaries denounce the government, as if the citizens didn't exist, or shouldn't.

Democracy was just a set of rules and procedures by which lever pulls were turned into policy.  If billionaires or religious fanatics put a roomful of satanic attorneys to work for a few decades gaming those rules, they were bound to deform them into whatever they desired.  The corporate media's mushrooming ability to manipulate "common knowledge" is just as bad.  Now that they have the means to corrupt US democracy they're cloning their methods all over the world, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Mexico.  Representative government will never again function anywhere without a revolutionary age to restore an engaged citizenry, and that's going to be a hairy ride.

I understand 65 senators just voted to give Bush the power to brand anyone he pleases an "enemy combatant" and imprison them without trial.  That means some Democrats voted for this.  Yet some of those Democrats will be returned to office by people who will eventually be dragged off to secret prisons for criticizing Bush and his pet war.  Something is wrong with that, wronger than any of the offenses of the British in 1776.

I think he sees ethanol as a bridge.

From his comments, he NOW sees ethanol as a bridge. But if you look at his previous presentations, he saw ethanol as the answer. After all, he had us making 200 billion gallons of ethanol in 20 years. Now he says we won't be using any of it. So he has definitely had a change of heart.

I still find it puzzling that anyone thinks we should invest billions of infrastructure into a temporary solution that may not be compatible with the ultimate solution.

You're right, Robert. The only provision he made earlier in the discussions was that corn ethanol would be the bridge to cellulosic, but there was nothing beyond that.

Then again, is there now? Does he specify at all what that bridge will lead to?


Perhaps he looked at the situation in India. Acute water shortages are old news there. He's got to be familiar with the requirements for cultivating corn. Perhaps he looked into the groundwater situation in the Plains states. I think he put two and two together (finally!!!). So yes, I think he's moving on. This is a significant thing.

Could it be that his statement to the effect that ethanol is just a bridge, and that we will develop beyond ethanol in another 20 years, just a attempt to sandbag us critics of ethanol by implying that it's just a temporary expedient that one shouldn't get too worked up over?  

It looks to me like he's just trying to muddy the waters and coopt the opposition into going along with, or at least tolerating ethanol from corn. It the old 'it may not be a perfect solution, but it wil soon lead to much better things beyond the horizon' sort of strategy.

As most large process operations are fairly feedstock-specific, I doubt that ethanol-from-corn plants could easily be converted over to the production of cellulosic ethanol.  While you might be able to retain much of the original equipment, it would be a major retrofit involving serious (and very expensive) surgery. So, contrary to what some of the pro-ethanol people have implied, you just don't turn off the CORN switch and turn on the CELLULOSE switch.

Joule, you obviously do not understand ethanol production. For the current technology, it would be little more than adding a digesting reactor in the system loop.  There are a few companies already doing this.
The problem lies in the existing technology, which is still 19th century and only produces 392 gallons of fuel from corn feedstock even with the so-called advances in distilling technology.
Extractions of 7,000 gallons can be had from just the sugars, not including the cellulosic extract.
And yes, the enzymes, bacteria and yeasts do exist and are currently being mutated to preform even more efficently.
There is currently one company that is doing just this process and I know the owners. follow the link:


PS by the way, their process takes CO2 out of the enviorment.

For the current technology, it would be little more than adding a digesting reactor in the system loop.  There are a few companies already doing this.

It's a bit more complex than this, depending on how the cellulose is broken down. Those using sulfuric acid have to get the acid out of the mix, for example. The biomass handling facilities will also be different. But the distillation portion should be essentially the same.

However, if the fuel of the future is butanol,  more substantial changes would be required. The distillation would be completely different. And if the "fuel" is electricity, then we have wasted a lot of money on this ethanol diversion.


I am not getting anything from that link.

There is currently one company that is doing just this process and I know the owners. follow the link:

As far as I can tell, they aren't actually making any ethanol, except some small amount from a pilot plant. But they aren't even listed with the American Coalition of Ethanol as building a facility any time soon:


However, they are claiming:

To ensure the most competitive position, Gargoil Biofuel, Inc. will leverage investment capital, state and federal grants, and energy loans to follow through, from the pilot plant, to 50, 100, and 200 million gallons a year operations within the following 8 - 12 months.

So, what's the story? They are running a pilot plant? I saw a lot of talk about patented technology, but never any patent numbers. I can't find him in a patent search. That would help. I saw a great deal of pie-in-the-sky talk, but little in the way of actual production and technology details. Honestly, it had a distinct Xethanol feel to me.

"Joule, you obviously do not understand ethanol production."

I love it when people make disparaging remarks about some folks here at TOD, and then reference websites such as this.
I also have a bridge in Brooklyn. Kind of reminds me of an unarmed man going up to Mike Tyson on a deserted street and telling him he is a friggen idiot. Most folks here want facts and figures not a sales pitch.


Note that he has not said that he is no longer interested in ethanol.  Therefore, I view this as a CYA statement vis-a-vis his investors, "Well, I never said that enthanol would be a good investment in perpetuity.  In fact, I noted that it was a bridge...but we can still make money in the interum."


From his comments, he NOW sees ethanol as a bridge.

Either you are hopelessly naive or you didn't read or understood my reply to your previous posting about this article.

He NOW sees that it is best for him to pretend that ethanol is a bridge.

I still find it puzzling that anyone thinks we should invest billions of infrastructure into a temporary solution that may not be compatible with the ultimate solution.

Well, let's say it is naivete...

Reading this, I had to look up your posting of the conversation with him last summer:
..., but he finally preempted my entire argument by saying he doesn't even care if the EROI is less than 1, because corn ethanol is merely priming the pump for cellulosic ethanol or butanol (which he favors). In fact, he acknowledged some of my arguments against corn ethanol, but said that corn ethanol is just a transitory solution.

So in July he saw corn ethanol as a bridge to cellulosic, but may have now changed the course of that bridge. At any rate, I don't suppose he'll log into TOD and post a thank you.

So thank you, Robert.

The bridge to what?  Who knows?  Those clever engineers will come up with something.

Of course, those clever engineers have already come up with a variety of things. Wind turbines. Direct-carbon fuel cells that will double the electricity that can be generated from a ton of coal. More advanced fission reactor designs. Electrified light rail. Plug-in hybrid designs that would meet more than 90% of personal transportation with gasoline playing a minor role other than on long-distance trips (consider the Mini QED a proof-of-concept). Broadband data networks that should allow lots of white color workers to work from home a day or two per week. Compact fluorescent bulbs with decent color values. New heat pump designs for home heating that retain their efficiency to zero F or below. Heat-pump based clothes dryers that use less than half as much electricity.

Those in charge in the US these days insist that "markets" are all it will take to lead to the adoption of these soon enough to matter. I'm inclined to believe that faith in the engineers is more likely to be rewarded than faith in markets.

Of course, that should be "white collar" workers.
"Direct-carbon fuel cells that will double the electricity that can be generated from a ton of coal.

Compact fluorescent bulbs with decent color values.

New heat pump designs for home heating that retain their efficiency to zero F or below.

Heat-pump based clothes dryers that use less than half as much electricity."

I'd be interested in more info on these, especially the bulbs: I can't get my wife to even consider CFL's because of the color quality.

The CFLs make me crazy. There is no consistency in the color, even within the same package. The "equivalent to" ratings are a joke and even one 25 watt against another 25 watt is unequal. This is not infant technology anymore yet it' still marketed like it's a lifestyle gimmick for a few old hippies.
I'd be interested in more info on these, especially the bulbs: I can't get my wife to even consider CFL's because of the color quality.
I'm partial to the GE "Soft White" bulbs, color temp 3000 K (incandescent is about 2750 K). My wife complained. Our kitchen fixture has four white globes, each with a bulb. I put two CFs in and challenged her to say which was which, without telling her how many there were. She said there was one CF bulb and pointed it out. Her choice was one of the incandescents. There have been no arguments since. Both of us fold laundry under them, and there have been no incidents with mismatched socks, for whatever that may be worth. The 6000 K "high noon" bulbs can be particularly unnerving inside. I use a divide-by-three approach to sizing the bulb rather than the divide-by-four that the packaging suggests. That is, the packaging says a 15W CF replaces a 60W incandescent; I use a 20W CF, because the 15W is not quite bright enough.
Heat-pump based clothes dryers that use less than half as much electricity.

A government study of the relative efficiency of heat-pump based clothes dryers is here. As is almost always the case, efficiency costs more up front. If we are really entering an era in which less energy is available, we will eventually reach the point where initial cost is less important.

New heat pump designs for home heating that retain their efficiency to zero F or below.

A relatively technical description of the efficiency at lower temperatures of a product that is already available is here. Of course, ground-source heat pump systems can be very efficient on a year 'round basis, but are expensive, especially for a retrofit.

Direct-carbon fuel cells that will double the electricity that can be generated from a ton of coal.

Both SRI and Lawrence Livermore have small working cells in the lab, and have published papers on their results. Both seem to demonstrate high measured efficiency, simplicity of structure and materials, and operate at high-enough temperatures to be resistant to "poisoning" from impurities. Certainly some years away from practical application, but it is interesting to speculate on what a well-funded crash program might accomplish.


The low-temp heat pump (Hallowel) seems to be pretty new.  I wonder how widely available it is, and how easily it could be retrofitted to replace a conventional central forced air gas furnace & A/C combo?

"Solar is still uncompetitive with coal, even with subsidies, Mr. Khosla said. 'Being a Republican, I don't like subsidies," he said. "I like level, free markets. Without technologies that can be competitive with fossil-fuel alternatives, we are not going to get mass adoption.'"

LOL.  Another mystery.  Khosla: an enigma within an enigma?  Or just a major league bullshitter. You be the judge. In other news, Khosla asks congress to end corn and ethanol subsidies (not).

Perhaps Khosla has rearranged his portfolio from ethanol to butanol and solar thermal.

