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Guest Post: The Really, Really Big Picture

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity,

[Many longtime followers of the Crash Course have asked Chris to update his forecasts for Peak Oil in light of the production increases in shale oil and gas over recent years. What started out as a modest effort at clarification morphed into a much more massive 3-report treatise as Chris sifted through mountains of new data that ultimately left him more convinced than ever we are facing a global net energy crisis despite misguided media efforts intended to convince us otherwise. His reports are being released in series over the next several weeks; the first installment is below.]

There has been a very strong and concerted public-relations effort to spin the recent shale energy plays of the U.S. as complete game-changers for the world energy outlook.  These efforts do not square up well with the data and are creating a vast misperception about the current risks and future opportunities among the general populace and energy organizations alike.  The world remains quite hopelessly addicted to petroleum, and the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance, as some have claimed.

This series of reports will assemble the relevant data into a simple and easy-to-understand story that has the appropriate context to provide a meaningful place to begin a conversation and make decisions.

Since completing the Crash Course in October of 2008, much has gone as I anticipated in the way of money printing, official neglect of the main predicaments we face, and generally higher petroleum costs (2012 was the record so far on a yearly basis).

What has not changed is the general trajectory of liquid fuels becoming increasingly expensive and more difficult to produce.  I know that this runs counter to virtually every news article that has come out recently.  It is time to separate the data and facts from the hype.  Much has recently been either muddied or presented so far out of context as to be more distortive than helpful.

This entire body of analysis is so large that it will be broken into three pieces. 

The first is a general world outlook for petroleum that presents the macro picture, provides some necessary clarifications on definitions, and illustrates that all of the data is consistent with the idea that the world is on a plateau of oil production.  Here we note that exactly zero of the major energy outlooks provided by the IEA, the EIA, PB, and especially the inexcusably sloppy piece put out under the auspices of Harvard (the Maugheri report of 2012) all failed to make any mention of the declining net energy provided by any of the new unconventional oil finds.  This is a crucial oversight.

The second report will focus on natural gas in the U.S., with a particular emphasis on shale gas, the supposed game-changer that we have read so much about.  There are some very important elements to this story, but the punch line is that there's nowhere near "100 years" of this magic fuel, it costs more to produce than it is being sold for at present here in early 2013, and – once we include the idea of future increases in consumption – there may only be in the vicinity of 20-30 years of proven and probable reserves. And that is if and only if prices rise by a factor of 2.5x or more from the current $3.30 per therm market price. 

The third will focus on tight oil, often called shale oil (not to be confused with oil shale, a very common mistake), and make the case that, while it may have some modifying effect to the Peak Oil story, it lacks the ability to return the world to anywhere near its prior glory years of ~2% per year growth in global oil output. 

The summary of all three reports leads to the conclusion that all efforts to cram the world full of fresh rounds of new debt lending are going to end in failure because the requisite net energy is simply not there to support continued debt accumulations running several-fold faster than actual economic productive output.

Enormous risks are continuing to build in the world's financial landscape, and the continued unwillingness to confront the truth about our global energy predicament is both puzzling and frightening. The conclusion is that our future resilience as individuals, corporations, or countries will hinge to a very large degree on whether or not we heed the warning signs and adapt our lives and habits to the actual circumstances.

The Really, Really Big Picture

The really big picture goes like this:  Humans discovered about 400 million years worth of stored sunlight in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas, and have developed technologies that will essentially see all of that treasure burned up in just 300 to 400 years. 

On the faulty assumption that fossil fuels will always be a resource we could draw upon, we fashioned economic, monetary, and other assorted belief systems based on permanent abundance, plus a species population on track to number around 9 billion souls by 2050.

There are two numbers to keep firmly in mind.  The first is 22, and the other is 10.  In the past 22 years, half of all of the oil ever burned has been burned.  Such is the nature of exponentially increasing demand.  And the oil burned in the last 22 years was the easy and cheap stuff discovered 30 to 40 years ago.  Which brings us to the number 10.  

In every calorie of food that comes to your table are hidden 10 calories of fossil fuels, making modern agriculture and food delivery the first type in history that consumes more energy than it delivers.  Someday fossil fuels will be all gone.  That day may be far off in the future, but preparing for that day could (and one could argue should) easily require every bit of time we have.

What galls me at this stage is that all of the pronouncements of additional oil being squeezed, fractured, and otherwise expensively coaxed out of the ground are being delivered with the message that there's so much available, there's nothing to worry about (at least, not yet.)  The message seems to be that we can just leave those challenges for future people, who we expect to be at least as clever as us, so they'll surely manage just fine.

Instead, the chart above illustrates that on a reasonably significant timeline, the age of fossil fuels will be intense and historically quite short.  The real question is not Will it run out? but Where would we like to be, and what should the future look like when it finally runs out?  The former question suggests that "maintain the status quo" is the correct response, while the latter question suggests that we had better be investing this once-in-a-species bequeathment very judiciously and wisely. 

Energy is vital to our economy and our easy, modern lives.  Without energy, there would be no economy.  The more expensive our energy is, the more of our economy is dedicated to getting energy instead of other pursuits and activities.  Among the various forms of energy, petroleum is the king of transportation fuels and is indispensible to our global economy and way of life.

To what do we owe the recent explosion in technology and living standards?  To me the answer is simple: energy. 


Because a very large proportion of our society was no longer tied up with the time-consuming tasks of growing their own food or building and heating their own shelter, they were free to do other very clever things, like devote their lives to advancing technology.  

When energy starts to get out of reach either economically or geologically, then people revert to more basic things, like trying to stay warm – such as this fellow:

Greeks Raid Forests in Search of Wood to Heat Homes

Jan 11, 2013

EGALEO, Greece—While patrolling on a recent cold night, environmentalist Grigoris Gourdomichalis caught a young man illegally chopping down a tree on public land in the mountains above Athens.

When confronted, the man broke down in tears, saying he was unemployed and needed the wood to warm the home he shares with his wife and four small children, because he could no longer afford heating oil.

"It was a tough choice, but I decided just to let him go" with the wood, said Mr. Gourdomichalis, head of the locally financed Environmental Association of Municipalities of Athens, which works to protect forests around Egaleo, a western suburb of the capital.

Tens of thousands of trees have disappeared from parks and woodlands this winter across Greece, authorities said, in a worsening problem that has had tragic consequences as the crisis-hit country's impoverished residents, too broke to pay for electricity or fuel, turn to fireplaces and wood stoves for heat.

I think it is safe to assume that all of the people in Greece who are chopping down trees to stay warm are not simultaneously working on the next generation of technology.  Energy first; everything else second.  In other words, our perceived wealth and well-being are both derivatives of energy. 

Like every other organism bestowed with abundant food – in this case, fossil fuels that we have converted into food, mobility, shelter, warmth, and a vast array of consumer goods – we first embarked on a remarkable path of exponential population growth.  Along with these assorted freedoms from securing the basics of living, we also fashioned monetary and economic systems that are fully dependent on perpetual exponential growth for their vitality and well-being.  These, too, owe their very sustenance to energy.

It bears repeating:  Not just energy is important here, but net energy.  It's the energy left over after we find and produce energy that is available for society to do all of its complicated and clever things.

