Guest Post: As Things Fell Apart, Nobody Paid Much Attention

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

As Things Fell Apart, Nobody Paid Much Attention

The American way of life – which is now virtually synonymous with
suburbia – can run only on reliable supplies of dependably cheap oil
and gas. Even mild to moderate deviations in either price or supply will
crush our economy and make the logistics of daily life impossible. – Jim Kunstler –
The Long Emergency


Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
The Garden of Eden

Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them

From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it’s nothing but flowers

                        Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

America was a Garden of Eden with nothing but flowers, trees and
vegetation. We bit into the forbidden fruit of oil over a century ago.
It has been a deal with the Devil. Oil brought immense wealth, rapid
industrialization, 2.7 million miles of paved roads, and enormous power
to America. But, now the SUV is running on empty. In the not too distant
future the downside of the deal with the Devil will reveal itself.
America was the land of the free and home of the brave. Now it is the
land of the Range Rover and home of the BMW. In a few years it could be
the land of the forlorn and home of the broken down. Our entire society
has been built upon a foundation of cheap oil. The discovery of oil in
Titusville, PA in 1859 turbo charged the Industrial Revolution in the
U.S. The development of our sprawling suburban culture was dependent
upon cheap oil. Americans could not survive for a week without oil.
Commerce in the U.S. depends upon long haul truckers. Food is
transported thousands of miles to grocery stores. The cheap Wal-Mart
crap is transported thousands of miles across the seas from China.
Americans believe it is our God given right to cheap oil. We are the
chosen people. Kevin Phillips, in his brilliant book American Theocracy describes our love affair with cheap oil:

Americans constitute the world’s most intensive motoring culture.
For reasons of history and past abundance, no other national population
has clumped so complacently around so fuelish a lifestyle. For many
citizens the century of oil has brought surfeit: gas-guzzling mobile
fortresses, family excursions on twenty
thousand-thousand-gallons-per-hour jet aircraft, and lavishly lit
McMansions in glittering, mall packed exurbs along outer beltways.
Against a backdrop of declining national oil and gas output, Americans
consume 25% of world energy while holding just 5% of its energy
resources. As the new century began, Americans enjoyed a lifestyle
roughly twice as energy intensive as those in Europe and Japan, some ten
times the global average. Of the world’s 520 million automobiles,
unsurprisingly, more than 200 million were driven in the United States,
and the U.S. car population was increasing at five times the rate of the
human population. How long that could continue was not clear.

John and Jane Q. Citizen mostly ignore these trends and details,
and know nothing of geologist Hubbert’s bell-shaped charts of peak oil.
Senior oil executives sometimes discuss them in industry conferences,
but elected officials – many with decades of energy platitudes under
their belts – typically shrink from opening what would be a Pandora’s
Box of political consequences. Oil was there for our grandfathers, they
insist, and it will be there for our grandchildren; it is part of the American way.

Ignoring the facts and pretending that we can count on cheap oil for
eternity is delusional. It is also the American way. The age of oil is
coming to an end.  



There are consequences to every action. There are also consequences
to every inaction. Over the next decade Americans will experience the
dire consequences of inaction. The implications of peak cheap oil have
been apparent for decades. The Department of Energy was created in 1977.
The Department of Energy’s overarching mission was to
advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United
States. In 1970, the U.S. imported only 24% of its oil. There were 108
million motor vehicles in the U.S., or .53 vehicles per person in the
U.S. Today, the U.S. imports 70% of its oil and there are 260 million
vehicles, or .84 vehicles per person. Jim Kunstler describes our bleak
future in The Long Emergency:

 ”American people are sleepwalking into a future of hardship and
turbulence. The Long Emergency will change everything. Globalism will
wither. Life will become profoundly and intensely local. The consumer
economy will be a strange memory. Suburbia – considered a birthright and
a reality by millions of Americans – will become untenable. We will
struggle to feed ourselves. We may exhaust and bankrupt ourselves in the
effort to prop up the unsustainable. And finally, the United States may
not hold together as a nation. We are entering an uncharted territory
of history.”

The land of the delusional has no inkling that their lives of happy
motoring are winding down. The vast majority of Americans believe that
oil is abundant and limitless. Their leaders have lied to them. They
will be completely blindsided by the coming age of hardship.