Funniest line of the day. "Being a Republican, I don't like subsidies". Anybody that can say this line in public without laughing is a major BS artist.
Where would nuclear power be without enormous subsidies?
Robert, you wrote the guy who wrote that article and sent him your piece right?  
No, I have not contacted the author of that Red Herring piece. The Reason article I linked to yesterday had linked back to one of my essays here, but I didn't realize it until I had read the article several times:

An Open Letter to Vinod Khosla

Maybe he doesn't put his money where his mouth is, or, he doesn't put his mouth where his money is.  I'd say it's all about his short term gain using the system.  I was also surprised at his statement about water being more precious than oil. Maybe he is coming around to some of the things TODer's told him.
RR: I think Khosla stated logically consistent views in the article. He is saying: invest all this money (taxpayers and otherwise) in corn-based ethanol. I will take a nice slice off the top. My friends and I are working on fuel/ethanol that will be superior to corn-based ethanol but we haven't got the kinks out yet. So for the meantime, cut me a cheque, we will proceed with this corn trip (crude oil is peaking in any event so we have to move on irregardless of the ethanol type) and everything is going to be cool. You are in good hands here.

"I have an ethanol-bridge, and I'm gonna sell it to you!"

I think he sees the future for what is unfortunately is most likely to be:

laundering coal and gas into fuel via ethanol.  Net result?
It will be like striking oil in Nebraska.

Will make a few people really rich.

It will be energetically stupid, and environmentally catastrophic, but then again he's a Republican.


The blogspot


recently posted updated diagrams for the development in world oil supplies (believed to be all liquids) based upon data from EIA Petroleum International Monthly for October 2006 which includes data as of July 2006.

The data from EIA shows that the world supplies of oil were down with an average of 0,18 Mb/d for the 7 first months of 2006 relative to the same period of 2005, and that the supplies of regular oil and lease condensate so far still had a top back in December 2005.

For the last 22 months (September 2004 - July 2006) the arithmetic average for oil supplies was 84,25 Mb/d, and supplies have been running within 1 % of this average for these months.

OPEC (the second diagram) supplies (oil, lease condensate and NGL's) have so far had a top back in September 2005.

OPEC supplies (oil, lease condensate and NGL's) are down 0,29 Mb/d for the 7 first months of 2006 compared to the same period of 2005.

Diagrams are clickable for improved viewing.

That's some nice graphs. Any idea where the third one, Gazprom's forecast, is based on? Is it their own estimate?

The GAZPROM graph is based upon information from GAZPROM's homepage and GAZPROM's annual report for 2005.


Thank you, for posting, I have to get a crash course in how to use HTML.


Energimann (responsible for the graphs)

for images:

<img src="http://blabla.com/img/blabla1.jpg">

I often specify the width as well, so:

<img width="90%" src="http://blabla.com/img/blabla1.jpg">

Do make sure your pics are as small as possible, run a web-optimizer for jpg's when in doubt. No pic posted here should exceed 80K. There are still people with dial-up.

EnergiMann, the plot for Jotun - is presumably the Jotun complex of oil fields?

Just query the prices you have up there - are these you estimates and what are they based on?

My own guestimates would be replace 40 with 100, replace 60 with 120, and replace 80 - post peak with whatever you like.

And as for Gazprom - Russians on vodka and optimism - this presumably includes fields like Shtokman comming on line?


You are right CW it is the Jotun complex.

The prices are indicative of operational break even, given a total annual OPEX of 100 million USD.

The diagram was used as an illustration of how increased oil prices help to extend economical life of a field, and total recovery.

At $40/bbl, and output of 6 600 bbls/d, equals approx 2,5 million bbls a year, and thus $100 million a year, which has been assumed the annual OPEX in this exercise.

I would assume that the forecast also includes Shtokman coming on stream.

NOTE that some of the axis on the graphs are not zero scaled.


With respect to the EIA data that came out yesterday, I was curious to see which countries are showing increases in production (oil and condensates) between December 05 and July 06, if we believe the early estimates for July 06. This is what I found:

Country        Dec. 05        July 06        Change

Iraq        1,653        2,203        550
Libya        1,650        1,700        50
Qatar        835        855        20
UAE        2,602        2,702        100
Angola        1,418        1,468        50
Argentina        691        709        18
Brazil        1,685        1,725        41
China        3,520        3,716        196
Columbia        522        536        13
India        637        691        53
Russia        9,240        9,260        20
US        4,975        5,171        196
"Other"        6,182        6,370        188

Subtotal        35,610        37,105        1,495

Declining Countries        38,441        36,692        -1,750
World        74,051        73,796        -254

Thus, the biggest increase is 550,000 BPD from Iraq. The US is showing an increase, because more production is came on line after Katrina (comparing July 06 to Dec 05). The Russian increase in production looks bogus, if the intervening months were recently revised down. It is hard to see how increases in the remaining countries on this list will be able to make up for declines elsewhere.

It's Colombia. ColOmbia!!!
In other words, it appears that non-Iraqi production was down by 805,000 bpd from 12/05 to 7/06.

So, how confident are we regarding the future for Iraqi production?

Would the Bush administration benefit from reports of higher world oil production, and which major oil exporter is currently occupied by the US military?

So, how confident are we regarding the future for Iraqi production
Funny you should ask, Jeff:

Civil war looms in Iraq

"The prominent role of al-Qaeda (in Iraq) may diminish as the violence escalates between communities, and distinctions blur between sectarian attacks on markets and places of worship, or purely criminal kidnapping and protection rackets on the one hand, and the fight against Iraqi and non-Iraqi forces on the other,"

Iraqis have brief window to cut off civil war

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq warned yesterday that time is running out for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to contain the burgeoning sectarian bloodshed that threatens to plunge the country into civil war.

"He has a window of a couple months," said the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad. "If the perception is that this unity government is not able to deal with this issue, then a big opportunity would have been lost and it would take a long time to address this issue."

His remarks, which came during a surge in reprisal killings in Baghdad, reinforced comments by several senior U.S. military officials this week that Maliki's government must move urgently to tackle the militias and death squads wreaking havoc across the country

Gail, you got a good list there of countries with increasing production - which just about outnumber those with falling production -but where's Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan - if they're not there then that is data anomaly - shut down for a holiday or something like that.
They seem to be part of the EIA "other" category, which is one of the categories I show as increasing - but not by huge amounts.
I notice they post the cost of capping emissions but not the cost of NOT capping emissions. Typical.
Since we are going to spend that amount of money blowing up sand, buildings and people in Iraq, I would guess that their cost for capping emissions is way, WAY under the actual amount.

The cost for capping carbon emissions will be the cost for a complete world-wide switch from using fossil fuels.  I believe that cost will be the complete destruction of the world economic system and the death of 80% of the population of the world.  

I believe that cost will be the complete destruction of the world economic system and the death of 80% of the population of the world.  

Darn, now we have to wonder if that is more or less than the cost of not capping them. It's a good thing people's lives are not worth much, that would only lead to accounting problems.

Mystery of Methane Levels in 90's Seems Solved
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/28/science/28methane.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=login&ref=us &adxnnlx=1159531895-omU+5FcyneMakd09IkzNAg&oref=slogin

I may be totally out of touch here, but it is doubtful there are any numbers on the past quantity of naturally escaping methane from underground formations. Ref:  The Burning Bush, and Sodom and Gomorrah may have been caused by tectonic activity that released large quantities of NG to the surface. It may be possible that this naturally occurring release of NG may now be stifled by the huge quantities of easy NG that has already been produced. The natural occurring release of NG may now be considerably reduced. I take all technically opinionated explanations with a grain of salt.

Or they could just be, you know, myths.
Big Coal's new line on coalbed methane 'we're doing you a favour by burning it as it would leak out otherwise'.  So how come methane leaks out but not sequestered CO2?
Well, it looks like Japan has capitulated to the U.S. on Iran:


Anyone out there need 26 billion barrels of oil?

SAT - who needs who more here?  If the Iranians can afford to do this themselves - or for example with Chinese or Russian finance then Japan and the OECD are shooting themselves in the foot - control over more reserves trickling away? That power balance pendulum swininging.
How many days until China buys in?
My favorite energy related song is "Machine Messiah" by Yes.  The Peak Oil anthem, though could be Tower of Powers:

 "Theres only so much oil in the ground"

There's only so much oil on the ground
Sooner or later there won't be much around
Tell that to your kids while you driving downtown
That there's only so much oil on the ground

Can't cut loose without that juice
Can't cut loose without that juice
If we keep on like we doing things for sure
Will not be cool - It's a fact
We just ai't got suffiecient fuel

There's only so much oil in the ground
Sooner or later there won't be none around
Alternate sources of power must be found
Cause there's only so much oil in the ground

There's only so much oil in the earth
It's a fact of life - for what it's worth
Something every little boy and girl should know since birth
That there's only so much oil in the ground

There's no excuse for our abuse
No excuse for our abuse
We just assume that we will not
Exceed the oil supply
But soon enough the world will watch the wells run dry.

I was just flipping through my copy of "Solar Today," which you get if you kick a few bucks for an American Solar Energy Society membership.  I was kind of amused by this article, also on-line:

Passive Solar Comeback Ahead

What goes around comes around.

I posted this at the end of yesterday's biofuels thread.  Reposting it here:

Ethanol facility powered by renewable energy from dairy waste planned for Fair Oaks Dairy Farm in Indiana
June 20, 2006

FAIR OAKS, Ind. -- Bion Environmental Technologies and Fair Oaks Dairy Farms, the largest dairy east of the Mississippi River (27,000 cows) and an industry leader in efforts to find a solution to dairy environmental issues, today announced a joint venture that will enable environmentally sustainable expansion of animal agriculture in concert with ethanol production. Bion's patented animal waste technology supports the synergistic integration of ethanol production with animal agriculture by enabling herd concentration. Herd concentration both provides the scale needed to achieve the economically viable generation of renewable energy in support of ethanol production, and establishes a stable local market for the entire volume of produced co-product distiller grains without the need for drying.