Not only is the world struggling right now to increase global oil production, but all of the new and unconventional finds offer us dramatically less net energy to use as we wish. 

Where We Are, in Three Simple Charts

One narrative that is being heavily marketed right now is that the shale plays are true game-changers and there's really nothing to worry about for the foreseeable future.  Heck, the story says that the U.S. will soon exceed Saudi Arabia in oil production and become energy independent, that it has so much natural gas that it might as well build export terminals, and that there's 100 years of natural gas just waiting to be used.

Unfortunately, none of this is really true.  Here's how I can make the case for that assertion using just three charts. 

This first chart comes to us from the EIA courtesy of one Mr. Sweetnam, a former director at the EIA who was promptly reassigned to a distant position when his superiors discovered that this chart revealing declines in existing conventional oil fields had been released to the public.

What this graph shows is the projected decline of all known projects in 2009 (so this does not have the U.S. shale 'revolution' baked into it, but I'll get to that shortly), and it shows that those projects are going to slip from delivering 85 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to just 45 million bpd between 2012 and 2030.  In other words, 40 million bpd will go missing.  But it's worse than that, because demand is expected to grow, leaving a gap of more than 60 million bpd by 2030.

If that sounds like a lot, it is, but that's just an assumed rate of production decline of 4.8% per year, which is right in the midzone of expert estimates.  Some estimate decline rates as high as 6.5%, which would really amplify the drop and the resulting gap.

The top line is showing how much oil demand would grow if it was going to expand at the usual historical rates.  The gap between those two modeled states is 43 million barrels.  To put that in a U.S. shale context, the EIA projects that the domestic shale plays might deliver as much as 3 million barrels per day by 2020, which is nothing to sneeze at, but even with that there's a projected 40 million bpd shortfall

The second chart I want you to look at is this one which shows total world crude oil production over the past 12 years:

Between 2004 and 2012, the total supply of global crude oil + condensates (a definition which excludes the non-transportation fuels known as natural gas plant liquids and biofuels) has just flopped around in a tight band with only 5% wiggle.

It bears noting here that the 2004 average spot price for crude oil (using the Brent contract, as that better defines the 'world oil' price) was $38.35/bbl, while the average 2012 spot price was $111.63, or 2.9 times higher than the 2004 price. 

Despite this near tripling in price, the global supply is just sitting there stuck on a plateau.  Economically speaking, this is not supposed to happen.  What is supposed to happen is that suppliers will react to these higher prices and deliver more to the market, and then prices will settle down.  But that hasn't happened, which indicates that global oil supplies are, as expected, constrained by something other than market forces.

This brings us to the third chart of global spending on oil projects:

What also happened during the time that global supplies of crude oil were undulating along that 5% plateau?  Global expenditures on oil projects jumped by 100% from $300 billion per year to $600 billion.  With a 100% increase in capital spending by the petroleum industry, we saw petroleum supplies remain more or less stuck in the exact same spot. 

I am of the impression that $600 billion a year is a lot of money and that the people dedicating that capital are applying it to the very best projects available.  I make the further assumption that when a project is identified and pursued, it is brought on line as rapidly as possible.  There are not that many ways to look at this data other than noting that we are spending more and more to get the same...for now.

If you want to know why oil costs over $110 on the world stage, the last two charts above give you the answer:  There's just not that much of it to go around.

Despite all of this effort and expense, the world is basically treading water with respect to overall production.  The reason for that is contained in the first chart out of these three:  The race is now on to bring new projects on line quickly enough to offset the losses from existing fields. 

Petroleum is neither a U.S. issue nor any other specific country's issue, but rather a global commodity of immense importance. While the development of the shale plays in the U.S. is of domestic importance, it has not altered the global dynamic of static oil production – at least not detectably in the global supply charts. Not yet.

Conclusion (to Part I)

In Part II: How Energy Woes Will Trigger Financial Crisis, we look at the latest global petroleum supply and demand data and see clearly that cheap oil has become extinct. That era is over for humankind. 

My prediction is that the underlying rates of depletion will continue to fight the recent production gains in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world until they soon come to a standstill, eventually swamping even heroic efforts. 

Steadily rising energy costs and decreasing net energy yields will simply not be able to fund the future economic growth and consumptive lifestyles that developed nations are depending on (and that developing nations are aspiring to). In fact, the persistent global economic weakness we've been experiencing over the past years is an expected symptom of the throttling constraint decreasing net energy places on growth.

If you care about the future of the economy, your standard of living (or that of your children), and/or your quality of life, you need to fully understand this relationship between growth and net energy. Your individual future (and our collective one) depends on it.

Click here to read Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).


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Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:26 | 3158645 trav777
trav777's picture


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:33 | 3158669 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

trav, don't know if you saw the news.

November Bakken report is out.  First production decline in 20 months.

Rollover.  Looked back recent previous shale hype years.  No November seasonal events.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:40 | 3158728 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Ahhh, the delta function, hedge accordingly.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:46 | 3158780 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


Useless factoid, the derivative of the Heaviside step function gives you the delta function....

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:51 | 3158822 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

either way, growth is dead.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:34 | 3159073 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Greened ya.  But I must say, having just come back from running an errand in my 100% solar energy charged Chevy Volt (I have personally been off the grid since 1979) - it's not hopeless, quite.

As far as I'm concerned, growth, if all it means is more useless eaters - isn't necessary a good thing, any more than all change is good.  We've just seen "hope and change" for example.

There are other ways than fossil fuels - the real problem is the human race is so stupid they don't change till after breaking their nose running into a wall, maybe more than once.  At least not most of us.

Hating on every possible alternative, as many here do, ain't helping, guys.

And when you have to lie and say a car that was first shown in '06 (bush) is the obamamobile - you've just lost and proved you are both uniformed and stupid - and pushing a completely other agenda.  Those of us with a brain just laugh at you.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:54 | 3159187 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

I'm gonna offer up a guess here that you live somewhere like San Diego or Flagstaff.  

Not ever do you 100% solar off the grid people live in Wisconsin, or Iowa or Ohio or Texas.  Meaning, your absurd little solar panels don't have to either heat or cool a house.  And you don't live anywhere that a horse drawn wagon can bring crops to you to eat, because Rufus, there ain't no solar powered food transport trucks AND THERE NEVER WILL BE. 

The N word.  Never.  That's what physics does at 745 watts per horsepower.  A truck needs 350+ horsepower to get up hills.  That truck solar panel would need the surface area of about 1 American football field.  For one truck.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:43 | 3159431 Enslavethechild...
EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Nobody with any fucking brains at all would live in Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio or Texas.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:28 | 3160187 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture




Firewood, bitchez!



Wed, 01/16/2013 - 23:57 | 3161115 spekulatn
spekulatn's picture

Peak wood, bitchez.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:09 | 3160112 Matt
Matt's picture

I thought DCFusor lives somewhere around the Appalachians, the video he posted looks more like that area than the desert.

Incorrect. The truck does not "need" 350+ horsepower to get up the hill; it only "needs" that power to get up the hill at 65 miles per hour. Also, I suspect more distribution will go back to water and train and away from trucks and airplanes.

And before you use the "N" word again, the Belgians already have trains running on solar:

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:27 | 3160854 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Look, pal, read your own damn links before you dare post them to rebut.


