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It's the End of the World As We Know It

This is the story that renders all else--including all the politics that I have written about in GRL--utterly trivial. And it's driving me absolutely crazy that I can't get more people to wake up and look at this problem! A friend recently described it as "a planeload of people on steep crash descent, with nobody in the cockpit, and a cocktail party going on in the cabin."
It's the End of the World As We Know It
Author:Chris Nelder
Dated:Sunday, February 29 2004 @ 12:50 PM PST



After a week of taking a break from GRL, I'm ready to bring you up to date. But it's not like the world has been standing still. Indeed, the news of the last week has been breathtakingly, crushingly bad, from every direction, and that's in part why I haven't written about it. It's very demoralizing. Still, I wish I had the energy to bring you the key points of all that I have read about it, but it's just not feasible for one guy, with no budget, no staff, a life to lead and an income to make. I know that some of you rely on GRL for most of your world news (gulp!), but I can't promise you that it will be a reliable source. You should subscribe to Truthout, the Progress Report, From the Wilderness, MoveOn, The Daily Misleader, and a few other sites that can do that for you (I read all of those and more, myself). See a list of great newsletters sites here.

But I can try to bring you up to date on the most important story of all: the impending oil crash. AKA, the end of the world as we know it. This is the story that renders all else--including all the politics that I have written about in GRL--utterly trivial.

Lately, I can think about little?but the oil crash.?It's putting every future plan,?and every conception I had about my life, in a new light. I'm looking at everything differently now. I look around at new cars, computers, everything that runs on electricity, and think: all of this?could be pointless and useless in 10 years. Imagine not being able to afford to board an airplane, watch TV, buy fresh fruit, or drive to the store. Imagine everything that you take for granted about life to be about to vanish. Imagine violent and hungry hordes evacuating the major cities. Imagine yourself trying to eke out a living in subsistence farming, and living like the Amish. Imagine your children growing up in a world with precious little energy. Imagine 5 billion of the world's 6 billion people dying off in the next 70 years or so.?Because that could be exactly what we're headed for. In fact, it seems unavoidable.

I wonder every day how, and where, I would try to make my last stand. And it's driving me absolutely?crazy that I can't get more people to wake up and look at this problem! A friend recently described it as "a planeload of people on steep crash descent, with nobody in the cockpit, and a cocktail party going on in the cabin."

I know what you want now. You want me to digest this mass of information and just lay it out for you with dates and milestones. But I'm not going to attempt that, because for one, it's a complex assessment, and a success of approximation, so the task just isn't that easy. But for another, I think it's important that everyone understand the dynamics of the problem and get a grasp of the possible solutions and their various limitations, so that you can argue it out for yourself. You won't be able to nitpick one assertion and go to bed with sweet dreams. No, this is one case where you really don't want the Cliff Notes; you want the whole semester of classes.

Here is a compilation of some of the best material I have found on the subject. I have read much more on it than this, as I suggest you do, and there is much more to be found beyond these articles.?But this is a good collection to get you started.

First, here's one resource that gives you the basics, cheat-sheet style. This is as close to the Cliff Notes version as you're going to find.
Running on Empty

More links and a good simple overview:
A thorough review of the problem and the possible solutions by the founder of dieoff.org, Jay Hansen:
oil Crash Synopsis
by Jay Hanson, Mar, 8, 2001 -- http://www.dieoff.org
A very good article about the denials of our reality and what might be done about it, with endorsement from Richard Heinberg, author of The Party's Over:
Some suggestions about what you can do:
Hubbert's peak?by Kenneth S. Deffeyes
One excellent resource that I highly recommend is Hubbert's peak - The Impending World oil Shortage by Kenneth S. Deffeyes (2001 Princeton University Press). Deffeyes was a Shell geologist and consultant,?a Princeton professor (now Professor Emeritus),?and colleague of M. King Hubbert, who proposed the theory now known as Hubbert's peak. Packed with hard scientific data and information on geology, how fossil fuels are formed, how oil and gas exploration is done, and the mathematical analysis of Hubbert's peak, it's a great book that gets the job done in under 200 pages. I learned a lot from this book.
You can read Chapter 1 of the book here?(PDF file). If you scroll down to page 7, you'll see a startling little graph, showing a line going horizontally across the page with a little peak in it that's about half an inch high and a quarter of an inch wide. The caption:

The 100-year period when most of the world?s oil will be produced is known as "Hubbert?s peak." On this scale, the geologic time needed to form the oil resources can be visualized by extending the line five miles to the left.