Bion's technology platform provides sufficient renewable energy from the associated animal waste stream to produce ethanol absent any outside fuel source such as natural gas or coal, while it directly addresses the growing long-term risk to distiller grains revenues as those markets become increasingly saturated by the continued expansion of U.S. ethanol production. The result of Bion's unique integration of ethanol with animal agriculture is economic and environmental sustainability for both.

Early results indicate that implementation of Bion's patented and proprietary technology improves the net energy balance in the production of ethanol from corn from 1.4 to 1 up to 2.5 to 1.  In essence, Bion's technology platform utilizes the inherent energy value of the cellulosic component of the manure stream to improve both net energy value and margins in the production of ethanol.  

The integrated Bion platform incorporating ethanol production at Fair Oaks will be a balanced, closed-loop system that the company's research indicates will create sufficient renewable energy to support one million gallons of ethanol for every 1,000 dairy cows. "Based on Bion's ratio forecast between herd concentration and ethanol production, it appears that both heat energy and ethanol co-product can be in balance in an environmentally sustainable manner," according to John Ewen of Ardour Capital, an advisor to Bion.

The two-stage joint venture announced today provides for the construction of a research center in Stage One to determine the economic and environmental sustainability of utilizing sand bedding in conjunction with Bion's technology platform. Based upon that evaluation, Stage Two will include a Bion treatment system for Fair Oaks' dairy herd and potentially other local dairy herds, along with an ethanol plant of a size to be determined by the number of participating dairy animals. Stage I construction is expected to commence shortly; Stage II is projected to commence in 2007.

End products from the animal waste stream in Bion's proprietary system include renewable energy. and high-value biological solids to be marketed as either organic fertilizer or as a high-protein animal feed ingredient for other species.

Bion's implementation plan projects a number of dairies located within a geographic area, each with modular waste treatment facilities capable of handling the waste stream of 10,000 dairy cows or more. Renewable energy produced by the Bion technology platform will meet the natural gas requirements of an ethanol plant on a ratio of 1,000 dairy cows to one million gallons of ethanol production. This model will enable Bion to secure burner-tip (retail) values for the renewable energy produced, instead of wellhead (wholesale) values presently being achieved by anaerobic digesters and other renewable energy technologies focused on the animal waste market.

Expanded herd concentration directly resulting from the implementation of Bion's patented technology platform can lower capital costs while significantly improving operating margins of expanding or new ethanol facilities. Ethanol production sites will not require dryers, eliminating both the capital and the imbedded energy costs in the corn co-products. In addition, the ability to create a local herd in immediate proximity to the ethanol plant essentially eliminates the distiller grains marketing and revenue risk, reducing transportation costs and eliminating the requirement for natural gas in the site selection process. It will enable existing older plants and East Coast facilities to "create" markets for their ethanol co-product, and therefore to remain competitive with newer larger facilities in the Midwest.


Last night when I got home form the pub, after having a few, I dipped into Drumbeat and posted this comment:

"So demand is down.  I'll buy all TODers a drink if we just had peak oil."

I don't think I've ever had so much response before to a comment - bees round a honey pot - but at least I hold out some hope that my cyber friends are in some way human (apart from the CEO who is clearly half human and half in love with Paris - though that promise of Dutch girls clad in black leather .. whhh!)

However, having made the rash promise in the hope of boosting the viewing figures here's how I see it:

Following the 70s oil shocks demand has increased at an amazingly steady rate of 1.1 mmbpdpy(linked to population growth).  Sometimes it gets above the line (like last year) sometimes it drops below - like what is unfolding now.  Nothing to do with productive capacity.

So what will bring this amazing 25 year long relationship down.  High oil price is the answer.  And I suspect it will have to go a lot higher that $70 to make a serious dent.

Productive capacity will keep rising with price - so peak will be reached when we decide we no longer want to pay - or alternatives get cheaper than oil (worked this out chatting with Roger yesterday at foot of Gave thread)

Following 70s oil shocks there was demand easy to destroy - fuel oil used in industry and electricity generation - nat gas came along as an easy substitute.  Now it is not so easy as demand destruction will have to bite into transport - but there again everyone could drive a 1000 cc car at 50 mph - that would save a lot.

China has paused for breath - but for how long?  Chinese demand will almost certainly pick up again - and that will be when the fun starts.

So when is the peak.  My best bet is on 2012±3 years (actually probablities skewed more towards -4 / +2) - based on Khebabs loglet work as I beleive that is the best shot yet at modelling the data - but even that still has a couple of niggles.

I think it is a mistake to underestimate KSA.

Robert was asking what symptoms we will see when we reach peak:

  1. Falling production correlating with rising price
  2.  US stock levels falling fast
  3. Gun fights at gas stations
  4. Governments seriously encouraging fuel conservation (in the name of CO2 reduction)
  5. US forces fighting everyone

Fire away
(I'm out again this evening - but not for a couple of hours)
6 years to peak oil (actually anything between 2 and 8 years) 10 years required to mitigate consequences.  The wolf is not yet at the door but she's out there, prowling.

I'm off to the pub!

Maybe catch you all later.

My best bet is on 2012±3 years (actually probablities skewed more towards -4 / +2) - based on Khebabs loglet work as I beleive that is the best shot yet at modelling the data - but even that still has a couple of niggles.

I agree with that estimate.

I think it is a mistake to underestimate KSA.

I agree with that.

1. Falling production correlating with rising price

2. US stock levels falling fast

I definitely think we will see those as well. We have seen some of (1) this year, but not at the moment. But we haven't seen (2).

I think it is a mistake to underestimate KSA.

Yes. Anybody who believes that KSA is running out of cheap oil as rapidly as other major producers has some explaining to do:

How come the average cost of oil production in KSA is still a mere $2 (or thereabouts) per barrel?

If this is to be reconciled with the 'Twilight in the Desert' hypothesis, we must assume that KSA oil production price will rise exponentially in the years to come -- from $2 to $20 to $40, say.

Though I hope I am wrong and that Westexas, Simmons etc are right. KSA running short of cheap oil would be a blessing in disguise. KSA swimming in cheap oil would be a nightmare.

Please would somebody prove that I am mistaken. Call me a dumbo, a know-nothing, a suitable case for treatment -- but prove I'm wrong as well.

How come the average cost of oil production in KSA is still a mere $2 (or thereabouts) per barrel?

When the East Texas Field was 90% plus depleted, there were still wells on the updip edge of the field that would produce thousands of barrels of oil per day and whose operating cost was minuscule.  

Mathematically, Saudi Arabia (KSA) in 2005 was where Texas was at in 1972, when Texas peaked.  Despite the highest (nominal) oil prices in history, Saudi oil production is down from 2005.  

One can argue that we can't really compare the field distribution in KSA to Texas, but you can make the same argument regarding the Lower 48 and the North Sea.  These two regions could not be more different, but they peaked at the same point, in close proximity to 50% of Qt, based on the HL method.

There is one crucial difference between KSA and Texas.  The East Texas Field only accounted for about 7% of Texas production in 1972.   The Ghawar Field, in 2005, may have accounted for more than 50% of Saudi production in 2005.  

In any case, the HL model predicted a Saudi production decline--just like Texas, the Lower 48 and the North Sea--and we are seeing a Saudi production decline.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/StrategyLab/Rnd14/P4/NewsletterPortfolioJournal200609 29.aspx

Interesting Article:  Lower oil prices mean a great buying opportunity


Peter Way, editor of the Oil & Gas Block Trader tracks "smart money" -- those who trade in large blocks of stock for pensions and mutual funds. He notes that while the media quotes the settlement prices for crude oil futures, which have shown a very sharp decline since August, he focuses on "the forecasts that the public can't see."

By looking at crude futures out into 2007 -- covering contracts worth some $83 billion-- he notes, "The block market is placing pretty strong bets that oils are due for a rebound." In fact, despite a near 20% drop in crude, the longer-term high-end forecasts from block traders have only declined from $95 to $90.

Curtis Hesler, editor of The Professional Timing Service, says, "Crude oil has corrected to the point that there are few believers left, and the vultures are circling. Sentiment is as bearish as I can remember. It is almost as if someone were orchestrating the decline in order to buy in on the cheap."

Finally, Jack Adamo's Insider Plus believes most of the setback in energy was due to seasonal weakness. "Oil inventories are always high in September," he explains. "Yes, they are the highest since 1998, but the U.S. uses 3 million more barrels of oil per day than in 1998. The current excess is less than a day's average usage. In March, when we were on the other side of the seasonal dip, we had a 15-day excess and the exact same headlines about 1998. In one week oil plunged 15% from $67 to $57. Within 4 months, it was at $78."

Note that out of the previous six times that oil prices fell by 15% or more, within months oil traded at a new high six out of six times.  Having said that, if we are entering a recession/depression, the seventh time could be different. We could be looking at a race between falling production and falling consumption.

Westexas: US dollar strength/weakness is another variable.Paulson is working on getting China to revalue the yuan upwards, which would be bullish.

How many peaks?

KSA has only really developed 6 of it biggest fields, meaning all the rest are still there.

In N Sea terms that means Statfjord, Oseberg, Brent, Forties, Gullfkas, Ekofisk are in decline - the kings and queens

Meaning that we still have Snorre, Troll, Vigdis, Ninian, Magnus, Cormorant, Alwyn, Valhal, Bruce, Beryl, Brae, Piper, Claymore, Brittania, Nelson, Fulmar, Elgin, Shearwater, Auk - or their KSA equivalnets and so on - still to come in KSA.  Parabolic fractal law I believe.

The Dutch have conserved their super giant - Groningen - left it till last - differnet approaches.

This is from memory and under the influence of 10 pints of guiness and 6 bottles of red wine.

I also think that KSA and world peak will come well past 50% of URR - but production will then crash.

Ghawar is an outlier, IMHO, outside the fractal distribution.

So take the other half of KSA production and extrapolate many smaller fields replacing the depletion of #2 to #6.

I once saw Ghawar desrcibed as TEN super-giant & giant fields that were flooded with oil from the underlying source rock; such that the oil "under flowed" and connected the ten large & very large fields together into one.  That does not fit easily into a fractal distribution; it a mutant, a freak of nature.