"The train ride from Paris to Amsterdam may not be the most scenic of European railway routes, but it's the only one capable of harnessing the awesome power of the Sun -- for two miles, at least. Yesterday, engineers in Belgium officially switched on Europe's first solar-powered train tunnel, spanning a 2.1-mile stretch of the rail line connecting the City of Lights to Mokum. The installation's 16,000 solar panels will be used to provide 50 percent of the energy needed to power nearby Antwerp Central Station and to provide extra juice for both high-speed and traditional trains. "

It doesn't power the train, not even for 2.1 miles.

An furthermore, Gertrude, if you don't go 65 miles per hour in a refrigerated truck, the food spoils enroute.

Read about "cattle cars" in the world before oil.  Before oil steers were shipped from Omaha to NYC LIVE.  They had to be alive or they would rot because you could not keep them cold in summer.  Coal/steam didn't have the power.  And btw, 60% of a live steer's mass is not edible.


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 23:46 | 3161085 Matt
Matt's picture

1) the Belgian train is a proof-of-concept, not an example of a totally solar-only system

2) Food will probably be transported shorter distances, and steaks will cost more. More Beef will be frozen rather than refrigerated. People will eat less meat. You cannot assume only one change.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:28 | 3163915 thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

the Belgian train is a proof-of-nonconcept



Thu, 01/17/2013 - 09:52 | 3161831 smiler03
smiler03's picture

 "An furthermore, Gertrude, if you don't go 65 miles per hour in a refrigerated truck, the food spoils enroute."


What a load of shite. In the UK almost all very large trucks distributing frozen and chilled foods are speed limited to 56mph or less. Not only that but the vast majority will fail to even average that speed, more like 40mph, and the food doesn't spoil.



Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:51 | 3163998 thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

Yes, in fact 90 Km/h (56 mph) is the speed limit for trucks, in Europe, but then refrigerators are running most of the time, day or night, specially if it's frozen food  (-30ºC), not just refrigerated... and those run on fuel.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 21:59 | 3160756 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

West Virginia, IIRC.  Not exactly the Sunbelt.  Off the grid since '79 in WV has to tell you something, both in terms of innovation and application.  Toss in conservation for good measure.  The Kriegers and Brandon Smiths whose names appear in lights on this site are neophytes, dilettantes and mere poseurs in comparison.

I'm kind of a fanboi of DC Fusor;  the guy is on to something...maybe a lot of somethings, and not like the neo-Tesla Fanbois (mostly English majors and Communications majors) who run rampant on the interwebs.  Real stuff.  Scientific Method stuff.  Peer reviewed stuff.  Incremental and even quantum improvements on what is. 

Not everything comes from a Bell Lab or equivalent, even in this post-discovery world, though it's a damn sight harder to come up with something new in a converted old barn.  One still marvels at Faraday and Maxwell.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:31 | 3160880 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

A watt is a watt and a horsepower is 745 of them, whether you're in Bell labs or your garage.

I'll bet DC dood makes a weekly trip to Walmart, where he buys groceries that didn't appear on the shelf there via solar powered trucks, of which there are none.

BTW my recall is WVA is the home of some big Federal funded wind farms.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 00:31 | 3161021 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

I'll grant you the win if you're a strict constructionist when it comes to "off the grid", but in a relative sense.....

Plus, in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, we'll all make do with what is already out there, so in a sense everyone will start the race at the 20 meter mark.  Of course some will run backwards and others will never see the tape.

I have an eye for the science types around these parts (being personally entrenched in same), and I suspect you would find some common ground with DC Fusor.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:30 | 3159377 trav777
trav777's picture

you drive a car manufactured in factories and charge it with solar panels built in factories and you call yourself OFF the grid?

You are more on the fkin grid than I am

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:11 | 3160118 Matt
Matt's picture

Off the Grid as in not connected to the power lines, not Off the Grid like Osama bin Laden's mountain caves.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:33 | 3160201 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture




you drive a car manufactured in factories and charge it with solar panels built in factories and you call yourself OFF the grid?


Drive on roads made of asphalt and concrete, to- and from real estate made from petro products, requiring finance to subsidize everything, big governments to protect the financiers, industries to gain the fossil fuels needed to make everything including the factories, asphalt and concrete, militaries to steal what we want when we want ...


There is no 'off the grid'.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:35 | 3160443 debtandtaxes
debtandtaxes's picture

But there is

i) able to travel more than 10 miles a day because his vehicle runs on sun and you have no gas so must walk or ride a horse

ii) a home that is warm or cool cuz of solar power when you roast or freeze to death

iii) being able to feed and clothes yourself and your kids from the land rather than needing little pieces of paper and a buiding with stuff stored inside it

And that is "off the grid" enuff for me.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:35 | 3160444 debtandtaxes
debtandtaxes's picture

But there is

i) able to travel more than 10 miles a day because his vehicle runs on sun and you have no gas so must walk or ride a horse

ii) a home that is warm or cool cuz of solar power when you roast or freeze to death

iii) being able to feed and clothes yourself and your kids from the land rather than needing little pieces of paper and a buiding with stuff stored inside it

And that is "off the grid" enuff for me.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:14 | 3160816 trav777
trav777's picture

yeah till his LiON batteries go...which will happen in short order.

You make me laugh, you really do

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:23 | 3163898 thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

Drive on roads made of asphalt


And on tires made of petrol, too, no matter what your "eco" car engine runs on. And tires and asphalt are as bad if not worst polluters than modern gas engines.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:06 | 3163830 thisandthat
thisandthat's picture


So, you have a car that runs on Hopium... question is, how many miles until the looming head-on colision with the reality of "alternative" fuels?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:19 | 3159620 AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

Correct!  In the meantime, back in NY... @ The Fed:

1.  "Whoever rules the energy & key resources, rules the GRC (Global Reserve Currency)."

2.  "When that runs out, our FRNs won't matter.  But until they do, keep pushing that NWO, Mr President."

3.  "We'll print fiat to build our own Noah's Ark 2.0".

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:52 | 3159181 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Clearly not much appreciation for mathematics in this crowd...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:28 | 3159369 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

The y-axis is not labeled or given a scale on that first chart. What do I win?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:02 | 3160078 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Nothing but you do get a free link to a lecture from Edward Tufte...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:43 | 3158760 trav777
trav777's picture

there is an IEA outlook I have somewhere on some machine which shows the relationship between age of discovery and time-to-peak plus decline rate.

More recent fields peak quicker and have steeper decline rates.  Same trend for onshore->offshore->deepwater.

The further out, the deeper the water, the quicker time-to-peak, and faster decline.

Really doesn't matter if it's field quality or just the increase in TECHNOLOGY (that the corns promised us would save us) that has enabled them to more efficiently get production to peak and drain the field.

Technology didn't prolong fields; it helped us get the product OUT FASTER.

Because that is what EXPONENTIAL GROWTH IS an exercise in- RED QUEEN.  And I don't mean the manchurian candidate.

We have to start being able to have adult conversations.  Not to harp on the topic, but this means a lot of people have to de-energize their mental third rails and start facing the TRUTH about humans.

Nuclear fission is, with 4G reactors, LFR and stuff such as that, functionally limitless...however, it's going to require a HELL of a lot more intelligent and conscientious society to manage than EVEN Japan, which is among the highest-IQ, lowest crime societies on earth.  And it will require abandoning growth.