Factories & Shopping Malls



There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it
We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it
There was a shopping mall
Now it’s all covered with flowers
you’ve got it, you’ve got it
If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you’ve got it, you’ve got it

                                     Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

If Americans had any sense of history longer than last week’s episode
of Dancing with the Stars (how about that Bristol Palin!), they may
have noticed that the modern age has lasted a mere 150 years and has
been completely dependent upon cheap plentiful oil. This is a mere eye
blink in the history of mankind.  American exceptionalism refers to the
opinion that the United States is qualitatively different from other
nations. Its exceptionalism is claimed to stem from its emergence from a
revolution, becoming “the first new nation” and developing “a unique
American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism,
populism and laissez-faire”. This feeling of superiority stems from the
belief that we have a moral superiority and God has chosen our country
to be a shining symbol for the rest of the world. It is the ultimate in
hubris to think that we are the chosen ones. An enormous amount of
credit for the American Century (1900 – 2000) must be given to pure and
simple luck.

Everything characteristic about the condition we call modern life
has been a direct result of our access to abundant supplies of cheap
fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have permitted us to fly, to go where we want
to go rapidly, and move things easily from place to place. Fossil fuels
rescued us from the despotic darkness of the night. They have made the
pharaonic scale of building commonplace everywhere. They have allowed a
fractionally tiny percentage of our swollen populations to produce
massive amounts of food. All of the marvels and miracles of the
twentieth century were enabled by our access to abundant supplies of
cheap fossil fuels. The age of fossil fuels is about to end. There is no
replacement for them at hand. These facts are poorly understood by the
global population preoccupied with the thrum of daily life, but
tragically, too, by the educated classes in the United States, who
continue to be by far the greatest squanderers of fossil fuels. –
Jim Kunstler – The Long Emergency

Every accomplishment, invention, and discovery of the 20th
Century was due to cheap accessible fossil fuels. The American
industrial age was powered by cheap plentiful oil. One hundred and ten
years after the discovery of oil in Titusville, PA an American walked on
the moon. We harnessed the immense power of oil and rode it hard. An
empire was born and grew to the greatest in history through the
utilization of oil and oil byproducts. It is no coincidence that U.S.
GDP has been dependent upon the growth in fossil fuel consumption over
the last 150 years.  


The self centered delusional myopic American citizenry see no
parallel between the American Empire built on a foundation of oil and
the Dutch Empire built upon wind and water or the British Empire
established on the discovery of vast quantities of coal. The Dutch
Empire of the 1600s had 6,000 ships and 1,000 windmills generating
power. The British Empire used coal to power steam engines, pumps,
locomotives and ships and forged a great empire in the 1700s and 1800s.
Today, the Netherlands has a GDP lower than Mexico. The U.K. has a GDP
on par with Italy. You can be sure you are no longer an empire when your
GDP is on par with Mexico and Italy. The United States has grown its
GDP to $14.7 trillion by exploiting fossil fuels. The American Empire is
clearly waning as its dependence on foreign oil slowly bankrupts the
country. We consume 140 billion gallons of gasoline every year keeping
our suburban sprawl mall based lifestyle viable.   

Cars, Highways & Billboards 


Years ago
I was an angry young man
I’d pretend
That I was a billboard

Standing tall
By the side of the road

I fell in love
With a beautiful highway

This used to be real estate
Now it’s only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it’s nothing but flowers

The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we’d start over
But I guess I was wrong

                                    Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

Americans believe our ingenuity, brilliance and blessings from God
have led to the elevation of our country to eminence as the greatest
empire in history. But, in reality it was due to a black sticky
substance that we stumbled across in 1859. Those who believe in American
Exceptionalism scoff at the idea that our empire would not exist
without oil. They prefer to ignore and downplay the impact of oil on our
society. Too bad. Here are the facts from