Really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? We have burned our geologic capital at an unbelievable pace. All that we have known, growing up in the age of cheap and "abundant" oil and gas, our entire industrialized way of life, is but a blip in the history of man, and not even a speck in geologic time. The first major oil wells were drilled in the late 1920s. And at current rates of consumption (which are predicted to rise precipitously), the oil will be effectively gone by 2050. Our entire oil-and-gas fueled reality will come and go in a mere 150 years. My father grew up on a subsistence farm that didn't have electricity or running water until the 40s. And I could find myself right back there by the end of my life. The whole story come and gone in two generations. Astonishing!
Another oft-quoted way of seeing the problem is to realize that, given the amount of energy each Westerner consumes each day, compared with the amount of energy each of us could expend in hard physical labor each day, we each have the equivalent of 50 slaves working for us exclusively. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to understand that the extra energy has to come from somewhere, and that this is not a sustainable way of life.
Here are some quotes from the book that I thought worth retyping for your benefit:
This much is certain: no initiative put in place starting today can have a substantial effect on the peak production year. No Caspian Sea exploration, no drilling in the South China Sea, no SUV replacements, no renewable energy projects can be brought on at a sufficient rate to avoid a bidding war for the remaining oil. At least, let's hope that the war is waged with cash instead of with nuclear warheads.


Discussions about increasing the supply of crude oil get sidetracked into debates about whether government action is needed or whether the invisible hand of economics will guide us to bigger and better oil fields. We can argue endlessly about the details without asking first whether searching for additional crude oil would be worth the effort...The finite supply of world oil is, in my opinion, written in stone. It's not engraved on the facade of the Treasury Building. It's written in the reservoir rocks, in the source rocks, and in the cap rocks. No amount of fancy fishing tackle is going to satisfy our appetite for oil.


Awareness is important. Of course, the economic squeeze will get everyone's attention. The experience that raised my awareness was a bicycle frame hitched to an electric generator wired to a light bulb. You could switch on a 50-watt bulb, pedal the bicycle, and keep the light lit. Change to a 100-watt bulb and it took a sustained serious effort to keep the bulb glowing. I couldn't light up a 200-watt bulb. It put a real scale on energy conservation.


Aluminum metal costs about $200 per ton, but that is $3 for the aluminum ore and $197 for electricity. The motivation for recycling aluminum is energy conservation.


During the 2000 presidential campaign, Democrats and Republicans debated about how to use the new surplus in the federal budget: pay off the national debt, fix Social Security, improve Medicare, or reduce taxes. There is another option: gift wrap the entire surplus and present it to the Saudi royal family. We could go happily on, pretending that either?(1) a permanent decline in world oil production won't happen or (2) it doesn't matter. Ask anyone who remember the 1980 crisis; it happens and it matters. In 1980 it was a problem in distribution; the oil was there, but it wasn't getting to the corner gas station. In 2008, the oil won't be there. The psychological realization that the change is permanent may be as devastating as the shortage itself.


First, beware of any salesman peddling just one brand of snake oil. There will be numerous voices claiming to have the new, new thing to solve the energy problem. They are not necessarily con artists. Some of them convince themselves first, then they try to con the rest of us. They are their own first victims. We should make good use of each innovation where it fits best. Use geothermal energy where it is most effective; don't try to find a geothermal solution for the entire U.S. energy needs.
Second, beware of the salesman peddling an enormous variety of snake oils. His message is, "There are so many possibilities, some of them are bound to come through in time to save us." Usually a long list of innovations, including gas hydrates, subsalt seismic reflections, coal bed methane, and deep-water drilling, give the impression that doomsday won't arrive in our lifetime. We'll muddle through. Unfortunately, the items in that list were already identified 20 years ago. It may be a painful muddle.
There are some possibilities for doing a better job than we did in 1980. Rather than have the crisis sneak up on us, we can see it coming and initiate some of the long lead-time projects in advance. "Forewarned is forearmed."
peak oil and Iraq
This article brings the oil shortage problem up to date specifically with respect to Iraq, the Caspian, our renewed interests in West Africa, what Cheney knows, and more. Definitely worth reading:

Iraq and the Problem of peak oil
by F. William Engdahl

Quotes from the above article:

The era of cheap, abundant oil, which has supported world economic growth for more than three quarters of a century, is most probably at or past its absolute peak, according to leading independent oil geologists. If this analysis is accurate, the economic and social consequences will be staggering. This reality is being hidden from general discussion by the oil multinationals and major government agencies, above all by the United States government. oil companies have a vested interest in hiding the truth in order to keep the price of getting new oil as low as possible. The US government has a strategic interest in keeping the rest of the world from realising how critical the problem has become.

If the peak oil analysis is accurate, it suggests why Washington may be willing to risk so much to control Iraq and through its bases there, the five oil-rich countries. It suggests Washington is acting from a fundamental strategic weakness, not from absolute strength as is often thought. A full and open debate on the problem of peak energy is urgently needed.