So rest of KSA close to stable whilst Ghawar declines by XX% each year ?  XX =12% ?  XX = 20% ?

I do not OVER estimate KSA future production.  Ghawar simply CANNOT be replaced !


So take the other half of KSA production and extrapolate many smaller fields replacing the depletion of #2 to #6.

Alan that's exactly what I plan to do.

The peak will be almost invisible when it happens. No one will notice -- at first. If it has already happened, we don't know it yet. There are pre-peak signals, of course. That's part of why The Oil Drum exists. But the actual production peak? We see that in the rear view mirror.

Concerning KSA, you must be prepared to provide and support specific claims. For example, Khurais has never produced at anything like the level projected, which is 1.2/mbpd. I'll believe it when I see it, an opinion shared by HO, I think. The more important example is Ghawar. When you say "don't underestimate KSA", then you are making a specific claim about Ghawar -- that it is fine now and will be OK in the future. Simmons wrote a rather long book documenting a different future for Ghawar. Argue with him and be specific.

Opinions are easy. Analysis is harder. To say "I agree with this" or "I don't agree with that" is to say, really, nothing at all.

Dave, I feel compelled to respond.

Imagine Ghawar as 7 to 8 separate fields.  The biggest and best part - Shedgum - is probably now in rapid decline.  The rest of this massive compelx is still there with huge STOIP - sure the productive capacity is lower than Shedgum - but once they get this drilled up...

With all the stock tanks full, lower production today correlated with lower price in my mind = lower demand - look at China, and India, and Bangladesh!

The good part is that we have another 6 years (-4/+2) of this stuff to look forward to - but maybe not, I could be wrong - in which case if peak is past - Peak Oil so what - I just lost a bet.

Sorry,, CW, you make little sense. neither would I with that intake. No that there's anything wrong with that.

Ghawar is a guessing game. Your guess is no better than anyone else's. Heinberg alluded to severe decline last month, but hasn't substantiated that, to my knowledge.

As per Groningen, or more correctly, Slochteren, the Dutch have been pumping that for decades, and there are serious worries (of which ample evidence exists about the entire region, which, like all of Holland, is densely populated, sinking fast because of all that pumping. Most of the field is gone.

Roel, the comments I make about Ghawar are based on Twilight - I've read the section on Ghawar several times now.  I'd agree that lack of concrete data leads to speculation.  If Ghawar were one huge tank and it were crashing (like for example Statfjord (which is in fact 2 tanks)) then that would be very serious. But its not.  I spent the greater part of my career working on reservoir and field compartmentalisation.

Its difficult to convey a balanced view here.  Production decline at Ghawar - certainly big news.  Falling production in KSA - big news? Not so sure.  My suspicion is that they were close to peak capacity and the fall in demand will have suited them well - allowing them to shut down inefficient production.

On Groningen - the source of my information here is senior production folks at Exxon - who along with Shell, own the field.  Groningen was discovered before WWII, and your right, it has been produced for decades.  But what I've been told is that the Dutch authorities only ever permitted production at fraction of potential rates - because Groningen alone could supply all Dutch demand and more.  By conserving Groningen, this stimulated exploration off shore etc and hundreds of smaller fields have been discovered and developed as a consequence.  How much of Groningen is left - I don't know.

In 2005 The Netherlands produced 62.9 bcm of gas and consumed 39.5 bcm.  This doesn't to my mind tally with your claim that most of Groningen is gone. Reserves are 1.41 tcm! Second only to Norway in Europe.

This is the exact opposite of what has happened in KSA where they produced their super giants - and this made it pointless exploring for / developing other fields.  What is the point when your capacity is 9 mmbpd and you're only producing at 5 mmbpd - going out and finding some more?


That they developed a field at the bottom of the empty quarter, at great cost, indicates that SA is actually very well explored, with all or nearly all potential large on-shore fields found and developed, pretty much as sommons claims.  Their major efforts are now focused off shore, bringing very expensive rigs from our gulf to drill into theirs, and providing more evidence that nothing substantial - beyond infill driling - remains to be done on land.

Their stated intent to move oil below 'too high' prices is at odds with falling production as prices surged this year. My guess is that they are producing nearly every barrel they can, maybe - or maybe not - holding in reserve a little heavy sour. WHether they will continue producing at max with prices down and US storage up in the shoulder season is a good question - a continued decline of say 50kb/d/month would be inconclusive.

I agree they are trying to increase capacity, maybe in panic mode as their 2.5x increase in rigs is so far obviously not enough to stem the fall and, the more rigs they use, the fewer are available elsewhere.  Westtexas may be right that they won't be able to reverse no matter what... If ghawar begins going down 20%/year, they will never get back to former peak production.  While reports of 2mm/d ghawar decline is not credible - where could they have found 1.5mmb+/d to compensate? - It is quite credible that net ghawar is now falling around 1%/month in spite of the number of new wells drilled.

SA may resist production cuts, and Q8 too, but Iran may be more enthusiastic.  Meanwhile, Iraq production does not look stable as violence escalates. The kurds are making their own deals, maybe the one thing that could unite the rest of the country.  Some attention might return to northern pipelines...

Hmmm ... there's one thing i haven't seen mentioned here.

the combustion that creates the CO2 and the heat that are related to climate change and global warming, creates one other component - Water.

all the hydrogen from those ancient hydrocarbons is being combined with oxygen molecules to make - CO2 and H2O.  and energy as heat.

how much H2O is coming from all that combustion ?

Lots, but trying to capture and condense all that water might prove costly in terms of energy.
Unless of course someone figures out a way to burn a hydocarbon at -40deC!!  :-)
A drop in the ocean.  I remember reading somewhere that all the oil ever discovered would fill Lake Geneva about half full.
Lake Geneva is 89 cubic kilometres http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Geneva - that's about 600 billion barrels. Cumulative historical production to date is over 1000 billion, maybe(!) about as much again to come.
Less than 200 cubic metres per second worldwide. That's about 1.5% of the outflow of the Mississipi.
This is for vtpeatnik and anyone else from that area

I am looking at possibly relocating to Vermont, New Hampshire, or one of the other New England states. What are the conditions like up there? Job wise and real estate wise as well as PO-wise. Thanks.

Relocate to Colorado instead. I can really use a good real-time software programmer right now.
We looked at the VT NH areas and are thinking of the Coopertown NY area,  anyone from that area here?
Another scary real estate story in Barron's

This column is by a Florida broker.  He talks about routinely seeing 40% drops in values, from recent peaks.

There are about 50,000 condos under development in the Miami area.  

Over the past 10 years, the Miami market absorbed a total of only about 25,000 condos (2,500 per year).  

The broker talks about a real estate hurricane hitting Florida and other formerly hot markets, and he talks about thousands of layoffs in real estate related businesses.


"Cracks Are Emerging' In The Housing Bubble

From Newsday in New York. "As housing boomed, real estate agents, furniture sellers, mortgage bankers, construction workers and a host of others reaped the rewards. Now cracks are emerging in those key sectors of the region's economy. Data and anecdotes alike are signaling the potential for job losses, closed offices and fewer new real estate licenses."

 "`Real estate is about a third of the economy,' when accounting for related industries, said Martin Cantor, chief economist for Sustainable Long Island. `It's going to ripple all the way through.'"

As I said, "Cut thy spending and . . . "

There are lots of things I don't understand in this world, but one is how the market can head for new highs in face of the housing, and more generally debt, bubbles.

Of course Forbes says the market "may be due for a rest" ... poor tired market.


"may be due for a rest," yeah, that's a good one.

more like, "throw your hands in the air and scream all the way down."

>There are lots of things I don't understand in this world, but one is how the market can head for new highs in face of the housing, and more generally debt, bubbles.

Despite the dow figure, its quite below its 2000 watermark, Since 2000, a number of stocks have been swapped out and the multiplier has been altered.

Its quite possible that the dow may continue to rise further as investors take note of declining oil prices and declining interest rates. Investors seeking yield have been driven towards stocks and investment yields are falling else where (bonds, commodities, real estate, etc).

From the same housingbubbleblog:

(as I said yesterday, the new guidelines are simply the sign on the wall that the cattle has been bled for all it has to offer)

Will new, stricter mortgage loan standards accelerate the downfall?

"At a time of a speculative boom in real estate, market participants find themselves in a moral dilemma: lenders cannot easily maintain their high lending standards and stay competitive when other lenders are weakening standards,' said Robert Shiller, an economics professor at Yale. `At this time, regulators of lending institutions have some of their most important work to do, and, at the same time, it is especially difficult for them to do it.'"

From Kenneth Harney. "Starting Monday, it's going to get much riskier to fib about your income when you apply for a home mortgage. That's because the Internal Revenue Service is overhauling a key income verification tool used by lenders, making it faster and easier to pull up electronically the confidential income tax information of borrowers."

"Some popular mortgage products themselves open the door to bogus assertions about income. Many lenders in recent years have offered 'stated income'" and other limited documentation mortgages aimed especially at self-employed applicants."

"But now, with the IRS promising to provide electronic transcript tax data within one to two business days in an electronic format, more lenders are likely to run income checks before closing, even on loans to applicants who are not self-employed or using stated-income programs."

The Christian Science Monitor runs a "summer series" on the housing market.

The latest installment, Risky mortgages threaten a squeeze provides an insight into where the biggest trouble looms.

Yes, "negative amortization" means your debt rises as you pay off your debt. That's a really bright future.

"We just really don't have any precedent to say, 'This is how bad it can get,' " says Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac, which follows trends in foreclosure. "The homeowner who stretched to buy a house in the first place could find himself or herself in very serious financial trouble very quickly."[..]

Earlier this year, an analysis by First American Real Estate Solutions in Santa Ana, Calif., estimated that $368 billion in adjustable-rate mortgages originated in 2004 and 2005 are at risk of default because of this pattern. Many more borrowers with traditional ARM loans also face the prospect of rising interest rates, but of a more manageable magnitude.