Trying to find something else to burn at a higher rate isn't going to solve anything.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:47 | 3158790 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Foremost though is that it will all but require foregoing the profit angle...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:26 | 3159036 tickhound
tickhound's picture

The implications are huge.  The irony is all things from consumerism and profit models, government role, loss of sovereignty, birth rates, IQ tests, technological overhaul, human perceptions on 'labor', and so money and wealth would have to enter the discussion. 

The entire premise would need to start on a different foundation.  The question ultimately won't be "do we have enough money or is it affordable or can we profit?"  It'll be "do we have the resources?"

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:54 | 3159123 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

The thesis that I have maintained for some time it that must we re-invent our value system or go extinct (or damn close to it). And there is no guarentee the former implies avoiding the latter...

BTW, that thesis is one of the reasons why I am *so* popular here at ZH....

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:07 | 3159257 tickhound
tickhound's picture

it's your stick in the eye delivery too.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:51 | 3160512 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

I used to be a kinder gentler spirit but I got tired of abuse from dickheads... Nowadays, I only respond in like (and I have a very good memory)...

In PO slugfests Trav always kidded me that the "Dark side was stronger".... And you have no idea of the *war* that transpired here over peak oil... This thread is kitten cuddley cutesie wootsie...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:36 | 3159395 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Do any of your planks new values involve the killing of (many, many) people who don't agree with you?

Or perhaps take it a step further and transmute the old value "thou shalt not kill" into "thou shalt kill (who I tell you to, when I tell you to)"?

If this sounds sarcastic, it isn't meant to be; I believe you are sincere about this "thesis" of yours. The questions you left open are which values will be revalued, and how badly will they then conflict with their predecessors. You know where this is going.

PS: this is not a plug for the brain-dead ethics, or its evangelizers, which gave the world "thou shalt not kill".

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:16 | 3159603 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Nope, just because it is inevitable that some will go does not make me feel any better...  And just because I recognize that inevitability does not make me complicit or supportive....

I wouldn't want the job of playing God, there are far too many people that relish the prospect and are willing to fight for it...

After all, we all die eventually...

There is still much wisdom to be gained from the Stoics....


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:47 | 3159752 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Defending one's own property and/or resources ONLY requires killing people who "don't agree" when they show up at your door to steal from you. 

Quite frankly, most of the "have-nots" on the global level lack the resources to show up at the door of the "haves."  That's the greatest part of what enabled Europe/US/Japan to steal so many of those resources in the first place.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:15 | 3160127 Matt
Matt's picture

Also, "Not keeping alive" is NOT the same as killing. If I don't provide food to someone on the other side of the planet, and they die of hunger, I did not actively kill them. Or someone down the street, for that matter.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:16 | 3160822 trav777
trav777's picture

humans won't go extinct...civilization might.  Certainly as we know it.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 08:00 | 3161619 Acet
Acet's picture

Well, profit itself needs not be foregone.

The profit that comes from increased efficiency (make a better mousetrap) will still be there for the taking.

It's the profit that comes from simply ridding a wave of growth without actually adding any value that will be gone forever once the "mooar & biggger" style of growth is stopped on its tracks by energy availability limits.

In other words - modern Consumer Society with its countless me-too products, XXL sizes, meaningless innovations, fragile short-lived products, built-in obsolescence and marketting as value-adding tool is going to dissapear, but a free market where better and/or more efficiently done means better profit will likelly replace it.


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:50 | 3158812 centerline
centerline's picture

The root of the real problem... in a nutshell.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:04 | 3158904 OOONONO
OOONONO's picture

Spot on ... and when you carry your thinking out to the logical conclusion(s), it is time to:  1) enjoy life as much as possible 2) prepare to die   (no sarc!)

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:35 | 3159079 Freddie
Freddie's picture

EVEN Japan, which is among the highest-IQ, lowest crime societies on earth.

The Yakuza runs Japanese business and the govt to some extent.  The Yakuza had the maint contract on       Fu*k-o-shima.

I am glad we do not have gangsters or gangster unions running Oba-MAO Amerikkka.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:56 | 3159196 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Well, you are starting to understand how fucked things really are Freddie...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:37 | 3159406 trav777
trav777's picture

selfish genes...they aren't made for scarcity.

Deer on islands don't fare any better

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:30 | 3159674 Matt
Matt's picture

I think corruption is the key factor here, not the intelligence, education or concientousness of the general population. The corruption that maintains the status quo via barriers to entry, tarrifs, subsidies to the incumbents, regulations, etc. Where to find, or how to create, a society with as little corruption as possible?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:53 | 3159773 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

"Corruption" is just a specific source of inefficiency, which is the REAL problem. 

The light from the sun has maintained life on the planet for billions of years, and probably can support a thriving human population for another billion, but there would certainly have to be adjustments to how we employ and distribute our resources.

If efficiency is adequate, we really needn't worry so much about the corruption bit.  Just like some brewery might allow employees to take home as much beer as they like, or some ice cream shop might allow them to eat as much ice cream as they like while on the clock.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:18 | 3160143 Matt
Matt's picture

Corruption, once in place, always grows, never recedes on its own accord. If corruption costs 5% efficiency one day, it will eventually be 10%, 50%, etc. until the system collapses. Other forms of efficiency are flat or grow in a linear fashion.

I think the only reason society has kept running is because increase in energy input has been equal to or greater than the rate of increase in corruption, until 2005. 

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:40 | 3160472 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

     Corruption, once in place, always grows, never recedes on its own accord.

I reject your premise.  This would require a heckuva proof. 

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:17 | 3160833 trav777
trav777's picture

Scandinavia works.

But this is politically incorrect because they aren't diverse

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:29 | 3160877 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Tribes do stick together.... we are hard wired for that...

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 00:01 | 3161123 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Maybe you're correct, but there are tons of places which aren't diverse which frickin' SUCK.  Do you have a CASE, other than "it's the negroes"?

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 00:19 | 3161159 akak
akak's picture

No, he doesn't.  With Trav, it is all about race, the group, and collectivism more generally.  He refuses or is incapable of seeing people as individuals, preferring to simplisticly lump them all together in Bell Curve statistics and then attempting to justify his overt, hate-filled racism as "science".  He is, quite simply, evil.

Trav is the flip side of the AnAnonymous "US 'american' citizenism" blameplacing broken record.  The fault is ALWAYS somebody else's, and not just somebody, but a collective --- Americans for the Chinese troll, Blacks for Trav.  Birds of a hateful feather flock together.  Make me laugh.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 01:34 | 3161312 Matt
Matt's picture

The problem is that the statistics support discrimination. Have you looked into the rape-rates in Scandinavian countries lately?

66% of the rapes in Oslo and 85% of the rapes in Sweden are commited by black and arab immigrants:

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 09:02 | 3161652 Acet
Acet's picture

It's not a question of race, it's a question of shared social expectations.

I'm Portuguese and lived in Holland several years after my adulthood and am now living in England.

One of the things I noticed was that a lot of social systems and solutions in Holland work reasonably well because the locals all share similar social behaviours and values, so for example the Dutch seem far more likelly to care about how one's own actions affect society that people in other societies. A lot of the things that work in Holland would never work in Portugal, because in the later there is no tendency by individuals to worry about how one's actions impact society (in fact, in Portugal one is almost expected to take advantage of the system).