In a speech to the International Petroleum Institute in London in late 1999, Dick Cheney, then chairman of the world's largest oil services company, Halliburton, presented the picture of world oil supply and demand to industry insiders. 'By some estimates,' Cheney stated, 'there will be an average of two percent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with, conservatively, a three percent natural decline in production from existing reserves.' Cheney ended on an alarming note: 'That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day.' This is equivalent to more than six Saudi Arabia's of today's size.

The burning question is where will we get such a huge increase of oil? In the decade from 1990 to 2000, a total of 42 billion barrels of new oil reserves were discovered worldwide. In the same period, the world consumed 250 billion barrels. In the past two decades only three giant fields with more than one billion barrels each have been discovered. One in Norway, in Columbia and Brazil. None of these produce more than 200,000 barrels a day. This is far from 50 million barrels a day which the world will need.

Clearly, Dick Cheney, onetime CEO of the world's largest oil services company, does not?believe that we are yet to discover the equivalent of six Saudi Arabias' worth of oil. The data are very clear on this. Global discovery peaked in the 60s and has been on the decline ever since. More than 50% of today's oil comes from a few super-giant oil fields, and we aren't going to?discover any more of those. After 100 years of exploration, the planet is pretty well explored, and all of the obvious features have been tested.

Maybe this explains his closed-door energy task force, his stonewalling of the investigation of same, his dismissal of conservation, and his handouts to the peculiar "pebble-bed" nuclear reactor design peddled by his friends.

It's also clear that the oil industry, and US politicians for generations--except, bless his heart, the poor maligned Jimmy Carter--have conspired to keep this ugly reality as hidden as possible. There is little to be gained for them, in the short term, by making it public. In fact, they're still running in the other direction, as fast as they can. The Bush administration just recently issued a proposal that would actually lower fuel economy standards for heavier vehicles. How wrong can they get? See:

More Jobs to the Gallon
The?New York?Times
February?18, 2004
By: Carl Pope and Ron Gettelfinger

Finally, there is the macroeconomic angle, which holds that the war in Iraq was largely about keeping Iraq's oil priced in US dollars, rather than euros:

Revisited - The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq
A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth
by William Clark

Climate Change

Then there is the problem of climate change. As reported here earlier, the Pentagon, among many others in the scientific community, has acknowledged that climate change is a very real possibility. (Meanwhile, just across the Potomac, the White House continues to deny that global warming is even a problem we should address, presumably writing off the Pentagon as a bunch of tree-loving hippies.) The biggest risk here is that the melting of the polar ice caps (which we know is occurring at a rapid rate right now, as evidenced by their shrinking and whole chunks of the ice shelf breaking off) will lead to a reduction of the salinity of the ocean water in the north, which in turn could shut down the Gulf Stream and lead to a new ice age. For more on that, see:

We're Closer to the Edge Than We Think
By Kelpie Wilson

And this earlier GRL article: "Global warming, peak oil, and energy industry propaganda"

The writing is on the wall: we're on our own here, people. We cannot wait for "them" to bail us out. Especially since their big idea is to evolve us into a "hydrogen economy," an idea that simply cannot work. If we are to address our energy problems effectively, we must take the responsibility for finding solutions into our own hands. Industry and government aren't going to touch the hot potato.

Once you've read all this stuff, you'll probably be just as shocked and fearful as I was. But maybe there is some comfort in my horoscope this week from The Onion:

Cancer: (June 22?July 22)
Everyone worries about what Fate has in store for them, but don't fret. You won't feel a thing.

Yeah, right.

Ultimately, what we have here is a crying need to remake our vision of humanity, and its proper place in the world. As I wrote for my online magazine, Better World 'Zine, in 1996:

What all of this really comes down to is the same thing that got us here in the first place, those great intangibles known as vision and will. It was the vision of Manifest Destiny and of man's "dominion" over the earth that led us down this straight-line consumptive path. Our will has made over the face of the planet.

And if we are to find our ecological salvation, it is a new vision and a renewed will that will obtain it. We must envision a cyclical, restorative economy; one where products are designed with a plan for their reabsorption into the cycle; one in which manufacturers think of their products cradle to cradle, not cradle to grave.

[From "Envisioning a Sustainable Future", Dec. 1996)

This will take a massive shift in perspective, yes, even a "paradigm shift." We must get away from the consumptive, dominionist policies that got us here--which our current leadership still espouses--and reorganize all of our activities to work with the natural cycles, and within the carrying capacity of our own local areas. Put another way, we must destroy the concept of man as master of his domain, and rebuild around the concept of man as a good steward who is part of his domain. This will take some reworking of the theological underpinnings of our culture, as well.

For a perspective that encompasses both the oil crash and global warming, check out this review of David Goodstein's new book, Out of Gas - The End of the Age of oil.??Here's a tasty quote: "Civilization as we know it will come to an end sometime in this century unless we can find a way to live without fossil fuels."

Here are some additional resources you can explore. I think all of them are worthwhile.