"This translates into ... 1.8 million families that are at risk as a result of the possibility of default and another 500,000 that are likely to go into foreclosure,"

Personal anecdote:
Just sold my Manhattan apartment, and without a serious discount to list price.  The economy still feels strong, and there are still lots of people who would like to buy properties if they became more affordable.  The residential rental market is very very tight (1% vacancy or something ridiculous like that) and rental prices are high and rising.
Right now, if you price a decent place realistically, you'll get interest.  At the two largest NYC real estate brokerages, both of which had a hand in selling my place, September has been very brisk, after a summer hiatus that scared some folks.  I personally don't see much upside after a decade of huge gains, but things aren't falling apart yet either.
Yes, but Manhattan is a special case.  There are 29,000 people at Goldman Sachs who make an average of over $500,000 USD per year while the old head of Goldman Sachs is now head of the US Treasury.  Manhattan is the home of the financial industry tapeworm that is consuming the rest of the US, and indeed, the planet itself.  They didn't call NY the "Empire State" for no reason.

Manhattan will be like the ancient city of Rome, or an ancient Mayan capital, fat and decadent until it meets a very hard crash.

On the other hand, life in Dogpatch, Arkansas might actually improve a little after the fall of the empire as the rural vassals could end up handing over a smaller fraction of their produce to the local boss than they formerly did to the old imperial government.

Agree with everything you said, including the eventual denouement.  Except I'll take NYC during and after the sack, rather than Dogpatch any day.  

Nevertheless, I was trying to give some local color to contrast the idea that the real estate market here specifically is getting whacked.  It may yet, but it has not yet been taken to the woodshed, in my view.

I just gotta tell you about a piece of mail I received today, trying to get me to by oil sands stock in a company called Strata Oil & Gas. A couple of quotes from the letter, all words in bold are theirs:

In fact, 60 Minutes says the discovery "...will be the single largest source of foreign oil for the United States, even bigger than Saudi Arabia."

Well, that bit of hype may not be too far from the truth, but this quote takes the cake:

You see, the company has secured a spectacular 39,000 acre oil sands package in the heart of the trillion-dollar deposit that could supply ALL of America's energy needs for the next 100 years.

Now that is great news if I ever heard it. We will be supplied with all our energy needs for the next 100 years, not from the whole damn patch of oil sands, but from one 39,000 acre patch in the center of it. No doubt the rest of the oil sands can supply the rest of the world for the next 100 years. But we have that little patch reserved for US energy needs for the next century.

Well, now that that is settled, we may as well close the list and go home. No more peak oil problem, no more energy problem at all. The oil sands have solved all that.

Ron Patterson

You're not doing the writer justice,. As you write it here:

You see, the company has secured a spectacular 39,000 acre oil sands package in the heart of the trillion-dollar deposit that could supply ALL of America's energy needs for the next 100 years.

(S)he says the trillion dollar deposit could supply all of America's energy needs. Not that it WILL.

Second, the claim refers to the entire deposit, not just the 39,000 acres.

(yes, both claims could be read either way, likely not a coincidence)

And third, please don't make me defend either the oilsands or slick PR firms.

I saw it go by that WESTEXAS knows alot about tarzans...(sorry coundn't help myself)
The Los Angeles Times poll shows Prop 87, the Khosla-sponsored tax on California oil production, not in very good shape 5 weeks before the election.


As for the ballot measures, the general rule is that they need to have considerably more than 50% support heading into the final phase of the campaign to surmount a tendency on the part of late-deciding voters to vote "no." None of the measures included in the poll hit that mark.

Proposition 87, which seeks to boost research into alternative energies by increasing the tax on crude oil pumped in California, was ahead 45% to 38%.

Looks like Khosla has a bit of work to do before he gets to divert billions of dollars of taxpayer money into his companies.

Certainly falling gas prices help the "No" campaign. But I think Khosla will win this vote. I think it will be a very interesting experiment. It will be interesting to see how oil companies respond.
"...electricity on such a large scale is only possible with fossil fuels...."

My god, does France know? Apparently, they have no electricity, why did they not figure this out before now....

This is actually very similar to the "Ok, so you go nuclear, then you have to import Uranium from Africa instead of oil from the middle east..." argument. Where to even begin.

  1. Trading africa for the middle east is a dramatic step up.
  2. OECD has 40% of reserves.
  3. Sais OECD reserves are more than enough to last a long, long, very very long time. Centuries at least, even without breeders.
  4. Importing a few tens of thousands of tons of material (Uranium, for example) is being compared to importing a billion tons of oil. Hmmm, only a factor of 100,000 different, practically identical!
  5. The amount of nuclear fuel required to run even a fairly large country for a year fits into a few large warehouses. Consider the difference for oil. The amount of oil required to run the US for a year simply cannot be stored in any reasonable fashion.

These sorts of comparisons really don't do anyone any good. Nuclear has a huge advantage in that a decade of fuel can be bought in one fell swoop. Even with supply disruptions, there's no reason to not keep a decade or two of fuel around. With 20 years to figure something out, and Uranium not only very abundant, but also fairly reasonably distributed (and heavily concentrated in wealthy, stable countries), this doesn't seem like it would be a significant problem. If it becomes a problem, or is cause for concern, use a breeder program. Breeders aren't economically feasible now (Uranium is just so cheap that it doesn't make any sense), but if security is a concern, then it makes perfect sense. Reprocessing the waste we currently have would give use around a century worth of fuel, or more. And knowing what the next two responses are going to be, let me head them off...

  1. The US is already  a nuclear power. Us reprocessing doesn't encourage proliferation. What does encourage proliferation is us bidding up the world's natural gas prices and thus forcing poor countries to turn to nuclear power.

  2. Breeder reactors do work, where do you think all the plutonium in our weapons came from?

  3. Civilian reactors have a hard time making weapons grade material unless you are willing to shut them down every week or two. That's a hard thing to hide. If you don't know what Curium is, please don't respond to this assertion.
slaphappy -

I largely agee with what you say regarding nuclear power.

One of the more commonly stated arguments against nuclear power is the radioactive waste disposal issue, which has been beaten to death and blown all out of proportion by the anti-nuke people.

Yes, high-level radioactive waste is nasty stuff and will remain so for eons. However, what is pehaps purposely overlooked is the fact that, compared to the gazillions of tons of flyash, bottom ash, and other residues from fossil fuel production, the amount of high-level radioactive waste is miniscule. There are plenty of otherwise worthless locations in the US west where such wastes could be interned in perpetuity.

Yes, nuclear power is not without risk, but I think any objective technical analysis would conclude that those risks can be properly managed. How many nuclear accidents has France or Japan had in the last few decades?  

Of course the anti-nuke people always bring up Chernobyl. Well, if Chernobyl were a car, it'd be something like a badly abused, high-mileage Yugo that had been used as a taxi. It was a poorly designed, poorly operated, and poorly maintained Soviet-era piece of crap.

As I have said before, if one is really worried about dying from radiation poisoning, one should be far more worried about it occurring as the result of a nuclear war fought over dwindling fossil fuel reserves than from a nuclear power plant gone out of  control.

Of course the anti-nuke people always bring up Chernobyl.

The anti-nuke crowd are also totally clueless about the concept of relative risk and about the virtual harmlessness or positive health effects (hormesis) of low-level ionizing radiation.

No point in arguing with them, thought -- my impression is that most of them simply lack the cognitive ability even to understand the other side.

They just don't get it.

The anti-nuke crowd are also totally clueless about the concept of relative risk and about the virtual harmlessness or positive health effects (hormesis) of low-level ionizing radiation.

VS pitches by people who are not in a hurry to point out how the failure modes are costly.

Like the bit about ionizing radiation.   You make it sound like without the extra ionizing radiation from a nuke plant, you'd suffer.

It's not like people have pushed bad ideas for profit in the past:

Check all that apply...

[] I live near granite.
[] I live above sea level.
[] I fly in aircraft.
[] I live downwind of a coal fired power plant (everyone gets to check this one)
[] My house has a basement, and I occasionally go down there.
[] I get medical x-rays from time to time.
[] My house has a smoke detector (depends on model.)
[] My house has incandescent bulbs with tungsten filaments. (If you're not sure, then this is probably a yes.)
[] I drink coffee
[] I eat banannas.

Ok, the level of radiation you're talking about from a nuke plant is well below any of the above. If you checked even one box (and we all got to check box #4, like it or not, partially thanks to the anti-nukes) and you don't constantly complain about it, then you shouldn't complain about this either.

If you want to not have nukes, you need to figure out how that won't make box #4 just that much worse.

Most radioactive waste is just considered nuclear waste because of its history. If we really drew the line based on the amount of radiation present, then lots of foods and other common materials would qualify. All tungsten is roughly as radioactive as depleted Uranium, so lightbulbs all fall into that category, unless they're fluorescent, in which case they contain mercury.

Ok, the level of radiation you're talking about from a nuke plant is well below any of the above.

What part of failure mode do you not understand?

If nuclear power can be safe in failure mode, demonstrate this.

TMI demonstrated that. You claim that modern reactor can go cherynobyl, but without any evidence to back that up. Indeed, the only data we have is actually a counterexample.
positive health effects (hormesis) of low-level ionizing radiation.

The significant increase in carbon 14 from above ground atomic bomb tests has increased background ionizing radiation enough for ALL of us that we need no more for the "positive health effects".

So I take it you live at sea level, away from any mountains, and never fly. Right, right.....

No, ok, not terribly concerned about radiation then, are you.

Nuclear has a huge advantage in that a decade of fuel can be bought in one fell swoop. Even with supply disruptions, there's no reason to not keep a decade or two of fuel around.

Thanks - that's one of the best arguments I've ever heard for nuclear power.


peak oil ---   coming soon, if not already here;

peak uranium -- enough economically recoverable reserves to last a couple of centuries, though global warming will probably have fried us all in the meantime.