However, in Portugal there is a shared, let's call it ethic, that you don't hurt other people (to the point that we Portuguese call ourselves "The people of mild mores" and during the 1974 revolution almost no shots were fired), with the interesting result that there was no significant violent crime (outside passion crimes) until the country was invaded by gangs from Eastern Europe who would "shoot to kill" during robberies (a thing which, until then, was almost unheard of in Portugal and which the police at first did not know how to handle).


It's similar in England, for example the English (especially high class ones) have this huge tendency to not say what they thing, so they're not openly critical and tend to given undeserved praise and exagerate any praise they give. For example, if an englishman says something "was nice" it actually means "not good", "good" means "so, so" while "superb or excelent" actually mean "good". So say that somebody who hasn't been raised under the same social convention says to an englishman that something is nice (i.e. better than average) it often received as a criticism, while saying it was "so, so" it's pretty much a slap in the face. In reverse, when I receive what to my ears sounds like high-praise for something I believe was mediocre, it just make me feel like the other person is being hypocritical or sneaky.

However two people raised here will totally understand what the other means and use the right level of praise, since they share the same social conventions.



So the problem is not the colour of the immigrants' skin or their religious beliefs, the problem is when the immigrants do not adjust or at least respect their hosts' social conventions, stick to a different set of conventions and even start demanding "respect for their beliefs" from the hosts.

This is the problem that I saw in Holland with the later waves of muslim immigrants (the earlier wave were Turkish and they mostly adopted Dutch values) - while the Dutch gave the immigrants the freedom of having whichever values they wanted because tolerance is one of the major Dutch social conventions, the immigrants themselves (or, mostly, their sons and daughters) were intolerant towards the Dutch, all this ending up in the murder or Theo Van Gogh (for making a film about how muslims treated women), which caused a huge shock in Dutch society.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:17 | 3159305 Seer
Seer's picture

The offshore data may not be completely apples-to-apples with previous data sets in that the offshore stuff is newer technology.  BUT, this does agree with what you know to be true: newer technologies just enhance depeletion rates - Jevons Paradox at work.

"We have to start being able to have adult conversations.  Not to harp on the topic, but this means a lot of people have to de-energize their mental third rails and start facing the TRUTH about humans."

Paper-Rock-Scissors is going to take on a rather adult theme I'm afraid...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:12 | 3159582 undateable
undateable's picture

So you're saying the Winter Storm Brutus explanation is bogus?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:39 | 3158718 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

wait-we're embroiled in the mid-east because of oil?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:21 | 3159011 I need more cowbell
I need more cowbell's picture

Peak people

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:19 | 3159316 Seer
Seer's picture

Peak Consumption.

Folks in the "first world" countries won't have to pay for diet programs any more!

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:35 | 3159693 Matt
Matt's picture

I think you are confusing "calories" with "food". As contradictory as it may sound, obese people tend to be deficient in food, due to ingesting too much empty calories.

If you eat and you are still hungry, it could be either a psychological issue, or a nutrients deficiency.

As we continue down the path we are on, I bet we will see more obese people, not less, as foods worldwide are more and more reinforced with sugar, glucose-fructose, omega-6 fatty acids, and other empty calories, while real food gets more and more expensive.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:27 | 3158647 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

I'm still not buying a Chevy fucking Volt...


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:45 | 3158775 Da55id
Da55id's picture

Don't buy - lease one or buy used. Then run it on gas or electric. Fuel arbitrage. My equivalent cost per gallon is 75 cents on electric. My cost per mile is 0.02 -  no intervening maintenance costs whatever. In 2014 when the car comes off lease I'll decide to buy or turn it in.

I've used 8 gallons of gas in 6 months. 255 gallons not purchased/burned = $978 not spent. My utility burns natgas.

The car is fast, practical and really fun. Open minds are useful.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:47 | 3158793 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Re: open minds, indeed...

Well played...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:50 | 3158809 Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here's picture

"The car is fast, practical and really fun."

Gotta get another coffee after spilling it all over the place

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:54 | 3158840 Da55id
Da55id's picture

I'll be here all week

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:45 | 3159139 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

And so will I.  I just got back from running an errand in my Volt.  In fact, it was charged off solar, so I'm doing even better than Da55id in some regards.  And I regularly dust off "ricky rice racer" on the mountain roads around here.  Evidence:

That was piling into a 15 mph rated hairpin at 57, and putting the hammer down in the turn.  Try that with your piece of jap junk.  It really is a fun car to drive.  And pretty robust - I killed a deer with mine on the way home today (oops).  And here's a thread with a shot of the "damage".

Since I can't include pix here.  I don't buy that welfare shit one bit.  It doesn't work like that.  I just didn't pay as much taxes as I would have anyway, no one gave me a dime, for starters.  The fact that all the auto manuf's got the same subsidies, but hardly any of them made anything even close to as nice tells me I simply chose a winner, one that *I* paid for.  If you don't take advantage of a good deal when someone else offers it, what the hell are you doing on a stock trading board?

Oh, that's right, people here just boast they can trade, but in reality, they are all mentally and fiscally broke.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:31 | 3159183 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Tell us what the installed cost of that solar "charger" is and how that translates into a "better deal" than Da55id's falsified 75 cents per gallon.  You paid a fat ideological premium and believe it gives you license to rant.  End of story.

[Edit: well done to deny the subsidization with the line 'I just didn't pay as much in taxes...'  It always humors me to hear such quips from folks who make less than I pay in taxes]

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:40 | 3159716 Da55id
Da55id's picture

falsified? End of story? Why accuse me of lying? Why not instead ask for my backup numbers? Manners?



Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:25 | 3159353 Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here's picture

This is like Plato's Cave. Someone who never knew a fun car is likely to think that his Volt is a fun car.

2012 Chevy Volt specs :

Engine: 1.4L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing

Power (SAE): 149 hp and 273 ft lb of torque

Secondary power: 83 hp @ 4,800 rpm; 93 lb ft

Weights: published curb weight (lbs): 3,781

Independent front strut suspension with stabilizer bar and coil springs, semi-independent rear torsion beam suspension with coil springs


Compared with… let’s see… for an even cheaper price…:


2012 BMW 3 series



Engine: 2.0L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder

Power (SAE): 240 hp @ 5,000 rpm; 260 ft lb of torque @ 1,250 rpm

Weights: published curb weight (lbs): 3,406

Independent front strut suspension with stabilizer bar and coil springs, independent rear multi-link suspension with stabilizer bar and coil springs

And unsubsidized by the American taxpayer.


I could run 2 laps and pit in between while you still wonder where the finish line is...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:18 | 3159612 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

This is exhibit A in the question of redefining our values....

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:45 | 3159738 Da55id
Da55id's picture

Current Chevy Volt owner who has owned 180 HP Volkwagon Beetle conversion, 350 V8 Camaro (pre smog controls), 280z, Olds Aurora dohc V8. Have driven 428 mach 1, corvettes, porche etc.

I continue to be amazed at the telepathy exhibited by comments authors who seem to know my history - not so much.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:23 | 3160399 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture




Unless yr Volt is a taxi or you deliver pizzas you can't pay for it by driving it. You pay by borrowing, your boss pays you by borrowing from his customers, his customers borrow from Uncle Sam or from overseas, we live in a daisy chain of loans.