Authoritative, no-nonsense, completely scientific books to read:

  1. Heinberg, Richard, The Party's Over: oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, New Society Publishers (2003)
  2. Deffeyes, Kenneth S, Hubbert's peak: The Impending World oil Shortage, Princeton University Press (2001)
  3. Goodstein, David, Out of Gas: The End of the Age of oil, W.W. Norton & Company (February 2004)
Sites about the oil crash:
And finally, a plug for one of the few serious projects to get us on the right track with energy policy. They have a good and informative site, and backing from some of the most sincere scientific and environmental organizations around:
"The Apollo Alliance is building a broad coalition within the labor, environmental, business, urban, and faith communities in support of good jobs and energy independence."
Folks, I strongly encourage--no, I beg you--to bring yourselves up to speed on this topic, and think about your futures. How will you live sustainably, with whom, and where? If you're in a major city, chances are that it won't be there. Remember Deffeyes' admonishment: "Forewarned is forearmed."
And I encourage your feedback. Please write me or post your comments here. If you don't think the situation is so dire, then why not? Believe me, if there's any factual, scientific basis for hope, I'm all ears. But if you're just inclined to block this all out, and blithely assert that "somebody will figure something out," then you're fooling yourself, and possibly signing up to be one of the 5 (out of 6) people expected to die off when the oil crash occurs. When your head's on the block and the ax is falling, only a fool would lay there whistling and waiting for some unseen force to stop the blow.
There?is?nothing more important to get real about. If you want a hand in your own destiny, then please, put on your specs and start educating yourself.

homepage: homepage: http://www.betterworld.com/

Trust me.... 06.Mar.2004 18:15

Tony Blair's dog

"the end of the world as we know it" will not come from
an "oil crash" and not anytime soon.

Peak Oil: an Outlook on Crude Oil Depletion 06.Mar.2004 18:18

see also

here on Portland IMC (many other article/reference sublinks within link below):

HTML mess 06.Mar.2004 18:36


Indymedia, why does this article and others written with HTML end up looking so lousy? A preview would be handy, or at least a recommended HTML editor to use that will make the pages work better.

Message for 'Tony Blair's dog' - 06.Mar.2004 18:38

de Nile is not just a river in Egypt

If this is your first time learning about Peak Oil, you are likely saying to yourself, "Well, I'm sure there is another side to this. It can't possibly be this bad. I want to know what the "debunkers" have to say about Peak Oil."

Generally people who say Peak Oil is a myth rely on one of a handful of arguments:

1. When oil gets too expensive, we will just switch to renewable energy.

2. Humans are so inventive, we will think of something.

3. Oil reserves keep going up.

4. Canada or ANWR or the Caspian Sea have huge oil reserves.

5. Dr. Thomas Gold said that oil regenerates itself.

A recent article by the Christian Science Monitor  http://csmonitor.com/2004/0129/p14s01-wogi.html gives a good overview of these counterarguments

I address most these issues throughout the five main pages of this site. (I don't address the Caspian Sea because it has been largely a bust and ANWR has only 6 months worth of oil)

Regarding Dr. Gold, his theories have been debunked extensively. If his theory that oil regenerates itself was accurate, why has US domestic oil production dropped by more than 50% since we hit our peak in 1970?

What I encourage you to do is this:

1. Go onto Google, type in Peak Oil. Have a look at what comes up. Alternatively, you can just look at the cross links I provide throughout the main pages.

2. Go back onto Google, type in "Peak Oil is a myth." Have a look at what comes up.

3. Compare what you find from the two searches.

4. Think about the various arguments in light of current and recent events.

Then decide for yourself what the truth is.

But what do we do to survive? 06.Mar.2004 19:40


I want to survive. How can I survive? Are there such things as squirrel traps? Should I get working on a farm soon so I beat the rush? We can still fish too. Will the fish be depleted too much pretty fast cause of everyone fishing? We overfish as it is. Can't we just have organic farms that don't need oil? I read that they can produce as much as we need. Not all the crap we eat now maybe, but enough that we need. Is the United States the wrong place to be? What is the right place to be? A less oil dependent country? Africa?

Managing the Crash/Coping with the Ramifications 06.Mar.2004 20:57

answer to 'Scared'-

How am I supposed to maintain a positive mental attitude now that I know industrial civilization is about to collapse? How should I prepare emotionally?

When the implications of Peak Oil hit me, I was pretty scared. I felt as though my whole future had just been drop kicked in one fell swoop. It took me a couple of days for the initial feeling of semi-panic to wear off.

The only way we are going to effectively cope with the end of the oil age is effectively cope with our fear and how we view what is to come.

Dealing with Fear

According to author Tony Robbins, fear carries a message:

Fear is simply the anticipation that something that's going to happen soon needs to be prepared for.