France did the smart thing.  They built their tidal power plants, nuclear power, etc., when oil was cheap.  It will be a lot harder when fossil fuels are expensive and in short supply.
Virus batteries assemble themselves

To me, [what is] more interesting is that when an abalone makes offspring, it makes millions and millions of offspring that have the genetic information to build a beautiful shell.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to pass on genetically the ability to make a material, in this case battery material, solar cells, or all kinds of other things we're working on? If you're going to genetically manipulate a sponge or an abalone to change their offspring, it's going to take a really long time, and it's going to be very complex. Viruses are very easy to work with.

They're only DNA and protein. You don't have to worry about messing up all kinds of other metabolic processes, and you can make millions of copies in a very short amount of time.

We've done a lot of experiments, so we know the kinds of amino acids that are good at binding different materials. For the cobalt oxide material, all we had to do was bind cobalt, and to do that, we used high concentrations of carboxylic acid proteins.

The gold part we did through selection [creating millions of variations, and isolating the DNA of virus proteins that bind well to gold]. Then [we] put the DNA sequence that is good at capturing cobalt into the genome of the virus, with the sequence [for gold] in a different part.

Hello Roel,

Interesting link, hope they are very careful!  I could see a virus escaping into the environment: then turning the blood in all animals into crystals-- a Super version of the old movie, "The Andromeda Strain".

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

Hey Bob

I'm really sceptical of things like this, golden eggs and silver bullets, but this girl has a good clean story to tell about her research, and I enjoyed reading it. So I thought I'd feed the optimists here a little.

Still, my personal view remains that man would do well to see his limitations, instead of trying to stopgap colossal failures with even bigger endeavors. We ain't that smart, proof of that is all around us. We're living in a medium of our own shortcomings.

Hello Roel,

Thxs for responding.  Yep, future does not look good: Detritovore delusional desires are guaranteeing that detritus entropy is going to be very fast, but biosolar entropy is constantly going on in the background too [offset by whatever meager growth is provided by our Sun].  People just don't seem to realize that nearly every action by every lifeform further degrades the planet.  Such is life, but I am still trying to think of ways to optimize our decline and squeeze through the Bottleneck.  I still think Asimov's Foundation concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline is our best bet to somehow act smarter than our Genes.

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

"People just don't seem to realize that nearly every action by every lifeform further degrades the planet."

Apple trees make apples and O2.

Yeast and humans make beer.

Paris Hilton makes CEO happy...

I am pretty sure other lifeforms are nice too less you suggest sterilizing the planet.

Me love pasties. Sorry...I mean pastries.

""People just don't seem to realize that nearly every action by every lifeform further degrades the planet."

Thanks for another great laugh, that is one of the single wierdest sentences I have ever heard (although the other day, the sentence about the "bell curve with a pointed cliff" about cracked me up, and the sentence "when consumption exceeds supply" is always good for a laugh!)

"""People just don't seem to realize that nearly every action by every lifeform further degrades the planet."

Well, without the actions of lifeforms, the Earth by definition would a barren lifeless lump.  It is truly scary that the actions of lifeforms could possibly further degrade the Earth to a.....barren, lifeless lump! :-O  Ironically funny beyond words!

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Hello Roger,

Thxs for responding, but I believe you are misinformed on Thermodynamics and Entropy.  I respectfully request that you find a living creature that creates it own energy; a living 'perpetual motion machine' with no intake of outside resources, and with no corresponding ejection of waste.  May I suggest you need to read Dieoff.com some more?

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

Thanks, I might for kicks, it's been a little while, but I have been to Dieoff all too many times....somehow, they always make me think of the Grateful Dead lyric,
"I may be going to hell in a bucket, babe
But at least Im enjoying the ride"

Or the great Woody Allen scene with the kid depressed because he read the sun is going to burn in some several million years....and his mom screams at him, "What the helll do you care, you live in Brooklyn!"

Yeah, life's a bitchh, and then ya' die, but what do you do in the meantime?...I sure ain't sittin around and worrying too much about Entropy!

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Hello Oilrig Medic,

Thxs for responding. No disagreement from me--I like my beer too, but I understand how this simple act contributes to the increasing disorder [waste] of the planet.  Entropy is the price and purpose of existence.  It is a relentless 24/7/365/8 billion year dispersal flow from hot to cold, order to disorder, concentrated resources to waste:
According to the deficit principle of the Entropy Law .... even in breeding chickens a greater amount of low entropy is consumed than is contained in the product. 2

2. How incredibly resilient is the myth of energy breeding is evidenced by the very recent statement of Roger Revelle [70, p. 169] that "farming can be thought of as a kind of breeder reactor in which much more energy is produced than consumed." Ignorance of the main laws governing energy is widespread indeed.
Now I am no physics expert, but it would not surprise me if 99.999999% of the universe's initial potential was entropized in the first few seconds after the 'Big Bang'.  We, the planet, are using the dregs of what is left on this sphere; this incredible little blue marble floating in the vastness of space.

All of earth's history has been an infinitesimal fraction of further entropy [plus whatever energy was gained by sunshine and the incredible kinetic wallop of the occasional comet and/or meteor hit].  Try to imagine the energy required to carve the moon out of the earth: yet that loss of earth's mass is sufficient to create entropic sloshing tides that are slowly reducing the earth's rotational speed.  Every living thing that has gone before us has added [subtracted would be a better term] it's contribution to entropy, but humans, since the harnessing of fire, excell at detritus entropy.

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


I guess I see your point but if a apple tree takes sunshine and turns our waste CO2 into apples and then excretes O2, is it making the planet worse?  Every second that passes the universe winds down and someday will either expand into a cold dark void, or collapse into a hot black one depending on who you read.  Ok, cool but I don't think that means that human existence (or any lifeform) is inherently bad.  And as posted above even if we nuke the entire surface life will prevail and evolve in some form.  

So my point is solar energy interacts to create order from disorder on our planets surface.  Small molecules assemble to form large ones.  Microbiology becomes mighty oaks and billionaire heiress's.  

The human race is no threat to the planet. The human race is a threat to the human race and many other life forms. The planet will create new life forms that will thrive no matter what happens. It may take millions of years for different life forms to evolve, but the planet will live on till the Sun expires.


That's actually a very philosophical point you make.

Many people will say things resembling the old Barry Commoner line, "The first lesson of ecology is everything is interconnected.", which is of course true.  Then they will say something sweet and poetic like "nature is complex and beautiful and wastes nothing.", which, o.k., and then "there is a place in nature for all creatures and life (thus, we cannot risk the destruction of a gnat or certain color of frog or whatever".....but, "humans are destroying the Earth"....wait a minute...if nature has a place in it's complexity for all creatures, right down to yellow bellied sap suckers and certain color tree frogs, what about humans?  Are we assume to assume that the Earth is friendly and put together "Gaia" fashion except for one and only one animal, that being humans?  In the old "Western" tradition (Platonic version of Judeo Christian) it was believed that man was the master of the Earth, build as an exception from it, to rule, and "harvest" whatever humans needed, to humans benefit.  The other creatures were for our use, and did not exist for their own benefit.  MANKIND the exception.

Astoundingly and ironically, radical nihlism and "deep green" environmentalism take the same position of man as exceptional and excluded from nature, only now, as a hated enemy of nature, a horrible virus upon it, nto as an integral part of a holistic interworking universe.  But what if we are only a menace to ourselves, in the big picture?  What if the canary in the mine is....us!

Einstein was once asked, "What is the most important question? "  He answered, "Is the Universe a friendly place?"  It's a big question, that being, does the Universe welcome, and in fact, seem to be somehow designed to create and encourage life (the yes argument can be made on the basis that as unlikely as life is, the mathematics of the Universe seem to allow for it, so we are "built in), OR, is life, and humans in particular, a horrible cosmic accident, not accounted for by the Universe, but just some fluke that came as a byproduct and should not have occured?  Are we essentially the universes excrement, counter to the "beautiful" symmetry of the the math of the Universe?

One of the positivist thinkers of the late 1800's (I can't recall who now) once said, "We say as a statement of fact that "The truth, when known in it's entirety, will set you free.  The question is, Is that the truth?"  It is, after all the basis of both science and religious faith.

Albert Camus once said, "All error is simply an error of incompleteness."

Brilliant that, in that once the theory is completed out in all knowledge, it becomes absolutely correct, error free!  Of course, that would mean complete complete and total knowledge of all existance, everywhere at everytime, essentially, our definition of God.

And this still leaves me not knowing what the helll the price of natural gas will be even three months out, and how to make some easy money on it!  Revolting our pathetic ignorance, ain't it?

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

it's not humans in general, but the way that we live which is causing harm to our planet. we would go right back into harmony with nature if we went back to our hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

to put it simply, it's not that we can't fit ourselves into the picture we have learned about, it's that we like a stubborn child have decided that we know better then nature and want to put ourselves in a place where we don't fit.

Of course, if we're on our way into the entropic helll hole anyway, we might as well have some fun trying it!  :-)

It makes me think of Arthur C. Clarke's "replicating machines", an idea he got from some Russian thinkers, and used in the plot of "2010, A Space Odyssey".

At the time I first read it, I thought it was idiocy, and if it every happened would be a thousand years away....but I was thinking in terms of replicating devices as complex and large as say autos or airliners.

Now, with the nano tech solar cells and battery cells, the idea has cought my fancy again.....imagine a solar cell that could, using sunlight and some biological type processes, replicate itself.....essentially growing like the mentioned "Andromeda Strain".  Put a square foot of it in the sun in a remote location and come back in a week and have a square mile of energy producing carpet on the ground!

Don't laugh, I sneezed at catfish farming in the south a few decades ago....and when Nicola Tesla spoke of a gas turbine engine and descibed "100 horsepower in the size of a hat", people laughed out loud.

They ain't laughing now....

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I haven't seen Stuart's oil production graph for a few months. Has he stopped updating it? If so, is there another site that does this kind of thing?
There have been many requests for info on Stuart. His data, graphs and analysis are an important part of TOD> He kept things focused. Would the editors explain why we haven't had any postings recently.
Is the plateau not happening the way we expected it to?