The total cost plus (hidden) fuel costs are borrowed. All the infrastructure costs are borrowed. How does anyone think roads are built? Real estate 'developments'? Who pays for the Navy and Air Force? Who pays for the power stations? How are all these paid for? None of them pay for themselves or they would have done so already.


There is a reason the US is $55 trillion in the (rat) hole, it's at the end of your driveway.



Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:20 | 3160842 trav777
trav777's picture

My NSX gets pretty good mileage LOL; it's a frugal V6

seriously, wtf is the point of living if you have to drive a volt?  One of my acquaintances got a Prius, I went for a VW Phaeton.  Forget living if it's eating rice cakes and waiting around for dooooooooom

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 14:58 | 3163285 Going Loco
Going Loco's picture

This is not a stock trading board. I keep saying this but nobody listens.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:04 | 3160070 J in Vegas
J in Vegas's picture


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:06 | 3160071 J in Vegas
J in Vegas's picture

Yep....... I've put 3400 miles on my VOLT  and used 12.2ish gallons of gas. It costs about a dollar a day to charge. And it is quick.... not quick like my Subbie WRX... but quick enough for my daily commutes or random road trips. Yesterday, I went to Lee Canyon to go snowboarding and I drove about 120 miles round trip and used 2.7 gallons of gas, which isn't bad for going up 5000+ feet . I drove the car in electric going back down  and nearly charged half the battery coasting down the hill.(Regen braking/coasting). The only thing that sucks about the car is the shitty heater. It's garbage!!!

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:20 | 3159008 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

What's so open-minded about being a welfare queen?

Without massive amounts of theft, this car could not have ever been built, as no one would be stupid enough to actually pay what it cost for the benefits delivered.

All you're doing is making things worse by aiding and abetting criminal enterprises. Just think, millions of people would be better off not being impoverished all so that you could pretend to be smug, rather than just being ignorant about the underlying reality.

But then again, that's how the evil called politics prospers, as wishful-thinking is substituted for real analysis by the handful that benefit from a share of the loot.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:53 | 3159775 Da55id
Da55id's picture's just a car.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:21 | 3159015 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture




It takes about 35 kwh to deliver the same energy as a gallon of gasoline.  So what you are saying is that you are getting electricity at a little over 2 cents a kilowatt hour.  Delivered.  So that is either a subsidized answer or a lie.  Second, I wonder if you realize that electricity is the least efficient form of retail energy?  You do know that you only get about 25 - 30% of the original energy (Btu) content of the generation fuel delivered - due to losses in transmission, step-down, migration, and distribution - right?

Electricity as an "efficient" vehicle fuel is a complete and utter fallacy.  If "your utility" burns natural gas (by the way, there isn't one in the U.S. that burns only natural gas, even if it is the marginal fuel), then it is generating power for somewhere between $25 and $45 per MwH or 2.5 to 4.5 cents per kwh, depending on where it's located and whether its a combined cycle, simple CT or a co-generation unit with steam recovery. 

Open minds are useful.  Facts are even more so.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:51 | 3159172 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Yes, facts are useful.  And you lied by ommision there.  An IC engine doesn't get all the energy out of a gallon of gasoline any more than a coal plant gets 100% conversion either.  It takes roughly 13kwh to fully charge a Volt from dead, and many of us owners have managed to break 50 miles on a charge, which at 10c a kwh, would be about a $1.30.  Still a hell of a lot cheaper than gasoline for 50 miles in any other car.

Most gasoline engines are doing well to get 20% conversion in normal driving, eg not perfectly on the torque peak on a dyno, but in real life - you get zero, yes, zero, at idle in traffic, and an open mind or even just a fair one has to average that in, as well as all those miles where you are using a 200hp engine to put out 20hp to cruise - they suck doing that re efficiency.  And I'd know, I use to be a racer, and we care about how many pit stops you have to make...

And my Volt is charged off solar panels I bought, not subsidized either.


Sorrry to call BS, but you're just dead wrong here, mayhem.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:21 | 3159330 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



So you are saving something like $1,200 / year by your math.  So it will take you, what, 15 years to recover the ideological premium of the car plus the solar charger?  Seems like a deal so long as you have an asbestos-lined cabin.  And all that to not really avoid any emissions - just imagine they don't occur because they are at a power plant and not your 'car'.  Must be nice to live in liberal utopia.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:58 | 3159794 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

You're nowhere near talking about the real issue.  This discussion appears to be some kind of red/blue thing in your mind.  It's not about cars--it's just straight up kneejerk jingoism.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:14 | 3159290 css1971
css1971's picture

No most of the loss is Carnot efficency losses at the plant - 50-60% loss before it even hits a wire, assuming it's coal, gas or some other heat engine.


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:16 | 3159298 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

  You do know that you only get about 25 - 30% of the original energy (Btu) content of the generation fuel delivered - due to losses in transmission, step-down, migration, and distribution - right?

I'm an EE, and I call shenanigans. No way you lose anywhere 75% due to those things. If you're burning fossil fuels, then maybe end-on-end that's what you're getting but most of that loss is from the inefficient burner, not transmission (6-7%) or transformation (2-3% total, step-up and -down ). We're mostly hydro/nuclear here in Ontario, and end-to-end power loss from Niagara Falls is about 10%, which includes transmission line losses and transformer losses.

And, as the OP points out, gasoline powered cars, especially in city driving, spend a lot of time getting zero miles per gallon AND a significant amount of the power the engine generates is wasted on the water pump and fan belt, cooling the damn thing down. Electric engines have none of those problems. Plus, electric engines at least recapture a little of their kinetic energy through regenerative braking, whereas gasoline cars just waste it again as heat.

I still believe a true hybrid - one that runs on batteries and can be recharged by plugging in, but also has a gas engine for extended trips - is the best solution for most (note: NOT ALL) urban/surburban drivers.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:27 | 3159365 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Including generation losses, total energy value of electricity delivered is 30% or less of the original Btu content of the energy.  Look it up.  I get the point that gas engines work the same way - wasn't aware.

My point is that the ideologues who think we should all own electric powered cars are kidding themselves into thinking that we would be avoiding costs or emissions.  They draw their conclusions on variable costs, and forget about the premiums in the capital.  It's a well constructed farce.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:50 | 3159756 Matt
Matt's picture

It is interesting to see the attacks on subsidies on hybrid cars, without people taking into equal consideration the subsidies on oil, including military operations, etc as well as other forms of subsidy. It would be nice to get a more fair comparison of unsubsidized fossil fuels versus home solar charging.

As well, it would be nice to compare the one-time per 25 years or so emissions for producing solar panels or other renewable energy production equipment, compared to the constant emissions from ground to refinery to car to air of fossil fuels.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:51 | 3159767 Da55id
Da55id's picture

Ideologues try to force others to their point of view. My Friend, I care not what kind of car you or anyone else drives. I just like my car.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:58 | 3159796 Five8Charlie
Five8Charlie's picture

Most of the energy loss just comes with the basic design of an internal combustion engine.