In the words of the Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared." We need either to prepare to cope with the situation, or to do something to change it. The tragedy is that most people either try to deny their fear, or they wallow in it. Neither of these approaches is respecting the message that fear is trying to deliver, so it will continue to pursue you as it tries to get its message across. You don't want to surrender to fear and amplify it by starting to think of the worst that could happen, nor do you want to pretend it's not there.

The solution to fear, Robbins writes, is:

Review what you were feeling fearful about and evaluate what you must do to prepare yourself mentally. Figure out what actions you need to take to deal with the situation in the best possible way. Sometimes we've done all the preparation we could for something; there's nothing else we can do - but we still sit around in fear. This is the point when you must use the antidote to fear: you must make a decision to have faith, knowing you've done all you can to prepare for whatever you're fearing.

Personally, I have come to believe that our external reality is essentially a mirror of our internal reality. If you walk around vibrating fear, you will attract external circumstances that exacerbate your fear. We tend to get what we rehearse. For this reason, it is of paramount importance that we strive for states of consciousness more productive than fear.

Consider the Collapse of Oil Based Civilization an Opportunity Rather than a Tragedy

Most of us in consumer based countries like the U.S. are actually very nice people. In our hearts, we really do believe in ideals such as equality, brotherhood, and justice. We would never abuse, mistreat, or kill somebody just to get something of theirs. However, to support our oil based consumer lifestyle, our government goes out and does these things for us.

If the average American could feel the suffering that went into producing every piece of plastic in their home, every gallon of oil in their gas tank, and every piece of food on their dinner table, they would likely be sick to their stomach and would be willing to do whatever it takes to change things.

Peak Oil will force us to change things. Peak Oil does mean that the end of the world as we know it is at our doorstep. It also means that we have a chance to create a new world in which humanity lives in harmony with itself and the earth. Such a lifestyle is no longer simply "the right thing to do." It is now a necessity if we wish to survive as a species.

In The Truth about the War and Oil: The Coming Global Energy Crisis, author Stephen Hamilton Bergin takes an optimistic line that a better world will rise out the ashes.

According to Bergin, some kind of crisis is almost to be welcomed to dispose of worthless government and kleptocratic management, leading to some form of a new better life for the survivors.

In this regard, the experiences of former slaves following the collapse of slavery may hold some insight for us. When the system collapsed, many former slaves experienced considerable anxiety. After all, the plantation system was all that they had known, and all that their parents, grandparents and so forth had known. Many wandered nervously: What was going to replace the plantation system? How would they get their food? For whom would they work? Did they have the skills to survive in this new way of life? What would happen to their families?

You may find yourself asking these same questions in regards to what life after the oil crash will be like. The fact that we find ourselves in a situation analogous to that of slaves on the verge of freedom is not all that surprising. While we are not bonded by chains of iron, most of us are bonded by the chains of a debt-based, oil fueled civilization. The collapse of this civilization may provide us with a chance for true freedom.

In this regard, can't recommend enough that you read this excerpt from the "Last Days of Ancient Sunlight" by Thom Hartmann.

What are some steps that I can take in the next few days to begin addressing this situation?

The following list is by no means exhaustive. These are just some simple steps you can begin taking immediately.

(Listed in no particular order)

1. Educate yourself about Peak Oil and its ramifications. Read through the sites linked to in this site. Consider obtaining copies of books such The Party's Over: War, Oil, and the Fate of Industrial Civilizations by Richard Heinberg.

2. Educate others. If you're not sure how to go about doing so, consider forwarding them this site.

3. Seek out like minded folks. If you're not sure where to start, you may want to join the Yahoo group "Running on Empty 2." When I first learned about Peak Oil, that was the first place I went. I found the members of the group very friendly, helpful and patient with "newbies."

4. Perform Google searches for Peak Oil whenever you get the chance. As more people search for "Peak Oil", the folks at Google will take notice. This may result in increased mainstream media coverage.

5. Adopt a vegetarian/ vegan diet, or at least reduce your meat consumption as much as you can.

6. Start using your bicycle or public transportation instead of your car, whenever possible.

7. Limit your purchase of consumer items to those that you really need .

8. Reduce your use of electricity as much as possible. Consider investing in items such solar powered lanterns, battery chargers, radios, hot water heaters, laptop chargers, bicycled powered generators etc.

9. Consider converting your vehicle to Biodiesal.

10. Consider taking an organic farming class or joining a local food co-op.

11. Begin learning basic emergency medical procedures.

12. Investigate alternative forms of health care such as bioenergetic healing, self hypnosis etc. . .

13. Reduce your debt load as much as possible.

14. Begin thinking how you are going to survive through blackouts, food/water shortages and economic breakdowns.

15. If you own your home, start conducting research about installing solar panels or windmills.

What are some steps we can take as a society to deal with Peak Oil? What are some public policies that, if implemented, will help us manage this crash instead of just running into it?

Peak Oil is going to happen. People are going to die. We have waited way too long to have any chance at stopping it altogether.