  • Approximately 10 calories of fossil fuels are required to produce every 1 calorie of food eaten in the US. 
  • Pesticides and agro-chemicals are made from oil. 
  • Commercial fertilizers are made from ammonia, which is made from natural gas. 
  • Most farming implements such as tractors and trailers are constructed and powered using oil-derived fuels. 
  • Food storage systems such as refrigerators are manufactured in
    oil-powered plants, distributed using oil-powered transportation
    networks and usually run on electricity, which most often comes from
    natural gas or coal.
  • The average piece of food is transported almost 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate. 
  • In addition to transportation, food, water, and modern medicine,
    mass quantities of oil are required for all plastics, all computers and
    all high-tech devices.
  • The construction of an average car consumes the energy equivalent of approximately 20 barrels of oil. 
  • The construction of the average desktop computer consumes ten times its weight in fossil fuels. 
  • According to the American Chemical Society, the construction of
    single 32 megabyte DRAM chip requires 3.5 pounds of fossil fuels.
  • Recent estimates indicate the infrastructure necessary to
    support the internet consumes 10% of all the electricity produced in the
    United States.
  • The manufacturing of one ton of cement requires 4.7 million BTUs
    of energy, which is the amount contained in about 45 gallons of oil.

Our entire civilization will collapse in a week without oil. Try to
imagine life if the 159,000 gas stations in the country ran dry. We are
running on fumes and refuse to acknowledge that fact. We sooth our
psyche with delusions of green energy (solar, wind, ethanol); drill,
drill, drill mantras; abiotic oil theories; and vast quantities of shale
gas. The concept of energy required to extract an amount of energy
completely goes over the head of media pundits and those who prefer not
to think. If you expend 2 gallons of gasoline in your effort to extract 1
gallon of gasoline, you’ve hit the wall. We have sacrificed our future
in order to maximize our present, as William James concluded in the late

“The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is
the sacrifice of the future for the present, and all the power of
science has been prostituted to this purpose.”

Americans have a fatal character flaw of desiring others to think
they are successful because they drive an expensive gas guzzling
automobile and reside in an immense energy intensive McMansion in
suburbs 30 miles from civilization. Delusional Americans have convinced
themselves that the appearance of success is success. Leasing $50,000
BMWs for decades and borrowing $500,000 to live in a $300,000 house has
already pushed millions of egotistical to the edge. Of the 250 million
passenger vehicles on the road today, 100 million are SUVs or pickup
trucks. The average fuel mileage is 17 mpg. Approximately 70% of
Americans drive to work every day, with 85% driving alone. They spend 45
minutes on average commuting to and from work and drive 15 miles to
work. The average home size increased from 1,400 sq ft in 1970 to 2,300
sq ft today, despite the fact that the average household size decreased
from 3.1 to 2.6. The bigger is better fantasy will be devastating on the
downward slope of peak oil.    

Pizza Huts, Dairy Queens & 7 Elevens



Once there were parking lots
Now it’s a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it
This was a Pizza Hut
Now it’s all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it
I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

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

                                     Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

How will Americans survive without the 7,500 Pizza Huts, 5,000 Dairy
Queens, and 8,000 7-11s that dot our highways? The average Joe is so
busy tweeting, texting, and face-booking on their iPads, Blackberries,
and laptops, watching Dancing With the Stars on their 52 inch HDTV
bought on credit, or cruising superhighways in their leased Hummers to
one of the 1,100 malls or 46,000 shopping centers, that they haven’t
paid much attention as peak oil crept up on them. The globalization
miracle of cheap goods produced in China and shipped across the world by
cargo ship and then trucked thousands of miles to your local Wal-Mart
is wholly reliant upon cheap oil. Our own military has concluded that:

 By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely
disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach
nearly 10 MBD. – Joint Operating Environment Report 

When worldwide oil demand slightly exceeded worldwide oil supply in
2008, prices surged to $145 per barrel. A 10 million barrel per day
shortfall is unfathomable by the purposefully ignorant masses. The
sprawling suburbia that now houses the American population will become
not viable when oil prices rise above $200 per barrel. Out-of-town
shopping and entertainment malls will be deserted. The prosperity borne
from the advent of oil is waning. Jim Kunstler explains the end game in The Long Emergency:

The entropic mess that our economy has become is in the final
blow-off of late oil-based industrialism. The destructive practices
known as “free market globalism” were engendered by our run-up to and
arrival at the world oil production peak. It was the logical climax of
the oil “story”. It required the breakdown of all previous constraints –
logistical, political, moral, cultural – to maximize the present at the
expense of the future, and to do so for the benefit of the very few at
the expense of the many. Even mild to moderate deviations in either
price or supply [of oil and gas] will crush our economy and make the
logistics of daily life impossible.