The engine transfers the chemical energy to heat by burning, then to a pressure increse in the cylinders. The pressure increase is what turns the wheels (eventually). The heat that was used to increase the pressure is dumped into the atmosphere - that lost heat is where most of the losses in the engine are. Turbochargers help, since they can recover some of that dumped heat, but the laws of thermodynamics say you'll never get all of the energy back.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:26 | 3159645 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Agree completely! Too few people really understand electricity, generation, transmission and final delivery to the outlet. This electricity must be generated, transmitted and stepped down to the outlet. Gas delievered to your tank at the gas station is more efficient than electricity at your plug.

No, electric cars are no solution to anything, especially on a mass scale. Their advantages are mostly marketing gimics.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:38 | 3159095 Freddie
Freddie's picture

The Ob-MAO police state plans on opening our minds with 1.5 billion rounds of .40 hollow points.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:26 | 3159654 AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

I like my Mercedes E-class Diesel, running on bio-diesel.  Low cost, low maintenance.  Those German-Schwabians know something.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:57 | 3159791 Matt
Matt's picture

I trust you maintain it yourself. Maintenance from a certified mechanic is a killer. And I'm just taking about an oil change. 

For those that don't know, Mercedes tend to have sealed oil pans and require a proprietary tool to extract the old oil from the pan. All the German car makers seem to have a real thing for using proprietary tools. 

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:07 | 3159831 AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

Yes sir.  A family member worked for them for many years.  So I also get the lifetime "family price" (sub-dealer price) for new MB.  :-)

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:37 | 3158663 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

So what you are saying is that humans will be the next fossil fuel. I believe that 500,000,000 people is the appropriate level to maintain the balance with nature. So a  lot of you fuckers have to go.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:46 | 3158779 trav777
trav777's picture

we can sustain far higher than that but it is going to require abandoning a lot of behaviors we currently engage in.

Brave New World wasn't a dystopia.  Until you, unlike everyone who uses it as commentary fodder for their police-state criticisms, actually read and understand the work, you can't get what I'm saying here.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:58 | 3158838 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Sheesh tough crowd. Wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? You don't know a damn thing about me or what I read. Suggesting otherwise only makes you look foolish.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:22 | 3159021 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Speaking of foolish, do you realize you're conversing with Trav?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:49 | 3159754 trav777
trav777's picture

yes i do and i wasn't referring to you specifically; it was the collective "you."

GFY anyway lol

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:00 | 3159806 Matt
Matt's picture

I don't think we need to drug everyone and cause selective amounts of brain damage with fetal alcohol syndrome to create a sustainable society. Just get people to believe its their Dharma to clean toilets for a living.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:03 | 3159820 trav777
trav777's picture

stratification is stickier if you use alcohol

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:54 | 3158843 Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here's picture

Peak oil theories are just like peak food theories and other Malthusian fear-inducing population control methods. Amazing that we still don't get that humanity could survive any scarcity if we'd let the free market operate normally...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:58 | 3158876 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

Hear hear!

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:59 | 3158882 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


Yep the free market failed when the US peaked in 1970....

Must have been those Commie Vegans that took over in Texas...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:45 | 3159437 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Who's the troll? He never said humanity could continue in exactly its present and recent fashion - which is, really, the entire point.

We agree that there's a scarcity issue here. I take it you disagree that a free market system would cope with scarcity better than our current kluged abomination of a system which prefers to say "Lord Keynes" three times fast and pretend resources are infinite?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:00 | 3159807 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

The free market... sorry, but I must laugh at your naivite...

The free market cannot discount future values on the scale that H. Sapiens requires...

Tell me how the free markets have discounted the value of the Ogallala aquifer, the Grand Banks cod fisheries, the Amazon rain forest? I could go on and on....

Besides the free market is as real as Maxwell's Demon or the tooth fairy for that matter...


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:40 | 3159977 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The current paradigm is 'planned obsolescence' meets 'consumerism'.  There is a good chance that as a society we could be doing things MUCH more efficiently.  You know, by not designing things that are out of date in 6-12 months (cell/smart phones, for the avg. person).  By having light bulbs that don't burn out after a mere 2000 hours.

We could save a lot of energy and a lot of materials just by rearranging our perspective from one of abundace to one of scarcity.

BTW, the whole universe is full of energy.   When is someone going to finally invent the bloody Matter to Energy (and vice versa) Converter?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:52 | 3159761 trav777
trav777's picture

or when the USSR peaked in 1989...or indonesia in 1998 or the UK in 2000 or Mexico in 2004, or when 54/65 top oil producing nations peaked.


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:48 | 3159156 Dark_Horse
Dark_Horse's picture

...but "scarcity" doesn't operate normally.

It's manuipulated, to provide the highest return on its satiation.


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:15 | 3159596 metaforge
metaforge's picture

Yup - cuz capitalism trumps physics - every time.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:13 | 3159852 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

If we just assume that oil automatically replenishes itself from the deepest bowels of the Earff, everything will work out fine.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:46 | 3158784 Da55id
Da55id's picture

Lead by example

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:13 | 3158955 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

I believe that 500,000,000 people is the appropriate level to maintain the balance with nature.

500 Millions 'americans' are still too many to maintain the balance with nature.

500 Millions 'americans' will be proven to be too many to maintain the balance with nature.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:27 | 3159041 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

Original post there, AnA.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:12 | 3159279 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous bleated:

500 Millions 'americans' are still too many to maintain the balance with nature.

500 Millions 'americans' will be proven to be too many to maintain the balance with nature.

Good thing there are only 300 million Americans, huh?

Over a billion of Chineses, though, somehow that will be causing the Chinese citizenism elite some kind of problems downthere.

Bear with it.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:16 | 3158974 Argentbilly
Argentbilly's picture

So do the Georgia Guidestones. 

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:37 | 3159091 Dark_Horse
Dark_Horse's picture

Don't worry, there's plenty of energy dense fat that can be liposuctioned out of the average US citizen and used as biofuel to power their basic needs for a while, just enough time for the de-pop plan transition to the implementation phase.

After that, it's Soylent Green to feed the chosen few surviving.


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:27 | 3159466 George Orwell
George Orwell's picture

Once again. Peak Oil will lead us global nuclear war. What is the best way to kill 2-3 billion people so that they do not use YOUR oil? Nuclear Weapons. If we launch half of our nuclear arsenal against China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria, etc, we can easily eliminate 30-40 million barrels per day of oil demand.

That's oil that you can use to drive your fat asses around town in a Chevy Suburban.  Get it? There is not enough oil for the average Chinese or Indian person to haul their fat asses around down in a 4x4. Either you give up driving or you nuke them so that they stop using YOUR oil.

An alternative to nuclear war is to unleash biological weapons on them. The problem with bio weapons is that the virus can come back and kill your own people. That can be tolerated as collateral damage though. We can kill the people but leave the infrastructure intact if we use bio-agents on them.


George Orwell

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:15 | 3159857 Matt
Matt's picture

Or the powers that be could simply arm their militaries with depleted uranium weapons, encourage the use of plastic bottles, burn coal, and get people to consume tons of glucose-fructose to slowly sterilize the population while increasing cancer and heart disease.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 19:15 | 3159875 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

A tad simplistic....

Actually more than a tad...