We may be able to minimize the amount of suffering while maximizing the chances of building a successful post-oil civilization if we implement appropriate public policies such as:

A. Civilized Measures to Support Population Reduction

The primary cause of the looming energy crisis is the fact that the world has more people than can be supported in a steady state renewable energy environment. The obvious solution is to reduce the world's population in the most civilized way possible.

According to Dale Alan Pfeifer:

... conditions will deteriorate so badly that the surviving human population would be a negligible fraction of the present population. And those survivors would suffer from the trauma of living through the death of their civilization, their neighbors, their friends and their families. Those survivors will have seen their world crushed into nothing.

In other words, if we do not reduce our population in an intelligent way, Mother Nature will do the job for us. We can do it ourselves if we take measures to:

1. Empower women to control the reproductive capacity of their bodies.

2. Inform people of the true nature and scope of the crisis. Many will voluntarily refrain from having children if they are aware of our situation.

3. Find practical, humane, and just solutions to immigration. In the US, the overwhelming majority of our population growth is projected to come from immigration. While this may have benefits from either economic or humanitarian perspectives, it will be disastrous from an ecological standpoint.

B. Measures to Promote Conservation

Conservation may not be popular, but without it, we have no hope of effectively coping with the coming oil shortages. Conservation measures should include measures to:

1. Eliminate tax reductions for SUV's

2. Pass legislation mandating higher fuel-efficiency standards

3. Finance a national program to promote the use of carpools, public transportation and bicycle riding.

4. Reduce subsidies for agribusiness while simultaneously supporting local , community based agriculture programs

5. Support the troops by informing people that our troops are dying primarily to support our oil based, consumer lifestyle. Slogans such "Save our troops by riding your bikes" or "Ride alone and you ride with Osama" could make it patriotic to conserve.

5. Replace ineffective drug war programs like "DARE" with programs that promote conservation and sustainable living.

C. Measures to Support Alternative & Renewable Energy

If we do not take immediate, massive and sustained action to switch to renewable energy then civilization faces the sharpest and perhaps most violent dislocation in recent history.

There are a number of ways to do this:

1. Finance a "Manhattan" or "Apollo" style project to accelerate the development of renewable energy.

2. Give tax breaks to homeowners who install solar panels, wind mills, or similar systems.

3. Finance public transportation to a far greater degree than it currently is financed.

Do you think the government is going to institute a mass mobilization plan to manage the coming crisis?

On local levels, quite possibly. Some communities have already begun instituting small scale, community based measures to ensure sustainability.

On the state or national levels? Absolutely not. As explained previously, the industries that now control our government are the same industries that would be hurt by such a mobilization.

That means we are going to have to do it ourselves.

So figure out what you can do and get to it.


To the author of the well written answers - thank you for writing 06.Mar.2004 21:11


This is some SERIOUS shit! I cannot figure out how the hell so many otherwise smart people keep their heads buried in the sand on this issue.

To scared - This is some SERIOUS shit! Either we start waking people up or we are all going to die in our collective sleep.

I am an optimist. I think civilization will survive, but much leaner and smarter. But this is not going to happen if keep blindly stumbling on this drunk's walk we have been on for the past century.

Here is another good site to look at:  http://www.wolfatthedoor.org.uk/

to "answer to 'Scared'" 06.Mar.2004 21:56


I appreciate nearly everything you said. The only caution I would have is around the immigration question. For many parts of the world our (first world) consumption of oil has already ruined their economies/lives. Stopping people from coming to this nation where we have accumulated way more than our fair share per capita is akin to the survialists who stock up on enough for them and theirs and then stock up on guns to keep everyone else from getting "their stuff."
It is going to be ugly here its true. It is already ugly in many parts of the world. Who says we should be the ones to survive?
I want to survive too, and I want my children and grandchildren to survive --- but so have people in the rest of the world for many years...
There must be a better way to share the goods. Downsizing our lifestyles is an important first step. Learning to be communal, cooperative and generous is a second.

Conservation 06.Mar.2004 23:12


>>>>>B. Measures to Promote Conservation
Conservation may not be popular, but without it, we have no hope of effectively coping with the coming oil shortages. Conservation measures should include measures to:
1. Eliminate tax reductions for SUV's
2. Pass legislation mandating higher fuel-efficiency standards<<<<

How to do this? Be a conservation activist.
1.Send a boycott letter to General Motors because of all their huge gas guzzlers.>>


2.Send this lettr to Bush and as many gov. reps as you can.

Let's Wage War On Gas Guzzlers
author: Peter Coy
The Pentagon says global climate change is the ultimate security threat? Britain will soon be in the ice age because of global warming. We hear these every day now.
Mr. War President, you didn't flinch when you ordered U.S. troops into battle. Now show us the same decisiveness on one of the most important fronts of all -- energy security.