The United States is already tottering, as the oligarchy of the Wall
Street banking syndicate, global mega-corporations and corrupt political
hacks in Washington DC have pillaged the wealth of the country and left
a middle class gasping for air. The mood of the country is already
darkening as The Fourth Turning
gathers steam. The recognition by the masses that peak cheap oil is a
fact will contribute greatly to the next stage of this Crisis. Fourth
Turning periods always lead to war. American troops are not in the
Middle East to spread democracy. They are the forward vanguard in the
coming clash over depleting oil resources. We are entering an era of
strife, war, chaos and destruction. The facts of who controls oil supply
and who needs oil (U.S. – 25%, China – 10%) are clear. Kunstler bluntly
deals with the facts:

Fossil fuel reserves are not scattered equitably around the
world. They tend to be concentrated in places where the native peoples
don’t like the West in general or America in particular, places
physically very remote, places where we realistically can exercise
little control (even if we wish to). The decline of fossil fuels is
certain to ignite chronic strife between nations contesting the
remaining supplies. These resource wars have already begun. There will
be more of them. They are very likely to grind on and on for decades.
They will only aggravate a situation that, in and of itself, could bring
down civilizations. The extent of suffering in our country will
certainly depend on how tenaciously we attempt to cling to obsolete
habits, customs, and assumptions – for instance, how fiercely Americans
decide to fight to maintain suburban lifestyles that simply cannot be
rationalized any longer. –  
Jim Kunstler – The Long Emergency

Mr. Kunstler believes that the U.S. will be forced to downscale,
localize and adapt to a new reality. I wholly support his attempt to
warn the American people and would urge those who chose to think that
preparing for a more agrarian lifestyle that will be forced upon us by
circumstances is essential. No technological miracle will save us from
our fate. Decades of inaction will have a price. I truly hope that his
optimism that hardship will renew the American spirit will reveal

“But I don’t doubt that the hardships of the future will draw
even the most secular spirits into an emergent spiritual practice of
some kind.”

As I live in the outer suburbs and commute 30 miles per day into the
decrepit decaying city of Philadelphia every day, I’m less optimistic
that the transition will be smooth or even possible. Kunstler’s view of
the suburbs is accurate:

“The state-of-the-art mega suburbs of recent decades have
produced horrendous levels of alienation, loneliness, anomie, anxiety,
and depression.”

Families stay huddled in their McMansions, protected from phantoms by
state of the art security systems. Their interaction with the world is
through their electronic gadgets. Neighborhoods of cookie cutter 4,000
sq ft mansions appear deserted. Human interaction is rare. Happiness is
in short supply. As I sit in miles of traffic every morning during my
soul destroying trek to work I observe the thousands of cars, SUVs, and
trucks and wonder how this can possibly work when the peak oil tsunami
washes over our society in the next few years. Then I reach the bowels
of the inner city and my pessimism grows. This concrete jungle is
occupied by hundreds of thousands of uneducated, unmotivated, wards of
the state. They live a bleak existence in bleak surroundings and depend
upon subsistence payments from the depressed suburbanites to keep them
alive. How will they survive in a post peak oil world? They won’t.

The Hirsch Report and Jim Kunstler’s  The Long Emergency
both were published in 2005. M. King Hubbert warned U.S. leaders
decades in advance about the expected timing of peak oil. The warnings
have fallen on deaf ears. We were busy with our wars of choice, home
price wealth, gays in the military, and the latest episode of Jersey

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention

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Careless Whisper's picture

go to hell with your peak oil lies, and take your globalist banksta promoted carbon taxes wit you.

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Right on bro, we don't want to hear inconvenient truths. The fact that Mexico, US, the North Sea, North slope, China, Russia, Indonesia are not producing much oil any more is a damn commie conspiracy to steal our SUVs. Fuck it, let's take the Escalade to Cheescake Factory for a 5000 calorie lunch.

snowball777's picture

Don't waste breath on the fun-duh-mentally retarded (global warming and all).