Hey Toten-liber-bieber (what ever the fuck it is), here is one of those guys that want's to play God that you were talking about...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:34 | 3159952 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

No worries.  Thanks to the pioneering work of the Travistas, we'll soon have a germ that kills negroes only.  That'll solve all problems.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:32 | 3160437 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture




Simply cut off credit (to Greece, Spain, Portugal ... France, Italy and Germany ...) and all that consumption is exportable. 15million barrels per day.


Because of their 'euro', the swine are trapped and cannot create their own credit.


That's where all that 'Replace Saudi Arabia' talk comes from, we're stealing from the Europeans, they are too dumb to figure out what's going on!


All it takes is Wall Street not lending to them, how simple!


Thu, 01/17/2013 - 00:01 | 3161131 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

Hey, killin' the Euro works for ME.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 19:32 | 3164375 BigJim
BigJim's picture

And not just the Negroes!

Trav666 is a huge fan of high IQs... and we all know which of the the three groups (negroid, caucasoid, mongoloid) has the highest average IQ, don't we?

There's a reason Trav picked a yellow face for his avatar, Whitey.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 21:11 | 3164731 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

North Korea kicks ass.  Must be the high IQs and the lack of diversity.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:10 | 3159842 AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

Future Lord's Prayer:  "... and give us our daily energy, and forgive us for fuel-sins... and lead us not into energy temptation."  ;-)

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:33 | 3158670 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

just wait-when a US citizen goes to chop down some trees to heat his home and family when the SHTF some forest preserve goon cop will mow him down-"The Koch brothers and Weyerhauser own these trees-bitchez"

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:34 | 3158683 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

otto, you got that fucking right...

Shit, just look what happens now when some poor fucking Downs syndrome guy wants to watch an extra movie...fucking sick:

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:44 | 3158753 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

I'll go one better (or worse) google christina eilman to see how the CPD rolls-Trav would not approve. and that asshole rahm would disarm citizens and let these animals roam the streets.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:54 | 3159190 Dark_Horse
Dark_Horse's picture

or possibly illegal to chop down a tree on your own property. (In a very dark future)

In some places it's currently illegal to capture rain water on your own property, citing that you do not have the water rights.

another step or two and they will get their laws around your trees, citing CO2 sequestration via carbon credit system.


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:40 | 3159976 Matt
Matt's picture

Around here, there are types of trees you cannot cut down - Gerry Oak, and maybe Arbutus. Imagine that, you have a tree that is leaning, going to fall on your house, the power line, the neighbors house, so you cut it down and get a $5000 fine or something ridiculous like that.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:17 | 3159863 AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

Otto, I think you and your Up-Arrow friends may be missing the whole Declining Consumption implications:

Less means less for everyone, because... a lower tide strands all boats -- big or small.  And it means a less complex society.  Less spare energy for everything.  Including less energy to find depleting or depleted OLD energy.

No more leveraging Old Sunshine (from fossils).  "Thou Shallt Earn Thy Living By The Sweat Of Thy Brow!"  Or by the sweat of leveraged muscle-power.  Savvy?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:42 | 3159988 Matt
Matt's picture

You think the tree cutting issue is going to be way after the oil runs out? It is happening in Greece NOW. I am surprised it did not happen in New Jersey right after Superstorm Sandy.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:36 | 3158675 SgtShaftoe
SgtShaftoe's picture

Enough with the Malthusian doom bullshit. It's fucking stupid, period. We have real problems. INNOVATION is the limit to human population, not some fucking commodity. When price signals make oil uneconomical, a new form of energy is developed and used. I seem to remember that people were warning that the entire population of UK would starve and die because they were exhausting the forests. Then they found coal... then they were predicting imminent doom due to the impossibility of feeding the population, then they made a wheat hybrid that dramatically increased production. Linear thinking is stupid.

Austrian leaning people should understand this point reflexively. Chris, enough hand waving, you're embarrassing yourself...and you're completely and demonstrably wrong.

We will just find a new or many new energy sources, the world will go on. We should really be concerned with psychopaths in power and the currency /banking system. Priorities, Ladies and Gentlemen... Priorities

Julian Simon empirically destroyed this argument 30 years ago in his book "The Ultimate Resource" and The Ultimate Resource II".

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:38 | 3158710 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:42 | 3158741 centerline
centerline's picture

And the comparable replacement for oil in terms of EROEI is?

How many "things" that are part of everyday life have coal byproducts in them?

Plus, you have just made the same mistake of throwing out a theory (Malthus) for the tech and distribution lines instead of merging those theories into something that makes sense.

About the only way we avoid some sort of practical limit at some point - even if oil was "forever" - is to get off this rock.  I would suggest comparisons to bacterial growth as required reading the meantime.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:48 | 3158795 Da55id
Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:59 | 3158880 Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here's picture

People trying to prove that oil is irrepleceable by pointing that we don't know any replacement yet are economically illeterate, period. Most innovations happen either by accident, or by market forces when price signals/cost incentives are adequate. Oil is just still too cheap to force free innovation.

"The mind cannot foresee its own advance."  - F.A. Hayek

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:05 | 3158907 centerline
centerline's picture

However, different EROEI, byproducts, outputs/derivatives, etc. force many other things in society change as well.  Akin to chaning the tires on a moving car.  There just isn't a good solution that makes for a smooth transition.  That either takes time or a great deal of cooperation - and leadership.  We have none of these.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:41 | 3159113 hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

We're still dealing with a flat tire by rotating the tires and continuing our drive.  Too many people have a vested interest in denying EROEI, and will continue to do so as long as they are incentivized.  Research and trial of alternatives is great, but subsidizing mass production of something with a negative EROEI is a net increase in energy consumption regardless of how much greenwashing goes on.  Sustainable?  No.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:57 | 3159200 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Paging Dr. Bartlett. . . .

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:48 | 3160020 Matt
Matt's picture

"or by market forces when price signals/cost incentives are adequate. Oil is just still too cheap to force free innovation."


What do you do when the status quo works in collusion to suppress the price signals? When the price of oil is subsidized, and the money supply is growing, so a large portion of the percieved increase in fuel price is just inflation? How does anyone calculate, with any degree of accuracy, the real price of a unit of energy, and then price out a new source of energy that does not even exist yet?

The price of oil may not rise sufficiently until well into a major shortage, especially with "anti-price gouging laws" that punish people for increasing the price on a limited resource.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:10 | 3158933 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Well... maybe you could explain to us how physical limits on chemical energy density are ripe to repealed?

We know nukes, and to be blunt, we fucked them up...

Basically the energy that our civilization is and has been based on is one form or another of condensed solar energy...


Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:53 | 3159779 trav777
trav777's picture

in the case of nuclear, VERY highly condensed lol

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:54 | 3160521 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Yep... never thought of it that way though....

We are stardust, we are golden.....

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 22:22 | 3160849 trav777
trav777's picture

visit can be done and made to work but it will not be easy to abandon the 60s

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 00:11 | 3161144 secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

How's this for a thought...

The "Milennials" (or their kids, if it takes that long) are raised in an environment in which it's trivial to completely abandon ALL historic tradition.  Exposure to every possible ethnic and cultural practice ever recognized will let those rebellious youngsters define a highly specific "vision of society"  that overnight becomes "moderate centrism" among all humans regardless of level of financial or political or charismatic power.

Or maybe ya call it a "Come to Jesus moment."  For everyone.  I'm thinking it's a relatively common concept.

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