Let's Wage War On Gas Guzzlers
If national security is the goal, higher fuel-economy standards are a no-brainer
Dear Mr. President,
As a self-described "war president," you have made national security the highest priority of your Administration. You have launched two wars to overthrow hostile foreign powers. Your statements about energy reflect that war footing. Last November, in urging passage of a major energy bill, you said: "America will be more prosperous and more secure when we are less dependent on foreign sources of energy."
If only your energy strategy were as forceful as your military one. In the name of national security, Americans have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. But what sacrifices are you asking on the home front? If America is too reliant on foreign oil, why not ask Americans to do their part to reduce that reliance? The danger of dependence on imported oil is all too evident today, with OPEC restricting output to force the price of crude to nearly $36 a barrel -- approaching the highest prices since the invasion of Iraq.
Two-thirds of the oil in the U.S. goes for transportation fuels, mainly gasoline. Inescapably, then, improving the mileage of cars and light trucks must be part of the solution. Yet you haven't asked Congress for legislation to increase standards for corporate average fuel economy (CAFE). The standard for cars is 27.5 miles per gallon, the same as in 1985. The standard for light trucks, including sport utilities, is scheduled to bump up to 22.2 mpg by 2007 from a puny 20.7 today. Is that really the best we can do?
Your Administration's latest action on fuel economy has the potential to make matters even worse. The National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration is proposing to change the rules for light trucks and SUVs so that the heaviest ones would have the lowest mileage requirements. Environmentalists worry that the rules, if written the way Detroit wants, would give auto makers an incentive to shift the mix of vehicles they sell toward heavier gas guzzlers.
A straightforward increase in fuel economy standards under the existing framework is a better choice. Industry leaders, of course, would object. General Motors Corp. (GM ) Vice-Chairman Robert A. Lutz has joked that the standards are like fighting obesity by ordering clothing to be made in smaller sizes. But it wouldn't be all that tough to make vehicles that drink less gasoline while improving safety. Proven innovations include variable valve timing (introduced by Honda Motor Co. (HMC ) way back in 1989), direct fuel injection, and "displacement on demand," which takes some of a car's cylinders offline when they aren't needed.
A law that raises fuel-economy standards would prod auto makers to put such well-established technologies into more vehicles while boosting their incentive to develop gasoline-electric hybrids and next-generation technologies, such as fuel cells. Fuel-efficient vehicles might cost more than guzzlers. But that's what sacrifice is all about. Your chief rival for the Presidency, Senator John Kerry, isn't worried that tougher mileage standards will alienate the public. He's campaigning to raise standards to 36 mpg by 2015.
Don't stop there, Mr. President. People buy gas guzzlers because, even at today's prices, gas seems pretty cheap. If you really want to demonstrate leadership, ask Congress to raise federal fuel taxes by, say, 50 cents a gallon. Then return all the revenue that's raised to the public by cutting income taxes and giving tax credits to low-income households that don't pay income taxes. The net tax increase: zero. And what about subjecting SUVs and pickups to the guzzler tax on cars? Or ending the tax break of up to $100,000 for small-business owners who buy those hulking Hummers, Escalades, and Navigators?
Your energy plan does have some good features. They include tax credits for the purchase of hybrid vehicles, funds to help the poor weatherize their homes, and research on cleaner energy sources. But on the critical issue of gas guzzlers, it doesn't go nearly far enough. Mr. War President, you didn't flinch when you ordered U.S. troops into battle. Now show us the same decisiveness on one of the most important fronts of all -- energy security.
By Peter Coy

To Everyone and Chris Nelder: 06.Mar.2004 23:15

There is one simple thing we can do:

Spread the news far and wide, do whatever you can to convince your friends and associates that there is a suppressed energy source available that would remedy all of the planet's energy needs.
This is scalar energy. Energy from THE ATOM. Sort of like nuclear energy, but without splitting the nucleus, and no radioactive pollution. Energy from the atom is drawn out, and the only consequence (that I know of) is that the atom loses mass (E=MC squared). So much energy is available this way, that the main challenge is harnessing it.
Also, zero point energy. This is electromagnetic energy that exists everywhere in space. It's endless, and once again, there is so much of it, that the challenge is in harnessing it.
These are suppressed energy sources, and in the past, when others have tried to patent devices to harness this energy, the U.S. Patent office refuses to give the patent, even when the device is working right there in front of them. They say that perpetual energy is not possible. Both energy sources cited above are perpetual.
I got this information from www.disclosureproject.org, and the reason I believe them is: "We have over 400 government, military, and intelligence community witnesses testifying to their direct, personal, first hand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret."(www.disclosureproject.org) (If you are uncomfortable with the idea of ET's, you may want to rethink that position because like Chris said, the situation is dire and we all need to start thinking) Anyway, think about the math: over 400 gov't, military, and intelligence witnesses have testified. That's significant if you ask me. Enough so that if they put their faith in the Disclosure Project, then I can too. This stuff will never get publicized by the corporate media. That's why they call it "The DISCLOSURE Project."
This is our ticket out. We have to massively become aware of this suppressed energy source. Then we must act. We must demand that our representatives "...hold open hearings on advanced energy and propulsion systems that, when publicly released, will provide solutions to global environmental challenges."(www.disclosureproject.org)
Read this page:  http://www.disclosureproject.org/ES-DisclosureImplications-2.htm. It will show you what is possible with this energy.
Then DON'T SIT ON IT. TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND HAVE EVERYONE CONTACT THEIR REPRESENTATIVE. (Most of them know about this already, but they are afraid to act alone, so we to let them know we are behind them in solidarity.)
I would recommend the book, too, it gives the most detailed information, from top names like Werner Von Braun, etc.