They'll have a hard time denying reality when it hits them.

Pool Shark's picture

Peak oil or no,

When adjusted for inflation, oil is currently pretty cheap.

Of course, that could change at any time.

Pants McPants's picture

Thank you for pointing this out.  I don't deny peak oil per se, but feel the pricing mechanism (to the extent it is not manipulated) is the single best indicator of whether or not we are running out of oil.  The best way to measure oil price is to base it on another commodity like gold....or just adjust for inflation.

Alienated Serf's picture

Pants, completely OT, but I want to commend you for your choice of cookiepuss as your avatar. 

snowball777's picture

Try pricing in the externalities of oil production and's only 'cheap' at the pump.

Ask anyone in Louisiana, if you're in need of a clue.

OutLookingIn's picture




Oil per U.S. Barrel: (42 US gallons or 158.9873 litres) = $85.00

Aquafina Water: (1 litre bottle) = $1.69

Therefore, a "barrel" of drinking water is valued at $269.68!

Belief that capitalism will solve lifes problems? Priceless!

Which is over priced? And which is under priced?


OnTheFelt's picture

Hey dumb ass,

Out of that entire piece all you can say is "peak oil lies".   Wow, you're a clever one.  Tell you what, here's a novel about you do some critical thinking on your own instead of regurgitating the typical response from some right winged asshole.  I promise if you do and actually research peak oil, you'll certainly be singing a different tune.

Don't worry we won't mistake you for some libtard who wants cap and trade.  I mean seriously dude, if you can't figure out the validity of peak oil, you're definitely in the wrong forum (zero hedge), so change the channel back to Faux News and then you can worry about more important things, like the mosque being built at ground zero and all those terrorists that are out to get you.



tmosley's picture

Before calling people "fucking idiots", perhaps you should do some critical thinking of your own.  Of note is that the chart showing a decline in US oil production and oil imports mirrors that of ALL GOODS.  I guess America must have reached peak textiles, peak cars, peak electronics, indeed peak all manufactured goods at the same time.

Or maybe, just maybe, the oppressive regime of regulations that started growing in earnest during the 70's put a lid on American production of everything, and lead to importation of everything?

Careless Whisper's picture


don't stereotype me or anyone else. i don't get my news from fox and i don't care about that mosque; i care about property rights and if the owner of the land wants to build it, fine, and besides we still don't know what really happened at wtc on 9 11 anyway.

peak oil is a lie just like global warming. there is much oil that has not yet been discovered and many scientists believe that oil is renewable. you may find this interesting:



snowball777's picture

Keep on sucking that petro-biz propaganda cock, moron.

trav7777's picture

I seem to recall that you were very polite and explained this whole "peak oil" thingie in more mild-tempered detail awhile ago.

Someone's catchin on

russki standart's picture

Peak Oil is another Zionist Lie. Fuck you KUNTsler.

Citxmech's picture

Thank God you were here to explain this to us in such persuasive terms.  Your support for your position is so clearly articulated I could explain why peak oil is an incorrect premise to anybody and they'd understand perfectly and be convinced!  Bravo.


Blindweb's picture

-Eroei (energy return on engery invested).  The oil sands and oil off the coast of Brazil is going to be more expensive to extract, and therefore prices will be going up forever 

-It doesn't matter if oil is renewable if we're using it faster than it renews.


Read that comments below the oilprice article.  They explain it.

Madcow's picture

>80% of the world's hydrocarbon resources are locked up in "heavy oil" and other sources of unconventional crudes.


because of technology limitations, these energy sources have not been available - but there are now numerous technology companies that have developed capacity to harvest these unconventional resources. that means there is PLENTY of oil for the future and that prices will come WAY down -

Blindweb's picture

Yes, plenty of more expensive oil.  Once the price goes up investment in R&D will go down, forever

trav7777's picture

JFC, that whole "EROI" thing just flew RIGHT over your head, didn't it?


Madcow's picture

these companies need $80 oil to be profitable.  but at that price, there are unlimited quantities of oil.

my point is there's no such thing as $100 ... $200 ... $ 300 ... and up due to scarcity - 



trav7777's picture

Like I said, that whole EROI thing flew STRAIGHT THE FUCK over your head, didn't it?