"There have been many requests for info on Stuart. His data, graphs and analysis are an important part of TOD>"

Amen.  I basically trust his numbers further than some of the hocus pocus by EIA/IEA/USGS and certainly further than the highly paid CERA shots in the dark.  (he isn't secretly making mountains of money as a closet billionaire consultant, is he? ;-)

Plus, his graphs were raising my standards in my continuing efforts to graph with Microsoft Excel (I know, not exactly great software for complex modeling, but it's the one I am most used to....still trying to figure out how to graph anything with my Mac!)

We do miss Stuart here, you guys in contact with him tell him we say hi!

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I think the short answer is that the EIA data shows a continued plateau, but the IEA data shows production making new highs. The two data series are becoming divergent - no idea why.
Hello Halfin,

Good point!  If the Governmental leaders and/or the MSM were on the ball: they would call the principals in to have them explain what the hell is causing this divergence.  As far as I know--simple addition of numbers is a solid concept that hasn't changed in thousands of years.

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

The latest IEA report showed a 400,000 bopd drop over the previous (revised) figure.
Yes, that's newer than when I looked a couple of weeks ago. The latest IEA report is always here:


You want to look at Table 3, World Oil Production, near the back.

The last 3 months data, production in MB/day:

84.98   June
86.23   July
85.83   August

Compared to Stuart's last graph, we see that the last two months are literally off the top of the chart:

The latest EIA data are:

84.10   June
85.03   July

They're a month behind the IEA and still quite a bit lower, although they are finally coming up. 85 is quite a jump for the EIA.

For a while there Stuart was averaging the two:


July's average of 85.63 would make it easily the highest month, again off the top of Stuart's graph:

Thank you, Halfin. This basic information is so helpful.
I hope all is well with Stuart.  
Anyone know anything about an explosion and fire at a refinery in Virginia?  Heard a passing mention on local news.
According to this link, the fire was at an Amoco refinery in Yorktown, Virgina. The cause of the explosion is unknown. The article does say how much production is likely to be off line.
This is a link to a fire that occurred in Nov 2005 at the same reifnery, I think
(though it does reference different ownership).
I wonder if this event is problematic to this refinery.

link Nov 2005 fire

Either I'm hallucinating or I've got some breaking news. I apologize if somebody else pointed this out at an earlier date. I imagine Freddy Hutter would have been the only one to do so. I'm still trying to figure out when I missed this.

Noticing several people have been lamenting the absence of Stuart Staniford(he has clandestinely joined the Peshmerga in an attempt to appraise future Kirkuk production) - I decided to update my own plateau graph.

What I discovered was that July 2006 production is 250,000 barrels above December 2005.

This is a new peak.

Some people have some explaining to do. Or some spinning, at least. Get busy.

Anyone have any comment as to why production from Mexico seems stable and yet information posted here and elsewhere points to Cantarell production falling fast? Are they compensating sufficiently from other sources?
Mexican Oil Fields

Click the "Other Charts" link on right side of my page to access my flickr page and get bigger image.

I'm working on a more comprehensive assessment of Mexico, but will stay clear of any further analysis at this time.

Thanks for that, most illuminating.
Mind you, these numbers only finish out 2005. Cantarell has dropped from about 1.9 to 1.7 mbpd in the first 7 months of this year(if I can believe the scant reported numbers I see).
If true that is 18%/year, pretty consistent with a crash.
Twiglets, Loglets, a Seesaw and now some data

Grabbed this one for my file.  You done any HL work on this CEO?  My guess would be this could show a dog leg related to N2 injection at Canaterll - late 1990s - pre then may point to an "actual" URR and post now decline will be more rapid - heading for the pre late 90s URR.

This is midday Sunday - and it doesn't make any sense to me either.

I'll say again that decline of Cantarell may be less significant than most may think as this is heavy crude (refined by Valero?) and they will have no problem sourcing heavy crude else where.  In a few years time this may be another matter - once several hundred pbd have been knocked off Mexican production.

I would expect the theories(and conspiracy theories) as to why July is now the highest recorded production EVER to start rolling in, so fire away.

Patricia Smith decided to release the numbers yesterday as opposed to the usual first week of the month, so I can understand the surprise.

Given that the previous 4 months figures (June, May etc) were all revised downward, some by a considerable margin, wouldnt it be better to wait until the revisions are in?
I always wait until the revisions are in. But that cuts both ways. The people claiming production was falling didn't seem to wait for any revisions. I can only hope they will use this as a lesson.
I climb the Munroes in scotland (i live there) and we try to make the mountains bigger by building up a small rock cairn mound at the top! This gives a bigger peak.!!

Problem is theres might be a higher mountain somewhere.

Sorry just quipping.!



Hi Marco - how many you done -  I've climbed 39.  Peak oil is like many Munroes - you keep thinking you're at the top but when you get to the top of the rise it just keeps going up - but at shallower gradient.  Here's one for you and the CEO:

The 5 Sisters

I am close, I think in the 30s. I recently bought a chart to plot my climbs - it's got all Corbetts, Gordens etc aswell. But I couldn't remember which ones I was up as a teenager (in the school walking club)!

It doesn't matter what is going on the rest world when you are the top of one of these on your own! Escapism at its best.


I digress; apologies, back to peak oil:-)

"why July is now the highest recorded production EVER to start rolling in"...hmmm, think, think, think, think.....ummm, this is hard, let's seeeee....think.....oh, THAT'S RIGHT, $70 PLUS A BARREL!!

darn, why was that so hard,,,,,:-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Roger, you are a genius!

But falling production at this time could still just mean falling demand.


Not a chance.  Falling demand might some day lead to falling production, but apparently not at $60/b.  We will see it when opec cuts, and not just a few b by lesser members.
Darwinian disagrees.
No he agrees. We're looking at the same numbers. He speaks of crude+condensate, and this is an important fact, but even he will agree that the all-liquids number which by default we have been using here for some time is up 1 million barrels per day June to July, and set a new record, up from December.
No, he doesn't.  See the first post to the new DrumBeat.


I am often accused of being unfair to the "deep peak" catastrophists when I say they often try to leave the impression that the OIL WILL SOON BE GONE, something no sane geologist has said, and even Colin Campbell in his darkest scenario (ASPO) predicting peak very soon if not now, does not come close to saying.  Let us look at the links today,

First link:


"It is not only oil that will soon be gone."
"Copper, aluminum, and other metals are also rapidly vanishing"
"To believe that a non-petroleum infrastructure is possible, one would have to imagine, for example, solar-powered machines creating equipment for the production and storage of electricity by means of solar energy. This equipment would then be loaded on to solar-powered trucks, driven to various locations, and installed with other solar-powered devices, and so on, ad absurdum and ad infinitum. Such a scenario might provide material for a work of science fiction, but not for genuine science.
"If we imagine a world without fossil fuels, we must imagine a world without metals or electricity."

Second link
"Although the imminent exhaustion of the world's fossil fuel would certainly propel us to the Solar Hydrogen Economy, we need the fossil fuel to make the transition. Therefore, we need to have some idea as to when it might be exhausted."

Third link
Is The World About To Run Out Of Oil?"
"In his book, The Hydrogen Economy, Jeremy Rifkin, writing about "when there is no more oil"
"Peak oil, the day when oil production reaches its maximum and begins a steady decline until it is gone in 40-50 years."

Now someone please explain to me that there is not a very directed attempt to give the impression that what we are talking about is not "Peak Oil" but instead the running out of oil down to the last drop, and soon (I love the "solar-powered machines creating equipment for the production and storage of electricity by means of solar energy. This equipment would then be loaded on to solar-powered trucks, driven to various locations, and installed with other solar-powered devices, and so on", it is like a comic book alright, but is there really a doom believer out there more than 10 years old who really believes that such a scenario could even be needed, much less possible?

O.K, here's another link, run on TOD several months ago

Note that Colin Campbells 2002 projections, far darker than anyone elses, show as much oil being produced in 2050 as was being produced in 1965 or so, about 20 million barrels per day worldwide.

The Shell and BGR estimates are much higher, with Shell projecting that much (this a 1995 projection) still being produced in 2100.

Campbell has since had to abandon the projection shown here, because it showed peak in about 2000, and at under 80 million barrels per day, numbers that have already been exceeded.  Also, Campbell's projections now count natural gas, condensate and all liquid, as it had to be admitted that the natural gas was effectively interchangable with oil in the real world.  Thus, newer projections look more like this:

Note that as much oil/natural gas and gas condensate are produced in the year 2050 as about 1990, and that the really big dropoff hits, by these projections in the year 2045...until then, world production is still estimated, this by the darkest scenario available even in the peak oil community that I have been able to find that has NOT already been historically wrong about past production, as at least as much as the year 2000!

So, why would I once more make a case of this issue, and argue it so strongly?

Folks, I have recommended people to come here.  I tell them that it is interesting, and informative, fun, and full of fascinating links and statistics here at TOD.  All of that is true.

But the friends I send are intelligent.  They will follow out the links.  They do know their numbers  (one is a financial planner, another a middle excutive in the energy industry.

How do you folks thinks it looks when they come up on the string of pure fantasy that was linked by
 DrumBeat: September 30, 2006, The Oil Drum.

lf it had been labeled clearly as satire of "The Onion" type, that would have made sense and everyone would have gotten a good laugh.  But it was linked as serious discussion.

Again, there is no other way to say it:  With these types of fantastical flights, we make the most wildeyed "growth addicted: cornucopians seem absolutely rational.  It is very, very destructive to what is a serious cause.

We are not going to RUN OUT of oil, or be using solar powered trucks to service solar powered electric lines, made in solar powered factories.  And despite what Jeremy Rifkin says, none of us will live to see the day that  "there is no more oil."

The "deep peak"  primitivists wishful thinkers run the risk of making asses of anyone who is deeply energy concerned and informed.  

There are many who would like to discredit all concern about  energy.  Do we really want to have these folks assist them in making energy concern appear idiotic and childish?
Sorry, that's just the way it is.