I'm conserving all I can because oil sucks 07.Mar.2004 01:14

but I'm still skeptical of this

"Generally people who say Peak Oil is a myth rely on one of a handful of arguments..."

I rely on the argument that some of the proponents talk between the lines like Bush / Enron's wet dreams. I rely on the argument that Bush has the Pentagon crying doom at his right hand, and at his left hand, energy advisor Matthew Simmons, how convenient. I rely on the argument that this is an exquisite rationalization for what we have just done in the Middle East and more of the same, for raising oil / gas prices, and for burning oil like there's no tomorrow. Does the concept of Peak Oil make any of us spoiled Americans feel like *sharing* what's left of the world's oil without a good serious talking to that we *aren't* getting?

But what is it to me? Maybe I should just stock up on survival goods like Y2K and every other doomsday that didn't happen, and sit and eat popcorn while I watch the movie of the Average Joe being forced to listen to conservation for a change, and clap.

But show me a Peak Oil proponent like Matt Savinar where conservation doesn't even enter his vocabulary, and I'll show you someone I can't trust enough to listen. Unlike Matt, I'm not afraid to recommend that others think about buying bikes because such a conservation method might hasten the collapse of civilization. Maybe there are more believable sources on Peak Oil than Savinar, who's full of it up to his ears even if the Peak Oil concept were correct, but listening to Matt drone on about the "bulletproof credentials" of experts doesn't do a lot for my confidence level either. Bush's energy advisor is probably the most notable of these "bulletproof credentialed" individuals, and he's hardly what I could call an unbiased source in this. In fact, we haven't got long at all before the Netherlands are supposed to be inhabitable according to the Pentagon, so we don't have too long before we get to see how good the science around Bush is.

I mean, the bottom line, you announce to most people that we're running out of something, and what do you expect them to do but stock up or use more of it while they can get it? If anyone is serious, I hope to see more serious appropriate measures taken than just jacking up gas prices. Maybe then I'd have an easier time to swallow this any faster.

Snake oil, rhetorical arguments, and....facts. 10.Mar.2004 17:20

Chris Nelder chris.nelder@idiotwind.net

I'm the author of the "It's the End of the World As We Know It" piece, and I'm pleased to see this topic getting noticed in Portland! I don't mind the article being reposted here, but it should have included the source URL, a) out of journalistic courtesy and b) so people can read it without mangled HTML!

The source URL is here: It's the End of the World As We Know It

I think it's essential to keep discussion of this topic in the domain of fact, and to avoid some of the tactics used in the comments here. Specifically, it's irresponsible to promote technologies (like "zero point energy") that have not been demonstrably supported with scientific data and peer review. Peak Oil is a real issue, supported by scientific data that come from no-nonsense sources like the top geologists of top oil companies, and the US Department of Energy. Whole books--like the ones I mentioned in my article--are available on the subject, replete with facts and charts and measured results. Scientific credultiy is crucial to the legitimacy of the issue.

It's also distracting and unhelpful to declaim about it on purely rhetorical grounds, such as the previous commentor did. Never mind who said what, or what you might expect them to say, or conspiracy notions, or political chicanery, or choosing whom to believe based on your perception of their allegiances or veracity. That will get us nowhere.

Let's stick to the facts, folks. I supplied a host of resources where you can look up the data for yourself, examine the charts, and read about how and where oil and gas are formed. These are data from highly reputable sources, and they have been fully vetted by other scientists. Once you have examined the facts, then let's talk about whom to believe.

People like myself (and, I assume, Matthew Savinar, and the geologist authors who have written about it) have no agenda, no allegiance, and no dog in this fight other than an ardent desire to get the word out about what appears to be a very real and threatening change to our entire way of life. I created my site, and wrote that article, on my own time, for no pay, and without regard to whom it might or might not benefit. I wrote it for you, my fellow American. That's all.

And if you can't bring yourself to examine the facts, then give the rest of us a break and keep your half-baked theories to yourself. Please.