This dollar price you keep citing is really rather irrelevant..."unlimited oil" at $80?  This is the claim of a stooge.

Madcow's picture

Trav - 

the underlying currency oil is priced in is irrelevant - 

the fact is that - with new technology - there is a positive NET BTU. that factor was not in place just a few years ago.

If EROI is constructive, there will be investment, and thus no collapse of oil supplies. 

In anticipation of your next insult,



Citxmech's picture

Unless additional "investment" can't solve the problem - at which point your premise collapses.

Again we're back to the argument that "the scientists will save us" and betting our entire future on that outcome as a given.

As a society, we've taken most gifts science has given us, and used them to paint ourselves further and further into a corner.

DaveyJones's picture

always enjoy your comments. "the scientists will save us" sort of stage two in the denial process

steve from virginia's picture

+ $35 oil is already draining the world's economies as these have been built around extremely cheap inputs. It's no surprise that when oil prices reach + $75 bad things start happening in bond markets and currencies.

Oil prices have decoupled from production.  Oil production remained flat from 2005 to 2008 when prices increased from $60 to $96 per barrel (average yearly price). Right now, high oil prices bankrupt oil customers faster than new oil can be put onto the market. This means the funds needed to bring oil to the market are diminishing. Since 'funds' means value rather than nominal amounts, adding 'liquidity' by printing will not bring more oil to market.

Unless the central banks can print something besides debt/currency, that is ...

Like the world's banking system, the world's energy system is insolvent. When shortages begin -- due to insufficient return on the use of the oil produced -- they will be permanent. If the economy cannot afford oil at current levels of activity, it cannot afford oil as activity shrivels ... due to diminished supplies of energy. Lower prices do not make more oil available but do the opposite. What we must fear now is low prices rather than high prices. Low prices indicated diminished wealth.

Both the US and overseas militaries support shortage scenarios beginning in 2012. I suspect because of the declining price and its relationship to production these shortages will appear next year and will be severe. There are already diesel fuel shortages in China leading to electrical blackouts. The fuel shortages will be felt here first in the US in the diesel markets.

The oil market is in a long term bear market with the 2008 high of $147 not likely to be seen for a long time if not forever. The world is going broke faster than ever.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

$80 oil?  What the f*ck is a dollar? (pardon my french)


Oil production has peaked.  That doesn't mean there is zero production in the future.  The implication is that resources will have to be put to better use.

The rate of consumption obviously can't exceed the rate of production (which, funnily enough, sums up how the economic crisis occurred). 

It seems to me energy production stands a good risk of being nationalized if it really becomes that much of a problem.  The industry doesn't HAVE to make a profit.  Shareholders don't NEED increased dividends.

And mankind did pretty good back when we were sailing around, and riding horses.

PsychoNews: Exposing the Oligarchy, one Psycho at a time.

Citxmech's picture

One thing you neglect is that extraction takes energy - that is derived from oil.  So when we're at $40/bbl and some new shale pit is determined to be "profitable" at $80 - it doesn't mean that when we hit $80 that the old number is still valid.  The margin for profit just went up to $95/bbl or whatever.  And so it goes.  Eventually it will become profitable, but at a higher rate than initially predicted.

The price will still impact the economy.  If you don't believe this, you should be buying airline stocks hand-over-fist.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Who is in charge of the shitty math, if they say it is 'profitable' at $80 shouldn't they work that into their calculations?

I know what concept you are trying to illustrate, though.

Citxmech's picture

I think it's the same people who are trying to convince us that we have x00 years of oil left everytime a new field is discovered.  Those assumptions seem to always based on current consumption and assume complete recovery at an infinite rate.



i-dog's picture

"still don't know what really happened at wtc on 9 11 anyway"

We know ... you obviously don't (you probably still think some muslims did it).

"peak oil is a lie"

Are you in the oil industry and speaking from personal knowledge?

Seer's picture

Several points:

1) It was once thought that the sun revolved around the earth;

2) Oil IS reforming;

3) We will NEVER exhaust all oil reserves;

4) Logic/reason is the only means by which to assess things.