Roger Conner  known to you as  ThatsItImout

Actually, I think a lot of the 'deep peak' (fascinating term, by the way) people have little to no experience of any style of life than that offered by the United States, since ca. 1970.

I read the article about the collapse of industrial society due to a lack of oil powered infrastructure, and I thought, well, infrastructure is the key, no question.

Which is why here in Germany, when I see the rapeseed blooming, to be harvested by diesel tractors which can run on rapeseed, or be put on freight trains, which run (in part) on electricity which is generated from the Rhine, with a growing number of houses with PV and hot water heating systems (reducing a household's need to burn anything) or the huge amounts of sustainable wood cutting now being put up (again, the fuel for chainsaws is actually bio, from what I have  seen - to keep the forest floor from being poisoned) to be burned in houses which have higher insulation values that 20 years ago (and yes, hemp is grown around here, and some of the stalks are actually pressed into home insulation), I keep thinking that it is true, a commuter, auto based society which lives in suburbs is going to be facing hard times.

So what? The sooner the better, in most ways - in that, at least, doomers and I share a certain perspective.

Even more moronic is suggesting that we are running out of metal - considering that Americans now seem to own more autos than there are drivers, every American driver owns a few tons of metal right now - which is not exactly a sign that metal is running out - even after the rubber rots, plundering hundreds of million of cars for hundreds of million of tons of high quality metal will not be that hard. Let's just say that high quality, electrical grade copper is not in short supply by any rational measure - it is being wasted on a massive scale would be a better way to approach the problem of 'peak copper.'

I see a number of problems heading our way, and how different societies handle them is what makes peak oil fascinating to me. What I find boring is anyone that thinks the world will collapse because oil production is running at 77 million barrels a day (as always, excluding war). As for climate change in terms of trying to sustain a fossil fuel based way of life - well, that is another story, unfortunately. And one far too subtle and long term to be handled well by people who think not being able to drive to Walmart to buy Chinese goods while eating factory farmed fried food is the end of human civilization - especially considering the number of people in the rest of the world who believe that being able to drive to Walmart to buy Chinese goods while eating factory farmed fried food is already a sign that human civilization has reached a dead end in North America.


Just to give proper attribution and not take credit where it is not deserved, the idea for the term "deep peak" came as a variation on the term "deep green" used to define the more radical environmentalists who see the only road forward as ending modern technical society in most ways, sometimes by radical means.  This is different than the environmentalists who believe that the environment can be saved/preserved while maintaining some level of modern communication/transportation/medica and social system, with the correct steps and proper use of technology.

I think that the "deep green" term is useful, and comparable to the difference between those in the "peak" aware community who believe that the complete end of a modernist structure is absolutely assured and in many ways desirable, and those who believe that mitagation can be achieved, and a transition to a less fossil fuel relient structure can be made, involving the use of technology.  In the less deep peak school of thought, technology per se and using some remaining fossil fuel on out into the future is not percieved as an evil or incorrect path.  The less deep peak type is not "unaware" and does not believe the road forward will be easy, however, so is in no way "cornucopian" in the acceptance of technology, and does not believe that technology reduces in any way the need for conservation and waste reduction wherever it can be achieved.  Quick definition in my view:  Shallow peak is searching for "Humane demand destruction", vs. Demand destruction per se.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Call me less deep peak, in general - though with a certain Kunstlerian social/critical perspective. I finally read the Geography Of Nowhere (1993 or so) after returning to Germany from visiting the U.S.

Amazing book, especially considering just how well it applied to what I had seen - more than 10 years after it was written. This is one reason I do believe the U.S. will suffer so much - there seems to have been zero preparation for what is coming in terms of the looming challenges and changes to how Americans live.

This is why I do tend to try to point out that the rest of the world is not America. It is very easy to see America's society collapsing, at least if it remains unchanged - as it has in my opinion, for essentially the last two decades.  


While I have huge differences with Kunstler on many things...his dislike of suburbia often seems to me to be as much or more an aesthetic/philosophical choice as anything else, which is his right, but sometimes clouds his balance in discussion of the "math" of suburbia, and whether it can be salvaged as a humane way to live much easier than abandoned and attempting to resettle in what he thinks will be a catastrophic crisis...

Kunstler does a very good job of pointing out the structural rigidity of the American social/architectural/transport system in being very poor at dealing with fast moving, potentially destructive change.

On the other hand, Europe and Japan can be very rigid too, but in different areas (social welfare and labor union practices come to mind), while being very flexible technically.

For me, it is not "very easy" to see America's sciety collapsing, but unlike some here, I do not toss it aside as not in the realm of possibility.  We have many assets, but we seem to lack the two that matter most, much more than energy in fact:  As any good coach will tell you, what you need to win are Will, and Skill.....the want to do it, and the knowledge of HOW to do it.

These are the areas we seem to be lacking in.  Frankly, very few seem to be living as a nation (and a world) just one error away from catastrophic chaos...we all seem to assume that "someone else" is working on that, and will fix it, and there's no need for me to sacrifice for it, and we have a skills deficit in science, technology and complex planning ability that is becoming a crisis (look at our response to the hurricane in New Orleans as an example of horrendous logistical/political ability to take action quickly, and at all levels.

Newt Gingrich was correct in his view I think, we he asked if America could do no better than that facing a hurricane with days of warning, what chance would we have in reacting to a terror attack or a major industrial accident with potentially only minutes of warning?

 I often differ with Gingrich, but like me he is an old Tofflerite (if you liked the "Geography Of Nowhere", please read "The Third Wave" written by Alvin Toffler in 1980, In particular the chapters on "The Commanding Heights", in which EVERY issue we now discuss on TOD was discussed in 1980 (!!)  astounding work)

Gingrich was astounded, and I think heartbroken that after 30 years of the U.S. talking modernization, communication, decentralized and diversification of planning, networking, "flattening the pyramid", enhanced and fast moving decision making....and on and on and on with the post industrial buzzwords...when push came to shove, the United States showed itself no faster or more effective in complex decision making and logistical planning than we had been in WWII, befor the massive computational power and instantanous communication power of the modern era.  It is a disheartening wake up call.

Our energy situation, regardless of exactly when peak is to occur, is becoming complex, unpredictable, fast moving, super technical.  The ability to move fast, change, and "surf" the energy information and technology being turned loose in the world is critical.  Investments that made sense yesterday are garbage today (such as natural gas derivitives), and investments planned today must be ready to change, FAST, tomorrow, and know where to run to as well as from.

Right now, we simply do not seem to have the talant or the will to run in this fast paced of a game.  But, we are going to have to, or continue to fall further and further behind the best in the world, wherever they may be (and they are out there, but we don't know where and the leading edge will change almost daily)

You are very correct that the rest of the world is not America.  But they will have a whole different set of dragons to slay, and fights to fight.  No one is going to get out easy, and I say that as a "shallow peaker".   Think how easy it would be to be really down if I were a student of the "deep peak" school!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Good points - by collapsing, in part I meant that to most Americans, living in a different way seems to represent collapse by itself.

Historically, betting against America is a sucker's bet - I do not think America is a shell ready to shatter. But at the same time, America's self-image and the reality are growing ever more divergent.

What I do think is the 'normal way of life' most Americans assume to be permanent isn't, and that for many people, even the idea of changing how they currently live is fraught with danger.

As for other societies - they certainly have their problems, and no one is likely to enjoy the next several decades very much.

As for Kunstler, he is a fairly complicated author and individual - I too find his aesthetic objections his weakest argument, though when he remains fact based/historically rooted, you can certainly understand that today's America is not an accident, but the logical result of various frameworks resulting in what many people in America consider to be the pinnacle of human achievement.

In general, the idea that the suburbs as they currently exist in America are not sustainable seems to be fairly compelling - but this is in part from having watched what happened to Northern Virginia, where the watershed was destroyed, for example. Generally, societies with short term planning end up rediscovering that living in the present alone leads to ruin when the future arrives. And this too is a reason it is easy to imagine American society collapsing when an American starts to mull over the long term - the long term view is simply not a part of public awareness generally, and those who look at the long term tend to grow depressed very quickly.

Roger, Yes, we are way too deep into crash visions.  It gets discouraging to wade thru them to get to the posts that are really useful. I monitor a biking site and have never seen there the sniping we have here.  Yes, the world is in a mess. It will only get better by everyone taking personal little steps to make it better.  Government programs won't happen and don't work.  With that I'm going on a bike ride. PS I really liked the pancake on a stick pics.  
Hello TODers,

Mexico update: Reuters reports Oaxaca low-altitude buzzed by seven military helicopters alarming city residents. Zapatistas from neighboring Chiapas are organizing.  The San Francisco Chronicle talks about how "Protests, passion part of Mexican culture."

Houston Chronicle article reports that some estimates predict Cantarell will be crashing 15% this year, but Calderon won't be able to do much to ramp up production elsewhere due to the polarization of Mex. politics.  My guess is that even if he could reform PEMEX, there are no spare rigs left in the GoM for Pemex to hire.

This article in the LATimes has further Mexican badnews:
....The way Petrobras does business differs markedly from that of Pemex, which has a monopoly on Mexico's oil industry from the wellhead to the pump. Critics have long derided the firm as a tar pit of inefficiency and corruption. Thieves make off with an estimated $1 billion in fuel every year. A top executive resigned in late 2004 after revelations that he billed the company for his wife's liposuction.

But analysts say the federal government is committing the biggest offense. Mexico's treasury last year siphoned $54 billion from Pemex -- more than 60% of the firm's revenue -- to fund public spending. The firm lost $7.1 billion, the eighth straight year it had bled red ink. Its heavy tax burden has left it little to spend on drilling and exploration to replace Mexico's aging Cantarell field, where production declined 12% in the first eight months of 2006.

And, of course, the Mexican Govt. is unhappy about the Border Wall, and controversy still rages over the proposed destruction of the ballots.  Mexico is headed to very difficult problems.

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