It was logic/reason that finally prevailed in presenting man with the truth that the earth revolves around the sun (rather than the other way around).  It is logic/reason that eneabled man to identify how oil was formed, which clearly tells us that oil IS forming (because its an organic process); BUT... it is the RATE of formation that matters, and unless we're willing to sit around for hundreds of thousands of years we can pretty much write off being able to use any substantial amounts of this reforming oil.  Also note that logic/reason has enabled us to understand that the earth is not a big sphere filled with <unicorns/gold/oil>, there IS an actual physical LIMIT.

Oil will never be exhausted.  At some point it will take more energy to extract than is obtained.  Further, and perhaps more importantly, oil will NOT be able to supply enough surplus energy to allow continued growth; it's growth that makes everything work (gives us the ability to sustain a middle class etc.).

As a rural dweller with a (water) well, I can state (logic/reason) that there is an apparent infinite amount of water, every day there's water available!  However... if I draw water faster than the well can recharge I run OUT of water!  The fact that the well is recharging is of little value when I'm all soaped up in the shower and nothing's coming out or it's only a dribble.  Our System cannot operate on a dribble of oil/energy.

The REAL argument is over levels/rates of consumption.  But know this (FACT), there ARE physical limits, and failure to properly identify and account for such limits can have dire consequences.  And the indisputable fact is, infinite growth on a finite planet ISN'T possible.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

seer  why do you ignore Nat gas?? current tech allows vehicles to run on nat gas as well as gasoline and oil..seems you are fixated on a product that can be replaced with a cheap alternative, so limits to oil are always limits to energy not at all.

trav7777's picture

jfc...what IS IT with you people?


Fuck me, man...I mean, even IF there is suddenly a technological breakthrough that allows us to "go get" suddenly more oil, JUST FOR HOW LONG do you idiots THINK the problem of GEOMETRIC GROWTH can be put off for?

We cannot even push this problem out 10 years assuming we found another Ghawar out there.

tmosley's picture

If there is no such thing as abiotic oil, what are these ultra deep microbes eating?

Why didn't these little bastards run out the supply millions of years ago?

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

They weren't hungry enough.

What I find interesting is the idea that Peak Oil is NOT Petrobiz propaganda, but abiotic oil IS.

Sorry, but peak oil theory states forever high prices, abiotic oil theory would probably result in nationalization of every oil well on Planet Earth.  How would Big Oil benefit from that?

I am not saying all oil is abiotic, or that it is formed fast enough to meet our current consumption rates, but that there are still things about oil that are unknown.

imapedestrian's picture

I love that comment!  Yes, there is MUCH we do not know... only what we think we know.


tmosley's picture

Sorry, but peak oil theory states forever high prices, abiotic oil theory would probably result in nationalization of every oil well on Planet Earth.  How would Big Oil benefit from that?

How so?  I don't understand why a situation where wells slowly refilled would cause nationalization.  

I agree that there is certainly some amount of oil that is being generated by means other than digestion of organic matter (I don't really understand how that chemistry is supposed to work anyways--anaerobic bacteria should cause the production of large amounts of CO2, which should cause major blowouts anytime anyone attempts to tap an oil well.  Further, anaerobic digestion is quick, taking place over a few months rather than the millions of years people suggest.  Honestly, as a chemist, the idea of a reaction that takes millions of years to run to completion is asinine, unless they are running at temperatures just a bit below the activation energy of said reaction (but temperature is not that constant--go a bit deeper and any reaction that is going to happen should happen quickly).  Given my understanding of microbiology and chemistry, IF oil were an end product of such a reaction, it should form within a few months, and should be available in very large quantities in the ocean.  To some extent, this is the case (methane calthrates), but not really that much with long chain hydrocarbons.  In reality, such reactions would produce a light oil that will float to the surface and be digested by oil-consuming bacteria and UV light.  This would happen so fast that nothing short of a sudden geological subsidence would account for the presence of a large amount of oil.  I just don't see that happening.

From my understanding, the process MUST occur deep underground such that the oil seeps up slowly and is caught in oil reservoirs.  This process may be slow, though it is likely to vary between areas.  Ways to test this hypothesis would be to A. check old wells for hydrocarbon levels, especially methane, which should regenerate the fastest, and B. drill DEEP and examine the strata for oil consuming microbes (these have recently been detected nearly a mile under the seafloor in the Atlantic, far from any possible area where oil from organic sources could have been produced.

hbjork1's picture


Didn't get a post off in a timely way but having read some of your earlier posts, thought you might be "putting em on" just a bit. 

Voice of experience:

I was educated as a Chemical Engineer with emphasis on "what goes in and what comes out".  I am now fallen away from that state of grace but the practice of thinking that way about why things are as they are doesn't go away. 

In 1955, I had a summer job as "Roustabout Class B" in an oil patch in Van(East), Texas, maintaining pumpers that brought oil up from ~1,000 feet.  The West Texas fields were about 3,000 feet and the oil, under pressure, could be extracted with only a "Christmas Tree.  

Times have changed.  Depth of knowledge in technology and methods of getting data on energy sources could not have been imagined then.  Sources being accessed include ocean oil, oil shale, oil in inaccessable locations and biodegradable. Wind and solar as well but they will remain situational.   And then we have highly developed nuclear technologh today which I consider to have the greatest long term potential.  We have reports that Calpine is running a geothermal site in California.  Geothermal, if it can be developed, will, of course, be limitless.

When we get through with all those, the methane cathlarates that caused BP trouble while they were wrecking the livelyhood of fishermen in the Gulf, are plentiiful in the ocean deeps. 

The English PM just resigned under public pressure because he had made a remark in addressing the economic contraction to the effect that "Historically, the average Englishman never had it so good". 

He was, no doubt, exactly right.  Applys here as well. 

How many readers know what an "Iron Lung" is?  The worst of a host of diseases we will never have to deal with.

This is a time of change but there is lots of opportunity if you take your gun and kill the appropriate enemy.  Put a bullet in every boob tube in the house. (not your computer, you will need that to order books.) 

macholatte's picture

a little more critical thinking: (my numbers probably not real accurate but you'll get the picture)

1.  50% of population = children

2.  45% of workforce = government employees

3.  20% of workforce = unemployed

4.  10% of workforce = uncounted small business people gone bust

5.  75% of workforce = non-capitalist non-producers

6.  87.5% of population = dependant on 12.5% of population to survive


peak oil or not, this situation is unsustainable.

MichiganMilitiaMan's picture

+1.  Over the short term there are millions of people who should be worried about Peak Entitlement.

1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

I for one am ready for peak, Harry Potter & peak GM.... ENOUGH ALREDY....

TBT or not TBT's picture

Peak Entitlement was surpassed long ago in Europe and realised by the governements there far too late to save the various european nation states from decline.  

Short of some miraculous technology coming the fore...which has happened several times in the last few centuries...the low birth rates brought about by socialism will compound with the the previous decades of low birth rates yielding even lower yield of new citizens, and they'll have such a distorted distribution of ages in their population as to make the whole works grind down into severe social crisis.   In fact they are close already now.   Even better, their subpopulation with the best reproduction rates and therefore with youth on their side, are openly against their host nations' values.  

How about let's not do this in America?

Kali's picture

It's even worse, you forgot the retirees and disabled and non-working spouses from that list.  It is NOT sustainable, the "12.5" can't support themselves anymore because they are FORCED to support those that don't.  One more thought, you forgot WS leeches who siphon off from productive labor too.  The real number may be as low as half of 12.5

Peak Everything's picture

Interesting. The only plan I have seen proposed that might actually avoid WWIII and/or a massive die off is the America 2.0 proposal by Jay Hanson. The jist is that if we downshift our consumption to needs rather than wants then 5% of the population can produce those needs and the other 95% can stay home and look after their kids.


trav7777's picture

We will have to implement a Brave New World solution.  As an Alpha++, I will look forward to flying over the tops of most of you in my helicopter

Chump's picture

That is totally fucking retarded, and I am now dumber just for having clicked on that link.

Seer's picture

And of the 12.5% who are capitalist producers," most of these are either:

1) Creating robots to replace workers;

2) Operating robots;

3) Work for non-essential entities like banks.

So, in reality, there are very few people in the US who actually "produce" anything meaningful.  Most that is produced is by oil/energy and robots.  I'll be "producing" food, which I believe is more important than the godly, capitalist "producers" that promote usury and ipods...